Blessed are the Peacemakers

putin-obama-horseGeorge W Bush received a lot of criticism from both the Left and the Right when he remarked that he had looked deeply into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw a Christian. You know what? I think Dubya was right.

And you know what else I think? I think that Vladimir Putin is a real leader. And that he bestrides the Middle East today as a colossus. That’s what happens when you have an American president and State Department that is feckless. If nothing else, he pulled Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire, waylaying us from a war that the vast majority of the American people clearly did not want. Frankly, I would not be surprised if a plurality of Americans viewed him more favorably than we do our own president.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think for one minute that our military isn’t up to the task. Though morale is down for a variety of reasons that will be explained in due time, the lethality and ferocity of American firepower cannot –and should not–be underestimated. The United States defeated Iraq (the so-called Prussia of the Arab world) not once but twice in very short order. Assad has nowhere near the resources and strategic depth that Saddam Hussein did. The capability of American arms in not the problem. It is the will of the American people. To say that we are war-weary is only half the truth.

Our occupation of Islamic countries has made us wiser and more realistic. The Trotskyite notions of Democrusaderism has been deservedly dealt a body blow. There really are differences between the various peoples of the world: some are capable of self-government, some aren’t. In addition we have not forgotten Al-Qaida. Our president still can’t explain in any coherent manner why the United States must be the air force of that odious organization, the same one which killed three thousand of our fellow-citizens some twelve years ago. American Christians are beginning to recognize that they have brothers in that region of the world, even if they do wear funny hats and kiss icons. The so-called Christian Zionists are no longer calling the shots and even within that community, there are some who are questioning the theological soundness of harnessing American power in the service of Zionism.

Now, I’m not saying that Putin is a saint, that he wasn’t a KGB apparatchik, or whatever. What I am saying is that he is a Christian leader and he takes his Christianity seriously. Seriously enough to get his hands dirty and do what needs to be done to save Christians from genocide. And that ain’t nothing.

We can quibble over his unseen agenda. That’s fair and we shouldn’t be naïve. But when the history of this period is written, people will remember that the president of the American Republic had been on the side of Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, while the president of the Russian Federation did what he could to prevent the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East from being slaughtered. For us, now, we can ask: why does the American president want us to be on the side of the Islamists? Is there something deeper in his psyche or perhaps in the collective consciousness of the American Establishment that compel us to side with Islam and against the Church?

Interesting questions, don’t you think?

About GShep


  1. Rdr. James Morgan says

    Good post, George. My Russian friends tend to just shake their heads when Obama is mentioned, and although they live in the US now and don’t favor Russian authoritarianism, feel that Putin is a statesman after all.Obama certainly is not one.

    • A lot can be said about Obama, mostly negative.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      I was at a playground today with my children. A random woman’s child was on a lifesize cat statue and she said, “Is your name, Putin? You ride cheetahs with no shirt?”

      Help Obama start World War III:

      Putin vs Obama:

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      Obama in no statesman. Right now our government faces a serious crisis over the budget and he is out making speeches against the Republicans who control the House of Representatives, except, of course when he is not playing golf. A statesman would bring the leaders of both parties in Congress together to work out a compromise that would help solve our nation’s economic problems and prepare a compromise budget that will pass both houses of our Congress. Obviously there are serious problems with Obama Care. If Obama had been a statesman, he would have met with the leaders of both sides of Congress to try to work out a series of compromises that would give us real health care reform instead of the mess that we are going to have under Obama Care. He lied to us telling the American people that it was not a tax. The before the Supreme Court his people defended the constitutionality of the law as a tax.

      • What utter balderdash. The House GOP is so dysfunctional it couldn’t even pass appropriations legislation based on its own budget. When a rump of the House GOP isn’t even willing to compromise entirely in their own ranks, your banal criticism of Obama for failing at ‘statemenship’ brings to mind your oft-trotted out recurring false dichotomy, only directed at yourself instead of Obama: I can’t decide if Archpriest John Morris is really that incompetent at political critique or that much of a genius disingenuous Machiavellian wolf in clergy’s clothing abusing his moral authority to post partisan malarkey. Clearly those are the only two possible options!

        prepare a compromise budget that will pass both houses of our Congress

        Leaving aside that isn’t how the process actually functions, again, the GOP in isolation, completely ignoring the Democrats, can’t pass appropriations legislation in the House that actually works with the budget they passed, and you expect them to compromise with Obama.

        Of course, in reality when the dust settles, we’ll probably end up seeing Obama sign a CR that holds spending at current sequester levels, which I might add is below the BCA 2011 baseline sans the sequester which was never supposed to happen. Which, you know, kind of undermines an argument that Obama is the irresponsible actor when the other actor is threatening to meltdown the entire global economy if they don’t get to repeal The Heritage Foundation and Gingrich’s last best hope for healthcare reform.

        Obviously there are serious problems with Obama Care.

        Obviously there are serious problems with every single post you make. See, I said obviously, so clearly we have established authoritatively that your posting is fatally flawed. Glad we got that settled! Well, I will grant you one obvious problem with ObamaCare (from your perspective): there aren’t the votes to repeal it, much less override a veto.

        Funny, all this talk about a nebulous concept of ‘statesmanship’ and you have no harsh words for a Congressional caucus that wasted time, government attentions, and taxpayer dollars on over forty meaningless show votes to repeal a healthcare system overhaul based on recycled GOP ideas from the 90s that was never going to get repealed. And yet, you think Obama isn’t the grown up in the capitol. Reading your posts makes me think of A Clockwork Orange and the Ludovico Technique, only in this case, you are subjecting yourself to it willingly with the material being blasted into your secured eyes being an unending stream of partisan invective. At least, with you, we may safely assume that you do not possess a non-partisan bone in your body, we know what’s coming when you sit down at the keyboard and never have to worry about considering details like context, balance, perspective, just a highball of talking points and bile. Which makes an appeal from you for some kind of bipartisan Kumbaya with a caucus doing its best to imitate an asylum, frankly, rather pitiable.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          For a life-long Republican, it is hard indeed to watch the suicide of the GOP over the last few years.
          And it never seems to stop.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Nate Trost pontificates, I can’t decide if Archpriest John Morris is really that incompetent at political critique or that much of a genius disingenuous Machiavellian wolf in clergy’s clothing abusing his moral authority to post partisan malarkey.

          Pretty typical of Nate. He can’t disagree; he must vilify.

          • Fr. Morris initiated the villifiications. He suffers from a pathological contempt for President Obama, whom he mindlessly reviles and derides every few posts. I assume this is de rigueur in his digs. Still, isn’t that contrary to the canons of the Orthodox Church, and strictly forbidden by them? (Sts. Paul, Peter & James also had a few things to say about it, if I remember correctly.) I get that his Metropolitan has other matters on his mind. I’m just saying.

          • Patrick Henry Reardon writes: Pretty typical of Nate. He can’t disagree; he must vilify.

            For someone so prone to wry rhetorical observations assuming the reader will infer the appropriate context, I am disappointed that when quoting my pith you leave out the table setting that prefixed and suffixed your quote. I made it pretty clear that I was lampooning his own fallacious vilification of a right-wing caricature of Obama. I don’t actually need to vilify him: his patent repetition of incorrect statements despite having been ‘gently’ corrected on the facts on several occasions result in him vilifying himself to a far greater degree than I could ever possibly achieve. The danger for the unaware reader is that they might actually give him the benefit of the doubt that many of his statements have any basis in factual reality. This would be unfortunate.

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          I suggest that you take the time to study American history. Our system has always been based on compromises. As President, it is Obama’s job to bring together the leaders of Congress to work out our problems. Instead, he spends his time giving speeches denouncing anyone who will does not agree with him, or playing golf. This is not a question if ideology. It is a question of competence. I believe that Obama is one of the most incompetent presidents in American history. He has yet to produce a budget that can pass Congress.
          Now Obama is sending American arms and aid to radical Islamists who are killing Orthodox Christians in Syria. As an American, I object to helping people who are allied with Al Qaeda. As an Orthodox Christian, I object to giving American aid to people who are killing Orthodox Priests, desecrating Orthodox Churches. Today is the eve of the feast of St. Thekla. The rebels terrorized the nuns of St. Thekla’s Monastery and destroyed both Christian Churches in Maaloula, one Catholic and one Orthodox. I especially object to my tax dollars going to support a group that tried to assassinate my Patriarch.
          I admit that I do not like Obama. I think that he is completely in over his head and lacks the skills necessary for an effective presidency. I am certain that in a few years, historians will rank him with the worst presidents in American history.

          • You appear to be so transfixed upon Obama is that you give little indication that you have any awareness of, or are paying any attention to the broad or even fine details of the current state and workings of the GOP. Or that you even consider it relevant. How am I supposed to take you seriously? You appear as a man who derives the basis of his news intake not upon the concept of ‘what is going on’, but ‘what bad thing can I hear ascribed to Obama today’.

            Of course, you also repeat bad things you hear ascribed to Obama that reasonable people would like backed with citations of hard proof, things like: Obama is sending American arms and aid to radical Islamists who are killing Orthodox Christians in Syria. This implies specific intent and motive, you aren’t even couching it in qualifiers like ‘providing arms that might end up in the hands of’. You feel perfectly comfortable stewing in your outrage and shooting your mouth off with direct accusal of things you don’t actually have any proof of. What kind of standard of conduct is that?

            If Boehner threw up his hands and swapped himself out with Solomon, his first action would be to order Louie Gohmert split in twain with a sword. And even that wouldn’t save him from being deposed if he broke the Hastert rule on a CR. But, you know, Solomon not being smart enough, that’s all on Obama!

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Would you please provide the specific information for your repeated assertions here that Obama is sending arms to the Syrian rebels?

            I haven’t seen evidence of that anywhere. This is not to say that it can’t be so, or that I haven’t missed it, but I for one would much appreciate some substantiation for this.

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          There is no way to deny that our government is completely out of control. It certainly does not represent the people, but is controlled by bureaucrats whose sole concern is gaining power for themselves. We have an incompetent president who has divided this country more than any time since the Civil War. He has told one lie after another to the American people. He has no leadership skills, but is a stubborn and arrogant man who cannot understand that our whole political history is based on working out compromises between opposing sides. Obama Care was rushed through without through study. In America we do not allow Congress to pass bills so that we can see what is in it, as Pelosi stated. We have time to study legislation and for the people to comment to their representatives in Congress. It needs to be thrown out and a new health care reform enacted that is understandable and worked out involving compromises between both parties instead of something that is written in secret by only one party and then shoved down our throats without enough time for the members of Congress to study and amend it. Obama Care forces Christians to pay for abortion causing drugs, and shows no respect for the religious rights of Orthodox Christians and other who oppose abortion.
          The Obama administration is the most anti-Christian administration in American history. He is a strong supporter or abortion and same sex marriage. Orthodox Christians who do not hide their belief in traditional Christian morality are now being persecuted in Obama’s new PC military. Now he is sending aid and arms to the people who are killing Christians, desecrating Orthodox Churches, kidnapped two Orthodox Bishops, tried to assassinate the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, did serious damage to the ancient Monastery of St. Thekla, and seek to turn Syria into an Islamic state ruled by Sharia Law that will permanently reduce Christians to second class status before the law and require them to pay tribute (jizya) to their Muslim masters. We are in real trouble when a former KGB agent who leads the former Soviet Union cares more about the fate of Christians in the Middle East than our own president.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Oh, I think Obama did all that; meeting with leaders “on both sides”, etc., in achieving the Affordable Care Act or Law, passed by the legislative branch. By the way, in a normal world, “statesmanship” is not related to domestic policies! What an idea! Now some Orthodox clergyman has joined the pack of lobbyists and disappointed politicians in blaming President Obama for not acting in a statesmanlike manner AT HOME!!!!
        Why not wait and see how President Obama’s diplomatic actions relative to Syria work out before condemning any of them as ‘unstatesmanlike?” Remember how many, including President George Dubya Bush, jumped the gun with the announcement of the end of combat operations? The same people are jumping the gun again relative to Syria, from the same political point of view. The Republicans in Congress are scared to death that once the Affordable Care Act goes into the effect, it will work and people will begin to like it! Anything but that, right?
        Representative Boehner and those with him appear to me to be those legendary figures, uniquely American, called “Poor Losersf.”

        • Michael Bauman says

          Your Grace, the non-affordable care act has gone into effect. The frog has started being boiled as soon as it was passed. I’m in the insurance business and have been for 30 years. The last 17 years I have spent studying health insurance policies (reading the actual policies), coverage, pricing, underwriting and dealing with the effect of government regulation (some of which has been largely positive). I will soon be a certified Marketplace broker. I am no supporter of the insurance companies as they seem to work overtime to destroy themselves with stupidity and venality. They have often acted in capricious and negative ways.

          However, here is what is actually happening: less coverage at much higher rates (even with the subsidies figured in). Doctors will be paid less and many will likely leave the profession. Rural areas will be especially hard hit as the hospitals there now can barely survive and attract competent providers.

          My speculation is that as care is rationed and cost of coverage continues to rise more and more people will pay the penalty rather than pay for the insurance. Even in 2015 and beyond the penalty for my son will be substantially less than the cost of coverage. A gray-market of healthcare will develop on a cash only basis. The government will likely attempt to regulate that market punitively which will only force it underground. The already existing black market in organs will expand and a black market in cancer treatment will be created–for those who can pay.

          None of the stated goals of the plan will be realized.

          The folks who the demagogues said they were trying to help are the ones going to be hurt most by this plan.

          My extremely healthy son is 27 years old and currently has a premium of $85 a month for his individual health insurance. His policy covers all preventative care and all but $2500 of any health problem and he can pay that $2500 with tax deductible money. That is a better plan than the best plan under Obamacare.

