Thursday, December 26, 2013
The announcement itself was vague, saying only that if website problems had prevented any consumers from enrolling, they might qualify for what the government has called “a special enrollment period.” The administration did not say how long that would last. Nor did it define what website errors might be involved.
In its effort to help consumers and to avoid political damage to the president, the administration has announced a series of policy changes, delays, extensions and clarifications in recent months. (New York Times, 12/24/2013)
Vague...undefined...changes...delays...extensions...clarifications. It's Obamacare!
Imagine a candidate who comes out early, and strong, for adding a public option to the ACA exchanges. It could become a signature issue with the liberal grass roots during the primaries, and it wouldn’t be a bad general election issue either — the polls in 2010 showed support for a public option among Republicans and independents as well as Democrats. (George Zornick, Washington Post, 12/24/2013)
There is cluelessness and then there is Liberalism. Still poverty after 50 years and hundreds of billions of dollars in aid? The Liberal answer is that we are not spending enough. Millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S.? Answer: wave a wand and decree them to be legal. Obamacare imploding? Take the next step and make the entire health care system government-run. Yes, the same government that has so effectively managed the U.S. Postal Service. (New postal rate hike imminent.)
Speaking for the other side, RedStateVT strongly strongly strongly encourages Democrats to take up Zornick's charge. Demand that single payer be on the Democrat party platform and insist that all Democrats running for office sign on.
(Republicans would have a super-majority for a hundred years...)
Taken together, they amount to a sweeping exercise of executive power — what Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School describes as a “pattern of circumventing Congress in the creation of new major standards, exceptions or outright nullifications.” (New York Times, 12/24/2013)
And once again, it is important to point out the obvious. For all the Liberal outrage about abuse of executive power by George Bush, it is Barack Obama who has repeatedly and shamelessly upped the game.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is quiet as a church mouse.
Stories Add Up as Bully Image Trails Christie (New York Times headline, 12/25/2013)
Time for the Times to start roughing up Chris Christie. Can't let those numbers get too high. They've got a female Democrat to get elected.
There are ten stories featured in the POLITICS section of the 12/24 edition of the New York Times. Three of the ten are about same sex marriage. Reached for comment, a Times spokesperson said: "Yeah, that's about right."
(OK, we made that last part up.)
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
If it Quacks Like a Duck
The Phil Robertson controversy follows a similar pattern, indeed it is engraved in the playbook of the Gay Thought Police (GTP). Find a Christian target. It could be a politician, a celebrity, a businessman, an athlete or some other public figure. Ask them what they think about homosexuality. Then express outrage when they give you an honest answer. It has happened so many times that it is predictably boring. The difference this time is that the non-gay public, and frankly some thoughtful gay people as well, have had enough.
We again implore everyone to adopt the RedStateVT philosophy which goes like this:
Everyone is entitled to love who they love.
Everyone should stop talking about their sexuality.
After the Newtown killings a year ago, state legislatures across the country debated measures that would have more strictly limited the gun rights of those with mental illness. But most of the bills failed amid resistance from both the gun lobby and mental health advocates concerned about unfairly stigmatizing people. In Washington, discussion of new mental health restrictions was conspicuously absent from the federal gun control debate. (New York Times, 12/22/2013)
Because, God forbid, we do not want to stigmatize mentally ill people who may become violent.
And if the gun lobby truly did resist efforts at restricting access to gun by the mentally ill then shame on them.
The Democrat Philosophy
Democrats Work to Raise Number of Female Governors (New York Times headline, 12/22/2013)
Here it is in eight words.
Not let's find competent governors. Not let's find qualified governors. Not let's find experienced governors.
No, let's find women governors. Because it is all about identity politics with Democrats. Hence, Hillary Clinton is already a front-runner. Another box to be checked.
Union cash helps elect politicians who then reward the unions with higher pay and benefits. The cycle repeats until taxes become destructive and spending is unaffordable. Exhibit A is Detroit. But some 38 local governments have filed for bankruptcy since 2010, "largely because of out-of-control pension costs," Mr. Bloomberg said. (Wall Street Journal, 12/20/2013)
MSNBC hosts David Gregory and Chris Matthews slammed the nomination of Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) to Ambassador to China Friday afternoon.
Meet the Press host David Gregory characterized the choice as “curious” considering Baucus’s lack of foreign policy experience and the immense security challenges the United States faces with China. (Freebeacon.com, 12/20/2013)
And we know that Gregory and Matthews are sincere because they similarly criticized the choice of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. Clinton who - like Baucus - had no foreign policy experience.
Or are we remembering that wrong?
Suzy K. Johnson, who is president of Employee Benefit Advisors, an insurance brokerage firm in North Carolina, said HealthCare.gov had been working smoothly for her clients. “The website is working, and many are getting significant subsidies,” she said. By midday, she said, her office had helped six people sign up for coverage. (New York Times, 12/24/2013)
How exciting! Many are getting "significant subsidies."
Question: Where do these subsidies come from?
Is it from a) The Magic Government Money Machine, or b) Money collected from taxpayers?
The president opted for a bronze plan, one of the less expensive options on the HealthCare.gov site. (New York Times, 12/24/2013)
Curious that Obama shopped price. Which frankly is what most people will be forced to do given the sky high premiums. Most people that are not having their health insurance paid for through subsidies, i.e. from taxpayers.
