Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cruising the Web

Byron York explains why voters no longer trust Obama. While it was always clear that Obamacare involved redistribution of wealth so that the healthy would be subsidizing the sick, President Obama totally ignored that aspect of the law and sold it as a reform in which everyone would benefit. And he's been exposed for his lies and obfuscation.
In the three and a half years between March 23, 2010, the day Obamacare was signed into law, and Oct. 1, 2013, the day its implementation got under way, millions of voters, no matter what doubts they might have had, thought it best to give Obamacare a chance to work. That's why they didn't respond to the GOP's dire warnings. But now, they've seen what Obamacare can mean in their lives. And they won't be buying any more promises.
And once he lost their trust, it will be very hard to win it back with simple promises. We've heard his promises and now the American people know what that promise is worth.

The once pliant media are now fighting back against the White House's tight control of photography of the President by refusing to run photos taken by the White House Press Office. Limiting media access has turned out to be a bridge too far for media organizations.

David French excoriates the administration for abandoning an American pastor who is being held prisoner and tortured by Iran's government.
Saeed Abedini, a pastor who lives in Idaho with his wife and two young kids, secured a permission from the government of Iran to enter the country last year to help build an orphanage. Once there, the Revolutionary Guard arrested him and tried him for “national security” charges that were based on nothing more than his Christian faith.

The jihadist kangaroo court convicted him and sentenced him to eight years in prison, where he’s been tortured and abused. We were heartened (the American Center for Law and Justice represents Pastor Abedini’s family), when President Obama raised the issue when he spoke to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. But in a stunning and immediate rebuke to President Obama, the Iranians shortly thereafter moved Abedini to an even worse prison, where he shares quarters with murderers and rapists.

Yet rather than viewing such a rebuke as unacceptable and holding firm on sanctions until the Iranians relented, the administration not only pressed forward on a deal that gives Iran sanctions relief while allowing it to keep enriching uranium, but also pledged to facilitate “humanitarian transactions” for the people of Iran....

If you look at the Obama administration’s “fact sheet” released in the aftermath of the deal, you’ll note the deal is based entirely around a series of Iranian “commitments.” These commitments would be easier to believe if they were accompanied by a single, concrete good-faith action, such as releasing all Americans wrongly held in Iran.

But that apparently wasn’t an administration priority. When Fox News asked why Pastor Saeed wasn’t included in the deal, the administration responded: ”The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”

No, they did not. They also included “humanitarian” discussions.

Do we only care about the humanitarian needs of Iranians?

The Obama administration has established its troubling Middle Eastern pattern. In service of its grand vision, it will leave Americans behind — whether they’re besieged and isolated on a dark Benghazi night or alone and afraid in a dreadful Iranian prison.
This man's fate is now on the administration's hands. They could have insisted on his release, but they just didn't bother because they were just so eager to complete this phony deal. It is a deal that Bret Stephens reasonably argues is worse than Munich because the U.S. was negotiating from a position of strength and public support compared to the positions of Britain and France in 1938.

Eliot Abrams points out how the agreement is built on a lie. And Iran has now gotten away with its lies.
This agreement rewards Iran for a decade of lying to the IAEA and hiding its nuclear program, because it essentially accepts Iran’s enrichment program. The years of Iranian deceit of the IAEA and defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions have paid off.

Max Boot explains why Rouhani is no Gorbachev.
Meanwhile, in Syria — roughly equivalent for Iran today to Afghanistan for the Soviet Union in the 1980s — there is no indication that Tehran is backing off from its support for the inhumane attacks of President Bashar Assad on his own people. To the contrary, all indications are that Iranian support for Assad, much of it delivered through the militant group Hezbollah, continues to flow unabated, notwithstanding the blowback Iran suffered this week when Sunni militants blew up its Beirut embassy. More than 100,000 Syrians have died and more continue to perish every day.

Nor is there much indication of Iran ending its war on internal dissent. The United Nations' special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, recently told the General Assembly that while Iran has released roughly a dozen "prisoners of conscience," hundreds more remain in detention, many of them with "inadequate provision of food, water and medical treatment."

