Patterico's Pontifications


CBS Poll: “Most Want GOP to Keep Fighting on Health Bill”

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 11:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A CBS News poll indicates 62% of Americans want Republicans to challenge ObamaCare:

CBS poll

The poll shows 42% of Americans approve and 46% disapprove of ObamaCare, although 52% see it as a major accomplishment for President Obama. In addition, before the vote, 35% of respondents said ObamaCare would have No Effect on them personally, 38% thought it would Hurt, and 20% thought it would Help. After the vote, the same respondents answered:


Help ———- 16%
Hurt ———- 35%
No Effect — 43%

It would be interesting to know if the respondents’ answers covered only the impact of ObamaCare on health care or if they also considered the economic and tax consequences. Despite Obama’s promises, I don’t think the economic costs will be borne solely by individuals with incomes over $200,000 and couples over $250,000.


Insider Tax Tips

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 9:46 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Sister Toldjah has a Wednesday night chuckle she received from a reader:

“I received a mailer from my Representative.

The handsomely printed brochure (in English and Spanish) reminds us on its graphically interesting (although there is perhaps a typeface or two too many) that we have until April 15 to file our taxes. And then urges us to “Look inside for ways to get money back.”

You won’t believe who sent it.

No, wait. You probably will … but it’s funny anyway.


“Gee, I hope this works.”

Filed under: Health Care,Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 9:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Now that ObamaCare has passed, what are the experts saying will happen to demand for health care after it’s implemented? Surprise! The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus notes that demand for health care may go up and costs increase:

“A new National Bureau of Economic Research paper by Michael Anderson, Carlos Dobkin and Tal Gross questions this assumption. The researchers examined health-care consumption by 19-year-olds who had just been dropped from their parents’ coverage. They found that not having insurance resulted in a 40 percent reduction in emergency room visits — “contradicting the conventional wisdom that the uninsured are more likely to visit” the emergency room and a 61 percent drop in hospital admissions.

“Overall, these results suggest that an expansion in health insurance coverage would substantially increase the amount of care that currently uninsured individuals receive and require an increase in net expenditures,” the authors write. Emergency room visits could increase by 13 million annually, and hospital admissions by 3.8 million, they project.”

Marcus, who supports ObamaCare, also questions claims that “having health insurance lead to better health” (maybe, maybe not) and that more preventive care will lower costs (probably not). Not to mention these questions:

“Will the expansion of coverage create a shortage of health-care providers and result in higher prices, or will, for example, higher Medicaid payments for primary-care doctors stem an exodus of doctors from the program? Will employers add coverage because workers facing the mandate to obtain insurance will press for it, or will they drop it because it will be cheaper to pay the penalty and let employees fend for themselves?”

And yet, despite these unanswered questions (as well as earlier doubts about the reliability of ObamaCare’s CBO scoring), Marcus concludes members of Congress were right to cast yes votes … but only if they admit to themselves: “Gee, I hope this works.”

That’s it? Gee, Ms. Marcus, why not just admit the Democrats and the media oversold ObamaCare and now everyone’s trying to lower expectations? It’s a lot easier to swallow than this.


Nothing to See Here

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 8:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Most Transparent Administration Ever says the media doesn’t need to see President Obama sign today’s Executive Order on health care and abortion, and there’s nothing they need to know about yesterday’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the secrecy shrouding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday – saying it wasn’t necessary for the press to have access to every presidential event.

Gibbs was peppered by questions from reporters who wanted to know why there was no pool coverage or readout of two Netanyahu White House meetings – just several canned photos provided by Obama’s staff.

Gibbs brushed aside the notion that the White House was playing tit-for-tat with Netanyahu, whose government snubbed Vice President Joe Biden during his recent visit to Israel.

“I think it comes as a great shock to you and me,” Gibbs said during his daily briefing. “But not everything the president does is for the cameras and for the press.”

