Found it on Facebook: Young California man automatically enrolled in Medi-Cal

Covered CaliforniaBecause California’s “Covered California” exchange seemed to get off to a good(ish) start, my Leftist friends on Facebook have been boasting that it proves that, if more states had agreed to have their own exchanges, the federal Obamacare exchange would have been a non-issue.  To which I now say “Not so fast, oh Leftist friends.”

Another one of my Facebook friends is a classic independent:  he’s a young man in his mid-20s, quite brilliant, with a computer degree from a top (way top) school.  Unsurprisingly, despite his youth, he has a very good job with an even better income.  That’s why I accept as absolute truth the message that this young man posted on his Facebook page.  (I’ve edited the message slightly, so as to protect his privacy.  The content is unchanged, but some of the vocabulary is different.)

I opened my mail today and discovered I’d been enrolled into Medi-Cal. I never applied for Medi-Cal, since I have an income and I have health insurance through a private insurance company.  The only thing that I did was to sign up for California’s exchange [Covered California].  I just wanted to compare prices, so I never completed an application.  Worse, now that I’m “on Medi-Cal,” I don’t know what to do to get off again.

This is your tax dollars at work.

Solidarity with the nuns — a tipping point moment?

Lech WalesaRemember back in 1980 when something happened in Poland that seemed little but had enormous consequences?  That was the year that Lech Walesa started to lead the Gdansk shipyard workers.  Their trade union eventually led in a straight line to the Soviet Union’s downfall.  From a trade union, those shipyard workers morphed into an enormous, non-violent protest against the Polish government (a Soviet proxy).

When the Polish government blinked, people throughout the former Soviet Empire realized that the Communist monster was weakening and could be challenged.  Aided by Reagan’s, Thatcher’s, and Pope John Paul II’s moral support, as well as political and financial aid from Western countries fighting in the Cold War, communist bloc citizens suddenly had real hope — not the phony stuff Obama and his media acolytes socialists have always peddled, but real hope that the decades they’d spent imprisoned in their own countries were finally ending.

Let’s call the Solidarity movement a tipping point.

For reasons best known to itself, the Obama administration has seen fit to wage war against these ladies:

Little Sisters of the Poor

These gals, of course, are the Little Sisters of the Poor.  For more than 150 years, this order has been serving the elderly poor.  And when I say “serving,” I mean that.  They aren’t just conduits for funds.  They go out every day and work amongst the elderly poor, especially the ones who are sick and alone.  As you can see from the picture above, the little sisters are mostly elderly themselves.  They are grandmotherly types whose deep and abiding faith carries them to places most people don’t even think about.  And to the extent they do think about them, they cut a check to charity or, when they’re paying their taxes, try to minimize the pain by saying, “I guess it helps fund Medicaid.”

Being good Catholics, the Little Sisters were in the forefront of groups refusing to abide by the Obamacare mandate that they provide insurance for their employees that includes contraceptives and abortifacients.  Aside from the fact that the nuns don’t need either contraceptives or abortifacients, to the extent that they might hire a receptionist or accountant, they weren’t about to condemn their immortal souls by providing those services for her either.

The Obama administration, recognizing that this was a fight it couldn’t win, came up with an illusory compromise:  Religious institutions can sign a slip of paper saying that they won’t buy those “benefits” for their employees.  However, their insurance company must still provide those same benefits for employees.  In that way, said the administration, the nuns weren’t violating their consciences.

Nuns, however, are not as stupid as the Obama administration seems to think they are.  They understand that, if their insurance company must provide those benefits, someone needs to pay for them — and that’s going to be the insured.  In other words, even though the nuns will no longer directly pay for contraceptives and abortifacients, they will still indirectly pay as the insurance company hikes their fees to pay for unidentified “sundries.”  Whether the nuns pay directly, or the insurance company pays on their behalf, the nuns are still paying.

You’d think, at this point, that the Obama administration would have the intelligence to back down.  Nobody, however, has ever accused committed ideologues of intelligence, nor have I ever made the mistake of accusing the Obama administration of having any intelligence greater than a feral manipulative ability, gilded by an adoring and complicit press.  They are in this to win.

The question is whether the public will side with the Obama administration or with the nuns.  The hardcore NARAL crowd, of course, will side with the president and claim that the nuns are just being pointlessly fussy.  You and I, of course, will side with the nuns, because we recognize that they’re not being fussy at all.  If they sign the paper, they are giving their insurance company permission to use their money to fund something doctrinally prohibited and repugnant.

It seems to me, though, that the masses will not like seeing Obamacare used to pummel little nuns who work tirelessly for the elderly poor.  There’s no way that you can paint these nuns as wild-eyed Todd Aikins who believe that pregnancy negates rape.  Since the roll-out, those who have lost insurance and lost their doctors and spent fruitless hours trying to use the exchange have been the face of Obamacare’s victims.  Employers, however, haven’t had a face . . . until now.  These nuns exemplify the villainy of forcing America’s employers to buy insurance antithetical to their values or even impossible for their budgets.

I would love to see nuns across America descend on Washington, D.C., for a “Million Nun March.”  Nothing would put a clearer face on Obamacare’s trampling of individual rights than seeing elderly nuns protesting at the White House.  Arrayed behind them should be priests (of course) as well as Americans of all creeds who believe in religious freedom.  Were that to happen, I think we might see the same tipping point that started in a Polish shipyard a long, long time ago.

Obama tries desperately to run away from Obamacare

Arrogant ObamaRich Lowry wrote such a good post about Obama’s efforts to escape from Obamacare that I’m hard put to find a single paragraph to pique your interest.  Everything is pique-y.  After much thought, though, I offer this snippet to entice you to read the whole thing:

In the great tradition of American civil disobedience, President Barack Obama is defying a law. It’s just one that he himself lobbied for, signed, and lost a house of Congress over. Even Henry David Thoreau would be hard-pressed to understand this one.

The famous dissenter refused to pay a tax because of his opposition to the Mexican-American War and slavery; presumably, though, he would have been willing to comply with the provisions of something called ThoreauCare.

