#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)

Advertisements

Climate change is dominated by the water cycle, not carbon dioxide

October 8, 2013

A good essay on how the water cycle is far more important than CO2 in climate, well-worth reading.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times

Climate scientists are obsessed with carbon dioxide. The newly released Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that “radiative forcing” from human-emitted CO2 is the leading driver of climate change. Carbon dioxide is blamed for everything from causing more droughts, floods, and hurricanes, to endangering polar bears and acidifying the oceans. But Earth’s climate is dominated by water, not carbon dioxide.

View original post 728 more words


Obamacare’s doctored coverage: destroying the private insurance market

October 8, 2013
"Quack medicine"

“Quack medicine”

I linked this in my last post, but it really deserves top-level billing of its own as a picture-perfect example of how Obamacare harms, not helps, the middle classes.

Redondo Beach resident Steve Duschene has bought his own insurance on the individual market for several years now and has had to deal with the problems of rising costs, often by cutting back on coverage he’d otherwise like to keep. So, he decided to try buying a policy on Covered California, our state exchange.

What he found was, to say the least, upsetting:

I have visited the state exchange, CoveredCA.com, and what I found is not encouraging. In fact, it’s frightening, with few policy choices, higher monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.

(…)

Relieved to see Anthem, which has provided my family’s health insurance policies for nearly 10 years, I was stunned by the $900 monthly premium, not to mention higher out-of pocket costs. Like our current plan, Anthem’s Obamacare policy would cover three doctor visits per person per year, but with a 35 percent increase in the monthly premium.

The sticker shock did not end at the premium. Our doctor office co-payment would double from $30 under our current policy to $60 under the Obamacare policy, and in the event of a trip to an emergency room, our co-pay would triple from $100 to $300. Our current policy includes no co-pay for an urgent care visit; Obamacare would hit us for a co-pay of $120.

Duschene then notes the dilemma of the individual policy buyer:

Under Obamacare, however, there appears to be no alternative to significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If we want insurance, we will have no choice but to shop through the exchange.

But he’s also careful to note  the alternative, which is to not carry insurance, but buy it only at need, knowing that one cannot be refused. He correctly calls this, as I have in other posts on other facets of Obamacare, a “perverse incentive.” And his closing reveals that this isn’t a bug, but a feature:

Back in January, the Anthem representative could not predict Obamacare prices, but now we know. And the more we learn about the Affordable Care Act, the less affordable it becomes. It’s open season on individual health insurance consumers.

Per Congresswoman “Red” Jan Schakowski and President Barack Obama, that’s the whole point: the destruction of the private insurance market.

You can bet there are a lot more stories like Steve Duschene’s. It’s in the plan.

via Stuart Stevens

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obamacare rollout: “glitches” plague insurers

October 8, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

It’s not just consumers being caught up in the Obamacare rollout issues rolling disaster of this anti-constitutional monstrosity’s implementation. According to Bloomberg, insurance companies at the other end of the sign-up process are receiving scads of useless data, leaving them unable to enroll many applicants:

Insurers are getting faulty and incomplete data from the new U.S.-run health exchange, which may mean some Americans won’t be covered even after they sign up for an insurance plan.

While it’s not clear how widespread the problem is, the reports from industry consultants are the first hint that the technical troubles faced by consumers trying to enroll in health plans under the Affordable Care Act may also be hitting the insurers. The companies are receiving electronic files that can’t open or have so much missing information on new enrollees they’re unusable, the consultants said.

Some insurers have been forced to fix entries by hand, said Bob Laszewski, an insurance-industry consultant based in Arlington, Virginia.
“If we don’t see substantial improvement by the end of this week, then I would throw up the yellow flag,” said Dan Schuyler, a consultant advising states and insurers on the exchanges. “If we don’t see it in the next two to three weeks, it’s time for red flags. The concern is some people could get to Jan. 1, and not have coverage.”

No, really? According to Covered California, our state-based exchange in one of the biggest potential markets for Obamacare, the sign up rate was 0.58 percent. And, per Hot Air, Maryland has seen 326 enrollments out of a potential 600,000, for a whopping 0.00054 percent. Not that that hasn’t stopped Bloomberg News from spinning like a top to paint the state exchanges as a relative success, but I digress. The federal government operates exchanges for the majority of states. The very fact that the government refuses to release enrollment figures for another month indicates very few have successfully signed up. And that’s just accounting for healthcare.gov’s infamous slowness and crashes at the consumer end. Per Bloomberg again, the back-end troubles may make those November figures suspect:

With the government site, some of the electronic files are being transfered with missing data or are corrupted to the point where they can’t be opened, Laszewski and Schuyler said in telephone interviews.

To fix the files, insurers have to go through them by hand. When thousands of people sign up, as the U.S. is hoping will happen before mid-December, it may create a large backup, the two consultants said.

They’re not kidding. Imagine what will happen when December hits and more and more people who are losing their insurance coverage realize they must buy insurance or be fined. If they’re having this kind of problem now —after more than three years to prepare— the meltdown caused by an end of the year rush could easily be… Well, look at the picture at the top.

And it’s not just right-side blogs and news sources noticing this. An editorial at USA Today, a part of the liberal Gannett chain, is just brutal, calling the rollout an “inexcusable mess:

President Obama’s chief technology adviser, Todd Park, blames the unexpectedly large numbers of people who flocked to Healthcare.gov and state websites. “Take away the volume and it works,” he told USA TODAY’s Tim Mullaney.

That’s like saying that except for the torrential rain, it’s a really nice day. Was Park not listening to the administration’s daily weather report predicting Obamacare’s popularity?

Park said the administration expected 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users. It got 250,000. Compare that with the similarly rocky debut seven years ago of exchanges to obtain Medicare drug coverage. The Bush administration projected 20,000 simultaneous users and built capacity for 150,000.

That’s the difference between competence and incompetence.

Ouch. That’s a comparison that will leave a mark.

So, with massive problems on the consumer end coupled with unusable applications at the insurers’ end, and what may be fatally flawed software design, it looks like the government has a building fiasco on its hands. Too bad no one in the government foresaw this.

Oh, wait…

via Jim Geraghty

RELATED: At the Los Angeles Business Journal, Steve Duschene calls Obamacare “doctored coverage.” Do read it; it’s a glowing example of how the average middle class American is getting the shaft.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)