Barackrobatics: Repeating a Lie That Nobody Buys

Wowzers, kids! President Obama has this big "bipartisan meeting" coming up to… well, do something about Obamacare. Hopefully it will be as persuasive as were the last eight months or so of hectoring, back-room deals, gimmicks, and propaganda.

But in preparation for this big push, the White House rolled out a new slick website. And if you click around a bit, you'll find a page aimed at those who have employer-provided health insurance, and there you'll find

[The Persistent Lie]

Yes, they're still at it: emitting this reassuring-sounding talking point, even though it's been roundly debunked by every slightly independent observer who's bothered to investigate it.

There's fine print. Let's see if they do any better there:

  • Nothing in the health reform bill will require you to change your coverage. What the bill will do is strengthen the coverage you get at work by making it easier to understand and adding some clear rules to rein in the worst insurance company abuses.
Left unsaid is: nothing in the "health reform bill" guarantees that you won't have to change your coverage. And there's plenty of stuff in the bill that places new restrictions/mandates/regulations on employers and insurance providers; turning the existing market upside down will inevitably cause drastic changes in coverage for millions of employees; they will not be "able to keep it".
  • Language explaining what's in your plan will have to be simple and clear so that you know what your benefits are and what's covered.
That's nice. And I believe it too, because the government has a great track record of mandating simple and clear language. But it's not at all relevant to the "you can keep it" point.
  • Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to place a lifetime limit on the amount of care they pay for. And in some cases insurance companies with excessive overhead costs will be required to give you a rebate. And, if your adult children are living at home up to age 26 they can be covered under your family policy.
And your six-year-old daughter can have a pony that never poops.

But other than you getting showered with these expensive benefits, absolutely nothing will change if you don't want it to!

More honest observers note that the details of the President's recently-announced plan make it even less likely that the "you can keep it" pledge will be a reality. Phillip Klein at AmSpecBlog points out new restrictions—over and above those in the House/Senate versions—on "grandfathered" plans, and observes:

All of the new requirements proposed by Obama would increase premiums, and by definition, alter the composition of those insurance plans. The White House would argue that it is changing the policies for the better. But the entire point of having "grandfathered plans" was to protect a class of policies from changes imposed by the new legislation. Put another way, the provision to allow people to keep their "grandfathered plans" is rendered meaningless when the federal government is dictating what is in them.
Obama's "you can keep it" lie has been obvious for a long time. He even more or less admitted it last month. And yet, that doesn't stop him from repeating it. It might be worth your while to read Victor Davis Hanson on what he calls "the Obamarang":
All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if "truth" is a mere problem of lesser mortals.
We'll continue to call it Barackrobatics here.

Last Modified 2012-10-04 3:23 PM EDT

And It Sure 'Nuff Got Cold After The Rain Fell

… not from the sky but from my eye:

  • Amy Kane reacts to a commie-radio Travel Commentator naming Portsmouth, NH as one of eight romantic cities and towns. In North America.

    Yeah, me neither. (I assume he's never been to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.) Here's Amy pointing out one major drawback:

    Rain, which is intermittently torrential today, is one reason. And it's not nice rain. Soft rain. Paris rain. Irish countryside rain. It's cold hard New England rain. It's made of granite and ice and the tormented souls of Puritans. Sometimes it comes with a howling wind from the North Atlantic and then picks up some additional wet chill from the 100-foot-deep Piscataqua River - a cold river made of a hundred cold rivulets and mountain streams, and studded with sharp rocks, deadly whirlpools and nuclear attack submarines.
    Puritans. Heh.

  • Prof Bainbridge observes that polls, specifically polls that purport to gauge public attitudes on health care legislation, never seem to ask the right questions.

  • When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And if your only competence is campaigning, well, then…
    President Barack Obama's top advisers are quietly laying the groundwork for the 2012 reelection campaign, which is likely to be run out of Chicago and managed by White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, according to Democrats familiar with the discussions.
    Running for it is way more fun than, y'know, being it.

The Hurt Locker

[4.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

After it spent about a month at the top of my queue, Netflix finally got around to sending me The Hurt Locker. Worth the wait!

The movie covers a few weeks in the life of an Army squad that arguably has the most dangerous job in the world: bomb disposal in Iraq. They've recently added a new guy, Sgt. James; this is because a previous guy, Sgt. Thompson got blown up in the opening scene.

Sgt. James joins Sgt. Sanborn, a by-the-book guy, and Spc Eldridge, a youngster who's having psychological difficulties with the constant threat of sudden death. To the consternation of his teammates, James turns out to be a loose cannon, an adrenaline junkie (a point that the movie makes with no subtlety whatsoever). But he's also extremely good at his job.

If you want edge-of-your-seat suspense, this is your movie. But my fellow right-wing troglodytes will want to know whether it's yet another entry in the string of Hollywood-leftist antiwar screeds. I'd say: yes, kinda. But your mileage may vary, and I thought it was still very much worth watching. For further discussion I recommend Andrew Klavan, Big John Nolte, and Mark Hemingway.

The main roles are played by relatively unknown actors. You'll notice some familiar faces who make brief appearances. For example, Evangeline Lilly was onscreen and off practically before I got a chance to say "Hey, that's Kate from Lost!"


Last Modified 2012-10-04 3:22 PM EDT

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

[Amazon Link]

A collection of short stories originally published in 1891-2 in the Strand Magazine. Easy to read, once you get accustomed to all the funny Victorian language. Lessons learned:

  • Be careful about accepting jobs that seem too good to be true ("The Red-Headed League", "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb");

  • It's best to be wary if you're in line for an inheritance ("The Adventure of the Speckled Band", "Copper Beeches", again);

  • Getting married is problematic ("The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor", "A Case of Identity", "A Scandal in Bohemia");

  • If Scotland Yard detectives have settled on a suspect, it's somebody else ("The Boscombe Valley Mystery", "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet");

  • Despite Victorian England having a straitlaced reputation, they were pretty much OK with now-illicit drugs. ("The Man with the Twisted Lip", although Holmes himself stays off the coke here);

  • Do not mess with Irene Adler ("A Scandal in Bohemia") or the Klan ("The Five Orange Pips").


Last Modified 2012-10-04 3:22 PM EDT