Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits – Bloomberg

Source: Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits – Bloomberg

 

I chose not to argue that Obamacare was going to collapse and be repealed in its entirety, but rather, that Obamacare would not, and could not, be the program that had been promised or intended. It had already failed to deliver on key promises for coverage, affordability and of course, the infamous promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It was also dangerously unstable, requiring steady executive intervention just to keep the program from collapsing. I argued that these executive interventions, enthusiastically supported by the law’s proponents, were setting a precedent that would eventually be used against it. Worried that health care was too hostage to the vicissitudes of the markets, Democrats had instead made it the prisoner of politics.

“Essentially they’ve made it so that Republicans can undo two-thirds of this law with a stroke of the presidential pen,” I said at the close of my opening statement. “Obamacare is now beyond rescue. The administration has destroyed their own law in order to save it.” Four years later, we are watching those dominos fall.

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Remember how we ended up with the particular version of Obamacare that became law. Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate, and a growing sense that they were on the verge of a second New Deal. They thought they didn’t need Republicans, and they thought they couldn’t get Republicans, so they made little effort to involve Republicans in drafting, beyond offering token concessions to a handful of liberal Republicans who might have made nice bipartisan window-dressing at the signing ceremony. Republicans, predictably, spent a year talking down the bill, and by the time it was nearing passage, a majority of the public opposed it.

Then Massachusetts — Massachusetts! — sent Republican Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, a phenomenon that was widely (and in my view correctly) put down to a desire to block Obamacare. Rather than saying “if we’ve lost Massachusetts, we’ve lost America,” Democrats rushed a draft version of the bill into law through a parliamentary procedure that obviated the need for Brown’s vote.

This draft bill, unsurprisingly, had problems. It also overhauled almost a fifth of the economy. It also had the implacable hostility of the opposition, and a public that was pretty angry at politicians for passing it. By the end of the year, Democrats had lost control of Congress, and with it, any hope of making all the changes they’d fantasized after they passed the bill and found out what was (and wasn’t) in it.

That put Obama in the nasty situation of presiding over a program that couldn’t work as written, and couldn’t be legislatively altered. So he proceeded with the only avenue open to him: dubious executive measures that temporarily shored up the program, but weakened even further the slim foundation of political legitimacy that held it up. And here we are seven years later, watching as one by one, those supports sway or snap.

And thanks in part to the voter revolt that Obamacare triggered, those powers have now been handed over to a president who doesn’t simply take political legitimacy for granted, but seems actively hostile to it. The scramble to pass and sustain Obama’s signature initiative may have badly hurt the cause: to make the health-care system fairer, broader and more efficient.

If Obamacare dies now, in this way, the country will be worse off than if it had never passed. And I’m not just talking about the growing notion among both parties that the idea of elections is to get into power and exercise whatever power you can, by whatever means you can get away with, until voters take your toys away again.

In the worst-case scenario, large swathes of the country will have “bare” individual markets where everyone will be magnificently equal in their inability to purchase insurance. And the memory of Obamacare staggering onward for years, down a trail of broken promises and underwhelming results, will make voters reluctant to trust any politician who suggests that we embark on another such journey.

Is Obamacare beyond rescue? If not, it could certainly use some. And at this point, it’s hard to see who is going to swoop in to save the day.

Guns and Alcohol

Someone dared to compare alcohol deaths and other harms with those from guns.

 

Clayton Cramer proposes some “reasonable” alcohol restrictions, based on what the gun control crowd considers “reasonable” restrictions on guns:

1. Mandatory background checks for every alcohol purchase. Felons, DUI convicts, and domestic violence misdemeanants prohibited.

2. One six-pack or one bottle of wine per day. Who needs more than that?

3. Distilled spirits have no legitimate need in a polite society. Everyone knows high alcohol percentages are part of the problem. Completely ban them.

4. Mandatory serial numbers on every alcoholic beverage container so that when teenagers are arrested, we can track it back to the retail customer.

5. Every vendor will keep records for 20 years of all beverages.

6. Brewers and distillers will be held liable for every violent crime or traffic accident caused by their product.

7. You cannot buy distilled liquor outside your state of residence.

Just like you want for guns! 1, 4, 5, and 7 are current federal gun law. 2, 3, and 6 are the alcohol equivalent of what the control movement wants.

 

 

ABC News Chief Political Analyst Caught Pushing Fake Terrorism Claim | Homeland Security

Source: ABC News Chief Political Analyst Caught Pushing Fake Terrorism Claim | Homeland Security

This claim, that more were killed in the Las Vegas shooting last week than by Islamic terrorists over the past decade, is flatly untrue, as I’ll show you in a minute.

{….}

In fact, it is Dowd who is factually challenged. As New America documents, Islamic terrorists have killed nearly 100 people in the U.S. since 9/11, most of those within the past decade:

{….}

The number of deaths at the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre by self-avowed ISIS devotee Omar Mateen in June 2016 was 49.

Another 14 were killed by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik at a San Bernardino office Christmas party in December 2015.

The fatalities from just those two Islamic terror attacks (63) within the past two years are more than the victims of last week’s massacre in Las Vegas (59).

There’s just no way to spin Dowd’s claim for it to remotely be true.

{….}

As I’ve noted repeatedly, the media cartel keeps getting basic facts wrong about Islamic terrorism in America. In August, CBS News host Norah O’Donnell was pushing vastly inflated terrorism stats to falsely claim that so-called “right wing” terrorism was more deadly than Islamic terrorism…

{….}

As I noted, the highly suspect terrorism database O’Donnell cited includes Neo-Nazis killing pedophiles in prison:

None of these cases actually involved terrorism charges. Neither did many others in the GAO dataset.

But there was something more peculiar about O’Donnell’s claim.

