The Big Think

November 22, 2014

You’ve Been Grubered!

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:32 am

If You Like Your Obamacare Health Plan, You Can Keep It, If HHS Doesn’t Pick a New One For You:

“Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of being automatically renewed into your current health plan, you’d be moved into the lowest cost plan from the same service tier.

From the attached fact sheet: 

Under current rules, consumers who do not take action during the openenrollment window are re-enrolled in the same plan they were in the previous year, even if that plan experienced significant premium increases. We are considering alternative options for re-enrollment, under which consumers who take no action might be defaulted into a lower cost plan rather than their current plan.”

It’s not just auto-reenrollment. It’s auto-reassignment, at least for those who pick that option. Basically, if you like your plan, but don’t go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan—perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options—for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There’s always next year.

A hassle? Maybe. But have faith: They know what’s best.

At this point it’s clear the people Gruber was talking about were the folks who kept insisting that this whole house of cards would work. The smartest among them are slowly coming around. Unfortunately, most of them have taken to the hip new belief that the President can make laws on his own. Because BushReagan!

Let’s hope they get educated before too much damage is done.


Filed under: Politics,Quoth — jasony @ 7:42 am

“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order — that’s just not the case.

“The problem is [interesting phrasing, that, btw], is that I’m the President of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

“…essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option.”

“[I]f, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.

“…I never have a green light [to push the limits of executive power]. I’m bound by the Constitution; I’m bound by separation of powers. There are some things we can’t do.

“And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. … It is not simply a matter of us just saying we’re going to violate the law. That’s not our tradition [correction: that’s not our law. Subtle difference there. Laws are iron, traditions are smoke]. The great thing about this country is we have this wonderful process of democracy, and sometimes it is messy, and sometimes it is hard, but ultimately, justice and truth win out.”

The “Constitutional Scholar” Barack Obama.

Update: Bonus quote from 2008!

“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”

November 21, 2014

Blast from the Past

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:06 am

Howie Carr: :

“Pop quiz time. Who said the following?

Number one: ‘There’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border — a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before. Not all of these fears are irrational.’

Number two: ‘Taxpayers simply cannot continue to sustain new populations the size of San Diego or the state of Nevada every year.’

Number three: ‘If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy … it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already over-burdened safety net.’

Number four: ‘Americans have sat freely around a bountiful dinner table. The table is becoming overcrowded. People are squeezing in and elbowing each other to get what they want. Unless changes are made, our dinner table eventually will collapse, and no one will have security and opportunity.’

Number five: ‘Native-born Americans suspect that it is they, and not the immigrant, who are being forced to adapt.’

The answers are: Barack Obama, numbers 1, 3 and 5. Harry Reid, 2 and 4.

But that was then (in Barack’s case 2006, in Reid’s 1994) and this is now. And these illegal aliens are willing to do the work that Americans will no longer do — namely, vote Democrat. Even in Oregon, voters on Nov. 4 approved a ballot question nixing drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, 2-1.

So a new electorate must be imported. And damn the consequences, which are already disastrous, if you believe the Democrats’ own public statements.

It doesn’t matter. The Constitution doesn’t give Obama the right to unilaterally enact legislation he can’t get through Congress. It specifically forbids it. He’s said as much himself, publicly, more than 20 times.”

“The New York Times gleefully endorsed this calamity yesterday, with this caveat: “Details have not been announced, but it seems …”

I guess Obama will have to issue the executive order to see what’s in it. What could possibly go wrong — right, Nancy Pelosi?”


Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:48 am

Instapundit: “‘The growing impression that politicians don’t play straight with their constituents is completely toxic, particularly to Democrats, who actually want to use government to improve people’s lives. It’s one thing to downplay unpalatable choices made in the law; it’s another to never disclose the consequences of legislation until it’s too late for anyone to react. Combine that with the moustache-twirling of a Jonathan Gruber, saying that the idiots should be happy for what they got, and you have basically every conservative stereotype about liberal elites confirmed.’”

I have a hard time mustering up any pity: they did it to themselves.

