Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pelosi Disavows Responsibility for Obamacare Failures

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 31 Jan 2014 | John Semmens

In an appearance on The Daily Show, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) insisted that “none of the problems of the Affordable Care Act are my fault. The bill we passed was over 2800 pages. I didn’t have time, no one had time to carefully read all of its provisions to see if there might be any glitches.”
“Beyond this there is always the problem of bureaucratic incompetence,” Pelosi continued. “Time after time we have passed legislation aimed at helping people—veterans benefits, medicare, medicaid, and now universal health insurance—only to see treatments bungled, services denied, and money wasted. It’s criminal.” The show’s host, Jon Stewart, seemed perplexed by the Minority Leader’s stance. “With a repetition of the same kinds of problems in program after program when does learning from experience set in?” he asked. “That’s a good question,” Pelosi acknowledged. “But you’re asking the wrong person. I’m no policy analyst. It’s the job of Congress to express the aspirations of the people by enacting laws that address their hopes and dreams. We trust the experts to make these laws work. If they can’t do that I guess there is no hope and the dream turns into a nightmare. The one thing we must not let happen is to give in to the naysayers who would exploit this failure to divert us from our course.”

Let’s compare Michelle Obama’s birthday party with Laura Bush’s when George was in office!

Young Conservatives ^ | 1/24/14 | Joshua Riddle

The president and his queen are the epitome of corruption and greed. They talk about “caring for the poor” while spending piles of other people’s money on their celebrity parties. Disgusting.
If anyone still clings to some charitable notion that there is more to Michelle Obama than a celebrity wanna-be opportunist, let her 50thbirthday celebration be the proof that does away with any remaining delusions.
The FLOTUS’ birthday bash invitees included such moneyed stars as Gladys Knight, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jordan, Stevie Wonder, Samuel L. Jackson, Ashley Judd, and, of course, power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z (the latter of whom sings a little ditty that says, among many other vile words it’d be indecent to print here: “Uh, she love different kinds of sex now, Uh, black girl sippin’ white wine, Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign”). And this is just the stuff we know about. The event was so top secret, the NSA had to find out about it by reading Sasha and Malia’s text messages. No cell phones were permitted for the 500 people who attended, and those who disobeyed were told to check their devices at the door. Michelle’s guest list of famous “friends” was the tip of the iceberg. The party “was reportedly everything you’d expect from a glamorous White House party: Glitzy and stocked with powerful celebrities and government officials.” They danced until 3 a.m., at least, and drank champagne, wine, beer, and hard liquor. All of it. All at once. When Laura Bush turned 60, she got a modest four paragraph mention inPeople magazine: Laura “celebrated her 60th birthday on Saturday at the Bush family’s ranch in Crawford, Tex., where the President gave her a triple-strand amber-colored necklace. “The Bushes spent the weekend at the ranch, and on Saturday hosted friends…for a dinner of enchiladas, tamales, guacamole, rice and beans and birthday cake.” Hey, I definitely do not have a problem with rich people enjoying their lives and doing rich people things. (This is why I read/look at pictures on DailyMail.) Were I half as wealthy as any of these celebs, I would be doing the same, except I would be partying with Rick Perry or Prince Harry or anyone but the Obamas. The problem, though, is the hypocrisy, obviously, (Michelle’s extra long vacation at Oprah’s place cost us an estimated $60-$100 million) and the lavish lifestyles the Commander and his Indulger-in-Chief lead when the nation is suffering and nobody likes you anyway. This, coming from an administration whose most recent political platform focuses on income inequality. Some Americans are more equal than others, I guess.

The trouble with Obama’s myRA plan: Retirement plan helps those with no 401(k), but not much!

MarketWatch ^ | 02/02/2014 | Chuck Jaffe

Real life isn’t always a “Field of Dreams,” where “if you build it, they will come.” Instead, there are times when you build it, and they go “Ho-hum,” and mostly ignore you. So while any effort to encourage increased retirement savings among workers deserves to be applauded — arguing against increased savings is like disputing the value of parenthood and apple pie — it’s hard to see President Obama’s myRA program achieving most of its goals, because once you get past what he described during the State of the Union address, it appears to be a lot of wishful thinking. Let’s do the digging and see why that is. The awkwardly named myRA (rhymes with IRA, as in the individual retirement account it is designed to supplement) was unveiled by President Obama this week as a savings vehicle designed to serve people whose employers don’t provide access to a retirement plan. That’s about half of all workers, mostly the ones who work for small employers that can’t afford to offer a plan. The basic details released to this point make it clear that myRAs will be backed by a security that looks and feels like a savings bond, backed by the government and with the same variable-interest-rate return offered by the G Fund, the Government Securities Investment Fund in the federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan. (It’s similar to another idea the Treasury has been working on for at least four years now: the R-bond, a retirement product that would let employees direct part of their paycheck toward an investment.) Savers would be guaranteed that the value of their account would never go down; they would pay no fees on the accounts.

