Happy [?] Anniversary, Obamacare

Today is an anniversary. Four years ago on this day we were saddled with Obamacare. Life hasn’t been the same since. Passed, ostensibly, to ensure healthcare coverage for those who had no insurance, we’ve seen the opposite happen. Only about 10% of those who didn’t have insurance now have it. Millions more who had insurance they liked were forced off it and thrown into the Obamacare exchanges with higher deductibles, fewer doctors, hospitals, and special care centers to choose from, and generally higher premiums.

This is progress?

The law is so unpopular that the administration is having to go to all lengths to get people to sign up. The president is pulling out all the stops before we reach the end of the initial enrollment period next Monday. If you’re looking for your president, you can find him in all the best places:

Schedule

The goal is to focus on all those low-information voters, particularly young people, who are essential to the program. Without them, it will be a financial disaster. So there’s no limit to what President Obama may do to achieve his aim. Time to set aside whatever dignity the office of the presidency still retains:

Beneath Dignity

If this program were truly based on the free market, there’s no question what would have occurred by now:

No Recall

Unfortunately, the government is going to continue to shove this down our collective throats. It may collapse under its own weight, but we can’t take a wait-and-see approach. Active resistance—repeal and replace—still is necessary.

Russian Belligerence/American Weakness

The Russian Bear is sharpening its claws again. Vladimir Putin is doing his best to resurrect the old Soviet empire. His strategy of “protecting” Russian-speaking peoples has just landed him the Crimean Peninsula that legally belongs to Ukraine. Will he be satisfied with Crimea only? Why not the rest of Ukraine? After all, it used to be in the Soviet orbit. Rumors are now circulating that there are others who need “protection,” such as Russians living in the Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

The United States used to be seen as the counterbalance to Russian empire-building. Not so much anymore. The Leader of the Free World has more important things on which to concentrate:

Not Taking Seriously

Putin, in fact, is not taking Obama very seriously. Why should he?

March Madness

Threats

Once this president established a track record of being a paper tiger, he made himself inconsequential. Who, on the world stage, is really listening to him anymore?

Mouse that Roared

But never fear, he has his real enemies in his sights, and he’s not going to let them get away with anything:

Weak

Unfortunately, for us and the world, the only “enemy” he recognizes is his political opposition. And the world hurtles toward one disaster after another without the positive input the United States used to give. Things are more out of balance than ever, and they are tipping in the direction of increased belligerence and terrorism. Meanwhile, we just sit and watch.

The Shifting Political Climate

I haven’t yet commented on a special election from last week here in my state of Florida. Many are seeing it as a portent for what awaits Democrats this November. In a race to fill a congressional seat in the Tampa area left vacant by the death of a long-time Republican representative, Democrats thought they had a slam dunk with Alex Sink, a woman who barely lost the governor’s race in 2010. In that race, she had won this congressional district, and the district, despite having the Republican congressman, had gone for Obama in both presidential elections.

David JollySink was running against a largely unknown Republican, David Jolly, who had to battle the image of being a lobbyist. Polls all along predicted a Sink victory, only to find the real poll on election night was more accurate. Jolly won the seat, primarily running against Obamacare. All Sink could do about Obamacare was offer some vague promise to “fix” it, whatever than meant.

The result was somewhat of a shock. Immediately, Democrats said the loss had nothing to do with Obamacare, that this was somehow a stolen election because Jolly got so much funding from groups nationwide. Never mind, of course, that Sink outspent him four-to-one; that fact is inconvenient.

Those who didn’t use the “election stolen” line tried the other old tactic: this race is not an indication of what’s coming; it was simply one insignificant special election in a district that already had a Republican congressman and Obamacare had absolutely nothing to do with the loss. Doubling down, one Democrat consultant, Bob Shrum, has now told Democrats to boldly run on Obamacare in the November elections. Shrum, by the way, is primarily known for running losing campaigns at the federal level.

