Election 2016: Is Huckabee serious about a 2016 bid?
**Posted by Phineas
It’s long been known that the individual mandate is the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Without the requirement for healthy young people to buy more insurance than they need or pay
a penalty tax protection money, there would never be enough revenue coming into the system to pay for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. And amidst all the waivers (1) and delays for unions and businesses claiming hardship under the new law, the one thing they’ve refused to rescind was the individual mandate, itself.
Until last week, when it was done in secret:
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.
The WSJ article then goes through the various classes of exempted individuals and what they have to do to claim that exemption, but the short version is that if you feel you’ve been burdened or harmed by Obamacare –including not being able to afford the new, more expensive even though subsidized policies mandated by Obamacare– you can have a two-year hardship exception based solely on your word.
Yes, you read that right: our new, wonderful, Heaven-on-Earth healthcare-for-all law is now recognized as such a problem that people have to be exempted from obeying it.
Why are they doing this, you ask, since it’s sure to throw the ACA’s finances even more out of whack? Why are they gutting the core of the bill that has been a progressive dream since at least Truman? Trust me, it’s not from empathy for the very people the law is harming.
Have a look at this article from the Conservative Intelligence Briefing and this other from National Journal. (And, for a laugh, this desperate spin from DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (2) ) Both deal with the possible fallout from the Republican win in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, one they thought they had a good chance to win against a flawed Republican candidate.
Instead, they lost, and a good part of the reason was popular anger over Obamacare (3). And now they’re looking at possibly losing seats in the House, in addition to an increasingly-likely loss of their Senate majority.
None of this is guaranteed, of course, but it’s a scary-enough prospect to have them reaching for the whisky bottle while quietly throwing Obamacare’s key provision under the bus, a move that stinks of desperation.
This is significant not just for its electoral consequence, either. Once exceptions like these are granted, it will be danged hard for Obama or a future Democrat president to take them back and start enforcing the rules (4). And with The One establishing the precedent that the president can ignore laws that are inconvenient to him, what’s to stop a future Republican president from ignoring the ACA altogether?
The Republican-dominated House has voted I think 50 times to repeal Obamacare since taking control in 2011. I think they can take a breather.
Bit by bit, Obama is repealing it for them.
via Salena Zito and Ben Domenech
PS: I agree with Josh Blackman. Republicans should send opt-out forms to all their constituents — and the Democrats’, too.
PPS: For those who are having trouble affording insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the president suggests cutting back on cable TV and cell phone use. No, really.
(1) And that was just through 1Q 2011…
(2) That is, the race-baiting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
(3) As Jim Geraghty points out, Republicans have, thank God, improved their ground-game, too.
(4) Do you really think he’s going to reimpose them in 2016, just as the presidential race heats up? No way…
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
That’s the the bomb-throwing title of a take-no-prisoners article at PJ Media by “Zombie,” an anonymous San Francisco-area blogger who often skewers the Left in his/her neck of the woods. In the article, Zombie examines several common progressive policies. For each, he or she (1) first presents the position neutrally, in a flat statement. Then Zombie gives the progressive public reason for the policy, the conservative misunderstanding of it, and finally the real, racist motive at its heart.
What conservatives don’t (yet) know is that under the surface, most progressive positions are motivated by racist attitudes and assumptions felt by white progressives, usually against African-Americans. Progressive positions often seem inexplicable to outsiders because the proposals emanating from them usually manifest as colossal social engineering experiments, which the progressives have only devised as a distraction from the shameful racist motivations at the core.
This essay will likely be eye-opening for conservatives, and infuriating for progressives, who often don’t know their own history and never contemplated the origins of their own belief system. But it’s time to finally bring the uncomfortable truth out in the open.
He/she then gives eight examples. Below is one; I urge you to read the rest:
THE WELFARE STATE (2)
“Maximize benefits and ease qualifications for all entitlement and social welfare programs; ultimately institute a “guaranteed income” for all U.S. residents.”
False public rationale offered by progressives to justify their position:
“No one should starve or go homeless in a wealthy nation such as ours; we should always give a helping hand to those in need.”
Conservatives’ inaccurate theory of progressives’ real intent:
The ever-escalating magnitude of unnecessary government handouts is just a backdoor route to socialism by confiscating more and more wealth from the productive class and “redistributing” it to the unproductive.
The actual racist origins of the progressive stance:
The true goal of progressive-style cradle-to-grave welfare is to enslave blacks in a culture of dependency and thereby keep them mollified and also a dependable Democratic voting bloc.