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Doctor’s ‘I will not comply’ Obamacare break-up letter getting incredible praise from her peers!

BizPac Review ^ | February 2, 2014 | Joe Saunders

A Texas ophthalmologist and co-founder of AmericanDoctors4Truth tore down the curtain on Obamacare last week, describing President Obama’s “signature” legislative achievement for the con game of forced labor that it really is. When she wrote to the Aetna insurance company canceling her participation in its offerings, Dr. Kristin Held of San Antonio was informed she is contractually bound to care for the company’s patients for another year — as though Obamacare not only re-configured the American health care system, it repealed the 13th Amendment at the same time. In her letter dated Jan. 30, the long-time and vocal opponent of Obamacare wrote that the “law of the land” Obamacare is made up of “politically-expedient mandates, rewards, penalties, rules and regulations with which I cannot rationally or morally treat my patients and run a practice, much less interpret, implement or comply.” In the letter, Held describes a strange form of care in which a doctor’s services are sold without the doctor’s knowledge or consent. “So here we are,” Held wrote, “you are getting new business offering health insurance plans featuring my services without my consent under terms which are unacceptable to me …

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Obama Stumbles Over Latest Promise: “If You Like Your Retirement…” ^ | February 2, 2014 | Michael Schaus

Our imperially inclined President is already acting on the promise he made during his State of the Union to take unilateral “action” outside of the normal legislative process. And at the top of his non-legislative agenda is the reformation of American retirement. Utilizing his oratory prowess and an executive memorandum, the President is promising to give Americans a new way of saving for retirement… Or something like that. Maybe “oratory prowess” was a bit of an overstatement. It turns out that his teleprompter was never taught about avoiding double negatives – let alone triple and quadruple negatives: Obama: 'I'm Not Going to Wait for Congress' "Now, I'm hoping that Congress goes along with this, but I'm not going to wait for Congress. I could do more with Congress, but I'm not going to not do anything without Congress, not when it's about the basic security and dignity of American workers." Well… Good. Now we’re all confused. It’s nice that we have a leader who can unite us. (What happened to his fantastic oratory skills? Was the teleprompter set on “stutter”?) He’s “not going to not do anything without Congress.” The point was still clear, despite the obfuscatory wording. Our all-powerful Campaigner-in-Chief will not wait for the legislative wheels of Constitutional government to be set in motion. So what is he signing into non-law? Obama has directed his Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, to create a new savings bond called the “MyRA”. (Cute name. It rings of Orwellian double-speak given that the MyRA will be a government program.) With mildly more competent sentence structure than before, the President outlined his cure for America’s retirement woes: “And we're calling it "MyRA." Not IRA -- MyRA.” Thank you, Mr. President. I get it. You replaced the “I” in “IRA” with the word “My” to make me feel like I have ownership over the money I invest in this governmental financial instrument. Very clever. “And what it is, it's a new type of savings bond that we can set up without legislation that encourages Americans to begin to build a nest egg.” Wait! We’re creating a new savings bond!! And to think I was planning on not saving anything until I started collecting Social Security. Quick! Where do I sign up! (My kingdom for a sarcasm font.) “Workers can contribute through automatic deductions…” Am I supposed to be excited that the Treasury Department will allow me to “invest” with the same technological tools that allow me to subscribe to Netflix? “MyRAs are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.” Oh, that makes me feel good. Anyone know if S&P is planning on downgrading the US again? “[You] can keep the same account even if [you] change jobs.” Oh good! So if you like your retirement, you can keep it. “And it's affordable. You can open an account with as little as $25. You can contribute as little as $5 at a time.” Because nothing helps build a comfortable retirement more than occasional $5 contributions to a government savings bond. The Administration’s push to portray some gimmicky treasury bond as the solution to America’s retirement woes, only highlights the White House’s comically incompetent leadership on fiscal issues. The real problem, aside from Mr. Obama’s dependence on an apparently glitchy teleprompter, is far deeper than an insufficient choice of treasury bonds. Artificially low interest rates, declining household wealth, income stagnation, and an abysmal jobs market are far more painful to the retirement prospects of American workers than anything Treasury can singlehandedly address. The President’s adoption of extra-legislative gimmicks only serve to illustrate the leaderless incompetence of this White House. It is becoming more apparent that the remainder of Obama’s tenure will be a hopeless mess of legislative gridlock, and executive politicking. The MyRA is nothing more than the first of many attempts to convince the American people that Obama will dictatorially go around Congress for “the greater good” of the nation. Or, as the President put it, he’s “not going to not do anything without Congress”.

Will Obama’s pursuit of executive power backfire?

