Conservative Political Commentary

...usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Obamacare Writers: Let’s Not Upset the Trial Lawyers!

At a health care town hall meeting on August 25 in Reston, Virginia, hosted by Congressman Jim Moran (D) with former presidential candidate Howard Dean, there were many contentious moments and both sides of the debate were represented.

In the video that follows (from CNS News), the congressman falsely accuses a participant of being someone other than who he claimed to be, then learns that he is in fact who he says he is. He permits the man to ask his question, then Howard Dean comes forward to give a somewhat surprising answer. The congressman then apologizes to the questioner for doubting his identity:



Howard Dean claims that the writers of the bill did not want to take on the trial lawyers and therefore didn’t put tort reform in the bill. He says that is “the plain and simple truth.” But it’s not quite the whole truth.

Why didn’t they want to take on the trial lawyers? Simple. They’re reliable and generous contributors to liberal causes and candidates. The writers of the bill (and these Democrat politicians) obviously don’t mind taking on the majority of the American people in their determination to get Obamacare enacted. Why aren’t they as concerned about the voters as they are about their trial lawyer supporters? They’re betting that with the help of trial lawyers, unions, ACORN, and other liberal constituencies, they can overcome the opposition of the anti-Obamacare voters in the next election.

But it’s far from a safe bet. Feelings and opinions run high on this issue. Rasmussen as of August 30 has Obama’s “Strongly Disapprove” rating at 42% among likely voters. This is the highest yet. At some point, it seems that Democrat politicians and even some of the media will want to distance themselves from the president if this trend continues. Political developments leading up to the 2010 elections should be even more interesting than usual. As of now, I’m thinking that a lot of Democrats will be unpleasantly surprised by the vote if they support Obamacare. But we’ll see.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Obama the Statesman – uh, How’s That Again?


The Obama Administration has taken further steps to try to “resolve” the Honduran presidential situation.

As reported by Patrick Goodenough of CNS News:
“In a new effort to prod Honduras’ interim government into returning the country’s ousted president to office, the Obama administration as of Wednesday stopped issuing visas to Hondurans except in emergency cases….

“Earlier the U.S. said it would suspend $50 million worth of aid, freeze military relations and revoke visas for officials in the interim government.” [1]

In reality, the “crisis” had already been satisfactorily resolved, except that Marxists Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Daniel Ortega (not to mention ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales) as well as good buddy Barack Obama were not satisfied. It seems they didn’t want to lose an opportunity to push Honduras into Marxist hands.

Chavez had engineered the attempted return of Zelaya to Honduras on July 5.
“Chavez remarked afterwards to Telesur that at one stage he had Cuba’s Fidel Castro on one telephone line, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on another, and Zelaya – in the plane trying to land – on a third.” [2] In other words, the entire little circle except for Obama.

Zelaya was removed as required by the Honduran Constitution for trying to force a referendum that would allow him to continue serving as president after the expiration of his term. His removal (by the military), under authority of the Supreme Court of Honduras, as well as the legislature, in fact represented a triumph of the rule of law. None of the other countries mentioned above (including the U.S.) had any justification for their subsequent actions attempting to return Zelaya to power.

“(Article 239 of Honduras’ constitution limits the presidency to a single term, and adds: ‘Anyone who violates this provision or who proposes its reform, as well as those who support that violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease to hold their respective positions, and will be disqualified from any public post for 10 years.’)” [3]

Fairly clear, I think. Yet Obama is doing his best to put Honduras under Marxist leadership, like the countries of his good friends and mentors. In the process, he is cutting off aid suddenly, and otherwise harming their economy. And, he seems to be defending the untruth that what took place was an illegal military coup.

Looks like Mr. Obama can be counted on, when it comes to supporting his Marxist allies in Latin America. I’m sure he can expect the same kind of solid support from them, as long as he plays by their rules.

[1] Patrick Goodenough, “U.S. Applies New Pressure in Attempt to Resolve Honduras Crisis,” 08/27/09, at http://cnsnews.com/news/article/53145.
[2] Patrick Goodenough, “Hugo Chavez Coordinated Ousted Honduran President’s Failed Attempt to Return Home,” 07/08/09, at http://cnsnews.com/news/article/50710.
[3] Ibid.

Photo: Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, found at http://www2.un.int/public/Honduras/4/English/.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obamacare Is Fascist and Then Some


Fascism is variously defined, but in essence it is close rule by the state over business and industry and citizen activity. Fascism hates self interest and capitalism and insists on citizen participation at the expense of self interest, and corporatism by which the state controls, if not takes title to, the main industries of the nation. Following this form, President Obama (like all the radical leftists) greatly disdains the private sector, and the wealthy who have had commercial success. Their wealth and income are fair game for confiscatory taxation in the interest of redistributing the wealth, mostly to the government. The laws of economics cause these methods to lead not to national prosperity, but instead toward poverty and want, but that is considered less important than getting the program established and persuading (or coercing) people to get on board with it. We’ll worry about jobs, etc., later, perhaps.

