**Posted by Phineas
Oh, how this must pain the soul of our Narcissist in Chief. Remember the halcyon days of Hope and Change in his first term, when it seemed like he was making a national address every week? Joint sessions of Congress, prime time press conferences, the networks just couldn’t get enough Obama.
Someone cue B.B. King, because the thrill is gone, baby:
White House officials sought valuable primetime air for a rare, impromptu Tuesday night address to tout the accomplishment of signing up more than 7 million people under the Affordable Care Act.
But network officials refused to make the kind of accommodation they did previously for the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, for instance, and Obama was left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences of Ellen and other daytime shows.
Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the primetime slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular.
Oh, man. “No, you can’t interrupt NCIS. But, hey, we’ll let you cut into Ellen, champ.” How far our modern Icarus has fallen. Could it be even the major networks knew the 7 million sign ups “milestone” was just a bunch of smoke?
Regardless, it’s a sign both of the growing irrelevance of Obama as he moves further into lame-duck status and that the fight over this train-wreck of a law isn’t over, no matter how many they claim to have signed up. The major networks aren’t going to give up valuable commercial revenue just to satisfy Obama’s need to take a victory lap.
This calls for a song. Hit it, B.B.!
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
The Politico reports on a speech our celebrity President made yesterday to a captive audience at the University of Michigan:
President Barack Obama headed out on the road Wednesday still glowing from the latest Obamacare numbers and set his sights on congressional Republicans still working to obstruct his agenda.
The House GOP’s new budget proposal and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act “should be familiar because it was their economic plan in the 2012 campaign, it was their economic plan in 2010,” he said at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “It’s like that movie ‘Groundhog Day.’ Except it’s not funny.”
Clearly in a good mood a day after announcing that at least 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health insurance through ACA exchanges, Obama followed up one punchline with another. “If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s they’d have to call it the Stinkburger or the Meanwich,” he said, referring to the local restaurant where he stopped for lunch before his arrival on campus.
Firstly, let’s all stand up and salute the impressive maturity level of the President of the United States – also the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces. Because nothing says “take my argument seriously” and “respect the office of the Presidency” like the leader of the free world using sandbox terminology to describe a budget proposal he probably hasn’t even read.
But secondly, and perhaps most importantly – if Rep. Paul Ryan’s good faith budget is such a “Stinkburger”, then what does it make the President’s budgets, which got exactly ZERO votes – none, zilch, nada, not even his own party – when presented?
This is a huge story that developed over the course of the afternoon here in North Carolina. I followed developments via Twitter and my mouth dropped open with each passing Tweet as to what the NC State Elections Board was telling a Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee earlier on issues of double voting, people being registered in more than one state, and …. dead voters whose voting record showed action after they had, um, died. Bryan Preston summed up over at PJ Tatler (link via Phineas):
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has found thousands of instances of voter fraud in the state, thanks to a 28-state crosscheck of voter rolls. Initial findings suggest widespread election fraud.
- 765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.
- 35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.
- 155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C.
The second point is key, as double voting is election fraud under state and federal statutes. Punishment for double voting in federal elections can include jail time.
In addition to the above, the crosscheck found that more than 13,000 deceased voters remain on North Carolina’s rolls, and that 81 of them showed voter activity in their records after death.
North Carolina officials are now calling for tighter election security.
“Bbbut I thought there was no such thing as voter fraud – and in the event there was concrete evidence, it was “usually just a small few – not worth implementing raaaacist voter ID laws!” – me, channeling NC liberals after hearing the news.
It’s fascinating, really. As the information was being tweeted out, liberals who have a vested interest in getting NC’s supposedly “toughest voter ID laws in the nation” tossed off the books on the grounds that they’re “racist” or something didn’t stop to consider anything but the fact that this seriously underminds their case. Keep in mind, they don’t even know if most of the people who double voted were Republicans or Democrats. In their mind, the law is racist and voter fraud doesn’t exist (except when the GOP wins elections, of course). Perhaps they assumed it was mostly Democrats who fraudulently voted in two different states and seek to change the direction of the debate. After what the left has gotten away with here and elsewhere over the last several decades come election time, can you blame them for going on the defensive?
Anyway, I suspect there will be much more to come on this story very soon as both “sides” of the debate jockey for position, with the left trying to “debunk” the report as fast as they can. And it goes without saying that the North Carolina mainstream media, reliably left wing, is “urging caution” on the NCSBE’s findings because the local “real” journos, of course, are the ultimate decoders and deciders of what’s definitively true and not in North Carolina politics – in spite of the fact they’ve been notably partisan in the past against Republican efforts to curtail voter fraud.
Thursday AM Update: Per the NC Voter Integrity Group:
Many state BOE DBs do not have voter SocSec numbers so 35K will have to be checked further but many will be same person. #voterfraud
— Voter Integrity (@VoteChecker) April 3, 2014
In other words, it may not be the full 36,000 that double voted – but many will fall under that category, in addition to the nearly 800 whose names, birthdates and last four digits of social security numbers matched up in two different states.. We’ll find out more as the investigation by the NC Elections Board continues.
**Posted by Phineas
The American Health Policy Institute did something unusual: rather than estimate the effects of Obamacare from the outside, they went to 100 large employers and asked the directly what their expected costs would be over the next ten years. The results were eye-opening — and disturbing:
Obamacare will cost large companies between $4,800 and $5,900 more per employee and add hundreds of millions to their overhead, according to a new survey.
Factoring in the health care law’s added mandates, fees, and regulatory burdens, employers anticipate cost hikes between $163 million and $200 million in 2016, a 4.3 percent increase. By 2023, employers will be paying 8.4 percent more than “what they would otherwise be spending” for their employees’ health care.
