November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving and the New Hampshire Connection
Abolitionist Sarah Josepha Hale of Newport, New Hampshire spent years promoting the adoption of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. A letter from her to President Abraham Lincoln finally turned the trick.
Born in 1788, Hale lived nine decades. She spent much of her life editing women's magazines, including the widely read "Godey's Lady's Book," which featured writers including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Hale championed women's education and wrote an antislavery novel in the 1820s.
She spent many years pushing to elevate Thanksgiving to the federal level to standardize the holiday, celebrated by various states at different times. Hale wrote Lincoln in September 1863, prodding him on, and he issued a proclamation soon thereafter.
November 27, 2013
She was a deciding vote for ObamaCare, but now she'll have to claim she was mislead.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-N.H.): ‘if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it’ “My understanding … is that … if you have health coverage that you like you can keep it. As I said, you may have missed my remarks at the beginning of the call, but one of the things I that I said as a requirement that I have for supporting a bill is that if you have health coverage that you like you should be able to keep that. …under every scenario that I’ve seen, if you have health coverage that you like, you get to keep it.” (Sen. Shaheen, “Health Care Questions From Across New Hampshire,” Accessed 11/13/13)
November 26, 2013
The Capitalists in Washington Strike Again
Have you heard the ads on the radio for 23andme? You can get your DNA tested and find out if you are predisposed to future suffering from any number of hereditary diseases.
Get to know you.
Health and ancestry start here.
- Reports on 240+ health conditions and traits
- Discover your lineage, find relatives and more
- Get updates on your DNA as science advances
This could be useful information for a lot of people, right? Well, not necessarily. And especially not if the FDA has anything to do with it.
In a warning letter on Monday, the FDA ordered 23andMe to "immediately discontinue marketing" its genetic tests. Consumers have been mailing in a saliva sample and $99, and the six-year-old Silicon Valley start-up analyzes their genome to reveal information about their predisposition for some 250 diseases, as well as inherited traits and ancestry.
The FDA lacks any specific statutory authority to regulate genomic sequencing technologies. President Obama knows this, because as a Senator in 2006 and 2007 he introduced bills that would regulate the genomics industry. They never passed. Yet in 2010 the FDA simply decreed by fiat that these tests are considered new medical devices that require premarket testing and approval.
23andMe has been working with the FDA on approval for years, and the agency's letter scolds the company for offering new tests and services before it has received permission for the older versions. Imagine an iPhone app that needed federal approval for every update. But behavior that would be considered visionary in Mountain View is the quickest way to offend the FDA establishment.
The FDA claims that 23andMe merely has to prove that its tests are safe and effective. But what does that even mean given that FDA's main concern seems to be what patients will do with the information the company provides?
By holding companies like 23andme hostage, the FDA and the Obama administration provide full employment for regulators, lobbyists, and lawyers. The economy stagnates but government for profit is booming in D.C.
November 24, 2013
It’s about jobs. Why did Majority Leader Harry Reid decide to get rid of the 60-vote rule on administrative and lower court nominations now? There are at least three theories. I’d like to add a fourth:
4. The D.C. Circuit, more than other circuits, is the central institution of America’s regulatory state, which is the basis for the booming economy of the entire National Capital area. Should this court become hostile to regulations, or capable of reviewing fewer of them, there might be correspondingly fewer reasons for corporations and other interests to hire connected D.C. lawyers to lobby government agencies to get the regulations they want, and to then defend those regulations when they’re challenged in court. And there’d be fewer reasons for young men and women to come to the capital to work in its agencies for a few years before moving into the private sector and becoming one of those lawyers corporations hire to manipulate the agencies they worked for.
Regulation is D.C.’s economic substructure, its mode of production, as Marx might say–even more so than legislation. Those big gleaming office buildings aren’t filled with Congressional lobbyists! They’re filled with administrative lawyers. Now, with a full 11 member court stacked to favor Democrats, there will be even more rules to litigate, more counsel to hire, more mansions to house them and restaurants to feed them. Whatever happens in the rest of America, the capital’s economic future is secure.
November 23, 2013
ObamaCare: Capitalism At Its Best?
That's what MrGrassroots thinks over at allvoices. He's talking about ObamaCare.
Health care stocks are even outperforming all the gold indexes. Gold is considered a safe "hedge" against bad economic times but this year, the "S&P Gold -Equity Spread Index," is down as much as 46.23 percent. That compared to a 42.42 percent rise in the "S&P 500 Health Care Index."
The end of the rally for the Dow and other major stock market indexes is not in sight, according to stock market history. Another bullish sign, Reuters notes, is that December is traditionally the best month for both the Dow and the S&P and has been since 1950.
Perhaps the Fox News crowd, the mouthpiece for the right, will have to find another label for Obamacare. It certainly isn't "socialized medicine."
Perhaps it is "capitalism at its best."
It's more like crony capitalism at its worst.
Take a quick glance at ObamaCare’s busted multimillion-dollar website and the 3.5 million health insurance cancelation notices hitting American mailboxes and you might be tempted to dub the whole thing a disaster. But it’s not -- at least not for the politically-connected crony companies and big money Obama fundraisers poaching your tax dollars to fix the debacle they helped create.
As CNBC recently put it: “Thanks to ObamaCare, the health-care industry is going to get a big makeover during the coming years and venture capitalists have wasted no time looking for ways to cash in.” Put simply, ObamaCare’s complexity and catastrophic rollout create rivers of cash for Obama’s cronies.
Big insurance put its bet on ObamaCare and hit the trifecta: massive profits all but guaranteed by an individual mandate and healthcare law subsidies for insurers who might suffer a loss, a made to order exit from the risky individual market, and protection against the forces of competition. ObamaCare makes theirs a captive market sending profits through the roof. What's not to like?
