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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

AARP Shills for Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) made news this week by joining the chorus of fear-mongering Democrats who suggest that those opposing Democratic health care restructuring proposals are prone to violence. As reported The Providence Journal:

“My family’s seen it up close too much with assassinations and violence in political life. It’s a terrible thing when people think that in order to get their point across they have to go to the edge of violent rhetoric and attack people personally,” Kennedy told the nurses, union officials and AARP members finishing their breakfasts at the invitation-only event in the Providence Marriott hotel. “It’s fine for people to debate the issue and attack the issue, but when they go and stoop to the level of the vitriolic rhetoric that we’ve seen this debate turn up, it’s very, I think, dangerous to the fabric of our country.”

In a subsequent interview, Kennedy went further in warning that angry opposition could create physical danger for elected leaders.
But that was not the real story. This was a "townhall" event sponsored by two labor unions and AARP. The event was not open to the general public and only supporters of Democratic health care reform were allowed in. AARP, which hosted the event, screened questions from the pre-screened crowd:

Saturday’s event, hosted by the AARP, was open to the media, but attendance was limited to a select group that largely supports a health-care overhaul.

In contrast to some public meetings hosted by the Rhode Island delegation in recent weeks, the audience was completely passive. There was no sign waving, shouting or heckling.

“I think they are democracy in action,” AARP senior state director Kathleen Connell said of the rowdy public forums. “But I don’t think that some of them produced good information. I wanted a different experience.” ...

Kennedy spoke generally about health-care legislation for 25 minutes before fielding six questions that were screened and asked by the moderator, Connell....

There was little discussion of the more controversial elements that have surfaced at recent public forums, such as the cost and impact on illegal immigrants.

“This was not really the sort of thing the other politicians have done. This was an ultra-controlled environment,” said Justin Katz, of the conservative blog Anchor Rising, who was allowed to videotape the event from the back of the room.

The role of AARP in supporting Democratic party proposals has received some attention, but not nearly enough. AARP presents itself as a neutral organization interested in the welfare of seniors, but in fact, AARP has extensive financial interests in promoting its affiliate insurance plans.

If the Kennedy event is any measure, AARP is a shill. It acts as if it is interested in an open debate, but in fact carefully controlled the Rhode Island event so that Patrick Kennedy could mouth his hyperbole about opposition violence without having to answer any hard questions.

Related Posts:
Patrick Kennedy Exposes Privacy Threat
Rush Was Right: Dems Call For "The Kennedy Memorial Health Bill"
Ghouls Preparing To Dance on Sparkman's Grave
Is the Left-Wing Hoping for Violence?

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Remember Bush Coup Talk?

Today is "military dictatorship day" (per Ed Morrissey) in which there is speculation from all sides about whether Obama would be removed in a coup or assume dictatorial powers.

Crazy, huh? The left-wing blogosphere, in particular, is in a tizzy about this threat to the Republic.

Well let's remember that not long ago, some left-wing blogs and pundits were arguing -- with an apparently straight face -- that George Bush might mount a coup or refuse to relinquish power:
  • On election eve in 2004, Bill Moyers stated that he feared Bush would mount a coup if he lost the election to John Kerry: “I think if Kerry were to win this in a — in a tight race, I think there’d be an effort to mount a coup, quite frankly.”
  • In December 2006, the Brad Blog ran a poll asking "When will George Bush Leave Office?" accompanied by a picture of a bloodied and bruised Bush. Almost one quarter of the readers voted that Bush would stay on past his second term.
  • Two Commondreams.org authors wrote an article in July 2007, saying that "It is time to think about the 'unthinkable.' The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election."
  • Michael Reynolds at Donklephant.com wrote a post titled, Sure This Isn’t Argentina? in which he stated: "We have, in short, a president who believes that he is the only law. So, I’ll ask again: are you sure that he will leave when his time is up?"
Conspiracy theorists know no single political party or political philosophy. The military is not going to overthrow Obama, and Obama is not going to grab hold of the military to establish a dictatorship.

We'll have to get rid of Democratic hegemony the old fashioned way, at the ballot box. In just 13 months.

Related Posts:
Shocking Lack of Respect
Ahmadinejad Stole The Election, Just Like Bush"
"Palin Lied, People Died" And Other Media Fictions
Bush Hid Ice Images From People Who Can't Use Google

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Obama's Olympic Apology Speech

I thought we weren't allowed to talk this way when dealing with foreigners:
"It's a battle -- we're going to win -- take no prisoners," the first lady said with a smile at a roundtable discussion with reporters in the White House State Dining Room.
I assume that Obama would not travel to Copenhagen unless he thought the corruption capital of the world Chicago had the 2016 Olympics in the bag. So here is the anticipated text of Obama's apology speech regarding the awarding of the Olympics to the gang-bangers' stomping grounds Chicago over Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Madrid:
America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 - more than at any point in human history - the interests of nations and peoples are shared. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together.

If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility. In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.

America will keep our end of the bargain. I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. That is why the days when America dragged its feet on this issue are over. Now is the time for all of us to do our part. We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation ....

Yeah, so we kicked your ass in Copenhagen and brought home the bacon to Chi-town, suckers ... get over it.*
*Text, other than the last sentence, is copyright of Barack Obama, 9/23/2009, all rights reserved.

Related Posts:
Blago Meets RICO
Obama's Former Colleagues Say Everybody Knew About Corruption, And No One Did Anything
The Official Guide To Blagojevich Blogs

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thanks a Million!

Sometime early yesterday morning, I received my one millionth visit. Eleven months and two weeks after my first post on October 12, 2008.

I hope the first million is the hardest. It has been mostly fun, but not easy.

When I started this blog, I really didn't know what I was getting into. I took to the internet out of sheer frustration and alarm at the mass delusion gripping the nation in October 2008. The modern equivalent of the tulip mania from centuries ago. But instead of tulips, the nation was gripped with euphoric hysteria over Barack Obama.

After one particularly disturbing conversation with a friend, who seemed as if his mind had been snatched by Obamamania, I realized the situation was dire. Our pathetic mainstream media, having abdicated what little self-respect and professional responsibility it had left, gave me no hope that reason would prevail. So I went to the blogosphere to sound my little alarm.

My first post, Obama is Door No. 2, still is one of my favorites. I am proud to say that I was against Obamamania before it was cool to be against Obamamania. My conscience is clear, and I was right that tulips were just tulips.

So I created a blog. I wasn't really sure what a blog was, and I didn't spend much time reading blogs. I went to Google Blogger (proving beyond doubt that I didn't know what I was doing), and I posted.

