Survey shows elderly voters fleeing Democrats

March 31, 2014

Fail

This news from Gallup probably has staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reaching for a bottle:

U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.

In 1992, 53% of senior citizens, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned Democratic, while 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican, resulting in a 14-percentage-point Democratic advantage in seniors’ party affiliation. Last year, 48% of seniors identified as or leaned Republican, and 45% Democratic, a three-point Republican advantage.

It’s a truism of American politics that older, retired voters tend to turn out for elections more than other demographic groups. In a midterm election, such a self-motivated group can have an outsized influence because other groups often aren’t as enthusiastic to vote when the election lacks the drama of a presidential race.

The Democrats remember what happened in the last midterm election, which was a slaughter for them at both the federal and state levels. Without the Obama of 2008 or even 2012 at the top of their ticket (1), that eager-to-vote “senior bloc” could again make a serious difference.

Gallup goes into a long analysis of the influence ethnic factors might have on the elderly shifting toward Republicans (they tend to be more White as a group), and it’s an interesting read. But, I’ll offer another explanation which I, without doing any polling, think plays a much larger roll:

People don’t like being lied to.

That’s what Obama and the Democratic Party did when they promised a) if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; b) if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan; and c) we won’t touch Medicare.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

That last is especially galling to seniors, because the Medicare Advantage program is very popular and Obamacare just guts it. Perhaps there’s a general unhappiness among the elderly with the administration and the direction of the nation (I’d be surprised if there weren’t), but the cuts to Medicare and the interference in the doctor-patient relationship is very immediate, very personal and very probably frightening for many of these people. They’ve been lied to, they’ve been played for suckers, and no one I know likes that feeling, or the persons who made them feel that way.

And that’s why this poll has to have Harry Reid retreating to his Happy Place, because it looks very much like payback for those lies is coming soon.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) They’re probably grateful the Obama of 2014 isn’t, either.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Russia on the march: 10 reasons Putin is likely to invade eastern Ukraine

March 30, 2014
"I won"

“Can’t touch this.”

There’s a good article by Michael Weiss giving a list of reasons why Russia’s Vladimir Putin is probably going to make a move soon to take over Ukraine’s largely ethnic-Russian eastern regions. It’s well-worth reading; Weiss covers the realities of power, political considerations, and Russian military movements (1). He also brings up a motive that’s psychological, but I think it fits. Let’s see what you think:

2. Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States, and especially its current commander-in-chief.

On Feb. 28, Obama warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” — before high-tailing it to a Democratic National Committee cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. The next day, the world awoke to a Russian invasion of Crimea. “Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly — and comprehensively — as Obama’s warning on Friday night,” the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported. And let’s look at the laundry list of American desires and warnings the Kremlin has brushed aside: Russia has dramatically increased its arms transfers to Syria since the chemical disarmament deal was struck last fall. It continues to host fugitive NSA spy Edward Snowden. And during the midst of the Maidan protests, Russia’s own spies intercepted a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, then leaked the contents of it to Kremlin-controlled media. Moreover, neither Putin nor his inner circle seem terribly aggravated by the current suite of U.S. or EU sanctions or the blockbuster admission by the Treasury Department that Putin — now a staunch patriotic proponent of the “de-offshoreization” of the Russian economy — personally controls assets in Swiss oil commodities giant Gunvor.

While I would never argue that psychological motives are paramount –Putin’s too much of a power realist to fool himself with petty self-gratifications– I’m sure they’re there. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB officer, trained to be brutal when necessary. His goals are those of every Russian ruler since the Mongols were driven out: seeking the security of Russia by dominating the states around her and keeping powerful foes at a distance. In America, he sees a nation in short-term decline, creating an opportunity for him to advance those goals. In Obama, he sees a weak, out of his depth, would-be academic beta-male whom he, Vladimir Putin, almost a caricature of the alpha-male, can intimidate to seize that opportunity.

In short, Putin sees Obama as his [you fill in the word] and loves showing that to the world.

You can bet he plans to enjoy that feeling again, soon.

Footnote:
(1) They’re deploying field hospitals. That’s a significant sign it itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Greetings from Obamaland…Oops, I Mean Greece

March 29, 2014

It’s easy to mistake the two; Obama has us well down the same road.