During more than 14 hours of interviews in Russia, the former NSA contractor reflected on the roots and repercussions of his decision to go public with caches of top secret documents. By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA now faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden told The Post’s Barton Gellman. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. (Washington Post, 12/23/2013)
Hey, Snowden. You know what isn't finished? Your life sentence once you step back on American soil!
Saturday, December 21, 2013
The Idea Man
“I am sure that I will have even better ideas after a couple days of sleep and sun.” (President Obama, 12/20/2013)
"Oh God help us." (RedStateVT, 12/20/2013)
However incoherent these fixes may seem, they send two messages, loud and clear. The first is that although liberal pundits may think that the law is a done deal, impossible to repeal, the administration does not believe that. The willingness to take large risks with the program’s stability indicates that the administration thinks it has a huge amount to lose -- that the White House is in a battle for the program’s very existence, not a few marginal House and Senate seats. (Megan McArdle, Bloomberg.com, 12/20/2013)
Good reminder that the "Obamacare is the law of the land" defense from Dems is, well, not exactly accurate.
It is also important to note how each "delay" or "fix" of Obamacare creates embarrassment for Dems and their media supporters who five minutes earlier were earnestly defending the very things that Obama had to postpone or unwind.
In a year-end press conference, Obama was asked to identify the worst error of his administration this year. “There’s no doubt that when it came to healthcare roll-out, even though I was meeting every other week or every three weeks with folks … the fact is, it didn’t happen in the first month, the first six weeks, in a way that was at all acceptable,” he replied. (Newyorkpost.com, 12/20/2013)
So Obama was meeting every two or three weeks with the team responsible for what he himself calls his most important initiative?
Is he kidding? In the business world, such meetings would be at least once a week. Not that Obama has a clue about how the business world works....
We take some solace that Obama is finally being asked the type of question that the Legitimate Media peppered George W with repeatedly.
Gov. Deval Patrick’s convicted drug dealer cousin was among eight people whose hefty sentences were commuted yesterday by President Obama, who cited a disparity in penalties for crack cocaine. (Bostonherald.com, 12/20/2013)
So THAT'S why Patrick and his wife had that dinner with the Obamas right after the election.
Ginger Chapman and her husband, Doug, are sitting on the health care cliff.
The cheapest insurance plan they can find through the new federal marketplace in New Hampshire will cost their family of four about $1,000 a month, 12 percent of their annual income of around $100,000 and more than they have ever paid before.
Even more striking, for the Chapmans, is this fact: If they made just a few thousand dollars less a year — below $94,200 — their costs would be cut in half, because a family like theirs could qualify for federal subsidies. (New York Times, 12/20/2013)
One of the heretofore untold consequences of the mess that is Obamacare. But, it is actually worse. Assuming a deductible of (conservatively) $5000, the Chapmans could end up paying more like 17% of their pre-tax income for health care.
Thank you Liberals. Hard-working middle class people get screwed so that you can provide federally subsidized insurance to others.
Friday, December 20, 2013
With and Without
Millions of people facing the cancellation of health insurance policies will be allowed to buy catastrophic coverage and will be exempt from penalties if they go without insurance next year, the White House said Thursday night.
The New York Times headline should read:
OBAMA ALLOWS MILLIONS TO BUY JUNK POLICIES FROM BAD APPLE INSURERS!
Will MSNBC's hosts react with outrage? After all, they said over and over again that these policies were evil. What will they say now? If history is any guide, they will ignore the issue entirely and run stories on Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz.
The Times is good enough to remind us of previous, ahem, delays:
On July 2, the White House abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in a provision that requires larger employers to offer coverage to their workers or pay penalties.
On Nov. 27, it deferred a major element of the law that would allow small businesses to buy insurance online for their employees through the federal exchange.
Earlier, in April, the administration said that the federal exchange would not offer employees of a small business the opportunity to choose from multiple health plans in 2014.
And in October 2011, the administration scrapped a long-term care insurance program created by the new law, saying it was too costly and would not work. (New York Times, 12/19/2013)
But Mr. Obama must decide whether such a recalibration would unreasonably increase the risk of terrorists slipping through the surveillance net. For all of his campaign speeches, that was a risk he was not willing to take once in office. Yet in recent months, he has discussed eventually ending the war on terrorism. (New York Times, 12/20/2013)
War ends when one side surrenders.
Mr. Obama came into office having run against Mr. Bush’s first term but inheriting his second. Before leaving office, Mr. Bush had already moderated his counterterrorism program in hopes that it would survive his presidency. He stopped waterboarding, emptied secret C.I.A. prisons, transferred many prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and secured bipartisan legislation on detention, interrogation and surveillance. (New York Times, 12/20/2013)
The Times looks back kindly and nostalgically on W.
After spending years savaging him.
President Obama, expanding his push to curtail severe penalties for drug offenses, is expected on Thursday to commute the sentences of eight federal inmates who were convicted of crack cocaine offenses. Each inmate has been imprisoned for at least 15 years, and six were sentenced to life in prison. (New York Times, 12/19/2013)
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not soft on crime.
Liberals are not.....
In every one of these mass shootings, there was someone in a position to say before the attack, "Trust me, this person is a psycho." Try getting Jared Loughner or James Holmes through any mental illness hearing in which they're required to speak. (Though both might end up being offered their own shows on MSNBC.)