From this fascist mindset, we get the Obamacare proposed legislation. Never mind that the people do not want this law, which was attempted to be passed under cover of darkness without public scrutiny (only public pressure prevented that and allowed public debate and discussion). Never mind that people are satisfied with their admittedly imperfect insurance coverage and health care. Obama and the Democrats are determined to ram socialized medicine down the throats of the American people. The proposed plan requires virtually universal participation. People know that the so-called “myths” the Administration claims to be fighting reflect the realities of their plan, assuming it resembles the House bill.

Obama has great distaste for the private sector (but a taste for acquiring or directly controlling major parts of it), in this case the insurance industry, health care providers, and drug manufacturers, whom he proposes to punish with this legislation. His political allies, the trial lawyers and unions will be rewarded. But beyond all the political paybacks, the Obamacare concept contains well-known and soundly rejected (by the public) provisions, and, as we are seeing, less well-known provisions that add even more to its offensiveness in terms of lost liberty.

A CBS News blog called Taking Liberties has an article by Declan McCullagh, that points out some features of the 1,000-plus-page bill (HR 3200), such as

“Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and ‘other information as is prescribed by’ regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for ‘affordability credits.’” [1]

Other sections provide that the IRS must disclose tax return information and the Social Security Administration may obtain tax return information for purposes of the plan. So it’s good-bye to income tax privacy within the health care system. [2]

Also, despite the Administration’s protestations to the contrary, death panels or their equivalent will be part of Obamacare. Government-rationed care cannot be avoided under this type of plan. One of Obama’s top advisors on health care is Rahm Emanuel’s brother Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who, as I have previously cited, is an advocate of doctors considering “the community,” instead of the patient first, and stop providing so much costly care to elderly or disabled people. This is nothing other than eugenics. This goes beyond mere fascism to something even more sinister.

Almost as an afterthought, there is also $10 billion additional bailout cash for the UAW to pay for early retirees’ union-backed health insurance claims. Again, Obama rewards his political allies. U.S. Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) says the amount will have to be supplemented. Already, the Federal bailout of the auto industry has cost $110 billion. How much more bailout money do they think we need to provide? This money is not primarily about health care, it’s more about a political payoff.

Benito Mussolini’s motto was “Everything in the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State.”

Mussolini wrote, for example:
“We were the first to state, in the face of demo liberal individualism, that the individual exists only in so far as he is within the State and subjected to the requirements of the state and that, as civilization assumes aspects which grow more and more complicated, individual freedom becomes more and more restricted.” (To the General staff Conference of Fascism, in Discorsi del 1929, Milano, Alpes, 1930, p. 280). [3]


This mirrors Obama’s attitude toward government power and his disdain for individual self interest and anyone or any organization that opposes expanding government power and controls. Thus it is not hard to understand Obama’s affinity for dictators like Chavez and Ortega. He wants to exercise that kind of power, only on, of course, a much larger scale. He wants everyone devoted to his fascist program and not their own individual interests. He talks about protecting and improving life for the middle class, but his plan will destroy the middle class through unemployment, taxation, and fiscal recklessness. He adds insult to injury by apologizing for America at every opportunity and trying to give the impression that before he came along, America was always the bad guy in the world.

Can his charisma hypnotize enough people long enough for him to accomplish his agenda? So far, we’re still America. We won’t be the same America if Obamacare, cap and trade, and other statist (and unconstitutional) laws are implemented. And it will take generations to restore what will have been lost.


[1] Declan McCullagh, “Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data,” 08/26/09, found at
http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/08/26/taking_liberties/entry5268079.shtml
(cited at http://www.drudgereport.com).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism,” Appendix 7. Co-written with Giovanni Gentile. Found at http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm.
This website which seeks to educate for the purpose of promoting democracy.

Illustration: Book cover found at http://specialcollections.library.wisc.edu/exhibits/Fascism/Images/FRY05.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obama Won’t Take Responsibility for Latest Economic News



The White House has released some depressing economic forecasts. According to an Associated Press article by Jim Kuhnhenn [1], the current fiscal year (ending September 30) will post a deficit of almost $1.6 trillion. The 10-year deficit is estimated at $9 trillion. This is more than the sum of all previous deficits. Unemployment is expected to reach 10 percent. The AP story quotes Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader (KY) as follows:
“The alarm bells on our nation’s fiscal condition have become a siren.”

This appears to be bad news for Obama since, according to the story, he will have trouble
(1) cutting the deficit in half by 2013 and (2) getting his $1 trillion-plus health care enacted.

This government is doing nothing to help the situation. As noted in my previous post, the measures they are promoting will greatly harm our economy. This is not hard to understand. Higher taxes produce greater unemployment and ultimately less revenue to the government. The combination of health care “reform” and cap and trade will produce another depression. That’s the direction we’re currently heading.