President Obama is in a much more awkward spot. At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law. Not since Cary Grant was chased by the crop duster in North by Northwest has there been such an affecting scene of a man constantly on the run. The president’s tools of evasion are waivers, deadline extensions, reinterpretations, and last-minute demands on insurance companies. Really, any means necessary.

Coordination with the insurance companies is dispensed with, and public notice is spotty. Announcements are sometimes made at night, when everyone eagerly awaits the latest news on how American health insurance will work. It was around 9 p.m. that the administration let it be known that it was partially suspending the individual mandate in 2014 by exempting people who have had their insurance policies canceled. It didn’t even publicly announce its one-day extension of the deadline to get insurance by January 1. This is not just government by diktat, but government by embarrassed diktat.

Read the rest here.

Quick links, pre-Christmas Eve edition

Victorian posy of pansiesI have a legal memo to write, so of course I had to check out all sorts of stuff on the internet first.  Here’s a quick run-down.

The Left loves to talk about McCarthyism.  The Left also loves to practice McCarthyism.  John O’Sullivan reminds us that GLAAD’s approach to the Robertson clan is a perfect example of the old-fashioned blacklist:  destroying the livelihood of those who hold that wrong belief system.  Whether you’re a baker, or a photographer, or a TV figure, if you don’t support gay marriage, plan to be driven to the poor house.  It was a bad idea in the 1950s, and it’s a bad idea now.

Not only did Glenn Reynolds write his usual great USA Today column (this one about Obama’s bad 2013 and the probability that 2014 will be worse), but he opened with a Soviet-era joke.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most Soviet-era jokes need few or no changes to work in Obama’s America.

I’ve spoken before at this blog about the execrable Peter Singer, who holds an endowed chair at Princeton, who is the intellectual father of PETA, and who believes parents should have a 30 day window within which to euthanize handicapped newborns.  (Never mind that those handicaps may hide brilliant minds and powerful souls.)  I thought of Singer when I read Matt Walsh’s powerful post about the chasm between those who understand that we must support life and those who embrace death (the deaths of others, of course; never of themselves).

Rand Paul gets an A+++ for his wonderful embrace of Festivus.  If you haven’t read the stream of tweets he sent out, you must.  They’re clever, charming, and very on point.  As a political move, Paul couldn’t have done better.

Yes, Obamacare drives up the cost of health insurance for the middle class.  But if you’re a member of the middle class who’s upset about the costly lies Obama told you (less money! same doctors!), apparently you should quit your whining.  You are merely a sacrifice to the greater good.

Beware that, if the Muslim nations have their way, it will henceforth be illegal to mention Muslims’ propensity for violence or any of the other less savory aspects of their faith. Of course, such a law will simply put a legal gloss on what’s already happening.  After all, hasn’t the administration told us repeatedly that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence,” while the Benghazi massacre was a film review run amok?  No Muslims here.  Just move along.

The headlines proclaim that Obama signed up for Obamacare.  Except that he didn’t — as with everything else about Obamacare, Obama and his team are lying to us again.

The knowing laugh at Kaiser

Obamacare error 404Sorry for the blog silence this morning, but I’ve been out and about.  One of my stops was at our local Kaiser Optical Center in San Rafael.  The glasses store was emblazoned with signs telling customers that they needed to be patient because the computer system had been upgraded.  The unspoken message was that the opticians were still learning their way around the system.

Being the chatty type, I asked the gal working with me if she liked the new system.  She told me that it’s better because it doesn’t just contain local records but, instead, contains optical records from all the Northern California Kaisers.  I said (and meant), “That sounds like a really good computer system.”

A customer sitting at the next station heard me (I do have a carrying voice) and said, “Yeah, it’s a good computer system if it actually works.”

Everyone around us (about five people) burst out laughing and said things along the lines of “You got that right.”

I may have been wrong, but I thought that I was hearing a spontaneous, shared Obamacare joke.  It could have been just a comment about computers in general or about the Kaiser computer system, but the way the man said it, and the knowing looks it occasioned, seemed to me to address something larger than an update to the existing Kaiser optical computer system.

What should Republicans do to ensure that this serious Democrat crisis doesn’t go to waste?

Epic fail
Rahm Emanuel famous said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.“  As of today, Avik Roy explains that the Obama administration is facing a serious crisis when it comes to Obamacare:

It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration’s improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act’s troubled health insurance exchanges. But last night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a “hardship exemption” from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who “believes” that Obamacare’s offerings “are unaffordable.” These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.

That’s just the intro.  In paragraph after paragraph, Roy details the disaster facing the administration as it makes up rules on the fly.  Like the hydra, every time the administration thinks its lopped off a problem, two or three more pop up in its place.

Presumably, when the dust settles and the private insurance market is destroyed, the Democrats will say, “See, we told you that the private market couldn’t be fixed.  It’s time to socialize our healthcare system.”  That will be their version of not letting a crisis go to waste.  It’s scary to think that Americans have been so brainwashed that it’s entirely possible that, rather than recoiling in horror and saying, “We will never let you brainless, tyrannical incompetents touch our healthcare again,” Americans will instead say, “D’Oh!  You’re right.  You’d better take over the whole thing.”

All of which is to say that Republicans and other conservatives ought to figure out ways to capitalize on this crisis too.  My instinct is that it’s best if Republicans in Congress don’t act.  After all, when your opponent is busy digging a deeper and deeper hole, you don’t throw them a rope ladder.  To the extent that Obamacare can never be made workable, Republicans would do well to keep their fingerprints off this disaster.  But that doesn’t mean they should keep silent.

So, what should Republicans say that will best enable them to capitalize on the Obamacare debacle, not just in the area of healthcare, but regarding Big Government itself?

And if that question is too easy for you, here’s a harder one:  Even though the media is disappointed with Obamacare, that doesn’t mean that its members won’t protect Obama and the Democrats to their dying breath.  They are the living embodiment of that hackneyed saying “Nobody gets to pick on my little brother except for me.”  How, then, should Republicans who are saying the right things make sure that the public hears what they have to say?

