We told you so!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Rising Rates Pose Challenge to Health Law

Higher-cost premiums for 2016 threaten the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs

By Louise Radnofsky, Paul Overberg and Stephanie Armour | Updated November 19, 2015 2:21 p.m. ET

Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs.

Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.

The result is that many people can’t avoid paying more for insurance in 2016 simply by shopping around—and those who try risk landing in a plan with fewer doctors and skimpier coverage.

These dual realities threaten to undercut the law’s popularity with the customers it relies on the most: relatively healthy people. Their participation is vital to offset the costs of sicker people who can buy coverage at equal prices for the first time under the law; if the healthier ones pull out, that would put additional upward pressure on premium prices.

There’s more at the link, and here is the methodology used by the Journal.

But we told you that this would happen. Way back in 2010, John Hitchcock wrote, on the older site:

You cannot add layers of bureaucracy without adding a lot more cost. You cannot insure people with pre-existing conditions for less than you can insure healthy people. But that’s exactly what the government had in its ObamaCare Cost analysis.

Going back even further, to one of my articles noting that health care providers were bailing out of Medicaid due to decreasing cost reimbursements, I saw this comment from our now-banned commenter Perry1:

Steven: “The consumer is now so far removed from the decision making that there is no control on cost.”

You make a point which I have never considered, and at first glance it is a good point.

You should like the Health Care Reform Bill just passed, because it calls for the setting up of exchanges which enables folks to do exactly what you recommend.

You were probably not here, but while the bill was being debated, I opined that the Swiss system is one that would fit us best. In negotiation with the government, all private insurers have to provide Swiss citizens with a basic insurance plan at fixed price. The insurance companies then make their profits by competitively selling added features. The basic plan, as I understood it, included insurance for basic health care, including preventative care, plus coverage for catastrophic events. This leaves coverage for elective surgery and health care, for extended hospitalization, for additional testing and lab services not covered, for nursing home care, for extended rehabilitation care, and the like, to be provided by health insurers at an additional premium.

That was what the left thought of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which we told them wouldn’t work, and the Journal article is simply more confirmation of that. Everything that conservatives said about the 2010 health care reform law has come true, while virtually all of the projections given us by the Democrats have turned out to be gross underestimates.

  1. Since I have cited his words, fairness requires that I allow him to comment on this article, if he should happen to read it.

Social Justice Warriors equal Crybullies

JVW, writing on Patterico’s Pontifications, explains his use of the word “crybully:”

I have decided that I much prefer the new term “crybully” to the previously-employed “social justice warrior.” The former provides an adequate sense of the contempt with which these youngsters should be held, while the latter has a ring to it that is almost noble. I plan to retire my use of SJW for the new term.

The only problem that I have with “crybully” is that a real bully is capable of beating you to a pulp, whether you resist or not. The crybullies are wholly dependent upon their victims surrendering without a fight, and could never win against actual resistance.

They are, of course, most offended when we do have the temerity to fight back; the only polite thing to do is hand them a tissue for their tears.

Congratulations, Pennsylvania! We’re getting what you voted for! The change from first-person plural to second-person plural is to reflect the fact that I sure didn't vote for him

While sensible Governors across the country are saying, “No!” to accepting Syrian refugees, Tom Wolfe of Pennsylvania is saying, “Sure, c’mon in!”

PA-Gov: Pennsylvania Will Continue to Accept Syrian Refugees

Written by Nick Field, Managing Editor

The Keystone State will continue to welcome Syrian refugees.

According to John Micek of the Patriot-News, Pennsylvania’s policy will not be affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that families leaving Syria are trying to escape the same violence and unimaginable terror that took place in Paris and Beirut,” Gov. Wolf’s spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan. “To assist the settlement of families fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the federal government coordinates with local charitable organizations in Pennsylvania and other states. Pennsylvania will continue working with the federal government to ensure that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process.”

Gov. Tom Wolf wants “Pennsylvania to continue to build on its rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees from around the world but he is also committed to protecting Pennsylvanians and will work with the federal government to ensure it is taking every precaution necessary in screening those families coming into the country,” Sheridan continued.

The obvious question is: how can we be certain that the screening process will catch every terrorist infiltrator sneaking in with the legitimate refugees? And the obvious answer is: we can’t. No system put together by man is infallible, and if only one in a hundred or one in a thousand of the refugees is a covert terrorist, that is one too many.

In the last few days, the Governors of Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana and Texas have all stated that they will not accept any refugees in the immediate future.

Meaning: the governors of those states have more sense than Tom Wolfe!

