News You Can Use for May 14

I am a Democrat because

Stories of the Day

For the Left, choice is good, except when it isn’t. “We have a new contender for most-telling-ever Obamacare quote this morning: “We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has.” That’s Marcus Merz, head of Minnesota health insurer PreferredOne, in a New York Times report on the increasing prevalence of narrow network health plans. Merz is basically stating openly what the Obama administration won’t, which is that Obamacare is intentionally designed to narrow consumer choice and plan design within the health insurance market. The Obama administration doesn’t want to say this because it is bad politics generally, and also because President Obama specifically and repeatedly promised that, under the law, people would be able to keep their choice of health plans and doctors, not that they would be broken of their preference for medical choice. But the law’s authors and administrators have a pretty good idea of what kind of health insurance they want you to have, and that’s the kind of insurance that you’re going to get.”We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks,” Merz continues. “We”—by which I mean the insurance industry—tried this before, in the 1990s, when narrow-network plans referred to as Health Maintenance Organizations were all the rage. It didn’t go so well, and eventually insurers cut it out. But this time it will be different, insurers tell The New York Times. Why? Because…look, it will just be different. Trust us.” Under Obamacare, People Must Be Broken of Their Preference for Choice

Dr.  Ben Carson speaks the truth, again. “Again, I must emphasize that if we, the American people, the American press, and the American political class, participate in the cover-up or ignore such an important story, we contribute to the demise of honesty and truth as pillars of our governing structure. In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon put it this way: “If a ruler listens to lies, those who serve him will be wicked.” [Snip] Most important, the people must awaken and look objectively at the actions of both Democrats and Republicans and not simply accept what party leaders say. Freedom is not free, and vigilance in responsible voting is necessary to preserve it.” Unfit for Office: Making mistakes is human, but lies and cover-ups are evil.

Click on over to view the chart. It’s interesting. “If you’re reading this at your desk, alongside a tab open to your online brokerage account, you’re probably a Republican, and you’re likely to turn out to cast a ballot in November. If you’re reading this on your iPhone with earbuds in, listening to music, you’re probably a Democrat, but you’re much less likely to show up to vote. Those are some of the broad conclusions drawn by reams of consumer data collected by Scarborough, the New York-based market research firm, and analyzed by Will Feltus and Tracey Robinson of National Media Research Planning & Placement, the Republican advertising firm. As it turns out, the way we use the Internet can say something about our political leanings.” What your Internet use says about your politics

Why does our government hate its citizens? “Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith reacted harshly to a new report detailing the crimes committed by 36,007 criminal immigrants that Immigration and Customs Enforcement released last year. “This would be considered the worst prison break in American history, except it was sanctioned by the President and perpetrated by our own immigration officials. These criminal immigrants should have been deported to ensure that they could never commit crimes on U.S. soil. But instead, ICE officials chose not to detain them and instead released them back onto American streets,” Smith said in a statement Monday.” LAMAR SMITH CALLS ICE RELEASE OF 36,000 CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS A PRESIDENT-SANCTIONED PRISON BREAK

“Insane.” “The problem stems from Supreme Court decisions in the last few years that have made it virtually impossible for the government to deport undesirable illegal aliens. If someone commits a murder in the US, it isn’t likely his home country will be welcoming him back. In cases like that, the government can only hold the criminal in immigration detention for 6 months – and then release him back into civilized society. There’s no excuse for this. It’s a loophole being exploited by dangerous, violent criminals. And yet immigration reform advocates want to pass a “reform” bill that doesn’t even address the problem.” Immigration officials released dozens of murderers, thousands of felons from custody last year

What President Obama really meant by ‘Hope and Change.” “If 36,000 criminal aliens walking around your community wasn’t enough, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security is aiming to make it even easier for aliens to be released from detention. That’s what the groups agitating for immigration reform are demanding. That’s what the groups are likely to get. The 2013 jailbreak included rapists, kidnappers, arsonists, burglars, sex offenders, and car thieves. That’s merely for 2013. The criminals that Obama administration policies set free are unlikely ever to be deported. Detained aliens facing deportation are highly unlikely to ever be deported once they are set free into the general American population. They don’t show up for their deportation hearings, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t have the manpower or money to hunt down tens of thousands of criminal aliens. That’s a heaping helping of criminality the Obama administration just introduced into America.” Jailbreak: Obama Releases 36,007 Criminal Aliens Into U.S.

