Friday, October 12, 2012

Krauthammer: The Big Bird counterattack!

The Wenatchee World / The Washington Post ^ | October 12, 2012 | Dr. Charles Krauthammer

No mystery about the trajectory of this race. It was static for months as President Obama held a marginal lead. Then came the conventions. The Republicans squandered Tampa; the Democrats got a 3- to 4-point bounce out of Charlotte.

And kept it. Until the first debate. In 90 minutes, Mitt Romney wiped out the bump — and maybe more.
Democrats are shellshocked and left searching for excuses. Start with scapegoats: the hapless John Kerry, Obama’s sparring partner in the practice debates, for going too soft on the boss; then the debate moderator for not exerting enough control.
The Obama campaign’s plea that the commander in chief could find no shelter under Jim Lehrer’s desk did not exactly bolster Obama’s standing. Moreover, the moderator’s job is not to control the flow of argument, but to simply enforce an even time split.
Lehrer did. In fact, Obama took more time than Romney — 4 1/2 minutes more — while actually speaking 500 fewer words. Romney knew what he thought and said it. Obama kept looking around hoping for the words to come to him. They didn’t.
After the scapegoats came the excuses.

1.Obama had a bad night. He was off his game.

Nonsense. This is Obama’s game. Great at delivering telepromptered addresses to adoring Germans and swooning students. But he’s not very good on his feet.

His problem is that he doesn’t think so. He not only believes his own press, he believes his own mythology. He actually said (in 2007): “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And ... I’m a better political director than my political director.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Questions an honest media would ask Barack Obama!

By Kevin “Coach” Collins

We know the media has absolutely no integrity and would never ask any of these questions. Nevertheless, here are some questions the media should be asking Barack Obama.
Why aren’t you talking about the looming problem of a worldwide economic recession?
Since Spain is collapsing before our eyes what are your plans to contain the damage it will cause to Europe and eventually to our economy.
What are you doing to counter Turkey’s efforts to pull NATO and of course America into war with Syria?
Why do you seem unconcerned that the national debt has increased by a TRILLION DOLLARS each year that you have been president?
How can you claim to be prepared for a real energy crisis when a “temporary” refinery problem in California can send the pump price of gasoline spiraling upward by .30 a gallon overnight?
Experts have predicted a collapse of our dollar; what are you doing to defend us from this catastrophe?
The Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates are destroying the retirement nest eggs of millions of senior Americans; why aren’t you defending them from this threat?
Since about 400 TSA agents have been fired for stealing from the traveling public, why aren’t you demanding an investigation of how these people are screened and hired?
Surrogates for your campaign have stopped calling Mitt Romney a felon and a murderer is this because you now acknowledge these charges were false and unfair?
How do you justify the American people having to spend $1.4 billion on your lifestyle when the British spend $57.8 million of the royal family?
The United Nations wants the authority to tax American citizens; what are you doing to defend us from this outrage?
We have learned that one woman in Baltimore was able to get about 30 free cell phones from the government, what are you doing about this?
About 30% of young adults is living at home with their parents, what are you doing about this?
The birth rate in America fell to its lowest point in our history, lower than in the Great Depression during your administration. Do you think this is due to your policies and their effect of people’s lives?
Follow Coach at @KcoachcCoach
Get the truth about the polls:
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To read more use these links:

  1. Since the media won’t ask these questions about Barack Obama we who want to save America must
  2. Flashes of honest reporting beg the question: Is the media bailing on Obama?
  3. How much damage has Barack Obama done? Far more than the media is telling us; that’s for sure
  4. Mister Obama why are we in Libya? And other questions the media won’t ask
  5. Obama has perverted the media so much we have to look to Pravda for honest reporting

Joe Biden interrupted Paul Ryan 82 times in 90 minutes. The Democrats have become the rude party!

Telegraph - UK ^ | October 12, 2012 | Tim Stanley

No one’s denying that Joe Biden delivered the more energetic performance in Thursday’s vice presidential debate. He interrupted Paul Ryan 82 times in 90 minutes. Yet some polls say that Ryan won and many pundits are calling it a draw. How come?
Two reasons. First, deconstruct the Biden bluster and some of what he said was nonsensical. In the first 10 minutes alone, Joe insisted that the US intelligence community was wrong on Libya but trustworthy on Iran. He claimed that the staff at the Benghazi embassy didn’t want extra security when lots of sources say that they begged for it. He seemed to rule out war with Iran under any circumstances, which would remove America’s one bargaining chip. As political klutzes go, Biden is to talking what Gerald Ford was to walking.
More importantly, Biden was rude. Perhaps he was trying to emulate Romney’s dominant performance from the week before. But where Romney was commanding, Biden was just insulting. The most damning moments came when the camera went split screen. On the right was Ryan trying to make a serious point about world peace. On the left was Biden laughing. The Vice President’s performance will doubtless rally the party faithful and give them a few applause lines to live off through to November. But it’s hard to imagine independents warming to these theatrics.
The Democrats have made the classic mistake of thinking that what they want to see is what everyone else wants to see. This isn’t peculiar to the Obama/Biden ticket but part of a long-term evolution. Back in 2000, Al Gore huffed and puffed his way angrily through a presidential debate and possibly cost his party the election. The Democrats ought to have learned from that, but .....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Americans' Views of Obama More Polarized as Election Nears