Friday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesRoger Simon is a little wrong when he talks about A&E’s decision to fire Phil Robertson violating the First Amendment.  Only government can violate the First Amendment.  Having said that, Simon is right about everything else, insofar as it boils down to this:  What we are seeing is the ascendency of the thought police who, through coercion, lies, threats, and economic pressure are stifling speech, thought, and religion in America.  Just because it’s not the government doing it doesn’t mean it’s not a bad, a very bad, thing, and that’s true whether or not you agree with Robertson’s statements.

Funnily enough, the media wasn’t bent out of shape at all back in the day when Al Sharpton called someone “a faggot” on air.  It’s not just the stifling political correctness, it’s the hypocrisy.

Incidentally, just as an aside here, Robertson was mostly quoting from the Bible.  Are the PC brigade, aided and abetted by the American media, now saying that all Biblical references are homophobic and must be banned.

A surprising source supports Robertson:  Harvey Levin, a gay, Jewish editor at TMZ who, to his great credit, fully understands what’s going on and is honest enough to admit it.  I doubt Levin and I are on the same page about many things, but today I admire him.

Claudia Rosett talks about the incredible dislocation that comes with being thrown off her insurance, including the problem of finding a new doctor.  What I haven’t seen anyone talk about is the disastrous burden being placed on doctors as they lose their old patients and, in one fell swoop, have to deal with dozens to hundreds of new patients.  The office work on new patients is overwhelming:  collecting medical history, doing the first (always long) exam, creating brand new files, dealing with new insurance claims, etc.  This is going to bury doctors and it’s going to lead to wait times that make Cuba and Britain look good.

Two on Obamacare:  Obama is no longer even hiding the fact that his illegal ukases are intended to help Democrats hide before the next election.  There is some humor to be derived from his desperate flailing.  His latest illegal directive is that the people who got kicked off of insurance they like are now allowed to purchase “catastrophic insurance,” which gives them less coverage for more money.  That’s bad enough, but there’s a funny part to it:  Obama claims he has the right to issue this rule because the law gives him power to issue emergency rules for man-caused disasters — and in this case, the man-caused disaster is Obamacare itself!

 

Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen

Phil-Robertson-813x1024I linked obliquely to this video yesterday, but as the Phil Robertson matter heats up, I want to include the following Obamacare video here, with its focus on getting gay  men to sign up.  Please be warned that the video is vaguely NSFW.  There’s no bad language, nudity, or sex, but it’s full of partial nudity and gay sexual allusions that may make you and your colleagues uncomfortable.

As Dan Calabrese notes, although the government probably didn’t fund the video, it’s almost certain that taxpayer dollars funded the video indirectly.  The bigger point, however, is this one:

Now before you start disputing the comparison between this and the Phil Robertson situation, let’s get it straight. Yes, this is a video on YouTube and Phil Robertson could do one of those too. I’m talking about the broader stance of the prevailing culture. Robertson cites and embraces scriptural teaching on homosexuality, and he is suspended because A&E is “disappointed” in him for what he said. These guys prance around in a clear and unmistakable celebration of a) gay sex; and b) ObamaCare; and that’s perfectly fine because hey, what are you, some sorta bigot or something?

Please note that neither Calabrese nor I are saying this video shouldn’t have been made.  What he says, and I agree with this, is that in a truly free society, both videos get made, rather than having the one supporting traditional values get axed.

Two more things:

(1) Couldn’t they have gotten a better singer? Her voice is dreadful.

(2) Is it a coincidence in this carefully staged set piece that one of the prancers and dancers is wearing dog tags?

(I didn’t come up with my clever post title.  The friend who emailed me the link did, and it was such a delicious line that I had to borrow it.)

Wednesday’s wander through the internet *UPDATED*

Victorian posy of pansiesStella Paul notes something I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere when it comes to Obamacare: the devastating effect it will have on people who travel or divide their time between two locations. The new policies are narrowly locked into local care providers.  But people aren’t always in the same locality.  Both of my children have been hospitalized while we’ve been traveling. If our insurance company hadn’t paid, we would have been out tens of thousands of dollars. Knowing that sickness can happen and that our insurance might reject our claims makes travel much less enticing.

The Left needs censorship because it’s ideas do not work in the real world.  Only censorship can hide that fact long enough for the Lefts to have such a tight grip on the levers of power that, once the truth emerges, hapless citizens can do nothing to change the situation.  The latest example of this is Covered Oregon’s insistence that those who know about its healthcare debacle must forfeit their free speech rights.

Speaking of censorship, one would think that Britain would be doing everything in its power not to become the living incarnation of Orwell’s 1984.  Instead, though, it is hastening down that path, by refusing admittance to those who make factual statements about who Islamists really are and what they do.

Some people — most notably greedy insurers — have been voluntarily silencing themselves (self-imposed censorship, if you will), because they believed that the Democrats would reward them.  Now that Obama is actively trying to destroy them, Jonah Goldberg wonders if these corporate worms will turn.

Speaking of worms turning, is it my imagination or are some courts getting a little more courageous about taking on Obama’s overreach.  Gabriel Malor has what I think of as a great example of this judicial trend.  No wonder Reid went nuclear in order to pack the courts.

By now, of course, you’ve heard about the young metrosexual nattily attired in a plaid onsie pajama and clutching a cup of hot chocolate, whose image went out in a Tweet from Barack Obama urging people to “talk about getting health insurance.”  I call him “Princess Pajama Boy”:

Princess Pajama Boy

Other people, much more witty than I will ever be, have been having way too much fun with this one.  You can see collections of retweets and Photoshops here, here, and here.  There’s a bit of overlap between the three sites, but still a lot of original stuff on each.  Here’s my effort:

And finally, the ad that everyone is saying is a political game changer:

UPDATE: I’m still laughing over the Pajama Game posters that Steven Hayward found.

UPDATE II:  And still more posters, this time from National Review.