An  abomination that should be fixed, NOW. “Judging by the throngs of veterans, families and whistleblowers who keep courageously stepping forward, VA’s delays-in-care problem is growing in size and scope by the day,” Miller said. “That’s why I am asking for President Obama’s personal involvement in helping fix this crisis. “Right now, President Obama is faced with a stark choice: take immediate action to help us end the culture of complacency that is engulfing the Veterans Health Administration and compromising patient safety, or explain to the American people and America’s veterans why we should tolerate the status quo,” Miller said. The Washington Examiner reported Monday that veterans in the VA’s health system in southeast Texas faced delays or denials in getting routine colonoscopies and other potentially life-saving tests because of cost-cutting policies there. Earlier this month, the Examiner also revealed that more than 1.5 million backlogged orders for medical tests were mass canceled by VA officials without any assurance the veterans got the tests or other procedures that had been ordered.” Committee head wants Obama to name special commission to investigate Veterans Affairs patient deaths, care delays

It’s all politics, all the time, for Obama. Emphasis mine. “When Obama cares, he makes the time to let Americans know about it. That’s why it’s not hard to conclude that he doesn’t care about the fact that veterans are dying from bad care in hospitals that are under the direct control of his administration. [Snip] So what do all those issues Obama talks about have that health care for veterans doesn’t? The ability to mobilize Democratic voters. The White House is in full campaign mode. Everything Obama does is calculated to rally the Democratic base and prevent a GOP takeover of the Senate, which would severely constrain him for the rest of his presidency. And admitting to another serious scandal on his watch is likely to rally Republican voters instead. Since veterans can’t help Democrats win, Obama won’t help them get the quality care they deserve — unless political pressure forces him to do it.Obama acts like he doesn’t care about growing Veterans Affairs scandal

Mark my words, because he’s a man of the Left, and the Left really isn’t that into the type of people who go into the military, he won’t investigate. “Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Department of Justice doesn’t have any plans to investigate allegations that veterans placed on secret waiting lists at VA hospitals died while waiting for care. “Well, obviously these reports if they’re true are unacceptable, and the allegations are being taken very seriously by the administration. But I don’t have any announcements at this time with regard to anything that the Justice Department is doing,” Holder told reporters at a press conference.” Eric Holder: No Plans at DOJ to Investigate Secret Waiting Lists and Veteran Deaths at VA Hospitals

Here’s proof of our shrinking military… “’We’re turning down twice as many as before,’ he told the paper, which reported that four of every five adults who seek to join the military in 2014 do not make the cut.” No, Uncle Sam doesn’t really want YOU: Military now turns down 80% of applicants

Crony capitalism, Democrat party style. “Today, Burisma Holdings, a company that describes itself as “Ukraine’s largest private gas producer,” announced the newest member of its Board of Directors: R. Hunter Biden, a seasoned lawyer with extensive international business experience, will be in charge of the company’s legal unit, as well as “provide support for the Company among international organizations.” His end goal: to guide the company in a manner that will “contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.” Biden also has a prominent dad who’s part of an administration currently embroiled in a conflict with Russia over the Ukraine, so, that’s cool too. And it’s not just that Joe Biden is his father, it’s that Joe Biden has openly pledged to help Ukraine gain “energy independence” from Russia while condemning the latter’s recent annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Really, this is an awkward situation.” Bad Ideas in Oligarchy: Biden’s Son Joins Board of Ukrainian Energy Company

