Monday, September 30, 2013

It's a paradox: Supporters of Obamacare are confused

From the Newark, New Jersey, Star-Ledger:
From the lead paragraph:
More New Jerseyans approve of the Affordable Care Act than the rest of the nation, but they are less likely to understand how the law affects them, according to a poll released today by Monmouth University and the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
According to the reporters, New Jerseyans approve of Obamacare but they are "confused" and "less likely to understand it."  It is not "but." The correct word would be "because":    New Jerseyans are more likely to approve of Obamacare because they don't understand it.

If newspapers had editors and fact-checkers, they would catch mistakes like this.

Government shutdowns in perspective: there have been 17 of them since 1976

The Seattle Times has a headline now warning of the "dire consequences of federal shutdown." A Washington Times headline warns of "Danger to economy."  Such "danger," however, is not unusual.  There have been 17 shutdowns since 1976.  In other words, the US has been averaging about one shutdown every other year for 37 years.

Interestingly, four of the shutdowns happened when Democrats controlled all the White House, the Senate, and the House.  Three of these, all in 1977, were due to Democrats wrangling with each other over abortion.  The fourth, in 1978, was when Jimmy Carter insisted on eliminating an aircraft carrier.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why is the President so ill-informed?

Pres. Obama's fact-challenged and hyper-partisan rhetoric is well-known.  We now know where he comes by it: the only paper he reads is the New York Times and he obsesses over its editorials.  The HuffingtonPost reports:
[T]he Obama White House has long seemed particularly interested in getting its point of view across in the Times, and the president has said he reads all the paper's columnists. In April, a former adviser said the Times is the only paper Obama reads.

In his book, [ editor Richard] Wolffe describes how after each negative Times editorial, "the president would summon his communications team to discuss the critical coverage." He also included a 2011 anecdote about the White House communications team wondering whether calling Rosenthal through the Times' directory would lead to an announcement over the paper's general PA system. (It wouldn’t.) [Emph. added]
Hat tip: Instapundit, Ed Driscoll, and Breitbart.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Netherlands declares the end of the "welfare state"

The AP reports:
AMSTERDAM — King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government Tuesday in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.

In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government. . . . .

"The shift to a 'participation society' is especially visible in social security and long-term care," the king said, reading out to lawmakers a speech written for him by Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government.

"The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form." [Emph. added]
Meanwhile, the American left, which is often obsesses over environmental "sustainability," is oblivious to the financial unsustainability if its signature welfare programs.  Obama, call your office.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Obamacare round-up

Citing Obamacare as the reason, the Cleveland Clinic will be laying off doctors.

Trader Joes says its workers will benefit by being denied company health care because that denial makes them eligible for large government subsidies at the Obamacare exchanges.

Democrat insiders are profiting after drafting ObamaCare.

Obamacare requirements are forcing California insurers to restrict patient's choice of doctors.

Wegman's, one of the nation's largest grocery chains, is dropping health care coverage for part-time workers because of Obamacare.

In response to Obamacare, SeaWorld is reducing hours for part-time employees.

Premiums rise: Independent National Journal analysis finds premiums higher under Obamacare as employers weigh dropping coverage.

Even the Obama administration can't follow the rules:  Unpublished Congressional Research Service Report: Obama Administration Has Missed Half Of Obamacare’s Legally Imposed Implementation Deadlines.  (hat tip: Instapundit)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What is more profitable: creating problems or solving them?

In the private sector, no one pays you to create a problem.   The public sector is different.  As an example, the New York Times quotes (hat tip: Instapundit) Prof. Carl Hart of Columbia University on the nature of government-sponsored research into illegal drug usage:
“Eighty to 90 percent of people are not negatively affected by drugs, but in the scientific literature nearly 100 percent of the reports are negative,” Dr. Hart said. “There’s a skewed focus on pathology. We scientists know that we get more money if we keep telling Congress that we’re solving this terrible problem. We’ve played a less than honorable role in the war on drugs.”[Emph. added]
"Green energy" and global warming research have a similar bias: the more "terrible" the problem is claimed to be, the more funding that will be allocated for it.

We could solve a lot of 'problems' if we simply reduced the funding for them.

International bureaucrats argue over global warming funding

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why Democrats are uncomfortable with actual democracy

When people are freed to vote, the vote often goes against the left:
Today, teachers in Kenosha, Wis., voted to decertify their union, the Kenosha Education Association, by a margin of nearly two to one. Only 37 percent of the teachers opted to retain the union in an election made possible by the labor reforms enacted under Gov. Scott Walker (R).
Hat tip: Instapundit and HotAir.

