Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NBC turns on Obama

NBC News featured two stories last night that show that their love affair with President Obama is over.

The first was a detailed look at the deal with Iran. They made it clear that both sides walked away thinking that it had won because of the use of ambiguous language about the enrichment of uranium. While this is supposed to be clarified within 6 months, it was the major sticking point during previous negotiations and is not likely to be easily resolved. This report undercut the Obama claim that the treaty is a win.

The second was more serious. It was on the effect of the Obamacare tax on "Cadillac" health plans on real people. They showcased a couple whose employer-provided coverage was considered too good and cut back. Their deductible was raised from zero to $10,000 and hip surgery that one of them had would have cost a great deal more if she had it next year. This report was a terrible blow to the official line that the only people affected are self-insured with sub-standard policies. It adds a new footnote to Obama's repeated promise that you can keep your policy: as long as it does not exceed an arbitrary maximum.

Put together, these stories sound more like Fox than NBC. Keep in mind that NBC News' sister operations is MSNBC which bills itself as the liberal alternative to Fox and you can see what a significant change this is.

Power Grabs

Remember back when President Bush was a threat to the Constitutional fabric of our government because of the number of signing statements he made? Consider our current administration.

The President has expanded the powers of the office in many significant ways. In some case he has ordered agencies to assume additional power as the EPA has by bypassing Congress and ordering new mileage standards. More worrisome, he has simply used executive orders to bypass laws he finds inconvenient. The most significant of these were his order implementing the Dream Act and his postponing enforcement of elements of Obamacare. Bizarrely, he threatened to veto any legislation that actually gave him the authority for these actions.

Last week the Senate joined the President in grabbing power. They exercised the "nuclear option" and eliminated the filibuster for certain offices.

Obama's power grabs are easy to understand. He has little respect for the Constitution and hates working with Congress so he simply goes around it. He will not have to live with the consequences since he will be out of office before anyone else can follow his precedent.

The Senate is different. There is a good chance that the Democrats will lose control of Congress in a year and the White House in 3 years. There will be lots of opportunities for them to regret setting this precedent. So why did they?

My best guess is that they expect to lose the Senate in 2014 so they see this as their last chance to stock the courts with ideologically left judges.    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

When something big happens there is a tendency to want answers. The most immediate quesition is "how could this happen?" Among those who believe in big government, mainly Progressives and big-government Republicans, the question becomes, "How could the government have let this happen?" This gives rise to conspiracy theories.

On the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assasination, the many conspiracy theories are being resurected. There is little to any of these. Most of them assume the coperation of the Vice-President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and leaders from both parties in Congress. The reasons given for assasination are even murkier. They mainly rest on the hope that Kennedy would have reversed himself on Viet Nam and withdrew troops instead of escallating and that vested interests were willing to kill him for this. This isn't even a stretch, it is preposterous.

The need to find meaning through government involvement can be seen in other tragedies. The 911 Truth movement was the same - people could not believe that something that big coud happen without the government allowing or even staging it.

Going back further we find debates about Franklin Roosevelt knowing about Pearl Harbor and allowing it to happen.

The sad truth is that terrible things happen and the government can't stop it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Obamacare and the Progressives

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Ronald Reagan

That quote bothers President Obama to no end but the rollout of Obamacare proved it and gives a lot of insight into the flaws of the Progressives and their desire for expanding government. There are three main traits that cause major problems.


I've complained for years that the Progressives think that they are the smartest people who ever lived. They are like college students who sit around and say "If we were only in power then we would fix everything." Most students outgrow this phase but it is central to the Progressives. They have no idea of their own limits. In the case of President Obama, he doesn't even recognize limits. During the transition following is election in 2008 he complained about how difficult it was for him to hire a cabinet since he could do everyone's job better than anyone else.

With Obamacare, they underestimated how difficult it would be to set up the insurance exchanges. They trusted people who had never managed a major software project to take on one of immense scope.

When the flaws in the web site became undeniable, the first impulse of the left was to complain that the real problem was that they hadn't seized enough control. If they had only implemented Single Payer or made Medicare universal, everything would be perfect.

At the same time, they deny the problems with Single Payer and Medicare. Both are massive programs so they must be perfect.


A base premise of Obamacare is that individuals can't be trusted to make the right choices about their insurance. You might be tempted to buy the wrong coverage or, worse, go without. When people first began complaining about cancelled policies, they were told that the policies they had were junk and that they should be glad to go to the (non-working) exchanges and buy new policies with proper coverage.

This leads right into the third trait:


For decades, the NOW as complained that women's health insurance costs more than men's (while staying quiet about men's auto insurance costing more than women's). The reason or this is simple - women use more services. That is unacceptable so Obamacare decrees that everyone has to include maternity coverage. Other interest groups are included for the same reason - to reduce the costs for the people who are most likely to use the coverage.

This was a purely political decision and this sort of thing happens every time the government gets involved. Interest groups start asking for special favors.

Put it all together and you have a system that is more likely to make things worst than to make them better.