Oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please let Joe run.
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) August 3, 2015
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said an inspector general probe suggested Huma Abedin leveraged her State Department job to benefit her two other employers at the time: the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm called Teneo Strategies.
Teneo Strategies was founded by a longtime aide to Bill Clinton, Douglas Band, and boasted the former president as a paid board member when it first launched in 2011.
Abedin allegedly sent or received more than 7,000 emails on her government account that involved Band, the letter said.
As an example of the potential conflicts of interest at play, Grassley cited an email exchange in which Band pressed Abedin to encourage her State Department boss, Hillary Clinton, to facilitate a White House appointment for one of his clients.
Judith Rodin, the Teneo client in question, was then president of the Rockefeller Foundation, “which donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, a fact which Mr. Band allegedly noted in his email to Ms. Abedin,” the letter said.
“[E]mail evidence allegedly suggests that Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills shared a desire to find a way to ensure the Department paid for Ms. Abedin’s travel to and from New York,” the letter continued.
To refresh your memory about Teneo, here’s what I found two months ago:
And what is it Teneo does, exactly? The company claims to provide “integrated counsel for a borderless world.” Here’s more from Teneo’s corporate website:
Leveraging the deep global relationships, experience and intellectual capabilities across all 12 of our operating divisions, we sit at the center of information and networks, offering unparalleled execution to capture opportunities and solve complex problems.
That, my friends, is a whole lot of nothing. In other words, Teneo is in the shady business of protecting wealthy people who have done or who wish to do shady things.
Unlike Hillary’s private email server, Abedin’s 7,000 emails with and about Band on her government account are a matter of public record, and ought to be subpoenaed posthaste by Senator Grassley.
We’ve already had the Obama Administration destroy electronic evidence of wrongdoing by the IRS, but would they dare do that again to protect Hillary Clinton? And if someone at State did take that chance, yet another round of these Nixonian antics might prove too much for even the Complicit Media to ignore. There can be only so many cries of “Will no one rid me of these meddlesome hard drives!” before people take notice.
We have a dirty Administration protecting a dirty candidate’s dirty personal assistant. Eventually, somebody may be forced to sell out somebody else — and Senator Grassley is in the perfect position to force somebody’s hand.
This is one heck of a slow-motion train wreck…and it's speeding up. "Clinton aide may have 'delivered favors.'" http://t.co/7zVivT4ToW
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 3, 2015
NATO intercepts of Russian warplanes are up — way up:
Fighters from Belgium, Italy, Norway, and the UK assigned to the Baltic Air Policing Mission were scrambled to intercept 22 Russian aircraft as they transited through the region in a number of different formations over a two-week period.
In two of the largest interceptions ever seen, the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) Eurofighter Typhoons based at Amari Airbase in Estonia identified and shadowed four Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike aircraft, four MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’ interceptors, and a pair of Antonov An-26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft on 24 July, while five days later NATO fighters tailed four MiG-31s, four Sukhoi Su-24 ‘Fencer’ strike aircraft, as well as three An-26 and one Ilyushin Il-76 ‘Candid’ transport aircraft that had been flying close to Latvian airspace.
As reported in the Financial Times , NATO officials said that the alliance has launched more than 250 scrambles against Russian aircraft so far this year over Europe – more than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Of these, 120 have taken place over the Baltic region.
But the news isn’t all doom & gloom, as Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told Congress that the F-35′s teething problems are being dealt with:
“It has taken us too long, it has cost us way more money than we ever imagined possible,” James said of the most expensive weapons program in Pentagon history. “We’re very focused from now on to driving the cost down per unit and they are coming down.”
However, she noted that there were additional challenges to making the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II operational. “I would sum it up in one word – software,” James said, noting the 24 million lines of code in the aircraft.
James also agreed that an F-35A “didn’t do so well” in mock dogfights with an F-16 last January. The test pilot’s assessment, first reported by War Is Boring, said that the F-35 lacked the maneuverability to keep up with the F-16 and the F-35 pilot’s helmet cut down on his vision.
“There were multiple occasions when the bandit [F-16] would’ve been visible but the helmet prevented getting in a position to see him,” the report said.
On the hardware side, trimming that helmet down to a more manageable size might be a very prudent investment — not just to improve visibility, but to reduce pilot fatigue.
