Chuck Todd after Obamacare’s failed rollout: I guess the private sector is pretty great, huh?

Chuck Todd

I often watch political pundits on television and wonder how they can back public policy and politicians with track records of abject failure. Chuck Todd has always seemed like a fairly nice guy, even if I disagree with 95% of what he says on a regular basis. However, after his comments on Obamacare the world now knows that he knows the truth about an ever-expansive federal government.  The next time he puts a big smiley face on the president’s plans to consolidate more power in the nation’s capital just remember: he realizes that it’s all a fool’s errand that ultimately only serves the power players in a future America straight out of the founding fathers’ worst nightmares.

NewsBusters reports:

CHUCK TODD: David, the most interesting thing in this report, right, page one — it’s page three of the report, it says here that, “The team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness.”

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah.

CHUCK TODD: Okay, that is an acknowledgement that, “You know what? If this was a government operation for a long time and it failed, now we’re bringing in the private sector folks.” I mean, that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly, when you look at this [unintelligible].

Chuck Todd, David Gregory and the whole gang — they know they truth. And yet, week after week they tie themselves into intellectual knots in order to find ways to defend the indefensible.

The federal government spent roughly $350 million over three years to build a website that didn’t work, and then it asked the private sector guys who should have been behind the wheel from the get-go to save the ship. Mr. “you didn’t build that” asked the private sector to “build” a better website in record time, and for the most part it succeeded. The people who President Obama demonized for years gave him political breathing room and enough time to get his legs under him after a media onslaught usually reserved for guys with the last name “Bush.”

In an alternate universe, President Obama groveled before private sector hot shots to fix his pathetic health care website, and all of the businessmen he belittled over the years doubled over in laughter. That didn’t happen in this universe, but at least we got to see Chuck Todd admit that there is a sound reason why so many people have faith in the private sector — it usually gets the job done right on the first try because the incentives are there to make it happen.

Obama: Get cultish on Thanksgiving, annoy family with health care talking points

If you needed proof that President Obama is the Marshall Applewhite of modern American politics, look no further than his Twitter feed, where he is encouraging his followers to annoy relatives with Obamacare talking points during Thanksgiving.

Obama.Thanksgiving.TweetWho does that? It’s reminiscent of the Heaven’s Gate cult, which is interesting given that in the YouTube video put out by Organizing for Action there is a young man who imagines his parents telling him that they’ve joined a cult.

Obama.Get.Talking.Thanksgiving

Surrounded by friends, family and loved ones, why on earth would anyone bring up Obamacare registration? What would the proper response even be? “Yeah, I would totally register, but the website hasn’t worked for over a month now.”

Food.Injuries.Obamacare.Thanksgiving

All you want to do is watch football, play Scrabble by the fireplace, maybe play a few video games  with your brother and stuff your gut with meat, but your mom insists on talking about Obamacare registration. If she insists, ask her when the Hale–Bopp comet is set to return.

Obamacare.Thanksgiving.OFA

Related: Obamacare website like ‘Sloth’ death from Brad Pitt’s ‘Seven’ — and no one gets fired

Obama promised to heal the planet, but Obamacare is doing its best to kill liberalism

In 2008, Barack Obama said that one day we would look back at his election as the moment the world’s rising oceans began to fall and the “planet began to heal.” These days, people who have been dropped from their health insurance plans are wondering why President Obama would usher in an era of planet-healing while simultaneously making it harder for millions of Americans to do the same. The media has noticed, which is why we’re now seeing articles like ‘Obamacare’s threat to liberalism’ in Politico.

The situation is so bad that the president has now oddly decreed that people who liked their plans will be able to keep them. Why? Because he said so. Even though the health insurance industry spent years getting everything in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, Americans are supposed to believe that they can now throw the car in reverse, go back to the future and save those plans so they can exist … for one year. Why? Again, because the president said so. Who needs the rule of law when you can just enforce or ignore laws according to what the latest round of opinion polls are saying?

