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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's Hoping

Let's pray that 2014 is a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful year for all!

More Obamacare Idiocy

Two stories in the news reveal the latest talking point being used by president Obama and the Obamacrats to explain the failures of Obamacare.  The newest claim from the Obamacrats is that the failure of most people to sign up for insurance under Obamacare is due to -- get this -- Republican opposition to the law.  That's right.  The delegate of the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, announced that many people are not signing up for Obamacare because they think it has been repealed.  At the same time, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank says that the uninsured are "being discouraged from enrolling by Republicans’ incessant opposition."  Milbank then tells us that "this month’s CBS News-New York Times poll found that a majority of uninsured Americans disapprove of the new law" and blames that too on Republicans.

Think about what they are claiming.  I can envision a 25 year old guy sitting at his computer trying to get on the Obamacare website sometime during the last three months, only to be told that the site is down.  Surely, the failure of the Obamacrats to produce a working website had nothing to do with Republican opposition.  How about a 45 year old woman who decides that the policies available are so expensive with such big deductibles that she would do better to go uninsured while paying the penalty?  If she gets sick, she can always sign up at that point.  That too is hardly the fault of Republicans.  And what about people who lost their insurance because it was cancelled due to Obamacare?  Surely they don't think that the law was repealed; if it were, they would still have insurance. 

The truth is that Obamacare is, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, a health insurance program of the Democrats, and by the Democrats.  No rational person now thinks that the law was repealed.  Nor are there folks who decided not to sign up because the law is opposed by Republicans.

The Obamacrats are revealing their despair at the total failure of the Obamacare law.  They are trying to escape the blame for that failure, but they cannot.  The failure is theirs; they own it and they cannot avoid it.  No silly talking points can change this reality.


Time For MSNBC to Fire Another Host

In the last few months, MSNBC had to fire Alec Baldwin for shouting anti-gay slurs at a photographer on the street.  It also had reluctantly to fire Martin Bashir for vile comments he made on his show; those comments were scripted, so they were no accident.  Now comes the turn of Melissa Harris Perry.  In a really unbelievable moment, Perry used her show to make fun of the baby adopted by one of Mitt Romney's sons and his wife.  The baby, you see, is black, and the Romneys are white.  For Melissa Harris Perry, this was all that she needed to mock Romney, the baby and the Republican party.

Personally, I don't care if some host on a weekend MSNBC show mocks Romney or Republicans.  The show is probably watched only by a truly tiny audience and even they would understand the source.  It is unforgivable, however, for the show to mock a baby, particularly on the grounds of race.  Do we really still live in a country that is willing to accept people on television making racial comments because parents of one race adopt a child of another?  I hope not.

In thinking about this stupidity by yet another MSNBC host, I started wondering if this was the equivalent of what Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty said about homosexuality.  I don't think so.  Robertson expressed the view that gay sex was a sin.  It is a standard belief of Christianity.  It is also a standard belief of Judaism and Islam for that matter.  Robertson also said that it was not for him to judge gays; that would be left to God.  And he said it in an unscripted response to a question in an interview.  He used some coarse language, but there was no mistaking what he said.  Melissa Harris Perry and her panelists spoke in a prepared segment on her show.  The comments were pre-planned.  She belittled a family for adopting a child of another race.  What's next?  Will she start mocking New York City mayor elect Bill DiBlasio because he has a black wife?  Are all mixed marriages and families somehow to become the object of scorn and derision?  Is it one of Harris Perry's core beliefs that the mixing of the races is a bad thing?  Is she some kind of a throwback to the Jim Crow South?

Melissa Harris Perry has the right to say what she said.  Now, MSNBC has the right to fire her.  And it should.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Save the Date

I am not sure why, but I happen to be on the White House political distribution list.  That means that every political press release or other announcement that comes out of the Obama White House is emailed to me among countless thousand others.  It is not the regular press list (although I am sure that most of the mainstream media is on the list,)  The items I get are political in nature; they are the White House communicating with its strong supporters. 