But cracking open the champagne may be a bit premature. The race is on for 2014 is still on because ObamaCare's backend payment system is not operational.
Press leaks suggest that the White House goal is for four of five people who want to sign up for insurance to be able to do so, including via a call center or paper application. Yet even that 20% error rate may be overpromising. Health and Human Services deputy Henry Chao told a House hearing this week that about 30% to 40% of the information technology that supports enrollment—such as the "back end" systems that send out monthly subsidies—still needs to be built.
Ah, those monthly subsidies, There lies the holy grail. Once that critical mass of comfortably subsidized insurees is achieved, so is Bill Clinton's vision as presented to the Netroots in 2009.
PITTSBURGH - Former President Bill Clinton told an audience of liberal online activists Thursday evening that the nation has “entered a new era of progressive politics” that could last for decades if Democrats can pass ambitious measures such as health care reform and climate change.
Here's how the era of progressive politics is sustained. Step one:
For those on the left who thought that ObamaCare would mean large health insurance companies might get their comeuppance, they might want to look at UnitedHealth. Wall Street analysts expect the giant to see its stock price rise 40 percent over the next two years, thanks to expanding profit margins. The company has also won big contracts to help implement the rollout. Quality Software Services, Inc., a major contractor for Healthcare.gov, is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth. One of President Obama’s most reliable fundraisers in both 2008 and 2012 was Anthony Welters, executive vice president of UnitedHealth. He raised more than $500,000 for the 2012 election, according to opensecrets.org
Another big ObamaCare winner is tech giant Qualcomm. In 2011, the company created a subsidiary called Qualcomm Life specifically designed to profit off ObamaCare changes. The company offers products to securely transfer data between wireless health care devices. Thanks to ObamaCare, company executives believe that “wireless solutions are going to be looked at more prominently.”Former Qualcomm Chairman Irwin Jacobs raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election in 2012.
Lest we think it is all carrot and no stick for insurers, let's harken back to an earlier day in the healthcare industry takeover when Humana took it upon itself to notify policy holders of the potential impacts of ObamaCare.
Earlier this month, Humana sent a one-page letter to its customers enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans, which offer private options to Medicare beneficiaries. Humana noted that, because of spending cuts proposed by Democrats, "millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable." The Kentucky-based company also urged its customers to contact their Representatives. Pretty tame stuff, as these things go.
Mr. Baucus took it as a declaration of war. He complained to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal health-care agency, which on Friday duly ordered Humana to cease and desist. CMS claimed the mailer was "misleading and confusing" and told the company it has opened an official probe as to whether the mailer violated laws about how the insurers that manage Advantage plans are allowed to communicate with their customers, as well as other federal statutes.
"Please be advised that we take this matter very seriously and, based upon the findings our investigation, will pursue compliance and enforcement actions," CMS concluded, ominously. Humana could be fined or booted from Medicare Advantage altogether.
Obama has harnessed the health insurance industry's biggest players to the Democratic Party wagon, legislatively and regulatorily conferring huge profits on those willing to play along, and promising bankruptcy and ruin on those who refuse. So the campaign contributions roll in, a half million dollars at a time.
But will that be enough in the face of such ObamaCare driven discontent among the voters? That's where the subsidies come in. Subsidies are the carrot for the unsuspecting. You may recall Obama's persuasive argument in his budget negotiations last summer.
President Obama on Tuesday said he cannot guarantee that retirees will receive their Social Security checks August 3 if Democrats and Republicans in Washington do not reach an agreement on reducing the deficit in the coming weeks.
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Mr. Obama said in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, according to excerpts released by CBS News.
Pretty persuasive, I'd say. And we have little doubt who the bad guys are in such negotiations. It's that other party. Why, Obama is even blaming Republicans for the disastrous rollout of his own law. So here's what to expect in the next budget negotiation should Republicans try to cut into the astronomical deficits run up by Obama: Your healthcare is at risk! Republican obstuctionism is going to cost lives! Children will die! There will be no way for Obama (or a future president of Obama's philisophical bent) to guarantee that subsidies can be paid. Voters will be duly outraged over Republican callousness.
That's the goal. Democrats standing as gatekeepers between voters and their healthcare services, villifying Republicans for supporting a healthcare system where there are no such gatekeepers.
Let's step back for a moment and consider all the money in healthcare. Naturally doctors, nurses, hospitals, and the rest of the people and organizations that actually provide healthcare have to get paid. But look at all the other players cashing in.
It begins with insurance which began as a protection against the unanticipated expenses of catastrophic illness and injury. It has since morphed into a system of paying for routine care. But consider that insurance companies make a big profit on healthcare. That profit is a slice of the healthcare dollar that you pay your doctor.
Then there is the lawsuit industry, which is enabled by the insurance industry. There are huge profits in suing doctors, hospitals, and any other deep pocketed bystander for somebody's illness. Malpractice insurance gives some protection for healthcare providers, but who pays the premiums which have become huge? We do, when we pay the doctors in whatever way we pay them.
And look at all the campaign contributions and the half million dollar bundlers contributing to both parties in hope of having some impact on legislation or regulation of their industry. Where does that money ultimately come from?
Add to all these players the Democratic Party which stands to hit the healthcare jackpot if only ObamaCare can be made to hang in there for just a little while longer. Just enough time for the subsidy checks to start rolling out, and then it really will be time for Democrats to break out the champagne.
And to think that this is somebody's idea of capitalism at its best.
November 17, 2013
Did you hear Obama say the other day that he was "not informed directly" that the ObamaCare website didn't work?
Second question. (Laughter.) You were informed or several people in this building were informed two weeks before the launch of the website that it was failing the most basic tests internally; and yet a decision was made to launch the website on October 1st. Did you, sir, make that test (sic)? And if so, did you regret that?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. On the website, I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as -- the way it was supposed to. Ha[d] I been informed, I wouldn't be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great. You know, I'm accused of a lot of things, but I don't think I'm stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn't going to work.