International Liberty

As much as I condemn American politicians for bad policy, things could be worse.

We could be Greek citizens, which would be very depressing. Indeed, you’ll understand why I put Obamaland in the title after you read today’s column.

Simply stated, Greece is a cesspool of statism. The people seem to be wonderful (at least outside of polling booths), but government intervention is pervasive and atrocious.

Here’s an example. As I was coming in a taxi from the airport to the city yesterday, we passed some sort of protest. There were a couple of hundred people at the rally and probably about 50 riot cops.

I naturally wondered about the situation, expecting that it was radical statists or some of the crazies from Golden Dawn. But the cab driver explained that it was pharmacists.

So why are pharmacists protesting? I found out from some of the locals at…

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#HSR: Jerry Brown’s high-speed choo-choo not so high-speed

March 28, 2014
Boondoggle

Boondoggle

Via The American Interest, the LA Times reports that California’s high-speed rail project may not be able to meet its promised travel times — shocker!

Regularly scheduled service on California’s bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday.

The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas.

But Louis Thompson, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, a state-sanctioned panel of outside experts, testified that “real world engineering issues” will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes. The state might be able to demonstrate a train that could make the trip that fast, but not on scheduled service, he told lawmakers. If public demand for the service supports additional investments, travel times could be improved after the currently planned system is built, he said.

Critics of the project have long disputed whether travel times between the Bay Area and Los Angeles will meet the mark of two hours and 40 minutes. Projected trip times for the bullet train are a point of contention in a court fight that could block the state’s access to the voter-approved bond funds.

So we have huge cost overruns, property seized to make way for the train, and now the revelation that it won’t even be all that “high-speed.” Genius. Future generations of dictionaries will include the California high-speed rail authority’s logo in their definition of “boondoggle.”

The puzzling thing is, neither the bullet train fiasco, the ongoing corruption saga, nor the fact that the state is bleeding jobs and businesses is making a dent in Governor Brown and the Democratic Party’s control over the state. But then it becomes not so puzzling when you think about it. As the author at TAI writes:

While Democrats face some internal wrangling over the project, it’s the state’s total absence of an organized political opposition that helps keep ideas like the high speed train alive. As a BuzzFeed article points out, Brown is not suffering in the polls whatsoever from his beloved project—a boondoggle that a majority of Californians now oppose. Similarly, the Golden State’s status as nation-wide leader in job losses isn’t expected to affect the Democrats’ legislative supermajority. In the last three months, three Democratic state senators have been convicted (1) on federal corruption charges including voter fraud, perjury, bribes in exchange for legislation, and weapons and drug trafficking to pay off campaign debts. That’s a list that would make Boss Tweed blush, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting the Democrats’ dominance in Sacramento.

It’s the job of the opposition to oppose, yet the California Republican Party is limp. As I wrote to friends the other day after the Leland Yee scandal broke:

“Which isn’t to excuse the CRP for being flaccid. Last night, several of us on Twitter were ripping them for being milquetoast in the wake of the Leland Yee scandal (and Wright and Calderon). The Republican Party in California is already a rump; why not make some noise, go on offense, and demand to know why the Democratic Party tolerates corruption in its ranks? Call press conferences, get ads out, get all candidates on the same message. Run on a populist clean government and prosperity platform.  We really have nothing to lose and we might peel off enough voters to make a difference.”

Otherwise, we’re just leaving the state to the people running it into the ground.

Footnote:
(1) Actually, one convicted and two indicted. The error has been pointed out at TAI in the comments section.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


IPCC admission from new report: ‘no evidence climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct’

March 28, 2014

Well, this is going to cause anguish among the faithful of the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Nah. They’ll just ignore like they do all other empirical evidence showing their beloved faith is probably hooey. Who’s in “denial,” again?

Watts Up With That?

In 2007, the IPCC predicted that rising global temperatures would kill off many species. But in its new report, part of which will be presented next Monday, the UN climate change body backtracks. There is a shortage of evidence, a draft version claims.

Global warming is said to be threatening thousands of animal and plant species with extinction. That, at least, is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been predicting for years.