Gallup ^ | 10/12/12 | Jones

PRINCETON, NJ -- Thus far in October, an average of 90% of Democrats, and 8% of Republicans, approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. That 82-percentage-point gap in approval ratings by party is on pace to be the largest Gallup has measured for a recent incumbent president in the final month before Americans vote on his re-election. George W. Bush had an 80-point party gap in approval, while the October gaps for other presidents were less than 70 points.
Gallup did not routinely ask presidential approval in October for presidents prior to Ronald Reagan. But Obama's ratings throughout his first three years in office have been among the most polarized Gallup has measured for any president.
Obama's already highly polarized ratings are becoming even more so in his fourth year in office. Thus far, his ratings have averaged 85% among Democrats and 10% among Republicans, for a 75-point gap. That compares with gaps averaging 68 points during his second and third years in office and 65 points during his first.
That is not unexpected, as Gallup has typically found presidents' ratings to be most polarized by party in their fourth year in office, which is normally the year they seek re-election to a second term. But ratings of recent presidents are far more politically divided than those of less recent presidents.
Obama's 75-point party gap in approval during year four to date is one point lower than the average 76-point gap for George W. Bush during his fourth year in office.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Vice President Loses Debate, Marbles

Jim Geraghty

Joe Biden’s Debate Slogan: Why So Serious?

It was a weird debate, in that one candidate’s personality so totally dominated the proceedings, that your reaction to the debate will be decided almost entirely by what you think of Joe Biden when unplugged.

It will not surprise you that I am not really a fan of Joe Biden, and in fact periodically have a hard time getting my head around the fact that he is a heartbeat away from being entrusted with the launch codes for the United States nuclear arsenal.

So it’s kind of hard to grade the debate by the traditional methods.

Q: Which candidate do you think won the debate?

Jim: Am I the only person in Washington who fears that the vice president is mentally unstable, and/or on some sort of intense, mood-altering medication?

Thursday night’s debate did nothing to dissuade me of the notion that Barack Obama rise to the presidency is exponentially less surprising and unexpected than the fact that Joe Biden is our vice president. I am less concerned about the lack of a broad bipartisan consensus that Biden lost the debate than the lack of a broad bipartisan consensus that Biden lost his marbles.

Undoubtedly, one of the big story lines will be “The Democrats are charged up again!” Of course, if this were gymnastics, we would have to assign a low degree of difficulty to that goal. If you’re a national politician with a pulse, stirring up your base is one of the basic tasks you’re expected to be able to achieve on a regular basis. It’s like tackling for a linebacker.

The vice president appeared to prepare for this debate by inhaling nitrous oxide and sticking a fork in an electrical socket.

Four years ago, Biden was on a short leash, determined to not lose any women voters by coming across as smug or dismissive of Sarah Palin. But years of watching the Delaware senator reveal that when fully unleashed, Biden is loud, condescending, obnoxious, full of himself, not nearly as well-informed as he thinks he is, and sometimes weird to the point of creepy. Clearly, Biden believes that when his opponent says something he disagrees with, the right thing to do is smile or maybe laugh. He thinks this is disarming; instead he comes across like the Joker. The RNC quickly arranged a nice montage here.

So, no matter the topic — the deaths of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, the Iranian nuclear program, the continuing economic hard times for millions of Americans, the slaughter of civilians in Syria — Cheery Joe responded to Paul Ryan’s points with a grin that Willem Dafoe would find unnerving and chilling. Perhaps it was a bold but failed strategy to try to get Ryan to suddenly exclaim, “What the hell is wrong with you, man?”

Damage Control: Obama Campaign Tries to Spin Biden's Bizarre Debate Behavior ^ | 10/12/12 | Joel B. Pollak

The Obama campaign is struggling to respond to mounting criticism of Vice President Joe Biden's bizarre behavior during last night's debate with Rep. Paul Ryan.

