Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why hasn't the nation-wide gun control movement gained any real traction?

If you inclined to answer that it is due to the gobs of money the NRA spends on an annual basis to support or block legislation according to their favor and to do the same on political candidates, we won’t necessarily argue against that. Allow us, however, to offer up another reason that may have more actual influence than any money spent by the NRA: many gun control advocates and, in particular, the ones that have the most “voice” in that community are criminally incompetent.

One example that immediately comes to mind is our very own wunderkin Vice President, who in the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, claimed he told his wife Jill that the proper way to deal with a home intruder is to go out on the back deck with the shot gun and fire off a few rounds.

Uhhh… Joe? You bumbling stooge… that is against the law and may very well get you thrown in jail. You see, it’s kind of tough to enact “sensible” gun control legislation when you don’t even have a grasp of the ones already on the book.

And then there was the time David Gregory of “Meet The Press” brought a gun magazine on the set for a debate with Wayne LaPierre of the NRA in contradiction to Washington D.C. law. You see, it’s kind of hard to take the gun-control set seriously when they hypocritical flout standing gun laws.

And most-recently we have an anti-gun PSA from a filmmaker Rejina Sancic that really must be seen to be believed. Here it is:

(If embed no worky, please click on link above)

We have it from very reliable sources what you just watched was not parody nor satire nor was it any sort of false flag operation designed to mock the lack of credibility of gun-grabbers… that was the real deal, gang. People much smarter on the topic of gun laws and gun safety can chime in but what is advocated here is stealing and carrying a firearm onto school grounds, both criminal offenses. Also, the young man’s trigger finger is hovering over the trigger as he puts the gun into his bag and when he sets the gun down on the desk of his teacher, the barrel of the gun is clearly pointed at the teacher, thus two gun safety 101 no-nos in 90 seconds.

We have a sick feeling in our gut that Sancic knew exactly what she was doing and has thusly deluded herself into believing that advocating unsafe and feloniously criminal behavior is justifiable as it serves “the greater good” of gun control. Sacrifices must be made at the altar of the collectivist religion of gun control, we suppose. The irony burns as it is gun control advocates that continually level the charge of “callousness” and “uncaring” at gun owners and 2nd amendment supporters with respect to the victims of gun violence.

You see, it’s really, really tough to take gun-grabbers seriously when they advocate unsafe and criminal behavior for our nation’s young people.

In short, please get your s**t together before you begin preening and lecturing the rest of us upon whatever moral high ground you believe you stand.


Monday, November 10, 2014

And where a Salon writer wades into (for him) completely uncharted waters



Over the weekend, Salon writer, DAVID MASCIOTRA, caused quite a bit of dust-up on social media with his own “salute to the troops” ahead of Veteran’s Day . Here is the headline, followed by the sub-headline and then followed by the first paragraph of the piece.

You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy

It's been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.”

If you desire, you can read it in its entirety, here.

The first thing that jumped out at us was the use of “forced” and “compulsory”. His definition of the words would be at odds with ours or else he would be in some sort of legal trouble outside of being roundly criticized on the internet. But, we suppose, if you are going to pen this on the weekend prior to Veteran’s Day, you’d be well-served to go big on hyperbole. And what we’ve seen on T.V. this weekend, mostly at sporting events, was expressions of thankfulness and gratitude, not worship. But, again, if you are going to go there, go big.

So, let’s put semantics aside and dig right into this with a critique angle that originates from the American left, Saul Alinsky specifically, and which is rooted in using one’s own arguments against them. Are you familiar with the term “mansplaining”? Wiki has got it covered here, but in short it is: "a man condescendingly explain[ing] something to female listeners".

And more expansively, it is the phenomena of the explainer knowing less about the subject than the explainee. Narrowing it down again, we’ve seen the term used most consistently in the abortion argument where men have no right to an opinion on the matter since they are biologically incapable of having one. OK, then. So, what say you, Mr. Masciotra? Oh, wait. Who cares what this guy has to say? He is the ideological heir of those who spit on the G.I.s and Marines returning home from Vietnam. The man despises the military as an institution so WTF right does he have on even opining on the subject? By the logic of the left, his arguments are null and void from the start. See how that works?

But shutting down dissent is no fun, right? Especially when we can have more fun deconstructing his argument.

Maybe ol’ boy is pitching such a fit because he’s jealous. That’s right, jealous. Gallup has been tracking respect in/confidence in various American institutions for decades. Follow the link here and you’ll see the military has, over the years, been the most respected institution in America. And where would Masciotra’s profession(s) be? Newspapers, Television news, internet news, i.e., the mainstream media, are towards or right at the bottom of the heap.

Scroll down to the performances of the individual institutions over the years and you’ll see that the military’s numbers have remained steady where the public’s confidence in the media has eroded over time. So, perhaps having a 4th estate, the watchdog of democracy, that is so un-respected because the public lacks confidence they are doing their job is more deadening to real democracy than “worshipping” the troops.

The definition of “hero” is very much open to interpretation as it should be. One man’s hero may not be another’s and that’s fine. But here’s the thing Masciotra and his ilk don’t understand: Members of the most respected institution in the country will get the benefit of the doubt in this country’s cultural lexicon. And members of the least respected institutions in this country, the media hackeratti, of which he is a member, will not. Sorry, Dave, no one likes you.