Gibbs responded similarly to questions about another closed-press presidential event Wednesday – where Obama planned to sign an executive order on abortion. Asked why the White House wouldn’t allow reporters in as a show of transparency, Gibbs replied, ” We’ll have a nice picture from Pete that will demonstrate that type of transparency,” referring to the White House photographer, Pete Souza.”

Press Secretary Gibbs also compared Senator John McCain to a 6-year-old after McCain said the GOP would not cooperate with Democrats for the rest of the year:

“I find it curious that not getting your way on one thing means you’ve decided to take your toys and go home,” Gibbs said. “It doesn’t work well for my six-year-old. I doubt it works well in the United States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents and for all of America.”

Asked whether he was comparing McCain to a child, Gibbs replied: “I’m saying that I think the notion that if you don’t get what you want you’re not going to cooperate on anything else is not a whole lot different than I might hear from a six-year-old.”

We get it, Gibbs. You’re busy and don’t want to be bothered with a distracting media, opposing lawmakers, or annoying Americans. However, the Administration’s job isn’t to patronize Americans or treat them like children — no matter how much they annoy you.


Dems Forgot to Cover Pre-Existing Conditions for Children

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 1:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Why transparency and incremental changes are a good thing, and lawmakers should read bills before they vote on them:

“Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.”

I almost can’t believe Democratic lawmakers are this careless, but anyone that does business the way they do is asking for problems like this. Anyone that votes for them is, too.


California AB32: Full Speed Ahead or Roll Back?

Filed under: Environment,Government — DRJ @ 1:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, passed the California legislature in August 2006 and was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2006. The bill establishes a statewide greenhouse gas emissions cap for 2020 based on 1990 emissions, and requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In January, a CARB advisory panel recommended that CARB adopt a cap-and-trade fee that would raise an estimated $143.3 billion between 2012 and 2020.

The California GOP is working to suspend AB32, saying it will kill jobs, cost too much money, and isn’t needed:

“Republican lawmakers in California are circulating a ballot initiative backed by business interests that would suspend California’s landmark law to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a signature policy of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure.

The secretary of state’s office this week cleared the sponsors’ petition, giving them until July 5 to collect the 433,971 signatures needed to qualify it for the November ballot.

If passed by voters, the measure would suspend the 2006 law signed by Schwarzenegger until the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent and stays there for a year.”

Yesterday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman joined the effort:

“In an Op-Ed in today’s San Jose Mercury News, Whitman argues that the economic hardship facing the state will be compounded by AB32 and called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who signed the measure into law with much fanfare — to immediately issue an executive order to put a moratorium on “most AB32-related rules.”

“And if he does not, I will issue that order on my first day as governor,” Whitman wrote.”

Commenter papertiger, an enthusiastic supporter of this effort, has linked the California Jobs Initiative, a website where you can find more information on the Initiative and download a Petition.

AB32 supporters claim Texas energy companies are funding the Initiative to protect their interests. They claim the bill will “provide a needed boost to California’s economy without harming small businesses” and reduce pollution:

“Not wanting to appear pro-pollution or tone deaf to Californians’ concerns about the environment, opponents of AB 32 — like Meg Whitman and dirty energy astroturf front the AB 32 Implementation Group (an especially Orwellian moniker for a group that doesn’t want AB 32 implemented) — claim they are deeply concerned about the state of the environment in California. And they should — Californians breathe some of the worst air in the nation, with 95% of Californians living in areas with unhealthy air. The top four most polluted cities in America when it comes to ozone (the primary ingredient in smog) are in California, with six California cities in the top ten. When it comes to the most polluted cities ranked by particulates in the air, the top three cities are in California, with six in the top ten.”

Are Californians ahead of the curve when it comes to global warming and clean air, or are the AB32 opponents right when they say it’s not good for California?


UPDATE: Per papertiger, there are only 16 more days left to sign the petition.

