Why Obama will do nothing about the border crisis

July 15, 2014
"Y'all come!"

“Y’all come!”

Per Bryon York:

First, because Republicans want him to do something:

Who is pushing Obama to get tough? Mostly, it’s the Republicans whose wishes Obama has ignored for years. And now, since his well-publicized decision to abandon hopes of making a deal with GOP lawmakers on immigration, Obama needs them even less. It’s to his political benefit to oppose them, not to do their bidding.

Second, because Democrats back him:

…the Democrats, who don’t strongly oppose action on the border but want the president to go forward only if Republicans will agree to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a grand bargain, these Democrats are not terribly bothered by Obama’s handling of the crisis. While a few border state Democrats like Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ron Barber express reservations about Obama’s performance, most won’t give the president any trouble.

Third, because the progressive media is cheering him on:

Next is the liberal commentariat, which supports Obama so strongly in this matter that it is actually pushing back against the idea that the border crisis is a crisis at all. “The besieged border is a myth,” the New York Times editorial page declared on Sunday. “Republicans are … stoking panic about a border under assault.”

And, finally, because Obama himself is simpatico with immigration “activists:”

Finally, there are the immigration activists who don’t want Obama to do anything that involves returning the immigrants to their home countries. “We’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting kids fleeing gang violence, extortion and rape,” Frank Sharry, of the immigration group America’s Voice, said recently. It is Obama’s responsibility, Sherry added, to find a way to settle “thousands of child refugees.”

Obama recently met with a group of those advocates. One of them later told the Washington Post that the president said to them, “In another life, I’d be on the other side of the table.” By that Obama meant that in his old days as a community organizer, pressing for the “refugee” rights would be just the sort of thing he would do.

In other words, all the incentives encourage him to ignore national interests and instead be true to his nature. He doesn’t have to worry ever again about reelection, and, if the Democrats are going to take a drubbing in the midterms, anyway, why not make his Leftist base happy?

There are those who argue that Obama’s actions have to be the result of incompetence, that no one would willingly do something so obviously self-destructive to their political fortunes. See, for example, Andrew Klavan’s essay at PJM, “Is Obama just a hapless putz?”, in which he argues that Cloward-Piven is an “idiot’s strategy.”

Perhaps, but one can still be idiotic enough to try it, with all the harmful effects that would follow.

Having read extensively on Obama’s political background, especially Kurtz’s crucial work, “Radical in Chief,” I’m not at all convinced that he cares about the fortunes of the Democratic Party (let alone the nation, or, frankly, those kids on the border), that he isn’t indeed willing to take a political hit in order to achieve what he and his leftist allies hope will be irreversible change. As with Obamacare, so with immigration. Whether Obama and his administration intended for this crisis on the border to occur, they’re quite happy to take advantage of it.

From his point of view, all the incentives work that way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rule of Law? Obama admin releases over 36,000 criminal aliens

May 14, 2014
Might as well throw it away

Might as well throw it away

Well, this should make us all feel oh-so-secure:

Here’s everything you need to know about immigration reform: last year the Obama administration released 36,000 criminal aliens into the United States population. The jailbreak was deliberate and included 193 murderers.

The Center for Immigration Studies obtained the information and released a report documenting the number and nature of the crimes committed by the aliens.

If 36,000 criminal aliens walking around your community wasn’t enough, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security is aiming to make it even easier for aliens to be released from detention. That’s what the groups agitating for immigration reform are demanding. That’s what the groups are likely to get.

The 2013 jailbreak included rapists, kidnappers, arsonists, burglars, sex offenders, and car thieves. That’s merely for 2013.

The criminals that Obama administration policies set free are unlikely ever to be deported. Detained aliens facing deportation are highly unlikely to ever be deported once they are set free into the general American population. They don’t show up for their deportation hearings, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t have the manpower or money to hunt down tens of thousands of criminal aliens.

That’s a heaping helping of criminality the Obama administration just introduced into America.

As J. Christian Adams points out, this is just another example of how the administration, particularly its highly politicized Justice Department, sides with the law-breaker over the law-abiding. (For more good, by which I mean “infuriating,” examples, have a look at Mr. Adams’ “Injustice: exposing the racial agenda of the Obama Justice Department”)

And, far beyond merely siding with criminals and applying a racialist filter to the administration of justice, we seen more examples than I think any of us would care to remember of this administration’s cavalier lip service to even the idea of a genuine rule of law, of a law common to all: waivers and delays in the implementation of Obamacare granted with no authority; bondholders and pensioners cheated in the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings; Congress’ legitimate oversight authority treated with contempt; our tax agency used to harass law-abiding citizens seeking only to exercise their rights to participate in politics, and so many others.

We have a real problem in America when one side feels the rules just don’t apply to them, so long as they think they’re in the right.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Foreign Service officers revolt against lousy Obama appointees

February 14, 2014
Qualifications

Qualifications

In the Catholic Church, the sin was called “simony,” the buying and selling of sacred offices, such as bishoprics. The practice was one of the abuses that lead to the Reformation. Now Foreign Service officers are rising against a secular simony, the Obama administration’s appointment of unqualified ambassadors who also happen to be big campaign donors:

After a string of rocky confirmation hearings for President Obama’s diplomatic nominees, the group representing America’s Foreign Service professionals signaled Friday that it’s had enough.