          He will be able to keep that plan through the end of next year with a premium still under $100 a month. At that point he will be forced into another plan. That plan, if it offers comparable coverage, is projected to cost about 4 times what he is paying now. Those of us on Medicare will also see our coverage decreased in critical, high cost areas. The unrealistic actuarial assumptions built into the non-affordable care act make such rationing inevitable. Premiums will continue to escalate. The plan has all the hallmarks of an elephant designed by a committee of blind and deaf folks who only know that an animal called an elephant exists.

          I could go on and on and on in a strictly factual, technical manner. As people find out what was really in the bill, fewer and fewer like it. As an ethical agent who cares about the coverage I offer to people and my clients, I am heart sick and have had many sleepless nights about what to say and what to recommend to those who rely on me for answers. Most of their questions are, at this point, still unanswerable in any authoritative way because there are no answers. The answers that are available are not positive.

          The one positive of the plan, guaranteed issue, has been available in my state for decades, most folks didn’t want to pay the premium for it. Now everybody will be paying premiums comparable to the previous high risk pool in my state.

          After the seminar I attended yesterday, there were six of us sitting around talking about what to do. The six of us had a combined years in the insurance business of over 200 years. We were all flummoxed. We are going to try and fight through it for our client’s sake (although professionally, it would be easier and more lucrative to just abandon the market all together.)

          If you want to argue with me, that is fine, but it is a bit like me trying to argue with you about history and theology.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            So the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect, according to our insurance agent, Michael Baumann.
            Does Congress know that? Do only insurance agents know that? Many seem to think it is an impending disaster that must not be funded LEST it go into effect!

            • Michael Bauman says

              Individual enrollment starts October 1. Pricing has been approved and plans have been approved. It is a day by day thing, but that is what it is today. Aspects of the act have been implemented gradually since the day it passed including the taxes. Many scheduled implementations have been delayed or scrapped by fiat. If you want to know the timeline of implementation which began in 2010 see: We’ve been boiling in the pot since then.

              It is in effect. Implementation of various aspects of the bill have not occurred fully but they will unless they are stopped. That is unlikely, but I won’t cry in my beer if I am wrong.

              The rates will vary by state but according to an article on CNN this morning the premium increases alone are in the 4 to 5 times current coverage. What the article does not take into account is the plans also have much higher out of pocket costs than the majority of current plans: thus the much higher cost for less coverage reality.

              One of the examples given in the CNN article on CNN Money was a 27 year old making $25,000 a year would, after subsidy pay only $74/month for the coverage (the lowest level of coverage). Let’s look at my 27 year old son as a comparison: Current premium $84/month includes 100% coverage for all preventative care; maximum out of pocket exposure each year $2500, no lifetime cap. He does not have to pay for maternity coverage nor a lot of other seldom used mandates in the new coverage.

              The $74 a month SUBSIDIZED BY TAX DOLLARS (actual premium is quite a pit higher) premium would buy him a policy with a annual maximum out of pocket exposure of $6300. In my son’s case the monthly premium is estimated here in Kansas to be close to $180 a month (probably an underestimate, won’t know for sure until Oct 1.) That is more than twice the for the coverage that creates an out of pocket exposure 2 1/2 times higher that what he has now in a much more restricted network with HMO restrictions on top of that which he does not have now.

              Just remember the rhetoric: no loss of what we have now: Lie; no loss of your doctor: half-truth; reduce the cost on average to every American family by at least $2500 a year: lie

              If you wish to play semantics your Grace, be my guest, but the law is in effect since 2010 and is/has already negatively impacted all of our lives in many ways which won’t be fully realized for awhile. That is the existential reality. It will only get worse. Full implantation of the law does not begin until January 1. Semantically your are correct but what difference does that make?

              However, there is no simple way to repeal it even if the votes were there (they are not) and no veto possible (certain in reality) as it has become so intertwined in the tax code and revenue steam of this country over the last 3 + years since it went into effect.

              According to the insurance commissioner of my state (a supporter of the plan) and the chief actuary of the state the actuarial assumptions built into the plan which have already impacted pricing and underwriting for all insurance companies are unsupportable. There are only two ways to overcome the inadequate pricing model since premium increases and underwriting are out: 1. rationing of care; 2. massive tax increases.

              Keep in mind the insurance commissioner of my state is a good friend of the Curella DeVil Obama picked to front this thing, Kathleen Sebellius and let me say again, a supporter of the plan.

              There are always exceptions and some people will be helped but the cost of that is massive not only in dollars but in privacy lost and less freedom overall. The rationing will hit older people first as more and more restrictions are placed on our care. Some of those cuts have already taken place.

              We have this because of the overall failure of the people in this country to manage our own health and expectations, providers for gaming the system, insurance companies for their stupidity and venality, too many agents not being knowledgeable enough or honest enough plus allowing the whole thing to become politicized and turned ideological. Franz Kafka couldn’t have written it better. “All are punished”

              All parties have and continue to demagogue the issue making it more and more intractable. Greed all too often guides the pricing and care decisions of the providers and insurance companies while they continue to artificially raise the expectations of patients for no-cost, perfect outcome care.

              Of course none of this impacts our salvation at all unless we allow it to. There will be many opportunities created by the miasma resulting from this bill and its implementation to overcome evil with good, serve others and thank God for all His blessings. That demands that we not be passive either personally or communally.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                I’m a rock-ribbed Republican, but then at 65 I’ve had good employer-provided insurance all of my adult life.

                My adult kids pay a fortune for insurance (they have families). It is a very big part of their budget, pretty near unaffordable. Things we were able to take for granted they cannot.

                My youngest son went to the emergency room 6 months ago with a lot of pain, the diagnosis after a few hours was a kidney stone. The bill for overnight in the ER with associated diagnostics? $12,000! The rip-offs are incredible.

                In this country now, for a young couple to have a baby simply costs a fortune. You could look it up.

                I hope Obamacare works, though I didn’t support it. It will work or it will fail. But it’s there, duly passed, and the GOP should quit walking the plank over it for now.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Tim R…

                  When my son was born 27 years ago the cash on the barrel head price for the hospital part of the experience was $800.00. Now in the same hospital it runs $12,000 to $15,000 of an uncomplicated normal birth. There are a lot more amenities provided now than when my son was born, but that is an amazing amount of inflation none-the-less.

                  As I noted earlier, everybody has a hand in this. Healthcare has become a politicized consumer economic good rather than what it should be. Unfortunately the simple existence of health insurance will raise the costs because other people’s money is being used. One of those catch-22 situations I face in my profession: health insurance is necessary because of the high cost of care BUT the more health insurance there is and the more expansive the benefits, the cost of care will go higher.

                  I’m looking at a grid of half of the plans available in my state: the lowest deductible for a ‘gold’ plan is $1750 for an individual, $3500 for a family. That same plan has maximum out of pocket costs for an individual of $5000, for a family $10,000.

                  If you son had had that plan his ER excursion would have cost him $5000 assuming he had not utilized the plan previously. Better than $12,000, but still not very affordable even if he paid no premium at all.

                  The lowest cost plan in terms of premium has a $6300/$12,600 deductible/out of pocket maximum combination. At least with that plan, the insured can offset some of the out of pocket cost with a health savings account. But even if a person maximizes the tax-deductible contributions to an HSA ($3250 for 2013, $3300 for 2014: family $6450 2013, $6550 2014) there is still a pretty big hole there to cover.

                  That is the part of the plan that is non-affordable. Due to the unsupportable actuarial assumptions at the heart of the plan, cost will escalate, taxes will increase and care will be rationed.

                  The bill as is, IMO, can’t be ‘fixed’ as Peter surmises. It would have to be totally scraped and begun again. Whether the Republican opposition is really intended to do that, I doubt.

                  I have come to see the entire political process as a sham and I have decided I will no longer vote in federal elections, nor most state elections. We no longer have any thing that approaches real participatory government. We are ruled by a corrupt, immoral oligarchy that has only its own interests at heart.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    Our first three children were born in the late ’60s. It was $300 for the OB and $300 for the hospital.

                    It still wasn’t cheap. I remember with the second, we were low on funds, so I borrowed $300 from my folks for half of the total. I repaid it by painting their house. Inasmuch as it was a big Victorian (in which we six kids all grew up), they got a heck of a deal even by the standards of the time!

                    When talking about health care costs, let’s not forget the salaries of hospital administrators; around here they are truly stratospheric! “Non-profits” don’t have “profits”, they have big salaries instead…..

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Touche! In my list of reasons why medical care (as well as government schooling) has increased exponentially, let us not forget the padding of salaries and positions. Also, non-profit entities are insulated to a large extent from economic vicissitudes by skewed taxation and regulations. Because they are “non-profits” they are exempt from anti-trust legislation so they can collude on price-fixing, something which is next-to-impossible in the private sphere.

                • geo michalopulos says

                  Mr Mortiss, there are several reasons for this inflation in basic medical care. I’ll just mention a couple for now:

                  1) the inflation of “basic services” that are demanded as part of any remuneration package. It used to be that only catastrophic care was covered (i.e. major trauma). Now all sorts of non-essential health services are covered, not yet including cosmetic surgery. Let’s call this bracket creep.

                  2) it’s an iron law of economics that if you subsidize something you get more of it and whatever “it” is becomes more expensive. Think of college tuition. Once the government made loans available and guaranteeing their availability (GSLs) then colleges started to inflate tuition.

                  3) legal concerns. Once it became obvious to lawyers that doctors were “rich,” they smelled blood and started circling the waters like sharks. Since economics mandates that once something becomes necessary then it becomes expensive, insurance prices raised accordingly.

                  All of these have had a feedback effect on health costs.

                • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                  I’m a rock-ribbed Republican

                  This is enviable.

                  I am a flabby gut Democrat.

                • lexcaritas says

                  I’m way behind on this, but our brother Tim Mortiss wrote in late September: <>

                  Carefull, Tim. The ACA passed so “we could find out what was in it.” It delegated an unconsiounable amout of legislative power from the Congress to the Executive Branch acting through Health and Human Services. It was held to be constitional, in concept, as a “tax” by 5 of 9 Justices–though it is cleary not a tax on anything but a penatly for failing to purchase something. The big winners are the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical giants (not to mention Planned Parenthood). Of course, it is not about health care directly, but the requirement to buy health insurance.

                  Still it is not the “law of the Land” as the constitution is or as a criminal or civil rights statute is. It authorizes the HHS to set up exchanges and requires people to buy health insurance. Nevertheless, one Congress cannot bind a subsequent Congress. All statutes are subject to repeal and amendment. This is standard government law. Furthermore, approprations are not a mandatory obligation. The implementation of any government program is always subject to the appropriation of funding to support it. Such appropriations are almost always done on an annual basis and again, no Congress is bound to appropriate funds just because a prior Congress authorized any particular program. That is what elections are about in a democratice republic. By the way, despite all the criticism heaped on Congress by the media and the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch par excellence represents the people in a way that neither the Executive nor the Judiciary do. We elect our representatives every two years. I have met and can meet with my Congressman fairly easily. I might be able to meet with my Senators. it is unlikely that I will ever meet the President. The Congress and our state legistlatures is “we the People” in a way that the other branches of goverment cannot–and shouldn’t pretend–to be.


          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Michael. I agree with most of your assessment, but thats why the ACA will be fixed and even dismantled at certain levels. Americans want only a few things, at least I do:

            1.) do away with pre-existing condition rule
            2.) allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines, and
            3.) premium control.

            The rest cannot survive without being fixed. However, Republicans have been so focused on opposing President Obama, who yes has many, MANY, faults, as recently seen in Syria, that we could nor fix this legislation. Look once the political dust settles Congress will fix the ACA’s problems, and it does have problems.

            However, for an insurance company to deny me and others Health Insurance when I can afford it, but said no to me be cause of my pre-existing condition that was wrong. It was because of their stupid and greedy practices that led to this. If they reformed back in the 90’s we would not be in this situation.

            so yes, the ACA is bad for business and doctors, but this will be reformed over time. So to all due respect to Senator Cruz, let it pass, fund the government and, as a Party, the GOP needs to stop making an ass of itself because its only the base listening NOT the rest of America.

            Fix it, but don’t defund it.


            • Michael Bauman says


              Appropriate selection of risk is part an parcel to any insurance contract. Insurance is intended to cover fortuitous events. No insurance company insures homes that have a leaky roof or they exclude the roof. Same principle, but you know that. See below for a reasonable solution to that problem which is right in line with what states do for bad drivers and businesses that have alot of accidents at work.

              Buying insurance across state lines can only be done reasonalbly if there is federal control, a National office of Insurance. Even Obamacare doesn’t go that far. The demographics, provider cost and usage variations even within regions of the same state can be vast. At least Obamacare recognizes that. Here in Kansas for instance around where I live, Wichita, we have lower premiums than western Kansas because our population is younger, takes fewer prescriped drugs and can get access to needed care more quickly and the care is generally more expert than in the less populated rural areas. Also with a larger patient population, providers don’t have to charge as much to be stay in business. That variation continues under Obamacare.

              Before Obamacare a virtually identical health insurance plan from the same carrier cost 30% less in Nebraska than it did here in Kansas. The reasons were simple: 1. Nebraska has a younger average age than Kansas; 2, NE mandated fewer coverages than Kansas; 3. they take far fewer prescription drugs in Nebraska than in Kansas AND—-Kansas had a functioning hgh risk pool that guaranteed coverage to anyone who could not get coverage in the private market. Decent coverage., high premiums.

              The high risk pool was funded, in part, by all of the health insurance carriers who did business in the state proportionally to the amount of premium they wrote. That cost was passed along in premiums.

              The out of pocket maximum for the best high-risk policy was similar to what the bronze plans are now. We will see about the acutal unsubsidized premium in a few days.