There are still a few people in the media with a shred of integrity, which is why different versions of ‘Obamacare’s threat to liberalism’ have popped up all over the Internet in the past few weeks. Here is what you need to know:

“Unlike the Republican agenda, the Democratic agenda does not work unless people have a certain level of trust in the competence of the government to act on their behalf,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who 25 years ago helped launch the centrist “New Democratic” agenda that brought the Democrats back from years in the presidential wilderness. “That is, if you will, the Democratic proposition. It’s not to say that the government should do everything, but it is to say there’s an indispensable — and not necessarily small — role for government at every level.” …

Every level. It’s incredibly frightening that there are millions of Americans who would read that, nod their head in agreement, and say: “Yep. Sounds like a plan.” It’s also refreshing that there are scholars at Brookings who are willing to put the playbook out there for everyone to see.

Geoffrey Kabaservice, the author of the recent book “Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party,” said it is too early to pronounce the end of Obama’s presidency — if only because the worst failures in the health care plan itself so far appear to be technical and bureaucratic, and may yet be repaired — despite the real and damaging furor over the president’s overblown promise that all who liked their current insurance plans could keep them. But he added, Obamacare’s early problems nevertheless reflect and amplify longstanding vulnerabilities for the Democrats, namely, “their love of complexity, the flavor of compulsion in their approach.” …

First things first: “the president’s overblown promise that all who liked their current insurance plans could keep them” is another way of saying “the president’s lie…”. It was a lie, but people who live in work in Washington, D.C. are often terrified of the truth because to do so might get you fired.

And now the scary part: The Democrats’ “love of complexity, the flavor of compulsion in their approach.”

Not only do they love trying to control complex interconnected systems that are far beyond the grasp of 535 know-it-alls in the nation’s capital, but they feel the need to force everyone to take part in their social experiments. Over and over throughout history, masterminds have tried and plan entire economies — and failed. And yet, each new generation has a fresh set of voters who are willing to buy into the hype if the right guy or gal with a cool cadence promises to heal the planet.

“The public feels completely bamboozled by this,” said [David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a bipartisan veteran of three White House staffs.] “And I think apologies are not going to be enough. I think it’s going to have to go deeper, and I think he’s going to have to think about some kind of shakeup to keep his presidency on track.” …

In the short term, the president’s best hope is to fix the immediate problems of the balky HealthCare.gov website, and enroll enough younger and healthy people to hold out the hope that the new insurance system will be economically viable.

The public feels bamboozled because they were bamboozled. They were lied to, and all of the people who screamed at the top of their lungs that it was a lie (including Rep. Joe Wilson), were called racistbigothomophobeteapartywackjobs (one word).

Ironically, the young kids who helped elect President Obama are the same ones who are going to see to it that his signature piece of legislation fails miserably in the long-run. They called the president’s opponents racists, and then backed Obamacare — a program that was designed to steal wealth from young people and transfer it to old, mostly-white retired Baby Boomers. Classic.

The Affordable Care Act is not economically viable, but like everything else that comes out of Washington it will be kept alive for as long as possible by confiscating more wealth and using accounting games that would get the rest of us thrown in prison. Sadly, the threat to liberalism is overblown for this very reason. By taking control of these complex systems, there’s always a scapegoat and there’s always enough time to convince gullible voters that someone else (i.e., “the rich”) will cover the cost of failure.

The silver lining in all of this is that the death of conservatism is also overblown. We all know the saying: A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. The problem with having allowed the federal government to take over 1/6 of the U.S. economy with its health care overhaul is that a certain percentage of experienced voters will die before they get around to the voting both.

Cancer patient finds out what Obama meant when he vowed to ‘fundamentally transform’ America

Who is Bill Elliot? In some sense, he’s you. Bill is struggling with cancer, the same affliction all of us would face on a long enough timeline. The problem for Bill is, he voted for President Obama because of the “if you like you doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor” promise. Now, his health insurance has been cancelled. For years we wondered what the president meant when he said that he would “fundamentally transform” America. Now we’re finding out.

Bill wrote to Fox’s Megyn Kelly, who had him on her show Thursday night.

