Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Political Digest March 24, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

The good old days
If you recall the days when Democrats said dissent was patriotic, rather than racist, you’re an old timer in the political world.

Health-care vote looms as big issue for November elections
Excerpt: President Obama scheduled a Tuesday White House signing ceremony for landmark health-care legislation that passed the House on Sunday, as Democrats and Republicans began shifting their focus to November elections that seem certain to become a referendum on the most significant social legislation enacted in half a century. The Senate prepared to take up final changes to historic health-care legislation that gave Obama the biggest victory of his presidency, with Democrats hoping to complete work late this week. But both sides made it clear Monday that the battle over the package is far from over. Republicans will make a last push this week to derail the package of amendments to the legislation in the Senate. White House officials said the president will continue to take his case to the country, with a trip Thursday to Iowa standing as the first of what are expected to be repeated appeals to the public to take a fresh look at the health-care overhaul. As Republicans prepared to campaign on a pledge to try to repeal the legislation, Obama and the Democrats will work to keep voters focused on the new benefits, rather than the size, cost or complexity of the bill. (Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain—the cost.)

Democrat ‘no’ votes on healthcare reform legislation anger unions
Excerpt: Unions are likely to rescind their backing of labor-friendly lawmakers who voted against the healthcare bill and may support challengers. Karen Ackerman, the AFL-CIO’s political director, called the healthcare reform legislation a “defining bill.” She said the group will consider a lawmaker’s entire record, but added that even those Democrats with solid pro-labor voting records could lose organized labor’s support based on where they came down on the healthcare overhaul. “Like the Civil Rights Act, Social Security and Medicare, it is a defining bill, considering the effect it will have on the middle class,” Ackerman said. Of the 34 House Democrats who voted against the bill, more than half a dozen members have been big union supporters this Congress, voting all or most of the time with labor on its priority legislation, according to interim 2009 legislative scorecards kept by the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Lawmakers such as Reps. John Adler (D-N.J.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Zack Space (D-Ohio) and others have all scored well with both labor groups.

Our Future under Obamacare
Excerpt: The bill will cost more than advertised. It won't be long before Congress is shocked — shocked! — to discover that health-care reform is going to cost a lot more than expected. It's not just the budgetary gimmicks that Democrats have been employing to hide the bill's true cost. It's also that government programs — and government health-care programs in particular — almost always end up exceeding their cost estimates. For example, when Medicare was instituted in 1965, it was estimated that the cost of Medicare Part A would be $9 billion by 1990. In actuality, it was seven times higher — $67 billion. Similarly, in 1987, Medicaid's special hospitals subsidy was projected to cost $100 million annually by 1992, just five years later; it actually cost $11 billion, more than 100 times as much. And in 1988, when Medicare's home-care benefit was established, the projected cost for 1993 was $4 billion, but the actual cost in 1993 was $10 billion. [O]nce an entitlement is in place, it becomes virtually impossible to take away. Insurance premiums will keep rising. The president has tried to convince people that health-care reform will cut their insurance costs. They are in for a surprise. According to the Congressional Budget Office, insurance premiums will double in the next few years. The bill will do nothing to diminish that increase. In fact, for the millions of Americans who get their insurance through the individual market, rather than from an employer, this bill will raise premiums by 10–13 percent more than if we do nothing. Young and healthy people can expect their premiums to go up even more. The quality of care will be worse. Doctors' reimbursements for providing care will be squeezed, making it harder to find a doctor. A new survey in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 46 percent of doctors may give up their practice in the wake of this bill. While that is probably exaggerated, many doctors will likely decide to reduce their patient loads or retire. At the same time, increased demand will create additional problems. In Massachusetts, after the passage of Romneycare, the wait to see a primary-care physician increased from 33 to 52 days. Research and development will also be cut back, meaning there will be fewer new drugs and other medical breakthroughs. And the government will increasingly intervene in medical decision making, micromanaging medical decisions and deciding what treatments are most effective or, frighteningly, most cost-effective.