              There could have been a federal high risk pool with appropriate controls to keep companies from dumping folks. A common list of reasonable pre-Xs and a common underwriting standard that was agreed upon by competent acutaries and underwriters and other insurance professionals. It could be funded in much the same manner as the Kansas high risk pool. That would really be spreading the risk. That policy could be sold across state lines. Underwriten policies could not as easily.

              Kansas had most of what was necessary already in place back in the 80’s. Affordability was the only issue that needed to be addressed. The big largely democrat states that early on politicized and monetized the insurance regulatory process is where the problems were: NY, CA, IL and others

              Here is another little tidbit in Obamacare: small artisan contractors fall under the same large employer mandates and fines as Wal-Mart, etc if they employ more than 5 people and have an annual payroll (including the owner) of $250,000 or more. The unions got that bone thrown to them.

              Its on page 911-912 I believe of the bill.

              This bill is not about health care at all, it is a tax bill, it is a graft bill. At best it uses a nuclear cannon to take out a target a pea shooter could have managed. At worst it is just another tax/spend/power bill for the immoral oligarchy that rules this country to use against everybody else.

              They play on the decency and compassion of people like you.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Peter, I agree with you that it’s the Middle Class that’s getting hosed. My concerns though are fundamental. In a previous post you said something to this effect: “if it’s broken, we can fix it.” I wish it were that simple. Everything the Federal government has done since the New Deal has never really been fixed. Even good ideas like the Tennessee Valley Authority are overwhelmed by boondoggles such as Section 8 housing, Head Start, the Dept of Education, etc.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Peter I agree with the spirit of what you are saying and in a environment where government was concerned with acting in accord with virtue and a like-minded citizenry, I be right with you. However I have zero trust that what you hope will happen, will or even can happen in our current condition.

                I have no problem with guaranteed issue — the insurance companies could have worked that out long ago but it would have taken a wavier of antitrust law or a coordinated approach through the National Association of Insurance commissioners. Could have been done even now without the incredibly and willfully stupid assumptions the plan is founded on.

                One big difficulty I have with the ACA plans is they put to much emphasis on covering less expensive stuff and not enough on the more costly items that can and do lead to bankruptcy. $6300 in out of pocket expense for a low income person is too much to absorb according to the folks I have sold to. Most would have simply told me “not interested” if I would have proposed such a thing. Couldn’t have sold it for free.

                The reality of this system is that it is unsupportable and will lead to rationing of care even beyond what we have now and massive tax increases. That is the considered opinion of the current Kansas Insurance Commissioner who actually supports the idea of the plan much as you do.

                It is too flawed and too diversely intertwined in our political-economy to be “fixed” even if there was any genuine interest in doing so. Which there is not. It is all ideological crap on both sides.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Peter, you can’t control premiums without either 1. Selecting risk (which you reject); 2. Rationing care and/or raising taxes exponentially; 3. Capping both the compensation of providers and the ability of patients to sue for malpractice.

              If a federal high-risk pool were established but underwriting retained in a reasonable manner, and #3 were put in to some degree. There might actually be some cost containment. However, the cost of technological innovation has to be considered to somewhere.

              It ain’t an easy nut to crack my friend.

              • George Michalopulos says

                You know, we forget that when you restrict businesses from evaluating risk bubbles will result. We saw this with the Housing Bubble, which was caused by forcing mortgage lenders to make imprudent loans. In order to get out of these, they sold this “bad paper” to secondary lenders, who once they wised up tried to unload them on yet others. Eventually some poor sucker is left holding the bag.

                • Peter, you agree with George? In almost every case, you do that at your peril. What’s your glitch?

                  It’s old news that this stupid canard y’all love to parrot — presumably because it’s droned incessantly by the vile Limbaugh and the vastly worse Faux News, Pravda for plutocrats — is a joke, especially to those in the know on Wall Street. On you. Everyone knows it’s BS. How they howl, uproariously, at all the gullible rubes, all the way to their offshore accounts.


                  The Wall Street Journal quotes Romney in its piece and then all but says he’s empirically wrong (emphasis mine):

                  “Markets work. When you have government play its heavy hand, markets blow up and people get hurt,” Mr. Romney said, blaming Democrats for rules that he said force banks to make ill-advised loans.

                  Some conservative academics have said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fueled the financial crisis because they had to meet federal quotas to finance low- and moderate-income homeowners.

                  But academic research has shown that those mandates didn’t spur the types of exotic lending at the heart of the subprime-loan crisis. Many of the worst mortgage lenders weren’t banks and weren’t subject to federal regulation.

                  NY Times cut to the Chase:

                  . . . No executive of a major mortgage company said at the time that the government was forcing them to make subprime loans. They said they did it because they thought they would make money. And even now, after the crash of the housing market, with all the temptation to point fingers, it is awfully hard to find a mortgage executive who echoes the argument of the Republican candidates.

                  I’m telling you the truth — and precisely because I tell you the truth without flattering your sorry mediocrity (much worse in George’s case) or stroke fondly the legion of delusions you labor under — you won’t believe me. Suit yourself. Much bigger lies are in the pipeline, boys and girls. You’ll probably fall for most of them, too. Problem is they’re gonna put you on a fasttrack straight to hell. Practice makes ‘perfect.’

                  Can’t say you weren’t warned. You’ve been warned all right. Your mindless anti-government ideology is pretty funny to me. You were given a semi-accountable constitutional republic, and you’re losing it because you’re addicted to lies and scapegoating.

                  You’ll still be “governed,” I can assure you. But unaccountably, and potentially without any redress or representation at all. Not that there’s much now.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Going to the moon and back was a simple technological achievement coupled with the will to do it. Good grief most of the math work was done on slide rules.

                  Health care is an entirely different animal. If there are 10 people in the room there will be at least 15 different opinions on what ought to be done. It involves human behavior at critical times when they are faced with their own mortality as well as the loss or sickness of a loved one. It involves both the competence and the compensation of health care providers at all levels of care. It involves greed, lust of power, ideology human expectations and how to allocate resources when there really is not enough to satisfy everybody and even if there were there will never be perfect outcomes.

                  It involves looking at ourselves to see what is important to us: God or mammon.

                  These kind of concerns would be difficult to effectively manage in a relatively small, homogeneous, close knit community with shared values centered on virtue and care of others.

                  We don’t have that in the U.S. not anywhere near to it. No matter what happens with Obamacare, it will continue to be a political windfall for both parties to demagogue to get votes while totally ignoring the real issues of quality of care, availability of care, affordability of care and when to give care, when to withhold care.

                  It won’t be ‘fixed’ because no one in power knows what or how to fix it or, IMO, even cares. The mass of the American people are simply uneducated and subject to propaganda. Those who are educated are often dismissed as being ‘shills’. Most are concerned only with the immediate and short-term price and are unable or unwilling to consider the actual cost to themselves, their neighbors and the nation and fall back on a delusional optimism, IMO.

                  Even you my friend demonstrate some of these qualities. Because of your righteous desire to see those you love not suffer you seem to suspend your ability to honestly evaluate and discern the over all cost in financial, political and social terms.

                  In such an environment, rational discourse is both useless and fruitless.

                  Unfortunately, history shows that we human beings are quite adaptable, too adaptable in many cases for our own good.

                  But, as I said before, none of this touches our salvation. No matter what the government does, we are still called by our Lord to love Him, glorify Him, offer Him thanksgiving and succor those around us to the best of our ability by word, deed, money and care. The government can make that easier or more difficult but it cannot relieve us of our own responsibility.

                  Insurance was originally a risk-sharing arrangement in which all of the parties knew each other and knew how to evaluate the risk. Life insurance grew out of widows and orphans funds.
                  Health insurance has always been a hybrid animal. Originally it was designed to indemnify against higher risks only which were relatively easy to assess and price for appropriately.

                  HMOs were originally designed to only give basic care to a membership group that folks paid to join.

                  In both cases, people want more and more benefits. As benefits were added the actual cost to provide those benefits became more and more difficult to assess and price for appropriately. Greed, unrealistic expectations lust of power and simply human imperfection ultimately began driving the quest of the perfect healthcare utopia.

                  It has gotten more and more complicated and less manageable.

                  My experience in the industry has led me to believe the more government involvement there is, the more costly insurance becomes and the fewer people are insured.

                  The Constitutional principal that the government is to “promote the general welfare” has been illegally and immorally extended to the government must provide for all the needs of its citizens.

                  But we all die, we all get sick, we all suffer. Health insurance has become in many peoples minds the panacea to protect us from all of that and if it doesn’t then some one or something is evil.

                  As Christians, we cannot afford to take that view.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Peter, I feel your pain, but the flaw in your reasoning is this: leaving aside the merits of the Iraq War, the business of government is war, that is common defense. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the Federal government is to “provide welfare” but to “promote the welfare.” That’s a distinction. According to St Paul the “king holds the sword not in vain, but to restrain evil and to be a terror to malefactors.” (Rough paraphrase.)

                    The welfare of the people is to be provided by the Church. And by “welfare” I mean alms, charity, schools, hospitals, etc.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              I think Peter expresses very well the opinion of most Americans in this matter,while Michael Bauman, a member of the insurance industry, defends the insurance industry according to the current ideology of that business.
              If and when the Affordable Care Law goes into full implementation, i feel that most Americans will be pleased with it, although both doctors and insurance agents, will not be, and the Republican members of today’s House of Representatives, for good and bad reasons, continue to fight tooth and nail lest it so fully implemented.
              Simply put, too, it’s a case of poor losers, which our two-party system historically rose above. The losing team lost the game, but waited until the next game to engage their opponents. They did not insist on ‘more innnings’ or ‘we insist on playing until WE win.’

              • George Michalopulos says

                Your Grace, ultimately we’ll see how or if the American people “will be pleased with it.” I hope that they are because they’re gonna be stuck with it. From where I sit, as a healthcare professional, I can see these things happening:

                1. Young people will not be able to afford their reduced premium (mainly because they’re largely unemployed, underemployed, or working crappy jobs),

                2. The healthcare exchanges only work in reducing costs if young people are enrolled en masse (because their youth bends the cost-curve downwards),

                3. The healthcare exchanges will restrict (i.e. ration) services to certain venues and practicioners. We see this with the Univ of California health system which is being frozen out of the exchanges.

                4. Previously uninsured and uninsurable people will have the AHCA card which entitles them to health care but because of rationing, won’t actually get healthcare.

                5. Employers will restrict workers’ hours and decrease their hiring in order to escape out of the exchanges.

                No doubt there are others. The most searing indictment against Obamacare came from James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters. He wrote an eloquent letter laying this all out in black and white. If memory serves, he asked for either a delay or a waiver.

                • One could write this a bit more clearly:

                  The healthcare exchanges will restrict (i.e. ration) services to certain venues and practicioners. We see this with the Univ of California health system which is being frozen out of the exchanges.

                  A capitalist might respond, “that doesn’t sound like rationing, that sounds like an organization in the business of providing healthcare pricing themselves out of the market.” You are, in essence, complaining that in order to keep premiums down, providers that cost too much money are being excluded from plans.

                  Heaven forbid we actually expect functional markets in healthcare. What’s next, pricing transparency?

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    I have a really bad idea, but it is an idea that seems to rule this conversation: “Let’s all pick our favorite whipping boy, greatly magnify the contribution of that whipping boy to the problem by refusing to consider the entire context and blame them for everything”

                    To paraphrase Tom Leher from long ago: “Oh the right folks hate the left folks and the left folks hate the right folks and everybody hates insurance folks.”

                    Ah yes, how reminiscent of Adam and Eve: “The serpent made me do it” and “This woman YOU gave me….”

              • Chris Banescu says

                Time for a reality check to contradict the leftist fantasy and expose the delusion…

                Linked below is a comprehensive summary that highlights the complete and utter disaster ObamaCare has been to individuals, employees, businesses, and the US economy in general (emphasis mine).

                The Wrecking Ball Known as ObamaCare

                It is mind-boggling that so many people are totally unaware of ObamaCare, have no interest in discussing it, and are dismissive and rude if someone attempts to have a rational conversation about a law that will drastically change the landscape of this country.

                This deliberate ignorance continues to beget denial. Consequently, we find America on the verge of a system that apparently only African and Eastern European acquaintances of mine instantly understand, since they ran away from the very draconian worldview that we will all face in a matter of days if ObamaCare is not stopped dead in its tracks.

                Daily, one learns that ObamaCare is a job destroyer. The graph here shows that deep cuts to jobs will continue as “ObamaCare kills off at least 2 percent of the U.S. full-time workforce.” The list of companies cutting hours for workers continues to grow. Employers seek to keep staff below the 30-hour threshold set by the not-so Affordable Care Act.

                Thus, “according to an April survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 41% of 603 small business owners” are delaying hiring. In fact, “one in five [have] already cut hours, while 20% have reduced payroll.”

                Reduction of workers’ hours is now a direct result of ObamaCare. In the retail and hospitality industries, 20% of employers will cut part-time hours.

                Trader Joe’s is dropping health benefits for part-time workers. The upshot of this is that greater health care costs will be borne by taxpayers via the ObamaCare insurance exchanges. In fact, quite ironically, companies that are shedding health care costs, early retiree coverage, and spousal benefits will surely be saving money. The net result is that ObamaCare’s price tag will climb even higher with the burden falling onto the middle class.

                SeaWorld Entertainment is capping hours for part-timers to 23 from 32 hours.

                Wal-Mart is only hiring temporary employees, a policy change that is not generally done during the upcoming holiday season.

                Land’s End has cut employee hours to no more than 29 hours a week.

                Regal Entertainment, via an internal memo, blamed ObamaCare requirements for their capping hours below the 30-hour threshold.