And then I learned lesson number one. No one really cared what I thought. So I posted some more. If not for my frequent visits to my own blog, I would have had no traffic at all.

Then thanks to Larrey Anderson and Thomas Lifson, American Thinker ran my article A Harvard Trial Lawyer for McCain, which in many ways was my breakthrough, getting my name out there. The article circulated through e-mail groups and posting boards, and went somewhat viral.

And then I experienced, just days after my first post, the joys of the internet. Hate mail. Mild, in comparison with what was to come, but shocking nonetheless. And all from people who claimed to be educated, enlightened liberals, telling me to shut my mouth.

Which was lesson number two, namely, that many highly-educated liberals are among the most intolerant, narrow-minded beings to inhabit the earth. I guess I already knew this, having lived most of my life around such people. But like most of us, in the past I kept my political mouth shut, so I never before experienced the wrath of the enlightened.

I didn't start out this blog meaning to target liberal America, but liberal America targeted me early on, so I am returning the favor. And the left-wing nutroots have come into my focus as well, being what is left after the liberal sauce has been reduced.

Then lesson number three. The race card. My honesty in calling Obama what he was -- an over-rated, TV-style lawyer -- earned me the now-common distinction of being called a racist. One blog theme which I have developed by necessity is to fight against the pernicious and destructive use of false accusations of racism as a political tool. I hate the use of the race card because it twists the worst aspects of our history for political gain, drives people apart, and unravels so much of the racial progress we have made.

But it has not been all bad, and mostly has been good. I've met (electronically, that is) some really great people, made some online friends, and have had my eyes opened both to the resiliency of this nation and the intellectual threats which lurk at or below the surface.

I survived on this blog through the kindness of strangers. I could not have kept up the good spirits, and survived Blogger Mood Disorder, without the encouragement of and repeated links from Professor Glenn Reynolds and Honorary Professor Michelle Malkin. These are two people who are sufficiently successful that they don't need to help struggling bloggers, but they do anyway.

There were others who offered early words of encouragement at a time when it was needed, including Claudia Rosett, William Katz, Prof. Darren Hutchinson, and Ron Coleman. It didn't hurt to have two Grandmas on my side, as well.

And along the way, I marvelled at the generosity of the conservative blogosphere, including (but not limited to!!!), Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit at HotAir, Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, John Hawkins, Ace of Spades HQ, Robert Stacy McCain and Smitty at The Other McCain, Pam Geller, Doug Ross, Jules Crittendon, Dan Collins, Don Surber, Tim Blair from Down Under, Dan at GayPatriot, Patterico, Lance Burri, Moe Lane, Cythia at A Conservative Lesbian, Dan Riehl, Jeff at Protein Wisdom, Tom Maguire, JammieWearingFool, Sister Toldyah, The Anchoress, Pundette, Small Dead Animals, Jimmie Bise, all the Chicago bloggers who helped with my Blago coverage (Backyard Conservative, Marathon Pundit, Bill Baar, Illinois Review), Donald Douglas, Pat in Shreveport, Fausta Wertz, Little Miss Atilla, Bill Roggio at Long War Journal, and the folks at Real Clear Politics.

Not to fail to mention recent acquaintences such as Left Coast Rebel, NeoNeocon, Rosita, No Sheeples, Keith Burgess-Jackson, TigerHawk, Soccer Dad, Da Tech Guy, Another Black Conservative, Viking Pundit, The Stray Dog, Hugh Hewitt, and many, many others.

I'm not kidding, look at just about any of the blogs in the left sidebar and I owe each of them a thanks. I probably should not have listed anyone here, because I know I left so many people out.

And for every piece of garbage hate mail I get, I get far more kind notes and words of encouragement from the people I am proud to call my loyal readers.

Thanks to the repeat commenters, the Followers of this blog and my Twitter account, and the people who subscribe to my Facebook networked blog. Your votes of confidence are appreciated.

To those people, like John from Tennessee and that guy from Connecticut, and others who take it upon themselves to spread my links and my tweets (thanks Doug and others), your efforts are not forgotten.

Now comes the obligatory thanks to the wife: To my wife of 25 years, thanks for being patient (yes, honey, I'm coming to bed, no I'm not on the blog again, I'm just checking the weather, heh).

To this great country, you are worth fighting for. The people who think creeping socialism is cool don't have a clue as to the deep damage they are doing. I will not shut up about it, will continue to post the truth about where we are heading, and will fight with every last electron to stop the decline of this nation at the hands of those lazy, handout-seeking, selfish fools who think everything we have earned came for free, that history began a decade ago, and that they are owed something.

What troubles me more than anything is that this government is stealing the future from my children, and my not-yet-conceived grandchildren. Such generational theft is unforgivable and will not be forgotten.

This is the fight of our lives for the benefit not of ourselves, but of future generations. Will our children and our children's children have the freedom to make their own way in life, or will we relegate them to being beggars at the alter of government handouts?

This time, it really is all about the children, and our own legacy.

Will we be honored as the generation which finally said no to the welfare state and thereby saved the best economic and political system on earth, or will we be cursed by our descendants as the generation which gave it all away?

So the blog and the fight goes on. Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Thanks, and Happy New Year
"Blogospheric Neologian"
Add "Blogger Burnout" To The List Of Blogger Ailments
A Test For Internet Addiction Disorder - Take At Your Own Risk

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Patrick Kennedy Exposes Privacy Threat

My Congressman, Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), knows a lot about the importance of the privacy of medical records, having spent most of his adult life in and out of drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Yet Patrick is a hard line Democrat when it comes to government control of health care.

And therein lies the rub. It is inconsistent to assert that highly confidential medical records should remain private, yet turn those very same records over to a centralized electronic repository, as required under electronic records provisions in the February 2009 stimulus bill. There is a long history of confidential government records falling into the wrong hands, such as when various government employees snooped on the confidential passport records of Barack Obama, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton, and hundreds of celebrities. Breaches of government databases from hackers also are routine.

According the CNS News, Kennedy supports allowing patients to keep certain types of records out of the medical database:
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D.-R.I.) says people will be able to stop doctors from including records of sexually transmitted diseases and abortions in the new national system of Electronic Health Records that was mandated by the stimulus law enacted in February.

The law says that doctors, hospitals and other health care providers must create an Electronic Health Record (EHR) for every American by 2014 or else face deductions in their Medicare payments. The EHRs are supposed to be integrated into a national health care IT system where health-care providers nationwide as well as the government would have the ability to access them when authorized.

“This is totally going to be up to the individual,” Kennedy told CNSNews.com when specifically asked if these EHRs would include any STDs or abortions in a person's medical history.
If the medical records will be secure, there should be no reason to exclude even potentially embarrassing medical events, such as an STD or abortion. Kennedy's plan to exclude some records reflects the clear and present danger arising from private medical records being centralized and accessible by the government.

