White House expresses total confidence in #Obamacare web site

November 30, 2013
"Obamacare"

“The Obamacare Express”

Remember that December 1st deadline to have healthcare.gov actually working? Hey, they even had a tech surge and everything! So, they’re going to be ready and millions will flock to the site, right? Right??

Eh… Well?

White House officials, fearful that the federal health care website may again be overwhelmed this weekend, have urged their allies to hold back enrollment efforts so the insurance marketplace does not collapse under a crush of new users.

At the same time, administration officials said Tuesday that they had decided not to inaugurate a big health care marketing campaign planned for December out of concern that it might drive too many people to the still-fragile HealthCare.gov.

With a self-imposed deadline for repairs to the website approaching on Saturday, the administration is trying to strike a delicate balance. It is encouraging people to go or return to the website but does not want to create too much demand. It boasts that the website is vastly improved, but does not want to raise expectations that it will work for everyone.

In other words, it’s nowhere near ready and, let’s face it, they’re going to find even more bugs as they dig deeper into the system, while some of the fixes are sure to create problems of their own. As of a week ago, the payment system was nonexistent (You don’t get covered until you pay), while the system to pay insurers the subsidy money is months away from being ready.

But, yeah, everything will be copacetic tomorrow.

Via Walter Russell Mead, who has this to say on the potential political consequences:

Remember that many Democrats have cited December 1st (tomorrow!) as the deadline for the website. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if healthcare.gov isn’t working reasonably well by then, many are contemplating distancing themselves publicly from the law. The White House’s attempts to direct people away from the site on and even after that date can’t be doing much to convince Democrats that the site will be ready. The website may be, as the administration claims, getting better all the time. But if Democrats frustrated with a missed December deadline defect from the administration in the coming weeks, continued, gradual improvement might be too little, too late.

I’m beginning to think Charles Krauthammer may be right: Democrats will be the ones who will put an end to Obamacare, just to try to save themselves.

PS: Back from Thanksgiving with the family. I hope you all had a great day. 🙂

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2013

No blogging today, folks. Enjoy the holiday. Happy


Off for the holiday

November 27, 2013
"On the road again..."

“On the road again…”

I’m off for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the loyal Public Secrets minions have been unchained from their desks through Friday, so no new items until Saturday at the earliest.

Assuming I can recapture those escaped sla… er… round up my loyal minions by then, of course.

Enjoy the holiday! smiley eating gluttony


In which Barack Obama resembles James Buchanan

November 26, 2013
"Obama's true predecessor"

“Obama’s true predecessor”

Not in the sense of “after him, a civil war,” of course. That line of thinking, which I’ve occasionally seen, is a bit overwrought. But something Stanley Kurtz wrote today made me think of Jimmy B.

Discussing what may have motivated Obama to ink this bad deal with Iran, Kurtz discounts the idea that it was done to give the administration a win after the Obamacare debacle. Rather, Kurtz thinks that Obama did this because his support has shrunk to his hardcore base, and that base hates the very idea of violent conflict with Iran. To keep from losing this last group, which is already angry over Obamacare’s problems, Obama is willing even to sign an agreement that wreaks havoc on the US position in the Middle East, as long as it postpones conflict with Iran. Kurtz writes:

Americans are weary of war and few on any political side were inclined to bail Obama out of his Syrian “red line” misadventure. Yet there is still a strong constituency for taking action when core American interests are threatened. That constituency, unfortunately, stands largely outside of Obama’s base.

To the extent that this analysis is valid, it means that as long as Obamacare is on life-support (for the next three years, by most accounts), Obama’s policy inclinations and political survival alike will conspire to dictate American weakness on the world scene. With Obama down to his dovish core supporters, we are paralyzed abroad.

And it’s this that makes me think of the hapless Pennsylvanian. Faced with a potential crisis, trapped by his ideology and party supporters who loathed the idea of federal intervention against the states, Buchanan sat there and temporized and let the problem fester until he could hand it off to Lincoln and say “You deal with it!”

And so it is with Obama and whoever succeeds him.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


CA High-Speed Rail Fail: Judge derails Gov. Brown’s choo-choo?

November 26, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Darn Judge Michael Kenny and his concern for the law! Doesn’t he know he’s standing in the way of the future?