But the UN climate body now says it is no longer so certain. The second part of the IPCC’s new assessment report is due to be presented next Monday in Yokohama, Japan. On the one hand, a classified draft of the report notes that a further “increased extinction risk for a substantial number of species during and beyond the 21st century” is to be expected. On the other hand, the IPCC admits that there…

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#Obamacare navigators helping people sign up at Mexican consulates

March 27, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Nah, there’s no potential for fraud, here:

The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship.

“Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition– and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

Health Care insurance navigator groups hosted an Obamacare enrollment fair on Tuesday in the Mexican Consulate’s Brownsville office, The Rio Grande Guardian reported last Friday, where Mexican nationals among others were counseled about enrolling in the ACA.

“The Mexican consulate is a very reliable source of information to the Latino community. And therefore when they host their events, yesterday being the health fair, there are several hundred people that show up,” Medrano said.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), undocumented immigrants aren’t supposed to be receiving government-run health benefits or subsidized coverage. However, President Barack Obama told Latinos in early March that the Healthcare.gov website would not be used to find out about an individual’s immigration status.

“None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services,” he said.

As the article points out, this isn’t the first time the administration has made use of Mexican consulates to push entitlement programs to Latino communities: in 2012, USDA ran Spanish-language commercials encouraging people to sign up for food stamps.

Back to Obamacare, the extensive use of Mexican consulates, which are a trusted source of information for Mexican communities in the US, and the promise to not forward an applicant’s information to ICE all but guarantees that the American taxpayer will wind up subsidizing health insurance for Mexican nationals who are in the US illegally.

And if some sort of amnesty goes through, guess which party expects (1) to reap the benefits of our state-mandated generosity?

Why, it’s almost as if that’s the plan.

via Fausta

Footnote:
(1) Then again, with all the screw ups and problems experienced with O-care to date, maybe the Democrats’ shouldn’t expect much gratitude.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sick day

March 27, 2014
"Blah"

“Blah”

This isn’t quite how I planned on enjoying a long weekend (1), catching a head cold that keeps me indoors. There’s plenty to write about, but, right now, the nice medicine just makes me want to take a nap.

Maybe some short stuff later. After the nap.

Footnote:
(1) Friday is Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday here in California. So, I take Wednesday and today off and… promptly get sick. Perfect timing.


Worst Department of State, ever

March 26, 2014

This is someone’s brilliant idea of an effective strategy to deal with Putin over Ukraine:

Word of advice to Secretary Kerry and President Obama: Communitarianism is not a foreign policy and shaming is not an winning tactic when you’re dealing with an ex-KGB officer. Know what I’m saying?

BTW, the person in the photo is Jen Psaki, the official spokeswoman for the United States Department of State. Way to work the gravitas, there, Jen.

PS: I’ve saved a screen cap in case they delete it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#CApolitics: Third state senator (D) arrested on corruption charges

March 26, 2014
Not smiling now, I bet.

Not smiling now, I bet.

Earth-shaking news in California politics broke this morning with word of the arrest of State Senator Leland Yee (D, SD-8) on charges of public corruption, including soliciting donations beyond the allowed limits in return for legislative services and –ahem!– firearms trafficking. You can read the indictment (PDF) via the NBC BayArea site (1). From their article on the arrest:

California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges as part of several arrests made by the FBI Wednesday morning during a massive FBI sting, the FBI told NBC Bay Area.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said that Yee and current Chee Kung Tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow were among 26 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint.

Yee and Chow were arraigned before Federal Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins in San Francisco this afternoon.

The federal criminal complaint, filed on March 24, was unsealed in San Francisco Wednesday, charging the defendants with firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire, drug distribution, trafficking in contraband cigarettes and honest services fraud, announced Haagm FBI special agent David Johnson and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

Yee was charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license, and to illegally import firearms as well as a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services.

Chow’s charges include money laundering and conspiracy to trafficking contraband cigarettes.

From what I gather from skimming the indictment, Yee stands accused of soliciting bribes both to retire his debt from his failed mayoral run in San Francisco and to fund his current campaign for Secretary of State. He is also accused of offering to facilitate an arms deal through New Jersey between a dealer Yee knew and “UCE 4599,” an unidentified FBI undercover agent… in return for a “donation.”