The Real Arithmetic of Health Care Reform
Excerpt: Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that, if enacted, the latest health care reform legislation would, over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs — health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits — would actually improve the nation’s bottom line. Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years? The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out. In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion…..Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was the director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005, is the president of the American Action Forum, a policy institute.

Obama shows a president can be both strong and wrong
Excerpt: The politics of health reform is nearly as complex as the legislation itself. To have raised this issue first -- before a serious emphasis on job creation and economic growth -- still seems a serious mistake. Obama's progressive agenda did not align with public priorities, which has cost him support. Once he embarked on that agenda, however, abandoning it would have fed a narrative of weakness that could have undermined his entire presidency.
Yet passing this ambitious reform on a party-line vote by questionable tactics may also lead to political disaster. Headed into a midterm election, Obama has managed to alienate many senior citizens, concerned that cuts in their Medicare will be used to finance someone else's entitlement, and many independents, whose general disgust with the political process has been reinforced. The intensity of opposition to health-care reform remains higher than the intensity of support. Solid majorities of Americans believe that reform will increase their own costs and reduce the quality of their care. No amount of presidential speechmaking between now and November is likely to change those views -- particularly because the past year of presidential speechmaking has been counterproductive. The immediate political judgment on Obama is likely to be harsh. The historical judgment is, by nature, uncertain. Obama can (correctly) comfort himself that he has altered the health-care debate in America forever. When Republicans eventually return to power, they will attempt to modify the package through the introduction of more market-oriented elements. They will not attempt to abolish health-care reform. What Republican would want to campaign on a return to the exclusion of insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions? Obama has created legislative facts on the ground that will shape every future health-care debate. (Until the fiscal collapse of the country, now inevitable.)

Tea partiers vow revenge over health overhaul
Excerpt: If you thought Tea Party activists were mad before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Instead of being discouraged by passage of health care reform, tea party activists across the country say the defeat is a rallying cry that makes them more focused than ever on voting out any lawmaker who supported the measure.

13 attorneys general sue over health care overhaul
Excerpt: Attorneys general from 13 states sued the federal government Tuesday, claiming the landmark health care overhaul is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed it into law. The lawsuit was filed in Pensacola after the Democratic president signed the 10-year, $938 billion bill the House passed Sunday night.
"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit says. Legal experts say it has little chance of succeeding because, under the Constitution, federal laws trump state laws.

The reality of Obamacare,0,6611246.column
Excerpt: First: Congratulations to President Obama and the Democratic leadership. You won dirty against bipartisan opposition from both Congress and the majority of Americans. You've definitely polarized the country even more, and quite possibly bankrupted us too. But hey, you won. Bubbly for everyone. Simply, you have nationalized healthcare by proxy. Insurance companies are now heavily regulated government contractors. Way to get big business out of Washington! They will clear a small, government-approved profit on top of their government-approved fees. Then, when healthcare costs rise -- and they will -- Democrats will insist, yet again, that the profit motive is to blame and out from this Obamacare Trojan horse will pour another army of liberals demanding a more honest version of single-payer. The Obama administration has turned the insurance industry into the Blackwater of socialized medicine. That's always what Obama had in mind. During the now-legendary healthcare summit, Obama, who loves to talk about "risk pools," "competition," "consumer choice" and the like, let it slip that he actually doesn't believe in insurance as commonly understood. The notion that Americans should buy the healthcare "equivalent of Acme Insurance that I had for my car" seemed preposterous to him. "I'm buying that to protect me from some catastrophic situation," he explained. "Otherwise, I'm just paying out of pocket. I don't go to the doctor. I don't get preventive care. There are a whole bunch of things I just do without. But if I get hit by a truck, maybe I don't go bankrupt." Apparently, people are just too stupid to go to the doctor -- or maintain their homes -- if they have to pay much of anything out of pocket.