Here is what Mr. Elliot, who now fears burdening his family with medical bills after having lost his insurance, faces going forward:

“What I’m going to do now — and I thought about this long and hard — is when my insurance comes out, it’s going to be just for me $1,500 a month with a $13,500 deductible. I’m not going to pay that,” Mr. Elliot said on the show. “If I make it that long, I’ll pay the $95 fine, and I’m just going to let nature take its course. I’m not going to put a burden on my family to pay this $1,500 dollars. … I’m not going to put up with that. I thought about it. I prayed about it.” …

Mr. Elliot went on to say that the reason why he voted for Mr. Obama was because of the promise that Americans could keep their doctor and their insurance plans if they liked them. …

“I liked my doctor. I loved my doctor,” Mr. Elliot to Ms. Kelly. “It was paying just about everything, including medications and medical devices. Now, with Obamacare, the man that I had look into it — they’re not going to pay for the pharmaceuticals, and they’re not going to pay for the medical devices.”

The president told Chuck Todd on Thursday that feels “sorry” for Americans like Bill Elliot, but what good does that do anyone now?

Mediaite reports:

President Obama formally apologized to those Americans who have had their health insurance policies terminated since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said Thursday.

“We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this,” the president continued.

As economist Thomas Sowell would say, these are the spoils of turning to self-congratulation as a basis for social policy. The only way to sell such a behemoth of a government program to the American people would be to lie. And lie the president did, over … and over … and over again. And then he got caught.

Obama’s comments before the law passed

White House Web page: “Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform debunks the myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them. “ (Spanish-language version.)

White House Web page: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

President’s weekly address, June 6, 2009: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

Town hall in Green Bay, Wis., June 11, 2009: “No matter how we reform health care, I intend to keep this promise:  If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

Remarks at the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009: “I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Presidential press conference, June 23, 2009. “If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won’t have to do a thing. You keep your plan. You keep your doctor.”

Rose Garden remarks, July 15, 2009. “If you like your doctor or health care provider, you can keep them. If you like your health care plan, you can keep that too.”

Remarks at a rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, July 16, 2009: “if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctor, you like your plan — you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.  Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

Those are just a few examples. The Tampa Bay Times has the rest chronicled. The weird thing is that if you watched the news before the president’s interview with Chuck Todd, then you would have seen numerous pundits denying that he lied.

For days, the people who earn a living watching video of the president and talking about it pretended that video of the president saying “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep you doctor” didn’t exist. And members of the media wonder why so many people trust them? Interesting.

The bottom line is this: We are now left with the White House and its friends in the media saying that “only” a “small fraction” of Americans will have their plans cancelled. They conveniently leave out the part where that “small fraction” just so happens to be millions of people who are affected by the (hope and) change, but the point remains: You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?

Remember when the president said he wanted to “fundamentally transform” America and no one asked him what he meant? Many of us do. We know that you don’t say you want to “fundamentally transform” things you love, and that you can’t fundamentally transform America without hurting a whole lot of Americans.

If the Affordable Care Act would have been sold to the American people for what it really is — and they accepted it — that would be one thing. But it wasn’t. It was given a Photoshop makeover, and now people are seeing it for what it really is.

Ronald Reagan hit the nail on the head over 50 years ago:

“Back in 1927 an American Socialist, Norman Thomas, a six-time candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism, but under the name of Liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.” — Ronald Reagan

We should all empathize for Mr. Elliot because he is us. He is us not just because we will all one day suffer the ravages of old age, but because we are all susceptible to the con jobs of a snake oil salesman if we aren’t informed. While the case of Mr. Elliot is extremely sad, hopefully many Americans will use it as a reason to become better informed as public policy matters are debated in the future.

Make sure you watch this Photoshop video to see how Obamacare was sold to the American public.

Obama’s ‘favorite’ columnist thinks you and your family are idiots

Josh Barro elitist

President Obama is said to be a well-read guy, but who are his favorite writers? Thanks to the Internet, we have an answer. Unfortunately, it turns out that one’s of the president’s favorite columnists thinks you, your family and friends are all a bunch of idiots who need to be treated like cattle.

Buzzfeed reports:

The president’s news diet isn’t limited to the paper of record however. Vietor said Obama’s favorite columnists include Business Insider’s Josh Barro, New York’s Jonathan Chait, and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein.

Enter Mediate, which takes Josh Barro to task over his Americans-are-too-stupid-to-know-what’s-good-for-them mentality.

The technocratic conceit has always been that their judgment should supplant the will of the public. Their methods, they assure themselves, are always justified because the end is noble and the opposition is never arguing in good faith. If they were, the technocrat insists, there would be no opposition in the first place.

