Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2013

Obama Lies on ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am



The following clip is not for those with high blood pressure or heart problems. You’re about to see some world class lying:

Let me translate. The parts in parentheses are some of the parts he forgot to mention:

As I have always said, you can keep your plan under the law we passed (unless of course your company cancels the plan because of the law we passed), in which case you can just shop around in the marketplace (which nobody can access), and you’ll get a plan that has more benefits (many of which you don’t need), and which will be a better deal (with higher deductibles and premiums), and many people will get subsidies (paid for by taxpayers who already owe $17 trillion).

And if you tell only part of the story (and please ignore the fact that I didn’t mention any of the points in parentheses), you’re being GROSSLY MISLEADING!!!

So George W. Bush was a liar because he and everybody else in creation thought Saddam Hussein had WMD. But Mr. Barack “If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It” Obama is not a liar. And he gets to call us “grossly misleading” if we point it out.

Is that about it, Big Media?

Anthony Weiner: I Wanted the NYT to Be Hard On Me, But They Weren’t

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:12 am



The silly headlines just write themselves, don’t they?

The latest installment in Anthony Weiner’s “It’s Everybody Else’s Fault” tour is a complaint that the New York Times went soft on him. Therefore, you see, the fact that he was still sexting women didn’t come out because the stupid reporter never came after him in an aggressive way.

The reporter is upset at the accusation. Why, he says, they knew they were getting a puff piece!

According to Sella, Van Meter is furious to be dismissed as “not tough enough” and that he was specifically chosen for the profile because Abedin liked Van Meter after spending time with him when he profiled Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

“In that experience, I spent a lot of time around Huma — and she said to Anthony that if Jonathan Van Meter does it, that is the kind of writer I’m comfortable talking to,” he said. “I was chosen. They knew exactly what kind of story and what kind of writer they were going to get.”

The whole thing is at Politico (no links for bullies!), but for my money, this is the takeaway quote:

Van Meter has a warning for any reporter thinking of profiling Weiner in the future: Don’t.

“No one should interview Anthony again. He is the least reliable narrator of his own story that I have ever encountered,” Van Meter said. “And I’ve interviewed people in prison, who have chopped people up — prisoners who are charming and funny and smart. And well dressed.”

Heh. And now, in the spirit of the headline:

Aaron Swartz Prosecutor and L.A. City Councilman SWATted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 am



They’re both month-old cases, apparently, which are just coming to light now, at about the same time.

The news about the prosecutor comes in a story about the sentencing of a SWATter:

A 22-year-old Athol man was sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison Tuesday on charges he made hoax emergency phone calls to law enforcement across the country claiming he was an armed fugitive holding hostages.

This is the second time Nathan Hanshaw has been sentenced for the practice known as “swatting.” It was revealed in court proceedings in U.S. District Court in Worcester that Mr. Hanshaw was sentenced to 11 months in prison for the same activity while he was a juvenile.

Apparently, this SWATter is helping the government find the person who SWATted the Swartz prosecutor:

Mr. Hanshaw has already helped the government by testifying in one case involving software used to conduct “swatting” calls. He is also helping officials investigating a “swatting” call received by a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts.

According to Mr. Bookbinder, that prosecutor was involved in the case against Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January while he awaited trial on charges he illegally downloaded millions of academic articles by using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer network.

Mr. Hanshaw’s cooperation was one of the reasons the defense and prosecution agreed to a 30-month sentence.

Note to the geniuses in California who want this to be a misdemeanor unless someone is actually hurt: an 11-month sentence did not deter this guy from repeating his offense.

The exact identity of the prosecutor is not clear.

Meanwhile, we’re also learning that a Los Angeles City Council member was SWATted after trying to do something about SWATting:

Councilman Paul Koretz said he was targeted himself in April, after he asked the city to take action against swatting perpetrators. On April 10, he told the council, multiple police with guns drawn pounded on his front door demanding to be let in just as Koretz prepared to step into the shower.