Biden not only interrupted Ryan frequently--82 times, according to Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus--but frequently laughed, smirked, and snorted at serious moments, showing contempt for his opponent and disturbing even friendly observers.

A CNN poll conducted after the debate, which handed Ryan a narrow 48%-44% victory, also showed that Ryan had beaten Biden by an even wider margin when it came to "likeability." Viewers in the poll--with an admittedly small sample-- also said Ryan "expressed his views more clearly," "was more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you," and "did a better job of defending his running mate."

The only category in which Biden defeated Ryan? "Spent more time attacking his opponent."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Facing debate over Fast and Furious!

The Washington Times ^ | 11 October, 2012 | NA

Murder is hard to sweep under the rug. President Obama may have invoked executive privilege to shield his Fast and Furious scandal from congressional investigators, but repeating this strategy won’t go down well during a presidential debate. The administration’s reckless scheme, which armed foreign drug lords, deserves a thorough airing before voters cast their ballots on Election Day.

Fast and Furious weapons were used to gun down 14 Mexican teenagers at a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in January 2010, Spanish-language Univision reported Oct. 1. The day after the report, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie was shot to death while patrolling the Arizona desert just north of the Mexican border. While early evidence suggests the killing may have been the result of friendly fire rather than smuggled guns, the tragedy is a fresh reminder of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, who was gunned down by a Fast and Furious weapon.
Taken together, the killings of innocent Mexican children and a pair of federal agents are the bitter fruit of leadership that has played fast and loose with border security. When the presidential candidates face off over foreign policy at Florida’s Lynn University on Oct. 22, Mr. Obama must be asked to explain how his Democratic underlings could have strayed so far from common sense in allowing the border to become a conduit for dealers of death. Republican challenger Mitt Romney should be prepared to present a plan that would end such national security failures.
In Operation Fast and Furious, more than 2,000 weapons were purchased in the United States and smuggled into Mexico, where they were sold to drug kingpins.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Oh my: Romney up 7 in new VA poll

Hot Air ^ | October 12, 2012 | Ed Morrissey

A new poll from McLaughlin & Associates, highlighted by Breitbart’s Tony Lee, provides even more supporting evidence for Suffolk University’s conclusion that there’s not much chance of Barack Obama winning the state. Mitt Romney has taken a seven-point lead and grabbed a majority, 51/44, in the survey taken on Monday and Tuesday of 600 likely voters in the state. More importantly, Romney has a double-digit lead among independents (via Drudge Report):
According to a McLaughlin & Associates poll that had an R+.02 sample, Romney leads Obama in Virginia 51%-44%.
Among independents, Romney beats Obama by 11 points, 50%-39%.
If these numbers hold for Romney, Romney could be free to expand the electoral map and more aggressively make plays for states like Michigan and Pennsylvania that were considered “reaches” just two weeks ago.
The sample in this case was almost exactly split between Republicans and Democrats, with independents overshadowing both. The D/R/I was 30.3/30.5/38.2. That, however, is a pretty far cry from 2008′s 39/33/27, or even 2009′s 33/37/30, at least in terms of the independent vote. Oversampling independents will drive Romney’s top-line numbers up higher, and while Republican enthusiasm is up nationwide, the number of federal government employees in Virginia might dampen that in the Commonwealth.
The split between Republicans and Democrats seem reasonable as an electoral model, however. It is almost evenly split between 2008 and 2009 turnout, and so gives us a pretty decent predictive model while taking the oversample of independents into consideration. But even on that score, there isn’t much solace for Team Obama in these numbers. Obama won independents in 2008 by a single point, 49/48, on his way to a six-point win in Virginia. If Romney’s leading independents by eleven — and 229 voters is a pretty decent subsample for state polling — then Obama has almost no chance of prevailing without a massive increase in Democratic enthusiasm, one that would have to far surpass anything seen in 2008.

White House: Biden, Obama unaware of security requests (Depends on the definition of the word "we")

Politico44 ^ | 10/12/12 | BYRON TAU

"We weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again," Biden said in Wednesday's encounter with Paul Ryan.

The truthfulness of that statements depends on what Biden meant when he said "we" — State Department officials admitted in recent congressional hearings that requests were received from the Libyan missions for additional security resources in advance of the attack that killed four Americans.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Interruptions @ VP Debate

VP debate bias

Who Won the VP Debate 2012: Paul Ryan Wins the Polls Against Laughing Joe Biden!

polymic ^ | 10/12/12 | Jsse Merkel

If you're a liberal or a Democrat, you probably loved Joe Biden's performance last night; if you're an independent or a Republican, not so much.

