Patterico's Pontifications

12/9/2014

More Gruber Highlights

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:47 pm

Think of them as quotes of the day. First, my man Justin Amash:

“What did you mean when you repeatedly said that the citizens of some states may not quality for Obamacare tax credits?” asked Amash.

“When I made those comments, I believe I was reflecting uncertainty about the federal exchange,” said Gruber. “I don’t recall exactly what the law says.”

“I’m sorry,” said Amash. “You ran the economic model on Obamacare and you don’t recall what the law says?”

Next, Trey Gowdy:

A reader who is a friend especially recommends this video:

Franklin Center Caves to Brett Kimberlin Lawfare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 pm

Cowards.

By all appearances, the Franklin Center has caved to Brett Kimberlin. PACER contains the following docket text from today:

NOTICE of Dismissal with prejudice as to Defendant The Franklin Center by Brett Kimberlin. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

That can mean only one thing: an ignominious settlement. Confirming this suspicion, one notes that this link: http://franklincenterhq.org/5546/holding-political-terrorist-brett-kimberlin-accountable/ now results in a 404 error.

What did they remove? Here’s what these losers took down, via the Wayback Machine. Quotable:

Free speech is why America is free. Those who expose truth need to be protected. Patrick Frey was right: This could have been any of us. It’s our job to fight for free speech and a free press. If the legacy media refuses to tell the truth, we’re obligated to do so.

What a stirring call to action! All hail the courage of the Franklin Center!!!

Except that the post containing that inspiring language has been taken down, to settle an utterly frivolous lawsuit with zero chance of success.

When the going gets tough (not all that tough, really, to be honest), the Franklin Center gets going. And look! there they go!! Slinking right out the door.

When The American Spectator caved to this cretin and removed blog posts that contained zero defamation, Ken White said:

[T]his surrender will, and should, eviscerate its credibility with its target audience and its readers. First, how can it be taken seriously as an institution willing to speak truth to power if it caves to a frivolous lawsuit by a domestic terrorist? Second, how can they be taken seriously as a conservative institution that will question liberals, when they yield to a blatant attempt to abuse the legal system to retaliate against conservative viewpoints?

No. They’re done.

I don’t see why this should not apply with equal force to the Franklin Center. They are a bunch of hypocrites, and they deserve nothing — no donations, no respect, no attention. Just scorn and ridicule.

UPDATE: Also taken down: this post announcing a webinar with Mandy Nagy, Lee Stranahan, and Aaron Walker. The Wayback Machine version is here. (I have saved both Wayback Machine copies in case they disappear in the future.) Thanks to BKWatch for the tip.

(Fun fact: Kimberlin claims in his latest filing that I participated in this webinar — which I most certainly did not do.)

Gruber Today

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Just a few highlights of Gruber’s statement before a House committee today. Mostly, he wants you to know he’s very sorry for calling you stupid. Issa started the ball rolling:

“You made a series of troubling statements that were not only an insult to the American people, but revealed a pattern of intentional misleading [of] the public about the true impact and nature of ObamaCare.”

Gruber followed with his mea culpa:

Over the past weeks a number of videos have emerged from these appearances. In excerpts of these videos I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments. I apologized for the first of these videos earlier. But the ongoing attention paid to these videos has made me realize that a fuller accounting is
necessary.

I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made. In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process
behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong. In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologize both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better. I knew better. I am embarrassed, and I am sorry.

Oh, brother.

Further:

In addition to apologizing for my unacceptable remarks, I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the content and context of my comments. Let me be very clear: I do not think that the Affordable Care Act was passed in a non-transparent fashion. The issues I raised in my comments, such as redistribution of risk through insurance market reform and the structure of the Cadillac tax, were roundly debated throughout 2009 and early 2010 before the law was passed. Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of these policies, but it is completely clear that these issues were debated thoroughly during the drafting and passage of the ACA.

I also would like to clarify some misperceptions about my January 2012 remarks concerning the availability of tax credits in states that did not set up their own health
insurance exchanges. The portion of these remarks that has received so much attention lately omits a critical component of the context in which I was speaking. The point I believe I was making was about the possibility that the federal government, for whatever reason, might not create a federal exchange. If that were to occur, and only in that context, then the only way that states could guarantee that their citizens would receive tax credits would be to set up their own exchanges. I have a long-standing and well-documented belief that health care reform legislation in general, and the ACA in particular, must include mechanisms for residents in all states to obtain tax credits. Indeed, my microsimulation model for the ACA expressly modeled for the citizens of all states to be eligible for tax credits, whether served directly by a state exchange or by a federal exchange.