“I held up my council badge and said, ‘Sorry, I’m not letting you in while I’m naked,'” Koretz said.

They insisted, so he got dressed and the police looked around and then left. But they returned a few minutes later, Koretz said, after receiving a second call that someone in his apartment was being held hostage in a closet.

“At that point, I called [Police Chief] Charlie Beck and said ‘Could you please ask your officers to leave?'” Koretz said.

Isn’t it nice that he has that relationship with the Chief that he can do that.

So prosecutors and city councilmen are victims, and nobody seems to be able to do anything. Lovely.

At least they didn’t get hit with a frivolous RICO suit by a violent convicted criminal for talking honestly about their experiences . . .

The roll call of the SWATted: an unnamed Aaron Swartz prosecutor; L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz; Corey Feldman; Paris Hilton (again); Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Paris Hilton; Brian Krebs; Clint Eastwood; Chris Brown; the Jenners and Kardashians; Tom Cruise; Simon Cowell; Justin Bieber; Ashton Kutcher; Miley Cyrus; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

10/29/2013

The Amazing Disappearing NBC Paragraph About Obama’s Health Care Lie — And Why Obama’s Lie Is So Infuriating

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:40 am



Commenters last night noticed that the blockbuster NBC story — showing Obama knew years ago that not everyone would be able to “keep” their plan as promised — had disappeared. It has now resurfaced at the same URL, but for a while, a key paragraph was missing:


That is the paragraph that showed that HHS was going out of its way to make it difficult for policies to be grandfathered. The paragraph seems to be restored now, but let’s quote that passage in normal readable font in case it mysteriously disappears again.

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

As Morgen Richmond points out, this is actually something the administration boasted about years ago:

Q: How will the regulation help me keep my coverage if I don’t want to choose a new private plan?

A: The regulation lets health plans that existed on March 23, 2010, when the Affordable Care Act became a law, to be “grandfathered” and thus be exempt from some of the new law’s provisions. But the rule sets firm limits on how much your current coverage can be changed before it loses its grandfathered status. Compared to their policies in effect on March 23, 2010, grandfathered plans:

*Cannot significantly cut or reduce benefits – for example, if your plan covers care for people with diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis or HIV/AIDS, the plan cannot eliminate coverage for those diseases;

*Cannot raise co-insurance charges – for example, it increases your share of a hospital bill from 20% to 25%;

*Cannot significantly raise co-payment charges – for example, it raises its copayment from $30 to $50 over the next 2 years;

*Cannot significantly raise deductibles – for example, it raises a $1,000 deductible by $500 over the next 2 years;

*Cannot significantly lower employer contributions by more than 5 percent – for example, it increases its workers’ share of the premium from 15% to 25%;

*Cannot add or tighten an annual limit on what the insurer pays. Some insurers cap the amount that they will pay for covered services each year. If they want to retain their status as grandfathered plans, plans cannot tighten any annual dollar limit in place as of March 23, 2010. Moreover, plans that do not have an annual dollar limit cannot add a new one unless they are replacing a lifetime dollar limit with an annual dollar limit that is at least as high as the lifetime limit (which is more protective of high-cost enrollees).

It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it — except that refusing to grandfather anything that changes even slightly means you don’t actually get to keep your plan, as promised, because premiums go up, other things change, and any little change means you get kicked into the new whatever-Democrats-like plans where seniors are paying for childbirth coverage.

What is actually happening — and it was known this would happen — is that plans are disappearing because they do not comply with the new regulations. In some cases, they are being replaced by new and more expensive plans; we have seen numerous stories about this in recent days, and commenter Kevin M. provides the letter his wife received placing the blame for the cancellation of their less expensive policy squarely on ObamaCare:

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It’s OK, though: Kevin’s wife can purchase a new and more expensive plan.