According to, the Obama campaign was deeply wounded after last weeks presidential debate. Mitt Romney not only came off as more likable the he ever had previously, but he also came off as more knowledgeable and confident than President Obama. Over the past eight days, the polls have shifted over to Governor Romney's favor.
Biden was sent out to reverse this increasing trend, rally the base and show the American people that the administration still had fire in its belly. There is, however, one word that Vice President Biden forgot, and that word is overkill.

Biden's been here before. All throughout the 2008 Democratic primary season, and during his 2008 VP debate with Governor Sarah Palin, he was calm, collected, even presidential. He was a likable and charming guy. This time, we saw a different Joe Biden.
Biden smirked, grinned, and waved his hands wildly. Some people would call it impassioned. Others might suggest that he was doing an impression of a southern preacher trying to perform an exorcism. He shook his finger repeatedly in the air, and interrupted Congressman Paul Ryan 82 different times. Paul Ryan maintained his cool, and was polite to a fault.
As the old adage goes, it's all about how things look. Biden tried to exude strength, but ended up coming across as unhinged, cocky, arrogant and rude. Paul Ryan tried to come across as confident and composed, but may have come across as slightly timid. So who ended up getting the best results for their team in the end? Well, as of right now, it might very well have been vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
According to the CNN poll of independents, Paul Ryan won the debate, 48% to 44%. The same poll showed that people who watched the debate believed that Paul Ryan expressed himself better than Joe Biden, 50%-41%. An NBC poll of 435 uncommitted voters after the debate showed Paul Ryan winning with 63% to 31%. CNBC had it 56% to 36%, again with Paul Ryan coming out on top. Even the Danville Advocate Messenger had Paul Ryan on top at the end of the day, attracting 56% to Biden's 41%.
So how could Joe Biden's strategy have backfired so horribly? It's quite simple. He did not come off as 'presidential.' He wasn't Joe Biden. He was Malarkey McSmirk.
One of the reasons that Romney was able to move so many undecided and independent voters over to his side last week was because of how he came off during the debate. On Thursday, Paul Ryan may have accomplished the same thing, although he may have Joe Biden to thank for it. President Obama's smirking and looking down did him in. Biden's frantic arm waving and persistent chuckling may have done the same thing. Independent voters do not like someone that looks like they do not want to be there, and they definitely do not like someone who comes across as an arrogant, interrupting madman.
A large number of pundits from across the spectrum would seem to agree. Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer, Piers Morgan, and many others.
Like Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume...

Biden Won the Argument but Ryan Won the Debate ^

 by libertarian neocon

As I posted yesterday, I was worried about Ryan going into the debate and it was justified. Unlike Biden, who has run for President twice and is in his second run for VP, Ryan never has been in a formal, moderated debate at the national level and so was a little unsure of himself from the get-go. He really only warmed up near the very end when he rattled off all the broken promises for this administration (it seems by then Biden got too tired to interrupt him). So Biden won the argument. He won by interrupting him at least 80-90 times during the debate, which is saying something considering Ryan only spoke for 40 minutes (that comes out to an average of an interruption every 30 seconds). He was clearly trying to belittle him with his smirks, his head-shaking, his guffaws, his eye-rolling, all of that stuff and it worked. It also kept Ryan from being able to give any of his arguments any momentum (even the moderator, with personal ties to Obama got into the act of interrupting Ryan).

But Ryan still won the debate. Presidential and Vice Presidential debates are not about scoring argumentative points like in some high school debating club, its about perception and how you come across. Ryan came across as youthful, competent (though a little nervous at first) and unflappable. I think part of the Biden strategy was to piss off Ryan so much that he either yelled at Biden or yelled at the moderator to get Biden to stop. As its always the second won to throw a punch who gets flagged in the NFL (and punished on the schoolyard), this could have produced a clip which showed Ryan to be un-Presidential and not ready for the pressure of the office. Instead Ryan turned the other cheek and just kept going, not letting anything stop him. Ryan left the debate without creating a single reason for a voter not to vote for him or creating a viral clip which could cost the campaign a few points by embarrassing Romney. Also, by letting Biden be such an uncontrollable jerk, he pretty much gave Biden enough rope to hang himself, and he did.

Biden came across as incredibly rude and boorish. Someone pointed out, he was the embodiment of the reason that women don't like debating men about politics, they just steamroll right over them. And while not a single exchange from this debate will be remembered come election day, his demeanor (with the emphasis on "mean") will be. People usually remember little things from debates which help send one candidate to victory and the other to defeat. The famous Reagan vs. Carter debate was very close, Reagan only really got the best of Carter twice, once with "there you go again" and the other with his closing statement which asked "are you better off than you were 4 years ago". George H.W. Bush lost against Clinton by looking detached when he checked his watch. Al Gored audibly and rudely sighed when W was talking. What Biden did was several orders of magnitude more memorable than all of those. Essentially instead of lots of little gaffes, which is what people expected, his whole debate style was one very long gaffe. Most people wouldn't even want someone like that in their house, much less a heartbeat away from the White House. Here is what Peggy Noonan wrote which I completely agree with:

Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy!" he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore's sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting.