November 13, 2014

Fool Me Once (well, not even then)

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:16 am

Ron Fournier, admitted Obamacare cheerleader:

[Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber] called you stupid. He admitted that the White House lied to you. Its officials lied to all of us—Republicans, Democrats, and independents; rich and poor; white and brown; men and women.

Liberals should be the angriest. Not only were they personally deceived, but the administration’s dishonest approach to health care reform has helped make Obamacare unpopular while undermining the public’s faith in an activist government. A double blow to progressives.

I’ve been making this point on social media for a couple of days now. When Gruber talks about “stupid” Americans who were fooled, by definition he is not talking about conservatives. Or independents who opposed Obamacare. We were never fooled. The “stupid” ones are those who believed in Obamacare — according to Jonathan Gruber, the man paid about $400,000 to design Obamacare.

So yes, liberals ought to be the angriest. Democrats ought to be enraged. They lost their majorities because of Obamacare. They ought to be calling out for Gruber to explain himself. Instead, they have either gone silent are they are defending him.

Which makes them stupid again, no? They’re defending someone who insulted them and whose deception cost them their power. They just don’t realize it.

Fournier isn’t defending the lies.

And so even I have to admit, as a supporter, that Obamacare was built and sold on a foundation of lies. No way around it, unless you’re willing to accept a political system that colors its lies—the reds, the whites, and the blues.

Those of us saying from the beginning that the numbers didn’t add up were not fooled, and are not in the “stupid” category now. But enough with the name calling already. It’s acknowledged that the ACA has been an expensive fiasco (our health insurance has gone up by 40% this year alone). Let’s stop defending the past and go back to the drawing board, bipartisanlike, and fix it for the future.

November 12, 2014


Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:31 pm

Obamacare’s Foundation of Lies –

“A lie is apolitical, or at least it should be. If there is one thing that unites clear-headed Americans, it’s a belief that our leaders must be transparent and honest.

And yet, there seem to be two types of lies in our political discourse: Those that hurt ‘my party’ and ‘my policies'; and those that don’t. We condemn the former and forgive the latter—cheapening the bond of trust that enables a society to progress….

…”It’s hard to know what might have happened if the truth had won the day,” writes Post columnist Kathleen Parker. “But we do know that truth squandered is trust lost.”

And so even I have to admit, as a supporter, that Obamacare was built and sold on a foundation of lies. No way around it, unless you’re willing to accept a political system that colors its lies—the reds, the whites, and the blues.”

Give the people the truth, straight-up, and let us decide. Saying “we have to sign it to find out what’s in it” is the most irresponsible form of “leadership”.

And silence in the face of these sorts of revelations is tantamount to support.

UPDATE: And a third video has arisen. Jonathan Gruber, speaking in 2012 about the proposed tax on Cadillac plans:

“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter,” Gruber said to the University of Rhode Island.

He was speaking about the Cadillac tax and how it came to be when the “second hero arose” in John Kerry, who said “we’re gonna tax those evil insurance companies.”

By doing so, the general public mistook the removal of a tax break, and thought they were getting a tax increase.

“You just can’t get through, it’s just politically impossible,” Gruber continued in his speech.
The purpose of the Cadillac tax, Gruber claims, was to force the “overinsured” people to cut back from their benefits and, in doing so, save about $250 billion.

Again: if you support this, fine. If you oppose this, fine. But (and here’s my point): don’t lie to us to get it through. Especially if you admit later that telling the American voter the truth would have prevented it from passing. I honestly do not see how even supporters of the ACA/Obamacare could be comfortable with this sort of precedent being set. Is it ends-justify-the-means thinking, or shortsightedness? That they think this kind of political obfuscation won’t possibly come back to bite them in the backside when they’re in the minority?

Those of us who tend to see things farther ahead are very uncomfortable about the precedents being set right now. And ultimately, that is why I keep going on and on about this. Not the ACA in particular (bad though that has turned out to be), but the growing habit of a government “of the people” is increasingly giving way to technocrats who do things behind our back and without out understanding. This. Is. Not. Good.

November 11, 2014


Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 1:34 pm

“IF IN DOUBT…TAKE IT!” Behind Closed Doors, Government Officials Make Shocking Comments About Civil Forfeiture:

“‘Just think what you could do as the legal department. We could be czars. We could own the city. We could be in the real estate business. We could become Houston, Texas, no zoning. Whatever, who knows. But it’s amazing that is going on.’”