Yet Obama is so pleased with the progress the economy is making that he has appointed Ben Bernanke to another term as Federal Reserve chairman. I’ll deal with that in a future post.

Here are a few things to remember, that should help us understand Barack’s strategy:

1. As noted above, they are doing nothing that can help the economy. They are OK with massive debt and deficits.

2. The economic situation is bringing increased misery to Americans. These are real problems and real suffering for real people. Obama doesn’t care. He wants more turmoil and chaos in our country, because it should cause people to cry out to the government for help, which he will answer with more socialist programs, which also won’t help.

3. To all the economic problems, add other fear-mongering and new “crises,” like the swine-flu panic they are trying to stir up, etc. We’ll need government help with that, right? Even though the swine flu has yet to become the epidemic they seem to want.

4. One of the most reprehensible things (and there are many) about the Obama Administration is their cowardly attempt to blame the previous administration for the current problems, which they and fellow Democrats mainly caused, and which they have made much worse just since the start of the Obama presidency.

“This recession was simply worse than the information that we and other forecasters had back in last fall and early this winter,” according to Obama economic advisor Christina Romer, quoted in the above-mentioned AP article.
This cannot be believed. All the relevant data was there and available. The day is coming when blaming the Bush Administration won’t work. I think it has already come. If not for the Obama Administration’s attempts to deal with the recession, it probably would have been over by now. Recessions normally don’t last too long if left to the market. Government interference with the free market doesn’t help.

The Great Depression was directly caused by the Federal Reserve. Milton Friedman explains:



The Depression was made worse by the New Deal. For a discussion of this see Robert Higgs’ article at http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=258. That’s all past history, I suppose, but the present government hasn’t learned from it, or else think they can do what FDR did better than FDR did it. Not likely.

To Obama, it is more important to get his fascist program in place than to actually improve the economy or anything else. That’s what we’re up against.

It becomes more important each day that citizens continue to contact their representatives and speak out against Obama’s socialist plans, and prepare for the 2010 elections.

[1] "Long-term deficit put at $9 trillion," AP article by Jim Kuhnhenn, appearing in Fort Worth Star-Telegram 08/26/09

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Obama to Economy: Drop Dead


The high unemployment rate (9.4% nonfarm payroll) persists with no letup in sight. Barack Obama says that jobs lag in a recovery. But Obama is not doing anything to help the employment situation and is doing and trying to do several things which would make the recession and unemployment worse:

A. The health care “reform” will necessitate substantial tax increases (according to CBO estimates, etc.), which, in addition to the changes that would be required to comply with the “reform” itself, will restrict economic growth and increase unemployment.

B. Even worse for the employment situation is the cap and trade legislation which has already been passed by the House. If the bill or something similar becomes law, taxes and utility costs will increase sharply on individuals and all businesses that use fossil fuels or produce greenhouse gases. This will lead to sharp increases in unemployment and business failures.

C. Obama’s claim that we must get the deficit under control is designed to achieve a blanket increase in taxes to cover the record-high deficits. The deficits themselves stem from unnecessary and unwise spending: the bailouts (designed to nationalize a substantial part of the financial industry), the “stimulus,” (designed to advance Obama’s political priorities by rewarding his political allies). They have talked about another “stimulus,” which would be no more helpful than the first. Also, many billions were spent on the auto industry takeover that netted nothing beneficial to the taxpayers, but rewarded the unions and cheated creditors and stockholders. These Obama efforts to “improve” the economy are mainly ploys to establish more socialism.

But we had “cash for clunkers,” sort of. That’s apparently about as brilliant as this administration’s economic remedies get. Forget tax cuts or anything that would actually encourage economic activity in a meaningful way. Get set for more nanny-state, more regulation, and less economic freedom. And we haven’t heard the last of Fannie and Freddie’s troubles.

Obama seems to have little intention of doing anything that can help the economy until his fascist program is firmly in place. The economy simply isn’t his main priority. Since his popularity is weakening, he may have some trouble getting his agenda accomplished. As unemployment increases and the economy fails to show improvement, people may sense that the Obama plan is failing. But they also may demand more government help to relieve their economic suffering, and that would increase Obama’s power and do a lot to accomplish his purpose.

Photo: Dreamstime.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obamacare: The Beginning of the End of American Liberty


Obamacare is not about health care, it is not about health insurance, it is not about helping the poor. It is about government control. This plan, for all its announced good intentions, and disclaimers about what it may lead to, is a Pandora’s box of evil consequences. It goes thoroughly against every good liberty-loving impulse of human nature and every decent American tradition of individual liberty and freedom. It is a plan by which essential liberty is to be removed and permanently replaced with government continually in your face, in your pocket and in control over you 24 hours a day. They lie when they say this is not true. They know that the so-called “myths” they are fighting are in fact the realities of their plan.