Even the inflated GAO dataset admitted that Islamic terrorists had killed more than so-called “right wing” domestic terrorists, as their own graphic showed:

So how did she conclude that “right wing” terrorism was deadlier than Islamic terrorism? Not by counting the actual number of fatalities — but by counting the number of “incidents.”

It seems Down now says he meant “casualties” not “deaths”, even though he said “deaths”.

If someone comes up with a casualty count that disproves that, maybe he’ll declare that he meant casualties on Sundays.

 

 

 

The true secret of the NRA’s success | New York Post

Source: The true secret of the NRA’s success | New York Post

<blockquote>In the wake of the horror in Las Vegas this week, countless politicians, journalists and commentators are insisting that the National Rifle Association has a “stranglehold” on the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton claimed that the GOP-controlled Congress simply does “whatever they are told to do” by the NRA and the gun lobby.

{….}

The New York Times listed total NRA donations to certain GOP politicians alongside their statements offering condolences and prayers for the victims in Las Vegas. And the op-ed pages have been suffused with claims that the NRA has bought Republicans with blood money, stifling the popular will and thwarting democracy in the process.

There’s just one problem: It’s not true.

Oh, it’s certainly the case that the NRA and related groups have given a good amount of money to Republican politicians (and quite a few Democrats) over the years. But in the grubby bazaar of politician-buying, the NRA is a bit player.

Consider that $3.5 million in donations over nearly 20 years the Washington Post made such a fuss about. According to Opensecrets.org, the legal profession contributed $207 million to politicians in 2016 alone. Fahr LLC, the outfit that oversees the political and philanthropic efforts of billionaire anti-global-warming activist Ton Steyer, gave $90 million (all to Democrats) in 2016.

{….}

Some people, even when they know these numbers, still can’t let go of the idea that opposition to gun control is bought and paid for.

Tim Mullaney, a writer for Marketwatch, wrote a richly detailed essay in which he chronicled just how minuscule the NRA’s financial support is — and how small the entire gun industry is — and yet he still concluded it has to be about the money. He writes that “it’s shocking when you realize that it costs only $2,500 per each of the 22,000 or so gun-murder victims of the last election cycle to make Congress cower and refuse to tighten gun rules.”

Part of the problem, I think, is that people who hate guns and gun rights cannot believe that people disagree with them in good faith. There must be evil motives, chiefly greed, that explain everything.

The simple reality is that the NRA doesn’t need to spend a lot of money convincing politicians to protect gun rights. All it needs to do is spend a little money clarifying that a great many of those politicians’ constituents care deeply about gun rights.

{….}

Politicians may be craven (it’s often the safest assumption), but their priority is winning elections. Money-grubbing is a means to that end. And so is vote-grubbing. Maybe some politicians secretly favor stricter controls on guns. But what keeps them from pursuing such restrictions isn’t cash from the NRA; it’s votes from their passionate constituents.

In other words, don’t follow the money, follow the votes.</blockquote>

 

Black Lives Matter Students Shut Down the ACLU’s Campus Free Speech Event Because ‘Liberalism Is White Supremacy’ – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Black Lives Matter Students Shut Down the ACLU’s Campus Free Speech Event Because ‘Liberalism Is White Supremacy’ – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Students affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement crashed an event at the College of William & Mary, rushed the stage, and prevented the invited guest—the American Civil Liberties Union’s Claire Gastañaga, a W & M alum—from speaking.

Ironically, Gastañaga had intended to speak on the subject, “Students and the First Amendment.”

And I’m all out of popcorn…

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – The Washington Post

Source: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – The Washington Post

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

How Could Anyone Deny the Need for Tougher and More Stringently Enforced Gun Laws in the Wake of the Vegas Slaughter? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Source: How Could Anyone Deny the Need for Tougher and More Stringently Enforced Gun Laws in the Wake of the Vegas Slaughter? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

To resist an instant call to more or tougher gun laws or enforcement in the wake of terrors like Vegas, you need to understand it is not only that existing laws and regulations will not reliably prevent such crimes as long as guns exist. All the new or expanded national gun control laws advocated as sensible and necessary would have had no effect on horrible crimes such as occurred in Las Vegas last night, even if perfectly enforced, as Jacob Sullum explained atReason earlier today. (Nor, it seems to me, would wider skilled civilian possession of guns likely done much good in this particular scenario. Hard as it is to admit, some tragedies are not meaningfully preventable.)

With that understood, the only relevant legal response to nightmares like Las Vegas is a total ban and confiscation of at least types of weapons, as The New York Times argued in a rare front page editorial against what they consider “assault rifles” in December 2015 after the Orlando nightclub massacre.

[….]

Nevada’s figures, though, show an unusually large number of gun murders where the type of gun used is unknown. But if you presume the ratio of handgun to rifle murders is similar for known and unknown gun type, you should add 20 more rifle murders, for a total of 24 in the three-year period. That larger number represents 4 percent of total murders in Nevada over that three-year period. For some context, killers used hands or fists to murder 25 times during that same period.

With its “lax” gun laws, Nevada saw 67 percent of its murders committed with a gun last year. That is one percentage point lower than the 68 percent for the country as a whole in 2016.

Reluctance to call for more gun laws also requires believing that some individuals are bizarre and horrific outliers who can and do horrible things. But noticing how rare are such events, despite the millions of rifles out there, might give one pause when imagining a national legal solution to such bizarre individual crimes.

Guns or rifles are not the only tools that allow an evil maniac to cause so much harm, as the driver of the truck that produced 84 casualties in 2016 in Nice, France shows. We normally recognize using an existing tool to cause harm is insufficient reason to ban the tool. And recall, too, legal solutions short of bans are largely irrelevant to these sorts of crimes.