Archive for Barack Pinocchio Obama

A Mole at the SOTU

Did you hear about the Republican operative who crashed the SOTU?

It’s true:

Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. (Laughter.) She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way. They were young and in love in America. And it doesn’t get much better than that. “If only we had known,” Rebekah wrote to me last spring, “what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.”

As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans and enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job and then a raise. Ben is back in construction — and home for dinner every night.

“It is amazing,” Rebekah wrote, “what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.

A mom (female) and a dad (male), both working and successful, without benefit of government handouts. Who wrote that, Dan Quayle? It sure as hell wasn’t Obama’s composite perfect woman, Julia. I don’t know if Rebekah Erler is rock-ribbed or not, but she’s a Republican.

Except she’s not:

The woman whose story of economic recovery was showcased by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address is a former Democratic campaign staffer and has been used by Obama for political events in the past.

Unmentioned in the White House bio of Erler is that she is a former Democratic campaign operative, working as a field organizer for Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.).

This also wasn’t the first time the White House used the former Democratic campaign staffer as a political prop. Obama spent a “day in the life” of Erler in June so that he could have “an opportunity to communicate directly with the people he’s working for every day.”

Reuters revealed Erler’s Democratic affiliations following that June event, and the Minnesota Republican Party attacked Obama for being “so out of touch with reality that he thinks a former Democrat campaign staffer speaks for every Minnesotan.”

Shame on Patty Murray paying slave wages to her female employees. I hope little Jack and Henry never went to bed hungry because Murray (D., WA) chintzed out on paying Rebekah a decent wage. If that experience wasn’t enough to turn her into a Republican, nothing will.

Even Michelle seemed pretty annoyed at the whole charade:

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With a Friend Like Him, Who Needs an Enemy?

As part of his pandering to “the middle class”, Obama touted the “success” of his “health care” plan (odd, then, that it is administered by the IRS):

[I]n the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage. (Applause.)

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years. (Applause.) This is good news, people. (Laughter and applause.)

Lying sack of s**t (Laughter, applause, thunderous ovation, tears of joy, rending of garments):

At first glance, Colorado would seem to be one of the federal health law’s clearest success stories, offering nearly 200 plans and average premiums nearly unchanged in the coming year.

But zoom in closer, and it is clear that a kind of pricing pandemonium is underway, one that offers a case study of the ambitions and limits of the Affordable Care Act during this second year of enrollment.

An analysis by The New York Times shows, for example, that the cost of one midlevel silver plan in Colorado rose 36 percent west of the Rocky Mountains this year, while another dropped nearly 40 percent in the northeastern plains.

The wild disparity in prices results from many insurers trying to attract more customers by pricing plans as low as they can. But it is not at all clear that the low prices will be sustainable, so prices may well swing sharply upward as time goes on. Nationwide, some of the plans that offered the least expensive prices for 2014 raised premiums sharply for coverage this year. One insurer, CoOportunity Health, has been taken over by state regulators because of losses.

Shouldn’t that be called “predatory insuring”? Offering a deal to lure a customer in and then whack up the rates the next year when they can’t get out? Where’s Lizbeth Warren’s Consumer Protection Bureau?

And while she uses her advanced Native American tracking skills, maybe she can follow this trail:

When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.

The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers.

Connections to multiple third-party tech firms were documented by technology experts who analyzed HealthCare.gov, and confirmed by The Associated Press.

“As I look at vendors on a website…they could be another potential point of failure,” said corporate cybersecurity consultant Theresa Payton. “Vendor management can often be the weakest link in your privacy and security chain.”

Where’s the “health care” in an act that exposes your personal information, may bankrupt you, and is enforced by the T-men from the IRS? Not only can you not keep your doctor, you can’t keep your Social Security number!

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Diego Rivera Could Not Be Reached for Comment

About a year and a half ago, President Obama went to Mexico and blasted the US media for printing unflattering “sensational headlines” about such an advanced and civilized country (hence my tiresome series on the pervasive and persistent violence in Mexican society, “Sensational Headline Watch”).

I guess whatever he was smoking then, the Mexican president did not see fit to bring to the White House yesterday:

While critics protested outside the White House, President Barack Obama pledged to help Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto “eliminate the scourge and violence of drug cartels” like that suspected in the disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

Peña Nieto made his first visit to Washington Tuesday, accompanied by several Cabinet members, to tout his economic reforms such as the opening of the its oil and gas industry to private investment.