1. Under Obamacare, we must all be under some government-approved, government-controlled plan. We at least preliminarily, surrender our bodies to the government. Depending on what version of Obamacare is enacted, the full impact may come a little later, when government becomes both insurer and provider. The government will ultimately determine what can and cannot be done with and to our bodies, mostly in situations where there is no alternative and no appeal.

2. The “death panels” will become a reality. Since the government wants to be the single payer, the only way to hold down costs is to ration care. This is as plain as day, and being unable to discern this, a person must be considered lacking in skill related to this issue. Who gets rationed? Not the well and healthy. They cost very little. The elderly, the seriously ill, and the chronically ill will face the equivalent of death panels as bureaucratic “experts” decide their fate: denial or delay of treatment, or less effective (but less expensive) treatment. This is as certain as the law of gravity.

In some places in America, death panels are already a reality. The well-known story of the Oregon cancer patient, Barbara Ann Wagner, is a case in point. She was told that under their state health plan, no treatment was to be provided for her advanced cancer, although doctors wanted to use an expensive medicine. However, the state advised, they would pay for assisted suicide. At last, the maker of the medicine heard the story and provided the medicine to her at no cost. [1] Also, in the days when dialysis machines were just becoming available, community committees determined who could receive the government-controlled treatments, since machine time was limited. PBS had an interesting documentary on this called “Who Shall Live?”

People object that insurance companies are already rationing care. OK. People still have the right to pay for it themselves. Under Obamacare, this will not be the case. It’s possible a person might go to a foreign country for treatment. People are doing that quite a lot now to save money.

3. Since practically everything in life touches our health, the government will take unprecedented control over every aspect of it that they possibly can. We can already see the voracious appetite of liberal government types to rule over our literal appetite. No trans-fats, no sweets in the school vending machines, etc. Also, no smoking, no obesity, no this and no that. Nanny-state policies pretend to be for our good, but they are innately and incurably evil. Evil like murder, rape, and robbery are evil. The practitioners of these controls are not much better than criminals.

It is not unreasonable to compare Obama to Hitler. He even has his own “holocaust,” the abortion disaster, which he wants to promote further with the evil “Freedom of Choice Act.” But in terms of socialist “health care,” Germany can serve as his pattern. Hitler took the programs Bismarck started and used them to solidify government control over the everyday lives of the people. As you know, Hitler’s “health care” led directly to his eugenics program which also killed millions of people. The “undesirables” were systematically exterminated. Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is on record favoring the withholding of medical treatment from persons who are disabled. As noted above, government rationing (i.e., eugenics) will apply and there is no alternative.

It is interesting that Hitler’s eugenics program was inspired largely by America’s programs that were promoted by the Progressive movement and led to many involuntary sterilizations of people thought to be less fit for society. In Germany, Hitler simply took the next step and killed those people.

But if you don’t like the Hitler comparisons (although they are valid), you might try Mussolini, Stalin, or Darth Vader. Vader had a Death Star, Obama has Death Panels.
(As Mark Steyn pointed out on the Rush Limbaugh Show, the operative word is “panels,” that is, little bureaucratic committees that issue “rulings,” which must be obeyed and cannot be appealed.) These people will not be servants of the people, but rulers.

4. It is clear to me, looking at Obama’s total agenda as it has become known, that Barack Obama is a would-be fascist dictator. He wants America to be cut down to size economically and has taken steps to accomplish this. Witness the unprecedented levels of deficit and debt, and decades-high rates of unemployment. It is too late to blame George W. Bush. With Americans economically weakened, through taxes, unemployment, etc., they will be less able to resist and more tempted to look to the government for relief.
Which they won’t find. He has hoped to get his socialist-fascist program in place before his popularity dwindled too much, but, it is to be hoped, this will not happen. That is why he has claimed that it’s all a great “crisis” that must have immediate action, based only on his and a few cronies' statements. Instead of normal debate and discussion, he has tried to get his laws enacted under cover of darkness without public scrutiny. The public outcry has not allowed Obama to quite do this with the health care takeover.

Obama’s agenda items have been given the extra-fast-track treatment, but since this sort of broke down on the health care takeover effort, the president has taken to sending his thugs out to intimidate and beat up people for no worse offense than asking questions and expressing disapproval. Mussolini had his brownshirts, Hitler had his. Obama’s tend to wear blue shirts. Obama and the Democrats are in a political battle against the majority of the American people.

5. There should be no version of Obamacare enacted. Even if it’s an apparently watered-down version, it’s too much of a foot in the door. Republicans (and some Democrats) who vote for it are not likely to be back after the next election. The same with cap and trade. And they shouldn’t be back.

[1] http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08102809.html

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Health Care and the Economy: Things the Government Can Do To Help




It is reported that we have a health care problem in America. Practically no one would claim that we don’t. Yet when “solutions” are proposed, people are sometimes too anxious to accept the assumptions of the people proposing the solutions.