The connection between Senator Yee and “Shrimp Boy” Chow seems to be Keith Jackson, a well-known Bay Area political consultant and associate of Yee. Chow, who has a long record and has been under investigation for years, introduced UCE 4599 to Jackson, who then apparently started supplying weapons for UCE 4599’s “associates” to guard their (imaginary) marijuana farms in Northern California. Jackson and others also apparently ran their own drug ring and even attempted to solicit murder-for-hire. Jackson was also Yee’s money-maker for the illegal donations.

There is no accusation that Senator Yee had anything to do with drugs or murder-for-hire, but, still, he sure keeps nice company.

Aside from the organized crime drama and political corruption, this has serious implications for the Democrats in California. Yee is the third state senator (2), all Democrats, to be indicted or convicted in the last several months. Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of felony voter fraud in January, while Senator Ron Calderon was indicted for corruption in February.

Since the 2012 election, Democrats have held a supermajority in the California legislature, controlling both chambers with two-thirds majorities. Under the state constitution, that gave them the power to do pretty much whatever they wanted: pass irresponsible budgets, fund wasteful programs to their heart’s content, you name it. The Republicans were bystanders, and it didn’t look like they’d have any power any time soon.

Then the majority started crumbling in the state senate. First came Andy Vidak’s (R-SD26) surprise victory in a 2013 special election, then the conviction of Wright and the indictment of Calderon. That last broke the supermajority in the senate, and now Yee’s troubles (3) deepens the hole they’re in. Now, at least, the Democrats have to actually deal with the Republican senate caucus, if they want to get anything done. This means Proposition 13, the measure that protects homeowners from exorbitant property taxes and mandates a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes, making it a prime Democrat target, is safe for a while. The Democrats are likely to regain those seats, given the districts, but a smart Republican or independent candidate might make some populist hay running on a clean government platform. We’ll see.

From a larger view, this is what happens in a state when a party overwhelmingly dominates for too long: without credible opposition, legislators and other government officials come to feel entitled, become complacent, and think of themselves as rulers, not employees subject to the audit of the people. Corruption sets in. California has long been dominated by the Democrats (in the legislature, for decades), but a conservative friend in a long-time Red state has voiced similar complaints. It shows the problems that can set in when a strong two-party system withers to one.

One hopes that revelations such as Senator Yee’s purported activities will lead to soul-searching among the Democrats (4) and the rise of good conservative candidates in more areas to help redress the balance.

For the sake of California’s political health, we need both.

RELATED: More from the San Jose Mercury News.

PS: Did you know Yee once sponsored a measure to require state buildings to be designed according to Chinese Feng Shui principles? There’s a reason we’re called “Crazyfornia.”

Footnotes:
(1) And kudos to them for linking to a primary source. Too few online MSM outlets do that.
(2) But not the last, I bet.
(3) Because Senate President Steinberg (D) is desperate to keep those seats in Democrat hands, rather than risk a special election, Wright and Calderon have been allowed to go on “paid leave,” rather than being expelled. Yes, they still draw a salary, but at least they can’t vote. I’m sure Yee will be shown the same “courtesy.”
(4) Oh, stop laughing. It could happen. Maybe.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: all men must now wear Kim Jong Un’s hairstyle?

March 26, 2014
x

Bah! You call that a “haircut?”

When you’re the boy god-king of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, you can get away with weird, petty stuff like this:

If you are a man in North Korea, we sincerely hope you have a round face. It’s the shape that will work with your new haircut.

That new haircut is reportedly called the “Dear Leader Kim Jong Un,” modeled after—you guessed it—North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s impenetrable block of black hair atop his chubby cheeks. The style reportedly became a state-mandated guideline about two weeks ago, though experts familiar with the country have said there’s no evidence a new hairstyle rule has gone into effect.

According to the article, this isn’t something new for North Korea: Kim’s father, the late, demented Kim Jong Il, launched a state campaign against long hair on the grounds that it sucked the nutrients from one’s brain.

Really.

