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Friday Talking Points [279] -- Monkey Business

[ Posted Friday, October 25th, 2013 – 17:02 PDT ]

"I will not yield to this monkey court!"

This may be the quotation of the week, from Representative Frank Pallone, describing the House "Obamacare Is So Very, Very Bad" hearings held this week. One immediately wonders whatever happened to the kangaroo courts of old -- too foreign a metaphor, perhaps? One is also immediately struck by the idea that Monkey Court would become an instant hit, if it were filmed for television, with live monkeys. I mean, just think of the possibilities!

Ahem. Sorry, it's been that kind of week.

It was, of course, laughable that Republicans now appear to be overly concerned with making the Obamacare exchange website work properly, when they've spent the past two years or so trying to sabotage the rollout by any means necessary. Which doesn't even include all the "kill Obamacare" votes, either. Republicans have blocked the money meant to be used to implement Obamacare, then they tried to block Health and Human Services from using different money to implement Obamacare, then they successfully intimidated the National Football League into not helping advertise the rollout, then they launched a state-by-state effort to force anyone helping to register people to get a "license" to do so, then they created a multimillion-dollar effort to convince people not to sign up for Obamacare (targeting the young and healthy) in a final effort to cause Obamacare to fail. So it's not like Republicans haven't been doing their best to create chaos and confusion around the rollout.

Sadly, while none of the Republican sabotage efforts really worked all that well (they were all designed to keep public interest down, but a major problem with the website rollout was indeed too much interest) it seems that the Obamacare website rollout has managed to be a disaster without any Republican help at all. The major problem? People with no real high-tech experience running an incredibly complex high-tech project. Software project management, as should now be painfully obvious to everyone, should not be attempted by rank amateurs.

The revelation that the fully-integrated system was only tested for two weeks before launch is the key to why the website has failed so badly. Two weeks is simply not enough time to run such tests. In fact, it's nowhere near enough time. Added to this was the fact that the main architecture of the user interface was radically changed in late September (to not allow "browsing" prices, before signing up), and you have the makings of the disaster that followed. Changing the basic user pathway through the website a week before launch? Insanity! Ask anyone who works in Silicon Valley, they'll tell you.

Software testing is not a glorious undertaking. It is performed by dedicated folks proud to be called "Software Quality Assurance Engineers." This is largely thankless work, because if the testers do their job perfectly, when the product is released, nobody notices. It's only when the bugs show up afterwards that people notice. But testing always is the department to take it on the chin when scheduling the whole project. The most important testing (as is now obvious) is the testing that happens at the very end. But when all the other departments "slip" their schedules, usually the target end date of the project remains the same. This means that the time for testing (being last on the schedule) shrinks and shrinks, throughout the project's lifespan. I have no idea if this is what happened with the Obamacare website, but it's a pretty safe bet because this pressure always exists, on pretty much every software project.

The testers themselves have a saying (or, at least, they did awhile ago -- the example may have been updated by now) to warn against shrinking the testing schedule in order to meet some arbitrary release date: "The Ford Pinto was released six months ahead of schedule. Does anyone remember that today, or do they remember the major design flaw instead?" [for our younger readers, please do a web search on "Pintos exploding" or perhaps "Pinto gas tank" to fully understand this metaphor].

The Obama administration has just (belatedly) announced that the Obamacare exchange website will be fully operational and smoothly running by late November. This gives them a month to fix all the problems and turn the story into "Obamacare site now fixed!" in the media. This will be a tough job, no doubt, on both the technological side and the public relations or political side. The Republicans are going to have a field day in the meantime, so look for calls for H.H.S. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign to mount from their side of the aisle. As well as continuing episodes of the smash new C-SPAN hit Monkey Court.

If all this has just been too much for you this week, we offer up as a public service either some toilet-humor satire, or an overdose of saccharine. The first comes from the pages of The Onion, and is worth it for the accompanying photo alone: "Heroic Broken Sewage Pipe Floods Congress With Human Waste." That one's pretty self-explanatory, really. And the second (which falls into the "just because" category) is a downright hilarious video of two cats playing "Pattycake," which (like all the best art films) is in French with English subtitles. Take your choice, for a laugh, if you can't stand watching another round of Monkey Court.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

It was a pretty thin week on the ground for nominees for the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, we have to say. President Obama did the best job he could to apologize and promise fixes for the Obamacare website, but that's going to be the focus of the talking points, so we only mention it here in passing.

Instead, we're going to award the MIDOTW to Frank Pallone, the Democrat calling "monkey court" on the Republicans in the House. Prior to being interrupted (which provoked the "I will not yield to this monkey court" moment), Pallone had this to say: "I started out in my opening statement saying there was no legitimacy to this hearing and the last line of the questioning certainly confirms that." He then went on to refute charges made by another committee member on the question of privacy, concluding: "So once again, here we have my Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody."

Pallone was given this opening because Republicans could not contain their questioning of the Obamacare website to the very real problems it has been having. Like they've been doing all along with anything to do with Obamacare, instead Republicans have been resorting to lies and false claims in order to (as Pallone pointed out) "scare everybody."

