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This Our View editorial in the St. Cloud Times proves how intellectually dishonest the Times’ editorial page is. Here’s exhibit A:

Even if the bill had passed, President Obama doesn’t support the bill. He prefers to have the State Department work through the approval process for the project.

It isn’t that President Obama prefers having “the State Department work through the approval process.” It’s that he’s using the State Department to delay the project because he’s a true believer in climate change. This isn’t about process. It’s about President Obama’s ideology.

Further, President Obama has consistently and repeatedly sided with environmental activists rather than occasionally siding with construction unions. Thus far, President Obama hasn’t shown an interest in helping farmers or siding with the unions.

That isn’t the only spin in the Times’ editorial. Here’s another part:

Closer to home, Gov. Mark Dayton said he thinks the best way to untangle the glut of oil trains on Minnesota rail lines is to transport more oil by pipeline. The large increase in the number of trains carrying oil from North Dakota to Midwest refineries has caused delays for grain, propane and coal shipments by rail.

Gov. Dayton is as enthusiastic about building pipelines as President Obama. Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission voted to delay the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline by asking “for a review of six alternative routes proposed by opponents of the project.”

The net effect of that is to effectively delay construction of the Sandpiper Pipeline project until after he leaves office. It’s possible the Sandpiper Pipeline will eventually get built but it isn’t likely to happen with Gov. Dayton’s time in office.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel resigned this morning:

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will resign on Monday after just under two years on the job. According to a report by Helene Cooper at The New York Times, President Obama has decided to replace Hagel after coming to the conclusion over the last several weeks that the current Defense chief was not the right person to lead the fight against ISIS.

According to the article, there was an ongoing fight between Hagel and some of President Obama’s staff:

Others reportedly questioned his overall leadership of the department, saying he “struggled to inspire confidence” and “had problems articulating his thoughts, or administration policy, in an effective manner.” Sources close to Hagel, however, blame those articulation problems on the White House’s heavy-handed message control. They also told Bloomberg News that the relationship with the White House had soured so much that Hagel no longer spoke in meetings because “White House aides with less experience in military affairs than the wounded Vietnam War veteran often ignored what he said.”

Imagine that. This administration took a dim view of senior administration officials speaking without reciting the administration’s talking points. Who could’ve seen that?

That’s what happens when the administration doesn’t trust its senior officials. That’s what happens when the top figure in the administration, President Obama, is a paranoid, narcissistic control freak. That being said, Hagel was a terrible defense secretary. His first day of testimony at his confirmation hearings were the worst performance I’ve ever seen in a confirmation hearing. Here’s what got Hagel in trouble at his confirmation hearing:

It was the troop surge in Iraq that became a flashpoint between McCain and Hagel during Thursday’s hearing. McCain repeatedly tried to get Hagel to answer whether he was “right or wrong” when he once called the troop surge a “dangerous foreign policy blunder.”

“I’m not going to give you a yes or no; I think it’s far more complicated than that…I’ll defer that judgment to history,” Hagel said, adding that he was referring to both the overall Iraq war, as well as the surge, in that comment

McCain fired back: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you’re on the wrong side of it.”

Hagel shouldn’t have been confirmed. It’s only fair that his time at the Pentagon is brief.

Talking Points Memo’s article shows that they’re either hallucinating or they’re thinking words don’t have meanings. They’re talking about possibilities about how to skirt the Supreme Court’s ruling should they rule against the administration:

The specter of the Supreme Court gutting Obamacare and putting health coverage for millions of people at risk is back in a very real way, with the justices taking up the lawsuit that would prohibit tax subsidies from being given to people in the 36 states that use the federal health exchange, HealthCare.gov.

But while the White House has been publicly mum about how it would address that worst-case scenario, policy experts have told TPM that there could be ways for the Obama administration to get around such a ruling.

The specifics would need to be worked out, but the crux is this: States could continue to use HealthCare.gov as their technical backdrop, but they would be considered state-based exchanges. That would allow the law’s tax subsidies to keep flowing, even if the Supreme Court were to invalidate them on the federal exchange, as the lawsuit’s plaintiffs argue it should.

