Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Two hundred and four new Obamacare waivers were issued by the Obama Administration last month, for a grand total of more than thirteen hundred waivers.  Of those 204, thirty-eight - nearly twenty percent - went to Nancy Pelosi's home district, namely to high-end establishments like TRU Spa - the "best day spa in San Francisco" -  posh restaurants boasting $50+ entrees, luxury hotels and nightclubs.  These latest waiver recipients join quite a long list of previous waiver winners, a majority of which seem to be comprised predominantly of labor unions and democrat supporters (but I repeat myself). 

This is bad optics on two levels.  First, it once again illustrates how deeply the corruption and cronyism goes in this administration.  Considering we are entering what is sure to be a contentious election cycle, exempting businesses in her district make it look like Pelosi is doing favors in return for local support.  Whether that assertion is true or not is moot - perception is reality, and this looks really bad.  You can rest assured, though, that conservatives will be watching those businesses during the election cycle to see what level of financial support they offer her campaign.  There will also most likely be increased scrutiny (and lots of google mapping) of waiver winners to find other potentially advantageous groupings elsewhere.

Second, it illustrates what a mess the healthcare legislation really is - it was supposed to bring down costs and provide access to coverage for everyone but instead costs have continued to rise and people who currently have insurance now find it threatened.  Even staunch supporters are looking for an escape hatch.

Pelosi's response is that criticism of the waivers is "pathetic" (please note the usual Alinskyesque derision):

"It is pathetic that there are those who would be cheering for Americans to lose their minimum health coverage or see their premiums increase for political purposes. These waivers are reviewed and granted solely by the Administration in an open and transparent process so workers currently enrolled in 'mini-med' policies like those in San Francisco and across the country will not be punished and lose the minimum coverage they already have. These waivers will be eliminated in 2014 when Americans will have an opportunity to shop for affordable coverage on the health exchanges and will no longer be at the mercy of insurance companies placing coverage limits on policies.

The complaints coming from this crowd that supports ending Medicare is just another example of putting politics first."

What is really pathetic is her spin on this issue.  It almost sounds like she is slamming her own legislation - "It is pathetic that there are those who would be cheering for Americans to lose their minimum health coverage or see their premiums increase for political purposes."  That line could also be used to describe the jubilation with which she celebrated the passage of that horrible bill.  Her attempt to make her critics look bad in reality only makes her signature piece of legislation look like what it is - an over-reaching, unsustainable jumble of crippling regulations that is so bad that it requires exemption.  Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said the waivers constitute:

..."tacit admission that the health care law is fundamentally flawed."
"Despite the president's promise, it appears that just because you like your health care plan does not mean that the administration will allow you to keep it," Upton said.

And to think this 'historically bad legislation' is the thing in which this administration is most proud.  Now that's pathetic.

Many of the groups that received waivers were some of the biggest, most vocal supporters of the legislation - particularly the labor unions.  The fact that they are now getting waivers is no surprise, however.  After all, they already got one heck of a concession before the bill was ever even passed.  This was after a failed attempt to exempt them from the law altogether.  But fear not, union cronies - this administration is adept at making end runs around things they find inconvenient.  Since they couldn't exempt them directly in the legislation, they will simply hand out waivers instead.  That waivers are now being given at this level begs the question, who really is yoked to this harness?  So far, it seems only those opposed to the law are being forced to comply - almost like a punishment. 

The waivers are for only one year! supporters will cry.  But congress just loooooves to extend things, like debt ceilings, the Patriot Act, and Pelosi's personal favorite, continuing resolutions - CRs must be her favorite, since she seemed to prefer them to passing an actual budget last year.  This desire to continue things ad infinitum is evident in their deep and abiding affection for tenure (or is perhaps an explanation for it).  The waivers are only available in yearly increments until 2014, but, if past experience is any indication, that date, too, will be extended.

What is becoming more and more evident is that under the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate, there are two laws of the land - one for the average Joe, and another for the administration and their supporters. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Well, it's now been two days since Osama bin Laden was sent off to meet his 72 virgins, which, of course, means the politicization is really racheting up.  Democrats are, naturally, trying to give the credit to President Obama.  Republicans are reminding them that without the interrogation policies set up under President Bush, none of this would have happened.  Quite a tug of war, and each side has a point.

The Washington bubble is a remarkable thing, isn't it?  You'd almost think Obama fast-roped himself out of the chopper and double-tapped Osama personally - after GWB ushered him personally into the compound. 

No, the real heroes responsible for this awesome get are the nameless, faceless men and women of our intelligence and military forces.  Bush gave the order to collect and disseminate intelligence, and Obama gave the order to go into Abbottabad.  But everything else that has happened over the course of the past 4-6 years, particularly what happened in that compound, was due entirely to career intelligence and military personnel.  Period.

