Apparently appalled that President Obama clearly needs outside help to come to the realization that something must be done to fix the mess resulting from his "keep your plan" guarantee, Josh Gerstein at the Politico opened a Monday afternoon report by claiming that "President Bill Clinton — the man President Barack Obama once dubbed his 'Secretary of Explaining Stuff' — once again has some explaining of his own to do with the Obama White House."
Hmm. It would appear that Obama has some fixing to do, and may not have been interested in doing anything to genuinely address the mess he, Kathleen Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act, and thousands of pages of restrictive regulations have wrought. Excerpts from Gerstein's grievous report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Thus far, at best, ObamaCare has achieved just 10 percent of the Obama administration's 500,000 new-users goal for the first month of the rollout of the health care overhaul. Significantly more people have signed up for taxpayer-funded Medicaid, but that doesn't do a lick of good for the private health insurance pools offered on the federal exchanges.
Not even MSNBC.com can ignore such a story, although the Lean Forward network reserved the right to spin it as best they can. "Health care enrollment falls short of expectations," noted the bland headline for Michele Richinick's November 12 story. "A report out Tuesday shows the enrollment numbers from the first month of Obamacare fell short by thousands of registrants," noted a caption on the network's website. Sounds like the journalistic understatement of the year.
Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore has taken to Twitter today to politicize Veterans Day with predictable political rhetoric about Republican-proposed cuts to food stamps affecting veterans, etc. But one tweet that virtually everyone should agree went beyond the pale was an egregiously beyond-the-pale reference to veteran suicides: "Today, as every day, 22 American veterans will commit suicide. Happy Veterans Day." [see screen capture below page break]
The press has been obsessed with the fate of Obamacare's contraception mandate ever since religious, corporate, and other litigants began challenging it in the courts.
So what explains the fact that a search on "Korte" at the Associated Press's national site and at the New York Times return nothing and nothing relevant, respectively? Or that there are only nine stories at Google Newsin a search on “Korte contraception court” (not in quotes), only two of them from establishment press outlets, on the Friday Appeals Court ruling in Chicago in Korte vs. Sebelius? That's easy. It didn't go the "right" way, and the ruling appears to have been significant. Excerpts from Joe Palazzolo's coverage at the Wall Street Journal, one of those two establishment press outlets, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Saturday afternoon, Politico's Jason Millman, in an item incredibly headlined "Updated White House website keeps disputed Obamacare language," reported that "The Obama administration has updated a White House website that says its health care law allows people to keep their plans if they like them — but the website still maintains the language that Obamacare opponents have aggressively attacked the past few weeks."
No, Jason. The news is that the website still "maintains the language" which has been indisputably proven false by the millions of policy cancellations reported during the past several weeks. The real news has nothing to do with whether or not opponents "have aggressively attacked" it. Exhibiting deep denial equal to that of the White House, Millman did not acknowledge that the "you can keep you plan" statement is and has been false anywhere in his report. A screen grab of the language as it currently appears, and which Millman reports the administration now considers satisfactory, is after the jump (click on the graphic to open a larger version of it in a separate window or tab):
Sam Stein, who poses as a journalist while toiling at the Huffington Post (he lost any legitimate claim to the title when he wouldn't back away when caught red-handed pretending to know something he couldn't possibly know about John McCain's vetting or lack thereof of Sarah Palin in September 2008), wrote on Thursday (HT Hot Air) that "The Obama administration is considering a fix to the president’s health care law that would expand the universe of individuals who receive tax subsidies to help buy insurance."
Of course, Stein didn't look into how much this "fix," better described as a "huge spending increase," might cost, and "somehow" forgot that any such "fix" substantially increasing tax subsidies would destroy President Obama's unqualified 2009 pledge that "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." Neither did the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in a Friday evening writeup. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner did remember Obama's pledge. He also engaged in genuine journalism by looking at what kind of cost might be involved in the "fix" (bolds are mine):
Assisting the Obama administration in its perpetual flight from responsibility for anything, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, who now campaigns from a paid propaganda perch at NBC and MSNBC, tweeted the following on Friday afternoon (HT Twitchy): "Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they'd have to eventually switch?"
Yeah, David it was their responsibility to inform their customers about a law whose constitutional fate wasn't decided until June 2012, and about which President Obama issued dozens of guarantees — not promises, guarantees — that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as recently as late September of this year. And who believes, if they had tried to communicate the likelihood of cancellation before they legally had to late this year, that the unhinged wrath of the Obama administration and its leftist smear apparatus wouldn't have rained down mercilessly on them? I'll have more on that topic after the jump, but first, let me highlight several choice responses to Axelrod's tweet out of hundreds:
Women's participation in the workforce is at a new Obama-term low -- 56.9 percent -- according to the October unemployment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today. What's more, Ali Meyer of NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com noted today, "the number of women holding jobs declined by 357,000 from September to October, and the unemployment rate increased for women from 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent."