This kind of thinking vindicates so many otherwise indefensible ends, including subterfuge and much worse. The technocrats among us today justify the president’s lie [that the insurance plan you liked would be safe under Obamacare] because they believe the end is virtuous. And perhaps it is. But what they do not understand […] is that no end is justified by any and every means. In fact, a virtuous project can be made forever toxic if its proponents adopt dishonest tactics in order to achieve it.

Enter Josh Barro, who reads the article and decides the best response is to wear his elitism like a badge of honor:

“Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don’t know what’s best for them. Nothing new.”

You are too dumb to pick the light bulbs that go in your house. You are too dumb to be able to have control over how much water your toilet uses per flush. You are too dumb to decide how much soda to drink in a single serving. You are too stupid to decide which school is best for your child, and you definitely can’t be trusted to pick the kind of health care coverage that best serves your needs. The list is never-ending.

As I said in the past, men like Josh Barro seek to turn Americans into human gerbils:

I care about a federal government that saps the will of its people. I care about a federal government that robs people of ambition and desire and the belief that they can do great things with their life. I care about the consequences of instilling in individuals a learned dependence that changes them from beings with limitless potential into hollowed-out husks that bump into each other for a few decades until death comes calling.

As Barry Goldwater so eloquently put it in The Conscious of a Conservative:

Consider the consequences to the recipient of welfarism. For one thing, he mortgages himself to the federal government. In return for benefits — which, in the majority of cases, he pays for — he concedes to the government the ultimate in political power — the power to grant or withhold from him the necessities of life as the government sees fit. Even more important, however, is the effect on him — the elimination of any feeling of responsibility for his own welfare and that of his family and neighbors. A man may not immediately, or ever, comprehend the harm thus done to his character. Indeed, this is one of the great evils of Welfarism — that it transforms the individual from a dignified, industrious, self-reliant spiritual being into a dependent animal creature without his knowing it. …

[We] can shatter the collectivists’ designs on individual freedom if we will impress upon the men who conduct our affairs this one truth: that the material and spiritual sides of man are intertwined; that it is impossible for the State to assume responsibility for one without intruding on the essential nature of the other; that if we take from a man the personal responsibility for caring for his material needs, we take from him also the will and the opportunity to be free.

Want to know what President Obama really thinks about you? Just read what he reads. If you voted for him you should prepare to feel duped.

‘Hope and Change’ sticker shock hits America: ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it’

As the sticker shock for Obamacare hits the hordes of people who voted for the president, it is hard to contain the schadenfreude. One way to rein in those feelings and get some perspective is to realize that all Americans will eventually feel the pain of the Affordable Care Act (soon to be referred to as the Not-so Affordable Care Act).

The Los Angeles Times swallows its pride and reports:

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see. …

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.” …

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

Nearly 2 million Californians have individual insurance, and several hundred thousand of them are losing their health plans in a matter of weeks.

If the vast majority of Americans had health insurance years ago — and they were happy with it — why did the federal government have to ostensibly take over 1/6 of the U.S. economy and reinvent the health care wheel? Answer: it didn’t.

Years ago I didn’t have health insurance through my employer and had to buy it on my own. Why couldn’t the tax code be reformed so individuals who have to pay out of pocket get the same sort of tax relief that employees getting health care through their workplace receive? Why couldn’t health care be reformed so that people who leave a job aren’t automatically dumped from their coverage? If health insurance isn’t portable, why didn’t Congress hone in on that?

Instead of breaking down the health care conundrum down into smaller manageable pieces, Congress created a monster bill that was so vague it required Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to defend it as follows: “[W]e have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”

So Nancy Pelosi didn’t know what was in the bill, and her constituents were like the woman who recently wrote to Anthem Blue Cross in California: “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it.”

Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

[M]any are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.

“All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it,” said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. “I’m infuriated because I was lied to.”

Yes, you were lied to. How does it feel?

To recap:

  • Congress passed a bill that turned over vasts amounts of power to the federal government.
  • Its members were ignorant of the specifics.
  • Voters were led to believe someone else would pay for it.
  • Voters were told  that they could keep their policies if they liked them.
  • Voters are now finding out that they are paying for it and that the policies they’re happy with are not safe at all.
  • Voters are now being told that the individuals who predicted all of this from day one are “extremists” who should not be listened to.

