Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cruising the Web

Daniel Henninger argues that what Obama has done to the economy is worse than Obamacare. It's quite an achievement for a president to cause people to debate if his impact on the economy or the health care system has been more damaging.
In February 2009, he got $831 billion of stimulus spending. Not even seismographs can detect the results. Every speech he outputs about "middle-class folks" offers them the same solutions: more public spending on education, on public infrastructure projects and, even now, on alternative energy. As he tirelessly repeats what remain promises, the Labor Department's monthly unemployment-rate announcement on Friday mornings has become a day of dread.

Ponder, though, a partial list of the public-policy decisions that have flowed steadily out of the Obama administration and directly into a job-starved U.S. economy:

The no-decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and its union jobs; the 2,000-page regulatory law draped in 2010 across the entire financial sector; the shutdown in 2010 and then the slow-walking of offshore oil drilling; siccing the EPA on the utilities industry and the National Labor Relations Board on all industry; a 2010 FCC decision to regulate Internet growth; a significant tax increase this year; support this month for jacking up the federal minimum wage to over $10, certain to smother new jobs; the Justice Department's $13 billion looting of J.P. Morgan bank; and of course Hurricane ObamaCare.

Barack Obama has the U.S. economy on lockdown. It's the worst thing this president has done. American resilience, and elections, mean it won't stay this way forever. But for a lot of poor and middle-class folks, living with mom in the basement is getting old.

Andrew Stiles at NRO has a horrifying look at President Obama's powerful, but unqualified adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Those within the administration or who have left the White House are quite willing to describe how powerful and awful she is. She has been friends with both the Obamas for two decades and somehow she has translated that friendship and a background in real estate and an appointed position in Mayor Richard Daley's administration where she oversaw public-housing slums to a position where she's one of the most powerful woman in the country.
Jarrett’s actual record as an “adviser,” or whatever you want to call it, is marred with blunders. In 2009 she boasted about how “delighted” she was to have recruited Van Jones for the position of White House “green czar.” Jones served only a few months before resigning amid allegations that he had dabbled in 9/11 Trutherism. She reportedly urged President Obama to personally address the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland on behalf of Chicago’s bid for the 2012 Summer Games, which was swiftly rejected. Jarrett also met with chief Solyndra investor George Kaiser at the White House, and despite warnings about the solar company’s failing financial health, signed off on a scheduled appearance by the president at Solyndra’s headquarters in California.

Many have questioned, in particular, the president’s decision to make Jarrett his official ambassador to the business community, which has had an uneasy relationship with the White House since Obama took office. In 2011, Jarrett took offense when Ivan Seidenberg, then CEO of Verizon and chair of the President’s Business Roundtable, remarked that he thought “the president has shown a willingness to learn,” intending it as a compliment. Jarrett slammed the “offensive” remarks in an e-mail to Motorola CEO Greg Brown and reportedly reached out to other members of the roundtable to make clear that Seidenberg had insulted the president.

Larry Summers, former head of the National Economic Council, thought having Jarrett represent the White House was a mistake. Business leaders “felt patronized and offended by Valerie,” Summers told Woodward, largely due to her tendency to insist that she spoke for the president, and an approach to problem-solving that involved little more than scheduling multiple lunch meetings. One CEO complained to Alter that “when we go to the White House, we talk to people we wouldn’t hire.” Alter himself has likened Jarrett’s role in the White House to “the CEO putting his sister in charge of marketing.”
Victor Davis Hanson ponders the postmodern lies of Obama.
Worrying whether Barack Obama lied about the implementation of Obamacare or about Benghazi, or for that matter about closing Guantanamo, halving the deficit, ending the revolving door, or reducing unemployment, is a fruitless exercise. Obama says what he must to advance the cause of social justice, and he leaves the less enlightened to argue over whether his advocacy conforms to their own ossified standards of truth — oblivious that the president has long ago left them far behind in his quest for a larger justice.

The White House has claimed that it was a total surprise to President Obama that the website wasn't working. Sebelius claims that he found out on October 1. Now the White House has switched its story and admitted that he was informed back in March about how bad the rollout might turn out to be.
Bits and pieces have leaked out over the past few weeks about flaws in the site's development process. Monday night, however, Republican lawmakers who oppose Obamacare released a report and recommendations prepared by McKinsey & Co at the government's request in March 2013.

It cited, among other things, a rushed process that left insufficient time for testing and a focus by officials on getting people enrolled versus making the system work right.

The consequence, it said, could be system failures that could make enrollment slow or at times impossible for consumers, which is exactly what happened.

Questioned about the McKinsey study, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president had been briefed on it in the spring.

But he said the president's familiarity with the report and recommendations did not contradict previous statements from the White House that described Obama as surprised by the scope of flaws in

Obama was told that the problems identified by McKinsey were being addressed, Carney said. And Obama had never claimed to be unaware of "red flags" about the site, only of their seriousness.

But since the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, the question has persisted whether the president has been "less than competent or less than candid," said John Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. "This tips the scales in favor of less than candid."
Oh come on! We should get used to his postmodern lies by now.

The Washington Post points to the next shock for Americans - they will be finding out that they might not be able to use the doctor they want and they might be excluded from some top-rated hospitals.
The result, some argue, is a two-tiered system of health care: Many of the people who buy health plans on the exchanges have fewer hospitals and doctors to choose from than those with coverage through their employers.

A number of the nation’s top hospitals — including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and children’s hospitals in Seattle, Houston and St. Louis — are cut out of most plans sold on the exchange.

In most cases, the decision was about the cost of care.

Sebelius now thinks that perhaps a mistake to rollout the website on October 1. You think?

James O'Keefe now has video evidence of Enroll America, an Obama-campaign group that is now working on trying to register more Democrats, being willing to use Obamacare as a hook for trying to get personal information that they will share with Democrats political organizations.

Well, at least a dog got Obamacare insurance.

Check out how minimal the Harvard application was that JFK had to fill out in order to get into Harvard. All he had to write was a rather vacuous five-sentence paragraph about why he wanted to go there.

Nutritionism nonsense: A woman in Manitoba was fined by her children's daycare for not providing grains in her children's lunches. She packed them "leftover roast beef, carrots, potatoes, an orange and milk." But that was determined not to be nutritious enough since it didn't include a grain so the daycare gave her kids some Ritz crackers and fined her $5 per child. So now a balanced lunch mandates Ritz crackers? Wow.