But over on msnbc.com, it was all happy talk and partisan spin about the October jobs report. Yes, the network that consistently grouses about an alleged Republican "war on women" had nothing to say about how more and more women are dropping OUT of the workforce thanks to the weak Obama economy. Instead, writer Suzy Khimm spun the results as generally positive for the Obama White House, made sure she quoted a pro-Obama economist, and closed her story by insisting job growth would be even better if not for those rascally congressional Republicans who shut down the government (emphasis mine):
The first election cycle in the Lone Star State with a photo ID mandate went off without a hitch on Tuesday. In fact, voter turnout was up 66 percent over the last comparable election cycle in 2011, according to the Texas Secretary of State's office.
But that has done nothing to stop MSNBC's fear-mongering as the network's Zachary Roth hacked out a piece ominously warning in the headline, "Texas voting suggests trouble on the horizon." Roth opened his piece with a woman who insists her being required to sign an affidavit when voting on Tuesday was part of some grand conspiracy to suppress the women's vote for Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) next year:
A non-binding vote in 11 Colorado counties on the question of seceding from the Centennial State to form a brand new state of North Colorado is "the start of a new and lamentable trend that... may be with us for a long time in American politics," groused the Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky in his November 5 story, "Colorado's Strange Secession Vote."
Of course, Tomasky noted correctly, a push for the formation of a new state is not going anywhere soon. But, the liberal journalist insisted, the long-term plan is really more sinister and perhaps racially-charged (emphasis mine):
If there is to be a tidal wave of defenders of President Barack Obama's "it if it hasn't changed" revision to his original guarantee — "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan" — Ron Fournier (NewsBusters history here), who toiled at the Associated Press for 20 years and joined the National Journal several years ago, will not be among them.
In 2008, Fournier advocated "accountability journalism." When he took over as AP Washington bureau chief, he pushed for what was described as "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing" as a "new direction AP should take." Both were, in my view, thinly veiled attempts to inject more left-leaning bias into what news consumers to this day still mostly believe are "objective" wire service reports. With that demonstrated pedigree, perhaps it's a surprise that Fournier would be so vocal about Obama's attempt to "reinvent history" (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
This morning, in an apparent rush to get a jump on the rest of the excuse-making establishment press, Aamer Madhani at USA Today claimed that President Barack Obama's shameless, lame Monday night attempt to explain away his serial guarantee, namely that "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, period" — made roughly two dozen times in 2009 and 2010, and repeated on the campaign trail in 2012 — represented a "tweaking of his claim" in which he "added a caveat." So that makes it all okay. (/sarc)
Madhani also acted as if it's only Republicans who have directed "an avalanche of criticism" at Obama. He also swallowed the false line that "only" 5 percent of Americans have been affected, ignoring a similar impact in the small group market and several well-known large-employer terminations of plans which had been offered to part-timers and retirees. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Well, let's see how well this unspeakably pathetic attempt to explain away the lie of the century (so far) works with the establishment press.
Two separate tweeters — Reid Epstein at Politico and Mark Knoller at CBS News — are reporting that President Obama, at a rally of the Organizing For Action faithful this evening, told his audience that "What we said was you can keep it (your health plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed" (HTs to Hot Air and Twitchy):
By virtue of his concerns about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is standing in the way of "equal rights" for gay and lesbian Americans in the workplace, the Daily Beast groused today. "Boehner Blocks Equal Rights," complained a teaser headline on DailyBeast.com.
"The path towards the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA becoming law took one step forward on Monday morning but two steps backward when Speaker of the House John Boehner came out against the measure," Beast staffer Ben Jacobs complained in his Nov. 4 story, "ENDA Hits Obstacle In House." Jacobs noted that:
Bill Maher was a guest on Piers Morgan's CNN show on Tuesday night; the interview segment was replayed on Friday (thanks to NB's Noel Sheppard for that catch). Among other things, Maher confirmed that he is a member of the left's unreality-based community when he described MSNBC as "very rarely wrong" and Fox News's Bill O'Reilly as someone who "says something that is insanely off-base and not true" almost every night.
Maher also lamented what he sees as CNN's biggest problem: They're trying to "play it down the middle," and viewers don't want that.
Even when it occasionally does credible work, Politifact, the website which pretends to be the ultimate arbiter of the truth or falsehood of claims made by politicians and public figures, continues to beclown itself. On Monday, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted the absurdity of Politifact's unchanged "Half True" assessment of President Obama's June 2012 claim — a claim made with minor variations more than 20 times over a four-year period — that "If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance."
Two days after Matt's post, Politifact rated a Valerie Jarrett tweet — "FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans" — as "False," but made no revision to its "Half True" rating of Obama's core claim.
Charlie Crist will formally announce his Florida 2014 gubernatorial candidacy on Monday. He served as Republican Governor of the Sunshine State from 2007 to 2011. He is now running as a Democrat. In 2010, he fell from being a prohibitive front-runner in that year's U.S. Senate race to a virtual afterthought after Marco Rubio's ascendance.
