March 28, 2014

The Broken Record

That would be me.  As we continue to marvel at the slow motion, never ending train wreck that is ObamaCare, we shouldn't lose sight of its purpose.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  ObamaCare is not about health care.  It's about power.  When, you may ask, might I have said that before?  Actually, I it was before ObamaCare was even passed.  For instance, August 15, 2009:

[W]hy go blindly along on health care reform when so often the president's arguments are not correct?  Why, when nearly every Obama claim is questionable or false, from the number of Americans who are uninsured, to scare stories about people currently being denied care, to his imagined cost savings.  What is the point?  And why are progressives so hot for a single payer system, when single payer systems have been shown time and again to result in reduced quality of care and government directed rationing?

It so happens, Bill Clinton delivered the answer at a convention for progressive bloggers in Pittsburgh.

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.

In a nearly hour-long keynote address to the fourth annual Netroots Nation convention in Pittsburgh, a gathering of roughly 1,500 progressive bloggers and activists, Clinton said the nation—and public opinion—has dramatically changed in the 16 years since he took office. But he noted that President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress needed the support of the online community to achieve their agenda.

We have entered a new era of progressive politics which, if we do it right, can last 30 or 40 years,” Clinton said. “America has rapidly moved to another place on a lot of these issues.”

“The president needs your help,” he said, “and the cause needs your help.”

As we all know, ObamaCare passed, and the results were as expected, which means ObamaCare is nowhere close to what was promised.  Contrary to its billing, under the "Affordable" Care Act premiums are higher, deductibles are higher, choices are fewer, and the uninsured for the most part remain uninsured.  ObamaCare doesn't just fail to fix any of those problems.  It makes them worse.

We also know that when Obama promised, "If you like you plan, you can keep your plan — period," he was lying.  And he knew he was lying.  So what is the point of making an absolute mess of health care in America?  In one of his "Rule of Law" columns a couple of days ago J. Christian Adams gave us a concrete example of what is the point.:

A settlement between California and left-wing groups begins to reveal the political architecture of Obamacare.  From the ACLU press release: 

In a victory for voting rights, the state of California has agreed to mail voter registration cards to nearly 4 million Californians who have signed up for health insurance through the state health exchange, Covered California, and to ensure that Californians who apply for health benefits through the exchange going forward are provided voter registration opportunities...

Here’s the simple version:  Obamacare requires millions of people to interact with the government who never would have done so before. At the point of interaction, NVRA requires them to be pushed to register to vote.  Presto.  Millions of people are now touched by a political touch when they just wanted to see a doctor.  The politicization of health care has a GOTV component for the Democrat party.

That's my emphasis above.  In one way or another, that is what the Affordable Care Act was always intended to do — increase the number of voters who are more inclined to vote for a Democrat.  If it costs the rest of us an arm and a leg and our healthcare, so be it.

If you happen to be one of those people who knew that ObamaCare couldn't possibly add millions to the insurance rolls without making healthcare more expensive and less available, guess what.  You're the enemy.  Defeating you is the cause that Bill Clinton urged the Netroots Convention to get behind when he envisioned those 30 or 40 years of progressive politics. 

Now, you might be tempted to think progressives have embarked on their campaign to defeat you so that they can more easily implement their ever compassionate policies like ObamaCare.  You have it backwards.  ObamaCare is the means to defeat you.  It provides a taxpayer funded recruitment mechanism that is intended to keep Democrats in power by overwhelming the voices of Americans who might be averse to wasteful spending in Washington.  Democrats intend to keep the gravy train running.  And isn't it funny how the money seems to rub off.

Update:  The link I've been looking for! 

The fact that Harry Reid’s political and influence operation includes his five children has been established for some time. A few weeks ago, when I first heard Reid accuse private citizens of being un-American, I dredged up a Los Angeles Times article from 2003 with the headline, “In Nevada, the Name to Know Is Reid.” Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper’s meticulously researched and reported article begins with the story of the “Clark County Conservation of Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002,” a land bill of the sort that puts people to sleep. “What Reid did not explain” when he introduced the bill in the Senate, Neubauer and Cooper wrote, “was that the bill promised a cavalcade of benefits to real estate developers, corporations, and local institutions that were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to his sons’ and son-in-law’s firms.” I wonder why he left that part out.

Firms tied to the Reid family, the Los Angeles Times reported, earned more than $2 million from 1998 to 2002 “from special interests that were represented by the kids and helped by the senator in Washington.”

Does it ever rub off!  This, along with that mess called ObamaCare, is what you get when you vote for a Democrat.

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February 27, 2014

A Constitutional Tipping Point

In testimony before Congress yesterday, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School warned that America has reached a constitutional tipping point.

