Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Congress's Secret Plan to Pass Obamacare

The liberal Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream press complain constantly about incivility, although they are the originators and main source of character assassinations of anyone who disagrees with them. Now they are planning to sneak something through that a large majority of the people do not want. "When in the Course of human events...Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it".*

Once enacted, government run, socialized medicine will be impossible to roll back. In Great Britain, the non-medical administration of government healthcare is the third largest employer in the world. This sneak plan is a denial of just representation, and when people are denied just representation they have a God-given right to achieve it any way they can.

Congress's Secret Plan to Pass Obamacare

by Brian Darling September 30, 2009

President Obama and liberals in Congress seems intent on passing comprehensive health care reform, even though polls suggest it is unpopular with the American people. And despite the potential political risks to moderate Democrats, the President and left-wing leadership in Congress are determined to pass the measure using a rare parliamentary procedure.

The Senate plans to attach Obamacare to a House-passed non-healthcare bill. Ironically, nobody knows what that legislation looks like, because it has not yet been written. Yet many members plan to rubber-stamp Obamacare without reading or understanding the bill.

The Senate Finance Committee worked furiously last week to mark up a "conceptual framework" of health care reform. The committee actually rejected an amendment by Sen. Jim Bunning (R.-Ky.) to mandate that the bill text and a final cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) be publicly available at least 72 hours before the Finance Committee votes on final passage.

The following four-step scenario describes one way liberals plan to work the rules in their favor to get Obamacare through the Senate:

Step 1: The Senate Finance Committee must first approve the marked-up version of Sen. Max Baucus' (D.-Mont.) conceptual framework. Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) can say that two Senate Committees have passed a health care bill, which will allow him to take extraordinary steps to get the bill on the Senate floor.

During the mark-up last week, members had difficulty offering amendments and trying to make constructive changed because they lacked actual legislative text and Baucus made unilateral last minute changes. For example, the AP reported that "under pressure from fellow Democrats, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee decided to commit an additional $50 billion over a decade toward making insurance more affordable for working-class families."

Step 2: Sen. Reid will take the final product of the Senate Finance Committee and merge it with the product of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which passed on a party-line vote in July.

Usually, a bill is voted out of committee, and then the Senate takes up the final product of the committee so that all 100 senators can have a hand in the process. With some help from the Obama administration, Reid will decide what aspects of the HELP and Finance Committee bills to keep.

Step 3: Now, Obamacare will be ready to hitch a ride on an unrelated bill from the House. Sen. Reid will move to proceed to H.R. 1586, a bill to impose a tax on bonuses received by certain TARP recipients. This bill was passed by the House in the wake of the AIG bonus controversy and is currently sitting on the Senate Legislative Calendar.

The move to proceed needs 60 votes to start debate. After the motion is approved, Sen. Reid will offer Obamacare as a complete substitute to the unrelated House-passed bill. This means that the entire healthcare reform effort will be included as an amendment to a TARP bill that has been collecting dust in the Senate for months.

Step 4: For this strategy to work, the proponents would need to hold together the liberal caucus of 58 Democrats (including Paul Kirk who was named last Thursday to replace Sen. Kennedy), and the two Independent senators (Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont). These members will have to all hold hands and vote against any filibuster. Once the Senate takes up the bill, only a simple majority of members will be needed for passage. It's possible one of the endangered moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), could vote to stop a filibuster then vote against Obamacare so as not to offend angry constituents.

Once the Senate passes a bill and sends it to the House, all the House would have to do is pass the bill without changes and President Obama will be presented with his health care reform measure. If this plan does not work, the Senate and House leadership may go back to considering using reconciliation to pass the legislation.
Adopting this secret plan will not strike most Americans as a transparent, bipartisan, effective way to change how millions of Americans get their health care.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

* The Declaration of Independence


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some Crippling Liberal Myths

Some Crippling Liberal Myths

1. Sexual predators can be cured and released back into society.
2. Normal men are just as likely to molest boys as homosexuals.
3. In the absence of a medical necessity, killing a nine-month old fetus isn’t murder.
4. If a country is “nice” to monsters and terrorists, it doesn’t need weapons and soldiers.
5. People who violate our immigration laws deserve free healthcare and welfare.
6. Anyone who has accumulated some wealth must be a criminal.
7. The Constitution that has kept us free and prosperous is outdated.
8. Planners in the federal government can do better than the free marketplace in allocating resources.
9. Infants whose mothers place them in daycare grow up just fine.
10. It is more important to avoid collateral damage than to win battles - and with minimum American casualties.
11. Fathers are not really necessary to bring up a well-adjusted child.
12. Rewarding achievement and penalizing failure are outmoded concepts. It’s more important that everyone feel good about themselves.
13. A much bigger and more intrusive central government is better for everyone than an opportunity society where some will do very well, and some will fail.
14. It’s better to give a man a fish than to teach him how to fish.
15. Americans should feel guilty that Western Society was the first culture to ban slavery, which is still practiced by other cultures.
16. Americans should feel guilty that we have created the most prosperous and generous nation the world has ever seen.
17. Americans should feel guilty that, through force of arms, we have helped scores of nations achieve their own freedom.
18. Just because 99.99% of all murderous terrorist acts are committed by Muslims doesn’t mean we have something to fear from Muslims and must protect ourselves from Muslim terrorists.
19. Just because Islam is a political movement that is inimical to basic freedoms, as well as a religion, doesn’t mean we have to limit its growth in America to preserve our culture and save us from what is happening in Great Britain, France and other countries.
20. I just remembered a big one - multiculturalism - the belief that all other cultures are superior to the unique American culture - cultures that immigrants risked everything to escape.

If you can think of any other crippling, liberal myths, please note them in a comment.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rep. Rogers Healthcare Video and Mark Steyn

Congressman Mike Rogers' opening statement on Health Care

If video does not load go here.

Mark Steyn: Obama won't surrender in his war of choice

September 11, 2009 OC Register

He'll get some form of health care plan rammed through because it's key to permanently shifting America left.

So why can't the silver-tongued post-partisan healer seal the deal on this health care business? Surely it should be the work of moments for the greatest orator in American history to whip up a little medicinal Gettysburg, a touch of Henry V-in-the-Agincourt-casualty-tent, and put this thing away. Yet there he was the other night with the usual leaden medley of tinny grandiosity (all the this-is-the-moment, now-is-the-hour stuff), slippery reassurances (don't worry, you won't be "required" to change your present health arrangements), imputations of bad faith to anyone who takes a different view (they're playing "games"), and the copper-bottomed guarantee that you can have it all for no money down, no interest, no monthly payments, no nuthin' ("I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit").

This would barely have passed muster four months back. After a summer of seething town halls and sliding approval numbers, it was a joke. Or, rather, it would be a joke if the president's intention was to persuade an increasingly skeptical, if not downright hostile, electorate. On the other hand, if the intention is to ram it down America's throat whatever the citizenry thinks, then the joke's on us.

If it was about "health care," it would be easier. It was assumed, for example, that the president's sly revision of "47 million people without health insurance" in his summer speeches to the substantially lower 30 million was a concession to those who said that his "plan" (he hasn't actually produced one, but why get hung up on details?) will cover gazillions of illegal immigrants.

If so, it's a rhetorical feint that's otherwise meaningless. The minute a first-world country has "free" health care, it becomes the provider of choice to anyone who can get there, particularly for any long-term ailments requiring state-of-the-art medications. In 2004, Britain's Health Protection Agency revealed that 44 percent of HIV patients being treated by the National Health Service were not residents of the United Kingdom at all but from southern Africa. In essence, a huge number of AIDS patients in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Lesotho have decided to outsource their health care needs to British taxpayers.

Similar trends will manifest themselves here in nothing flat.

But, for the sake of argument, let us concede the president's current number of 30 million uninsured. In order to do something for the 10 percent of the population outside the current system, why is it necessary to destabilize the arrangements of the 90 percent within it?

Well, says the president, not so fast. Lots of people with insurance run into problems when they change jobs or move to another state. OK, In that case, why not ease the obstacles to health care portability?

Well, says the president, shuffling his cups and moving the pea under another shell, we're spending too much on health care. By "we're," he means you and you and you and you and millions of other Americans making individual choices over which he casually claims collective jurisdiction.

