Patterico's Pontifications


The Premature Gloating of ObamaCare’s Fans

Filed under: General,Health Care,Obama — JVW @ 4:15 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This past spring and summer saw progressives giddy with triumph concerning the alleged success of ObamaCare in enrolling new customers. From academics to the usual interest groups to the President himself, we were deluged with stories about all the wonderful things that the Health Care Act had done for the country. With Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion in the King vs. Burwell case seeming to settle the issue of the bill’s legality, those who remained skeptical of the ability of the government to efficiently manage health policy in a nation of 330 million people were told to “get over it,” even by some on our own side.

But, as the saying goes, that was then. Yesterday’s Washington Post contained an interesting piece informing us that roughly a quarter of the people who chose a health plan this year through ObamaCare have since stopped paying for it. Of 12.7 million people who took out a plan in 2015, only 9.9 million were continuing to make payments by the end of June. This drop-off is significant numerically, and does not bode well for the big push coming next year as explained by the author:

For next year, congressional budget analysts are estimating that 21 million Americans will have health insurance through the exchanges — more than double the enrollment now.

Many health policy experts think that, in the two years since the marketplaces opened, they already have attracted the people who are easiest to enroll. Elizabeth Carpenter, a vice president of the consulting firm Avalere Health, said that the Congressional Budget Office has been assuming that sign-ups for 2016 will surge, because financial penalties will increase under a part of the law that requires most Americans to carry health insurance.

“The question is,” Carpenter said, “given where we are today, should we expect a slower ramp-up?”

Couple that with the expected rise in premiums forecast for next year which is once again likely to outpace the rise in family income, and 2016 could be a very important year for the future of government-managed health care, even apart from the matter of which party does well in the fall elections.

Addendum: Hat tip to Powerline for the link to the WaPo story.



Meriam Ibrahim’s Release: Whom to Thank

Filed under: Current Events,General,Obama,Politics,Religion — JVW @ 10:24 am

[guest post by JVW]

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman married to an American citizen, was flown to Rome from Khartoum yesterday, thus bringing to an end the saga of her death sentence handed down by a Sudanese Islamic court for alleged apostasy and adultery.

The trouble apparently began when Ms. Ibrahim traveled to Sudan on a Sudanese passport to visit her ailing mother. She brought her 18-month-old son, Martin, and was at the time in the second trimester of a pregnancy. Her Sudanese-American husband, Daniel Wani, is confined to a wheelchair due to MS and therefore remained in the couple’s New Hampshire home. The trouble in Khartoum began when Ms. Ibfahim’s Muslim half-brother, Al Semani Al Hadi, brought charges against her for allegedly abandoning the Islamic faith to marry a Christian man. Ms. Ibrahim contends that her mother is an Eastern Orthodox Christian and she has always practiced the Christian faith, but authorities declared that by having a Muslim father Ms. Ibrahim was obligated to follow the tenets of Islam, even though her father had left the family early in Ms. Ibrahim’s youth. Her marriage to a Christian and the birth of her son Martin (along with her obvious pregnancy) thus became adultery in the eyes of the Sharia court. Ms. Ibrahim was sentenced to death for the “crime” of apostasy and tossed in prison and placed in shackles. The death sentence was “mercifully” delayed so that Ms. Ibrahim could give birth to her second child, a daughter, Maya, and the 100 lashes that she was to receive for adultery were cancelled. According to both Ms. Ibrahim and Mr. Wani, she gave birth while her legs remained chained.

After an international outcry caused the Sudanese court to release her, she was once again arrested at the Khartoum Airport and charged with carrying false travel documents. This time, she and her children were allowed to serve their detention at the U.S. Embassy, but the family had to worry not only about the possibility of not being permitted to leave but also having the death sentence restored. Finally, she was granted new travel documents and permitted to leave with her children yesterday. The lawyer for Ms. Ibrahim told the Daily Mail that her release was secured by the Italian government, who provided the plane and dispatched a deputy foreign minister to escort the family to Rome where they had an audience with Pope Francis.