The organization, in a major rebuke, is now urging that the White House set minimum qualification standards for its ambassadorial nominees.

“The topic of the qualifications of ambassadorial nominees is of great interest to AFSA’s membership,” The American Foreign Service Association said in a statement. “All Americans have a vested interest in ensuring that we have the most effective leaders and managers of U.S. embassies and missions advancing U.S. interests around the globe.”

The American Foreign Service Association has long argued that ambassadorial nominees should, for the most part, come from the ranks of career professionals — as opposed to the ranks of top-dollar political donors. But the organization is taking its concerns to a new level, announcing Friday that it will propose new guidelines for “the necessary qualifications and qualities” for diplomatic candidates.

The statement said the group has been “closely monitoring” recent confirmation hearings.

AFSA has good reason to be upset. Administrations have typically operated under a 70-30 rule, under which political appointees (as opposed to professionals) were kept to around thirty percent of the available posts. Some went a little higher, others a little lower. The Obama administration, on the other hand, has broken all records: per AFSA, fully 53% of all appointees have been political, the trend rocketing during the second term.

If they were qualified, the practice would contemptible and venal, but tolerable. But many of these appointees are spectacularly unqualified:

  • Senator Max Baucus, appointed to represent us in China, admitted he was “no real expert” on China. This is the same China that holds most of our debt and is a growing military rival in the Pacific. The only reason Team Smart Power yanked him out of the Senate (from which he was retiring) was to try to save the seat for the Democrats in the coming midterms.
  • Hotelier and mega-bundler George Tsunis was so ignorant of of Norway, to which he had been appointed, that he managed to offend the Norwegian government at his confirmation hearing.
  • Noah Mamet, another bundler, admitted under questioning that he’s never been to Argentina, one of the most important countries in South America and which appears to be heading into a crisis. Maybe they should have asked if he could find it on a map.
  • And Colleen Bell, an Obama bundler and soap opera producer appointed to be our ambassador to Hungary, a nation whose democratic institutions are under attack by rising fascism, couldn’t describe our strategic interests in this NATO ally. Senator McCain utterly humiliated her in her hearing.

AFSA, which is not a union per se and has traditionally kept a low profile, is making the unprecedented demand that ambassadorial appointments meet some minimum qualifications. One would think this would already be true, but not apparently in Chicago-on-the-Potomac.

What’s next? Appointing Obama’s favorite horse?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, gee. Another illegal #Obamacare delay by King Barack I

February 11, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“We have a pen and a phone!”

Legal dictionaries define the word “usurpation” thus:

The illegal encroachment or assumption of the use of authority, power, or property properly belonging to another; the interruption or disturbance of an individual in his or her right or possession.

The term usurpation is also used in reference to the unlawful assumption or seizure of sovereign power, in derogation of the constitution and rights of the proper ruler.

–West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

In which case, what are we to make of this news:

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was again extending the ObamaCare enrollment deadline for people with pre-existing conditions.

The administration said it would extend the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), slated to end Jan. 31, until March 15.

“As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers’ transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by PCIP additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.

The deadline was originally at the end of December, but last month, the administration pushed it back through January because of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov.

The new extension is just the latest in a string of unilateral delays the administration has implemented to buy time after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.

By “unilateral,” the author means “done without any statutory authority from Congress, the body charged under the constitution with writing and rewriting our laws.”

Or, in a word, “usurpation.”

But that’s not the only one (hat tip ST):

Republicans renewed their calls to delay or repeal ObamaCare Monday after the Obama administration announced another delay in the requirement for businesses to provide health coverage to workers, giving some employers a reprieve next year while phasing in the mandate for others.

The administration had already delayed the implementation of the so-called employer mandate by a year, initially pushing the requirements off until 2015 — past the midterm elections. In a concession to business, though, Treasury Department officials announced Monday that the administration would not enforce the rules across the board next year.

(…)

As a result of the delay, the administration will let employers with 50 to 99 employees off the hook in 2015. They’ll be required to report on how many workers are covered but will have until 2016 before being required to cover full-time staff or pay a penalty. Americans would still be required to obtain health insurance through what’s known as the individual mandate.

In other words, they’re giving a break to some employers, but not others, with, again, no legal authority to do so. This isn’t “prosecutorial discretion,” as the administration has tried sometimes to claim, but the seizure of legislative authority by the Executive to effectively rewrite an inconvenient law.

Usurpation.

And, in the same article, Gabriel Malor found this gem:

To answer Gabe’s question, I’m willing to bet one could look high and low in the ACA and never find the authority.

But think about that highlighted portion and what follows: the Treasury, an executive department under the presidency, is unilaterally creating a criminal offense, a felony. Legislature? They don’t need no steenkin’ legislature! They’ll just rewrite the law as they see fit and then declare it a crime not to obey. (1)

To usurpation, then, let’s add “tyranny:”

a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially :  one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state.