The toxic addictive effect of an ongoing welfare system has been debated for centuries; as far back as the 1700s in England it was pointed out that giving free food to the lower classes both removed their motivation to work and also increased their numbers; abusing these sociological trends for cynical political advantage dates back even further, when Roman emperors handed out free bread to curry favor with the masses. In modern America, African-Americans disproportionally comprise the lower class, so progressives have devised a racist strategy of lifelong government dependency to not only permanently keep blacks at the bottom of the economic scale but also corrode their sense of self-sufficiency so that they always return to the Democratic Party just as the addict always returns to the pusher.
According to Ronald Kessler’s book Inside the White House, President Johnson explained the rationale behind his “Great Society” welfare programs thus: “I’ll have those n****rs voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” As there is no audio recording of this quote (which was reported second-hand), progressives have spent years trying to cast doubt on its existence, because it confirms the worst assumptions behind the justification for welfare. However, there are other audio recordings from the same era of Johnson obsessing over maximizing black votes and referring to them as “n****rs” — for example, listen to this tape of Johnson complaining that he can’t prove black voters are being suppressed because “More niggers vote than white folks.” While this doesn’t conclusively prove he also said the disputed “200 years” quote, it does prove that he spoke in those terms, referred to blacks insultingly, and schemed about ways to maximize the black vote for the Democratic Party — all of which lend credence to the disputed quote’s likely veracity.
What can’t be disputed is that since the institutionalization of welfare, Johnson’s cynical racist vision has come true: generation after generation of inner-city African-Americans have indeed become completely dependent upon welfare, and consequently reliably vote Democratic because the Democrats vow to keep the handouts flowing.
While the motivations for progressivism are more complex than simply “racism” –including for many a genuine, if misguided, desire to help people because society is too difficult for the average person to manage on their own–there’s no doubting that a perception of non-White inferiority underlies a lot of progressive politics, including the cynical use of public money to turn Blacks into dependent voters. Something they’re now trying to do to all through Obamacare and the push to expand dependency on food stamps.
Be sure to read the whole thing. It’s controversial and inflammatory, no doubt, but perhaps also illuminating.
And, besides, it’s fun to throw the Left’s own tactics in their face for once.
(1) I really wish English had a third-person, gender neutral personal pronoun. “He/She” is so clunky.
(2) For a good short booklet on this topic, check out Kevin Williamson’s “The Dependency Agenda.”
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog provides some intriguing background into what led up to tonight’s so-called “climate change talkathon” Senate Democrats will engage in into tomorrow morning on the floor of the US Senate:
Dozens of Democratic senators plan to speak out Monday night into early Tuesday morning about their growing concerns with climate change. Adopting a strategy used in the past year to great effect by Republican senators – Ted Cruz, anyone? – at least 28 Democrats plan to use floor time to raise their concerns on the lack of attention being paid to climate change — although there is no single bill or even set of bills for which they will be advocating.
Tonight’s program “isn’t about a particular bill,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who helped organize the talkathon. ”This is about trying to raise the profile and being to gain some momentum on this issue. Then I think we’re in a position to ask corporate America and other groups and organizations to get more engaged and open the kind of space it will take to pass a bill. But the first thing we have to show is that we’re engaged ourselves.”
That all sounds nice. And we have no doubt that Whitehouse is genuine in his desire to raise the profile of climate issues. But, there is another more political reason for the decision by Senate Democrats to devote their time to the issue right now. And that issue is campaign cash.
Environmental groups spent about $20 million on ads and other activities to help Democrats in 2012 and gave about $742,000 directly to candidates during the cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. During last year’s Virginia gubernatorial election, the League of Conservation Voters was the biggest outside spender in the race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, and ran television ads targeting Cuccinelli for suggesting that global warming is not linked to human activity. Already in this cycle the group is running ads on behalf of Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who is locked in a bitter Democratic primary and is a lead organizer of Monday evening’s events.
[Billionaire businessman Thomas] Steyer hosted a recent fundraiser at his San Francisco home that netted the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $400,000 and where Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and the six other Democratic senators in attendance openly discussed plans for tonight’s talkathon, according to reports. Reid also has vowed to allow his colleagues to discuss the issue during their weekly lunches and on the Senate floor.
Wowsers. I’ve heard of big money buying votes many times over in politics at all levels, but explicitly buying dedicated time on the Senate floor? Kinda takes the term “up for sale” to a whole new disturbing level, doesn’t it? And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hands are all over this. They don’t call him “Dirty Harry” for nothin’ …
**Posted by Phineas
Via Moe Lane, that’s sure what it sounds like in the video below. Rick Perry of Texas was speaking as part of a panel at the Republican Governors Association late last February; the group had had a meeting (1) with President Obama, and what he told them left Governor Perry disturbed. Here’s the video, followed by a transcript.