Feeling sick to your stomach, California? Good. You should. I suggest taking Economics 101 and then doing something about it.

Related: Obamacare website like ‘Sloth’ death from Brad Pitt’s ‘Seven’ — and no one gets fired

Obamacare website like ‘Sloth’ death from Brad Pitt’s ‘Seven’ — and no one gets fired

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 10, 2010 — over three years ago. Before its official roll-out date, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent creating a website that doesn’t work. It’s alive, but … it’s basically dead. The federal government had three long years to build the website of their dreams. It had enough taxpayer dollars to fill up endless swimming pools in Scrooge McDuck-ian mansions. In the end, the consumer got something that resembles the tortured soul from Brad Pitt’s 1995 classic ‘Seven.’ For this, no high-ranking officials have lost their jobs.

Obamacare Seven

How bad is it? On Oct. 8th, Ars Technica reported that of the few users who were able to get in, many of them had to have their passwords reset or were put into “authentication limbo.’ Did you waste hours trying to figure out a website that IT professionals have said resembles something from 2003? Then waste a few more hours and hope (and change) you get out of ‘authentication limbo.’

Amid all the attention, bugs, and work happening at Healthcare.gov in light of the Affordable Care Act, potential registrants talking to phone support today have been told that all user passwords are being reset to help address the site’s login woes. And the tech supports behind Healthcare.gov will be asking more users to act in the name of fixing the site, too. According to registrants speaking with Ars, individuals whose logins never made it to the site’s database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo.

Even worse, the “fixes” that are slowly rolling out are arguably worse — and misleading for individuals who want an accurate assessment of the costs they face.

CBS reports:

As President Obama promises to fix HealthCare.gov, his administration is touting what it calls “improvements” in design, specifically a feature that allows you to “See Plans Now.” White House press secretary Jay Carney has said, “Americans across the country can type in their zip code and shop and browse.” …

Industry analysts, such as Jonathan Wu, point to how the website lumps people only into two broad categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.”

Wu said it’s “incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they’re paying.”

Prices for everyone in the 49-or-under group are based on what a 27-year-old would pay. In the 50-or-older group, prices are based on what a 50-year-old would pay.

CBS News ran the numbers for a 48-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ineligible for subsidies. According to HealthCare.gov, she would pay $231 a month, but the actual plan on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s website costs $360, more than 50 percent higher. The difference: Blue Cross and Blue Shield requests your birthday before providing more accurate estimates.

The numbers for older Americans are even more striking. A 62-year-old in Charlotte looking for the same basic plan would get a price estimate on the government website of $394. The actual price is $634.

President Obama now says that top experts from Silicon Valley have been tasked with fixing healthcare.gov. Question: Shouldn’t top experts from Silicon Valley have been working on the website from day one?

Working for the federal government means never having to take responsibility for your own incompetence. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on a website that doesn’t work, and Kathleen Sebelius keeps her job. The president of the United States essentially pulls a Ned Flanders, says “Whoopsie Doodle,” and the money hose is turned on again. And then, talking heads on television who are so ideologically invested in “the fight” defend the indefensible. Amazingly, Jon Stewart is not one of them.

“The f**king calculator doesn’t work? The one thing that’s been included in computers since 1972? You couldn’t make that work!? … How does the calculator not work?” — Jon Stewart on healthcare.gov.

While many pundits seem to content to play the role of the evergreen air fresheners that hung over the decomposing body in Brad Pitt’s ‘Seven,’ Jon Stewart (at least for now) has taken on the role of Morgan Freeman’s “Sommerset.” Bravo.

If you haven’t seen the full clip yet, I suggest watching the full ten minutes.

 

AP: Here’s the truth on Obamacare — now that the wave is set in motion

On August 26, the Associated Press did an amazing thing — it admitted that President Obama was in over his head on issues related to foreign policy. Now that the 2012 election is over and the Obamacare bureaucracy tsunami is about to come crashing down on the heads of Americans, AP has decided to come clean on Obamacare.