A Sacramento judge put the brakes on California’s plans to build a bullet train after dual rulings Monday blocked the sale of $8 billion in bonds and ordered the rail authority to rewrite its funding plans for the huge project.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled that there was “no evidence in the record” to support the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s request in March to sell the bonds from Proposition 1A, a $10 billion measure approved by voters in 2008 that allowed the bullet train project to move ahead.

In a separate but related case, the judge sided with the Kings County Board of Supervisors and two homeowners who sued the rail agency, saying it had failed to detail how the project will be financed, as legally required, before seeking bond money to begin construction.

The judge’s rulings leave the future of the $68 billion project in question. The state has been trying to get the first 130-mile segment in the Central Valley built using $3.24 billion in federal funds and $2.61 billion in Prop. 1A bond money. The rail authority has already signed a construction contract to build the first 29 miles of track from Madera to Fresno.

The judge rejected opponents’ calls for that contract to be rescinded.

The judge’s ruling seems a reasonable one, as he sticks to the question of CHSRA’s authority to sell bonds (1); the contract is a separate matter and, if the State can’t raise the money to pay for it, also moot.

Naturally, this ruling is going to get appealed by proponents of this boondoggle all the way to the State Supreme Court, if need be. Let’s hope they uphold Judge Kenny’s ruling; then maybe we can escape from this fiasco having wasted only $600 million.

I’m not, however, getting my hopes up. The legislature might try to rewrite the law to allow the bond sales. This would be difficult and subject to court challenges, as the original measure approving HSR was a public ballot initiative, and changing it might require another vote, something Brown opposes because the California public has turned against the project. He wouldn’t want to risk a public rejection that would definitively kill his 1930s retro-future dream. Whichever way this goes, it’s going to be a long fight.

As they say, “stay tuned!”

Footnote:
(1) I almost wrote “”bongs.” Fitting, seeing as this is California.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IranDeal: It wasn’t just the Israelis and the Saudis Obama backstabbed

November 26, 2013
"Left to rot."

“Left to rot.”

There’s been a lot of talk since the weekend about the deal brokered between Iran on the one hand, and the US and its European partners on the other, that supposedly somehow represented a breakthrough in the quest to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Discussions have centered around diplomacy and grand strategy, and the motives of the Iranian and US governments. Matter of “high politics,” as they might have said in the 19th century.

But the agreement touches people on a very personal level, too. Left unmentioned in any of the negotiations are Americans trapped in Iranian prisons, men such as Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho who was accused of the horrid crime (in Iran, under Islam) of preaching the Gospel and helping to establish home churches (1). Abedini was yanked off a bus, his passport taken from him, and he was consigned to Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

And, in the negotiations leading to this wonderful deal, the US never mentioned him once:

Two words are nowhere to be found in the pages of text that spell out a new interim nuclear deal with Iran: Saeed Abedini.

Now some supporters of the American pastor, who’s been detained in Iran for more than a year, are accusing U.S. officials of betraying Abedini by signing off on an agreement that doesn’t get him out of prison.

“We were across the table from the Iranians, and we did not bring home Americans. To me that’s a tragedy and that’s outrageous,” said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s family in the United States.

While analysts debated the nuclear agreement’s pros and cons, Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, said she was trying to comfort her two young children.

“It’s very painful,” she told CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday. “My kids were crying this morning, saying, ‘God, don’t let Daddy die. Bring him home.’ “

One would think an American government, leading a nation founded on principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, would have raised a stink about Abedini at these negotiations, something along the lines of “You want sanctions lifted and your sequestered cash released? Give us Abedini and we’ll talk.” (2)

But then one would remember Barack Obama is in charge. Defending Americans in danger abroad is a bit alien to him, as we learned in Libya.

Via Bryan Preston, who connects Abedini’s abandonment to his Christianity and draws a parallel to the Obama administrations attacks on religious liberty here. I disagree with Bryan on this: nations have often sacrificed individuals for “reasons of state” when a higher goal was at stake. In the Obama administration’s case, the nuclear deal with Iran was paramount, and if the government was willing to blindside Jewish Israel and Muslim Saudi Arabia with this, they weren’t going to let the fate of Saeed Abedini (or Robert Levinson) stand in the way. It’s shameful and cynical, to be sure, but not religiously motivated.