On a side note, clearly the Democrats on the committee were very concerned about anything but substance:

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the committee, also criticized Gruber for giving opponents of the law a “PR gift.”

“You wrapped it up with a bow,” Cummings said, while claiming the controversy “has nothing to do with the substance of this issue.”

I’m tired, so I will point you to Noah Rothman’s interesting look at how Gruber won’t deny the White House wanted to trick Congress in passing the ACA

–Dana

Great: Now Harvard and Georgetown Law Students Want to Delay Finals Due to Grand Jury Protests Too

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:56 pm

First Columbia, now this:

Minority students at three prestigious law schools want to delay final exams because they’ve been busy protesting grand jury decisions in the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

Student groups at Harvard Law School, Georgetown University Law Center and Columbia Law School say protests over the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases have prevented many students from preparing for exams.

University officials say students can petition administrators to have their exams rescheduled and the requests will be decided individually.

Having instituted this ridiculous program, they don’t dare deny a single request.

I have nothing but contempt for any student who would apply for such a delay.

Preparation for final exams is a responsibility, and life as a professional is full of responsibilities. If people want to protest, and they can fit that within their schedules, great. If they can’t, responsibilities come first. If you can’t meet the responsibility of preparing for final exams, how are you going to deal with that real-life deadline? The judge isn’t going to give you an extension because your due date fell on the same week as a political protest.

If I were an employer, I would want to ask any applicant from these schools if they took advantage of this cynical loophole. The purpose of such a question would be to assess their demeanor: If they did anything but roll their eyes and decry this as a ridiculous stunt, I would not want to hire them.

I would want to ask this question . . . but I would not. This behavior on my part would probably get me sued. I would recognize that in advance and would not ask the question. Nor, on the other hand, would I want to risk hiring such a fickle, responsibility-dodging individual as the people requesting delays in their finals because of political protests.

How to resolve this dilemma? Well, if I had anything to say about it, I simply would make efforts not to hire anyone from these schools who even conceivably could have taken advantage of this loophole (regardless of their color — I don’t care about that at all, just their attitude towards responsibility).

Of course, I have zero control over hiring anyone, so my opinions don’t really matter. But I wonder if people actually charged with hiring law students feel the same way.

Outrage of the Day: Torture Report

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

This fellow (Mark Fallon) says torture gave us nothing. I don’t believe him. There are past reports of valuable information we received that he does not specifically deny.

My guess? The truth lies somewhere in between Dick Cheney and Mark Fallon.

The Hidden Bad Assumptions in Socialist Thought

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Yesterday’s episode of Russ Roberts’s Econ Talk podcast — the topic was the failure of socialist thought — was a perfect example of the type of discussion I love to listen to. The discussion was intelligent and non-polemical, and gave a fair hearing to the arguments of those who argue for collectivism. However, it ultimately refuted those arguments with an intelligent probing of the poor assumptions underlying the argument.

I thought I would give a brief summary of one exchange that I found revealing, and provide a link to the discussion for those interested in listening to the whole thing. (Or reading it, as there is a transcript at the link.)

The guest, James Otteson, was promoting a book called The End of Socialism. Otteson says that, while few today boast of being actual socialists, there is a significant strain of thought out there that is socialist-inclined. By that he means that many favor centralized solutions to decentralized ones. Otteson notes the philosophy of Adam Smith, who believed that people are primarily self-centered, but engage in transactions that benefit others — for the purpose of benefitting themselves. Otteson contrasts that with the philosophy of G.A. Cohen, a Marxist, who believes that people should act on behalf of others simply because others need it, and it’s the right thing to do.