This isn't a victory for Obama or the democrats, and it isn't a victory for Bush and republicans.  It's a victory for the American people.  It was our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, who put together the information, geared up and went in to do what needed to be done. 

It's all well and good that our Commanders-in-Chief gave some orders, but words aren't what got it done.  Deeds are, and those deeds were done by Navy SEALs and CIA intelligence officers.

To those fine men and women, I offer my deepest, most heartfelt thanks and gratitude.  Without their tireless, non-partisan efforts over a period of several years, we wouldn't be out in the streets shouting our relief to the heavens.  Aside from a few college students in front of the White House Sunday night who were chanting "Four more years", the majority of Americans were chanting "U-S-A!" because it was a victory for all of us.  This jockeying for credit in DC is an embarrassment.  True heroes decline to take credit for the deeds they've done, or at the very least attempt to spread the accolades around. 

But then, why in the world would I expect heroic behavior from the denizens of DC?  Silly me.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Osama bin Laden is dead.  God bless America and our fantastic fighting men and women!  According to reports, a Navy SEAL team got him (GO NAVY!!), one of his sons, and Osama's youngest wife who, in the tradition of cowardly terrorists everywhere, was used as a human shield.   

Interestingly, bin Laden was found at a massive fortress deep in Pakistan.  Apparently, he was in a million dollar complex complete with 18 foot tall, barbed-wire topped walls in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  If the Pakistani government didn't know he was there, I'll eat my hat, since Abbottabad is an affluent suburb about 35 miles outside of Pakistan's capitol of Islamabad.  On top of that, the compound was a few hundred yards from a Pakistani military training center.  Go figure.  Some of the questions we will be demanding answers to in the coming days will certainly include a few on who in the Pakistani government knew what and when. 

There were parties going on last night in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at the campuses of both West Point and Annapolis.  One would imagine the Annapolis celebration will be going on for quite a while - the Navy certainly has a prize scalp to bolster morale and they will surely be revelling in it.

Reports are still conflicting, but what seems to be coming clear is that this victory is going to bring up some hard truths that some on the left might not like.  Most importantly, much of the intelligence that got us this victory started out, four years ago, as information received from Gitmo detainees at the hands of interrogators.  It will be interesting to see how that narrative develops in the coming weeks.  Hopefully those practices will be seen as the necessary evil that they are now that they have been instrumental in bringing Public Enemy #1 to justice. 

This victory has many fathers - most notably the CIA and SEAL Team Six, who developed the intel and kept their eyes on the prize.  The lion's share of credit goes to them, along with the thanks of a grateful nation.  Credit should also be given to both the Obama administration for making the call to go into Pakistan (quite a risky call, to be sure - kudos, Mr. President) and the Bush administration for extracting the initial information four years ago that put us on the path to Abbottabad in the first place.

The joyous crowds filling the streets of NYC and Washington DC last night were just the beginning.  As people wake up to the news today, there are sure to be many more celebrations across the country.  This event has come at a time when we desperately needed unity.  The divisiveness of the political scene and the economic fears gripping the nation will be put aside, at least for today, so that we can celebrate this major victory and remember that we're all in it together.  This surge of pride in America is a welcome thing, and something that hopefully will not fade away any time soon.

In five months, we will be observing the 10th anniversary of September 11th.  While the observances will be solemn, they will have a new undercurrent this year.  We the people have gotten a certain measure of closure with the death of bin Laden.  Will it take away the pain inflicted on 9/11?  No, but it sure does go far towards banishing that helpless feeling many Americans have felt for the past nine years.  Perhaps now the real healing can begin.

This isn't the end of this conflict by any means, but this is a watershed moment for sure.  There will be much to discuss in the coming weeks as more information comes out.  There will surely be controversy over bin Laden's burial at sea - a necessary thing, in my opinion, which will keep his tomb from becoming a pilgrimage site for future jihadis - and the role Pakistani officials may have played in keeping his whereabouts secret, but for now, let's just savor the flavor of sweet, sweet victory.  Democrats, independents and republicans will put aside their differences today and celebrate this great triumph against an evil man.

God bless America!

UPDATE:  HotAir has a great roundup of last night's celebrations.

UPDATE II:  Initial reports had a police station near the OBL compound; turns out it is the Pakistani version of West Point instead.  I've changed it in the post.

UPDATE III:  Questions already arising from the burial at sea, as expected.  Imams are claiming it wasn't a sufficient burial, others are saying the body should have been brought back here.  Why?  To display it like a trophy - perhaps mount his head on a spike atop the ever-growing Freedom Tower?  Burial at sea ensures no shrine to the martyr's tomb.  As it is, one will most likely crop up in Abbottabad.  They should release the pictures, though, for sure - gore and all.  The wound can be blurred to make it more palatable.    DNA tests might prove there's a 99.9% chance it's him, but I, for one, want to see him with my own eyes.  And from the spontaneous outbursts of joyful patriotism breaking out all over the country, I don't think I'm alone.