“Tyranny” and “usurpation” have a much more meaningful ring to them than “overreach,” don’t you think? Why, I can hear Jefferson sharpening his pen, even now.

Under our Madisonian system, institutional jealousy is supposed to keep the various branches from encroaching on each other’s constitutional prerogatives, but, for various reasons, those barriers eroded over the last century, especially since the New Deal.

The remedies Congress has for these usurpations are few and clumsy, the two most relevant being the refusal to allocate funds, and impeachment. So why not impeach President Obama?

Like Andrew McCarthy, while I’m convinced impeachment is well-warranted, I don’t believe the necessary political will among the public yet exists to carry it out. (2) In fact, I contend that the resulting political crisis, given that the Senate would never convict absent direct evidence that Obama ax-murdered someone in the Oval Office, wouldn’t be worth the destruction of Republicans’ electoral prospects in the coming midterm elections, which, thanks to Obamacare, are looking better and better. With control of both chambers starting in 2015 (3), Republicans and conservatives will be in a much better position to geld the White House and send Obama even more often to the links.

And that’s the real solution to Obama’s usurpations and petty tyrannies: a good, old-fashioned election. As Clint Eastwood said, “We own this country.” It’s time for the owners to take charge.

PS: Some relevant humor from Slublog.

RELATED: Obamacare and the corruption of the rule of law. Yuval Levin on the “Adhocracy.”

Footnote:
(1) God, but I’d love to see this tested in federal court and watch a judge shove this back in the administration’s face like a grapefruit wielded by Jimmy Cagney.
(2) This was the big mistake of the Clinton impeachment, which was also merited: Clinton was well-liked by the public, and so the public consensus did not exist that would otherwise have pressured senators into convicting him. A drastic move like this in a republic requires public support a priori to be successful.
(3) I hope.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good News! Obama DoJ appoints Obama donor to investigate Obama #IRS

January 10, 2014
"Suckers."

What Team Obama thinks of us

This isn’t the fox guarding the henhouse. This is the fox walking into the henhouse with a chainsaw and locking the door behind him.

From The Washington Times:

The Justice Department selected an avowed political supporter of President Obama to lead the criminal probe into the IRS targeting of tea party groups, according to top Republicans who said Wednesday that the move has ruined the entire investigation.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, and regulatory affairs subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said they have discovered that the head of the investigation is Barbara Kay Bosserman, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department who donated more than $6,000 to Mr. Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, as well as several hundred dollars to the national Democratic Party.

“The department has created a startling conflict of interest,” Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan said in a letter sent Wednesday and reviewed by The Washington Times. “It is unbelievable that the department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government’s systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the president’s policies.”

That’s unfair of Mr. Issa; I’m sure Ms. Bosserman will get the bottom of this scandal and identify the real culprit — the Tea Party. And Sarah Palin, too, gosh darn her!

Meanwhile, the networks are focusing like a laser on a true national outrage: traffic jams in New Jersey.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


It is good to be King, isn’t it, @BarackObama?

January 7, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“Divine right”

Especially when you can use public money to give your (estranged?) (1) Queen her birthday gift:

Via Twitchy.

Some background from Bridget Johnson:

President Obama flew back from his holiday Hawaii break yesterday with daughters Sasha and Malia in tow, but without the first lady.

Michelle Obama stayed behind in Hawaii. According to the White House, “As part of her birthday gift from the President, the First Lady will remain in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday.”

(…)

According to the White House pool reports filed over the holiday break, President Obama would meet up with his wife for dinner but spent much of the vacation alone at the gym or with friends for many, many marathon hours of golf.

Trouble in the Royal Chamber? Anyone know what Vera Baker is doing these days?

PS: Sure, their private life is their business, and I’d be happy to keep it that way if their side didn’t feel so free to break that rule when the subject is on the Right. Besides, divorce rumors have swirled around those two, before. In the end, though, what burns me is the arrogant use of public money to buy a gift for Michelle. I can understand the need for security, hence no traveling on public airlines, but you can at least reimburse the country the cost of the fuel, Mr. President. (2)

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, it’s the Enquirer. But they have a better track record than their common reputation would suggest. As Bridget points out, they nailed John Edwards and Jesse Jackson’s affairs.
(2) That’s “Mr. President,” not “Your Majesty.” I do think he has trouble remembering the difference.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sure it’s a coincidence: two critics of #Obamacare audited by IRS

December 1, 2013
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Your Obamacare attitude adjuster”

Hey, remember when President Obama told his followers to punch back against their enemies “twice as hard?” Or when he joked about setting the IRS on his critics?

Maybe it’s not such a joke. Via Mark Steyn:

A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.

Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.

You’d think, after the public uproar over the revelations about the IRS harassing Americans for their political beliefs, that the agency and the administration would be wary of anything that resembled using the tax service as political weapon.

But that isn’t the Chicago Way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare fraud: enrollee count as legitimate as Chicago voter rolls

November 12, 2013
tarot card magician fraud trickster

“Trickery”

Seriously, if Amazon had done something like this, the Department of Justice and the SEC would be on their backs faster than you could say “indictment:”

The fight over how to define the new health law’s success is coming down to one question: Who counts as an Obamacare enrollee?