Benghazi

“Across the aisle” agreement. “Republicans and Democrats alike say the second-term South Carolina Republican is the right man to head the special congressional investigation into Benghazi, a job that could springboard him into positions such as attorney general or service in a Republican presidential administration. But they also say the forthright former prosecutor isn’t likely to cut corners on the investigation to score political points or raise his profile. “I’ve put a lot of kids through law school, and there’s just some people who can do it and some people [who] can’t,” said Dave Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University who has served as an adviser to Mr. Gowdy. ‘And he’s one that could. Extremely well-prepared but very effective in the courtroom. And that’s where he built his reputation.’” Trey Gowdy brings reputation of legal skills, bipartisan praise to Benghazi panel

Can there be such a thing as a “quick and clean” war. “There is a real Benghazi scandal and it’s this: President Obama illegally invaded Libya, overthrew Moammar Gadhafi, and then–due to politics–left a power vacuum that terrorists filled, turning Libya into a hotbed of jihadist groups. The 2012 attack that killed four Americans was a consequence of the disorder and violence the administration left in the wake of its drive-by war. The useful lesson from Benghazi isn’t about a White House lying (shocking!), but about the inherent messiness of regime change and the impossibility of a quick, clean war.” The real Benghazi scandal was Obama’s drive-by war in Libya

The American people want to know. “But even if the president’s bedtime wasn’t particularly consequential to the events on the ground on Benghazi, it certainly makes for an unflattering portrait of the president, heading to sleep as the battle raged, making sure he was sufficiently rested for the next day’s campaign rally in Las Vegas. This administration made sure the public knew how plugged-in and riveted President Obama was regarding the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. Leaving the response to the events in Benghazi to subordinates while he slept offers a portrait strangely disengaged, even callous, about the lives of the men who carry out his orders in dangerous lands. Obama’s absence from the Situation Room may not have been decisive, but it can still prove embarrassing and politically damaging. We know where President Obama was the night of September 11, 2012, but not why he was where he was.” No, the Benghazi Questions Aren’t All Answered: Why the House continues to investigate.

Common Core

Just say no to Common Core. “My Child Is Not Common” are the words on the attention-getting signs carried by a group of white and African-American mothers protesting the adoption of the aggressively promoted Common Core standards. Common Core is scheduled to take over the testing of all U.S. kids, pre-K to 12, but parents are saying “no way” in every way they can. [Snip] As Common Core keeps plodding right ahead in most states, parents are finding plenty to criticize in the curriculum. Parents think that the math questions children bring home are incomprehensible and stupid. New York parents are objecting to the fact that Common Core social studies standards say America is founded on the democratic principles of equality, fairness and respect for authority but don’t mention liberty, and Alabama parents are objecting to the pornography in assigned readings. There’s no mention of education in the U.S. Constitution because the Founding Fathers believed education is a parental and a state issue. Our laws still reflect that assumption, but that concept has been widely violated in recent years by the flow of federal money with strings attached. Parents are also suspicious of the gigantic amount of money that is being spent to promote the use of Common Core-aligned books and teacher training. Emeritus Professor Jack Hassard of Georgia State University estimates that billionaire Bill Gates has spent $2.3 billion on Common Core. Some say Gates is a promoter of “global sameness of education as defined by UNESCO and the United Nations.” Gates has expressed agreement with UN policies that many Americans oppose such as Agenda 21, which promotes global governance at the expense of private property and national sovereignty.” MY CHILD IS NOT COMMON

Crony Capitalism

Just say no to special interests. “In his speech Senator Lee defines crony capitalism (policies in which government twists public policy to unfairly benefit favored special interests at the expense of everyone else); identifies specific cases of it (federal financial regulations, sugar subsidies, our education system, and the Affordable Care Act, among others); and explains why it is antithetical to true conservatism. Senator Lee also identifies policies that would combat cronyism, including tax, budget, and regulatory reform, ending special tax treatment for the energy sector, protecting taxpayers from the implicit health-insurer bailouts in the Affordable Care Act, modernizing federal labor laws, doing something about “too big to fail,” and more. “Americans intuitively understand that crony capitalism is not a form of private enterprise,” according to Lee, “it’s a form of public corruption.” He went on to say, “It seems to me that a principled, positive agenda to remove government-created barriers to upward mobility and middle-class opportunity – to level our economic playing field and put economic elites back to work creating jobs and growth for everyone else – represents everything conservatism should stand for.” I agree; and I hope more conservatives will rally to this good cause.” The Conservative Case Against Crony Capitalism