National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn't work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.
And so the Romney-Ryan ticket emerged ahead. Its momentum was neither stopped nor slowed and likely was pushed forward.
Or this from the always great John Podhoretz:

Debate aggression can be problematic. In a face-to-face confrontation in front of a huge audience that includes people whose minds aren't yet made up, it's probably better to stick in the shiv with a calm expression and a slight smile.
Recall that Rick Lazio never recovered from the moment when he crossed over to Hillary Clinton's podium during their 2000 senate race and"invaded her space" by thrusting a document at her. Obviously, there was a gender element there that was not at play here, but in truth, everybody has had the experience of tussling with someone exactly like Biden last night.
Biden was every raging older relative you've ever made the mistake of arguing with at a family dinner. When he talked, he talked and talked; when you talked, he laughed in your face and could barely contain himself.
If the others in your family liked what he had to say before he said it, you were surely rooting him on and forgiving of his excesses — but if they didn't, they surely thought he was an unseemly boor.
And those who didn't really have an opinion about the subject under discussion probably just wanted to crawl under the table, which won't lead to fond memories of the belligerent one.
Perhaps even more important, given the nature of politics in the Internet age, Biden's behavior lent itself to second- and third-day ridicule. Just as Howard Dean's "yeearrgh" call in Iowa in 2004 turned him into a laughingstock and Al Gore's sighs and eyerolls made him satirical fodder for "Saturday Night Live," Biden's wild expressions are going to launch a billion YouTubes and still photos and those animated GIFs that will populate Facebook and melt down Twitter and clog Gmail.
Still don't believe me? Are you clinging to that CBS internet poll which showed that Biden won? Let's just look at history. The problem with instapolls is that it can take time for the impact of a debate performance to set in. Last week's Romney vs. Obama debate was an exception given that everyone on the right and the left thought Romney creamed Obama. Usually things are more subtle and the true impact of a debate isn't felt until after the instapolls. Check out what they were saying the day after the first Presidential debate in 2000 (the one where Gore sighed too much):

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's why I'm here: your friendly neighborhood poll flasher. And what did the polls show? Well, all four networks did flash polls of debate watchers last night. Now here's our post-debate poll of polls.
The ABC News poll shows Gore winning the debate by three points, 42 to 39, and that's within the margin of error. Our own CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup flash poll has Gore winning by seven, 48 to 41, also within the margin of error. NBC News, Gore wins by 10. That's significant. CBS News, Gore by 14, also significant.
So I think we have the answer: Gore seems to have won by a small to moderate margin.

But what actually happened in the polls? In the CNN tracking poll, Gore went from a 2 point lead the day of the debate to an 8 point deficit less than one week later! The Democrats might have a spring in their step today but they could be crying tomorrow. Now I don't expect too much of a bounce from this, this is a VP debate after all, but in a close race, every point counts.

It should be fun next Tuesday for round 2 of Romney v. Obama. I'm kind of hoping Obama tries the same schtick, in a town hall format that strategy will be nothing but a disaster, especially when running against someone who comes across as a mix of Jimmy Stewart and Mr. Rogers.

Biden adds more confusion to Libya story with debate claim on security

fox news ^ | 10/12/2012 | fox news

Vice President Biden's claim at Thursday's debate that the administration wasn't told of requests for more diplomatic security in the run-up to the Libya terror attack added only more confusion to an already muddled narrative.
In addition to raising eyebrows over that comment, the vice president went a step further and threw the intelligence community under the bus -- putting the blame squarely on their shoulders for the faulty narrative, pushed for more than a week by the administration, that the attack was a protest spun out of control.
The exchange on Libya, which opened the debate in Kentucky, was among the toughest in a persistently confrontational face-off. But Biden's comment on security was drawing widespread condemnation from Republicans Friday, with Romney adviser Dan Senor saying Biden "continued the administration's pattern of misleading" on Libya.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

