Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2014, Health Care, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Continuous Republican Opposition, Health Care Chicago Style, The Power Grab is a Nightmare
The White House has hired former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene to take over the job of overseeing ongoing efforts to fix the federal ObamaCare marketplace HealthCare.gov. DelBene is replacing Jeffrey Zients who was going to have everything running smoothly by the end of November. Zients was originally scheduled to start his new job as director of the National Economic Council on January 1, but he will move into that job after the State of the Union address on January 28. CNBC says:
The switch comes at a critical time for HealthCare.gov, which has seen dramatic performance improvements under Zients. The site, which had very low enrollment levels in the first two months of operation because its tech troubles, now is engaged in a furious effort to sign up as many people as possible in new Affordable Care Act insurance by the New Year.
I don’t know about the “dramatic performance improvements,” 45 states still haven’t hit 10% of enrollment goals for ObamaCare. Oregon has managed to enroll 44 people. The numbers are obviously really bad because the federal government is trying desperately to hide any information. Kathleen Sebelius said:
DelBene will “provide management expertise, operations oversight, and critical advice on additional enrollment channels, field operations, marketing and communication.” He also “will execute the plan in place, so that we can ensure the site’s performance is strong through the close of open enrollment on March 31,2014.”
“This will include a focus on increasing system stability, redundancy and capacity, and building on improvements to the user interface, while continuing to prioritize security and privacy issues in line with industry best practices.”
I’ll bet she wrote that statement all by herself. A number of the official “Navigators” for ObamaCare have been fired for telling people to just lie about their income. It’s all going very smoothly and just improving ever so much.
The White House is claiming that the Healthcare.gov website is mostly fixed, and anyway those whose healthcare plans were cancelled may get to keep them for another year, but in any event their new plans from the ObamaCare exchanges will be “better.” No matter your age or sex, you’ll get free birth control. “Sticker shock” with premiums up to 30% higher than previous coverage, outrageous deductibles and more restrictive networks, suggests that more people will look for ways to avoid the system entirely.
But that is only the beginning. The incentives are all wrong. The bureaucracy devised to oversee everything is too massive and too unresponsive to human need. ObamaCare has placed new burdens on the insurance companies. The industry will respond by shifting burdens to customers. The people will try to get good care. Everyone else’s goal will be to cut costs. Medical professionals will opt out of the networks and unknown numbers will drop out of the profession. The insurance companies will be blamed for any problems.
An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year — mostly for the worse. 69 percent say their premiums are increasing; 59 percent say their annual deductibles or copayments are increasing.
The Democrats own this one in its entirety. They broke it. They own it.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, History, Military | Tags: North Korean Threat, Reminder of Reality, The Totalitarian Mind
It’s hard to remember that the year 1990 was 23 years ago, and those who born at “the End of History” are now 23 years old and the “young invincibles”on whom Obama depends to rescue the unworkable liberal dream of ObamaCare from oblivion. In 1990, capitalism had triumphed and there was no serious ideological challenger left in the world. The global trend toward freedom swept away dictatorships, apartheid in South Africa and the Serbian challenge in the Balkans. Was the 1990′s only the high point of Pax America and global freedom?
Well not so fast. September 11 was a rude awakening to the fact that history was still with us, and the twelve years since have only proved the point. Dictators are reasserting themselves in the former Soviet Union, radical Islam gets even more radical and is close to having a nuclear weapon, and mayhem breaks out with regularity. The American superpower has lost its will to lead a world order, let alone police it. We apparently want to be just another nation among others, and as the United States retreats, disorder increases.
Kim Jong Un reminds us that the totalitarian mind has not vanished, even if we’d prefer not to see. The North Korean dictator reminds us that not even family is immune. The public frog-march and execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, is a reminder of just what the totalitarian mind is capable of, and why it remains a challenge to the world.
It also turns out there is a challenge to democratic capitalism: the eternal human temptation to rule and subjugate other human beings. The motivating ideology varies, such as fanatical Islam, what is left of Communist belief in China and North Korea, tribalism in parts of Asia and Africa, or simply the quest for power and control.
North Korea’s regime is instructive precisely because it has managed to survive and become even more threatening despite the post-Cold War currents of freedom. Partly this is due to its isolation, and partly to the protection of its patrons in Beijing. But its survival is also the result of the regime’s sheer will to dynastic power at all costs, and the West’s willingness to ignore its horrors.
The totalitarian mind is increasingly a threat to us all, because it is rapidly acquiring the technology to kill people far beyond the population of North Korea.They have nuclear warheads and will soon have a missile that can reach the United States, and they are happy to share the technology to anyone with enough cash.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Freedom, Health Care, Law, Regulation, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: A Lawless Administration, Congress Makes The Laws, The Executive Enforces the Law
Charles Kessler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, writes in the most recent issue:
The original Tea Party was neither a political organization nor a populist movement. It was a one-night stand, an evening uprising. Nevertheless, the young John Adams judged it so intrepid and consequential as to mark “an epocha in history.”
The British government agreed. Lord North warned the Commons that a turning point had been reached. “We are now to establish our authority.” he said,”or give it up entirely.” We all know how that turned out.
