Election 2016: Harry Reid plots to block potential 2016 foe
**Posted by Phineas
This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.
Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:
It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.
Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”
This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:
This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.
Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.
Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.
For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.
My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?
I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on tyranny in Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”
RELATED: More at Hot Air.
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
From the Hollyweird files of far left conspiracy theorist/actress Roseanne Barr:
i want to use my vagina photo as my new icon here
— Roseanne Barr (@TheRealRoseanne) February 25, 2014
I don't think that's a good idea, ma'am. RT @TheRealRoseanne: i want to use my vagina photo as my new icon here
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) February 25, 2014
Please, Ms. Barr – keep that sort of thing between you, your doctor, and and your significant other – as any self-respecting woman SHOULD do. Thank you.
**Posted by Phineas
For Stephen Blackwood, that horrifying possibility is not hypothetical.
Mr. Blackwood’s mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 49 in 2005. She needs the drug Sandostatin to have a fighting chance at survival. Though her policy with BlueCross/Blue Shield was expensive, it met her needs for a very expensive treatment, paid for the drug, and let her see any physician she needed. She and her family were satisfied with it.
Then along came Obamacare, and Mr. Blackwood’s mother lost her insurance. I’ll let him take the story from here:
The repeated and prolonged phone waits were Sisyphean, the competence and customer service abysmal. When finally she found a plan that looked like it would cover her Sandostatin and other cancer treatments, she called the insurer, Humana, to confirm that it would do so. The enrollment agent said that after she met her deductible, all treatments and medications—including those for her cancer—would be covered at 100%. Because, however, the enrollment agents did not—unbelievable though this may seem—have access to the “coverage formularies” for the plans they were selling, they said the only way to find out in detail what was in the plan was to buy the plan. (Does that remind you of anyone?)
With no other options, she bought the plan and was approved on Nov. 22. Because by January the plan was still not showing up on her online Humana account, however, she repeatedly called to confirm that it was active. The agents told her not to worry, she was definitely covered.
Then on Feb. 12, just before going into (yet another) surgery, she was informed by Humana that it would not, in fact, cover her Sandostatin, or other cancer-related medications. The cost of the Sandostatin alone, since Jan. 1, was $14,000, and the company was refusing to pay.
The news was dumbfounding. This is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren’t happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn’t cover her condition and it’s completely unaffordable.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Blackwood’s mother, in order to receive the treatment she needs, has to somehow come up with $14,000 on her own. Her case is currently on appeal with Humana.
And the next time…?
Apologists for the law will of course blame Humana, and, to be sure, I do not excuse them. The incompetence is infuriating, bordering on the Kafkaesque.
Still, none of this would be happening without that anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, which the Democratic Party shoved down the throat of a nation that did not want it, that was mostly satisfied with the insurance it had, and wanted them instead to deal with the economic crisis we were then facing.
But the progressives who knew so much better than we what we needed had other plans in mind, and so Stephen Blackwell’s mother now faces the very real, very frightening possibility that she will not be able to find insurance to cover the treatment she needs to stay alive, or that she might have to beggar herself and her family to get it.
Or do without.
Via Roger Kimball, whose final paragraph is worth quoting:
You won’t find chilly, insulated elites like Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama admitting it, but the blood of Mrs. Blackwood and millions of other Americans harmed by their thoughtless legislation is on their heads. Obamacare is a totalitarian scheme masquerading as a humanitarian enterprise. Its human cost is incalculable, but already, just a few months in, we’re beginning to get a sense of the suffering it will cause. When your treatment for cancer is disallowed, when your daughter cannot get the medicine she needs, when your mother’s insurance is cancelled, will you still go gently into that good night of liberal sanctimony? Or will you finally realize that when Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” this might not have been the beneficent program The New York Times and other such outlets led you to believe?
The Democrats deserve every bit of electoral hell coming their way, and so much more.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Via The Hill:
Democrats believe they are winning the battle over the minimum wage, despite an official budget report this week that found it would cost the economy a half-million jobs.
House and Senate Democratic aides told The Hill they believe they can discredit and overcome the CBO report, which offered ammunition to Republicans who argue a wage hike would hurt the economy.
The Democrats bolster their case by pointing to a November Gallup poll that found 76 percent of those surveyed favor raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9.
They also argue the CBO report is contradicted by other economic research, and tout a letter pushed by the White House in which 600 economists say raising the minimum wage would have no major effect on jobs.
“This report is not a major obstacle,” one House Democratic leadership aide said.