Some others aren’t so lucky. Some other private plans are being cancelled outright. It’s OK — the people affected can simply go to the exchanges!

You know: the exchanges that don’t work.

So if you’re on a private plan and you are receiving expensive treatment for, say, cancer, or some other life-threatening condition, your insurance company may simply cancel your plan on the theory that the exchanges can pick up the slack — and then, when the government’s incompetence in building a simple ^%&&^*& website is not fixed in time, your treatment will be disrupted.

The government’s hubris in taking over health care insurance, and failing to provide an alternative, may actually put people’s health at risk if they don’t get this thing fixed.

And we are powerless to do anything about it. It’s enough to make you want to scream and storm the barricades — but that won’t do any good. So you just sit and fume. Because that’s what you do when government takes over and screws it up. You can’t go to the competition. You can’t vote them out because the system is rigged. So you sit and fume.

This is the problem with lack of competition, folks. There are no alternatives. That’s why it’s incredibly dangerous and stupid to turn over such an important part of the economy to the government. And make no mistake: that’s what we have done. (And by “we” I mean other people.)

I will now go scream into a pillow. What else can I do?

10/28/2013

Valerie Jarrett’s Blatant Lie: ObamaCare Is Not Forcing People Out of Their Health Plans

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:48 pm



Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett:

JD linked this earlier, but in light of Jarrett’s jaw-dropping dishonesty, I will link it again, and quote the beginning:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

Let’s watch this video yet again:

Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have. Period. Yet millions are having their policies cancelled “because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law.”

And they knew this would happen. But they repeatedly said the opposite. Because they are liars.

But nothing beats the brazen brass balls of Valerie Jarrett, who continues to peddle the lie even as millions are getting those cancellation notices. With a giant “FACT” in capital letters right before the lie.

FACT: Valerie Jarrett and Barack Obama are liars. FACT: Big Media won’t tell you this. FACT: We will.

10/27/2013

“I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:23 pm



L.A. Times — yes, that’s right. L.A. Times:

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.

Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.

Here’s a representative example:

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

Ms. Harris. They call it the “Affordable Care Act.” And you’re trying to suggest it’s not affordable? Are you calling the Democrats who named this bill and passed it . . . liars?

Remember: if you like your health care plan, Ms. Harris, you can keep it. It will just be more expensive, with a higher deductible. But don’t worry! That’s because the federal government is deciding what has to be in your plan, and your new plan is chock-full of neato new benefits! None of which you are actually going to need, but that’s not the point, Ms. Harris . . .

But this is my favorite part:

[M]iddle-income consumers face an estimated 30% rate increase, on average, in California due to several factors tied to the healthcare law.

Some may elect to go without coverage if they feel prices are too high. Penalties for opting out are very small initially. Defections could cause rates to skyrocket if a diverse mix of people don’t sign up for health insurance.

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

Yeah. Well, that’s kinda how it works with a lot of government programs, my anonymous friend.

PATTERICO MOUNTS SOAPBOX — GINGERLY, OF COURSE, AS HE IS IN FACT GETTING OLDER: This is one of the reasons I’d like to see withholding ended. I argued for this in January 2004 (wow, saying that makes me feel a little old, just like mounting this soapbox did):

You want the cure for big government?

No more withholding.

As it is, people don’t feel as though the money that is being withheld is really theirs. It’s like they never got it in the first place — because they didn’t.

Under my regime, it wouldn’t be that way.

Under my regime, every pay period you would personally set aside the amount of money you will need to save up for the eventual tax bill. Come April 15, you would take out your checkbook and write a huge check to the federal government — for thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars.

You think you might start thinking twice about what they’re doing with your money then?

Today, I would add one other suggestion: a requirement that the government send taxpayers an itemized bill showing the breakdown of what they owe and what the money is going for.

