Monday, November 23, 2015

Looks like Trump was right

Or at least not wrong.

He stirred up a hornets' nest by saying that people in New Jersey celebrated right after 9/11. People in the media -- including conservative media outlets -- have roundly criticized him and flatly contradicted him, claiming that no one in New Jersey celebrated 9/11. WaPo's fact checker claimed that The Donald just made this up.

It turns out that Glen Kessler doesn't read the newspaper he works for. According to a Washington Post story on September 18, 2001, In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.

Trump said he saw "thousands" of people in Jersey celebrating 9/11 on the news. I doubt that. But the hysterical reaction from the media that no one -- NO ONE!! -- was celebrating is likewise false. And self-defeating. It does no good to answer an intense exaggeration based on facts with an equally intense exaggeration that contradicts the facts. All that does is make the original exaggerator look legitimate; after all, he used facts.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This is What Happens When You Address the Symptoms Instead of the Cause

Since Obamacare first passed in 2010, I have said that its focus on expanding coverage rather than reducing costs is akin to treating pneumonia with cough medicine instead of antibiotics. While it's true that pneumonia causes people to cough a lot, the coughing itself is caused by the pneumococcus bacteria. If a doctor identified the real problem as the patient's cough, rather than the bacteria causing the cough, her prescribed treatments would be ineffective, and potentially fatal.

Similarly, Obamacare's architects' identification of the health insurance "coverage gap" as the problem has proven similarly ineffective. (The cost of insurance in general continues to explode, but in the exchanges set up by Obamacare, millions of now-nominally insured people can't afford to use the insurance they're officially "covered" by because it's so expensive.) It may also prove fatal.

UnitedHealthcare, America's largest insurer, has officially given notice that it's seriously considering pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges altogether, because the poorly conceived system is just too damn expensive.
UnitedHealth Group’s chief executive, Stephen J. Hemsley, said ... it is pulling back on marketing its exchange products, as open enrollment is currently under way for plans that will take effect in 2016. And the insurer said it is “evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.” UnitedHealth had previously expanded its exchange offerings to 11 new states for 2016, and said in October it had around 550,000 people enrolled.
Tens of millions of people didn't have insurance largely because it was too expensive for them. Focusing on reforms that bring the cost of health care down (including treating health insurance like actual insurance, meaning pooled risk funds used only to cover catastrophic costs, rather than a general third-party payment system) would make insurance less expensive, which would entice people to buy it. Thus, the coverage problem would be solved naturally, using the same market forces that closed the "automobile coverage gap", the "cell phone coverage gap", or the "TV coverage gap" (cars, cell phones, and TVs being, of course, items that were once luxuries but which are now ubiquitous, even among the poor -- all without coverage mandates or government assistance).

Instead, we have a system that not only doesn't address the actual cause of the problems it was ostensibly designed to fix, but actually makes those problems worse.

Because this is government and not the market, though, true reformers now have to face both the inertia inherent to any existing policy and the entrenched special interests who have a stake (financial, ideological, or both) in Obamacare remaining the way it is.

Ain't politics grand?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

This is an Idea I Can Get Behind

Milo Yiannopoulos has a fabulous idea that allows the people calling for the US to take in thousands of Syrian refugees to give their compassion a tangible outlet: crowdfunding homes for refugees in the Liberal enclaves where they live.
Bleeding-heart liberals in the media keep telling us we should open our hearts to these poor souls. So let’s do it. These facilities will collectively be called Milo’s Home for Wayward Jihadis. We will include all the creature comforts of home, such as a halal kitchen, a basement shooting range and living quarters equipped with a variety of whips, bats and ropes with which our young bucks can subdue local white girls.

The great thing is we won’t need to struggle to find the appropriate locations to house our Yiannopoulos urban warfare achievers: just listen for where liberals are crying loudest for them to be let into America. I say charity starts at home–their homes, specifically.

Surely Rachel Maddow, Sally Kohn and other Mother Gaia figures from the American political Left will jump at the chance to inject some vibrant multiculturalism into their local communities? Just don’t let the kids out after dark unsupervised, obviously. Those western school uniforms can be unacceptably suggestive.
He then goes on to list several places where Milo's Home would be a perfect fit:
We might need several Milo’s Homes in Manhattan, of course, so our naughty boys can visit the UN whenever necessary, and maybe Brooklyn, where the hipsters live. ...

California has several likely spots, including Bel Air and Beverly Hills, from which celebrities love to call for an influx of refugees but never seem to have space in their own mansions. Meanwhile, San Francisco can surely take a few hundred thousand new residents, though they may need to rename Haight-Ashbury to Hate-Ashbury. ...

I’d suggest placing a Milo’s Home in Hillary Clinton’s town, but she seems to move “home” every time she runs for office and we can’t afford to move facilities that often.
Sounds like a great idea, to me.

Common Sense Advice from ... Mother Jones?