Pre-historic societies passed along history and the pillars of that particular culture through story-telling and myth-making. Warriors were held up as models of physical bravery, courage and honor. There is a positive aspect to mythologizing the favorable aspects of society be they soldiers or not. Characters in our country’s past like, Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and John Henry have been mythologized and made figuratively larger-than-life in an effort to strengthen a shared American cultural experience and to perhaps serve as an anology to vastness of our country.

The vet = hero narrative is really no different. We’ve seen it a couple of times when we are out with my little brother and his family where he will “force” his 3 young children to approach members of the Huntington Beach Fire Department to express their gratitude and thanks for the work they do that if it hasn’t already, may certainly in the future, put their limb and life in harm’s way. My little brother is mythologizing (making his children look up to) the best aspects of our culture through these men: sacrifice, courage and bravery being among them.

And almost identically, the vet = hero narrative mythologizes and makes larger-than-life its subject because a huge swath of the country of which Masciotra finds foreign, still believe these traits to be important to our country.

Let’s leave with this: Guys: when you were growing up, what did you play? “Army” or “crap-weasel columnist at a lefty rag”? Ladies: “Into whose arms do you wish to fall? A fireman’s (mustachio and all), or David Masciotra?

* Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas, Texas embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. during a Veterans Day commemoration in Dallas. Graunke lost a hand, a leg and and eye when he was injured by a bomb in Iraq.

A special Veterans’ Day shoutout to my two older brothers who also happen to be two of my favorite Cold War warriors who served with distinction and honor in this country’s nuclear sub fleet and the U.S. Army’s vaunted 82nd Airborne Division, respectively.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Next, they came for the craft beer and you said nothing

Want to know how to goon up a perfectly good win-win situation for all participating parties? You get the federal government involved, that’s how.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now be regulating the spent grains from the brewing process because of pet food or something.

For centuries, brewers have given or sold the leftover grain from the brewing process to local ranchers and dairy farmers for cattle feed. But new regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration threaten to end that relationship.

"The whole brewing community was shocked about it," said Josh Deth, co-owner of Revolution Brewing in Chicago, Ill.
Deth, whose title is "Chairman of the Party," says it's always been a great deal for both sides. The ranchers get the grain, and the brewers get those leftovers removed from their facilities for free.

"We're trading, giving something of value to each other and working it out. I think that's one of the really great things, and people really hate to see the government get involved in something where they can just as easily stay out of this."

Under the FDA's proposed regulations, so-called spent grains would be regulated the same as pet food.

Deth said the regulations would make it far too costly for him to prepare the grains to be passed along to farmers. The only remaining option would be sending it to a landfill, which would cost more than $100,000 a year.

That would be bad for dairy and cattle farmers like Jim Minich, who gets 30 tons of spent grain from Revolution Brewing each week. Not only does the grain save him more than $100,000 a year in feed costs, his 750 cows also produce more milk after chowing down on their "happy hour."

"I mean it's just basically grain and it's got a lot of yeast in it and it's wet, so it adds to the palatability of the feed so they eat more," he said.

The regulations are part of the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act, a sweeping new food safety reform law signed by President Obama in 2011. According to the FDA, the purpose of the law is to improve the safety of animal food.

And just like that, farmers like Minich will be adding $100,000/year to their operating costs and breweries like Revolution Brewing will be doing likewise all in the name of animal food safety?

In Placentia, California, this is known as a solution in search of a problem as the article readily explains.

There's no record of spent grains causing any problems for cows or humans, though, according to Chris Thorne, a spokesman with the Beer Institute.

"We already meet or exceed the goals that the FDA would like us to see. So we see these regulatory procedures as completely unnecessary," Thorne told Fox News.

The FDA was flooded by comments from brewers, distillers and cow farmers when the proposed rule was announced.
Responding to the outcry, the FDA said in a statement it is now looking to revise the language for the rule this summer before issuing a final decision sometime next year.

"We are working to develop regulations that are responsive to the concerns expressed, practical for businesses, and that also help ensure that food for animals is safe and will not cause injury to animals or humans," the FDA said.

This represents a classic example of a sprawling federal bureaucracy looking to justify its existence by creating a make-work program, if you will, that accomplishes nothing but to the detriment of the dairy/cattle and brewing industries.

For you big government types, regulations are all fine and dandy when they don’t effect you. However, think of this completely unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion into a completely voluntary and mutually beneficial business arrangement the next time you are pedaling your fixie over to Toronado for a Pliny the Younger.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mission Accomplished


At a Rose Garden presser yesterday, here’s the winner of the Washington Post’s “Lie of the Year” do a victory lap in claiming that the administration met its goal of signing up 7 million “enrollees” for the federal healthcare law (aka "ObamaCare) by the March 31st deadline.

Of course, the administration that lied about being able to keep your plan and lied about being able to keep your doctor offers up no substantive data regarding this 7 million figure…. So, go ahead and spike the football, Preezy, we know you’re full of it.

The administration that from October 1st right up until yesterday was purposely vague as to the number of “enrollees” suddenly got purposely specific on the day after the sign-up deadline. Weird. Forgive our cynicism but if the goal had been 8.5 million or 10.2 million, we know damn well what number they would’ve pulled out of their collective asses for yesterday’s presser.

And about this term “enrollee” – what specifically does it mean? Again, no specifics from the White House because the only figure that matters is the number of people that have paid their premiums… a figure which the White House has been conveniently unable to provide.