Both the old and the new Tea Party stand for resistance to unconstitutional power. In 1773 the Tea Partiers opposed the Tea Act, which violated their rights as Englishmen and as men. Their counterparts today fight against Obamacare, a much worse law. And they have enough orneriness left over to confront many other usurpations by the Obama Administration as well as several inherited from Bush II.
Modern liberalism can neither fathom nor tolerate the Tea Party. Liberals don’t believe in a right of revolution against liberalism. They consider progress as they define it to be irreversible. For example, here is Barack Obama at his most peremptory, calling in 2009 for nationalized health care. “I am not the first president to take up this cause,”he told Congress, “but I am determined to be the last.”
Liberals are just plain frightened by the Tea Party. They prefer to think of it as the dying gasp of conservatism, but fear it to be revolutionary in the Jacobin, man the barricades, sense. They are unaccustomed to conservatives who hold rallies, carry homemade signs, and even say the Pledge of Allegiance, all together, in public.
Liberals take the threat of the tea party seriously enough that President Obama has sicced the IRS on any groups with ‘Tea Party’ or ‘Patriot’, or other alarming words in their application for tax-exempt status. The IRS was caught unlawfully discriminating against such groups, and an ongoing investigation is working to get to the bottom of it. When winning is everything, using government agencies for political purposes seems acceptable.
The president has shrugged it off as a non-issue in spite of public outrage, and is now proposing new regulations to make it impossible for nonprofits to discuss anything the Obama Administration deems political — like speaking of the Constitution, issuing nonpartisan voter guides or mounting nonpartisan drives to register voters. The administration slipped in new rules and regulations clarifying what can be called “political activity.” The new regulations attempt to codify what Obama’s IRS had hoped to achieve with mere harassment. Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal notes:
What makes this targeting more obvious is that the Obama Treasury rule only applies to 501(c)(4) groups. The ultra-liberal League of Women Voters Education Fund is registered as a 501(c)(3)—one of those “charities” supposedly held to the strictest IRS standards on politicking. Yet it brags on its website that it holds “candidate debates and forums,” and that its “educational activities” include “understanding candidate views and ballot initiatives.”
The League will continue to be able to do its voter guides and registrations and candidate forums. Yet under this new rule, any conservative social-welfare organization that attempts to do the same will likely lose its tax-exempt status. Nor does the new rule apply the biggest spenders of all in politics—unions, which are registered as 501(c)(5)s. The only category muzzled is the one recently flooded by conservative groups that Democrats fear in the 2014 election.
You have perhaps noticed that liberals are trying to portray, with some success, the Tea Party, in particular, and Republicans in general, as in the midst of an internecine battle, sure to result in the demise of Republicanism entirely.
Republicanism is a big tent. The Tea Party, indignant and new at the game, wants to put on their armor and battle flags flying, go on the attack. Conservatives want to pick their battles and not lose track of the real goal. There are Moderates and Libertarians as well, and of course the Establishment.
And “there is the easiest path to electoral success which is simply for someone on the right to stake out a position just to the right of one’s Democratic opponent.” as Ace of Spades said today. We are all human and one person’s hot button in not necessarily anyone else’s.
The Tea Party, new at political infighting, tends to speak in maximalist and uncompromising terms, and the Establishment knows more about politicking than the Tea Party. Both sides need to recognize that their goals are the same, even as they differ on strategy. The Establishment needs to stop thinking of the Tea Party as the new kids on the block who don’t know how to behave, and the Tea Party needs to stop trying to primary every congressman or senator who disagrees with them on strategy.
There are arcane rules and ways of getting things done in Congress when you’re just one of the three parts of the government. The goal is to repeal ObamaCare and all it entails.
This is the first time we have had a President of the United States who simply does not take the oath of office seriously, and is inclined to think the Constitution is an obsolete document that can be ignored. And there, as they say, is the rub.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Iran, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: A Nuclear Iran, Testing Ballistic Missiles Too, Triumph Of Hope Over Reality
It appears that the Document agreed to in Geneva between the P5 +1 ( U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) and Iran might well be two different documents. Each side has a different interpretation of the interim understanding reached on November 24.
From the remarks of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jarad Zarif on Iranian television, the Geneva document does not legally obligate Iran. The Iranians regard enrichment as their right, and judges that it will need little time to recover its production capabilities of 20-percent enriched uranium. There will be no legal obligations. “Today, we are only unscrewing two taps between a cascade and if we decide to enrich uranium to 20 percent, we will do it in a period of 24 hours.”
Secretary Kerry, on the other hand, says that the measures will address “the most urgent concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. It locks in the most critical components of a nuclear program into place and impedes progress in those critical components in a way that actually rolls back the stockpile of enriched uranium and widens the length of time possible for breakout. That makes people safer.” He adds that daily access to key facilities will enable us to determine with greater certainty than ever before that Iran is complying.
There you go. That should make you feel better. It could, of course, be worse. The media is reminding us that there is a giant caldera under Yellowstone Park that could explode any time and destroy the whole country.