But, let’s assume that whatever screening process is put in place turns out to be 100% effective, and not a single hidden Da’ish operative makes it in to Pennsylvania, or the United States as a whole for that matter. The vast majority of these refugees will speak little or no English, will have few if any skills which are useful in the American economy, and every last one of them will require food, clothing and shelter, just as winter is about to start. The Honorable Mr Wolf is proposing to allow a few hundred future welfare recipients into the Keystone State, to place yet another burden on taxpayers already having to pay too much in taxes.

How does that help the citizens of the Commonwealth? Why should we be happy with a governor who already wants to increase taxes adding yet another burden on the taxpayers?

Meanwhile, in the Bluegrass State:

Matt Bevin says he would bar Syrian refugees

Chris Kenning, @ckenning_cj 5:30 p.m. EST November 16, 2015

As Kentucky refugee advocates worked to calm fears and stave off a backlash against Syrian refugees, Gov.-elect Matt Bevin on Monday joined with a chorus of governors, including Indiana’s Mike Pence, calling for suspending the refugees’ resettlements to their states.

“The recent terrorist attacks in Paris serve as a warning to the entire civilized world that we must remain vigilant,” Bevin said in a statement. “It is imperative that we do everything in our power to prevent any similar attack by evildoers from taking place here in America.”

Bevin, who is to be inaugurated Dec. 8, said his primary responsibility as governor would be to protect Kentuckians.

About the same time, Kentucky’s outgoing governor, Steve Beshear, issued a statement saying the commonwealth would be following federal immigration laws under him. “In terms of the impact of this violence on refugees, obviously, these are women and children and people who are in desperate need, and if America needs to help out, we will help out,” he said. “But we have to be very careful and make sure that we screen people so we only bring folks into the United States who are truly looking for a safe haven.”

Their statements followed Pence’s announcement that Indiana would put all resettlements on hold until assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been met. He said Indiana has a long tradition of opening its arms and homes to refugees, but as governor it’s his first responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Hoosiers.

There’s more at the original, but the point ought to be obvious: Kentucky is a very poor state, and if you have ever traveled through eastern Kentucky, you’ll have seen what poverty looks like. Owsley and Wolfe and Leslie and Jackson are some of the poorest counties in the country; altogether, 16 of the 100 poorest counties in the country are in Kentucky. Outgoing Governor Beshear, a Democrat, would inflict upon the people he was twice elected to serve, a few hundred more people who would have to be completely supported by the taxpayers. Fortunately, incoming Governor Bevin, a Republican, has enough sense to realize that a state which has so much difficulty in supporting its own people does not need to add to the problem.




Da’ish and Hamas are simply different parts of the Islamist enemy as a whole We cannot fight Da'ish without also supporting Israel

From The Wall Street Journal:

Paris Attacks Undercut Western Hopes of Containing Extremists

G-20 leaders expected to rethink approach to fighting terrorism

By Damian Paletta | November 14, 2015 9:26 a.m. ET

President Barack Obama is briefed on the Paris attacks by Lisa Monaco, second from left, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, in the White House Oval Office on Friday. Photo: Reuters (Click to enlarge)

WASHINGTON—The consecutive terror attacks that killed 224 people on a Russian charter plane Oct. 31 and well over 100 in Paris on Friday have undercut what remained of Western hopes of containing extremists, a goal sought through years of faltering wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.A day before the Paris attacks, President Barack Obama sounded an optimistic note about the campaign against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. “I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” the president told ABC News in an interview Thursday. “From the start our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.”

Now that French President François Hollande has blamed Islamic State for the attacks Friday in Paris, world leaders are certain to take a new look at the extremist movement.

Many parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East, are in a state of chaotic and deadly upheaval, with weak or nonexistent governments creating huge voids for terror networks to flourish. U.S. military planes have peppered parts of Syria and Iraq with drone strikes, killing senior Islamic State officials. Islamic State computer wizard Junaid Hussain was killed by a drone strike in Syria in August. A separate drone strike is believed to have killed a British citizen known as Jihadi John in the same city just this week.

But even after dozens of such strikes, the terror attacks continue. They have emanated from cells within Islamic State as well as terror groups stretching from North Africa, across the Middle East, to South Asia. And they often are of such scale that intelligence agencies and police forces are left dumbfounded and searching for answers.

