Thursday, October 31, 2013

Your news--some treats, mostly tricks

Guest Post: Houdini Faces His Greatest Escape Act

Liberal Robert Reich: Obamacare Was Republicans’ Idea
Excerpt: If the Obamacare rollout had been a success, the Dems would be gloating and saying, “See? I told ya so.” They’d be talking about how they had immense opposition from the racists in the tea party, but after a long fight, they were victorious. And now, thanks to their tenacity, everyone has access to free healthcare insurance, and everyone’s fitter, happier and more productive as a result. (Have they all joined the Obama "Choom Gang"? --JB).

Obama’s health-care promise that people can keep their insurance comes back to haunt him
He knew it was a lie, but if he had told the truth, Obamacare would not have passed. ~Bob. Excerpt: It is a catchy sound bite that has turned around to bite the hand that fed it to the country: If you like the health insurance you have, you can keep it. President Obama’s credibility has taken a hit over that line, which he tossed off in various versions during countless campaign stops and policy speeches.

Obama Officials In 2010: 93 Million Americans Will Be Unable To Keep Their Health Plans Under Obamacare. By Avik Roy
Excerpt: If you read the Affordable Care Act when it was passed, you knew that it was dishonest for President Obama to claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” as he did—and continues to do—on countless occasions. And we now know that the administration knew this all along. It turns out that in an obscure report buried in a June 2010 edition of the Federal Register, administration officials predicted massive disruption of the private insurance market.

The Biggest Lie? 'Keep Your Plan'
Excerpt: : In the face of millions of cancellation notices, Democrats want to downplay the president's "keep your health plan" pledge as standard political hyperbole. It was, in fact, a calculated lie that got ObamaCare enacted. To understand why, let's freshen up on a little health care reform history. (This has been talked about a whole lot in the past few days, and even Obamacare supporters and Democrats have acknowledged that it's impossible to forget the multiple times Mr. Obama assured America that no one would take their plan or their doctor away from them. (One blogger put together a whole collection of video outtakes of Mr. Obama saying precisely that.) Normally liberal TV personalities have come down hard on what a mess this is. (Or in the prediction of Max Baucus, a "train wreck") Now it seems there are a few who are trying to gloss over this, which I find to be absolutely insulting to the intelligence of everyone. The bottom line is that all those clearly stated promises about no one having to lose their plan or their doctor were completely false, and that Mr. Obama either did know or absolutely should have known they were false. So the ACA was passed as part of a fraud on the nation, and all the predictions of how it would not, could not, work as promised were on point. Does no one benefit from the plan? Yes, a small percentage of people on the lower end of the income distribution are doing better. They are vastly outnumbered by the people whose plans are no longer available, and the plans now available cost a lot more for less coverage. The examples of this have been broadcast for several days now, and I know of two cases among friends and family that are just like that, much higher monthly payments for appreciably less coverage. As the time goes on, more and more people in the middle class will find themselves facing much higher health care costs, more of the younger people will decide it's easier to face the fine than the monthly premiums. The truth will emerge unmistakably that this system does not come close to what was promised. What will we all be able to do about it then? --Del

Beyond the Obamacare Website Fiasco
Excerpt: Obamacare's computer glitches have reduced the president's eponymic health-care plan to fodder for late-night TV comedians. But in some ways the president is fortunate that the computer fiasco is obscuring the even bigger and more consequential problems facing the law. For example, there's the problem with keeping your current insurance. Millions of Americans are finding out that, even if they like the plans they have now, they are being kicked off because those plans do not meet the requirements of Obamacare. ... Comparisons of exchange premiums with those found prior to October 1 show that premiums are higher now in at least 45 states, in some cases as much as 256 percent higher. As predicted, the young and healthy are seeing the biggest increases. It may not be long before Obamacare supporters look back longingly to the days when the health-care law was just a bad joke.

