Patterico's Pontifications

10/17/2017

Russia Collusion Proved!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

The Hill:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

We’ve all heard about the corrupt Uranium One deal. This story talks about a second decision that has received less attention: “approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp.” The story has too little detail for my taste about the specifics of millions being routed to the Clinton Foundation. Is this a reference to payments we already knew about, or new revelations? I’ve read the story a couple of times and it’s still not clear to me.

Still, the fact that someone connected to these payments was involved in bribery seems like a big deal. This information clearly would have jeopardized the Russian nuclear expansion deals — not to mention Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. The fact that we are just learning this now is pathetic.

The exclamation point in the headline is irony, of course. No “collusion” between Hillary and the Russian government has been proved. But it stinks. It stinks to high heaven. At a minimum, the story illustrates the corrosive effect of foreign money being routed to entities connected to a political official. (Unless that official is Donald Trump, of course. In that case it’s OK and everybody will defend it or ignore it.)

I hope the story prompts an independent investigation. More likely, however, partisans like Hannity will scream about it and oversell the story, while Big Media will yawn and fail to follow up. And it will become a partisan football, just like everything else in this overly politicized nation.

Yay!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

10/16/2017

Tonight’s Grammar Question

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:50 pm

[guest post by JVW]

To be precise, shouldn’t it be “I too”?

– JVW

Biloxi School District On Killing A Mockingbird

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Biloxi Public School District has targeted the eloquent, Pulitzer Prize winning classic, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” for removal from the district’s eighth grade curriculum because it made some people “uncomfortable”. Oh, the bitter irony. But given that making sure students feel comfortable seems to be the goal at public institutions of education these days, I guess you could say that Biloxi is right on point:

Kenny Holloway, vice president of the Biloxi School Board said, “There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.

“It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book in the 8th grade course.”

When asked Thursday morning if the book had been pulled from the course, Superintendent Arthur McMillan issued a statement five hours later that said: “There are many resources and materials that are available to teach state academic standards to our students. These resources may change periodically. We always strive to do what is best for our students and staff to continue to perform at the highest level.”

McMillan did not answer any questions on the issue.

It is believed that the use of the n-word, which appears almost 50 times in the book, is what prompted the decision. According to the American Library Association, the renowned classic “was the 21st most-challenged book in the United States for the first decade of the 21st century”. Yet, context is everything:

“What exactly is a n—– lover?” Scout asks her father in “Mockingbird,” which is set in 1930s Alabama.

“It’s hard to explain,” replies the father, a lawyer who spends much of the book defending a black man falsely accused of rape.

“Ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves,” he tells Scout. “It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.”

The decision to take this book off the curriculum list appears to have been made devoid of understanding the context in which the n-word is used.

It’s mind-boggling that in 2017, the school district – an entity predominantly made up of professional educators charged with educating their young charges – has opted for censorship rather than bravely leading students through the many troubling, rich truths that the story has to offer about racial inequality and injustice: a story depicting life in the segregated South, with the sympathetic main characters being an honorable black man who finds himself falsely accused of rape, and an equally honorable white man, who in spite of tremendous odds and public sentiment against him, comes to the defense of the accused. And all the while, three children learn that loving one’s neighbor as oneself and treating them with the same respect with which they wish to be treated has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s skin color.

As a concerned reader wrote to the Sun Herald:

“I think it is one of the most disturbing examples of censorship I have ever heard, in that the themes in the story humanize all people regardless of their social status, education level, intellect, and of course, race. It would be difficult to find a time when it was more relevant than in days like these.”

A quick perusal of the Biloxi Public Schools school board meeting agenda for tomorrow, Oct. 17, doesn’t list the removal of the book as an item of discussion (or vote) on its agenda page.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

10/15/2017

Jimmy Kimmel Does Not Want to Talk to You

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:00 pm

Turns out Jimmy Kimmel thinks he is better than you, and doesn’t care that he alienated you with his tearful lecturing about ObamaCare and guns:

Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel said he would perform the same emotionally-charged monologues about healthcare and gun violence “again in a heartbeat,” despite a drastic reduction in Republican viewership of his show.