RELATED: There are several good articles explaining why this deal stinks. At The Weekly Standard, John Bolton calls this “abject surrender.” Writing at PJM, Michael Ledeen points out, among other excellent observations, that the Iranian treasury was almost empty, but we’ve now agreed to give them billions. Genius. Eli Lake at The Daily Beast quotes an expert who says this comes close to a “nuclear 1914 scenario.” How fitting, with the hundredth anniversary of World War I approaching. James Carafano calls this a deal based on a dangerous fantasy — Munich II. My own observation is this: Regardless of the restrictions placed on the Iranian public nuclear program by this deal, if you think there isn’t a secret program run in parallel by the military that is still going full-speed, you’re high.

This deal makes war more likely, not less.

PS: There’s a support page for Pastor Abedini at Facebook, and a web site for Robert Levinson.

Footnote:
(1) Abedini’s offense was compounded by being himself a convert to Christianity from Islam. Under Islamic law, that is the crime of apostasy and is punishable by death. I suppose the Iranians thought they were being merciful for just sticking him in jail for eight years.
(2) Not that I’m a religious person, but I believe very strongly in the natural right of all humans to freedom of speech and religion, and, within very broad bounds, government should stay the heck out. No law is legitimate that oppresses those rights, and an American government that won’t stand up for its citizens’ rights in the face of a tyranny that tramples both is craven.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: Cover Oregon reduced to telling people to use a fax to apply

November 25, 2013
"An Obamacare navigator ready for action"

“An Obamacare navigator ready for action”

Forward!

KOIN 6 News confirmed Cover Oregon has added dozens of extra fax lines to handle the paper applications being sent in by fax.

On Wednesday, King said they had received about 24,000 paper applications. That number now is closer to 30,000. But many people complained of busy signals when trying to send in their application by fax.

Michael Cox, the Cover Oregon spokesperson, said their office has one fax number but it’s an electronic interface that can handle more than one call at once. When a fax comes in it takes two seconds per page to be transferred into the server.

When the paper applications began, Cover Oregon was only able to take 500 applications per day. It was upped to 1000, and this week increased to 1500 per day.

Cox said he’s absolutely confident Cover Oregon has the capacity to deal with the applications.

Because nothing says “health care of the future” like using technology invented in the 19th century.

(Don’t forget, all those faxed-in applications still have to be entered into the nonfunctional exchange.)

via Hot Air


Tax-cheat Charlie Rangel: Obama should just bypass Congress

November 25, 2013
"Cancel elections? Wonderful idea"

“We don’t need no steeenking Congress!”

How dare the opposition act like an opposition and actually oppose what President Obama is trying to do, even though they think his plans are awful! I mean, what the Hell do they think they’re in Congress for, to represent the people who elected them, or enact Obama’s will?

New York’s Charlie Rangel obviously thinks it’s the latter:

Congressman Charlie Rangel has a solution for bypassing gridlock in Washington D.C.: executive orders for “everything.”

In an interview last night with NY1, the congressman praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to push through the so-called “nuclear option” to end filibusters on most presidential nominees. But he lamented the fact the work-around could not be used for legislation, suggesting the president turn to the executive orders–like the kind used to end the deportation many people who’d entered the country illegally as children.

“You know, the DREAM Act for the kids that came over here and didn’t know their home town, the president did that by executive order. What I did is I’ve taken out the language that he used and I’m gonna see why we can’t use executive orders for everything. What’s he gonna do? Make the Republicans angry? They’re gonna get annoyed? They’re not gonna cooperate?”

He went on to slam the Republican Party for refusing to cooperate–accusing them of acting against the interests of their own constituents.

Progressive Democrats. They’re all for democracy and the Constitution, until they can’t get what they want. Because, you know, they know better, and any opposition is illegitimate.

Via my blog-buddy ST, who had this to say:

How DARE Republicans disagree with Democrats and President Obama on how best to turn around the economic crisis our country faces – a crisis that has actually gotten WORSE under their watch?  Shame on the GOP for accurately predicting exactly what problems Obamacare would cause.  It was just pure luck they got it right. There can’t possibly be any genuine philosophical differences for disagreement with liberals. Why, conservatives and Republicans just want to “destroy” people. Oh, and raaaaaaaaaacism!

Liberal Fascism. It’s a thing.

PS: Did I mention Charlie is a tax cheat?


#Obamacare Chronicles: another cancer victim loses the insurance she likes

November 25, 2013
Liar.

“You’re welcome, America!”

We knew Edie Sundby wouldn’t be the only one. In Virginia Beach, grandmother and kidney-cancer sufferer Debra Fishericks was happy with the coverage she has, but the federal government wasn’t. Guess who won?