                New England Motor Freight implemented an hourly cap for abut 400 part-time employees.

                Emory Health Care Company in Georgia has confirmed that “more than 100 Emory health care employees are going to lose their jobs in part because of the Affordable Health Care Act.”

                At least 34 universities and colleges have cut the hours of part-time and adjunct faculty.

                In 2012, Michelle Malkin wrote about the layoff disclosures of Consol Energy, Murray Energy, and Dana Holding Corporation because of the cost of ObamaCare.

                As of September 9, 2013, Investor’s Business Daily had compiled a list of 258 companies “that have shed work hours, jobs or taken other steps to avoid [the] costs” of [ObamaCare]. This following list dated September 18, 2013 shows “strong proof that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is behind [the] cuts to work hours or staffing levels.” In only nine days, the list has now increased to include 301 employers. The cuts are staggering when one contemplates the hardships families will incur. These cuts are occurring all across the nation.

                But, of course, Congress is exempt from ObamaCare! Speak about a double standard and an unjust law. Heck, even the IRS head, who will be responsible for enforcing ObamaCare, stated that he “would prefer to stay with the current policy that [he is] pleased with rather than go through a change he didn’t need to go through.” How long will we continue to genuflect to these people?

                As of a year ago, more than 2,200 hospitals were aware that they would face penalties under the ObamaCare provisions which reduces reimbursements to hospitals with high 30-day readmissions. This means that the sickest among us will be hurt the most. Additionally, the very population that Obama claims to want to assist — the poorest who have limited access to primary and follow-up care, will also suffer. Get used to euphemisms run amok in the ObamaCare law when these readmission measures are called “risk-adjusted measures.” In fact, “among patients with heart failure, hospitals that have higher readmission rates actually have lower mortality rates.” But now with ObamaCare governmental interference based on punishing hospitals, how can one still have difficulty understanding the death panel mentality of ObamaCare? Paul Krugman can backpedal all he wants but when he stated that “…we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits. So the snarky version… which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this…” he finally admitted what is becoming clearer by the day.

                John Merline notes that “young people making as little as $20,394 won’t be eligible for any ObamaCare subsidies” thus negatively affecting their ability to assist in the success of ObamaCare health exchanges — yet another financial disaster in the making.

                And what’s with subsidies, anyhow? Advocates of ObamaCare maintain that even if premiums are high, many people will get subsidies through an exchange. But a middle-class family earning just one more dollar than permitted by ObamaCare could face paying thousands of dollars more for health insurance.

                Doctor shortages will now become more evident. In California alone, there aren’t enough doctors to “treat a crush of newly insured patients.” Moreover, it is predicted that “fewer than 40 percent of physicians will own a practice at the end of 2013, with nearly 90% citing business expenses a top concern” according to a survey cited here.

                When you finally do get to see a doctor, be prepared for interrogations about sexual history. If you refuse, “doctors and hospitals that don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic health records requirements forgo incentive payments now and [will] face financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid starting in 2015.” Given that the ObamaCare data hub does not have in place foolproof security measures to protect private information, do I hear anyone shouting coercion and invasion of privacy?

                Consequently, doctors will soon be “required to betray their patients to an IRS that promises confidentiality, even while it admits to targeting those with whom it differs politically.” What impact will this have on people who seek psychological medical treatment? Who will be accountable to whom?

                Thus, “[c]hanges in health care delivery threaten the values of professionalism and are tempting physicians to reject their commitment to the ‘primacy of patient welfare.'” HIPAA was bad enough; now ObamaCare reaches new heights of deceptive temptation. One needs to ask is “health information technology (HIT) for the government, or for the patient?” And if not the latter, have we not entered a totalitarian state?

                In fact, the baldest lies of all have now seen the light of day as Americans will not be able to keep their health care plan nor will they be able to keep their own doctor of choice. Thus, depending on the type of policy one is forced to purchase, networks may not include the health care provider of choice. Then with insurance companies opting out of state-run health insurance exchanges, individuals are left with fewer options. Also, “Democratic staffers have admitted that under the law as written ‘insurers still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem.'”

                And while insurance companies were once spared by Obama’s prevarications, now major health insurance companies such as Blue Cross, Aetna, United, and Humana have decided “not to participate in various states in the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges.” Thus, Americans will not have the freedom to purchase health insurance policies that would fit their respective needs. This will eventually result in the single-payer health care system that Obama has craved from the beginning.

                Top hospitals are reducing staff. Cleveland Clinic, the world-renowned medical center and the region’s largest employer, issued the following statement concerning its reduction of employees: “To prepare for healthcare reform, Cleveland Clinic is transforming the way care is delivered to patients. Over the past several years, we have had an ongoing focus on driving efficiencies, lowering costs, reducing duplication in services and enhancing quality to make healthcare affordable to patients.”

                Packaged thus smoothly, it will result in less care, plain and simple. Disingenuous Nancy Pelosi “seems to have missed the irony of her statement equating the spirit of our founders with the government mandate which requires all Americans to purchase their own insurance or get it through the government or face penalties.” How much can the American people be taxed as a result of ObamaCare? Already the cost is “most apparent in lost wages.” Further the ObamaCare costs “reduces middle and low income families wages just as surely as an income tax hike would.”

                Remember when Pelosi waxed eloquently about “an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.” Surprise, surprise, the fine print in ObamaCare has mandated that “catastrophic healthcare coverage previously available to the College Art Association is no longer an option for associations whose members reside in different states.” Put bluntly, entertainers and other creative Americans will lose health insurance programs that used to work just fine!

                Obama, once hailed as the messiah and overwhelmingly supported by Black Americans, has yet to face up to the fact that “ObamaCare Will Hurt Blacks and Hispanics.” In fact, ObamaCare is “projected to leave more people uninsured than it actually helps gain coverage.” If 31 million Americans are still left uninsured, what was the point of this major overhaul which is destroying jobs, invading people’s privacies, lessening health care, instituting onerous regulations, burdening people financially, making a mockery of constitutional law, punishing health providers, and threatening the liberty of all Americans?

                What glorious achievements have materialized thanks to ObaMao and his socialist ObamaCare solution. We must bow down before Dear Leader and his brilliance!

                Forward comrades! The communist utopia awaits us all. Pay no heed to those dastardly right-wing haters and capitalist imperialist oppressors. They are just pawns of the Koch brothers and FoxNews.

                • Gad, are you predictably boring in your hysterics. But what is worse you really believe this crap as if there is a Nicolae Ceaușescu around every corner. Why don’t you just move to North Dakota and live off the grid in your bomb shelter and guns reading your survivalist magazines.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    So people who believe in liberty are now survivalists who want to live off the grid? I’m sorry, but hysterical reactions such as this do not advance your argument. We conservatives have learned long ago that eye-rolling and “that’s preposterous!” are not arguments.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    LMAO, it’s really quite simple: one can’t love liberty and demand government subsidy. It’s either one or the other.

                    And by government subsidy, I mean having the Leviathan state intrude itself into those areas which are not enumerated in the Constitution.

                  • Chris Banescu says

                    That’s all you’ve got? This festering anger and hatred heaped on the messenger because the facts don’t support the fantasy posted by your buddy bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald).

                    When you can’t discuss the issues and defend your views with reasoned discourse, just attack the messenger. More of the same “emoting = reasoning” delusion so typical of most liberal, leftist, and progressive discourse. The mask comes off and the festering underbelly exposes itself very clearly to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

                    “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Banescu,

                      Beginning your post with the intention to “contradict the leftist fantasy and expose the delusion…” hardly proceeds from a position of “reasoned discourse,” in my estimation, and you fire back with your own “festering anger and hatred.” Holy Cow, man! One could easily make the argument that you have “torn the blinders off one, and put them yourself,” relying on the old adage, “Consider the source.” Your entire argument rests on “predictions” so obviously skewed in your philosophical favour, it’s as good as saying, “The tailor was busy, so I’m sending over the funeral director to measure you for that new suit you wanted.” Aristotle once said, “Everything in moderation. I only desire the amount of gold a moderate man would take away. Too little, and it benefits no one. Too much, and mo’ problems.” Or something like that… Your doctor – at least for the time being – can prescribe a little something to take the edge off your rage. I suggest you do it before Tuesday, however, as the “festering underbelly” just might adjust your co-payment.

                    • Chris Banescu says

                      Stankovich, For someone who pretends to be such an “academic” and “intellectual” (PhD and all that jazz) your comments show a rather appalling lack of wisdom, discernment, and ability to do even minimal research to confirm your theories.

                      Regarding the nonsense you posted: “Your entire argument rests on “predictions” so obviously skewed in your philosophical favour, ”

                      Here’s some objective data to confirm that the analysis I posted was accurate and correct.

                      ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs

                      ObamaCare’s impact on jobs is hotly debated by politicians and economists. Critics say the Affordable Care Act, with its employer mandate to provide health insurance, gives businesses an incentive to cut workers’ hours. This year, report after report has rolled in about employers restricting work hours to fewer than 30 per week — the point where the mandate kicks in. Data also point to a record low workweek in low-wage industries.

                      In the interest of an informed debate, we’ve compiled a list of job actions with strong proof that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels. As of Sept. 25, our ObamaCare scorecard included 313 employers. Here’s our latest analysis, focusing on cuts to adjunct hours at nearly 200 college campuses. The ObamaCare list methodology is explained further in our initial coverage; click on the employer names in the list below for links to supporting records, mostly news accounts or official documents.

                      Did you even bother to read the full article I posted which included ACTUAL job cuts and employee hours reductions by specific companies? It seems you’re too busy rushing to the “emoting = reasoning” mode to bother with the facts. This is getting tiresome.

                      How did you miss this? I broke it down for you with additional emphasis.

                      Thus, “according to an April survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 41% of 603 small business owners” are delaying hiring.

                      In fact, “one in five [have] already cut hours, while 20% have reduced payroll.”

                      Reduction of workers’ hours is now a direct result of ObamaCare.

                      Trader Joe’s is dropping health benefits for part-time workers. The upshot of this is that greater health care costs will be borne by taxpayers via the ObamaCare insurance exchanges. In fact, quite ironically, companies that are shedding health care costs, early retiree coverage, and spousal benefits will surely be saving money. The net result is that ObamaCare’s price tag will climb even higher with the burden falling onto the middle class.

                      SeaWorld Entertainment is capping hours for part-timers to 23 from 32 hours.

                      Wal-Mart is only hiring temporary employees, a policy change that is not generally done during the upcoming holiday season.

                      Land’s End has cut employee hours to no more than 29 hours a week.

                      Regal Entertainment, via an internal memo, blamed ObamaCare requirements for their capping hours below the 30-hour threshold.

                      New England Motor Freight implemented an hourly cap for abut 400 part-time employees.

                      Emory Health Care Company in Georgia has confirmed that “more than 100 Emory health care employees are going to lose their jobs in part because of the Affordable Health Care Act.”

                      At least 34 universities and colleges have cut the hours of part-time and adjunct faculty.

                      As of September 9, 2013, Investor’s Business Daily had compiled a list of 258 companies “that have shed work hours, jobs or taken other steps to avoid [the] costs” of [ObamaCare]. This following list dated September 18, 2013 shows “strong proof that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is behind [the] cuts to work hours or staffing levels.”

                      In only nine days, the list has now increased to include 301 employers. The cuts are staggering when one contemplates the hardships families will incur. These cuts are occurring all across the nation.

                      This is why it’s impossible to argue with delusion.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Banescu,

                      What’s the difference, say, between delusion, hallucination, projection, and fantasy? Don’t go to Google! I’ll bet you don’t have a clue. Moving on…

                      You have to say to yourself, can there actually be no discernable, measurable, predictable positive outcome(s) from this legislation that goes into effect on Tuesday? None? That the entire point is to disrupt, discourage, and otherwise agitate legitimate business from conducting within their enterprise? Seriously, Mr. Bansecu? Did I even read your source? Sure I did. And exactly how much effort does it take to search for “benefits of Obamacare?”

                      It’s true that Obamacare is raising costs on employers. And some are either passing those increased tabs to workers or are cutting back on benefits to keep costs under control.

                      Several employers — including UPS (UPS, Fortune 500), Delta (DAL, Fortune 500) and University of Virginia — have recently cited Obamacare as a source of increased costs. UPS and University of Virginia will no longer provide benefits for spouses with coverage options elsewhere. Trader Joe’s and Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500)are shifting part-time workers to the Obamacare exchanges.

                      Some companies are making major changes that aren’t directly related to Obamacare, but embrace the idea of health insurance exchanges. IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) and Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500) are moving retirees to private exchanges, while Walgreens (WAG, Fortune 500) is shifting all its employees to a private exchange next year.

                      But Obamacare is not the only reason behind the benefits adjustments.

                      “An increase in costs of a few percent isn’t enough to cause widespread changes in benefits,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

                      Other factors, such as the improving economy, are contributing to rising costs since people use more medical care when the economy is healthier.

                      Also, companies have been shifting costs to employees for years. While UPS will limit its spousal coverage, it is not the first company to do so.

                      “The ACA is definitely escalating the pace of change,” said Sandy Ageloff, senior consultant with Towers Watson, a professional services firm.

                      Not all companies, however, are planning to pull back on benefits. Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz told CNN earlier this month that Starbucks will not change its coverage even though Obamacare will raise its costs.

                      “I don’t believe that … the health care law should be a reason or a motivation to cut benefits for either the employee or spouses,” Schultz said. “An investment in your people is an investment in shareholder value.”


                      What CNN Money is too liberal? Let’s try Bloomberg/Moneyweek

                      Glitches and all, Obamacare can work if given a chance. But it’s more complicated than your average piece of historic social legislation. That’s in part because the Affordable Care Act has set off a cascade of other changes in the U.S. health insurance industry. “What the ACA has done is put all 300 million-plus Americans in the mode of thinking about health care,” says Jim Winkler, a chief innovation officer at Aon (AON), a London-based company that operates a private insurance exchange in the U.S.


