Saturday, November 30, 2013

 

Responding to the Liberal Challenge

An old, smart, liberal friend told me that I would always be tarred by my association with the Republican party as long as the Republicans continued their assault on individual rights and freedoms. What, I instantly thought? But he backed up his allegation by asking me to Google the serial protests in North Carolina called Moral Mondays. I did and read the wikipedia entry on it as well as the HuffPo coverage. Let's go to the tape, as sportscasters used to say. Here are the supposed parade of Republican horrors (not one of which impinges on individual rights and freedoms, I might add):

1) The liberals protest Republican redistricting and the requirement of a photo ID (free ones available to the indigent) in order to vote. The liberals are also not happy about repealing laws that made voter fraud easier to accomplish.


Redistricting is a political spoil to the party in power just after the census. This is not about any individual right and both Democrats and Republicans try to redistrict to their political advantage. The courts are now deeply involved in the process, more's the pity. This is like complaining that when the sun is up it's sometimes more difficult to sleep.

Does anyone not know that the Supreme Court said that laws requiring photo IDs to vote were constitutionally OK? It was in all the papers. Read it here. It was Justice Stevens writing the opinion for Pete's sake. The law also requires that the DMV etc. provide indigents with photo IDs for free. I am completely missing the assault on individual rights and freedoms in this law. Is not the voter who's vote is cancelled by someone's second vote (or by a vote by one ineligible to vote) as completely disenfranchised as the eligible voter who is not allowed to vote? So there is a compelling state interest in preventing voter fraud. Is there a less onerous way to effect that interest than by requiring some proof of identity, residency and ability to vote, especially where the proof of identity is so easily obtained? I can't think of one. This cry that requiring photo IDs to vote is Republican racism or disenfranchisement of the poor or an assault on the right to vote, is baseless and, well, stupid. No such thing is happening. It's more a difference between just laws (Republicans) and cheating lawlessness (Democrats). Next.

2) The liberals are protesting cuts in social programs. The problem with social programs is that eventually the do-gooders run out of other people's money. Almost every state budgets must be balanced. Sometimes the soul stealing, not-that-helpful programs to transfer wealth from some citizens to others under pain of law are still funded but just not as generously as before (or, as I strongly suspect, have ever more funding but it did not increase as fast as the do-gooders wanted). In the L-shaped Obama "recovery,"  perhaps that's a sad but necessary thing. Since charity should not even be the government's role in society, much less a central role, social programs are in no way a right or freedom. On the contrary they are restrictions on the rights of property owners (assuming savings and investments are property). And I call this redistribution soul stealing mainly because of the well known effect on the recipients. In a larger sense, however, the love we have for our fellow man, charity, when made manifest by force, does about as much good for society as erotic love made manifest through force does. Next.

3) The liberals are protesting the Governor's decision to opt out of expanded Medicaid. This ability to opt out (might we refer to that as freedom? too much?) was only created by the slim majority of the Supreme Court only partially striking down the ACA. Most governors say that the ever increasing onus of Medicaid is the most difficult thing to pay for and does most of the damage to state budgets. I don't know North Carolina's long term prospect for increased tax revenue, perhaps the state government, and the Governor might know a little more about that. However, it could well be a rational decision to not undertake a permanent expansion in the medical ghetto called Medicaid when the feds will only pay partially for it for two to three years. Perhaps the Governor decided that having more money in the budget for normal state expenses (the most good for the most people?) was a better use for state tax revenue than spending it on even more Medicaid. In any event, not expanding Medicaid in no way involves an assault on rights or freedom, as my old friend and his ilk in North Carolina allege. Moving on.

4) The liberals are protesting the majority legislator's alleged "rollback" on abortion rights. It is not possible to roll back the individual woman's right to an early abortion as the Supreme Court said in Roe and in Casey that abortion in the first trimester was somehow a right established by the Constitution although the Constitution makes no mention of it (hint: It's in the umbras and penumbras). But just as liberals like to point out that it's OK to make reasonable restrictions on a right clearly laid out in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, certainly one could just as easily point out restrictions on the made-up-out-of-whole-cloth right to abortion are just as proper. And what are those restrictions here? The new North Carolina law prohibits government funds being spent on abortions. No real right causes the government to fund the individual exercise of the right. I'll OK the right to have abortions funded by the government when the left OKs the government's buying me the gun of my choice. The law also prohibits abortions for sex selection. (Knowing that it's not boys being aborted for sex selection, tell me, old friend, that you are OK with sex selection abortions. Tell me your feminine, feminist household is OK with sex selection abortions). Finally, the law requires that abortion clinics have the same safety standards as other-than-abortion surgery sites. I believe that abortion is a moral outrage but legal, but the negligent homicide of a pregnant woman during abortion is a flat out crime. So equal safety regulation is an assault on rights and freedom? Yeah the freedom not to die in a filthy abortion clinic from sub-standard medical care. Now to the cause near and dear to your heart.

5) The liberals are protesting the majority legislator's laws concerning teachers. The law did not increase teacher's pay. Sad, I guess, but there is no right to have a salary increase, is there? The law also ended tenure (which I think is a good thing--since when was merely avoiding being fired in the past a good reason to make firing in the future impossible?) ended the salary bonus merely for having a higher degree (another good thing as a bonus for another degree is not merit pay--a second diploma does not mean the recipient is therefore a better teacher) and created a program remarkably like a voucher system (if vouchers increase students' ability to choose which school to attend, wouldn't that necessarily increase freedom?) The law also cut funding for teacher assistants. Where is the right here? Tenure? Teacher pay at a certain rate? Ability to go only to the school the government chooses for you? I'm not seeing any rights, nor am I seeing any assault on freedom. Just the opposite.

The aforementioned complaints of the liberals in North Carolina are certainly political differences regarding policy. A Republican assault on rights and freedom they are emphatically not.

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Thought of the Day (Psychopath Edition)

To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary.  These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail.  This is a revolution!  And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.

"Che" Guevara aka Ernesto Lynch

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

 

Thought of the Day (Psychopath Edition)

Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates.  Instead, they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Man, he sounds like tons of fun.

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The Sun Will Come Out, Tommorrow

Although not known as that much of a Pollyanna, über-leftist Josh Marshall, Princeton grad with a PhD in American history from Brown, comes out swinging at the doom and gloom many Democrats are feeling as the Orwellian titled Affordable Care Act ("ACA") under-performs even the most pessimistic of Republican predictions. He's a cross between Annie and Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House, but not as convincing. Here is the piece, titled A Realist's (snort of derision) Take on Obamacare; let's get to it.

Supporters of Obamacare were tepid, he writes,

Then they were hit with the wholly unexpected surprise of a botched website roll out that set the whole public opinion war back on its heels and then a wave of cancellations that were reported in a misleading way (and only affected a tiny portion of the population) but nevertheless further soured public opinion.
Perhaps the failure of the Web site and exchanges wasn't completely unexpected. Even a handful of policy cancellations made President Obama and his Myrmidon Democrats liars but it's over 5 million who have lost coverage. It's difficult to credibly dismiss so many as a tiny portion. It is also very dangerous to do so because the wave of cancellations credibly predicted for the employer-provided plans will be tens of millions. How to minimize the damage then, Josh?

But for all that, here's why I think the generally cataclysmic press is overblown and why the law will be a success.
[...]

The program is actually doing pretty well in states that have functioning websites. 

No, not really doing well, much less pretty well on the state sites. Oregon, Colorado, California are all pretty much horror stories for ACA supporters and I could go on and on.

I base this relative optimism on four assumptions.

The first is legislative: regardless of firestorms about this or that, this law will not undergo substantive changes before January 2017. In practice, President Obama has complete control over this part of the equation. Even with a Republican blowout in 2014 (which I think highly unlikely) and lots of Democrats turned against the law, it's virtually impossible that a presidential veto could be overridden. "Substantive changes" can mean lots of things but I mean new legislation aimed at repeal or gutting the law. Nothing will happen on the legislative front that Obama doesn't approve of. This is a cardinal fact.