Anyway, a TV campaign was launched and “journalists” would go to people’s homes to confront them about their overly lengthy locks. This being North Korea, I suppose they were lucky not to be shot or fed to the dogs.

Back to Kim III, and regardless of whether this is true, it’s another illustration of why limited, constitutional government is best; when there are no limits to the powers of the rulers, there are also no limits to what they will do the the ruled. North Korea is just the extreme example that clarifies the point.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Time for a Free-Market Postal System

March 25, 2014

Revisiting one of my pet peeves: privatizing our hugely inefficient and money-losing postal service. In this case, Mitchell presents Britain’s success at doing just that.

International Liberty

It’s not often that I agree with the Washington Post, but a government-run monopoly is not the best way to get mail delivered.

Moreover, it’s not often that I agree with the timid (and sometimes reprehensible) Tory-led government in the United Kingdom, but they just put the Royal Mail into the private sector. And that’s something deserving of loud applause.

Here’s a slice of the big news from the Financial Times.

The goal of privatising Royal Mail had defeated governments for 40 years. …Even prime minister Margaret Thatcher balked at the political risk of selling off a public service that carried the Queen’s head on its stamps. This time, the legislation went through parliament.

My Cato colleague, Chris Edwards, is suitably impressed.

Here’s some of what he wrote for Cato-at-Liberty.

Britain privatized its Royal Mail in 2013, proceeding with an initial public offering of shares that raised about…

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(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama fights against US coal exports

March 24, 2014
In Obama's crosshairs

In Obama’s crosshairs

I’m not sure what the people of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Colorado did to Barack Obama –after all, they gave him the electoral votes he needed to win reelection– but he sure has it in for their major exports and the jobs they create:

The leaders also announced that the Netherlands was joining the U.S. and other countries in an effort to stop the international funding of new coal-fired power plants by development banks.

“We’re pleased that the Netherlands has joined our initiative that will virtually end all public financing for coal-fired plants abroad,” Obama said. “It’s concrete action like this that can keep making progress on reducing emissions while we develop new global agreements on climate change.”

Per Bryan Preston, the US is the world’s second largest coal exporter, and each million tons exported creates over 1,300 jobs. Now, why on Earth would an American president work so hard against American economic interests, especially in difficult times with such large numbers of people unemployed and under-employed? It’s almost as if he sees American power as a problem, something to be solved by managed decline… Nah, couldn’t be.

I sorely wish more people in those coal-mining states had seen the danger Obama poses to their own livelihoods and the nation’s well-being; I’ve little doubt we’d be in a better situation right now, if they had. But that’s done, and now we have to work to convince voters that any Democrat nominee in 2016 is going to be beholden to the same radical environmentalist interests that Obama is placating with this initiative. Those factions are not interested in mitigating the problems with coal use until a genuine replacement comes along or with good conservation practices in its mining: they want to ban it outright, now, and the consequences be damned for communities reliant on its extraction and an economy dependent on the energy it produces.

And, right now, they have their guy in office.

Read the rest of Preston’s report for the international implications of this agreement.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Aborted babies incinerated to heat British hospitals

March 24, 2014
"The new god of medicine?"

“The new god of medicine?”

Just horrifying:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

It didn’t happen in every UK hospital –one was appalled to learn another had been shipping its fetal remains to the first hospital to be burned– but that something like this could happen at all is nauseating. And not just for the callous treatment of human remains, like a fiery version of Soylent Green, but the miserable treatment of the parents, too. Remember, an abortion may be performed for medical necessity, not just to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Shouldn’t the parents in at least these cases be treated with more respect and empathy?

There have been a number of horror stories coming out of the UK National Health Service involving poor care or downright abusive treatment of patients and their families, almost all of them traceable in their origin to the dynamics of a government-run healthcare system. Oxford bioethicists have even argued in favor of post-natal abortion (1), on the grounds that a newborn isn’t capable yet of attributing value to its own existence, and thus can’t feel the loss of it.

And now this, the new fires of Moloch.