And that, ultimately, gets closer than anything else he says to giving the game away. For most of the previous presidency, the Left accused George W. Bush of using 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq. Since January, his successor has used the economic slump as a pretext to "reform" health care. Most voters don't buy it: They see it as Obama's "war of choice," and the more frantically he talks about it as a matter of urgency the weirder it seems. If he's having difficulty selling it, that's because it's not about "health." As I've written before, the appeal of this issue to him and to Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank et al is that governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture – one in which elections are always fought on the Left's issues and on the Left's terms, and in which "conservative" parties no longer talk about small government and individual liberty but find themselves retreating to one last pitiful rationale: that they can run the left-wing state more effectively than the Left can. Listen to your average British Tory or French Gaullist on the campaign trail, pledging to "deliver" government services more "efficiently."

Three stories bubbled up in the past week, although if you read The New York Times and the administration's other airbrushers you'll be blissfully unaware of them: The resignation of Van Jones, former (?) communist and current 9/11 "truther," from his post as Obama's "Green Jobs Czar." The reassignment" of Yosi Sergant at the National Endowment for the Arts after he was found to be urging government-funded arts groups to produce "art" in support of Obama policy positions. And, finally, the extraordinary undercover tape from Andrew Breitbart's Big Government Web site in which officials from ACORN (the Obama chums who'll be "helping" with the next census) offer advice on how pimps can get government housing loans for brothels employing underage girls from El Salvador.

What do all these Obama associates have in common? I mean, aside from the fact that Glenn Beck played a key role in exposing them. We are assured by the airbrushing media and "moderate" conservatives that Beck is crazy, a frothing spokesnut for the lunatic fringe. By contrast, Van Jones, Yosi Sergant and ACORN are all members of the lunatic mainstream, embedded philosophically and actually in the heart of Obamaland.

What all these individuals share is a supersized view of the state, from a make-work gig coordinating the invention of phony-baloney "green jobs" to Soviet-style government-licensed art in support of heroic government programs to government-funded "community organizers" organizing government funding for jailbait bordellos. OK, government-funded child prostitution's a bit of an outlier even for this crowd – for the moment. But you get the general idea.

The New York Times' in-house conservative, David Brooks, was an early champion of Obama and is profiled in the current edition of The New Republic cooing paeans to the then-senator"s "pant leg and perfectly creased pant." Alas, for David Brooks, the bottom has dropped out of Obama's perfectly creased pants. The other day he was tutting that the Obama administration is in trouble because "it joined itself at the hip to the liberal leadership in Congress." My National Review colleague Jay Nordlinger was reminded of an old observation by the great Theodore Dalrymple.

During his time as an English prison doctor, Dalrymple frequently met ne'er-do-wells who said they'd "fallen in with the wrong crowd," but, oddly enough, in all those years, he never met the wrong crowd.

Likewise, Obama didn't "join" himself to the liberal leadership; he is the liberal leadership. The administration didn't fall in with the wrong crowd; they are the wrong crowd. Van Jones, Yosi Sergant and ACORN are where Barack Obama's chosen to live all his adult life. Even if he wanted to be the bipartisan centrist of David Brooks' fantasies, look at his Rolodex and then figure out just where such a man would estimate the "center" to be.

My sense from Wednesday's speech is that the president's gonna shove this through in some form or other. It may cause a little temporary pain in Blue Dog districts in 2010, but the long-term gains will be transformative and irreversible.

We are indebted to Mark Steyn for pointing out something extremely important that no one has really mentioned - we are now a magnet for illegal and legal immigrants due to our freedoms and our opportunities. Can anyone imagine the numbers of illegal immigrants with serious diseases that will make their way here if we have government-run healthcare?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

As Obama Implodes, Is This Wishful Thinking?

Once again a familiar scenario is being played out. Memories fade as to how bad liberal governance can be, and a liberal Democrat is elected president. Once in office, the failure of policies based on what liberals would like the world to be (instead of what experience has shown) becomes obvious, and dissatisfaction with this nonsense rises. In Obama's case we have the added specter of his obvious hatred for his own country and his desire to right imagined wrongs to add to the mix.

Please, please, conservatives, I beg of you. Put your energy into reshaping the Republican Party - not in creating a new party. Third parties only serve to elect Democrats. Remember the Anderson debacle and how Ross Perot gave us Clinton, and fight instead to renew Republican commitment to conservative principles. Demand a new Contract With America complete with a promise to incorpoate Term Limits - and this time, hold them to this promise.

Obama and the Last Hurrah of Liberalism

By Steve McCann September 25, 2009 American Thinker

Sometimes in the history of a nation what appears to be an action that could lead to long term disaster may, in fact, be its long term salvation. A case in point: the election of Barack Obama as President and the Democrats in full control of the Congress. To be certain the far left domination of government was not a situation to be wished for but in a perverse way one that was necessary.

Over the past fifty years, regardless of who was in the White House or in charge of Congress, no one has been able to halt the incessant spread of left-wing radicalism in our institutions and the uncontrolled spending and growth of government. When a President as accomplished as Ronald Reagan was unable to do so it is apparent that no future Republican President or Congress, short of major national catastrophe, will ever be able to fully turn back this tide as they cannot overcome the apathy of the people and the hostility of a partisan media, entertainment establishment, academia and federal bureaucracies.

A long as the American people remained largely disengaged, the damage done to the society as a whole and to the long term financial health of the country was unknown to the vast majority of the population. This indifference has begun to show some change as the reality of the nation's future comes into focus, but that reality has started to come to the fore only as the result of the policies being perused by a far left government.

Today, thanks to a confluence of two factors, the opportunity exists to reverse the course we have been on and change the political power structure in the country.

The first: the emergence of alternative news sources to once and for all break the stranglehold of the dissemination of news by the traditional outlets dominated by the left.

The second: The election of a radical left-wing President and a Congress controlled by the same radical element of the Democratic Party.

President Obama is an offspring of the 1960's radical movement. He has spent most of his life surrounded and tutored by members of this group. He is the culmination of the ideal stealth candidate able by his gift of rhetoric, race and good timing to ascend to the office of President. The left found, as Joe Biden put it "a clean and articulate" nominee with surface charm and charisma able to fool enough citizens into voting for him

A trait common to those on the far left is an inability to have any humility; there is an intense conviction of superiority both intellectually and in their capability to rule the masses. The true believers are incapable of hiding their philosophy and, once elected, are convinced that nearly everyone does or should share their dedication to the power of a central government. Those that do not conform will be demonized. These extremists will move heaven and earth to achieve their ends regardless of any long term consequences and cannot avoid shouting from the rooftops what they are doing as tribute to themselves.

The determination of Obama and the Congress to exploit the financial and economic crisis in order to pass their radical agenda has had the effect of kicking over the rocks and exposing for all to see the undermining of the social and fiscal foundation of the nation by the left-wing radicals in Congress, the Administration and within many of our institutions.

Would the country be as aware of the following if not for an extremist government in power in Washington? Acorn and the "community organizer" groups have been revealed to be nothing more than corrupt partisan hacks exploiting the poor and the taxpayers. The unions and their leaders exposed as power hungry ideologues with no interest in the long term well-being of their members. The mainstream media's willingness to lose all credibility with the vast majority of the public with its not so subtle cheerleading for their preferred politician has become obvious to all. The Democratic Party, at one time the self-declared defender of the little guy, has openly declared war on small business and capitalism. The Democratic members of Congress have been revealed to be indifferent to the voters, incapable of reading bills and fully in the pockets of liberal special interests groups

Further the Administration has blithely declared a tripling of the national debt over the next 10 years as if it were immaterial. President Obama has championed "health care reform" and a "carbon tax" in an attempt to control the day-to-day lives of the American people. There are now 32 advisors (czars), to the President, most being left-wing ideologues, with the power to implement his agenda, none of whom have been approved by the Senate.

While the readers of the American Thinker, viewers of Fox News and the listeners to Rush Limbaugh may be expected to be aware of these factors, now with the backdrop of unfettered spending, the high jobless rates and the potential for national bankruptcy more and more of the general public has become aware of the radical nature of the present government.

President Obama and his Party have failed to understand the basic character of the American people and the many polls taken over the years showing this to be a right of center country. They further underestimated the power of the alternate media before they had an opportunity to silence it. While the timing may have been there to have to have a "moderate" Barack Obama elected President, the timing to turn the United States into a bastion of socialism was not. The infiltration of the various institutions by the left has not been in place long enough to change the character of the majority of the population and the use of the strategy of guilt to intimidate the American citizens has run its course, it has been overused.