I agree that even if it goes as it looks it might well in 2014, Obama will be able to block repeal with a veto that will probably not be overcome. But what Josh sees as a feature, clear sighted others see as a bug. That the President will not allow substantial change while he is in office means that he will give his supporters enough rope to hang themselves. A reasonable president, seeing things go so south that it could permanently hurt the Progressive brand, might pull the plug. Not Obama. The burning airplane of Obamacare will be free to plunge all the way to to the deck.

Second and under-appreciated: the major national insurance carriers have heavily bought into the "Obamacare"/exchange model and have spent almost three years retooling their business models to prepare for it. It's too much to say there's no going back. But the carriers themselves are about as close to being locked in as you can get. Any decision to reverse course and go back to the old system is fraught with real danger. So the carriers themselves have huge incentives to make the system work.
Probably true, but it is not clear what the formerly evil major national insurance carriers could do to make the ACA more popular with the people who actually have been affected by it.

Third: By early next year you will have millions of new people enrolled in Medicaid, large numbers of people who have health care covered who couldn't get it at any reasonable price before who now have coverage and you will have large numbers of people who have care that is better or cheaper and often both than it was before.

Medicaid is not actually the Nirvana Josh makes it out to be. In fact, it is the blighted ghetto of medicine, with the least pay enticing only the worst doctors to jump in. It offers the kind of care Helen Hunt was getting for her son in As Good as it Gets. I'm not sure banishing more people to barely standard care is something to be happy about. As to the "better and cheaper" meme, I've yet to hear of large numbers of new enrollees praising their new better/cheaper plan. In fact, all I've heard is the opposite. With a lap dog media completely pulling for the President and the success of his single 'achievement,' the lack of happy endings getting press coverage must be a little disconcerting for the left. Josh is able to shrug it off.

Yes, you will also have people who had barebones policies who will have to buy into more expensive policies with fuller coverage. On balance, those people will tend to be more politically connected and visible, person for person, than the people on Medicaid for instance.

But we were told the new policies would be cheaper, by about $200/mo. I guess the President lied about that. And yes, when a lefty yuppie whines about losing a plan he or she liked and about having to buy a worse plan  for much more money (albeit with both mammograms and prostate screening covered by regulation, so they have that going for them, which is nice), we on the right take notice (and no small amount of glee).

But all evidence shows the first three groups [Medicaid, first time, cheaper/better enrollees] will vastly outnumber the last group [paying more]. I do not think anyone will be able to claw that back. It's one thing to have millions of uninsured or people boxed out because of pre-existing conditions. But once they have affordable coverage, I don't think you're going to be able to take it back.
The optimism here depends on: 1) The formerly uninsured enrolling (no sign of that yet); 2) The tiny portion (better measured in thousands) of locked out by pre-existing conditions gaining access (not likely to cause a huge wave of popularity there); and, 3) Anyone actually getting cheaper plans (even the CBO says the ACA bends the cost curve of coverage up). I say wan hope that any of these will happen to enough people to overcome the millions losing health plans they like and can afford.

Now Josh gets real with us. It all could go wrong, he admits,

But I think there's very good evidence to assume this based on the experience in Massachusetts, the opinions on policy experts I respect and actually a lot of data we're already seeing even in this very bumpy roll out.

Mass. has the most doctors and the longest waiting times for getting in to see one in the nation. How could that be possible if RomneyCare is something to emulate? And isn't it the policy experts with opinions who drafted this monstrosity in the first place? Is there any hopeful data out there? Who's been keeping it secret then?

Obviously, if the policy really is a failure, if it leads to risk pool death spirals, market failure, skyrocketing rates for everyone, then eventually reasons one through three will eventually be beaten down by that reality. But I see no real reason to think those will happen in part because I think it's fundamentally a workable policy and especially because of the political and stakeholder buttressing of reasons one through three.
OK let's see if I can point out why the ACA just might not be fundamentally a workable policy. By taking away the threat of not covering pre-existing conditions, you undercut several of the reasons why healthy people, who don't need health insurance, choose to make the sacrifice to obtain it (and thus prop up the system for those who are unfortunately not healthy and do need it). There is no reason not to wait now, especially if you're young and healthy, to get health insurance only after you need it. The penalties taxes for not having it are nowhere near severe enough to cause someone to sacrifice to cover only the highly unlikely, debilitation accident. If the people who don't really need it, don't sign on and prop up the market then there will be risk pool death spirals, market failure, skyrocketing rates for everyone and the policy will have been a complete and utter failure, perhaps the worst failure of legislation since Prohibition. But clearly Josh knows the risks, he merely is in denial about the lack of ACA's mechanisms to prevent just that. Then he writes some real drivel which I'll skip over. Big finish.

We didn't pass Health Care Reform for it to reap electoral gains for Democrats (though I think it still will) or to have it be popular, per se (though I suspect it will be). The aim was to get people covered, make the health care provision system more efficient and reduce the scale of human suffering, especially the spectrum of suffering tied to your wealth and your luck.


By that standard, I think it will be a success and I think there will be no going back. And that's the only standard that matters.
.
If the law is not popular, wouldn't that necessarily mean it's not doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Just asking. And I fail to see how the ACA is even beginning to fill the role of getting more people covered when the number of people with cancelled policies who cannot buy a replacement policy at a price they can afford outnumber the new enrollees by several orders of magnitude. And that's just the first, tiny portion, wave. What is in the ACA, with its added complexity and bloated bureaucracy to enforce it, which makes it more efficient? How is it reducing human suffering if it isn't getting more people covered? The telling part of the whole piece is the bit about 'spectrum of suffering tied to wealth and luck.'  What in God's name is he talking about? Poor people feel more pain of an injury than rich people feel for the same injury? Rich people suffer less anguish from hearing an out-of-the-blue prognosis of pain until imminent death than a poor person hearing the same prognosis would suffer? If it is unlucky to suffer any any injury or illness, what, particularly, in the ACA does a thing to mitigate that?

This seems the most important part to Josh and his ilk. Equality of suffering. Suffering divorced from wealth or luck. This is, of course, nonsense and the very last thing to say in praise, such as we can, of the ACA.

Shorter version: We're stuck with the ACA and it will not suck so bad it fully fails and we'll get used to the sub-failure suck and the Democrats get to chalk up a win. Hooray!

I'd be optimistic about that probable course of events too.

The sun will come out tomorrow, so ya' gotta to hang on 'til tomorrow!

If you can.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

 

Imaginary Conversations

I say: Listen, I don't hate homosexuals, the ones I know are nearly uniformly great people, and I don't believe I discriminate in any way against them.

The Left responds: But you are a Republican and by that very association you are being anti-gay.

I say: So you have a bias against Republicans?

The Left responds: Not at all, we are just seeing things as they are.

I say: So I am anti-gay because I am not a Progressive or a Democrat, and my actual beliefs, actions and feelings about gay people doesn't matter at all.

The Left responds: Yes. That is correct.

I say: I want gays to have all the rights, privileges and responsibilities associated with marriage I just don't want them to call it marriage because traditionally marriage is one man and one woman and procreation is the underlying reason.

The Left responds: If you don't support gay marriage, you are anti-gay. There is no rational reason not to include gays in the definition of marriage and if you don't then your only reason is hatred towards gays. The Supreme Court just said just that.

I say: I admit that slippery slope is not much of a reason, but it is a rational reason none the less, no matter how thin. I don't think marriage of gays will do any serious damage to the society (although I worry that children generally do better with both sexes involved in their upbringing). What I'm seriously concerned about is this: If you reject the time tested reason for marriage (procreation of the species by one man with one woman) and replace it with the new definition of the underlying reason "you really love the other," then you have no rational argument in opposition if, under the new definition, someone wants to marry a child, two spouses, an animal or something else; and allowing those things will do real damage to society.

The Left responds: You're comparing gay marriage to pedophilia or bestiality or polygamy, etc.. See what a hater you are.

I say: I'm not comparing; I'm talking about the natural consequences of replacing the traditional definition of marriage with the new one.

The Left responds: The new definition is two consenting humans of legal age who love each other. There is no child marriage, no bestiality, no polygamy, etc., no marriage to a house allowed.

I say: But then you are discriminating against someone who truly loves a child, for example, and wants to live, just as married straights and gays live together, with him or her. How can you deny someone else the rights you have?

The Left responds: The new definition is two consenting humans of legal age who love each other. There is no child marriage, no bestiality, no polygamy, etc., no marriage to a house allowed.