Hong Kong residents donned bras and took to the streets to protest the imprisonment of a woman for assaulting a police office with her breast:
Around 100 people gathered for the light-hearted “breast walk” protest outside police headquarters in Wan Chai district, with some holding up bras and others wearing them over their tops.
“We better watch out as one day police might accuse us of attacking with our penis or buttock,” a topless male activist wearing a black bra told the crowd.
Retired teacher James Hon, 66, wearing a pink bra over his white polo shirt, told AFP: “It’s the first time to wear a bra in my entire life.”
“We have come to this rather odd method to tell the world how ridiculous it is,” he said.
The crowd chanted “Breasts are not weapons — give back our breast freedom” and “Shame on police” as a representative handed in a petition letter to a police officer.
Despite treaty guarantees of political freedoms for the residents of Hong Kong, Beijing has imposed strict breast control measures on the people there.
First, the good news from Quinnipiac:
American voters oppose 57 – 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters, the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.
Voters say 58 – 30 percent the nuclear pact will make the world less safe, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.
Opposing the Iran deal are Republicans 86 – 3 percent and independent voters 55 – 29 percent, while Democrats support it 52 – 32 percent. There is little gender gap as men oppose the deal 59 – 30 percent and women oppose it 56 – 27 percent.
Why, it’s almost as if 35 years of kidnapping and killing our people hasn’t engendered much trust between the Mullahs and the American people.
The bad news is it probably doesn’t matter what the American people think — or even what Congress thinks:
A majority of House lawmakers now support a resolution to reject the recently signed nuclear agreement with Iran, marking another blow to the White House’s aggressive push to convince Congress to back the deal, according to sources on Capitol Hill.
At least 218 Republican lawmakers have signed on to support a resolution expressing “firm disapproval” of the nuclear deal, which would provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief while enabling it to continue work on ballistic missiles and other nuclear research.
The measure, which is being led by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill) and was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, comes as Congress takes 60 days to review the deal before voting on it.
Unless both houses of Congress can muster up veto-proof majorities, it won’t matter how much “firm disapproval” they come up with, because they already effectively voted themselves out of the process.
Rather than requiring 2/3rds of the Senate to approve a treaty, Congress rigged the game so that it will require 2/3rds of the Senate and the House to kill what is effectively a treaty.
Even if the Iran deal were a good one (and it isn’t) the Founders would be aghast at these anti-Constitutional actions — I know I am.
There are three levels of satire.
The lowest level is mere sarcasm, in which you say something absurd that you don’t mean, and in such a way that everyone knows you don’t mean it. To rise to actual satire, you must say something absurd that you don’t mean, and in such a way that your audience thinks you might just mean it. Great satire is saying something absurd that you don’t mean, and in such a way that your audience thinks they might just think that your absurdity a great idea.
The Wilderness has published an over-the-top and I think satirical case for Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee. But like any good satire, there’s more than a hint of truth in it:
If Biden, with the guidance of Obama and Jarrett, can take off the toon mitts against Hillary, the fight won’t even be close. Biden has spent seven long years learning the ways of the master. Hillary’s war chest is offset by Biden’s ability to use AF2 whenever he needs it, and his Secret Service entourage will more closely resemble the ’85 Bears than Hillary’s Visiting Angel detail. Biden will deploy his bellowing-clown debate tactics against a dour old woman flop-sweating over her desperate last chance for relevance, and then when the time is right, he’ll descend in for the kill by laying blame for the September 11th Benghazi attacks squarely at her feet (conveniently exonerating Barack Obama’s legacy in one fell swoop as an added bonus). Hillary can grin through her fangs, listing off how many miles she’s traveled as Secretary of State, but Biden can end her campaign with one devastating statement:
“In fact Mrs. Clinton, on the night of September 11th as our Embassy was under attack, you assured me and the President that you had the situation under control and that our Ambassador was safe.” Checkmate: nomination Biden.
Hardly anybody cares about Benghazi, because the Complicit Media has allowed and encouraged them not to care about Benghazi. Biden could put it right back on the map — and into Grandma Hillary’s lap, where it belongs.
Hillary, of course, belongs in jail.
Robert H. Scales saw the Army “broken” when his father served in Korea, and again in the ’70s during and after his service in Vietnam. He’s watching the Army break again today:
Sadly, the Army that stayed cohesive in Iraq and Afghanistan even after losing 5,000 dead is now being broken again by an ungrateful, ahistorical and strategically tone-deaf leadership in Washington.