“Really the polling is so strong in favor of the minimum wage,” another House Democratic aide said. “Do centrist Republicans really want to go back to their districts and say they opposed this over some abstract report that lots of economists have criticized? There is just not enough there, there.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the lead sponsor of the Senate bill to raise the minimum wage, said the CBO report shows raising the minimum wage benefits a large number of people so it is a net positive.
“That’s why an overwhelming majority of Americans — on both sides of the aisle — want Congress to raise the wage, and I look forward to having this important bill on the Senate floor in the weeks ahead,” Harkin said.
Republicans say Democrats are kidding themselves.
“That CBO report showed what Republicans have been saying about raising the minimum wage – that it will destroy jobs, in this case up to one million jobs, dealing a devastating blow to the very people that need help most in the Obama economy,” one Senate GOP aide said.
The CBO report offered an analysis on what would happen if the minimum wage was raised to $10.10 per hour, as advocated by President Obama and congressional Democrats.
It found the wage hike would cost 500,000 jobs by 2016, but also that it would lift 900,000 people out of poverty by increasing incomes.
Senate Democrats say they are going forward with a likely March or early April vote on raising the wage.
In the House, Democrats are moving forward as soon as next week with the rollout of a discharge petition that would seek to force a vote in the lower chamber.
The discharge petition has the backing of about 190 of the 200-member Democratic caucus, aides say.
“We obviously hope it will win enough Republicans to pass,” the leadership aide added. “If they don’t pass it, then good policy is always good politics.”
Translation: We know it won’t pass but we’re gonna put it out there anyway because polling supposedly indicates most people are “for it” and we desperately need a “winning” issue that will lift us over the Obamacare hump – in spite of the fact that up to a million people could lose their jobs if the bill did somehow pass.
Just another shameless attempt at the left trying to buy votes from vulnerable, gullible citizens in a critical election year because they don’t have anything else to run on. Anyone surprised?
CNN President Jeff Zucker has decided to bring an end to Piers Morgan’s low-rated primetime show, network sources told POLITICO on Sunday. “Piers Morgan Live” could end as early as next month, though Morgan may stay with the network in another role.
Morgan, a former British tabloid editor, replaced Larry King in the 9 p.m. hour three years ago, prior to Zucker’s tenure as president. His show earned consistently low ratings, registering as few as 50,000 viewers in the 25-to-54 year-old demographic earlier this week.
“CNN confirms that Piers Morgan Live is ending,” Allison Gollust, head of CNN communications, told POLITICO on Sunday after an earlier version of this post was published. “The date of the final program is still to be determined.”
Earlier on Sunday, Morgan told The New York Times that the show had “run its course” and that he and Zucker “have been talking for some time about different ways of using me.” Sources who spoke to POLITICO said the decision to end the show was Zucker’s.
Zucker took the helm at CNN at the beginning of 2013 and has since brought incremental change to the network, including revitalized news programs and a new emphasis on films and documentary shows. Primetime remains the one area where Zucker has yet to impliment substantive change, a new 10 p.m. roundtable program with Anderson Cooper notwithstanding.
It’ll be interesting to see what CNN does with that slot after Morgan departs the network.
As to Morgan himself, while I certainly don’t advocate someone losing their jobs, Morgan has been a frequent mocker of the ratings of other TV shows in spite of the fact that his were consistently low. To say the guy’s lack of self awareness was strong would be the understatement of the week. I suspect Morgan was often a frequent embarrassment for the network, as he would have guests on frequently to talk about gun rights (his pet issue) and the Constitution and they usually ended up pretty much destroying his arguments with ease.
I look for Morgan to be offered a spot on MSNBC somewhere, somehow in the near future – considering they’ve all but declared themselves the “liberal” alternative to Fox News (which, in turn, hasn’t helped their ratings one iota). Something tells me the network would be perfect for Morgan and his ultra left wing views on gun rights and that pesky little thing called the Constitution.
As they say, stay tuned.
**Posted by Phineas
But, of course.
According to MSNBC pundit Timothy Noah, workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant rejected membership in the United Auto Workers union because they were a bunch of mouthing-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Southern racists:
“The South has always been hostile territory for union organizing. Y’know, as Harold said, the culture war in the South trumps the class war. You already have in a number of Southern states right to work laws, which means that even if they had unionized the plants, those who benefited from the presence of that union wouldn’t have had to pay union dues if they didn’t feel like it. So you’re in an overwhelmingly hostile climate.
And the opposition I gather, through, portrayed this as a kind of northern invasion, a re-fighting of the Civil War. Apparently there are not a lot of, uh, black employees in this particular plant. And so, that kind of, uh, uh, uh, waving of the Confederate flag was an effective strategy.”