The percentage of these cases that are actually crime related is shrinking versus the percentage that are against normal, helpless citizens with no recourse. These people should be in jail, not hiding behind a badge or law degree. It’s despicable.

Bonus quote:

Dick Morris: But if the jury finds that there was [no drug dealing], and finds that the person is innocent, and you forfeited the house, you don’t give it back. You keep the money.

Beth Grossman: Well, first of all, people are not found innocent, they are found not guilty, because the common law cannot achieve—

Dick Morris: That is hysterical. You’re saying that it’s okay to seize the house because they’re found not guilty? Rather than innocent? Are you really saying that?

November 10, 2014

In Their Own Words

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:17 am

Obamacare/ACA architect Jonathan Gruber:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure that CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies…if you had a law that said that healthy people would pay in and sick people would get money it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for getting the thing to pass…

I wish we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

— Barack Obama

November 6, 2014

The most bullying argument in politics

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:45 am

The most bullying argument in politics – The Week:

“There is no more bullying or empty piece of rhetoric in political conversation today than to accuse someone of being on the wrong side of history.

And yet, we do it all the time. Over the past month, we’ve heard that the Washington Redskins are on the wrong side of history because of their refusal to change their name. Vladimir Putin, of course, is an enemy of the future. Politicians who are against gay marriage, them too. Even poor Scarlett Johansson is set to fall under the opprobrium of tomorrow.

These days, the phrase is most often deployed against social conservatives. But in the 1980s, it was often aimed at advocates for strong labor unions, tight industrial policy, and trade tariffs.

At its most innocent, telling someone they are on the wrong side of history is an assertion that they stand in the way of others who will deservedly soon acquire more power and respect.

But often, the phrase has the ring of a threat. To tell someone that the story of history will be the story of their demise is to make a bet on your future power and to make a frightening promise: The arc of the moral universe is long, and those who disagree with me should be impaled on it.”

YES. I’ve always hated this argument, and this article eloquently defines why.

November 5, 2014

Dangerous Levels of Cognitive Dissonance This Morning

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:39 am

Really happy to see this. The fact that it happened in lily white Utah should put to bed the meme that conservatives are a bunch of evil racists. It should, but it won’t.

Mia Love.jpg

But, but, but, racism!, war on women!…. or something.

November 4, 2014

The Campus Free-Speech Debates Are About Power, Not Sensitivity

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:47 pm

The Campus Free-Speech Debates Are About Power, Not Sensitivity – The Atlantic:

“For many years it has been the responsibility of UC Berkeley undergraduates, through a committee known as the ‘Californians,’ to select speakers for the university’s commencement ceremonies. In August the ‘Californians’ chose Bill Maher as the speaker for the December commencement ceremony. However, last night the ‘Californians’ reconvened without administration participation and came to a decision that the invitation should be rescinded.

The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech. For that reason Chancellor Dirks has decided that the invitation will stand, and he looks forward to welcoming Mr. Maher to the Berkeley campus. It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: Indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them. More broadly, this university has not in the past and will not in the future shy away from hosting speakers who some deem provocative.”

Good for them. I may not like Maher (and feel he’s been very successful at grandstanding self-promotion), but I really like the fact that he didn’t back down in the face of opposition and that he didn’t take the easy way out. Free speech isn’t easy, and seeing someone not cave under pressure is a good thing. I’m glad he’s speaking.

October 30, 2014

For Those Who Still Care What They Think…

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:56 am


Well, okay then. “Now that you’ve been insulted by the vaunted NYT, all you shambling dimwits in that terrifying wasteland between LA and NYC, I trust you’ll think twice about your vote. . . . You wouldn’t want to draw the contempt of the Paper of Record, would you? You wouldn’t want them to think you’re not one of them, right? Be sophisticated. Be smug. Vote Democrat.”

As usual, Insty nails it.