Democrats absolutely will not address the one thing that was screaming out from all of the mass shootings: a crazy person committing the crime. We can't medicate them and we can't lock them up because the ACLU has handcuffed society's ability to deal rationally with the mentally disturbed.
Not only will Democrats refuse to address the problem of the mentally ill on their own, but they will fight to the last ditch to protect any crazy person's right not to take his medication. (AnnCoulter.com, 12/18/2013)
The great Coulter takes up RedStateVT's cause celebre: mental illness, Democrats and mass shootings.
Trying to harness the widespread electoral and celebrity support that delivered him to City Hall, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on Thursday unveiled his newest campaign, to win a tax on high-earning New Yorkers to vastly improve the city’s prekindergarten and after-school programs. (New York Times, 12/20/2013)
Despite numerous long-term scientifically controlled studies showing absolutely no long term benefit to early education, Comrade Bill and his Liberal cohorts push on. They are so invested in their own moral superiority that they ignore the facts.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
A new federal report shows that the percentage of American high school students who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug is falling.
The report raises concerns that the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, which can now be sold legally in 20 states and the District of Columbia, has been influencing use of the drug among teenagers. Health officials are concerned by the steady increase and point to what they say is a growing body of evidence that adolescent brains, which are still developing, are susceptible to subtle changes caused by marijuana. (New York Times, 12/18/2013)
And in the news today, Brattleboro becomes the fourth Vermont city to have a "medical" marijuana store. Governor Peter Shumlin must be so proud! Did he attend the opening? Was there a ribbon-cutting ceremony?
After being introduced, the president just about bounced onto the stage. A few days earlier I had heard a commentator say he seemed in the dumps these days. That afternoon he was fresh, unruffled — in other words, cool. (Maybe it was because our state’s health-insurance exchange, Covered California, demonstrates how well the Affordable Care Act works when implemented correctly: My youngest daughter got a silver plan that drastically reduces her monthly premiums within an hour of applying.) (Ishmael Reed, New York Times, 12/19/2013)
This is the kind of utter nonsense that the New York Times sees fit to print. An entire puff piece on how President Obama is President Cool. Yes, not only Cool, he is Be Bop Jazz Cool!
And Reed is just thrilled that his daughter got a cheap new health plan. Why we wonder would a young person opt for a silver plan when cheaper options are available? Oh, that's right. You have to choose a silver plan in order to get federal subsidies. So President Cool did the Reed family a solid by giving them some freebies...courtesy of taxpayers. Got it.
Americans who lack medical coverage disapprove of President Obama’s health care law at roughly the same rate as the insured, even though most say they struggle to pay for basic care, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Fifty-three percent of the uninsured disapprove of the law, the poll found, compared with 51 percent of those who have health coverage. (New York Times, 12/19/2013)
Actually, the uninsured disapprove of Obamacare by a greater percentage than the insured. But that is something that the New York Times cannot bring itself to write.
Senator Max Baucus of Montana, soon to be nominated as President Obama’s next ambassador to China, is the powerful — and, to many fellow Democrats, infuriating — chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He is also the conflicted architect of Mr. Obama’s health care law.
Now, if he is confirmed, Mr. Baucus, who had already announced that he would not run for re-election in 2014, will join the administration whose bureaucratic ineptitude he foresaw in April when he warned of a “huge train wreck” if officials did not do a better job explaining the Affordable Care Act. (New York Times, 12/19/2013)
Obama's objective? To get Baucus out of town. As far away as possible. It's China only because the position of Ambassador to the Moon has already been filled.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Why did MSNBC's Chris Matthews fail to ask President Obama to grade himself on his five years in office? Last time Obama was asked he gave himself a B+. What does he think he deserves now?
What happened to the "Republican War on Women" that we heard so much about during the last presidential election? Is it over? Who won?
...charitable contributions made by the Jane Fonda Foundation. Grand total for the years 2007 to 2011: zero dollars.
Ms. Fonda isn't exactly the world's first cheapskate limousine liberal: Think of Bill Clinton claiming a tax deduction for donating his underwear, or the $353 Al Gore gave to charity in 1997. (Bret Stephens, WSJ, 12/16/2013)
Why are Liberals such cheapskates when it comes to charitable giving? Because they believe that the government should be responsible for charity through entitlement programs.
Politicians talk about family values but do almost nothing to help families. They talk about parental responsibility but do almost nothing to help parents. They talk about self-sufficiency but do precious little to make self-sufficiency a reality for those who must struggle hardest to achieve it.
...it was exciting last week to see Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut introduce the FAMILY Act, the acronym standing for their Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. The bill would provide partial income for up to 12 weeks of leave for new parents and for other family demands, such as care for a sick family member, including a domestic partner. (E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post, 12/15/2013)
So Dionne Jr. believes it is the duty of government to promote family values, apparently by giving families more government-mandated freebies. This is the essence of Liberal philosophy: illogical, contradictory, and bizarre.
Did you drop out of school and get hooked on drugs? Did you get pregnant and then abandoned by your drug-addicted boyfriend? Do you have three children by three different men? Do you abuse your health through alcohol and fast food? Would you rather panhandle than clean toilets? Not to worry! Liberals will give you complete immunity and protect you from your bad decisions. It's Family Values!