Well, I would like to echo Shrum’s advice: please run on Obamacare.

Dems Sinking

In case Democrats haven’t noticed, the political climate is shifting:

Then-Now

It’s hard to say whether Obama or Obamacare is more unpopular—they’re running neck-and-neck. Democrats’ great hope now is that they can put forward another “historic” figure for the next presidential cycle. They’re counting on the idea that it’s a woman’s turn and that Hillary Clinton will waltz into the White House. I’m sure they’re already busy working on some winning campaign themes:

Barack Who

They’re also counting on collective amnesia:

Best Possible

The only real question remaining is whether Republicans will put up a challenger who has a strong message and can deliver it in a way that will attract voters. I’m not yet prepared to say who I think that person will be. Watch and pray is a Scriptural admonition; it applies in this situation as well.

Polls, the Media, & Bad Principles

President Obama’s approval ratings are in later George W. Bush territory, still hovering above those of Richard Nixon right before his resignation. It’s doesn’t matter which poll you look at, he’s in the tank. The trust factor is almost gone, at least for an effective presidency. One might hope these numbers would make him rethink his entire philosophy of government, but all he ever does is double-down on his fundamentals:

Disapproval Rating

Ordinarily, I would respect someone who abides by his principles, but not when the principles are as bankrupt as his. They don’t deserve the name “principles”; they are false philosophies.

One might also expect the media to do its own rethinking, since both the news and entertainment segments have been his chief cheerleaders and apologists. That expectation, sad to say, is not to be realized:

Duty to Report

Another indication that the mainstream networks haven’t shifted gears into doing their job honestly is the resignation of CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. She was determined to get to the bottom of some of the Obama scandals, but was hindered and/or thwarted at almost every step. She finally had enough and left an employer that didn’t really want her to do her job well:

Gold Watch

This is another black eye for CBS news, but there should be an outlet somewhere for Attkisson to continue her investigations.

What we are are seeing is a rather unholy alliance between government and the supposedly free press to advance a common goal. The collusion has led to massive deception and an electorate largely in the dark about this administration’s aims and its reprehensible actions. Although those opinion polls are now beginning to go against Obama, they are five years too late. Only the continuing bad economy and the Obamacare debacle have awakened the people. I wish they had been awakened much earlier simply by the knowledge of our current leader’s overall goals. Thinking about principles, though, is not the norm; people respond more to bad prospects for jobs and healthcare. I’ll take what we can get, but I want to keep pointing to the false foundation on which Obama promised “hope and change.”

A Mess Masquerading As a Masterpiece

How bad is the news for Obamacare? The 7 million signups needed by the end of this month are probably not going to materialize. We’re told there are 4.2 million right now, and no one really knows for sure how many of those have actually paid a premium. The percentage of young people signing up is only about 25% when they need close to 40% for this to be financially workable. This is, as many people have commented over the past months, a train wreck ready to happen, and the president is the one telling the train where to go:

Detour

We’re also told that 90% of the uninsured have not yet taken advantage of the offered insurance. Let’s see, who was this act for, ostensibly? If 90% of the uninsured aren’t taking the bait, what’s the point in having this program anyway? But if you listen to the president and his paid talking heads, and believe what they are saying, you would think everything’s going swimmingly:

Looking Good

You’ve heard of the blind leading the blind? We’re experiencing it daily in America right now.

Then, just yesterday, more news. Another change to Obamacare mandated unilaterally by President Obama. You probably didn’t hear about this yet because it was all rather hush-hush. It seems this plan is so much of a disaster that the vaunted individual mandate is all but gone. One commentator reports,

In a very quiet regulatory shift issued just last week, the individual mandate tax “hardship” exemption was expanded to include pretty much anyone willing to “attest” that they’ve experienced some sort of trouble obtaining insurance.