The Culture

Emphasis mine. “Meet the well-funded advocacy network of liberal groups that orchestrated the successful ouster of the Benham Brothers from HGTV. Until last week, David and Jason Benham were set to host a new home-renovation show on the Home and Garden Television network, called “Flip It Forward.” But all that changed after an obscure website called Right Wing Watch drew negative attention to the Benham’s conservative views on abortion and gay marriage. The website vilified the hosts with the headline, “HGTV Picks Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Extremist For New Reality TV Show.” The story shed light on how the hosts’ father, Flip Benham, is an outspoken evangelical minister who leads an anti-abortion group. It also revealed that one of the hosts, David Benham, led a prayer rally in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention, and has spoken out against gay marriage. A number of news outlets credited Right Wing Watch with drawing attention to the Benham’s pro-life, pro-traditional marriage views. But what is Right Wing Watch and who is behind it? The answer: The anti-Christian conservative effort in Hollywood. Right Wing Watch is a project of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, which started with an assist from the left-wing Tides Foundation. People for the American Way was founded with help from former television Norman Lear, a Hollywood executive producer credited with starting the anti-Christian-right movement in the 1980s.Meet The Liberal Network That Orchestrated The Hit On The Benham Brothers

Elections

If you can’t run on your record, then you must deceive the people. And that’s what they’ll do. Will we  let them get away with it? “Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, said the key for Democrats is to frame the election as a choice between governing philosophies. “If it’s a referendum on whether you like the way Democrats have governed…that’s a harder election for us to win,” he said. This is quite a revealing concession by Mr. Mellman. What he is basically saying is that if Democrats are judged on how they have governed, they won’t win. Democrats do not want to be judged on their results, to be held accountable, to be assessed on their governing record. And no wonder. The economy remains weak, the Affordable Care Act highly unpopular, and the mood of America sour. [Snip] Democrats, sensing this unease with their governance among the citizenry, want to divert the public’s attention away from their record of failure. My guess is that this won’t work; and even if Democrats do succeed in not making it a referendum election, a debate over governing philosophies is one Republicans should win. Because theirs actually is better. After nearly six years of the Obama presidency, that should be a fairly easy case to make.” Democrats Concede They Can’t Run on Their Record

Change. “By now, it’s accepted wisdom that Democrats perform better in presidential elections, when the electorate is more diverse and younger, while the GOP’s strength is in midterm elections, when their core voters are likelier to turn out. But it’s worth remembering that this is a recent phenomenon, thanks to the changing makeup of the Democratic Party under Barack Obama’s presidency—and there’s no guarantee it will continue unabated. It wasn’t the case in 2004, when George W. Bush effectively mobilized conservative voters to overcome growing public dissatisfaction toward his presidency. It wasn’t the case in 2006, when the Democratic Party capitalized on increased support from older, white voters to retake the House and Senate. And it wasn’t the case in the decades prior, when Democrats often recorded significant gains or outperformed expectations in midterm years (1982, 1986, 1998), while Republicans won five of seven presidential elections from 1980 to 2004. What’s changed is the makeup of both parties’ coalitions. Seniors, who frequently voted Democratic over pocketbook issues like Social Security and Medicare, have migrated into the Republican column. White blue-collar voters, once a staple of Democratic coalitions past, have become estranged from their old political home over cultural issues. In their place are what my colleague Ron Brownstein labels “the coalition of the ascendant”single women, minorities, and millennial voters. Voters within these groups turned out at high levels in the last two presidential elections to offset Democratic losses elsewhere.” Can Democrats Win When Obama’s Not on the Ticket?