That might work with the Nevada and Oregon exchanges but it won’t fly with the 36 states that refuse to create a state-run exchange. Apparently, that didn’t dawn on these geniuses until later in the article:

“One such scenario would be for HHS to effectively deem all of the exchanges to be state-based, but continue operating them through HealthCare.gov,” Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health, an independent consulting firm, told TPM earlier this year. On Thursday, she added that the legal grounds for such a move would be “uncertain,” however.

Every bill that’s signed into law, especially lengthy, complex statutes like the ACA, contain a list of definitions specific to that legislation. Section 1311 of the ACA establishes how state-run exchanges are created. This part is vital:

SEC. 1311. AFFORDABLE CHOICES OF HEALTH BENEFIT PLANS.
(a) ASSISTANCE TO STATES TO ESTABLISH AMERICAN HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGES.—
(1) PLANNING AND ESTABLISHMENT GRANTS.—There shall be appropriated to the Secretary, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, an amount necessary to enable the Secretary to make awards, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, to States in the amount specified in paragraph (2) for the uses described in paragraph (3).
(2) AMOUNT SPECIFIED.—For each fiscal year, the Secretary shall determine the total amount that the Secretary will make available to each State for grants under this subsection.
(3) USE OF FUNDS.—A State shall use amounts awarded under this subsection for activities (including planning activities) related to establishing an American Health Benefit Exchange, as described in subsection (b).

This is vital in the context of HHS “effectively deem[ing] all of the exchanges to be state-based.” Section 1311, paragraph (3) specifically talks about the grants from HHS to each of the states. The states must use that money to create their exchanges. Since 36 states didn’t accept grants from HHS under Section 1311, paragraph (3), that means the exchange is federally run.

Technically, Oregon and Nevada took HHS grant money. Therefore, they’re technically classified as state-run exchanges. Wyoming and Wisconsin, by contrast, didn’t accept 1311 grants from HHS. Therefore, those states’ exchanges aren’t state-run exchanges.

Simply put, that means any attempt by the Democrats to change the clearly-written definitions in the ACA will likely be quickly rejected by the Supreme Court. It’s further proof that Democrats put their ideology ahead of doing what’s right for the nation.

Last night on the Kelly File, Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer had a great discussion on President Obama’s imminent executive order that would prevent authorities from deporting Hispanics fitting a certain description. First, here’s the video of the interview:

Here’s the key part of the interview:

“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer told Kelly. “If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws.

“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s an unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

When statutes are drafted, the legislative language often has descriptions of who’s subject to specific parts of the law. That’s especially true with income tax codes, where the language must include a description of who pays what tax rate. If they didn’t include that description, the legislation wouldn’t apply to anyone or it would apply to everyone.

The only constitutionally-sanctioned remedy for what President Obama wants to do is to work with Congress to change the United States’ immigration statutes. Therein lies the problem. President Obama doesn’t play well with others. He doesn’t even get along with Harry Reid, much less with Mitch McConnell or John Boehner.

At the end of the interview, this interesting exchange took place:

MEGYN KELLY: What would happen, Charles, in this country if we had a Republican president who said, ‘you know what? I’m gonna use my prosecutorial discretion to just not go after those who harass women going into abortion clinics. I realize that there are laws on the books that say we should go after them but I just see them as worthy of my mercy and I tried to push a bill through Congress but those darn Democrats wouldn’t allow it. So with the stroke of my pen, I’m now gonna say we’re just not going to prioritize those prosecutions…’ This may be a precedent that the left might not want to set
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, the example I like to use, let’s say you get a Republican president who says ‘I’ve tried to get the abolition of the capital gains tax because it’s hurting our economy but the congress simply won’t cooperate and I will not wait so I have issued an executive order that the IRS will no longer collect capital gains taxes or pursue anyone who doesn’t pay them.’ Everyone would say that this is obviously a breech of the Constitution and it would be an impeachable offense.