In America’s health-care dialogue, emergency rooms have come to symbolize the system’s economic and medical defects. To critics, typical ERs are swamped by the uninsured, who — lacking a regular doctor or source of care — go where they will be treated. Performing routine medicine at high prices, ERs are crowded and costly. If the uninsured had insurance, these problems would recede. Better medicine at less cost.
Who could oppose that? Well, nobody. It was a selling point for the Affordable Care Act. The trouble is that the story is mostly make-believe. (Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 12/11/2013)
Good article which we recommend to Liberal bloggers who continually cite the use of emergency rooms by the uninsured as a major reason why we need Obamacare. Maybe not....
Monday, December 16, 2013
Ebb and Flow
A Westchester County (New York) attorney with a practice focused on estate planning for high net worth individuals tells us something fascinating: the high-end real estate market in the wealthier suburbs of Manhattan is booming. Why? Wealthy New Yorkers are fleeing Manhattan to get away from the city's mayor-elect, Comrade Bill de Blasio who makes absolutely no secret of his plan to tax the rich to pay for his universal pre-K socialist dream...among other schemes. Which proves once again that as long as we have some semblance of a capitalist economy money will flow to the areas where it can be used most efficiently by the individual...and not the government.
Insurers said that they had found many discrepancies and errors and that the government was overstating the improvements in HealthCare.gov. (NYT, 12/15/2013)
Insurance companies who chose to partner with Obamacare in the hopes of reaping the spoils are finding that they made a Faustian bargain. They will continue to be Obama's whipping boy when things go badly and they will be forced to deal with the mess that Healthcare.gov has made of the enrollment process. See the following as well:
The government’s overriding message to insurers is: Do whatever you have to do to maximize enrollment and to provide coverage by Jan. 1 to anyone who wants it. Federal health officials have told insurers that they can sort out the details and work out financial arrangements with the government later. (NYT, 12/15/2013)
Translation: make Obama look good on the enrollment numbers and Obama will make you whole. Insurers should believe it at their own risk.
Events this week beg the question: where among the 1.56 billion Muslims is our Mandela? Where is our Mahatma? Where is our Mandiba? Where our liberator?
Instead of rearing a Mandela, someone who could bring people of different faiths together to build a more peaceful world, Muslims attempt to assassinate a Malala before maturity. We are undeserving of such great souls and yet the need has never been greater. (Qanta Ahmed, Foxnews.com, 12/13/2013)
Wonderful column which echoes a point that RedStateVT has made in the past. Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?
In explaining the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that “we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”
An interesting discovery to make after having consigned the vast universe of American medicine, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, to the tender mercies of the agency bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 12/12/2013)
Nobody can dissect Obama quite like Krauthammer. This may be his best column yet on Obama's failures.
Speaking of Matthews, we were recalling his recent nauseating interview with the president. Recall that he said: "I'm going to put you on the spot now." One could see Obama visibly tighten thinking he might actually get a real question (in violation of the rules of engagement no doubt worked out in advance between MSNBC and the Obama press people). The question Matthews asked was this: "Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden?" There was NO way that Chris Matthews was going to ask a question which might jeopardize his invitation to the White House Christmas party.
School property taxes may be going up even more than first expected.
The Vermont Department of Taxes warned lawmakers last month that they would need to raise the statewide property tax rate by 5 cents this coming year to meet rising school costs. (WCAX.com, 12/13/2013)
Just one of many tax increases that will be brought to you by Vermont Progressives (Motto: There is NO amount of social re-engineering that we cannot accomplish together ... with your tax dollars!)
Federal health officials announced on Wednesday that some 1.2 million people selected plans on federal or state exchanges during the months of October and November. That included 803,000 people who applied to the exchanges and were found eligible for Medicaid or a related Children’s Health Insurance Program that provide public insurance for the poor — in addition to nearly 365,000 people who chose private plans. (NYT, 12/16/2013)
Liberals blew up American health care for all citizens in order to provide free health care to some. A typical Liberal solution to a problem.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The working poor or near poor are also disadvantaged by our tax system. When a low-wage worker gets a raise or his or her spouse joins the workforce, food stamps are cut back. The family’s Medicaid eligibility is in jeopardy, and earned-income tax credit refunds are reduced or eliminated. A November 2012 Congressional Budget Office analysis concluded that the marginal tax rate imposed on increased income for such workers can be as much as 95 cents on every additional dollar earned. This is counterproductive. (Robert E. Rubin, Roger C. Altman and Melissa Kearney, Washington Post, 12/8/2013)
Let's be clear. The working poor pay NO taxes. None. They get government benefits which are reduced when they begin earning money via something called "a job." Isn't this the way it should be? Are Rubin et. al. arguing that those who find employment (good for them!) should continue to receive all the government support they had before they found work?