Russ Roberts played Devil’s Advocate: why not socialism? More specifically, he asked, what is wrong with Cohen’s philosophy of doing things for other people simply because they need those things done? Otteson replies that when this principle hardens into a rule, it actually places the needy person in a superior position — because now they can demand the property or services of the person who possesses what is needed. For example, say I am a plumber and you have a leak. Under Cohen’s theory, I should be required to fix your leak, because you need it, and I can do it. But that places you in a superior position, because now you can demand that I fix the leak. I have a limited amount of time, and you are now placed in a position in which you can require me to give you some of that time. That takes away my moral agency.

But why not assign such functions to, say, a federal government? Well, Otteson says, for one thing, there is a hidden assumption in assigning the federal government to improve people’s lives: the assumption that it can. Improving people’s lives depends upon knowledge of what they need to live fuller lives, and that knowledge is typically available on a local level — which is a major reason that he prefers decentralization to centralization.

Coincidentally, I am in the middle of Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, which bears directly on this discussion. Sowell divides political (and other) philosophies into “constrained” and “unconstrained” branches. The argument is beyond the scope of this post — and also, not having read the whole book, I am reluctant to summarize its conclusions — but suffice it to say that (from what I have read so far) Smith is “constrained” and G.A. Cohen is “unconstrained.”

There’s other great stuff in the podcast, like Otteson’s debunking of Cohen’s seemingly persuasive (on its face) parable of the communal spirit of a camping trip, and the lessons we should learn from that. But now, I think, I will let Otteson speak for himself. Here is the link to Roberts’s podcast. Read through the transcript, at least, and think about the excellent points that are made. It’s better than getting spun up about the latest outrage of the day.

Charles C. Johnson Justifies Himself In Revealing “Jackie”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Washington Post has an interesting interview with Charles C. Johnson, the blogger who outed alleged UVA rape victim “Jackie”. Reactions to the release of her real name and personal information have run the gamut at Patterico’s. And not surprisingly, Johnson himself now feels targeted as he has been vilified on the internet, received death threats and has already been hacked.

However, in spite of having his own real-life location revealed and serious concerns for his family’s safety, Johnson expresses no regret for his decision to reveal Jackie’s identity:

He wants revenge for what he perceives to be a rupture in the public trust, inflicted by writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s article. “I want [Rolling Stone Managing Editor] Will Dana to resign. I want the people who control Rolling Stone to go over all of Sabrina’s stories. And I want Jackie to get psychological help. I want all the fraternities, suspended under these dubious stories, to be reinstated.” Then, because why not: “I want the [University of Virginia] president to resign. I would like some truth.”

Read the whole thing.

–Dana

President Obama And The Press

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:09 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s always been a bit reminiscent of high school, this tumultuous relationship the president has with the press. Mad crushes, intense bonding, the on-again-off-again upheavals. They don’t ever really break up because everyone knows they really can’t quit each other. From day one, journalists and reporters have adored him, worshiped at his podium, covered for him, and even deified him. For his part, the president kept them in his circle with flattery, made a select few feel big and important, depended upon their loyalty, kept them close, pushed them away. With that, it’s interesting to read former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton’s inside look at the president and his relationship with the press. It’s especially interesting to see his response when the press steps over the line and functions independently, perhaps with an eye to do their jobs with an objective non-biased professionalism:

Compton explained that the president went on a “profanity-laced tirade, where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he didn’t think were scandals.” And there was another time, she recalls, when he scolded the media “for not understanding the limits he has with foreign policy.”

Further:

“I don’t find him apologetic,” she continued. “But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye — even though it was off-the-record — and just give us hell.”

Compton had little sympathy for the president’s concerns. “We cover what we are allowed to cover,” she said. “And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible, and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson responded to Ann Compton, and her experience sounded familiar:

Maybe this is just me or a personal opinion that a profanity-laced conversation with professionals in the press by the president of the U.S. is probably inappropriate,” said Attkisson.

“That’s not surprising to me,” the former CBS investigative reporter told Malzberg. “There have been profanity-laced discussions on their part with members of the Obama administration that they’ve talked to me about similar things, thinking that a cover story…was not warranted or fair.”

“They haven’t just done this with me, but with reporters at The Associated Press and other colleagues,” said Attkisson. “This is a tactic and a strategy.”

“I don’t know if it’s heartfelt or sometimes it’s just to create the kind of pushback that leads to a self-censorship, because you’re so beaten down…by what they say, by the social media campaigns and the blog campaigns that they launch,” Attkisson added.

–Dana


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