They’re both right. There’s no question whether the left is willing to transfer large parts of the legislative branch’s authority to the executive branch. They did that with the ACA and with Dodd-Frank. There’s no question, either, about whether President Obama sees himself as an autocrat. Finally, there’s no question that these Democrats are willing to ignore their responsibility to defend their branch of government against intrusion by the other branches of government.

The only positive that’ll come from this is that President Obama’s executive order is politically stupid. If he signs that executive order, Democrats will be criticized as being anti-law enforcement and pro-chaos. Then they’ll be tarred and feathered for looking the other way when laws were being broken just because the man who broke the laws was from their political party.

This isn’t a solution to a real problem but it is a political headache for Democrats.

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When Ed Henry questioned WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest about Jonathan Gruber’s statements, Earnest’s reply was stunningly dishonest:

ED HENRY: While you’ve been here, the President has been here, there’s videotape from Jonathan Gruber, who was one of the architects when the law came out. Among the things he said was that the bill was originally written in a “very tortured way,” in his words, to kind of mislead people about the taxes in the law and other parts of the law. He went on to say, “A lack of transparency was a huge political advantage for the President…” in terms of selling it to the American people.

I thought it was just the opposite. Didn’t the President promise unprecedented transparency? Why would one of the architects of the law suggest that you were misleading people?

MR. EARNEST: Well, I’m not sure, frankly, Ed. The fact of the matter is the process associated with writing and passing and implementing the Affordable Care Act has been extraordinarily transparent. We all sat through many town hall meetings and discussions where this piece of legislation was vigorously debated by people on both sides. There was even a meeting that the President convened at Blair House with Republicans to discuss this policy proposal. It was, as you know, broadcast by C-SPAN.

There was a steadfast commitment by this administration to make sure that people had good insight into the benefits of the law. The fact is we spent a lot of time talking about one of those benefits. And that is the fact that individuals could receive tax credits from the federal government to make their health care costs more affordable. The fact is, I think it’s actually Republicans who haven’t been particularly transparent or even honest about the true impact of those.

That’s a breathtakingly dishonest statement, especially in light of John Fund’s article for the WSJ at the time:

For Their Next Trick . . .

By John Fund
Updated Dec. 23, 2009 12:48 p.m. ET

Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.

When Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi rewrote the ACA from what it looked like after multiple committee hearings, they did so exclusively in their offices and without a Republican in sight. If that’s Mr. Earnest’s definition of being “extraordinarily transparent”, then he needs a dictionary. Here’s the definition of transparent:

Capable of transmitting light so that objects or images can be seen as if there were no intervening material.

Here’s the definition of extraordinary:

Highly exceptional; remarkable.

One of the 2 chief architects said that a lack of transparency was essential to passing the bill. That directly and emphatically contradicts Josh Earnest’s statements that the process was remarkably visible for all to see. But that isn’t enough. Then there’s this doubling down:

I do think that the question that you raised is about the commitment to transparency that was embodied in the process of writing and passing the Affordable Care Act. And again, I think the President is proud of the transparent process that was undertaken to pass that bill into law.

The Obama administration hasn’t had a press secretary. They’ve had willing liars delivering the daily White House briefings. Words don’t mean things to Mr. Earnest. He knows key buzzwords and he knows he should repeat them as often as possible, especially when they aren’t true.

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This fall, I’ve made a point of checking the fact-checkers’ analysis. This time, I’m factchecking John Croman’s fact-check of Jeff Johnson’s campaign ad titled Unaware. Here’s one thing that Croman talked about:

The ad begins with video of Gov. Dayton with President Obama, and a pseudo headline “140,000 lose insurance coverage.”

Here’s Croman’s opinion:

In Minnesota policies are renewed every year, so those consumers were being notified they would have to buy more comprehensive, and possibly more expensive, plans for 2014. Within a month President Obama announced people in that predicament could keep their old plans if they wanted to. There’s no way to know how many of those 140,000 became uninsured in 2014, kept their old plans, or bought better ones.