I suppose it's possible that nobody told him, but I think it's more likely he knew there were problems with the website, but decided to ignore them and go ahead with the October 1st rollout. When he realized how badly he misjudged, he went to the line about how he's not that stupid.
While there might be plenty of evidence to support you, it's generally not a good idea to disagree with Obama on that point. For one thing you're immediately branded as racist. That hasn't bothered Mark Steyn.
Ooooo-kay. So, if I follow correctly, the smartest president ever is not smart enough to ensure that his website works; he’s not smart enough to inquire of others as to whether his website works; he’s not smart enough to check that his website works before he goes out and tells people what a great website experience they’re in for. But he is smart enough to know that he’s not stupid enough to go around bragging about how well it works if he’d already been informed that it doesn’t work. So he’s smart enough to know that if he’d known what he didn’t know he’d know enough not to let it be known that he knew nothing. The country’s in the very best of hands.
Unlike Steyn, I think Obama's miscalculation is not stupidity. As we read further down in Obama's press conference I think it becomes obvious that Obama's faith in his own brilliance is blinding. Look at this admission he offered up in the guise of humility.
What we're discovering is that part of the problem has been technology, hardware and software, and that's being upgraded. But even if we get the -- the hardware and software working exactly the way it's supposed to with relatively minor glitches, what we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.
Well, OK. Admitting to making such a discovery it this late stage may have been stupid. Just imagine yourself in private industry as the sponsor of a large IT project, one that's been taking three years to get off the ground, and when it finally debuts as a production system it's a complete disaster. Now imagine yourself explaining to the stakeholders that you've just now come to realize that the business is... well, it's complicated.
Since you're not Obama you'd have been expected to know, not only that it's complicated, but how complicated and how your system was designed to address such complexities. Not knowing is not doing your job. Somehow, Obama is oblivious to what his belated realization really means.
If it has only recently occurred to him that buying insurance might be complicated, it's pretty clear that he hasn't given a thought to what else might be complicated about insurance. How about the complications involved in devising an insurance plan and putting together all of the managerial, technical, and financial resources so that premiums can be collected, claims can be paid, customers and the company can be protected from fraud, and it can continue in business? Failing to consider all of the possible complications is not stupidity, it's arrogance. It's the absolute conviction that he, Barack Obama, knew all that he needed to know.
Baby steps, I suppose. At least he's acknowledged that there was this one time something he didn't know. But even though he admits that it turned out, after all, to be important, I doubt that he thinks that he, Obama, should be expected to have understood it beforehand — somebody beneath him, maybe, though to inform Obama directly might be asking too much.
For the sake of perspective, it's important to note that Obama's goal has always been the transformation of America. By comparison ObamaCare is somewhere down the list of priorities. So the healthcare website doesn't work? That can be fixed. It's just a tool for implementing ObamaCare as ObamaCare itself is just a step towards the ultimate transformation of America. Obama's goal is for America to be a utopian paradise. He remains impervious to any argument that it would be the world's first, after hundreds of years of attempts. There have always been these complications, you see. But Obama remains confident. He's smartest guy in the room and he means to pull it off. What could possibly go wrong?
November 11, 2013
They Still Fight For UsI first posted this on Veterans Day, 2007. Let's remember our veterans.
Speaking of Disingenuous
Lawrence Summers has written a column for the Washington Post on the Immediate lessons from health-care reform. You'll be shocked, shocked to learn that the root cause of ObamaCare's disastrous October 1st rollout is none other than the Republican party. Oh, he concedes there are other factors. The "dismal track record of the implementation of large-scale information technology initiatives," unexpected obstacles, lack of oversight, and maybe we can throw in some unrealistic expectations. But opposition to Obama is Summers' real concern, the one that he says is a threat to democracy no less.
These are old truths that those responsible for implementing Obamacare should have heeded. Yet fairness requires recognizing the equally important, and in some ways more fundamental, factor behind the problems implementing Obamacare: the systematic effort of the president’s opponents to delegitimize and undermine the project.
To begin with, there is very little that's legitimate about ObamaCare. Resistance to ObamaCare was so intense that the healthcare reform bill was passed without a single Republican vote. The people of Massachusetts, in an all too rare showing of good sense, elected a Republican, Scott Brown, to the Senate seat once held by the sainted (in progressive circles) Ted Kennedy, himself a champion of universal healthcare entitlement. Brown campaigned on the promise that he would be the 41st Senate vote against the Obama's healthcare reform bill. When that promise carried the special election, Congress broke its own rules so that the the bill could be passed without Brown ever getting the opportunity to vote against it. "Deem and pass" was the gimmick they used.
After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it.
Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed.
This meant that the original Senate healthcare bill, passed before the special election that sent Brown to the Senate, was accepted unchanged by the House. Deeming the Senate bill passed meant that there was no separate House version to be reconciled with the Senate bill in conference committee, which meant the Senate would not have to vote on it again. Had there been such a vote, ObamaCare would have been dead. Scott Brown's vote would have given Republicans enough for a successful filibuster.
Funny how the democratic process is a threat to democracy when progressive power grabs are at stake. Noticeably missing from Summers' analysis something more threatening to democracy — the word "keep," as in "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan. Period." If Obama, as the CEO of an insurance company, made a claim so deliberately and demonstrably untrue, he would very likely be spending the rest of his life in prison. But let's leave aside the fraud part of it. Obama's dishonesty reveals his absolute certainty that the American people would never agree to this healthcare mess that was foisted upon us — solely by the Democratic party. Obama knew he had to lie about it. He knew there was no other way to get it through.
Four years ago in September — the date was September 12, 2009 — about a half million people gathered for a peaceful demonstration against the healthcare law in Washington D.C. Even though the healthcare reform law was still in the proposal stage, resistance to it was intense.