I say: But the traditional definition was different too and you argued that it was morally wrong because it did not allow two gay people to enjoy the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as straight people.

The Left responds: That's right.

I say: So you cannot imagine someone using your arguments to expand marriage to child marriage or multiple spouses or anything else a minority of humans truly love and want?

The Left responds: No. The change was just for gay people. That's all. And if you compare it to things outside the new definition, you're a hater.

I say: OK, I won't try to open your eyes to the ramifications of changing the traditional definition of marriage, but I do not hate gays.

The Left responds: Of course you do, or you could not have these thoughts.

I say:  I am completely tolerant of homosexuals.

The Left responds: It is not enough to be tolerant, you have to celebrate homosexuals and the more enthusiastically the better.

I say: So toleration is insufficient?

The Left responds: Yes, you have to think what we think or you are evil.

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They Nailed the Center Line


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Thought of the Day

At the heart of the left's vision of the world is the implicit assumption that high-minded third parties like themselves can make better decisions for other people than those people can make for themselves.

Thomas Sowell

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Monday, November 25, 2013

 

Prediction is Difficult, Particularly About the Future

I'm not sure what President Obama's six-word legacy will be in 50 years. My top two choices are:

1) Primary enabler of the Second Holocaust;

2) Expanded federal bureaucracy past tipping point; or,

3) Architect of worst failed law ever.

Tough to tell.


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Another Attempt to Blame Republicans For ACA Disaster

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, one of America's incredible shrinking papers, does itself no good by calling a sizable subset of its readers, the Republicans, liars and saboteurs in a dishonest, fact free, unsigned editorial. It alleges:

The Republicans are sabotaging the ACA with propaganda which are lies, which propaganda is merely criticism of the ACA, which the Republicans hate and are sabotaging with an immoral probably illegal plot. There simply is no possibility that the opposition is based on honorable, rational differences of opinion about what is best for the country. What the Republicans do is lie, hate, and sabotage the Democrats' and the President's single 'achievement' of the past 5 years.

Let's pause for a second to consider whether calling the other side evil liars is really the best way to convince them, or even someone on the fence, that the ACA is actually all sweetness and light. Maybe the ink and space on the paper pages might have been better spent trying to argue rationally about the good attributes of the ACA which arguments would be best supported by facts and evidence. Too late now.

The editors say that the early problems with the ACA do not mean the law is "intrinsically broken" and if only people would give it a fair review, the law's "advantages ought to become apparent." Alas, none of those supposed advantages are part of the editorial. I can't seem to think of a single advantage to the law.

Let's pause for a second also to consider this. The ACA, which passed by the skin of its teeth, was sold with lie after lie after lie. In fact, it appears nothing the President told us again and again about the law was true. We won't be able to keep our plans, or our doctors, and the 5 million plus unfortunates in the private market so far who know that as a sad fact will be joined next year by many tens of millions when the same thing happens to many of the employer provided plans. (Is there a single person who says the law recognizes a difference between employer-provided and self-provided plans where the minimums to be covered are concerned?) There will be no savings of on average $2500 for families and the deficit will indeed go up as government revenue is used for subsidies. Against that monstrously large record of lies, the PP-G rails against true but negative publicity by the loyal opposition as if it were equal. Beam, eye, speck.

The editorial admits the President lied about savings and the Republicans were truthful when it admits:

Of course, some people will have to pay more, although the poorest will qualify for a subsidy and generally the coverage will be better. (Emphasis added).
The Democrats' idea of "better" coverage is the mandated coverages useless to some, and anathema to many deep in the Christian faith. The plans certainly are not better for the individuals who have to pay more for things they don't want.

The editorial says that we should keep the big picture in mind, that before the ACA we had 30 million uninsured and the costs of premiums and medical costs were constantly going up. I'm not sure how throwing millions of Americans off the insurance they liked is helping to reduce the number of uninsured. One not as sophisticated at math might think that increasing the number of uninsured is somehow different from reducing the number of uninsured. And is there a single thing in the ACA or in the media's coverage of it that indicates the law contains any mechanism whatsoever for reducing the historical, steady increase in the cost of medicine, doctors, and hospitals and the costs of the premiums of medical insurance? A single thing? Nothing was mentioned in the editorial. Perhaps we are to believe the promises of the President that magically costs will go down as coverage gets "better" and more people are covered at reduced rates.

The editorial urges the Republicans to surrender, become moderate and help the Democrats improve the ACA. This comes at the end, so the structure of the editorial is: You lying, evil, hate-filled saboteurs ought to help the opposition here. Come on, you jerks, help!

I'm not sure that is the way to enlist help--asking for it only after you have repeatedly called the other side bad names.

The Republicans were remarkably united in their opposition to a bad law. They had no input into its drafting and certainly didn't vote for it, not a single one. They did so because they believed it was being sold on a tissue of lies and that there was no way it could improve service or keep costs down by deeply involving the federal government.

Who do you think was closer to the mark?

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

 

Thought of the Day (Psychopath Edition)

I fired a .32 caliber bullet into the right hemisphere of his brain which came out through his left temple. He moaned for a few moments, then died....I’d like to confess, Papa, at that moment I discovered that I really like killing. 

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara 

I've always maintained he took sexual pleasure in shooting people in the head. Who has proof I'm wrong?

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

 

Wreckers, Hoarders, Saboteurs, Kulaks

Venezuela style. Money quote:

The socialist leader, who won a vote to replace the late Hugo Chavez in April, said his government was preparing new regulations to limit businesses' profits to between 15 percent and 30 percent. Authorities say unscrupulous companies have been hiking prices of electronics and other goods more than 1,000 percent.

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Right Wing Hysteria



Dallas the city of hate that willed the death of JFK one day short of 50 years ago.

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Wreckers Redux

Mötley Crüe groupie Bob Cesca jumps in with both feet to the journo-list approved talking point that Republicans are sabotaging Obamacare the ACA here. I had never heard of Mr. Cesca but Google tells me he is a product of Kutztown State in poli sci, an autodidact regarding the American Civil War and an author or a book, One Nation Under Fear, that is currently selling for $.01 at Amazon and is ranked 1,834,485 in the best selling books there. How many books are listed on the Amazon best selling books list, 1,834,486? Here we go.

Lost in the mix, of course, is the ongoing far-right effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

I'm not talking about the myths and propaganda -- the "death panel" nonsense and the like. This is serious business: the well-financed, broadly implemented sabotage campaign designed to rig the law for failure, while also making it more difficult for Americans to receive insurance.

"Rig the law for failure?" Wouldn't that be what the Democrat drafters did?

Wreckers, Hoarders, Saboteurs, Republicans.

Any new "evidence" of the actual existence of this well-financed sabotage campaign?

However, earlier this month, we learned that Republican Party leadership directly urged those governors not to [open state exchanges]-- chiefly to burden the federal exchange with a heavier load.
I think the advise was chiefly to avoid any direct Republican contact with the train wreck law, but this is not new and not evidence. To be constitutional, the ACA could not force states to open exchanges and the Governors who so declined made a legal, rational, honorable choice. Not sabotage.

Worse yet, the ACA contained zero funding for the development and implementation of the site, and there's no way the congressional Republicans would ever authorize more money for it. It's unclear why the federal exchange was unfunded in the law, but one thing's for sure, a House of Representatives that voted 46 times to totally repeal the law wouldn't have coughed up a dime to rectify the oversight.

The ACA contained a Billion dollar fund for implementation and it is clear that the implementers could have used the unlimited state exchange implementation funds as silence in the law in this situation is not prohibition.

"It's unclear why the federal exchange was unfunded in the law"? Are you kidding? The Democrat drafters negligently left it ambiguous. Is he implying the completely-shut-out-of-drafting Republicans used magic to cause the drafters to screw up? Much of what he says after this is magical thinking, but is this? Also, the Democrats didn't even try to get more funds (because, Lord knows, a Billion just doesn't go as far as it used to). Their not even trying is the Republicans' fault? Really?

