Hat Tip: Brandi Hawkins
Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.
You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.
To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.
It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?
So, let’s see what we have for you this week…
- Simply Jews – About the recalcitrance of Israeli public and the role of the media
- The Noisy Room – Allah in the Classroom — the ABC’s of Forced Conversion
- The Independent Sentinel – Islamic fundamentalists successfully infiltrating social studies and history texts
- Joshuapundit – A Murder In Jerusalem… And What To Do About It
- The Right Planet – Hezbollah Expanding Its Network in Latin America – Terrorist Captured with Explosives in Peru
- Rhymes With Right – Texas Democrats Follow National Party’s Lead, Shamelessly Engage In Racist Fearmongering
- The Razor – On The Writings of Julius Caesar
- VA Right! – I’m Done Shopping at Pro-Muslim Home Depot. Read This and You Will Be Too.
- GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Knife Fights
- Bookworm Room – With Ebola, three strands in American culture — entitlement, accommodation, and Prius syndrome — all come together
- Nice Deb – Boots On The Ground: Former US Soldiers Join Kurds in Fight Against ISIS (Video)
- The Glittering Eye – Negative Campaign Advertising Is Working
- Seraphic Secret – Obama Was Warned About ISIS — Did Nothing — Then Lied
- David Gerstman/Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion – Why vote for Democrats?
- The Pirate’s Cove – Here We Go: Washington Post Upset That Senate Will Be Most Unrepresentative Since WWII
- Texas Scribbler – Lurch and his magic hat submitted by Simply Jews
- Sultan Knish – Why Obama Hates Netanyahu submitted by The Noisy Room
- Ed Rogers/WAPO – Will the White House learn any lessons from Campaign 2014? submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- Lee Smith/Weekly Standard – Ditching Israel, Embracing Iran submitted by Joshuapundit
- Investigative Project On Terrorism – IPT Exclusive: Qatar’s Insidious Influence on the Brookings Institution submitted by The Right Planet
- PowerLine – Democrats Racebait Across The South submitted by Rhymes with Right
- Gavin McInnes/Taki’s Magazine – Canada On its Knees submitted by The Razor
- Gatestone Institute – Who is the Real Chickenshit? submitted by VA Right!
- Elliot Abrams/Pressure Points – U.S. Policy, Viewed From the Middle East submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- John O’Sullivan/Wall Street Journal – No Offense: The New Threats to Free Speech submitted by Bookworm Room
- Kevin D. Williamson/NRO – Pathetic Privilege submitted by Nice Deb
- Sic Semper Tyrannis – Chlorine Bombings, Ghouta, Atrocity Propaganda and False Narratives by CP submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Peggy Noonan/WSJ – How to Lose, and Win, Graciously submitted by The Watcher
- Andrew Roberts/Commentary – Bret Stephens’s Warning submitted by The Watcher
By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media
As repeatedly outlined by Accuracy in Media, the failures of Obamacare have become so egregious that even The New York Times had to admit that this legislation’s customers are sometimes unable to pay their deductibles, and therefore unable to visit the doctor even while supposedly having purchased affordable coverage.
But not to be deterred by its own reporting on the subject, the Times recently asked whether the Affordable Care Act is “working,” and concluded before the election that the legislation has “largely succeeded” after just one year. However, they assert, its shortcomings have “given rise to a powerful conservative backlash.” In other words, the paper feels it must explain away opposition to Obamacare using a conservative straw man, despite the legislation’s many flaws.
Many in the media seem personally invested in estimations of the ultimate “success” of Obamacare, and these Times reporters assessing this law’s successes, or lack thereof, are no different. In fact, Paul Krugman, also of the Times, recently wrote for Rolling Stone magazine that “health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward—and it’s working better than anyone expected.”
But the success of the health care legislation depends not on your “perspective,” or what the “data says,” but what you measure and what questions you ask, and that is where The New York Times consistently misinforms its readers.
The paper asks, and attempts to answer, seven questions:
- Has the percentage of uninsured people been reduced?
- Has insurance under the law been affordable?
- Did the Affordable Care Act improve health outcomes?
- Will the online exchanges work better this year than last?
- Has the health care industry been helped or hurt by the law?
- How has the expansion of Medicaid fared?
- Has the law contributed to a slowdown in health care spending?
Margot Sanger-Katz writes that the number of uninsured has been reduced because “the number of Americans without health insurance” has gone down “by about 25 percent this year—or eight million to 11 million people.” However, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis, this may actually represent just “a net increase in private-sector coverage of 2,465,586 individuals.” That’s because 71% of the overall health insurance coverage gain was “attributable to Obamacare expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults.” The Times’ Sanger-Katz understated this important message this way: “Most notably, Medicaid expansion really mattered.”
