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.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D) is in hot water today after the Baltimore Sun released a photograph showing the gubernatorial candidate in the middle of a raging underage-drinking party at a vacation home in Delaware. Gansler insisted he was merely there to check in on his 18-year-old son, who was attending the rager, and that breaking up the party was none of his business.
As HealthCare.gov's disaster has dragged on and grown in scope, it was entirely predictable that doctrinaire leftists in the fever swamps would begin concocting reasons why its epic failure thus far has been the fault of obstructionist conservatives and Republicans.
What perhaps was less expected, but based on history should not have been, is that supposedly responsible Democrats in elected positions have also joined the ranks of "Obamacare Truthers" by promulgating outlandish theories and engaging in intense blame-shifting, both with extraordinary gusto. Perhaps the worst — or, given its absurdity, the most entertaining — is the one tweeted and quietly deleted (HT Twitchy) by Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey (population 126,000):
Taking journalistic hypocrisy to ever-headier heights, Politico's Todd Purdum spent hundreds of words Wednesday evening bemoaning the potential impact of an incident which both sides involved say never happened, and acted as if incivility only comes out of the mouths of conservatives and Republicans.
Earlier Wednesday, the website's Tal Kopan relayed news that Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin "said in a Facebook post that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that GOP leaders are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them." The supposed statement to Obama by a GOP leader, which both White House spokesman Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner say never was made, and which Durbin could not have observed or heard because he wasn't there, was: "I cannot even stand to look at you." Durbin, it must be recalled, ultimately was forced to apologize for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," in 2005.
When it comes to liberals standing up to indefensible rhetoric from others on the Left, the Daily Beast's Jamelle Bouie illustrates how NOT to do it.
Oh, sure, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) was wrong to compare the Tea Party with the KKK but "it would be needless political correctness to dismiss the Tea Party as completely unrelated to the Klan, or at least, the reactionary currents that gave it life," Bouie insisted in his October 23 piece, "Grayson's Folly: What the Tea Party and the KKK Have in Common." Bouie did his best armchair psychiatrist impression in diagnosing the supposed xenophobic and reactionary neuroses of American conservatives (emphasis mine):
On the air, MSNBC is doing its best to level some criticism of the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare but to principally deflect blame to, who else, Republicans. But the Lean Forward network's website today actually published an item headlined, "Left burned in Obamacare rollout."
"President Obama might have said on Monday that 'no one is more frustrated' than he is about the messy launch of his health care website, but he’s got serious competition for the title," noted writer Benjy Sarlin, adding, ""The flubbed rollout was a punch in the gut for the president’s allies in Democratic and progressive circles who fought for the law for years in the face of unrelenting conservatives attacks." What's more (emphasis mine):
Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.
Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:
Fox News has coverage today of the guilty plea of Jeffrey Garcia, a former congressional chief of staff who "pled guilty Monday to one felony charge and three misdemeanor charges after admitting he illegally requested hundreds of absentee ballots while he was running the campaign for Rep. Joe Garcia, who he is not related to."
The Fox story indicates that the Associated Press contributed to its report. That's odd, because a search on "Garcia absentee" (not in quotes) at the AP's national site done at 11:30 a.m. ET came up empty. That's because AP has from all appearances treated Garcia's plea and sentencing as a Florida story unworthy of national notice, despite the fact that the gaming the electoral system and allegations of voter suppression have been a national discussion topic for years. The one unbylined AP story I did find was also ridiculously sympathetic to Jeffrey:
Earlier today, as seen here in a clone post elsewhere, the Politico reported, as if it is an undisputed fact, that "Republican opponents of the law (Obamacare) are preparing for their own victory lap." That alleged "victory lap" will be the "first hearing to spotlight the faulty Obamacare website."
Apparently that intemperance was a bit much even for the clearly left-leaning Politico. The original story, entitled "Obama to tackle Affordable Care Act glitches head-on," seems to have disappeared from Politico's web site, replaced by "Obama on ACA website: 'No excuse for these problems'" written by Jason Millman and Reid Epstein. A Google search on the quoted text in the previous paragraph leads to this newer item. Excerpts from the new story follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The White House is apparently so desperate to pump anything positive about the disaster known as HealthCare.gov that it took a reporter's ability to "set up an account" as proof that the web site is working fine for some users.
Uh, no. Early Thursday afternoon, Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker (also the guy who may have been in the best position to prove that Barack Obama was lying when he said in 2008 that he never read the church bulletins at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, and passed), tweeted the following: "I just tested http://healthcare.gov for the first time and I was able to set up an account with no trouble." Well, setting up an account is a step, but is hardly the end of a HealthCare.gov user's journey. As seen at Twitchy, that didn't stop White House press secretary Jay Carney and senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness from retweeting Lizza's tweet — except Lizza wasn't done, and got stopped dead in his tracks when he tried to move on:
ObamaCare is "the ultimate survivor," exults a headline at the newly-redesigned MSNBC.com website today.
