Thursday, October 11, 2018

Congressman Wittman & President Trump End The Medicare Drug Cost "Donut Hole"


Friend-

Medicare has served our nation well, providing medical benefits and retirement
security for millions of Americans. As you may know, Congress and the Trump
administration have been working on ways to help lower the cost of prescription
medications.

Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) contains a coverage gap referred
to as a “donut hole.” This means that after a patient, and their drug plan, have
spent up to a certain threshold, the patient has to pay the remaining costs out-of-
pocket up to a yearly “catastrophic coverage” limit before the coverage gap
ends and the drug plan helps cover the costs again.

By signing the 2018 government funding bill into law, President Trump agreed
to close the “donut hole” for Part D enrollees. The Medicare Part D "donut hole"
will be closing for brand-name drugs in 2019 and generic drugs in 2020. Come
2020, the “donut hole” will be completely closed and Part D beneficiaries will
no longer be forced to shoulder the full burden of this gap in prescription
coverage—a long overdue fix.

Additionally, Congress has passed, and yesterday
President Trump signed into law, a pair of bills that will increase drug pricing
transparency. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act and the Know the
Lowest Price Act will eliminate “gag clauses” that have prevented pharmacists
from telling customers whether or not they can save money through out-of-
pocket expenditures instead of through their health plans—allowing patients
to get the lowest available price while simultaneously increasing transparency
in the marketplace.

While health care costs continue to rise, know that I’m working on solutions
that provide transparency, reduce costs, increase quality, and empower patient
and providers.

It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.

Sincerely,
Congressman Rob Wittman

 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ann Margaret Is No Jane Fonda, For Sure!

Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black & white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margaret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

A few years ago, Ann Margaret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o’clock for the 7:30 signing. When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot, and disappeared behind a parking garage.


Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted. Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI’s so far from home.
Ann Margaret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as 2nd in line, it was soon Richard’s turn. He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, “I understand. I just wanted her to see it”.

She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for “my gentlemen”. With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him.
She then made quite a to do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren’t too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he was the only one there.

Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he’d like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. “That’s the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army”, he said.
Richard, like many others, came home to people who spit on him and shouted ugly things at him. That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet.

I’ll never forget Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband. I now make it a point to say Thank You to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces.
Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

If you’d like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Gaggle of Googles by Bob W.


Most of us refer to an internet search as “googling”, a word found in most modern dictionaries.  However, I doubt if many of us have pondered what lies under the “google”.  Unfortunately, it is now obvious that “googling” is played by a set of biased rules that most conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans would find unsettling and dishonest.

The first few times I “googled”, I found it to be straightforward and responsive.  At the time, I was researching a topic that was contentious but wanted to check the facts pro and con.  I had no difficulty doing this.  However, over time, I noticed that finding the same facts, particularly if they were the politically incorrect ones, was increasingly difficult.  The “google’ question had to be precise and often repeated in different combinations of words just to find what had previously been easily found.  “Google” searches, therefore, became less and less useful and reliable.

Recently, a video of Google’s first corporate meeting after the election of President Trump was released.  This release, although nearly two years after the presidential election, is a bomb shell.  The video shows key executives and managers acting like a bunch of spoiled children because they didn’t get their way.  Tears, threats, racist comments, and attacks on America itself were freely voiced and applauded.  (Google management apparently believes in liberal group think because any conservative in this meeting of hundreds of “Google” employees would have been lynched on the spot.)

“Google” has a more than cozy relationship with the global socialists in the Democrat Party.  During the Obama years, “Google” positioned some of its employees in his administration and employed individuals connected with his administration.  “Google” appears to have tried to influence the presidential election outcome through in kind donations intended to increase the involvement of groups who would be expected to vote for the left, and Hillary Clinton in particular.  The video puts all of this and more into perspective.  “Google” is a radical left biased organization more than willing to distort their search engine for political purposes.

Corporations like “Google”, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have been called the masters of the universe.  There is nothing masterful about a group of wealthy adults acting like spoiled children.  Rather than masterful they are disgraceful.  Rather than universal they are overwhelmingly populated by petty single-minded ideologues who cannot stand individual freedoms of any kind.  All of these organizations and more are information monopolies that need to be dealt with via the anti-trust laws. 

To allow these organizations, once designed to serve the public, to continue unchecked will create a national and even world totalitarian disaster.  To misquote George Washington, “Google is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”  Today, he would substitute Facebook or Twitter or Youtube into the quote – and he would be correct.  He would also demand action by the federal government to control this gaggle of googles.

 by Bob W. CARMA Member    

 

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Ross Rant for 7/29/18


The author is Joel Ross, Principal, Citadel Realty Advisors, 15 West
36th Street, NYC, NY.  Mr. Ross publishes the Ross Rant, a $300 per year
subscription newsletter, which makes predictions based upon economic data.


