Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Political Digest August 18 2009

How the White House's Deal With Big Pharma Undermines Democracy
Excerpt: I'm a strong supporter of universal health insurance, and a fan of the Obama administration. But I'm appalled by the deal the White House has made with the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying arm to buy their support. Last week, after being reported in the Los Angeles Times, the White House confirmed it has promised Big Pharma that any healthcare legislation will bar the government from using its huge purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices. (What he doesn’t mention is that the Pharma Association exec is a long-time Democrat Congressman, whose salary is about $2M. Worth every penny, too, it looks like.)

New Poll: 54% say better to pass no health bill
Excerpt: Allies of President Obama have paid his two favorite advertising firms $12 million to push his health care plan. But they'll probably need a lot more money than that. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows that 54 percent of Americans would rather see Congress pass no health care bill this year. Only 35 percent believe that passage of the bill being developed in Congress bill would be better than passing no bill at all. Two key cross-tabs: First, only 60 percent of Democrats prefer passage of the congressional plan, whereas only 23 percent of independents felt the same way. Second, middle income voters -- people making between $40,000 to $75,000 per year, are the most strongly opposed.

No Treats
One smart dog

Key Feature of Obama Health Plan May Be Out
Administration Hints That Public Option Isn't Only Way to Go
And: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1916791,00.html
Is the ship leaking?

Hired Stooges
BO & Company have been accusing the Healthcare Takeover opposition of being not only un-American, but hired stooges of the insurance industry (Never mind that the insurance industry has been bought off like big Pharma). Now we see who needs to hire supporters. This is BO creating jobs, I suppose:

Now is our chance to make health care work.
America's health care system is broken. Health care costs are spiraling out of control, throwing families, businesses and government into financial crisis. Families are worried their health coverage won't be there when they need it. Our country can't afford to wait for health reform that keeps costs down and protects consumers. We can't wait for affordable, dependable health care. We're fighting for health care that will protect families' financial health, lay out a clear path for all Americans to afford health care, and improve patient safety and quality care.
You can work for change this summer. Join motivated staff around the country working to make change happen. You can make great friends and money along the way. Earn $4000-$6000 this summer.
To apply for a job, visit our website—http://www.jobsthatmatter.org/—or call Chris at [202-546-3965.]

Morning Fix: Creigh Deeds's Presidential Dilemma
Excerpt: Most interestingly, however, was that just 23 percent of Independents said the support of Obama increased their likelihood of voting for Deeds while 37 percent said it made them less likely to support the Democratic nominee.

More bad poll numbers for Patrick (Duval, D-Mass)
Excerpt: The latest quarterly poll from MassInsight, a nonprofit research institute, spells more bad political news for Governor Deval L. Patrick: His job-approval numbers have plunged to levels not seen in decades for a Massachusetts governor.
In a survey of 445 residents, taken last month and released this week, only 19 percent of respondents gave him a positive job rating, while 77 percent rated it fair or poor. One percent said he was doing an excellent job. Those numbers are significantly worse than last month's Globe poll, which also found him to be struggling politically.

Republican Health Care Ideas
Excerpt: Two interesting GOP proposals, so far not adopted by party leaders, have been offered from opposite ends of the Republican ideological spectrum -- conservative and moderate. They differ in one major way. Conservatives would end employer-based health care, while moderates would keep it. But both are aimed at using free-market competition to lower costs and make private insurance more affordable to businesses and individuals, says Morton Kondracke, executive editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. The conservative health care proposal has been offered in the House by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and in the Senate by Richard Burr (N.C.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.). The moderate plan has been proposed by Reps. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Charlie Dent (Pa.) and reportedly will form the basis of a full-blown GOP alternative developed by the GOP Health Care Solutions Group headed by Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), but not yet unveiled.

What is the Optimum Size of Government?
Excerpt: Previous studies have tried to determine and quantify the optimum size of government, recognizing that not all governments and societies are the same, and most have shown that the optimum size is between 12 and 30 percent of GDP. However, IME finds that the government sector should be no larger than 25 percent (and perhaps considerably smaller) to maximize GDP growth. All major governments, including the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy greatly exceed the 25 percent level. The average government sector for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries now exceeds 41 percent of GDP.

The Price We All Pay For High Tax Rates
Excerpt: President Barack Obama wants Americans to believe that they can enjoy all of his proposed programs without paying for them because "the rich" will cover the cost. But taxing "the rich" will only be the start. To get real money, the big spenders are going to have to tax the middle class as well, says Bandow.

AP: Canada Considering Healthcare Overhaul with Private Insurance
Excerpt: The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it. Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made. "We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doig said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Where Do We Find Good Leaders?
Excerpt: Those questions the American people are asking today don't seem to have any positive answers. Citizens want to know why their views relative to proposed federal legislation are not being taken into account. They want to know why favoritism is being shown toward political supporters to the detriment of the entire country. They want to know why they should be forced into government-mandated programs ranging from the cars they drive to the healthcare they receive. They want to know why unelected or unconfirmed czars are being placed in positions of great power and control.

Climate Science: The Devil’s In the Details (Which Apparently No Longer Exist)
You have to trust them, because they don’t keep the data!

Egyptian charged with genital mutilation of 11-year-old girl
Excerpt: An Egyptian man has been charged with practicing female circumcision on an 11 year-old girl, reports the website of TV station Al Arabiya today. Ahmed Gad al-Karim, 69 year-old, is the first person to be tried for this type of procedure since an Egyptian law came into effect which treats all types of female genital mutilation as a crime. The law, which was passed in 2008, was fiercely criticised by the Islamic Brotherhood and by supporters of the Egyptian parliament, who maintained that they supported the practice as "conforming to Sharia law (Islamic law) and protecting the chastity of women". However, the Islamic Institution responsible for religious opinion (Dar al-Iftaa) responded by saying that female genital mutilation is not part of the Islamic culture.

Jihadists demolish 20 churches, murder three pastors
No big deal. Not very news-worthy. Now if it were Jews accused of desecrating a Qur’an….

Afghanistan's "no sex, no food" law for Shi'ite women goes into effect
Excerpt: An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law. (These are our allies, the good, moderate Muslims!)

You've Had a Good Innings
Excerpt from the always-entertaining Mark Steyn: Which brings us to the United States and its allegedly worst health system in the developed world. Here's the reality: The longer you live in America, the longer you live. If you're one of those impressionable Meet the Press viewers who heard Mayor Bloomberg bemoaning U.S. life expectancy and you're thinking, "Hey, I'm 77. Just about at the end, America-wise. Maybe it's time to move up north or over to Europe, and get a couple of bonus years," don't do it! If you're old enough to be a Meet the Press viewer, your life expectancy is already way up there. America is the Afghanistan of the western world: That's to say, it has a slightly higher infant mortality rate than other developed nations (there are reasons for that which I'll discuss in an upcoming column). That figure depresses our overall "life expectancy at birth." But, if you can make it out of diapers, you'll live longer than you would pretty much anywhere else. By age 40, Americans' life expectancy has caught up with Britons'. By 60, it equals Germany's. At the age of 80, Americans have greater life expectancy than Swedes.

Don't Go There
Martha's Vineyard is not the best presidential vacation site.
Excerpt: Dear Mr. President, How nice to know you will summer on Martha's Vineyard at Blue Heron Farm, where the amenities are said to be fabulous. "The 28-acre estate, $20 million enclave is located in Chilmark," CBS told us. "The farm suits Obama to a tee with golf facilities, a pool, basketball court, private beach, and a rental price tag of up to $50,000 a week." What happened? Versailles and The Breakers were rented already? Is this how you empathize with the suffering masses, whose pain you feel so at town meetings? What is it with real estate and you liberal Democrats? There's John Kerry, who has five mansions, including a ski chalet whose every last stone was brought over from England; and John Edwards, whose "house" looks like five of them strung together, and which has not one, but two, stages, and its own private gym.

Obama fighting for his presidency, not reform
Excerpt: The big question for President Barack Obama right now isn't about health care, but his own political survival. If he fails to deliver health legislation, Obama will prove right those who said he was in over his head. That would make him something of a lame duck after only seven months in office. But if he does manage to squeeze a bill out of Congress, it would be a Pyrrhic victory. By delivering unwanted changes to unwilling voters on a life-or-death issue, the president would squander the goodwill he earned during the campaign. Voters now say passing nothing would be better than any of the plans stewing in Congress, so it's hard to imagine that lawmakers will return from their recess ready to take political risks.

Cindy Sheehan heads to the Vineyard; wants anti-war demonstrators to emulate health-care protesters; will anyone cover the story?
Excerpt: This morning the anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan -- the woman who spent so much time leading well-publicized protests outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas -- announced that she will demonstrate next week at Martha's Vineyard, where President Obama will be vacationing. "There are several things that we wish to accomplish with this protest on Martha's Vineyard," Sheehan said in a statement: “First of all, no good social or economic change will come about with the continuation or escalation of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We simply can't afford to continue this tragically expensive foreign policy.”

Keeping Score
Excerpt: Why is it that Washington is spending so many hours over so many months — on top of two decades of prior conversation, analysis and debate — and is still failing to come up with a reasonable way to reform the health care system? Today I will slice through the Gordian Knot and give you a simple way to keep score. There are four basic questions to be asked of any health care system. If you answer these questions the right way, the path to reform is rather easy and straightforward. But if you answer even one question the wrong way, you will get caught up in a cycle of complexity — with fix upon fix, each trying to patch up the problems created by the previous fix. Hint: Right answers are the ones that give people socially good incentives. Those are incentives to meet your own needs without imposing external costs on others. Wrong answers are the ones that give people socially bad incentives. These are perverse incentives to impose external costs on others in the process of pursuing your own interests.

Bob Dylan Arrested for Walking
police said he was very cooperative. He should have screamed, “This is what happens to a folksinger in America!” Would have gotten him a beer at the White House.

From a Marine vet:
Without encroaching on anyone's partisan political persuasions, this is an opportunity for American's (in general) to unite for a common cause that will serve all. Collectively throw all incumbents out. Keep your existing party preference (if that's how you vote/operate), but vote the professional politicians out. Effectively hit the "reset" button in order to return government to the people. Maybe then we will see results and stop the polarization that is causing so much turmoil (and waste) correcting our current inability to make sound decisions that enhance America, rather than divide it. America needs to be more dynamic. It's okay to disagree, but the bickering I'm seeing on both sides of the fence is offensive to me. This is not what government was set up to achieve, but it is exactly what we have going on! Relative to issues facing us today I am hopeful the American spirit of innovation, free enterprise, independence, self-reliance and sense of justice for our fellow man is beyond the current flirt we are having with socialistic ideology and agenda. Are we going to toss that which has brought us so far? A quotation I just read, attributed to Thomas Jefferson, perhaps best sums up what I believe the majority of Americans (left/right/middle-of-the-road) still believe: "Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."

No comments:

Post a Comment