For example, it was said that there are 47-50 million people without health insurance coverage. This is like the numbers given for the homeless several years ago. There were 20 million, or whatever, we were told, but it turns out it was just a number pulled out of the air and the real number was nowhere near that. It’s like people telling us we have only 1 year or 5 years or 10 years to fix global warming or that’s it, we’re fried. And that was several years ago. About 30 years ago, it was global cooling we needed to fear. Now it’s “climate change.” Anything to sell the idea that it’s expanded government control or we all die.

There are a number of uninsured people. But it’s nowhere near 50 million.

Another phony premise is that whatever is done, it must affect everyone. Not so. The people who need help and can’t (not won’t) help themselves can be helped with their insurance coverage through means much less complicated and expensive than the plans we’re hearing about from the Democrats in Washington. And these methods might even be constitutional, unlike the current proposals.

When they tell us we can keep our current coverage, the only way they can be believed is if government stays out of it!

What I am saying is that it’s not necessary or desirable to accept the notion that a massive overhaul of the system is needed, or that the problems extant reflect a failure of the free market.

If the government could bring themselves to do the following things, they would significantly increase tax revenues to the government,
provide coverage to many who don’t currently have it,
and increase employment to normal levels within a reasonably short time.

1. Make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
2. Provide tax incentives (not subsidies) to insurance companies who accept pre-existing conditions and who provide portable coverage.
3. Provide tax incentives to employers who furnish health insurance coverage to their employees. Don’t restrict high deductible and catastrophic coverage.
4. Pass serious tort reform to limit malpractice awards.
5. Stop trying to control medical salaries.
6. Keep insurance companies in Medicare for administering plans.
7. Let Medicare deal with cost inequities in that system, but make reimbursements adequate to retain physician support.
8. Perhaps most important for the economy, cut corporate tax rates and capital gains rates.
9. Don’t tax any health care or related benefits.
10. Allow greater deductibility of medical and insurance expenses, not less.
11. Hold off on any kind of tax increases and bury cap and trade.
12. Forget about nationalizing health care.
13. Encourage drug companies to develop new and better medicines by not pressuring them to give up substantial profits.
14. Stop complaining about services to the seriously or chronically ill and the elderly.
15. Stop inaccurate comparisons of American health care with that of other countries. If you must make comparisons, show the factors that affect the differences and could be misleading.
16. Show some pride in American health care and America in general.
17. For the uninsured who can’t afford coverage, provide premium payment assistance, not government insurance. Do this through the states, e.g., Medicaid (not unfunded mandates).
18. Stop attacking insurance companies, drug companies and medical providers for trying to earn a profit. Forget about controlling anyone’s income. These all pay their share of taxes. When incomes and profits go down, employment goes down and tax revenue goes down.
19. Stop trying to get people to believe that raising taxes on “the rich” will not hurt people other than the rich. High taxes on “the rich” hurt everyone, especially workers.
20. Don’t pass any super-costly government programs until we reach something close to full employment (say, 4 to 5% unemployment). Even then, show some restraint. We already have a serious deficit, but if the economy can get moving, that can stay under control with fiscal restraint.

It would not be too difficult to significantly improve the economy and our health care system if the above could be done. If the Administration were serious about helping the economy and the health care situation, they would be doing some of the things listed above in a meaningful way. Let’s see what happens after they give up on Obamacare.

(Look, no videos or footnotes this time! But wait until the next one!)
Photos: Dreamstime.com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Government Should Stop Trying To Silence Health Care Opponents


President Barack Obama and Co. are demonstrating the weakness of their position on health care/health insurance “reform” in several ways:

1. They have been mobilizing union thugs and ACORN members to intimidate citizens who might embarrass officials by stating concerns or asking questions at town hall meetings. (See my article “Gangster Government II – Obama Thugs.”)

2. They are failing to answer citizens’ concerns about the health care plan. The following video shows a citizen speaking to Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) at the Lebanon, PA town hall meeting on 08/11/09. The man speaks calmly, clearly, and respectfully about the objections people have about the plan.



The senator has no clear answer to any of the objections, just a vague “commitment” to work on the problems without stirring up turmoil. If the House bill prevails, and the senator supports it, this cannot be met.

2. They are blaming Fox News and cable channels for stirring up opposition to their plan, and they are otherwise fighting free speech on this issue, through their website which invites people to report on others who disagree with the plan. What they are doing with this website is illegal on several levels. If they are not keeping information, they are breaking the law that requires White House communications to be archived. If they are keeping the information they are breaking another law. See Jim Malmberg’s BloggersBase article “The Healthcare Gestapo” for a discussion of this. [1]

3. They are, in effect, calling protesters Nazis and brownshirts, when in fact the Administration has the brownshirts working for them. (See #1)

4. Obama and his people are complaining that protesting citizens are “organized,” when they are the ones doing the great amount of organizing.

