Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cruising the Web

Jonathan Gruber choked out the lamest of apologies. Except he wasn't apologizing for lying to the American people, just for his poor wording in calling the American people stupid.

Republicans should be grateful to Jonathan Gruber for his better-late-than-never truth telling. The architect of Obamacare's words will also play a key role in King v. Burwell, the new Obamacare case that the Supreme Court just accepted. The issue is the actual language of the law that specified that only in states that set up exchanges would citizens get subsidies. the administration wants to pretend that this was just poor wording and not the actual intent of the law. But blabby Gruber strikes again.
Could the restrictive language have been intended by the Obama administration and the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee? Amazingly, there is evidence that says yes. Call it the smoking gun.

Jonathan Gruber is an MIT economist who helped design Obamacare. After the law passed he consulted with numerous states concerning the establishment of their exchanges. Here is what he said in January of 2012: “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”

Gruber was giving voice to the real reason Obamacare restricted subsidies only to the states that established exchanges. The Obama administration and their Democratic allies in the Senate assumed the inducement of the subsidies would be sufficient to get all, or most all, of the states to establish exchanges. They were wrong. And now they’re trying to rewrite the law to obscure and preserve their fatal error of judgment.

What’s at stake in King v. Burwell is nothing less than preserving the constitutional doctrine of Separation of Powers. The Obama administration will soon urge the Court to enable it to deem the plain language of a statute passed by Congress to mean what it does not say. That is a precedent that should send a chill down the spine of all Americans.

David Harsanyi excoriates Democrats for their solemn assertions that history is on their side and soon they'll command a majority of the American electorate. For them, demographics are destiny.
Even if we accept that demographics mean everything, why are so many pundits convinced that voting habits will never change? The idea that Millennials, who in large numbers are uninformed and uninterested in politics, are fated to embrace fixed lifelong ideological positions that comport with today’s Democratic Party’s seems to be bit of wishful thinking. (Even today, most of them are unwilling to do the hard work of democracy – filling out a mail-in ballot.)

Many of us have changed our minds on issues for a host of reasons. For starters, the concerns of a single rent-paying 20-something is distinctively different than a married 40-something with two kids and a mortgage. Pot legalization won’t always be the predominant issue on your mind. We have no clue what this generation is destined to think after 20 years of experiences. (A 2013 Harvard University’s Institute of Politics poll found that 56 percent of Americans aged 18 to 29 disapprove of Obamacare – even though young people were overwhelmingly in favor of the policy before it passed. Will they be as eager to pass large-scale reforms in the near-ish future?)
Heck, my first vote was in 1976 for Jimmy Carter. I got wiser as I entered by 20s. And progressives have just gotten too cocky about the historical certainties of their ideology.
But, finally, remember the most important thing: Just because you’ve chosen a self-satisfying term to describe your ideology and it happens to contain the word “progress” in it, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ideas are more enlightened or destined to move foward.

Walter Williams puts his finger on why everyone, including African Americans, should be outraged at the UNC academic scandal.
Academic fraud benefits the entire university community except the black students. If universities can maintain the scholar-athlete charade, they earn tens of millions of dollars in sports revenue. Other than as a pretense, academics can be ignored. The university just has to create academic slums, where weak students can "succeed." Stronger academic departments benefit because they do not have to compromise their standards and bear the burden of having to deal with weak students. Then there's that feather in the diversity hat upon which university administrators are fixated. I guarantee you that academic fraud is by no means unique to UNC. As such, it represents gross dereliction and dishonesty on the parts of university administrators and faculty members....

The high academic failure rate among blacks means one of two things. Either black students cannot learn or primary and secondary schools, parental choices, black student attitudes, and cultural values regarding education are not conducive to what young blacks need for academic excellence. Colleges admitting underperforming black students conceal, foster and perpetuate the educational damages done to these youngsters in their earlier education.
This past weekend, the Raleigh News and Observer reported on the 2005 UNC championship basketball team and how the players were kept eligible by using phony classes. At the minimum, the university should lose that banner and perhaps other ones that they won in the 18 years of academic fraud. And it is time for us to end the pretense that college athletes are getting a good deal by giving their all for universities that fail to even try to educate them while making millions off their athletic talents while all they get is a worthless degree and low prospects of finding a decent job.

