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Guy Benson - Sebelius: All Obamacare Really Needs is a 'Rebranding'
Posted: 12/10/2014 2:56:00 PM EST

Yeah, that's the ticket:

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday suggested a simple fix to the “bad brand” of Obamacare — change the name. “I think we may need to call it something in the future different, but it is working,” Sebelius said at POLITICO’s “Lessons from Leaders” event. Sebelius, who resigned in April following the botched roll out of President Barack Obama’s signature health law, said that current issues involving the Affordable Care Act have to do with its commonly used name. “Obamacare, no question, has a very bad brand that has been driven intentionally by a lot of misinformation and a lot of paid advertising,” Sebelius said. But she insisted the law is working. “Not only are people getting coverage, [but also] the largest drop in uninsured rates in this country, the lowest healthcare cost growth in this country ever recorded,” Sebelius said.

Sigh.  It is quite the galling spectacle to witness people who endlessly and intentionally peddled "a lot of misinformation" in passing and promoting Obamacare whine about others' supposed dishonesty.  This is a woman who testified under oath that Healthcare.gov "has never crashed," while news outlets cut to a live, split screen image of…the crashed website.  As for her claim that the law is working, we've dealt with that fantasy pretty comprehensively.  Yes, some people are getting coverage who didn't have it before.  Millions were also stripped of their existing coverage because of the law, in violation of a core promise.  Furthermore, many 'beneficiaries' are now faced with the unpleasant choice of changing their new plans again, or paying more out of pocket, in 2015.  And a very large chunk of the uninsured population is taking a pass on the law, mostly due to unaffordability.  The drop in the rate of uninsured Americans is actually (at best) unimpressive, as the administration has negatively revised both its previous enrollment figures and future projections.  Also, expanding the ranks of the insured isn't exactly a great success story, considering that the law requires people to get insured or face a penalty tax.  As for the "lowest cost growth" story, two points: (a) We were promised lower costs, with the national cost curve bent downward, which is not happening; and (b) even the government's own actuaries primarily attribute the slower rate of increase to the weak economy, not Obamacare.  But by all means, keep moaning about "misinformation," Kath.  Meanwhile, CNBC reports:

Santa Claus is going to be bringing lots of presents in a couple of weeks, but lower health-insurance costs for most Americans won't be one of them. People with insurance through an employer—that is, most people with health coverage—are paying "more in premiums and deductibles than ever before" as those costs outpace the growth of wages, a new report finds...despite a recent slowdown in costs that coincided with the adoption of the Obamcare health-care reform law in 2010, the price of job-based coverage is still rising faster than incomes, according to the report.

Wait just a second.  Wasn't Obamacare supposed to stop, and actively reverse, this trend?  Wasn't the law going to save the average family $2,500 per year in health care costs, with "everybody's" rates dropping?  The same people who advanced those claims are angry that average people aren't willing to label this law a success.  On another Obamacare front, both the Associated Press and New York Times have stories on the law's "access shock" problem, especially among Medicaid recipients.  Proponents of the law routinely bash Republicans who've refused to expand that failing program under an Obamacare provision made voluntary, not compulsory, by a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling.  These ideologues apparently believe. millions more Americans should be dumped into a foundering, creaky entitlement program in which many existing consumers can't even see a doctor.  I'll leave you with one of the most cringe-worthy exchanges from yesterday's Gruber hearings, via Allahpundit -- who tallies Gruber's lies in his post:


Gruber is now trying to cast himself as a tangential figure in the Obamacare saga, denying that he was an 'architect' of the law, or a crafter or the policy. As we've noted, a 2012 New York Times profile detailed how intimately involved he truly was in the process. But what better rebuttal exists than yet another video clip from the man himself?



Kevin Glass - Boehner Touts Increased NIH Funding As Reason To Pass Omnibus Spending Bill
Posted: 12/10/2014 2:05:00 PM EST
In a message today urging Americans to support the upcoming omnibus appropriations bill, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) listed ten reasons why the spending bill would "fulfill the people's priorities, including protecting jobs, stopping wasteful spending, reining in government overreach, and funding our national security."

What's interesting is that Boehner's office touts increased funding for the National Institutes of Health as a reason to support the bill:

9. The bill increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Notably, the bill increases funding to boost Alzheimer’s, cancer, and brain research, funds the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act pediatric research initiative, and includes $2.7 billion in emergency funding to address the Ebola crisis.

NIH funding has been something conservatives have tried to target in the past as a place for the government to save money. Sen. Tom Coburn's "wastebook," which chronicles government spending waste, has repeatedly singled out NIH funding as wasteful.

This isn't a new hobbyhorse for conservatives either. In 2005, Townhall columnist Terry Jeffrey pointed out a "yoga study" funded by the NIH as an example of how the bureaucracy of government-funded science was wasteful.