Of course, the Paper of Record has to resort to last-ditch name calling since it seems like millennials are reconsidering their votes in droves. As the man says, “Even a flatworm is smart enough to turn away from pain. And since Obama was elected in 2008 — and, really, since Dems took over Congress in 2006 — there has been a lot of pain for millennials.”

Voters eventually realize that platitudes like “hope” and “I’m not the other guy” aren’t enough to lead a complex and powerful hyperpower. When your performance record starts to build up (and the liberal record is overpoweringly obvious and inescapable), denying serial ineptitude and amateurishness just becomes transparently silly.

October 22, 2014

There Is No Voter Fraud

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:52 pm

How to recycle votes: “Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: ‘That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.’”

…The video of O’Keefe’s encounters with other operatives is equally disturbing. He has a conversation with Greenpeace employee Christina Topping, and suggests he might have access to unused ballots from people who have recently moved out of college fraternity houses. “I mean it is putting the votes to good use,” she responds. “So really, truly, like yeah, that is awesome.”

This takes place in highly contested Colorado House and Senate races. And the people quoted are some of the ones involved in the get-out-the-vote campaigns (and at one point, even an election registration person). Voter fraud is real. Videos like this one put the silver stake in the heart of the argument that it’s not.

Look, if the “other side” wins a fair election then okay. That’s how the system was designed to work, whether we like it or not. But having the system corrupted like this by some of the very people with their hands closest to the election machinery? Do I even have to say how bad that is? Can anyone defend that?

So why do people oppose laws that would stop this sort of corruption?

October 15, 2014

Don’t Be a Square. That’s Such OLD NEWS.

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:58 am

NY Times Just Blasted Out of Existence Biggest Myth About George W. Bush & Iraq War: “

While various news sources had reported the finding before, all assertions that Hussein had chemical weapons in some capacity (weapons-grade or not – they had been hidden from U.N. inspectors) were largely scoffed at as nothing more than supercilious bunk. Well, behold…

Chemical weapons were found during the Iraq War but the public never knew about it. Until now:

— New York Times Video (@nytvideo) October 15, 2014″

To anyone who made this talking point a lynchpin for your objection to the Iraq war (as well as a reason to hold your opposition in contempt), your apologies would be kindly appreciated.


October 14, 2014


Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:23 am


“OBAMACARE: SO GREAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. Obamacare website won’t reveal insurance costs for 2015 until after election; States with key Senate races face double-digit premium hikes.”

The premium increase date was originally set for Oct 1st, a month before the election, but has recently been moved to November 15th- almost 2 weeks after election day.

Remember: they kept saying “this will be so good everyone will love it and people will thank us and keep electing us because of it”?

And yet the people who supported this will continue to make excuses and rewrite history to keep their cognitive dissonance at bay. It would be sad for them if it weren’t so tragic for us.

October 13, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control Loses Its Grip

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:39 pm

The Centers for Disease Control Loses Its Grip:

“I have lived long enough, now, to have seen it again and again. Something goes badly wrong involving a corporation, a university, a religious denomination, or a branch of government, and the executive in charge or a designated minion goes before the press to engage in what is euphemistically called ‘damage control.’ The spokesman does not level with the public. He or she tries to be reassuring and — more often than not — by lying, succeeds in undermining confidence in the institution he or she represents.

This is what is now going on with the Centers for Disease Control. In recent years, this well-respected outfit has branched out, opining in a politically correct manner on one issue after another outside its proper remit. Now it is faced with a matter absolutely central to its responsibilities — actual disease control — and it flips and flops and flounders because the ultimate boss, the President of the United States, cannot bring himself to put limits on contacts between Americans and the citizens of the countries in Africa where there is an Ebola epidemic.

There is only one way to prevent the spread of an epidemic, and that is quarantine. No medical professional with any sense would suggest that we should admit individuals from Liberia to the United States at this time, and no medical professional worth his or her salt would say that we can test for the disease when the prospective visitor arrives at Immigration and Passport Control. Like most diseases, Ebola has an incubation period. Early on, there are no symptoms: none at all. There is no reliable way to tell whether those arriving at our ports of entry have contracted the disease or not. If we do not want it coming here, for a time, we have to keep everyone out who has been in that neck of the woods.