In the course of a fawning writeup about Crist's candidacy, the Associated Press, in a story carried at the Politico, made the following historically questionable claim about Crist:
Maybe the folks running the HealthCare.gov call centers don't have an enemies list. Instead, based on the experience of Fox News's Jim Angle, it might be an enemies directory, with anyone they're aware of in the media and perhaps other organizations included therein.
On Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, Democratic National Committe Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that President Obama's promise to the American people made over 20 times during a span of over two years, namely "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was not a lie.
Maher, appeared to warm to the idea that it was a lie, but at crunch time decided that it was something, like Bush 41's "no new taxes" pledge, that "did not hold up to the realities of governing," representing "a moral complexity I'm okay with 'cause I'm not twelve." Far-far lefty Rob Reiner also felt it necessary to criticize Republicans "who are refusing to make this better." Maher, though he didn't seem to like it, finally concluded that Obama, who in his mind previously had an "almost sterling reputation for honesty," now faces the reality that "to a certain extent that ship (of his credibility) has sailed." Video and a partial transcript are after the jump (HTs to The Blaze and Mediaite, which in my view falsely portrayed Maher's degree of disagreement; bolds are mine):
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" -- Isaiah 5:20
Forget zombies, vampires, and the other assorted imaginary embodiments of evil. This Halloween the most sickening, skin-crawling, and frighteningly real evil you can come across is just a click away for you at MSNBC.com, where abortion-rights absolutist Irin Carmon presents abortion as an act of mercy for which an Oklahoma couple should be commended, not grieved, and for which they should not have been inconvienced in the first place by restrictive abortion laws.
Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
"[T]here is a danger that the Obama Administration will be remembered as not even good enough for government work," if President Obama doesn't step up his game, argued liberal Time magazine columnist Joe Klein in his October 30 piece, "Buckpasser."
"Firing for cause doesn’t seem to exist in the Obama Administration," groused the columnist, lamenting that "few have paid the price for the Administration’s errors." But before we congratulate Klein too much for getting tough on Obama, let's be perfectly clear, Klein thinks administrative incompetence is the fundamental problem, not that ObamaCare is itself fatally-flawed in its design to begin with:
John Dickerson didn't mince words about the "bad launch" of ObamaCare in his Tuesday item for Slate.com. The CBS News political director invoked one of deceased tyrant Kim Jong il's most infamous saber-rattling tactics: "Healthcare.gov launched with the fanfare and success of a North Korean missile."
Dickerson also rephrased his recent contention that "the administration could get into, sort of, a credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare. He stated that "when the website doesn't work and the promises of 2009 and 2010 are revised, questions of credibility infect everything the administration says. This can lead to a death spiral as administration officials make bold assertions to distract from the current challenges."
President Obama's lie that folks who like their insurance plans could keep them is merely a "political mess," MSNBC.com's Geoffrey Cowley is insisting. After all, "consumers still stand to benefit from the new rules" governing the health care industry." [see screen capture following page break]
"For a president who has spent five years fighting for health care reform, this should be a blissful moment," Cowley lamented in the open of his October 30 story, "Debunking the right's latest Obamacare spin." But alas, "Instead, the administration is slogging through one of the toughest weeks since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago." Cowley conceded that maybe the president didn't lay out the caveats he should have in his campaign rhetoric, but that folks really have nothing to complain about since they're now forced to buy much more comprehensive -- and correspondingly more expensive -- coverage (emphasis mine):
Hollie McKay at Foxnews.com reports on political correctness breaking out at leftist Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Afrobeat band Shokazoba was removed from the "Hampshire Halloween" lineup after activists expressed "discomfort" about the band not being black enough. They used lingo about "cultural appropriation" and disrespecting "marginalized cultures."
According to the band’s keyboard player Jason Moses, they were booked for the Hampshire Halloween bash on October 7, but last Friday – the day of the party – were dumped by the event organizers after comments were posted on the event's Facebook page disparaging the music group because they weren’t black.
On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:
Green energy is supposedly the future. Why, solar energy will break out and become a major energy source any year now, or any decade now. Or maybe never. It has been the subject of national attention ever since President Obama made it a cornerstone of his 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, what Obama claims is in energy policy has worked out to be more a of a growth-constraining, government money-wasting endeavor than anything else.
The Denver Post carried the original story on Thursday of how the federal government's first attempt at a solar auction went. The headline was accurate: "1st auction of solar rights on public lands in Colorado draws no bids." That's right. Zero. Post reporter Mark Jaffe's first sentence was charitable but acceptable: "The plan to auction rights to federal land across the West for solar-power plants got off to a rocky start Thursday when no bidders showed up for the first auction in Colorado." Too bad that two establishment press outlets which were in a position to communicate this news to the nation failed to adequately do so.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.
Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.