As my time in journalism school at Cal Poly continues to retreat into the dim corners of my memory, there are still handful of in-class incidents that I remember from those halcyon days of the early ’90s.

This morning on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace made a statement that triggered on of those memories.

Professor Victor Valle, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, had just started teaching in the journalism program and I was in his reporting class. The day’s topic was how to cover a story with competing interests and the example he used to start the discussion was a video of the homosexual rights group ACT UP vandalizing a Catholic church.

After showing the video, Valle opened up the class discussion with something along the lines of you have two competing interests here: The Catholic has the right not to be vandalized, but the gay activists are protesting the church’s position on contraception and how it leads to the spread of AIDS in the gay community. How do we weigh these two sides when writing a story on this topic?

I didn’t see it. I raised my hand and pointed out the logical leaps required to hold the Catholic church to blame for the spread of AIDS because they opposed condom use.

  1. Yes, the Catholic church opposes the use of condoms, but…
  2. The Catholic church also preaches sexual abstinence before marriage.
  3. Gays cannot marry. (This is the early ’90s, so I didn’t even need to get into fact that Catholics believe homosexual behavior is sinful in and of itself.)
  4. If the ACT UP protesters followed Catholic teaching from A-Z, it would be nearly impossible for them to become infected with AIDS. What right did they have to attack the Catholic church for its position on condoms as if that’s the only Catholic doctrine they were violating that was getting them sick.

By the time I was finished, there were no “competing interests” to weigh. The vandals were wrong and you wrote the story with just one interest: The church didn’t deserve to be vandalized.

This morning, during a debate between the head of NARAL and the lawyer defending the Little Sisters of the Poor in a lawsuit over Obama’s contraception mandate, host Chris Wallace wrongly used the same formulation from Professor Valle’s class more than two decades ago.

Let me bring this back, because it seems to me that there were two legitimate competing interests here. One is religious freedom and the other is women’s access to health care.

No, the problem as it’s been stated so many times before the only interest here is religious freedom. The nuns aren’t seeking to prohibit anyone’s “access to health care.” (Is the local Rite-Aid pharmacy limiting my access to “health care” when they put the condoms in a locked display case?) They don’t want to be forced to pay to fund what they see to be someone else’s sinful behavior.

As National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke (and others) have pointed out, the formulation NARAL and the Obama administration is pushing would be paralleled by saying that National Review is infringing on Cooke’s 2nd Amendment rights because they refuse to buy him an AR-15.

There is no “access to health care” issue here. There never has been. It would be nice if the mainstream media could wrap their simple minds around it.

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Let me start out by saying that I think there needs to be some sort of social safety net for Americans who find themselves out of work or  down on their luck.

However, I think the one we have now is far too generous and we’ve reached a point where too many Americans are far too eager suckle at the public teat and the easy availability of government assistance has caused a breakdown in societal and family ties.

Case in point: Former GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts on “Fox News Sunday” this morning discussing the possible extension of unemployment insurance to 99-weeks (again, for going on 5 years):

We have done it before. We did it — it will probably pass, the three-month proposal put forth by Reid and Heller is something that will move forward. But as a Republican, I made proposals to just find a way to pay for it. Happy to help. My mom is on welfare. [emphasis added]

Really? The mother of a former U.S. senator whose net worth two years ago was estimated between $314,652 and $1,927,614? (And it would be decidedly atypical if his income as a former senator went down after leaving office.) Is  he really not helping his needy mother out? If he is, is she not reporting that income to continue receiving aid from taxpayers?

Prior to FDR’s New Deal and its extension under LBJ’s Great Society, churches, mutual aid societies and families were the social units that helped out those down on their luck. Government takeovers through various welfare programs have largely caused mutual aid societies to cease to exist, and churches are no longer seen by many as a primary source of help to the needy. (Test: Commission a poll to gauge awareness of SNAP, Obamaphones, etc. vs. the term “mutual aid society” and see if most of the public even knows what the latter are/were.)

Now, the family unit is no longer a bedrock societal building block. It’s one thing if you’re talking about a minimum wage, part-time employee at McDonald’s being unable to help out a sibling or parent who doesn’t have a job, but it’s something completely different when you’ve got a former U.S. senator of substantial means who is unwilling to help his own mother.

Instead of creating a safety net where the government is the last resort of the needy, it is the first resort. Government, then church, then the wealthy will help out their own family if the first two somehow fail.

