Friday, November 15, 2013

Lots for your weekend reading

Click on the pic if too small too read.

Who Caused The Government “Shutown?” The Link To The Affordable Care Act. By Samuel L. Skogstad, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus (Economics)

Mary Landrieu in ’09: You bet I’ll take 100% responsibility for Obamacare’s outcomes

Gives cover to Democrats who all voted for Obamacare. ~Bob

Blindsided by the Obvious: Figuring Out Insurance Under Obama. A tale of woe from the frontlines of the Affordable Care Act
Excerpt: I really wasn’t too concerned about Obamacare personally. I have a good job, with decent — if not great — benefits, and while I was worried about the effect the ill-advised law would have on the nation as a whole, I figured I’d get to keep my insurance. I was further convinced I didn’t need to worry about it when I got an email from my regional manager telling us that corporate had passed a miracle and we’d not be seeing a premium increase. Ha. I fell for that one hook, line, and sinker. (Most of the new plans have very high deductibles, like the $9000 he was shown, which means that the way the risk is being held down a little for the insurer is that the consumer will just get seriously whacked for the great majority of the time that they aren't deathly ill. Then when the deductible kicks off, they get some kind of support, so this becomes in a way like a pretty tough Major Medical Plan. That's not what most Americans are used to, or if they did have a Major Medical Plan, it was fairly inexpensive. Not like what the new plan costs. Now Mr. Obama has said that insurance companies will be able to continue some plans they were going to cancel, for a year anyhow, so that people like the woman with cancer in California won't now be facing a death sentence. Interesting, when the Republicans wanted to delay the ACA, the cry from the Democrats was "it's settled law" and cannot be changed. But I guess nothing is settled in Mr. Obama decides he wants to make changes. Maybe we should all keep in mind now that Obamacare is not "settled law" after all. --Del)

Surprise: The Young Aren't Enrolling in ObamaCare
Excerpt: According to insurers, the early buyers of health coverage on the nation's troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces, says the Wall Street Journal. If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around. "We need a broad range of people to make this work, and we're not seeing that right now," says Heather Thiltgen of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the state's largest insurer by individual customers. "We're seeing the population skewing older." (Huh. Turns out the young are racists, refusing to buy Obamacare so it will fail. ~Bob)

President Obama in a Fix: Obama's press conference showed him to be interested in political cover, not a solution. By Rich Lowry
Excerpt: President Barack Obama just admitted that the “settled law of the land” isn’t the least bit settled, and it hasn’t been sabotaged by Republicans so much as by the ignorance and incompetence of his own administration. Presidents have had worse press conferences than President Obama’s announcing a “fix” for people losing their health insurance, but probably not much worse. He had to resort to his desperation executive maneuver under the pressure of a full-blown Democratic panic on Capitol Hill and rebuke from none other than Bill Clinton.

Feinstein’s Flip-Flop: Even her constituents forced her to back a bill fixing one of Obamacare’s problems. By Charles C. W. Cooke
Excerpt: After serving as a Republican stronghold for the better part of half a century, California is now an exceedingly blue state. So blue, in fact, that it has become the go-to example of rampant Democratic electoral success, and of all the trials and tribulations that come with it. It is the official nerve center of the idiosyncratic Left Coast — the land of high taxes, of peculiar social theories, and of Nancy Pelosi. In much of the country, merely uttering the word “California” is enough to prompt eyes to roll and wry smiles to appear.

Obama announces change to address health insurance cancellations
Excerpt: The president was contrite, and his admissions were many — he conceded that he was left in the dark about aspects of the crowning achievement of his presidency, he acknowledged that he and his advisers underestimated how hard it would be to sell insurance over a Web site, he could not guarantee that the site would work well for everyone by the end of the month, he allowed that federal government rules were an impediment, and he lamented the political problems he caused for members of his party.