We see more Tea Party predictions coming true. in response progressives like Summers argue that opposing Obama's policies is more than just racist. It's a threat to democracy as well. Summers believes that Republicans should simply drop all opposition to it. To do otherwise unpatriotic and undemocratic.
It is disingenuous for those who stood ready to turn any regulatory detail into an attack ad to profess outrage when guidance was not provided during an election campaign. It is hypocritical for those who held up confirmations of key officials with responsibility for managing federal health-care programs and whose behavior deterred many people from coming into government to lash out at the incompetence of government management. And it is indefensible to refuse to appropriate money to carry out a program and then attack it for being under-resourced.
Talk about disingenuous. A Republican attack on ObamaCare for being underfunded? Quite the opposite, it's way overfunded from the Republican perspective. Underfunded would be the best thing about it.
There is a danger here that goes far beyond delays in access to health insurance. The risk is of a vicious cycle in which poor government performance leads, on the one hand, to overly bold promises of repair and, on the other hand, to reduced funding and support for those doing the work. This generates unmet expectations and disappointment, setting off the cycle anew. In the end, government loses the ability to deliver for citizens and citizens lose respect for government. Our democracy is the loser.
I see no threat to democracy from the recognition that government can't do everything. Citizens may lose respect government, not because of an inability to deliver but instead because government is intruding to much. The greater threat to democracy in America is ObamaCare itself and the lies that are repeated trying to justify it.
Obama’s premeditated, repeated, nationally televised lies about the “Affordable Care Act” are integral, indeed essential, to his presidency and to the workings of the US government. The outcome of two national elections depended on it.
Even more significant is his contention that he never said what he said, and that what he said was true anyhow. In interpersonal relations, such a contention is an insult that makes civility impossible; because to continue to treat with someone who makes such affronts is self-degradation of which few are capable. In political life, such an insult is a declaration of war.
The greater threat to democracy is posed by a party whose political goals are more important than the truth. That's been the Democratic party for these last twenty years.
November 10, 2013
Holding Down Cost?
No. David Cutler hails the success of ObamaCare. It's a success, he says, because it is slowing the increase in Medicare costs.
The Affordable Care Act is a key to the underlying change. Starting in 2010, the ACA lowered the annual increases that Medicare pays to hospitals, home health agencies and private insurance plans. Together, these account for 5 percent of the post-2010 cost slowdown. Medicare payment changes always provoke fears — in this case, that private plans would flee the program and that the quality of care in hospitals would suffer. Neither of these fears has materialized, however. Enrollment in private plans is up since the ACA changes.
In reality, ObamaCare is simply a refusal to pay for Medicare services.
Despite the constant political rhetoric that Medicare payment reductions affect only providers and not beneficiaries, funding cuts for Medicare services will directly affect those who depend on those services. If Obamacare’s major reductions are implemented by Congress over the coming decade, seniors’ ability to access Medicare services will surely diminish. In fact, the Medicare Trustees project that the lower Medicare payment rates would cause 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to become unprofitable by 2019, and this percentage would reach roughly 25 percent in 2030 and 40 percent by 2050.
This means that seniors would have an increasingly difficult time accessing care. As the Trustees explain:Medicare’s payments for health services would fall increasingly below providers’ costs. Providers could not sustain continuing negative margins and would have to withdraw from serving Medicare beneficiaries or (if total facility margins remained positive) shift substantial portions of Medicare costs to their non-Medicare, non-Medicaid payers.
Fewer Plan Choices
In addition to the provider payment reductions, Obamacare significantly reduces payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by an estimated $156 billion from 2013 to 2022. About 27 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in MA plans, a system of regulated and private plans competing against each other as an alternative to traditional Medicare. MA plans are attractive to beneficiaries because they offer more generous and comprehensive coverage than traditional Medicare by capping out-of-pocket costs and offering drug coverage.
This claim that healthcare costs are being contained is nonsense, but the administration really has no choice. They simply can't stop lying about ObamaCare and expect it to survive. But this brings us to the cost of administration lies. Andrew McCarthy writes that a CEO who deceives consumers as Obama has deceived the American people would be guilty of a serious federal felony.
‘If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.” How serious was this lie, repeated by Barack Obama with such beguiling regularity? Well, how would the Justice Department be dealing with it if it had been uttered by, say, the president of an insurance company rather than the president of the United States?
Fraud is a serious federal felony, usually punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment — with every repetition of a fraudulent communication chargeable as a separate crime. In computing sentences, federal sentencing guidelines factor in such considerations as the dollar value of the fraud, the number of victims, and the degree to which the offender’s treachery breaches any special fiduciary duties he owes. Cases of multi-million-dollar corporate frauds — to say nothing of multi-billion-dollar, Bernie Madoff–level scams that nevertheless pale beside Obamacare’s dimensions — often result in terms amounting to decades in the slammer.
It doesn't matter that Obama's fraud can be proven. It's an inescapable fact. There is just no chance that Obama will be impeached, prosecuted, or in any way made to pay a penalty for what under the laws that the rest of us live under would be a federal crime. Laws are not for Obama, or the rest of the ruling class for that matter.
November 07, 2013
The Perfect Obama Supporters
Yesterday ProPublica carried a story under the headline Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare that told a familiar story. Somebody, happy with their healthcare insurance policy, found that they couldn't keep it, contrary to Obama's promise — a promise that he punctuated with the word, "Period."
Hammack recalled his reaction when he and his wife received a letters from Kaiser in September informing him their coverage was being canceled. “I work downstairs and my wife had a clear look of shock on her face,” he said. “Our first reaction was clearly there’s got to be some mistake. This was before the exchanges opened up. We quickly calmed down. We were confident that this would all be straightened out. But it wasn’t.”