Today, I got a note from Washington telling me to "save the date".  It was like one of those post cards that you get from a couple planning a wedding in which they tell you that in only thirteen months they are getting married on a particular day.  You are supposed to keep the day clear so that nothing interferes with your presence at the ceremony.  Anyway, I got an email with the reference "save the date" this morning.  The content was so extraordinary that I thought I should repeat it here in its entirety, so here goes:

"Save The Date

Friends, we are writing to bring you good news.  On October 28, 2014, a strike force from the Joint Special Operations Command is going to take out the leaders of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.  These men organized an onslaught that killed four brave Americans including our ambassador to Libya on September 11, 2012.  Since then, they have lived openly in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya and have not even tried to deny responsibility for the attack.  Our government cannot tolerate this sort of attack on American citizens and certainly will not tolerate such an attack on our diplomatic posts.  Justice will be meted out to these reprobates.

We expect that the right wing Republicans will criticize the timing of the mission since it will occur just one week prior to the mid-term elections of 2014.  This is just more of the usual baseless sniping from the Tea Party and its supporters among the Republicans.  We tell you now that the date for the attack has been chosen because it is the earliest date when our forces will be ready and we know for certain that all the targets will be in disclosed locations.

We also know that we will have to get the word out to counter the expected phony outrage expressed by the right wing.  They will have the Koch brothers to fund their attacks, but we will need to respond on our own.  Please help us gather a fund that we can use to get the truth to the American people.  Your contribution of ......................................."

I left off all the fund raising details, but you get the picture.


The End of Winter

Remember a few years back when the global warming crowd predicted that snow would just be a distant memory and winter would be no more?  Remember how all the polar bears would disappear because the arctic ice would vanish for good? Indeed, by 2014, we should have been well on our way to becoming a hot planet according to theories of the adherents of the global warming religion.  (I call it religion because it is not based on science.)

It is worth remembering those predictions of steamy temperatures and the end of ice and winter at the moment.  Right now, it is Summer in the Antarctic, so temperatures should be at their warmest of the year.  That makes the current predicament of the climate scientists aboard a Russian cruise ship who are stuck in the ice in the Antarctic all the more humorous.  The "disappearing" ice has managed to trap the ship even in the middle of Summer.  To make things even funnier, a Chinese ice-breaker on its way to rescue the cruise ship has now also become stuck in the ice a few miles away from its destination.  There are more ice-breakers on the way to try to free both the Chinese and the Russian ships, but for now both are held captive by the "disappearing" ice.

Add to this story, the conditions last winter when much of Asia and Europe experienced the coldest winters in recent years with copious amounts of snow and ice.  None of that sort of weather was supposed to affect us anymore.  In the USA, the last two months have been much colder than normal as well.

None of these events disprove, by themselves, global warming theory.  I will be the first to admit it.  On the other hand, right now it is clear that essentially nothing predicted by the global warming computer models has happened.  Temperatures have held steady for 15 years despite rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  The variation in the observed temperatures around the world from those predicted is so great that using normal statistical analysis, these observations prove that the computer models are incorrect.  There is not a single computer model that has been shown to work. 

What all this means is that we do not understand the mechanisms that control the climate of our planet.  There are many theories, but no one knows which are correct.  We do know, however, that the theory of global warming caused by carbon dioxide released due to human activity is incorrect.  I don't expect the White House to issue bumper stickers that say "Al Gore Lied and The Economy Died".  It would be nice, though, if president Obama would stop pushing his climate change agenda.  Obama is killing the coal industry, raising energy prices for all Americans, choking production of fossil fuels on federal land, and generally squeezing the American economy all in the name of a theory that has been disproven.  It makes no sense!  What can he do for an encore?  Will Obama advocate building a fence at the end of the world so that no one falls off?