Yep, those Johnny Rebs in Tennessee just took a pull on the whiskey jug, channeled the spirit Jeff Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, and voted down the union, because they wanted to re-fight the Chattanooga campaign. It couldn’t have been because they made a rational economic decision as free people that the union didn’t provide enough benefits to warrant the dues they’d have to pay. Nah. It just had to be because there were so few Blacks there in the workforce that they weren’t afraid to show their real, neo-Confederate faces.
Who’s the bigot again, Timmy?
RELATED: Naturally, the UAW wants the NLRB to overturn the election results and call a new vote. Typical: If you can’t win, vote and vote again until the rubes vote the way they’re told. What do they think this is, the EU?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
**Posted by Phineas
There’s an excellent (1) article by Victor Davis Hanson (2) on the lessons to be drawn from World War I, or, as I sometimes call it, the 19th century’s collective act of mass suicide (3). As this is the centennial year of the war’s start, we’re naturally seeing and will see all sort of books, articles, and programs about how it happened, whose fault it was, and what we can learn from it.
Hanson’s article deals with the last. After reviewing the standard analyses regarding secret treaties, rigid mobilization plans, and a too-harsh peace, all of which have their flaws, he keys on one that has bearing for our increasingly dangerous world, today — misjudgment:
One of the lessons of the outbreak of World War I is the importance of perceptions. At some point in 1914 the German military and diplomatic community concluded that the country not only could pull off a successful lightning strike against France, but could do so without starting a world war — given various events over the prior decades.
Such flawed thinking is a good reminder that appearances often matter as much as reality in provoking wars. Hitler certainly was suicidal in attacking his de facto partner, the Soviet Union, in June 1941. But for all his crazy ranting about his grievances, Untermenschen, and grand strategy, it was the false perception that the Soviet Union would quickly collapse — given its recent dismal performance in Poland and Finland, and the prior purging of its officer corps, contrasted with the recently successful Blitzkrieg in Poland and Western Europe — that persuaded Hitler to try something so fatally dangerous.
And yet, at the end of both wars, Germany was defeated –crushed, in the latter case– by the nations her leaders has mistakenly deemed weak. War had assumed its role as the final arbiter of the realities of power, at the price of wholesale destruction and millions dead.
For which Hanson sees a rough parallel and lesson for today:
China, like the Westernized Japan of the 1930s, wants influence and power commensurate with its economic clout, and perhaps believes its growing military can obtain both at the expense of its democratic neighbors without starting a wider war. North Korea is not convinced that demanding concessions from South Korea — or simply humiliating it and the U.S. — by threats of war would not work. Iran trusts that the age of the U.S. mare nostrum in the Mediterranean is over, that the Sunni Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms are spent, that once-unquestioned Western guarantees to Israel are now negotiable, that nuclear acquisition is an agreed wink-and-nod obtainable enterprise, and that terrorist appendages can achieve political objectives in the Middle East just as effectively as carrier groups.
Putin dreams that the Russian imperial world of the 1950s can live again, through coercion, Machiavellian diplomacy, and the combined lethargy of the EU and the U.S. — and he often is willing to take some risks to refashion current realities. Failed socialist and Communist states in Latin America nonetheless believe that a distracted or uninterested U.S. no longer cares to make the argument that transparent democratic capitalism is the region’s only hope for the future. The miseries of Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are apparently no reason for them to feel that they should not extend them to other countries.
And then ties it to our current leadership:
Amid all that, a minor bow and apology here, or an inadvertent pink line and empty deadline there, matters. Gratuitous talk of “reset” and “lead from behind,” coupled with serial scapegoating of past U.S. policies and presidents, massive new debt and vast cuts in defense, also sends a message to our rivals and enemies that occasional gambles and aggressive moves that would usually be seen as stupid and suicidal may not be any more.
World War I became “World War I” when Germany believed that Britain would not fight to support France or honor an ancient treaty with little Belgium. They were wrong, but part of the reason they were wrong was due to the diffident mixed signals being sent by London. The world now has to hope that the diffidence emanating from Washington doesn’t lead to similar misjudgments in Moscow, Beijing, or Tehran.
(1) Kind of a needless adjective, when talking about anything written by VDH.
(2) Why isn’t this man in the Senate, instead of the blithering idiot Boxer? I demand satisfaction!
(3) Update: I should have made this clear, I guess, but, no, I do not believe the First World War was fought in the 19th century. As I explained to a commenter, WWI and the “suicide of the 19th century” refers to the civilization of the “long 19th century,” a term some historians use for political, diplomatic, and cultural themes that were dominant from roughly 1789 to 1914. The chronological 19th century ended at midnight, December 31st, 1900. The world of the 19th century came to an end in August, 1914.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)