Patterico's Pontifications

11/19/2014

Jake Tapper: An Actual Reporter Explains Grubergate Effectively (Video)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:04 pm

What’s this? He actually thinks it’s a real story, explains why effectively, doesn’t pull any punches — yet is not a GOP shill? Just an honest reporter?

What??

Jake Tapper deserves our thanks.

UPDATE: Interesting that Tapper uses the term “ObamaCare” in the video (three times, by my count). Remember when he banned the term from his blog?

Bill Cosby Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

Open thread because I really haven’t followed this story, being too busy at work — but I sense it’s a Big Deal and that people may want to talk about it.

That said, the whole thing makes me sad. It certainly does not sound good at all. Sometimes you have a mental picture of who a person is, and then you find out they aren’t that person. That is often a sad experience. But I don’t want to make assumptions.

Obama To Give Prime Time Address On Topic That Ranks Around 8th In Importance To Electorate.

Filed under: General — JD @ 1:12 pm

[guest post by JD]

The lesson from yet another electoral shellacking? Run even further left. Obama had a chance to do this when the Dems controlled all of DC, but lying about healthcare was a more pressing priority. Now, in a lame duck session 6 years into his failed Presidency, now it is urgent?

At the very least, this will distract from the upcoming riots in Ferguson, and the ongoing revelations of their perfidy on ObamaCare.

He really is a noxious small man.

—-JD

ObamaCare Shilling: L.A. Times Describes Near-Doubling in Premiums as “Fairly Stable”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am

The L.A. Times recently ran a Page One above-the-fold piece that claimed:

In California’s marketplace, rates have remained fairly stable for the second year. The average rate increase statewide is 4.2%, according to the exchange. Some people will pay more — 13% of exchange customers face an increase of 8% or more.

The notion that health care rates have “remained fairly stable” for the last two years would probably come as a surprise to the people at the L.A. Times who published this story on July 29: Health premiums soared, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says.

The cost of health insurance for individuals skyrocketed this year in California, with some paying almost twice what they did last year, the state’s insurance commissioner said.

Mmmm . . . skyrocketing costs? Almost double for some? Can’t you just smell the stability?

At a news conference Tuesday, Jones said individuals this year paid between 22% and 88% more for individual health insurance policies than they did last year, depending on age, gender, type of policy and where they lived.

The increases did not affect poor people, whose policies are heavily subsidized, Jones said. The study results released Tuesday did not include group policies such as those offered by employers.

Nothing says “stable prices” like a one-year increase of 22% to 88%.

Do these people even read their own newspaper?

Thanks to Gary H.

11/18/2014

All of #GruberGate in Two Minutes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:14 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Gruber seems a bit chipper in the clips, doesn’t he? Maybe it’s the happiness that comes from finally being able to reveal to the world just how clever and smart one really is.

–Dana

Dems’ War On Jobs Continues Apace – Keystone Vote Fails 59-41

Filed under: General — JD @ 4:28 pm

[guest post by JD]

The Hail Mary pass for Sen Landrieu fails as the Dems express the bought and paid for solidarity with Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett’s billions.

Discuss.

—-JD

Washington Post Warns of a President Cruz Empowered with Obama-Like Kingly Powers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 am

It’s amusing that they’re using the specter of an UNTRAMMELED TED CRUZ! as a scare tactic — but if that’s what it takes to get through to Democrats, so be it:

DEMOCRATS URGING President Obama to “go big” in his executive order on immigration might pause to consider the following scenario:

It is 2017. Newly elected President Ted Cruz (R) insists he has won a mandate to repeal Obamacare. The Senate, narrowly back in Democratic hands, disagrees. Mr. Cruz instructs the Internal Revenue Service not to collect a fine from anyone who opts out of the individual mandate to buy health insurance, thereby neutering a key element of the program. It is a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Mr. Cruz explains; tax cheats are defrauding the government of billions, and he wants the IRS to concentrate on them. Of course, he is willing to modify his order as soon as Congress agrees to fix what he considers a “broken” health system.

That is not a perfect analogy to Mr. Obama’s proposed action on immigration. But it captures the unilateral spirit that Mr. Obama seems to have embraced since Republicans swept to victory in the midterm elections. He is vowing to go it alone on immigration. On Iran, he is reportedly designing an agreement that he need not bring to Congress. He already has gone that route on climate change with China.