Peggy Noonan has some bon mots about the Obama adminstration’s incompetence

Obama looking stupidI seldom quote Peggy Noonan here because I think she’s usually a day late and a dollar short when it comes to discussing the current administration. It seems that, just as Baa-baa Waw-waw did, she drank deep of the Obama Kool-Aid.  Noonan is an inside the Beltway gal and, just as David Brooks did, swooned about Obama’s Harvard degree and well-pressed pants.  She had enough conservative in her to criticize him and his administration a bit, but she was also enough of a disciple to dance around her own criticism whenever she could.  And now, just as happened to Baa-Baa Waw-Waw, Noonan is snapping out of the enchantment that gripped her for five long years.  Freed from the Kool-Aid induced hallucinations, Noonan is finally making sense.

Today’s blog post from Noonan has some nice turns of phrase about the Obama administration’s incompetence — an incompetence for which we must all be grateful, because it revealed Obamacare’s failures in such a delightfully spectacular way:

It all looks so lax, so loosey-goosey. In the place of the energy and focus that would go into the running of things, the administering and managing of them, we have the preoccupation with spin, with how things look as opposed to how they are. The odd thing still is that the White House never misses a speech, a list of talking points, an opportunity to shape the argument on TV. They do the talking part, but the doing? They had 3½ years to make sure ObamaCare will work, three years to get it right top to bottom, to rejigger parts of the law that they finally judged wouldn’t work, to make the buying of a policy easy on the website. And they not only couldn’t do that, which itself constitutes an astounding and historic management failure, they make it clear they were taken aback by their failure. They didn’t know it was coming! Or some knew and for some reason couldn’t do anything.

And it’s all going to continue. One reason this scandal isn’t Katrina is that Katrina had a beginning and an end. The storm came, the storm left, the cleanup commenced and failed and then continued and succeeded. At some point it was over. ObamaCare will never be over. It’s going to poison the rest of the administration. It’s the story that won’t go away because it will continue to produce disorder. Wait, for instance, until small businesses realize it will be cheaper to throw their people off their coverage and take the fines than it will be to reinsure them under the new regime.

[snip]

“They mistook the White House for the government,” said an experienced old friend, a journalist and Democratic sympathizer. We were having holiday dinner and the talk turned to White House management. His thesis was that Obama and his staffers thought they could run the government from there, from the White House campus, and make big decisions that would be executed. They thought the White House was the government, but the government is a vast web of executive agencies that have to be run under close scrutiny, and within their campuses, to produce even minimally competent work.

I have come to see this as “West Wing” Disease. Young staffers grew up watching that show and getting a very romantic and specific sense of how government works. “The West Wing” was White House-centric. It never took place at the Agriculture Department. But government takes place at the Agriculture Department.

(Read the rest here.)

Sadly, the only area in which the administration is showing a great deal of competence is when it comes to Israel: in just five years, Obama has managed to back that nation into a corner from which there seems to be no escape, something I’ll discuss in a later post today.

A little flotsam and a little jetsam

Victorian posy of pansiesMy husband was working on a Word document that needed to have paragraphs and subparagraphs numbered.  As I’m sure you know, if you start inserting paragraph numbers without creating distinct styles, Word takes on a life of its own, and starts generating multiple styles.  Eventually, every paragraph in my husband’s document was numbered either 4 or 5, and each numbering had a different format.  Since I enjoy word processing, my husband asked me if I could fix it.  He confidently expected it would be a three or four minute job.  Thirty-minutes later, I was still working on it.  It turned out that the document was so horribly coded I couldn’t fix it.  Instead, I had to strip it to basic text and then re-code.  The point of this is that some things cannot be fixed.  They are so profoundly ill-conceived or damaged that they have to be scrapped and started from scratch.  So it is with Obamacare:  It is so dreadful, corrupt, and dysfunctional at every level that it cannot be fixed.

I was raised by a narcissist and can tell you, both from my experience and from having read up on the subject, that narcissists lack a sense of privacy.  Or, more accurately, they lack a sense of your privacy.  Their sense of their own privacy is highly developed.  But if your parent is a narcissist, you are not allowed any physical or mental realms into which they are barred from intruding.  They own you.  To the extent that Leftist ideology has a great deal in common with malignant narcissism, it’s scarcely surprising that Leftists don’t have a problem with turning you inside out and making you their own.  You are not a stand-alone individual; you are a subset of the narcissist’s own grandiose sense of self.

Dennis Prager says most of what needs to be said about the appalling judicial decision in Colorado that threatens to send a man to prison for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

Do you remember Lee Iacocca?  Dan Akerson, GM’s CEO does not.  Pity.

Let’s be clear.  The historical St. Nicholas, on whom Santa Claus is based, was as a Greek from the region that is now Turkey.  He was Caucasian, although he probably had a swarthy complexion.  That’s fact.  Santa Claus is a 19th century American construct.  He’s pretend, so people can pretend him to be whatever the heck color they desire.  My imaginary Santa Claus is a pleasant turquoise, just because I like it that way.  This whole debate is as ridiculous as the notion that Jesus is a fair-haired, blue-eyed Northern European.

Spengler talks about what “land for peace” really means in the Middle East (or anywhere, for that matter).

Another prescient post from the past

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been trolling through my old posts with the idea of putting out another Kindle book, and I’m impressed by the number of my past posts that either predicted today’s political problems or explain them.  As always, I’m not boasting about my exceptional perspicacity.  All of us knew what was going on.  It’s simply that I happen to have written these things down.

My latest foray in the past yielded a post from a year-and-a-half ago about the way a Democrat-run federal government ensures that no one ever takes responsibility for anything.  My starting point was the fact that, after dining at a breakfast spot with two service men, Obama left without paying the bill.  I didn’t fault him for that.  Rather, I faulted his minions, none of whom stepped up and took responsibility for that commonplace inevitability.  It was in that context that I wrote:

The Democrat desire to avoid personal responsibility goes all the way up the ladder to the top man, the guy in the White House.  Obama avoids personal responsibility like the plague and is beginning to get mocked for that, even by his own party.  But why are his compadres surprised?  The entire Democrat ethos is based upon eating the food and having someone else pay the bill — and then expressing surprise when the bill goes unpaid.