But the article actually teased by that headline -- "The challenges facing Obamacare" -- went at lengths to detail challenges facing the implementation of President Obama's signature health-care overhaul and to, what else, blame Republicans for anything that is already or may proceed to go wrong with the rollout. "With enemies like John Boehner, a president hardly needs friends," writer Geoffrey Cowley whined in his lead paragraph:
A Nebraska judge standing in the way of a 16-year-old obtaining an elective abortion is a "shame" worthy of national scorn, according to Fox News and Daily Beast contributor Sally Kohn, in her October 17 Women of the World blog entry, "Nebraska Abortion Shame."
Daily Beast editors highlighted Kohn's rant, placing it in the number 7 slot in the lightbox this morning. "A 16-year-old foster teen asked for an abortion-- only to have her request denied by a radical judge," complained a teaser caption on the Beast's front page, adding that Kohn explains "why America should be outraged by the case." Kohn began:
The following sentence appeared in a writeup on the ongoing failure known as HealthCare.gov by Politico reporters Kyle Cheney, Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn: "President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle."
Gosh, President Obama has been in front of the press several times during the shutdown. Whose fault is it that no national establishment press reporter has questioned him about HealthCare.gov? Excerpt from the three Politico stooges' report following the jump (bolds are mine):
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
The Obama administration and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius have had 3-1/2 years to get ready for Obamacare's rollout. Though we have yet to learn all of the gory details, America already knows what an unmitigated disaster HealthCare.gov has been thus far. But at least one could argue (not successfully, in my opinion, but work with me on this) that "programmming is hard."
That's not the case with another aspect of Obamacare implementation, namely the handling of exemptions from the individual mandate. The forms involved, the generation of which should have been a relative breeze and which obviously should have been ready eons ago, are at least a month away. Instead of describing this situation as yet another miserable failure, Kyle Cheney at the Politico, perhaps signaling to other establishment press outlets that they shouldn't consider this a big deal (though it clearly is), merely characterized it as "another big hurdle," and kept "individual mandate" out of his headline. Excerpts follow the jump (HT to a frequent emailer; bolds are mine):
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and committed the Original Sin of the liberal imagination. Peruse leftwing sites for observances of Columbus Day and you learn that the intrepid explorer brought only pillage, rape, murder, and enslavement to Eden of the Americas.
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein of ABC News teamed up recently for an online interview with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Posted to the ABC News/Yahoo! News “Power Players” blog, the interview consisted mostly of Karl and Klein trying to get Jindal to criticize his fellow Republicans, particularly those in Congress.
Karl got right down to the GOP-infighting business with his first question: [Watch the video and read the accompanying article here.]
Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal." Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius's HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.
The bio for Couts says that he "covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy." His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Salon.com, which attacked Disney earlier in 2013 for its apparent lack of LGBT characters, plunged into a new depth of left-wing wackiness in a Saturday post that targeted a 15-year-old video game. Writer Jon Hochschartner unleashed against "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" for its supposedly "deeply problematic" handling of "class, race, gender and animal rights".
The website identified Hochschartner as a "freelance writer from upstate New York", but it failed to disclose that he took part in Occupy Wall Street's 2011 encampment in New York City, and he was among the hundreds who got arrested when the NYPD forced the far-left activists from Zuccotti Park.
While a great deal of attention has deservedly been given to Kathleen Sebelius's refusal to directly answer comedian Jon Stewart's question about why Obamacare's individual mandate was not been deferred until 2015 like the employer mandate was, at least one of her other comments about the wonders of the government-controlled "marketplace" has been ignored, and shouldn't be.
Her supposedly expert observation, staring at about the 4:35 mark of the video found here (HT Hot Air): "People who have been waiting for a long time finally have a market to choose from." ... "You can also then figure out if your doctor's in the plan that you want, if the network of hospitals is in the plan you want, what kind of drugs you take, is that in the plan you want. You've never been able to do that before." She took it further, saying that if you tried to shop around for insurance companies, "You would never know what's there. You might deal with one agent, one broker. ..." Stewart asked, "So this is the first mall?" Sebelius answered, "You bet." What horse manure.
Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had a tense exchange with ABC's Jonathan Karl, who was apparently so taken aback by Carney's answer to another reporter that he interjected himself into the dialog — to correct Carney about what House Speaker John Boehner said earlier today about his openness to negotiating. Carney also announced that Americans won't have to wait to see how the nation's healthcare delivery system changes in 2014 to experience long times spent in waiting rooms (Patience, please; it will become clear later in the post). But first, let's get the Blaze's rundown of the Carney-Karl exchange (bolds are mine):
"This is a welcome change for Democrats who thought Obama was too accommodating to Republicans during previous crises," Bolton noted, adding, "Simply put, they believe less is more when it comes to Obama’s involvement in negotiations with the GOP" (emphasis mine):
In a story published early this morning by Manu Raju at the Politico which is primarily about Senate Majority Harry Reid's plans to aggressively pursue reelection in 2016, the Nevada senator took shots at the establishment press for "trying so hard to be fair that you are unfair."
Proving Reid wrong in real time, Raju failed to mention Reid's response last week to a question by Dana Bash at CNN — which by the way, as Matt Hadro at NewsBusters noted earlier today, has been pounding Republicans ever since as if to compensate. Bash asked Reid if it would be worth it to continue to fund clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health if doing so could help one child with cancer. His answer, on tape: "Why would we want to do that?" Excerpts from the Raju's report follow the jump (HT Ed Driscoll; bolds are mine):