Health insurance plans only count subscribers as enrolled in a health plan once they’ve submited a payment. That is when the carrier sends out a member card and begins paying doctor bills.

When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid.

“In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace,” said an administration official, who requested anonymity to frankly describe the methodology.

The disparity in the numbers is likely to further inflame the political fight over the Affordable Care Act. Each side could choose a number to make the case that the health law is making progress or failing miserably.

What Ezra Klein, the article’s author and an administration apologist, Sarah Kliff, the Post article’s author, isn’t saying is that the administration’s “methodology” is nothing more than obfuscation, a con meant to create a “he said, she said” game that distracts from Obamacare’s indisputably miserable enrollment numbers.

This is as if Amazon had counted every item placed in a wish list or shopping cart as an “item sold,” even if the purchase were never completed. Investors seeing the government’s explanation buried in the footnotes of a quarterly report would rightly scream for the directors’ heads. It is rank fraud meant to make a failure look less bad (there’s no way they can make it look good), though it isn’t surprising coming from the White House that brought us “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

The willingness of the Obama administration to deceive the American people is just breathtaking. It really is “Chicago on the Potomac.”

UPDATE: For some reason, I had it stuck in my mind that Ezra Klein wrote the article. Now corrected.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Democrat city council of Annapolis plots coup d’etat against Republican mayor. Updated

November 11, 2013

"Cancel elections? Wonderful idea"

“The people have voted! So what?”

Democrats love democracy, except when the people vote for a Republican:

Days after a Republican was elected mayor of Annapolis, City Council members say they will revisit legislation that would strip the mayor’s office of much of its power.

Democratic Alderman Ross Arnett of Ward 8 tells The Capital he will introduce a charter amendment to move Annapolis to a council-manager style of government. The city manager would report directly to the City Council, not the mayor.

A Republican hadn’t been elected mayor since 1997; apparently, the prospect of Mike Pantelides (R) finally winning against the incumbent (D) was just too much for the poor dears on the council, so they’re going to save the people from themselves.

Now, I don’t know Annapolis politics, so maybe –just maybe– the council has a good reason for making this extraordinary move against the popular will. Perhaps Pantelides is corrupt? Maybe he’s another Bob Filner? What could be so horrible that the good Democrats on the council must take such stern measures?

Doing a little research, I went to Pantelides’ campaign site to see what I could learn. And the truth, my friends, was terrifying. From his “issues” page, the monster Pantelides advocates:

The Pantelides Plan:

No new taxes
Immediate Freeze on hiring
Meet with Department Heads and require them to justify each line, item by item in their budget
Streamline city government through consolidation of departments
Explore merging services such as transportation and waste removal with Anne Arundel County
Removing wasteful spending from budget that is not specifically spent to better our city and people

The horror. Hide your children’s eyes!

I can see what likely truly upset the Democrats: Pantelides would cut into their patronage jobs and crony contracts, all the name of saving the taxpayers of Annapolis some money and giving them a more efficient city administration.

How dare he??

But, don’t worry. The Democratic city council is there to save the day, ready to strip the mayor of his powers and render his office meaningless.

Just like the people’s votes.

PS: It just occurred to me that Annapolis is home to our Naval Academy, where future officers sworn to defend freedom of the seas and our liberty are educated. The irony is palpable.

PPS: Of course, the council is showing restraint. They, at least, are going to hold a vote, unlike the Democrats of Wilmington, NC, who launched the only violent coup in US history in 1898 against a Republican-Populist city administration that dared include Black officials. Stealing power seems rather to be a tradition with them, it seems.

via reader Lance

UPDATE: Frontline State, a conservative blog and news site in Maryland, cautions that this may not be as naked a political move as it seems at first glance. The question, as editor Jim Jamitis points out, will be to see who jumps on the bandwagon.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: When is a federal health program not a federal health program?

November 5, 2013
"Obama loan officer at work."

“Crooks welcome”

When our Beneficent Sun King and his minion Sebelius say so:

The Affordable Care Act is the biggest new health care program in decades, but the Obama administration has ruled that neither the federal insurance exchange nor the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low-income people are “federal health care programs.”

The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal health programs, stripping law enforcement of a powerful tool used to fight fraud in other health care programs, like Medicare.

The main purpose of the anti-kickback law, as described by federal courts in scores of Medicare cases, is to protect patients and taxpayers against the undue influence of money on medical decisions.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, disclosed her interpretation of the law in a letter to Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, who had asked her views. She did not explain the legal rationale for her decision, which followed a spirited debate within the administration.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of people will be able to buy insurance from “qualified health plans” offered on exchanges, or marketplaces, run by the federal government and by some states.

Most of the buyers are expected to be eligible for subsidies to make insurance more affordable. The subsidies, paid directly to insurers from the United States Treasury, start in January and are expected to total more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

And those subsidies from the Treasury are, of course, our money — dollars taken from our taxes or borrowed overseas. But, even though they’re provided by the US government to enable people to buy (artificially overpriced) insurance, they magically don’t count as a federal health care program.