What matters is that the federal government is spending more on health care as a result of the Medicaid expansion, and has provided a perverse incentive for companies—causing them to search for loopholes to get outside the law’s job-killing regulations. As mentioned in my previous article, The Wall Street Journal reports that companies are considering enrolling low-wage employees in Medicaid, further expanding Medicaid. It would be ironic if such low-wage employees ended up preferring that their wages remain low so that they could remain eligible for the welfare programs they had become dependent on, thus furthering a poverty cycle?
Robert Pear’s analysis of the Medicaid expansion focuses on the debate over whether states or the federal government will swallow the costs. However, it does not consider the perspective of the taxpayer, who would be paying for all those costs. This is not the first time he’s made that same mistake.
And let’s not forget about those who lost their private and employer health care plans before “gaining” Obamacare coverage. “Thus, while most of the attention this year focused on the new health insurance exchanges, the data indicate that a significant share of exchange enrollments were likely the result of a substitution effect—meaning that most of those who enrolled in new coverage through the exchanges already had coverage through an individual-market or employer-group plan,” reports Heritage’s Daily Signal.
Affordability of coverage is a key marker of Obamacare’s success, but many reporters focus instead on how the subsidies ameliorate high health care costs. The New York Times informs us that 85 percent of those signing up in the last enrollment qualified for subsidies, and, on average, those subsidies “lowered the cost by 76 percent,” according to Obama administration numbers.
Someone is eventually going to have to pay that money back, and that is the American taxpayer—you and me—and future generations. But those considerations were not taken into account when measuring Obamacare’s ultimate “success.”
What will certainly hit Americans now is the job-killing effects of Obamacare, which are, admittedly, hard to measure. However, Mortimer Zuckerman, writing for The Wall Street Journal in July, at least partially attributed the growing prevalence of American part-time work to the perverse effects of this legislation. “Many employers cut workers’ hours to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 hours a week or more,” he reminds us. Therefore, the unintended consequences of Obamacare include “Fewer full-time workers,” he writes. “In many cases two people are working the same number of hours that one had previously worked,” wrote Zuckerman.
Instead, the Times assesses whether the health care industry has been helped by the law, not whether the economy has been helped overall.
The timing of this comprehensive article was also suspicious. Not only was this analysis released just before the election, it was released before some data relevant to the one-year success of Obamacare has become available at all. For example, the Times’ analysis of whether premiums will increase is based on “early regulatory filings by the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform,” which covered only 21 states. If the paper had waited until November 15—just a couple of weeks away—they’d be basing their analysis on real sales data instead of prospective estimates.
Similarly, their analysis of whether the online exchanges will work better than last year is an estimate based on federal and state officials’ assurances. But the Times didn’t even bother to mention the possible security problems facing Healthcare.gov when the open enrollment period begins again this year.
“Congressional investigators found that administration officials, eager to begin enrollment on Oct. 1, activated the website even though its security had not been fully tested and did not meet federal standards,” reported Pear and Nicole Perlroth this September for the Times, which is obviously aware of the website’s endemic security problems. “For months, cybersecurity professionals have been warning that the health care site was a ripe target for hackers eager to gain access to personal data that could be sold on the black market.”
Wasn’t that relevant to an assessment of Obamacare’s “success”?
It is revealing that even while failing to ask the hard questions about this legislation, the Times reporters were still unable to give Obamacare an unequivocal thumbs up after considering its high deductibles, narrow networks, and surprise balance billing. But maybe it is the fact that they considered it necessary to ask the questions at all, before the exchanges reopened and before the election results, that definitively demonstrates their bias.
Allegations abound and evidence mounts, of highly sophisticated and pervasive election fraud in Brazil’s re-election of their neo-Marxist president on October 26th. (Ms. Dilma Rousseff may be thought of as Barack Obama with more latitude.)
Will any of America’s general elections today suffer from the same kind of electronic fraud? Or in 2016? Or until electronic voting is eliminated and physical ballots are mandated, with voter ID, strictly overt procedures, audit trail, archival, and end-to-end oversight of vote tallying, nationwide? See what to look for in state of the art election fraud, not that what is related is visible. – AW
THE SUSPICIOUS ELECTION OF BRAZIL’S DILMA ROUSSEFF
It would be a sure bet to think that a presidential candidate who bankrupted a country, brought growth to a standstill and inflation back to 6,5% would be summarily defeated in the coming elections. That was the situation of the Marxist President of Brazil, the former terrorist Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party, the woman booed by 60,000 fans in the last World Cup games.