And the truth, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota, is that the share of Minnesotans with health insurance went from 92 percent to 95 percent in the past year.

This is a perfect example of the reporter either not understanding the statement or pretending that he didn’t understand the statement. Republicans started using that fact after the Pioneer Press ran this article:

About 140,000 Minnesotans are receiving letters that describe changes to their current health care insurance policies for 2014 due to the federal health law.

And while the national controversy over individuals finding their coverage canceled because of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t technically apply in Minnesota, state law prevents insurers from issuing cancellation notices unless their entire product line is discontinued, potentially higher prices offer little consolation. Because the changes will drive up costs by mandating richer benefits, Minnesota consumers might well be experiencing the same frustrations as those subject to cancellations elsewhere.

The point of this statement is to highlight Politifact’s lie of the year:

Politifact’s Lie of the Year in 2013 was President Obama’s repeated promises that people could keep their health plan if they liked their health plan. I’ll stipulate that the headline should’ve said that “140,000 lose insurance that they liked.” There’s no question that 140,000 Minnesota families lost the insurance that they liked, though.

This statement is DFL spin:

The share of Minnesotans with health insurance went from 92 percent to 95 percent in the past year.

In 2012, before MNsure’s rollout, 93% of people had health insurance. Of those people that didn’t have health insurance, 60% of them were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health care. Had the Dayton administration run a $5,000,000 multimedia advertising campaign telling people how they could’ve enrolled in those programs, more than 97% of Minnesotans would’ve been insured…in 2012.

Here’s another verified fact that Croman missed in his ‘fact-check': a higher percentage of Minnesotans could’ve been insured without spending $160,000,000 on a website that doesn’t work.

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If Michael Warren’s article is accurate, then Republicans will have something extra to smile about next Tuesday:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has a 5-point lead over Democrat Anthony Brown in a surprisingly close race in Maryland, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Hogan campaign and obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The survey of more than 500 likely Maryland voters finds Hogan with 44 percent support, while Brown, the lieutenant governor, has 39 percent support. Fourteen percent say they remain undecided. That’s a 17-point swing from the campaign’s internal poll in July, when Brown led Hogan by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.

The poll also found Hogan winning self-identified moderate voters by 6 percentage points and independent voters by 27 percentage points. The Republican also has a higher favorability rating (49 percent) than the Democrat (41 percent).

I’m automatically suspicious of private polling done on a candidate’s behalf. I won’t dismiss this because it fits with other polls’ trends.

This ad is effective:

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Predictably, South Dakota is rounding into shape:

Republican attacks on Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Larry Pressler appear to have worked, making it more likely that the GOP will pick up the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, as long expected. Republican Mike Rounds, a former two-term GOP governor, found himself in shockingly uncomfortable position earlier this month, but his standing has improved in the eyes of both strong and weak Republican voters, as well as among Independents.

Support for Pressler, a one-time GOP senator who has said that he would be a friend of Obama if elected to the Senate and has acknowledged that he voted for Obama, has melted away over the past few weeks.

Rounds’ improved position in the race, assuming that the trend holds, means GOP strategists will now have to worry primarily about only a couple of their own seats, in Kansas and Georgia, two red states where Republican nominees have handed ammunition to their opponents.

This was predictable, especially after this stunt:

Weiland never was a serious candidate. Pressler was a challenger…until he said that a) he’d vote to keep Harry Reid as majority leader, b) he supports Obamacare and c) he’s a personal friend of President Obama’s. It was downhill after that.

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Ed Morrissey’s post about Hillary’s intellectually dishonest statements about who creates jobs is statistically enlightening. Here’s what I’m talking about:

In June 2007, the Household Survey of the BLS showed that the US economy had 146.063 million jobs in June 2007, just before the increase took place. Last month’s data showed that the US economy had 146.6 million jobs, an increase of less than 500,000 in over 7 years, not “millions of jobs” as Hillary claims here. In fact, the 146.6 million is the highest it’s ever gotten since the passage of that law. In the same period, the civilian workforce participation rate has gone from 66% to 62.7%. On a population basis, there are a lot fewer people working after the last minimum wage hike, not more, and wages are actually down, not up.