Patrick Kennedy unwittingly has done us a favor. I'm sure he didn't mean to undermine the case for nationalized health care records, but he has done so because he, as much as any person on this earth, recognizes that there are potentially embarrassing medical aspects of our lives which are not safe from disclosure if the information is in government hands.

Unfortunately, as detailed in the CNS News article, it is not clear that patients actually would have the ability to exclude medical records from the central database. So Kennedy may be well intentioned, but he also may be wrong.

The centralized collection of medical information is one of the greatest, yet least examined, threats to individual privacy. Yet because liberals who usually defend privacy also support nationalized health care, the usual privacy groups have been largely silent on the issue.

The fact that this medical records provision was slipped into the stimulus bill demonstrates that eternal vigilance is needed to protect our privacy from a government bent on control.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Census Adds Question About Health Insurance

I haven't paid much attention to the upcoming 2010 Census, until the recent death of part-time Census worker Bill Sparkman, whose death under unclear circumstances is being shamelessly exploited by left-wing blogs.

I went to the Census website, and took a look at the questions which will be asked, to see whether the questions were as intrusive as some claim.

Yes, the Census questions are highly intrusive, asking about household plumbing, how many people live in the house, etcetera. On a personal level, my natural inclination would be to say "none of your damn business" as to many of the questions.

But most of these intrusive questions have been asked for decades, and in some cases, for centuries. This doesn't make the questions any less intrusive, but it is hard to claim the 2010 Census is out of the ordinary as to most of the questions.

With one exception. The Census document listing the questions which will be asked reflects a new multi-part question (beginning at page 68 [of the pdf., page numbered 58 of the report]), which collects information regarding health care insurance coverage. Question 15 on the new Census asks whether each of the following forms of insurance apply to each person in the household:
a. Insurance through a current or former employer or union (of this person or another family member)
b. Insurance purchased directly from an insurance company (by this person or another family member)
c. Medicare, for people 65 and older, or people with certain disabilities
d. Medicaid, Medical Assistance, or any kind of government-assistance
plan for those with low incomes or a disability
f. VA (including those who have ever used or enrolled for VA health care)
e. TRICARE or other military health care
g. Indian Health Service
h. Any other type of health insurance or health coverage plan – Specify
The Census explanation for adding this question is as follows:

This question was added to the American Community Survey (ACS) to enable the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies to more accurately distribute resources and better understand state and local health insurance needs.

Planning and implementing many federal health programs requires accurate state and local information on health insurance status. Obtaining data on the uninsured rate among Americans is of great importance to policy makers at federal, state, and local levels.
This question on health insurance coverage is completely new. In light of Democratic proposals to tax people without "acceptable" health coverage, and if need be to imprison such persons if they fail to pay the health care tax penalty, this new Census question takes on significance.

As I have detailed here before, the IRS will be tasked with enforcing the health care mandate tax provisions, and will receive information from employers and others regarding individual health care coverage. Similarly, individuals will have to report their health care coverage on their income tax returns.

The Census, which includes personally identifiable information regarding household members, forms yet another potential basis for government enforcement of a health care mandate.

Census Bureau privacy policies protect individual information from disclosure. But those policies, and the federal laws under which they operate, are subject to change. There is nothing, other than political will, to prevent Congress from changing the law to provide the IRS access to individual insurance coverage information collected under the Census, for the purpose of comparing that data with other data collected by the IRS.

Likely? Well if you asked me two years ago whether the government would tax people for not having health insurance, and would be willing to send such people to jail if they didn't pay the tax, I would have said you were out of your mind. Had you further told me that the IRS would receive individual health care insurance information, I would have told you to get some rest.

So I will tell you you are out of your mind if you think individual Census data on health insurance coverage would be turned over to the IRS. Of course, in two years, on the eve of the health care mandate taking effect [assuming the Democrats pass their plans], what now seems completely crazy may simply be viewed as a sane part of enforcing the health care mandate.

Related Posts:
Of Course You Will Go To Jail
Ghouls Preparing To Dance on Sparkman's Grave
Get Rid of the Mandate
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer

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Obama Is No FDR

Barack Obama often refers to Franklin D. Roosevelt in his speeches. But Roosevelt was the un-Obama when it came to war policy.

Roosevelt took this country to all-out war with Japan, even though Japan only had attacked us once at Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt did not limit himself to a proportionate response, say, by bombing a few Japanese airfields. And Germany declared war on us, but only after we had offered military support to Germany's enemies, Britain and the Soviet Union. Roosevelt did not wring his hands over whether we had caused Germany to react.

Moreover, these were not mere retaliatory wars, but wars to the bitter end. Unconditional surrender of Japan and Germany was the only acceptable outcome. There were no considerations of Japanese and German sensibilities, history, or desired compromises.

After the wars, although Roosevelt was dead, the U.S. continued these uncompromising policies. Regardless of Japanese and German culture, we imposed democracy on them. And the result was that we have had two democratic war-averse allies for over half a century.

Obama, by contrast, abhors victory. He has said so more than once. In his speech last week to the UN General Assembly, Obama paid homage to Roosevelt:
Sixty-five years ago, a weary Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the American people in his fourth and final inaugural address. After years of war, he sought to sum up the lessons that could be drawn from the terrible suffering and enormous sacrifice that had taken place. "We have learned," he said, "to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."
Yet Obama drew conclusions completely the opposite of Roosevelt's historical experience of insisting on victory and imposing democracy on the vanquished. Obama said:

Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people, and - in the past - America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment, it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self evident - and the United States of America will never waiver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.
Put aside the put down of the U.S. for being "inconsistent." The more important concept espoused by Obama was that each nation must follow its own cultural path to democracy, and that democracy cannot be imposed from outside. This view is rooted in the same multi-cultural gobbledygook which now forms the foundation of American education.

What would Obama's cultural conceptions have meant in a Japan and Germany with generations of militarism, and self-images rooted in the superiority of their races?

Put Obama in the Presidency in 1943, and his outlook on the world order would have demanded negotiations without preconditions with Japan and Germany and a negotiated peace which preserved Japanese and German political institutions. Instead of meeting only with Churchill and Stalin, Obama would have met with Hitler and Hirohito, if Obama were to be "consistent." The free and democratic nations which emerged after democracy was imposed on them from outside would be quite different from the Japan and Germany we now know and love.