CBS: ObamaCare Launched After Failing Hundreds of Tests. By John Hayward
Excerpt: The hits just keep coming. Every time we think the full depth of the Administration's incompetence and mendacity has been plumbed, a fresh bombshell revelation detonates.
Here's a new report from the mainstream media's most persistent Obama gadfly, Sharyl Attkisson, in which we learn the exchange system failed hundreds of tests administered by employees of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These were the simplest sort of "beta" tests, the kind of thing I used to do all the time in my IT career.

The Obama Administration Cartel
Excerpt: The latest proof that the Obama administration believes itself to be the all-mighty arbiter of what is good and right is their reported response to insurers who are willing to tell reporters what is going on with Obamacare. The Obama administration is telling insurance companies to keep their mouths closed, and if any quotes or messages are leaked to the media, they draw immediate attention from the White House( See the CNN Video with Anderson Cooper. --JB)

Obama’s Last Move: Insist There’s No Real Problem and Try to Escape in the Fog. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt (Worth Subscribing to by e-mail. Free.)
Excerpt: President Obama’s message to those being notified that they’re losing their insurance: “If you're getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace. That what it's for.” It’s as if he was completely unaware that the site was down for a good chunk of Wednesday. Then we have Sebelius’ testimony Wednesday morning: “I would suggest the website has never crashed. It is functional but at a very slow speed and low reliability.”
This is the spin of the desperate man: Despite all the evidence all around us that things are not fine, I will insist that everything is fine, and my hope is that I will create enough doubt in enough minds about whether or not things are fine to survive the day. That argument isn’t really enough to win -- he’s not likely to persuade the public that the sites are working hunky-dory -- but it might reassure the low-information voters inclined to like him that the current outrage is overhyped. Over the next few weeks, you’re going to hear a lot of administration defenders insisting that things with the website aren’t so bad lately. They’re wrong; we’ll talk about that more in item three. You’re also seeing people assuming that it will be fixed at the end of November. As we’ve laid out, a fully or even largely functional web site by November 30 is probably a longshot, and perhaps even an impossibility. No wonder they’re in a “bunker mentality,” as Chuck Todd says. Obama and his team have finally encountered a problem that they can’t successfully spin, cover up, distract from, or blame on the opposition. (This doesn’t mean they won’t try, of course.) Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and the IRS targeting of conservatives impacted too few people. The Syria bombing about-face is easily forgotten. The NSA scandal and its fallout abroad doesn’t impact Americans on a day-to-day basis: v. Private Sector
Excerpt: Fact is, the failure of is but a metaphor for the reality that no government bureaucracy is ever going to successfully manage 18% of the U.S. economy, much less a basic commerce website for insurance comparisons. Check out the Republican National Committee's latest video mocking the botched rollout.

Good Article: Obamacare’s split-screen day. By Jonathan Allen and Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico
Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s prescription for health care law critics: Take a deep breath — and move on. Never mind that House Republicans have beaten up on two of his top health officials on consecutive days; that one of them, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, faces new calls to resign seemingly every day; or that the Obamacare website crashed while Sebelius was testifying on the Hill Wednesday. Forget that the website went online with the apparent technological capacity of a badly damaged transistor radio. And don’t think too much about Obama’s promise that every American who wanted to keep his or health care plan could do so.

Excellent: Your Opportunity is Being Transitioned. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: Forget your old health plan. It was placed in the trunk of a Prius at 3 AM this morning, taken to a frozen lake outside an organic poultry plant in Minnesota and shot twice in the head. It was a bad plan. It has transitioned to no longer being a plan. We have a better plan for you. Go to and… correction, do not go there. Forget that you were told to go there or not to go there. Forget that it even existed. Forget that you read this. is working. Do not visit to confirm that it is working. If you wish to transition to your opportunity, why not apply by phone or mail or carrier pigeon? (I don't know how Greenfield is able to write such excellent articles daily. more linked below. Read them. ~Bob)