So, what happened? A cash-starved Healthcare.gov development process, which precipitated serious glitches when October 1 rolled around -- problems that should never have occurred.
Is Mr. Cesca incapable of writing a complete sentence? Where is the verb telling us what the Healthcare.gov development process did? No wonder his book is not worth a dime. And only a Democrat could think a Billion dollar appropriation was "cash-starved." So if the state exchanges had unlimited funds (and they did) they must all be hunky dory, right? No? Not even can-do, eager beaver Oregon's? The Democrats screwed up all the exchanges to varying degrees and lack of funds had nothing to do with it.

And those glitches might've been exacerbated when right-wing hacktivists reportedly conducted "denial of service" attacks against Healthcare.gov -- deliberate attempts to overwhelm the website's servers. CNN reported on Monday:
Hackers have attempted more than a dozen cyber attacks against the Obamacare website, according to a top Homeland Security Department official. The attacks, which are under investigation, failed, said the official. Authorities also are investigating a separate report of a tool designed to put heavy strain on HealthCare.gov through a so-called distributed denial of service. It does not appear to have been activated.

This is new, but is it evidence. Do we have any evidence that the hackers are Republicans and not just the usual lefty/vandal/anarchists? Any evidence at all? No?

Cesca goes on to note that some Governors did not agree to expand Medicaid coverage. Very old news and not sabotage. Let's remember that all states were forced by the ACA to expand Medicaid and the Supreme Court struck that down as unconstitutional. Here is Cesca's penetrating analysis of an example:

In Alaska yesterday, Governor Sean Parnell, a Republican, obviously, rejected the Medicaid expansion thus denying health insurance to 40,000 Alaskans. Parnell said, "I believe a costly Medicaid expansion especially on top of the broken Obamacare system is a hot mess."

That's a lie. Fact: the federal government pays the entire cost of the Medicaid expansion for 2014 through 2016. The states pay nothing. So it's not costly at all. In fact, it's free for the first three years.
Only a Democrat could look at federal taxpayer support and call it free. The sad truth, unmentioned by Cesca and every other Democrat broaching this subject, is that after three years the states who agreed to the expansion have to cover an ever higher portion of the cost of ever more Medicaid recipients and the expansion soon becomes fiscally unsupportable.

What happens when the expansion is blocked throughout more than half the nation? Potentially millions of pissed-off working class Americans due to what's perceived as punitively expensive Obamacare premiums -- premiums that are only too expensive because Republican governors blocked the Medicaid expansion.
We'll skip over the fact that the second sentence, the answer to the question posed in the first, has no verb, again, so that it makes no sense grammatically, and go directly to the extraordinary leap semi-posed in the "sentence." Obamacare premiums go up because a totally different program did not expand? Is that the gist of this moronic paragraph? Well, allow me then to retort. What?

He goes on to accuse Republicans of using money and social media to inform (untruthfully?) their fellow citizens about the myriad problems with the ACA, other than the completely dysfunctional roll out and web sites. The bete noir of the left, the Koch Brothers, somehow appears as part of this visceral and sinister conspiracy to sabotage.

But wait, isn't Free Speech, talking to other people, a good thing? Isn't it a cherished right of all Americans? Used to be. I suspect Mr. Cesca would counter that Free Speech is not unlimited, such as yelling fire in a crowded theater. (I counter the fire/crowded theater dodge with this. If you are telling the truth, and there is a fire, you ought to darn well bring it to everyone's attention. You clearly have a constitutional right to do so. If you're lying, and there is no fire, you still have a constitutional right to yell it, there can be no prior restraint, but you may well be held responsible for damages people suffer in the panic caused by your lies. So the exception ought to be 'can't falsely yell fire in a crowded theater.') And regarding lies about Obamacare, the Democrats start off in a deed, deep hole if they want to start trading accusations of people lying about the ACA.

At the end of the day, if not enough people enroll in the exchanges, the law entirely falls apart. Combined with everything else, that's sabotage, plain and simple, while the Koch brothers can rest assured knowing they'll never be without quality healthcare, so screw it. Let fly. After all, the traditional press won't really cover it with the same hard-nippled vigor with which they've covered the buggy website, or with which they've almost universally blamed the low enrollment numbers on the president.

This complaint about media non-coverage is rich coming from a Democrat. It takes a special type of delusion to think the media is biased in favor of the right. But let's look at the first sentences.

At the end of the day, if not enough people enroll in the exchanges, the law entirely falls apart. Combined with everything else, that's sabotage, plain and simple...

If the people don't sign up to the ACA in the numbers the law's supporters want and expected, wouldn't the most likely explanation be that the product produced by the genius class drafters of the law is just not that popular? Is it really likely that the Republicans could somehow prevent people from purchasing desirable, affordable, better, cheaper health insurance?

If so, the force is strong with these Republicans.

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Prediction is Hard, Especially About the Future

Here is all-seeing David Corn just over 6 weeks ago talking about how grand the Obamacare ACA rollout was going to be and how it was going to quash Republican political fortunes, maybe forever.

Samples: 

The shutdown was merely a way for Cruz-controlled Republicans to vent about Obamacare. So if the Republican party stands for anything today, it is obstructing Obamacare. But here's the rub: What if Obamacare works?
The initial response to yesterday's opening of the state and federal exchanges that are providing affordable insurance plans to Americans who previously could not obtain coverage has Obamacare proponents dancing. Millions of Americans were not scared away by Koch-financed ads (including this rapey spot). (Emphasis added).
 [...]

In dozens of states, Americans seeking insurance will now credit Washington, not their local governor, when they obtain coverage. Assuming the program works in providing insurance to these people, conservatives will suffer a tremendous setback regarding their foundational argument (and raison d'être): Government is the problem, not the solution. Oops. No wonder Cruz yearned to stop Obamacare before it could become proof of a different narrative.
[...]


What happens if Obamacare does provide the deliverables—as the policy wonks say—that millions of Americans want? GOPers will be tagged as liars—or, at least, fear mongering, truth-defying spinners—who cannot be trusted.
[...]

The conservative/Republican war against Obamacare has led the GOP to a dark place. Many right-wing pundits and Republican leaders have been rooting for Obamacare to fail. That is, they have been cheering against a program that will provide millions of Americans with the sense of security that comes with health insurance...If the exchanges do work in providing the uninsured coverage—and Obamacare has already helped millions of people by ending for many the preexisting condition dodge, providing more financial assistance to seniors for prescription medicines, and allowing young adults to remain on their parents' plans longer—the conservatives are screwed.  
[...]

Yet once there are facts—is Obamacare working or not?—the debate will shift. Well, maybe not for the Republicans, but it will for millions of Americans who will evaluate the new reality and decide for themselves whether this is the end of America or the start of a better nation.

Maybe not that all-seeing.

My irony detector spiked here:

Sure, there were glitches and websites crashed. But that's natural, given the overwhelming demand. And the exchanges have weeks to work out the kinks before the December 15 deadline to finish enrolling people for the coming year.

sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus

Little less time left now and how much of Corn's rosy scenario now lies a bleeding? All of it?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

 

I Don't Know...Something's Missing

The brightest ray of sunshine of the desperate and/or delusional lefty writers, Brian Beutler, continues to channel  Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House and insist that all is well and there really is nothing wrong with Obamacare.

The fact that Affordable Care Act enrollments are spiking in states that have functioning exchange websites of their own is great news for the law and for the many thousands of people who will be newly, or better, insured come Jan. 1.

Beutler then cites an LA Times story which reports;

A number of states that use their own systems, including California, are on track to hit enrollment targets for 2014 because of a sharp increase in November, according to state officials.
“What we are seeing is incredible momentum,” said Peter Lee, director of Covered California, the nation’s largest state insurance marketplace, which accounted for a third of all enrollments nationally in October. California — which enrolled about 31,000 people in health plans last month — nearly doubled that in the first two weeks of this month.
Several other states, including Connecticut and Kentucky, are outpacing their enrollment estimates, even as states that depend on the federal website lag far behind.
Except for California, which has nearly 91,000 supposed enrollees, there are no figures for the actual numbers of enrollees given. Nor are there any baseline figures for the "enrollment targets" per state mentioned.

This journalistic misdirection is not fooling a lot of people. Take Wynton Hall for example.

Most people who have shopped online know that putting the product in the cart is not the same as paying for the product. What I want to know is how many people have actually purchased an ACA compliant health insurance plan online, through either the individual state web sites or on the federal site?