Footnote:
(1) What most of us in the real world would call “infanticide” and “murder.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: people who think they have coverage get hit with massive bills

March 23, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t our new, glorious, designed by unicorns healthcare system supposed to prevent things like this? If you signed up for coverage and made your payments, you weren’t supposed to get crushed by the ensuing medical bills, right? All those horror stories from the dark days before Obamacare the Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Affordable Care Act (1) of people with unbearable financial burdens? Gone. Banished forever. Not gonna happen ever again in our new progressive paradise.

Just ask Alex Szablya of Washington:

Alex Szablya just wants the best health care she can get for her children. So she got a gold plan, the highest level possible with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. She picked a plan with Lifewise, an affiliate of Premera Blue Cross.

In early March, her 16-year old daughter had a medical emergency. Alex drove her to the nearest hospital, which was Seattle Children’s. Alex says doctors there felt her daughter’s situation was so dire she needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. She was there for nine days.

Then came news that her stay, which involved specialized mental health care for adolescents, was going to cost $36,000 and her insurance would only pay for half because Seattle Children’s was considered on out-of-network facility.

She thought by going for the highest premium PPO gold level coverage offered the state exchange, a majority of the bill would have been covered.

“I’m paying a premium for that and I’m willing to pay that premium, but I expect to get services that are not so limited by the insurance companies,” she said.

Premera told her to take her daughter to facilities either in Yakima or Bremerton, the one a three hour drive and the other two hours away via ferry, while Seattle Children’s was just 15 minutes away. Now, where would you go with your child in an emergency? Remember that she bought a gold plan. Among the many problems we’ve heard about regarding the exchanges is that is can be hard to tell if a particular doctor or hospital is included. Ms. Szablya might well have looked at the online offerings and just assumed that, of course, nearby Seattle Children’s would be included. When you have an emergency, especially one involving your child, you’re not going to stop, call your insurance agent, and ask if a particular doctor or hospital is part of the network. (via Katnandu)

An even worse bill awaited Larry Basich of Las Vegas, who thought he had done everything right, but, after undergoing triple bypass surgery, found himself on the hook for over $400,000:

The hospital bills are hitting Larry Basich’s mailbox.

That would be OK if Basich had health insurance. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, he should be covered. Basich, 62, bought a plan through the state’s Nevada Health Link insurance exchange in the fall. He’s been paying monthly premiums since November.

Yet the Las Vegan is stranded in a no-man’s-land where no carrier claims him, and his tab is mounting: Basich owes $407,000 for care received in January and February, when his policy was supposed to be in effect. Instead, he’s covered only for March and beyond.

Basich has begged for weeks for help from the exchange and its contractor, Xerox. But Basich’s insurance broker said Xerox seems more interested in lawyering up and covering its hide than in working out Basich’s problems. Nor is Basich the only client facing plan-selection errors through the exchange, she added.

Xerox, meanwhile, said it’s working every day to fix Basich’s problem, and its legal counsel is routine.

In the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its insurance exchanges, you can find a success story for every failure (2). But Basich’s case is extreme.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Basich worked for weeks to make sure he had coverage, both using the crappy online exchange and telephone help. He’s dealt with Xerox and even gotten Governor Sandoval’s office involved. His case is so bad that Harry Reid won’t even call him a liar; his office is instead trying to help.

The problem in this case is the web site, itself. It looks like Xerox did almost as good a job with it as Oracle did with Oregon’s exchange. While payments have been deducted from Basich’s bank account, UnitedHealthCare has no record of his coverage beginning when he was told it would begin, the exchange says he signed up with a different company (even though he has proof otherwise), and that company has no record of him and doesn’t want to be stuck with the bill.

Before this ever gets worked out, the stress may drive Mr. Basich to another heart attack.

In both cases, the the articles miss the mark when attributing blame. By limiting its networks, Premera is doing what any company would when faced with government mandates that impose highers costs: find ways to control them. In Larry Basich’s situation, Xerox deserves all the blame that can be heaped on it, but they’re not the root.

The source of the problem isn’t corporate greed or incompetence: it’s Obamacare, itself. All these problems people are experiencing are due to the top-down mandates that are the essence of the Affordable Care Act. A bunch of legislators and bureaucrats trying to control by law something as complex as the health care system of the United States was bound to fail. And that ongoing, rolling disaster is causing real-life misery for Americans all over the nation.