What this ruling does is create the opportunity for graft via a huge kickback scheme: drug companies providing patients with coupons to lower their out-of-pocket for their prescription, for example, in order to tempt them away from lower-cost generics and toward the higher-priced branded drugs. The patient pays less via their co-pay, but the insurance company pays more to the drug company for the medicine. And if insurance companies have to pay more, you can bet they’ll pass those costs along to the consumer in the form of higher prices or fewer services.

Coming or going, it’s the taxpaying middle-class insurance purchaser who takes the hit.

One wonders if this was part of the deal worked out between Big Pharma and the administration back in 2009. Nah. Couldn’t be.

And, yes, I would like to buy that bridge.

via Neo in the ST comments

RELATED: David Freddoso explains how insurers profit from this scheme, too:

As conservatives have been warning since before Obamacare passed, the law creates a perverse incentive for them. Insurers are restricted under Obamacare as to what kind of profits they can make, but the restriction comes in the form of a percentage of what they spend on health care — also known as the Medical Loss Ratio. The law requires MLRs of 80 or 85 percent of premiums collected, depending on what kind of health plan you’re talking about. If the MLR doesn’t get that high, insurers have to start sending rebates to its customers. So that means the maximum profit (assuming zero administrative costs) is either 25 or 17.6 percent of total health care costs. By artificially increasing what they spends on health care, these kickback schemes allow insurers to push premiums higher and higher in the long run, so that their potential profits are larger with the same margins.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare web site contract a “crony contract?”

October 26, 2013
"Friends helping friends?"

“Friends helping friends?”

File this under “Things that make you say ‘Hmmm…’”

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

There is another strange item: at the company’s insistence, the Caller included the fact that a CGI executive testified before Congress that four unnamed companies had submitted bids. But, since CGI Federal’s was the only bid considered, this at first glance seems even more… “odd.” Why would they want to draw attention to evidence of special treatment?

The Daily Caller article provides no more evidence of any particular friendship or close connection between Michelle Obama and Toni Townes, but, given what we all know about the administration’s history of cronyism and Michelle Obama’s own involvement in patient-dumping scheme, this is worthy of note and further investigation.

Like I said, “hmmm…”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How lame is the Obama White House?

October 24, 2013

So lame, they can’t even slander someone right.

They’re an embarrassment to the Chicago Way.

via Instapundit


Why is the Obamacare web site crashing so much? The “Chicago Way”

October 15, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

That’s a question many have been asking, including speculation that, due to faulty design, the site is effectively attacking itself.

However, there’s another, albeit related cause for why people are having such a horrific experience with the site. Writing in Forbes, Avik Roy reports on a growing consensus that the the principal reason is the site is trying to hide the true costs of the policies it’s selling:

“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” (Emphasis added.)

As you know if you’ve been following this space, Obamacare’s bevy of mandates, regulations, taxes, and fees drives up the cost of the insurance plans that are offered under the law’s public exchanges. A Manhattan Institute analysis I helped conduct found that, on average, the cheapest plan offered in a given state, under Obamacare, will be 99 percent more expensive for men, and 62 percent more expensive for women, than the cheapest plan offered under the old system. And those disparities are even wider for healthy people.

Roy then asks the logical question: why create a system that raises the price of coverage?

Because, silly. It’s all about the wealth redistribution:

The answer is that Obamacare wasn’t designed to help healthy people with average incomes get health insurance. It was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions.

But the laws’ supporters and enforcers don’t want you to know that, because it would violate the President’s incessantly repeated promise that nothing would change for the people that Obamacare doesn’t directly help. If you shop for Obamacare-based coverage without knowing if you qualify for subsidies, you might be discouraged by the law’s steep costs. (Link added.)

In other words, Healthcare.gov demands to know your income information first so that it can calculate what, if any, subsidy you’re eligible for, in an attempt to both tempt you and shield you from sticker shock. But this then leads to “traffic congestion” as the site processes data from you and thousands of other users and then tries to verify what’s been input. And that, in turn, leads to the now-infamous site crashes.

Thus, base and deceptive political considerations were put ahead of seeing that Americans got at least a functional web site for their $634 million. We shouldn’t be surprised, though; it’s the Chicago way.

There’s much more, so be sure to read it all.

RELATED: At Hot Air, Allahpundit discusses on a health industry expert calling for the whole healthcare.gov site to be taken down for a month to fix the myriad problems. Heckuva job, Mr. President.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


But of course: Access to open air Flight 93 Memorial in rural Pennsylvania blocked off

October 15, 2013

If we had an honest press, instead of lapdog media courtiers, the White House pulling crap like this –turning the Park Service into a partisan police– would be headline national news.


#Shutdown follies: Park Service uses “Gestapo tactics” to harass, detain visitors to Yellowstone

October 8, 2013
"Klink! What are these tourists doing here??"

“Klink! What are these tourists doing here??”

That’s not me being hyperbolic; that’s the very description used by a tour guide who was taking a group of senior citizens, including visitors from overseas, to see one of our great natural resources. When they got there, they were instead treated to something out of a bad episode of Hogan’s Heroes:

Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week that was intended to showcase some of America’s greatest treasures.