After all, generally we decide whether a good or service is “worth it” when we fork over the money. If the money comes pre-forked, and we’re never told how much we are paying for what, how can we make an informed decision about value? At that point, the government service feels like it’s free, even though, on an intellectual level, we know it isn’t. “I supported [insert name of government program or agency here] until I found out how much I was paying for it” would be a very common phrase — if we sent out itemized bills and did away with withholding.

The downside, of course, is that we would probably collect a lot less in taxes. The upside? The People would demand that we spend a lot less.

On balance, I think it would be better.

People are generally “all for” more government services until they find out they are paying for them.

10/26/2013

Report: Counter-Intelligence Official Warned Soldiers Not to Donate to Tea Party or Christian Groups

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:38 pm



Washington Times:

Don’t donate to the tea party or to evangelical Christian groups — that was the message soldiers at a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood said they received from a counter-intelligence agent who headed up the meeting.

If you do, you could face punishment — that was the other half of the message, as reported by Fox News.

The briefing was Oct. 17, and about a half-hour of it was devoted to discussion about how perceived radical groups — like tea party organizations and the Christian-based American Family Association — were “tearing the country apart,” one unnamed soldier said, to Fox News.

Among the remarks the agent allegedly made: Military members who donate to these groups would be subject to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the soldier reported.

I read this story and became curious to learn the specific rules governing military donations to political groups. In my research, I found Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 (.pdf), which states in relevant part:

4.1.1. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty may:

. . . .

4.1.1.7. Make monetary contributions to a political organization, party, or committee favoring a particular candidate or slate of candidates, subject to the limitations under section 441a of title 2, United States Code (U.S.C.) (Reference (d)); section 607 of title 18, U.S.C. (Reference (e)); and other applicable law.

. . . .

4.1.1.9. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn.

On the other hand, some activities are prohibited:

4.1.2. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not:

4.1.2.1. Participate in partisan political fundraising activities (except as permitted in subparagraph 4.1.1.7.), rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof), management of campaigns, or debates, either on one’s own behalf or on that of another, without respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. Participation includes more than mere attendance as a spectator. (See subparagraph 4.1.1.9.)

As described, the instructions given to the soldiers are inconsistent with DoD policy. Without a recording of the briefing, however, I am reluctant to draw sweeping conclusions about what was said. Perhaps the counterintelligence agent warned soldiers not to engage in prohibited partisan fundraising activities, and his or her comments were interpreted as covering permitted activity.

Or perhaps what is reported in the story is exactly what happened. (The details about the agent railing about how these groups harm the country corroborate this interpretation.)

We don’t know for sure.

It’s worth digging deeper, though, given this administration’s documented use of government to abuse those who hold opposing political views.

10/25/2013

If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am



. . . it will just be more expensive with a far higher deductible:

“I was completely happy with the insurance I had before,” Willes said.

So she was surprised when she tried to renew her policy. What did she find out?

“That my insurance was going to be completely different, and they were going to be replaced with 10 new plans that were going to fall under the regulations of the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

Her insurer, Kaiser Permanente, is terminating policies for 160,000 people in California and presenting them with new plans that comply with the healthcare law.

“Before I had a plan that I had a $1,500 deductible,” she said. “I paid $199 dollars a month. The most similar plan that I would have available to me would be $278 a month. My deductible would be $6,500 dollars, and all of my care after that point would only be covered 70 percent.”

Why does this sound familiar?

(Via Hot Air.)

ObamaCare Operator Fired for Telling Truth About ObamaCare Web Site

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am



The truth will set you free . . . from your job working for Obama’s healthcare rollout:

When Hannity explained to Davis that he has been having problems enrolling using the healthcare.gov website, Davis explained the system is expected to be down for the next 42 hours. Based on the President’s remarks in the Rose Garden yesterday morning, you would assume that people could then register over the phone, but alas, that is not the case.

“So no one is able to get in, but if they call us we can help them fill out an application as long as they went online to create an account first,” Davis said.