Those are the only numbers that matter.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

 

Thought of the Day

Sometimes the conspiracy theory is the conspiracy.

Daniel Greenfield, on how ignoring Oswald and blaming his opposite is what the left wants.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

 

Brimming Over With Enthusiasm

Obama flavor aid drinker Brian Beutler has a dreary piece titled: How to silence GOP nuts — and stop the Obamacare repeal campaign.

How to silence GOP nuts? Charming to the last. Beutler sure knows how to get the opposition ready to be convinced.

He follows the well known outline--acknowledge a shaky start of the Orwellian named ACA but bring on the criticism of the opposition and finish off with undeserved optimism. The sun will come out, tomorrow! Well, let's go to the actual words


That leaves two possible futures for the Affordable Care Act. One in which it limps ahead. Another in which it undertakes a swift reversal of fortune.
Let me be so bold as to suggest a third possible future for the ACA. It keeps on getting worse. Plausible? Possible? Likely? Doesn't exist in Beutler's bubble world.

The nightmare scenario isn’t that Obamacare will be repealed. It’s actually hard to imagine a scenario in which Obama leaves office in 2017 without having overseen a massive expansion of health insurance coverage in the U.S. But getting there could be excruciatingly difficult.
Nightmare for whom? Obamacare never signs up many enrollees in the first year. Tens of Millions lose employer supplied healthcare plans. The law's unpopularity approaches 75%. The Democrats lose the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016 and the first Republican bill to pass and be signed is the the complete repeal of the ACA. Scenario imagined.

A net reduction in individual market coverage would be politically humiliating. It would also raise the moral question of whether it’s fair to impose penalties on people for not entering a system that they can’t access and probably don’t trust. At that point, Democrats would face intense pressure to vote for a delay of the individual mandate. They might do it, too. To stave off a full-scale rebellion, the administration would probably act unilaterally, agree to provide hardship exemptions en masse, and hope to hold the votes for a universal delay below a veto-proof threshold, to protect markets in states like Kentucky with functioning exchanges.

Administration acting unilaterally to change the bill without congressional involvement is the problem. It's an unconstitutional act (not that the Constitution has ever mattered much to this Administration). See Art. II, Sec. 3, Clause 5. With a 2010 government prediction of up to 2/3 of employer provided health insurance plans being cancelled (now in 2014), this move to traitorous, hostage taking delay of the ACA is very likely. Democrat legislators are already openly talking about delaying the individual mandate. I'm praying Republicans fail to help accomplish that. Why should we have to wait for the wonderfullness of Obamacare?

Vastly preferable is a “nowhere to go but up” scenario where the website works pretty well in a couple of weeks, enrollments shoot upward, quickly overtaking the number of people whose policies have been canceled. Ideally many of the people who just lost their coverage (motivated insurance purchasers) turn to the exchanges and find policies that they like, or at that they’re happy enough with to quiet their anger over the cancellation of their old plans.

Vastly preferable to whom? Yeah, the people could flock to the exchanges and everything will turn out swell.
And monkeys.... Notice that no Democrat still talks about cheaper plans or saving the average family $2500 a year, a promise the President constantly repeated over the past 4 years or so. The best scenario is that the multitude thrown off completely satisfactory plans might find new plans that don't cause them to feel nothing but anger. Setting the bar about a millimeter off the ground, that is.

In this scenario, aggregates will begin to matter. The media’s bias toward anecdote and hardship — which has dominated the news for the past month and a half — will have to contend with raw numbers. If total enrollments, including new Medicaid beneficiaries, approach anywhere near the 16 million the Congressional Budget Office initially projected, the tale of the ACA’s success will be impossible for the media to ignore.

16 million enrollees including new medicaid patients? At current rates, even doubled current rates, that number of enrollees will be reached in mid 2025 or so. Not the sunny scenario of "success" Beutler seems to imagine.

Starting Dec. 1, opponents of the law will screen-grab and disseminate every website failure they happen upon. But if the law truly is working well “for the vast majority of users” as the administration likes to say, it will be reflected in swelling enrollment figures and regular updates on the law’s improving progress. That’ll take the sting out of “you can keep it” attacks. Democrats won’t have anything to run from anymore. You can even imagine them repurposing the Upton bill, to put Republicans on the record against stripping new beneficiaries of their health plans.

Swelling enrollment figures starting December 1 and running deep into the election cycle in 2014. That's the hopeful prediction Brian Beutler is selling. Too bad the government shut down InTrade betting site for American users at least.

This is a very optimistic imagined future. Thank God the internet is around to record these predictions for comparison with reality some, what, 9 and a half months from now. I'll be checking back in by then. 

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One of These Is Not Like the Others

Continuing the Big Lie that right-wing "hate" and "violence" were the cause of President Kennedy's assassination (and not the Carcano 6.5 x 52mm round fired by ultra lefty Lee Harvey Oswald), the genius class writers at Slate have this entry: The City that Killed Kennedy. Think for a second how stupid that title sounds.

Opening paragraph:

It's Dallas in the early 1960s, and the city is roiling with racism and McCarthyism. The Dallas Morning News is calling the Supreme Court the "Judicial Kremlin." The world's richest oil baron is arguing that billionaires should literally be able to buy more votes. A reverend is warning that John F. Kennedy's presidency will lead to Catholic domination of the country. Lee Harvey Oswald is plotting his assassinations. With this map, featuring excerpts from recently released Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis, explore the city that many blame for killing a president.
I blame George Bush, as James Taranto often says. Let's pretend this is worth taking seriously and track the points made.

1) Racism and McCarthyism.

The authors would have us believe that Racism is on the right. It is not. Not then, not now. It is the Southern Democrats who vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They are the segregationist. They are the racists. The Republicans are champions for equal rights of black Americans and still most blacks in Texas were Republicans late in 63.

McCarthyism was a little long in the tooth by late '63, as it pretty much ended in 1957, and the Republican Wisconsin Senator for which it is named was 6 years dead by then. I believe the Slate authors, in their historical ignorance, are just throwing out terms they hope will apply to the right as they have absolutely no evidence to support their absurd theory a city killed a person when clearly a person did it.

2) Anti-Communist name calling. Yeah, and? We are and were right and moral to be anti-Communist.

3) Political Corruption by money. Not particularly one party over another, but the Slate braniacs would have you believe it is right wing

4) Anti-Catholic statements. Very common among Southern Democrats then but who really is keeping a left wing right wing tally on religious bigotry?

5) The anti-America, Castro loving, communist Lee Harvey Oswald, who had defected to Russia and returned, and who had months before attempted to shoot General Edwin Walker, an ultra conservative, racist, Bircher Democrat (whom the left counts as right wing), is plotting the assassination.

Wait, how's Oswald's hatred of anti-Communist Kennedy Dallas's fault?

The article has a really neat reactive map with oodles of completely inane facts which totally fail to support the main theme.

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Photo Proof



Here is a just released photo of the motorcade approaching Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Look at those faces, the hand gestures. What a seething cauldron of hate. /sarcasm.

People are smiling, clapping, and waving. This photo is one of the million reasons rational people, with any historical knowledge, have for getting angry at those who ignore Oswald, the America hating, Castro loving Communist who actually shot the President, and blame in any way some sort of all encompassing zeitgeist of hate and violence which clearly and plainly did not exist.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

 

I Think Mr. McAuley Needs to Study a Little Harder

It is a very common lie, a Big Lie, based on its repetition alone, that exists because the left can't believe their handsome hero, JFK, was killed by a fairly pathetic, single, fellow left-winger. Certainly, they project, the right-wing extremists were involved. No, sorry, it was only the Communist Lee Harvey Oswald, with a Carcano 91/38. Let's look at the latest repetition of the Big Lie here by James McAuley, a Marshall scholar at Oxford.

To a rational mind, Dallas's role in the assassination of the President by the Communist is only that it was the site where it happened, just as Los Angeles's role in Robert Kennedy's assassination by Socialist Sirhan Sirhan is only that LA was the site of the murder. Let's see what new fantasy Mr. McAuley weaves. Big start:

FOR 50 years, Dallas has done its best to avoid coming to terms with the one event that made it famous: the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. That’s because, for the self-styled “Big D,” grappling with the assassination means reckoning with its own legacy as the “city of hate,” the city that willed the death of the president.