Volgograd Bombs Send a Message

Volgograd is a major city in the southern part of Russia.  It is the largest ethnic Russian city near Chechnya and the rest of the Caucasus.  That also makes it the largest Russian city near the site of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.  Now, it is the site of two major terror bombings as well.

The bombs in Volgograd are a terrible reminder that terrorism is very active in Russia.  Russia is high on the list that includes nearly all of the non-Moslem world aside from China and Japan as terror targets.  Still, the point of the blasts was clearly to undermine the upcoming Olympic extravaganza.  How many people will cancel trips to Sochi out of fear that there will be more bombs coming?  How many extra Russian security police will be present in Sochi to give the games the look of an armed camp.  We will have to see, but there clearly will be an impact.

Russia under Vladimir Putin is not one of my favorite countries.  Nevertheless, the bombings in Volgograd are terrible.  The Russians deserve our prayers in this instance.  Let's hope that they catch the monsters who perpetrated these attacks as well as all their support groups.  Terrorism has to be eradicated.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another Bad Month For Obamacare

The government gave out numbers today of the folks who selected health insurance policies prior to Christmas.  Once again, the numbers were bad.  According to the feds, 975,000 selected policies in December prior to the deadline to get coverage as of January 1.

The release of these figures gives rise to a few comments.

First, it is amazing that all during October and November, the Obamacrats refused to give out any numbers, claiming that they could not get those numbers until a few weeks after the end of the month.  Today's release makes clear that the earlier claims were just more lies.

Second, the original goal for Obamacare was to get seven million new insurance policies sold to the previously uninsured during the six months from October 1 to March 31, 2014.  That means the feds needed to sell about 1,167,000 policies each month to newly insured to reach that goal.  They are nowhere close to that figure.  Remember, the numbers released today are not policies sold, but policies selected.  Anyone who clicked on a policy but then never went on to make a purchase is counted by the feds, but they are not folks who actually bought insurance.  Further, hundreds of thousands of people whose policies were cancelled due to Obamacare are buying on the exchanges along with those who were previously uninsured.  That means that a large proportion of the number announced today are not newly insured folks.  The Obamacrats have not released detailed information so that we could see just how bad the numbers truly are.  Based upon some reasonable assumptions, however, it looks like instead of selling 3.5 million policies to the previously uninsured by the end of December, Obamacare is, instead, at a figure of something like less than ten percent of that.

The Affordable Care Act is not providing anything affordable, and it seems to be reducing the number of people with insurance rather than increasing it.  What a disaster!

Doing Nothing -- Is it a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Over the weekend, I heard Congress described as a disaster because it has done nothing during the last year.  The description was repeated often enough that I began to wonder if it is the new talking point for the Democrats.  It got me to thinking though.  Is doing nothing a good thing or a bad thing?

The answer in the media seems to depend on just who it is that is doing nothing.  For example, the Keystone Pipeline has been under consideration for the last five years, and during that time president Obama has done nothing.  That is fine with the media even though it means that tens of thousands of jobs that could have been created were not.  Or how about the IRS scandal.  When it first broke, Obama told the country that he would get to the bottom of the scandal and punish the perpetrators.  He has done nothing, but the media does not seem to care.  Then there is Obama's plan for growing the economy.  Of course, there is no such plan; Obama has done essentially nothing on that front, but the media does not complain.  The there is Obama's oversight of the roll out of Obamacare.  The entire country knows that Obama did nothing to try to achieve a good result for the laws roll out.  There has been criticism of the resulting chaos, but almost no one in the media has criticized Obama for doing nothing in the years leading up to the fiasco.  If Obama does nothing, indeed, if Obama fails to do his job, the media does not really care.

So that brings us to Congress.  During the last year, there has been sharp division on many different issues before Congress.  As a result, there has been little legislation passed.  The inaction has been the result of policy differences, unlike Obama's inaction which is the result of incompetence or indifference.  Nevertheless, the media treats Congressional inaction like a disaster of major proportions.