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To borrow a line from “Best of the Web Today”: Longest blog post ever written.

I’m not going to actually try to provide a one-stop post detailing every screw-up surrounding the president’s signature health insurance reform. I’ve spent a lot of time over at my “second job” posting link after link after link to stories of Obamacare SNAFUs, FUBARs and glitches.  If Democrats continue to hold fast to defending the clusterf— that is Obamacare, I can see a decade or two of GOP dominance (if they don’t screw it up), simply because those swing voters in the middle aren’t going to quickly forgive or forget what’s been done to the health insurance, doctors and hospitals they liked.

While much of the reporting in the past couple of months has been focused on Obamacare horror stories, make no mistake there will be “winners” in this debacle—even if it’s only limited to those who will be going on Medicaid due to the expansion of that program to people at 400 percent of the poverty level. (And those new Medicaid enrollees might be wary of what they’re getting.)

The recent focus has been on the “losers” because of that old journalism saw: “If it bleeds, it leads.” You can get some “happy” stories about the Obamacare winners, but the ones that are gripping, the ones that people remember, are the horror stories.

Which brings me to this article from a couple weeks ago courtesy of the New York Times.

Mike Horrigan is a lifelong Democrat with heart problems who supports President Obama’s health care law because he expects it will help many people obtain better insurance, including himself.

But under the new law, the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Horrigan’s coverage by a state high-risk insurance program was eliminated, then replaced by a more expensive plan. His wife’s individual plan was canceled for being substandard, then suddenly renewed — also at a higher price.

Here’s the big problem with Obamacare: Mike Horrigan is supposed to be a winner under the program, instead he’s a loser.

Horrigan was one of those disadvantaged under the old system. He had a pre-existing condition. He was difficult to insure. He got his insurance through a high-risk program run by the state.

One of the key equalizers in Obamacare was that health insurance companies could no longer charge sicker individuals more than healthy ones. (Which effectively made health insurance companies no longer health insurers, but healthcare “facilitators” of some sort.) So, apply that Obamacare regulation to Horrigan and what should you expect to happen?

You expect Horrigan’s costs to go down. He’s now supposed to be subsidized by the premiums of all those healthy people. Their costs should be higher than they would be pre-Obamacare, and Horrigan’s should be lower.

But it isn’t.

Why?

I suspect it’s some combination of the ridiculous one-size-fits-all mandates that Democrats put into the legislation (does Mr. Horrigan really need maternity coverage?) and the government and insurance companies trying to torture actuarial tables to produce some numbers they were never designed to produce so the companies don’t simply go bankrupt by guessing wrong.

Imagine the idiots in Washington passing a law that says that you can’t have different auto insurance rates based upon age, gender and driving history. Now, suddenly, insurance companies have to figure out how much to charge so they can stay a going concern when they can’t charge different prices to a 16-year-old “invincible” boy and a 45-year-old mother of two. That’s what they’ve done to the health insurance market.

It’s quickly becoming obvious that Obamacare (not just the web portal) isn’t going to do even the smallest portion of what President Obama and the Democrats promised. It’s not going to solve the problem of 30 million uninsured Americans. (In fact, it’s very likely that due to the 5 million-plus individual plan cancellations and the slow pace of Obamacare enrollments, that there will be more uninsured Americans on Jan. 1 than their were on Sept. 31.) It’s not going to bend the cost curve down. It’s not going to improve peoples health outcomes.

Is the average family going to save $2,500 over their 2009 premiums under Obamacare? No. It’s likely that the only people who save money under Obamacare are those who are put on the expanded Medicaid program  or receive heavy subsidies.

Back to the Times article:

Rachel Bryant, a small-business owner who lives just outside Winston-Salem, felt unlucky when she received a notice from Blue Cross saying that her plan was being canceled and that the replacement would raise her monthly bill to $675 from $408.

But when Ms. Bryant, a single mother of two young children who earns about $30,000 through her legal services business, finally succeeded after many tries to log onto the online marketplace, HealthCare.gov, she learned she was eligible for subsidies that would bring down her premiums to just $150 a month.

“I’m extremely happy,” said Ms. Bryant, 36. “I’m not going to go bankrupt because of medical bills. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll put up with the frustration and the bother.”