We are now at the constitutional tipping point for our system. If balance is to be reestablished, it must begin before this President leaves office and that will likely require every possible means to reassert legislative authority. No one in our system can “go it alone” – not Congress, not the courts, and not the President. We are stuck with each other in a system of shared powers—for better or worse. We may deadlock or even despise each other. The Framers clearly foresaw such periods. They lived in such a period. Whatever problems we are facing today in politics, they are problems of our own making. They should not be used to take from future generations a system that has safeguarded our freedoms for over 250 years.

Mr. Turley believes that President Obama has exceeded his authority and that our system of government with its checks and balances is threatened, and that means our freedoms and our childrens' freedoms are threatened.  These are not the ravings of a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, but the concerns of a constitutional scholar with very liberal tendencies.  As he said in his testimony,

As someone who voted for President Obama and agrees with many of his policies, it is often hard to separate the ends from the means of presidential action.  Indeed, despite decades of thinking and writing about the separation of powers, I have had momentary lapses where I privately rejoiced in seeing actions on goals that I share, even though they were done in the circumvention of Congress.  For example, when President Obama unilaterally acted on greenhouse gas pollutants, I was initially relieved. I agree entirely with the priority that he has given this issue.  However, it takes an act of willful blindness to ignore that the greenhouse regulations were implemented only after Congress rejected such measures and that a new sweeping regulatory scheme is now being promulgated solely upon the authority of the President.  We are often so committed to a course of action that we conveniently dismiss the means as a minor issue in light of the goals of the Administration. Many have embraced the notion that all is fair in love and politics. However, as I have said too many times before Congress, in our system it is often more important how we do something than what we do. Priorities and policies (and presidents) change. What cannot change is the system upon which we all depend for our rights and representation.

Unlike Mr. Turley, I do not believe that the accrual of power in the executive branch is a side effects of Obama's good faith effort to bring about policy change.  It's the other way around.  Policy prescriptions chosen by this president are calculated to enhance progressive power.  It was always his plan to transform America, and so to accomplish that goal everything he proposes, from health care reform to action on climate change, requires enhanced regulatory power in government and reduced economic power for private citizens.  The power of Congress, and of the people, is diminishing by design.

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February 24, 2014

Piers Morgan Puffery

So, Piers Morgan gets canned, and David Carr of the New York Times thinks it's the accent.

There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.

It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.

Oh, those provincial Americans.  What's a brilliant, sophisticated Brit to do, asks the brilliant and sophisticated David Carr?

Old hands in the television news business suggest that there are two things a presenter cannot have: an accent or a beard. Mr. Morgan is clean shaven and handsome enough, but there are tells in his speech — the way he says the president’s name for one thing (Ob-AA-ma) — that suggest that he is not from around here.

Oh, If only we could get over that accent.  Clearly, his departure from CNN is an opportunity lost for us American clods, but any hope that Piers would nudge us away from our provincial ways is gone now.  And it's only because he's a foreigner!  With an accent!  According to David Carr, anyway.

While I may share his feelings about the need for additional strictures on guns, having grown up in the Midwest, I know that many people come by their guns honestly and hold onto them dearly for sincere reasons.

Mr. Morgan’s approach to gun regulation was more akin to King George III, peering down his nose at the unruly colonies and wondering how to bring the savages to heel. He might have wanted to recall that part of the reason the right to bear arms is codified in the Constitution is that Britain was trying to disarm the citizenry at the time.

He regrets none of it, but clearly understands his scolding of “stupid” opponents of gun laws was not everyone’s cup of tea.

Perhaps "brilliant" and "Piers Morgan" don't really go together after all.  But then you knew I was kidding about the "brilliant, sophisticated Brit" part.  Come to think of it, the words don't really go that well with "David Carr" either.  He agrees with Pier's attitude towards guns, but seems only dimly aware — in hindsight of course — that Piers might have made a mistake when he labeled a segment of his CNN audience "'stupid' opponents of gun laws."  Sure, it sounded so good when he said it, but maybe it didn't help in the ratings war.

We don’t look for moral leadership from CNN, or from a British host on a rampage. Guns, along with many other great and horrible things, are knit into the fabric of this country,

No, "we" don't look for moral leadership from a British host on the rampage, but I'd be willing to bet that David Carr does.  And he seems to wish we would, too.  Tough luck, Carr.  We ain't listenin' to no damn foreigner!

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Another Dem Retiring

Michigan Democrat John Dingell is retiring after 58 years in congress, and he doesn't have kind words for congress on his way out the door. 

In the speech, he had harsh words for Congress, calling it a "great disappointment to everyone." And he said the blame was with lawmakers and voters. "There will be much blaming and finger pointing back and forth, but the members share fault, much fault; the people share much fault, for encouraging a disregard of our country, our Congress, and our governmental system," he said.

Well, I'll go along with that.  The voters share much of the blame, and as the longest serving congressman in history, he is the strongest evidence yet of voter culpability in the matter. 