Add to that sad situation a scandal that broke just a week ahead of the voting. The financial associate of her party, Alberto Youseff, a frontman responsible for sending money to offshore secret accounts and for paying bribes in the name of the party, revealed to the police that Dilma’s Party was ransacking Petrobras, the largest Brazilian company (half owned and totally controlled by the government) in the amount of 3% of every purchase made. Part of the money would go to funding campaigns, some to the pockets of Party members and the rest to bribe Congressmen from other parties in order to vote for whatever Dilma wanted, at the price of US$ 60K a month each. The whole scheme amounted to US$ 10 Billion, and almost broke the company.
A pathetic performance on television debates and a good looking and popular opponent didn’t help either. Some voting polls showed her losing the mandate by 9,2% of votes. 1
However, she won. How can that be? The leader of the Party, former president Lula, said they would do “the devil’s work” in order to win. The answer is worrisome and may be the greatest example of a perfect crime.
THE POSSIBLE COUP
This carefully orchestrated coup to the Brazilian democracy was probably done in steps:
1) Dias Toffoli, a mediocre and obscure lawyer whose only claim to fame was to have been in service for the Workers’ Party, is appointed to the Supreme Court and in May 2014 is taken to the presidency of the Supreme Voting Court, which coordinates and judges all matters regarding the elections.2 Yes, a former party lawyer is the chief of the elections.
2) The Smartmatic company is chosen in order to take care of all electronic systems and voting machines in the country.3 Smartmatic started as a small software company in Venezuela, and received funds from the dictator Chavez. It is, as we shall see, accused of participation in fraud.
3) In the evening of the elections, October 26, the whole country waits in expectation. Most of the country finishes voting at 5:00 PM, but voting continues in the state of Acre until 8:00 PM. Therefore, a decision is made for the first time in recent history not to release partial results, but only the final numbers. The easy solution of advancing the election in one hour in Acre was not considered. It was like the US had to wait for Hawaii to vote to know what was happening.
4) The main election poll company, Ibope, which receives millions in contracts with the government and is known to favor the Party in every poll they make, decides not to conduct out-of-the-booth polls.
Rumors in the internet tell of a intranet structure that was developed to intercept voting subtotals before they reached the terminals of the analysts. An anonymous insider claims that Dilma was losing by much, until right at the end, when the numbers were adjusted. We’ll never know what really happened because the addition of the subtotals will be shown to be legit.
SMARTMATIC AND CHAVEZ
The Smartmatic company did not even work with voting systems when it was chosen by Dictator Chavez of Venezuela in 2004 to take care of the referendum that kept him in power forever (or until his death by cancer). Chavez then paid the company US$ 120 MM, and subsequently, they were able to acquire in 2005 the American firm Sequoia Voting Systems, which had contracts in 17 US states. 4
Venezuelan General Julio Peñaloza has accused Cuba and Smartmatic of participating in fraud in all subsequent elections in his country.5 According to him, Cuba’s G2 secret service carries since 1999 a plan named PROCER (Revolutionary Voting Control Plan), in order to control the elections in the countries dominated by the Marxist organization Forum of Sao Paulo, which aims to impose a South American Marxist Union in the region.
The idea is to intercept voting subtotals transmissions from districts before they reach the central, so they can change results. An engineer who worked in the elections called Christopher Bello Ruiz fled to America and confirmed the story, he says. That’s why Henrique Capriles, a wildly popular candidate, was beaten by a mediocre agent of Fidel Castro trained in Cuba, Nicolas Maduro, by a narrow margin of 1,4% votes in April 2013.
THE THREAT TO AMERICA
In 2006, American politicians started to investigate the whole deal but the threat to American democracy, albeit extremely important, has fallen into obscurity.6 In 2007, Smartmatic sold its interest in Sequoia [Ed.: which is now owned by Dominion Voting Systems, “What is in a name?”] but the whole ensuing story, full of offshore companies and complicated transactions, is so convoluted (perhaps on purpose) that only full time specialized researchers can dig into the mess.7 It is understandable that, if there is any intention of voting manipulation, the scheme would use now a different and complex system of companies in order to make ownership and control.
The lesson that Brazil and Venezuela leave to America, on the verge of its Congressional elections, is that no electronic voting is secure. As Julio Cesar used to say, Cesar’s wife must not only be above suspicion, she must look above suspicion. What to say of a voting system? Unfortunately, in this perspective, the elections in Brazil, rigged or not, look like an adulterous prostitute.
- O Estado de Sao Paulo – http://bit.ly/1xFZ4zN
- Veja Magazine – http://abr.ai/1yKdtMw
- Business Wire – http://bit.ly/1xG1773
- New York Times – http://nyti.ms/1xG2vXh
- Mída Sem Máscara – http://bit.ly/1xG667J
- WorldNetDaily – http://www.wnd.com/2006/10/38599/
- AlterNet – http://bit.ly/1xG8iMg