“Well that’s the point, I can’t get online to create an account, so how would I be able to create the account if the website is down for the next 42 hours,” Hannity asked.

“You would have to wait until those 42 hours is up,” Davis replied.

While Davis was sympathetic to the plight of those attempting to signup for Obamacare, all she could offer was a meek word of inspiration.

“Yes, sir, and I understand your frustration,” she said. ”We get calls like this everyday, but we just encourage people to not give up and just try until you get in. But nobody won’t be able to get in until like 42 hours later.”

I listened to the entire interview — at least the part that Hannity made available — and so can you:

She admitted there was a script about the problems with the Web site, and read it to Hannity. Hannity gave her some facts about the cost of the Web site, how the average cost of premiums would rise, and she expressed a noncommittal and polite surprise. Perhaps the most “inflammatory” thing she did was to tell the truth when Hannity asked her if anybody really liked this thing: “Not really.” Hannity started to ask her if she thought government had screwed this up, and then took the question back, saying he didn’t want to get her in trouble.

Too late! Naturally, she has been fired. Here she is talking about her firing on Hannity’s TV show. I can’t seem to embed the TV segment, but you can view it here.

Hannity has treated her well after her firing, and she now considers the episode a “blessing,” so it’s a happy ending. Hannity realized that he was responsible for this in some measure, and gave her money equivalent to what she would have earned in a year at this job, and is working to arrange for a different job for her. It may be tough, though: they need to find her a place where honesty is prized.

Because it’s fairly clear, isn’t it, that if she had simply lied and pretended that everything was hunky dory, she would still have a job?

In other news, Kathleen Sebelius remains employed.

10/24/2013

Hilarious Sock Puppet FAIL at Pro-Kimberlin Site “Breitbart Unmasked”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:47 pm



“Breitbart Unmasked” is a cheap little site that runs blatant propaganda for Brett Kimberlin. If anyone is trying to hide the relationship, they’re either not trying very hard, or really bad at it; Kimberlin often provides the site with exclusive information that could not have come from any source — such as the photographs of Aaron Walker and his wife that Kimberlin took while skulking around their car in a courthouse parking lot.

One laughable shtick the site consistently employs: comments by people who claim to be “in the know” or have a “friend” with expertise or special knowledge in a certain area. Typically, the expertise shows that Brett Kimberlin is about to win — and WIN BIG! A fellow named “Texas Tim,” for example — with a writing style that sounds an awwwwwwwful lot like Kimberlin associate Neal Rauhauser — will tell the very small and extraordinarily gullible readership that his Very Special Source who Knows What’s What has told him that Very Bad Things are Just Around the Corner for those who have criticized mighty Brett.

These comments are laughable enough on their face . . . but sometimes, painfully obvious astroturfing becomes, quite simply, pathetic.

And that is where I come in, to tell you about it — so that you, the readership, can point and laugh.

Because I’m a giver.

One of the cast of little transparent sock puppets at Breitbart Unmasked is a fellow who goes by the handle “Roger S.” This “Roger S” was recently on the site talking up the high quality of Kimberlin’s recent RICO lawsuit. My God, Roger S says, the defendants ought to be scared. And Roger S should know! He himself is a lawyer who has handled RICO lawsuits himself! With devastating results!

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Oh, no! An anonymous Breitbart Unmasked commenter calling himself “Roger S” asserts that he has handled many many RICO lawsuits, and Brett Kimberlin’s is super awesome and is going to make him a lot of money! Honey, where did I put the checkbook? Looks like it’s time to write a big fat settlement check to Mr. Convicted Bomber, because he is going to kick my ass in court! Experienced RICO Lawsuit Expert “Roger S” says so!

Except . . .

Except, this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.18.14 PM

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Yes: Experienced RICO Attorney “Roger S” just suggested that Brett Kimberlin remove his own lawsuit to federal court.

Uh, guys?

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Sock puppet FAIL.

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