                      And finally, Mr. Banescu, there is a published “fact check” in USA Today of Sen. Ted Cruz’ marathon excoriation of the ACA, Pres. Obama’s recent speech’s regarding the ACA, and the comments made by Obama & Bill Clinton in their recent joint speech.

                      My comments to you were not “delusion.” They were sarcastic objection to to your seeming inability to see your modeling the behaviour you find so despicable in others. You did not enter an otherwise respectful discussion to “discuss” or “argue,” but rather to demonstrate your superior grasp of the issues and to name-call. Bigotry and intolerance has its place, on your website perhaps, but certainly not in my face. In that I am not your “house boy,” you are welcome to call me Mr,, Dr., or Michael. I have earned the respect I have. You are now free to return to Fox news.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dr Stankovich, I’ll gladly answer your second question, regarding “discernible, measurable outcomes…” I believe you’re a little older than me. Do you remember the cost projections for Medicare when it was first proposed as part of LBJ’s Great Society? I had to study it after-the-fact in Pharmacy School during a class in social policy/insurance/reimbursement/etc. I don’t have access to my notes but if memory serves, the projection for 1980 was to be $8 billion or so. When our instructor informed us, we all broke out laughing because we’d all heard that actual cost was in the $30 billion range. (Again, the actual numbers escape me we just knew that it was out-of-whack by a magnitude of six or greater.)

                      So yes, I can honestly assert to you that no one in their right mind knows what the hell they’re doing with Obamacare –its numbers, its trajectory or its sustainability. This is what we do know: it was not a “tax” (SCOTUS says it is on the other hand) and it’s outlays were to be $800 billion. It’s now in the $1.3 trillion neighborhood.

                      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

                    • Defend the Faith says


                      Why are you such an angry person? I won’t go far as to call it all out hatred, but you sure walk right up to it. I have read your website, postings here and other places and makes me sad that you appear to have a hard time forgiving. You all to often just go for the jugular, especially in your disrespectful attitude toward His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, retired.

                      I am praying for you.

                    • Chris Banescu says

                      “Defend the Faith”, as previously posted, I can’t engage effectively with the “emoting = reasoning” crowd. If you want Oprahsized commentary, I’m sure Mr. Stankovitch or perhaps others will oblige. I just can’t stomach it.

                      I also try to limit my engagement with Sock Puppets (especially those with multiple Sock Puppet personality disorder) who lack the courage and honesty to sign their real names to their posts.

                      As Paul Harvey used to say, Good Day!

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Michael Stankovich, you asked:
                      “What’s the difference, say, between delusion, hallucination, projection, and fantasy? Don’t go to Google! I’ll bet you don’t have a clue. Moving on…”

                      You should have asked him an easier one: “What’s the difference between Antonescu and Ceaucescu?”

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Banescu,

                      I was a resident back in the day when there were no rules regarding the number of hours worked; where it was “tradition” to be on call 36, even 48 hours at a time, catching sleep in spurts when possible. And the patients were the urban poor, homeless, uninsured, under-insured, under-served, needy, elderly, minority, unemployed, pregnant, children, and infants, PLUS the intoxicated and the mentally ill. And it has not changed. What is it exactly you would like to lecture me about healthcare, Mr. Banescu? You accuse me of “Oprahsized commentary?” You are a whitebread cracker who needs to take a drive to the ER on Martin Luther King Blvd. in whatever city you live in because you are so far removed from the reality of “healthcare” in America outside the Fortune 500 that lines your portfolio. People in the United States of America are making a choice between medications to prolong their life and reduce their suffering or paying their rent because they have no health insurance. Imagine! People in the United States of America forgo preventative medical care and screenings that insures their long-term health because they choose home heating oil over health insurance. Imagine! These individuals are in poorer overall health when they finally enter the medical system; they typically enter the medical system later in a disease process; they enter by way of the most expensive vehicle, the ER; their course of treatment is longer, their hospital stays are longer, their treatment outcomes are poorer, their prognosis is poorer. Imagine! This isn’t “Oprah,” Mr. Banescu, this is what you won’t acknowledge. And I can’t stomach this.

                      Apparently “suffering” and “hardship” becomes staggering for people like you only when it comes to the suburbs. It took fifty-years since Martin Luther King led the March on Washington to bring the first signs of parity, Mr. Banescu, and it’s the law. And come daybreak, the government may well shut down, but people who only dreamed of health insurance can now “shop around.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dr Stankovich, I think you are being extremely bigoted in calling Mr Banescu a “whitebread cracker” simply because he has the good sense to avoid promenading along any of the Martin Luther King Ave/Blvd/Prkways that adorn our beautiful land.

                      Indeed, you have not only eviscerated your argument by resorting to ad hominem, you don’t offer us a clue as to what the real problem is. If certain peoples choose to live a feral existence even after having been given a government-subsidized “free” education, generous welfare benefits for doing little to no work, Section-8 housing, etc., it is not the fault of Mr Banescue or the millions of hard-working people who live straight and play by the rules.

                      To be sure, I agree with you that in theory, people “who only dreamed of health insurance can now ‘shop around’,” the reality will prove to be otherwise. For one thing, many of these people have lived improvident lives without exercising the sobriety necessary to set aside enough money for these new health premiums. Many others who are actually trying to make a go of it are un- and underemployed and the $100 or so dollars necessary per month to purchase these premiums will be at a loss to do so. Then there are the thousands of people who thought that Obamacare was going to be “free.”

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                      I fully agree, George, that Dr. Stankovich’s use of a notorious racist epithet (“whitebread cracker”) in his personal attack on Chris Banescu is, as you put it, “extremely bigoted.” Whether Dr. S. was trying to be clever or simply mean-spirited, that term, like the odious “N” word, has no place on this message board or in any conversation among decent human beings.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      Obviously I see and experience healthcare from a very different perspective. That is to say one thing only: there are multiple perspectives, and they are equally complex. But I refer you to the full article from Bloomberg/Moneyweek that I cited above: Glitches and all, it can work if given a chance. The President said this morning from the Rose Garden, initially, after children, this program stands to benefit the15% that constitute those most in need of health insurance in this country. Their time has come, and let them no longer be forced to make the choices of rent, home heating, and utilities over medications and preventative medicine because they cannot afford health insurance.

                      And finally, it is shameful of you to perpetuate the whitebread cracker myth that these individuals are living a “feral existence” in that I refer to urban. working minority poor who pay taxes; who took, for example “work incentives” to get off public assistance, retain Medicaid for their children, but whose income excluded them from Medicaid. Should their income rise enough, their children no longer qualify for Medicaid as well. Such an “incentive.” Healthcare, then, becomes the ER on Martin Luther King Blvd. Ad hominem? Call it what you like, but it is the unspoken “perspective” on this forum.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      When may we expect to hear Dr. Alexander Webster, an Archpriest, hold forth on the not-so-genteel epithet, “Sock Puppet”,which seems to have initiated this pejoratives chain?
                      Cracker is more a classist epithet than a racist one. And “Oprah” has NO racist overtones, right? Whitebread, too, pertains as much to middle or Babbitt class as it does to race.
                      I find the nutritive epithets fascinating: not only Whitebread, and Cracker, but Oreo Cookie, Crisco (especially exciting to Helga), Lard-butt, Ham-fisted, Milktoast, Weenie, Honey Pie, Potato Head, Egghead, Cappuccino, Cauliflower-eared, and Sweet-cakes.
                      And I think that most references to “the N word” are surrogates for that word itself, and afford some relief to those still steamed at Mister Obama being elected twice by adult American citizens when the so able team of McCain/Palin, for example, was right there!!!

                • This seems to be right where it belongs. This is a place for disinformation and distortions. This analysis of ObamaCare just isn’t true. Lies & distortion by the GOP. Yep, it belongs here where we find the same regarding the OCA and the Church in general.

                  • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                    George, there wasn’t a reply button under Fr. Alexander’s reply, so I’m posting this here. I think you and I would agree that one of the common tactics of the left is to smear anyone who holds a difference of opinion as being a “racist”, “redneck,” “cracker”,etc. On my secular job, I’ve had people imply that since I oppose same-sex marriage, I must automatically hate blacks, latinos, or other non-whites.(Actually, growing up, because I resemble my father, one of those dark Eastern Ukrainians who could have passed for Armenian, Georgian, or even Arab, I was called the “N” word; and this not in Dixie, but in Yankee Vermont!)

                    I’m sorry the good bishop sees fit refer to two infamous Romanians, one Fascist, and one Communist, in conjunction with Chris Banescu. I notice, again at my job, if one is a liberal, especially a gay-friendly liberal, one can spout off things about race all day long. However, when I once asked if a Hispanic co-worker, who was absent, had gone to his native Mexico, “Charlie”, a gay-friendly leftist, responded with,”What kind of a racist question is that?”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, I am sorry as well.

                      If I may add something here as well along these lines: I am most distressed that racist aspersions were cast at Fr Alexander F C Webster by some correspondents as well. For those of you who have done so, I will seek to enlighten you regarding the Civil Rights bona fides of Fr Alexander. He has been involved in the struggle for racial equality since 1963 when he was a young man and was taken to task for it.

                      To those others who castigate those of us who criticize Obamacare because of the color of the president’s skin, I say shame on you as well. I dare say most of us who are most vocal would have welcomed Herman Cain to succeed Obama in 2012. The fact that many Progs play the race card at the drop of the hat leads me to think that the entire Progressive movement is on the ropes.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      If your distress at “racist aspersions” directed at Fr. Alexander refers to me, you are mistaken. My only comment directed to Fr. Alexander was regarding his statement that I was “attacking” Mr. Banescu, whom he apparently views as a “victim.” It is good of you to champion his Civil Rights bona fides. I personally have several black friends myself.

                      Let me clarify for you that where I’m from, “whitebread” and “cracker” bear no resemblance and have no impact or consequence remotely similar to the word “nigger,” so you may stop your pseudo-outrage at my use of the terms. There are assuredly terms which are similar and offensive, but I did not employ them. I was attempting to make the point that there are two worlds here, Mr. Michalopulos, and the disparity is shocking and shameful. And not once in the entire rant set forth by Mr. Banescu was there even the slightest acknowledgement that finally, parity was arriving for those who are the most needy and the most under-served. That is sufficient benefit. And it is the law; constitutional by virtue of the ruling of the Supreme Court, and confirmed by the re-election of the president who championed it as his cause. This shameful situation had to change, and it will.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      The trouble Dr Stankovich is that “cracker” is still a racial epithet. Though it is not as scabrous as “nigger,” it is still hurtful. It is especially hurtful to call someone like Fr Alexander this, a man who has been castigated by racist whites because of his belief in racial equality. That would be no different than calling Raoul Wallenberg a Nazi.

                      As for Mr Banescu, I would ask that you consider that he was raised in a totalitarian state that had the best intentions. As for his (and my) belief that Obamacare will do nothing to help the “neediest” finally “achieve parity” is an ideological belief based on our combined understanding of economics, history, and common sense. Just because we are against it does not mean that we don’t care for the poor. In our case (if I may be so bold to speak for both of us), it is because we care for the neediest that we oppose Obamacare and most Socialist schemes for that matter.

                      Regardless, you were mistaken to use these epithets against Mr Banescu.

                    • DC Indexman says

                      Words, just like the product “Scotch Tape” are invented for one purpose, but soon people find other uses for the word.

                      I lived for many years in the area of Southeast, Central Florida, where the word cracker was in vogue for most of the last century. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald is correct here, it was used as a class based expression to describe those who were agricultural laborers and who lived and worked in rural areas mostly; who lacked the knowledge, sophistication and appreciation of the finer things of life.

                      i would think at this point in time, the term would be used as inflamatory rhetoric to set off a discussion just as this one.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    I do not think that any caring person will not agree that we need health care reform. However, the way that Obama did it was the wrong way. For one thing something that important should be passed with support from both parties. What happened was that the Democrats wrote a very long and complex bill with no Republican input and then used parliamentary tricks to rush it through Congress before most members had the time to read and study the law. An effort to reach a bipartisan bill with compromises on both sides should have been made. It is obvious that there are serious flaws in Obama Care that have already raised the cost of health care and have reduced the number of hours people work as well as making it difficult for businesses to hire because of the additional cost if they have enough employees to force them to pay for health insurance. The bill was not well thought out. Obama has also given exemptions to his supporters. Congress exempted itself from the bill. If exemptions are given, they should be given to everyone equally, not just to Obama’s supporters. Congress should have to obey the same laws they expect all of us to obey. The bill need to be revised on a bipartisan basis with compromises on both sides.
                    The current budget mess is totally wrong. The president should be willing to negotiate with the leaders of the House because our constitution gives the House the power of the purse. The leaders of the Senate should also be willing to negotiate a series of compromises with the House to pass a budget.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I did NOT hire Mr. Chris Banescu to write all that stuff about what the Affordable Care Act accomplished without being funded!!!!

                  • Chris Banescu says

                    Yep, when you can’t discuss the facts just post nonsense. When reality does not match the fantasy just change the subject and/or attack the messenger.

                    Obamacare Implementation Timeline
                    Obamacare has not even been the law of the land for one week and already major Fortune 500 companies are announcing hundreds of millions, and even billion, dollar hits to their bottom line. Heritage’s health care team has gone through the legislation and produced the following timeline (pdf) of major policy implementation. Highlights from each year include:

                    2010: Establishes a requirement to provide coverage for non-dependent children up to age 26 to all existing health insurance plans starting six months after enactment.

                    2011: Increases the additional tax for Health Savings Account withdrawals prior to age 65 that are not used for qualified medical expenses from 10% to 20%.