Compare this to the “trickle-down” era of the Reagan presidency. When Reagan took office in January 1981, the US economy had 99.995 million jobs and the participation rate was 63.9%. By the end of his presidency in January 1989, the US economy had grown more than 16 million jobs (116.708 million total) and the participation rate had leaped to 66.5%. That covers nearly the same length of time since the last minimum wage hike (96 months vs. 89 months), but both include about five years of technical economic recovery.

At the end of the article, Ed made this statement:

At some point, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their front-runner is not just a lousy campaigner, but perhaps just as incompetent as the President from which they’re all attempting to run away at the moment.

There’s no doubt that Hillary is a terrible campaigner. That’s a subjective opinion, though. The job creation and labor force participation rates earlier are objective, quantifiable statistics.

Another part of that last commentary is that Democrats will “have to come to grips with the fact that” their frontrunner is just “as incompetent as the President” that they’re running away from. I suspect that they already know that. I’m betting that they simply don’t care whether she’s competent or not. I’m betting that their support for her will be based totally on whether she can win in November, 2016. If the answer to that is yes, they’ll support her. If the answer to that question is no, they’ll try finding a better alternative.

The point I’m making is that today’s Democratic Party is based almost entirely on fulfilling their ideological checklist, not on doing what’s best for America. It certainly isn’t about creating jobs or making life better for the average American.

Republicans everywhere need to repeatedly remind themselves that Democrats are almost totally about gaining, then maintaining control of the levers of government. Public policy is a distant priority that they generally don’t get to.

Here’s the video of Hillary’s boneheaded statements:

It’s terrifying to say but Hillary and Obama are no Bill Clinton. That’s a frightening thought.

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Campaigning with Rick Nolan in the Eighth District, the gaffemeister made another appearance:

It was appropriate that Vice President Joe Biden spoke at an Iron Range community college during a campaign rally for 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan Thursday afternoon. The vice president’s speech was professorial at times, citing data from several studies that he said proved the rich are getting richer at the expense of the country’s middle class, which he said “is getting crushed.”

Vice President Biden’s speech is an unintentional indictment of the President Obama’s administration. The policies in place affect job creation, wage growth and other important economic realities. By saying that the nation’s middle class “is getting crushed”, Biden was indicting President Obama’s policies, starting with Obamacare.

President Obama can’t claim to be the man that saved the economy one minute, then say that someone else’s policies are crushing the middle class the next minute. Either his policies work or they don’t. Though he and Vice President Biden won’t admit it, they’ve gotten the policies they’ve pushed for. Their policies are the ones in place that are hurting middle class families. The Obama-Biden policies haven’t worked. Their policies have prevented the Keystone XL Pipeline from getting built.

Thanks to that Obama-Biden policy, Minnesota farmers can’t get their crops to market and Minnesota miners can’t get their ore to port before Lake Superior freezes over.

Vice President Biden is the gift that keeps giving. It’s one thing when Biden does something like this:

Everyone chuckled when they saw that video. It’s a boneheaded mistake made by a bonehead. It’s another Bidenism.

Saying that the middle class is “getting crushed”, however, is different. That isn’t a boneheaded mistake. It’s a truth that Iron Rangers know altogether too well. The percentage of Minnesotans living below the poverty line is 11.2%. In St. Louis County, though, that percentage shoots up to 16.1%. By comparison, 8% of people living in Sherburne County live below the poverty line. St. Louis County, which has the biggest number of votes in Nolan’s district, has 50% more people living under the poverty line than the statewide average. The percentage of people living below the poverty line in Sherburne County is half that of St. Louis County.

The truth be told, there isn’t much of a middle class in Hibbing, where Thursday’s rally was held. Income disparity is the rule, not the exception. Thanks to Vice President Biden, Rick Nolan is faced with the challenge of running against a top tier opponent while defending the Obama administration’s economic policies.

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