ObamaCare: What the GOP could (but probably won’t) do now

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:18 am

[Posted by Karl]

Since ObamaCare’s passage on Sunday night, there has been much talk on the Right about repealing it and replacing it with better ideas. But everyone knows that is at best a medium-term project. John Hawkins floats the idea of starving the funding for ObamaCare’s infrastructure — a worthy idea, but one which again must wait until the Democrats are voted out of the majority in at least one house of Congress.

However, there are a few things the GOP could do even now to start unraveling the Democrats’ takeover of the US healthcare system. These suggestions are based on the fact that — now that it has been signed into law — even establishment media outlets like TIME and the Associated Press can implicitly admit that ObamaCare was a deal largely cobbled together by the very interest groups the Democrats demagogued to the public. The Democrats are now counting on these interest groups to help sell ObamaCare to the public. Republicans ought to teach these groups the risks of trusting your future to the government.

First, the Senate GOP ought to commit to filibustering the so-called “doc fix” that would repeal the current Medicare physician payment formula (which calls for a 20% cut in pay). House Speaker Pelosi and the White House reportedly plan to deliver this $252 billion payoff to the AMA in the next few months. The only compromise that the GOP should offer is support for a paid-for standalone bill that must bear the title, “The Democrats Shamelessly Lied About the Cost of Health Care Reform Act of 2010.” Presumably, the Democrats would reject this, which would leave them with having to pursue a temporary “doc fix” in a budget reconciliation act next year — at which point Democrats may not have the votes to pass it. (I would sympathize with doctors who disagree with the AMA, but if so few are willing to speak up when the president calls them greedy foot-rustlers and tonsil-grabbers, they should expect to become political targets.)

Second, the GOP should join in a bipartisan coalition with pols like Rep. Henry Waxman to stick it to Big Pharma. Waxman does not feel bound by the $80 billion deal the White House struck with PhRMA, so why should Republicans? Why should the GOP allow PhRMA to game the Medicare Part D benefit and avoid drug reimportation problems (as pointless as I might think the latter proposal)?

Third, both the House and Senate GOP will likely have opportunities to attack the individual mandate, and ought to exploit every one of them. The mandate is the straw that stirs the ObamaCare drink, and it is unpopular across the political spectrum. Indeed, the Left would likely join in efforts to weaken the mandate, not only because they see it as a windfall to Big Insurance, but also because they would like to choke off those profits in hopes of moving to a single-payer system. It is more likely that if Big Insurance is made to realize that a mandate-based system is not politically sustainable, these companies will stop backing government control.

Of course, with the possible exception of the mandate, the Beltway GOP probably won’t do these sorts of things. That’s the lesson to be drawn from the messaging idiocy of Sen. John Cornyn. He had a year-long course in what his supposed political opponents can and will do to achieve a key policy goal, and learned nothing from it. Pols like this will think more in terms of collecting donations from these groups later, after the Dems stab them in the back. By then, it may be far more difficult to roll back ObamaCare — but it should be clear now that the Cornyns of the world still have not adjusted to the Democrats’ new way of doing business.


Schoolhouse Rap: How a Bill Becomes Law in Obamaland

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 7:14 am

Enjoy the following parody of the classic Schoolhouse Rock short. It’s critical of Barack Obama. In other words, racist:

“I’m just a BILL, yo I’m only a BILL, and my price just rose in a backroom deal.”

Thanks to Allahpundit.

Brad Friedman Combines a Brand-New Lie with Some Old Familar Lies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Brad Friedman doubles down (by this point, it’s like he octuples down or something) on the notion that James O’Keefe never posed as a pimp at ACORN. And he adds a new bonus lie: Hannah Giles (he claims) admitted that the entire concept of O’Keefe as a pimp was grafted onto the videos after the fact.

Friedman’s view is: repeat a lie often enough and it will become the truth.

Do I just stand by and watch, or do I wearily mobilize to fight for the truth once again?

Well, you know me. (Sigh.) So here we go again.