To skip to another scenario (this is the scenario equivalent of mixed metaphors), think back to the last CPR class you took.  I always forget the number of pumps and breaths (and understand that they’ve now simplified it down to a Bee Gees song).  What I do remember, though, is that the one thing you should never do is holler out a generic “Call 911!”  This makes everyone responsible for making that call and experience has shown that if everyone is responsible then no one is responsible.  Instead, you have to tag someone.  “YOU, the guy in the black shirt, call 911.”

The same principle of failing to invest specific people with responsibility — and thereby creating a responsibility vacuum — holds true when the government sucks responsibility away from people and distributes it into its vast machinery.  Suddenly, individuals aren’t responsible — and you can’t find the clerk with the cash when you need him.

My sister once worked with a secretary who felt put upon.  No matter what one asked her to do, she came back with a single answer:  “That’s not my job, man.”  Since she was working for a private company, she was fired as soon as the company felt that it had protected itself against a potential wrongful discharge lawsuit.  In the federal world, this same gal would not only have lifetime employment, she’d be teaching taxpayer-funded seminars on avoiding direct responsibility for anything.

I wrote those words long before the Obamacare fiasco revealed itself in its full glory to the American people — and long before we learned that part of the problem was that no one was in charge.  Obama didn’t talk to Sebelius, Sebelius didn’t talk to her people, and the people tasked with the work were pushed aside when they tried to talk to anyone.  For each of them, when it came to taking responsibility, the controlling ethos was “That’s not my job, man!”

Throwing links at you before I head to lunch with conservative friends

Quick Link and Open Thread imageI’m off to lunch with two conservative friends (one I knew for years without either of us realizing the other was conservative), so I’m just going to throw these links at you.  Take a deep breath, ’cause here goes:

The 1950s study saying most Americans are mindless, Nazi-esque sadists was a fraud.

The IRS is issuing rules that retroactively and proactively enable it to shut down Tea Party organizations — and only Tea Party organizations.

Charles Krauthammer reams Obama’s incompetence and absence from governing, even as David Brooks insists that this is why now is a perfect time to increase executive power.  Brooks even has a two-liner that will become a classic of sycophantic stupidity:  “This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood.”

I think Brooks is delusional to think that the lying-ist administration ever will suddenly become honest and effective.

England, the land that gave us the entire notion of freedom and self-sufficiency, sinks ever deeper into the abyss of political correctness and bureaucratic tyranny.

A weak leader makes our country look like the equivalent of a wounded wildebeest.  No wonder the jackals are running up and taking painful nips at our downed carcase, curious as to whether we’ve still got some fight in us.  The answer, sadly, is no.  No wonder the jackals in Libya are geared up for a second bite.  After all the administration’s response to their first attack was to pretend that it really hadn’t happened.

And then there’s this, which I thought was a hoax, kind of like Ted Cruz’s pwning an Obama tweet, only to learn that it’s real:

 

A small posy of interesting things

Victorian posy of pansiesPalestinians only destroy.  Israelis not only create, they resurrect.  It’s amazing to see sophisticated plumbing emerge from the earth after 12 centuries.

Even the New York Times is being forced to tell the truth about those new Obamacare policies — they’re really expensive.  In isolation, high deductibles might not be a problem because, absent a chronic illness, they’re not a sure thing, they’re a maybe, and people will gamble on maybes.  The problem is high deductibles paired with high premiums, all for a smaller pool of doctors and hospitals.  Of course, you do get birth control for that money, but I’m not sure that the average family, facing thousands more in premiums and deductibles is going to appreciate that, thanks to Obamacare, they’ll no longer be out a couple of hundred annually in birth control payments.

Barry Rubin, who knows as much about Islam as any man living, looks at the West’s failure to understand that Islam is made up of two houses:  one of peace (for those who have bowed down to its tyranny) and one of war (for those who have not).  This world view has no room for compromise.  Those who do not fight have already lost.

Time Online, of all publications, unearthed the fact that, back in the 1990s, ACORN sued California to be exempted from minimum wage laws.  Its reason:  “[P]aying its workers more would require the group to reduce headcount and would make its workers less sympathetic to the poor.”  Yeah, it’s funny how that works:  if you force employers to pay more, they hire fewer people, and these hard workers, surprisingly, seem to become less sympathetic to those who are sitting around, often for generations, collecting the dole.  I told one of my Little Bookworms yesterday that the laws of economics are as unfailing as the laws of physics.  When you first jump off a cliff, you may think you’re flying, but you’re really falling.  And when your government distorts the marketplace, the short team benefits invariably give way to real world wealth loss.  (Hat tip:  Tom Elia.)

In most people’s minds, Quakers and pacifism are inextricably intertwined.  That’s not the case anymore, as Quakers have become one of the staunchest supports of Palestinians.  These Palestinians:

Palestinians proudly display bloodied hands from murdering Jews

Palestinians proudly display bloodied hands from murdering Jews

A civilian bus after a Palestinian homicide attack

A civilian bus after a Palestinian homicide attack

The aftermath at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Massacre

The aftermath at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Massacre

I said in an earlier post, and I’ll say again here:  The Left makes inroads into institutions, while conservatives abandon them.  Theirs is the better tactic.  Or, as I’ve also said before, Leftists have horrible ideals and great tactics; conservatives have great ideals and horrible tactics.

Appropriate or inappropriate? Public school sends out Kaiser Obamacare education flyer

The principal at the kids’ public high school routinely sends out emails notifying parents about upcoming events, exposures to diseases such as whooping cough, sports victories, etc.  Today’s email, in addition to scheduling and sports information, contained this snippet:

Lastly, Kaiser Permanente has asked our help in spreading the word about a free workshop open to the community about the Affordable Health Care Act and options available for health care coverage.  The workshops will be held this Saturday, December 7, in San Rafael and Petaluma. See the attachment for more information.

Here’s the flyer:

Kaiser Obamacare flyer

Appropriate or inappropriate?

Dueling headlines: the Obamacare youth edition

Dueling

California poll shows young and healthy more likely to seek medical insurance

versus

Claim: ‘Young Adult Exchange Enrollees Disproportionately Low’

Oh, wait! Actually reading the articles explains the inconsistencies. It turns out that the young are willing to sign up if someone else is paying for their insurance, at least according to the first article to which I linked:

The poll finding “runs counters to what a lot of people were expecting,” said Gerald Kominski, a UCLA health care economics professor who believes that what’s persuading young people to plan on signing up is the significant subsidies many will get from Uncle Sam. If those young people follow through on their intentions, he said, it would result in keeping the cost of the new exchange health plans low.

