- Posted July 22, 2014 by
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Kernels - Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!
News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014.
Due to my deteriorating health - voice and respiratory system - today's Kernels will be text only. Hopefully I can return to my video format on Wednesday.
1. Going Home - Of those murdered on Malaysian Flight 17, 200 of the 298 are on their long road home.
The rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, after days of posturing, turned over the bodies, which are on refrigerated train cars. Those bodies are now in Ukrainian government held territory.
It is not known if the nearly 100 bodies not recovered are still laying in the field among the rubble or if moved elsewhere.
The Dutch government is going through the painful process of gathering DNA samples from victims' families to try and identify the dead.
In a ceremony that rebels must have staged in an attempt to give them legitimacy, the black boxes from the airliner shot down were turned over to Malaysian authorities. Those black boxes are now making the way to Great Britain where the data will be downloaded and analyzed.
It is not yet known if the information has been tampered with or lost.
The European Union today made a symbolic gesture with little teeth to add more sanctions on Russia for the shooting down of Flight 17. The Europeans are still not ready to take tougher action for fear of the economic impact.
2. Grounded! - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned US airlines from flying into and out of Israel for at least the next 24 hours. There is concern that the war in the south against the Hamas terrorists is getting too close to Tel Aviv.
In light of the downing of Flight 17, no one is wanting to risk lives flying in or near a war zone. Airlines in other countries are now joining the ban in and out of Israel until hostilities cease.
3. Blow to ACA - A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sent a shot across the bow today of President Barack Obama's signature legislation - the Affordable Care Act.
The judges ruled that subsidies, the mainstay of making health insurance affordable for millions of Americans, were not allowed in the 36 states which did not set up their state-run Marketplace Exchanges.
The Administration is expected to appeal the ruling to the entire 11-member court or appeal directly to the Supreme Court. It is expected either way the case will land before the highest court in the land eventually.
A short distance away, the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled the opposite. The 3-judge panel in that case ruled that everyone was entitled to subsidies in both state-run and the federal-run exchange.
The split between the two separate Appeals Courts sets the table for the Supreme Court to settle the conflicting opinions.
Without tax subsidies most healthcare policies will be unaffordable for those who purchased plans through the federal Marketplace Exchange. It is not yet known how this may hit taxpayers who have received subsidies up until now.
There should be no change, however, until the appeals process is exhausted and the Supremes weigh in on the issue.
The first panel ruled that the text of the law was specific that subsidies were only available to those signing up in state-run exchanges.
Could this be the beginning of the end for the President's legacy legislation?
Then in the heartland, a federal judge in Wisconsin dismissed a lawsuit from Senator Ron Johnson claiming that the federal government could not continue to contribute to purchase of health insurance when the staff and Congress must purchase insurance through the Washington DC exchange.
The judge ruled that the Senator did not prove he had been harmed by the regulation.
4. Premiums Not Rising Too High - Early information suggests that premiums for health insurance purchased through exchanges will not rise as high as was predicted. In most states the premiums are rising less than 10% for 2015. There are exceptions such as Indiana, the Cornfield's own state, where premiums are going up 15%.
In light of today's Appeals Court ruling, what people in 36 states pay out of pocket, including in Indiana, may rise dramatically. Currently Iohn, my life partner, would be hit with a near $300 increase in monthly premiums. This would put health insurance out of affordability and subject him to a tax penalty.
5. Check Your Fridge! - Listeria has been found on fruits sold to Krogers, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Trader Joe's and Costco. The recall is nationwide.
The possibly contaminated fruits are: peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots packed between June 1 and July 12.
6. Optics Matter - While the world is burning, President Barack Obama seems to be dancing. He is not slowing down his golf games or his fundraisers.
While there is nothing wrong with either activity, in times of multiple crises - optics matter.
The pictures being seen give an appearance that the President is not in tune with what is happening. The optics show a President more intent on partisan dabbling rather than a display of a world leader in the midst of battle.
The story is not new. Recently when again optics mattered, the President declined to go to our southern border to view the humanitarian crisis of nearly 60,000 children crossing into our country. The President opted to be seen out at the bars in Denver, shooting pool and drinking beer.
The world, nay the US of A, is crying out for a leader. The world looks at American television or newspapers and see not a leader, but a man too busy to care.
This does not mean that the President is not on top of the situations going on, but the visuals give a different impression.
7. Pressing for Peace - The pressure is building on Israel and Hamas to come to terms and agree to a cease-fire. That increased pressure, however, is not slowing down hostilities, but rather the tension appears to be greater.
There are rumblings that Hezbollah, the power in Lebanon, is making overtures to join in the fight on the side of Hamas. This would have Israel facing off with its enemies on two fronts.
8. Teen Murders - Three teenaged boys - 15, 16 and 18 - have been charged with murdering two homeless men in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday. The youngest of the teens said he was angry over a break-up with his girlfriend.
The teens have allegedly been randomly attacking homeless people over the last year. Now those attacks have lead to murder.
What was that old adage? Spare the rod and spoil the child?
9. Seat at the Table - The five emerging economic powerhouses of: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are making a move to be more of a player in global economics. The BRICS nations are setting up their own bank to compete with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The new bank will concentrate on development, according to the emerging market nations. The idea is to help stabilize economies and financial markets of other nations.
The launch of the new bank is a $100 billion venture. It will also have a currency reserve pool hoping to displace the dollar as the world's fallback.
10. War Rages - Wars and rumors of war are not limited to Israel, the Gaza Strip, Russia and Ukraine.
War is still a reality in Afghanistan where more people are killed every day as the Taliban continues to press, biding its time until the US pulls out.
Libya is in flames in many parts of the nation. The airport at Benghazi has been under attack. A stable government is still a hope and a dream.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to strengthen its hold on northern Iraq. The Iraqi launched an airstrike today against Fallujah in ISIS held territory killing 19 including children. The likelihood of an attack on Baghdad seems more probable.
Syria remains embroiled in a bitter civil war. The world's attention diverted to other hot spots around the globe.
Boko Haram continues to menace in Nigeria. Fighting is not letting up between rebels and government forces in South Sudan.
Wars and rumors of war is the new norm.
That's what caught my attention for Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014.
Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.
I am Mark Ivy.