There’s more at the link, but no one should be either dumbfounded or searching for answers, because the answers are right there, in front of them, if only they weren’t too wrapped up in their own preconceptions to see the answers:

  • With an ideology which glorifies martyrdom, the traditional defenses against an attacker, based upon the attacker’s sense of self-preservation, have glaring weaknesses;
  • With modern communications available to almost everyone, around the world, attackers can get messages, inspiration, instructions and detailed diagrams for building weapons very easily;
  • With a media which unintentionally (?) glorifies Da’ish and other Islamist fighting organizations such as Hamas, we are helping to create and inspire the home-grown jihadis within our populations;
  • With a sense of “us against them” built not on modern nation-states but a religion which spans the globe, the enemies of the West are not confined to borders which can be easily identified and defended against; and, most importantly
  • With a liberal Western ideology that we cannot conflate Islam with the Islamist extremists, we are refusing to take defense measures where they should be taken.

The final point is the most important: if we cannot understand our enemies, and cannot understand the scope and breadth of their resources, we cannot have any realistic hope of defending ourselves against them. Yet we have a President, along with a coterie of Democratic presidential contenders, who are unwilling to see that the wider Muslim community are providing a basis of support for the actual terrorist fighters. Da’ish could not exist if it was not for the larger Islamic population around them which provides recruits, food, shelter and other support for the fighters. Hamas could not survive without the larger Palestinian community around them, providing food, shelter and concealment.

And this is the hardest part of all for the left: to hope to win against the Islamists, we must understand, and wholeheartedly support, the policies of Israel. It is Israel, and Israel alone, which has been battling Islamist enemies for decades, Israel alone which has been struggling against an enemy which would impose Islamic law on everyone if given the chance, and Israel alone which understands the wholly uncomfortable truth that the enemy are not just the fighters themselves, but the support structure around them that enable the fighters to fight. We cannot sympathize with the plight of the poor, benighted Palestinians and not concomitantly sympathize with the Muslim, mostly Arabic populations which enable Da’ish.

In the battle for Western civilization, we must embrace Western civilization, not run from it like the multiculturalist milquetoasts do. It is Western civilization alone which has given the milquetoasts the legal capability to dissent from government policies, and Western civilization alone which has enabled the multiculturalists to embrace opposing views, and Western civilization alone which has given enough people the economic freedom to allow the left to fester and foul Western civilization itself rather than having to scratch the ground to eke out a subsistence living.

Vladimir Ilich Lenin once said that “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” His prognostication proved wrong, because Communism was a fatally flawed system, but he was on the right track with the democratic left: they wouldn’t sell, but actually simply give the Islamists the rope with which to hang themselves.
Cross-posted on RedState.

The #DemocraticDebate The candidates argue over whom will surrender the fastest

From The New York Times:

Rivals at Democratic Debate Attack Hillary Clinton

By Amy Chozick and Jonathan Martin | November 14, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had set out to use the second Democratic presidential debate to portray herself as the strongest potential commander in chief while France reeled from terror attacks, instead found herself pummeled by rivals on Saturday over her ties to Wall Street and her foreign policy record.

The debate in Des Moines opened with Mrs. Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Martin O’Malley bowing their heads to observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the attacks in Paris on Friday. And, at least at first, the three remaining Democratic candidates seemed acutely aware that traditional political punches could seem petty in the aftermath of the bloodshed.

But then Mr. Sanders and Mr. O’Malley unleashed pointed, yet polite, critiques of Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy stances, including her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, which Mr. Sanders tied to the rise of the Islamic State, which officials in Paris have said was responsible for the attacks.

“Let me have one area of disagreement with the secretary,” Mr. Sanders said gingerly, as if on eggshells to lob an attack at a somber moment. “I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq — something that I strongly opposed — has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS.”

Mr. O’Malley, meanwhile, painted a dark portrait of Middle East policy under the Obama administration, in which Mrs. Clinton spent four years as secretary of state. “Libya is a mess. Syria is a mess. Iraq is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess,” he said.

Without directly calling her opponents naïve, Mrs. Clinton responded by listing decades of granular foreign policy developments that she said contributed to the current crisis. “If we’re ever going to really tackle the problems posed by jihadi extreme terrorism, we need to understand it and realize that it has antecedents to what happened in Iraq,” she said.

Remember when Mrs Clinton told us that we must “empathize” with our enemies, we must “respect” our enemies?

From Justin Charters:

We tried the more tolerant strategy under Obama and here are just a few things that happened:

  • ISIS controls a territory the size of the United Kingdom.
  • Clinton said she would hit the “reset button with Russia,” and Putin is taking apart Ukraine piece by piece.
  • After the Bergdahl exchange, terrorists said they were encouraged to kidnap more.

Apparently, our enemies view empathy as a weakness and as evidenced, they exploit it. Many occasions call for empathy, but anything concerning America’s national security isn’t one of them.