But his legislative feats have been overshadowed by the violence against 43 students, some whose bodies were said to have been later incinerated, and criticism of how his administration has handled the investigation of the students’ disappearance.

Mexican federal agents have arrested dozens of people, including the mayor of Iguala, Mexico, his wife and police. Detainees confessed they murdered the 43 kidnapped students and burned their bodies. But, the victims’ families have demanded more evidence, and that the students be found.

Yeah, they’ll find ‘em right after they bring back the Chibok girls. Don’t you worry about that.

Want to see a scourge or two?

New recruits to a vicious Mexican drug cartel were forced to eat the hearts of murder victims in a twisted scheme to prove their loyalty, officials said.

Hopefuls who wanted to join La Familia Michoacana were reportedly fed the internal organs during gruesome initiation ceremonies designed to roof out infiltrators or other disloyal elements.

Witnesses told government security bosses how La Familia, and offshoot an offshoot group called the Knights Templar, would also sometimes force potential cartel members to dismember victims while they were still alive.

Whoa. What would Octavio Paz say about that?

I’ll tell you what Frida Kahlo would say: string ‘em up.

An accused thief was beaten to death by a mob in central Mexico after the furious crowd caught him and three accomplices, including a pregnant woman and a teenager, robbing a home.

A crowd of some 100 people discovered the four allegedly robbing electronics at a home in the town of Tehuacan, in the state of Puebla.

The residents seized the four — two men, a male teenager one woman said to be pregnant — and stripped them.

The woman, who said she was pregnant, was ‘struck in the face’ while the teenager was tied by his hands and feet and beat up, local reports say.

He suffered wounds to his abdomen, legs, back and head.

‘We warned them of what would happen if they returned to rob from us,’ local neighbors, who said they were tired of thieves after a recent string of robberies, told local newspaper Excelsior.

Naturally, I deplore this behavior. It will only drive the robbers to jump the border and come here, where we reward them with driver’s licenses. I don’t care how badly run most DMVs and RMVs are: they beat a lynching.

Some of them.

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Amnesty National

As we noted yesterday, Obama wants to forgive the trespassers of yesteryear—all five million of them—for breaking various laws (immigration/visa violations, forgery/ID fraud, tax evasion, etc.) in favor of going after the lawbreakers of today.

Go get ‘em, tiger!

After six months of requests, Local 2 Investigates received information regarding the status of thousands of unaccompanied children and families caught illegally crossing the southern border over the summer and fall.

Total numbers are not yet available. The information provided to Local 2 by officials with the Executive Office of Immigration Review deal with those caught crossing the border between July 18 and Oct. 28 of this year.

Thousands of families from Central America caught crossing the border had to be released on their own recognizance because there wasn’t enough detention space. All were ordered to appear before an immigration judge at a later date.

According to the EOIR, of the 30,467 families and unaccompanied children caught crossing the border between July and October, only 22 percent have received a final disposition as to whether they will be allowed to stay in the U.S. or be deported.

Of the 15,614 families caught crossing the border, but not detained, 4,197 have been ordered removed from the U.S. However, 96 percent of those removal orders were done “in absentia.”

The EOIR states an “in absentia” order is done when a person fails to show in immigration court.

If I have this right, the courts ordered the deportation of 4,197 families, but only 167 families actually showed up to hear their fates decided. The other 4,030 vamoosed. Took a powder. Went on the lam. Perhaps they were busy “worship[ing] at our churches”, as Obama claimed they do. Whatever they were doing, they weren’t “get[ting] right with the law”.

Obama also said, “And let’s be honest -– tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you.”

And thousands? Are thousands possible? Hundreds? Scores? Dozens? A few? One?

He also said this:

[W]e’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.

This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future.

If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

Will Obama wield his phone or pen—even just flap his gums in “executive action”—to enforce the law on just one of these border jumpers? Rhetorical question, of course. I have the unfriendly habit of actually quoting Obama’s insincere palaver back to him. Maybe it’ll be my New Year’s resolution to stop. Right after I learn Albanian.

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Lying Cuz He Feels Like It

President Obama thinks Sony “acted stupidly” in pulling The Interview from distribution.

Wonder where they got the idea?

[Sony Pictures CEO Michael] Lynton reacted to Obama’s comment that he wished Sony had reached out to them. “We definitely spoke to a senior advisor in the White House to talk about the situation. The fact is, did we talk to the president himself? … The White House was certainly aware of the situation.”

A simple misunderstanding, I’m sure. Perhaps a follow-up question to clear things up, Mr. President?

Sir?

Sir?!!