Well, she had insurance before, so she wasn’t going to go bankrupt. But if she could afford $408 a month for her health insurance, can someone explain to me why the government wants to raise that price to $675 and then put other taxpayers (or the Chinese) on the hook for $525?

Any honest individual with a basic grasp of math will quickly understand that this funding model is not sustainable.

I believe President Obama when he says he will block any repeal of Obamacare while he is president. I suspect there are enough Americans like the Horrigans who will continue to whistle past the graveyard and keep enough Democrats in the House and Senate to prevent a 2/3rds majority to override a veto.

But it won’t long survive Obama’s departure.

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The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto has uncovered these hypocrisies on the part of  New York Times columnist Paul Krugman before, but today’s is especially amusing.

Paul Krugman tells different stories depending on his audience

Paul Krugman tells different stories depending on his audience

The tune never changes. Krugman will deny the obvious in an effort to forward the ball for his team.

I fully expect in the coming days to hear my House Rep., Lois Capps, recycle her bogus claim that somehow unemployment insurance is an economic stimulus. It’s a crock, but it’s as predictable as the sun rising in the East.

And you’ve also got this howler from National Journal’s Ron Fournier a purported journalist who sees his job to bash the GOP (I’ve considered applying to National Journal as their “Democrat Bashing” columnist, but they’re apparently not filling that position), calling the GOP “heartless” because they won’t spend money they don’t have.

This prompted an appropriate question from Andrew McCoy:

And one wonders why there’s so little trust of politicians or the media.

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House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday and demonstrated an impressive tenacity. She holds fast to her talking points with such tenacity that Lawrence Taylor in his prime couldn’t have ripped a football from her grasp.

I love how Pelosi (and interviewer David Gregory) seem oblivious to the fact that if the people in question already have a health care plan that Obamacare is now making illegal, the fact that now they can’t be denied for a pre-existing condition isn’t exactly a selling point—they already had a plan.

This next one demonstrates similar tenacity. Commentator Zerlina Maxwell has been handed the talking points and not even the 16-ton weight of reality can knock it out of her relatively empty head.

Two points to make:

  1. At  about 2:45 Maxwell makes the point that she’s currently uninsured. Here’s someone who has quite nice clothes, is a New York Daily News contributor, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t show up on Fox News for free, confessing that she’s irresponsible and currently does not have insurance.
  2. At about 3:10, in response to the obvious truth (Maxwell: “That’s Not True.”) that young people are needed to pay to make the exchanges work says that people will sign up for insurance—particularly women—will buy insurance because they “don’t want to roll the dice” and then she plays the “gender” card.

Try to get into Maxwell’s head for a minute (there’s a lot of free space, we can all fit in) and try to reconcile the fact that she doesn’t have insurance right now (by choice!) and that its somehow sexist to suggest that young women will be hesitant to buy expensive insurance they likely won’t need (as she is currently doing).

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Politics ain’t beanball.

Despite repeated claims that America is more divided politically now than ever (often forgetting the unpleasantness from 1861-65 during which many feelings were hurt), modern-day politics aren’t really appreciably nastier than they have been for the past two centuries. (I heartily recommend Edward J. Larson’s “A Magnificent Catastrophe” on the election of 1800 as evidence of this fact.)

Once upon a time, the same could be said for journalism. There were Democrat papers and there were Republican papers (and Whig papers, etc.). Journalists took sides.

Then, about 50 or so years ago, in a fit of marketing genius, newspaper publishers sought to sell papers to both the left and right by trumpeting unbiased journalism. Journalism ceased to be a trade that was learned in actual newsrooms and became some sort of higher calling learned at universities. (Blame Woodward and Bernstein.)

If they believed it for a few decades, it’s become clear since then that journalists are no better than any other human being at putting aside their preconceptions and biases—they’re just better at hiding them.

On cable news, we’ve largely returned to the days of journalists (or commentators or analysts) having opinions and not being afraid to share them. Fox News came out with a more conservative take on the news (which I would argue puts them pretty close to the political middle) and about five years ago, MSNBC, languishing in 3rd place in the cable news ratings, decided to tack leftward.

And all this is perfectly fine. I’m for more speech, not less. More debate, not less.

But I also believe there’s such a thing as “polite company” and that certain acts should result in public shunning and that employers should be willing to sack employees that step over the line of decency.