On Healthcare Reform, the Devil is in the Spin

Illinois Review ^ | John F. Di Leo

The Obama administration, along with their pelosireidian enablers in the United States Congress, gave a great deal of thought to the timing of various events in the Obamacare process.
They passed it through the House when the American public was distracted by the massacre at Fort Hood… they passed it through the Senate when the nation was distracted by Christmas Eve celebrations… they designed it so that the taxes would begin to be collected immediately, but the benefits wouldn’t start for four years, so they could pretend to stretch ten years of taxes to fund six years of benefits.
Of course this accounting sham would collapse in its second decade, but that didn’t matter to them; once it was fully effective, they were sure it would never be repealed, no matter how incredibly destructive it turned out to be. And they may be right; that window of opportunity for a second chance at redemption is rapidly closing.
With all their concentration on timing, however, they neglected to consider one key, unchangeable moment, now locked into the American corporate world: healthcare open enrollment sessions are almost always in October, as employees can choose their plans for the following year. And that all happens now, within weeks or even days of casting our ballots.
The Annual Presentation
Most companies now offer a presentation to their employees – the larger the company, the more presentations – at which Human Resources professionals explain the options for next year, the changes from the prior year’s program, what it’s going to cost, what the employees need to do by the end of the open enrollment period.
There will be changes this year, many changes.
If you like using the Flexible Spending Account option – the program of paying your medical, dental and vision bills with pretax dollars, you’ll see a big change, as the old $5000/year maximum shrinks to $2500 for 2013. This doesn’t matter to most of us… most people just use a few hundred dollars per year in this use-it-or-lose-it account to cover doctor visit copays and prescription copays. But to those with a couple of kids who need braces, or those with expensive vision work, or other surgeries planned, the loss of that $2500 means an increase in the price of those services… an increase that goes directly into the government’s coffers. The hundred dollars you pay the orthodontist or other surgeon won’t change; he’s still getting the same hundred dollars. But now that it’s paid with post-tax money, you’ll be paying another ten, twenty, or thirty percent of it to the government. It’s a windfall for Washington.
The insurance companies have been given a mandate. The law now requires that new prescriptions must be from the ranks of generic drugs, at least until it can be determined whether the generic works or not. The doctor may well know that, for you, the generic or other cheaper substitute won’t work… and the insurance company and the pharmacist may all know that too… but the law requires that they try. In some cases, that’s relatively harmless. But in other cases, when the law mandates a postponement of the known right one for a week or two, it could mean severe results. They say it’s to fight overprescription and abuse of expensive drugs and to save money; the more cynical will question these purported reasons.
Premiums and copays will go up. Not all of them, of course. Every company tries to take care of its employees by driving a hard bargain with the insurance companies, trying to keep the increases down. But still they must go up somewhat. In an age of two or three percent inflation, healthcare premiums are going up by five to ten percent, or even more, just like in the days leading up to the passage of Obamacare. And people are asking: if premiums are still going up, why on earth are we paying trillions for Obamacare???
Every year, things get worse. Copays increase a bit, premiums increase a lot; coverage is reduced, coverage is removed. In some areas, coverage increases too much; we must all now pay for those things that the government insists that we pay for, whether we want to be in an insurance pool that covers them or not. Covering other people’s “children” at an age when they should have been working for five years by now, covering other people’s procedures of which we disapprove, or prescriptions that people should be buying on their own; all these things are now mandated as part of every policy, so all our premiums go up.
I must pay for you, and you must pay for me; Heaven forbid either of us should ever pay for ourselves, or choose to be in an insurance pool any smaller or more focused than three hundred million.
What’s the Spin?
Each speaker, when giving one of these presentations, has a choice to make. How much to editorialize, how much to avoid politics. We all want to avoid politics in the workplace; it can be unpleasant, even depressing. But when the government has placed targets on everyone in the room, it really is fair to respond in kind.
How does the speaker spin the prescription drug rationing? We can say “it’s to reduce abuse, because one drug had a shortage once, so we’re trying to protect against that ever happening again.” Or we can say, “the government wants to cut the costs of the program by forcing the healthcare industry to give the cheaper and less appropriate drug, unless the patient is angry enough to raise a fuss about it.”
It’s plain that the crafters of Obamacare care more about nationalizing healthcare than about seeing people cured. Requiring a generic version of the same drug is usually a reasonable rule for a budget plan, but there are no budget plans anymore; they’re all designed by the government. And requiring that a cheaper similar drug must be used, if there’s no generic option for the right one, isn’t just being penny-wise, it’s being careless and negligent. But that’s the requirement, in the brave new world of Obamacare.