Instead, the Salisbury resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle that made her embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

When finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route.

The capos …er… park rangers were under orders, they said, to keep people people from “recreating,” which apparently included a prohibition against merely stopping to take pictures of bison, or even using available restrooms at a private business on the way out. (The owner of the business was threatened with the loss of his business if he let the old folks use his facilities.) At the hotel, at which they were allowed to stay only two days, regardless of their reservations, some tourists justifiably began to wonder if they were prisoners:

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

When they left, some of the tourists said they’d never come back to the United States, and, frankly, I don’t blame them. This was an utterly disgusting, disgraceful, and outrageous way to treat guests at our national parks, whether American or foreign. Instead of showing our country at its best, Barack Obama’s Smokey the Stormtroopers made us look like something out of Eastern Europe under the Soviets.

This is the face of punitive liberalism, a feature of the American Left since the 1960s, but never shown as openly as under Obama. As Mark Steyn wrote in reference to the shutdown of the World War II Memorial and the attempt to bar WWII veterans from it:

The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations – plus $15 million or so from Washington: In other words, the feds paid for the grass. But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades. The Barrycades are such a perfect embodiment of what James Piereson calls “punitive liberalism” they should be tied round Obama’s neck forever, in the way that “ketchup is a vegetable” got hung around Reagan-era Republicans. Alas, the court eunuchs of the Obama media cannot rouse themselves even on behalf of the nation’s elderly warriors.

And so, because of a policy dispute in D.C. in which the House majority is properly acting in its role as the opposition to press its policies and block or amend the administration’s, the administration Royal Court has decided to use the Park Service to harass and intimidate innocent Americans and their guests in the hope that they’ll then take their anger out on those darned upstart Republicans. And that means keeping us out of the parks and memorials we paid for, even if it means ruined businesses and lost jobs.

What this calls for is some good old-fashioned civil disobedience. A lot more signs like these, please:

via Brian Faughnan

UPDATE: William Jacobson is nicer to the Park Service than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: Let’s evict the President’s mother-in-law

October 7, 2013
"Hit the road, Mrs. Robinson"

“Hit the road, Mrs. Robinson”

Since the administration has deemed it important to evict the elderly from their privately owned homes on federal land, perhaps we should kick nonessential personnel out of the federally-owned White House, too. Not Obama, of course; for all I dislike him, he is, sadly, essential.

His wife’s mother, however, is another matter:

Michelle Obama has referred to her mom in a stump speech, talking about her residence in the South Side of Chicago. Perhaps it’s time to head back. Maybe it would be asking too much for the president and his immediate family to vacate his federally-provided residence for the duration of the shutdown, but if Obama is willing to interpret the law to evict the aging and elderly from private buildings and businesses which may sit on federal land but which do not require federal services, then it’s well past time to end the hypocrisy and send Robinson to a nearby hotel. Presumably Obama can afford it, far more than those he seems intent on having the government harass under a tendentious and mendacious reading of the law.

If it’s good enough for 78-years old Joyce Spencer and her 80-years old husband, Ralph, it’s good enough for Marian Robinson (1), who, I’m quite sure, is living there at public expense. (2)

Footnote:
(1) Petty and vindictive? Nah. I’m just demanding equal treatment for all. I leave the mean-spirited bit to Obama. He’s a natural.
(2) Please. With the nouveau riche pretensions of the Obamas, do you really expect them to be reimbursing the government for the cost of her room and board?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Shutdown follies: the petty, petulant tyrannies of Barack Obama

October 6, 2013

"My will is enough!"

“Defy me, will you?”

While I’m not a fan of the shutdown strategy the Republicans employed in battling Obamacare, it has accomplished one thing, so far: showing what a small man President Obama is. Oppose Obamacare? Legitimately use the powers of the House, which most closely represents the people of the nation, to try to make changes to it? Dare to keep trying after he and his mean-spirited allies with shriveled souls have told you to stop? Then he’ll make sure the American people feel the pain.

We’ve already heard about the unconscionable harassment of elderly veterans who traveled to Washington to see their own monument, and then there was the bizarre news of threats to arrest priests who come to military bases to minister to servicemen, even if on a volunteer basis. Let’s take a few more.

At Mt. Pisgah, North Carolina, Bruce O’Connell runs an inn, which has been in his family for 35 years, on land leased from the federal government. Like any such business, it’s highly dependent on seasonal income. So, when, at the height of the tourist season, the Park Service told O’Connell to shutter his business, he said no. Then the Park Service decided to shut it down for him:

[O'Connell's] family has operated the inn on the parkway about 25 miles from Asheville, N.C., for 35 years. It the only spot for many miles along the 469.1-mile mountain route to sleep or grab a meal and go to the bathroom.

A handful of guests had lunch before Park Service patrol cars blocked the driveways, turning on their orange flashing lights. Rangers turned customers away, saying the government was closed.

The 51-room inn was booked solid for October. O’Connell said he plans to send refunds to customers who already paid though many planned vacations to see the fall colors months in advance.