“Three years ago, I was equally liked by Republicans and Democrats,” Kimmel told CBS’ “Sunday Morning” of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” which has aired on ABC since 2003. “And then Republican numbers went way down, like 30 percent, or whatever. And you know, as a talk show host, that’s not ideal but I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

I used to like Jimmy Kimmel. He had a show called “The Man Show” with Adam Carolla, and I used to get together with a group of guys and watch it every week. It was fun. Now, Kimmel is just another annoying Hollywood guy — worse, a manchild who cries at the drop of a hat. On “The Man Show” they would have taken men who cried about political issues and beaten them with a Louisville Slugger for our entertainment. (OK, not really, but you see what I mean.)

Kimmel’s brand of self-righteousness has reached the point where he doesn’t even want to talk to you:

Critics like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro have slammed Kimmel for parading as a “moral arbiter.”

“I’m not. I mean, I agree with him. I’m nobody’s moral arbiter,” Kimmel told CBS. “You don’t have to watch the show. You don’t have to listen to what I say.”

A defiant Kimmel added that he doesn’t say “I don’t mind” because he preferred “everyone with a television to watch the show.”

“But if they’re so turned off by my opinion on healthcare and gun violence then, I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway,” he continued. “Not good riddance, but riddance.”

If I can get serious for a second: this is a big part of the problem with our country. People don’t want to talk to other people just because of their opinions.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to talk to people who are abusive or rude. I don’t want to talk to people who are giant hypocrites. I don’t want to talk to people whose principles appear or disappear depending on whether they’re defending Trump or Obama or some other worthless politician.

And often, certain political opinions go hand in hand with abusive attitudes, rudeness, hypocrisy, or lack of principle. But not always.

If, for example, you defend Trump on his threats to NBC, citing in your argument the public interest, I will want to know whether you made similar arguments when Harry Reid or Barack Obama made similar threats. If you are consistent in the application of your principles, and if you can address the issue politely and respectfully, without using weapons like aggressive mischaracterization and/or irrationality, I’m happy to talk to you — no matter how wrong you might be. You might be my political opponent, but we can still talk about it. We’re both Americans, after all.

If, by contrast, you’re a hypocrite who applies different standards to both sides, calls people names, and is otherwise abusive — now I’m tuning you out. I’m blocking you on Twitter and refusing to engage with you in comments sections. I don’t care whom you support.

So: I will never decline to talk to anyone simply because they have a defensible but different opinion than I have. That sort of retreat into partisan enclaves is a big problem in this country. The Jimmy Kimmel attitude is wrong for dialogue and wrong for the country.

I expect better from a guy who co-hosted “The Man Show.” And if this is his attitude, I hope his show suffers for it, until he learns to be respectful to people who respectfully disagree with him.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

10/13/2017

My Two Cents on the Decertification of the Iran Deal

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:56 pm

President Trump had a good day today. First there was the end of illegal “cost-sharing reduction” payments (subsidies) to insurers under ObamaCare — a laudable end to a totally extraconstitutional executive action by Obama. Hooray! Then Trump went even further and decertified the Iran deal. Double hooray!

Now. Let’s take a second and talk about the Iran deal. I for one have become sick of partisan knee-jerk reactions to every policy issue under the sun. So let’s avoid that sort of thing, and ask ourselves: why is the Iran deal bad, after all? Is it because Obama did it therefore it’s bad? Is it because Tougher Is Always Better in every situation, no matter what?

No and no. There are actual reasons, and I think it’s worth taking a step back and discussing them for a second.

After all, there is a halfway valid counter-view of this. We are not the only signatories to this deal. It’s a multi-party deal involving many of our closest allies (and a couple of countries that, um, aren’t). Many people across the world seem to think it’s our best chance to avoid Iran getting the bomb. And heck, even Gen. Mattis testified that he thought it was in our best interest to continue to honor the deal! And people are saying that America generally, and Trump in particular, will lose credibility when a deal that we negotiate is broken, simply because of a change in the person occupying the Oval Office.