Ross Rant - July 29 2018

To understand the trade war with China, you need to understand that China at the moment is having a major slowdown economically. The stock market is down 25%. Many banks are being bailed out by the government.  Everything and everyone in China is way over levered, and the economy is therefore in a high risk position which the government was trying to fix.  The trade war got in the way, forcing the government to subsidize the smaller banks. China is loaning tens of billions to countries like Pakistan to build ports and railroads and infrastructure. Problem is, these countries have zero possible way to ever repay these loans.  So now they are faced with stopping the projects or asking the IMF to bail them out.

It is a mess for China and the countries who took the loans.  There is starting to be pushback against China for this. So, Trump’s timing to go after China is exactly right.  They are in a weakened position right now. Ignore all the hype about how they could sell their $1.4 trillion of US Treasuries —to who???  Not going to happen.  The whole world agrees China violates every rule on trade and steals IP.  Trump is just the only one who is willing to take them on, with the rest of
the world cheering him on from the sidelines.  Now it appears the EU is willing to cooperate with Trump and revise the WTO and to push China on IP and other trade violations.  Something they were never willing to do before.

Can 4% GDP growth continue?  Maybe. But 3.5% would be great.  Remember the left, and the press saying in 2016 and early 2017,  2% was the new normal maximum, and the US was at its peak and we faced stagflation, economic decline, etc. 2% was the accepted number as what good growth would be.  Larry Summers was right out there saying 4% was impossible.  Some in the mainstream media and Wall St said getting above 2% was pure fantasy, and Trump was dreaming.

So, as I have said often, ignore the talking heads, and the mainstream media.  They all have an agenda.  Almost none are objective.  The tax bill and deregulation was a huge boost.  The left just can’t admit it. There are even stories now in the press that 4% is really a bad thing???  4% is great, it may not be 4% next quarter, but 3.5% would be terrific.   If Trump really does a deal with the EU, Mexico and
Canada, and then Japan, 3.5%, or better, is very realistic.

Capital expenditures will ramp up further once the tariff issues subside and that uncertainty goes away.  They say exports were hyped due to pending tariffs, but to do that, inventories were drawn down, so this quarter inventories will be rebuilt, pushing up GDP growth upward.  The press does not want you to believe it because it means the Republicans win in November, so they will try to convince you otherwise.  Even my very liberal economist friends admit privately to me that the economy is going to be booming for at least 6 more quarters.  The key is to reelect Republicans to control Congress.

Keep in mind Maxine Waters is chair of the finance committee if the Dems get control, and Nancy is speaker.  Think about that combo, and the ability to get budgets and more tax reform done.  It should drive you to the polls and to take all your friends with you to vote.  What a trade: Trump, and 4% GDP, or Maxine Waters.

If you want to understand Russia, and the whole gas pipeline issue---gas and oil is 52% of Russia’s GDP.  The GDP of Russia is slightly smaller than NY State, around $1.5 trillion. GDP per capita is only $8,748 in 2017.  Far lower than in 2013.  We heard this first hand when I was in Russia, but now the stats show it to be true.  The standard of living in Russia is declining. 20% of the Russian budget
goes to weapons and the army.

So Trump is right - how can Germany build a new gas pipeline with Russia which will fund more weapons spending, when they are supposedly having sanctions because of weapons and Crimea.  It is nuts.  The gas line will provide Russia billions of new cash flow for weapons which are aimed at ----Germany.  But Merkel also thought letting in over 1million Muslims was also a great idea until the voters rebelled, and the rest of the EU voted right wing in response.

Reality is Russia is now in economic decline due to lower oil prices and corruption.  Defense spending was reduced this year.  So what does Merkel want to do – build the pipeline to pay them more badly needed money.  Trump is not out of line for his comments.  The pipeline is the same as Obama paying Iran $150 billion just as their economy was tanking.  Truth is Russia cannot afford to wage a real war in Europe now that Trump has forced NATO to materially up spending and
readiness.

If Obama was still in power Putin could take over Baltic states and have only a few sanctions because under Obama NATO was militarily unable to react.  That was why Putin felt he could go into Crimea with no big problem.  Putin also knew he could continue his cyber war with no real consequences under Obama.  Don’t believe the crap about Trump favors Putin, or they have something on him.  It is more lefty nonsense.  The US pays 71% of NATO costs.  Germany pays less than 1.2% of their GDP for their own defense.  We pay far more for Germany’s defense than Germany does, and they can afford to pay.

Trump is right for making this a major issue.  So in 2018, NATO and the US are upping spending on defense and Russia cannot keep up.  Russia is forced to reduce spending because oil prices did not rise as much as Putin needed.