His wife, Debbie Dingell, 60, is said to be considering a bid for the seat, which is likely to stay in Democratic hands. Ms. Dingell is chairwoman of the Wayne State University board of governors and previously served as a senior executive at General Motors for more than 30 years. President Barack Obama won the district with about two-thirds of the vote in 2012.

So, there's not much hope that voters will rectify the situation anytime soon.

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February 22, 2014

It's An Election Year

Still wondering why Jay Leno left the Tonight Show in favor of Jimmy Fallon?  Leno was forced out.  Here is a little snippet about it from an April, 2013 Washington Post column.  

“We are purposefully making this change when Jay is #1, just as Jay replaced Johnny Carson when he was #1,” Burke said in Wednesday’s news.

There’s one big difference: Carson shocked NBC suits in May of 1991 when he announced his retirement at an affiliate conference in New York. (That, following  press reports NBC was concerned that Carson (who was in his mid-60’s) was losing younger viewers, and that NBC had guaranteed Leno the gig when Carson retired.

Leno, 62, on the other hand, is being told when to step down — again. Leno’s contract expires in ’14.

Leno didn't want to leave, but NBC forced him out.  Leno's final broadcast was an emotional farewell.  So, why did NBC want Jay Leno out?  He was an equal opportunity joker.  He was one of a very few in Hollywood who was willing to poke fun at Obama.  On the other hand, in Jimmy Fallon Democrats have an activist ally.

The Obamas have had few more obsequious media allies than NBC's Jimmy Fallon. Now that he's taking over the hallowed ground of "The Tonight Show," Fallon's proven ability to spread his reach into viral videos on YouTube promises to become even more politically potent.

Fallon's Obama-friendly sketches and interviews have become immediate "news" grist for the Comcast corps at NBC and MSNBC. The same sensation happens when Fallon is ripping into a Republican.

Just as NBC and MSNBC were tearing Gov. Chris Christie apart over "Bridgegate," Fallon joined this political crusade by bringing on liberal rock star Bruce Springsteen for a jokey version of the hit "Born to Run."

Fallon and Springsteen sang clumsy lyrics that Christie was "killing the working man who is stuck in Governor Chris Christie's Fort Lee, New Jersey traffic jam." The YouTube video went viral, while the media played it up as another nail in the coffin they were building for Christie's career.

The NBC press agents are trying to paper over Fallon's political tilt. 

Well, it's an election year.  Timing is everything. 

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February 20, 2014

The Astonishing Influence of Barack Obama

Dateline: February 19, 2014.  Barack Obama issues a stern warning to Ukrainian President Yanukovich

President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences, as the United States considered joining European partners to impose sanctions aimed at ending deadly street clashes that are sparking fears of civil war.

“There will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama said shortly after landing in Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, as fires burned in central Kiev. “And that includes making sure that the Ukrainian military does not step in to what should be a set of issues that can be resolved by civilians.”

Dateline: February 20, 2014.  Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich responds to Barack Obama's empty threat.

Ukraine suffered its bloodiest day since Soviet times on Thursday with a gun battle in central Kiev as President Viktor Yanukovich faced conflicting pressures from visiting European Union ministers and his Russian paymasters.

Three hours of fierce fighting in Independence Square, which was recaptured by anti-government protesters, left the bodies of over 20 civilians strewn on the ground, a few hundred meters from where the president met the EU delegation.

Riot police were captured on video shooting from a rooftop at demonstrators in the plaza, known as the Maidan or "Euro-Maidan". Protesters hurled petrol bombs and paving stones to drive the security forces off a corner of the square the police had captured in battles that began on two days earlier.

Kiev's city health department said 67 people had been killed since Tuesday, which meant at least 39 died in Thursday's clashes. That was by far the worst violence since Ukraine emerged from the crumbling Soviet Union 22 years ago.

Obama opens his mouth, Yanukovich is a good to go with the riot police.  Another Red Line that begged to be crossed — and in only one day. 

Via Instapundit.

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February 08, 2014

Leveraging The Lack of Economic Education

Casey Mulligan, professor of economics at University of Chicago, studies the impact of government decisions on the incentives and disincentives for work.  It so happens that Professor Mulligan's work had some influence on the recent CBO study that said the impact of ObamaCare would be the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs lost.

In response to the study Democrats, leftists, and their friends in the media are now claiming that job losses like this are a good thing.

Thanks to ObamaCare, we're told, Americans can finally quit the salt mines and blacking factories and retire early, or spend more time with the children, or become artists.

Funny, they didn't always think that way.  As a matter of fact, ObamaCare was projected to create jobs, not destroy them.  In 2011 David Cutler of Harvard and Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago put together a letter that was signed by dozens of left-wing economists.  The letter said that ObamaCare would boost the economy, creating 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually.  Oopsies.