To Be...Or Not
For the last half-century, Obama has simply had to be. Just being Obama was enough to waft him onwards and upwards: He was the Harvard Law Review president who never published a word, the community organizer who never organized a thing, the state legislator who voted present. And then one day came the day when it wasn't enough simply to be. For the first time in his life, he had to do. And it turns out he can't. He's not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. And Healthcare.gov is about what you'd expect if you nationalized a sixth of the economy and gave it to the Assistant Deputy Commissar of the Department of Paperwork and the Under-Regulator-General of the Bureau of Compliance. (Mark Steyn, Steynonline.com, 12/4/2013)
Loyal readers - really loyal readers - will remember that Mark Steyn's "America Alone" was the subject of RedStateVT's very first post. He is one of our favorites for sure.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Hark the Herald
For months, the Obama administration has heralded the low premiums of medical insurance policies on sale in the insurance exchanges created by the new health law. But as consumers dig into the details, they are finding that the deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs are often much higher than what is typical in employer-sponsored health plans. (NYT, 12/8/2013)
Here is the bottom line on health insurance costs. If you were a responsible person, previously had health insurance and do not qualify for subsidies under Obamacare: YOU. WILL. PAY. MORE.
The average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange—the lowest-priced coverage—is $5,081 a year, according to a new report on insurance offerings in 34 of the 36 states that rely on the federally run online marketplace.
That is 42% higher than the average deductible of $3,589 for an individually purchased plan in 2013 before much of the federal law took effect, according to HealthPocket Inc., a company that compares health-insurance plans for consumers. (WSJ, 12/8/2013)
Another Obamacare lie: If you like your deductible you can keep it.
The technology troubles that plagued the HealthCare.gov website rollout may not have come as a shock to people who work for certain agencies of the government — especially those who still use floppy disks, the cutting-edge technology of the 1980s.
It turns out, however, that the Federal Register employees who take in the information for publication from across the government still receive some of it on the 3.5-inch plastic storage squares that have become all but obsolete in the United States. (NYT, 12/6/2013)
Obama administration officials offered two explanations as to why government agencies were still using floppy disks: 1) Republican budget cuts and, 2) it's George Bush's fault.
Last Monday, Mark Larson, commissioner of the state department overseeing the insurance website, had bad news for these employers. They would be unable to complete their transactions because of continuing problems with the premium processing and payment functions, he said. Instead, their current insurance carriers would automatically extend their 2013 plans for three months. This affects 3,500 workers, Lunge said.
“The small businesses I deal with are really upset at this latest state of affairs,” reported Cathy Lamberton, executive vice president of Associated General Contractors of Vermont. Those contractors who stuck with trying to sign up for insurance on the website devoted a lot of time — for nothing, she said. (BFP, 12/8/2013)
We are guessing that Mark Larson will give his stock excuse: All of these problems will disappear once Vermont enacts a single-payer system.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
If you still do not believe that the Legitimate Media is biased (how is that possible after 5 years of RedStateVT?) watch the Chris Matthews interview with President Obama. It is embarrassing, fawning and cringe-inducing.
Sample Liberal interview question for George Bush: "What do you have to say to the mothers of soldiers maimed and killed in Iraq?" Sample interview question for Barack Obama: "How do you stay focused on your transformative agenda given the ceaseless attacks by Republicans?"
So President Obama's uncle, in this country illegally for decades, is officially allowed to remain. That's fine, but where is the wall-to-wall coverage from the Legitimate Media? You know, like we got about Bristol Palin....
Drawn and Quartered
The Obama administration said Friday that the enrollment records for roughly a quarter of all the people who signed up for health insurance on its website in October and November could contain errors, raising questions about whether those consumers would get coverage in time to pay for their medical care next month. (NYT, 12/6/2013)
A White House spokesman said that the administration would undertake a "tech surge" and move with "private sector speed" to ensure that these "glitches" involving the enrollment records were corrected for "a vast majority" of website users by January 31st. The spokesman reminded the public that Obamacare is "more than a website."
Multiple Democrats on Capitol Hill are worried that House Democratic leaders are close to joining with House GOP leaders to support a bipartisan measure that could undermine the White House’s efforts to reach a long term deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program... (Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 12/6/2013)
See, Republicans are perfectly willing to work with Democrats in a bi-partisan fashion.
Chat It Up
The chattering class is conducting one of its periodic evaluations of Michelle Obama, and is, as usual, finding her wanting. Before, she was too outspoken; now, too demure. A month ago, the New York Times reported that she has been “derided by critics who hoped she would use her historic position to move more deeply into policy.” Then came Politico’s headline calling her a feminist nightmare. (Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 12/6/2013)
Milbank's column is about feminist criticism of Michelle Obama. Such criticism which runs to Mrs. Obama should play a larger role in policy decision-making. Here is the sad truth and it is blunt and graphic:
Feminists would not be happy with Michelle Obama unless she were to volunteer her time by working in an abortion clinic.
Bait and Tackle
Assisting is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose only planetary function these days is as left tackle for the White House. (Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 12/5/2013)
Just quoting this because it is a killer line!
Thursday, December 5, 2013
One Trick President
Now that Healthcare.gov has been fixed (you heard that it's fixed, didn't you?), Obama and his media sycophants can pivot to the next issue: economic inequality. Which was his issue for the past five years as well. Yes, class warfare is back.
“Now that the website is working for the vast majority of people,” Mr. Obama added, “we need to make sure that folks refocus on what’s at stake here, which is the capacity for you or your families to be able to have the security of decent health insurance at a reasonable cost through choice and competition on this marketplace, and tax credits that you may be eligible for that can save you hundreds of dollars in premium costs every month, potentially.” (NYT, 12/5/2013)
Who would not want health insurance that is subsidized by other people?