And what are we told by the authorities? That cutting off contact would contribute to the spread of the epidemic. ‘Just how?’ we are entitled to ask. But no explanation is given because, of course, there is none. We were also told that the disease would not come here. And, when it did come here, we were told that it could easily be contained. And, when it was not contained and a medical professional wearing all the proper gear came down with the disease, we were told that he did not follow the protocol.”

Thrashed by the Cycle

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:12 am

Time Waits For No One:

“If there were only some way of quarantining memes it would be very much appreciated right now. Carrie Dann of NBC News laments ‘If you’re even a casual news consumer, you know that the spread of Ebola, the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS and major security breaches within the Secret Service have dominated media coverage over the last week as Americans mull the safety of their families, U.S. soldiers, and the president himself.’…

…It wasn’t supposed to be this way: the news has hijacked the news cycle.

To appreciate how much this hurts it’s important to remember that the media’s greatest power is its ability to set the public agenda. Ever since 1968 it has jealously guarded the power to both determine what the public talks about (the agenda) and how it is discussed (framing)…

…As MSNBC noted, the public instead of talking about the real issues, is talking about Ebola, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Ukraine, etc. It’s a fine kettle of fish when media consultants find the news revolting. An uprising of the facts is making the management of the news cycle impossible.”

Boo frickin’ hoo. If they spent more time reporting the news instead of framing and massaging it, journalists would be less worried about being at the mercy of the cycle and what that means to the stability of their positions.

October 8, 2014

Liberals Storm California’s Bedrooms | RealClearPolitics

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:51 pm

Liberals Storm California’s Bedrooms:

“…for years I’ve been railing and ranting about the ridiculous myth that liberalism is socially libertarian; that liberals are ‘live and let live’ types simply defending themselves against judgmental conservatives, the real aggressors in the culture war. 

That thinking runs counter to most everything liberals justifiably take pride in as liberals. You can’t be ‘agents for change,’ ‘forces for progress,’ or whatever the current phrase is, and simultaneously deny that you’re the aggressors in the culture war. For instance, just in the last decade, liberals have redefined a millennia-old understanding of marriage while talking as if it were conservatives who wanted to ‘impose’ their values on the nation.”

Exactly right. I’d post this to FB but I weary of the hordes of indignant progressives (and just people who want to be connected to the popular kids) who angrily insist they’re not a part of their own religious crusade while simultaneously telling me I need to shut up or be ostracized socially.

Irony, thy name is “liberal tolerance”.

October 6, 2014

Horse—–> Water

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:39 am

A Teachable Moment:

“Are the young struck by the dashed hopes of Obamacare? Give them a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit. They can’t believe the Secret Service farce? Introduce them to James Q. Wilson on bureaucracy. They’re befuddled by the exploitation of an unfortunate incident in Ferguson? Have them read Edward C. Banfield’s The Unheavenly City (especially the chapter he titled ‘Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit’). Liberalism’s domestic policies aren’t working quite the way they were supposed to? Acquaint them with Irving Kristol: ‘I have observed over the years that the unanticipated consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.’”

Does it sometimes seem no one is saying what is obviously true? Read Orwell: “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

October 5, 2014

What Makes Jon Stewart More Insufferable Than Bill Maher

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:28 pm

What Makes Jon Stewart More Insufferable Than Bill Maher:

“But in my defense, I have a unique grievance against Stewart. I’m a Millennial, the age cohort that was raised with the Daily Show in their living rooms, and the most annoying thing about my generation is its infatuation with Stewart. At least once a week a news story about some outrage appears in my Facebook feed with a comment like: ‘I just NEED Jon Stewart to address this tonight,’ as though his one-liners are booster shots or security blankets. It’s not enough to shake your head and disagree anymore. Offenders must face the thumbs up from the emperor and the roar of the colosseum.”

While occasionally funny, Stewart has long since disproven his self-applied label of unbiased commentator and court jester of the status quo. Especially ironic given that he can’t stand his own tactics being applied to him.

It used to be that appreciation of Stewart illustrated an educated and cosmopolitan worldview. Now it merely betrays lazy and shallow thinking. Part of the herd. Moo.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress