Patterico's Pontifications

10/28/2013

Monday Afternoon Link Roundup

Filed under: General — JD @ 12:41 pm

[guest post by JD]

Ezra Klein of 2009 was not very smart. To his credit, he is one of the few on the JournoLista Left that is being fairly forthright about the current flaws with the rollout.

Ted Rall agrees with Palin. Kind of. His agreement is premised on his collectivist desire for single payer, like the trolls. But he skewers the Left for their blind allegiance. He is still a turd. Objectively.

Polifact should address this. They won’t, because they are not neutral seekers of truth.

And, a video that should be throw in their faces time and time again. A political lie for the ages …

Enjoy

—JD

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.

Sunday Open Thread

Filed under: General — JD @ 4:15 pm

[guest post by JD]

I did not watch or read ANY news today. Is it safe to assume the Sunday talking heads lobbed softballs to Dems about the failed ObamaCare project?

NFL games that caught my eye –

Cowgirls choke and Megatron has a huge game.

Denver sleepwalks through 3 quarters then wakes up in time to pull out to lead against the Redskins Redskins Redskins. Oliver Willis consoles himself by eating 72 beefy crunch burritos from Taco Bell.

Bengals c@ckslap the Jets.

Game 4 of World Series in about an hour. Cardinals lead 2-1 after bizzarro ending last night. Hint to BoSox, quit throwing the ball around like Little Leaguers.

—JD

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.

Saturday Sports – Corrected

Filed under: General — JD @ 10:23 am

[guest post by JD]

Just got back from a trip to the mountains to visit my brother, and get the yurt ready for winter. ObamaCare still sucks.

St Louis Cardinals vs Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of World Series. Both teams have had their lousy plays, and I suspect it will settle in to be a great Series. When the Series is tied 1-1, the team winning Game 3 has won 11 of 12.

*** Correction *** As Dave rightly noted in the comments, the above referenced stat applies to the Cardinals, not all teams that have been tied 1-1.

There are many crap matchups in college football today, but some really good ones too.

Alabama vs Tennessee could be an interesting game, and a good measuring stick as TN has played Oregon too.

Oregon vs UCLA. Statement game.

Texas Tech vs Oklahoma. Kingsbury is awesome, and this would prove they are for real.

Mizzou vs South Carolina. Mizzou just keeps catching breaks and winning. Can they remain undefeated?

Baylor vs Kansas. Baylor might score 80.

—JD

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!

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.43.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.18.54 PM

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?

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.26.23 PM

Sock puppet FAIL.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.30.05 PM

Howard Dean: Republicans to Blame for Disastrous ObamaCare Rollout. You Know, In Part.

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

He chooses Morning Joe to float this turd of a trial balloon, because he knows nobody at MSNBC is going to pull out a pin to poke at it.

Mika Brzezinski held his feet to the fire:

DEAN: First of all, in fairness you gotta blame the Republicans. For some of this. Because they delayed everything they possibly could. Threw as many monkey wrenches into the process as they could —

BRZEZINSKI: Exactly.

DEAN: — with some success here . . .

Naturally, there is not a single thing Republicans did that could conceivably have had any effect on the rollout. During the government slowdown, we were constantly told that the defund strategy didn’t matter because the dollars were already appropriated. Republicans can’t be blamed for participating in ObamaCare, either by voting for it, or getting their fingerprints on it in any way. So why does Dean say you have to blame Republicans? Because Dean is a hack on a friendly network, and he can get away with the Big Lie. It’s that simple.

This is the emboldening of a strategy Obama himself dipped his toe into the other day, when he implicitly blamed the shutdown:

“About three weeks ago, as the federal government shutdown, and the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces opened up across the country,” said Obama. “Well, we’ve now gotten the government back open for the American people and today I want to talk about how were going to get the marketplaces running at full steam as well.”

The media didn’t jump on him for that, and now his implications are becoming direct accusations in the mouths of Obama’s mouthpieces. Dean’s just pushing the envelope a little further and seeing how it works. This is their strategy: lie, lie a little more, then lie a lot more — and see if anyone calls you on it. By the time we’re done, the whole botched rollout will be Ted Cruz’s fault.

CNBC Talking Head Asks for “Mexican Music” to Accompany Picture of Ted Cruz

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:10 am

Cruz is Cuban-American, not “Mexican,” but why let a detail like that get in the way?

The moron apologized, in a halfhearted “if I was insensitive” non-apology sort of way, and tried to explain that he was calling for Mexican music, not because Cruz is a Latino, but because he is from Texas, and hey. Mexican music, Texas? They go hand in hand, amirite?

A CNBC reporter who made off-color comments about Sen. Ted Cruz and “Mexican music” issued an apology Wednesday.

“Regarding my recent remark on Squawk Box regarding Senator Ted Cruz, I first want to deeply and sincerely apologize if my remarks were insensitive,” CNBC on-air reporter Steve Liesman said in a written statement. “Second, I want to explain that it was not intended to be offensive in any way.”

. . . .

“I thought of him only as an American senator from Texas, and in an attempt, on the fly, to choose music representing that state, I chose Mexican music,” Liesman said in his apology. “As a musician for many decades, I’ve played and listened to tons of Texas songs infused with Mexican themes. A better choice would have been Country/Western or Texas Roadhouse Blues — it was a bad reach all the way around.”

Given how leftists employ fake outrage any time they can stretch the truth to call a conservative a bigot, it’s tempting to discount any such statement and strike a pose of deep hurt feelings over the lefty racisms. But the fact is, I have no idea whether this guy is telling the truth or not, and if he is, it’s not fair to slam him as prejudiced because he didn’t think through the way that his comments could be interpreted as an ethnic slam.

Two points, though.

First, although it’s now a cliche to say you know a conservative would be treated worse if he did the same thing . . . you know a conservative would be treated worse if he did the same thing.

Second, it certainly would be nice, wouldn’t it, if any lefty who buys this dude’s explanation were to use the occasion to take a step back and reconsider the whole “let’s fly into a fake pose of outrage whenever it benefits our political side” kabuki that this country is so obsessed with.

I don’t expect that to happen, of course. Intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy, and inconsistency in service of partisanship is too ingrained in the grooves of our mental processes these days.

So, if you’re on the left, excuse this. If you’re on the right, slam the guy. And get ready to flip the next time the same situation arises and the political tables are turned. It’s the American way!

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