To date the damage done has been considerable, but it is not irreversible. In essence Barack Obama and the Congress won their offices too early in the history of our nation to achieve all their objectives; by doing so and overreaching this left wing government has given the country an opportunity to awaken from its 50 year slumber and repair the foundation. Only a radical Presidency and Congress could have achieved this before it was too late. The only questions that remain: will the aroused and more knowledgeable populace continue to be aware and elect those that will make the changes necessary and will we as a nation take advantage of this potential reprieve?

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Naif-in-Chief

Yesterday President Obama told the world that America, up until he took office 9 months ago, has been the scourge of the world. Having watched my wonderful country over and over come to the aid of any country experiencing catastrophes like AIDS epidemics, earthquakes and tsunamis, and having lived through the number of times we have expended blood and treasure rescuing countries from aggression, I have no words to express my disgust with this narcissistic and ignorant America-hater. A noted psychiatrist wrote a book once whose subject was that liberalism is a form of mental illness. After watching Obama's speech yesterday, I'm beginning to think he was right..

The naif-in-chief

September 24, 2009 New York Post

Who wrote President Obama's speech for the start of the UN General As sembly yesterday -- Rodney King? You know, the guy whose videotaped run-in with cops sparked the 1992 LA riots, leading King to ask: "Can't we all just get along?"

Today that question is used derisively, to mock naive "solutions" for social ills.

But it essentially sums up Obama's 38-minute UN plea, as Washington's former UN envoy John Bolton noted.

Except that Obama is supposed to be the wise leader of the Free World.

What a truly pathetic performance.

Not only because of the president's stunning cluelessness about the world's nature. But also because of his repeated insults to America. And his back-stabbing of Washington's top Mideast ally, Israel.

Obama, yet again, focused on the world's "distrust" of this nation, thanks to the "belief . . . that America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interest of others" -- presumably, under George W. Bush's presidency.

Not to fear, though; Obama's here: He's closing Gitmo, he said, banning torture, quitting Iraq, scrapping nukes . . .

What about protecting America?

Obama believes "deeply," he said, that "the interests of nations and peoples are shared." (Cue the Kumbaya singers.)

Indeed, he practically begged world leaders to take their "share of responsibility" in responding to global challenges.

Did no one brief him about who'd be at the event? Like lunatic Libyan murderer-in-chief Moammar Khadafy (who ranted for 95 minutes)? And Holocaust-denying, terror-sponsoring, nuke-building, election-stealing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Obama can't truly believe these guys will do their "share" to make the world safe, however much he pleads.

And what's up with those gratuitous slams at Jerusalem? "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," Obama hissed. He insisted that "Israel respect the legitimate claims . . . of the Palestinians."

Memo to POTUS: Israel has always respected legitimate Palestinian claims.

Indeed, it is neither Israeli disrespect nor settlements that stand in the way of peace there -- but the Palestinian fantasy (fueled by folks like Ahmadinejad) of wiping the Jewish state off the map.

Obama can wish all he wants for everyone to "just get along."

But wishing won't make it happen.

He's got some serious learning to do.

The blessings of Pax Americana, the good cop

By James Lewis September 24, 2009 American Thinker (Excerpt)

"Yesterday at the United Nations, Barack Obama renounced Pax Americana, signaling an end to the United States' role as global cop."

”The Middle East now has the closest thing to Adolf Hitler since World War II, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is now within a year of having nukes in his grasp. Already they have ballistic missiles, built to carry nukes. That regime has been tested in a long and bloody war with Iraq in which a million people died. That war experience hasn't stopped their bloodthirsty actions; they glorify martyrdom. The Tehran regime routinely kills and tortures its own people, as a matter of policy in the name of God.

Meanwhile our own president is proclaiming the end of Pax Americana, the most successful peace-keeping policy in human history. He publicly denies the plain and obvious lessons of history. The fascist regime in Tehran would not even exist were it not for the abject failures of another president in exactly the same mold, the blighted Jimmy Carter.

Einstein saw his own people murdered by the millions before beginning to understand reality well enough to sign that letter to FDR. Since that day in 1939, the United States has come to be the guarantor of peace in the world. Yes, the Soviet Union killed more German soldiers than any other combatant in World War II. But if Stalin had his druthers the USSR would have been a Nazi ally, as the Hitler-Stalin pact promised to do, to split up Poland and to allow the Nazi war machine to turn west and conquer all of Europe.

The United States came into the war not because it wanted to control the world, like Stalin's USSR, but because totalitarian aggression gave us no choice. That is the origin of Pax Americana, which has kept the peace in most of the world most of the time since 1946.

Obama doesn't believe it. He is a victim of revisionist Leftists, who deliberately twist the plain and obvious facts. So Obama is historically (and therefore morally) wrong. You can't get it right if you flip the facts

We keep forgetting the most vital lessons of history. A big one is that you need a Good Cop to keep the peace. That's why we have cops on our streets. We trust them, because they are generally admirable and trustworthy. There is no international police force we can trust. What we have instead is a "superpower" -- the US -- which is supported, when push comes to shove, by all the other countries that know they can only thrive in a stable world.

Obama doesn't get this, even though it's obvious. Obama believes he has a higher calling. He believes the Cold War was a result of American aggression. That is false and deluded.

Guess who's amazingly naive today? After this White House gets done fixing the best health care system in the world, along with phony global warming, they are going to solve the problem of world peace once and forever.

It's not comforting to have a president in charge who has absolutely no concept of history; who has in fact flipped it all upside-down

Hitler would have used nukes simply for the blood and glory, and so might Ahmadinejad today. We don't know what he is going to do when he gets a bomb, but judging by the hundreds of peaceful protesters he just had killed, raped, and tortured, who is going to gamble on the answer? I sure hope the Israelis don't. I hope the US does not, but Obama's abject bowing to medieval tyrants makes it more likely for aggressors to gamble on war.” American Thinker


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A View of the Horrendus Baucus Healthcare Bill

Democratic Senator Max Baucus has gained much publicity for his supposed efforts to craft a compromise bill that both sides can support. Instead he has put together a monstrosity that no other senator on his committee, Republican or Democrat, is willing to back. This whole legislative undertaking for government healthcare has become a tortured process of trying to stuff into a small bag an enormous, complex and crucial aspect of American life and freedoms. It is not at all helpful that President Obama and others have not been truthful about what they are trying to do and what the results of their efforts will be.

Baucus Blunders

By Peter Ferrara 9.23.09 American Spectator (Excerpt)

"Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has finally achieved broad bipartisanship with his new health overhaul plan. Nobody else has been able to unite 99 Senators behind any idea in health reform. But Baucus has managed to do just that, with 99 Senators unified behind the idea of NOT supporting his plan.

The plan is carefully crafted to scare away anyone interested in good public policy or just good politics (read re-election). The Baucus bill is grossly underestimated to cost almost $1 trillion in new spending, all financed by higher taxes on health care and health insurance, particularly union health plans, and Medicare cuts for senior citizens, while still leaving at least 25 million uninsured according to the CBO. It still provides for a government takeover of health care and the bureaucratic structure for government rationing of health care, increasing rather than lowering health costs overall.

What is most instructive about the bill is that it shows why Republicans and conservatives cannot support anything like what President Obama and the Democrats are talking about on health care. Below are the features of the Baucus plan that no Republican or conservative could possibly support, even though it is too "moderate" for the rest of the Democrat party.

Higher Health Costs

The Baucus plan is carefully structured to raise health costs for everyone, federal, state and local governments, businesses, and families. The CBO estimates it will raise federal spending by almost $1 trillion over 10 years, but the bill's spending would mostly be operational for only 6 of those years. That means the true 10-year cost once it is fully phased in would be closer to $2 trillion.

Health insurance prices will soar under the Baucus bill. One reason is that the government will force everyone to buy the health insurance coverage that the government insists you must have, which will include all the politically correct benefits like coverage for abortion that altogether add up to big costs. Insurance is also required to cover anyone who shows up no matter how sick they are and how expensive their health care will be (called guaranteed issue), and they can't be charged more for that coverage just because they may need highly expensive care (called community rating), which will raise insurance costs even more. The government will also limit the deductibles, co-payments, and out of pocket costs that people can choose for their health insurance. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI), which includes some of the smartest free market economists on health care in the country, estimates that these factors alone would cause health insurance premiums to almost double." American Spectator

Budget chief contradicts Obama on Medicare costs

By ERICA WERNER Sept. 23, 2009 (AP) (Excerpt)

WASHINGTON — "Congress' chief budget officer is contradicting President Barack Obama's oft-stated claim that seniors wouldn't see their Medicare benefits cut under a health care overhaul."