Despite the gloating and happy talk from the President, folk who have taken the time to crunch the numbers tell a different story. A survey of insurers and other industry players has shown that of those 7.1 million the administration is parading around, anywhere between 65-89% of them were previously insured. And the majority of those who previously had insurance signed up on the ObamaCare exchange because either their company dropped their coverage or their insurance plan was rendered illegal by ObamaCare.

After all this law has put us through for the last 4 years, in a nation of 350 million people, we are talking about insuring in the neighborhood of 2 million previously uninsured people with upwards of 45 million federal law-breakers still walking around out there scot-free. Heckuva job, guys.

“The debate is over…”

A curiously undemocratic thing for the leader of the Democratic Party to say. Something like that is reserved for a person who knows he cannot debate his side on its own merits because the facts on the ground don’t support it. Perhaps not coincidentally, it is also something said to us only by our parents while we were children, at least without getting heckled out of the room. And perhaps not coincidentally, that’s the same line used by the global warming book-cookers and decline-hiders.

We can only hope the President’s un-Presidential gloating doesn’t lead his fan boys and fan girls to engage in more “civility” and “tolerance” like the below:

What were we saying again about not having the facts on one's side?

As it stands currently, we will continue our fight in debating our side and happily subverting this law in any peaceful, legal and civil way we can.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


Poor old Jerry Brown and his end-of-career legacy defining project, the high-speed rail project, just can’t seem to catch a break these days.

Amid mounting legal problems thrown down by California Superior Court Judge Michael Kinney regarding the financing of the high-speed choo-choos, the project is now facing internal fire from their own peer review board over the travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

From the L.A. Times and their high-speed rail beat writer Ralph Vartabedian:

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.

The article does not expand on to what specific “real world engineering issues” Thompson is referring but let’s just assume he’s talking about “stops”, as in “stops” to let fare-paying business embark and disembark the choo-choos.

This thing has become so politicized and such an albatross, we can imagine every blessed cow town out there in the Central Valley is demanding that if the choo-choos are going to be rolling through their jurisdiction, then by damned, they are going to be making a stop there.

And with every stop there is the inherent logistical inertia with respect to safely loading and unloading passengers that will have to be factored into that 2 hrs. and 40 minutes claim.

But 2 hrs. and 40 minutes? $68 billion (real world estimates put this project at nearly twice that, by the way, due to budgetary sorcery wrought by Brown’s cook crooks) to achieve a feat that can be accomplished in 50 minutes via aircraft out of Burbank to San Jose? And now the experts say it's going to take 30 minutes longer than that?

Back to the article:

Rail authority officials said after the hearing, held by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, that they would meet the requirements of state law, but did not specifically say that trains would operate at the faster travel times. State law requirements may be open to legal interpretation. Language approved by voters says the system must be "designed to achieve" trip times of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Did you see what just happened there? The original voted-upon 2 hrs. and 40 minutes is now the faster time. Peachy.

The article ends by talking about Brown raiding the carbon emissions cap and trade fund to help finance the project, a mere pittance up against the $68-120 billion tab (in the 6 years since voters approved the project, they have yet to name one private source of funding which will be required to finance this boondoggle).

The largest public works project in the history of this country, which will of course, be powered by very conventional fossil fuels is receiving cap and trade dollars; an irony which we are sure is not lost on you.

As it stands, dear readers, yet another nail in the considerably-sized coffin of California’s high-speed choo-choos. We cheer on its staggering, stumble-drunk demise.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Farewell, England, we scarcely knew ye


Alternative headline: Alternative fuel source gets a foothold in British hospitals

England of Magna Carta, ending slave trade and ending worldwide tyranny via WW I and WW II fame has appeared to step aside and say, “Ya know, eff it. We’re done here”.

This is what the self-revocation process looks like for a member in good standing of Western Civilization.

Via KT of the Scratching Post who had this to say with respect to the following: “.... it turns out there was no reason to Bomben auf Engelend after all. The British lion would eventually see the light.

From the Telegraph:

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.

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’
Another ‘waste to energy’ facility at Ipswich Hospital, operated by a private contractor, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011 and 2013.

They were brought in from another hospital before being burned, generating energy for the hospital site. Ipswich Hospital itself disposes of remains by cremation.

“This practice is totally unacceptable,” said Dr Poulter.

“While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay.”

“totally unacceptable”... “Human Tissue Authority”

Charmed, we’re sure.

We’re sure the global community will get properly exercised only when the British Health Ministry declares that the resulting embryonic tissue particulate is carcinogenic and a global-warming contributor as well

The second item as evidence of England stepping down from the world stage relates to Sharia law now being codified into British law and in this instance with respect to the writing of wills.

Also, from the Telegraph:

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

Because Balkanizing your country absolutely demands “good practice”.

Western Civilization with it’s freedom of speech and religion, its property rights and equality-for-all features had a pretty good run and at one time Great Britain was at the forefront of that novel and rebellious movement.

All movements, however, have their arc and it would appear the fat and sclerotic Brits are exhibiting some defense-of-culture laziness and hastening the demise of its imperfect yet better-than-the-rest culture.

We are not fans of anti-Sharia legislation that we have seen pop up from time to time over the years. Like ridiculous flag-burning amendments, it comes across as cheap pandering.