If Obama consistently invokes Franklin Roosevelt, isn't it fair for us to point out that Obama is no Franklin Roosevelt? And that the foreign policies of Obama, which stress accommodation with our enemies, an aversion to victory, and an unwillingness to trumpet our form of democracy, are the antithesis of what Roosevelt demanded.

In fact, Obama's reference to the cultural traditions of others merely is an excuse to turn a blind eye towards the subjugation of women and ethnic/religious minorities in large parts of the world. After all, if it is in the cultural tradition of a nation that women cannot vote, or drive cars, or walk outside without the company of a male relative, then Obama must, under his own thesis, credit such traditions.

The cultural relativism evoked by Obama in his UN speech was the opposite of Roosevelt's uncompromising insistence on victory and democracy. Let's all just acknowledge that we knew FDR, FDR was a friend of ours, and Obama is no FDR.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ghouls Preparing To Dance on Sparkman's Grave

We do not know how or why Bill Sparkman -- a part time Census worker -- was killed in Kentucky. Let me repeat this, since this is the internet and lower case lettering does not carry any meaning: WE DO NOT KNOW HOW OR WHY BILL SPARKMAN WAS KILLED.

There are speculative reports, sometimes conflicting. But that has not stopped the left-wing internet ghouls from seeking to exploit Sparkman's death for political purposes, turning his part-time Census status into the reason for his killing and creating a cause célèbre out of thin air.

Think Progress, which never met a fact it couldn't twist, blames Michelle Bachmann's expressions of concerns over the intrusive nature of the Census for the death. Steve Benen at Washington Monthly spreads the blame around to Bachmann, Glenn Beck and Neil Boortz. While acknowledging that there is no real proof of anything, Benen ends with the transparently false hope "that their reckless and irresponsible rhetoric did not have deadly consequences."

Andrew Sullivan cites "Southern populist terrorism, whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts" as the most likely culprit. MyDD uses the death to demand that "Conservatives must stop demonizing the census." A blogger at Crooks and Liars runs with the theme, arguing that the death is the inevitable result of Census "facts" being "scary things to those wingnuts." Richard Benjamin at Huffington Post, while acknowledging that it is just as likely Sparkman stumbled onto a meth lab as it is that he was killed by anti-government elements, nonetheless uses the death to "highlight the precarious struggles of the white working class and the brewing storm surrounding the 2010 Census."

The Moderate Voice is not always so moderate, but I think they have it right: The left-wing bloggers are acting like ghouls preparing end-zone dances. Indeed, despite their words to the contrary, the left-wing blogs would love nothing more than for Sparkman to have been killed by someone who didn't want to answer the Census, so they could do their political victory dance.

This is becoming a pattern. Left-wing politicians and blogs appear to be hoping for an act of right-wing violence so that they can justify their attacks on ordinary citizens who are against the overly intrusive and destructive Democratic policies. The problem is, right-wing extremists have not obliged, fortunately. So in the absence of right-wing death squads, the left-wing agitators invent facts and events to fit their narrative.

So here's my moderate voice on the subject: You are a bunch of ghouls who would love to do nothing more than perform a political dance on the grave of poor Bill Sparkman, about whom you really don't give a damn.

UPDATE: Not to be out-ghouled, Mark Kleiman writes: "Unless and until contrary facts emerge, I’m prepared to call this a terrorist incident, and to say that Glenn Beck very likely has Bill Sparkman’s blood on his tongue and lips." Seems to me that the people hoping beyond hope that Sparkman's death was political are the ones with blood on their tongues and lips.

And JammieWearingFool asks a good question: Does the logic of the Sparkman ghouls apply to the terrorist plot against a Republican Congressman? After all, MSNBC, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are responsible for the "climate of hate" against Republicans, so they must be responsible for the plot, no?

And the hits just keep on coming, this time from No More Mister Nice Blog who covers his conspiratorial rear end by concluding that right-wingers are just like meth lab operators because they both don't like government control. So it doesn't matter whether Sparkman was killed by anti-government zealots or meth dealers, the right-wing ultimately is to blame. Brilliant! Using this logic, the hooligans running wild in Pittsburgh at the G-20 summit, the environmental activists who set fire to houses, the assassins of JFK and RFK, the attempted assassins of Ford and Reagan, the gangs terrorizing Chicago and LA, and every other act of violence against society -- must be those damn right-wingers again.

Added: See Robert Stacy McCain's post, You'd be surprised what some of these morons write on the internet

Related Posts:
Is the Left-Wing Hoping for Violence?
Because Only The Far Right Incites Violence
Our Leaders Versus the Un-Americans
We're All Political Terrorists Now

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Of Course You Will Go To Jail

This story has not received enough play, and has been lost in the shuffle of Obama's UN and G-20 appearances.

The Senate Joint Committee on Taxation is considering the tax aspects of proposed Democratic health care bills. Republican Senator John Ensign has revealed that the bill (in whatever form it takes) will include a provision making it a crime, punishable as a misdemeanor, to fail to either purchase "acceptable" health care coverage or to pay the tax for not having coverage.

At one level, the threat of imprisonment as an enforcement tool for the health care mandate is perfectly understandable. The tax on those who do not purchase acceptable health insurance is not a revenue device, it is a means of coercion. So if the tax is not sufficiently coercive, then jail is the next option.

As I have said before, get rid of the mandate. It is the tip of the iceberg of government intrusion into the most personal aspects of your life, with a jail cell waiting.

Related Posts:
Get Rid of the Mandate
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer
Taxing Your Mere Existence

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Lying About The Public Option With Polls

The supporters of a government-run "public option" are touting a CBS/NY Times poll which purportedly shows that 65% of people support a public option. But examine how the question is framed, and it is clear that the question is intended to elicit a favorable response:

"Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private insurance plans?"
What if the question were worded differently, such as:

  • "President Obama has said that the current Medicare cost structure is unsustainable. Would you favor or oppose the government offering a similar plan to everyone?"
  • "Would you be in favor of the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- even if it meant that private insurers could not compete with the government?"
  • "Would you be in favor of the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- even if it meant that some employers would drop their private coverage for employees?"
I doubt that questions which included the negative aspects of a public option would result in such positive responses. The question is framed to elicit a misleading answer which then can be used by supporters of the public option to overstate public support.

Indeed, Mark Kleiman was surprised to see CBS/NY Times polling such a formatted question. Kleiman argues that supporters of the public option should try tying the "public option" to the popular Medicare program to gain more support. This pro-public option strategy is exactly how the CBS/NY Times pollsters framed the question, i.e., in the most favorable light for the public option without any hint of the problems facing Medicare or the negative fallout from a public option.

Here's a question I bet would elicit an even more positive response: "Would you be in favor of a free lunch?"

