Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday night's Senatorial talkathon was powered by . . .

It was a chilly night in the nation's Capital when Senate Democrats took to the floor for an all-night "filibuster" (or something) to talk about global climate change (they've stopped calling it "global warming" since it became apparent that the climate has not warmed over the last 15 years). 

But despite the abnormally cold temperatures outside, the Senators were toasty warm in the Senate chamber, thanks to the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant.  The plant was built back in 1910, and has supplied heated steam and chilled water (depending on the season) for the Capitol building and Senate and House office buildings ever since.  It also supplied electricity for the Capitol complex until 1951, when electrical demand outran the facility's capacity.

I'll simply sidestep the obvious hot air jokes that I could make about the endless stream of senatorial blather for this not very successful publicity stunt, which is best understood (as the Wall Street Journal pointed out) as a "as a donor maintenance exercise."

Jolly Good

The talking heads on TV (even those on Morning Joe!) have all neglected to mention something important about David Jolly's win over Alex Sink (48-46) in yesterday's special election in Florida's 13th Congressional District. 

Despite being all but abandoned by the GOP establishment, and being heavily outspent, Jolly came from a 9 point deficit in the polls to defeat Sink by two points. But here's the interesting statistic: a libertarian candidate siphoned off nearly 5 percent of the vote cast! Most of those votes would have gone to Jolly in a two way race, so this could easily have been an even bigger win for the Republicans.

There are two messages for Democrats in all this. There's the obvious one: the GOP is unmistakably well- positioned to knock off enough Democratic senators to take control of the upper house in November. The other is that Democratic brave talk about retaking control of the House this fall is just simply nonsense.  Obama carried Florida 13 in both 2008 and 2012, but the Unaffordable Care Act has become a millstone around every Democratic neck and has changed the political landscape in a major way. Repeal and Replace was the winning message in Florida yesterday, and stands a very good chance of being the winning message in November nationwide.

Friday, November 15, 2013

"This is life imitating comedy"

Charles Krauthammer has an extraordinary ability to turn a phrase. Discussing The One's White House press conference yesterday, he acidly sums it up:
Beyond the competence issue is the arrogance. Five million freely chosen, freely purchased, freely renewed health-care plans are summarily canceled. Why? Because they don’t meet some arbitrary standard set by the experts in Washington.

. . . the law Obama so triumphantly gave us allows you to keep your plan only if he likes it. This is life imitating comedy — that old line about a liberal being someone who doesn’t care what you do as long as it’s mandatory.

For what it's worth, Obama's administrative "fix" is too little, far too late. It can only be explained in one of two ways. Either he simply does not have the slightest clue about how the insurance industry operates, or it's just one more maneuver to try to place the blame anywhere but on his shoulders. Probably a combination of the two.

Don't be misled by this "It's on me" stuff. He knows damned well that it is much too late in the game to reverse course. Insurance companies, unlike his HHS staff, have been working for all of the past three years doing actuarial projections so that they can properly price the new government-mandated insurance plans for a population whose actual composition cannot be anticipated with anything approaching precision.

To think that the companies could do a 180 in a matter of a few weeks is just absurd, especially when they'd be acting on the basis of an administrative rule that could be revised or revoked whenever it suits the president's whim. When they decline to take that kind of bait, he'll just do what he intended to do all along: blame the insurance companies.

Obama has been playing this sort of game for years, mostly without consequence. Now it's catching up with him. It's about time.

Friday, November 01, 2013

"all of the wounded were elderly men and children"

At least ten people attending a wedding in Afghanistan's Baghlan province were injured in a bomb attack.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but similar incidents in the past have been blamed on the Taliban, who regard music and other entertainment at wedding parties as unacceptable.
Less than a week ago, "a roadside bomb blast killed 18 civilians, most of them women and children, as they were travelling in a minibus to a wedding party in central Afghanistan's Ghazni province."

The Taliban are barbarians whose ideology permits - no, encourages - them to slaughter innocents because they enjoy music when celebrating a wedding.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"that claim is absurd"

On the NSA monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone calls:
President Obama has claimed that he was not aware of the operation, and [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper said on Tuesday that reports to the president would typically not go into such a level of detail to necessarily reveal the intelligence community's source. But veterans of the intelligence community tell Foreign Policy that that claim is absurd and that Obama would all but certainly have been informed that the NSA had been monitoring Merkel's phone.
 And speaking of absurd claims, how about this one:
If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
Flatly, unambiguously false. The Washington Post gives it four Pinocchios.


 
The worst part is that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi knew it was false all along.
For all of the Affordable Care Act's technical problems, at least one part is working on schedule. The law is systematically dismantling the individual insurance market, as its architects intended from the start.
The President lies routinely, reflexively, uncontrollably. He can't seem to help himself. And he has enlisted government officials from the IRS, the NSA, the DOJ and HHS to join in the lies. The web of lies has become so thick that one can scarcely find a sliver of truth anywhere in this Administration.