Under Obama US defense spending went down from 2013 on, and Russia went up a lot, and China even more.  Obama left us in very bad and weak shape vs our main adversaries.  It was massive US defense spending by Reagan vs Russia, that won the cold war.  The story now is very similar vs Russia and Iran.  The best way to win a war is to far out spend the bad guys until they fold with no shots being fired.  A strong offensive capability and willingness to use it (missiles fired at Syria) is the best defense.  Putin and Xi got the message.  Putin blew it by favoring Trump.  The last thing he wanted was a much stronger US military and stronger, capable NATO.

Iran’s GDP is $439 billion, less than that of 14 states.  And now it is tanking. Obama gave them $150 billion - 34% of their GDP.  Iran cannot compete with US and Israel.  Israel is much smaller by population and has a GDP of $320 billion.  With sanctions Trump is imposing, Iran is in real economic trouble, and cannot afford a war with us, the Sunnis and Israel.
The Obama nuke deal just empowered Iran to go on an expansion into Syria, Iraq, Yemen  and Lebanon.  Now Israel and the US are pushing back with the help of the Sunnis.  Reimposing sanctions will severely cripple Iran and they will likely try to attack shipping in the straits and the Red Sea.  It will end very badly for them now that the Sunnis, Israel and the US are teamed up, the US military is being
rebuilt, Sadr is pushing back on Iran trying to control Iraq, and the Iranian people are protesting and ready to revolt.

The entire Mideast situation is going to change by year end when sanctions go back into effect.  Iran will run out of money to continue their expansion.  What is astonishing is Merkel and the EU prefer to try to get around the US sanctions and trade with Iran instead of cooperating with us and destroying the regime.  And the press thinks Trump acts badly with the EU???  The EU doesn’t pay for their own
defense and they favor Iran.

The US economy is on a roll.  It will be strong well into 2019 and maybe into 2020.  The stock market will go up. Just be patient.  Bond prices will decline further.  All equities will continue to work.  They will resolve trade in the next 90 days.  Before November,  NAFTA will get revised. WTO will get revised.  Putin is in no economic shape to invade anyone, or do another Syria.  He is now motivated to try to work with Trump.  If oil prices stay around where they are, Russia is
hurting. Q3 GDP will be over 3%.  This is like under Reagan.

Trump will bury Putin in military spending and Putin will have to  concede on some issues.  It will just take time.  It took Reagan three years.  If the result is no pipeline, Russia is in more trouble.  Farm products in the EU will still be a big problem.  Macron cannot give in on this and stay in office.  From here on it is all about China, and how Xi can give in and not lose face.

Bottom line, a very strong US economy and big defense spending will overwhelm Russia and Iran. A strong economy, allowing big defense spending, matters a lot in terms of geopolitics. The price of oil is strategic, not just economic.

Nicky Haley will be elected president in 2024   She will be the first woman president. Mark it down

Monday, August 13, 2018

Very Good Questions...Answers?


1- Since only 11 million people have ObamaCare, how will 24 million people die if it is repealed?

2- If Donald Trump deleted all his emails, wiped his server with Bleachbit and destroyed all of his phones with a hammer, would the Mainstream Media suddenly lose all interest in the story and declare him innocent?

3- If women do the same job for less money, why do companies hire men to do the same job for more money?

4- If you rob a bank in a Sanctuary City, is it illegal or is it just an Undocumented Withdrawal?

5- Each ISIS attack now is a reaction to Trump policies, but all ISIS attacks during Obama's term were due to climate change and a lack of jobs.

6- After the London 'Lone Wolf' terrorist attack government officials have arrested at least eight other 'Lone Wolves' who had conspired with the original 'Lone Wolf' in planning the 'Lone Wolf' attack.  Even though all involved are Muslims, you can be assured, the 'Lone Wolf' attack has nothing at all to do with Islam, just like the other 1000 plus 'Lone Wolf' attacks by Muslims, are completely unassociated with Islam.

7- If Muslims want to run away from a Muslim country, does that mean they're Islamophobic?

8- If Liberals don't believe in biological gender then why do they march for women's rights?

9- How did the Russians get Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC to steal the Primary from Bernie Sanders? How did Russia get Donna Brazile to leak debate questions to Hillary Clinton in advance of the debates?

10- Why is it that Democrats think Super delegates are fine, but they have a problem with the Electoral College?

11- If you don't want the FBI involved in elections, don't nominate someone who's being investigated by the FBI.

12- If Hillary's speeches cost $250,000 an hour, how come no one shows up at her free ones?

13- Is the DNC mad at Russia because they 'think' they are trying to manipulate our election by exposing that the DNC is manipulating our election?

14- If Democrats don't want foreigners involved in our elections, why do they think it's all right for illegals to vote?