Yes, indeed, the poll results will show that people overwhelmingly support a free lunch, so there must be such a thing as a free lunch. Let's restructure our government and economy around providing free lunches to everyone! The polls says it has support, so it must be good.

Related Posts:
Get Rid of the Mandate
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer
Taxing Your Mere Existence

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Is the Left-Wing Hoping for Violence?

During the 2008 campaign, there were serious concerns that al-Qaeda would attempt to disrupt the elections in the United States as it had disrupted the elections in Spain.

Warnings about the threat of terrorism gave prominent left-wing bloggers an excuse to accuse the McCain campaign of wanting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil to help McCain's campaign. Matthew Yglesias, one of the most prominent left-wing bloggers, declared early in the 2008 campaign: "If Americans die, they'll be in a position to clean up."

So what to make of the repeated warnings by politicians such as Nancy Pelosi, and the left-wing blogosphere, that opponents of Barack Obama's health care and economic policies are planning violence? There is no objective evidence of any such plots.

To the contrary, the violent plots being revealed recently are by Islamic extremists, yet there is nary a word of warning or caution from these same politicians and left-wing bloggers about these real threats. All the attention is on the hypothetical threat from the "right-wing."

A good example is the discovery of a part-time census worker's body several weeks ago, under completely unclear circumstances. This discovery has set off another round of hysteria in the left-wing blogosphere, despite any actual evidence of the cause or circumstances of the death.

If warnings in 2008 about the very real threat of terrorist attacks to disrupt the U.S. elections were sufficient to cause the McCain campaign to be accused of hoping for an attack, then it is worth asking the same question of those politicians and left-wing bloggers who invent right-wing plots for political purposes.

We are in a situation where conservatives pray every day that there will not be a single act of violence by anyone even arguably called "right-wing." Can the same be said of the left-wing politicians and bloggers?

In the absence of any actual right-wing plots being uncovered, why do left-wing politicians and bloggers keep playing the violence card? Are they hoping for some idiot to do something stupid so that they can use it for political purposes? As left-wing hero Keith Olbermann would say, "have you no shame?"

Related Posts:
The Nation Mag Still Spreading Pandemic Lies
Nutroots Doing al-Jazeera's Bidding
Health Care Race Card Played From Bottom of Deck

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Maybe This Is Why Obama Wants Paterson Gone

The efforts by Barack Obama to force NY Gov. David Paterson not to run for election in 2010 have roiled NY politics, and baffled many who wonder why a President felt the need to get involved in state politics.

The crushing NY State budget gap has forced Paterson to speak some harsh truths, which may not be to the Obama administration's liking. One of those truths is that taxing the rich is not the answer to economic problems. The same "tax the rich" policies which were the bedrock underneath Obama's campaign, and are at the heart of Democratic efforts to pay for health care restructuring.

In a recent speech, Paterson noted that a "tax the rich" strategy produced negative results for NY State:

Now, early revenue figures suggest that taxing the wealthy more under this year's state budget may have driven away richer New Yorkers. That could make the economic comeback for the state even harder.

"You heard the mantra, 'Tax the rich, tax the rich,"' Paterson said Wednesday at a gathering of newspaper editors at an Associated Press event in Syracuse. "We've done that. We've probably lost jobs and driven people out of the state."

This sort of talk will get you fired from the Democratic team of Obama sycophants. As Paterson now is finding out. "Tax the rich" doesn't work, and David Paterson is one of the few Democrats with the guts to say so.

Paterson understands the emptiness of promises to solve budget problems by targeting the rich. Too bad Obama doesn't understand, and wants to fire the messenger, rather than listen to the message.

Related Posts:
The Revolt of the Kulaks Has Begun
The "Richest 5%" Are The New Kulaks

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Zelaya The Insane

The saga of Manuel Zelaya should be a teachable moment to the Obama administration. As reported in the Miami Herald, Zelaya's insanity is seeping out. Zelaya claims he is the victim of radiation and mind control experiments and is being targeted by Israeli mercenaries.

This is the man the Obama administration has been trying hard to restore to power in Honduras. A crazy, power-hungry tyrant in the image of Hugo Chavez, Muammar al-Khadaffi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

By taking Zelaya's side, the Obama administration has betrayed an ally and friend. More important, the Obama administration's foreign policy has been revealed to be as insane as Zelaya.

We bully our friends, twist the concept of the rule of law to portray our allies as criminals, and impose sanctions and other get-tough tactics only against people who like us. A foreign policy gone mad, in which good is bad and friend is foe.

I really hope the Obama administration learns the right lessons from its failed love affair with the crazy Zelaya. But I won't hold my breath on that one.

What Others Are Saying:
Honduras, Alone Against The World
Zelaya comes to Honduras and violence follows

Related Posts:
I Hope Obama Fails In Honduras
Little Nice To Say About The U.S.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Get Rid of the Mandate

I have argued before that the focus on the public option, while necessary, missed the key defect in Democratic health care restructuring plans. The problem is the health care mandate, which by the way, Barack Obama opposed during the campaign.

The mandate that every individual carry health insurance under threat of punitive taxes is a corrosive tool which changes the way we understand taxation. For the first time, we will tax people not on their economic activity, but on their failure to engage in economic activity. While arguments over whether such a tax is constitutional are interesting, the real issue is political.

Do we want to empower the government to use its taxing powers to force people to take action? If the right to be left alone is a foundation of our liberty, are we willing to jettison that foundation? If taxation is the means to achieving a health care mandate, are we prepared to have the IRS play the role of health care enforcer?

There is no current equivalent. While many states impose mandatory auto insurance requirements in order to drive, individuals have the alternative of not driving. With the health care mandate there is no alternative. If you exist, you either obtain "acceptable" health insurance coverage or you are taxed.

The public option merely is necessary to make a mandate work. Many people will not be able to afford private insurance, particularly once the government defines acceptable insurance to include so many benefits as to raise the cost prohibitively.

The public option, which inevitably will be subsidized, provides the catch basin for the mandate runoff. As more and more employers opt for taxation instead of coverage, and as the ranks of those facing individual taxation rise, more and more people will be forced into the public option.

But the public option is the symptom of the mandate disease, not the other way around. It is not surprising, therefore, that attention had turned once again to getting rid of the mandate.

The debate over the mandate is a debate we need to have. It goes to the very heart of who and what we are as a nation. If we can mandate health insurance under threat of taxation, then there is no limit to what else can be mandated under the threat of taxes.

It is time to get rid of the disease, not just treat the symptom. It is time to get rid of the mandate from the Democratic health care restructuring plans.