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare's architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law's new exchanges. (CNN.com, 12/4/2013)
Remember our last post? When we talked about the corruption surrounding Obamacare?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed for reporters Monday that President Obama has yet to sign up for Obamacare, saying “I know he will and has said that he will… but I don’t have an update.”
When asked what the President was waiting for and whether the White House would announce when the President did sign up for Obamacare, Carney laughed uncomfortably and could only respond, “I’ll get back to you on that.” (Washington Free Beacon, 12/2/2013)
Actually, the truth is that Obama tried to sign up, but has been placed in one of those waiting queues...
Most important, Mr. Dorn said, younger enrollees, who also tend to be less affluent, will receive tax subsidies. If premium prices spike, the government will absorb that cost, ensuring they do not flee the exchanges. (NYT, 12/5/2013)
So the young who are needed to enroll in Obamacare in great numbers to offset the high medical costs of the old and sickly will receive tax subsidies from the government to pay for their premiums...which are needed to offset the high medical costs of the old and sickly. Does any of this make sense to you?
Not to worry, if premiums go up the government will "absorb that cost." Government will absorb that cost in one of two ways: either through tax revenue collected from taxpayers or from the Magic Money Machine.
A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work? Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” (Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 12/3/2013)
Certainly not George Bush and certainly not Bill Clinton.
More than 20 years after saying he "didn't inhale," Bill Clinton is setting the record straight about his youthful pot smoking. “I didn’t say I was holier than thou, I said I tried. I never denied that I used marijuana," Clinton told Fusion TV's Jorge Ramos in an interview aired Tuesday night.
Back in 1992, in the midst of his first presidential campaign, Clinton famously equivocated when asked about his drug use, saying that during his days as a Rhodes Scholar in England, "I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it, and didn’t inhale, and never tried it again." (Yahoo.com, 12/4/2013)
Permit RedStateVT to set the record straight:
Technically Clinton did not deny smoking dope (depending upon what the definition of "deny" is).
He did, however, deny having an adulterous sexual relationship with an employee, a White House intern young enough to be his daughter.
Mr. Bush was more of a reader than many Americans imagined — he had reading contests with Karl Rove, his top political adviser, measured not just by the number of books finished, but the cumulative number of pages and even square inches of text. He was particularly drawn to Lincoln, reading 14 books about the Civil War president while in office. (NYT, 12/5/2013)
We are not sure what the average American thought about how many books George Bush read. The only thing we do know is that the Liberal media relentlessly depicted Bush as an intellectual lightweight. Bush who was America's first MBA president.
Day in the Park
...Chicago parks workers, whose unfunded pension liability grew from $77 million in 2003 to $550 million in 2012, a 615 percent increase. (NYT, 12/5/2013)
Coverage shifts from Detroit to Chicago, now facing its own pension time bomb. What floored us here was the one-half billion dollar pension shortfall for park workers! Not for all Chicago public employees....for park workers alone! How many "park workers" can Chicago have? What kind of pension promises were made to them? One-half billion dollars...? We will say it again: this is what happens when Democrats buy votes from public sector unions.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
“It is impractical to negotiate with a stone wall,” was how the judge referred to the unions’ reticence to make concessions on the pension issue. (NYT, 12/4/2013)
Will unions learn from the Detroit bankruptcy? Better yet will Democrats who have ruled the city for decades learn? (Answer below.)
The notice published on Monday includes proposals on several other issues. Certain health plans sponsored by labor unions would be exempted from new fees imposed on insurance companies and on many self-insured group health plans.
Labor unions have been lobbying for such an exemption, saying the fees could be “highly disruptive” to Taft-Hartley plans administered jointly by labor and management representatives in construction, entertainment and other industries. (NYT, 12/3/2013)
Why do Republicans hate Obamacare? Yes, it's the enlargement of the entitlement state, it's the top-down government control, it's the lies told to sell it. It's all those things. But it is also something else. It's the crass corruption that surrounds the entire endeavor, such as giving waivers to political supporters.
In the White House briefing room, too, there was a change in tone. The death watch for Obamacare had been suspended and the conversation turned to other possible problems: Will HealthCare.gov be ready for a surge in enrollments later this month? Why hasn’t the administration started a campaign to direct more people to the site? (Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 12/2/2013)
Milbank - who is like a yo-yo on Obama, up one day, down the next - declares the problem solved. Now the only issue will be managing the wonderfulness that is Obamacare. (Oh, and never mind that 40% of the system isn't even built.)
Talk Around Town
'Private sector velocity and effectiveness." "An Amazon-like shopping experience." Suddenly Team Obama is talking up capitalist enterprise as the model for how Healthcare.gov ought to work. After five years of assailing "millionaires and billionaires" and extolling the virtues of "collective action," this is progress. (Bret Stephens, WSJ, 12/2/2013)
Good one from Stephens, but be forewarned: Team Obama will think nothing about bashing the capitalist model five minutes from now if it is convenient for them to do so.
Monday, December 2, 2013
In any case all four tiers are scrap-metal grade, because the rules ObamaCare imposes to create a supposedly superior insurance product are resulting in an objectively inferior medical product. The new mandates and rules raise costs, so insurers must compensate by offering narrow and less costly networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers in their ObamaCare products. Insurers thus restrict care and patient choice of physicians in exchange for discounted reimbursement rates, much as Medicaid does. (WSJ, 11/30/2013)
Others have already noted this, but get ready for the next Obamacare blow-up: "You can keep your doctor."