This plan was ending, Kaiser’s letters told them, because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “Everything is taken care of,” the letters said. “There’s nothing you need to do.”
The letters said the couple would be enrolled in new Kaiser plans that would cost nearly $1,300 a month for the two of them (more than $15,000 a year).
Lee Hammack and his wife JoEllen Brothers may be shocked and disappointed, but they can find consolation in their rescue from a bad-apple insurance company — Kaiser Permanente.
“Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad-apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received, or use minor preexisting conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy. So a lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.”
The new Kaiser policy will cost Hammack and Brothers more than twice as much as the one they had, but the couple believe they can adapt. If Hammack can reduce his income to under about $62,000, which for a family of two would four times the federal poverty level, he can qualify for subsidies that could reduce his premiums to zero. He’s giving it serious consideration. He can take a lower salary or contibute more to his retirement account.
In spite of all that Hammack and his wife keep faith in Obama and ObamaCare.
“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”
They may have bought into Obama's lies: First that they could keep their insurance, "Period," and second that what he had always said was they could keep their coverage if the policy didn't change. Or they might think being lied to is fine when the cause is Obama's idea of social justice.
ProPublica doesn't say if either Hammack or Brothers have given any thought to what other conclusions might be drawn from their plan to reduce income and qualify for subsidies. Theirs is only a small drain on the treasury, the reduced tax revenue as a direct result of the couple's lower taxable income along with the higher spending for this brand new insurance premium subsidy.
As we all know, a financial hit on the treasury is never a problem for progressives like Hammack and Brothers, or for ProPublica either. There is no spending problem, according to enlightened folks such as they, only a revenue problem that will be solved when those greedy bad-apple insurance executives and employees can be made to pay their fair share in taxes.
Oh, and by the way, what becomes of the employees of those bad-apple insurance outfits like Kaiser? The ones who support the individual market that ObamaCare was designed to eliminate? No problem. Time Magazine assures them that ObamaCare is having no impact whatever on jobs. Never mind that actual company surveys say quite the opposite.
More Workers Will See Their Hours Cut: “Some employers will minimize the number of newly eligible employees by cutting back on hours for at least a portion of their workforce – 11% of all large employers say they will do so.”
Progressives see no connection between our continued feeble economic growth and the regulatory burdens imposed by Obama and ObamaCare. In reality our slow growth has a negative impact on tax revenue and all this new spending is going to pile up the debt, But I can see it now. Any attempts to even slow down the spending increases, never mind cut into the debt, will have Hammack and Brothers villifying the Republicans for threatenting their health care subsidy. That would be the one they would never have needed had it not been for ObamaCare.
November 01, 2013
Something We Already Knew
According to Dr. John Noseworthy, President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic:
Obamacare does nothing to link doctors' fees to their performance and reduce health-care costs, the head of the Mayo Clinic told CNBC on Friday.
From the tone of the article, I get the sense that Dr. Noseworthy would be content with a single payer system, but that system won't do anything to control costs either. Ever heard of "the doc fix?"
For the past decade, Congress has passed a series of patches to prevent doctors who treat Medicare patients from seeing their reimbursements drastically cut. Each time, lawmakers grumble and talk about getting something permanent in place so they can end this detested exercise. And every year, they wait until the last minute and hastily patch it, only to repeat the routine.
The way government typically seeks to reduce Medicare costs is to stiff the doctors. As a result triple the number of doctors abandoned Medicare in 2012 as in prior years.
CMS said 9,539 physicians who had accepted Medicare opted out of the program in 2012, up from 3,700 in 2009. Some 685,000 doctors were enrolled as participating physicians last year, said CMS, which has never released annual opt-out figures before.
Since this is not going to change under ObamaCare — at least it won't according to Dr. Noseworthy — we can expect greater shortages of doctors and services, especially for elderly patients and especially with regard to end-of-life care.
The administration also cited research by Dr. Stacy M. Fischer, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who found that “end-of-life discussions between doctor and patient help ensure that one gets the care one wants.” In this sense, Dr. Fischer said, such consultations “protect patient autonomy.”
Opponents said the Obama administration was bringing back a procedure that could be used to justify the premature withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from people with severe illnesses and disabilities.
Section 1233 of the bill passed by the House in November 2009 — but not included in the final legislation — allowed Medicare to pay for consultations about advance care planning every five years. In contrast, the new rule allows annual discussions as part of the wellness visit.
Elizabeth D. Wickham, executive director of LifeTree, which describes itself as “a pro-life Christian educational ministry,” said she was concerned that end-of-life counseling would encourage patients to forgo or curtail care, thus hastening death.
“The infamous Section 1233 is still alive and kicking,” Ms. Wickham said. “Patients will lose the ability to control treatments at the end of life.”
Democrats ridiculed the notion of "death panels" which they "reasoned" away by claiming that this end-of-life counseling has nothing to do with death panels. Why the very idea is ridiculous. Except that the death panel argument is really about ObamaCare's IPAB, Independent Payment Advisory Board.
For instance, one program that is up for debate is Medicare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. IPAB was created in 2010 following the implementation of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and is a fifteen-member Government agency tasked with reducing Medicare costs while retaining quality of care.
The debate over IPAB has been fierce, and both Republicans and a number of prominent Democrats have come out against the panel. However, despite this, President Obama, in making his requests for the 2014 budget, has proposed that the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s authority only be increased.
If we’re trying to pass a budget, we want to make sure that we’re funding programs that work–and IBAP unequivocally doesn’t.
IPAB takes the Medicare decision-making process away from doctors and away from Americans’ elected representatives in Congress and gives it to an unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable advisory board. This panel is flawed and unethical–but it has total authority to make decisions regarding Medicare funding, how to implement spending cuts within the Medicare program, and how to allocate medical services.