Do we not have a culturally-approved standing code of laws as it is? And did we not fight a civil war for the fair and equal treatment of all citizens and then have it out all over again some 100 years later to further enhance civil rights guarantees. Did we not get this all straightened out?

However, when reality knocks and our English-speaking cousins are setting up a shadow or parallel legal system to the one that already exists, is anti-Sharia legislation worth a second look?

As it stands, right now, peace out, our cousins across the pond.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Technical bulletins: where horrible, no-good laws go to die

B-Daddy over at The Liberator Today did a fine job of covering that which we
are about to here, below.

Recall, back in September of last year at the height of shutdown fever, the
House passed a resolution that would've funded all government operations
while suspending the individual mandate for one year. At the time, we
thought that to be a very, very reasonable compromise. After all, there
was every indication that the rollout of the ObamaCare online exchange on
October 1st was not going to go smoothly so why not, legally, through the
legislative process, allow both the tragically flawed website and its
customers some more time to get up to speed?

Now, nearly six months after that, the individual mandate is about the only
aspect of the law that has not been delayed or waived or exempted by
executive fiat by the President himself. Yes, dear readers, it would
appear that it is not those House Republican "hostage-takers" and
"terrorists" rather President Barack Obama who is the biggest obstructionist
to his own signature piece of legislation.

But what now of the individual mandate? Since the individual mandate is
the lynchpin of the entire law (the mechanism by which to get young, healthy
people to pay for the healthcare needs of the old and infirm), there was no
way in hell anything was going to happen to it, right? Even if delaying the
individual mandate made the most practical sense for everyone involved,
there was no way that this administration was going to give in and thus give
tacit acknowledgement that the Republicans were right back last September.

Well, in the regulatory equivalent of a Friday evening news dump, the law
has once again been altered with dubious legality as an "out clause" of sorts
has been added to the regulations concerning the individual mandate.

From the Wall Street Journal... and we absolutely love the opening line:

ObamaCare's implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their
own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care
Act-the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly
excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance
or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the
Health and Human Services Department didn't think the details were worth
discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the
mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to
preserve some health plans that don't comply with ObamaCare benefit and
redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that
casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be
extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this
second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans
whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

You remember those cancellations, right? The
if-you-like-your-current-plan-you-can-keep-your-plan cancellations? But we
digress. Back in December, the administration, again by executive fiat,
allowed those with cancelled plans to go back to their old "bad apple" and
"sub-standard" plans from which they were to be saved by ObamaCare. Now,
with minimal administrative effort, those people with cancelled plans will
be exempted from the individual mandate.

Back to the article:

But amid the post-rollout political backlash, last week the agency created a
new category: Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your
plan was cancelled and that you "believe that the plan options available in
the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your
cancelled health insurance policy" or "you consider other available policies

This lax standard-no formula or hard test beyond a person's belief-at least
ostensibly requires proof such as an insurer termination notice. But people
can also qualify for hardships for the unspecified nonreason that "you
experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance," which only
requires "documentation if possible." And yet another waiver is available to
those who say they are merely unable to afford coverage, regardless of their
prior insurance. In a word, these shifting legal benchmarks offer an
exemption to everyone who conceivably wants one.

"documentation if possible" tells you all you need to know about how it is,
or more precisely, how this isn't going to be enforced. How fitting,
how perfect that this administration which treats with such pique and
disdain the purposely difficult parameters for governing a constitutional
republic would create something within their signature law that could aptly
be called the "it's, like, too haaaard", exemption.

To quote B-Daddy, “So, this is what victory over ObamaCare looks like”.

So, what now? The administration has effectively gutted the requirements for the individual mandate so how is it that the rest of the law is supposed to remain financially stable?

What else to do to save this wretched law than to bail it out with massive tax-payer lump sums and subsidies for the health insurance lobby? It’s what they do best, in fact, it’s pretty much all they do.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What we've been tweeting

We apologize for the infrequency of posting here of late, a condition we will chalk up to a busy work schedule and the dog days of February and March where nothing happens, right?

We were able to get off some thoughts this past week via Twitter which we will share below:

Another day, Another constitutionally dubious unilateral executive order ObamaCare delay...

Over to you, Senator Reid:

So, the NFL is thinking of moving extra point tries back to the 25 yard line... color us skeptical:

We don't care whose mug it is being plastered over this nation's flag but please tell us how this is good for a constitutional republic...? oh, that's right a former constitutional republic.


Some call it "growing in office" while we have some other choice terms for it:

Chess champion on the inevitable ripple effect of botching the Syrian situation last year:

Internecine squabbles on the left over who was/wasn’t a true socialist, communist, Marxist, fascist… whatever and the explicit definitions of those terms make us all warm and fuzzy inside…

Yes! A thousand times over.

The (gun) control set obviously has issues with this concept.

So, the President wants to appoint a cop-killer advocate to the head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department...

It's getting to be that time of year...

OK, that's it for today, gang. Catch you all later.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hey, America!


During the 2012 presidential campaign, Senate majority leader, Harry Ried, rather infamously accused the Republican nominee Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes for the previous ten years. This, of course, was based upon nothing. It was a shameless partisan smear that Reid has become famous for.

Reid was at it again this past week on the floor of the Senate essentially calling the tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of American who had lost their healthcare coverage, had lost their doctor, had been denied treatment under ObamaCare or had seen the premiums sky-rocket… calling them liars.