For the sake of those with short attention spans and/or who have read similar posts before, let me first focus on Friedman’s newest lie before I move to the repetition of the old ones. Remember: Friedman’s thesis is that O’Keefe never even pretended to be a pimp at ACORN. He claims this in his title: “No, NYT, O’Keefe Didn’t ‘Pose as a Pimp’ Either.” Watch agog as he claims that Hannah Giles actually conceded this very point to Dave Weigel:

[I]n mid-February of this year, after we’d called out O’Keefe as a liar for misrepresenting himself, Giles admitted to Washington Independent reporter Dave Weigel that the “pimp” concept was added-on with footage that was shot later and edited in. The “gaudy” costume seen in the videos was meant to convey “the whoring out of the American people,” she told him Weigel [sic].

“We never claimed that he went in with a pimp costume,” Giles admitted, “that was b-roll. It was purely b-roll. He was a pimp, I was a prostitute, and we were walking in front of government buildings to show how the government was whoring out the American people.”

In other words, as Giles admitted, and as O’Keefe’s own unauthenticated text-transcripts show, the entire “pimp” concept was added on as an afterthought, and edited in later.

You follow what he is saying, right? Friedman is telling his gullible readers that O’Keefe never even pretended to be a pimp. He was always nothing but the nice boyfriend trying to save Hannah from the pimp. What’s new today is his claim that the entire concept of O’Keefe even being a pimp at all was made up entirely after the fact — and Giles admitted this to Weigel!!!

Of course, as you have already guessed, Giles said no such thing. Instead, she told Weigel that they never claimed O’Keefe was dressed as a pimp:

I asked Giles about a criticism that’s often been leveled against them — that they hyped up the video by wearing outrageous clothes in promotional materials and the videos’ introductions that they didn’t wear in the actual stings.

“We never claimed that he went in with a pimp costume,” said Giles. “That was b-roll. It was purely b-roll. He was a pimp, I was a prostitute, and we were walking in front of government buildings to show how the government was whoring out the American people.”

I suspect Weigel, who is lefty but pretty honest, would be surprised that he is being cited by Friedman for the concept that Giles admitted the entire pimp concept was created and inserted after the fact. I may write him about this, actually.

Now let’s move from the new lie to the old, familar one: that O’Keefe never posed as a pimp at ACORN.

Our friend daleyrocks put it nicely in comments here, and his articulation of Friedman’s dishonest methodology is worth quoting here:

[Friedman] and [Media Matters writer Eric] Boehlert have concocted an absurd and fabulist rewriting of actual events documented by audio and text records which most people, including the NY Times, do not find credible. It relies on cherry picking portions of transcripts and ignoring other portions, convoluted interpretations of commonly understood words and good old fashioned bald-faced lies.

Yeah, that’s about it. Here is how Friedman articulates this tired lie today:

But the Times correction still made the point to include the false notion that, while O’Keefe didn’t dress as a pimp in ACORN offices, he stilled [sic] “represented himself” as one, by “posing” as a pimp.

Well, no, as we’ve shown time and again, he didn’t do that either. He posed as the law school student (or sometimes a banker or politician) boyfriend to Hannah Giles who was dressed similarly to a prostitute. During the secretly-taped interviews, they both told the low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers they were trying to save her from an abusive pimp who had attempted to stalk and kill her.

The italicized words are Friedman’s own — designed to fool you into ignoring the fact that O’Keefe was setting up a house of child prostitution, from which he intended to profit.

As usual, Friedman tells you only half the story, and then confidently assures you that the other half never even happened.

Yes, Brad, O’Keefe posed as Giles’s boyfriend, who was trying to save her from an abusive pimp. That is indeed one part of the story.

But O’Keefe also said he also wanted to set up a house for Giles and underage girls to turn tricks in the house and give the proceeds to O’Keefe for his Congressional campaign.

Let’s go through the transcripts one by one — first quoting Friedman’s half-truth, and then rounding it out with the part he is trying to hide. We’ll go city by city, just as he does.


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