The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, told senators Tuesday that seniors in Medicare's managed care plans would see reduced benefits under a bill in the Finance Committee." AP

Obama’s New Claim That 30 Million 'Cannot' Get Health Insurance Not Supported by Census Bureau

Matt Cover September 22, 2009 (Excerpt)

"In his Sept. 9 speech to Congress, President Barack Obama unveiled a new claim that 30 million Americans “cannot” get health insurance, but this statistic is not supported by the government's latest definitive data produced by the Census Bureau on Americans lacking health insurance.

In his speech to Congress, Obama said, “There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage” – presumably taking into account conservative critics’ observation that Obama's earlier claims that 46 million Americans lacked health insurance was contradicted by Census Bureau data that indicated that more than 9 million of that number were not in fact U.S. citizens."

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Heritage Analyzes Change in Missile Strategy

September 17, 2009

Obama Administration's New Missile Defense Plan Is a Losing Proposition

by Baker Spring and Mackenzie Eaglen

Today, President Obama reneged on a long-standing agreement with America's allies and formally abandoned the "third site" missile defense plan. The U.S. will no longer be deploying 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, a plan formerly regarded as necessary for defending America's friends and allies as well as the homeland from intercontinental and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The decision runs contrary to U.S. strategic interests and will undermine security commitments to America's allies. The new plan to focus on the short- and medium-range threats from Iran:

Represents a major reversal in American strategic thinking on missile defense,

Leaves America more vulnerable to the emerging nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea, and

Betrays key allies in Eastern and Central Europe.

Only Russia has expressed satisfaction with the announcement, which is a public relations victory for Moscow and a green light to Russian aggression and interference in the region. Congress should reject this revised plan, which is based on no new intelligence, and amend the pending 2010 defense spending bill to fully fund missile defense capabilities--including those for the third site. America can indeed afford to spend what it takes to counter all potential Iranian nuclear threats, from short- to long-range.

Encouraging Iranian Nuclear Ambitions

Obama's decision may further encourage Iran, which continues to defy the West and expand its nuclear program in the hopes of achieving regional hegemony and projecting its power across the globe by wielding the threat of nuclear attack. With the third-site plan altered, there will be a gap in security. Iran will be one step closer to having the far-reaching destructive capabilities it seeks. Further, the U.S. is scrapping its plan while there is no evidence that Iran has stopped its long-range missile program.

The third site commitment was designed as a primary means of halting an Iranian nuclear missile attack. If the President's goal in abandoning this capability was to secure Russian support for other means of containing Iran--such as imposing newer, tougher sanctions--the initiative has already failed. The Russians have said clearly that they will not cooperate with the U.S. on any new sanctions during United Nations discussions.

The Administration has proposed an alternative program that currently provides less capability: the Navy's Aegis-based missile defense system. The Pentagon is billing the system as an improvement on third-site capabilities, claiming it will be "stronger, smarter and swifter" and "counter the current threat more effectively." There is reason to be skeptical about the strength of this commitment.

The alternative may go the same route as third site as soon as outrage over third site dies down.

Abandoning America's Allies

The Obama Administration has abandoned Poland and the Czech Republic, both of whom have been stalwart partners in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Poles have fought side by side with the Americans in both theaters, and they recently sent more troops to Afghanistan to help with the election. Similarly, the Czech Republic is running a large Provincial Reconstruction Team and advising the Afghanistan Air Corps. Both countries have a painful history of being abandoned by the international community to the totalitarian ambitions of belligerent neighbors.

As Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) stated this morning, the Obama Administration's betrayal "turns back the clock to the days of the Cold War, when Eastern Europe was considered the domain of Russia." He expects that this will be perceived as "a bitter disappointment, indeed, even a warning to the people of Eastern Europe."

Arms Control Agenda Trumps All Else

Today's announcement clearly places an arms control agenda atop U.S. foreign policy priorities. After making drastic cuts to missile defense already this year, the Administration will be left with a choice of two possible strategies: (1) multilateral application of the Cold War policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD), or (2) disarmament.

The President appears to have abandoned MAD and placed all of the U.S. eggs in the disarmament basket. President Obama has already made numerous commitments to reduce U.S. nuclear stockpiles and sign onto expanded disarmament treaties while doing nothing to shore up the nation's missile defenses

As Representatives Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Ileana Ros-Lentinen (R-FL), Michael Turner (R-OH), and Elton Gallegly (R-CA) recently wrote in a September 8 letter to the President:

Another area of deep concern is the limitation on missile defenses and conventional forces that the Administration appears to be considering as part of the START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] follow-on agreement. Although Administration officials have testified that defensive systems will not be covered, the Joint Understanding states that START will include, "a provision on the interrelationship of strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms." Russian leaders have suggested that Moscow may not sign the treaty unless the U.S. abandons its European missile defense plans. We are concerned that the Administration may be considering any such limitation on U.S. missile defense and are opposed to its inclusion in any agreement.

A High-Stakes Gamble

Obama appears to have traded away the third site as part of START follow-on negotiations. If so, the U.S. is giving away too much without getting anything of value in return. Further, the President is waging a risky bet with Members of Congress as he ignores requests by Senators that START should not compromise missile defense; for urgent nuclear modernization; and for U.S. defense capabilities in space.

Congress should be very skeptical of the President's plan to abandon the third site and demand access to all updated intelligence. Further, Congress should insist that the U.S. not give away one capability (long-range) at the expense of another (short- and medium-range). With the U.S. broadcasting a lack of investment in necessary long-range capabilities, Iran is more likely to put additional money and resources into long-range missiles. The U.S. can fully afford to keep its security commitments and to develop capabilities designed to counter a range of short- to long-range threats.

Congress should restore missile defense funding when the Senate takes up the fiscal year 2010 defense appropriations bill later this month.

Baker Spring is F. M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy and Mackenzie M. Eaglen is Research Fellow for National Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.


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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Breaking News: Cap & Trade to Cost $300 Billion

Breaking News: Treasury Admits Global Warming Cap-and-Trade Costs Could Hit $300 Billion Annually


Global Warming Cap-and-Trade Costs Could Hit $300 Billion Annually, Cost Up to Several GDP Points, US Treasury Admits

Treasury Dept Releases Un-redacted Documents Friday Afternoon

Washington, D.C., September 18, 2009―Global warming cap and trade costs could hit $300 billion annually, the Treasury Department admitted in documents released today – late in the afternoon and on the day of the Jewish New Year celebration. The same documents had been released by Treasury earlier this week but had important parts redacted. Now, the document is available in its entirety for public scrutiny.

The new information reveals that Treasury estimates that not only could cap and trade cost $300 billion annually, “domestic policies to address climate change and the related issues of energy security and affordability will involve significant costs and potential revenues, possibly up to several percentage points of annual GDP (i.e. equal in size to the corporate income tax).”

The documents were obtained by CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner through a Freedom of Information Act request and revealed in a Friday afternoon release after public attention to an earlier version raised questions of what the administration was hiding.

Today's release explains why the administration initially sought to keep its internal aspirations and expectations from the public: The cost of a cap-and-trade plan to businesses and consumers will be enormous,” said Horner. "This candid perspective of what could prove to be the biggest tax increase in our nation's history now must be openly debated before the American public".

A cap-and-trade plan, as called for by President Obama, would either immediately sell all carbon dioxide emission permits or sell nearly all after a few years of giving industry most of its permits for free.


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Friday, September 18, 2009

How To Find Millions of Racists

How To Find Millions of Racists

By C. Edmund Wright September 18, 2009 American Thinker

[the author is a white business man, no relation to Jeremiah Wright, whose family is in Uganda this month doing mission work at their own expense]

How do you create millions of white racists? I have a theory.

I say you can do it by accusing a few million white folks who are not racists and just continue to accuse them of being racists on a daily basis. Keep doing it day after day and week after week, and pretty soon you might just have what you want. The human spirit cannot absorb but so much of this before the inclination to hate the accusers gains traction. What do you expect from just a bunch of "typical white people."

What do you think will happen if you (the liberals) just keep on doing this?

What will happen if you keep calling us this every time we object to the President's Marxist agenda? Or every time we dare show a little emotion or frustration? Or you keep inserting phantom words into our quotes to make your point? What are we to make of this if you do it every time "one of us" catches an ACORN office on tape promoting crime as standard operating procedures? Or when we catch some large males dressed up like Malcom X's personal jack booted nightstick carrying security guards in front of a polling place?