“We were happy,” says the business owner. “We had great insurance. We had continuing care for our employees.”

Says the owner, “Great–until owner Betsy Atkinson learned the policy would be terminated because it doesn’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”

Great work there, Democrats. Your genius plan is not only making healthcare worse in this country, but it’s going to get people killed.

(h/t The Weekly Standard)

RELATED: From my beloved Golden State, read how one family is having to scrimp and save every penny, because Obamacare is wreaking havoc on their finances. At least they’re not having to consider bankruptcy because of the ACA. Yet. Meanwhile, Covered CA (the state Obamacare exchange) teamed with SEIU and the California Endowment to hold a sign-up party in Sacramento, probably because not enough of the young and healthy are volunteering to be fodder for the ACA vampire. Of the roughly 1,500 people who showed up for the one-day event, ten completed applications, while less than 50 others had even started one.

Forward!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Kerry: Nuke deal doesn’t give Iran right to enrich; Iran: World recognized our right to enrich

November 24, 2013

This is an awful deal that, at best, kicks an eventual confrontation down the road a ways. Not quite Munich, but a feckless diplomacy of a weak administration has made war more likely, not less.


CA High-Speed Rail Fail: $600 million spent, not a mile of track laid

November 23, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Because The Future! Or something:

The latest accounting by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to state lawmakers indicates that the agency has spent almost $600 million on engineering and environmental consultants — all without turning a shovelful of dirt on construction.

In the twice-a-year report (PDF) sent to legislative leaders on Friday, the agency is sticking to its estimated price tag of $68.3 billion to build its San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet-train line. The agency earlier this year approved a $987 million contract with a team of contractors to design and build the first 29-mile stretch of the line from Madera through Fresno.

But while contractors Tutor Perini Corp., Zachry Construction and Parsons Corp. have been given a green light for engineering and other pre-construction activities, the authority has offered no estimate of when ground may be broken .

If the name “Tutor-Perini” rings a bell, you’re not just hearing things. Tutor-Perini’s principle owner is Richard Blum. Blum has been mentioned before in this blog, and there have been allegations in the past of cronyism in the winning of government contracts by companies he’s involved with. By sheer coincidence, Blum is also the husband of Senator Diane Feinstein.

Fancy that.

But, back to the more than half-a-billion, this is money that has been spent before construction has even begun on the initial Fresno to Madera segment. The Fresno Bee article describes what we’ve gotten for our money, so far:

“The authority has made significant progress in its mission to plan, design, build and operate the nation’s first high-speed rail system as part of the statewide rail modernization program,” agency CEO Jeff Morales wrote in the report.

The report details a raft of administrative advances, including filling all of its executive management positions, developing a risk-management plan, issuing a report on greenhouse-gas emissions, and awarding the construction contracts for the Madera-Fresno stretch.

(I hope those executives got some nice chairs for that $600 million.)

There is still an environmental report –Yay! More consulting fees!– for the area around Chowchilla to be done, which is why this state version of a shovel-ready project hasn’t started. Already they’re two years behind schedule.

And the whole ball of wax (with attendant fees) has to be done for at least six other segments from San Francisco to Anaheim. Luckily, the High-Speed Rail Authority is allowed to spend up to $980 million on pre-construction “consulting contracts” through 2018. No way they’ll come asking for more public money (1). Nope. Nuh-uh.

I can’t wait to see what the costs come to once they actually start building this boondoggle.

Nice legacy ya got there, Governor.

Footnote:
(1) Funded by either public borrowing or higher taxes, of course.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Hitler finds out he can’t keep the doctor he likes

November 22, 2013

And Der Fooey is not happy:

“If only the National Socialist German Workers Party was considered  a labor union!” Heh. smiley giggle

via Power Line


#Obamacare: more broken promises to haunt Democrats

November 22, 2013
"Cross my fingers!"

“Cross my fingers!”

It’s not just the “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie or the forthcoming “access shock” that Democrats have to worry about as we approach the 2014 midterm elections. At the Washington Examiner, Byron York describes three more promises the president and his party made about Obamacare that could easily come back to bite them. Here’s one:

1) Obamacare will save your family $2,500 a year.

During the 2008 campaign, and as president, Obama promised his health plan would “cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.” But Obama and fellow Democrats knew that many premiums would actually go up. Obamacare provides taxpayer-paid subsidies to millions of Americans with which to pay the higher prices, but those without subsidies will have to deal with the problem themselves.