So you would think that the wife of a United States citizen with a son and a daughter who are natural-born United States citizens would have been way too frightening of a target for a Sudanese Sharia court, but we simply cannot ignore the degree to which radical Islam apparently believes that there are no consequences for poking the U.S. in the eye as long as Barack Obama is President.* As he so often does, Mark Steyn sums up the impotence of the Obama/Kerry crew perfectly:

Just to reiterate what happened here: A barbarian regime seized an American’s family and jailed them – and throughout their imprisonment no one in the United States Government did anything and neither the President nor his Secretary of State said a word. The British and Canadians helped, and the Italians sent a government plane and the deputy foreign minister. The Pope had time for the Wani family, but not President Fundraiser.

Meanwhile, the last remaining Christians are being forced to leave Mosul, a city that was once considered the heart of Christendom in Mesopotamia. And so it goes.

[* I am willing to concede that there exists the possibility that the Obama Administration worked relentlessly behind the scenes to secure the release of Ms. Ibrahim and her children, but thought that taking a strong public stance would complicate their efforts. Perhaps they coordinated very closely with the British, Canadians, and Italians on this matter, and someday the truth will come out and we will see that they deserve a great deal of the credit for convincing Sudan to release her. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Still, if I had to bet in this matter, I would put my money down on passivity and fecklessness by the administration where radical Islam is involved. If it can’t be accomplished with drones, this President doesn’t seem to want to try.]



Obama Is Losing Support from His Alumni

Filed under: General,Obama — JVW @ 2:27 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Rosa Brooks is a typical Washington liberal with all all the right credentials — Harvard undergrad, Oxford graduate degree, Yale Law degree, former columnist for the Dog Trainer, current professor at Georgetown Law (alma mater of future California State Senator Sandra Fluke!) — so she was a natural for the Obama White House in the early incarnation of Hope & Change. It is therefore interesting to note that despite having served as Counselor to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy (maybe the worst job title in all of Washington) she has unloaded on the sheer ineptitude of the Obama foreign policy:

OK, sure she thinks that Hillary! would be a whole lot better so she definitely still resides in the leftist dreamworld, but maybe this is the turning point where she starts to question progressive shibboleths and see the world as it really is.

Or maybe she’s just angling for a job in a future Clinton Administration.


P.S. — The Tweet embed suddenly stopped working on the preview for some reason, so just to be on the safe side I am going to include a screen-shot of her Tweet. Yeah, it will look stupid if the embed ends up working when this was published, but oh well. At this point what difference does it make?


Choosing to Lose in Iraq [updated with image]

Filed under: General,Obama,War — JVW @ 9:19 am

[guest post by JVW]

Today’s New York Times — that beacon of right-wing propaganda — carries an article telling us that the Obama Administration declined the Iraqi government’s request for support in combatting insurgents with airstrikes prior to Tuesday”s capture of Mosul. Why would we refuse to help a putative ally? According to the Times, it is simply because we do not want to get more heavily involved in a conflict that “President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces. . . in 2011.”

In other words, Obama’s wishful thinking and political calculations are allowed to override the safety and protection of the Iraqi people and the hard fought gains made by U.S. forces during the surge of 2007-08. How spooked is the Obama brain trust about angering its left flank by continuing to be involved in Iraq? President Drone Strike has even ruled out his favorite method of engagement with the enemy:

The Obama administration has carried out drone strikes against militants in Yemen and Pakistan, where it fears terrorists have been hatching plans to attack the United States. But despite the fact that Sunni militants have been making steady advances and may be carving out new havens from which they could carry out attacks against the West, administration spokesmen have insisted that the United States is not actively considering using warplanes or armed drones to strike them.

It’s one thing to decide that military re-engagement in Iraq is not worthwhile, but why on earth would we be announcing that fact to friend and foe alike? I get the administration having a quiet, unspoken policy that we are done in Iraq and I can understand the need to let Prime Minister al-Maliki know this, but the only possible reason I can think of announcing it to the public at large is to let the anti-war left know that you are still under their thumb so that they do not stage demonstrations against you right at the moment when everything else your administration has touched is turning to poo.

Joe Lieberman had it absolutely right almost six years ago.

UPDATE: John Hinderaker at Powerline created this great image and has invited everyone to share it.




Now You Tell Us™ (Part 4): Obama Not Getting Big Money Out of Politics As He Promised To Do

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:21 am

(Note: “Now You Tell Us”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s disclosure of negative information about Barack Obama that didn’t come out during the election.)