It seems to me you used to call this journalism. You used to call it "60 Minutes." Now you call it racism.

What are we to think if you call us racists when we support an innocent cop who was called a racist by an elitist and pampered - yet street cred crude - Ivy League professor of some sort of racial curriculum that teaches folks how not to be proud of this country?

How should we react if you make sure that you bring up the idea that people can't accept an African American President whenever he is criticized? I mean you do it every single time. Never mind that damned near 65 million folks - most of whom were white - got over that last November. And never mind that many of these folks are among the Tea Party protesters.

What will we think if you continue this hateful and libelous attack on us as we shop for Oprah's books or cheer for Tiger Woods to beat all the white guys or go see Bill Cosby's comedy show? We do a lot of all of that by the way. What are we to think of being called racists while we are picking up LeBron James or LaDanian Thomlinson jerseys for our "typical white" children?

Have you ever considered that it might just tick us off if you do it while our churches are performing non-government sponsored outreach to the inner cities providing food, shelter, computers and clothing? And I won't even mention how we'll feel if you do it while we are on mission trips to poor African nations at our own expense.

Heck, you might call us racists while we are buying books written by Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell. You might do it while we are circulating emails about how the best Republican's - I mean Racist Party's - best hope for President might be General Honoré of Louisiana.

Memo to Joe Biden: The General is a clean articulate black guy.

I submit that you are doing all this at your own risk, because you have no idea what the hell you are doing. You have no idea the hornets' nest you are poking. You have no idea what peril you are putting the country in. You are perhaps throwing away decades of progress on this front for the misguided idea you can score some cheap political points.

I say this because nothing -- absolutely nothing -- accesses our deepest temper like the totally unfounded accusation of racism. It is so completely wrong and hate filled and transparently desperate that every single time it happens the rage is building. Human nature is human nature, and these accusations are running afoul of it

You risk accessing an outrage - so intense it is hard to put words to it - that comes from deep down within the human soul. It is a righteous anger. It can only swell up when you know with every fiber of your being that you are being wrongly accused of a heinous attitude and that your accusers are actually the guilty ones.

We stood by and watched the media never manage to mention that Barack Obama would get something like 95% of his race while they were debating whether the white folks in the country were racists or not. We instantly saw the intellectual suicide of that analysis, but we were relatively quiet about it.

But we noticed this because as folks who are not one bit racist, our senses were offended by this sort of soft racism or soft reverse racism. Our radar went off. We can sense it

Like the thoughts we have when we see a little guy who buys a big Hummer, we instantly recognized the over compensation that so many people demonstrated when discussing Obama last fall. We would just shake our head and think "doggone -- I thought they were smarter than that."

Now if you are one of those throwing around the r-word lately, you probably don't have any idea what I am talking about. To you, this political thing is just a game and you have probably been guilty of much that has been hurled at you. Heck, your modus operandi is to accuse conservatives of what liberals are doing; astroturfing comes to mind.

But millions of us are having a hard time not being totally enraged by these accusations. If fear for our country, because you might have lit a fuse and it might be getting dangerously close to the powder with every insane accusation.

Currently, this anger can be funneled at the white liberals attacking us. Bill Maher's elegant and eloquent "Cracker Nation" line was not productive. And then today we had to suffer the indignity of a lilly white President we also did not support piling on with the assertion that he was sure almost all of this resistance to ObamaCare and so on was the result of having a black man as President. Where did he get that? Did he hear it from Jesse Jackson in Hymie Town?

So let me ask you a question? Have you ever considered that this cheap ploy might have the potential to explode into something much more malignant? What are we to think when normally reasonable folks like Juan Williams jump into the muck of Bill Maher and Jimmy Carter as a knee jerk reaction? Where are we to think that knee jerk reaction comes from inside them?

What are we to think that the Congressional Black Caucus joins in as well? Seems to me most had laid down the disgust that such a thing as the Congressional Black Caucus existed long ago as something that was a tad hypocritical but benign nonetheless. I don't think anyone will call it harmless now.

There is a lot of chatter among the pundits about how this racial ploy will probably be a classic over play on the part of liberals and will redound to hurt them politically. If that were the only consequence, I would be ecstatic.

But I submit you are playing with something much more explosive here. Even though those who share my political bent might be strengthened by your accusations, I am begging you to stop. What you are doing could be very tragic for our country. You could set race relations back decades. Please, please do not do that.


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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The gathering storm, part 168

As much a fan as I am of Rush Limbaugh, sometimes I turn him off because it seems like it's all Obama all the time, but then I realize that that's the way it has to be. I'm guilty of the same, seeming single-mindedness because there is an outrage almost every day. Today's outrage concerns the newest stab-in-the-back to our allies.

The gathering storm, part 168

September 17, 2009 Cross-posted from

The Obama administration must be setting some kind of record for comprehensive error in foreign policy. Today comes word that it will abandon plans to build the missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. An announcement from the White House is expected about 10:30 a.m. (Eastern). Nile Gardiner comments:

This is bad news for all who care about the US commitment to the transatlantic alliance and the defence of Europe as well as the United States. It represents the appalling appeasement of Russian aggression and a willingness to sacrifice American allies on the altar of political expediency. A deal with the Russians to cancel missile defence installations sends a clear message that even Washington can be intimidated by the Russian bear.

What signal does this send to Ukraine, Georgia and a host of other former Soviet satellites who look to America and NATO for protection from their powerful neighbour? The impending cancellation of Third Site is a shameful abandonment of America's friends in eastern and central Europe, and a slap in the face for those who actually believed a key agreement with Washington was worth the paper it was written on.

Gardiner could go further. What signal does this send to the mullahs in Iran? The impending cancellation tells them nothing they didn't already know, but it confirms their perception of Obama as a clueless doofus who has done much to merit their utmost contempt? What signal does this send to our ally Israel? You are on your own, buddy, and you'd better get cracking.

To be charitable one might say that the Obama administration does not know how to help friends or to hurt enemies. Yet this seems to be the way they like it.

Via RealClearPolitics and Kathryn Lopez.

UPDATE: Reader Don Eyres adds:

The White House announcement about abandoning the missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic will take place on September 17, 2009. Thus Obama seeks to appease the Russian bear. On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union invaded the eastern half of Poland. The western half already was largely under Nazi control. The Obama Administration has managed to sell out the Poles on the 70th anniversary -- to the day -- of the Soviet attack. In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain surrendered Czechoslovakia's Sudentenland to Germany. His act of appeasement gained "peace in his time." Obama has just sold out the two countries in Europe that spent more time than any other under foreign occupation and dictatorship.

"Peace in our time," of course, lasted less than a year. And Jay Nordlinger does a good job of summarizing Obama's eight-month month reign of error:

I thought Barack Obama would be a poor and troublesome president. Did I think he would yuk it up with Hugo Chávez, smirk with Daniel Ortega about the Bay of Pigs, turn his wrath on a Central American country trying to follow its constitution (Honduras), denounce President Bush abroad, bow to the king of Saudi Arabia, endorse a radical Middle Eastern view of how Israel came into being, knock Western countries that try to protect Muslim girls from unwanted shrouding, invite the Iranian regime to our Fourth of July parties, stay essentially mute in the face of counterrevolution in Iran, squeeze and panic Israel, cold-shoulder the Cuban democrats in order to warm to the Cuban dictatorship, scrap missile defense in Eastern Europe, and refuse to meet with the Dalai Lama -- in addition to his attempts to have government eat great portions of American society? No, I did not. You?

Jay adds: "I think the main point may be not to upset regimes in power: and therefore show that America can 'get along' with the world, unlike under that crude, narrow, swaggering, simplistic rancher from Texas.

"Get along or go along."

Powerline neglected to mention Obama's earlier cancellation of our own missile defense system defending the western approaches.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why No One Believes Obama

For decades, George Will has been a highly respected columnist, author and observer of the political scene. People of all political stripes pay attention to what he says. No patriot ever wants to say this about his president, but it has come to this. The liberals who introduced the term, "Borking", and who had so much fun calling Bush a liar and producing books and movies about Bush's assassination should just shut up about Congressman Wilson's outburst. It won't be the last.

It is my view that the country really came to understand the dishonesty of this man, Obama, when he injected racist and unsupportable comments into the Officer Crowley - Professor Gates affair.