His 100 employees are idled; 35 live on the property.

“It’s conscience and conviction that have taken over me, and I just can’t roll over any more,” he said.

While this example is bad enough, a truly infuriating one comes from Lake Mead, where the Park Service, Obama’s chosen enforcers, are keeping people from the homes they own — including the elderly:

Joyce Spencer is 77-years-old and her husband Ralph is 80. They’ve been spending most of their time in the family ice cream store since going home isn’t an option.

The Spencers never expected to be forced out of their Lake Mead home, which they’ve owned since the 70s, but on Thursday, a park ranger said they had 24 hours to get out.

“I had to go to town today and buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told Action News.

The Stewart’s Point home sits on federal land, so even though the Spencers own their cabin outright, they’re not allowed in until the government reopens.

In other words, your home, your property (1), but that doesn’t matter because Barack Obama wants you to feel the pain in the belief that you’ll then blame the Republicans. Joyce and Ralph Spencer are just tools to be used, peasants living on his demesne at his sufferance. As are we all, apparently.

But many Americans just aren’t putting up with it. Not just veterans visiting monuments, but everyday Americans who simply want to enjoy scenery by driving through, or just within view. But the Park Service has tried to block that, too, by putting up road cones to prevent people from stopping to snap a picture:

Blocking access to trails and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction was one thing, but state officials didn’t expect Congress’ budget stalemate to shut down a view of Mount Rushmore.

The National Park Service placed cones along highway viewing areas outside Mount Rushmore this week, barring visitors from pulling over and taking pictures of the famed monument.

But, just as the WWII veterans shoved their way through the “Barrycades” at their memorial in D.C., American families like this one are letting Washington know what they think of being kept out of parks their money paid for:

I think we need a lot more of this, all across the nation. There’s more at Twitchy.

Finally, in a move that reminds one of King Cnut, the administration has decided that the ocean, itself, is shut down:

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was “closed” due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban… of access to an ocean. The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

Of course, the King commanded the waves in order to give his courtiers a lesson in the limits of power. Obama, on the other hand, is trying to teach us a lesson about his power.

The question remains, though, of why Obama is acting like tinhorn tyrant, stamping his feet and lashing out in a tantrum? Jonah Goldberg thinks it shows a vindictive streak on his part and an inability to see those who disagree with him as reasonable people. He’s right, I’m sure, but I also believe there’s more. Obama learned how to be a politician in the corrupt environment of Chicago, a place where political “boss-ism” is the norm and “da Mayor” is “da Boss of Bosses.” Go against the mayor, and suddenly your garbage isn’t getting picked up, or health inspectors are “finding” rats in your restaurant’s spotless kitchen. Oppose Obama, and suddenly things go wrong. Play along, and everything’s nice again. “Nice place you have here. It’d be a shame if…”

That’s how Obama sees the presidency: as the Boss of Chicago, writ large.

via lots of people on Twitter

Footnote:
(1) I have to wonder if the Spencers and other residents there have a case based on the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment. There’s no denying that they’re being denied the use of their property, the use of which has been taken from them without compensation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How low can they go? Obama admin. blocked WWII vets from visiting their own memorial

October 1, 2013
D-day

“First they stormed Normandy, then their own memorial”

Pretty danged low, apparently.

When I first read about a group of WWII veterans having to push past barriers in order to visit the World War II memorial, closed supposedly as part of the Democrat shutdown of the government, I figured it was one of those snafus one hears all too often about when the subject of bureaucracy comes up. Annoying, infuriating, and disrespectful toward our veterans, but still unintentional.

What a naive fool I am.

According to Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS), whose special projects these Honor Flights have been, he contacted the Park Service, the Interior Department, the Capitol Police, and even the White House to get access for these veterans to a memorial built to honor them.

They all said “no:”

“We got the heads up that they will be barricaded and specifically asked for an exception for these heroes,” Palazzo told TheDC. “We were denied and told, ‘It’s a government shutdown, what do you expect?’ when we contacted the liaison for the White House.”

Palazzo’s office was in touch with the heads of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Capitol Police. He says all these officials rejected his request to allow the veterans, many of whom are octogenarians and some of whom are in poor health, to attend.

Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine veteran who has participated in all five of the Honor Flights, blames the White House for making it harder on veterans and playing politics. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”

In Chicago on the Potomac, you can get very, very low.

What a disgrace.

via McKay Coppins

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, why not? Yet another arbitary Obamacare delay

August 13, 2013
"Bad medicine"

“Quack medicine”

Yet another key part of this anti-constitutional monstrosity is found to be unworkable. This time, it’s the cap on out-of-pocket expenses and ban on lifetime dollar limits for beneficiaries, scheduled by law to begin in 2014. So, what does the Obama administration do when shown it’s prize law is wreaking havoc? Why, issue another probably illegal delay in enforcement.

There’s an election to worry about, after all.

From Avik Roy:

These mandates have already had drastic effects on a number of colleges and universities, which offer inexpensive, defined-cap plans to their healthy, youthful students. Premiums at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., for example, rose from $245 per student in 2011-2012 to between $2,507 in 2012-2013. The University of Puget Sound paid $165 per student in 2011-2012; their rates rose to between $1,500 and $2,000 for 2012-2013. Other schools have been forced to drop coverage because they could no longer afford it.