I don’t agree with everything in the editorial, but it’s refreshing to see a Big Media mouthpiece come out and actually point to the damage Obama is about to do to the separation of powers. It’s also nice to see them quote Obama from the past saying he can’t do this:

Three years ago, when advocacy groups pressed him to take such a step, Mr. Obama demurred. “Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting,” he said. “Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

True enough. Good on the Post for noting it.

Thanks to Ed Morrissey.

P.S. The polls are ever-so-slightly against Obama taking this breathtakingly unconstitutional action: 46-42. Yes, fully 42% of those surveyed say: make up your own law, Obama, because who needs Congress? That is a testament to Big Media silence on the sweeping implications of this action, and a further indication that the WaPo editorial is a small but critical corrective to the general lack of focus by Big Media on this issue.

Patterico “Evolves” on the Judicial Filibuster

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
– Rush, “Freewill”

It is always amusing to watch people cynically change their views on the filibuster. We saw an example of that recently with the New Republic, which ran a gazillion pieces decrying the filibuster and praising the nuclear option — right up until the last election, at which point they displayed a Strange New Respect for the filibuster.

But people’s views can indeed honestly evolve, and I think it might be useful to disclose one way in which my own views have evolved — and to announce it at a time (now) when it doesn’t help my side ideologically in any way. Indeed, it could hurt it.

So, apropos of nothing, let me summarize the change in my opinion, which has to do specifically with judicial filibusters, and not filibusters generally.

OLD POSITION: The judicial filibuster is constitutionally infirm because the “advice and consent” clause requires an up or down vote for any nominee. The “nuclear option” is constitutionally required for votes on judicial nominees.

NEW POSITION: The Senate has the right to set its own rules. A majority of Senators has the power to do anything it wants, including honor filibusters, reject filibusters, or change filibuster rules. Thus, the “nuclear option” is not constitutionally required for votes on judicial nominees, but it is always available to a majority.

As you can see:

1) This has nothing to do with the traditional filibuster.

My view on that has never changed: if the Senate wants to use the traditional filibuster, it can. My view on the judicial filibuster is now in line with my long-held view on the filibuster generally.

2) The only difference is that now I don’t think the nuclear option for judicial nominees is constitutionally required.

Ideologically, this should make no difference at a time like now, when the party most in line with my views is about to control the Senate with fewer than 60 votes, at a time when the opposing party controls the Presidency. The only way it could make a difference is in this incredibly unrealistic scenario: Obama nominates someone so awesome from our perspective that a majority of the GOP wants to push the nomination through, but the Democrat minority wants to filibuster the nomination. In that unthinkable scenario, I could not (consistent with my new position) advocate that the nuclear option was constitutionally required, but merely available to the majority.

So you see, I am actually changing my mind for principled reasons: namely, I have thought about it more. Let me explain.

When I previously advocated that the nuclear option was constitutionally required, it was because I believed that the “advice and consent” clause required an up-or-down vote from the whole Senate. Somewhere in the back of my mind, though, there was always a voice whispering: doesn’t the Senate have the right to set its own rules? Usually, I think, I would discount that by pointing out (correctly) that the current Senate is not bound by rules that it did not adopt.

And I still believe that. The main difference in my thinking, and it is a subtle one, is that a majority of Senators may behave as if they are bound by those rules.

In my view, the majority can do whatever it wants, but is not required to. The majority is not bound by any tradition of filibusters, which tradition is inconsistent in any event. Nor can a majority be bound by rules that say they need a supermajority to change the rules. However, a majority can choose to behave as if they are bound by these traditions, if they choose to do so for institutional reasons.

As the quote that opens this post implies, even if a majority of Senators chooses not to decide — i.e. chooses to allow a filibuster to go forward — they still have made that choice. And as long as they recognize that they have the power to change it, they may, for institutional reasons, choose not to exercise it.

This is going to come up again, and there will probably be times that my position slightly hurts me ideologically, and other times when it helps me a little. I figured I would say it now, when it doesn’t matter, so I wouldn’t be like those New Republic hypocrites.

11/17/2014

The Los Angeles Times: We Don’t Need To Talk About Grubergate, After All, We Gave You All Of Those Palin Emails

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As JVW pointed out this weekend, the Los Angeles Times finally acknowledged Grubergate…in the Sports section and as a introduction to an op-ed about the NFL.