By George F. Will NEWSWEEK Sep 12, 2009 (Excerpt)

“On the 233rd day of his presidency, Barack Obama grabbed the country's lapels for the 263rd time—that was, as of last Wednesday, the count of his speeches, press conferences, town halls, interviews, and other public remarks. His speech to Congress was the 122nd time he had publicly discussed health care. Just 14 hours would pass before the 123rd, on Thursday morning. His incessant talking cannot combat what it has caused: An increasing number of Americans do not believe that he believes what he says.

He says America's health-care system is going to wrack and ruin and requires root-and-branch reform—but that if you like your health care (as a large majority of Americans do), nothing will change for you. His slippery new formulation is that nothing in his plan will "require" anyone to change coverage. He used to say, "If you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan, period." He had to stop saying that because various disinterested analysts agree that his plan will give many employers incentives to stop providing coverage for employees.

He deplores "scare tactics" but says that unless he gets his way, people will die.

He praises temperate discourse but says many of his opponents are liars. He says Medicare is an exemplary program that validates government's prowess at running health systems. But he also says Medicare is unsustainable and going broke, and that he will pay for much of his reforms by eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste and fraud in this paragon of a program, and in Medicaid. He says Congress will cut Medicare (it will not) by $500 billion—without affecting benefits.

He says the nation's economic health depends on controlling health-care costs. Yet so important is the trial bar in financing the Democratic Party, he says not a syllable in significant and specific support of tort reforms that could save hundreds of billions of dollars by reducing "defensive medicine" intended to protect not patients from illnesses but doctors from lawyers. He has said he will not add a dime to the deficit when bringing 47 million people into government-guaranteed health care. But Wednesday night, 17 million went missing: "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage." Almost 10 million of the uninsured are not citizens, and most of them are illegal immigrants. Presumably the other 7 million could get insurance but chose not to.

Democrats propose fines to eliminate that choice. He suggests health-insurance companies are making excessive profits. But since 1996, profits of the six such companies in the S&P 500 have been below the 500's average. He says a "public option"—a government insurance program—would not be subsidized to enable it to compete unfairly with private insurers. (The post office and the government's transportation -"public option," Amtrak, devour subsidies.) He says the public option is vital for keeping health insurers "honest"—but that it is only a wee "sliver" of reform.”

“McConnell of the Mona Lisa smile says Congress will pass something because Obama will sign anything. McConnell notes, however, that never in his 25 Senate years have Republicans polled close to Democrats when the question is: Which party do you trust most to deal with health care? Until now. Last week's polling: Democratic Party, 41; Republican Party, 39—a statistical dead heat. On a generic ballot question—which party do you intend to vote for?—the GOP has gone from down 12 points to dead even since November. Independents defected in droves from the GOP in 2006 and 2008, but today only one third of them view Obama's handling of health care favorably.”

David Horowitz The Manchurian Candidate
"Just eight months into his presidency, however, a new Barack Obama has begun to emerge. With unseemly haste Obama has nearly bankrupted the federal government, amassing more debt in eight months than all his predecessors combined. He has appeased America’s enemies abroad and attacked America’s intelligence services at home. He has rushed forward with programs that require sweeping changes in the American economy and is now steamrolling a massive new healthcare program that will give the government unprecedented control of its citizens."

As for Van Jones, "the rest of us should be wondering who his sponsors were within the White House," Horowitz observed. "Then we should ask ourselves what they are planning next."


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Tea Party Cartoon and Two Videos

There were a few more people there than Katie Couric reported - about 2 Million more!


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Summary of Reasons to Oppose Obamacare

In general, statists like Obama have been trying for decades to impose government run healthcare so that they can control everyone’s lives. No matter how limited the reach of any initial, enabling legislation, they will never stop trying to reach their basic goals – through future amendments, executive directives, and interpretations and decisions of regulators, and their goals are to put everyone under government care and include illegals and abortion.

1. Despite assurances from Obama on covering illegals and abortion, Democrats have put forth deceptive language in their bills that appear to prevent this coverage, but they have soundly defeated every amendment that would positively prevent such coverage. We might not like the way he did it, but Representative Wilson was absolutely right to point out that Obama is lying.

2. According to the CBO, Obamacare will result in more than a $1 Trillion deficit over the first 10 years, even though taxes will be raised and $500 Billion in Medicare cuts have been factored into the financing. President Obama is not being honest about this.

3. Despite the ridiculing of those who point this out, the main House bill, HR 3200, does in fact incorporate government panels that will determine who will be eligible for certain medical procedures. “Death Panels” is exactly the right name for this.

4. If you are young and healthy and choose not to have health insurance, you can be fined $3800 according to one Democrat bill.

5. Recent Medicare cuts have motivated some doctors and other health providers to stop taking Medicare patients. Since Obamacare is basically financed with the $500 Billion in Medicare cuts, there is no way that services to the elderly will not be curtailed severely.

6. HR 3200 authorizes the IRS to turn over the private tax records of American citizens to the administrators of Obamacare. This is outrageous.

7. HR 3200 authorizes government administrators to set insurance standards and then impose an 8% tax on every employer whose plan does not meet those standards. Since employer-paid health insurance costs more than the 8%, the effect of this will be to cause employers to opt for the tax – thus forcing all their employees into the government plan.

I could go on and on, but this will do for starters.

Democrats’ Health Care Bill Allows HHS to Include Abortion in Government-Run Health Plan

Posted by GOP Leader Press Office on September 11th, 2009 (Excerpt)

"In his speech to a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday night, President Obama declared that under Democrats’ health care plan, “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions,” calling reports to the contrary a “misunderstanding.” But the “misunderstanding” appears to be on the part of the White House. As written, the health care reform bill moving through the House of Representatives would allow the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) to include abortion as a benefit in the government-run health care plan that President Obama and other Democratic leaders are proposing to create."


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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Two Followups From Obama's Healthcare Speech

Powerline today ran two articles that I thought deserved a wider audience. The first one shows that Obama's healthcare speech Wednesday gained some added support, but that a majority of Americans still oppose Obamacare. The second article concerns an admission by the White House that Rep. Wilson was right - Obamacare will cover illegal aliens unless specific steps are taken to prevent that from happening. Only the most gullible will believe that liberal Democrats will not find a way through decisions by government regulators or by subsequent amendments to have Obamacare cover illegals and government-paid abortions.

A Bounce, But Is It Enough?

The Rasmussen Survey finds that President Obama's televised speech has given a boost to the Democrats' health care plan (whatever it is). A plurality, however, still opposes the plan. This chart shows how support among voters has shifted over the summer:

On balance, these data don't seem particularly favorable for supporters of government medicine. The balance of intensity still weighs heavily against the plan, as 39 percent are strongly opposed while only 31 percent are strongly in favor. The gains recorded by Rasmussen have come entirely among Democrats; Republicans and independents remain strongly opposed.

Michael Ramirez reminds us of one of the basic reasons why it would be folly to enact government health care; click to enlarge:

White House Admits Wilson Was Right

Last night, as part of its now-traditional Friday night news dump, the White House put out a "clarification" of the Obama administration's position on participation in its proposed health care plan by illegal aliens. For the first time, the White House acknowledged that it will be necessary to implement a verification system so that illegals can't sign up for Obama's proposed insurance exchange:

Verification will be required when purchasing health insurance on the exchange. One option is the SAVE program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) which states currently use to make sure that undocumented immigrants don't participate in safety-net programs for which they are ineligible

President Obama has thus endorsed the Republican rather than the Democratic position on this issue. In the House Ways and Means Committee, the Republicans tried to amend the Democrats' health care bill to require use of the SAVE system or a similar safeguard, but their amendment was voted down on a straight party-line vote, confirming that the Democrats did indeed intend for illegal immigrants to obtain coverage under Obamacare:

The House bill, as currently structured, does not offer clear guidelines to ensure that illegal immigrants cannot access taxpayer-funded health care benefits. Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced an amendment that would use two citizenship status verification systems, the Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS) and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) programs, to establish an individual's eligibility to obtain the bill's proposed affordability credits or enroll in the public insurance option. Both programs are currently used to determine citizenship status and eligibility for public assistance programs. Safeguards to guarantee that only citizens can access federal health care benefits are necessary, considering that the US Census Bureau currently estimates that 9.6 million of the uninsured are not US citizens. The first Heller amendment failed on a straight party-line vote.

In effect, President Obama has now admitted that Joe Wilson was right. That doesn't mean, of course, that any verification system will actually be included should Obamacare become law. If controversy over the issue has died down by the time legislation is actually enacted, Congressional Democrats likely will omit such safeguards from the final version of whatever bill eventually passes.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Great Divide After September 11, 2001

An interesting perspective from one who seems to be a conservative Democrat. I don't agree with everything, but she certainly makes a lot of sense:

RIP, American political civility

By Christine M. Flowers Philadelphia Daily News Sept. 11, 2009

WE PARCEL out time, fitting it neatly into calendar slots, and slicing it up into the manageable slivers in which our lives are lived. Then, one day, something happens that blows it all apart.

That's what happened eight years ago today. Like virtually every American with a job and obligations, I spent that Tuesday morning preoccupied with work and family and a passing appreciation for the glorious weather. Driving down South Broad, I paid absent-minded attention to the radio, heard the news of a plane crash in New York, then switched to music.

Only later, after coffee and message-checking and all the other habits that became lifelines to sanity in the following days did I realize time had been irrevocably fractured at 9:52 a.m.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as iconoclasts, proud of our pioneer heritage and the way we flipped the historical finger at our colonial oppressors. We talk about, and believe in, liberty and justice and are usually able to balance those competing interests when necessary.

Until Sept. 11, 2001.

That's when the flames and fury split the population in two along an invisible fault line - those who saw the world as it is and fought to meet the challenge in whatever way they thought necessary, and those who saw the world as they wanted it to be, and refused to violate their own concept of honor.

Both were convinced that they were the true patriots. The realists who ran into burning buildings, onto the battlefields and into the murkier recesses of what the Constitution permitted thought that they were preserving and protecting their country. The idealists, who believed they loved their country just as much, refused to accept that time had been shattered into pre-9/11 and post-9/11 pieces.

They rejected the idea that the debris left in the wake of the catastrophe bore little resemblance to what we had before, just as the Civil War and Pearl Harbor marked two great divides.

Nineteen men had rewritten our history that Tuesday morning and reconfigured the shape of this nation. The idealists acted as if, at heart, not much had changed and justice could prevail through the usual channels.

And so began the tectonic shift, the splitting in two of a country and a people, propelling all of us into the post-9/11 world where disagreement was construed as betrayal and neighbors learned to hate each other.

The realists say the idealists gave comfort to the enemy when they demanded criminal niceties for accused terrorists.

The idealists, in turn, said those realists were willing to undermine the core principles on which this country was based by sacrificing individual rights for national security.

A few voices have tried to bridge the vast divide, asking for a return to Sept. 10, when dissent was, if not civil, at least more rational.

But they're speaking into the wind. They don't understand that we're no longer just "Americans." We've turned, with a vengeance, into Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Patriots and Traitors.

And I can't cast the first stone. I'm still at least a nominal Democrat, according to my voter registration. But the increasingly leftward drift of my party has left me wondering why I still call myself a Democrat. (And I'm sure I'm not alone in that.)

I'm certainly not in sync with a party that officially recognizes virtually no limits on abortion rights and promotes euthanasia as just another "end of life option." So I criticize them, especially those who think that accused terrorists - but not unborn children - are entitled to the full protection of the laws.

And yet, the Republicans aren't much better.

They usually fill the bill on the life issues, but mostly stand adamantly in the way of immigration reform, arguing that they're doing it in the interest of national security and ignoring the fact that most of the country's 12 million undocumented immigrants spend their days working, not plotting.

So where can I stand in this altered landscape? I, who think the unborn and immigrants (legal or not) are entitled to respect. Who believes that the Founding Fathers never meant to arm terrorists who would destroy us with the legal "rights" granted to citizens.

On 9/11, the terrorists did a lot more than bring down the Twin Towers. What died in the smoke and melting metal, along with our precious countrymen, was a big piece our shared identity as a people able to compromise.

If only we could turn back the clock.

Two quick but important points: 1. America is still here, not having been mass-attacked again - and with all liberties still intact, and 2. illegal immigrants are just that, illegal. A country that cannot control its borders ceases to be a sovereign nation.


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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

John Stossel Video on Government Healthcare

If this video doesn't load go here.
And some other key points:

Whoa, Trigger

The latest gimmick to disguise a health-care 'public option.'

September 8, 2009 WSJ (Excerpt)

"President Obama has decided that another oration will rejuvenate his health-care agenda—despite having given 27 speeches entirely on health care, and another 92 in which it figured prominently. We'll see how tomorrow night's Congressional appeal works out, but the important maneuvers are taking place in the cloak rooms, as the White House tries to staple together a majority.

The latest political gimmick is the notion of a "trigger" for the public option: A new government program for the middle class would only come on line if private insurance companies fail to meet certain benchmarks, such as lowering overall health spending or shrinking the number of the uninsured. This is supposed to appeal to Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who could end up as ObamaCare's 60th Senator, while still appeasing the single-payer left.

Liberals should love the idea because a trigger isn't a substantive concession; it merely ensures that the public option will arrive eventually, instead of immediately. Democrats will goose the tests so that private insurers can't possibly meet them, mainly by imposing new regulations and other costly burdens.

Keep in mind that every version of ObamaCare now under consideration essentially turns all private insurers into subsidiaries of Congress. All coverage will be strictly regulated down to the fine print, and politics will dictate the level of benefits as well as premiums, deductibles and copays. Under the House bill, a "health choices commissioner" will have the final say, no doubt with Democrats Henry Waxman and Pete Stark at his elbow, if not another part of his anatomy."

Fines proposed for going without health insurance

Sep 8, 2009 AP (Excerpt)

WASHINGTON (AP) - "Americans would be fined up to $3,800 for failing to buy health insurance under a plan that circulated in Congress on Tuesday as President Barack Obama met Democratic leaders to search for ways to salvage his health care overhaul." AP


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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lessons Learned and Forgotten On Housing

Whatever faults the Republican Party has had, the basic problem has been that many Republican politicians forgot what they were supposed to stand for once they gained office.

The program of the Democratic Party, however, is entirely based on lies and deceptions. Most of the time they are afraid to let voters know what they really stand for. Right now they are trying hard to pass a "public option" disguised as something else so voters won't realize what they are doing.

It is against this backdrop that concerned Americans not forget the origins of the housing and financial crisis that brought us the pain of a deep recession and the winning of the White House by a group of unabashed radicals.

Do not let them succeed in blaming President Bush and the Republicans for a crisis brought on by the likes of Carter, Clinton, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Do not let them succeed in burying the role of liberal legislation and regulations that forced banks to lend to deadbeats, which was the underlying cause of the crisis.

Blaming George Bush and the Republicans, as the left has done with some success, is like blaming the police for crime.

The 2008/09 Housing Crisis and lessons learned forgotten

August 06, 2009 American Thinker (Excerpt)

Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government. - Milton Friedman

“In late 2009, our economy was dramatically impeded by the paired conundrums of a full fledged financial crisis brought about partially by a housing crisis. This pairing is referred to as a "black swan" by some in the financial community because of the extreme unlikelihood and unpredictability of two crisis meeting at the same time.

If fact, it might have been easier to predict the downturn than the followers of "black swan" theory would allow. Mean regression theory states (loosely) that if an occurrence or observation of a variable is measured at an extreme (or trends away) from the mean (or average) the next observation will tend to be closer to the mean.

Armed with "Mean Regression Theory" let us critically evaluate the history of government intervention into the free market -- in particular the housing market -- that enjoyed all around support; "The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977." The "Community Reinvestment Act" mandated that all F.D.I.C. insured banks give more loans to lower income households (or less credit worthy borrowers). The act was significantly broadened by Clinton in 1993 .

In his memoir "My Life," Bill Clinton states;

"One of the most effective things we did was to reform the regulations governing financial institutions under the 1977 Community Reinvestment act. The law required federally insured lenders to make an extra effort to give loans to low and modest income borrowers.... After the changes we made between 1993-2000, banks would offer more than $800 billion in (loans) to borrowers covered by the law. A staggering figure that amounted to well over 90% of all loans made in the 23 years of (the act)."

Before the Community Investment Act was amended in 1993, the rate of home ownership was always near 64%.

You might argue that it was this amendment that caused the significant increase in demand that artificially drove up the value of homes, nudging us towards the current housing crisis.

The simple laws of supply and demand tell us that if there are more buyers in the market place competing for the same number of houses than the home prices will increase. This is exactly what happened.

In this chart, the mean is the inflation rate. Under normal market conditions, home prices rise in step with inflation because a house is a merely a composition of lumber and other raw materials and because the inflation rate takes housing costs into consideration. Notice that the deviation from the inflation rate starts about the time of the original act and takes off after President Clinton spurs the act forward.