“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., told ‘FOX News Sunday’ that it’s not clear who’s organized and who’s not but that Democrats’ efforts to ‘demonize’ the protesters reflect weak spots in the substance of their plan.
“ ‘I think attacking citizens in our country for expressing their opinions about an issue of this magnitude may indicate some weakness in their position on the merits,’ McConnell said. ‘And I also think it’s particularly absurd for the Democrats, who have over an $8 million e-mail list over at the DNC called Organize America, to be criticizing citizens for being organized.’” [2]

5. The president can’t clearly explain what the plan is. Congressmen don’t seem to know quite what it is either. Is it the House bill or something else? How can they claim that people are spreading “disinformation” when no one seems to have the “real” information, if it isn’t the House bill?

6. They can’t seem to accept the reality that most American voters are against their plan and most are satisfied with their current coverage. They are in a political battle against the majority of the American people.

A Fox News poll of 900 registered voters, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corp. by telephone, shows that 34 percent favor the Obama plan and 49 percent oppose it. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent The poll also shows that 52 percent believe the outrage shown in the town hall meetings is genuine, not the result of fake mobs or planted protesters. “Moreover, nearly half of Americans feel ‘frightened’ (31 percent) or ‘angry’ (17 percent)…. And an overwhelming 92 percent majority says members of Congress should be required to read and understand legislation before voting, ‘even if the bill is thousands of pages long.’” [3]

They also believe (53 percent) that the horror stories they hear about government health care in foreign countries could happen here under the Obama plan. And they would overwhelmingly prefer to receive medical treatment in the U.S. instead of Canada. [4]

7. The president’s claims that the AARP supports their efforts leaves many elderly people feeling a true sense of betrayal by that organization.

While people generally want to help the uninsured to get coverage, they are unwilling to pay high taxes and face the loss of their own coverage and get government-rationed care to accomplish this.


[1] Jim Malmberg, “The Healthcare Gestapo,” at http://www.bloggersbase.com/articles/world-affairs/politics-and-opinions/the-healthcare-gestapo/

[2] “Real or Contrived? Lawmakers Argue Over Nature of Health Care Protests,” at
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/09/real-contrived-lawmakers-argue-nature-health-care-protests/?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g12:r2:c0.342205:b27134340:z0

[3] “Fox News Poll: 52 Percent Say Town Hall Protesters Expressing Authentic Outrage,” at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/13/fox-news-poll-percent-say-town-hall-protesters-expressing-authentic-outrage/. (Emphasis added)

[4] Ibid.

Photo: Dreamstime

Monday, August 10, 2009

Unemployment Turnaround? Not Just Yet …


THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JULY 2009

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in July (-247,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The average monthly job loss for May through July (-331,000) was about half the average decline for November through April (-645,000). In July, job losses continued in many of the major industry sectors.

Household Survey Data

In July, the number of unemployed persons was 14.5 million. The unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, little changed for the second consecutive month….

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from -322,000 to -303,000, and the change for June was revised from -467,000 to -443,000….

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) (Emphasis added)


Note that these figures do not include persons who have given up looking for work or who have accepted part-time positions.

Oh, yes! The stimulus is working! Unemployment didn’t rise as much as in the previous month! I’m happy it isn’t worse.

But it did rise. For anyone who’s looking to the Obama Administration to do something about the economy, here’s what they’re doing:

1. Claiming that the ineffective stimulus is going to work.
2. Hoping you’ll believe the “cash for clunkers” program is really helping the economy and the environment.
3. Studying what additional bailouts and government equity positions might be “needed.”
4. Attempting to pass the following new legislation:
A. Health care or health insurance “reform” – If anything resembling the House bill passes, we will soon see very significant tax increases. Obama says it will be “deficit neutral,” which means that its estimated $1-1.5 trillion cost will necessitate broad tax increases. Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise any taxes on people making less than $250,000 per year will and must be scuttled. Of course tax increases will further increase unemployment and reduce revenues to the government.
B. Cap and trade – This is supposed to be a big revenue raiser for the government, accomplishing this by massive taxes on all businesses that use fossil fuels or allegedly contribute to environmental greenhouse gases. This totally fraudulent bill will contribute nothing helpful to the environment, yet will drive manufacturers and others out of business or overseas, and greatly increase unemployment.

These measures haven’t passed yet. Maybe they won’t and government will do little enough that some recovery can take place.

Why would the Obama Administration adopt policies that would hinder the economic recovery they’re supposedly so anxious to produce? There are only two answers that are reasonably possible. Either,
(1) They have no clue how to help the economy, or
(2) They aren’t trying to help the economy since continued recession and turmoil will (they think) help them politically, causing people to more and more ask for, and think they need, government help.

Since I don’t think they are stupid, I have to choose the second explanation. When government offers some kind of slight relief somewhere, and publicizes it, some people will see the government as “compassionate.”

In fact, government in general is not compassionate. This government, in particular, in its leadership, is cold and extremely cynical. They often show contempt for the people, especially any who question their policies or raise doubts about their motives. Politicians in general are, these days, focused first on re-election and don’t mind buying votes through various aid programs. But they are doing nothing that can help. Here’s Mr. Obama speaking on the economy:



1. Notice he’s quick to blame the previous administration. That’s his excuse for his people not doing their homework and for not being able to help much of anything. “Many months” of hardship lie ahead.