Obamacare is great...just as long as you don't need to go to a hospital. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: It’s the worst combination of private and public health insurance possible with the government pushing to make the plans as broad as possible in coverage while insurers compensate by making its networks as shallow as possible. So you can get your birth control and your obesity counseling anywhere. Those are the things the social planners really care about bringing to minority communities. Just don’t count on having access to a specialist to treat more serious medical problems. [Just like the National Health Service in Britain. You can get breast implants and sex-change operations, but you don't get quality and up-to-date treatment in the UK for serious health issues unless you have private health insurance. People are dying of thirst in National Health hospitals in the UK, lots of people. Six years ago, my friend Beryl Mary Laurencin died at St Mary's in Paddington (where Prince William was born) when she choked on her Sunday lunch. The staff on duty thought the way Mary was clutching her throat was the international sign of a heart attack. She'd gone in for a cataract operation. --Kate.]

Last week, we reported that the “honor system” is being used to confirm the identity and certification of Navigators/Assisters. The “Find Local Help” feature on refers consumers to potential predators. We have since reviewed, state by state, every single Navigator/Assister that currently displays to the public via “Find Local Help”.

Report: Lack of Testing Created ‘High’ Security Risk for
Excerpt: The memo was directed to Medicare chief Marylin Tavenner. It warned that one of the site contractors could not test site security because the complete system was not working. The memo stated the failure to test adequately "exposed a level of uncertainty that can be deemed as a high risk." (Feds violating their own laws. But then, WHO CARES? --Barb)

Panic: Desperate Democrats Propose Law to Restore Obama's "Keep Your Plan" Pledge. By Guy Benson
Excerpt: The firestorm over President Obama's "you can keep your plan" lie now threatens to singe vulnerable Democrats next year, so they're springing into action to try to force the administration to keep its word. Louisiana's Mary Landrieu -- an ardent Obamacare supporter -- is scrambling to undo one of the obvious consequences of a law she's voted to pass, fund, and retain:

Thank These Republicans for Obamacare. By Ann Coulter
Excerpt: We have Obamacare for one reason and one reason only: For a brief, ghoulish period in recent history, Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. We don't have Obamacare because the public was clamoring for it. We have it because Republicans lost elections

37% Say Zombies Would Do A Better Job Than Federal Government. Rasmusssen Reports
It is the nature of great societies to rise and fall. I know this, and I will accept the inevitability. But it's just so incredibly distressing to me to witness this race with such pure abandonment, into the tar pits of history.

America Fall of Rome
Excerpt: Thirty-seven percent (37%) of American Adults believe the federal government would do a better job than zombies running the country today. But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most Americans don’t share that view, with just as many (37%) who feel zombies would do a better job running the country and another 26% who can’t decide between the two. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Health Insurance Losses to Get Worse: 51 Percent to Lose Employer Based Insurance. By Katie Pavlich 
Excerpt: As millions of Americans in the individual health insurance market place continue to lose their coverage, analysts are looking ahead at the fallout we can expect to see when the employer mandate goes into effect in 2015. We've already seen employers and companies dropping health coverage altogether and cutting full-time workers to part time in order to avoid massive health insurance costs but now, Forbes reveals that was just the beginning.

Third-Party Statism. By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: If you blur the lines between public and private as artfully as American statism does, eventually everything becomes the government, and your private sphere is no more genuinely private than those private museums, boat launches, restaurants, and campgrounds ordered closed at no notice by the shock troops of the National Park Service. In South Dakota, the NPS attempted to shut down an unmanned, open-air parking area on the shoulder of the highway to prevent Americans from looking at Mount Rushmore. Apparently, the view belongs to the government and you can enjoy it only with their approval. In the days of absolute monarchy, a medieval proverb nevertheless assured us that a cat may look at a king. But in South Dakota freeborn Americans may not gaze upon their presidents without the permission of the bureaucracy.