Daniel Doherty - TIME's Person of the Year is...
Posted: 12/10/2014 1:15:00 PM EST

…well, not a person, per se, but a group of people.

Let me explain.

Two days ago, TIME unveiled their eight short list candidates for “Person of the Year.” These selections ranged from the Ferguson Protestors to Taylor Swift to Vladimir Putin. In the end, the magazine went a different route.

This year’s winners are the "Ebola fighters":

Ebola is a war, and a warning. The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and “us” means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day. The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year.

As expected, some on the Left are apoplectic and disappointed that the Ferguson protestors were slighted. But in my humble estimation, this was the right choice. These Good Samaritans serve in dangerous and Ebola-stricken slums and cities many of us would never dream of visiting. They also care for the sick and the dying when no one else will.

This of course is precisely why they were chosen, and why the award is so richly deserved.

Sarah Jean Seman - Fluke Claims CIA Report "Mirrors Domestic Challenges"
Posted: 12/10/2014 12:30:00 PM EST

Feminist icon Sandra Fluke, who recently failed to gain a seat in the California State Senate, took Twitter Monday to show the world just how bad she is at making analogies:

In case you missed the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, it was laced with details of Secret CIA detention facilities, waterboarding and torture techniques, and charges of the CIA lying to Congress, the Department of Justice, and even the White House.

So how exactly does it reflect cases of sexual assault and of police violence against the black community? Maybe with the 140-character limit on Twitter, Fluke thought a little ambiguity would slide. Unfortunately for her, that was not the case:

And this one pretty much sums up everyone’s feelings at this point:

Conn Carroll - Seven More States Join Suit Against Obama's Amnesty Bringing Total To 24
Posted: 12/10/2014 11:45:00 AM EST

Seven states joined Texas's lawsuit challenging President Obama's executive amnesty plan this week, brining the total number of states on the suit to 24.

"More than 20 states have joined our challenge against the president’s unilateral executive action to bypass Congress and rewrite immigration laws," Texas Attorney General and governor-elect Greg Abbott said in a release. "The president’s proposed executive decree violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, circumvents the will of the American people and is an affront to the families and individuals who follow our laws to legally immigrate to the United States.”

The list of states now suing Obama over his unilateral amnesty now includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Plaintiffs received a huge boost to their cause Monday when the same judge who once called Obama's immigration policy a "criminal conspiracy" was assigned to hear the case. And last week, Abbott filed a motion for a preliminary injunction which could stop the amnesty before legal documents are scheduled to be handed out this June.

Conn Carroll - Polls Show A Majority Of Americans Oppose Obama's Amnesty
Posted: 12/10/2014 11:05:00 AM EST

Somewhere between 51 and 56 percent of Americans oppose President Obama's executive amnesty program according to three polls released since Obama outlined the policy to the nation.

  • CNN poll conducted in late November found that while just 41 percent of Americans supported Obama's "executive orders" to change "how the U.S. will deal with some immigrants who are in this country illegally," a full 56 percent opposed it.
  • Bloomberg poll conducted in early December found that a very similar 56 percent of Americans opposed "President Obama signing an executive order giving temporary legal status to some people who are in the United States illegally." Just 39 percent approved.
  • And a Gallup poll conduct from November 24 through December 7 found that just 37 percent of Americans approved of President Obama's "executive actions" "dealing with certain categories of undocumented immigrants living in the United States." A majority of Americans, 51 percent disapproved.

These results contrast sharply with a Latino Decisions poll that found almost 90 percent of Latinos approved of Obama's amnesty. According to Gallup, just 64 percent of Hispanics approve of the plan. The Bloomberg poll did not have a larger enough Latino sub-sample to post a good number.

All three news organizations buried their survey findings on Obama's amnesty, CNN in the most misleading way. CNN asked three questions about Obama's amnesty, all pictured below:

Despite the fact that their own poll showed that more Americans (46% to 42%) opposed Obama's the policy changes in Obama's speech, this is the headline they went with:

Gallup also buried their finding that a majority of Americans oppose Obama's amnesty under the headline, "U.S. Hispanics Back Obama Immigration Actions," while Bloomberg went with, "Approval Ratings Hit Five Year High For Republicans."

Also of note, just 51 percent of Hispanics born in the United States approve of Obama's amnesty compared to 75 percent of Hispanics born in another country.

Cortney O'Brien - Abortionist Who ‘Dumped Fetuses’ and Faced Rape Charges Finally Arrested
Posted: 12/10/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

Update: Patel has been released from jail on a $2,000 bail, but his facility remains closed.

It’s an arrest that took far too long. After Operation Rescue filed a complaint against him with the Oklahoma Health Department for crimes hard to stomach, police have raided abortionist Nareshkumar Gandalal “Naresh” Patel’s office and sent him to prison.