The force was strong with the Dallas population. City of hate? Willed the death? This is magical thinking. Is there a single thing in this article that is real world accurate?

For those men [of Dallas, with death wishes in their eyes], Kennedy was a veritable enemy of the state, which is why a group of them would commission and circulate “Wanted for Treason” pamphlets before the president’s arrival and fund the presciently black-rimmed “Welcome Mr. Kennedy” advertisement that ran in The Dallas Morning News on the morning of Nov. 22. It’s no surprise that four separate confidants warned the president not to come to Dallas: an incident was well within the realm of imagination.

Not a black-rimmed "Welcome Mr. Kennedy" ad? Oh, the humanity. So let me get this straight, if Kennedy visited Boston, where he was even more wildly popular, and some malcontents passed out literature that was unkind to the President, and some lone wolf shot Kennedy in the head there, then Boston would be the city of hate that willed the death of the President? It's not an absurd question, but it is an absurd thing for anyone actually to say, much less believe. Kennedy/Johnson carried Texas in the 1960 election (although they lost to Nixon/Lodge in Dallas County) and the President was very popular three years later with the majority of the city's population who turned out in their tens of thousands to line the streets on which he was driven to cheer the motorcade.

Just look at the newsreels of adoring crowds along the route in the 50 year anniversary coverage of the assassination coverage during this week. Do you see a lot of hate? Do you see a lot of will to murder? President Kennedy was our coolest president ever and even many of the Republicans who had voted against him had a soft spot for our youthful leader. These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless.The left and its newest repeater have consciously to disbelieve the truth in order to believe the Republicans had the tiniest thing to do with the assassination. Did the four warning confidants know about the plan Oswald was putting the finishing touches on? Then there's this.

Dallas is not, of course, “the city that killed Kennedy.”

Wait, what?

But without question, these memories — and the remnants of the environment of extreme hatred the city’s elite actively cultivated before the president’s visit — have left an indelible mark on Dallas, the kind of mark that would never be left on Memphis or Los Angeles, which were stages rather than actors in the 1968 assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. 

No, what's happened is that historically ignorant people on the left have wanted to believe it was a right winger who killed JFK and since that was impossible (myriad conspiracy theories notwithstanding) they have created out of whole cloth the lie that Dallas was an environment of extreme hate of the President in late November, 1963. The "mark" Mr. McAuley writes about is actually the left's collective inability to accept the truth. One of the things that made the assassination so shocking is that it occurred in a city that had turned out en masse to adore the President. The killing shots were such a contrast to the displayed lack of ill will against Kennedy. The bell curve of human behavior allows for a few at the fringe to hate one man that hundreds of thousands love but the fringe does not define the majority of the people of Dallas, many of whom cried when told the President had been shot to death. The Big Lie of "collective culpability," that Dallas was involved in rather than merely the site of the assassination, is an ultimately malignant delusion.

But those are transient triumphs [like the Cowboys] in the face of what has always been left unsaid, what the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald once called the “dark night of the soul,” on which the bright Texas sun has yet to rise.
The newspaper may have used the term 'dark night of the soul' but it is actually a 16th century Spanish poem/treatise by St. John of the Cross, which Mr. McAuley might be well served to read. It's not about collective guilt.

The far right of 1963 and the radicalism of my grandparents’ generation may have faded in recent years, they remain very much alive in Dallas. Look no further than the troop of gun-rights activists who appeared just days ago, armed and silent, outside a meeting of local mothers concerned about gun violence. If this is what counts as responsible civic dialogue, then Dallas has a long way still to go. 

Far right radicalism is also a concept that exists only in the minds of the delusional left. The right is by general definition conservative, that is, it retains the status quo ante and rejects extremist ideas to overthrow or change it. Extremist conservative is an oxymoron. And skipping over the the self contradiction of silent opponents having a dialogue, the 2nd Amendment puts in writing our God given right to life, that is, to self defense. Keeping and bearing arms is indeed a conservative value while "infringing" on that inalienable right is lefty radicalism. Carrying a gun to protest a group who wants to disarm you despite the enshrined personal right is I think an eloquent silent statement. Calling it irresponsible is the judgment of those who seek a radical infringement of our right to life.

Ultimately, Mr. McAuley weaves the same shopworn fantasy that the left has declared official Truth since about 10 minutes after the assassination. He has added nothing to Big Lie except another dreary repetition. In fact, we've all lost an IQ point or two for having to have read the myth yet again.

Hey, McAuley, the real reason no one talks about Dallas' supposed collective culpability for the Kennedy assassination is that most people are not stupid enough to believe that which does not exist.

UPDATE: Great minds, etc. Money quote from Sonny Bunch:

Liberals were so perturbed by the fact that a man of the left had killed Kennedy that they simply waved away the inconvenient truth like so much smoke. It wasn’t left wing ideology that killed our dear prince but the meanies on the right who created a culture in which something so senseless could happen.

I don't know, but if I were writing about blame for the assassination of JFK near its 50 year anniversary, I might make mention of the guy who actually placed the scope cross-hairs on the President's head and pulled the trigger. Mr. McAuley makes no mention of the actual assassin, Oswald, who, by the way, was such a product of right wing extremist hate that he tried to shoot and kill ultra-conservative Democrat (and rabid anti-Communist) General Edwin Walker about five months before he shot Kennedy. Walker, by the way, was peripherally associated with the Wanted for Treason fliers Mr. McAuley finds so remarkable. Dallas is probably guilty of that attempted murder too, I guess. So, summing up: One day Oswald tries to shoot the leader of the guys putting out the hateful Wanted for Treason fliers and then, under the influence of the Wanted for Treason fliers, et al., he shoots the subject of the fliers. Yeah, that hangs together.

UPDATE 2: Another voice of sanity. James Pierson who places the blame properly on the Cold War and volunteer minion, Oswald. Money quote:

Ironically, U.S. leaders adopted a line similar to the one pushed by the Soviet Union and communist groups around the world. They likewise blamed the "far right" for the assassination. A Soviet spokesman said that, "Senator [ Barry ] Goldwater and other extremists on the right could not escape moral responsibility for the president's death."

Birds of a feather...

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Friday, November 15, 2013

 

Sacrifice to the Sky God Seeohtu


This is actually a pretty fair, well reasoned discussion about Global Warming Climate Change, until the end. Ivy League professors Adam Sobel and Naomi Oreskes talk about the impossibility of saying the recent typhoon in the Philippines was caused by global warming or by the warming, if any, caused by man made CO2, the invisible, beneficial, trace gas which omnipotently drives all the Earth's climate, apparently. The impossibility of divining any one cause of the storm is correct. The only way to say whether a single event is possibly caused by something is by statistical analysis involving all the known factors over a long period of time. The authors flat out admit that in an extended comparison to cancer etiology. (Could anything be less alike than weather and human disease?) Then things begin to slip.

When we emphasize the uncertainty, we appear to justify a course of no action on climate.

If we're uncertain, shouldn't we hold off doing something which, in our uncertainty, might well do more harm than good? Shouldn't we hold off if we are uncertain that what we do now will have any effect whatsoever?
Shouldn't we hold off if we are uncertain that there even is a problem?

Instead, we might focus on the reality of the threat that warming poses, even though we can't say with any certainty that it caused the particular case in front of us. We might focus on the fact that we expect warming to cause exactly this type of extremely intense typhoon to occur more often — as well as a range of other harmful and irreversible consequences, some of them quite certain.

If I were advocating corrective action which necessarily involves sacrifice to some subset of the World's population, shouldn't I first have a lot of evidence that: 1) There is a problem; and, 2) What I propose will actually help solve the problem? These questions answer themselves.

These guys assume a problem ("the reality of the threat that warming poses") despite a real lack of sufficient supporting evidence ("even though we can't say with any certainty that it caused [a more powerful typhoon]," for example). That's the wrong way, the anti-scientific way. Let's do what they actually advocate--looking at the statistical data over a longish period of time:
This is a chart of 40 years of Cyclone Energy in the northern hemisphere (bottom line) and in the World (top line). There is no increasing trend in energy in storms, that is, in stronger, harsher storms. There is no evidence to support the supposed problem of ever more powerful storms caused by man made greenhouse gasses. None, at least, in that chart. There have been a lot of very powerful typhoons, many more powerful than Haiyan, over the centuries of well recorded history. That's evidence against the "certain" harm of CO2, not for it. Back to the article.