According to the law, the limits on out-of-pocket costs for 2014 were $6,350 for individual policies and $12,700 for family ones. But in February, the Department of Labor published a little-noticed rule delaying the cap until 2015. The delay was described yesterday by Robert Pear in the New York Times.

(…)

Notes Pear, “Under the [one-year delay], many group health plans will be able to maintain separate out-of-pocket limits for benefits in 2014. As a result, a consumer may be required to pay $6,350 for doctors’ services and hospital care, and an additional $6,350 for prescription drugs under a plan administered by a pharmacy benefit manager.”

The reason for the delay? “Federal officials said that many insurers and employers needed more time to comply because they used separate companies to help administer major medical coverage and drug benefits, with separate limits on out-of-pocket costs. In many cases, the companies have separate computer systems that cannot communicate with one another.”

The best part in Pear’s story is when a “senior administration official” said that “we had to balance the interests of consumers with the concerns of health plan sponsors and carriers…They asked for more time to comply.” Exactly how is it in consumers’ interests to pay far more for health insurance than they do already?

Businesses, of course, heaved a sigh of relief at the delay. Consumer groups, on the other hand, are outraged; after all, they supported Obamacare on the promise that their clients’ expenses would be capped. I do have some sympathy; some of these drug treatments are frighteningly expensive, particularly for those with chronic conditions. The promise of having the government pay for most of the care that may keep you alive is very tempting. On the other hand, as Roy points out, these caps do nothing for the underlying cost of treatment, which has to be paid by someone. Ergo, the Obamacare subsidies, which are really transfer payments from the young and healthy to those who are neither.

But, with this delay, the consumer is hit for at least 2014 with both the mandatory coverage requirements and high out-of-pocket expenses. And this comes on the heels of the delay in the employer coverage mandate that leaves the individual mandate in place.Once again, the Obama administration breezily waives a rule to benefit businesses,  while the consumer gets… Well, you know.

Good thing this administration is looking out for the little guy, no? I’d hate to see what would happen if they were out to get him.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sun King Obama to peasant reporter: “Do not bother me with lawyers!”

July 30, 2013
"My will is enough!"

“My will is enough!”

We’ve already noted President Le Roi Soleil Obama’s speech at Galesburg, Illinois, last week, in which he (again) revealed himself to be something of a schmuck. But, in addition to the neo-Marxist, class-warfare theme of the speech itself, something else came from that trip. In an interview with audience granted to Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear of The New York Times, Juan Peron Obama had this to say when asked about his unilateral, illegal, and unconstitutional decision to grant a delay in enforcement of the Obamacare employer mandate:

NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally — to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?

MR. OBAMA: Jackie, if you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security –

NYT: No, but specifically –

MR. OBAMA: — but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.

And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don’t think that’s a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions — very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.

I am concerned about the folks who I spoke to today who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement. And if I can take steps on their behalf, then I’m going to do so. And I would hope that more and more of Congress will say, you know what, since that’s our primary focus, we’re willing to work with you to advance those ideals. But I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.

Keep that in mind: he first dodges the question of whether he consulted with White House legal staff (or the staff of any relevant cabinet department) and then asserts that his critics are mere gadflies because they, unlike he, are not constitutional lawyers.

Translation: “Silence, you ignorant bitter-clinger!”

Let set the record straight: Obama taught con-law (a course on the 4th amendment, as I recall) and was regarded as faculty, but he was no great scholar. Really. Search the literature, and you’ll find next to nothing.  For him to dismiss the many well-read, educated people who have criticized his actions because they don’t have “esq.” after their names is the height of ivory-tower arrogance. And typical for the academic elitists from whose ranks he comes.

But look at that second paragraph: If Congress refuses to do what Obama wants, Obama will do it anyway, regardless of any grant of authority by the legislature, the only body constitutionally allowed to make laws. This isn’t the first time he’s dismissed Congress as a bother. From “I won” to issue after issue, he’s used the vast (too vast) administrative power of the Executive to make or rewrite law, and then stretched the limits of Executive power even further than anyone since FDR or Nixon. Think I’m exaggerating? Consider how many times Obama and his minions have been smacked down nine-to-nothing (9-0!) by the Supreme Court. That includes liberal Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, and the latter two were Obama appointees! If even those three think Obama’s White House has lost any constitutional moorings…

What we have here is a man who sees himself as a supercharged Mayor of Chicago, ruling as he wishes and only paying attention to the “city council” when he absolutely has to, not as the head of one branch of government dealing with a constitutionally equal branch, respecting the powers, boundaries, and traditions of both. “Consensus” means to Obama “do it my way.” And, when stymied, he feels no need to consult with anyone else, no need to wait for the people’s elected representatives to grant him authority, nor even any need to obey the law as written. His will be done. Even after five years, his arrogance is breathtaking.

And there’s a word for people who think they can rule on their own.

via Byron York

LINK: More from PJM’s Rick Moran.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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