The list of charges against him seems endless. A USA Today headline from last year read, “Okla. doctor says he dumped fetuses,” recounting how Patel dumped 60 fetuses in a field near Shawnee, Okla., and tried to burn them.

If that wasn’t enough to put him behind bars, the handful of rape and sodomy charges against him certainly was.

In 1993, Patel was charged with one count of “forcible oral sodomy” and one count of sexual battery after a patient alleged that he had sexually assaulted her on an examination table prior to an abortion. She then recorded two phone conversations with him in which she alleged that he asked if she was angry about the assault and apologized for it.

Three victims came forward and told of their encounters with Patel.

These victims’ testimonies are extremely graphic, but you can read about their disturbing encounters with Patel here.

In addition to treating babies like discarded waste and reportedly treating women like tools, Patel is also charged with “obtaining money by false pretenses” and faces a slew of malpractice claims.

It’s cases like this that prove Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell is not an anomaly. Gosnell, for those who don’t recall, was convicted of murdering three babies born alive after failed abortions, as well as involuntary manslaughter of one of his patients. Patel’s crimes might not seem so egregious as Gosnell’s, but they’ve both proven they’re a danger to society.

Gosnell is now where he belongs and his filthy clinic was closed for good. Hopefully Patel and his abortion center face the same fate.

Guy Benson - Bloomberg Poll: Heavy Public Opposition to Obama's Executive Amnesty
Posted: 12/10/2014 10:35:00 AM EST

A new national poll of adults from Bloomberg contains bad news galore for the White House.  A few key details:


(1)
President Obama's job approval sits at just 39 percent, his personal low mark in the polling series.  He's been equally weak in other recent surveys.


(2) The GOP's approval rating is at a five-year high (45/47), although the party's image is still slightly more negative than positive.  Democrats are in worse shape, with a bare majority disapproving (41/50).


(3)
Obama struggles on every issue polled, performing best on the economy, on which his approval is still 11 points underwater.  Ed Morrissey runs through the rest of the poor marks: "[Obama's] foreign policy approval is 37/51, and health care only gets 41/55. Obama gets a 37/54 on immigration a couple of weeks after his big “I’m gonna act alone” statement.

(4) And how are Americans reacting to that executive fiat, which bypasses Congress to rewrite immigration laws?  Not well:


As for Obama’s decision to take executive action to give some illegal immigrants temporary legal status, 56 percent say they don’t approve, while 39 percent are okay with it and 5 percent aren’t sure. This is partly a partisan issue; 83 percent of Republicans oppose the decisions while two-thirds of Democrats favor them. More ominously, though, a clear majority—57 percent—of independents oppose the actions.

Substantial, majority opposition, with public support for the unprecedented power grab upside-down by 17 points.  Independents side with Republicans on the issue.  As Republicans gear up to fight Obama on this issue in the next Congress, they appear to be persuading the public that Obama has overstepped his authority.  As a reminder, Obama agreed with that assessment until very recently:


(5) I'll leave you with Bloomberg quoting a blue collar Pennsylvania Democrat who may not be in love with Republicans, but who's seen enough of Obama:

Roman Kenenitz, 62, a Democrat from Mount Carmel, Pa., says that "mainly the disgust with Obama" is what's driving his more favorable views of the Republican Party rather than any sense that they are getting things done. His shift in partisan preference was intensified after the president last month announced a reprieve for the undocumented parents of children born in the U.S. and an expansion of permits for high-skilled foreign workers. Kenenitz said that Obama is “too much of a flip-flop type guy" and that "with him pulling this executive power” the president is “like a crybaby—‘it’s my way or no way’—and I just don’t feel he’s doing a good job.” “Right now I feel they’re trying to put the brakes on him,” Kenenitz said of Republicans.

Which is precisely what Americans elected them to do.

Townhall Magazine - America Goes Rogue
Posted: 12/10/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

Once again, the coastal media elites are very disappointed with how fly-over country voted. HotAir's Mary Katharine Ham reports for the December issue of Townhall Magazine. 

America has gone rogue again. In its special way, the electorate has once again confounded its media and coastal leadership by turning right, voting for Republicans, and making its professed intellectual betters very, very disappointed in them, indeed.

As the results of a historic clock-cleaning rolled in this November, the most notable meltdown happened at MSNBC, where hosts despaired for silver linings and time traveled to 2016 to avoid the mess in front of them. Chris Matthews gave voice to their consternation, heightened by a betrayal of various editorial boards across the country, who had the temerity to endorse Republicans in print!

“There’s something weird going on,” he said, “even amongst the educated crowd, that surprises me.” 