In the above graphs we can note a significant "progression" or deviation from the mean. It would have been logical to assume that at some point these increases would reverse, or regress to the mean.

While there are many variables that led to the economic crisis that we are still mired in, had the government not acted to artificially increase housing demand through the Community Reinvestment Act, the crisis would not have been nearly as deep.

In all things, and especially government intervention into the free market, we must remember the law of unintended consequences. There can be no doubt that the "Cash for Clunkers" program is artificially increasing demand, which will in turn cause the auto manufactures to increase output. Certainly these manufacturers are not good at predicting consumer demand (as we've seen this year) and will stall. As before, the government will ignore the lessons of the past and plant the seeds for another future crisis." American Thinker


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Monday, September 07, 2009

60 Minutes Still Dealing in Liberal Propaganda

I don't usually watch 60 Minutes, having learned 20 years ago how left-wing the program is and how much of it is devoted to liberal propaganda. Last night though, after seeing a promo, I decided to watch the episode on forest fires to see if it would be a propaganda piece for Cap & Trade (Climate Change or man-made global warming).I was right. My suspicions were justified. With no evidence whatsoever, except that forest fires in the west have increased substantially, the program blamed the fires on global warming. They did mention in passing the fire problems caused by past fire-fighting procedures of the National Forest Service, but they completely ignored the controversy over the past several years regarding the National Environmental Policy Act and its role in creating these huge forest fires.

Before extreme environmentalists got this act passed, which was aimed at penalizing timber companies, forests were thinned periodically which minimized forest fires. Now, there are so many rules, requirements and prohibitions for timber companies to follow, cuttings have been substantially reduced, and forest fires have increased tremendously. President Bush tried many times to have some of these regulations modified in order to reduce the fires, but environmentalists successfully fought off any changes. There is much more evidence to believe that extreme environmentalism is the main cause of the increase in forest fires than that it is caused by global warming of less than 1 degree in 100 years.

The article cited below illustrates the problem with blaming everything on man-made global warming:

My Global Warming Epiphany

By Randall Hoven August 26, 2009 American Thinker

Global warming is a complicated subject. It therefore takes a lot of hubris or ignorance to think you can explain either the "for" or "against" case in a few hundred words. But I stumbled onto some data that meets my "keen grasp of the obvious" threshold for understanding.

Recall that we really need to answer "yes" to four separate questions before we join the Al Gore religion of "sign the treaty immediately or we will all die."

(1) Is the globe getting warmer?

(2) If so, is man doing it?

(3) If so, is it bad?

(4) If so, is the massive-reductions-in-CO2 approach the best way to deal with it?

You might have seen such questions before, but they frequently get mixed up in public discussions. For example, some people imply that if the answer to (1) is "yes", then the answer to (4) must be "yes" as well. If the temperature graph is going up, destroy your SUV. Or at least switch light bulbs.

However, Bjorn Lomborg thinks the answers to (1) through (3) are "yes", but that the answer to (4) is "no." He once challenged Al Gore to debate that fourth question alone. But Mr. Gore treated Lomborg as he would any other global warming skeptic or "denier", comparing him to tobacco companies of old and lecturing him about arctic ice caps and sea levels.

I am not only stuck on question (2), I'm stuck on question (1). I've seen graphs of temperatures, such as the so-called "global" temperature. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, presents such a graph in its "Summary for Policy Makers." While this graph does present to the eyeball a rising trend, one could ask several questions.

The total range of temperatures is within plus or minus half a degree Centigrade. Are we sure we are seeing a true trend and not just randomness?
The total range of time is about 150 years, and the range of time in which an upward trend is apparent is perhaps the last 30 years. Is that a long enough time period to gauge a trend?

On the other hand, looking closely at the years since 1998, the trend seems to have leveled off or even dropped. Is that too short a time to gauge a trend?

Are the thermometers in enough places and the right places? Maybe we get too many readings from North America and too few from Antarctica, for example.

How do you get just one number for each year? How do you take all the temperature readings from all the thermometers and all the days and hours that temperatures were read, and get a single number?

If a computer algorithm is used to come up with the numbers, how sure are you that the algorithm did not add some artificial biases?

How do you compare temperatures over time? Weren't thermometers added, thermometers replaced, and whole new stations included? Are earlier readings comparable with later ones?

How do you know any given temperature reading reflects real climate, and not just what's happening near that temperature station? That is, do parking lots, buildings, air conditioners, etc. have a significant impact on thermometer readings?
Weren't all the thermometers used to make this graph on land? Doesn't that leave out the 75% of the earth's surface that is water?

If the warming trend were stark and obvious, the questions above would be less important. But one degree in a century? I can't feel one degree. I can't find two thermometers that agree that closely. The temperature regularly changes by 20 degrees or so every day where I live. On any given day at any given time, temperatures on the earth differ by more than 100 degrees F. What is signal and what is noise?

Like I said, this is complicated. But I am willing to accept, as have most scientists including "skeptics", that the "global" temperature went up about one degree in the last 100 years.

That still doesn't answer question (1): "Is the globe getting warmer?" Unstated in the question is some sense of time scale. Warmer since last year? Since last decade? Since last century? Is it a relentless and significant upward trend imposed on minor cyclic deviations? (Answer key: No. No. Yes. And that's what James Hansen says when his muzzle is off.)

Frankly, I've seen stock market charts that look an awful lot like the IPCC temperature chart. It sure looked like the stock price was trending up relentlessly when I bought it. After that, not so much.

If I leave things at that, I'm confused, but at least find it plausible that average temperatures around the globe are going up. All based on graphs that vary within fractions of a degree over decades and centuries. (Plus arctic, but not Antarctic, ice sheet extent; polar bear counts in some regions, but not others; some glaciers shrinking, but others growing; more hurricanes some years, fewer in others; etc. You know, all that rock-solid evidence of one degree of global temperature change per century.)

But here's where the global warmists came to my rescue. They tell us that warmer temperatures lead to higher sea levels. Fortunately, there is only one ocean. And while sea levels vary with tides over the year, averages are probably fairly reliable.

As it happens, the IPCC does present a chart of sea levels and its trend is more obvious than the temperature trend. It shows a steady rise of about 200 millimeters in the last 120 years. That's about eight inches. Is eight inches over 120 years significant or alarming?

Better yet, and here is where I got my epiphany, scientists have produced a long-term graph of sea level changes, about 20,000 years worth. The graph below was taken from Wikipedia, but the data behind this graph are widely known and accepted. NASA, for example, accepts this data and the government of Canada publishes a similar graph.

First, look at the vertical scale. It ranges over about 120 meters (not millimeters), about 400 feet. On the page you see this graph, a change of 200 millimeters (or the change in the last 120 years per the IPCC) would be would be about the width of your eyelash. When the seas were 400 feet lower, people could walk from Russia to Alaska and from France to England.

We engineers have a saying: measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe. That saying is meant to put things in perspective for young engineers who like to calculate things out to the number of digits visible on their calculators.

Global warmists are taking their micrometer, literally, to the last 120 years on this chart, an area that would probably fit in the upper rightmost dot on that chart. And from that, extrapolating that we are all about to die.

I no longer need to squint my eyes to see a one degree per century trend in a cloud of noisy data. The trends are stark. Thus, my epiphany.

If sea levels go along with global temperatures, as the warmists frequently remind us, then this chart makes blatantly obvious that

Man has just about nothing to do with global temperatures,
Any temperature changes in the last 100 years are insignificant compared to longer term changes,

And current trends are most likely just the final flattening out of temperatures after rising from the last ice age.

How can you blame man for sea levels rising when about 99% of that rise since the last ice age occurred before man built the pyramids, much less SUVs? A rise in sea level over the last century should not be surprising; it's been rising for the last 20,000 years.

If anything, looking at this chart would convince me that long term temperatures are cyclic and that we are coming near the end of the warming part of the cycle. In fact, it looks like we are near the peak of that warming and could be about to enter the cooling-down part of the cycle.

Over the time of the chart above, man did pretty well. His population grew from fewer than 10 million to almost 7 billion. He had an agricultural revolution, an industrial revolution and an information revolution. He started cities. He started writing. He started recording his own history. He walked on the moon.

Over that time, the sea level rose about 120 meters. If the current trend continues, it will rise two meters in the next 1000 years. If man thrived like he did when the seas rose 120 meters, why would the world end if they rise another two?

Our global warming "engineers" seem eager to move to the final stage of their project: cut with an axe. Something's about to get capped all right, and not just your CO2.


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