Conservatives united, although Laura Ingraham said on her radio show this morning that there are signs indicating that Sasse is “pro-amnesty.” “A week ahead of U.S. Senate nominating contests in Kentucky and Georgia, where tea party candidates have fizzled, and a U.S. House primary in Idaho where the tea party challenger may lose, national conservative groups were nervously eyeing Nebraska, where they deployed substantial resources to support Sasse. “Ben Sasse’s victory in the Nebraska Senate Republican primary shows the strength of the conservative movement. All three candidates ran as conservatives — as GOP candidates are doing everywhere — but Nebraskans weren’t fooled,” said conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III. Sasse’s win was a boon to the parade of conservative groups and figures who rallied to his side. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) campaigned for Sasse alongside former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. The anti-tax Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund each spent at least hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Sasse, the president of Midland University.” Tea-party-backed Ben Sasse wins Nebraska primary for U.S. Senate

“McConnell and the rest of DC Republicans can’t complain about Sasse winning the nomination. He showed broad appeal beyond the base and is heavily favoredto win the general election. There was plenty of mudslinging in this one, with Osborn charging Sasse with being “soft” on Obamacare and Sasse charging Osborn with a lack of integrity. In the end, it hardly mattered. Nebraska is one of the most Republican states in the country and Sasse will face a weak Democratic challenger in November. In West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant won their respective primaries, setting up a barnburner of a race in November. Capito is favored at this point, largely because President Obama lost every single country in the formerly reliable Democratic state.” Tea Party’s Sasse wins Nebraska Senate primary

Democrat incompetence in action. “Democrats may have a big problem in Michigan this November — and a legal fight in the shorter term. A decision invalidating petition signatures for John Conyers will keep his name off of the primary ballot, but Conyers and his team vow to win … in the courts, anyway:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) won’t appear on the Democratic primary ballot after failing to submit enough valid signatures, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said on Tuesday. …

Conyers’s Democratic primary opponent, pastor Horace Sheffield III, challenged the validity of the incumbent’s signatures. The clerk ruled that since two of his petition-gatherers weren’t registered voters in Michigan, as required under state law, the signatures he obtained didn’t count.

Conyers submitted 2,000 signatures, needing 1,000 valid ones. After the challenges, he had 592. [Snip]

They’d better start planning their write-in campaign, and hope that Conyers’ name recognition can carry the day. If he manages to win the primary, his name will automatically appear on the general-election ballot. But maybe voters in MI-13 should consider whether this episode isn’t a signal that their 50-year Congressman has lost his grip, and start looking for a fresh face. Note: Bear in mind that for all intents and purposes, this is the general election. MI-13 has a D+34 Cook rating, so there is zero chance for a Republican surprise in the fall.” Conyers vows legal fight to remain on ballot

NOT excited. “Perhaps more interestingly, in every past year voters of at least one party had an enthusiasm “surplus”–that is, a higher proportion said they were more enthusiastic than less. The current poll finds deficits for both Republicans (42% more and 50% less enthusiastic) and Democrats (32% more, 55% less). The GOP ends up with a net 15-point advantage over the Democrats. To the extent these figures mean anything–a significant qualification, since what ultimately matters is if and how people vote, not whether they do it with gusto–they’re worse news for Democrats than for Republicans. That means they’re good news for Republicans, given the zero-sum nature of electoral politics. In four out of the past five midterm elections (1998 is the exception), the party with greater “net enthusiasm” gained seats. A Wall Street Journal poll, also conducted at the end of April, gives further “reason for Democrats to sleep uneasily right now,” as the Journal’s Gerald Seib reports: ‘Public attitudes today are remarkably similar to those that prevailed just before [their 2010] election disaster.’” JAMES TARANTO: Bore More Years! Let’s Hear It For Voter Apathy.