Hotair ^ | 02/02/2014 | Ed Morrissey

In his State of the Union message on Tuesday, Barack Obama promised “a year of action,” inadvertently echoing Richard Nixon in both rhetoric and perhaps tone. Obama threatened that if Congress didn’t come along on his agenda, he’d take unilateral action to impose it instead. This has the potential to backfire on Obama, Stephanie Simon argues at Politico, by firing up the Republican base even more in a midterm election year:
Obama’s use of executive power could come back to haunt him. Republicans in Congress, infuriated at being bypassed, are using every shred of authority they can muster to try to halt or delay the president’s agenda. At the very least, they figure, they can whip up public outrage, drive down Obama’s approval rating and perhaps persuade him to retreat. The executive agenda outlined in the Politico Pro report — which described an administration eager to shape everything from the content of third-grade math tests to the recipe for Reese’s Pieces to the fuel sources that power our homes — spooks voters, and not just Republicans, said Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah). “This is something that people react to viscerally,” Stewart said. … Republicans have also filed lawsuits and legislative amendments trying to rein in executive power. One resolution calling for the House to take stronger legal action is sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.). He calls it the S.T.O.P. act – for Stop This Overreaching Presidency. Big business and big industry have stepped in, too. They’ve sued to overturn regulations. They’ve also sought to delay the rule-making process by demanding more time to evaluate draft regulations — and then flooding agencies with comments.

Republican outrage has focused on executive orders, but that’s a little too narrow and a bit misplaced. The White House has been careful to keep EOs within the boundaries of executive power, if perhaps testing it at the edges. The EO on the minimum wage for federal contracts, for instance, lives within those boundaries even if (a) it won’t actually impact more than a handful of people anyway and (b) is bad policy nonetheless. The real issue with the abuse of executive authority comes in sins of commission and omission that have nothing to do with EOs. For instance, the most egregious abuse is the war Obama launched against the Qaddafi regime in Libya without ever bothering to ask Congress for authorization. But there are plenty of other examples closer to home, especially in the arbitrary adherence to statute in the President’s own favorite law, ObamaCare, and many other examples of regulatory adventurism, as noted by Simon. That, plus the defiance of Congressional oversight by lawless recess appointments and the abuse of executive privilege, have made this into a truly imperial presidency, and has set precedents that Democrats will almost certainly rue, and sooner rather than later. This abuse erodes the basic fabric of a nation based on the rule of law, as Elizabeth Price Foley argued in the New York Times this week (via Instapundit):
The only strength gained by unilateral presidential lawmaking is raw speed: policies can be implemented more swiftly by unilateral presidential action than by congressional deliberation and debate. But the dangers are many, and should counsel any American — of whatever political persuasion — that such dispatch comes at a high constitutional cost. When the president fails to execute a law as written, he not only erodes the separation of powers, he breeds disrespect for the rule of law and increases political polarization. The president’s own party — for example, the current Democrat-controlled Senate — will face intense pressure to elevate short-term, partisan victory over defending constitutional principles. If partisan preferences prevail, Congress will be unable, as an institution, to check presidential ambition and defend its lawmaking prerogative. Once such precedent is established, damage to the constitutional architecture is permanent. The next president of a different party will face similar pressures and undo all the previous actions. He will initiate a new round of unilateral lawmaking, satisfying his own political base. The law will fluctuate back and forth, and our legislature will become little more than a rubber stamp for a single elected individual, which is not how representative government is supposed to work.

The reason this will backfire is that imperial presidencies only impress the loyal base of the President’s party, who mistake autocracy for wisdom. They tend to worry and frighten everyone else, especially when the result is the unmistakable incompetence of this administration on both domestic and foreign policy. Expect the backlash on all of these points this year.

Liberalism’s Biggest Lie: If You Like Your Morality, You Can Keep Your Morality

The Public Discourse ^ | January 31, 2014 | Carson Holloway

The unchecked progress of sexual liberalism means that we cannot say what kind of moral culture our children will inhabit as adults or, accordingly, what kind of moral culture will form our grandchildren. No responsible person can support such a movement.
In recent months there has been a good deal of discussion of the president’s apparent mendacity in his selling of the Affordable Care Act. “If you like your health care you can keep it,” the president repeatedly assured his fellow citizens while the law was pending before Congress. The roll-out of the law in late 2013, however, revealed that this promise was no good, and it is difficult to believe that the president was not aware of this even as he was making it. Because the use of dishonesty to win support for legislation is hardly compatible with the American promise of self-government, this issue has deserved all the attention it has gotten, and indeed it deserves even more. Nevertheless, the sitting president’s efforts to achieve progress (as he understands it) by recourse to falsehoods should also lead us to probe more deeply and see the bigger, even more consequential falsehoods upon which liberalism has relied for the last two or three generations. With every step of the “progress” it has sought in recent decades, with every effort it has made to “free” us from some aspect of morality, liberalism has made an Obama-like assurance that has turned out to be wrong. Five years ago, the president falsely told Americans, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” For the last fifty years, liberalism as a movement of moral liberation has repeatedly assured Americans, “If you like your morality, you can keep your morality.” In both cases, the game is to promise

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