That Gerald Kominski is a healthcare economics professor proves that you don’t need brains for the job. Unless he was misquoted, he said two mutually exclusive things: (1) that young people sign up to get subsidies and (2) that these sign-ups are necessary to fund Obamacare. Excuse me, professor, but Obamacare funding is set up so that young people do not get subsidies. They’re the low insurance users who are being charged a premium for care they usually don’t need so as to fund all the old, sick people.

What this tells me is that young people are saying “yes” to Obamacare when they think their insurance will come to them courtesy of other people’s money.  Then, when they learn that they are the “other people” funding Obamacare, they back off from enrolling, having decided that they don’t really need it.

Another bouquet of goodies from the blogosphere

Quick Link and Open Thread image

Before I begin, how do you like this lovely Currier and Ives image of nature’s bounty?  My webmaster, Trip, suggested that as part of my site upgrade, I try to have a few images that are strongly associated with posts that might not otherwise be image-rich.  When I think of my “flotsam and jetsam” or “clearing off the spindle” posts, I always think of a bountiful bouquet.  So, here I am, “branding” my posts.  And here I go, sharing the blogosphere’s bounty:

According to MSNBC, Consumer Reports, which had first warned its readers away from the Obamacare Exchange, is now raving about it:

“Now we’re saying, ‘it’s time,’” [Nancy] Metcalf [Consumer Reports health care expert] said, in particular praising the new window-shopping function, in which users can peruse health plans without registering with the site. The requirement to make an account before viewing options was considered one of the main causes for the site’s initial traffic bottleneck. “It’s terrific, I’ve tried it, it was working yesterday through the busiest times,” Metcalf said.

Dig down in the report, though, and you discover that the only thing Metcalf is actually raving about is the fact that the revised website gives consumers a chance to see products early in the process, rather than waiting until after having given over all their information.  Otherwise, Metcalf notes that problems persist, problems such as actually buying insurance:

Metcalf warned that consumers had no control over the back-end problems, which are giving inaccurate information to insurance providers, and said that if you enroll through Healthcare.gov and don’t hear from your new provider within a week, your best bet is to contact the insurer directly.

In other words, Consumer Reports, which was an early Obamacare supporter, is trying to put lipstick on a pig, while ignoring the effluvia flowing out of the pig’s back end.

Should you want a better sense of what’s going on with Obamacare, I always recommend Jonah Goldberg, who can make you smile, even when what he’s reporting is actually the stuff of tears.

Still, one can’t ignore the fact that more people have been using Obamacare since November 30.  It remains to be seen whether any of the 29,000 last reported are satisfied customers or are even customers at all.  It’s also unknown whether they are customers who fund subsidies or customers who use subsidies.  To many of the latter and too few of the former and yet another Obamacare flaw will reveal itself to the public at large.  Right now, it seems as if the youngsters who are required to buy insurance to prop up Obamacare are staying away in droves.  In any event, as it is, no one currently has any ideas what the subsidies will be, so the insurers are guessing and the government is essentially writing them a blank check.

What we do know is that a lot of people are waiting in long, long cyberlines.  Charles C. W. Cooke has a great post about socialism’s love affair with lines.  I’ve told jokes on the subject (with pictures!), and Cooke includes an absolutely splendid 1979 Tory ad out of England — an ad that might have something to do with Margaret Thatcher’s success:

pic_giant_120313_SM_The-Return-of-the-Queue-Rev

Okay, that’s the Obamacare portion of this bouquet post.  Now on to other stuff:

Surprisingly, despite the Islamist sweep that followed the Arab Spring, if one ignores Iran and the bomb, Israel expects 2014 to be a safer year for it than 2013 was.  Basically, it’s benefiting from the fact that Arabs and Muslims in surrounding nations are so busy fighting amongst themselves, they don’t have the energy to attack Israel.  In addition, citizens in those countries are noticing that their own governments, rather than Israel, might be the problem.

Karl Marx loathed Jews.  Why therefore should we be surprised that Marx’s political descendents despite them too?  In New York, which has now moved as far Left on the American spectrum as it’s possible to do without going full Soviet, the Jew-haters are stealthily crawling out from under cover.  I recently spoke with a delightful, ultra-liberal New York Jewish transplant who couldn’t believe that de Blasio could herald an antisemitic tinge to New York politics.  Perhaps a few years will leave him a sadder but wiser, and less liberal, Jew.

The House has the power of the purse.  Why doesn’t it use it?  Angelo Codevilla points out that, now that the Senate has taken the nuclear option regarding the filibuster, the House can take the nuclear option regarding budgets, at least insofar as controlling judicial nominations goes.  I’m of two minds about this.  The House has power of the purse for a reason, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t use it in the face of a starkly ideological Senate.  Having said that, just as people have pointed out that the Democrats may regret ending the filibuster if/when Republicans regain power, Republicans may be worried about letting the “no funding” genie out of the bottle in the House because of the presumably inevitable day when Democrats will regain power.

Speaking of inevitability, weren’t we told that Obama’s election, and then his re-election, heralded a new era of unending Democrat majorities?  Apparently no one told that to the youth vote, which has become disenchanted with a Democrat government that lies to them, spies on them, takes their money, and leaves them without a future.  Remember, the higher on the pedestal you place yourself, the further and harder you’re going to fall.

And a sad story about one of the Sudanese “Lost Boys” who’s finding it harder than anyone could have realized when it comes to making it in America.

An embarassment of riches; or links to all over

Quick Link and Open Thread image

There’s so much good stuff out there, I’m just going to spill it all here, a la Instapundit.

Jonathan Tobin doubts that Obama’s upcoming three-week long “Sham-Wow” commercial for ObamaCare will miraculously turn around the public’s perception that the program is a failure and the president a liar.

The success of the president’s snake-oil show is especially doubtful given that the narcissists in the White House are now blaming the public for the website’s manifest failings.