Vacationing in Hawaii, where the president was born and spent much of his childhood, has been a tradition every year that Obama has been in the White House. This year, the trip comes as Obama closes out a chaotic sixth year in office on something of a high note.

Lofty aspirations to overhaul immigration laws, early childhood education and U.S. wages were scuttled by stubborn opposition to Obama’s agenda in Congress, and on his watch, Democrats took a drubbing in the midterm elections that will relegate them to the minority in Congress for Obama’s last two years. Crises erupted in Ukraine, the Middle East and West Africa, diverting Obama’s attention time and again.

Yet as Obama packed his bags for Hawaii, he appeared buoyed by what he had managed to accomplish on other fronts, including the resumption of relations with Cuba last week after a half-century of antagonism. In his year-end news conference Friday, Obama said he felt energized, citing signs of major progress in the economic recovery and his recent executive actions on immigration and climate change.

A high note? An unlawful amnesty and a fraudulent “climate” “treaty” are hardly high notes. Discordant more like. A pity about those pesky crises diverting Obama’s attention time and again. You try sinking a six-foot, right-to-left breaking putt with the Crimea under the Russian boot.

As for Cuba, I’m pleased Alan Gross is a free man, but at the cost of several prisoners of our own and diplomatic recognition, just don’t tell me we don’t negotiate with terrorists when we just did. And lost the deal.

That would just be another in a long, long, long line of lies from this most corrupt of administrations (see above).

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Lie of the Year

Politifact said it was Ebola panic. But that was hardly a lie (just ask Sierra Leone), but a series of fortunate events.

I think Glenn Kessler nails it:

“I didn’t call the Islamic State a ‘JV’ team”

President Obama repeated a claim, crafted by the White House communications team, that he was not “specifically” referring to the Islamic State terror group when he dismissed the militants who had taken over Fallujah as a “JV squad.” But The Fact Checker had obtained the previously unreleased transcript of the president’s interview with The New Yorker, and it’s clear that’s who the president was referencing.

Obama’s lies are like Lays potato chips: who can have just one?

“Republicans have filibustered 500 pieces of legislation”

President Obama, a former senator, got quite a few things wrong here. He spoke of legislation that would help the middle class, but he was counting cloture votes that mostly involved judicial and executive branch nominations. Moreover, he counted all the way back to 2007, meaning he even included votes in which he, as senator, voted against ending debate — the very thing he decried in his remarks. At best, he could claim the Republicans had blocked about 50 bills, meaning he was off by a factor of ten.

“We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.”

– President Obama, Feb. 20

Nope. Depending on the estimate, Obama was either six times too high or just double. Either way, he was way off.

There are more, from the Left and the Right, but Obama’s the only multiple winner.

PS: Remember when Politifact had a spine?

Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’

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A Real American Hero

Not the guy who got Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to sing like a canary with a ewer of water—though he and his colleagues deserve Congressional Medals of Honor.

I salute that other Great American who served his country honorably by taking a disgraceful and unfair PR hit: Jonathan Gruber.

Jon Gruber told the truth. He told the truth over and over, on video and audio, to anyone who would listen. The truth was there for anyone to see (we critics saw it), but he alone among the proponents of CrapolaCare called out the shameful dishonesty of the bill and its passage. He was as brave as any dissident, honest as any whistleblower.

I’m not kidding when I say I was a little disappointed in the Republicans on the committee for their one-note response. Their outrage at Gruber’s arrogance was perhaps justifiable, but someone should have taken a breath from nonstop indignation to thank him for his candor. Next time I bump into him in Emma’s Pizza by MIT (which will be the first time), I swear to you I will thank him from an ungrateful nation.

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Thanks for Reminding Us!

With friends like this, does Obama need enemies?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST: But there’s another thing that you haven’t put in this list is, health care costs. One of the reasons why Americans’ wages were shrinking or stagnant is because health care costs were going through the roof. And when the president was pushing the Affordable Care Act, one of the main pillars of his argument was, we have to do this in order to bend the cost curve, which is happening. The deficit is shrinking. Premiums, yes they are going to go up, but not nearly as much as they would have without the Affordable Care Act.

If that’s so (a whopping great if), it’s not what was promised.

Nineteen times:

He’s an incorrigible liar, but if no one calls him on it, why should he change? Lying got him to the White House, twice, and even in his much-diminished capacity lying serves him well.

We should be stopping traffic and looting stores, but we won’t. In place of “hand’s up, don’t shoot” and “we can’t breathe”, we should be chanting “where’s my $2,500 bucks”, but we don’t.