 PREVIOUSLY on Democrats being uncomfortable with democracy:
MSNBC host advocates vote fraud if needed for his side to win
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Monday, September 09, 2013

Flashback to 2007: Obama declares that Syria won't respond to "bluster"

In an interview with the New York Times in 2007, then Sen. Obama explains how he would solve problems with Syria using "aggressive personal diplomacy" rather than "bluster" about what he would "blow up" (via Sweetness and Light):
Q. The Bush administration has little influence on Iranian behavior in Iraq. How would you elicit cooperation from Iran and Syria that the Bush administration has failed to obtain? Would we offer assurances that we would not be engaged in a policy of regime change. What would you do?

A. I think you foreshadowed my answer. You’ve got the Bush administration expecting Crocker to make progress on the very narrow issue of helping Shia militias at the same time as you’ve got Dick Cheney giving a speech saying it is very likely that we may engage in military action in Iran and the United States Senate passing a resolution, suggesting that our force structure inside Iraq is dependent in someway on blunting Iranian influence. You can’t engage in diplomacy in isolation. There’s got to be a broader strategic context to it.

The Iranians and the Syrians are acting irresponsibly inside Iraq. They perceive that it is a way to leverage or impact or weaken us at a time when they’re worried about United States action in a broader context. I’ve already said, I would meet directly with Iranian leaders. I would meet directly with Syrian leaders. We would engage in a level of aggressive personal diplomacy in which a whole host of issues are on the table. We’re not looking at Iraq, just in isolation. Iran and Syria would start changing their behavior if they started seeing that they had some incentives to do so, but right now the only incentive that exists is our president suggesting that if you do what we tell you, we may not blow you up.

My belief about the regional powers in the Middle East is that they don’t respond well to that kind of bluster. They haven’t in the past, there’s no reason to think they will in the future. On the other hand, what we know, is that, for example, in the early days of our Afghanistan offensive, the Iranians we’re willing to cooperate when we had more open lines of dialogue and we were able to identify interests that were compatible with theirs.” [Emph. added]
Given the stunning contradiction between then and now, some people ask whether Obama believed what he was saying then or what he is saying now.  In my opinion, the answer is both: Obama believes whatever is convenient at the moment.  While he consistently has leftist instincts, that doesn't mean that he has thought through any consistent coherent philosophy against which he measures his thoughts.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Gangster Government and S&P's downgrade of US debt

S&P was the only credit agency to downgrade the US bond rating and now it appears to be reaping the consequences of its disrespect to Obama.  The New York Times reports:
Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday denounced a $5 billion fraud lawsuit by the United States government as retaliation for its 2011 decision to strip the country of its AAA credit rating. 

The McGraw Hill Financial unit of S.& P. was the only major credit rating agency to remove the United States’ top rating, and the only one the Justice Department sued over claims of misleading banks and credit unions about the credibility of its ratings before the 2008 financial crisis. 

In a filing on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., S.&P. said that the lawsuit was an effort to punish it for exercising its First Amendment rights and that the suit seeks “excessive fines” in violation of the Eighth Amendment. 

It said the government’s “impermissibly selective, punitive and meritless” lawsuit was brought “in retaliation for defendants’ exercise of their free-speech rights with respect to the creditworthiness of the United States of America.” [Emph. added]
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"Smart diplomacy" and the arrogance of stupid people

From National Review's Morning Jolt:
Democrats Suddenly Realize What They Miscalculated About the World: Everything

As we await Congress’s decision on authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Syria, Democrats are suddenly realizing that their foreign-policy brain-trust completely misjudged the world.

Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no “international community” ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be.

You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess. We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, “smart power.” (These people can’t even label a foreign-policy approach without reminding us of how highly they think of themselves.) They looked out at the world at the end of the Bush years, and didn’t see tough decisions, unsolvable problems, unstable institutions, restless populations, technology enabling the impulse to destabilize existing institutions, evil men hungry for more power, and difficult trade-offs. No, our problems and challengers were just a matter of the previous hands running U.S. foreign policy not being smart enough.
One would have thought that life would teach stupid people not to be so arrogant.  Apparently, it doesn't.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

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Jimmy Carter's Lasting Influence

Hey, get your foot off the people's desk!

Britain gave the Resolute desk to America in 1880. Every president since Hayes—except Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford—has used it. Visitors to the White House, such as Pres. Obama, should show more respect.
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