He was referencing the endorsement of Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner in Colorado by the Denver Post and the endorsement by the Chicago Sun-Times of gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, a Republican running in Illinois. In the first case, incumbent Sen. Mark Udall’s (D) campaign had become so focused on the War on Women that the Post declared it an “obnoxious one-issue campaign,” and “an insult to those he seeks to convince.” Voters agreed. Reporting by the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney found that Udall’s website mentioned “birth control” 71 times—far more than it referenced “America.”

In Illinois, an endorsement of Rauner as an “extraordinarily capable businessman” who could potentially bring good management and leadership skills to Springfield was enough to cause a mid-level kerfuffle and the resignation of a longtime political reporter from the paper. Because nothing says objec- tivity like quitting your job because the editorial page endorsed a Republican that one time.

And, what about the man who sits atop the world of political commentary, his show a destination for the nation’s most desirable demographic? Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” was recently approached to helm the Sunday morning staple, “Meet the Press.”

Ten years ago, when he denounced the format and hosts of CNN’s “Crossfire” on “Crossfire,” he was appointed our preening shepherd on the path to political enlightenment.

He didn’t vote, he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, and he said Big Money was the big winner of the midterms (Stewart later claimed he did vote and was only joking with Amanpour). By the standard of the Left’s frantic VOTE OR DIE campaigns, Stewart is now dead to us all. I don’t ascribe to the notion that if you don’t vote you can’t complain, but if Stewart does, it’s gonna be a long two years on "The Daily Show."

But on the 10-year anniversary of Stewart’s call for honest debate and denunciation of partisan hackery on a CNN set, he reveals himself to be wearing a set of blinders as hacky as anyone he criticized that day.

He can’t bear to imagine that Americans elected a bunch of Republicans on the merits of their campaigns, or because they found some of their ideas to be a palatable alternative, or even just because they were tired of Democratic leadership having resulted in economic stagnation for six years.

Nope, it had to be the money. Well, let’s talk about the money.

The most obvious attempt in recent memory to straight-up purchase a congressional seat went down in flames as Sean Eldridge, the 28-year-old husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, lost by 30 points in New York’s 19th District. It was only the latest in a series of districts that Hughes bought Eldridge a mansion and various “investments” for the townspeople to ensure the young go-getter a seat.

Who knows where they’ll buy property next?

In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan (D) was supposed to be a Democratic firewall, and boy did they spend like it. In the most expensive Senate race of all time, far more money was spent by the losing side. Late-October totals showed Hagan’s campaign had more than doubled Thom Tillis’ spending: $22 million to $9 million. Outside and party spending also favored Hagan, though by less of a margin.

“Our state is not for sale,” was Hagan’s battle cry on the trail. She was right. She lost 49–47.

Mother Jones dubbed 2014 “The Year of the Koch”— using the go-to libertarian businessmen bogeymen of the Left when it comes to money in politics. But Washington Free Beacon reporting reveals seven unions spent more than the Kochs on Super PACs.

Meanwhile liberal, green billionaire Tom Steyer was the single biggest donor of the cycle, putting in about $75 million of his own money, with almost nothing to show for it. There was lots of money spent, but money alone couldn’t win the day.

“Daily Show” creator Lizz Winstead offered her own goofy theory for why Texas didn’t go blue for pink-shoe wearing abortion enthusiast Wendy Davis, who lost the women’s vote resoundingly. The culprit in this state race for governor was... redistricting. “I think part of it is redistricting,” she told Joy Reid on MSNBC. “And Texas, I think, can turn blue.”

Two years from now, the media will get a different electorate in a presidential year, and a shot at understanding this country once again (as long as we all comply by agreeing with them). Until then, cheers to an America that can still surprise them. •

Mary Katharine Ham writes at hotair.com and is a contributing editor for Townhall Magazine. 

Katie Pavlich - Outgoing Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa Recaps Gruber Hearing
Posted: 12/10/2014 8:45:00 AM EST

In case you missed it yesterday, MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber testified on Capitol Hill about the deception and non-transparency used to push the healthcare legislation through back in 2010. During the hearing, Gruber was hammered by both Democrats and Republicans for comments he's made about "stupid Americans."

Last night outgoing chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa made an appearance on Hannity to recap the hearing and to talk about what's next as the new Congress takes their seats in January. 

"They're [tough questions] aren't going away. Trey Gowdy is not going away. Jim Jordan is not going away. The fact is he [Gruber] had a tough day on both sides of the aisle but the Republicans on our Committee are dedicated to make sure we get the truth to the American people and then bring the reforms that come from an honest debate about the real cost of healthcare," Issa said. "That's got to happen and only those who have the courage to say Obamacare was a lie can begin of a truthful heading toward affordable care."

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz will replace Issa as the chairman of the Oversight Committee in January.