Interesting timing.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is the insurance industry’s most powerful pitchman these days as he drums up interest in the health insurance markets opening for business Tuesday. Whatever the merits of his product, there are reasons for the buyer to beware of his rhetoric. …

REP. KEVIN McCARTHY, R-Calif.: “When we started this health care debate, the president led with a very big promise to the American people: If you like the health care that you have, that you currently have, you can keep it.” — At a Sept. 20 House Republican rally after passage of the bill that would finance the government on condition the health care law is starved of money. …

THE FACTS: McCarthy is correct, Obama said exactly that. It was an empty promise, made repeatedly. Sebelius picks her words more carefully but still offers misleading assurances.

Nothing in the health care law guarantees that people can keep the health insurance they already have. Costs can rise, benefits can change and employers can drop coverage.

Read the entire piece, and then head on over to Hotair for their coverage. It’s … illuminating.

As I’ve said before, media bias takes many forms. It’s not just how the media covers a story, but if and when they cover a story that matters. Ignoring key “facts” until bad public policy has gone through the sausage-making process is just as noteworthy as slanted coverage portrayed as straight news.

With the emergence of new technology, the “old media” had to adapt, and so they came up with “Fact Checkers.” Well, who are the fact checkers and who checks them?

Answer: It’s the same incestuous group who now readily acknowledge that they’ve dumped a documentary on Hillary Clinton because her camp and powerful politicians on both sides of the fence didn’t want it to happen. Don’t you wish the rules that applied to Washington’s elite applied to you?

Long story short: Fact checkers are generally just new tools politicians use to cite on Sunday morning talk shows when it suits their needs, knowing that for the most part their friends will rarely take off the kid gloves or apply intellectual uppercuts to the chin. Admitting that President Obama’s signature piece of legislation was filled with empty promises right before the bomb drops does little to instill confidence in the free press.

And with that, I leave you with the lyrics of Axl Rose, the once-great front man of Guns N’ Roses, whose partying ways have him looking these days like a guy who probably should buy health insurance immediately if he doesn’t have it already.

‘Oh My God’:

“Oh, well its on with the show

Like the tide down on the ocean

The waves already set in motion

The only one in the game that’s lost is you.

Watch out, fitness buffs: ‘Social Justice’ may mean you pay more for health insurance

The Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare) was passed in the U.S. Senate in middle of the night in just before Christmas, December, 2009. It was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. And yet, health care costs continue to rise — despite the best efforts of the masterminds in Washington, D.C.

Given the complexity of the issue, it’s no shocker that different groups are singled out as “bad” guys and “villains” who need to be brought to justice. However, I was a bit surprised when the folks at open-access medical journal PLOS opened the door for the “social justice” crowd to demonize Americans who exercise daily.

Writing for the Bioethics Forum blog, David B. Resnik lays the foundation for rewarding smokers and the obese for their unhealthy behavior with lower health insurance rates.

Charging smokers higher health insurance rates is popular and legal, but is it ethical?  A close examination of the arguments for and against this policy reveals that it is not. …

Mr. Resnike first demonstrates two reasons why one would argue in favor of charging smokers more for health insurance:

  • “According to the utilitarian argument, charging smokers more will encourage them to quit, which will improve public health and reduce society’s smoking-related costs.”
  • “It is actuarially fair [to charge smokers higher rates] because individual insurance rates should be based on expected payouts. Insurance is collective protection against risk. Charging individuals rates based on their risk helps to ensure that money paid out from the pool will not exceed money paid into the pool. Charging people rates based on their personal risks protects insurance companies against ‘moral hazard,’ people taking risks without bearing the consequences. By charging smokers higher health insurance rates, insurance companies can make people pay a price for the risks they take.”

Then, Mr. Resnik links to National Institutes of Health, which uses the PLOS study’s findings: Healthy people actually incur more health care costs because they live longer. In short, the medical needs for a person who lives into his 90’s are generally more expensive than the guy who drops dead of a heart attack at 50.

[E]ven if charging smokers higher insurance rates encourages them to stop smoking, reducing smoking may not save society any money. Van Baal and colleagues compared the lifetime health care costs of three groups: smokers, obese individuals, and healthy individuals.  Until age 56, obese people had the highest health care expenditures, but in older age groups smokers had the highest costs. However, because smokers and obese people die younger than healthy individuals, healthy individuals had the highest lifetime health care expenditures. 

The authors concluded that reducing smoking and obesity will not save society health care costs.