Republicans really shouldn't need to resort to such inane tactics, at this point. But they couldn't help themselves, it seems. As Kurt Vonnegut might have said, what next resulted was a welcome to the monkey house.

For providing such a memorable quote to describe the proceedings, this week's MIDOTW goes to Representative Frank Pallone.

[Congratulate Representative Frank Pallone on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Speaking of folks unafraid to say things in politics, we have to at least hand out a (Dis-)Honorable Mention to Representative Alan Grayson this week. Grayson wrote what can only be called a diatribe against the Tea Party this week which accused them of racism and ended with: "One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the hood fits, wear it."

This is known as tarring with an awfully broad brush, which is why a Democratic member of Congress never should have written it. Are some Tea Partiers racist? Undoubtedly. But then again, so are some Democrats. Just because there are bigots in the ranks doesn't mean automatic condemnation of an entire group of people, though. These are the tactics which Democrats decry Republicans for using, folks.

But our real Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week goes to none other than Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Now, we realize Sebelius is taking a lot of heat right now and will take even more heat next week when she testifies on a special sweeps edition of Monkey Court, and we also don't enjoy piling on a Democrat when most of the others in the pile are Republicans, but in this case we feel it is deserved.

Did Sebelius intentionally wreck the Obamacare website? That's highly doubtful. After all, it won't just be Obama's legacy achievement, it will also be hers as well. Was Sebelius directly responsible for making the disastrous last-minute decisions which contributed mightily to the mess? That is unknown, but one would assume not. Such decisions were likely delegated down the chain of command, with Sebelius doing nothing more than oversight of the whole process.

The key question (already being demanded by Republicans) is: should Sebelius resign? To that we answer a qualified "No," at this point. We would indeed like to see some heads roll at H.H.S., but the ones who should be fired are the ones who made the disastrous decisions in the first place. The decision to keep the software project management in-house rather than to contract it out to someone who knew their elbow from their rear end in the software field would be the first firing opportunity. The other decisions which should merit a pink slip for somebody: squeezing the integration testing down to a laughably inadequate two weeks, and whatever bonehead decided to change the way users browse the site mere days before the rollout. All of these decisions, we strongly feel, demand immediate termination on the grounds of rank incompetence.

If -- and only if -- it is shown that Sebelius herself was instrumental in any of these decisions, then she should indeed do the right thing and step down. But my guess is that these decisions were made further down the ladder than the Secretary's office.

Nonetheless, while we are not calling for Sebelius to resign at this point, we also feel that as the titular head of the department and as a manager who should have been paying close attention to what was going on, Secretary Sebelius certainly is deserving of a Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award. To say the Obamacare exchange website -- now almost four weeks old -- was "disappointing" would be to severely understate the situation.

[We hear that the Health and Human Services website is experiencing some heavy traffic (ahem), so perhaps you should send feedback about Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to her boss, via the White House contact page, to let him know what you think of her actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 279 (10/25/13)

Before we begin the talking points, we have two other bits in the news that didn't seem to fit anywhere else. The first is the story of a train passenger eavesdropping on the former head of the National Security Agency, while on a train. Michael Hayden was giving an interview (as an anonymous source) on his cell phone, and a fellow passenger had some fun tweeting about it. Turn about is fair play, eh? Don't like your calls overheard? Well, buddy, that's because nobody does.

Our second news item is quite possibly the funniest political quote of the week (even topping "monkey court"). Rand Paul was asked about the "Kentucky Kickback" recently -- the money included in the budget deal which pays for a dam project on a river bordering Paul's home state of Kentucky. Paul's answer to the question was classic: "It's one of these things where we're damned if we do, damned if we don't -- no pun intended."

OK, Senator Paul -- that was pretty funny, even we have to admit! Pun not intended my sweet patootie....

OK, enough monkey business. This week was a tough one for Democratic talking points, since any rosy predictions of a better future for the Obamacare exchange website would have been roundly denounced by the other side. President Obama did the best job he could on Monday, giving a speech which basically begged America for more time to get it right before making up their minds.

It was a tough sell, but as stated the president did a pretty good job of trying to refocus attention from the website's problems to the bigger picture of Obamacare itself. So, from the transcript of Obama's remarks this week, here are the best seven talking points for other Democrats to use.

 

1
   Obamacare is not just a website

This one is important, which is why Obama repeated it during his address. The website's problems -- no matter how bad they are -- are not fundamental problems with the Affordable Care Act itself. Separating these in people's minds is important.

But before I do that, let me remind everybody that the Affordable Care Act is not just a website. It's much more. For the vast majority of Americans -- for 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance through your employer or Medicare or Medicaid -- you don't need to sign up for coverage through a website at all. You've already got coverage. What the Affordable Care Act does for you is to provide you with new benefits and protections that have been in place for some time. You may not know it, but you're already benefiting from these provisions in the law.

 

2
   A big group plan

This is quite possibly the best explanation of the Obamacare exchange idea I've ever heard. One wonders why such language hasn't been used by the president for years, in fact, because it is such a great way to frame the issue. Providing the statistic at the end just adds icing to this cake.

And the idea is simple. By enrolling in what we're calling these marketplaces, you become part of a big group plan -- as if you were working for a big employer -- a statewide group plan that spreads risk between sick people and healthy people, between young and old, and then bargains on your behalf for the best deal on health care. What we've done is essentially create a competition where there wasn't competition before. We created these big group plans, and now insurers are really interested in getting your business. And so insurers have created new health care plans with more choices to be made available through these marketplaces.

And as a result of this choice and this competition, prices have come down. When you add the new tax credits that many people are eligible for through the law, then the prices come down even further. So one study shows that through new options created by the Affordable Care Act, nearly 6 in 10 uninsured Americans will find that they can get covered for less than $100 a month. Think about that.

Through the marketplaces, you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of your cell phone bill or your cable bill, and that's a good deal.

 

3
   No sugarcoating it

This, of course, was crucial: admit the problem. Don't brush it under the rug or otherwise pretend it doesn't exist. Obama had to do this, and he repeated the fact that he's frustrated later in the speech as well.

But the problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody. And there's no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process. And I think it's fair to say that nobody is more frustrated by that than I am -- precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work. I want the checkout lines to be smooth. So I want people to be able to get this great product. And there's no excuse for the problems, and these problems are getting fixed.

 

4
   Tech surge

Also crucial was the message that the White House is not only aware of the problem, they are actively working on fixing it.

[W]e are doing everything we can possibly do to get the websites working better, faster, sooner. We've got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address the problems. Experts from some of America's top private-sector tech companies who, by the way, have seen things like this happen before, they want it to work. They're reaching out. They're offering to send help. We've had some of the best I.T. talent in the entire country join the team. And we're well into a "tech surge" to fix the problem. And we are confident that we will get all the problems fixed.

 

5
   A workaround is in place

In the software industry, a "workaround" is a method of somehow getting around the buggy part of the program. If users can manage to work around a problem, then that is obviously better than not having such an option. Of course, in this case, the workaround is to give up on the software entirely, but still....

We've also added more staff to the call centers where you can apply for insurance over the phone. Those are already -- they've been working. But a lot of people have decided first to go to the website. But keep in mind, these call centers are already up and running. And you can get your questions answered by real people, 24 hours a day, in 150 different languages. The phone number for these call centers is 1-800-318-2596. I want to repeat that -- 1-800-318-2596. Wait times have averaged less than one minute so far on the call centers, although I admit that the wait times probably might go up a little bit now that I've read the number out loud on national television.

But the point is the call centers are available. You can talk to somebody directly and they can walk you through the application process.... Once you get on the phone with a trained representative, it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage, about 45 minutes for a family. Once you apply for coverage, you will be contacted by email or postal mail about your coverage status.

 

6
   We have not forgotten you

This is a very personal message to people who have experienced problems, and was also a necessity. Rather than feeling left out in the cold, Obama promised people that followups would happen to fix the problems people have already experienced. This goes a long way towards building confidence that nobody's going to be forgotten in the process.

And finally, if you've already tried to apply through the website and you've been stuck somewhere along the way, do not worry. In the coming weeks, we will contact you directly, personally, with a concrete recommendation for how you can complete your application, shop for coverage, pick a plan that meets your needs, and get covered once and for all.

 

7
   Remember the way things used to be?

This is another bit of framing that Obama should have been using all along. Because people will forget how things used to be -- and they really need to be reminded of what is different under Obamacare.

In fact, even with the website issues, we've actually made the overall process of buying insurance through the marketplace a lot smoother and easier than the old way of buying insurance on your own. Part of the challenge here is that a lot of people may not remember what it's like to buy insurance the traditional way.

The way we've set it up, there are no more absurdly long application forms. There's no medical history questionnaire that goes on for pages and pages. There's no more getting denied because you've had a pre-existing condition. Instead of contacting a bunch of different insurers one at a time, which is what Janice and a lot of people who are shopping on the individual market for health insurance had to do, there's one single place you can go shop and compare plans that have to compete for your business. There's one single phone number you can call for help. And once the kinks in the website have been ironed out, it will be an even smoother and even easier. But in the meantime, we will help you sign up -- because consumers want to buy this product and insurance companies want to sell it to you.

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

47 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [279] -- Monkey Business”

  1. [1] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Argh!!!

    Since this is another column on Obamacare, that means another 60+ comment thread with 50 of them being Michale's usual 50 blurts of BS.
    Could you please, please, PLEASE come up with some way to limit him to 5 comments and then cut him off?

    I'm getting tired of seeing how many comments are on a thread, guessing how many will be Michale's predictable ravings, and then checking for myself and finding out I was only one or two off in my guesstimate.

    You know I appreciate your work and thoughts, but I really am sick and tired of wanting to pull out what little hair I have left scrolling through a long comment thread to get to the good stuff by everyone else. The new commenters are uniformly thoughtful and well-informed; but Michale gives me an enormous headache with his predictability and verbosity...he's incapable of making his nonsensical points succinctly.

    And now he'll accuse me of cowardice for not trying to rebut each of his idiocies point by point, and claim "victory" because I can't be bothered wasting my life. So boring and predictable.

    Sigh...anyway, end of my rant. I am really enjoying the new commenters and would like to thank them...they're thoughtful and nicely breakup the endless Michale foamings.

    P.S.- I'd make an exception to Michale's five comment limit so he could respond to individual posts, but only if he could do it in one reply instead of his usual barrage of sanctimonius tripe.

    P.P.S.-for an example of what I'm complaining about, see last week's Friday Talking Points - I knew Michale would bang his little drum ad infinitum, and sure enough he did...snore.

  2. [2] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The roll out of Affordable Health Care brings to mind a quote from H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds.

    "slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth."

    In short, it wasn't Republican opposition that ultimately halted Obama Care, it was just some damn bugs.

    Unlike H. G. Wells slain Martians, Affordable Health Care should only need a few weeks of bed rest to get up and about. It might have to things easy for the first couple of months. Obama Care is secretly enjoying all the attention it's getting. So many visitors, even if the nurse must send most away to the waiting room. So many get well cards! "Why, I have lots of well wishers!" says Affordable Health Care.

    Further breaking with the novel (even more than most movie adaptations)it's Republicans who are wailing a mournful ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla on most media outlets. A notable exception being Ted (Thunder Child) Cruze, who seems delighted with his own prospects, like a dog with a hunk of rotting Martian flesh in it's jaws (grossly graphic, but hey don't blame TheStig, address complaints to H. G. Wells).

    There, I've gotten in my annual War of the World's references, just in time for Halloween!

  3. [3] 
    TheStig wrote:

    I like the fact that comments in CW Nation aren't limited by number of characters per post or the number of posts per article.

    I don't agree with much of what Michael writes, but he's never abusive and I have to admire his productivity and passion (where does he find the time?). The game's no fun without some worthy opponents. Michael isn't a cheerleader, but he is an antidote to group think.

    Any post can easily be avoided, for any reason, using the scroll bar, or the little wheelie thing on the mouse that I always forget I have. No challenge need ever be accepted. Let's avoid drastic solutions to non problems.

  4. [4] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    I second Stig, Michale and I don't ever agree on anything it seems. But we need conservative voices on this site. If nothing else it should sharpen your debating skills. And you can't expect people to admit defeat, or not declare victory, this IS the internet after all. Also, Michale gets me fired up, it's a lot of fun to know a decent counterpoint.

  5. [5] 
    Kevin wrote:

    OK, I concede. But since you're both "newbies", get back to me in a couple of years and let me know if you still feel the same way. I've been enduring the lengthy, repetitious posts for over six years; and there's a good reason he's been banned on the Huffington Post and Bob Cesca's sites - he's boring and predictable every time...Your mileage may vary.

  6. [6] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    I fear we're veering dangerously close to personal attacks, (not that I'm innocent, I did get rather angry on the Native American and random Abu Graib thing) but we have exactly one conservative voice on this site. You don't have to read Michale or respond, but censorship? I have my problems with his formatting, but he's allowed to say what he wants how he wants to, and I'm allowed to respond to that verbally as I see fit.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    "One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the hood fits, wear it."

    This moronic statement of Democrat Grayson is especially ironic, since it's the Democratic Party who was the Party of the KKK...

    Something about history, doomed and repetition comes to mind. :D

    To say the Obamacare exchange website -- now almost four weeks old -- was "disappointing" would be to severely understate the situation.

    To say it is a "train wreck" would be dead on ballz accurate. :D

    Who could have guessed that this would happen..

    Oh wait.. :D

    That is unknown, but one would assume not. Such decisions were likely delegated down the chain of command, with Sebelius doing nothing more than oversight of the whole process.

    Irrelevant.

    Sebelius was in command. The buck stops with her.

    If it was a GOP Administration that rolled out this train wreck, the Left would be howling for her head, regardless of her particular political affiliation...

    I'll get to the talking points later....

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obamacare is not just a website

    That's not entirely accurate..

    The number 1 priority of obamacare was to bring health insurance to the masses..

    The number 1 way to do that is a website..

    To say that obamacare is not just a website is to say that GTA V is not just an online experience.

    While technically accurate, the simple fact is, it's the online component that MAKES it or BREAKS it..

    If GTA V had the kind of train-wreck rollout that obamacare has had, you can bet that heads... TOP LEVEL heads.. would roll and the game would likely never recover..

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Speaking of monkeys, they are very good at manipulating human behaviors.

    One technique I used to see at zoos was a monkey gathering a crowd of visitors with some amusing behavior. When the crowd was deep enough, the monkey would suddenly urinate on the front rows. The front row spectators would gasp and rush back. Spectators in the back, with a limited view, would push forward to see what the commotion was all about, and the monkey would spray them too.

    This does resemble some of what goes on in modern congressional hearings.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kevin,

    Has anyone ever mentioned that you have bad timing?

    We should be coming up with ways to increase Michale's daily comments, not reduce them!

    Don't you know what time it is?

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Don't you know what time it is?

    I got 1233hrs... :D

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just enough time to reach your prime, I should think. :)

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    In the "I can't believe I'm writing this" category of posts, I have to agree with the others that, while I generally find Michale's posts to be either annoying or tedious - usually both - I wouldn't want to ban him.

    I suppose I wait for the day when he'll throw his hands up and move towards the light : )

    His posts are sooo long that I mostly don't read them and his arguments are circular. *Hint to Michale: focus and edit!

    I guess we function as proxies for everything that enrages him about the left; certainly for me he functions as a proxy for righties I occasionally want to punch.

  14. [14] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Good talking points but you missed one important one: Obama-care is just a small step towards a public option system. Those who are properly informed about healthcare and basic human rights must see it this way.

    Eventually once people realize that access to affordable ('affordable' should be replaced with 'free') healthcare is a good thing and a fundamental human right, then you'll be on the way to having a proper modern developed countries* healthcare system. Obama-care will fix many problems in your broken system, but not all of them. When this is realized, people will look for ways to fix the other problems which will lead you to a public option.

    I don't know if it's possible, but I would imagine that a State like California will probably lead the way - like Massachusetts did with Obama-care - in implementing a public option system, then the other States will follow suite...

    *Not to insult the many developing countries who have better healthcare systems than the USA, but it is mostly Western developed nations who do.

  15. [15] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Kevin

    I guess I'm still relatively a noob but I'm going to side with the others on this - unless Michale is using hateful, racist language (etc), which he isn't, then I think he should be allowed to post as he sees fit. Some of his posts are (I would hope) just him playing devil's advocate in jest - although I fear that this (worryingly) might not be true on many issues!

    I quite like his posts. Part of debating US politics is dealing with extreme, far-right, anecdotal based points of view ala Drudge, Fox, Limbaugh. Sometimes they make you angry that someone could say something so ridiculous. The smarter people need to learn to respond to such remarks (unlike Grayson did) using facts, logic, ration and data. There are some points where you simply have to call it for what it is - if someone is arguing the sky is pink then there is very little you can do except point out that they should seek psychological help.

    And in such times you simply have to give up and say 'this person is completely brainwashed and, until they leave the echo chamber, debating them is pointless'. But at other times there is room to sharpen your own point of view on many issues - and (very occasionally) even reconsider some things.

    I would like to encourage some more Conservative thinking (not ridiculously far-right wing) points of view on here. But I fear that in America no such things exist (or they're already Democrats!). Michale - like it or not - represents where the Republican party is ideologically today.

    Wow sorry, didn't realize this would be so long!

  16. [16] 
    michty6 wrote:

    lol *ration -> rationale

  17. [17] 
    michty6 wrote:

    I don't know if it's possible, but I would imagine that a State like California will probably lead the way - like Massachusetts did with Obama-care - in implementing a public option system, then the other States will follow suite...

    Haha speak of the Devil: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/26/vermont-health-care_n_4166221.html

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Obama said that if you are having trouble with the obamacare website, you can apply by mail.
    Only the Obama Administration would develop a web site that was SLOWER than the US Mail."

    -Jay Leno

    Now, I don't care WHO you are, that right thar is funny as hell! :D

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Paula wrote:

    michty6 (14): Exactly. I very much hope that getting the ACA up and running successfully will turn out to be the first step in an inexorable movement towards a public option (minimum) if not full single-payer.

  20. [20] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Tech surge

    I think John Stewart had the best comment about the 'tech surge'.

    It went something along the lines of "We need to do the same thing to the website as we did to Iraq?"

    :)

    Me personally, I hate the phrase 'tech surge'. Just get it fixed folks.

    It is interesting though that Republicans are now screaming 'fix it'. What happens when it gets fixed? Any guesses as to whether or not they'll be happy :)

    -David

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here's what I don't understand..

    Ya'all claim that obamacare is a step towards single payer.

    Yet obamacare is a complete and utter train wreck..

    So, why in the HELL would the American people want to go FURTHER than obamacare along that train strewed road??

    If obamacare is a step towards single payer and obamacare is such a mess, it seems to me that the logical choice for the American people would be to go in the OPPOSITE direction that obamacare is pushing them.

    It's like thinking that a guy who can't handle carrying 1000 pounds should be able to carry 10,000 pounds..

    It's illogic extremus...

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    The Leno quote <i>is</i> hilarious! Don't let anyone inhibit you. We all appreciate your $upport! You're as dogmatic as anyone, but civil, you've got a brain and you're not afraid to use it, and on (rare) occasions you're even right! We're all the better thanks to you keeping this from being an echo-chamber. I'm positive I've annoyed you on occasion <i>at least</i> as much as you've ever annoyed me! (If not, let me know. I'll make a note to try harder!) But that just "stimulates the little grey cells!"

  23. [23] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Oops. Using my phone, hit the wrong button--been so long--Chris--help?!

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    "I think our friends no longer count on us, no longer trust us and our adversaries don’t fear us"
    -Dick Cheney

    That is the largest truism of the here and now...

    Obama's legacy won't be the train-wreck that is our health-care system.

    It will be how Obama has systematically dismantled our foreign policy status across the world and has made our friends wary of us, the neutrals condemn us and our enemies laugh at us.

    THAT is going to be Obama's legacy. He has made the future very very dangerous for the US and Americans world wide.

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    If ya'all want to read a really good article on exactly how the obamacare train wreck occurred..

    White House glitches go beyond Obamacare
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6a192e9c-3c9a-11e3-86ef-00144feab7de.html#axzz2j0s5ygpd

    While the Republicans do not escape unscathed, as it should be, the article pinpoints exactly why and how obamacare went wrong and puts the blame squarely in Obama's lap.

    AS IT SHOULD BE...

    Com'on people.. Obama frak'ed up! Admit it!

    That's been my biggest frustration around here for the last 4 years..

    In ya'alls eyes, when it comes to policy and the American people, Obama can do no wrong.

    CW has been getting better about calling a spade a spade (and that's not racist no matter HOW anyone tries to spin it!! :D) but even he doesn't lay the blame squarely at Obama's feet, as it should be..

    There comes a time when a rational person must admit that their guy is the problem..

    "OK... So.... She's a dog"
    -Peter Venkmen, GHOSTBUSTERS

    :D

    Ya'all read that article and tell me that that time is not now...

    If obamacare has proven anything, if Syria has proven anything, if Saudi's finger has proven anything, if NSA spying revelations have proven anythig it's that Obama's narcissistic and insulated form of "leadership" well and truly sucks..

    Let's just all concede that and then we can move on...

    "Each man hides a secret pain. It must be exposed and reckoned with. It must be dragged from the darkness and forced into the light. Share your pain. Share your pain with me... and gain strength from the sharing."
    -Sybok, STAR TREK V

    :D

    It's actually a burst of galactic irony that, in my not so humble opinion, Obama's only, I repeat... *ONLY* success as POTUS has been the continuation and expansion of Bush's CT policies. Policies that the Left SHOULD hate with all their fiber and being..

    Howz THAT for irony, eh?? :D

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    WARNING: Long Diatribe Ahead... Better pack the Dramamine...

    To date, my humbleness has prevented me from participating in the comment thread that liberally bears my name..

    Then it occurred to me..

    I HAVE no humbleness!! :D

    I am truly honored to see such support and I will do my best to step up... er... down? to the challenge..

    Seriously, I can understand Kevin's frustration. But, to be perfectly honest, a lot of it is the results of action, or more accurately, INACTION from people like him..

    See!!? No humbleness!!! :D (so much for serious, eh? )

    My point is this. As LD so surprisingly points out, there are times that I *AM* right.. While I am sure we would disagree vehemently as to how many times that is, the common ground is that we do agree that it DOES happen..

    So, why not concede those times? I won't think any less of anyone if they say, "Ya know, Michale?? You are dead on and I concede the point"... Gods know I do it often enough so I have shown ya'all MANY times HOW to do it?? :D

    Put another way, Kevin.. If you would concede at, say post #2, "Yea, Michale. When yer right, yer right" then I wouldn't have to spend 20-30 MORE posts bringing about the same concession via silence...

    It's the bigotry argument in spades..

    For those who are new to Weigantia, one of my favorite arguments was The Bigotry Argument. Unfortunately my lack of finesse by making the argument caused some hurt feelings, but the essence of the argument was that political bigotry is still bigotry.. We went back and forth and back and forth ("Ya'all bigots!!" "No, we're not!!", "Yes ya'all are!!") and so on ad nasuem. Of course, the arguments had more substance on both sides, but that was pretty much the gist of the argument..

    So then CW sat down and thought (and actually said!!! :D) "ya know, Michale is right! We ARE bigots!!!"

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2012/08/27/embracing-bigotry/

    "Full credit where it's due, Michale gave me the idea last Friday."

    So, in one fell swoop, CW totally negated my numero uno argument. Well, one of them anyways...

    In short (yea, I know I know. It's MUCH too late for that!!) my dear friend Kevin (and I DO mean "friend" insofar as one can have "friends" that they have never seen, met or had a beer with)...

    If 6+ years of being a regular on CW.COM has taught me ANYTHING.... It's that the quickest way to END a debate is to concede the point.. But don't concede the point simply TO end the debate. Concede the point when it's truly a valid and accurate point.

    Keep that in mind and you'll see a LOT less posts from me..

    The current obamacare train-wreck is a perfect example.. You don't want to see 100+ posts from me SHOWING exactly how and why obamacare is a train-wreck??? Then concede the point..

    Because, no matter HOW you slice it, no matter HOW you spin it, in the here and now, obamacare is a train-wreck.. It might get better... It might not.. But NO ONE, simply NO ONE can say with a straight face that obamacare is anything but a train-wreck in the here and now..

    So, stop me from stating the obvious. Simply concede the point.. Granted, I'll likely bring your concession up now and again to play with :D but is that truly such a horrendously large price to pay to avoid 100+ Michale posts???

    Yer call, dood.. :D

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    No matter WHAT your politics ya'all gotta admit..

    http://cdn.breitbart.com/mediaserver/Breitbart/Big-Government/2013/10/28/obama_404_error.jpg

    THAT is clever marketing... :D

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    akadjian wrote:

    We should be coming up with ways to increase Michale's daily comments, not reduce them!

    Is it that time of the year already, Liz?

    Whew. Seems like we just did this around a pretty big election :)

    Ok ... I'm ready!

    -David

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Millions of people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law's benefit mandates––the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.
    http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2013/10/week-two-of-obamacare-federal-health.html#more

    It seems that MILLIONS more are getting their insurance CANCELLED than are able to sign up for health insurance...

    Wasn't obamacare supposed to BRING people to health insurance??

    Not chase them away from it???

    "Yes. Yes, I think I read that somewhere."
    -Jack Nicholson, A FEW GOOD MEN

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    What's so fantastically hilarious about all this is that NONE of it is the GOP's doing..

    This entire slow-motion train-wreck has been engineered, aided and abetted by Obama and the Democrats...

    If the GOP had ANY sense at all (which we all know is simply not the case) they would simply step aside and let obamacare eviscerate the entire Obama administration...

    But no one ever went broke betting on the stoopidity of politicians...

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama admin. knew millions could not keep their health insurance
    http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/28/21213547-obama-admin-knew-millions-could-not-keep-their-health-insurance?lite

    And there is your smoking gun, ladies and gentlemen...

    Obama know.. And he lied straight to our faces...

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    db wrote:

    Michale,

    Citing Breibart.com is not a positive.

    As far as the other issues, you can be tedious.

    You recite the same talking points over & over. As an example, you assert "ObamaCare" is a, "slow-motion train-wreck". Even though it's been pointed out time & time again that THE SYSTEM ISN'T IN OPERATION YET.

    You report, with glee, #31 which clearly states, "existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law". WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID in the last thread.

    No President Obama didn't lie. Unless you like the idea of keeping people in inferior health insurance. No smoking gun, just you playing definition games.

    Kevin,

    I understand & sympathize.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    db,

    Citing Breibart.com is not a positive.

    Where did I "cite" Brietbart??

    Near as I can tell, the only time I listed Breitbart was with that awesome PR campaign mounted by the GOP.

    If anyone was objective about things (like I am) they would concede that point.

    As far as the other issues, you can be tedious.

    Translation: Yer right and it's annoying...

    Gotcha {{wink}} {{wink}} :D

    You recite the same talking points over & over. As an example, you assert "ObamaCare" is a, "slow-motion train-wreck". Even though it's been pointed out time & time again that THE SYSTEM ISN'T IN OPERATION YET.

    You are in error. obamacare started 1 Oct. And it's a train wreck..

    The online component IS obamacare. Just as the online component IS GTA V....

    No President Obama didn't lie. Unless you like the idea of keeping people in inferior health insurance. No smoking gun, just you playing definition games.

    Not at all..

    Obama said, "IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE"..

    He didn't say ANYTHING about whether it's inferior or not based on certain arbitrary standards..

    He said, "IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE"..

    And he KNEW this was not going to be true...

    This lame attempt at defending Obama is EXACTLY what I was talking about in #26..

    You are wrong. Obama lied.. And, apparently, a POTUS lying is a VERY serious affair..

    At least, it is with a GOP POTUS. Maybe a DEM POTUS has different standards, I don't know..

    But the facts are clear.

    Obama lied.

    You know it, I know it...

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    1.5 million Americans have had their insurance cancelled to date. Solely and completely because of obamacare..

    And this is not a "Bush" lie... I.E. being simply wrong.

    Obama *KNEW* that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance planse.

    He KNEW.. Abso-tively and posit-loutly *KNEW* that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance..

    And yet, he STILL said, "IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE"

    Now THAT is a text book unequivocal and indefensible definition of a lie...

    These are the facts.. Concede the point and we can move on..

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Another example of Obama lied..

    White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say
    http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-spying-phones-20131029,0,3235295.story#axzz2j6uzYO7N

    Now THIS hits a LOT closer to home for Lefties...

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    These new revelations are a LOSE/LOSE situation for Obama..

    On the one hand, he knew and authorized spying on allies... That's bad (at least from ya'alls perspective. More on that in a few)..

    On the other hand, he did NOT know and his intelligence people have run amok..

    In THAT case, he is an incompetent leader...

    Either way, it does not bode well for Obama or the administration..

    Let me state unequivocally that I don't have a problem with the actions themselves..

    I have more than a passing knowledge in the field (to say the least) and I know for an absolute fact that our intelligence assets spy on anyone and everyone. Just like the intelligence assets of the UK, Germany, Spain, Israel etc etc spy on us..

    It's the nature of the beast. It is simply the way things are...

    The reason our allies are bitching is SOLELY and COMPLETELY because it has become common knowledge..

    A secondary reason why our allies are bitching is because of the realization that we're so damn good at it..

    But, make no mistake. We spy on our allies. Our allies KNOW that we spy on our allies. Our allies spy on us..

    It is what it is...

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    You are in error. obamacare started 1 Oct.

    If you don't believe me, google "obamacare rollout"...

    It will be an eye opener if you honestly believe obamacare hasn't "started yet"...

    The online component is the biggest part, nearly the ONLY part, of obamacare..

    All the other components are handed off to the caregivers and the insurance companies and they deal with each other.

    But putting together Americans with health insurance??

    THAT is what obamacare is all about.. Pure and simple... It is obamacare's entire raison d'être

    And, to date, it has been an utter and unequivocally dismal failure...

    These are the facts. And they are indisputable...

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    As far as the other issues, you can be tedious.

    "People have disrupted space stations before, Mr Barris. That doesn't make them Klingon spies. Sometimes, all you need is a title. Au'revoir."
    -Captain James T Kirk, STAR TREK, The Trouble With Tribbles

    :D

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    But putting together Americans with health insurance??

    THAT is what obamacare is all about.. Pure and simple... It is obamacare's entire raison d'être

    Ya know, the more I think about it, the more dead on ballz accurate it is..

    Go ahead.. YOU try it. Think about it I mean..

    obamacare doesn't provide medical care. Hospitals and doctors do that.

    obamacare doesn't pay for that medical care. obamacare doesn't collect the payments from the patients. Insurance companies do that.

    obamacare doesn't even collect the penalties for NOT having insurance. The IRS does that..

    obamacare's SOLE function, it's ENTIRE reason for existence, is to facilitate people signing up for health insurance..

    In essence, obamacare *IS* just a website...

    Michale

  40. [40] 
    akadjian wrote:

    In essence, obamacare *IS* just a website.

    If it's just a website, then it's easy to fix. No?

    I mean, it's not like website technology is an unknown like the cure for cancer.

    "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology" - Oscar Goldman, Intro to the Six Million Dollar Man

    -David

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    If it's just a website, then it's easy to fix. No?

    You would think so..

    Yet, apparently this particular website is defying that common aphorism..

    There is no doubt that obamacare is a COMPLEX and intricate website..

    But, it is still just a website...

    " 'JUST' a motorcycle, Mr C.!?? And I suppose your mother was 'JUST' a mother!!!"
    -The Fonz, HAPPY DAYS

    :D

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    If it's just a website, then it's easy to fix. No?

    Is it possible that the Obama Administration perhaps has bit off more than it can chew??

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    On a completely different note..

    SOWELL: The race-hustlers among us
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/22/sowell-the-race-hustlers-among-us/

    What a very uplifting story...

    And it's so dead on ballz accurate, it's scary...

    Michale

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    And NOW the truth comes out...

    Insurers Oppose Obamacare Extension as Danger to Profits
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-30/insurers-oppose-obamacare-extension-as-danger-to-profits.html

    THAT is why Obama and the Democrats didn't want to delay obamacare..

    It would have put a huge dent in the *PROFITS* of their corporate cronies...

    Apparently, Obama and the Democrats are as greedy and as self-serving as ya'all accuse Republicans of being..

    WHO wouldn've thunked it??

    Oh.. wait....

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh my gods!!

    Could things possibly get more screwed up with obamacare!!!???

    ObamaCare screw up sends callers to cupcake shop
    http://nypost.com/2013/10/30/businesses-overwhelmed-by-callers-after-obamacare-enrollment-listing-error/

    Dozens of businesses are being inundated with calls because the obamacare website listed their phone numbers as "navigator sites"...

    Are you frakin' KIDDING me!!???

    These are hard working Americans and immigrants who are just trying to make it in a tough economy!!

    And obamcare couldn't take the time to make sure they had the right info!!???

    Again... Are you frakin' KIDDING me!!!???

    The hits just keep coming and coming...

    How ANYONE could not think obamacare is a train wreck is beyond me...

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know, I know, I know..

    I kinda shattered the promise I gave to Liz about not showing so much er... enthusiasm for the trials and tribulations of obamacare..

    But, can ya blame me?? We have been fed a steady diet of "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance" and "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" and "obamacare will lower costs" and on and on and on and on ad nasuem..

    And we come to find out that it is complete and utter moose poop!! MOOSE POOP, I say!!!

    So, of course I am going to comment while Obama and the entire Left feasts on crow.. Crow Pudding, Crow Steaks, Crow Souffle and mmmm mmmmm mmmmm mmmm good, Crow juice...

    I am also constrained to point out how the Left has set the stage for this by mercilessly hounding and attacking Bush, even YEARS after he left office..

    So, apologies for me rubbing ya'alls knowses :D (like that?? I thought of it myself... :D) in it..

    I am more than certain that ya'all would have returned the favor if obamacare had been the sterling and smooth running operation ya'all had hoped it would have been...

    The only question really is, is how long Obama and the Democrats will hold out before they bow to the will of over 70% of Americans and impose a 1 year delay...

    When THAT happens, oh my gods, I am going to be insufferable.. :D

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all just gotta ask yerselves ONE question...

    What would you have said if something as bad as obamacare was rolled out under a GOP administration..

    I think we ALL can agree that ya'all would be saying all the things I am saying with as much passion as I am saying it..

    The only difference is that we would ALL be on the same page....

    Think about it...

    Michale

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