                    2012: Reduces the benchmark payment for Medicare Advantage plans that cover 20% of all seniors.

                    2013: Imposes a 2.3% excise tax on all medical device manufacturers.

                    2014: All individuals must buy a government approved health insurance policy or face IRS tax penalties of up to $2,250 per family.

                    2017: States may allow businesses with more than 100 employees to buy insurance on their exchange.

                    2018: Imposes 40% tax on high cost health insurance plans.


                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Your Grace you continue to show your ignorance. The timeline has been posted twice now. The “defunding” is an attempt to stop the next step in implementation. People and businesses have to make plans. Many businesses capped FT hiring a year ago. The connected got waivers.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Hi, Mr. Michael Baumann! Where I went to school, something that has not been implemented and is awaiting funding has not been ‘put into effect. By the way, I NEVER try to hide my ignorance. Do you?

                    • Rodney Buckschotte says

                      And most of the time you are successful, Vladyka!

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      This may not be relevant to this thread but everyone who is Orthodox should know that the rebels are now attacking Saidnaya, the site of one of the most important monasteries in the Patriarchate of Antioch


                • So, let’s forget Obama for a moment.

                  Is there a problem with healthcare in the US?

                  The answer, unless you are a doctor or health insurance industry exec or health profiteer or zealous status quo lover(i.e. Limbaugh and zombies) is yes.

                  Healthcare has, for years, driven less than full time employment; forced terminally ill off roles to inability to work, caused the untimely death of 100k people per year, grown exponentially expensive, eliminated coverage for anyone with real need(redefined as pre-existing condition), etc. The US is the only nation in the world where employers negotiate and pay for healthcare-a bizarre proposition. Not the part where you earn healthcare; just who pays. If you get terminal cancer-you can’t quit your job and retain benefits unless you can afford cobra rates sans employment. Nor can you work when you are DYING (hello). Talk about a screw job. Insurance and doctors are the only entities that have gotten away with charging two patients different rates for the same procedured performed at statistically the same moment through crafty discount schemes.

                  Face at least one reality; the status quo failed. Healthcare as a percent of US gdp, long before Obama, had been growing nearly uncontrolled (and still will with the ACA).

                  Once we have a Republican amendment to the ACA, the Republicans will regain a semblance of reason.

                  A repeal gives us nothing.

                  By the way, my mom was reduced to less than fte to reduce health care costs in a school system back in the late 80s. This latest business cost move is just more of the same. Rather than blaming the ACA; simply recognize the fact. These businesses don’t want to pay….just as the public school didn’t 30 years back or so.

                  Recognize healthcare is broken in the US….then you sound cogent.

                  Over 48 million uninsured-more than 1 of 7.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Mr Fall, there are so many holes in your argument that I don’t know where to begin. Let’s go for the brass tacks however: even under the best estimates put out by the Obamacare acolytes, 30 million people will continue to be uninsured by Obamacare.

                    As for the rest of your response, healthcare has long been a mess, especially thanks to Medicare/Medicaid, which distorted the marketplace (with not a little help from private health insurance). The rest of your parade of horribles –while true in some instances–will only get worse. More rationing, less intervention, less legal redress, etc.

                    As P J O’Rourke once said, “if you think medical care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.”

                    • The real answer to healthcare is to give every American citizen an Insurance Card. Upon using it, they must supply their own personal pin. ALL HEALTHCARE IS THEN FREE. It’s paid for by slightly higher taxes and proportionate taxes for ALL. Along with this would also go full retirement and healthcare until death. In the Netherlands they have this system and no one is complaining. The govt healthcare people would then control costs and payments instead of the American people being gouged by doctors and insurance companies.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Mr Fall, emotion aside the assumption you seem to operate on is that everybody ought not suffer because whatever health intervention they want or need ought to be available to them whenever they want or need it.

                    I can understand that as a pious hope but I have difficulty accepting it as a basis for public policy.

                    Neither is it feasible to respond to the stew of issues you just threw against the wall.

                    Pre-x, group vs individual, maintaining coverage in time of need, the greed, patient expectations and probably a few others. They are interrelated but quite difficult to address as a whole without writing a book.

                    Obamacare addresses only one of those problems: pre-x conditions.

                    BTW pre-existing conditions are not a fantasy they are real things.

                    We could have a good discussion about each of the problems if you’d like. Pick one to start.

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      I am simply pointing out there are problems with US healthcare. They are pretty big compared to other industrialized nations. Most Americans recognize it.

                      Repealing the ACA is leading like Mayor Bobby.

                      Everything is fine. The water is warm. Swim! There aren’t any sharks here!

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      Well, how about discussing the Mayor Bobby statements made by Santorum and Romney during their election campaigns?

                      Both men suggested EMTALA as the reason no one dies in the US to under or uninsurance versus a well known Harvard study that suggests 100,000 per year die (this was later revised in another study to 45,000-not sure if that was the EMTALA factor, etc. without comprehensive research I’d rather not do this morning). Do you believe EMTALA is as effective as universal health care at preventing unnecessary death? Do you accept the number?

                      And given the fact that Romney was the nominee and lost by a pretty big margin to a black guy, what do you think most Americans believe?

                      For the moment and the sake of discussion, let’s forget about the paying for it question, because that is the impossible facet.

              • Michael Bauman says

                The plans being offered for sale would have been unsalable previously except to those with high levels of assets. People will be happy until something major occurs and they are put in financial stress.

                Discounting what I say because I am in the insurance industry is both fallacious and offensive. What I say is based upon actual study and knowledge of how people buy insurance, actual underwriting etc. I have repeatedly said the insurance companies bear responsibility for this mess. The companies have embraced Obamacare.

                The majority of Americans are happy with abortion. As your comments show the level of ignorance about insurance and the willingness to believe lies is also quite high.

                Many of the people I have talked to were expecting essentially free health care and refused to purchase better policies at an affordable price.

                Frankly your grace you simply have no idea what you are talking about on this.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  While I’ve never been directly involved in the insurance business, I have brushed up against it a few times in my work. It’s a complex business and I appreciate Mr. Bauman’s insights.

                  We should apply his grace’s logic consistently. Bauman has detailed knowledge of the insurance industry, therefore he is not qualified to comment on the subject. His Grace is qualified to comment on the international political scene, therefore he has no actual knowledge of it!


                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Thank you Tim R.. There is no such thing as objectivity but I try to be as dispassionate as I am able and just acquaint folks with the actual as opposed to the propaganda (from both sides).

                    Clearly this massive overhaul will help some people in the short run but the cost/ benefit for those whom it will help is massively negative. The good in the bill is so far out weighed by the bad.

  2. From a child of God says

    please keep hitting the next button at Editorial: Testimonies from a war zone: Syrian Christians share their stories

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Did you read the part where it said: “She went on to explain that she had resigned from her good job in Damascus. . . ?” Is it possible, just *possible,* that some of this retribution has more to do with benefiting from Assad than being Christian?

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        “Did you read the part where it said: “She went on to explain that she had resigned from her good job in Damascus. . . ?” Is it possible, just *possible,* that some of this retribution has more to do with benefiting from Assad than being Christian?”

        I guess, if by “benefiting” you mean not suffering active persecution.

        Christians often have good jobs and have always had a vastly outsized role in the economics of the Islamic world because they aren’t inbred semi idiots like Muslims (who follow the “wisdom” and example of prophet Mo rather than our God).

        Across the Arab world today an average of 45 percent of married couples are related, according to Dr. Nadia Sakati, a pediatrician and senior consultant for the genetics research center at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh.

        In some parts of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the south, where Mrs. Hefthi was raised, the rate of marriage among blood relatives ranges from 55 to 70 percent, among the highest rates in the world, according to the Saudi government.

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      I cannot verify it, but there is a rumor that when his kidnappers demanded that he renounce Christ and accept Islam Metropolitan John refused and was shot. I do not know if he is still alive, but thought that I would pass that on.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        I have since heard that both Bishops are alive.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Aren’t they being kept imprisoned in Turkey? i note that four readers liked the (exciting) tale about a bishop being asked to renounce Christ and accept Islam and, upon refusing, being shot. i’m surprised that the same four didn’t give thumbs down to the news of the hierarchs being alive. Surely, they were disappointed?

  3. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Putin looks good on the diplomatic front right now, but “bestriding the Middle East like a colossus” is laying it on a little thick!

  4. Bruce Wm. Trakas says

    ACOB issued a statement in support of traditional marriage, George. What were the final results of the “Monomakhos” poll in this regard?

  5. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Good post.

  6. Thomas Barker says

    To play the game at President Putin’s level, one has to be a ruthless, cold-blooded sociopath. He’s not the first leader to recognize that religion can be used to fan the flames of nationalism and add to his base of support. That said, it seems he boldly speaks more truth than most members of the U.S. Congress (our own crop of sociopaths). The actions of the Obama administration in both domestic and foreign affairs are destructive and just don’t seem to make sense for America and her allies. When such events defy common sense, the natural conclusion is that the motivations, the objectives of our President and the establishment are very much hidden from our view. That’s most unsettling.

  7. For us, now, we can ask: why does the American president want us to be on the side of the Islamists?

    And not for the first time. Remember Bosnia and Kosovo.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “For us, now, we can ask: why does the American president want us to be on the side of the Islamists?”

      “And not for the first time. Remember Bosnia and Kosovo.”

      And before that Iran, Carter essentially helped overthrow our own ally the Shah in favor of democracy for and by the Mullahs. So the last three Democratic Presidents.

      More and more obvious whose side the Democrats are on, 2012 Convention:

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Ladder of Divine Ascent. The mullahs of Iran kindly helped presidential candidate Ronald Reagan’s campaign by agreeing NOT to release the embassy hostages while Carter was in office. As for the Shah, Reagan, Oliver North, and the Republicans were so anxious to destroy Noriega, that they helped arm the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ladder! Have you forgotten so soon the Bible and Chocolate cake President Reagan sent to the Ayatollah Khomeini? Al Qaeda, too, massacred the marines in their barracks in Lebanon on Reagan’s watch and were apparently given a pass, in that they were still around to topple the Trade Center in New York. much later.
        And that idiotic question; “why does the American president want us to be on the side of the Islamists’ comes right from the desk of Netanyahu! Both the allies of President Assad and the rebels are Islamists. The greatest boost to Islamists in history was the presidency of George W. Bush, especially its rhetoric.
        Iran helped the U.S. get rid of the Taliban in Afghanistan after the Russians were evicted, but the President decided (like a schoolboy) to identify Iran as ‘the Axis of Evil!”. This was a wonderful boost and shot in the arm to every anti-American mullah in all hemispheres. That genius, Mrs. Bill Clinton, too, is a tremendous motivator of the Islamist cause. She too, with an affectionate glance towards Netanyahu helped engineer the removal of the Marxist-Islamist-Cultist MEK from the terrorist list.
        Many of you are asking all the wrong questions. This is not an Islam vs Christendom battle or battle of right versus left: it is a battle to achieve a combination of israeli and American hegemony over all of Asia Minor. Why do we demand of Iran what we never have demanded of Israel and Pakistan? Why are we not threatening North Korea with guided missiles from off-shore destroyers?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Your Grace, the “October Surprise” story has been proven to be false.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            The claim of the so called October Surprise is nonsense. No intelligent person could believe that garbage.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I am confident that there is no Israeli-American plan to take over “all of Asia Minor”, or any of it, for that matter. The Turkish objections would be difficult to overcome, inasmuch as they own all of it.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            George, it may have been disproved to your satisfaction, but the proof remains problematic. Supporting documentation has not been found: that is not proof of falsehood. Here’s what Wikipedia concludes about it:
            “After twelve years of mixed media attention, both houses of the US Congress held separate inquiries and concluded that the allegations lacked supporting documentation. Nevertheless, several individuals—most notably former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr, former Naval intelligence officer and National Security Council member Gary Sick; and former Reagan/Bush campaign and White House staffer Barbara Honegger—have stood by the allegation. There have been allegations that the plane crash that killed the Portuguese Prime Minister, Francisco de Sá Carneiro, in 1980 was in fact an assassination of the Defence Minister, Adelino Amaro da Costa, who had said that he had documents concerning the October surprise conspiracy theory and was planning on taking them to the United Nations General Assembly.”

            • George Michalopulos says

              The problem with The October Surprise hypothesis is that it’s main component was that it was performed by George H W Bush who supposedly boarded an aircraft, flew to Iran to negotiate with the Ayatollahs, and then flew back to the States all within 48 hours or so. Specific dates were given for this clandestine meeting but when witnesses came forward which proved that Bush was with them part of the time, it fell apart.

              Of course the big fly in the ointment is: if Reagan was beholden to the Ayatollahs, then why did the US arm Iraq and had them invade Iran? At that point, the Iranians would have been betrayed and they would have done anything to bring Reagan down. Photos and transcripts, phone logs, etc of meetings between Bush and others higher up would have done the trick.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                George, do you have a chart somewhere that would give a good overview of these things, like the US arming Iraq and “having them” invade Iran? And several other of these deep explanations as to how everything over there across the sea always comes back to the United States, Woodrow Wilson, and so on?

                Some of us simple-minded folk who can’t see beneath the surface would be well served by something like that that would give a graphic illustration of the big picture and the deeper meanings. As it is, the blog always sends my head spinning as I try to keep track of these sophisticated explanations, so at odds with the simplistic pablum served up by the leftist media!

                Above all, I seek a more profound understanding of the reasons that Barack Obama is responsible for the persecutions of the Christians of the Middle East. I fairly stumble over myself, though, in my haste to reassure all that I never voted for the man.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Since Dr. Morris, an Archpriest, wrote, “The claim of the so called October Surprise is nonsense. No intelligent person could believe that garbage,” he believes that former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr, former Naval intelligence officer and National Security Council member Gary Sick; and former Reagan/Bush campaign and White House staffer Barbara Honegger are not intelligent persons? Compared to whom?