Perhaps it’s that the crafters of Obamacare, in their heart of hearts, just don’t approve of the profit motive. They detest the fact that Abbott or Genentec can charge a hundred dollars for the original when Watkins or Barr can charge a fraction of that for their copy once the patent runs out. The crafters of Obamacare don’t understand why the developers of a drug should get compensation for the years of costly research that went into it. The healthcare-nationalizing left wants us to buy our all our drugs on deep discount, even from foreign manufacturers; they have no use for the American pharmaceutical industry, and wouldn’t mind its destruction a bit.
The elites of the American left will tell us not to worry about this rule, because we should be engaged in our own healthcare. If the pharmacist is restricted by law from filling the prescription as written, we can fight; we can pick up the phone and ask our doctors to file the objections, in duplicate or triplicate or quadruplicate, because they have plenty of time to rethink and reargue a decision they had already made, consciously, when the diagnosis was fresh in their minds. The American left doesn’t appear to value the time of our medical community either; if they did, perhaps they wouldn’t have cut $710 billion out of Medicare in order to fudge the numbers on Obamacare enough to pretend it was affordable.
What of the immigrant community that the American left claims to support? I can comfortably call my doctor and tell him I need him to fight for a prescription; so can the elites of the American left. But can the Polish immigrant on the assembly line, the Mexican immigrant at the distribution center, the Russian immigrant at the construction site? They may be first generation immigrants, not yet strong enough in their English speaking skills, or not well-enough educated or self-confident to argue as equals with distant bureaucrats. Their company is paying ten or twenty grand for this insurance policy for them; they shouldn’t have to fight to receive the benefits they deserve. Their government shouldn’t be skewing the service from good to bad, balancing the budget of leftist dreams on the backs of the sick and the working poor.
Why is it, after the passage of Obamacare, that none of its promises has come true? Why are insurance costs still going up, and healthcare being jeopardized for all? My huge employer is terrific at negotiating these packages, and it pays three-quarters of the cost of the plan, but even so, it went up this year by a thousand dollars – another $250 from me, another $750 from my employer. For less service, in so many ways.
How will the Human Resources people spin it? Will they tell the truth, that this was all the government’s way of forcing through Obamacare, and our higher costs and suffering service are just the collateral damage from that effort… or just repeat what they’ve been told: passing on the government line that it’s all for our own good? “Who ya gonna believe, anyway, Washington DC or your lyin’ eyes?”
If the HR folks don’t identify these changes as mandates from the government, the American employee will likely assume that it was just another cost-cutting method from their penny-pinching employer.
Think of the worker refused the right drug in favor of the wrong one. Think of the employee who is forced to pay more for braces for his kids because of these changes to the flexible spending program. He’ll hold it against his employer, maybe even wishing to himself, “oh, if only the government did all this for me, so I wouldn’t have these cheapskate insurance companies or pharmacies or hospitals cheating my kids out of the right drugs or out of affordable braces.” He’ll never know that it was the government itself that set them down this path, the American Democratic Party that set out to deny him affordable coverage, naming their vicious plan after the very opposite of what it was really intended to do.
Expect more of this, every year. Fewer doctors’ offices as they flee the industry; fewer rural hospitals as they flee the regions. Fewer insurance companies providing healthcare insurance at all, as they come to the realization that homeowners’, marine, auto and life insurance are all better business models nowadays than the vilified and handicapped healthcare insurance trade.
We were promised that we could keep our insurance, our doctor, our hospital, if we wanted to. What we weren’t told was that the deck would be stacked against these private providers; they would be driven out of business, driving the American people into the waiting arms of Obamacare – Stage Two.
There is only one way out. We’ve lost four years in the healthcare reform debate – four precious years in which we could have, and should have, been fixing the various legal obstacles to a thriving free market in the healthcare sector. There were pages and pages of recommendations from the right , recommendations that the Democrats wouldn’t even allow to be debated in the House of Representatives, once Obamacare was on the table. We had to pass it to see what was in it, said then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Now we’ve seen it, and we’ve seen it spun, but we’ve also seen its effects.
We must repeal Obamacare, root and branch, and get right to the business of doing healthcare reform right, before it’s too late. And there’s only one way to do it: by firing the bill’s namesake in November, and by electing Republican leadership in the Senate as well.
In January, 2013, we can finally get started on making quality healthcare affordable; it can indeed be done. When the Democrats use healthcare as a tool ... a tool to elect demagogues, empower bureaucrats, raise taxes, and drive employers out of business, there’s only one thing to do. Fire the Democrats, and elect the Republicans instead, because the Republicans are the party that actually thinks of heathcare as healthcare!
Copyright 2012 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and trade compliance lecturer. He has worked in the private sector his entire career, and has nothing personal against bureaucrats; he just wishes they’d stay out of his paycheck and his doctor’s office!
Permission is hereby granted to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the byline and the IR URL are included. Follow John F. Di Leo on Facebook or LinkedIn, or on Twitter at @johnfdileo.