Further, IPAB jeopardizes the quality of medical treatments and services for Medicare beneficiaries: proponents of IPAB argue that the program will improve care by reducing costs, but in reality, by advising such reduced spending per capita, IPAB can actually result in the denial of certain medical treatments, limiting services for seniors and Americans with disabilities.
With nothing in ObamaCare that will drive costs down, the solution will be refusal to pay. Obama and the Democrats repeatedly promised that nobody is going to be denied treatment. And we can keep our health insurance policies too, if we like them.
October 31, 2013
Remember Harry and Louise?
It's all coming true, some twenty years later.
Red Sox Win It!
Unlike past seasons when I'd wonder, "How are they going blow it this time?", this year the World Series seemed a lock. The curse is really over. Red Sox win in six.
October 30, 2013
Picking The Right Losers
Advocates of Social Justice explain that the problem with capitalism is that there are "winners and losers." Here is Dr. A.W. Frank of the University of Calgary arguing the importance of studying Marxism.
[I]t was Marx who first showed, with a drama that captured the world’s attention, that capitalism is about producing winners and losers; that’s what a capitalist economy is designed to do. And Marx establishes a fundamental task of social science as figuring out the conditions that lead to some people being winners and others being losers. Thus Marx continues to set a large part of the social scientific agenda.
How is it that we still have so many out there who think capitalism is about producing winners and losers. Capitalism doesn't choose anything. People choose, if they're fortunate enough to live in a capitalist society. It's the opposite in the socialist model where individuals are not permitted to choose. But guess what: Socialism still has its winners and losers. It's just that somebody else gets to pick them. In this case, it's Barack Obama.
Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama's signature legislation.
"This is when the actual sticker shock comes into play for people," said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "There are winners and losers under the Affordable Care Act."
Gerald F. Kominski, Ph.D. is a Health Services Professor at UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. The L.A. Times provides no context for the professor's comment about ObamaCare picking winners and losers. Is it a flaw in ObamaCare, or is he outlining strategy? Based on his biographical information, I'm inclined to think the latter.
Dr. Kominski received his Ph.D. in public policy analysis with a concentration in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, and his B.A. in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1978. He teaches classes in advanced research methods, health economics, and cost-effectiveness analysis. His research focuses on evaluating the costs and cost-effectiveness of health care programs and technologies; improving access and health outcomes, particularly among ethnic and vulnerable populations; and developing models for estimating health expenditures and forecasting population health.
First we apply the sticker shock. That starts the destruction of the private insurance market. And finally we move to single payer. Rejoice. The tragic injustice that results when people choose their own insurance policies is remedied by ObamaCare.
October 29, 2013
Our Compulsive-Liar In Chief
I still get annoyed when I think about the sanctimonious jerks on the left who accused George W. Bush of lying at every turn. When nuclear weapons didn't turn up in Iraq, it wasn't because the intelligence was bad or inadequate. No. Bush lied, they said. When Bush said tax cuts would promote economic growth that would help everybody, he was lying because that contradicted the leftist zero-sum theory that said tax cuts for the rich meant more taxes for the poor. Policy differences were lies. Differences of opinion were lies.
Well, guess what. We have a real honest to God liar in the White House, and it's not a matter of opinion.
WASHINGTON—The National Security Agency ended a program used to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of other world leaders after an internal Obama administration review started this summer revealed to the White House the existence of the operation, U.S. officials said.
And even the press can't help but notice. Turns out the "U.S. officials" who said spying was only just discovered this summer... were not from the NSA.
WASHINGTON -- The White House and State Department signed off on surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign leaders, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said Monday, pushing back against assertions that President Obama and his aides were unaware of the high-level eavesdropping.
If U.S. spying on key foreign leaders was news to the White House, current and former officials said, then White House officials have not been reading their briefing books.
Some U.S. intelligence officials said they were being blamed by the White House for conducting surveillance that was authorized under the law and utilized at the White House.
"People are furious," said a senior intelligence official who would not be identified discussing classified information. "This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community."
How unlike our press to report anything unflattering about our historic president. Why now?
Suddenly Obama poses a serious threat to liberalism. ObamaCare was supposed to usher in a generation of progressive majorities in Congress as Americans acclimate to socialist utopia. Unfortunately, the ObamaCare rollout has demonstrated astounding government ineptitude and poor judgment. And people are getting really angry. Many quite content with their current health policies find that they can't keep them, and now they find that the White House and HHS knew all along that they couldn't, in spite of promises to the contrary. The whole thing raises questions not only about government's ability to the things that improve people's lives, it also raises questions about government's intentions when it claims to be improving things.
With ObamaCare hitting the fan so dramatically, the press is discovering more stories like this one, where Obama really did know about NSA spying on world leaders — stories that show Obama's cavalier attitude towards the truth, and there could be lots of them.
Truth to Obama is whatever he thinks will flatter him in the light of the moment. It's is a moving target. It's Obama calling Benghazi a spontaneous demonstration on day one, then later it's Obama claiming that he said it was a terrorist attack all along.
Wasn't that a remarkable moment when moderator Candy Crowley jumped into the middle of a Presidential Debate to defend Obama, announcing to stunned challenger Mitt Romney that yes, the president really did say Benghazi was a terrorist attack — the very next day in the Rose Garden. She then proceeded shut down any further debate on the subject. Our watchdog press at work.
The hogs at the trough are threatened. It's too bad, but to most Democrats, too many Republicans, the Washington press corps, big labor, and to a host of others, Obama's choice of politics over governance, his overreach, and his incessant dishonesty are not so much a threat to our democracy as a threat to liberalisim. With ObamaCare heading for the rocks the formerly fawning press are switching from cheerleaders to critics, distancing themselves in hope of salvaging some shread of credibility. It would be a welcome change, except that it's probably only temporary. It's about preserving the trough and saving their places at it.
What could be more emphatic than that?
"If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."