In Reid’s own words:

“Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America,”

Unreal. Never seen anything like this in our life: the 2nd most powerful person of a major political party calling the citizens of this country liars.
The NRSC responded with this video…

… and we responded on our own via Twitter:

Got media bias?


Remember... it's for the children!

People unable to uncancel their ObamaCare plans:

Congratulations to the Senator from the great state of Nevada: there is no more loathsome and contemptible person on the American political scene than Harry Reid.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Video clip of the day

Alternate headline: One of these Minnesota pols is not like the others

Via Hot Air

Just a friendly townhall in Mankato Minnesota with Senator Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tim Walz and Rep. Collin Peterson talking the farm bill immigration and, of course, ObamaCare.

Skip to the 1:20 mark for pricelessness.

KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports -

(Click on link below if embed no workie)

The lawmakers fielded other questions as well, talking debt and immigration reform, but it was the question about the struggling health care law that everyone in the audience wanted to see answered.

The question: "I thought the Affordable Care Act would save $2500 per family. What happened?"

After Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Walz looked at each other, laughter broke out in the room.

Rep. Peterson quickly picked up the microphone to say, "I voted 'no', so I'll let these guys handle that," to the applause of the crowd.

Both Klobuchar and Walz said they were aware of the problems, and wanted to find ways to fix it.

Walz says, "This health discussion has got to be broader, it's got to point out where there are weaknesses and failures, it's got to make sure we're not leaving people behind or distorting the system. But don't pretend there was some type of safe harbor before this where everything was just peachy keen."

Walz is simply echoing the law’s patron saint Nancy Pelosi who urged passage of ObamaCare so we could indeed point out the law’s many weaknesses and failures… weaknesses and failures like losing the health insurance plan you liked, losing the doctor you liked and those sky-rocketing premiums you don’t like.

Congratulations to the statists of the Democratic Party who’ve upended a flawed system that the vast majority of Americans were happy with and turned it into an unholy mess.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Video clip of the day


Alternate headline: Syrian peace talks, pretty much the goat rope you expected.

If this doesn’t represent the biggest waste of time in the foreign policy department, we scarcely know what does.

Of course, a very public yet hollow threat of military force against the Assad regime in Syria last fall paints one-self into a corner whereby Vladimir Putin comes riding to the rescue in the form of engineering peace talks.

Wait. What? Secretary of State John Kerry expresses all the faux outrage he can muster yesterday when he decries the efforts of Syria, Hezbollah and Russia in thwarting the progress of the peace talks.

From CBS News:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of stonewalling in peace talks and called on Russia to push its ally to negotiate with opposition leaders.

"Right now, Bashar al-Assad has not engaged in the discussions along the promised and required standard that both Russia spoke up for and the regime spoke up for," Kerry said during a press conference in Jakarta with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa.

He said Assad's team "refused to open up one moment of discussion" of a transitional government to replace Assad's regime.

"It is very clear that Bashar Assad is trying to win this on the battlefield instead of coming to the negotiating table in good faith," Kerry said

Peace talks last week in Geneva ended with no progress toward breaking the impasse in the nearly 3-year-old conflict in Syria.

Kerry also had harsh words for Assad's allies in Moscow.

"Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they are in fact enabling Assad to double down," he said.

Our "smart power" producing results as predictable as the sun rising in the East.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your California high-speed choo-choo update


It must be comforting for statists to know that defenses of their failed
progressive policies and programs like the Affordable Care Act and
California's high-speed choo-choos no longer contain any of the old fig
leaves about controlling costs, granting equal access or how good this or
that will be for the environment. No, the mask has fallen, gratefully
so, and now our big government betters can finally admit to their core
philosophy and that's an undying love for authoritarianism.

But first let's take the opening paragraph of this article penned by Tom
Zoellner an associate professor of English at Chapman College up in Orange
County for the Los Angeles Times:

Who doesn't love a train? Who cannot fail to be seduced by the most
appealing vehicle in human history - the rail-induced sensuality of "Brief
Encounter," the desperate heroism of engineer Casey Jones, the creative
muscle of the Big Four railroad barons, the plucky fortitude of Thomas the
Tank Engine and the Little Engine That Could, all wrapped up in gleaming,
rocking steel, punctuated by a high, lonesome whistle?

How can we harsh this when this is pretty much the defense of high-speed
choo-choos we would expect to be given by an English major, a major of which
qualifies him to speak expertly on the most expensive public works project
in U.S. history.

Back to the article:

And yet California voters have been expressing morning-after regrets since
they voted for Proposition 1A, which promised them a bullet train from Los
Angeles to San Francisco. Backers said a Concorde-like fuselage would rocket
us to the Bay Area in 21/2 hours and for the low, low fare of $55. A
Disneyland ride for grown-ups! And did we mention that it's carbon-friendly?

Invoking an amusement park is a charming touch but what is the inherent
advantage to a 2-1/2 hour trip when the flight from L.A. to San Francisco is
less than half that. 2-1/2 hours on anything, be it Space Mountain or It's
a Small Worl
d is about 2-1/4 hours too long.

The carbon-friendly claim is
dubious at best. The raw material manufactured and transported way out
there in the Central Valley (where the first leg of the project will be
built) will not be delivered on the backs of unicorns and, further, this
claim appears to be blissfully ignorant to the fact that the overwhelming
source of electricity is still coal and fossil fuels and will remain so for
the foreseeable future.