The trouble can be simply that they cannot afford the high premiums in the Obamacare “marketplace.” This exemption runs through 2016. That’s not suspicious now, is it? Nothing political here; nothing to see; ignore the obvious.

Do Not Open

It’s just another ploy to survive an election. This makes it clear the law is in dire straits. This is actually a happy day for those of us who want to see it go down in flames.

Meanwhile, we’re assured this signature piece of legislation is a masterpiece that just needs a little touch up:

Not Finished Yet

Actually, it’s a mess masquerading as a masterpiece. Why would anyone want to buy it?

The Russian-Ukrainian Crisis

I’ve refrained until now from commenting on the situation in Ukraine. I know this is a tough situation with few easy answers. The history of tension between Ukraine and Russia goes back a long ways. One of the worst episodes in twentieth-century history occurred in Ukraine in the winter of 1932-1933 when Josef Stalin was the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union. During that winter, Stalin, in an attempt to strangle Ukrainian resistance to his destruction of independent farmers, removed the region’s food supply, thereby starving approximately seven million Ukrainians to death.

This horror was largely unknown to the West, primarily because journalists like the New York Times’s Walter Duranty, who was given lavish gifts by Stalin, refused to tell the truth about the government-enforced famine. Back in 1983, I was hired by a Ukrainian organization to contact media people to get them to publicize the fiftieth anniversary of this atrocity. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that most of the media didn’t really care to bring it up. It was like the 1930s repeated.

This foolish infatuation with the communist vision was encouraged throughout the decades by people who were referred to as “fellow travelers.” Although not members of the communist party, they trod the same path, giving aid and comfort to the cause of the enemies of Western civilization. That same spirit remains today in the form of liberals/progressives who continue to see the United States as the main obstacle to peace in the world. Remember when Barack Obama took office? There was this famous [infamous?] “reset” button that Hillary Clinton took to Russia to show that a new era had dawned in U.S-Russian relations. Well, how has that worked out?

Reset

It was based on a faulty worldview. In the current Ukraine crisis, the perception of the world, it seems, is that the American government is all talk and no action. Our leaders, both Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, are seen as weak and impotent. Who is really afraid of any threat offered by this administration? Besides, the approach is anything but threatening:

Please Be Nice

Do Nothing

Vladimir Putin is seen, in the world’s eyes, as the strong man here. Obama, not so much.

Middle School

One gets the impression our president really doesn’t know what to do when faced with Russian intransigence:

Extend Our Hand

We continue to rely on good intentions, long after it’s obvious that Russian intentions are not good. Maybe there’s one action the president can take that will cause great consternation within the Russian government:

That'll Teach Him

Dream on.

In the Magic Land of Obamaworld

Obamacare just keeps clunking along. News alert: another unilateral change announced by President Obama. I’ve lost count on these. We now are told that those who have individual policies (that haven’t already been canceled) and those who have plans in small businesses can keep their plans for two more years before they will be forced to switch. The exact date for this extension runs into October 2016. Let’s see. What’s going on at that time? Could it be this is some kind of strategy to ensure a peaceful transition from Obama to Hillary Clinton? No, that can’t be. That would be entirely a political decision, and no one would be that blatant, right?

In the short term, the president has another tactic for drawing our attention away from the bloodletting that’s occurring with Obamacare—raise the minimum wage.

Direct Your Attention

Democrats see this as a winning formula for this year’s congressional elections. If Republicans will fight the hike, they will be portrayed as heartless and cruel. Never mind the actual economics of a minimum wage increase:

Minimum Wage

Historically, that’s exactly what happens. Businesses, in order to follow the law, have to hire fewer workers.

Unemployed

Those who suffer the most are the very ones this is supposed to help. This will raise the pay of some, while making it more difficult for others—mostly young people trying to start out—to climb the ladder economically:

You're Welcome

There’s no getting around the reality of the situation:

Telegram

If this doesn’t phase you, check your status—you may be living in a fantasy called Obamaworld.