Let me quickly deal with that last point first, before addressing the key shortcomings of the deal. This deal is in the nature of a treaty. The subject matter, the extent of the promises made, and everything else about it scream: TREATY. But it was not ratified by the U.S. Senate. It is not a treaty. And other countries have no business expecting us to treat this as a binding agreement in the nature of a treaty, when they know full well that the agreement has not gone through the treaty process.

On to what is bad about the deal. I’ll try to be less long-winded than usual and sum it up in two concepts: it’s a) too nebulous and b) not effective for its stated purpose.

The agreement appears to encompass secret side deals that Obama never made public. The delivery of cash to the Iranians in apparent exchange for hostages, our seeming promise to be less aggressive in Syria as a trade-off . . . these are things that don’t seem to be written down anywhere where we, the public, can review the terms. Yet it all appears to be part of whatever deal Obama struck. The bottom line is, nobody truly understands what all the terms of the deal actually are. Iran portrays some of the terms differently than Obama does, and there is no single comprehensive document that can settle the matter. This does not work.

And the deal is also ineffective, because Iran can still potentially develop nuclear weapons on military bases that are not truly covered by the inspections regime. In another of the numerous “side agreements” that Obama made, Iran can “inspect itself” when it comes the Parchin military site — which has been suspected of being a nuclear weapons production facility, but which isn’t if you trust the U.N., which I don’t. If the inspectors seek access, that access can be delayed or denied so as to make it ineffective if indeed it happens at all. That is not a good inspection regime, folks.

I’m not sure how much of this Donald Trump understands, but I have no doubt that many of the people around him understand it. Why Gen. Mattis is not disturbed enough by the lack of access to military bases to scrap the deal, I don’t know — but I think Trump is right that it is a one-sided deal (to the extent we know what’s actually in the deal), and needs to be renegotiated at a minimum.

There are more reasons the deal is bad, having to do with ballistic missiles, the lack of provisions dealing with Iran’s sponsorship of terror and other meddling in the Middle East, and so forth. But these are the main issues: the lack of clarity of the deal, and its total ineffectiveness.

So I applaud Trump’s move today. Not out of partisanship, but because I think it’s the right thing for America.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump: I Met with the President of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:20 pm

LOL:

And I will tell you I left Texas and I left Florida and I left Louisiana and I went to Puerto Rico and I met with the President of the Virgin Islands. These are people that are incredible people, they suffered gravely and we’ll be there, we’re going to be there, we have really, it’s not even a question of a choice. We don’t even want a choice. We’re going to be there as Americans and we love those people and what they’ve gone through and they’re all healing. And their states and territories are healing and they’re healing rapidly.

Trump is the President of the U.S. Virgin Islands. He apparently met with the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. (The official transcript now reads: “and I met with the president [governor] of the Virgin Islands.”)

I don’t know why #CNNFAKENEWS says it was an “accident” rather than ignorance. Remember: he is, according to our Secretary of State, a f*cking moron.

I kid, I kid. (Not about the moron part, though.) This is nothing more than a goof. Everybody makes mistakes and there’s no point in making a huge deal out of it. Hey: it’s fun to take a smug guy and rub his face in his mistakes. It was fun with Obama and it’s fun with Trump — because they’re both pompous and self-important.

The part that both amuses and repels me is not so much Trump, but people’s reactions to him. Namely, the way that:

1) Certain elements of the left (hi, Big Media!) will jump all over this despite having excused or shrugged off all of Obama’s silly mistakes (57 states, anyone?); and

2) Certain elements of the right will excuse this or shrug it off, despite having gone absolutely insane over all of Obama’s silly mistakes.

I’m sick of the hypocrites on both sides. And as I laugh at Trump today, I laugh at them too.

P.S. Also — I’ll be honest here — just as I came to feel a deep and abiding contempt for those who joined the Obama cult of personality, I have come to despise those who have joined the Trump cult. If I can needle them, I will. Those people go absolutely bonkers any time I criticize Trump. And I enjoy trolling them. There, I said it. Their whiny aggravation is my joy. I’m not proud of it. But that’s the way it is.