More Zoellner:

The reality has proved more problematic. The California High-Speed Rail
Authority stumbled first by promising a smooth construction schedule and a
$32-billion price tag. The ensuing lawsuits and engineering revisions have
fouled up the timeline and bumped up the price to the current reckoning of
$67.6 billion (and it'll probably be more expensive than that). The rail
authority's latest business plan assumes ever more riders and ever less
revenue but still suggests the project will ultimately be self-sustaining.

Zoellner misuses "probably" for "will" because as we all know that $68
billion price tag is only for laying down the tracks and does not even include the
stations/depots, electricity-delivering infrastructure or even the
choo-choos themselves.

Zoellner then goes on to bemoan the rapid drop in
popularity of the project over the years. There is a simple reason for
this: the rail authority lies. They lie about the cost, they lie about
the projected ridership, they lie about private funding of the project and
they lie about how the construction contractors are chosen. They are liars.
We simply don't know what other term to use. Please get back to us if you
have a better one.

Before getting into the litany of real world problems faced by high-speed
choo-choos Zoellner offers up this gem:

And yet lessons from around the world provide some hope that this romance
can be saved. High-speed rail systems generally cost far more than was
promised, take longer to build than is logical, have multiple construction
headaches and require tempestuous adjustments along the way. But once all
the drama is over and the engines are keyed, high-speed trains mostly do
outstanding work.

Admittedly, when defending the indefensible, falling back on romance is our
go-to as well.

But here is where all pretenses of legality, abiding by the rule of law and
general western-recognized trappings of a constitutional republic are cast
aside because, dammit, what we really need is some authoritarian

Not enough Mussolini. This is an unattractive lesson: Big trains like this
get built with an autocratic touch. Japan's Shinkansen train went online in
1964 after enormous domestic resistance only because of the bluster and
persistence of an all-but-forgotten bureaucrat named Shinji Sogo, nicknamed
Old Man Thunder by his underlings.

So far in California, the high-speed rail authority has hemmed and hawed
more than blustered. It planned for an early groundbreaking, to create a
physical reality that would be hard to stop, but that's been a no go. Gov.
Jerry Brown's two-fisted support for the bullet train, and his idea of
diverting carbon cap-and-trade revenue for high-speed rail, is the kind of
sharp-elbowed move that may be the only way a project like this could ever
get built.

The biggest persistence question is this: Will there be U.S. presidents for
the next 15 years who, like Obama, will keep stimulus money flowing for the
project, even through flying flak?

Will there be a president whom for the next decade and a half will keep
throwing tens of billions of dollars into a public works black hole because
of a combination of political expediency (CA's elite statist class has gone
all in on high-speed choo-choos - their very credibility counts not on this
thing actually working, only that it gets built) and a religious-like
fanaticism towards Keynesian economic stimulus.

As we alluded to before, when you are at the end of your rope and you have
nowhere else to turn, a good bet to rally the troops is to invoke Thomas the
Tank Engine and a brutal 20th century fascist dictator who was allied with
one of the most evil regimes known to mankind. Hey, we didn't go Godwin's
Law, Zoellner did.

We imagine there was a sigh of relief when Zoellner typed Mussolini:
There, I said it. It must feel good to out yourself with respect to a yen
for unbridled and un-checked top-down authoritarianism as it's a
characteristic we've known about the liberal-left for years now.

A huge hat tip to KT of The Scratching Post for giving us the head's up on this and the following commentary on the current state of California politics:



Monday, February 10, 2014

Omelets across America*


*One in an unfortunate series that takes a look at the human toll exacted by the Affordable Care Act and which flies in the face of glib statist rationalizations that the implementation of ObamaCare is akin to “… a few broken eggs…”

Good news: If your liked your pre-existing condition, it looks like you will be able to keep your pre-existing condition.

From KING5 TV in Seattle:

"Administrators at Seattle Children's today said they predicted this would happen, and it's even worse than they expected," says the local news anchor. "Patients being denied specialty treatment at the hospital by insurance providers on the Washington health benefits exchange. Children's filed request on behalf of 125 of their patients. Of those, they say they got only 20 responses, eight of which were denials. Dr. Sandy Melzer says all this comes after reassurances of certain unique specialty cases would still be covered."

Dr. Sandy Melzer says, "Well, some of the patients who were denied are ones who clearly would fall into that unique category. A two-year-old with new significant neck mass that was being evaluated for infection or malignancy, an older child with a chronic severe medical condition requiring multidisciplinary care here, a baby that had a skull abnormality."

The anchor explains, "Children's went ahead and treated those cases anyway, but Dr. Melzer said they can't afford to keep doing that it way."

Another day, another broken promise. Don’t know about you but this all sounds rather death panel-y to us.

Just wish there was someone around to warn about the massive disruptions to the medical care system that would be wrought by ObamaCare.

Curious to know to what degree the parents of these children being denied care are experiencing buyer’s remorse if they voted for Obama back in 2008.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

This Olympic moment


OK. OK… we get it. It’s the Olympics and not only is it presentation of the Olympics, it is the presentation of the Olympics in a country like Russia where the major western broadcasting network, NBC, is going to do its best to dress up the more unsavory aspects of its host nation’s history.

