The White House Scores A 2013 Jumbo Jumbo

There's no elephant. Do you see an elephant?

There’s no elephant. Do you see an elephant?

Just in time to make the 2013 cut-off, the White House achieved the Jumbo of the year, and simultaneously made me wonder if I am going to have to jettison all respect for my loyal Obama-supporting friends.

The Jumbo is an Ethics Alarms category lunched in 2013, designed to recognize individuals who engage in spectacular examples of unethical conduct I have always detested with a special passion: trying to wiggle out of a tight spot by stubbornly insisting that what is obviously the case isn’t really, a brazen exercise resting on the presumption that everyone else is either a dimwit or as corrupt as the speaker. The name derives from an iconic moment in Billy Rose’s 1936 Broadway musical extravaganza “Jumbo,” named after P.T. Barnum’s famous giant elephant, that starred Jimmy Durante. Caught red-handed as he tried to sneak his dying bankrupt circus’s major asset off the premises and away from creditors, the “Old Shnozzola” was confronted with a sheriff who belligerently inquired, “Just where do you think you’re going with that elephant?” Jimmy’s response, acting for all the world as if the massive pachyderm at the end of the rope he was holding didn’t exist: “Elephant? What elephant?” Another apocryphal equivalent is the old burlesque joke about the philandering husband caught by his wife as he frolics in their bed with a naked and luscious bimbo. The rake still denies anything untoward is going on, pleading, “Who are you going to believe, me, or your own eyes?” . In real life, the gold standard might be actress Lindsay Lohan’s insistence to police, when she was arrested for reckless driving and cocaine was found in her pocket, that she was wearing someone else’s pants.

The White House’s entry into the Jumbo Hall of Fame is pretty impressive, though. As figures showed that a million Americans had registered for Obamacare in December, bringing the total number to 2.1 million, well short of the 3 million goal, White House White House health care adviser Phil Schiliro told MSNBC yesterday that the frequently stated Administration goal of  7 million enrolled by the end of March, when the individual mandate (penalty, according to Democrats; tax, according to the U.S. Supreme Court) kicks in, was not really the goal after all. Continue reading

What A Surprise: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Flunks The Integrity Test

When Bill Maher seems more ethical than the White House, it's time to hit the life boats...

When Bill Maher seems more ethical than the White House, it’s time to hit the life boats…

Yes, today Kathleen Sebelius joined the growing group of pols, leaders, pundits and journalists—and maybe some of your friends and associates—who have flunked the integrity and trustworthiness test created by the undeniable evidence that public support for Obamacare was predicated on a calculated lie. Asked in today’s hearing about the fact that so many Americans are now receiving letters cancelling their health care plans  that they were “happy with” (including me, by the way) because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, despite the President’s repeated assurances that…

“If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.”

…Sec. Sebelius replied that insurance companies have always been able to cancel plans, essentially making the deceitful argument that the current calculations were brought about by the exact same law the President promised would NOT lead to such cancellations.

This is despicable. It is also the same dishonest, insulting argument used yesterday by Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services. So this is apparently the talking point agreed upon by the Obama Administration: “Hey, we never said you wouldn’t be cancelled, just that this law wouldn’t cancel you.” But the President’s words actually did promise that nobody would be cancelled, and what he intended to convey was that nobody should fear losing their health care plan as a consequence of passing the ACA. Continue reading