Makes sense, right? We can have a debate about what those findings mean for hours. We can also have a debate about whether or not we should craft public policy that punishes the individual for living a healthy responsible life. However, that task gets tricky when the phrase “social justice” enters the equation. When ‘fairness’ undefined comes into play, you almost always know you’re dealing with someone who believes his ideological allies should be able to use coercive power of government (i.e., force) to achieve their vision of “fairness.”

The arguments against charging smokers higher insurance rates appeal to considerations of social justice and fairness. This practice may lead many people to forego health insurance even though they may have to pay a fine under the ACA. Since smokers tend to have significantly lower incomes than non-smokers, they could be especially vulnerable to increased health insurance costs.

If smokers opt out of health insurance this could have a detrimental impact on their access to health care and negatively impact their health and well-being. Most insurance plans cover smoking-cessation programs. It would be ironic–and tragic–if charging smokers higher health insurance rates prevented them from accessing services that could help them stop smoking. To avoid this unfortunate outcome, rate increases should be kept low enough that they do not lead smokers to forego health insurance. However, if rates are too low they may not provide a sufficient financial incentive to stop smoking.

Cloaked within a seemingly neutral academic paper are the telltale signs of a man who sees more meddling into your life — not less — as the “answer” to any number of problems. These academics are the people our elected representatives turn to for the “solution” to any number of problems the media is demanding they solve.

Take the following passage for a better glimpse into the mind of the author:

[S]ome might argue that incentivizing smokers to quit is unjustified, paternalistic interference in personal autonomy. Smokers should be allowed to make lifestyle choices free from coercion from employers, insurers, or the government.  This objection is not very persuasive, however, because financial penalties do not significantly limit personal freedom.  Charging smokers higher health insurance premiums is no more objectionable than imposing taxes on tobacco products, alcohol, guns, or gasoline. Taxes do not prohibit people from engaging in behavior, but they can help to ensure that individuals bear the costs of their behavior.

Actually, financial penalties are one way in which statists try to attack freedom and liberty. It is objectionable for the federal government to say, “Yes, the Second Amendment exists, but we’re going to tax your right to defend your life, liberty and property into oblivion so as to render the Second Amendment moot.”

It is objectionable for the federal government to say, “You can have your car, but I’m going to tax gasoline so much that you will never think of owning an SUV, let along go on a cross-country road trip, because I find fossil fuels distasteful to my green sensibilities.”

Why is it that over and over again it is the responsible person who seems to get screwed over by those with their hands closest to the levers of power?

Did you take out a mortgage you could barely afford during strong economic times and can’t pay your bills now that things have gone sour? No problem! Did you take out $100,000 in student loans for a degree in underwater basket weaving that isn’t panning out? Let’s see what we can do about that. Do you put s**t into your mouth all day long for years on end and now wonder why you have liver disease at 30? Let’s see if we can lower your health care costs and maybe jack them up on the guy who eats sensibly and exercises.

How is the current system of governance supposed to stand when well-adjusted, law-abiding citizens keep getting the shaft? It can not.

I can run longer, harder and faster than person ‘x’ because I exercise while he stuffs his face with chips and soda in front of a video game console on a daily basis. I have a job because I work my butt off and I try to continuously improve at what I do.

When one studies a specific aspect of life and sees inequality it does not always mean that there is also an absence of “fairness.” In fact, sometimes the existence of inequalities means that equality (of opportunity) is being taken advantage of in spades. That is not a bad thing.

If you are a free-thinking and honest member of society who hasn’t been paying attention to the political landscape, I highly suggest surveying the terrain. With each passing day the dependence peddlers make it less attractive to do what is right. The behavioral dregs of society are elevated to something more, while the man who lives his life in accordance with time-tested recipes for greatness is politically thrown in the stocks and pummeled until he adopts the hunched-back and hobbled posture of his sheepish peers.

I do not smoke. I do not make a habit of decadence. I exercise my mind, body and spirit. Hopefully, that will be enough to be an advocate for freedom and individual liberty for years to come. Since I’ll need a hand, I invite you to join me.