Justice and State departments blocking access to survivors of Benghazi attack
Excerpt: The Justice and State departments are now citing a year-old FBI investigation and a future criminal prosecution to block access to survivors of last year’s Benghazi terror attack. In an Oct. 28 letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Julia Frifield, refers to "significant risks" and "serious concerns about having the survivors of the attack submit to additional interviews." …This intelligence was likely available to the president, his national security team and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who five days after the assault blamed it on an anti-U.S. demonstration and inflammatory video. (It’s called stonewalling, “executive privilege.” Worked on F and F. How much corruption and deceit can the sheeple swallow? --Barb)

Excerpt: Right now in America, there are approximately 3.5 million disabled veterans drawing, on average, $1,000 in VA disability. Many of these veterans suffer from permanent disabilities that have greatly reduced their ability to earn an income...

Obama’s Credibility Gap: The former hope-and-change president no longer gets a pass. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Yet the distortions and lack of credibility of the Obama administration have matched and now trumped those of its predecessors. The public may have long ago forgotten that Obama did not close down Guantanamo as promised, or cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, or stop the revolving door of lobbyists coming in and out of the executive branch. The public may even have forgiven the president when the stimulus bill never lowered unemployment as promised, or when his misleading boasts about vast increases in oil and gas production came to fruition despite, not because, of his efforts. But the distortions and broken promises have now become so frequent that many at home and abroad are finally tuning out the president. 

Global Regulation Curbing Growth, World Bank Finds
Huh. Who would have guessed? ~Bob. Excerpt: Many emerging markets have dramatically improved their business climates in the last year, but a tangle of onerous regulations the world over is curbing much-needed growth from the private sector, the World Bank said in a new report published late Monday.

European Economic Stability Threatened by Renewable Energy Subsidies
Excerpt: The stability of Europe's electricity generation is at risk from the warped market structure caused by skyrocketing renewable energy subsidies that have swarmed across the continent over the last decade The CEOs of Europe's largest energy companies, who produce almost half of Europe's electricity, joined voices calling for an end to subsidies for wind and solar power, saying the subsidies have led to unacceptably high utility bills for residences and businesses, and even risk causing continent-wide blackouts. (Everywhere you turn, Progressive Policies make life miserable for the common folk--but they make Progressives feel good about their good intentions. ~Bob)

The Incredible Shrinking Workforce
Excerpt: In the early 1960s, labor-force participation among men ages 25 to 64 began a slow steady decline from 95% to about 84% today, a trend masked by the surge of women into the labor force. But women's participation in the labor force peaked in 2000 and has since declined by two percentage points. Unless men re-enter the job market, prospects for the resumption of vigorous growth in the U.S. labor force are dim. Men have been withdrawing from the workforce for five decades. No one is sure why. But we do know that prospects for robust growth and shared prosperity are dim unless we can devise more effective labor-market policies.

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Exclusive: Controversial Marine sniper fires back at critics
Excerpt: Joseph Chamblin was such a highly respected staff sergeant in 2011 that the leaders of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., selected him as a scout sniper platoon commander for the unit’s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan — a position typically reserved for an officer. Once in Helmand province, the scout snipers performed so well against the enemy that they earned the personal congratulations of the commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps. By January 2012, Chamblin was up for promotion to gunnery sergeant and set to re-deploy to Afghanistan. Within weeks, however, his career was in ruins after a video surfaced, showing him and three other scout snipers urinating on Taliban corpses during a patrol in Helmand’s Musa Qala district on July 27, 2011. (You can go to the video and listen to this man in his own words, but the text below covers the situation really well. And it's a very sad story of major overreaction to a momentary unwise act by a bunch of guys who'd been the tip of the spear, killing Taliban and doing it well. That they all instantly became pariahs to all the officers and had high ranking officers all the way up to the Commandant meddling in their trials is a horribly sad example of how Political Correctness under this Administration has eroded away the real ethos of the Corps. Every officer who mucked around with this should be deeply ashamed, and the officers whose careers were ended because they were anywhere near these guys have been totally betrayed by the command structure. This kind of thing makes all Marines, serving or retired, sick to our stomachs. No enemy could break the Corps, but the politicians can damage it badly, and appear to be working hard at it. Heaven help us. --Del)

What Will Happen to Afghan Women When the Taliban Returns? By Cal Thomas
Excerpt: When the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is completed next year what will happen to Afghan women? Will a resurgent Taliban return them to wearing burqas, withdraw them from schools and force them to live behind painted glass in their homes, permitting them to leave the house only when accompanied by a blood relative? (My take: When the Taliban Come back.