“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.?
Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.
“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”
Obama takes everything personally, doesn’t he? Criticize him or oppose his policies as part of the normal give and take of politics, and to him it’s a personal affront. And, if you offend him, perhaps by speaking out on behalf of the people of your state, by God you’re going to hear from Obama, himself!
That is the mark of a thin-skinned, petty personality. A punk. And weren’t the Democrats supposed to be against “bullying?”
It’s also telling about how he sees the governors: not as fellow heads of state and government, with their own experiences and perspectives to draw on (2), but as errand boys. It’s how someone who grew up in the Chicago thugocracy works. “Federalism? Just shut up and do what you’re told – or else.”
Perry’s remarks about the threat to the state national guards are well-taken, too; not only do the guard units provide invaluable reserves of skills, knowledge, and talent to fill out the military in wartime, but governors rely on their guard units to deal with all sorts of emergencies, from riots to disaster relief.
Seems to me Governor Perry and his colleagues were right to be perturbed.
(1) I think this was the same meeting after which Louisiana Governor Jindal and Connecticut Governor Malloy went after each other a bit.
(2) Many of whom had far more executive experience prior to taking office and far better records of accomplishment in office than a certain president I can think of.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
Because, as we all know,
Man-caused climate change the Dread Demon Carbon Dioxide is the “world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,” a threat we have to deal with now and with all our efforts. Not nukes in the hands of Iranian mullahs yearning to bring about their version of the Apocalypse. Not jihadist terror groups also jonesing for a few kilotons of their own. Not H-bombs and rockets in the possession of Kim Jong Un, who, when not feeding relatives to the dogs and ordering the execution of Christians, might decide to restart the Korean War. Not Vladimir Putin, who, with thousands of nuclear weapons at his disposal, has decided to start dismembering neighboring states and daring the West to do something, anything about it. Not a rising, hyper-nationalist, aggressive, nuclear-armed China, which is rattling sabers at its island neighbors and looking to challenge American supremacy in the western Pacific.
Nope. Global warming is the greatest threat to America, and so Secretary Kerry has ordered our ambassadors around the world to make that their top priority:
US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on American ambassadors around the world to make the fight against climate change a top priority ahead of new UN talks next year.
In his first department-wide policy guidance statement since taking office a year ago, he told his 70,000 staff: “The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.”
“Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.
“It’s also a critical mission for all of you: our brave men and women on the frontlines of direct diplomacy,” he added in the document seen by AFP.
He urged all “chiefs of mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.”
Note that the environment has been one of the “central causes” of John Kerry’s life, his personal mission. Thus the Department of State, charged with conducting the nation’s diplomacy, is now at the service of John Kerry’s personal tilt at the windmill. Silly me for thinking State’s job is to pursue the nation’s interests, not one dull man’s obsessions.
Of course, Kerry probably thinks his cause is the nation’s. It’s solipsism as foreign policy.
I ask again: Have we ever had a more fatuous, dunderheaded bore as secretary of state than John Kerry?
Via Doug Powers, who provides illustrative examples of the Kerrys’ “Green lifestyle.”
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Via The Hill:
The election is coming, the election is coming!
That’s the message coming from President Obama as he tries desperately to rouse Democrats out of a midterm election stupor that could cost his party control of the Senate — and bury his agenda once and for all.
Obama has increasingly sounded like the nerdy kid in a bad horror movie constantly warning his friends to stay out of danger as he’s called on the Democratic base to not be complacent in 2014.
“You’ve got to pay attention to the states,” he begged at a recent fundraiser for the Democratic Governors Association. Obama lamented that Democrats don’t think state-level races in the 2014 midterms are “sexy enough.”
Raising cash for Senate Democrats in Virginia, Obama said Democrats tend to get “a little sleepy” and “distracted.”
“We’re good at Senate and House elections during presidential years — it’s something about midterms,” Obama said. “I don’t know what it is about us.”
And at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Boston, Obama said poor turnout could lead the party’s candidates to get “walloped.”
“It’s happened before and it could happen again,” said Obama, who remembers all too well the shellacking his party took in 2010, when it lost control of the House.
In 2014, the worry is that Democrats will lose the Senate if the base doesn’t come out, and it’s an outcome that political observers and Democratic strategists say is more and more plausible.
Democrats are defending 21 of the 36 Senate seats up this fall, and election watchers widely expect the party to lose seats as they protect a fragile six-seat majority.
Fasten your seat belts, folks!