In any event, the savings aren’t happening, and the administration has abandoned the $2,500 claim. Obama avoided repeating it when Mitt Romney threw it at him during the 2012 presidential debates. And at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pointedly did not use the figure, even when Republican lawmakers pressed her about it.

“I didn’t say they’re going down,” Sebelius said of health care premiums. “I said the rates are lower than was predicted. And for millions of people in the market, they will actually, for the first time ever, have some financial help paying for their health insurance.”

So the promise of $2,500 savings has become a reality of rising premiums, with subsidies for some. It’s a broken promise that could prove politically toxic for the administration.

I imagine there are quite a few people who would like to remind Secretary Sebelius of her boss’ exact words.

The other two are –and try not to laugh– Obamacare as a job-creating bill (1) and a guarantee that it won’t harm those who are already insured (2).

I’m willing to bet there’s a growing number of incumbent Democrats who are considering retirement much more seriously these days.

Footnotes:
(1) I bet these people (and these) would beg to disagree, Nancy. Loudly and in your face.
(2) You mean, people such as Edie Sundby, a stage-4 cancer patient?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Harry Reid goes nuclear: get ready for “Court Packing Scheme II.” Updated

November 21, 2013
"Senate Grinch"

“Bitter clinger to power”

This morning the petty little tyrant also known as Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) did what he has longed to do and finally changed the rules of the Senate to weaken filibusters, the so-called “nuclear option:”

In a move that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called “the most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed the button on the long-threatened “nuclear option” today to require a simple majority to move forward President Obama’s judicial nominees.

There were three Democratic defectors — Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — on the rules change, which came to the floor over the block of three judges intended for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The rule change only affects court appointments below the level of the Supreme Court and also doesn’t limit filibusters against legislation. Yet. Obama hinted at attacking the legislative filibuster, and you can bet the filibuster against Supreme Court nominees will be similarly brushed aside, should an opening arise between now and the next Inauguration Day.

Many senators and outside observers (including yours truly) commented this morning that this could well come back to bite the Democrats in the behind, once the Republicans take control of the Senate, which could come as early as next year, given their crumbling political position thanks to Obamacare. It seems at first and even second glance to be a shortsighted move, an act of petulance done in spite against one’s own interests.

I think, however, there is a deeper motive.

Reid, for all his faults, is not a stupid man. Or, at least, he’s a skilled politician who can see which way the electoral winds are blowing. He remembers 2010, when anger over the passage of Obamacare cost the Democrats the House and almost lost them the Senate.

But now people are even angrier, now that Obamacare has kicked in.  And it’s only going to get worse for the Democrats, as the web site doesn’t get fixed, the “access shock” kicks in, rates go up even further, and millions who thought their employer-based coverage was safe find out otherwise starting in fall, 2014, just before the elections… See where this is going?

Harry Reid knows the Senate is lost. He’s read the entrails for his party’s fortunes and seen in the not too distant future a Republican House, Senate, and (quite possibly) White House. With the loss of legislative power this entails, Reid has laid the groundwork to do the one thing he can do to protect the progressive agenda in 2017 and beyond: pack the courts with progressive judges.

Court packing was the scheme through which FDR hoped to load up a conservative Supreme Court that had been blocking key New Deal measures with liberal justices who would swing decisions his way. While the plan per se failed, it had the intended effect: the Court was intimidated and, through retirement and changed minds, started to vote FDR’s way.

Reid has the same thing in mind. I would not be surprised at all to see Obama appoint a bunch of appellate and district judges, in order to have them place when Republican measures undoing Obamacare and other progressive legislation are challenged in court. Long after Reid and his majority are gone, these progressive judges would be in place to rule with “empathy” and “fairness” and find new rights in the Constitution that no one else has ever seen there.

But what about the Supreme Court? Wouldn’t they smack down errant lower courts?

You’d better hope Scalia, Thomas, and the other Center-Right justices stay healthy, otherwise this same maneuver will be used to give us, for example, Cass Sunstein, who is a fan of FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights,” or California Justice Goodwin Liu (Be afraid, be very afraid).

Court Packing II, coming your way in 2014.

RELATED: At Twitchy, a video festival of Democrats claiming that limiting the filibuster would be a disaster — back when George W. Bush was president. How times change.