Two U.S. commandos fought in Benghazi rescue, privately honored for valor: Two out of eight in Tripoli sent to rescue, honored for valor
Excerpt: Masked from public view, two of the U.S. military’s elite special operations commandos have been awarded medals for bravery for a mission that further undercuts the Obama administration’s original story about the Benghazi tragedy.

Excerpt: Were you bothered just a little when you learned that Barack Obama was able to reach into the very bowels of the IRS and decide who gets to be a political organization, who gets to raise political funding, who gets expedited service, and who gets harassed? After learning that the government has already got their hands on your phone calls and email records, are you concerned about how oppressive "big government" has invaded your personal lives? As you planned your family, based on your ability to support it, does it bother you that there are millions of Americans who breed irresponsibly, cannot support the kids they breed, must rely on taxpayer welfare and WIC and Section 8 housing, Medicaid and food stamps to raise their herd, then are rewarded by the IRS with billions in Child Tax Credits?

Sheila Jackson-Lee: 'Constitution gives me immunity to discriminate against the disabled.' By Daniel Greefield
Excerpt: Sheila Jackson-Lee is one of the dumbest people in America and the fourth dumbest person in Congress. If Sheila Jackson-Lee and Joe Biden played chess, the pieces would come to life and run away.

Enforced Diversity in New York Fire Department Leads to Disastrous Results. By Daniel Greenfiled
Excerpt: Shockingly enough, the kind of men who could climb to the top of the World Trade Center while it was burning in full gear are an elite. You can’t make them happen just because a liberal judge gives an order.

Sen. Bullhead is hooked on outrage. By John Kass
Excerpt: "It did not happen," Carney said. That seems clear enough. And it would have started to fade away, except we learned Thursday that Durbin had sent out a fundraising letter. The senior senator from Illinois cited the apparent outrage to Obama's face, but suggested he'd feel a lot better if Democrats sent him $16.

Obama Pays Mexican Male Prostitutes to Stay Disease-Free. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a Mexican male brothel in Tijuana, good for you. But I want to be clear, you did it because the United States government paid Mexican male prostitutes to remain disease free. Your customers were able to return to your brothel without succumbing to AIDS because American taxpayers paid them not to get AIDS.

Sudan Accused of Helping Muslim Businessman Seize Property from Church
Excerpt: After months of bulldozing or taking over church buildings on the pretext that they belong to South Sudanese who are no longer citizens of the country, authorities are aiding a Muslim businessman’s effort to take over church property in Khartoum North, sources said.

The Key to Survival in Auschwitz and Bedford Falls: Part 3 in an exploration of Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.
Excerpt: When Frankl realized that life was not a grand vague notion, but rather a concrete set of tasks, tasks of conduct that shape our fate, he began to embrace his suffering as a work to get through. He saw each task as his unique opportunity to grow spiritually and become stronger. Each individual had to find their own why to live. 

Excerpt: Morsi famously promised to rule for all Egyptians, but, upon taking office, he failed to uphold basic democratic values and treated his election victory as a license to rule in any way he saw fit.” “President Morsi (Obama) issued decrees that sacked the prosecutor general, immunized presidential decisions from judicial review and shielded the Islamic-dominated Sharia council and the constituent assembly from dissolution. ….His government drafted an NGO law that essentially placed civil society under state control… (US official can’t name MB. Does this sound like anywhere else in the world? --Barb)

Church Looks Like Penis
Excerpt: The newly-constructed Christian Science Church in DixonIllinois has tremendous curb appeal. But from the air...well, you decide. One can't help but appreciate the landscaping which adds yet another level to the already powerful Google Earth visual. 

