Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cruising the Web

Of course. For Jimmy Carter, it's still all about the Joooz.

David Hogberg dissects the left's attacks on people who claim to be suffering under Obamacare.

The WSJ reported this past weekend on how health-insurance premiums are going to rise as companies have to shift costs to consumers.
Several recent studies point to provisions in the Affordable Care Act—such as the requirement that insurers cover sick individuals as well as preventive care, like mammograms—that could lead to higher prices, at least in the short term. The underlying cost of care itself, meanwhile, continues to rise at a steady clip.

One recent analysis finds that 80% of firms offering employee coverage have raised deductibles or other cost-sharing provisions, or are considering doing so. The survey, of more than 700 employers by Mercer LLC, indicates employers are looking to avoid a new tax that set to hit more-lavish plans in 2018, and to counter health-cost increases. Thus, employee out-of-pocket costs could rise.

EHealth, parent company of insurance retailer ehealthinsurance.com, is publishing premiums people pay on its site. Last month it reported that the average premium for an individual health plan that meets ACA requirements was $274 a month, up 39% from last year, before the ACA provisions took effect. Family plans averaged $663 a month, up 56% from a year earlier. These prices are for plans without government tax credits that help eligible people buy coverage.
Imagine that. Mandating that companies cover more people for more problems raises costs. Tell that to Valerie Jarrett who is claiming that there has been "less increase in premiums than ever in the last 50 years." Somehow reality hasn't sunk in to administration flacks.

This doesn't sound like the "most transparent administration" evah.
New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”

The administration’s aggressive prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen said, and the media has been “too timid” in responding.
Isn't the New York Times angry on behalf of their reporter and journalists in general? Risen's quote is from a conference concerning journalists and government secrets. Senator Schumer talked about a federal shield law that the Democrats are pushing. Typically, the Democrats aren't interested in protecting anyone who writes to inform the public, certainly not bloggers.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer told the room he expects a federal shield bill to pass this year. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin wanted to narrow the definition of a journalist from his original bill, he said, so people who write for free may not get as much protection under it as journalists who get paid for their work would. But, he said, the legislation has a “safety valve” that would afford protection if a judge decides whether any work in question is “in the interest of justice.” Schumer also called the new DOJ guidelines “not good enough” but offered “some improvement.”
Gee, would the Founders have wanted press freedom to cover only those who write for money? What about all those pamphlets written before the American Revolution? Those weren't written for profit. In fact, one writer who did make money off of his pro-Revolution writing, Thomas Paine, ended up donating his royalties from Common Sense to George Washington's Continental Army. Why would the definition of a journalist only include one who is paid? That is totally contrary to the understanding that our Founding Fathers who passed the First Amendment would have had about the press.

Harry Reid is such a despicable little man. He went to the floor of the Senate yesterday to blame Republicans for Russia annexing the Crimea. And, of course, it is all the fault of the Koch brothers. He was focusing on Republican senators who had delayed an aid package for the Ukraine. He blamed their objections on their desire to protect 501(4)(c) groups from new IRS regulations. However, that is not the reasons some Republicans have blocked the aid package. Instead, they're concerned about how the legislation would also double our contributions to the IMF while lessening the control the U.S. would have over the distribution of those funds. ABC politely explains how Reid has twisted the truth.
Reid's charge came despite widespread bipartisan support for providing Ukraine with aid and hitting Putin's government with sanctions. GOP congressional aides noted the House has passed different legislation, meaning the Senate bill could not have become law before recess anyhow. They blamed Reid and Democrats for blocking the Senate from taking up the House legislation.

Reid "sounds completely unhinged," fired back Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "The House has acted, and is continuing to act, in a reasonable and responsible way to give the White House the tools it needs to hold President Putin accountable."

Robert Samuelson explains how we should understand that not all decisions made by foreign leaders are not based on economic concerns.
But in annexing Crimea, Russia defied the norms of this new world order. Russia resorted to military power, not diplomacy. It disregarded the threat to its economic interests and the economic interests of its trading and investment partners. It flaunted its nationalism.

We’re relearning an old lesson: History, culture, geography, religion and pride often trump economics. The nation-state remains, reminds Harvard political scientist Jeffry Frieden, author of “Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century.” It defines its interests on its terms. Vladi­mir Putin, not illogically, sees Russia threatened on its borders by an U.S.-led coalition that, Frieden says, “is hostile in the sense that most people in the West would like to see Putin’s regime go — it’s authoritarian; it frustrates our interests.”

Globalization could never swamp everything else. Economics is not omnipotent. One blow to this mythology was the 2008-09 financial crisis. Markets promote prosperity and deliver benefits, but they also stir instability and impose costs. The world may be flat, as columnist Thomas Friedman argued in his 2005 book, in that modern societies compete and cooperate in a large global system. But the world remains round in the sense that traditional geopolitical conflicts, aspirations and pressures often dictate events. (Think Iran.)

Bret Stephens refutes the arguments being made by apologists for Putin. Amazingly, such excuse-making is being made by our former ambassador to Russia who can't seem to see a difference between U.S. involvement in Iraq and Russian incursions into Ukraine.

Quin Hillyer translates how liberals understand conservatives.
If conservatives talk about welfare reform, it’s really about race. If we talk about religious liberty, it’s really about sex. If we talk about balancing the budget, we demonstrate antipathy for the poor. If we talk about marriage as it has been understood for millennia, and about the complementarity of men and women, and about the societal benefits of stable, procreative unions . . . well, then, we’re homophobes. No matter what we say, in fact, our words are evidence that we are bigots, nativists, jingoists, hypocrites — and nasty, brutish, and short.
Hillyer then goes on to give some good advice to conservatives on how to respond to such calumny.

Read the entries in the contest, "Can you write better than Maureen Dowd?"