The Left

Why does the Left protect such evil? “The gist of these defenses of Islamic terrorists by lefties every time goes something like this: it’s an “isolated incident” or a “marginalized” group or, in the case of the Boston Marathon bombers, “they were basically loners.” They are so desperate to say “all Islamists aren’t terrorists” that they make up ways to avoid saying that the key component in Islamic terrorism is the Islamic stuff. If you press them, they’ll begin barking “Timothy McVeigh!” like a chihuahua around a mailman. In their world, the anomaly has disproportionate weight, essentially giving a free pass these last twenty years to anyone who wants to ignore the obvious, terrorism-inspiring 800 lb gorilla in the room. It’s stupid and it’s dangerous.” Media Matters Upset That Islamic Terror Group Being Identified as Such by ‘Right Wing Media’

Monica Lewinsky

Hidden agendas.Monica Lewinsky may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even she wasn’t born yesterday, and now, 16 years after the fact and her media frenzy, she has come to the rather belated conclusion that the feminist movement, that protector of women abused by employers, had done this ex-intern wrong. Not only did feminists not defend the girl who was used by the president (and then defamed by the president and his defenders), but they wrote off or defamed her themselves. “What is your concern with some little twerp named Monica?” Betty Friedan asked us. “We’re trying to think of the bigger picture … about what’s best for women,” was Eleanor Smeal’s contribution. But writer Anne Roiphe put it most clearly: “It will be a great pity if the Democratic Party is damaged by this,” she said. But if the Lewinsky affair did one public good (beyond saving us from a President Gore in the 2000 election), it was in ripping the mask from identity politics, wherein one group claiming to speak for a large set of people comes to stand over time for a more narrow agenda, which not all of its numbers support. When the women’s movement began, there was widespread support for opening the business world up to women, but less for abortion and other parts of the social agenda. When the NAACP began, ending segregation was the legitimate goal of all blacks, but when this was achieved, it too became a partisan and decidedly left-leaning organ. Having written off or forced out those outside their consensus, it tries to destroy all those who do not fit the template: i.e., center-right blacks and/or women, who then are attacked with a zeal and a venom that put genuine bigots to shame.” Monica Lewinsky affair ripped the mask from identity politics

Net Neutrality

If you’re curious, click on over. “On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on new draft rules to regulate how broadband companies like Comcast Corp. CMCSA -0.09% ,Verizon Communications Inc. VZ +0.69% and AT&T Inc. T +0.86% deliver content over the Internet. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has floated drafts of his plan, the first of whichwas circulated last month, and now is revising his proposal in light of vocal concern from advocates of “net neutrality.” Let’s start there. What’s net neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally—broadband providers shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which websites consumers can access.” Baffled by ‘Net Neutrality’? Read This, a WSJ Primer

Obamacare

Our tax payer dollars hard at work. “Employees working for Obamacare contractor Serco do nothing for days or weeks at a time, a whistle blower within the company told a local news station this week. The employees want to work but there’s not enough work to go around, the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told St. Louis, Missouri’s News 4 KMOV. The employee alleged that Serco is keeping its workforce unnecessarily high to get more money out of the federal government. ‘They want to hire more people, even though we still don’t have work to keep the people that we have busy,’ the employee said. [Snip]  Serco Inc. is a subsidiary of international company Serco Group Pls. The U.S. branch of the company employs about 8,000 people in 45 states. The company has a 12-year $1.25 billion contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to process paper Obamacare applications made through the federal exchanges. In testimony to Congress last fall, the company’s programs manager Jon Lau indicated that a quarter, 2,000, of Serco’s U.S. employees handle Obamacare applications. Hundreds of them sit around all day doing nothing, however, the whistle blower told KMOV, ‘There a weeks that a data entry person would not process an application,’ the employee said.” Employees charged with reviewing paper applications for Obamacare contractor do nothing all day, whistle blower alleges