Mother Jones has a great article by Kevin Drum about why it's suicidally stupid for Dems to mock the GOP for wanting to stop letting Syrian refugees into America after the Paris attacks.
Here's the thing: to the average person, it seems perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of admitting Syrian refugees to the country. ... So to them it doesn't seem xenophobic or crazy to call for an end to accepting Syrian refugees. It seems like simple common sense. After all, things changed after Paris. Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. ... It validates all the worst stereotypes about liberals that we put political correctness ahead of national security. It doesn't matter if that's right or wrong. Ordinary people see the refugees as a common sense thing to be concerned about. We shouldn't respond by essentially calling them idiots. That way lies electoral disaster.
Clear thinking and common sense from one of the Leftiest of all Lefty magazines? I suppose miracles will never cease. I looked out my window, just to make sure the Four Horsemen weren't riding through the sky; it was all clear.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Liberals LOVE to Patronize Muslims

I often see accounts of Liberals indignant about one person explaining things to another person in a way that's patronizing. (Take what they call "Mansplaining", for example.) The irony, of course, is that Liberals are some of the worst offenders of this. Their interactions with violent Muslim extremists are a case in point.

After horrific acts like the ISIS massacre in Paris, Liberals rush in to proclaim that the one thing radical Islamic terrorism is not about is Islam. "Islam is a religion of peace," we hear these folks say. "This isn't real Islam!"

Except that the members of ISIS -- and the tens of millions of Muslims around the world who support them -- are very clear that Islam is precisely what they are about.

If this were, say, white conservatives using the words of black leaders like Fredrick Douglass or Martin Luther King, Jr. to explain to Black Lives Matter why their actions aren't really in solidarity with the aims of black Americans, Liberals would lose their collective shit over how wildly patronizing (and, they would likely add, bigoted) this was.

For some reason, though, Liberals seem 100% unaware that they do the same thing. A lot.

The result, as one person has hilariously observed, absurdly resembles a Monty Python skit.

UPDATE: Here's another similarly hilarious summary of Lefties' patronizing attitudes towards ISIS:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Are the Mizzou/Yale protests the best thing to happen to the GOP this year?

The Dems' base is in love with the protesters, so Democratic candidates can't afford to put too much daylight between them and the radicals, let alone disavow them.  But most people -- including many Liberals, methinks -- are disgusted by the protesters, whose claims to be uniquely oppressed and marginalized are belied by the attention they're getting and the swift action their protests have led to.

But the Dems are in a real bind here. Because they have gone all-in for the "coalition of the ascendant" (which only turns out in presidential elections, apparently), they have effectively nationalized their elections, drastically reducing their flexibility to deal with local issues in local ways.  They can't inspire blacks and hispanics to vote by catering to the needs of working class whites, for example, so they increasingly just don't cater to the needs of people outside their base.

But, as Sean Trende has noted, the Obama coalition that the Dems are banking on to bring them a lasting majority isn't a very wide coalition; it's just very deep.  That means they have to boost turnout to ever higher levels, because they're increasingly unable to reach outside their base for support.  Instead of being a springboard, though, this focus on the "coalition of the ascendant" looks more and more like an anchor, weighing Democrats down and reducing their mobility.

Because of this, the GOP looks like it will have the "These college protesters are delusional" vote all to themselves going forward.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton's glass jaw

There are many people who see Hillary making history in 2016 in the same way Obama did in 2008: the first of their kind in the Oval Office (Hillary as a woman, Obama as an African-American). The people who make this prediction see it as inevitable, especially given how Hillary can wrangle enough of the enthusiasm that propelled Obama to propel her to the White House.

I am not among these people. In fact, I see Hillary's overt allusion to her gender as one of her largest vulnerabilities.

A large part of Obama's appeal was his race. Black voters wanted to elect a fellow black person to make history; white voters wanted to elect a black person to prove they aren't racist (and, to a lesser extent, to make history). The Obama campaign knew this, and they exploited it deftly. What they didn't do, however, was state it outright. Obama never said, "Vote for me because I'm black." When asked what his qualifications were, he never listed his race. He let the reality of his race be in the background, something everyone knew and no one had to state. This made it powerful.

Hillary Clinton, being both significantly less politically savvy and more politically ham-fisted than Obama, has repeatedly stated outright that what qualifies her to be president is her gender, and that her gender is a sufficient reason for people to vote for her.

This, to put it mildly, is a huge problem for her campaign. And we are beginning to see event committed Lefties see aspects of that.

At the most recent Democratic debate, Hillary justified the shameless millions in Wall Street cash that she's raked in by citing 9/11 and citing her gender, and even Slate -- SLATE!! -- was weirded out by it.

Assuming the GOP has a competent nominee, they will be able to absolutely clobber Hillary for doing this. She has very little to run on, so her unofficial campaign slogan (and response to most probing questions) is effectively, "Because I have a vagina."

Talk about uninspiring.