It has to go.

Footnote:
(1) There apparently are five “affordables” in the bills name. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.
(2) Why do I think that last sentence was meant to deflect the ire of Harry Reid? “Sure there are success stories, too! Just trust us!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bigger things to worry about than global warming: Scientists say a destructive solar blast narrowly missed Earth in 2012

March 22, 2014

As Maxwell Smart would have said, “Missed us by *that* much!”

Watts Up With That?

Video follows of the July 23rd, 2012 Coronal Mass Ejection, said to be the fastest ever

From UC BERKELEY — Earth dodged a huge magnetic bullet from the sun on July 23, 2012.

According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections — the most intense eruptions on the sun — sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth’s orbit. Had the eruption come nine days earlier, when the ignition spot on the solar surface was aimed at Earth, it would have hit the planet, potentially wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, disabling satellites and GPS, and disrupting our increasingly electronic lives.

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Michael Barone’s last line will leave a mark

March 21, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Writing in The Washington Examiner on Hispanics and Obamacare, political analyst Michael Barone notes the precipitous decline in support among the group for the ACA (from 61% in favor to 47% since September, 2013). He then wonders if this experience will sour Hispanics on big government overall, thus threatening their majority allegiance to the Democratic Party. His closing is quiet, but brutal:

I think that Obamacare may be discrediting Big Government generally among Hispanic voters. They may have assumed that government in the United States was competent and functional. They have been finding out that Obamacare has been about as competent and functional as government in Mexico.

Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark. smiley black eye

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


CNN’s dumbest news question, evar

March 20, 2014

And yet CNN wonders why its ratings are in the tank…

Watts Up With That?

And we thought this one was bad:  CNN talking empty head (Feyerick) asks Bill Nye if approaching Meteor was a result of global warming….

OK that set the stage, what could be dumber than that? Now study the picture below, and ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture? Note the plane, a Boeing 777.

black_holes_777_CNN

And here is what was said: 

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Demon-fearing Los Angeles city council blames fracking for earthquake

March 20, 2014
Drill, baby, drill!

Drill, baby, drill!

Remember, kiddies, liberals are the party of science!

Los Angeles City Council members have discovered how to cause earthquakes. Three councilmen think fracking may be the cause of Monday’s earthquake in the Santa Monica Mountains, and they want the city, state, and feds to do an in-depth review.

Councilmen Paul Koretz, Mike Bonin, and Bernard Parks Tuesday introduced a motion calling for the city, the U.S. Geological Survey, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to report on whether hydraulic fracturing caused the moderate 4.4-magnitude earthquake, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“It is crucial to the health and safety of the City’s residents to understand the seismic impacts of oil and gas extraction activities in the City,” the motion says. “All high-pressure fracking and injection creates ‘seismic events.’ . . .  Active oil extraction activities are reportedly taking place on the Veteran’s Administration grounds in West Los Angeles, nearby the epicenter of the March 17, 2014, 4.4 earthquake.”

Parks, who seconded the motion, tells National Review Online that while fracking is “reportedly” happening near the epicenter, those who signed the motion weren’t completely sure. However, he adds that “earthquakes are happening in areas that are not historically earthquake prone, but they are in places where fracking is going on.”

I’m sorry to say Mike Bonin is my city councilman.

Let’s be honest, here. If Koretz, Parks, and Bonin genuinely think fracking caused an earthquake, they know nothing about earthquakes and are just fearing demons in the night. Earthquakes happen when adjoining tectonic plates, which are constantly in motion against each other, suddenly break and move with a jolt. Sometimes a little bit, as in Monday’s quake, sometimes a lot, as in the 2011 Tohoku quake in Japan. In seismically active areas, such as the western coast of North America, small quakes occur every day and have since long before anyone thought of the words “hydraulic fracturing.”

Here’s the technical information for Monday’s shaker. Note the depth: six miles. This is what a USGS geologist had to say when asked about fracking causing that quake:

However, opponents of the moratorium argue that fracking has not been proven to cause any health risks and that claims that it caused this earthquake are not realistic.