Expect more of same.

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BTL: Right Again As Ever

Rush likes to boast that he’s 98.7% accurate (or whatever), but it’s not that hard when you learn how to read the stitches on the curveball (as he also says).

We said this but five days ago:

[White House spokesman Shawn] Turner noted, however, that the estimated 5 million immigrants granted protection from deportation will not be eligible for other federal benefits such as student financial aid, food stamps or housing subsidies. Nor are they eligible to purchase health insurance through the federal health-care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

To which we responded:

Yet.

Yesterday…

President Barack Obama’s executive order to spare some immigrants from deportation has galvanized Democrats, immigration groups and health care advocates in California to push for expanding health coverage to a segment of the population that remains uninsured.

The president’s action excludes immigrants who came to the country illegally from qualifying for federal health benefits. But California has its own policy of providing health coverage with state money to low-income immigrants with so-called “deferred action” that allow them to avoid deportation. Immigrant and health care advocates say that means Obama’s executive order will enable hundreds of thousands of low-income immigrants in California to apply for Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid.

Great. Another million mouths to feed.

Hang on, BTL, you say? It’s not ObamaCare they’re getting, but Medi-Cal.

You interrupted me:

Medi-Cal is a health program for the poor paid for by the federal government and the state. It has grown by about 3 million people in California under federal health care reform and now covers more than 11 million Californians, about 30 percent of the state’s population. The federal government is paying for the expansion, but the state will eventually pay 10 percent of additional costs to cover low-income adults, many of whom are childless.

You want to explain to me how “hundreds of thousands” (estimates of California’s illegals range to nearly three million) of illegal aliens getting health insurance paid in part by the federal government (you and me) is not “health insurance through the federal health-care exchange”?

We need to find that Frenchman who invented a pill that makes flatulence smell like roses. Obama is farting in our face with impunity. If we can’t stick a plug in him, we shouldn’t have to suffer from his stench.

PS: Conservatives believe in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which assigns rights and powers to the states not otherwise assigned to the federal government. That belief stops when a given state behaves irresponsibly and irrationally—Illinois with pensions, California with illegals—leaving the federal government (you and me) to pick up the pieces. And the bill.

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Couple More Problems for ObamaCare

To get the moral of the story out of the way first, don’t lie and don’t bully. It’ll catch up with you eventually.

The lies:

The Department of Health and Human Services projected that between 9 and 9.9 million people would enroll in Obamacare plans next year, well short of the 13 million predicted by the independent Congressional Budget Office. Just a few days later, administration officials admitted they inflated sign-up figures for Obamacare in 2014, including dental plans, to pad the numbers by 400,000 — allowing the administration to meet its original goal of enrolling 7 million consumers.

Care to read that again? Last year, they cooked the books; now they admit it. And that fraud (a 5.7% shortfall) is nothing compared to the fraud already admitted for next year (a 25-30% shortfall). Did you know that? I didn’t.

No wonder, then:

The fallout from the November blunders was hard to ignore. When the administration trumpeted that roughly 460,000 people had signed up for 2015 Obamacare coverage in the first week of open enrollment, the announcement was immediately met with suspicion.

AFter the lies wear thin comes the bullying:

Leading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration’s challenge to certain “workplace wellness” programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter.

Major U.S. corporations have broadly supported President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform despite concerns over several of its elements, largely because it included provisions encouraging the wellness programs.

The programs aim to control healthcare costs by reducing smoking, obesity, hypertension and other risk factors that can lead to expensive illnesses. A bipartisan provision in the 2010 healthcare reform law allows employers to reward workers who participate and penalize those who don’t.

Got that? “Penalize.” Harm someone for not marching in step like a good little foot soldier. Kind of like the individual mandate—an unconstitutional affront until it was transvestized into a tax.

But like it or not, it’s part of the law (of the land).

But recent lawsuits filed by the administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), challenging the programs at Honeywell International and two smaller companies, have thrown the future of that part of Obamacare into doubt.

The lawsuits infuriated some large employers so much that they are considering aligning themselves with Obama’s opponents, according to people familiar with the executives’ thinking.

“The fact that the EEOC sued is shocking to our members,” said Maria Ghazal, vice-president and counsel at the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of more than 200 large U.S. corporations. “They don’t understand why a plan in compliance with the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is the target of a lawsuit,” she said. “This is a major issue to our members.”

Have your members never seen Goodfellas or The Sopranos? You don’t want these people as your partners. They’ll bleed you dry.