"Inhuman punishments such as stoning and amputation" also remain in use, and 724 executions took place between January 2012 and June 2013, with nearly 150 executions reported in the last three months alone, with Rouhani in office. Moreover, Shaheed noted, "some 15 journalists have been arrested since January 2013 (rendering a total of some 70 media personnel and bloggers in detention); approximately 67 Internet cafes were closed in July alone, and up to 5 million websites are reportedly blocked."

Finally, "members of religious minority groups, including Baha'i, Christians, Sunni Muslims and Yarsan also continue to face severe restrictions of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association; while ethnic, linguistic, and other minorities continue to see their rights violated in law and in practice."
Yet this is the regime with whom Kerry and Obama are celebrating their supposed breakthrough deal.

Line two of the agreement, “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapon,” is after all false. We know they have sought to build a warhead, and this agreement does not force them to come clean or answer all the questions the IAEA has put. Even David Sanger in the New York Times says this: “Iran did not agree to all of the intrusive inspection regime that the IAEA had said was needed to ensure that the Iranian program is peaceful.”

Jim Geraghty pointed to this tweet from Mike McNally on Obama's two Secretaries of State.
Can't decide who's America's worst Secretary of State: the one who owes his career to his wife or the one who owes her career to her husband
The Chicago Tribune excoriates Obama for the increasing numbers of people who are losing their coverage due to Obamacare. It is not just those who had purchased insurance on the individual market. The malign hand of Obamacare is spreading its destruction further than that.
• People who gain coverage through smaller employers are at risk of getting cancellation notices next year. Here's why: Many businesses with fewer than 50 employees buy coverage in the small-group market. These plans can temporarily keep offering coverage that didn't meet expensive Obamacare requirements. When that ends next year, though, many employers may cancel policies because Obamacare coverage will likely boost costs.

• Hospitals are bracing for financial turbulence as out-of-pocket deductibles climb and people find themselves liable for more of their medical bills before insurance kicks in, The Tribune's Peter Frost reports.

In the past, hospitals could count on insurers to pay 80 to 90 percent of the cost of services, leaving the rest to patients. For patients with high-deductible plans, however, the insurer's share drops to as low as 60 percent, with consumers on the hook for the balance. And if patients can't pay? Hospitals can write it off as bad debt or, in some cases, charity care. But many hospitals are already operating on thin margins. Add them to the list of potential Obamacare losers in waiting.

Tens of millions of people who have coverage through large American companies aren't losers … yet. The administration granted those businesses a one-year reprieve from the Obamacare mandate to provide coverage or pay penalties. That ends for 2015, and employers are already calculating what to do. Some may cut jobs, or employees' hours, to avoid offering costly insurance coverage. Other companies may dump everyone into the federal exchanges and pay penalties that are almost certain to be less than what coverage would cost.
The Weekly Standard links to the story of a Virginia employee who exemplifies what the Chicago Tribune was talking about. Guy Benson summarizes this sad tale.
This segment, which aired on a CBS News affiliate in Virginia, is unsparingly brutal for the White House. Fishericks is (a) fighting kidney cancer, (b) loves her soon-to-be-canceled employer-based coverage, (c) can't find an affordable policy on Obamacare's exchange that allows her to keep her doctors, and (d) tearfully frets that the new regime will be so punitive and expensive that she won't have enough money to visit her beloved grandchild. A genuine parade of horribles. Fishericks' experience shreds four core promises of Obamacare: She can't keep her plan, she can't keep her doctor, she can't afford the new options, and she falls beyond the administration's "five percent" deception. She's one of the millions who will lose their group coverage status over the next few years.
Another unintended consequence of Obamacare - some smokers are finding that insurance is now so expensive under Obamacare they're dropping health insurance.
Unlike drug addicts, alcoholics, or the obese -- all of whom represent higher-than-average medical costs -- smokers are the only such group with a pre-existing condition that ObamaCare penalizes. It allows insurance companies to charge smokers up to 50 percent more than non-smokers for an identical policy, depending on the state and any subsidies the person might qualify for.

For example, premiums for a 64-year-old non-smoker, according to the Kaiser Health Calculator, cost $9,000 a year for a standard "silver" insurance plan.

The same policy for a smoker could cost $13,600.
And whom does this most affect - poor people who are much more likely to be smokers.

The North Carolina state motto is "To be rather than to seem." The motto of this administration should be "To seem rather than to be."