Health-care law’s problems test loyalty of Democrats in Congress
Excerpt: The political fallout from the botched launch of the health-care law is presenting congressional Democrats with one of their toughest tests of party loyalty in the five years of the Obama administration. House Republicans are expected to pass a bill Friday that could dramatically undermine the law. And after years of trying to impale the initiative, GOP leaders are hopeful that the political turmoil over the rollout will provide them the support of a sizable bloc of Democrats.

Kirsten Powers: 'No Explanation For Doubling My Premiums Other Than Subsidizing Other People'
Excerpt: Fox News's left of center contributor Kirsten Powers went on a bit of a mini-rant about ObamaCare on Tuesday's Special Report that media members across the fruited plain she (sic-should) sit up and take notice.

Obama Catching On? By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
Excerpt: Of course, if Obama had pitched his health-care-reform plan as an effort at economic redistribution that would include millions of Americans losing their insurance and millions more facing higher premiums, it never would have passed. Maybe this is the most significant moment from Obama’s press conference, where he came dangerously close to admitting that he never really understood health insurance at all: What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy. And another mistake that we made, I think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options with a lot of costs and lot of different benefits and plans and — and somehow expecting that that would be very smooth. “We” are not discovering this, Mr. President. You and your team are. You clearly had no real idea of how your system was going to work, or what the average uninsured person needed. The “complicated nature” of buying insurance that you’ve suddenly discovered is the precise opposite of what you were saying October 1:

Shumlin stays course on health care exchange despite Obama shift
Excerpt: Thursday night, Gov. Peter Shumlin indicated that his commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation would reserve that authority and not allow Vermonters to extend their current plans for another year. After March 31, the roughly 100,000 Vermonters buying insurance independently or via businesses with 50 or fewer employees must buy new plans on the state-run market, Vermont Health Connect. A Web-based market that is still not fully functioning.

Good Column: The Emperor’s New Rules. By Matthew Vadum 
Excerpt: Except that they can’t. The Obamacare statute says they can’t and the economics of the situation won’t allow it. The legal infrastructure of the health care insurance market has been changed. Policies were canceled because they don’t subsidize all the new services that Obamacare mandates. Those policies no longer exist for a reason. Insurers can’t just push a button and bring them back into existence. Obama’s bizarre pronouncement reflects leftists’ disdain and ignorance of market processes, and the president’s determination to proceed in defiance of those processes.

Numbers Aren’t Adding Up for ObamaCare. By Arnold Ahlert 
Excerpt: The Obama administration did its best to inflate the number of ObamaCare enrollees yesterday, but it’s clear even the administration’s most vigorous efforts have fallen painfully short.

Analysis: Is the New Obamacare “Fix” Legal? By Daniel Doherty
Excerpt: He once said that if Congress doesn’t act to fight global warming, of all things, he would. This is what democracy looks like in his eyes. But his latest unilateral quick-fix to Obamacare has raised all sorts of eyebrows. Two questions: (1) What authority does President Obama have to change an existing federal statute duly passed by the Congress, and (2) is such an executive action even lawful?

Five Quotes From the Catastrophically Awful Obamacare Press Conference. By Guy Benson 
Excerpt: President Obama had three goals coming into today's press conference: First, to shift responsibility for the Obamacare fiasco onto insurers by saddling them with mid-implementation changes. Second,to quell Democratic panic on Capitol Hill. And third, to nudge the media toward turning the page on his healthcare debacle. He accomplished none of these things. Indeed, he made things worse -- sinking his presidency to a new nadir. 

Trust frays between President Obama, Democrats
Excerpt: The White House chief of staff might have been better off revealing a U.S. map with the president’s plan for saving congressional Democrats’ seats — or just apologizing for letting so many Democrats walk out in public and repeat wildly inaccurate White House claims about the health of the enrollment website and Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans if they liked them.