Conservatives attack allies on defunding Obamacare, wonder why minorities shun GOP

To fund or defund Obamacare? That is the question. If you’ve listened to conservative talk radio lately, you know that there is an interesting divide among Republicans. One faction wants to withhold the funding necessary for President Obama’s key piece of legislation, while the other wants no part of such a plan. Certain hosts have essentially said that having a disagreement over strategy is now tantamount to a betrayal of conservative principles. Men and women who are generally friendly to conservative causes have been called “French conservatives” and fake conservatives, and the question becomes: “Why?” What good does it do to attack someone’s character because that person disagrees over a strategy designed to bring about the same end? The kind of tone-deaf rhetoric on display by some very smart men on the right side of the political fence is exactly why over 90% of the black vote consistently goes to Democrats.

Note the following:

  • When people make decisions, they are almost always doing so because they are running towards a pleasurable outcome or away from the prospect of pain.

Once you have determined which mindset a person or a collective group of people are acting in accordance with, it is then possible to craft a message that makes them more receptive to your point of view. Right now, elected Republicans who disagree with the defunding route do so largely because they fear they wouldn’t be able to convincingly explain the philosophical reasons to the American public. By extension, they also fear the political pain that would follow.

The American people generally know that Obamacare is on course to become, in many ways, a “train wreck” (to borrow a phrase from Democratic Senator from Montana, Max Baucus). However, they also know that the bill was passed by the House and the Senate and signed into law by the president. They know that it was ruled on by the Supreme Court and found to be Constitutional. At this point, not funding Obamacare will in all likelihood be perceived by most voters as an underhanded way for Republicans to get what they couldn’t get through the Democratic process or the courts. That might not be fair, but the world isn’t always fair — and it’s really not fair if your political leaders are a bunch of bumblers who care more about holding on to power than the well-being of the American people.

America is $17 trillion in debt. It has officially gone over the “fiscal cliff,” even if the average citizen hasn’t opened his/her eyes to the pavement fast-approaching. The reality is that we can not fund Obamacare because we’re broke. In fact, we’re the brokest nation in the history of the world. That aside, does anyone believe that House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can connect the dots for the American people? It seems pretty obvious that Messrs. Boehner and McConnell do not even believe in themselves, so why should the rest of us?

Right now, there are many conservatives who are having their credentials challenged simply because they don’t want to win the battle but lose the war. If conservatives treat their “friends” like this, why should voters who are skittish about them think of ever changing their political allegiance? The answer is simple: they shouldn’t.

As I mentioned earlier, people either run towards pleasure or away from pain. Since black Americans in the aggregate almost universally support Democrats and the liberal world view, there is probably some truth in the notion that they collectively own a specific fear or desire a specific pleasure. It is my assertion that American blacks generally view public policy within the context of slavery and other historical prejudices perpetrated upon their ancestors. Will ‘policy x’ be more likely to duplicate the painful experiences of the past or not? Will ‘policy y’ be more or less likely to strengthen the hand held by America’s racists in life’s poker tournament? Collectively, they are acting from a fear-based perspective, which in the long term I think is detrimental (but useful to know when trying to understand how best to reach them on election day).

When conservatives talk about the Founding Fathers, it doesn’t matter what The Declaration of Independence stands for our how the Constitution is one of the most beautiful documents ever written — because both conjure up our nation’s sordid past. When conservatives talk about dismantling the federal government, many black Americans think about how instrumental the federal government was for them during the civil rights era. And so, the conservative has two options:

  1. Convincingly demonstrate why such a fear-based model of thought actually makes prosperity less likely.
  2. Come up with a fear-based public policy messaging. I prefer option ‘a’ to option ‘b’.

Conservatism is a hard sell for many people who live in fear because of its emphasis on the individual. Freedom can be a scary thing because when you are free to succeed on your own you also must also accept responsibility for your failures. The siren song of liberalism promises prosperity through the confiscation of the wealth of others because they have wronged us in some way. It sells the snake oil of safety and security in the collective for the small, small price of your individuality.

Do you see yourself as a unique individual and spiritual being first and foremost, or are you black? Are you a unique individual and spiritual being, or are you defined by your sexuality? Are you a unique individual and spiritual being, or are you the static social class known only as “the poor” or “the middle class”? These are the questions modern conservatives must ask voters who don’t see eye-to-eye with them, and at this time in history too many are failing with friends and foes alike.