The Obama administration just announced a 40,000 reduction in the Army’s ranks. But the numbers don’t begin to tell the tale. Soldiers stay in the Army because they love to go into the field and train; Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently said that the Army will not have enough money for most soldiers to train above the squad level this year. Soldiers need to fight with new weapons; in the past four years, the Army has canceled 20 major programs, postponed 125 and restructured 124. The Army will not replace its Reagan-era tanks, infantry carriers, artillery and aircraft for at least a generation. Soldiers stay in the ranks because they serve in a unit ready for combat; fewer than a third of the Army’s combat brigades are combat-ready.
And this initial 40,000-soldier reduction is just a start. Most estimates from Congress anticipate that without lifting the budget sequestration that is driving this across-the-board decline, another 40,000 troops will be gone in about two years.
But it’s soldiers who tell the story. After 13 years of war, young leaders are voting with their feet again. As sergeants and young officers depart, the institution is breaking for a third time in my lifetime. The personal tragedies that attended the collapse of a soldier’s spirit in past wars are with us again. Suicide, family abuse, alcohol and drug abuse are becoming increasingly more common.
Read the whole thing.
Biden moneyman Josh Alcorn has joined the Draft Biden Super PAC — and you don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know what that means:
While Alcorn’s move isn’t formally sanctioned by the Biden family, his new role lends legitimacy to a group that’s built an email list of 170,000 potential Biden supporters. And amid news reports that a dying Beau urged his father to run for president, it’s one of the first concrete and public steps from a member of the son’s inner circle encouraging a challenge to Hillary Clinton.
Alcorn’s goal is to use his perch at Draft Biden – a small movement that’s persisted mostly online and hasn’t raised significant money or held large events – to gauge interest from major donors in Joe Biden and Beau Biden’s inner circles in supporting a bid. The super PAC can raise unlimited funds, and could allow top donors to send a message supporting Biden’s potential run.
“With Josh’s help, we’ll be able to expand our fundraising to show the VP the country is ready for him to enter the race,” Pierce said.
But the kicker is in the next graf:
Biden insiders say the former vice president is talking to aides and advisers as he weighs a bid. But many of Joe Biden’s closest political advisers have already signed on with Clinton’s campaign, including former national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
“Inevitability” was supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s thing in 2008 until a superstar young Senator from Illinois came along. This time around she’s leaving even less oxygen for other candidates.
But how weak is Clinton really, when even Biden’s people smell blood in the water?
Summer of Covers continues!
Billy Joel recorded “New York State Of Mind” for his fourth studio album, Turnstiles, in 1976. The song never got a single release, but has become a standard anyway, recorded by… dang near everybody, it seems. Wikipedia lists among others, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Carmen McRae, Elton John, and even the Muppet’s Dr. Teeth And The Electric Mayhem. Now that’s a performance I have got to see.
Mel Tormé seems to have been the first to have caught on to what a great song it is, recording his version for A New Album just one year after Turnstiles. Mel’s version featured Phil Woods on sax, making it automatically superior to anyone else’s.
(ASIDE: Tonight I learned that on subsequent reissues, Joel replaced Richie Cannata’s sax solo with a new one by Woods. To this day I don’t know what the rupture was between Joel and Cannata [it happened in time for Cannata to be replaced by Mark Rivera for 1983's An Innocent Man and later albums], but I guess it was serious enough for Cannata’s work on “NYSOM” to get flushed down the memory hole.)
Part of the first verse didn’t sit quite right with Tormé, the part which goes like this:
I’ve seen all the movie stars in their fancy cars and their limousines.
Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens
If, like me, you have trouble picturing a tuxedoed Mel Tormé smoking a joint out in the woods, then you understand why the race car-driving crooner changed it to this:
Been down to Mozambique, climbed a mountain peak, drove a racing car
Made plans for Tahiti, but that’s way too far
Now that sounds more… Melish.
Much as I love Tormé’s ’77 studio recording and Woods’ original sax solo, I came across this 1982 concert recording without Woods and with a band I’d never heard of. However, Tormé is at his concert best here, playing with the lyric, with the audience, and even throwing in a little of his trademark smooth-scat.
It’s such a fine performance it’ll almost make you wish you lived somewhere you can get decent Chinese food at 3AM.