UPDATE: At NRO’s Bench Memos, Curt Levey sees some real bad news in this development —

The immediate impact will be to turn the D.C. Circuit — often the only check on a president’s executive power — into a rubber stamp for Obama’s unilateral rewriting of statutes, his questionable executive orders, his overreaching agency regulations, and his other Nixonian abuses of executive authority.

Over a somewhat longer term, my concern is that the moderating force that was exerted on Obama’s judicial nominations by the filibuster threat is gone. As a result, expect to see more nominations of radicals like Goodwin Liu and a faster remaking of the entire federal judiciary.

Read the rest for some hopeful news.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: consulate staff pleaded for help during attack

November 20, 2013
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

It’s enough to make one want to punch a wall in frustration:

State Department employees at the Benghazi compound knew they were in a death trap and made a series of radio distress calls to the CIA annex during the terror assault last year, according to congressional sources familiar with recent testimony on the attack from five CIA personnel.

Sources told Fox News that the radio calls, which were described in closed testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, were characterized as almost frantic, with State Department employees who knew they could not defend themselves “pleading” for their lives.

Let me interrupt for a moment to state something we all know in our hearts is true: If this had happened under George W. Bush, those Americans would not have had to beg for help. The operatives at the Annex would not have been told to stand down and they would not have had to defy orders in order to help those trapped at the consulate. Whatever his other failings, Bush understood a commander-in-chief’s  duties.

Unlike certain other Savior-Presidents I can think of.

Back to the story:

When the CIA team arrived from the annex about a mile away, they found the State Department employees without guns that could adequately protect them; one of the agents was found hiding in the consulate, apparently in a closet. The testimony lends more weight to repeated claims, in the wake of the attack, that the consulate was not adequately protected despite being located in a volatile and violent area prone to attack.

When the CIA personnel were asked for their reaction to the administration’s initial explanation that an anti-Islam video and a demonstration gone awry were to blame for the attack, Fox News is told they were seething with anger because everything on the ground — from their perspective — showed it was a premeditated attack.

At least three of the five — who were all in Benghazi — responded to the scene that night. The witnesses testified that five mortars rained down on the annex in less than a minute. They pointed to those details as more evidence of a professionally trained team, describing the attack on the annex as akin to a professional hit on the operation in order to drive it out of Benghazi.

Emphasis added. Be sure to read the rest. The testimony of the CIA personnel comports with the analysis given by Lt. Col. Wood in the now-retracted “60 Minutes” story on Benghazi. It also supports the contention of Dylan Davies, the British security specialist at the center of the “60 Minutes” controversy, that the consulate, located in a known al Qaeda recruiting area, was woefully insecure in spite of repeated requests to Washington for upgrades.

An article from yesterday, also by Catherine Herridge, raises new questions about the role of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, whose testimony in 2012 was strongly contradicted by that of the survivors of the battle:

This testimony is seen by lawmakers as more overwhelming evidence that the attack was premeditated terrorism and that these facts were known almost immediately by then-CIA Director David Petraeus – who downplayed the skill and planning needed to use mortars with such accuracy during his Sept. 14, 2012 briefing to Congress.

Somehow, I think the relevant committees of the House will have new questions for the disgraced war hero.

The central issue here, however, is the incompetence bordering on malfeasance on the part of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The State Department under Clinton was almost bloody-minded in its refusal to provide adequate security for a post that was effectively in daily contact with the enemy. And President Obama failed utterly in his duties to oversee our interests in a nation where he had overthrown the government and created a client state. Why wasn’t he verifying that Benghazi had sufficient protection? Why didn’t he make sure there was a sufficient force on standby to come to the aid of a station in hostile territory?

Wait. What am I saying? There was fundraising to be done!

Obama, Clinton, and their immediate advisers are absolute disgraces to their offices and an embarrassment to the nation. We’re stuck with Obama until January, 2017, but Hillary Clinton should be confronted with her catastrophic incompetence at every chance until she is finally and thankfully hounded from public life.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If only they would allow do-overs in elections…

November 19, 2013
"Voters' remorse"

“Voters’ remorse”

Mitt Romney would win in a landslide:

The results overall represent a sharp turnaround in fortune for Obama and his party, which just a month ago were ascendant over the Republicans in views of the budget dispute that led to a partial government shutdown. Today 45 percent of Americans call Obama “too liberal,” matching the high, and 46 percent say the same about the Democratic Party. And perhaps adding insult to injury, registered voters divide numerically in Mitt Romney’s favor, 49-45 percent, if they had a mulligan for the 2012 presidential election. While the difference between the two is within the poll’s error margin, Obama’s support is 6 points below his actual showing a year ago.