2. Notice he talks about a “new foundation,” i.e. socialized medicine and cap and trade, both of which would be extremely deleterious to our economy and will produce great increases in unemployment.

3. To Obama, a “new foundation,” involves greatly expanded government control and regulation, reduced freedom, and socialistic “innovations.”

4. He hopes the American people will buy the lie that the recession is the result of failed Bush policies and the free market, when in fact it has its main roots in congressional malfeasance, meddling, and incompetence. The Congress, not Bush, failed to rein in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac boondoggles. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd saw to it that their Clintonite friends in these government-sponsored entities were able to be protected while cooking the books so that they could receive multi-million-dollar bonuses. Nothing was done even when it was apparent that a mortgage meltdown was coming; until it was already in full swing, that is.

5. The ones in charge of cleaning up the mess are the ones who made it and continue to make it today.

6. Obama’s Administration could do several things to help the unemployment situation now. I and others have suggested these things before. They involve tax cuts, tax incentives and clear policies that encourage economic activity, not penalize it. But don’t look for anything like that. Instead, at the rate things are going, we’re truly in danger of another depression. But Obama doesn’t care, if it helps him gain power.

Photo: Roosevelt Memorial unemployment bread line

Gangster Government II – Obama Thugs

Barack Obama has called out his union goons and ACORN buddies [1] to stifle opposition voices at so-called “town hall meetings” hosted by his congressional allies. The following video is an example (Caution: some bad language):



1. Since the Democrat government can’t engage in actual debate on their fascist-socialist health care/health insurance takeover plan, their strategy is to silence opposition and brand opponents as Nazis, an unruly mob, or people stirred up by insurance companies or various organizations ("Astroturf" not grassroots):



2. People who thoughtfully engage their elected representatives and express opinions on public issues in a public forum are simply participating in a legal, normal, and traditional political process. The fact that these congressmen don’t seem to know what’s in their own bill, or are eager to lie about it, does not in any way discredit their constituents’ actions in questioning them.

3. Any violence at the “town hall meetings” began when Obama’s brown-shirt thugs (actually dressed in blue shirts) were called out to intimidate and assault citizens who oppose the healthcare takeover plan. They have been sometimes loud, and often angry, but it wasn’t an “unruly mob.” Obama called out the unruly mob.

4. These congress members need to get a clue. The American people do not want this so-called health care plan that is simply a vehicle for grabbing government control over every aspect of our lives. Essential liberty is to be removed. The Obama Administration keeps referring to this as a fight or a war. It’s their war against the citizens of America. Possibly some, if not most, congressional representatives are being bullied by the Administration and congressional leadership into defending this atrocious bill. Many citizens are gong to take note of who votes for the bill. Those representatives will find much of their support gone come election day.

5. I hope citizens will continue to speak up loudly at these meetings, and also hold their own rallies and tea parties to let the government know that it’s still the people who are ultimately in charge.

6. I am not in contact with any insurance company or other organization promoting participation at these events. I myself haven’t been to any of them so far, although I have written my representatives. I do listen to talk radio. I don’t have much use for the mainstream media that has become simply Obama’s propaganda arm.

7. The motto of every freedom-loving American should be: DON’T TREAD ON ME!

[1] See at http://www.infowars.com/acorn-using-police-to-stop-free-speech-of-obamacare-opponents/ (Link cited by MacAaron in a BloggersBase comment)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Are You Listening, Mr. President? Congress?

At a Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) town hall event in Philadelphia August 2, the crowd didn’t seem to be buying their presentation. Rush Limbaugh commented on this today, suggesting that this may discourage future town-hall-type events on this topic, and pointing out that Philadelphia is not exactly red-state conservative, but is predominantly union member country.



This event brings up several questions which have not been, in my view, satisfactorily answered:
1. Why is this so urgent that it can’t wait for more debate and discussion? If this is to take effect in 2013, why the big rush now? Can’t some time be devoted to examining these proposals?
2. Why is this government takeover the only approach to be considered?
3. Why should members of Congress ever be asked to vote on bills they have had little or no opportunity to read, and in some cases, bills that haven’t even been written yet? This is extremely offensive to any kind of democratic government, that our elected “representatives” would be willing to consider such a thing. A member who votes for a bill, having not read it or understood it, should not be in public office. Period.
4. If our officials know that about 80% of voters are satisfied with their current coverage, and don’t want to lose it, but know they would under Obamacare, why is the Administration and Congress trying to force this upon them?
5. If Medicare and Social Security are in financial peril, and Medicaid not doing so well either, why multiply this red ink millions of times over?
6. Why are we being told that we must provide coverage for 50 million more people, when probably no more than 10 million actually want or need help?