Back to Dylan Byers for the latest on the troubled network’s efforts at reinvention:
MSNBC has formally decided to cancel three programs — “The Cycle,” “Now with Alex Wagner” and “The Ed Show” — as part of a larger effort to shift its daytime lineup away from opinion programming, network sources told the On Media blog on Thursday.
Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, a “Cycle” co-host and MSNBC’s chief legal correspondent, will remain with the network. Ed Schultz, the host of “The Ed Show,” will leave the network, as will “Cycle” co-hosts Abby Huntsman, Krystal Ball and Toure. MSNBC President Phil Griffin announced the news in a memo sent shortly after the initial version of this item was published.
The cancellations, which have been expected for some time, come as NBC News chief Andrew Lack moves to refashion the liberal cable channel as a straight-forward news and politics offering, at least in daytime. In September, MSNBC will add a 5 p.m. program hosted by “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd, while Brian Williams, the former “Nightly News” anchor, will serve as the network’s breaking news and special reports anchor.
I’m going to go ahead and guess that any “straight-forward news” makeover relying on Democratic-operative-with-a-byline Chuck Todd and serial fantabulist Brian Williams is probably doomed from the start.
Michael Brendan Dougherty explains “the astonishing weakness of Hillary Clinton.”
Hillary Clinton has never won a competitive election. This can’t be repeated enough. She beat Republican Rep. Rick Lazio for her Senate seat in 2000. And she defeated a mayor from Yonkers in 2006. In her first competitive race, the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, she began as a heavy favorite and she lost.
What has she done to improve her chances in that time? She’s aged well, I guess. And she served without distinction as secretary of state. The most notable addition to her CV was her strenuous support of military intervention in Libya, which has left that nation in ruins and vulnerable to ISIS. In turn, Libya has left Clinton with a new scandal about her home-brew email server and the deletion of thousands of emails that congressional oversight might have used against her.
She has high name-recognition. Until she started campaigning she was polling well even with Republicans. She has the Obama coalition, and an electoral map where Republicans need significant pickups. But boy, it all seems underwhelming. What is the task for Democrats in the post-Obama era? Why is Clinton the one to take on this mission?
Who else have they got?
Nonprofit co-ops, the health care law’s public-spirited alternative to mega-insurers, are awash in red ink and many have fallen short of sign-up goals, a government audit has found.
Under President Barack Obama’s overhaul, taxpayers provided $2.4 billion in loans to get the co-ops going, but only one out of 23 — the one in Maine — made money last year, said the report out Thursday. Another one, the Iowa/Nebraska co-op, was shut down by regulators over financial concerns.
The audit by the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office also found that 13 of the 23 lagged far behind their 2014 enrollment projections.
That Means It’s Working™
More seriously, more than one Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Reader™ has commented that they use, or have looked into using a nonprofit co-op as their insurer. Would you please get back to me here in the comments with an update or two?
For anyone interested at all in the past and future of flight, this week’s Afterburner is quite good.
Jack Grieve, from the UK’s Aston University, geo-plotted the curse words used in the Lower 48 states out of 8.9 billion words from Twitter. Click the link for the full set of maps, with blue meaning infrequence use and red being more frequent.
No kidding, there was one I’d never even heard of before.
The other item of local interest is that in map after map, curse word after curse word, is how little cussing we do here in Colorado.
Which is odd, given how many Californians are on our roads nowadays.
Social Security is certainly social enough — the part where other people spend your money. But secure? Hardly.
Here’s what Myra Adams just noticed when taking a closer look at her Social Security statement:
At first glance, the statement did not appear menacing. I was told I could expect to receive a benefit of “about $2,136 a month” upon reaching age 70 — which certainly seems like good news. But immediately I thought of a parallel of President Obama’s infamous Obamacare promise: “If you like your Social Security, you can keep your Social Security.”
Then, as if on cue, I saw an asterisk with the following message:
The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2033, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 77 percent of scheduled benefits.
I could not believe I was seeing the equivalent of what I was just thinking, but with a new twist, “If I like my Social Security, I can keep 77 percent of it.”
With an asterisk, my beloved government was informing me that they will be unable to fulfill their part of a financial arrangement into which, as their statement attested, I had been making mandatory contributions starting in 1971 at age 16.
Adams did some of the math — that the number of payees is shrinking relative to the number of beneficiaries, and concludes, “There are just too many Baby Boomers and too many financial promises with elected leaders too afraid to inflict the necessary pain of real reform.”