Exempted From Obamacare: Senior Staff Who Wrote the Bill
I’m shocked, shocked! Excerpt: For as long as the political fight took over the past year, the abbreviated review process on the health care legislation currently pending on President Obama’s desk is unquestionably going to result in some surprises — as happens with any piece of mashed-up legislation — both for the congressmen who voted for it and for the American people. One such surprise is found on page 158 of the legislation, which appears to create a carveout for senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans in the same way as other Americans .A major story during the course of the health care debate was whether members of Congress would commit to placing themselves in the same health care exchanges as average citizens, or whether they would hang on to their government plans — that’s why leadership chose to add this portion to the bill, serving as a guarantee that members would participate in the same health plans as the people.

A Point of No Return? By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: With the passage of the legislation allowing the federal government to take control of the medical care system of the United States, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of the values and institutions of America. Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels-- as momentous as that is-- does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation. If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an Executive Order of the President, to do that. With politicians now having not only access to our most confidential records, and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?
Despite whatever "firewalls" or "lockboxes" there may be to shield our medical records from prying political eyes, nothing is as inevitable as leaks in Washington. Does anyone still remember the hundreds of confidential FBI files that were "accidentally" delivered to the White House during Bill Clinton's administration? Even before that, J. Edgar Hoover's extensive confidential FBI files on numerous Washington power holders made him someone who could not be fired by any President of the United States, much less by any Attorney General, who was nominally his boss.

"Don't Tread On Me" Was More Than A Slogan
Excerpt: We are seeing almost daily marches on Washington. The Capital switchboard has been jammed by more than capacity calls around the clock. Many, if not all, members of Congress have turned off their computers and stopped receiving email. Why? They have created a corrupt bill falsely labeled health care reform. It is designed to bankrupt the nation and they know Americans are enraged. As a personal testimony you should know I spent almost four years of my life in combat. A year and a half of that time I was a Marine rifleman in an infantry company. The remainder was spent as a combat correspondent. During those years I was often frightened, but comforted by the knowledge my leaders knew their war craft well and every other Marine had my back. Since my military retirement I have spent 35 years in the civilian world. I have watched my new leaders and some were good, some bad. But never, until now, have I felt the fear, which exists across this country with every new word that is uttered by a band of 535 political miscreants and their White House partners in crime. The political elite of Washington have looked at America and studied the actions of the people over the years. They know that for the vast majority of the population the political world is a complete mystery. In the most serious of political hours, such as a presidential race, only about half of the country becomes truly engaged.

To Democrats, It's Monopoly Money,_its_monopoly_money
Excerpt: It is America's misfortune that at a moment in history that required sober, grown-up stewardship and a realistic appraisal of our fiscal trajectory, we elected (by large margins) the party of supplicants and whiners. How appropriate that one of the selling points of Obamacare was the guarantee that children up to the age of 26 can remain on their parents' insurance plans -- because the Democrats' whole program is about extending adolescence. Like teenagers, the Democrats are weak on long-term consequences, saving for the future, and planning for (entirely foreseeable) contingencies. They excel at demanding their allowance, but not so much at earning it. They are the "me" party. Health care, pronounced Nancy Pelosi, is a "right" to be financed by others, not a privilege.

Has Germany just killed the dream of a European superstate?
The Europe the Obots want us to become. Excerpt: German and Dutch leaders have concluded in the nick of time that they cannot defy the will of their sovereign parliaments by propping up a country that lied about its deficits, or risk court defeats by breaching the no-bail-out clause in Article 125 of the EU Treaties. Chancellor Angela Merkel has halted at the Rubicon. So has Dutch premier Jan Peter Balkenende, as well he might in charge of a broken government facing elections in a country where far-right leader Geert Wilders is the second political force, and where the Tweede Kamer has categorically blocked loans for Greece. The failure of EU leaders to cobble together a plausible bail-out – if that is what occurs at this week’s Brussels summit – is a 'game-changer' in market parlance. Eurogroup chair Jean-Claude Juncker said last month that such an outcome would shatter the credibility of monetary union. It certainly shatters many assumptions. There will be no inevitable move to fiscal federalism; no EU treasury or economic government; no debt union. It is Stalingrad for the federalist camp and the institutions of the permanent EU government. I remember hearing Joschka Fischer, then German Vice-Chancellor, telling Euro-MPs a decade ago that EMU was “a quantum leap ... creating an inexorable federal logic”. Such views were in vogue then. Any euro crisis would force Europe to create the necessary machinery to make it work, acting as a catalyst for full-fledged union. Yet the moment of truth has come. There is no quantum leap. We have a Merkel pirouette. Paris is watching nervously. As Le Monde put it last week, “behind the question of aid to Greece is a France-Germany match that pitches two conceptions of Europe against each other.” The game is not going well for 'Les Bleus’. The whole point of the euro for the Quai D’Orsay was to lock Germany into economic fusion. Instead we have fission.

