American Elephants

Nancy Pelosi Still Doesn’t Know “What Is In It” by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, once famously said that “We would have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” They passed it, but she apparently still hasn’t read it. It is long and confusing, but she clearly still doesn’t know what is in it. She can’t get past her extreme partisanship and speak about it honestly. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

She doesn’t remember, but here she is in 2012, asserting that she did too say everyone’s premiums would be lower. You Tube is so darned inconvenient. Politicians just haven’t caught up with the fact that their words are preserved for eternity.

Premiums are scheduled to double for most people. Premiums for a family are expected to be around $20,000 a year. With a vast shortage of doctors, wait times will increase to match the horrors of Canada and Britain.  How to fix it? Well, just turn it into single payer, which is what the Democrats intended all the time. We were talking about trust and truth telling, weren’t we?

ADDENDUM: The Ohio Department of Insurance announced that based on the rates submitted by insurers, the average individual market health insurance premium in 2014 will come in around  $420, representing an increase of 88% relative to 2013. Lt. Governor Mary Taylor said in a statement: “We have warned of these increases. Consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014.”

A total of 14 companies proposed rates for 214 plans to the Department. Projected costs from the companies for providing coverage for the required (by ObamaCare) essential health benefits ranged from $282.51 to $577.40 for individual health plans. They have not yet been approved by the Department of Insurance. The biggest drivers are 1) risk pool composition charges — forcing the young to subsidize the old, and the healthy to subsidize the sick. And 2) ObamaCare’s required expansion of insurance benefits. Some have the impression that rates are rising because of the law’s requirement or covering pre-existing conditions, but that represents only a very small part of the rise.

Monday’s Best of the Web: by The Elephant's Child

Today’s Must-Read Columns:

Silicon Valley Doesn’t Just Help the Surveillance State—It Built It

Mounting Controversies Are All About Trust

Obama is Just Obama

Truth and Lies. Honesty and Sincerity. Trust and Belief. by The Elephant's Child

How do you know who to believe? How do you sort truth from falsehood? Most of us can be drawn in by a good liar. The radio reports that more than 22,000 people have called for a full pardon for Edward Snowden and called him a “national hero.” We only first heard his name, what? two days ago? And he’s a national hero? Oh, please!

A recent survey by Reader’s Digest searched for “The 100 Most Trusted People in America.” Number 1 — Tom Hanks. Number 2 — Sandra Bullock. Number 3 — Denzel Washington. Number 4 —Meryl Streep Number 5 — Maya Angelou. Number 6 — Stephen Spielberg. Number 7 — Bill Gates. Number 8 — Alex Trebek. Number 9 — Melinda Gates. Number 10 — Julia Roberts.

Reader’s Digest said under the headline ‘Trust’  “It’s earned with a person’s integrity and character, exceptional talent and drive, internal moral compass, message, honesty, and leadership. In our annual Reader’s Digest Trust Poll, we asked you to determine the top 100 people in America today who have gained your confidence.”

They seem to be people that Reader’s Digest readers have seen on TV. It is a bizarre list. What could they have been thinking? Tom Hanks? These people are actors. Noam Chomsky is number 20!  Jimmy Carter number 24. Obama doesn’t appear on the list until number 65— and that was long before the present scandals.

I once had a manager who was a pathological liar, and it took me quite a while to catch on. Took the company a little longer. We want to believe, and we don’t want to believe that someone has lied to us.

I find the Reader’s Digest list fascinating, for it tells us so much about where people get their information and how they process it. it tells us a lot about politics and about elections, and about our schools. We cannot be free if we cannot learn to distinguish truth from falsehood, fact from lie. Our educators claim that if they are not teaching our kids math and history, at least they are teaching “critical thinking.” Uh huh.  Tell me another one.

Where Has All the Trust Gone? Long Time Passing. by The Elephant's Child

Should the NSA “Whistleblower” go to jail? Of course. He signed contracts that guaranteed he would not release secret information under penalty of law. It’s that simple. If he believes there is actually something wrong in the agency in which he works, he is obliged to go to the inspector general for that agency.

Edward Snowden is a high school dropout, but later got a GED, a junior college dropout, an Army dropout after he broke his legs in a training accident, yet he was stationed by the CIA with diplomatic cover in Geneva in 2007, with widespread access to classified documents.  That access, and less than three years of being around CIA officers, made him question U.S. government surveillance policies.

After that he worked as a private contractor at an NSA facility in Japan, then as a private contractor with Booz-Hamilton, a private contractor for NSA in Hawaii, at a salary of around $200,000, from whom he requests leave to cope with his epilepsy. So he encamps for Hong Cong from where he reveals his government secrets to London’s Guardian newspaper.

He says he admires other accused leakers of government secrets such as Private Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, but considers himself different. His admiration does not speak well for him.

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he told the Guardian. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”

This doesn’t add up. What kind of sloppy government hiring and assignments put an Army private or a high school dropout in positions where they have the capacity to steal important national security secrets?

Is the NSA doing something dastardly? Were it not for the incredible malfeasance in the IRS and the clumsy attempts to cover up, the targeting of innocent American citizens who just happened to disagree with the administration, the clumsy efforts to denigrate the opposition just before an election, we might not think so. Who knows?

We have an implacable enemy in Radical Islam. The president wants us to think that al Qaeda has been decimated, but this is not true. The president seems to want us to accept the idea that Iran having nuclear capability is not a big deal. The Secretary of State is arming Egypt’s Radical Islam, pledging to round up $4 billion for them from who knows whom? I will agree that it is quite essential to know what conversations or correspondence is going on between people in the United States and those in suspected locations who wish us ill. But there’s some sloppy thinking here.

Oddly, the Democrats seem far more excited about the idea that the government would monitor phone records or computer records far more troubling than the activities of the IRS in attacking conservative groups for disagreeing with the administration.  I guess the idea that a Republican administration might use the IRS against them does not occur, or more likely, they are fairly confident that Republicans wouldn’t do such a thing, and that is probably correct.

President Barack O’Blameless has hauled out his usual straw men—setting up questions that no one has asked— to assure everyone that he is indeed blameless, and gone out to hit the golf course. But the scandals are too big, too ugly, the lies pile up, and millions have been expended for no reason except the political advantage of the president and his party.

That’s not what the American people signed up for.  Americans don’t like being lied to, and they want to have some kind of trust in their government. That has been destroyed.

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