Well, maybe jobs don't matter after all.  Especially the upside is a bumper crop of new artists!  Whatever.

No matter the fallout from ObamaCare, we know one thing.  Democrats and other lefties will say it's all good.  OK, it hasn't fueled America's economic engine as advertised.  So what if economy has been in the tank for Obama's entire administration?  That's a good thing.  And if it's not good it's George Bush's fault.

Mr. Mulligan reserves particular scorn for the economists making this "eliminated from the drudgery of labor market" argument, which he views as a form of trahison des clercs. "I don't know what their intentions are," he says, choosing his words carefully, "but it looks like they're trying to leverage the lack of economic education in their audience by making these sorts of points."

Let's see how that leverage works out come November.  Sooner or later you might expect even low information voters to begin wondering about all the contradictions surrounding ObamaCare.  Maybe not.

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February 06, 2014

Advice for Republicans -- From James Carville

Well actually, his advice is for Democrats and it goes like this:

Oh, by the way, go negative, early and often.

But going negative is bad, isn't it?  Nah.  Democrats only say it is, and they that say so that Republicans won't do it.  It tends to work.  When Republicans point out Democratic failures in leadership, the mainstream media wring their collective hands and lament about the sad state of politics these days.  Why, they wonder, can't candidates talk about the issues that matter to the American people?  Haven't we talked about Benghazi enough? 

Candy Crowley sure thought so back in 2012 when she dove out onto the Obama/Romney presidential debate stage to cut of any discussion about Benghazi when Romney was about to deliver a haymaker. 

On the other hand, when Harry Reid accused Mitt Romney of not paying any income tax, that was just Harry talking about the issues.  In support, the media jumped in to complain that Romney hadn't turned over his income tax returns for the last 50 years.  Investigative reporters pondered, what is Romney hiding?

At any rate, the point of Carville's article was to say that as bad as things look for Democrats, it's worse for Republicans who are viewed negatively by a majority of Americans.

According to the Pollster average, two-thirds now disapprove of the Republican Party. We are not talking about Congress or even the Republicans in Congress. The party itself, the Republican Party, has a net -40 approval rating. With just a quarter of the country approving of the GOP, that means not even all of the party’s own members are giving it a positive rating.

There's a reason for that negative view, and it's not because of negative campaigning by Republicans.  Democrats and the media have been waging a relentless and successful campaign to smear the Republican brand.  It's been going on at least since Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964, and it really heated up when Newt Gingrich orchestrated a Republican takeover in the House of Representatives in 1994.

Here's a clue, Republicans.  Your approval rating is not going to go down if you engage in what the media calls negative campaigning.  It's going to go down because Democrats and their friends in the media are going to be waging negative campaigns against you. 

Wake up and smell the coffee.  Your campaign issue is the Democratic party.  Look what they've done to the country.

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February 05, 2014

Institutional Dishonesty

The video speaks for itself. Via Hot Air:
The reaction from Jon Stewart is priceless, and who would ever have imagined Bill Maher complaining that Obama lied.  But somehow we accept blatant dishonesty from the people we elect to public office.  I suppose we've just grown accustomed to it over the years, but good lord!  Now it's getting ridiculous!

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Our Casual Liar In Chief

Without batting an eye.  When asked by Bill O'Reilly in his Super Bowl interview about why he opposed school vouchers, the president just casually lied the way he always does.

Asked by Mr. O'Reilly why he opposed school vouchers that "level the playing field" and "give poor people a chance to go to better schools," the president replied, "Actually, every study that's been done on school vouchers, Bill, says that it has very limited impact if any."

Mr. Obama said that the means-tested voucher programs in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C, "didn't actually make that much of a difference," and added, "As a general proposition, vouchers have not significantly improved the performance of kids that are in these poorest communities."

In fact, study after study using gold-standard random-assignment methodology has shown that vouchers not only improve student outcomes but have the biggest impact on low-income minorities. Here's a sampling:

The article by Jason L. Riley went on to list six different studies in which students who participated in the voucher programs showed significant gains over control group students.  And the last of the six studies was one released by the Obama administration.

And the Obama administration itself released a report on the D.C. voucher program in 2010. "The students offered vouchers graduated from high school at a rate 12 percentage points higher (82 percent) than students in the control group (70 percent), an impact that was statistically significant at the highest level," according to a summary. "Students in three of six subgroups tested showed significant reading gains because of the voucher offer after four or more years."

It's about the money.  Obama's problem with voucher programs is the threat they pose to public education labor unions.  The unions are important to Obama because they funnel money to the Democratic party.  The income stream is what matters to Obama.

What benefits Obama is what qualifies as truth, to the point where his dishonesty is ordinary, routine, just his usual practice.  

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