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                Your Grace

                I am an historian, you are not. The so called October Surprise is a myth that no professional historian takes seriously. History is filled with disproven conspiracy theories like this. Your frequent use of sarcasm is unbecoming for an Orthodox Bishop. For some reason, you seem to have taken a personal dislike for me. I believe that I could write that we are in America, and you would write a sarcastic reply. You have never met me. If I were to meet you, I would kiss your hand and treat you with all the respect due an Orthodox Bishop, but that does not mean that I have to agree with you or any other Orthodox Bishop on everything.
                While I am commenting, I want to bring up another matter. For some reason, I cannot respond to your criticism of the edition of the Typikon that I edited on the original thread. In the future before you criticize something take some time to read it. The edition of the Typikon that I edited has full rubrics for the services when Pascha falls on March 25 and we have to integrate the celebration of Pascha with the celebration of the Annunciation. It also has a multitude of notes indicating the differences between the 1888 Typikon of Constantinople with the Typikon of St. Sava, as well as differences between the 1888 Typikon of Constantinople and the first printed Typikon, the edition printed in Venice in 1545. It also has notes indicating that Antiochian practice follows the older traditional practices that were changd by Violakis in his edition of the Typikon. Throughout history the Typikon of Constantinople has been called the Typikon of the Great Church. In the future before you criticize something that I write or edit, at least read it first.

                Archpreist John W. Morris, PhD

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Dr. Morris, Archpriest, you completely failed to respond to my question inspired by your ridiculous and unscholarly assertion “no intelligent person could believe that garbage!” Instead you produced one of the most classical instances of bad logic/irrational argument that I’ve read here or anywhere; namely, “I am an historian and you are not!”
                  I ask you again, and neither the question nor the answer requires qualification as a historian: ‘
                  ” Former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr, former Naval intelligence officer and National Security Council member Gary Sick; and former Reagan/Bush campaign and White House staffer Barbara Honegger are not intelligent persons? Compared to whom?” As a historian, do you deny their existence? if so, are they intelligent people/
                  Oh, none of them identifies himself or herself as a historian. I don’t blame them.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    I failed to respond, because that old urban myth was disproven a long time ago.I do not have the time to waste going over old lies that no intelligent person believes. Please let us end before I write what I really think about you and be guilty of the sin of insulting an Orthodox Bishop..

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                A false syllogism, I believe. People’ s intelligence is sometimes overcome by their political convictions and the feeling that they will be making it harder on their enemies (or their friends’ detractors) by affirming or disaffirming this or that position, and so they do regardless of their actual beliefs on the merits or the quality of their investigation.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Tim, since the term “Asia Minor” is often confusing, I should have referred to “All Asia west of China and India and ending at the Mediterranean.” Much of the area on which America and Israel have their hegemonic designs is NOT, therefore, subject to Turkish pressures. And you are right also in that I should have referred to Israel and American AIMS and GOALS, not “plans,” which, probably classified, are not subject to your or my inspection.
            [I mentioned the Mediterranean—I realize that some people consider that the westernmost border of Asia is the Polish-German border!]

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Essentially, Asia Minor was what is now called Anatolia. Asia Minor never was all of Asia west of China and India to the Mediterranean. Even Syria was always quite distinct from Asia Minor, much less Persia and other points east.

              I realize that this is a small crochet in view of the vastness and depth of the wicked conspiracies afoot, though. A niggling detail which should not be allowed to detract from the serious issues confronting those with eyes to see…..

              These were all Roman terms, anyway. And, after all, what did the Romans ever do for us?

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Tim is right. In the days of the Roman Empire, unlike today, “Asia Minor” referred to Anatolia and immiediate vicinity. Since then, Tim, ‘Asia Minor” is but one more synonym for “the Near East” and “the Middle East.” My point was that not that Asia Minor stretched from the western borders of China to the Mediterranean, Tim. It was that both Israel and the U.S. consider that control of that vast area is vital to their national security and, in Israel’s case, existence. Your second sentence is absolutely correct in denying what no one EVER asserted.

  8. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    “Interesting”, you yourself label your own questions, George? Most appear to be double questions. Yes, it is ironic that the American president unlike his predecessors whose CLIENT was the Saddam Hussein that invaded Iran that has invaded no one for almost two centuries, tried to bomb it to kingdom come and GASSED the Iranian army with sarin and mustard gas, in other words, the Iraq that those presidents BLESSED to violate international treaties on gas and other WMDs, is now acting indignant about the use of the same stuff…only NOW, Syria’s president is not making chemical warfare on Iran, but is actually friendly toward Iran….too much for the American establishment. Those awful war criminals, right? We are the only ones allowed to use nuclear bombs, napalm, agent orange and so on, especially if it will stop Netanyahu from becoming THE power in the region. Actually, George and everyone else, why not send money to the Syrian Orthodox and Church of the East to re-settle them in Iran? The ancient communities in the NW of that land, especially around Lake Urmia would surely welcome them.
    and, oh, yes, let’s pay more attention to what President Obama actually does, rather than what he says. That’s known as “realpolitik.” Hasn’t anyone remarked on how quiet President Rouhani has been relative to President Obama’s relations with President Assad, Iran’s only friend?
    As for President Putin..nice picture! Isn’t that Medvedev behind him, discreetly keeping his shirt on for the press? I hope Mrs. Putin was kept quiet by Putin’s public clamor about LGBT. And who would have credited G.W. Bush with the discernment of an Orthodox staretz relative to Putin’s glances?
    Some, not I, might opine that Putin’s smiles are like Lyndon Johnson’s, i.e., accompanied by the thought ‘Oh, you suckers!” Poor Double-you!

  9. Michael Kinsey says

    Antichrist will have a helper.. Islam appears the likely candidate. It is no accident, that Christians are always targeted. A prince on his own behalf, an end time scripture, is how I would describe Putin.
    Nevertheless, no one can arrive at a right minded decision basing his choice on disinformation. 911 was an inside job, while Osama was just the patsy. Since this is the truth, it seem logical that the US would have no problems using Al Kiada( data bank) for it’s purposes. The prime mover behind all these seemingly senseless wars is setting up the new economic system when the present one finally collapses. There is method to this madness who endgame is even worse madness.
    Love God, serve Him alone, live by His Word,& not bread alone, do not tempt God. This is the Way pf Peace, nothing else will work. No nation is obeying the Vision, and wars are determined until the end, according to the Holy prophet Daniel. Bring the oil of the love of God in your wise virgin lamps, and trim your lamp with trust in God.The foolish virgins will have to go into the market place to exchange( be in a mutually spiritual life enhancing relationship) and refresh this oil. The prayer ,fasting and alms giving taught as mandatory exercises of true Faith by the Holy Fathers will keep the oil lamp burning.We must do the Will of God.

  10. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Michael Kinsey. First paragraph: certifiable. Second paragraph: self-indulgent pietistic mutterings: a collection of what you obviously do not understand but have learned to repeat.

    • Michael Kinsey says

      Chance for Faramir to show his qualities. While the OCA archbishop does his best Dethanor imitation. I would slap his face. He is much too arrogant. He may quip his condescension from gut level, showing his ignorance, because there is nothing lower than gut level, He practices the impossible to prove his superiority, which cause I am unable to find in any beatitude..I am lucky he has no real power. as he is just a dime a dozen,

      • Michael Kinsey says

        I also recall writing that the bishop is just a common evil judge in the 7:04 am blog. Sept 24th ,I mean what I say. I don’t care how the full text disappeared, because I don’t know. I just fixed it, anyway.

  11. Deacon Chris says

    Glory to God!

    NEITHER Obama or Putin are men to be idolized or complimented. None of this is about being nice to Orthodox Christians or Muslims. This is about control of energy routes. It just works out that way for each that they have the allies they do.

    I say put not your trust in princes and kings of men. I say energy independence for the American people. I say free market economies for the nations of the world where they’re not strong armed by a bully. There is actually talk of a new Yugoslavia + Albania encouraged and financed by the US in order to control energy routes in Europe. No way.

    In the Middle East – Russia is encouraging some splintering of Syria to create new allies against their fight against fringe elements.

    It is the US who has created the preposterous “name issue” between Macedonia and Greece, And, It is Russia who has created the tension between Orthodox Churches in the Balkans. I say enough. We should be smarter than this.

    I’m tired of my life being run by power crazed mafia types, and I choose to speak out for the smaller nations whom I know are tired of the created wars and tensions so that American and Russian oligarchs can live large.

    We need to speak out for the truth.

    • Not that I disagree with you, necessarily... says

      Dear Deacon Chris,

      It is my impression that the name game started with Greece but was fostered by various out of work diplomats that wanted kudos for “brokering peace” in the Balkans. The situation was not and is not helped by an aggrandizing attitude of the Serbian Orthodox Church claiming territory overrun by Serbia for a few decades in the Balkan wars. What diplomats caused in allowing economic embargoes and hate speech against Macedonia has not been properly rectified especially considering Macedonia’s non violent stance during the Yugoslav conflicts.

      Could you expand and expound upon your statement

      It is the US who has created the preposterous “name issue” between Macedonia and Greece, And, It is Russia who has created the tension between Orthodox Churches in the Balkans. I say enough. We should be smarter than this


      • Deacon Christopher says

        Serbian Russian Orthodox ties are well known. And the ROC has no interest in seeing the Macedonian Church issue(s) resolved because this would create a caveat for their own issues with the UOC.

        The name issue is tied with all of the other ethnic “problems” in the Balkans namely with the ethnic Albanians. Following the name issue with the ethnic Albanian minority in Macedonia for the last 15 years, I noticed that they work in chorus. Any movement of Macedonia to get out of their transitional position from ex-Yugo to EU, or any headway to resolving the name issue the Albanians scream ‘rights or war’

        Prior to the 90’s Greece never had any issues with Macedonia, at least, not at this level. And Macedonian – Serbian relations have not been as bad since the Balkan Wars. Why? Because in the brink of any movement forward there is always “someone or someone” that happens to re-open wounds.

        In the late 90’s Macedonia was posed to obtain a date for EU entrance, and then the “war/conflict appeared” Do some research on the Battle of Arachinovo – the US soliders found in the village hunkered down with ethnic Albanians. One American was caught, NATO ordered jets to head for Macedonia ready to retaliate. They let him go as a consequence, and then NATO transported the terrorists along with the Americans out of the village while Macedonian specialists sat in outrage and held the most massive protest in the Capital City.

        A movement to rearrange municipal boundaries in ethnic Albanian favor was in the midst of being quelled by a Macedonian referendum organized by opposition leaders – W. Bush all of a sudden decides to formerly recognize Macedonia and revert attention of voters right at this moment. It passed and many western municipalities were put in control of minority Muslims. Macedonians were too ecstatic with the news to realize that they just ceded western portions of Macedonia to Albanians. The conflict of 2001 ended with a change in the Macedonian Constitution – creating consensual democracy ala Lani Gunier, and the rest was finished off peacefully via redistricting and distraction.

        Everything is set in the Balkans to keep the region unstable. Nations like Greece, Serbia, and Macedonia have much more in common than they do at odds. But it benefits those who want to control the energy routes – corridors north and south via Macedonia – Middle Eastern Seas to keep these conflicts brewing, to keep these nations dependent on foreign aide and weaponry. All sides are being egged on by the likes of US/EU and Russia for their own interests .

        Quite frankly, I’m tired of it.

        • Not that I totally disagree, but says

          Bush’s recognition of Macedonia had nothing to do with Albanian politics and a lot to do with the fact that almost 100% of Macedonians are Republicans

          That and the previous diplomats were all disgraced one way or another.

          • Deacon Christopher says

            I wouldn’t say almost 100%. It’s closer to 50/50 – perhaps a little more.

            Do a little research on Joe DioGuardi Albanian lobbying. He has pumped monies in both parties. Biden and McCain are close friends.

            American interest is still being promoted by the Albanian “tool” in the Balkans. W. Bush loves Macedonia, namely because he was close friends with the late Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski. Mind you, Trajkovski was instrumental in halting the Battle of Arachinovo to allow both Albanian Terrorists and American combatants to ride off to safety on those NATO rented white buses. But American interest is American interest. Energy is energy. The timing of the recognition was too obvious. Especially since soon after the American recognition the Bush administration took a step back and said they would ‘revoke recognition” if Macedonia and Greece came up with a “mutually acceptable” name/identity for Macedonia.

            Unfortunately, for Greeks and those who aide and abet them “mutually acceptable” means whatever they want erga omnes even if 2/3 of the Globe already recognizes Macedonia the way she is. Erga Omnes, a nice Latin Term thrown into the mix to keep the nations feuding.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Worship goes to the triune God alone. I do admire Vladimir Putin though. What’s not to like? If nothing else, he stopped the pillaging of Russian wealth by “American” investors during the Yeltsin years.

      • Deacon Christopher says

        Unless you’re a Georgian or Ukrainian that disagrees with good ol’ Putin and then he feeds you uranium – chicken nuggets.

        • Yup, so it seems. Recall though that our neo-ancien régime on the Potomac consents to the practice of such wicked “radiotherapy” quite a bit further and farther afield than V.V or any of his predecessors ever have, so far as we know. So there’s that. You must agree.

          Good to hear your voice.

      • What’s not to like?

        I rest my case.

  12. We have placed our rule in the hands of children (Isaiah 3:12). Obama is a curse, but he is a symptom of a cause.

    • Michael Bauman says

      All of our rulers (as opposed to representatives) are feasting upon us with reckless abandon because as a people we have abandoned virtue and we no longer seek salvation (for the most part). Christianity has become, for the most part, a transactional moralism that means nothing. Such Christianity is a comfortable nihilism–whitened sepulchers. Those who follow it as zombies.