Bad news for Obama in CNN weekend survey results
Excerpt: CNN's Opinion Research surveyors were hard at work over the weekend during the final hours of the successful push to win House approval of the Senate version of Obamacare. The results of the CNN/OR survey are out and they point to the most vivid reality of the Obamacare victory - 219 House Democrats were willing to flout the clear majority of Americans on this issue. Here are the major initial points of interest in the CNN/OR results: · 59% oppose the Democrats’ health care bill, while only 39% favor it. · 70% say the federal budget deficit will go up under the Democrats’ health care bill; only 12% believe it will go down. · 56% say the bill creates “too much government involvement in the nation's health care system,” 28% say about the right amount, while 16% say not enough. · 62% say they'll pay more for medical care under the Democrats’ health care bill. · 47% say they and their families will be worse off under the Democrats’ health care bill; 33% say things will be about the same, and only 19% think they’ll be better off. · 45% say seniors on Medicare will be worse off; 34% say things will be about the same, and only 20% think they’ll be better off. Numbers like those suggest the unreality of the Democrats' assumption that, as the smoke clears from the debate and people become more familiar with what's actually in the bill, they will become more favorably disposed to it in the months ahead.

The White House War Against Israel
excerpt: The decision of the Obama White House to pick a public fight with Israel over its interior ministry’s fairly routine announcement of progress towards approval of the construction (some years from now) of apartments in northeast Jerusalem has by now been subjected to sharp and justified criticism for its disproportionality; its bad faith in reneging on signed agreements with Israel; its mean-spirited spitefulness; its dogged attachment to the exploded assumption that “settlements” are the cause of Arab intransigence; its desire to keep intact the possibility of an apartheid state of Palestine that would not accommodate a single Jew; and its entire indifference to the violence that its reckless statements could (and did) incite in Jerusalem. But there is a more sinister aspect to the relentless expressions of “insult” and “offense” coming from Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and White House advisor David Axelrod. It is the invocation, undoubtedly originating in the Oval Office itself, of a long-recognized trope of anti-Semitism, a lethal mixture of the ancient blood libel and the modern conspiracy libel.

Palestinians Glorify a Terrorist
just a Muslim Bill Ayers. Excerpt: Does building homes threaten peace? Or does holding a ceremony honoring as a hero and role model a terrorist who murdered dozens of civilians? Last week, Israel announced it would be doing the former. Palestinians did the latter. The Obama Administration condemned the Israeli words; it ignored the Palestinian deeds. What could be wrong with building 1,600 homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem? Nothing, except for Palestinians who do not accept Israel’s existence and intend as a first step towards ending it to set up their own Jew-free state and divide Israel’s capital in the process. What could be wrong with the Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) publicly honoring Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 coastal road terror attack that killed 37 Israeli civilians? Everything, where peace is concerned but, apparently, nothing where the Obama Administration is concerned.

Jihadists try to enter Israel from Gaza, firefight lasts several hours
Excerpt: But it's the Israelis who must show that they want peace, according to the post-American President. (ANSAmed) - JERUSALEM, MARCH 22 - A firefight lasting several hours took place today on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip following an apparent attempt by armed Palestinians to infiltrate into Israel near the Kissufim border crossing. According to initial reports from Israel TV station, three Palestinians were captured, according to other sources, three were killed. According to an Arab TV station, an Israeli soldier was killed, news that has not yet been confirmed officially in Israel. (ANSAmed).