Mrs Clinton said that “This is what we call smart power.” The problem is that it has yielded poor results, almost as though President Obama and the former Secretary of State weren’t all that smart when it came to exercising smart power. Here is Mrs Clinton saying that President Obama’s plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees is too small, and that she believes we ought to admit 65,000 refugees:

This was at the Democratic debate last night, after the Friday the Thirteenth attacks in Paris, and after it was learned that at least one of the attackers carried a Syrian passport and was a recent refugee.1

Of course, the lovely Mrs Clinton said that we ought to admit these refugees “only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes. I do not want us to in any way inadvertently allow people who wish us harm to come into our country.” Well, screening and vetting processes take time and money, and even then mistakes can be made. Just how do you do your due diligence on undocumented refugees from a war-torn country like Syria or Iraq? An obvious point: if you don’t allow them entry in the first place, you don’t have to dedicate resources to screen and vet them, and you will make no mistakes in that process.

The three Democrats on stage2 were all very, very careful to avoid connecting the attacks in Paris with “radical Islam” or Islamists or anything else that might not seem liberal, progressive or multicultural. Perhaps only Mrs Clinton has made a statement as stupid as respecting and empathizing with our enemies, but it’s clear that none of the candidates wanted to do or say anything which would connect the Paris terrorists with Muslims in general.

And that’s the problem. It is certainly true that not all Muslims are radicals, that not all Muslims are terrorists, but the radical Muslims, the Islamists, the terrorists depend upon support, or at least non-interference, from the wider Muslim communities around them. It’s also true that only a small percentage of Germans were actually Nazis, but the Allies did not win the war by targeting only the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei members; the Allies targeted all Germans, from the Wehrmacht forces in the field,3 to the German civilians working in the factories and transportation centers, and their families. President Franklin Roosevelt was as much of a liberal and a progressive as any American of his day, but he understood that the way to defeat Naziism was not some cockamamie separation of the card-carrying Nazis and the larger German population enabling der Führer and the Nazis to try to carry out their goals.

We need to face facts:

  • Whether we like it or not, we are at war with the Islamists, of whom Da’ish4 are not the only part; and
  • Leftist policies of inclusion, tolerance and multiculturalism are remarkably poorly unsuited to winning wars.5

The emphasis of last night’s Democratic debate was changed to national security following the Friday the Thirteenth attacks,6 a subject on which none of the Democrats was either well-prepared to debate or would be well-suited to lead if ever elected President. None of them can be counted on to lead us through a fight, because, in their hearts, none of them are willing to fight, at least not against anybody other than Republicans. None of them can be counted on to lead us through a fight because, in their hearts, none of them really believe that the United States is actually right, none of them believe that the United States is an exceptional nation, none of them believe that our American and Christian culture is better than others, and none of them truly understand that some of our enemies don’t accept any notions other than conquest and victory.
Cross-posted, in slightly different form, on RedState.

  1. The Associated Press report that “An employee at Greece’s Ministry of Citizen Protection says Greek police have sent the fingerprints of the owner of the Syrian passport found at one of Friday’s attacks in Paris to French police. Police are trying to see if they match those of the assailant whose body was found nearby — or any other person known to police. The agency said the person who owned the passport came into the European Union through the Greek island of Leros on October 3” was time stamped at 8:40 PM, before the Democratic debate started. It is possible that the debaters were not aware of this report before the debate started, but anyone with any sense of caution would not have made the statement Mrs Clinton made without having all of the facts.
  2. Former Senator James Webb (D-VA), the only Democratic presidential candidate who made even the slightest bit of sense, has dropped out.
  3. The Wehrmacht included the Army (Heer), Navy (Kriegsmarine) and Air Force (Luftwaffe).
  4. Your Editor is not particularly fond of the initials ISIS, and the reduction to just IS, for Islamic State, seems even worse. Da’ish is an acronym for the Arabic al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, according to the BBC, the group “objects to the term and has advised against its usage,” and therefore, I shall use it. The Editor shall not edit comments using other commonly-used terms, but the use of Da’ish is now the accepted form in The First Street Journal’s stylebook.
  5. See my four part series, Can We Win Wars Today, from back in 2006: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
  6. Bernie Sanders campaign was reported to have objected to the change. Senator Sanders applied for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam war. His application was eventually rejected, but by that time Mr Sanders was too old to be drafted.

Rule 5 Blogging: Vive la France!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Charlotte di Calypso in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week, the military women of France. After the Friday the Thirteenth massacre, some of them just might have to fight against Da’ish.

Training in marksmanship. Both of my daughters have scored as sharpshooters!

Training in marksmanship. Both of my daughters have scored as sharpshooters!