  13. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    I admit to admiring President Putin’s remark a while back that he didn’t want democracy if by democracy was meant what America brought to Iraq!!!

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I have long been interested in Russia and its history. I have traveled to Russia. But this hasn’t given me any sympathy for Russian strongmen. Putin’s cynical wisecracks are purely that. As for me, I don’t want democracy if that’s what Putin brought to Russia.

      But no doubt he has many admirers here. I’m not one of them.

  14. cynthia curran says

    Macedonia Prima[edit source]
    Macedonia Prima (“first Macedonia”) was a province encompassing most of the kingdom of Macedonia, coinciding with most of the modern Greek region of Macedonia, and had Thessalonica as its capital.
    Macedonia Salutaris[edit source]
    Also known as Macedonia Secunda (“second Macedonia”) was a province encompassing partially Dardania and the whole of Paeonia, the second being most of the present-day Republic of Macedonia. The town of Stobi located to the junction of the Erigón and Axiós rivers, which was the former capital of Paeonia, arose later in the capital city of Macedonia Salutaris (“advantageous Macedonia”).

    • Deacon Christopher says

      I would replace the word “encompassing” to that of “having conquered and annexed” – Macedonia and Greece are not the same thing, albeit most of the elites like Alexander the Great were interconnected and most likely wanted to be Greek.

      In any case – it’s overstated history that shouldn’t be used to terrorize anyone. The region is too intertwined to paint such a black and white picture. Today, everyone is Greek and Macedonian, and no one is Greek and Macedonian. Life is too short to feud. We should be focused on our identity in Christ.

    • Present for Sister in Christ Cynthia says

      Please enjoy the excavations and icons of Vinica [Wineplace], named as a wine region from early in the Byzantine period: Beautiful terra cotta icons were made there

  15. cynthia curran says

    Well, defending Tom Delay who has a rap sheet was one thing that recently turn me against the Republicans. Delay was involved in a cheap labor scheme in Saipan where Filipino women not only worked for lower wages than they were promise they thought since it was a US Commonwealth wages would pay the same as you work in the states but their was prostitution of these women besides them working in a sewing factory. The Republicans only defended him since he was attack by Democrats. It seems the Bush gang still runs the party. Yuk.

  16. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Here’s an excellent article having a honest conversation about persecution of Christians . . .

  17. Michael Bauman says

    Peter I’ll say it again too. You are right in spirit but I don’t see how you can trust the government. There is simply no effective way to hold them accountable.

    We no longer have a representative Republic but secular oligarchy. No one and I mean no one cares about governing in the interests of the people any more.

    I have lost all trust in the political shell game we call our government. It is corrupt, immoral and illegal but as long as we get our bread and circuses most don’t notice. It will fall eventually. Sooner than later would be better.

    I hope you are around to pick up the pieces. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I can only do small things with those nearest me; pray for real repentance; learn to love my wife, my son, they are given to me to protect and nourish. To be faithful in small ways to my Church and my God. Only God’s grace allows me to hope for that. It makes no difference what form of government we have.

    Come Lord Jesus!

    As long as we worship the state and expect good things from it, we will have war.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Well I cannot disagree with you and George as to the current state of our Republic, especially with this whole Syria false flag operation. However, I am still hanging on to the single string of hope that the American people are waking up. Now is it too late to actually start being a concerned citizenry? That I do not know. My mind agrees with your assessment. My faith and hope in the basic decency of the American people is the only thing that’s stopping me from losing hope in our Republic. Well lets see what happens, and pray for God’s mercy and grace.


      • Michael Bauman says

        Amen Peter. Lord have mercy. Glory to Him

        And what about those Bears?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Hey even the Chiefs are 3-0. Jaguars, Dallas and Philly. Two thing in common: no turnovers. Hated opponent, ours is Denver and Peyton Manning.

          Bengals are a decent team.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Looks like the bad old Jay showed up. Alex had 2 interceptions but Eli is still trying to run the Giants offense from his back. 4-0. Go Chiefs. Titans next with Ryan Fitzpatrick now that Locker is out. 5-0?

  18. Michael Bauman says

    John I assume you are being scacastic since they also have legal euthanasia in the Netherlands with it expanding to those who neither ask for it nor give their consent. Even some who give their consent do so in order not to be a burden financially on their family.. Maybe that’s why nobody complains.

    Logan’s Run here we come.

  19. Michael Bauman says

    In 2008 I enrolled in my employer’s small group plan with a pre-x that was bad enough to create a 40% rating on the group. Even with the rating the total premium for the group was less than $36000 year for the entire group.

    About 12 months later, I had open heart surgery. Cost me $2000. Cost the insurance company about $80000.

    A year after that when the renewal came in 30% higher, we went shopping and found a lower cost carrier.

    The insurance company paid out over $80000 in two years as my claim was not the only one. They received less than $72000.

    I got the best doctors in town and recovered well. Praise God.

    Who got hosed?

  20. Michael Bauman says

    So, Mr. Fall, you don’t want a discussion? You just want to chum the water some more?

    I proposed a solution based upon 30 years in the insurance industry, a personal acquaintance with the problems and a desire to help people:

    1. New common underwriting standards for the individual and group markets under the auspices of the NAIC

    2. The creation of a federal high risk pool for those individuals who cannot qualify funded by a pro-rata premium tax, premiums and federal tax dollars.

    3. A refundable tax credit to assist in premium payment that would include Medicare supplements and Part-D plans

    4. An extension of the HSA past age 65 to encourage the use of high deductible Plan F where appropriate. And increasing the contribution amounts and allow payment of premiums from them

    5. Enforceable regulations that prohibited unbundling of medical procedures and the practice of multiple billing price lists.

    6 An arbitration procedure for settling malpractice claims rather than lawsuits.

    7.A simple one page disclousure that compares the premium, the benefits and the out of pocket costs.

    8. Independent, non-political claims ombudsmen to assist in resolving claims and billing disputes.

  21. Michael Bauman says

    A 10 step plan:

    1. Establish uniform underwriting standards for both individual and group through the NAIC.

    2. Prohibit rescission except for fraud.

    3. Establish a federal high risk pool funded by premium taxes, premiums an other taxes if necessary.

    4. Establish a refundable tax credit for premiums only which would also apply to medicare supplement and Part D plans.

    5. Increase the limits on HSA contributions and extend them beyond age 65 to encourage the purchase of high deductible Plan F supplements. Allow premiums to be contributed and paid through HSAs.

    6. Prohibit unbundling of medical services and the maintainence of multiple pricing policies.

    7. Establish an independent ombudsman to assist people in claim and billing disputes.

    8. Have an independent arbitration panel to assess malpractice claims and award damages comesurate with real need. No lawsuits.

    9. Create and use a single page summary that details the premium, the basic benefits and the total out of pocket cost of the plan purchased which the insured signs. Policies written in clear English.

    10. No opt outs for anyone in government for any reason or anyone involved with creating policy of administrating it.

    All things subject to greed malfeasance stupidity and human mistakes as they are now realizing that people will still suffer and die in humiliating and unnecessary ways no matter what we do.

  22. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. Fall, ran out of reply buttons:

    EMTALA vs. “universal health care” is a false dicotomy since EMTALA is a well defined, often poorly executed program while “universal health care” is a ideological concept that means whatever anyone wants it to mean at the time.

    As to what Romney and Santroum said, didn’t see them at the time, not gonna look for them because I assume they were ideological election year rhetoric that means nothing at all and is even less informed. I’m sure their statements had zero impact on whether or not they were elected.

    There is no doubt that EMTALA has saved lives but it has also driven up the cost and usage of Emergency care in ways that distort the system and overload it.

    It is not related at all to real healthcare but is a stop gap measure when healthcare fails or has not been sought or a gangbanger gets shot or knifed and now wants to be treated like a normal, productive citizen that has not flushed half of his/her humanity down the drain and his ‘friends’ pushed him out of a car at the closest hospital as they drive by. (Happens a lot her in Wichita BTW).

    Health insurance is not healthcare.

    Real healthcare is only delivered by real healthcare providers to real people in need.

    Health insurance can either facilitate healthcare or impede healthcare.

    Unfortunately the concept from which HMO’s sprang: routine preventative care will save lives by catching major conditions earlier or preventing them altogether has proved largely false because the American allopathic care model is best suited for acute condtions. Neither the training doctors and other providers receive nor their mindset, nor their pocketbooks are suited to prevention or proper management of sub-critical chronic conditions.

    My father was a champion of real preventative medicine for over 20 years as director of the Wichita-Sedgwick County Department of Community Health after getting an MD from KU Med School and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard. He was forced to retire in 1973. His ideas were not understood by most folks at the time especially those in government because they were well outside the allopathic model and involved actual interaction with people combined with creative and flexible responses and really work, not just bureaucatic programs which no one in the end really cares about and don’t really serve the need of the people but are really good ways to spend money and present the illusion of caring–like Obamacare. So I can talk to you knowledgably about real preventative medicine if you want.

    So, you tell me what you mean by universal and healthcare and I can be more specific in my answer.

    Do you mean a system as in the Netherlands that is tending more and more to “we will care for you until you really need it, then we will kill you whether you want to die or not?” That is one version of universal healthcare that Mr. Jones seemed to like.

    Do you want to focus on allopathic treatment of specifically diagnosed diseases that are acute or critical in nature?

    Do you mean universal health insurance whether or not it really facilitates healthcare or not? Does such insurance cover everybody all the time without limit regardless of need or ability to pay? Does it cover everybody without regard to citizenship status, criminal status or any other type of status that tends to put (historically) folks outside the normal communities that government is meant to serve? Something else? I could go on and on listing various ideas and variations on those ideas, but I’ve got to go do laundry.

    Give me what you mean when you say universal healthcare and I might be able to respond.

  23. Defend the Faith says

    Chris Banescu says:
    September 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm
    “Defend the Faith”, as previously posted, I can’t engage effectively with the “emoting = reasoning” crowd. If you want Oprahsized commentary, I’m sure Mr. Stankovitch or perhaps others will oblige. I just can’t stomach it.

    I also try to limit my engagement with Sock Puppets (especially those with multiple Sock Puppet personality disorder) who lack the courage and honesty to sign their real names to their posts.

    As Paul Harvey used to say, Good Day!

    Sock Puppets. Interesting. So you just kill the messenger. Isn’t that what you objected to before?

    “You can’t stomach it….” Sounds like you are not interested in dialogue by your own self-imposed limits.

    I don’t think you are bad person, not at all, but if I disagree with you, you can’t stomach it? Sounds like what is going on in Washington DC. Demonize people, call them names then run away.

    Thanks, but I am going to still pray for you. I hope you can stomach that.

    And as Paul Harvey said, “And that is the rest of the story.” 😉

    • M. Stankovich says

      My, my. The Scribes & Pharisees, a good 25 miles away from the ER on Martin Luther King Blvd.; or from the county clinic where a mother has to take off a full day of work to have her baby with a fever and cough seen by run-haggard healthcare professional, after three hours of waiting, hoping they have med samples because she can’t pay for a prescription; or the elderly woman asking the pharmacist to fill a third of her anti-hypertensive medication because she can only take it every 2nd or 3rd day if she wants to eat, decide to call me out. “Attack” Mr. Banescu, Fr. Alexander? I’ve never met Mr. Banescu. I am, however, quite familiar with his pitiful, nay-saying, grandiose, extremist, Christian-Right ideas. And those ideas – and I suspect his heart – have no room for the 15% who will benefit immediately.

      When I had cancer, when I could no longer work, I lost my health insurance, my car, and my apartment. Friends took me into their basement to live; I applied and got on Medicaid; I sat on the bus for what seemed like forever from Westchester to NYC to treatment, vomiting into bags. If I needed a medication outside the formulary, I had to fight with them to get it. Obviously, I couldn’t have been more grateful for all the treatment I received, but it was needlessly humiliating and hardly a “feral existence.”

      The point is this: I cannot stomach pampered, screaming, name-calling, self-righteous bigots whining about the equal bearing of the burden coming to suburbia. You’re breaking my heart.

  24. Michael Bauman says

    Your Grace, of course I try to hide my ignorance, I’m human. The trouble is I am massively ignorant of many things, sometimes even of my own ignorance. I relay on others to point this out to me. Unfortunately, my boldness in my ignorance often discourages them. I am not in the least offended when someone calls me out on my ignorance, as long as it really is my ignorance they are addressing.

    Only facts follow, some of them are empirical facts, some are factual statements based upon my 30+ years in the insurance business and seeing the massive stupidity of companies, regulators, agents and those who buy insurance.

    Here is what I know about the situation in my state, which did not establish its own exchange (each state is different): for most people premiums are up and out of pocket costs are a lot higher. With the subsidy, many people will pay less in premium and many people will be able to get health insurance that were denied coverage for individual coverage or had waviers. Those are a social good.
    No question.

    BUT, there is always a but: IF (an impossible if) the political oligarchy that rules this country had used even a small portion of their political skill to arrive at real solutions instead of whipping up the masses to a frenzy, those same social goods could have been achieved without the massive cost this plan will place on our country.

    Let me repeat what the insurance commissioner of my state who is a supporter of the plan in concept has said repeatedly (so far no one here has engaged this). Because of the inadequate actuarial cost assumptions built into the plan, the costs of the plan are unsupportable as projected. The ONLY way to pay for the short fall (since risk selection and premium increases are ruled out) is MASSIVE tax increases and rationing of care.

    Those are the costs. That is not me saying it out of my ignorance. That is a person who is intimately knowledgeable concerning the design and implementation of the plan and a good friend of Kathleen Sebelius.