So that gives me a little extra incentive to make fun of Trump when I can. Trumper tears are some of the tastiest tears on the market.

So please. Bring on the diatribes about how I lack respect for the man and the office. Lament how I have joined the ranks of those always criticizing Trump. Can’t you see? I’m doing it for you. And the more you whine about it, the wider my grin becomes.

P.P.S. Trumpers, don’t you think it’s kinda weird that he says “we love those people and what they’ve gone through”? I mean, why would he love what they’ve gone through? It seems like what they went through is bad. So why would he “love” a bad thing that they went through. It’s confusing. Help me out here, Trumpers!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Weinstein Co. Board Claimed “Shocked And Dismayed” By Harvey’s Odious Behavior. Seriously?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:49 am

[guest post by Dana]

Untitled

Here is the company’s statement regarding the reports of Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior:

The Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives – Bob Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar – are shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false.

If it were true that the Board had no inkling of what Harvey Weinstein was doing to women, it would seem that TMZ wouldn’t be reporting that his contract essentially allowed him to sexually harass women. As is being reported, the contract stated that if Weinstein was sued for sexual misconduct and the company had to pay out a settlement, Weinstein could still keep his job as long as he reimbursed the company for the amount and pay a pre-determined fine on top of that. If this was built into his contract, it certainly leads one to believe that the Board knew what he was up to with women. On top of that, because he would also have to pay a fine to the company with each settlement, Board members could actually profit from his predatory behavior while looking the other way. Win-win:

Harvey Weinstein may have been fired illegally by The Weinstein Company, a company that wrote a contract that said Weinstein could get sued over and over for sexual harassment and as long as he shelled out money, that was good enough for the Company.

TMZ is privy to Weinstein’s 2015 employment contract, which says if he gets sued for sexual harassment or any other “misconduct” that results in a settlement or judgment against TWC, all Weinstein has to do is pay what the company’s out, along with a fine, and he’s in the clear.

According to the contract, if Weinstein “treated someone improperly in violation of the company’s Code of Conduct,” he must reimburse TWC for settlements or judgments. Additionally, “You [Weinstein] will pay the company liquidated damages of $250,000 for the first such instance, $500,000 for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each additional instance.”

The contract says as long as Weinstein pays, it constitutes a “cure” for the misconduct and no further action can be taken. Translation — Weinstein could be sued over and over and as long as he wrote a check, he keeps his job.

The report goes on to note that that Harvey Weinstein could be fired if “indicted or convicted of a crime,” or if he committed a “material fraud against the company”. But:

Lance Maerov, the board member who negotiated Weinstein’s 2015 contract, said in an interview — and we’ve confirmed — the Board knew Weinstein had settled prior lawsuits brought by various women, but they “assumed” it was to cover up consensual affairs. The Board’s assumption does not constitute fraud on Weinstein’s part.

And here’s the kicker. Even if Weinstein had committed fraud by not fully informing the Board of Directors, the contract says before he can be fired he has a right to mediation and if that doesn’t work, he’s entitled to arbitration. He got neither.

The New York Times had this:

Mr. Maerov said that his chief concern had been whether Mr. Weinstein’s behavior posed a legal liability for the business, and that after receiving assurances that no company money was used and that no complaints against Mr. Weinstein were pending, he had approved the contract.

These people are amoral animals. Whether a sexual deviant preying on vulnerable young women, or money-grubbing fat cats willing to look the other way as long as they could profit off of Harvey Weinstein’s intimidating, inappropriate, and illegal behavior, their hands are all dirty.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

The Real Problem with Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

This week, Donald Trump has been in rare form on Twitter: telling citizens of our country not to expect help for too long; threatening broadcast licenses as retribution for content he dislikes; and the other usual jackassery.

OK, “rare” form is not accurate. “Everyday” form.