Between the election and the inauguration is the traditional time for the L.A. Times to reveal negative facts about Barack Obama that many of us already knew, but that the electorate at large evidently did not. Today example, from this morning’s L.A. Times web page:

The beginning of the story:

Even before Barack Obama was sworn in as president the first time, he touted his efforts to “change business as usual in Washington” by setting strict rules for his inauguration: No corporate donations were allowed; individuals could give only $50,000.

This time, Obama’s inaugural committee is seeking million-dollar contributions from corporations and offering perks in return, such as tickets to the official ball. The six companies that have given so far include AT&T, Microsoft and Financial Innovations, a marketing company that received $15.7 million to produce merchandise for Obama’s reelection campaign and is the official vendor for the inauguration. The committee has put no limit on how much individuals can give.

The relaxed rules reflect how Obama has largely dropped his efforts to curb the role of money in politics, a cause he once vowed to make central to his presidency.

It’s OK to say . . . now that he’s safely elected.

(Entries from 2008 found here, here, and here.)


James Rainey: You Should *Thank* The L.A. Times for Withholding the Khalidi Tape

Filed under: 2012 Election,Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:35 pm

James Rainey says we should be thanking the L.A. Times for withholding the Khalidi tape — because if they hadn’t promised to do so, we never would have heard about it in the first place:

The latest resurrection of the Khalidi video mythology came this week courtesy of The website on Thursday offered a $100,000 reward for a copy of the “Khalidi tape” — which the right-wing site speculates will lay bare the ugly back story of Obama’s disdain of Israel, his “sacrifice” of Free Speech, and his effusive support of Mideast radicals.

. . . .

So why couldn’t the newspaper simply release the video, along with the story? This is where the tempest, which began four years ago, continues to this day.

The misunderstanding stems from one camp’s unwillingness to hear, or acknowledge, some essential truths about the way journalists do their jobs. Wallsten, like every other honest reporter out there battling for information, must build relationships with sources.

Every conversation about a piece of information becomes a transaction. For many sources who share previously confidential information, their threshold for divulging the secret is that their identity be shrouded. That also means keeping confidential any details, regarding the exchange of information, that might tend to divulge the source’s identity.

In the case of the Khalidi video, the unnamed source agreed to share the illuminating bit of video evidence with Wallsten, but only with the understanding that the reporter could not reproduce or rebroadcast the images. The journalist had to make a decision: Do I agree to that condition and get to see evidence that no other reporter has seen of Obama meeting with Palestinian Americans? Or do I insist on a full public release of the video, with the likely outcome that the source would share nothing?

Wallsten pushed for the release of the video but when the source would not agree, Wallsten agreed to accept more limited access to the recording. He agreed not to reveal his source nor share the video with anyone else.

The net result: The world got a story that showed Obama the political operator, sliding between two opposite and highly contentious worlds. The audience did not get to view the video, but it got far more than it had without The Times’ reporting. That’s the nature of some journalistic negotiations; giving up the perfect to obtain the very good.

That’s fine, as far as it goes. But there are some other steps that could be taken, and I pointed them out in November 2008, just before the last presidential election:

I’m at a loss as to why editors can’t take simple steps that (as far as we know) are not precluded by the promise to the source. They could:

  • Prepare and release a transcript.
  • Go back to the source and ask permission to release the tape now.
  • View the tape again to see if Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were present (as has been rumored) — and if they were, publish a story setting forth the details of their interaction, if any, with Senator Obama.
  • View the tape again to see whether Senator Obama is shown on tape during any of the more controversial statements — and if he was, describe his reaction.

Promises to withhold source material, while they may be necessary for a story, should be disfavored. If they’re given, editors should give them the narrowest possible reasonable interpretation.

Instead, editors seem determined to construe their promises more broadly than even their source contemplated. They haven’t said they promised not to release a transcript, for example. So why haven’t they?

Do me a favor and help me ask James Rainey for a response as to why these things couldn’t be done. He decided to opine, so he can’t really refuse to answer on the grounds that it’s someone else’s story.

These are fair questions. Could you answer them, Mr. Rainey?