Excerpt: 73 percent of American troop deaths in Afghanistan have been under President Obama. That is 1,565 sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, and Sisters, while the President has played 146 rounds of golf (according to…. First, inadequate support and restrictive rules of engagement; second, because our loudmouth president announced a pullout date long before knowing how logistics would play out; and third, the region has become increasingly more hostile. 

Excerpt: The White House’s enforcement of immigration law against illegal immigrants and foreign criminals has dropped by roughly 11 percent since 2012, according to internal data collected by the Department of Homeland Security. The revelation knocks a leg out from President Barack Obama’s repeated claims that enforcement has improved enough to allow Congress to pass a new immigration bill. The Senate bill, passed in June, would more than double the annual immigration rate of one million and also provide a staged amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Obama’s likability succumbs to political gravity
Excerpt: Now, it’s personal. Gone are the days when President Obama could count on the public holding him in high personal regard, even if they don’t like the job he’s doing as president. Americans hold a more negative personal view of Obama for the first time in his presidency in an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll. Just 41 percent say they have a positive view of the president while 45 percent say they view him negatively. (Gee, the more he screws up, the more racists there are. ~Bob)

Iraq is on the verge of falling apart. By Katie Pavlich
Excerpt: During the past five years we've seen Obama's foreign policy strategy repeatedly fail. In Libya, al Qaeda terrorists are running the country. In Egypt, Christians are being slaughtered. In Iran, we saw the Obama administration miss a golden opportunity to embrace revolution. In Afghanistan we've seen 73 percent of American casualties since the war started in 2001 happen under Obama's watch.

Mia's and Woody's and Frank's son Ronan Farrow: The Youngest Old Guy in the Room. By Michael Schulman
Excerpt: “Wow, he’s handsome,” one dinner guest said, peering over a throng of photographers. “He’s going to be our president in, like, 30 years,” another gushed. The event, last Monday at the American Museum of Natural History, was a benefit for the Blue Card, which aids Holocaust survivors, and the object of the room’s collective kvelling was Ronan Farrow, the 25-year-old lawyer, diplomat, author, boy genius, offspring of two celebrities (though which two is an open question), possessor of alabaster good looks and, as of this month, the latest talent to join MSNBC, where he will host a weekday show starting in January. (Not sure they'll be a country in 30 years, never mind a president. ~Bob)

Georgia Tech's new MOOC-Based master's degree in computer science: Online: $6,600. On campus: $45,000. By Tamar Lewin
Excerpt: The disruption may be approaching, though, as Georgia Tech, which has one of the country’s top computer science programs, plans to offer a MOOC-based online master’s degree in computer science for $6,600 — far less than the $45,000 on-campus price. Zvi Galil, the dean of the university’s College of Computing, expects that in the coming years, the program could attract up to 10,000 students annually, many from outside the United States and some who would not complete the full master’s degree. “Online, there’s no visa problem,” he said.

Daughters of the Jihad Death Cult. By Robert Spencer
Excerpt: Last Monday in the Russian city of Volgograd, a 30-year-old woman from Dagestan named Naida Akhiyalova boarded a bus. Akhiyalova, a convert to Islam, soon afterward exploded a jihad-martyrdom suicide bomb vest, killing herself, murdering six other people, and injuring over 30 more. The vest, as it turned out, was a gift from Akhiyalova’s 22-year-old husband, Dmitry Sokolov, himself also a convert to Islam. Nothing says “I’m just not that into you” quite like giving your wife a suicide vest.

Excerpt: A US official confirmed to CNN today that Israel struck a military base near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. A military base near Damascus, according to a US official, was also targeted by IsraelCBS News reported. The target of the strike in Latakia, according to the official, was "missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to Hezbollah," CNN reported.

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