The Bully vs. the Wonk: The Veep's strategy: Show contempt for your opponent!

WSJ ^ | 10/12/2012 | The Editors

So now we know what Team Obama's comeback plan was following last week's defeat in the Presidential debate. Unleash Joe Biden to interrupt, filibuster, snarl, smirk and otherwise show contempt for Paul Ryan. The carnival act contributed to the least illuminating presidential or vice presidential debate of our lifetimes.

From the opening bell, Mr. Biden seemed to take to heart the interpretation that President Obama offered this week of his debate performance—that he had been "too polite." That was not a problem for the Veep, whose marching orders were clearly to steamroll the overmatched moderator Martha Raddatz and dismiss everything Mr. Ryan said with a condescending sneer.

By unofficial media counts, Mr. Biden interrupted the Republican some 80 to 100 times. Mr. Ryan let the bully get away with too much for our tastes, at least until he finally pushed back on the interruptions or until Mr. Biden lost steam in the last half hour. But as anyone who's been in a tavern past midnight understands, it's hard to win a fight with a guy who is shouting from the corner bar stool.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

October Surprise: Consumer Confidence Gets Back to Sept 2007 Level (Bush) – Another Fed Bubble?

Confounded Interest

According to University of Michigan, consumer confidence has risen to Bush-era levels of September 2007.

Just to put it into context, I put a yellow line through the 100 level. We still have a long way to go to get to 100 from 83.1.
Perhaps consumers are reacting to The Feds driving mortgage rates down to historic low levels through QE3 ($40 billion per month purchase of agency MBS).

The Fed did produce a “Hail Mary” pass for the Administration by doing QEternity (or QE3-MBS). It seems to be working for consumer confidence, although mortgage lending is not increasing by much (except home equity loans — again). Mortgage refinancings are increasing thanks to the Administration’s 14 loan modification programs AND massive Federal Reserve intervention in the private market.

I doubt if the Vice Presidential debate had anything to do with the consumer confidence numbers {of course, the survey was taken prior to the debate). Personally, I feel less confident after Vice President Biden’s “The Joker” impression. After all, both said “Who do you trust?”

Muslim Influence in Pentagon Prevails

Thomas Moore Legal Center ^ | 2012 | TMLC Blog

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center announced today that it is representing U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, a 1994 Graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point.

In April 2012, LTC Dooley, a highly decorated combat veteran, was publically condemned by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and relieved of his teaching assignment because of the negative way Islam was portrayed in an elective course entitled, Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Where do they come from?

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$50 Million Merchant

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He's a liar

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Dragnet vs Regret

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October Surprise

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Obama's friends

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Loser tool

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Where has he been?

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Landslide Cometh

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Debate Coach

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First Amendment

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Debate Aftermath

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The Attack

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Veeps debate debacle ^ | 10/12/2012 | Danielle Hollars

~Photo courtesy of AP

This will be very short - Vice President Joe Biden is a condescending ass. He laughed when the debate focused on our dead Americans in Bhengazi, even while the families still wait to find out how their loved ones died, he laughed when speaking about Iran and Israel and nukes, and he laughed when Rep. Paul Ryan spoke of being truly pro-life. He lied about them not knowing about the request for more security, and threw the intel community under the bus.

Biden once again insulted those of us who actually follow the Catholic Church when it comes to abortion, and with a straight face, said he doesn't want to impose his views on anyone else. Obamacare anyone? HHS mandate? Mexico City policy? Why is it that abortion is the only topic where this mentality applies when it comes to those on the left? I will resort to my answer that I know will tick off liberals, but right now I could care less. Substitute abortion with slavery :

"I'm personally opposed to slavery, but I don't want to impose my views on another person..."

Good thing that people of faith didn't live by that motto, or I may still be on someone's plantation.

Biden was trying to be more of a jerk than the president was who couldn't be bothered to look at Romney during the Obama/Romney debate #1. Well guess what? It worked! Unfortunately for them, it worked on behalf of Romney/Ryan. Ryan came off as the cool collected soon-to-be vice president, while Biden came off as smug and arrogant, and generally being a jerk to Ryan.

This administration has shown its complete disdain for Congressman Ryan, from the President dressing him down in front of the nation, to Biden's treatment of Ryan tonight.

Stats from tonight:
Biden interrupted Ryan 82 times in 90 minutes
CNN Debate Clock: Biden spoke for 41:32 minutes; Ryan clocked in at 40:12
CNN Poll: Ryan 48%, Biden44%

For those of you who didn't watch the debate, here's a small sample of the Vice-President coming unhinged:

And here's Obama and Romney:

Can't wait until the next debate!!!