I mean no disrespect to Mrs. Adams, but welcome to 1985.
That’s the year I turned 16 and had my first real summer job. Like most anyone with their first pay stub, I was disappointed with, you know, the actual number left over after all the taxes were taken out. I did a little reading and learned that the 1983 Social Security reform had jacked up taxes, but added only about 20 years of solvency to the program. Conclusion: I was never going to see those benefits.
And it wasn’t just me, either. Poll after poll shows that Gen X kids (kids then, middle aged now) had little faith in Social Security being there for us, despite us paying in at the higher rates for all of our working lives.
And again, no disrespect to Mrs. Adams, but by and large we felt this way because we knew our Baby Boomer parents, and we knew their Baby Boomer friends, and we were pretty sure nothing was going to get done to fix the program. The time to act would have been in the 1990s — when the first Baby Boomer president had plenty of time, political popularity, and tax income to have pushed for real reforms before things got too painful.
Trend Micro peeps say they have discovered a security bug that miscreants can exploit to seemingly murder millions of Android smartphones.
A device will appear lifeless and unable to make calls, with a dead screen and no sound output, if an attack is successful, we’re told. All a victim has to do is visit a dodgy webpage, or run an app containing a malicious file. Rebooting the supposedly dead smartphone will revive it.
Google’s solution is to simply get over it, not browse untrusted websites on your phone, and avoid installing evil applications. A patch to fix the hole is on its way, we’re told.
The vulnerability stems from an integer overflow bug in Android’s media server service, which can be exploited by a malformed video file in a Matroska container. When Android tries to index the file, it crashes, bringing the rest of the operating system down with it.
That bit about avoiding dodgy websites and not installing bad apps is always good advice.
Still, now might be a good time to make sure your phone is upgradeable to the latest & greatest version of Android.
And you’ll applaud him for it.
On July 4, 2015, 22 year-old Lane Pittman decided to take his electric guitar and play the Star Spangled Banner on the street outside his friend’s house in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville.
Pittman says that after a police officer asked him to stop, he asked if it was okay to play on the sidewalk, and was told that was okay. And play he did:
“I don’t think I ever played that song as good in my life as I did on that day. It felt right. It was an emotional roller coaster.”
The crowd topped 200 people, spilling onto the street around him:
Then Pittman was, to his surprise, arrested for breaching the peace.
Read the whole story, including Pittman being accused of having “white skin privilege.”
You can help with his legal fees by buying this t-shirt.
Get ready for another Marine amphibious assault ship with fricken stealth fighters on it:
Scheduled for launch in in July 2017 and with a tentative induction date set for December 18, the ship is specifically designed to accommodate Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, along a host of other aircraft such as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallions, and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.
The USS Tripoli, called LHA 7 [Landing Helicopter Assault] 7, is being assembled at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Once finished, the ship will displace more than 44,000 tons–similar to the size of fixed-wing aircraft carriers in France and India. Measuring 844 feet long and 106 feet wide the ship, in fact, is a small aircraft carrier.
“The ship is optimized for aviation and capable of supporting current and future aircraft with additional aviation maintenance capability and increased fuel capacities. LHA[Landing Helicopter Assault] 6 will be a Flight I ship, reintroducing the well deck without sacrificing aviation capability,” the U.S. Navy’s website notes about the USS Tripoli’s sister ship, the USS America.
The Essex-class fleet aircraft carriers were the US Navy’s bread-and-butter warships versus the Imperial Japanese Navy, and we built a still-impressive two dozen of the things. The best (and biggest*) full-size carriers in regular use during the war, they displaced 33,000 tons — or one quarter less than the Marine Corps’ new baby carriers.
They also didn’t carry 1,600+ Marines on board, ready to fly Ospreys ashore and kick some behind.
We’re reached the sad state of economic affairs where we see 2.3% quarterly growth and want to shout, “Great news!”
So here’s the great news:
The rebound in April, May and June was largely expected, after a dismal performance in the first quarter of 2015.
Before the report on Thursday from the Commerce Department, analysts on Wall Street had been expecting to see a growth rate of about 2.5 percent for the second quarter.
“I think it’s an O.K. performance. Underlying growth is stable but not spectacular,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS, a research firm based in Lexington, Mass. “The economy is plodding along.”