Vermont’s 2014 health insurance premiums are among the highest in the country. The rates are well above the national average, and health care economists link more expensive premiums to less competition.
HHS compared the premiums of the second-lowest cost silver plan, the lowest cost silver plan and the lowest cost bronze plan for every state in the country except for Massachusetts and Hawaii. On all three levels, Vermont has the fifth-highest premium rates in the country. (VTDigger.com, 11/19/2013)
Not to worry, Vermont's Progressive thought-leaders have assured us that things will get a whole lot better once the state adopts a single-payer system.
All the News
As RedStateVT readily admits, the New York Times will occasionally commit a random act of journalism (and whoever coined that phrase should be knighted!).
Here are highlights from their November 30th investigative piece on Healthcare.gov:
HealthCare.gov, the $630 million online insurance marketplace, was a disaster after it went live on Oct. 1...
Out of that tense Oval Office meeting grew a frantic effort aimed at rescuing not only the insurance portal and Mr. Obama’s credibility, but also the Democratic philosophy that an activist government can solve big, complex social problems. Today, that rescue effort is far from complete.
...it still suffers sporadic crashes, and large parts of the vital “back end” that processes enrollment data and transactions with insurers remain unbuilt.
..an insular White House that did not initially appreciate the magnitude of its self-inflicted wounds...
...a new accusation: that he had lied about whether people could keep their insurance.
...a deeply dysfunctional relationship between the Department of Health and Human Services and its technology contractors, and tensions between the White House chief of staff and senior health department officials.
...errors in the software code written to stitch the Oracle product into the online system and improperly configured hardware trapped users in endless technological loops. It would take eight days to resolve just that one bottleneck.
...insurance executives were alarmed. Almost no one was buying their products.
The website had barely been tested before it went live, so a large number of software and hardware defects had not been uncovered.
“The extent of the problems is pretty enormous. At the end of our calls, people say, ‘It’s awful, just awful.’ ”
..a site Mr. Obama once promised would be as easy to shop on as Amazon.com — went dark for 10 to 12 hours, unheard of in the online business world.
During a trip to Tennessee by Ms. Sebelius on Nov. 1, a state senator would add insult to injury by presenting her with a copy of “Websites for Dummies.”
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, is trying to turn the page.
And finally, our two favorite quotes!
On the eve of the rollout, Ms. Sebelius, a onetime Kansas governor and former insurance commissioner who had logged countless miles promoting the health law, was ebullient. “We’re about to make some history,” she said.
...the meeting was called, in part, to give Democrats a chance to publicly criticize the president — a message that Vice President Biden delivered to Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic whip, in a separate meeting with several freshman Democrats.
“Just attack us,” Mr. Biden said, according to one person present. “Blame us.”
The White House announced on Sunday that it had met its goal for improving HealthCare.gov so the website “will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.”
In effect, the administration gave itself a passing grade. (NYT, 12/2/2013)
Heck, Obama once gave himself a B+ for his first year in office.
What intrepid journalist has the stones to ask Obama to grade Year 5?
This task has taken on new urgency given the Democratic Party’s push to the left, away from the centrist politics with which the Clintons are identified. (NYT, 12/1/2013)
Inconceivable! The Democrat party has moved to the left? This is heresy. Only Republicans can move and then, only to the right.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men, a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic. (NYT, 11/28/2013)
With no vaccine to prevent AIDS yet available, treatment is an effective way to slow the epidemic because it reduces the risk that an infected person will spread the virus to others. (NYT editorial, 11/27/2013)
We are not sure if the New York Times realized the unintentional irony of their article and their editorial. We will ask the simple and obvious question: What would be another way to slow the AIDS epidemic?
Despite the highly touted Iranian nuclear deal announced by the Obama administration over the weekend, the two sides still can't seem to agree on what it is they agreed to.
The aftermath of the deal struck early Sunday in Geneva has been marked by confusion. According to Iranian media, the country's Foreign Ministry is now claiming that the White House put out an invalid fact sheet about the agreement. (Foxnews.com, 11/27/2013)
After stunning success with Libya, Syria, and Russia, Obama now pivots to Iran.
With similar results.
To call his foreign policy efforts incompetent is an insult to incompetence.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
White House officials, fearful that the federal health care website may again be overwhelmed this weekend, have urged their allies to hold back enrollment efforts so the insurance marketplace does not collapse under a crush of new users. (NYT, 11/27/2013)
So the message from the Obama administration is as follows:
--As promised, Healthcare.gov will be fixed by November 30th.
--Please do not use the website on November 30th as it may crash.
--Nonetheless, we have fixed the website as promised.
The Obama administration is expected to announce on Wednesday a one-year delay in another major element of the new health care law, which allows small businesses to go online and get insurance for their employees through the website of the federal marketplace.
The announcement of the delay, just before Thanksgiving, is reminiscent of the way the White House announced, just before the Independence Day weekend, a one-year delay in the requirement for larger employers to offer health insurance to employees. (NYT, 11/28/2013)
Obama pardons turkey, announces delay in Obamacare. There has GOT to be a joke in here.
How about: Obama pardons Obamacare.
Or maybe: Another Obamacare turkey.
Perhaps: Sign up for health care; get a turkey.
Readers are invited to submit entries.