So are Trump’s tweets actually a problem? Allahpundit at Hot Air suggests that we shouldn’t worry about them so much, because you can’t take what Trump says seriously:

It’s ominous for any president to threaten a broadcaster’s license for “unfair” coverage but the hard fact is that most people simply don’t take POTUS’s Twitter farts seriously anymore. Journalists will hyperventilate and content-hungry hacks like me will churn out posts but we’ve already reached the “pay him no mind” point of his presidency. His authoritarian tendencies seemed frightening during the campaign at times because you never knew how much he’d indulge them if he became president. Now that we’ve had nine months to watch him, the answer is: Not much.

When I read that, I thought to myself: Allahpundit has a point . . . kind of. If you take “possible international destabilization due to world leaders overreacting to his tweets” out of the equation, Trump’s tweets aren’t that big a deal, it could be argued. After all, many Americans are by and large learning that their President is just a nitwit with a smart phone, and they tune him out. So what’s the harm?

And yet I didn’t find the argument convincing. And then I read David French, who says we do need to worry about Trump’s tweets because of the corrupting influence they have on grassroots Republicans. His piece is titled Trump’s Tweets Are Damaging the Republican Character. I almost didn’t write this post because French encapsulates so many of my thoughts so nicely. (But, as you’ll see, I do have a slightly different take in the end.) French uses Trump’s “maybe we’ll revoke your license” threat as a taking-off point:

It shouldn’t take a lawyer to note that any action to challenge “licenses” on this basis would be unconstitutional. It’s Civics 101: The First Amendment protects press freedom, and that protection is easily broad enough to encompass any effort to silence journalists simply because the president believes their work is “partisan, distorted and fake.”

Yet, incredibly, across the country rank-and-file Republicans react to such messages not by rebuking Trump but by trying to find a way to rationalize or justify them. Many go even further, joining Trump in his attacks regardless of their merit. These folks are degrading their political character to defend Trump, and the damage they do to their own credibility and their party’s in the process will endure long after he has departed from the political scene.

The controversy over Trump’s threats to revoke broadcast licenses is such a good example, I hope you’ll forgive me if I take a few extra pixels here and go on a bit of rant.

First, let’s clear way the chaff: the fact that NBC as an entity does not have a “broadcast license” itself, but member stations do, is not the Big Refutation people seem to think it is. (Take him seriously but not literally, people!) A President whose first urge, upon being confronted with news he doesn’t like, is to muse upon the ways that he can use the power of the federal government to lash out at the news organization . . . that is a problem, folks! I don’t care that he would actually have to go after individual stations instead, or that the FCC wouldn’t necessarily be on board.

The same would be true if he threatened to audit them. You can claim that, hey, the IRS is an independent entity — why, they would never go after people for political reasons! Yeah, I don’t find that reassuring, and neither should you. Yes, maybe the doltish chief executive has not yet found the best method for using the government he controls to retaliate against his opponents — but if that is his desire (and it quite clearly is), he’ll find it eventually.

But even if you don’t take the threat from Trump seriously, or literally, the fact that so many people support him on it is what I find terrifying.

As I looked around the Internet after reading Trump’s comments, I was appalled and disgusted to see many conservatives thoughtfully stroking their chins and waxing philosophical about the “public interest” and the alleged need of government to ensure that broadcasters are living up to their responsibilities. Hello! This is exactly the sort of defense that Harry Reid and Barack Obama have employed in the past as they threatened to regulate out of existence broadcasters who did not toe their line. And the very same people who used to decry this sort of thuggery now use the language of the left to defend Trump.

This isn’t supposition on my part, by the way. I have the evidence. Some of these Internet denizens have been around a long time. And they have compared identical leftist threats in the past to threats by the Mafia, or by thugs like Putin. I’m not going to personalize this by citing you chapter and verse. But as French says of the more wild-eyed Trumpers: “There is of course always a measure of hypocrisy in politics — partisanship can at least partially blind us all. But the scale here beggars belief.”

So where do I disagree with French? He says Trump has “damaged” the character of the Republicans who employ such staggering hypocrisy to defend him. Well, I’m not so sure their character was that unsullied to begin with. One could argue that Trump has instead “revealed” their character.

So which is it?

I think the truth is somewhere in between. Trump has not taken pure people and “damaged” their character. Neither has he taken purely evil and laughably partisan people and simply exposed them for what they are.