No matter what! That was Barack Obama selling ObamaCare. As we contemplate our buyer's remorse, we can be reminded of the words of Nancy Pelosi.
“But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
There are some, I suppose, who believed Obama meant it when he said, "Period," although it's difficult for me to imagine. Gullible seems such an inadequate description, especially now that we're finding out "what is in it."
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
Obama knowingly lied about healthcare reform. Period. But, why should anybody be surprised about that?
October 28, 2013
60 Minutes on Benghazi
What a remarkable opening:
When Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of September 11th last year, it was only the sixth time that the United States had lost an ambassador to its enemies. The events of that night have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion and intense partisanship. But for those who lived through it, there's nothing confusing about what happened, and they share a sense of profound frustration because they say they saw it coming.
"...overshadowed by misinformation, confusion, and intense partisanship." About that misinformation. In 20-20 hindsight it's clear that the administration knew right away that Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foriegn Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty were all killed in a well planned terrorist attack. Yet five days later President Obama sent UN Ambassador Susan Rice off the the Sunday talk shows to say that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video that insulted Islam.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi last week was not premeditated, directly contradicting top Libyan officials who say the attack was planned in advance.
“Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice told me this morning on “This Week.”
Later on President Obama made prominent mention of that YouTube clip in a speech to the UN General Assembly, implying that somehow the video was a catalyst for the violence in Benghazi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even promised to prosecute the film maker.
Woods explained, “I do appreciate her taking the time from her schedule to meet with the four families. While we were in the pod over there with our family she came over shook my hand and I reached out and hugged her shoulder. Her countenance was not good. And she made the statement to me that first of all she was sorry and then she said ‘We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.’ ”
It's as if the murderers themselves were not to blame.
60 Minutes may be commended for finally working up the integrity to report how additional security for the consulate in Benghazi had been requested and denied. Unfortunately, the program studiously avoided any investigation into why the Ambassador's requests were denied. The names Clinton and Obama are conspicuously missing from the program script.
We got what we normally get from the mainstream media — a pretense at integrity, an attempt to rehabilitate a reputation destroyed by the partisan bias of its own reporting. Events were overshadowed, CBS says, by "misinformation" and "confusion." Unmentioned is that the misinformation originated in the White House and the confusion was desperately needed in order to get Obama re-elected.
For promoting the diversion that saved Obama's re-election, Susan Rice was rewarded. She got onto the short list of nominees for Secretary of State.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is set to go straight from misleading the country about a matter of national security to a promotion.
A top candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Rice famously purveyed erroneous information about the Benghazi terror attack on five Sunday shows a few days after the deadly incident.
But, hey, these things happen.
For the sin opposing a Secretary of State nominee who deliberately misinformed the American public about what happened in Benghazi, Republicans were labeled racist. This is the "intense partisanship to which CBS referred in its introduction to the Benghazi piece.
Ironically, every word that CBS said is true: Events of that night really have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion and partisanship. But in the context of the moment CBS can be confident that the larger part of its audience will believe that Republicans were guilty of intense partisanship for grilling administration officials about what actually happened. 60 Minutes can reasonably expect that its audience will chalk up the misinformation and confusion to the fog of war, not from the fog that emanated from the White House.
CBS has not set the record straight. it's a year after the critical re-election of Barack Obama, and now CBS has judged that it's safe to broadcast some of the facts about Benghazi. In fact, now it's probably even necessary. The 60 Minutes Benghazi broadcast is a bid to re-establish the illusion of integrity. Without it the network will be hamstrung in its battle to elect a Democratic in the 2016 presidential race.
October 01, 2013
Here's a Bit of a Surprise
A majority of America OnLine users blame Democrats for the shutdown. Well, what do you know?
AOL is the home of the Huffington Post whose readership could hardly be classified conservative. And sure enough, a story blaming Congress for the shutdown appeared under the headline, "Government Shutdown Begins As Congress Fails To Pass Continuing Resolution." It begins:
A few paragraphs down, Associated Press reporter Andrew Taylor focuses the blame for us. Can you guess where?
While the Mainstream Media is gearing up for government shutdown horror stories and analyses that put the blame for them on Ted Cruz and the Tea Party, an apparent fracture among Democrats may be widening. There is a splinter of hope for compromise, even after the spectacle of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejecting even the possibility of debate on any of the House resolutions.
It should be noted that the continuing resolution was a bipartisan measure since two congresssional Democrats voted with the Republicans to delay the start of ObamaCare.
Republican establishment types like Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer have opposed the ObamaCare challenge, not because they like ObamaCare, but because they believed a government shutdown would further damage the Republican brand, making it all but impossible to repeal the ObamaCare disaster later on. They would prefer to have this fight when the debt ceiling issue comes up since Americans favor the Republican position on it. I've shared Rove's and Krauthammer's fears, but Senate Democrat intransigence, refusing any negotiation whatsoever, leads me to think those fears won't be realized. And, it's not an either-or situation. We'll have this fight again when we have the debt ceiling debate.
September 30, 2013
Of Course He Can't Be Trusted
I've been hearing the question on Fox News, should Obama try to negotiate with the new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani? After all, we know we can't trust the Iranians.
Iran will demand in return that international sanctions be eased, focusing first on obtaining small reductions to signal Western "good faith." Mr. Obama and Europe already seem eager to comply. Western diplomats will assert defensively that these concessions are merely a matter of "sequencing," and that they expect substantive Iranian concessions. They will wait a long time. Mr. Rouhani fully understands that once sanctions start rolling back, restoring them will be hard, perhaps impossible, absent a major provocation.
Mr. Rouhani will not supply one. Instead, he will continue making on-again, off-again gestures seducing the West into protracted negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs will proceed unimpeded in unknown, undisclosed locations. This was his 2003-05 playbook.