Obama’s popularity is fading fast, and he’s in a race to get his signature plan approved. But people are catching on to the deceptive tactics and massive danger involved. As Milton Friedman said, “The government’s solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.” That has probably never been more applicable than in this matter.

If their interest is really in providing health insurance coverage to needy people, there are several ways to do so without this immense destruction that’s being proposed.
1. Instead of job-destroying tax increases, offer tax incentives to employers who provide health care coverage to their employees.
2. Increase, not decrease, tax deductibility of medical expenses. Don’t ever tax health care benefits.
3. Encourage higher-deductible and catastrophic coverage for people who don’t need insurance coverage for routine doctor visits, etc.
4. Provide tax incentives to insurance companies (gasp!) for offering coverage for pre-existing conditions. Otherwise, it’s poor management for insurance companies to, as they say, “buy claims.” Nor is it equitable to force them to provide such coverage without compensation.
5. Don’t chase insurance companies out of Medicare. They’re a cost savings to the government in administering plans.
6. Encourage substantial tort reform to limit damage awards in malpractice actions.
7. Stop trying to manage everyone’s business or putting everyone into some bureaucratic pigeonhole for health insurance coverage.

Plus, there have been a number of excellent suggestions, but since some came from Republicans, they aren’t as likely to be considered.

I think the audience response at the Philadelphia town hall is likely to be repeated numerous times if there are any more opportunities. I hope someone in Washington, D.C. is paying attention. If not, they may be unemployed after their next election campaign.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Your Federal Government Loves You! How About a Big Hug?


YOUR GOVERNMENT is working night and day to take control… er, make your life easier. We only want to help! Everything will be all right! Just relax! Our historic, dear leader will bring us all together and restore our proper place in the world, alongside China, Venezuela, Uganda, Nicaragua, and of course, the workers’ paradise, Cuba. We’re even going to be friends with Iran soon. But that pesky Israel needs to get in line.

Rest assured we’re on the job making the economy better and preventing future prosperity … uh, meltdowns and bubbles. This can be done by regulating those greedy financial institutions and seizing, uh, that is, helping manage them so that it works out best for us, we mean, for all. Even though you might have been laid off with no job prospects for the next year or two, we want you to enjoy this time and look forward with great HOPE. No need to do anything, we’ll take care of it. That government health care is starting to look better, right?

And if you want to trade one of those gas-guzzling clunkers, we’re here to help. Yeah, we’ve already run out of money once on this program, but not to worry, we’re busy printing more. So what’s a few billion in a multi-trillion-dollar deficit? We’ll get it back under cap and trade. Just wait till you see your electric bill then! That is, we’re going after those mean corporations that insist on making a profit when others are losing ground. They’ll pay through the nose for warming the globe. And they won’t be anxious to drill for oil or gas, mine coal, or build dangerous nuclear plants. Won’t it be great when we’re all driving those cute little electric 20-horsepower cars? Of course our leaders will have to keep using limos and personal jets. Darn!

We hope you’re grateful for all the trouble we’ve gone to in order to help you pay your mortgage. Too bad we couldn’t get to everyone, and several million have been foreclosed on. Tough luck, but hang in there, we’re working on it. It’s those silly banks! Just because we’re not too sure what we’re going to be doing in the future in the financial world (other than try to regulate more), they use this as an excuse to hold up on their lending plans, etc.

But mostly, we’re just glad to be able to assist the American people with their day-to-day decisions and life activities. We know that the people have a very hard time making decisions for themselves, especially when it comes to meal planning, education, housing, jobs, toilet tank size, and extremely complex issues like that. We know what a burden adulthood can be, having to think for yourself. We’re here to help, even to the point of seeing to it that you vote correctly, and that you have your financial and medical decisions made for you, etc.
You can think of us as your mama if it makes you feel better.

We want Americans to renounce their self interest and devote themselves to the great, all-encompassing national plan. But sometimes, we sense a lack of gratitude for all our hard work, and impatience about the results. But please understand, all our problems can be traced to George W. Bush, and the deficits and recession we inherited, and also the Founding Fathers, who wrote a Constitution that tried to tie our hands in carrying out our plans today. Thank goodness for our liberal courts! They interpret a lot of that away.

Our goal is to eventually have your daily schedule prepared in advance and emailed to you, with a requirement that you report back several times a day on your progress. Of course, if anyone shows signs of uncooperativeness, we will have to counsel and possibly retrain them, all in a loving spirit, of course. And as people get older and nearer to death, we want give them counseling and encouragement, and make sure they understand the options available to them to take them out of this world with comfort and convenience.
Then they’ll be off our Social Security and Medicare rolls, uh, but still in our hearts.

As soon as we can retrain the members of the “conservative” (that is, extremist right-wing fanatic) movement, we will be well on our way to our dream of utopia. We’ve got our messiah, we just need a lot of cooperation.

Hugs,

Your Federal Government
Executive, Congress (D and a few R), and much of the Judiciary