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Vive la France!’ »

From Around the Blogroll The Paris terrorist attacks edition

From The Wall Street Journal:

Paris Attacks Make National Security Top Issue in U.S. Presidential Race

Democratic Candidates Set to Debate Saturday Night; Republicans Call for More Aggressive Approach to ISIS

By Colleen McCain Nelson and Beth Reinhard | Novmber 14, 2015 3:28 p.m. ET

DES MOINES, Iowa—National security issues moved to center stage in the race for the White House, as Democratic candidates prepared to weigh in on the Paris terrorist attacks in a debate Saturday and GOP contenders called for new strategies in the battle against Islamic State.

The Paris assaults quickly shifted the 2016 political debate, opening up new GOP lines of attack on the Obama administration and highlighting key differences among the Democratic candidates’ views on foreign policy.

In Iowa, the attacks scrambled plans for the second Democratic presidential debate, forcing a new focus on national security questions when the candidates face off Saturday night.

After a bloody siege left at least 129 people dead in the French capital, CBS News quickly altered its game plan for the debate, with moderators rewriting the script and crafting new queries focused on terrorism and U.S. leadership on the global stage.

Christopher Isham, CBS News vice president and Washington bureau chief, said he was in the middle of a debate rehearsal Friday when reports of the Paris attacks first emerged.

And further down:

Real-estate mogul Donald Trump seized on President Obama’s interview Thursday with ABC News—before the attacks—in which he described “making sure that ISIL continues to shrink in its scope of operations until it no longer poses the threat that it does.”

“President Obama said ‘ISIL continues to shrink’ in an interview just hours before the horrible attack in Paris. He is just so bad! CHANGE,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter Friday night. “We need much tougher, much smarter leadership – and we need it now.” .  .  .

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for consulting with NATO allies and abandoning any plans to resettle Middle East refugees “who might have been infiltrated by ISIS” in the U.S.

“We must make it crystal clear that affiliation with ISIS and related terrorist groups brings with it the undying enmity of America – that is, in effect, signing your own death warrant,” he said in a written statement.

Think back to a couple of days ago, when the Administration was taking credit for killing “Jihadi John,” proudly letting us know that we knocked off one bad guy — along with the few other occupants of the vehicle in which he was traveling — and how empty that looks next to ten dozen and more innocent people killed in France by the Islamists.

Da’ish claimed credit for the Paris attacks,1 though how much direct involvement they had has not yet been disclosed, if Western governments even know yet. But one thing is certain: in both the United States and democratic Europe, the public will tell the political leadership, loudly, that accepting Middle eastern refugees is the wrong thing to do. The Europeans will demand not only that their governments allow in no more Middle Eastern, primarily Syrian, refugees, but that they send back the ones who have already made it to Europe. Americans will protest against President Obama’s cockamamie plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to settle in the United States.2 The President agreed to sign the FY2016 Defense bill, despite the fact that it prohibits closing the prison for terrorists at Guantanamo, in part because it passed with overwhelming Democratic support. The Wall Street Journal noted that this means that the President will try to ignore the Congress’ will and release all of the terrorists by executive authority alone.

It doesn’t matter what the Congress says, or what the public want: Barack Hussein Obama will do everything in his power to weaken the United States and subject our people to more and more risk every last day of his presidency. And I’ll say it directly: if you voted for that idiot, you are just as responsible as he is for his actions!

Really, every blog, conservative or liberal, has something on the Paris attacks. But this is the kind of silliness we can expect from the left:

Can you imagine if today’s left were in charge during World War II? We’d never have dropped a single bomb on the Third Reich or the Empire of Japan, because innocent children might have been killed. We’d have lost those wars if today’s left were in charge.

  1. Your Editor is not particularly fond of the initials ISIS, and the reduction to just IS, for Islamic State, seems even worse. Da’ish is an acronym for the Arabic al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, and, according to the BBC, the group “objects to the term and has advised against its usage.” Therefore, I shall use it! The Editor shall not edit comments using other commonly-used terms, but the use of Da’ish is now the accepted form in The First Street Journal’s stylebook.
  2. In an amusingly timed press release, just a day before the Paris attacks, Human Rights First called for the United States to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees.

Top 10 Rock Songs of all time

Top 10 Rock Songs of all time

1. Sweet Emotion (Live) – Aerosmith
2. Everybody Wants Some! – Van Halen
3. Midnight Rambler (Live) – Rolling Stones
4. Smokin’ in the Boys Room – Motley Crue
5. Flirting With Disaster – Molly Hatchet
6. Heavy Metal – Sammy Hagar
7. Dragula – Rob Zombie
8. Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue
9. Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players
10. Great White Buffalo (Live) – Ted Nugent