Which is to say, MSNBC should fire host Martin Bashir first thing tomorrow morning for this:

MARTIN BASHIR: It’s time now to clear the air. And we end this week in the way it began – with America’s resident dunce, Sarah Palin, scraping the barrel of her long deceased mind, and using her all-time favorite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN: Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children, and borrowing from China. When that note comes due – and this isn’t racist, so try it. Try it anyway. This isn’t racist. But it’s going to be like slavery when that note is due.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASHIR: It’lll be like slavery. Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history. So here’s an example.One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750, and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation. What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime.

In 1756, he records that “A slave named Darby catched eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.” This became known as Darby’s dose, a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of the slave owners savagery and inhumanity.

And he mentions a similar incident again in 1756, this time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. “Flogged Punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper; made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth.” I could go on, but you get the point.

When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.

This is beyond the pale. I have no doubt that had a Fox News host suggested similar “punishment” for Kathleen Sebelius (to pick another female, former governor) that he would be gone before you could tweet it. The typical media watchdogs would jump from zero-to-handwringing in less than a second. Yet, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” didn’t utter a peep about it. Neither did Fox News’ “Media Buzz” hosted by longtime media critic Howard Kurtz. The Columbia Journalism Review apparently doesn’t work weekends.

And the kicker is that Bashir is faux outraged that someone would compare slavery to anything other than slavery (comparing slavery to debt  is not an original analogy that Palin was the first person ever to make). Just two years ago, Bashir didn’t hesitate to compare those who oppose gay “marriage” to wanting a return to slavery. So, traditional marriage support=slavery, debt ≠ slavery. (So those of you playing at home can keep everything straight, no pun intended.)

Remember this the next time the holier-than-thou left starts preaching about “civility:” liberals’ pleas for civility are nothing more than a polite request for their political foes to shut up.

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Well, Obamacare is  a complete fustercluck, which is what every conservative was saying four years ago. The mainstream media, however, has just discovered that not only has President Obama been telling a whopper of a lie for the past  four years, but that he knew it was a lie when he was telling it.

As President Barack Obama pushed for a new federal health law in 2009, he made a simple pledge: If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your plan. But behind the scenes, White House officials discussed whether that was a promise they could keep.

When the question arose, Mr. Obama’s advisers decided that the assertion was fair, interviews with more than a dozen people involved in crafting and explaining the president’s health-care plan show.

But at times, there was second-guessing. At one point, aides discussed whether Mr. Obama might use more in-depth discussions, such as media interviews, to explain the nuances of the succinct line in his stump speeches, a former aide said. Officials worried, though, that delving into details such as the small number of people who might lose insurance could be confusing and would clutter the president’s message.

“You try to talk about health care in broad, intelligible points that cut through, and you inevitably lose some accuracy when you do that,” the former official said.

The former official added that in the midst of a hard-fought political debate “if you like your plan, you can probably keep it” isn’t a salable point.

Just to remind you what that looked like:

So, after four years of that, Obama came out earlier today with this:

 Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed. So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act, you’re grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they’ve got to change it to a higher standard.

Of course, that’s not what “we said.” It’s not what “he said.” It’s not something anyone said.

It’s a twist on the line various Obama apologists have been trying to sell for the past couple weeks: “If you liked your plan you’re a complete moron because the government knows better than you, you inbred hick.”

For those of you with employer-sponsored health plans who have bought the line that his is only affecting 5 percent of Americans (about 15 million) and your current coverage is safe, think again. Obama’s extralegal delay of the employer mandate has put off your reckoning until this time next year (good luck in the midterms Democrats!).

To save those of you who don’t click on links having to read anything other than what I write, here’s the important part:

Mid-range estimate: 51% of employer-sponsored plans will get canceled

And, of course, the purported goal of Obamacare was to get everyone health insurance. How’s that going?

But the biggest failure of all is still a few months away. This is the essence of the law – that it will reduce the numbers of uninsured. It will not. It is far more likely to raise the numbers of people without insurance coverage.

Follow the link for the reasons why, which, once again, were obvious to conservative critics of the law from the beginning.

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Honestly, keeping on top of the hacks a “Politifact” could be a full-time job. Maybe the Koch Bros. could hire me at an exorbitant rate to school Politifraud on their own rules.

Today’s case in point is a purported fact-check of Ann Coulter.