This weekend, I emailed the LAT Readers’ Rep to ask why there has been, thus far, no reporting on the six Gruber videos:

Ms. Edgar,

It has been a week since the first videos of Jonathan Gruber discussing the behind-the-scenes motivations and decisions regarding Obamacare were released. Why has the LAT not reported on a story that has blown up so rapidly? The president responded to Gruber’s assertions today from Australia, and still nothing from the LAT. As the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall St. Journal have all been giving print space to these important revelations, why is the LAT ignoring what is an issue of great importance as well as impacting millions? I would think your newspaper would be right on top of this in your commitment to keeping readers well informed. Unfortunately, what it looks like to readers is that there is a partisanship at work here and that the LAT is giving cover to this administration. Please explain to me how this assumption is incorrect.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Tonight I did another search at the LAT for any Grubergate reporting and came up empty-handed. However, ironically, when I searched “Sarah Palin emails”, 48 results popped up! I didn’t scan through all of them, but I did pull up the database the newspaper had set up to catalog 444 Palin emails. Remember that? Readers were even invited to comment and make suggestions at the “Sarah Palin emails: The Alaska archive.” I couldn’t help but think, hm, that’s 444 emails vs. 6 videos. How much effort did it take to read through the emails, catalog them by date, and of course, closely scan them for any salacious tidbits vs. how much effort would it take to post six YouTube videos that revealed we were lied to by this administration and that they counted on our stupidity? I mean, would it really be that exhausting of an effort? Surely their Obamacare would cover any wrist guards necessary for preventing onset Carpal Tunnel from loading the videos. As it stands, I’m sure on this we can agree: this administration will never have to doubt whether they can still count on the LAT.

On a side note, while searching for Grubergate mention, I found an op-ed written by Gruber himself from February 2014. You can read it here. In light of the recent Gruber videos and his comments, the op-ed is post-worthy in itself.

I will keep readers informed when if I hear back from the Readers’ Rep.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Nice post. Here is the disclosure the L.A. Times made to Gruber’s op-ed:

Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

Is that good enough, when the guy was getting paid by the White House to help draft the legislation? I think not.

Hot Air: We Need to Put on Our Big Boy Pants Like Woodrow Wilson Did and Fight ISIS

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

There is another ISIS beheading, and it is of an Army Ranger. Honestly? A man has to know his limits, and I am not a foreign policy expert and don’t pretend to be. As outrageous as these beheadings are, though, I share the concerns expressed by Justin Amash about the way we are going about fighting ISIS.

So I am just going to sound a lonely note of caution. When I read something like this, from Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, I just feel I have to register my disagreement:

Woodrow Wilson desperately wanted to avoid going to war and the nation was largely behind him in that reluctance. But when the time came, in April of 1917, he pulled up his big boy pants, went before Congress and requested a declaration of war. In that address he said, The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. We have seen how other nations will respond and you do not have the luxury of an assembly of world leaders ready to fight at your side. You may have to lead the way onto the battlefield alone. This is the terrible, lonely responsibility of the job you sought. With luck, others will follow, but leading from behind is not an option here.

I don’t think Woodrow Wilson was reluctant to engage in war at all. I think he desperately wanted to get involved (to push his silly League of Nations idea on the world), and offered absurd justifications for U.S. involvement (Germans, hear this: Americans get to ride on boats carrying arms to your enemy, and if you sink those boats, it’s an act of war on us!). I think Wilson stomped on the liberties of anyone who dared speak against the war, and “pulling up his big boy pants” is an analogy that completely falls flat for me as a matter of historical accuracy.

And talk about unintended consequences! (as I often do when I discuss such matters). One could argue that our involvement facilitated the oppressive terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which led to the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust. All things to bear in mind on this 100th anniversary of the beginning of that horrible war.

Again, I’m probably a lonely voice here. So be it. But as Rep. Amash said on September 17:

If Congress chooses to arm groups in Syria, it must explain to the American people not only why that mission is necessary but also the sacrifices that that mission entails.

The Obama administration has tried to rally support for U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war by implying that our help would be at arm’s length. The amendment Congress will vote on broadly authorizes “assistance” to groups in Syria. It does not specify what types of weapons our government will give the groups. It does not prohibit boots on the ground. (The amendment is silent on the president’s power to order our troops to fight in the civil war; it states only that Congress doesn’t provide “specific statutory authorization” for such escalation.) It does not state the financial cost of the war.

As we should have learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must plan for multiple satisfactory ends to military conflicts before we commence them.

We get into these conflicts too easily, and the results never seem to be quite what we intend.

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