Meanwhile, while this news was breaking, RedStateVT checked in with MSNBC. They were doing a story on Guantanamo.
We are not kidding.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
But the mere fact that after 34 years of estrangement, the United States and Iran have signed a diplomatic accord — even if it is a tactical, transitory one — opens the door to a range of geopolitical possibilities available to no American leader since Jimmy Carter. (NYT, 11/25/2013)
And we all remember well what a raging success the Carter presidency was when it came to foreign policy involving Iran...
For Mr. Obama, resolving the threat of Iran’s nuclear program might be worth taking that chance. (NYT, 11/25/2013)
But the point is that Obama has not resolved the threat. He has emboldened Iran by proving what they suspected all along; that they could easily trick a naive president into a deal.
The agreement allows Iran to preserve most of its nuclear infrastructure, and along with it the ability to develop a nuclear device, while the United States keeps in place the core oil and banking sanctions it has imposed. (NYT, 11/25/2013)
So Iran preserves its ability to develop a nuclear bomb. What does a successful accord look like to Obama?
These days the word is particularly toxic at the White House, where it has been hidden away to make the Affordable Care Act more palatable to the public and less a target for Republicans, who have long accused Democrats of seeking “socialized medicine.” But the redistribution of wealth has always been a central feature of the law and lies at the heart of the insurance market disruptions driving political attacks this fall. (NYT, 11/24/2013)
“Americans want a fair and fixed insurance market,” said Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who advised Mr. Obama’s team as it designed the law. “You cannot have that without some redistribution away from a small number of people.” (NYT, 11/24/2013)
This comes as no surprise to Republicans who took Obama at his word when he told Joe the Plumber during his first presidential run that spreading the wealth around was a good thing.
The Democrat electorate will eventually learn that Obama's redistribution plans include them...and they will not like it either.
Friends and Mice
In energy-friendly Wyoming, oil and gas companies are getting a clear message: Drill, baby, drill — but carefully.
Last week, state regulators approved one of the nation’s strongest requirements for testing water wells near drilling sites. The measure is intended to address concerns that groundwater can become contaminated from drilling activities.
It is the latest of several groundbreaking regulations related to energy production issued by Wyoming, which in 2010 became the first state to require disclosure of some of the chemicals used in the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
“I am not going to accept the question of do you want a clean environment or do you want energy,” said Gov. Matthew H. Mead, a Republican who championed the water-testing regulation. “The fact is that in Wyoming, we want and need both.” (NYT, 11/22/2013)
Above you have an explanation of how a Republican governor goes about the business of safely developing an important energy source which makes America less dependent upon foreign oil.
Here is how the discussion takes place in Vermont: Enviro-capitalist Bill McKibben shows up in Montpelier. He says Vermont should not frack. He gets a standing ovation from the Vermont legislative mice who then vote to outlaw fracking.
In response, the administration rolls out ObamaCare delays or stopgap fixes just a month after Republicans were labeled extremists for proposing delays and fixes. (Pete du Pont, WSJ, 11/25/2013)
Democrats respond by saying...nothing.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
White House officials acknowledged that each state had to make the decision that was best for its consumers.
“States have different populations with unique needs, and it is up to the insurance commissioner and health insurance companies to decide which insurance products can be offered to existing customers next year,” the administration said in a statement. (NYT, 11/21/2013)
Translation: It is now not Obama's fault if states choose not to allow insureds to keep their plans.
Clarification: "White House officials acknowledged that each state had to make the decision that was best for its consumers on this temporary issue. On all other health care issues, President Obama will decide what is best for consumers."
Democrats have been sharing “Affordable Care Act success stories” of ailing constituents getting health coverage for the first time, people being allowed to keep their adult children on their insurance, or consumers finding markedly cheaper insurance plans on the exchanges. (NYT, 11/21/2013)
Let's be absolutely clear. The one and only reason that anyone is going to find "cheaper insurance plans on the exchanges" is because they will qualify for a subsidy.
That is it.
After spending more than a decade behind bars for the murder of a teenage girl in Greenwich, Conn., Michael C. Skakel was ordered free on bail on Thursday. (NYT, 11/21/2013)
The (Kennedy) War on Women continues.....
Ponder, though, a partial list of the public-policy decisions that have flowed steadily out of the Obama administration and directly into a job-starved U.S. economy:
The no-decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and its union jobs; the 2,000-page regulatory law draped in 2010 across the entire financial sector; the shutdown in 2010 and then the slow-walking of offshore oil drilling; siccing the EPA on the utilities industry and the National Labor Relations Board on all industry; a 2010 FCC decision to regulate Internet growth; a significant tax increase this year; support this month for jacking up the federal minimum wage to over $10, certain to smother new jobs; the Justice Department's $13 billion looting of J.P. Morgan JPM +1.43% bank; and of course Hurricane ObamaCare.
Barack Obama has the U.S. economy on lockdown. It's the worst thing this president has done. (Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 11/20/2013)
Henninger reminds us that Obamacaid is only part of the story of this disastrous presidency. It's a good point. There is so very much more.
Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) has announced that he will take a leave of absence from office and will donate his salary to charity. Radel had pleaded guilty to a cocaine charge and was sentenced to one year of probation earlier Wednesday. (Washington Post, 11/21/2013)
Not good enough. Resign.
RedStateVT will not tolerate bad behavior from Democrats or Republicans.