The authors "expect" ever more intense typhoons (and other "certain" harmful and irreversible consequences). What causes them to "expect" these bad things? Is it evidence? I am certain there is no evidence of ever increasing intense typhoons. What makes them certain of the opposite? Some of the better, more powerful, scientific minds, Richard Lindzen and Freeman Dyson, for example, are very skeptical about the supposed horrible consequences of added CO2. I'm neither a scientists nor near as smart as those fellows, but I can read and analyze things as a lawyer analyzes an appeals court opinion, for example.

But which is worse? At present, it seems that the human race stands little risk of overreacting to global warming but a great risk of underreacting.

What evidence do the authors have that overreacting involves little risk? Doing things which will have no effect or for which there is no problem to help in the first place is necessarily wasted effort. The authors present no evidence regarding the supposed lack of risk of inherent in CO2 suppression. Bjorn Lomborg, who believes in anthropogenic global warming, has written tons about just what the proposed anti-global warming actions will do to the World's population. He certainly thinks we have more pressing problems. At the very least, the alarmist Climate Change true believers advocate using less fossil fuel. That has a cost, imposes a sacrifice, on both the end users of the product (who no longer have it or have it at a cost they can ill afford) and on the fossil energy producers (who, if they cannot bring the product to market, go out of business, taking the jobs with them). In my mind, at least, that's a lose/lose.

And the risk of underreacting exists only if the unknowable future change in the climate is alarmingly bad for humans. I have written hundreds of posts on the fact that the only "evidence" for alarming Climate Change is climate models which are not evidence and are almost universally wrong. The scientists have, I believe, failed to show a problem even exists. I believe my view of the kerfuffle is one which is gaining ground while the true believers are becoming every more desperate, duplicitous, shrill and obnoxious.

Not only can we afford to wait to see if a problem exists, we owe it to those being called upon to make not inconsequential sacrifices (and we owe it to the very concept of Truth) to ascertain if there is any problem at all. Otherwise we're just making religious sacrifices solely on faith and not on science. Like the Aztecs used to do for their invisible Sky Gods.


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Quote of the Day

Obama has summoned the CEOs of several insurance companies to the White House for a meeting [the day after proposing a solution], presumably on the Obamacare "fix." Apparently, checking with the insurance companies before enlisting them in a scheme with major practical and legal consequences didn't occur to the White House.

Gabriel Malor

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

 

And I, I Took the One Less Traveled By

President Obama is actually less respected now than President Bush was during our pre-surge war in Iraq against al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. When the second shoe drops and many tens of millions of Americans are thrown off their employer-provided health plans in 2014, this low will almost certainly be a ceiling, not a floor.

I wonder if there is a long German word for feeling-guilty-for-your-brimming-over-with-schadenfreude?

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Got to Revolution


 True that, Gracie.

Today most 'radicals' on the left are merely engaged in dissident role-playing along with a bit of revolutionary cosplay and puppetry.

Maetenloch at Ace of Spades HQ

Guy Fawkes, whose day England just celebrated and whose likeness (kinda) appears on the masks being manufactured above, was a Catholic who conspired with other Catholics to kill the Protestant king, James, and replace him with his Catholic daughter. Not quite the revolutionary today's hipsters are longing for, I suspect. I don't read comic books so I don't really know the origins of this mask, but the movie showed a normal, lefty fascist government in England disguised as right wing hyper religiosity. Yes, all English speaking citizens around the world live in mortal fear the right's improbable embrace of big, repressive government. We apparently fear zombies and vampires too. They are just as real.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

 

Thought of the Day

Mr. Evans: You ever been to Lawrence KS young man?

Jack Bull Chiles [scoffs] No, I reckon not Mr. Evans. I don't believe I'd be too welcome in Lawrence.

Mr. Evans: I didn't think so. Before this war began, my business took me there often. As I saw those northerners build that town, I witnessed the seeds of our destruction being sown.

Jack Bull Chiles: The foundin' of that town was truly the beginnin' of the Yankee invasion.

Mr. Evans: I'm not speakin' of numbers, nor even abolitionist trouble makin'. It was the schoolhouse. Before they built their church, even, they built that schoolhouse. And they let in every tailor's son... and every farmer's daughter in that country.

Jack Bull Chiles: Spellin' won't help you hold a plow any firmer. Or a gun either.

Mr. Evans: No, it won't Mr. Chiles. But my point is merely that they rounded every pup up into that schoolhouse because they fancied that everyone should think and talk the same free-thinkin' way they do with no regard to station, custom, propriety. And that is why they will win. Because they believe everyone should live and think just like them. And we shall lose because we don't care one way or another how they live. We just worry about ourselves.

Jack Bull Chiles: Are you sayin', sir, that we fight for nothin'?

Mr. Evans: Far from it, Mr. Chiles. You fight for everything that we ever had, as did my son. It's just that... we don't have it anymore.

James Schamus, producer of Brokeback Mountain , on the underlying reason why the left is more successful politically than their ideological legitimacy and national popularity would project. It's from Ride With the Devil, which is an excellent Civil War movie about the fighting in Missouri.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

 

Statue of Liberty

I might have said this before.



I know The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus is not official United Sates policy; but I am no longer interested in taking the wretched refuse of their teeming shore as future citizens here. How about instead we take the really bright go-getters who are fleeing the soul killing ravages of socialism?

Sounds like a much better plan to me.

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Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

A man I actually admired a few years ago, former Harvard President Larry Summers, joins in the journo-list "Republican Sabotage" meme here. Like many associated with Harvard, it takes him a while to get to his point and only near the end does he start complaining in somewhat vague detail.

It is disingenuous for those who stood ready to turn any regulatory detail into an attack ad to profess outrage when guidance was not provided during an election campaign.
What?

It is hypocritical for those who held up confirmations of key officials with responsibility for managing federal health-care programs and whose behavior deterred many people from coming into government to lash out at the incompetence of government management. 

The President got his nominee in with a "recess" appointment and the person who preceded and followed him is the current, confirmed manager of the peripherally responsible CMS. This is like complaining about the problems with picking an interior decorator for the Grand Salon after the Titanic grazes the iceberg.

And it is indefensible to refuse to appropriate money to carry out a program and then attack it for being under-resourced.
Does Mr. Summers, with a PhD in economics, not know that the vote to defund the ACA was never passed by the Senate and never became law and that the whole government, including the ACA implementation team, was fully funded by the CR that followed hard upon this 'protest' vote? It was in all the papers.

There is a line that must be respected between political opposition and conscious subversion. Everyone understands that when the country is at war, even a war a person may oppose, vigorous oversight is essential, but, in the end, there is an obligation to support American troops.


We Republicans are indeed aware of that line and have remained on the political opposition side since the cursed law was passed. And what's with the war metaphor? Regarding the ACA, with whom, supposedly, are we at war? Who are the "troops"? The Democrats? It's pretty clear that Mr. Summers did not take logic either at MIT or at Harvard. This is a comparison with no known connection to the subject matter.

He completes the circular 'logic.'

In the same way, history will not judge kindly those who, having lost political debates over policy, go beyond vigorous oversight and seek to subvert enacted programs
So let me get this straight: If you lose the political contest (that is, the other side gets a law passed by a single vote, or here, without a single vote of the opposition), then the political losers have to roll over and play nice, chuck their principled opposition and do everything in their power to support a law they truly believe is going to do horrendous damage to the nation? I wonder if Mr. Summers would have made the same argument about the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution or the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. Subvert? Is that the right word for merely carrying out the normal political business of our Republic? He links to a June story by Mr Bernstein who has lately championed the false narrative of Republican sabotage. The June story, as expected, merely described normal political opposition after a lost vote.

Big finish.

There is a danger here that goes far beyond delays in access to health insurance. The risk is of a vicious cycle in which poor government performance leads, on the one hand, to overly bold promises of repair and, on the other hand, to reduced funding and support for those doing the work. This generates unmet expectations and disappointment, setting off the cycle anew. In the end, government loses the ability to deliver for citizens and citizens lose respect for government. Our democracy is the loser. 