Top White House officials refuse to testify on Obamacare
Excerpt: On Nov. 7, Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, along with subcommittee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, sent the White House a letter requesting testimony from top Obama aides Nancy-Ann DeParle and Jeanne Lambrew. Both are leading figures shaping the White House position in Obamacare design and implementation. ... On Tuesday, Issa got his answer: No. 

Three political reasons led to Obama’s capitulation yesterday
Excerpt: Three primarily political reasons drove the Obama concession yesterday to allow insurance companies to continue to cover customers whose plans don’t meet ObamaCare standards. And none really had anything to do with doing what was right for the citizenry. He wasn’t really doing anyone any favors except Democrats. He was, as usual, focused solely on limiting political damage.

Video: Jon Stewart marks the end of ‘Yes we can’
This is too funny. ~Bob

USA Today banner headline: 'Health Law Shakes Presidency.' Subhead: 'Obama apologizes, but that might not be enough now.'

More dead people voted in the last election than enrolled in ObamaCare. Congratulations America!

Little-Known Tax Funding Obamacare
Excerpt: If you are single with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or file jointly with an income of $250,000 or more, you may be impacted. Once you sell your home, any profits over the first $500,000 are already subject to a capital gains tax. And now those profits will have an additional 3.8% tax to fund Obamacare.

Obamacare vs. Katrina. By Jonah Goldberg, The Goldberg File
Excerpt: The New York Times today compares the Obamacare debacle to Bush's problems with Katrina. It's a comparison I've made several times myself. But the obvious difference is that George W. Bush didn't spend years forcing the Affordable Hurricane Act on the American people. And he didn't have three years to plan for its arrival, either. Nor did he have a national press corps desperate to minimize the downside of the storm. Unless you're Louis Farrakhan or Spike Lee, nobody entertains the idea that flooding New Orleans has been a goal of conservatism for decades. Oh and conservatives didn't go around saying that they had completely and totally mastered all of the nuances of meteorology and climate. And -- wait -- I should also mention that Republicans never said that any criticism of their Affordable Hurricane Act was racist and extremist. Aha! I almost forgot. Bush didn't promise every single living American: "You can keep your current weather if you like it. Period." But other than that, I guess the comparison is spot on.

Good Column: Obama in the Dark: Dems have only themselves to blame for Obamacare quagmire. By Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: Watching President Obama’s press conference Thursday, I almost started humming the old ditty “The Farmer in the Dell” because all I could think was: “The cheese stands alone.”
The president did his level best to explain that he was as in the dark as anybody about the problems with his signature legislation.

PFoL’s Ads Are Better: #NoThanksObamacare
Good ads. ~Bob

Bowie State University cancels student health plans as premiums increase 1,500 percent
Excerpt: Young people fully supported President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. But many are beginning to feel the sting of the President’s signature law as health plans begin to disappear under Obamacare, including students at Bowie State University in Maryland. The historically black college announced on its website it decided to suspend offering health plans to students as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

"For the truth is that the good news on costs just keeps coming in." -- Paul Krugman on Obamacare, September 8, 2013.

Staff Warned in July That Website Was Failing
Excerpt: A series of emails released Friday by a House committee show that staff overseeing development of the website were worried the project was off-track and in jeopardy of failing several months before the scheduled Oct. 1 launch.

Why liberals are panicked about Obamacare. By Charles Krauthammer
Excerpt: Coming from the dean of the Democratic Party, this one line marked the breaching of the dam. It legitimized the brewing rebellion of panicked Democrats against Obamacare. Within hours, that rebellion went loudly public. By Thursday, President Obama had been forced into a rear-guard holding action, asking insurers to grant a one-year extension of current plans. The damage to the Obama presidency, however, is already done.