Rights groups reject fatwa allowing Saudi women to work as maids
But fine for non-Muslim women—no rights for them! Excerpt: Saudi academics and lawyers have rejected a fatwa allowing Saudi women to work as maids, saying such work is ‘humiliating’ for them. Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi issued a decision two years ago allowing Saudi women to work as house managers and servants. A fatwa, or religious edict, was subsequently issued by legal adviser Saleh bin Saad Al-Laheedan, who said it is permissible for Saudi women to work as maids if they cannot find other jobs, if they are over 50, and if they are accompanied by a mehram (a close male relative). But speaking to, Suhaila Zainul Abideen, a member of the National Society for Human Rights, expressed her surprise at Al-Laheedan’s fatwa. She strongly opposed the idea of Saudi women working as maids.

Malaysia women's group sued over 'Islam' in name
Why there are not more moderate Muslims. Excerpt: Muslim activists filed a lawsuit Monday against a Malaysian women's group, asking it to remove the word "Islam" from its name on the ground that it misleads people to believe it speaks for all Muslims. The suit against Sisters in Islam, one of the most well-known nongovernment groups in this Muslim-majority country, comes after it angered conservative Muslims by criticizing Islamic Shariah laws that allow the caning of women for offenses such as drinking alcohol. Numerous Muslim groups have in recent months accused Sisters in Islam of misinterpreting religious principles, highlighting a divide between Muslims who demand strict enforcement of Islamic morality laws and others who fear religious intolerance is threatening the moderate practice of their religion.

Breakfast with Barry
Pretty funny.

The “Under Taxed Rich”
What one small hotel pays—and has to drag out of their customers.

Public Pension Deficits Are Worse Than You Think
Excerpt: Pension plans for state government employees report they are underfunded by $450 billion, but Andrew Biggs, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), estimates the shortfall is closer to $3 trillion. The problem is fundamental: According to accounting rules adopted by the states, a public sector pension plan may call itself "fully funded" even if there is a better-than-even chance it will be unable to meet its obligations. When that happens, the taxpayer is on the hook, says Biggs.

Assaults Reported During South Street Flash Mob
The chaos deepens. Need concealed carry. Excerpt: Philadelphia Police are searching for suspects in involved in at least two assaults during a massive flash mob on South Street over the weekend. Surveillance video shows hundreds of people invading the intersection of 8th and South Streets, filling the street and surrounding a vehicle at about 9 p.m. Saturday. Two blocks away, Olympia Pizza employee Seth Kaufman said he was beaten by a crowd attempting to enter the store. "40 to 50 punches I took. 20 kicks. I just stood my ground as best I could and fought them off," Kaufman said. Kaufman and restaurant operator Paul Psihogios were trying to keep the unruly crowd from entering the business.

Abortion and Black Genocide (Barack Obama and the Negro Project)

Political tags--such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and. so forth--are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. --Robert Heinlein, The Note Books of Lazarus Long.


  1. It is a shame that nothing will be done about this until 2013, if or when Obama and the Democrat Congress are retired. Even if or when the Republicans take office, there will most likely be enough RINO's who will vote against any attempt to rescind the entitlement bill. This is indeed a sad time and one that we, as a nation, may not be able to recover from.

  2. Mr. Hall, it is with interest that I read your "I'm Tired" essay that was recently forwarded to me. I agree with some things, but also find the accuracy of others to be lacking. e.g.

    "Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to." Unfortunately, this is not true only of Muslims, but also Christians and Jewish people in Africa.

    "I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. " If I look at the last sentence it seems you may be saying that neither party has the corner on virtue etc. if this is the case, I totally agree. If you had something else in mind, I missed the point.

    "Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. " I take it then that you are not a Northern Ireland Protestant.

    I am not saying these things in a cynical or sarcastic way, just saying even the best people have preconceived misconceptions about somethings.

    Mike Catey