For the record, I’m not a fan of Coulter. I haven’t read any of her books. I think she’s a bomb-thrower and probably hurts the conservative cause more often than she helps.

Having said that, this “Truth-O-Meter” ruling of “Pants on Fire” is ridiculous. It’s almost as if they want to goose their embarrassing bias numbers the next time Bryan White analyzes their False vs. Pants on Fire ratings.

What’s the heavy, policy-laden analytical statement that Politfarce interviewed seven different people to determine it’s veracity?

No doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare.

Does that even pass the smell test? I mean, Democrats go to medical school too. Won’t those bleeding hearts of the left take Obamacare patients even if it means they’ll have to lease a Lexus for three years instead of two?

I refer you once again to Politifarce’s so-called “Principles” and the “rules” they apply when choosing statements to check.

In deciding which statements to check, we ask ourselves these questions:

  • Is the statement rooted in a fact that is verifiable? We don’t check opinions, and we recognize that in the world of speechmaking and political rhetoric, there is license for hyperbole.
  • Would a typical person hear or read the statement and wonder: Is that true?

Because I have at least two brain cells to rub together, I can assure the drooling incompetents at Politifarce that the point Coulter was making through use of hyperbole (maybe you guys should look it up) is that Obamacare will run into the same problem that Medicare has run into (and actually exacerbate it), which is doctors will limit the number of patients they will see on Obamacare because it won’t pay enough to cover their costs.

This is one of those rare fact checks that tells us a lot not just about Poltifarce, but also how they view people who actually read Coulter’s columns—conservatives. Look at that second rule I quoted above. Would a typical person think Coulter’s statement was true?

I can assure you that Politifact’s writers and editors don’t know anyone who would believe it to be true. But you dumb, mouth-breathing conservatives would. And since all of us NPR-listening, soy-half-caf-latte-sipping elites know all you red-state residents have a lower IQ than the University of Oregon football team scores before halftime, we need to fact-check this so we can refer you dummies to it when we deign to have a brief conversation with you before going to see Robert Reich’s new documentary at the local art house theatre.

From a “red-state” voter in a blue state, I kindly encourage you hacks at Politifarce to sod off.

 

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To say I’m disgusted by the media’s so-called “fact-checkers” would be an understatement. Though they purport to hold themselves to some higher-standard for truthfulness than their “unbiased” colleagues, the truth is that they’re just peddling the same crap product in a slightly different package.

Over the past week, a couple of “fact checks” from Politifraud have caught my eye.

The first was this one by Rep. Jeb Hensarling that earned a “Pants on Fire”—the rating Politifact gives to Republicans it doesn’t like, but is not necessarily an indicator of actual truthfulness.

“Mr. Speaker,” Hensarling said, “we are debating should members of Congress get a better deal than every other American in Obamacare? House Republicans say, ‘No, that’s not fair. That’s not equal protection under the law.’ Yet, our friends on the other side of the aisle (Democrats) are now saying, ‘No, no, no.’ They’re going to protect this sweetheart deal. …

“Now members of Congress, thanks to the Obama administration, are going to be the only people in America to get subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges. Is this fair, Mr. Speaker? I think not. Clearly, the other side of the aisle wants to preserve this special deal for Members of Congress granted by the President of the United States.”

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who’s closely followed Obamacare’s implementation vis a vis Congress what Hensarling was referring to, a fact that Politifact later acknowledges.

The problem arose in the drafting of the law. For most Americans who have employer-based insurance, the employer pays a majority of the cost of insurance. But the version of the health care bill signed into law doesn’t include an explicit mechanism to allow the federal government to pay its employer share of congressional employees’ health insurance if they use the exchanges, now called marketplaces. (Here’s a rundown of how this drafting error occurred.)

Without a fix, congressional employees would have to foot the entire cost of their health insurance when buying insurance on the exchange — a financial hit that could go well into the thousands of dollars. To fix this problem, the Office of Personnel Management, which serves as the federal government’s human resources office, issued a ruling that allowed the same money that would have been spent on the employer’s old health insurance to instead be spent on whatever they purchased on the Obamacare marketplaces.

Obamacare critics have portrayed this as a special exemption to protect politically connected lawmakers and staff, one that was unavailable to the public at large. So some lawmakers backed an effort by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to revoke the employer’s premium cost-sharing for members of Congress, aides and other political appointees. As the House and Senate debated how to proceed to end the shutdown, passage of a funding bill with the Vitter Amendment attached was floated as a possibility.