Jon Stewart recently made fun of George W. Bush and compared his post-presidency unfavorably to Jimmy Carter's. Mollie Hemingway reminds us of who Jimmy Carter really has been and what George W. Bush has been doing to help improve the health of those in Africa. Meanwhile, Carter has been spending his time propping up some of the worst dictators around the world. Remember how he worked to try to get the U.N. to oppose the efforts to remove Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait right when George H.W. Bush was putting together an international coalition. And he worked to shore up Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic. He likes to travel around the world praising dictators and giving them the veneer of American approval.
Steven Hayward notes “the way he has meddled ruinously in the foreign affairs of the nation, especially North Korea.” People may not remember how Carter’s visits there helped legitimize the barbaric regime and created conditions under which North Korea was able to perpetuate a clandestine nuclear weapons program all while claiming to have ceased it. For years, the U.S. and allies provided oil and benefits to North Korea under the false idea that the dictatorship had ceased its program. When the ruse was up, Jimmy Carter wrote a letter lambasting these countries instead of North Korea.

In later years he’s turned to criticisms of Catholics and Jews, as cranks do. But that’s for a separate discussion.

It’s true that the Carter Center is doing some work on Guinea worm eradication. Bully for them. I’m sure that’s some comfort to the 25 million North Koreans living in absolute hellish circumstances. On the one hand, we have helping dictators, building some homes, maybe a little betrayal of the American people here and there, Guinea worm removal, giving tons of money to Democrats, and, oh yeah, helping the worst regime on earth perpetuate its horrific conditions. On the other you have George W. Bush’s work with wounded veterans, saving lives in Africa, education reform, and some damned fine painting, actually. I’ll take the latter, thanks.

If you’re Jon Stewart, still stewing in some unhealthy levels of hatred, your mileage may vary.
Read more by Joshua Muravchik on "Our Worst Ex-President."

White privilege - it's not just for whites any more. Apparently, Mia Love is also benefiting from it. Some black intellectuals just can't allow other blacks to espouse a different ideology from theirs.

And blacks aren't the only ones whose ideological purity must be defined by their demographic category. Apparently, some feminists just can't stand it that some women are Republicans.

Clive Crook marvels at how the Democrats base their explanations for their losses last week by blaming those stupid American voters when, actually, the voters' choices made sense.
The constant emphasis on social injustice, economic inequality, class struggle and the existential perils of climate change advertises a far-reaching transformative ambition. Here's the problem: Even putting aside the question of competence, U.S. voters aren't sold on the idea of having their society transformed. They just want it made better. To be popular, the progressive agenda therefore needs to be plausibly delimited. The Democrats need to make clear what they won't do as much as what they will. Without a clear program, that's difficult.

It won't do to say, "Trust us to dismantle this fundamentally broken society and build something new. You can leave the details to us." That's what Democrats were offering the country last week. The voters said, "No, thanks." I wouldn't call that stupid.

Charlie Cook reflects on the bad decisions that Democrats made to avoid fixing the economy and how those choices came back to haunt them in the midterm elections.
Obama, congressional Democrats, and members of the Democratic Party outside of Washington are paying dearly for having simply checked the box on an economic stimulus package in early 2009 and then quickly moving on to climate change. They passed a cap-and-trade bill through the House—making most Democratic House members walk that plank in favor of the bill—before it became painfully obvious, in about five minutes, that the bill had no chance in the Senate.

In mid-summer 2009, polls universally showed that Americans wanted the president, along with the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, to focus on the economy and job creation. Instead, in its infinite wisdom, Congress chose to focus almost exclusively and obsessively on health care reform. Although this was a worthy objective, the effort would likely have been better spent in a time when people weren't so worried about their economic well-being. This horrific choice, to focus on the Affordable Care Act rather than the economy, besides costing Democrats their House majority—not to mention platoons of Democratic governors and state legislators who would have been handy in drawing the congressional redistricting maps the next year—created scar tissue that remains to this day.

Americans resent the policy choices that Obama and congressional Democrats made early on. Voters saw little action that would have turned the economy around and created jobs for many working- and middle-class Americans. Their struggle continues to this day, and it cost Democrats their Senate majority last week.

Choices have consequences, and elections have consequences. The decisions of 2009 and 2010 just keep on having consequences for Democrats.
Let's hope that the Republicans don't make those same mistakes.

Chris Cillizza picks the best candidate of the 2014 elections.

Ross Kaminsky refutes the idea that, propounded on the left, that Hillary Clinton was the big winner from the 2014 midterm elections.

The Washington Post uses Maryland governor's race to explain how Republicans are successfully fighting back against the Democrats' "war on women" attacks.

Niall Ferguson explains why it shouldn't be any surprise to find out that Obama can't govern.

What if other presidents spoke like Barack Obama, the supposedly smartest man ever to be president?