In the next 10 years, the total cost of Obamacare to all large American employers is estimated to be from $151 billion to $186 billion, according to the study.
“This study is a c-suite diagnosis of how [the Affordable Care Act] ACA is shaping large employer behavior,” Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute, said. “We don’t know yet precisely how employers will react, but the study shows that employers will have to make real changes or incur heavy costs, which means that the ACA will have a significant impact on those in employer-sponsored health care.”
While noting that some will say the results will “lead to more economical use of health care dollars,” the study questions whether the increase in health costs could bring the “end of the employer-sponsored health care system.”
I don’t think there’s any “may” about it: the perverse incentives of Obamacare scream at employers to save money by dumping their insurance plans, pay the fines instead, and let the employees try their luck on the exchanges. (And luck is what they’ll need.)
This, of course, is what was intended all along, part of the Obamacare Trojan Horse that Harry Reid admitted we’re all supposed to ride to the land of single-payer, state-run healthcare. Blowing up the existing health care and insurance industries, which most people were satisfied with, was all part of the plan.
We shall have a chance to comment on said plan next November. I, for one, am looking forward to it. Aren’t you?
Read the rest at the Free Beacon.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Via The Hill:
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’s selfie with President Obama may have been a promotional stunt as part of the All Star’s recent endorsement deal with cell phone manufacturer Samsung, according to the Boston Globe.
During the championship ceremony Tuesday at the White House, Ortiz presented Obama with a Red Sox jersey and then whipped out his cell phone to take a picture with the president.
“He wants to take a selfie!” Obama said. “It’s the Big Papi selfie.”
The picture was later posted to the slugger’s account, where it had more than 38,000 retweets within 24 hours.
One of those retweets was Samsung’s official account, which also asked Twitter users what kind of camera Ortiz used, highlighting that it was one of the company’s phones.
In a statement, Samsung said that they were “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit.”
“It was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement. Similar to the selfie Ellen was able to capture during the Oscars, this was an opportunity for David to share the incredible moment with his fans,” the phone manufacturer said.
“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.”
The corporate stunt could raise new questions for the White House about the president’s participation in a social media advertising campaign.
While I don’t think the photo being part of a sponsorship deal with Samsung detracts from the “cool factor” of taking a selfie with the President of the United States (no matter who he or she is, ya gotta admit it’s pretty cool to take a self portrait with the POTUS), in my view it does take a bit of the sheen off the “spontaneous” and “pure” aspect of the picture – which some will now speculate was staged rather than a spur of the moment decision.
In any event, I predict the Ortiz selfie with the President is not going to overtake the Ellen’s multi-celeb selfie record from the Academy Awards in terms of the number of retweets. As of this writing, Ortiz is just short of 40,000 RTs, while Ellen’s stands at over 3,400,000 and counting. Interestingly enough, there’s also been speculation that her epic selfie pic was also part of a Samsung promotional stunt.
Sick of being personally vilified both on and off the floors of the US House and Senate by hypocritical Democrats in Washington, DC and beyond, the Koch brothers are firing back hard. First, the story – via NRO’s Eliana Johnson:
The 2014 ad war is on, with billionaires in both parties taking aim at each other in competing advertisements up in swing states.
In a new ad released Monday, the Koch network is pushing back against its Democratic critics, chief among them Harry Reid, and one of his billionaire backers.
The ad, “Steyer Infection,” juxtaposes Harry Reid’s denunciation of the Koch brothers with a narrative about Reid’s relationship with billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and his brother Jim, who runs a ratings service for children’s products.
“This is about two very wealthy brothers who intend to buy their own Congress,” it shows Reid saying in a speech earlier this month on the Senate floor. “You see when you make billions of dollars a year, you can be I guess as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be.”?
The narrator says, “Billionaires like Tom Steyer, who just hosted Reid and other Senate Democrats at his San Francisco mansion? Steyer has a history of ‘environmentally destructive business ventures.’ And he wants regulators to strangle energy opportunities here in America, even though he helped finance the second-largest coal company in Indonesia.”
The ad is paid for by American Commitment, a 501(c)(4) group that is part of the larger Koch nonprofit network. ”The hypocrisy of Harry Reid disparaging successful Americans on the floor of the U.S. Senate, while he helps Democratic senators collect campaign contributions from shadowy, dirty energy billionaires is astonishing,” said the group’s president, Phil Kerpen. “If Harry Reid believes anything he says, he should stand up to the Steyer brothers and help the American people by supporting the Keystone pipeline and opposing new energy taxes that only benefit special interests.”
For background on the Steyer/Reid connection, click here. Just to save you some time, yeah, Reid’s about as hypocritical on this issue as a politico could possibly get. But I’m guessing you knew that already, considering Reid’s deeply shady and corrupt history.
Watch the American Commitment ad below:
Ouch! More, please.
**Posted by Phineas
Consider this to be a coda to yesterday’s post about the Gallup poll showing the electorally active senior vote shifting decisively away from the Democrats. It’s anecdotal evidence, but still illustrative:
Key line, per David Freddoso:
“Not only did my premium go up,” this 91-year-old New York gentleman notes, “but my coverage went down.”
And it’s not just the Democrats’ lock on the senior vote that’s been endangered by Obamacare’s trashing of the healthcare system: I don’t know how Mr. Centola’s son feels, but I’m willing to bet he’s not happy with the people who foisted this mess on the American people — and his father. Were it my parents or grandparents being jerked around like this, there would be steam coming out my ears and I’d be looking forward to the chance to vent it on election day. I suspect there are many more children and grandchildren who feel the same way.
Ticking off a large, politically active group is not a path toward happiness on election night.
Hectic day today, but I couldn’t let this one go by without notice.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)