Obamacare allows financial incentives for workers taking part in workplace wellness programs of up to 50 percent of their monthly premiums, deductibles, and other costs. That translates into hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in extra annual costs for those who do not participate.

Typically, participation means filling out detailed health questionnaires, undergoing medical screenings, and in some cases attending weight-loss or smoking-cessation programs.

One of the arguments presented in the lawsuit against three employers is that requiring medical testing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That 1990 law, according to employment-law attorney Joseph Lazzarotti of Jackson Lewis P.C. in Morristown, N.J., largely prohibits requiring medical tests as part of employment.

“You can’t make medical inquiries unless it’s consistent with job-necessity, or part of a voluntary wellness program,” he said.

The lawsuits are based on the view that it is no longer voluntary if employees face up to $4,000 in penalties for non-participation, loss of insurance or even their jobs.

Employers, however, see the lawsuits as reneging on the administration’s commitment to an important part of the healthcare reform.

If it violates ADA, what was it doing in the [bleeping] law? Did no one think to ask? Of course they did, but Nancy “The Bull” Pelosi gave away the game: we had to pass the “law” to find out what was in it.

The law itself is godawful enough. The process by which it passed was truly the work of Satan. No good could ever come of it. Just strife, chaos, mayhem, hellfire, brimstone, and Supreme Court appeals. All according to schedule.

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“Some Advisor” Watch

Obama’s denial knowing Jonathan Gruber as just “some advisor who was never on our staff” triggered a memory of another such evasion. But I couldn’t place it. Pelosi? Reid? Kerry? I needn’t have thought so hard.

Bill Ayers ring a bell?

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood…

Just as the facts proved otherwise with Ayers, so do they too with Gruber:

Enjoy these cuts while you can, boys and girls—they won’t be around for long:

The University of Rhode Island (URI) removed a video of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber discussing how he exploited the American people.

URI removed a video of Gruber’s speech at an Oct. 30, 2012 Honors Colloquium in which the Obamacare consultant discussed how some details of Obamacare’s design were concealed from the American public.

“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter,” Gruber said.

“URI has deleted an embarrassing Gruber video while leaving a broken embed on their site – a real ‘stupid American voter’ move,” American Commitment’s Phil Kerpen, who flagged the video’s removal, told The Daily Caller. “I hope that URI will be shamed into reposting the video as Penn was last week when they did the same thing.”

The University of Pennsylvania previously removed the first Gruber video, in which Gruber discussed the “stupidity of the American voter,” but later re-posted it under public pressure. Three of the four executive team members of the health care analysis group Picwell, which Gruber works for, have official positions at the University of Pennsylvania.

If it weren’t a “dog whistle” word, I’d call this a whitewash.

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Gruber: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Unless you prefer the title “Some Advisor Watch”

“We’ll work to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” Obama told an audience on Sept. 6, 2008. He made a similar claim at least 18 more times stump speeches during the campaign.

But that was news at the time to Gruber, who later advised the Obama administration on the creation of Obamacare and is now at the center of a firestorm for candid remarks he made about how the administration duped the American public in order to get the health law passed.

“I know zero credible evidence to support that conclusion,” Gruber told the non-partisan FactCheck.org in Feb. 2008….

Go ahead, Aidan, tell us what you think of that:

Yeah, we agree.

“At the end of the day, the only way to control health-care costs in America is to deny Americans health care they want,” Gruber said.

He was seemingly referring to what has been dubbed the Cadillac tax, which is a 40-percent excise tax on the most expensive health insurance plans. Some economists, including Gruber, believe that the Cadillac tax will shore up inefficiencies in the health-care system and “bend the cost curve,” which will save money in the long term.

“Basically, we just don’t know. We just have no clue what it’s going to do,” Gruber added.

But on the campaign trail, Obama adopted the easier-to-understand statement that the average family would save $2,500 per year on their insurance premiums.

In 2008, one of those advisers, Harvard University’s David Cutler, explained to The New York Times that “what we’re trying to do is find a way to talk to people in a way they understand.”

By lying to their faces. Repeatedly.

None of this is a surprise. We all knew this at the time. I would say that the American people were as dumb as Gruber and Obama took them for, but the polls don’t support that. ObamaCare has been unpopular for years. The dummies were the Democrats in Congress who passed it.

But even that’s not true. If we knew they were lying, how could they not know? The fix was in, and everyone was in on it. That’s how they operate. Now that Congress is not so amenable, Obama is just doing away with it altogether.

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