“My first impression is that sounds implausible,” seismologist Lucy Jones said. “The earthquake was so deep. Induced earthquakes are almost always shallower than this.”

In other words, yes you might get hit by a bolt from the blue, but that’s no reason to ban walking outdoors.

This call for a study (borrowing from the neverending studies tactic of NY Governor Cuomo) is just another delaying tactic in furtherance of their earlier motion to ban fracking within city limits.  Hydraulic fracturing opponents are using what’s called the “preventative principle” (1) to stop a promising technology that could do wonders for the economy, because the idea of oil and gas exploration goes against their hardcore environmentalist agenda. And then they find lackwit politicians who know nothing about the subject matter, but who are ever so happy to take activists’ donations and campaign help, and get them to pass laws serving that agenda — to the public’s detriment. Their hope is that through delay after delay and more and more burdensome regulations, they can kill what they oppose altogether.

No matter how discredited their propaganda, no matter how safe fracking is shown to be, no matter that even the Energy Secretary of the most left-leaning administration in US history declares it safe, no matter how much this city, this state, and this nation need the economic boost intelligent exploitation of our vast oil and gas resources would provide, fracking opponents continue to throw anything against the wall in the hopes of finding something that will convince people to support a ban.

And sometimes they find the fools they need.

RELATED: Ten myths about natural gas drilling. The UK government thinks fracking is safe. Nancy Pelosi’s daughter even thinks the evil magic of fracking can cause earthquakes far out at sea.

Footnote:
(1) Watch for words like “may,” “might,” “possible,” “could” and other weak words that don’t require any evidence to back them up, just the doubt and fear they create in the (they hope) credulous listener.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Got cancer? Got #Obamacare? Good luck…

March 19, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Among the many “benefits” brought to us by the Affordable Care Act has been the narrowing of provider networks. To deal with increased costs brought on by Obamacare’s increased coverage mandates, insurance companies are offering fewer doctors and hospitals on their approved lists. For many people, this has meant losing access to the physicians they liked, contra President Obama’s oft-repeated promise lie.

If you’re a cancer patient, you have a particular problem. We’ve met Edie Sundby, a stage-4 cancer sufferer who’s losing her provider network, thanks to Obamacare, but what if you were able to keep your doctors, but needed specialized or experimental treatment?

Under Obamacare, good luck:

Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program.

Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges.

Not too long ago insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research firm Avalere Health. Now the focus is on costs.

This is a marked deterioration of access to the premier cancer centers for people who are signing up for these plans,” Mendelson said.

Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications.

Emphasis added.

The article mentions another problem, one that’s been noted since the Obamacare web sites went online: it’s hard to tell if the physician and hospital you want are included in the plan you’re looking at. Thus someone in Los Angeles  may sign up thinking they have access to a top-notch cancer facility, such as Cedars-Sinai, only to discover the truth after they develop cancer. Their only options then are to go elsewhere (if there is an “elsewhere”) or pay out of pocket, which may be financially devastating or downright impossible.

Later on, the writer quotes officials who feel these are not serious problems, that they can be worked out, but what about the people who need treatment now and used to be able to get it under the old system? Though the large insurance companies were nothing better than rent-seeking collaborators in Obamacare, I’m not blaming them for this; they’re just acting rationally in the face of increased costs, a problem created by government.

At the end, the writers report that the Obama administration has promised “closer scrutiny” of insurance companies, especially for cancer care, presumably to include the design of provider networks. Great. So the solution to a problem created by regulation will inevitably be more regulation, which will make the problem worse and a genuine solution more difficult, not easier. Here’s the process:

  1. Government creates a problem through bad regulation.
  2. Businesses respond logically to the problem, irking consumers.
  3. Consumers complain about the response.
  4. Government proposes more bad regulation to deal with the response, ignoring the core problem government itself created and creating new ones.

Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, the poor cancer sufferer keeps on suffering.

Thanks, Obamacare!

via Dana Loesch

RELATED: In the Elections Have Consequences category, Colorado Mountain College is cutting back on hours for part-time faculty to avoid the expensive new employer mandates under Obamacare. I wonder how many voted for Obama? Whoever you are, congratulations. You got what you voted for. (h/t Conservative Intelligence Briefing)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)