And almost all of this is traceable to the fallout from the Obamacare fiasco and from people eyes finally being opened about what a bunch of mendacious creeps the President and the national Democrats are. From another portion of the ABC poll:

Other ratings of the president’s performance have tumbled as well. He’s at career lows for being a strong leader, understanding the problems of average Americans and being honest and trustworthy – numerically under water on each of these (a first for the latter two). His rating for strong leadership is down by 15 points this year and a vast 31 points below its peak shortly after he took office. In a new gauge, just 41 percent rate him as a good manager; 56 percent think not.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that the president’s personal image has suffered alongside his professional ratings. Fewer than half, 46 percent, see him favorably overall, down 14 points this year to the fewest of his presidency. Fifty-two percent now view him unfavorably, a new high and a majority for the first time since he took office. It may matter: Personal popularity can provide a president with cushioning when the going gets rough. Losing it leaves the president more vulnerable.

Obama’s personal popularity in spite of the public not liking many of his policies has always puzzled and frustrated me. It’s served as  a shield for him in the past, but, as the poll shows, that shield is gone for now, and likely for good.

But the fallout hasn’t just hit Obama:

The poll produces evidence that the ACA could spell trouble for Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections. Americans by a 16-point margin, 37-21 percent, are more likely to oppose than to support a candidate for Congress who favors Obamacare. That’s opened up from an even score in July 2012. (Using an intensity rating – those who are “much” more or less likely to support a candidate who backs the ACA – it’s still 15 points negative, vs. 2 points last year.)

The health care law looks most politically hazardous in the states that backed Mitt Romney in 2012; there Americans by 3-1, 46-15 percent, say they’re more inclined to oppose than to support a candidate who favors the law. But the ACA’s no help even in the blue states that backed Obama; while the division is far closer, 31 percent in those states are inclined to oppose an ACA-linked candidate, vs. 25 percent who’d be more apt to support one.

And thus we see why congressional Democrats are panicking and starting to jump ship: things are bad enough for them now, but, when the employer mandate (1) kicks in starting in Fall, 2014, the ACA rollout might well turn the 2014 midterm into an anti-Democratic “wave election” that will make the 2010 results look like a ripple in a pond.

The ACA is destroying Obama’s second term.

Pauses. Thinks.

Why, yes. I think I will have another helping of schadenfreude, thanks!

PS: Turning back to Romney, I still maintain that, while he would have frustrated me at times as president, he would have been a far better Chief Executive  than Obama — and a better man, too.

Footnote:
(1) The ABC poll shows people still favor the employer mandate. I suspect a large fraction of those have no idea that their nice group policies are on the block, too. Expect that number to tank fast next summer.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Breaking: Shi’ite Islam is a Jewish conspiracy

November 18, 2013

satire tinfoilhat conspiracy

Oh, why not? Everything else is.

An interesting article from Dr. Andrew Bostum on another aspect of Islamic antisemitism:

Last week, marked the gruesome and bloody spectacle which punctuates the annual Shiite Muslim celebration of Ashura (the 10th day of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar). This date serves as a memorial for slain Shiite leader Hussein bin Ali, executed by order of Sunni Caliph Yazid bin Muawiyah in 680 C.E. Following his decapitation, Hussein’s head was brought to Damascus, the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate of Yazid and displayed for a month, culminating (temporarily) a furious period of internecine strife in early Islamic history, whose sanguinary and brutal sectarian legacy is still manifest today, most notably in Syria, and Iraq.

While such narrative accounts of Sunni-Shiite sectarian strife are routinely shared by non-Muslim pundits, these experts never reveal its dark theological underpinning: Islam’s most bitter and lasting internecine struggle is yet another “Jewish conspiracy.” As put forth in seminal early Muslim historiography (for example, by Tabari, d. 923), Abd Allah b. Saba, an alleged renegade Yemenite Jew is claimed to be the founder of the heterodox Shiite sect. He is held responsible—identified as a Jew—for promoting the Shiite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam’s “political innocence,” culminating in the assassination of the third Rightly Guided Caliph Uthman, and the bitter, lasting legacy of Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian strife. 

This should also serve as a corrective to those who think Jew-hatred was an import from the Nazis, a sickness that infected the Religion of Tolerance in the 1930s and 1940s. Far from it. Antisemitism is homegrown in Islam, and the alliance with the Nazis was a case of mutual recognition and simpatico.