However, tens of millions of Kulaks and other citizenry slaughtered willfully or left to starve because of horrible governing policy and countless other dissidents and “counter-revolutionaries” shipped off to the Gulags to rot for eternity might have a different term for the period between 1917 and 1989 than a “pivotal experiment”.

From the opening ceremonies as narrated by NBC:

What was the 20th century but a case study in the evils of collectivism in whatever permutation or terminology be it Marxism, Stalinism, Communism, Fascism or Maoism…?

From apologies to white-washing, the anti-anti-communists of this country and of the west continue to beclown themselves a quarter century after the true believers, themselves, pulled the plug on their wretched, de-humanizing and deadly “experiment”.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hey, you, in the white... you're ready to be a poet, right?


While we were out at sea, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office dropped this bombshell with respect to how the Affordable Care Act was going to effect the nation’s employment numbers.

From McKnight News Service:

The full-time work force will lose roughly 2 million people overall by 2024 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to new figures from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO report, released Tuesday, came one week after an expert told lawmakers that nursing home staff are among those most likely to have their hours reduced due to the ACA.

The employer mandate places a total of 2.6 million workers at risk of reduced hours, according toChen's written Congressional testimony. This number is similar to the CBO's projection that the full-time workforce will lose 2.5 million workers. However, the budget office said this erosion will mostly be due to expanded insurance options, not the employer mandate.

For example, the availability of government-subsidized, low-cost health plans available through the online marketplaces might lead some workers to work less, the CBO stated. This is because the premium subsidies decrease as the beneficiary's income increases.

While there are “anecdotal reports” of employers limiting workers' hours, there is “no compelling evidence” that the ACA has caused an increase in part-time employment, according to the report. Still, critics of the employer mandate — and the ACA generally — seized on the CBO figures to support their arguments. The report doubled the CBO's 2010 estimate of how much the health law will reduce labor use. The new numbers are from new research and more in-depth analysis, according to the budget office.

The White House and their allies immediately went into spin mode touting how all this actually liberated workers from “job-lock” and how people who normally would not leave their job for fear of losing their employer-based health insurance.

Now, we suppose it’s terrific that people are able to pursue their dreams as an artist, a photographer or graphic designer but please also bear in mind that you will be subsidizing this job transition and most perniciously, from the italicized sentence above, we are now told it’s a good thing that your tax dollars will be going to subsidize economic inactivity.

And for an economy that possesses the lowest labor participation rate in 40 years, the term “job-lock” is a particularly curious term. The term job-lock, in our thinking, would apply to better economic times when a job or career change would entail less risk… that risk, of course, being all your own. As it stands, currently, however, there are 10 of millions of Americans who wish they had this job-lock problem the administration and its water-carriers claim to be combating.

To Twitter:

Seriously. Can't have it both ways, so what's it going to be, guys?

Those last couple of tweets reminded us of the mentality behind the rationalizations of this devastating CBO report. In the linked article, they talk specifically of how hard this will hit the nursing home work force where 7.5% will see their hours reduced.

These folks aren’t the 50-something suburbanite with equity in his home and a nice 401(k) nest-egg where a career change would be viewed as a liberating aspect as he glides into retirement with both kids now out of the house and on their own. This is the Harvard faculty lounge worldview of this situation which pervades the White House. This, however, is not reality.

This will impact, most forcefully, the working class like the nursing home workforce with a still-limited skill set and not yet much in the way of upward mobility. Living paycheck to paycheck and supporting families, they can ill-afford to be "liberated" from job-lock. The Harvard faculty lounge doesn’t want to be bothered with their well-being no matter how many of them are tending to the lounge’s yards, pools and children.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Was it a bug or a feature?


We’ve often railed about the completely illiberal notion of forcing people, under the threat of a rectal exam by the IRS, to part with their hard-earned scratch to line the pockets of for-profit entities, in ObamaCare’s case, the health insurance industry.

We may not be railing for too much longer if the following case of AETNA becomes a larger trend and Big Health simply drops out of ObamaCare.

Hello, single payer!

From CNBC:

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of program.

He said that so far, Obamacare has just shifted people who were insured in the individual market to the public exchanges where they could get a better deal on a subsidy for coverage. "We see only 11 percent of the population is actually people that were firmly uninsured that are now insured. So [it] didn't really eat into the uninsured population."

Add to that it’s not the right type of uninsured. Indications are that there are simply not enough young healthy people signing up, the so-called young invincibles, who won’t be a drag on the healthcare system but whose money is needed to offset the cost of the old and sick. This is the adverse selection we have been talking about for years now.

So what’s going to happen? Back to the article:

The company will be submitting Obamacare rates for 2015 on May 15.

"Are they going to be double-digit [increases] or are we going to get beat up because they're double-digit or are we just going to have to pull out of the program?" Bertolini asked in a "Squawk Box" interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Those questions can't be answered until we see the population we have today. And we really don't have a good view on that."

Let us help out with that answer: Yes.

We simply cannot wait until that May date and the shrieks of protestation and threatening language that will emanate from the White House and from the offices of Health and Human Services, and, in particular, the HMFIC of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius. This will be fun.

More from AETNA’s honcho:

For Obamacare to work better, it needs more flexibility and choice of insurance programs, Bertolini said. "We need to make it a lot more simpler for people. There needs to be more choice. When you get more choice, you make it more of a market and you get more people in the program."