Oh, and Obama junket will also have dubious success because news is leaking out that the Obamacare site is a hacker’s wet dream.

Right now, it looks as if Obama has finally been unable to fool all of the people all of the time, at least when it comes to Obamacare.

After Chief Justice Roberts resuscitated Obamacare, I find it hard to imagine the courts dismantling that monstrosity.  Still, it’s possible.

For people who want to see the inevitable graveyard of Obama’s anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, redistributionist policies, they need look no further than Venezuela, where the country has gone from stable to basket-case in a decade.

If you want to renew your driver’s license in Oregon, you’d better come in prepared with every bit of proof known to man showing that you are who you say you are.  Interestingly, though, you don’t need to show any ID to vote in Oregon.  Just sayin’.

I was reading Glenn Reynold’s article explaining why we should abolish the TSA, and I was nodding so hard in agreement, I looked like one of those bobble-head dolls in someone’s car.

I could dig up the zillions of posts I’ve done about the way in which the welfare state destroyed the black community because it was rational for blacks to put forth less effort.  I won’t though.  Thomas Sowell makes the same point, only he does so brilliantly in his article about test scores.

When you’re George Bush and increase AIDS aid to Africa, you’re reviled; when you’re Hillary Clinton and you decrease AIDS aid to Africa, you get a reward from the AIDS Foundation.  It’s not what you do, it’s whether there’s an “R” or a “D” after your name.

Regarding Iran, here’s the good news:  Obama’s an idiot, but the Iranians aren’t necessarily that smart (although, so far, their madman chess is a lot more successful than Obama’s amateur basketball).

On Passover, Jews the world ask “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  When it comes to Islam, if you still find yourself “Why is this religion different from all other religions?”, you’re not asking that because you’re engaging in a timeless religious ritual.  Instead, if you still have to ask that question you, like our President, are an idiot.  Islam is indeed different from all other religions and that difference lies in the fact that it’s utterly barbaric as written and as practiced.

No, Obama is not Hitler.  (He’s more Neville Chamberlain, with a large dollop of the Hugo Chavez school of economics.)  Nevertheless, the Dems couldn’t have been more tin-eared when they came up with “White House Youth” or WHYouth (to which I either want to answer, Why not? or I want to do an endless bullet-point list explaining why you’re not getting good public policy if you look to young people as your guide).

I’m sure there’s someone in the British government who could be dragged to a microphone to say, “Hey, some of my best friends are Jews.”  Nah!  Not really.  Because there’s no one left in Britain who could say that with a straight face, why Britain was able to ban Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from entering England in part on the ground that they were pro-Israel.

Is it the Onion or is it just an ordinary Progressive news report about businesses in America?

And finally, if you’re a veteran and you can’t get a gun, Dom Raso has some helpful practical advice.

Guess the publication that wrote about the disaster that is Oregon’s Obamacare insurance exchange

rubegoldberg_photo_gal_4155_photo_1695691461_lr

The news story is pretty grim, detailing the fact that the Obamacare insurance exchanges are so difficult to build, even when a private contractor is handling the work, that disaster is the only outcome:

Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.

Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company’s work on the state’s online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn’t seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state’s online exchange up and running.

“It is the most maddening and frustrating position to be in, absolutely,” says Liz Baxter, chairwoman of the board for , the state’s online exchange. “We have spent a lot of money to get something done — to get it done well — to serve the people in our state, and it is maddening that we can’t seem to get over this last hump.”

Before you go here to read the rest, try to guess at which publication you’ll find this story.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of reasons that even Oracle had problems:

(1) Despite the fact that Oracle is a private sector company, the party on the other side of the deal is government.  That stultifies everything.  Government projects tend to suck the life out of things, because they have no dynamic energy.  They’re so hedged about by rules and regulations that there is no room for initiative, creativity, energy, or the type of greed that drives progress.

(2) Obamacare is such a monstrous law, and the moving parts are so many and varied, that there is actually no way to create a working system.  The interface is just the pretty stuff, and that’s been frustrating enough.  The real problem is meshing individual information (much of it deeply personal and private), corporate insurance information, state information, federal information, Medicare information, etc.  After all, at the back-end, each of these entities have their own computer systems with which the Obamacare system must mesh.

Even Rube Goldberg’s designs, foolishly complicated though they were, ultimately did the job.  With Obamacare, though, it’s reasonable to suspect that, short of jettisoning every system (state, federal, insurance, medical, Obamacare exchanges) and starting anew with all of them going into the same hopper, there is no way that any computer system can actually do the job.

Oh, and I can’t resist adding here that, to the extent that news story is saying something critical of Obamacare, there’s only one word for it:  RAAACIST!!!!

The existential despair that comes from living in Obama’s America *UPDATED*

I went to bed depressed and waking up to these Drudge Report headlines reminded me why:

Obamaworld in a Matt Drudge nutshell

The whole Iran-Munich moment has left me believing that Obama is much smarter than we realized.  Even as he was lying to Israel about (a) having her back and (b) not negotiating with Iran, he created a box from which it’s almost impossible for Israel to escape.  There are only bad choices says Yossi Klein Halevi:

Israel’s window of opportunity to launch an effective strike is closing. It is now measured in months, not years. The deal, worry Israelis, could further narrow that window.

Israelis note that the deal doesn’t cover inspections of Iran’s nuclear weaponization program, including fuses, timers and metallurgy, which will no doubt continue apace. And Israel takes for granted that the Iranians will persist in doing what they’ve done all along: lie and cheat, but this time under the cover of a deal. In every previous rounds of negotiations, after all, the Iranians continued building secret facilities. All of which could mean further reducing Israel’s timetable for a strike.

If Israel concludes that its window is closing and does decide to strike, even while the deal remains in effect, it risks becoming an international pariah—in effect exchanging roles with Iran. On the morning after an Israeli strike, Israel could find itself alone, facing tens of thousands of missiles from Hezbollah and Iran launched against its home front.