Just so we're clear: Obama has threatened a veto because the House legally did today what he illegally said he wanted to do

Obamacare plans will cost MORE 'in many cases' even with government subsidies, officials admit for the first time
The Non-Affordable, Obama-Doesn't-Care Act. ~Bob

"153 Democrats in the House don't want you to keep the insurance plans you like"

Obamacare Update
  • Only 106,185 people signed up during the first month of ObamaCare. Three-quarters of those were through state-based exchanges, while 26,794 of those were able to sign up through the website. The Obama Administration was hoping that more than 450,000 people would enroll the first month.
  • Meanwhile, tens of millions of people could be forced out of their current health insurance plans. This, in spite of the President's repeated promises to the contrary.
  • Even President Clinton says that President Obama should keep his promise. Note to President Obama: When Bill Clinton lectures you about keeping your promises, you have a serious problem.
  • House Republicans introduced the 2-page "Keep Your Health Plan Act" that gives insurance companies a year to offer health plans that were canceled because of Obamacare. Despite the President's threat to veto the bill, several Democrats (including leadership) openly considered voting for it. In the end, the bill passed 261-157, with 39 Democrats supporting.
  • Trying to provide cover for the Democrats, President Obama announced that health insurers would be allowed to renew canceled policies. Even Howard Dean wondered where the President gets his legal authority to make such unilateral decrees.
  • Insurance companies are not happy because the President's surprise announcement effectively shifts the responsibility to them.
  • Senate Democrats are not happy with the situation. Neither are House Democrats. Basically, Democrats who voted for ObamaCare are mad.
  • Meanwhile, the website still isn't working. They hope to have it fixed by the end of the month, but probably won't.
  • Everyone agrees that this is a big mess.
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‘I Won’t Enforce It’: Sheriff in NY Wins Third Term by Standing Against SAFE Act
Excerpt: Four words that he uttered at a news conference last May helped Timothy B. Howard win a third term as Erie County sheriff. The words were “I won’t enforce it,” and Howard was talking about the SAFE Act, a controversial new state firearms law that has outraged gun owners.

Good Column: The Global Warming God Strikes Again. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: After Hurricane Katrina devastated New OrleansMayor Ray Nagin said that the storm was divine punishment for “being in Iraq under false pretenses.” Not only was a Liberal deity taking a position on WMDs and punishing George W. Bush by evicting a lot of black people from their homes, but the Democratic divinity was paradoxically also committed to progressive housing policies. “This city will be a majority-African American city. It’s the way God wants it to be,” Nagin promised.

Hezbollah Wants Iran Deal Almost as Much as Obama. By Ari Lieberman 
Excerpt: On Wednesday, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah announced (from a secret location) that the P5 + 1 group’s failure to reach an agreement with the Islamic Republic on sanctions will result in a regional war. Clearly, Nasrallah wants and, in fact, needs a deal. Sanctions have already cost Iran 130 billion dollars. 

Does Washington Know Best? By Walter Williams 
Excerpt: While you ponder that, how many Americans would like Washington to be in charge of managing the delivery of food and other items to the nation’s supermarkets? Today’s average well-stocked U.S. supermarket stocks 60,000 to 65,000 different items from all over the U.S. and the world. Congress or some congressionally created committee could organize the choice of products and their prices. Maybe there’d be some cost savings. After all, what says that we should have so many items from which to choose? Why wouldn’t 10,000 do?

Russia offers Egypt major arms deal
Excerpt: Russia is proposing to sell Egypt modern fighter jets, helicopters and air defense systems reportedly worth $2 billion, Russian officials said, in a clear sign of returning military cooperation between the two countries. (The result of "leading from behind." ~Bob)

Excerpt: A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about Hugo Chavez' successor to the Venezuelan Presidency, Nicolas Meduro, creating a new government cabinet department named the Department of Happiness. It seems the folks in oil rich Venezuela are a little put out by high utility rates, soaring inflation and general starvation. So, to boost citizen morale Meduro established the Department of Happiness. While we don't know all the details, apparently Meduro's henchman call in a irate citizen and allow him to voice his gripes about empty stomachs, crumbling infrastructure and roving power outages. 