It's a given that we can't trust the Iranian president. So why is that a problem? Well. It's not. The problem is that we can't trust Obama to refuse a deal with the Iranian president, even one that clearly sacrifices the interests of the American citizens. The reality is that Obama will agree to just about anything, confident that his sycophants in the press will promote it as an historic achievement.
Do you wonder why Obama's foreign policy is so utterly incoherent? It's because for Obama there is only domestic policy. When global unrest strikes, the world outside of U.S. borders becomes a stage upon which Obama plays for domestic consumption. It doesn't matter what happens over there as long as Obama is cast in an attractive light over here. The role he plays to satisfy the politics of the moment dictates policy towards enemies and allies. Oh, that wasn't your Red Line Mr. President?
Benghazi is another great example. Libya was supposed to be the place where Obama would demonstrate how al Qaeda was on the run and how the world loved Obama. In accordance with that narrative a policy was in place to "normalize operations" and reduce the number of security personnel at the consulate. It would show how with Obama as president, Libya was as safe as Paris. Don't they just love him over there.
During the hearing, the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a Utah National Guardsman who was leading a security team in Libya until August, placed the blame squarely on Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs, whom they said was the official who denied those requests.
"All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources," Nordstrom testified, adding that Lamb had directly told him over the phone not to make the requests, but that Cretz decided to do it anyway.
"In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Lamb] ‘You cannot request an SST extension.' I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway," Nordstrom said.
As we all know, Ambassador Stevens never got those additional security forces — forces that he requested on several occasions — and as a result he and three others did not survive the planned terrorist attacks on the Benghazi consulate on September 11, 2012.
As to negotiating with the Iranians we should expect to hear how the brilliant Obama was able to forge an historic agreement, made possible through his bold phone call to the Iranian president. The agreement will be meaningless since the iranians have no intention of halting their nuclear weapons program, and Obama knows they have no such intention. But announcing an agreement that pretends they do will be such good PR for Obama. And that's all the matters.
August 20, 2013
Today, Aaron David Miller argues that President Obama's Egypt policy makes perfect sense. It doesn't just make sense, it makes perfect sense.
The only thing that's really clear about U.S. Middle East policy these days is its stunning lack of clarity. Neocons and liberal interventionists alike protest the confusion loudly, and a great many others with less ideological baggage silently scratch their heads.
Anomalies, contradictions, confusion, and more than a little hypocrisy abound...
Still, even while it seems confused and directionless, Barack Obama's Middle East policies have logic and coherence. Indeed, they follow strict directives that the president has imposed. I call them BHO's Five Commandments, and they tell you all you need to know about why the president does what he does from Cairo to Damascus.
You may be startled to learn that the first of BHO's five commandments is to pretty much ignore the middle east:
Commandment No. 1: Care more about the middle class than the Middle East.
Obama may not be able to fix either one. But there's no doubt he'd rather be remembered as a president who tried to repair America's broken house than one who chased around the world on a quixotic quest to fix somebody else's. Immigration reform, the budget, making Obamacare work, continuing to focus on infrastructure, education -- these are things that are important to the American people and to the legacy of a president who is of one of only 17 elected to a second term. Time's running out. Why squander it on problems he cannot fix, like Syria?
I suppose ignoring Egypt altogether might make sense to somebody, somewhere, but it really doesn't sound like the sort of analysis you would find in a magazine that calls itself Foreign Policy, which is where this article appears. So I perused the editorial titles from a list of columns written by Mr. Miller and found one entitled Dumb and Dumber. It argues that the United States should not suspend aid to Egypt, even though there is a U.S. law that forbids foreign aid to a country whose government has just been overthrown by a military coup. Mr. Miller opens that article with this:
I've come up with some pretty dumb ideas during the course of my career in diplomacy and government (see: inviting Yasir Arafat to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum). But what I'm hearing in Washington these days about suspending U.S. assistance to Egypt is even dumber.
Truth be told, I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Miller. While I really can't say how dumb his other ideas might be, I agree that aid to Egypt should not be suspended. But, poor Mr. Miller. No sooner does he open his trap about it, the Obama administration announces plans to cut aid to Egypt.
The Obama administration has temporarily halted the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military as well as some forms of economic aid to the government, despite deciding not to officially describe the military takeover as a coup. The office of Senator Patrick Leahy, the head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast on Monday that the administration has implemented these changes over the past month as it formulates an official determination on the coup.
Well, does that make the Obama adminstration dumber than dumb in the view of Mr. Miller? Not exactly. Let's go back to Obama's perfect Egypt policy and commandment number two to find out why.
Commandment No. 2: Pay attention to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Obama's critics argue he's already paid too much attention to the wars, drawn the wrong lessons from both, and as a result overcorrected and abdicated U.S. leadership. But you really can't pay too much attention to the two longest wars in U.S. history -- wars that cost more than 6,000 American lives, thousands of serious casualties, trillions of dollars, and a great deal of U.S. credibility.
Obama's current approach toward Syria and even Egypt has in fact drawn the right lessons from these wars: he's intuitively grasped the limit of U.S. influence in changing the nature of Middle Eastern societies caught up in internal conflict. If we couldn't reshape what happens in Kabul and Baghdad with hundreds of thousands of troops and trillions of dollars, how are we going to have an impact on what Egypt's generals do or don't do with a trifling $1 billion or so?
Fascinating analysis we have here. Did you get that part that asks, how are we going to have an impact on Egypt's generals with a trifling billion dollars or so? A short four weeks ago Mr. Miller said that the idea of pulling that trifling billion was even dumber than some of his own dumb ideas, but today? Oh, never mind. Now it's a perfect idea.
It's a little scary that we have what seems to be an entire industry, the mainstream media, fully prepared to declare Obama the embodiment of perfection, regardless of which direction his decisions take. For Obama's admirers "yes" and "no" are equally brilliant answers.