No, instead what he has done is bring out the worst in people.

I have quoted Alexandr Solzhenitsyn before to the effect that both good and evil lies within the hearts of most men. Almost all of us have the capacity to do great and good things — or to do very bad things. And leaders, by their own example and character, can bring those good or bad qualities to the forefront.

If you study world history and current foreign policy, or just human psychology, you know that people are sheep who tend to unthinkingly follow orders. They are perfectly willing to support the craziest and the most evil actions of leaders — leaders 100 times worse than Trump has ever shown himself to be.

As many wiser heads before me have mentioned, perhaps the most dismaying thing about the way that Germany knuckled under to Adolf Hitler is the fact that Germany was a bastion of culture and intellect. If it could happen there, it literally could happen anywhere. As Solzhenitsyn has said:

There always is this fallacious belief: “It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.”

Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible anywhere on earth.

Idiots read allusions to Hitler or Stalin in a post like this and make the stupid argument that I am comparing Trump to Hitler or Stalin. It galls me to have to stop near the end of a post that is already very long to say: I am not making that comparison. That is not my point at all.

My point is this: there are many examples in history of people supporting really bad things. Don’t think you are different. And when you sign on to defend blatantly unconstitutional suggestions because you hate hate hate the media, you are surrendering a bit of your soul. You should be able to take on the media without agreeing to surrender to the government the terrible and terrifying power to silence them. And the fact that this does not appear likely to happen tomorrow does not mean it can’t happen next year. Or that it can’t happen here. Human nature is the same everywhere.

The real problem with Trump is that he brings out the worst in people. And bad things happen when the worst in people is brought to the surface.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump to End Illegal ObamaCare Subsidies to Insurers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:07 am

The GOP turncoats in Congress won’t repeal ObamaCare. But Donald Trump — who is admittedly a moron, an anti-speech thug, and otherwise a generally wretched and narcissistic waste of oxygen — is accomplishing some really good stuff on the health care front. Yesterday morning came the expected executive order “expanding access to association health plans” which had the effect of making it easier for many to buy health insurance across state lines. More on how that could help here. And later this morning (Friday morning) Trump is expected to finally eliminate illegal cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies.

The New York Times portrays these moves in their typical apocalyptic fashion:

President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act — on successive days — could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.

Uh-oh! Looks like we have some leftist bias on display!

First, the money does not go to low-income people, but to insurance companies who are legally bound to provide the coverage. Second, you can call them “low-income” people if you like, but none of them are below the poverty line, or they would not qualify under the law.

But most critically, let’s recall that the cost-sharing payments to insurance companies were actually declared to be illegal — which we learn if we make it to paragraph 11 of the Times story:

The future of the payments has been in doubt because of a lawsuit filed in 2014 by House Republicans, who said the Obama administration was paying the subsidies illegally. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the United States District Court in Washington agreed, finding that Congress had never appropriated money for the cost-sharing subsidies.

Trump is now saying he is going to drop the Obama administration’s appeal of that decision. Which, good for him. Yes, he should have done all of this nine months ago. But better late than never. And if the folks at the New York Times were going to portray this honestly, they would tell people up front that these payments were never part of ObamaCare and a federal judge has so ruled.

It would be nice to see Congress follow up on yesterday’s executive order by passing a law ensuring that states must allow their citizens to purchase health insurance that meets another state’s regulatory regime. Contrary to the handwringing of the New York Times, elimination of unnecessary coverage and increased competition will drive down premiums, not drive them up. (Of course, the real problem here is mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, which simply cannot be done by government fiat, as popular as it is. But that’s beyond the scope of this already long post.)

It would also be nice to see Trump follow up on today’s action by also blocking the equally illegal ObamaCare exemption for Congress.

But hey. One thing at a time. So far so good.

Trump has done a good job this week on health care. I don’t like him as a person and I never will, but I have always said that I will give him credit when credit is due. And today, credit is due.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

10/12/2017

Report: FBI to Open Investigation Into Weinstein

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am

I have the details at RedState.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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