OK, the ACA is failing not because of a single thing the Republicans did or failed to do, it is failing because all central planning of huge scope, involving millions of humans making a lot of choices in marketplaces for products, always fails. There is no reduced funding of the ACA by the Republicans and Mr. Summers I believe knows better. We don't have a democracy either, merely a Republic with democratic elements, mainly elections, but, more importantly, the Republic is in fact well served if the citizens have an appropriate opinion of their government. That is, if the government fails horribly at its job, then disappointment is the proper public feeling. The Democrats own the ACA--they passed it without any Republican support, they alone wrote it, they alone decided the appropriate funding for it, and they alone are responsible for its near complete failure. That's the true history of this horrible law.

That the public awareness of this near total cock up is spreading despite the omerta imposed by the lap dog press is actually good for the Republic. Mr. Summers' cuttlefish ink of an opinion piece is merely an attempt to distract and confuse during the Democrats' attempted retreat from their deserved responsibility.

UPDATE: Bill Keller, who may have done more damage to American Journalism than any other single person, repeats the Journo-list meme I've been writing about again and again, as if it were a fact in passing in his less than sound (that is, singularly unhelpful) advice to President Obama on how to escape his deserved responsibility for the current sad state of the nation. Money quote about the ACA.

I have no doubt that the administration will get the system working and that the program will ultimately prove popular.

Hope of those in denial springs eternal, apparently.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

 

Thought of the Day

From the start, the “problem” of the uninsured in the United States was very different from the way it was presented in the media.  Before Obamacare the number of Americans who did not have health insurance because they were too poor to buy it was basically zero.  That is because the truly poor could get their health insurance from Medicaid.   On the other hand, millions of healthy young Americans were choosing NOT to buy insurance because they preferred spending their money on other things, like education, child rearing, and housing.  This was no more of a social problem than the fact that few 30-year-olds save for their old age, while few 50-year-olds do not.  At 30, people have other concerns on their minds.   At most, a case might have been made for requiring that people get a high-deductible catastrophic health insurance policy, a bit like some states require car owners to have insurance that covers injuries their car may cause to other people.  Instead, Americans got Obamacare, a law whose pages must be measured by the kilogram.

Steven Plaut, in a comprehensive, sober discussion of the myriad problems with the ACA. Well worth reading.

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Lone Survivor

I'm definitely going to Lone Survivor, because I like war movies and this looks like a good one which utilizes the ancient, elegant definition of heroism--defense of a narrow place against odds. What's a little off-putting to me is that, from the trailer, it's clear the movie was shot in North America, probably in the southern Rockies or Sierra Madre. Come on, guys, there was no place in the entirety of EurAsia where you could film? Kazakhstan is the 9th largest nation on earth and it's right next door to where the events depicted took place.

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Saturday, November 09, 2013

 

L Shaped Recovery

It seems sometimes that government information is meant to hide the truth rather than reveal it. The job numbers for the month of October came out and they superficially seem good. 240,000 new jobs were created. Yahoo! That's above the merely keeping in place numbers we've been seeing. 213,000 was the increase in the civilian population that month so the new jobs finally outpaced the number of new people ready to work. But the smaller unemployment number went up to 7.3, the more accurate, larger U-6 number went up too, to 13.8, and the number of people in the work force dropped by 720,000 which is a lot and might be slightly inflated due to the short paid vacations the absolutely superfluous 17% of the federal government workers took during the month.

So, the percentage of people working has dropped during the early second term of the Obama Administration from the Bush Administration's 8 year average right around 66% to 62.8%, or approximately 7,772,000 less able-to-work civilians working. The participation rate is now the lowest it has been since the late 70's, during the splendiferous administration of Jimmy Carter. If the current civilian population available to work was participating at average Bush Administration rates, more than seven and a half million people would be working and thus spending more and paying more taxes as well. That would be a bare recovery and not what happened during the Reagan administration, where the number of employed went up, up, up and participation rates reached all time highs. I wonder what Reagan was doing that Obama is not? Wait, I take that back, I know exactly what Reagan did to allow the natural, rapid recovery after a steep recession just as I know exactly what the Obama Administration has done to sabotage that normally automatic rebound.

These are ugly facts from which the Obama Administration cannot really hide although coverage of these by the lap-dog media is virtually non-existent.

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Late to the Party

I don't watch 60 Minutes anymore but I felt better that the show finally got around to covering the Benghazi 9/11/12 attack in a way not flattering to the Democrat liars who have moved Heaven and Earth to cover up the truth of American betrayal and heroism there. Now they say the story they did was wrong.

Oh, so Ambassador Stevens wasn't killed by smoke inhalation during a well planned, serious al Qaeda attack on the compound that took out Sean Smith, and two former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty as well, after months of the Ambassador's and others asking for more security and being told no?

Whew, glad they are safe and all.

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

 

Who Are You Going to Believe, Me or Your Lying Eyes?

Brian Beutler at Salon dives deep into delusional denial here. At least he acknowledges he's being petty. My summary:

Obama didn't lie about keeping your health care coverage, no matter what, period. OK, he might have lied but it was a noble lie (no such thing) and if you want to talk about lies, here are some lies:

1) Death Panels (not a lie but a good thing);

2) Obamacare is destroying the economy with part time employment and delayed recovery (not lies);

3) Obamacare will increase our already staggering debt (when it starts paying subsidies, it will); and,

4) Obamacare is a stalking horse for fully socialized medicine or at least single payer.

He then focuses laser-like on the socialized medicine lie. Brian thinks fully socialized medicine would be good, but he maintains that lying about keeping your health coverage, no matter what, period, was in its own bungled way an answer to this Republican "sophistry."

What?

He goes on.

Pre-Obamacare is 80 to 90% preserved with Obamacare and he predicts that as the numbers come in Obama's lie will look much less lie-like than the Republicans' lie about socialized medicine. He then fantasizes about a press corps friendly to a Republican administration. (See, I told you he was deep in denial). Oh, and the Republican plans for health care insurance reform are an order of magnitude more disruptive than Obamacare. Right. Big finish:

Lying is bad. People shouldn’t lie. But on this score, just ask yourself whose descriptions of Obamacare were closer to reality: Obama’s or the Republican Party’s? It’s not even a close call.

True that.

I see the Republicans telling the truth again and again about how bad the ACA is and will continue to be and the Democrats telling lie after lie about how good it is and will be in the future. But I'm a Republican so in Brian's eyes I'm lying.

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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

 

Yeah, So?


(h/t This Isn't Happiness)

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James Taranto Says HealthCare.gov Was Sabotaged...By Democrats

The usually very sage Mr. Taranto weighs in on the claim I have been refuting again and again here regarding the laughable claim that the ACA roll out has been such a bust because of Republican "sabotage." He looks closely at the WaPo story some fabulists are using to support their charge and comes to a very different conclusion. Taranto actually supports his allegations with supporting quotes from the story. His big finish:

The story Goldstein and Eilperin tell is one not of GOP sabotage but of Obama administration self-sabotage. The geniuses who were sure they were capable of running the entire medical industry were so unnerved by the prospect of political opposition that at every stage of the way they undermined the president's own signature "achievement."
This is in part a story of political incompetence and hubris. Obama and his allies in Congress were unable to win a single Republican vote--and it doesn't seem to have occurred to them that a monstrously complicated law enacted by a slender partisan minority might prove especially difficult to implement. As Obama himself admitted yesterday in a rare truthful statement: "Now, let's face it, a lot of us didn't realize that passing the law was the easy part."
That's what America gets for electing a president with charisma but no known skills apart (arguably) from delivering speeches.
We should note that this entire discussion has dealt only with the incompetent technical execution of ObamaCare, what we call Phase 1 of the disaster. Phases 2 and 3, respectively, are the exposure that ObamaCare is a massive consumer fraud and the economic inviability of the entire scheme.
The exposure of ObamaCare as a massive consumer fraud--and of Obama as the Bernie Madoff of politics--is well under way. The realization of ObamaCare's economic inviability is beginning to become clear. The Wall Street Journal, which reports that "early buyers of health coverage on the nation's troubled new websites are older than expected," meaning there aren't enough young suckers willing to bear the expense of their elders' price-controlled premiums. Actually, some of us have been expecting just that.

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