While hardly exceptional by the standards of the 1990s or even compared with the 5 percent burst of growth in the summer of 2014, the pace of expansion is largely in line with the trajectory of the recovery, which began exactly six years ago.
“Recovery?” They keep using that word; I do not think it means what they think it means.
Hillary is starting to look weak in the general election:
Across nearly every key metric, from trustworthiness to caring about voters to leadership, Clinton has seen an erosion in public approval, as likely Republican rivals have erased her leads in the poll. Clinton has a net -11 favorability rating in the poll, with 40% of the American public viewing her positively and 51% negatively, with more than 50% of independents on the negative side.
If the election were held today, Clinton would be tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the poll—down from significant leads in a May 28 survey—but would top the current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
The trick with Trump of course is how to keep his voters while quietly showing him the door. He doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning the election (or even the nomination), but the eventual GOP nominee can’t win the general without Trump’s “Perot voters.”
The shades of 1992 are familiar, aren’t they?
It’s almost enough to make you wonder if Trump — not a Republican, not a conservative, generous giver to Democrats and liberal causes — identified a potent GOP wedge issue and entered the race for the sole purpose of exploiting it for the Clintons. Any money he spends now he can surely get back from sweetheart deals under Queen Hillary, because as you well know, that’s how the Clinton Machine operates.
I’m not usually the paranoid type, but I find myself looking over my shoulder this morning.
Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Readers™ have long been aware of ♡bamaCare!!!’s punitive 40% tax on “Cadillac” plans, scheduled to phase in beginning in 2018. And as we get closer to that deadline, people are starting to shout about it — even union leaders:
Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union, on Tuesday afternoon joined labor and business interest groups as part of the Alliance to Fight the 40 aimed at dismantling Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac insurance tax. The “Cadillac” label applied by Obamacare defenders is inaccurate, according to the union bigwig. He referred to the tax as “despicable,” “regressive,” “unwise, unjust, and unfair” during a three-minute opening statement at an Alliance teleconference.
“This is not a tax on high end health plans. This tax will hit … middle and working class families,” he said. “This tax is a kick in the face to every hardworking, blue collar, and middle class family in the country.”
What O’Sullivan fails to recognize is that you can’t have big middle class entitlements without big middle class taxes, because that (as Willie Sutton is supposed to have said) is where the money is. Besides, the state-based exchanges can never be solvent unless tens of millions more Americans are corralled into them, which is precisely what this tax is designed to do, by taxing employer-based plans slowly out of existence.
At that point, your only choice will be which of the four overpriced “metal” plans you dislike the least.
Or — and this seems a bit more likely — the tax proves to be so unpopular that its repeal is signed into law by the next President. But then lacking enough unwilling customers, the exchanges go on permanent life support, hoovering up endless tax dollars to stay afloat.
That Democrat SOB in the White House and those Democrat SOBs from the previous Congress well and truly screwed us.
Thanks to Insty, you might have already caught Josh Blackman’s writeup of Laurence Tribe’s early Obama Administration agonies. Blackman called the sad story “a fascinating insight into how administration politics work,” and that’s certainly true enough.
But for me the real story is hidden in this one little detail:
Tribe envisioned himself as some sort of Rule-of-Law Czar to handle Guantanamo and other big issues.
Tribe was offered assurances of a high-level job. In 2009, he wrote a private letter to Obama suggesting a “newly created DOJ position dealing with the rule of law.” He seemed like an ideal candidate to sort out dilemmas like Guantánamo. “I thought that for me to be giving broader advice on constitutional issues would make sense,” Tribe says.
This position ostensibly would have been outside the normal DOJ hierarchy–Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, etc. The “czar” position would have hovered over a lot of turfs–among both political appointees and civil servants. He would have had direct access to the President himself. [Emphasis added]
It should take your breath away to realize that even a good liberal like Tribe thinks our Department of Justice needs an in-house official to school it on the rule of law.
Here comes that bend in the cost curve — up, way up:
Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade, federal actuaries said Tuesday.
The return to bigger growth is a result of expanded insurance coverage under the 2010 health law, a revived economy and crunchtime as Medicare’s baby-boom beneficiaries enter their 70s.
American spending on all health care grew 5.5% in 2014 from the previous year and will grow 5.3% this year, according to a report from actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in the journal Health Affairs. In the years through 2024, spending growth is expected to average 5.8%, peaking at 6.3% in 2020.
That Means It’s Working™