AKA “crummy healthcare.” “As the president and his team continue to try to spin the unspinnable,  new terms are arising to describe what we used to call “crummy healthcare.” Today’s New York Times has a wonderful new entry in the category of Obamacare-derived terminolgy: “narrow networks.” The description: “These so-called narrow networks, featuring limited groups of providers, have made a big entrance on the newly created state insurance exchanges, where they are a common feature in many of the plans. While the sizes of the networks vary considerably, many plans now exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups. Smaller networks are also becoming more common in health care coverage offered by employers and in private Medicare Advantage plans.” In other words…not the doctor you liked that you wanted to keep; not the plan you liked that you wanted to save.” Narrow Networks

“Before the health insurance exchanges opened last October, I had written about a looming issue for Obamacare that I called “access shock.” As many liberal commentators boasted that offerings on the insurance exchanges were going to be priced lower than expected, I pointed out, to the extent that this was true, the reason was that insurers were stripping down their plans so they covered fewer providers. Supporters of Obamacare have argued that the trend toward narrower networks was happening before the law was implemented, as insurers sought ways to cut costs. However, the introduction of Obamacare no doubt accelerated that trend and gave insurers a new excuse to pare down their offerings. Because plans were forced to comply with a raft of new benefit requirements that naturally drive up the cost of insurance, they had to move more aggressively to cut the rates they were paying providers, which resulted in narrower networks. Furthermore, Americans are now forced to purchase insurance no matter what. Now, insurers are publicly boasting about how great it is that they’re trying to deprive consumers of choices.” Obamacare insurer says Americans have to break the ‘choice habit’

“Sit down, shut up, and take what we give you. That seems to be the attitude of Marcus Merz, CEO of Minnesota insurer PreferredOne. The Obamacare insurer told the New York Times. [Snip] The networks are bound to narrow further as Obamacare reimbursement of doctors and hospitals continues to be cut in order to save money. Fewer physciains will be willing to treat Obamacare patients, putting pressure on premium prices. Eventually, states like California may actually pass laws forcing physicians to enter the network. Coercion seems to be the only way to break consumers and doctors from this terrible habit of wanting “choice” in their healthcare – a long way from the empty promises and lies told to pass the law in the first place.” Obamacare insurer: Americans must be broken of ‘choice habit’

“That foolish “choice habit”—which has been extremely important to me my entire life, and for which I’ve always been willing to pay extra if need be—who knew it was such a bad one? Oh, and you can keep your doc…that is, you can keep your something-or-other. You can keep something, right? Here’s another quote that I love:

People “are weighing affordability and breadth of network,” said Karen Ignagni, the chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group. “What we’re finding is individuals are experiencing a preference for affordability,” she said.

Funny thing, but elsewhere in the article it concedes that people have no idea what the networks for each plan actually are when they’re buying. They’re just guessing—something we already knew here, because we’ve been discussing it ever since the rollout. Of course people are preferring affordability—because they haven’t a clue what sort of clunker they’re buying, and it’s nearly impossible to find out.” Why, the networks are narrow after all!

President Obama

Why does President Obama hate his own supporters? “And it isn’t as if the country were swimming in jobs.  Perhaps the most alarming data I have seen recently comes from the Shadow Government Statistics website, which adds discouraged workers (not counted in official statistics) to the government’s count of the unemployed (http://bit.ly/1mOcFUW). As of May 2nd, SGS put the actual jobless rate in the United States at nearly 25 percent. And far from going down, it may even be rising slightly. There has been a great deal of talk about the perversity of the president’s current push on income inequality and the minimum wage. Any number of commentators have noted that not enough people receive the minimum wage to have an impact on national earnings differentials. And to the extent that a higher wage will have an appreciable impact, it will be through lost jobs. Why raise it now? I have a slightly different question. Mine is, why come out with a proposal that would destroy the jobs of your most loyal supporters? But, then, isn’t the answer clear?  From celebrating as major victories job growth numbers that in other times would be greeted with yawns or dismay to pounding the income inequality drum, the administration has been doing all it can to draw attention away from the miserable state of the American economy and our job market.  The push to increase the minimum wage is just part of all that. Once again, to further his political agenda, the president is pushing those closest to him under the bus. “Why is the president throwing so many friends under the bus?”