Politifraud’s hand-waving then begins:

Will members of Congress be “the only people in America to get subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges”? Hardly — the tax credits commonly known as subsidies under Obamacare were being put into place starting Oct. 1, the same day the shutdown began. Anyone within a specified income range who purchases insurance on the Obamacare marketplace will be eligible for subsidies in the form of tax credits. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by 2017, about 24 million Americans will be buying insurance on the Obamacare marketplaces, many of them with federal subsidies. Only time will tell how many Americans eventually sign up, but it’s almost certainly going to be more than the roughly 30,000 people who work in the legislative branch.

The point Hensarling was making, which is obvious to anyone with half a brain (which explains Politifraud’s problem), was not that no one was getting subisides, but that Congressional staffers, many of whom make north of $100,000 a year, would be the only ones at that income level who get subsidies from the federal government. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful calculator that proves the point.

Will Members of Congress even get “subsidies”? Not really. All lawmakers and many staffers won’t qualify for the subsidies we discussed above because their income is too high. Instead, what lawmakers and staff will qualify for is better described as employer cost-sharing — an allotment of money that works exactly the same way as it does for the majority of Americans who get employer-based health care, and that long predated the beginning of the Obamacare exchanges. For Americans who have employer-sponsored health insurance, the employer pays a share of the premiums. In this case, that “employer” is the federal government.

So, with the second sentence in bullet point two, Politifraud announces bullet point one to be a crock. Let’s take the rest of this at face value and ignore the word games Politifraud is playing. Let’s call this “employer cost-sharing” and substitute Politifraud’s preferred wording back into Hensarling’s original statement. Does the statement become true? Why, yes it does. These are the only people in the exchanges that will have their employer “cost-sharing” their premiums.

Is this a “sweetheart deal”? Quite the opposite. Under the law as enacted, lawmakers and congressional aides are actually treated more harshly than any other American.

Tell that to the millions of Americans experiencing Obamacare sticker shock.

Is this “thanks to the Obama administration”? The Obama administration isn’t entirely blameless — in the rush to sign Obamacare into law, the president overlooked or ignored the problem looming in the legislative language, and his administration did approve the “fix.”

Yes, it’s three years later and Politifraud ignores the fact that the language in the law is what it is because that’s the only way it could pass Congress after the election of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts after he pledged to vote against Obamacare. Politifraud also glosses over the fact that there’s no statutory (read: “legal”) basis for the Obama administration to “fix” the law as he has.

Then this week, Politifact went from fraud to farce.

Did Obama shut down the ocean as part of the shutdown?

We dove in to search for answers. Has Obama shut down the ocean as part of the federal government shutdown? The key to the answer was close to home for PolitiFact Florida: the Florida Keys.

And what did these self-important hacks discover?

Our ruling

Claims about the federal government shutdown include this one circulating on Twitter: “Obama has jumped the shark and ordered the ocean closed!”

The tweet linked to an article in Breitbart that explains that the shutdown means that the Dry Tortugas and the Florida Bay are closed as a result of the shutdown. That means that 1,100 square miles of prime fishing is off limits — a blow to fishing charter companies and others that benefit from that access. Biscayne National Park is also off limits.

But it’s an exaggeration to state that Obama has tried to shut down the entire ocean — or even to suggest that he has shuttered the Atlantic Ocean or all of the waters in the Keys. Tourists and locals can continue to fish, swim and play in the ocean, even in the Keys.

We throw a big ol’ bucket of ocean water from the Keys on this claim and rate this claim False.

In their effort to protect their lord and savior, Barack Obama, from himself, Politifarce conveniently disregarded two of  their own rules on what statements deserve their attention:

In deciding which statements to check, we ask ourselves these questions:

  • Is the statement rooted in a fact that is verifiable? We don’t check opinions, and we recognize that in the world of speechmaking and political rhetoric, there is license for hyperbole.
  • Would a typical person hear or read the statement and wonder: Is that true?

But hey, at least they issued a ruling. It was just last month that they conspicuously declined to issue a ruling on whether President Obama had ever set a “red line” on Syria, instead attempting to put a laughably “Pants on Fire” statement “in context” (a tack taken by the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler as well).

They aren’t unbiased arbiters of truth; they’re political hacks.

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