Related Posts:
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer
Taxing Your Mere Existence
Hillary Had A Mandate For Mandates

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Little Nice To Say About The U.S.

Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations today had some positive aspects. He gave lip service to freedom of the individual and political rights.

But overall, the speech was more of the same, that whatever the United States has done right, was just making up for what we have done wrong. There was precious little in the speech which was positive about the U.S. While not an outright apology, the entire tone of the speech was apologetic.

The United States as the shining city on the hill is dead. The entire thrust of the speech was that we have acted alone, and caused many if not most of the world's problems:
I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.
As to the problems caused by others, only passing notice. This passage was particularly striking in its willful ignorance:
We have also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council.
Why did we not pay our bills? Because the UN refused to rout out rampant corruption and financial mismanagement. Why did we leave the Human Rights Council? Because it had turned into a macabre anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-Western circus, and it still is. But no criticism of that, we now have made amends by rejoining.

There was much more in the speech along these lines. Read it. Hardly a nice word to say about the United States. One of the closing lines was "The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation - one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations."

There always was such cooperation, but when the international community failed -- as it almost always does -- we acted. Is Obama taking unilateral action off the table completely? Is 17 visits to the Security Council on an issue not enough? Will he defend the U.S. even when the world disagrees?

This speech gives me little hope.

Related Posts:
I Hope Obama Fails In Honduras
Now He's Embarrassing Himself
Please Watch The Video -- Bush Didn't "Bow"

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Will He Apologize?

Barack Obama speaks at the U.N. today. What an opportunity, to call out all the thugs and dictators, and to defend personal and political freedom which is under attack daily in Venezuela, Iran and elsewhere. A real opportunity.

But if history is any guide, it is more likely that Obama will call out his own country. To the cheers of Hugo and Mahmoud and Daniel and others.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Hope Obama Fails In Honduras

Thank you, Honduras

For standing up to the U.S. government's legally dishonest and morally bankrupt attempt to engineer the return to power of Manuel Zelaya, the Hugo Chavez wannabe. You have exposed the lie (are we allowed to say that word?) that the Obama administration supports freedom and the rule of law.

Stay strong, even in the face of Zelaya's (U.S.-backed?) antic of sneaking back into the country as a guest of the Brazilian embassy.

Is it wrong to root against one's own government? When large segments of the Democratic Party hoped we would lose in Iraq and the surge would fail, the consequences would have been dead Americans and victory for our enemies.

Wanting our government's policies to fail in Honduras will not result in a single American death, and will give victory to people who support the U.S.

So I hope Obama falls flat on his face in Honduras, and that Hillary trips over him.

Related Posts:
Beating Up Honduras
Let them come to Tegucigalpa
Hands Off Honduras

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just Don't Call Him Jimmy

How oddly circular and ironic that Jimmy Carter believes that most opponents of Obama's policies are racists. In fact, racism is not Obama's main problem. Jimmy Carter is.

In modern politics, the most damaging label a President can receive is to be compared to Jimmy Carter, whose legacy of foolishness and ineptitude is furthered by Carter's post-presidential antics.

In one fell swoop, Carter has demonstrated that rather than supposed racial animosities, what Obama need fear most is being called Jimmy Carter.

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Watch Reagan, Not The Obamathon

Barack Obama is flooding the news shows this morning with appearances on five networks (excluding Fox, of course). More of the same, as if an address to a joint session of Congress and "major" speeches almost every day were not enough.

The attitude from the top down is that of a "bunch of cry babies" who can't seem to get it in their heads that a majority of people do not want the Democrats' cockamamie Rube Goldberg-like health care scheme. The supposed simpletons, mocked openly in the mainstream media and left-wing blogs, also know that apology tours, including the upcoming UN Security Council fiasco, gain us neither respect nor security, and that mountains of debt come with a price we cannot afford to pay.

The supposed dummies who oppose the White House on so many issues have more common sense in each of their little pinkies than the collective intellectual heft of the NY Times, Washington Post, and halls of Congress combined. Common sense is not tested on the SATs, so our intelligentsia does not consider common sense a value worth having.

The media smoke, fire and theatrics from the White House mask a feebleness of ideas, a lack of historical appreciation, and a pitiful willingness to become sycophants for the petty and not-so-petty tyrants of the world. Sorry never seems to be the hardest word for this White House.

So ignore the man behind the curtain, and watch someone of true determination, Ronald Reagan. Of course, the mainstream media and precursors to the left-wing blogosphere called Reagan a fool and dummy as well. But his ideas, which are the ideas of the opposition in this country, have withstood the test of time:

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Slow Blogging

If you've noticed, thing have been slow here the past couple of days. Still trying to recover from the flu and tonight starts the Jewish New Year, so I will not be doing new posts until Sunday.

In the meantime, check out the blogs and posts in the toolbar.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Whiff Of Health Care Freedom

Big news in Britain. If you move, you no longer have to drop your physician.

Why would you have to drop your physician, you ask. Because in Britain's nationalized health system, doctors are rationed by geographic area and restricted to serving people in that area. As reported in The Telegraph:
GP practices often run very tight boundaries and refuse to take patients who live even 100 yards too far away or on the wrong side of the road and people who move house are forced to change their surgery.

But within the next year patients will be able to choose to remain with a favoured doctor when they move house or register with one near work or school if they choose.

Under new plans to be announced in a keynote speech in London Mr Burnham will say GPs will not be able to refuse to take patients because they live too far away.
The fact that Brits have not previously known even this fundamental health care freedom, the ability to choose and keep your doctor, says so much about nationalized health care.

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Chris Matthews Blames Right Wingers For Kennedy Assassination

Chris Matthews is on Hardball right now making the argument that the assassination of John Kennedy was the result of right wing hate speech which incited people to violence. Even though Lee Harvey Oswald was an avowed communist who lived previously in the Soviet Union. According to Matthews, right wing hate speech emboldens even communists to commit violence.

I don't know why I watched.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NY Times Needs To Hire Amateurs

The NY Times has been largely silent on the ACORN fiasco until today, with an article titled Conservatives Draw Blood From Acorn, Favored Foe. The Times befools itself with the following analysis of why no one previously was able to convince the Obama administration to sever ties to and funding of ACORN:
But it took amateur actors, posing as a prostitute and a pimp and recorded on hidden cameras in visits to Acorn offices, to send government officials scrambling in recent days to sever ties with the organization.
There was a time when the NY Times did investigative reporting. No more, unless there is an opportunity to embarrass former Bush administration officials or expose some element of our intelligence apparatus.

A couple of amateurs with a video camera did more to expose fraud and corruption in Obama's base than the entire staff of the NY Times. And The Times doesn't see the irony in criticising such people as "amateurs."