Animal House. “Tommy “Dude” Vietor, former National Security Council spokesman, did America a favor when he dismissed a question from Fox News’s Bret Baier about Benghazi with the Lebowskian “Dude, that was like two years ago.”  Such juvenility is pervasive among denizens of Obama’s White House, or, as it may be better described, Obama’s Frat House. And it is hurting America. There were intimations early in Obama’s Presidency that his leadership team was a boys club. As Carrie Budoff Brown wrote in Politico:

The boys club image took hold during the 2008 presidential campaign and the early years of the administration, when Obama’s inner circle brimmed with fist-bumping young guys, sports-obsessed aides and brash leaders like top economic adviser Lawrence Summers. There were influential women, such as confidante Valerie Jarrett and advisers Alyssa Mastromonaco and Melody Barnes, but none was as visible on TV or the White House Flickr feed as David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs or David Plouffe.

Even the New York Times wondered in 2009 “Does the White House feel like a frat house?” Mark Leibovch wrote:

The president, after all, is an unabashed First Guy’s Guy. Since being elected, he has demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of college hoops on ESPN, indulged a craving for weekend golf, expressed a preference for adopting a “big rambunctious dog” over a “girlie dog” and hoisted beer in a peacemaking effort.

He presides over a White House rife with fist-bumping young men who call each other “dude” and testosterone-brimming personalities like Rahm Emanuel, the often-profane chief of staff;Lawrence Summers, the brash economic adviser; and Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, who habitually speaks in sports metaphors.

The image has been reinforced by President Obama’s own behavior over the years.” Inside the Obama Frat House

For President and his people, it’s all PR all the time. The truth be damned. “The West isn’t just operating on missing data. It’s operating on bad data, Reality Show data produced by Ben Rhodes. If there’s one thing worse than an information system that gives you no answers, its one that gives you the wrong answers. One day we may wake up to find the real world is out there. One which unlike the Obama Reality Show, runs on energy, security and food; a world where love, belief and country still matter. Not Black Masses, kissing NFL lovers or transgender soldiers. It’s like being in a nightmare where you are paralyzed as some nameless fear comes closer and closer.  The West is transfixed, stunned by its own toxic cocktail of lies. That we will wake up is inevitable. The danger is that if we remain asleep too long, the world may already be burning by the time we look out the window.” Why Can’t We See?

The Senate

If I was a Democrat, I’d be embarrassed. “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says his Democratic counterpart is leading the chamber down a “disturbing” and “embarrassing” path, as Republican lawmakers’ frustration over what they consider a hardline stance on GOP amendments boils over. “This institution has been fundamentally changed by one man, the majority leader, who has the ability to impose a gag rule on all the rest of us,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday. “It’s a disturbing thing.” ‘This is really quite embarrassing that the greatest deliberative body in the world doesn’t deliberate anymore.’” Mitch McConnell: Harry Reid’s ’embarrassing’ behavior is leading Senate to ruin

Socialism

People like Sean Penn, who continue to supported the now deceased Chávez, as well as Maduro, should be ashamed. ‘The HRW report proves that the government of Nicolás Maduro, which has been battling anti-government protests since February, routinely uses unlawful force against unarmed protesters, and even against bystanders or people just passing by demonstrations. Common practices include severe beatings, the indiscriminate use of bullets, rubber pellets, and teargas against civilians, and the shooting at close range with rubber bullets of people in custody. It also proves the continued and systematic mistreatment of detainees; in some cases, these abuses clearly qualify as torture. The most important clash in today’s Venezuela is not that of left versus right, rich versus poor, socialism versus capitalism, or those who sympathize with the United States versus those who repudiate it. It is between those who defend a government that violates human rights as a state-sanctioned policy and those who are willing to sacrifice themselves to stop it. Apologists and boosters in the U.S. and around the world for Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution need to acknowledge they are defending a militarized government that routinely violates human rights. It is impossible to reconcile liberal values with support of the government now in power in Venezuela.” Postcards From Venezuela

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under All the News You Can Use

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s