Al-Qaeda-linked rebels apologise after cutting off head of wrong person: Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham militants say sorry for decapitating a fellow extremist rather than enemy
Excerpt: Militant Islamist rebels in Syria linked to al-Qaeda have asked for "understanding and forgiveness" for cutting off and putting on display the wrong man's head. In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo.

VIDEO: 'Muslim Brotherhood' protesters storm London university lecture on Egypt
Excerpt: A guest lecture at a London university was abandoned when protesters backing Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood chased the speaker from the stage. Speaker Mohamed El-Nabawy had to be ushered off stage by security guards when around 30 demonstrators stormed a lecture theatre at Bloomsbury’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which is part of the University of London. (Anyone who thinks the Arab Spring was about Freedom is feeble minded. ~Bob)

Christians in Syria face mounting horrors
Excerpt: As the conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters rages on, the country's Christians fear they are becoming easy targets for Islamic extremists. "In fact attacks on churches happen a lot now. They are also targeting Christians," Hanna wrote. "Many of them are killed or kidnapped. When they are kidnapped they ask their families for ransom or they force them to convert to Islam. Women are often raped.

Syria conflict: Grief and anger in Damascus
Excerpt: One woman, her eyes red from crying, approached me with a tearful message. "Tell the West to leave us alone," Rima Haddad cried. "What did these children do to die like this? Please tell America, Britain, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia they are bad people."

Key Republican compares Obama push to delay Iran sanctions to appeasement of Nazis before WWII
Excerpt: Key US Senate Republican Mark Kirk slammed the White House's push to delay new sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, comparing the Obama administration's actions to Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Nazi Germany before World War II.

Open Season on Jews? By Colin Flaherty
Excerpt: Open season on Jews continues. The latest reported example of black mob violence on Jews came last Sunday night in the Orthodox enclave of Crown Heights. A security video obtained by, shows a group of black people punching a young Jewish man in face. The video is so compelling and the number of recent cases so great that some network affiliates are having a hard time ignoring it.

Excerpt: President Barack Obama is the perfect "Low Information President." He is not really interested very much in doing his job. He doesn't know anything going on in his own administration. He is always the last to know. He learns important developments only when he reads about it in the newspaper, apparently after first reading the sports section.

You can hate on gays, blacks, or whatever as long as you also really hate on Republicans. #TwoHatesMakeARight

Excerpt: I wonder how many bats coal and nuclear power plants killed last year? More than 600,000 bats were killed by wind energy turbines in 2012, a serious blow to creatures who pollinate crops and help control flying insects, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Denver.

Excerpt: How do you fundamentally transform a nation from what it has been to what a clique of ideologues wants it to be? The easiest way is to convince the general population that what the would-be masters want is what the people want. Those seeking to subvert a culture must take a long view. They must realize that this will be a multistage project that will take generations to achieve.


Climate Scientists Murder World’s Oldest Creature
Excerpt: A group of “climate change experts” that discovered a 507-year-old clam that was the world’s oldest known creature killed it in the process of determining its age. (At least it didn't fly into a wind farm. ~Bob)

Excerpt: Let’s see how that’s working out.
In Oakland, a lot of people who shouldn’t have guns have them, and a lot of people who might defend themselves from those people now have a much harder time obtaining a gun. Armed robbery is up 24% over last year.

Polls: Young Voters Turn on Obama. By Guy Benson 
Excerpt: Three horrific polls bombarded the president over the last week. ... In the latest Q-poll, Obama's overall approval rating is underwater by 15 percentage points (39/54). Among young voters, the gap is larger: (36/54). The same trend plays out on issues. ("You'll say, 'Lord, Lord, we dinna ken.' And the Lord in his mercy well look doon and say, 'Well, ye ken noo!" --Scots divine to his congregation. ~Bob)

Now Obama even totally sucks at lying, which used to be the one thing at which he excelled.

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