UPDATE: More on the NY Times and ACORN from Don Surber and Hugh Hewitt.

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An Allergic Reaction To The Race Card

The increasingly hysterical use of the the race card by liberal columnists, bloggers and politicians reflects the last gasps of people who, being unable to win an argument on the merits, seek to end the argument.

While the false accusation of racism is not a new tactic, it has been refined by Obama supporters into a toxic powder which is causing damage to the social fabric of the country by artificially injecting race into every political issue.

During the campaign, Obama supporters successfully ended scrutiny of Obama's overstated opposition to the Iraq war by accusing Bill Clinton of racism for calling Obama's narrative a "fairy tale." False accusations of racism also were used against Hillary supporter Geraldine Ferraro and against John McCain in order to frame the political debate.

In the 2008 campaign cycle, the race card worked well because it could. The legitimate enthusiasm for an historic black presidential candidacy combined with media bias created an acceptance that there was no way to fight back against the tactic without making matters worse.

Over time, as Obama assumed the presidency and began implementing sweeping plans to restructure society and to run up the national debt to unthinkable levels, opposition to Obama's plans has grown. This opposition has little to do with race, and includes vast numbers of independents who voted for Obama.

The American people, while they still mostly like Obama on a personal level, increasingly oppose his policies and plans. Democrats know that the debate on the merits of initiatives such as health care and cap-and-trade has been won on the merits by the opposition.

Not surprisingly, the pace of racial accusations has picked up as opposition has grown. Just in the past few days the usual and not-so-usual suspects have been seeking to out-do each other in making accusations of racism including Eugene Robinson, Maureen Dowd, Jimmy Carter, Rep. Hank Johnson, Chris Matthews, a wide range of Democratic politicians, and of course, almost all of the mainstream media.

The effect of these accusations is poisonous. Race is the most sensitive and inflammatory subject in this country. By turning every issue, even a discussion of health care policy, into an argument about race, liberals have created a politically explosive mixture in which the harder they seek to suppress opposing voices, the harder those voices seek to be heard.

The stresses this situation has created were exposed at the town hall hearings this summer. The voices of ordinary Americans who never protested anything before in their lives resembled steam forcing its way through the lid of a tightly closed political lid.

But it will not work this time for the effete intellectual bullies for whom the race card traditionally has been the trump card.

Everyone understands that Obama was not subject to the same scrutiny as other candidates because of the fear of being called a racist. That lack of scrutiny gave us a president whose moderate campaign rhetoric belied an underlying agenda which, if revealed during the campaign, would have resulted in an electoral landslide for McCain-Palin. The vocal opposition we are witnessing has everything to do with a sense of being betrayed not just by a candidate, but by a process which was rigged by the use of the race card.

We are seeing for the first time a strong push-back against the race card players. And that reaction is visceral, much like an allergic reaction, from people who have been stung before.

UPDATE: Jules Crittenden also has a good take on the subject: Race Card. And, a Rasmussen survey finds that people are not buying into the race-card tactic:
Twelve percent (12%) of voters nationwide believe that most opponents of President Obama’s health care reform plan are racist. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of voters disagree, and 21% are not sure.

Related Posts:
Health Care Race Card Played From Bottom of Deck
The Big Smear
"Race" As Political Weapon
Is "Gobbledygook" Racist?

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Good Luck Premature Detonation

This video (h/t Tim Blair) carries a certain satisfaction. It shows the premature detonation of a roadside IED, taking out the bad guys planting the devide before the good guys had to fire a shot. That alone makes it worth posting.

But listen to the video, don't just watch it. The American soldiers watching the scene unfold repeatedly hold fire as a child carrying supplies to the bombers enters the target area, "My only concern is that child right now" one of the soldiers says (at 2:20 descending).

After the child leaves, the soldiers move towards the firing sequence, but the child reappears: "Is that a kid, damn it." (at 1:15) Then "go away kid, go away kid." Not a shot is fired.

And that is the real point of the video. Not the bad luck of the bombers, but the good luck of us all to have soldiers with the decency to hold fire to avoid civilian casualties.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Moving Up To #16

In John Hawkins' latest quarterly ranking of Best Conservative Blogs, I have moved up to #16, from my previous #18 spot. Thanks John!

Please remember, these rankings are based upon scientific consensus, so the results may not be questioned (at least not this quarter).

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Will Obama Mention This Anecdote In His Next Speech?

One of the hallmarks of an Obama health care speech is to pick one or two or three anecdotes of people who have had trouble with their insurance company as proof that we need to overhaul the entire insurance industry and health care system. These anecdotes may be true [sometimes they are not], and the underlying problems may need to be addressed, but Obama never has explained why getting government involved in a restructuring of the health care industry is the solution.

In fact, the overwhelming evidence, anecdotal and otherwise, is that government involvement in micromanaging industry has disastrous negative unintended consequences.

Here is an anecdote from the Wall Street Journal about how congressional legislation regarding lead paint in children's toys has had enormous unintended consequences. Read the whole thing.

The bottom line is that the law ends up devastating small businesses and resellers who were not involved in creating the problem, whose products may not even contain lead, while creating lobbyist-induced breaks for big toy companies like Mattel which did create the problem (emphasis mine):

This law has saddled businesses with billions of dollars in losses on T-shirts, bath toys and other items that were lawful to sell one day and unlawful the next. It has induced thrift and secondhand stores to trash mountains of outgrown blue jeans, bicycles and board games for fear there might be trivial, harmless—but suddenly illegal—quantities of lead in their zippers and valves or phthalates in their plastic spinners....

Why did Congress rush to pass this bill, and why is it so reluctant to amend a law whose burdens fall mostly on products that have never been linked to poisoning? One reason is the skill of antibusiness groups claiming to speak for consumers. Groups such as Public Citizen and the Public Interest Research Group seized on and promoted the Chinese toy panic for their own legislative ends and have taken credit for some of the law's most extreme provisions. (The tracking-labels provision was added by then-Sen. Barack Obama.)

So I hope President Obama will mention this anecdote in his next speech or interview when he is telling us how he and Congress are so wise as to be trusted with restructuring our health care system. I would like this anecdote mentioned when we are told that lobbyists are not allowed to influence the legislation.

Most of all, I would like to hear this anecdote mentioned when we are promised that thousands of pages of legislation, to be followed up by multiple thousands of pages of regulations, will not have the unintended consequence of trashing our best doctors, health systems and medical technologies.