[snip]

During the first Obama administration, the urgent Israeli question was: Is he is a friend of the Jewish state? That question was largely resolved for many Israelis during the President’s visit to Israel last March, when he won over much of the public by affirming the Jewish roots in the land of Israel and the indigenousness of Israel in the Middle East, as well as Israel’s past efforts to make peace.

Now, though, Israelis are asking this: After eight years of President Obama, will the Middle East be a safer or more dangerous region for Israel?

For most Israelis the answer is self-evident. The turning point came this summer, when Obama hesitated to enforce his own red line over Syria. That was the moment that he lost the trust of the Israeli public on Iran.

This is chess on a malevolent scale.  It was also probably a planned move.  Never forget that the Los Angeles Times has hidden in its vaults a videotape of Obama speaking at a radical pro-Palestinian gathering.  The fact that the LA Times refuses to release the video has long led people to assume that Obama says something along the lines of “I’ll take care of Israel for you.”

We at this blog knew that Obama was never a friend to Israel, and was always doing whatever he could to curry favor with Islamist regimes. (Witness his love affair with the Muslim Brotherhood.)  It turns out that this wasn’t just a feeling, but was a goal to which he committed himself, even though it required the use of fraud and chicanery.  (And let’s not forget the quite obviously faked “long form” birth certificate, which almost certainly hides the fact that the father about whom Obama dreamed in Bill Ayer’s best-selling Obama autobiography probably wasn’t his real father.)

Indeed, Obama’s presidency is proving to have been built entirely on fraud.  Not just lies, which are often merely self-exculpatory or self-aggrandizing, but on fraud, which is the deliberate use of lies and information withholding in order to get people to change their position to their detriment and to your benefit.  He told Americans and Israelis lies, knowing that they were lies, for the specific purpose of getting both America and Israel to change their position to their detriment and to Obama’s benefit.

In the case of Obamacare, the (knowing and known) lies were that (a) you could keep your plan; (b) you could keep your doctor; and (c) average insurance costs would drop $2,500 per year for a family.  He told these lies to strip Americans of their insurance and pave the way for socialized medicine.

In the case of Israel, he repeatedly told Israel that (a) he would never abandon her and (b) he would work to end Iran’s nuclear aspirations.  These lies meant that Israel did not strike against Iran when the striking was relatively easy (as was the case in the strike against the Syrian nuclear facility).  Now, as Halevi showed, even if Israel successfully strikes Iran, Hezbollah is on her border with thousands of missiles aimed at her.  Moreover, having now struck this deal with Iran, Obama won’t have America’s back if she strikes; he’ll join the chorus of disapproval isolating Israel.

In the past, when Israel had her back against the wall, she came out swinging.  Thanks to Obama’s fraud, her hands may well be tied.

Do you remember the headline horror of 9/11?  I do.  Since we were on the West Coast, we woke up in time to turn on the television and see the towers fall.   I don’t need to find words to tell you what that felt like because you were there and you remember.  You felt it too — that sense of watching a train race towards a giant canyon, where the bridge is out, and there is nothing you can do to stop the inevitable carnage.  Every day, I wake up now, grab my iPad, and, driven by a fierce compulsion, open it, expecting that Obamaworld will show me headlines fully equal to the despair and horror of 9/11.

UPDATE:  The wonderful image that Matt Drudge used this morning comes from Jon Gabriel.

I prefer clarity to agreement, and Obama’s second term is getting increasingly more clear

I trace back to Dennis Prager one of my favorite expressions:  “I prefer clarity to agreement.”  Too often, agreement can be like Tacitus’s definition of a Roman peace (“they make a desert and call it peace”).  In the years since Obama’s election, I’ve frequently argued that, with a weak American president, the world might get some necessary clarity.  (For example, in January 2011, I said apropos Obama’s retreat from the world stage, “The clarity that emerges when the strong man is gone might be helpful.”)

Looking at the headlines, it occurs to me that Americans are getting a lot of clarity about what today’s Democrats really stand for, while the world is getting a lot of clarity about what a post-American world looks like.  The following links all tie into this post’s theme about the clarity that Obama has wrought.

The end of the filibuster,* although weakening minority power in the Senate, may bring about a very useful clarity, both because it forces the two parties to own the legislation they pass, and because it enables Republicans to have an easier time getting their judicial picks confirmed.  History shows that, with the exception of the past year or two, while Democrat judicial picks got confirmed easily, Republican judicial picks did not.  Republicans will now be able to get judges on the bench with a simple majority.

Obamacare reveals Obama for what he is:  not a glorious tyrant, in the mold of Louis XIV or Henry VIII, but a petty bureaucratic Leftist.  You and I knew that early on, of course, but the rest of America is catching on to this reality . . . so there’s clarity for you.

The young and the poor just got a dose of clarity today:  Even the wealth transfer that is Obama’s core (but don’t call it redistribution) was done incompetently, with low-income, especially young low-income people finding that they’re in the increasingly expensive Obamacare market without a subsidy net.

I hope John Fund is correct when he says it can still be repealed — but that will happen only if the American people have learned their lesson and vote Republican in 2014, and if the Republicans don’t prove that they’re as complicit in Big Government as we currently suspect.  (And in that regard, the end of the filibuster may also bring some welcome clarity for conservative voters.)

Peter Wehner comes right out and says it:  Obamacare is finally causing people to see the President and the Democrats for at least some of what they are — failed technocrats.  But again, the question remains whether we’ll get intelligent action in clarity’s wake.

Angelo Codevilla thinks the same is true with Obama’s appalling agreement to allow Iran to continue building its nuclear program; namely, that it forces clarity (or, as he phrases it “reality’) on the world:  “But let us look on the bright side: There is value in leaving no doubt about reality.”

Certainly the Israelis now know where they stand.  Keith Koffler’s faux quote passes the Homer Simpson test.

And finally, even the media is getting a little tired of being pushed around.  This tiny rebellion won’t stop the media’s slavish devotion because, even if media members have had it with the man, they still support the cause.  However, to the extent the media consuming public watches this little tiff, it might produce enough clarity in some that they start backing away from the cognitive dissonance that enslaves them.

Clarity . . . it’s a good thing.

_________________________

*Thanks to Earl for pointing out that I’d forgotten those three very important words.