You know, if only some people were around to warn that top-down, centralized planning would actually restrict choice and flexibility. Yes, Bertolini is certainly correct: getting the government out of the equation will greatly improve the situation but that horse is out of the barn with scant chance of corralling and returning it to its original locale. We will forthwith refrain from the use of any other tortured analogies.

Years from now, when we look back at how it is we got to a single-payer system, we will ponder this: was it all part of the grand plan to design a federal healthcare system that after a few years or even a decade or two, simply imploded unable to hold up under its own weight or was it simply due to monumental incompetence and hubris thinking that the strings of 1/6th of the nation’s economy could effectively be pulled by the smartest kids in the room?

Programming note: we will be out of pocket for a few days but hope to be back up and running by Thursday or Friday.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Omelets Across America


A few weeks into October when the ObamaCare roll-out disaster was unfolding
before this nation's eyes, a liberal friend commented to us that the abysmal
state of the front end of the ObamaCare online exchanges was akin to
breaking a few eggs.

As we lumber on into February, the focus has gone
from the website glitches to just how many people have "enrolled". Yes, we
are using air quotes as this term is rather nebulous and the term that
should really be applicable here is "who the hell has actually been able to
pay their first premium?"
That's the only thing that counts. No one
rides for free or words to that effect.

As it stands, however, from the figures that have been released to media
outlets, it appears that the majority of enrollees that the administration
is claiming have signed up for ObamaCare were previously insured, i.e., the
reason they have signed up for ObamaCare is that their previous insurance
plan was cancelled. In fact, one report finds that only 11% of enrollees
were previously uninsured
. This flies directly in the face of two of the
central justifications for ObamaCare: insuring the uninsured and, of
course, if you liked your current health insurance plan, you could keep
that plan.

Oh, but back to those broken eggs which as you read above are piling up at
an alarming rate. Let's put a human face on this disaster of a law and
take a look at what ObamaCare means to everyday people like these at this
automotive repair shop in Pittsburgh.

We'll just call this sort of thing Omelets Across America:

Ugh. Cannot embed video but it can be seen here. We've added the transcript below:

Outside Simonetta’s Collision and Car Care in McKeesport, it's a frigid 2 degrees.

Inside, Gary Simonetta's employees are getting ready for a meeting he’s been dreading for months.

“What I have here is the benefits sheet from last year. What you were on in 2013," said Charles Moore, co-owner of Triangle Benefits Service and the broker who has handled the company's group health insurance for 19 years. "Here is the new plan we had to switch to that takes into account the Obamacare regulations.”

For the first time, employees were finding out how the Affordable Care Act will affect their medical coverage and how much they'll pay for it.

Last year’s 6 percent premium increase has now exploded to an average 32 percent jump.

"That 32 percent increase includes increasing the deductible, as well to try and get something modestly priced,” Moore explained.

Jeff and Dave used to have a $1,250 deductible. Since Obamacare went into effect, it's now jumped 60 percent to $2,000.

That's nothing compared with Brian, Christy and Judy who have kids. They'll pay twice that at $4,000.

"This was the best option we could find," Moore said.

Co-pays are up too.

Pediatric dental and vision exams are covered -- a bonus for some employees, but not for others. Generic drugs are also significantly cheaper.

Employees took time weighing in on what they thought of their new deal.

"The deductible is terrible," said Dave, a 47-year-old with no kids. "I mean, how many people can come up with that deductible money if they go into the emergency room?"

His monthly premium goes up modestly by $50.

Christy's not so lucky. The monthly premium for the mother of two jumps $260, or 30 percent.

"Eight-hundred and $95 a month for health insurance, that's coming out of my pocket," she said. "That's a house payment for most people."

Brian actually saves $77 a month, but the 39-year-old with one child said he can't afford his new $4,000 family deductible.

"It's going to be a pretty big hit in the pocket," he said.
And 42-year-old Jeff's in the same boat.

“They call it the affordable health plan," he said. "There's nothing affordable about it. I can't afford it."

Jeff's new premium is only $28 more a month.

But he said he'll have to suck it up if he ever gets hurt because his new deductible is too much.

"Wake up, America. This isn't acceptable. It's not acceptable," he said.

But it's Judy, the 53-year-old mother of one, who gets hit the worst.

Her premium goes up from $929 a month to $1,316 – 42-percent increase added to her new $4,000 deductible.

"How do you add all that together?" she asked.

"What are you going to do?” questioned Channel 4 Action News anchor Wendy Bell.

“I don't know,” she replied with tears in her eyes.
With tears in her eyes, Judy responds slowly... "I don't know."

Back in the shop, Simonetta has his own worries. His monthly premium just jumped $584.

"The small business is the heart of America. How's that going to affect everybody? It's not good," Simonetta said.
And Moore, the broker, agrees.

"One size does not fit all in medical insurance. And unfortunately, that's one of the big down sides to the Affordable Care Act," he said.

Downsides that leave Judy wondering if she can afford to ever get sick.

"I don't know how President Obama thinks he's helping us," she said. "Because we can't afford this. We can't afford to pay these co-pays, to pay these deductibles, on what we're making."

That all kind of sucks, huh?

And all this time we thought the Affordable Care Act was just cover for the ability to soak the rich. Boy, were we wrong. Turns out it was also a clever ruse to soak the working class like these folks. Well, to borrow a well-worn progressive phrase, "Equality for All?"

To ease your conscience, don't think of them as people, rather eggs.