Related Posts:
It's Still All About Him, Except That It's Not
Senate To Fix Joe Wilson's Imaginary Loophole

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Still All About Him, Except That It's Not

Barack Obama was interviewed tonight on 60 Minutes by Steve Kroft. This little nugget had been previewed in pre-interview press hype. Obama states that he will be held accountable by voters if health care restructuring fails, but in fact just the opposite is true:

I have no interest in having a bill get passed that fails. That doesn't work. You know, I intend to be President for a while, and once this bill passes, I own it. And if people look and say, "You know what? This hasn't reduced my costs. My premiums are still going up 25 percent, insurance companies are still jerking me around," I'm the one who's going to be held responsible. So I have every incentive to get this right.
Kroft immediately went on to another topic. Was Kroft even listening? Didn't he know that as good as this statement by Obama sounded, it actually made no sense at all?

The new health care plans and restructuring will not take place until after the 2012 Presidential election. Obama will go into the 2012 election without anyone having experienced directly the impact of his plans. Obama will not be eligible to run again in 2016, regardless of whether he is held "accountable" for ruining our health care system.

If Obama's motivation is to be "President for a while" as he says, then the ultimate success or failure of the health care restructuring plans will have absolutely no impact.

We, not Obama, will be held accountable for Obama's failure and our own mass delusion.

The mainstream media still is too smitten to care.

UPDATE: Commenter Melanie asks why the new plans don't take effect until after 2012. Here is the explanation given by Obamacare supporter Ezra Klein:
Most of the major provisions in the House's health-care reform bill begin in 2013....The slow start is a way of holding down costs in the 10-year budget window. If the bill begins in 2010, but the subsidies don't kick in until 2013, then that's three years that are under the budget but aren't costing much money. That means the new health-care system can really cost an average of $140 billion each year, as opposed to $100 billion, and that means you can afford a better system.
It's just a budget game so Obama can keep the 10-year cost (which is the time frame used in these budget estimates) down, since there really are only 6 years of costs build into the 10 year projection, but 10 years of tax revenue. Of course, Klein doesn't understand that this doesn't mean you "can afford a better system," it means you are putting yourself into the same situation as homeowners who take mortgages that are fixed artifically low for a short time then revert back to higher rates. And we know how that worked out.

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That some people have taken it upon themselves to use the death of a student from swine flu as a cause for mockery and snark.

Pat at And So It Goes In Shreveport has the run down: Editor of HuffPo's Health Unit Mocks Death of Cornell Student

Related Post:
Cornell Loses Student To Swine Flu

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Charles Johnson and Robert Stacy McCain

When I first started this blog just under a year ago, I was ignorant of who was who in the blogosphere. Believe it or not, Memeorandum is not the world.

But I did know about Little Green Footballs. I'm not sure why.

Over the months, it became obvious that no one provokes or responds to blog wars better (or worse, depending on your perspective) than Charles Johnson who runs LGF. Given the legend of "don't cross Charles Johnson" I stayed out of those things because ... who cares and what's the point?

But the blog war started yesterday by LGF against Robert Stacy McCain of The Other McCain deserves comment.

Robert Stacy McCain is someone I never have met or even spoken with, but I do read his blog, some of his posts at American Spectator, and sometimes we link to each other's posts. I have not devoted my life to studying McCain's life or writings; rather, in college I studied Bolshevism and other "isms" which remain fashionable among the Left in America in substance if not name.

So imagine my surprise to read yesterday that LGF has declared McCain to be a racist and white supremacist. McCain's responses are here, here and here (and multiplying by the hour)[added: something of a summation here]. But Johnson's post didn't ring true to me for several reasons independent of McCain's responses.

First, nothing I had read over the past year written by McCain supported such a conclusion.

Second, the snippets of sentences and clauses quoted in Johnson's post smelled like the type of truncated, piecemeal plucking of words out of context which is de rigeur these days when the race card is to be played.

It reminded me of a screen shot Johnson posted when Barack Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, purporting to show George Bush also bowing to the Saudi King. In fact, as I posted at the time, the screen shot was deceptive because it did not reflect that Bush was bowing, but merely lowering his head to have a medal placed around his neck. Johnson later changed the post text to reflect the medal placement, without acknowledging what had been done.

A small incident, perhaps, but the point is that what you see in a snippet or out of context not always is accurate or fair.

Third, so much of the charge revolved around guilt by association. Not the "you sat in his church for 20 years" type of association Barack Obama had with Jeremiah Wright. The "you write articles for a magazine, the owner of which" .... blah blah blah. Or you linked to someone who once did this or that.

Guilt by linkage hardly persuades me of anything. I mean, I have linked to LGF and The Other McCain, so what does that make me?

Fourth, the LGF attack appeared to be payback for McCain's defense of Pam Geller when LGF attacked her. Payback attacks always are suspicious.

Last for this post, but not necessarily least, the attack does seem to reflect what McCain calls "anti-Southern prejudice, especially among the intellectual elite." We do not treat the history and cultures of ancient Egypt, various modern North African Arab ethnic groups, various black African tribes, the Europeans, and others, all of whom owned or traded in slaves, as being restricted to that history of slave ownership and racism.

But the "South" has become political. Having gone through Northeastern liberal public schools, college and law school, I know almost nothing about the history and culture of the South other than slavery and segregation.

In the last 40 years, as the South moved from Democratic to Republican, the equation of racism with Southern Republicans has been pounded into the heads of multiple generations even though the segregationists mostly were Democrats. How many 20-somethings do you think are aware that George Wallace was a Democrat and was shot while running for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party?

The point is not that we should not acknowledge and own up to the negative aspects of the history of the South. We have spent the past half-century trying to make amends and deal with the fall out, and should continue to do so. But to equate pride in one's Southern heritage with being a racist is not fair unless there is something more. And there doesn't seem to be "more" in the case of Robert Stacy McCain, or if there is, Charles Johnson hasn't made the case.

I detest the use of the race card in American politics and on the blogosphere. As I have said before, "suppression of legitimate political expression through false accusations of racism" is the defining theme to emerge from the 2008 political campaign. We see it every day, even when we debate health care.

With good reason, being tagged a racist is about as damaging a tag as exists because the damage is caused once the accusation is made.

And that is the point. If you want to ruin someone's reputation, just keep posting the words "racist" in close proximity to their name on the internet so that web search engines associate the person and the accusation. That is what some people tried to do to Glenn Beck recently by making accusations of past criminal conduct in the form of a question for the very purpose of influencing Google and other search engines.

The false accusation of racism is a despicable tactic. It damages the person against whom it is made and the victims of true racism.

And that is why I felt it necessary to speak up this time.

Related Posts
Health Care Race Card Played From Bottom of Deck
Saturday Night Card Game
"Race" As Political Weapon

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