RELATED: Dr. Bostum has written some essential books on jihad, antisemitism, and sharia.


Justice Dept.: #Obamacare will cost 80 million the coverage they like

November 18, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

This isn’t exactly new news; when Forbes reported it back in October, their estimate was 93 million. But, the difference aside, this counts as an official admission that tens of millions will lose their employer-based coverage:

“It is projected that more group health plans will transition to the requirements under the regulations as time goes on,” DOJ lawyers wrote in response to court challenge to the law’s requirement that insurance plans provide coverage of contraception. “Defendants have estimated that a majority of group health plans will have lost their grandfather status by the end 2013.”

The DOJ cites the June 17, 2010, edition of the Federal Register, which acknowledges that within the first year of Obamacare’s employer mandate, the insurance plans offered by many employers will be canceled because their policies will not be grandfathered under the administration’s regulations. ”The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small-employer plans and 45 percent of large-employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” the Register says. “The low-end estimates are for 49 percent and 34 percent of small and large-employer plans, respectively, to have relinquished grandfather status, and the high-end estimates are 80 percent and 64 percent, respectively.”

Note the date: June 17th, 2010. The government knew over three years ago that “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.” was a lie.

Period.

And it’s not just Obama and his Unicorn team who were lying weasels about the gutting of the private insurance market: via Byron York, here’s a list from Senator McConnell’s office of 27 Democratic senators making the same false promise. Per Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), “We all knew.”

I’ll bet she’s popular in the Democratic caucus room right about now.

Think for a moment about the furor we’re currently experiencing over 4-5 million plans being canceled: sticker shock, anxiety over disrupted coverage, reduced provider networks, the loss of critically-needed treatment. Now multiply that 16-fold to deal with the 80 million likely to lose their group health plans.

And we’ll be ready to remind these people just who it was who threw multiple monkey wrenches into their lives.

Because we’re helpful that way.

via Bryan Preston

RELATED: Will Democrats soon begin calling for repeal? And here’s a great article by Andrew McCarthy on “Obama’s 5% Con Job.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama Administration Urges More Unemployment

November 17, 2013

Setting more welfare traps for people out of work.

International Liberty

President Obama has presided over a terrible jobs market.

Unemployment is more than two-percentage points higher today than the White House claimed it would be if the so-called stimulus was enacted.

Even more worrisome, the employment-population ratio seems to have permanently fallen, which is bad news for economic performance since our output is a function of how much capital and labor is being productively utilized.

So what’s the response from the Obama Administration? Well, they want to further subsidize people for not working.

I’m not joking. Here’s some of what has been reported by the Huffington Post.

The Obama administration on Friday came out strongly in support of extending long-term unemployment insurance past its current expiration date. …”We have always done so when unemployment is this high and would make little sense to fail to do so now when we are still facing the burdens of the worst…

View original post 681 more words


#Obamacare: liberal pundits mugged by reality

November 16, 2013
"Clue bat"

“Clue bat”

Call it a “teachable moment” for commentators like Kirsten Powers:

I say, my blood pressure goes up every time they say that they’re protecting us from substandard health insurance plans, because there is nothing to support what they’re saying. I have talked about how I am losing my health insurance. I’m having, if I want to keep the same health insurance, it’s going to cost twice as much. There’s nothing substandard about my plan. All of the things they say that are not in my plan are in my plan, all of the things they have listed. There’s no explanation for the doubling of my premiums other than the fact that it’s subsidizing other people.

They need to be honest about that, that that’s the reason they don’t want to change it. It’s because they’re basically taking the people who are responsible enough to get health insurance in the individual market and asking them to subsidize other people. So they’re taking young healthy people and asking them to subsidize other people.

Now, I actually like Powers a fair bit; she seems like a reasonable liberal, often willing to concede a point or criticize her own side when warranted, all while standing up for her beliefs. But, on reading this, I have ask…

Kirsten, where in the heck have you been for the last four years, when the Right has been screaming that this very thing was inevitable? Were you not paying attention during economics classes? Everything has a cost. Everything. And when government creates an entitlement this big, it can’t pay for it by soaking the rich. It has to soak the middle classes, too.

That’s why it’s called a “redistribution scheme.”

I shouldn’t be too hard on her, however; an eye-opening that comes late, but while there is still time for something to be done, is better than one that never comes at all. (c.f., Williams, Juan.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)