Rainey can be contacted at and is on twitter at (I am on Twitter at Follow me if you haven’t already!)

Thanks to dana.

P.S. I will happily publish any missive sent to Rainey, along with his response, if any.


Newt: Clinton Speech Made Obama Look Bad

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Obama — Patterico @ 1:01 pm

Which is true, if you think about it:

The Clinton speech at the Democratic National Convention was “eerily anti-Obama, if you just listen to the subtext,” the former House speaker said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning.

He added: “Here’s Clinton saying, ‘I reformed welfare because I worked with Republicans; you didn’t, Mr. Obama.’ He didn’t say it that way, but think about it: ‘I had the longest period of economic growth in history; you didn’t, Mr. Obama. I got to four balanced budgets by working with Republicans; you didn’t, Mr. Obama.’”

The comments follow recent efforts by GOP candidate Mitt Romney to use the economic success of the Clinton years as a counterpoint to the lackluster job growth during Obama’s tenure. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney said Clinton “really did elevate the Democrat convention in a lot of ways and, frankly, the contrast may not have been as attractive as Barack Obama might have preferred.”

Clinton may — I say may! — not have intended to make Obama look bad. But when you look at the facts and what he actually said . . . he did.


Open Thread: Democrat Convention

Filed under: 2012 Election,Obama — Patterico @ 7:16 am

It ain’t like the old days:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The last time Democrats assembled for their national convention, the proceedings were awash in a mix of giddy exuberance and teary emotion as delegates nominated the party’s first African American presidential candidate.

Four years after the party in Denver, that jubilation has cooled.

And that’s the L.A. Times.

Your observations below.


What Should We Think About on Labor Day?

Filed under: 2012 Election,Economics,General,Obama — Patterico @ 1:38 pm

Michael Hiltzik of the L.A. Times says we should remember the value of unions. Wilma Liebman, writing in the L.A. Times, takes a slightly different perspective, and says we should remember the value of unions.

Actually, I guess that’s the exact same perspective.

Maybe I can offer a truly different perspective: remember the value of labor. Of the opportunity to work. Which many Americans lack under this president.

Ed Morrissey has an amusing interview by Chris Wallace of David Axelrod, in which Axelrod attempts to dance around the following uncomfortable comparisons between when Obama took office (“then”) and now:

  • Unemployment: 7.8% then, 8.3% now
  • Median income: $54,983 then, $50,964 now
  • Gas prices: $1.85 per gallon then, $3.78 now
  • National debt: $10.6 trillion then, $15.9 trillion now

You know the drill by now: it’s Bush’s fault!!!

But it’s worse than that. The real number (which everyone puts in quotes despite the fact that it really is the real number) is more like the number named by that supposed doddering old fool Clint Eastwood:

The “real” number of unemployed Americans is 23.5 million. These are people that are unemployed (12.8 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (2.5 million), or are working part-time because they can’t find full-time employment (8.2 million).

As the Maryland governor showed, it’s impossible to honestly answer that Americans are better off today than they were four years ago. If you need to work full-time, but are only working part-time, you are not doing well. If you have given up on looking for a job, you are not doing well. 8.3% doesn’t begin to paint the picture.

Every one of those 23.5 million people needs to understand that we are worse off today than we were four years ago. Not better.

That’s what I’m thinking about on this Labor Day.

UPDATE: Elect me and this time it will be different!!!

Rahm Sends Chicago Cops to Democrat Convention in Charlotte, N.C. — In the Middle of a Chicago Crime Wave

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Obama — Patterico @ 11:26 am

It’s good to have friends with access to cops:

Only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal agents and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city’s wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers have arrived in Charlotte to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.

The Chicago officers, in their distinctive uniforms and checkerboard-brimmed hats, said they had been instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.

. . . .

Last Friday, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy publicly asked for federal help in targeting neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the city’s wave of violence.

“The help comes in the form of additional agents to target guns, gangs and drugs,” Superintendent McCarthy said at a news conference.

Chicago’s homicide rate is about 31 percent higher than last year, with 346 reported killings as of August 19, according to figures provided by the Chicago police.

Local activists and police union heads are dumbfounded.

Me? I’m not surprised at all. Are you?

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0900 secs.