Health Care And The Continuing Crisis

December 21, 2009

Well, Harry Reid has managed to bring to life the title of P.J. O’Rourke’s great book, A Parliament Of Whores. All the special deals for states with Democratic Senators (paid for with your money), all of the secrecy and back room shuffles have paid off for the Majority Leader from Nevada. The victory is likely to be pyrrhic, however. The bill is hugely unpopular by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, and because it was enacted on strict party lines there is no way they can blame the Republicans. The Republicans weren’t even consulted on this travesty of legislation, with the exception of an attempted wooing of Olympia Snowe, the RINO from Maine who put herself out there under the lamppost with the rest of them.

Michelle Malkin’s doing a bang-up job detailing the sleazy corrupt deals that went into making this nightmare a reality. You can read her full posts here and here, but allow me to provide a brief synopsis:

  • Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was given $100,000,000 of taxpayer money for her vote.
  • Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson sold his vote for some mealy-mouthed anti-federal spending on abortion language and a promise that the Federal Government would pay Nebraska’s increased Medicaid fees forever…thus putting the onus of collecting these fees on the other 49 states.
  • Massachusetts and Vermont also received special deals similar to the one for which Ben Nelson sold his soul
  • Connecticut will be getting $100,000,000 to build a hospital as a payoff to Senator Chris Dodd
  • Non-profit insurance companies will be exempt from paying the billions in taxes the other insurance companies will have to pony up…a gift for Ben Nelson (boy, he’s good at this) and Michigan Senator Carl Levin
  • Our one out-of-the-closet Socialist in the Senate, Vermont’s own Bernie Sanders was given a $10,000,000,000 gift of socialized medical clinics.
There are more, which you can see with all appropriate links on Michelle Malkin’s site.

While there is some solace in the notion that this bill could have been even worse by including a public option, that comfort is extremely cold when we consider just how bad this bill is. It is the equivalent of standing in middle of an earthquake and saying, "At least it’s not raining."

It will cost the taxpayers of this nation trillions of dollars, it will increase taxes, it will cause health insurance premiums to rise, it will leave approximately 23,000,000 people uninsured, it creates a completely unconstitutional mandate on the citizenry to buy a privately offered service.* The bill takes a bad situation and makes it markedly worse. In a stroke of genius, Congress has made sure that the worst effects of the bill won’t be seen until safely into Barack Obama’s second term.

So the question then becomes…why? Why pass this bill that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, does not solve the acknowledged problem?

Remember, the problem was an estimated 30 million people without health insurance. The whole notion of health care reform was based on the task of covering those people (whether they wanted it or not). But this bill leaves 23 million people uninsured, and it places all sorts of restrictions on the insurance companies that effect the 85% of the country that is currently happy with their insurance.

What Congress has done is pass a bill that does not address the condition it was supposed to address, and screws up the system for everyone else. And they’re happy about this. They think it’s “historic” as if “historic” was a synonym for “wonderful.”

So again…why?

The answer is simply this: the Democrats know that in 2009 there is no way they can achieve their real goal: a 100% takeover of the entire health care system, from providing insurance to managing hospitals to mandating how many physicians get to practice in each specialty. Their reason for wanting socialized medicine is also simple: create a class of people that depend on you, and they will never vote you out of office. There’s a reason why people refer to Social Security and Medicare as “the third rails” of politics…touch them and you die.

The reason there is no stomach for socialized medicine in America is precisely because 85% of Americans are happy with their medical plans. We know that it could be better, and that costs are too high, but we don’t wait months for an MRI, and we sure as hell don’t want government bureaucrats looking to cut costs at our expense or the expense of our loved ones.

The new health care plan is going to make that 85% of Americans very upset. For the Democrats and other Statists, this is the sound of opportunity knocking.

What the Democrats are doing here is creating a real crisis where only a problem currently exists. A state of crisis gives them the excuse for even more reforms in order to "solve" the very crisis they created. Obama’s consigliere Rahm Emmanuel said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” By creating a continuing crisis, the Democrats can continue to “address” the issue in ever more intrusive ways.

Health care reform didn’t work the first time? That’s because there was no public option.

The new Public Option is insufficient? Add billions more taxpayer dollars. Everyone knows that Washington’s solution to broken systems is to throw money at them.

There are still uninsured? Increase the scope of the public option.

The private insurance companies can’t compete with a taxpayer-subsidized system that sets the rules? Increase the scope again to include those whose insurance companies have gone under.

Why before you know it, America is looking down the barrel of socialized medicine. Only now it’s an "entitlement," a brand-spankin’ new "third rail" for hapless politicians to lose their office.

When this bill was passed, Iowa Senator and proponent of socialized medicine Tom Harkin rushed to the microphone to reassure the liberals and progressives who are complaining that this bill doesn’t go far enough. This bill, Harkin assured them, was not a mansion, but it was a "starter home." There will be plenty of time, he purred, for revisions.

…we can add additions and extensions to it as we go on in the future. It is not the end of health care, it’s the beginning.

That’s just what I’m afraid of.

*Back in July, I wrote a piece here that suggested an individual mandate might be a good idea. I covered my bets a bit by stating that there were likely considerations I had missed when I wrote the piece. Since then, I have come to realize that the concept of the Federal Government insisting the citizens of the country buy a product or service is 100% unconstitutional. I haven’t changed the original post because that wouldn’t be ethical (although I do change posts for grammar and spelling at times), and I stand by most of what I wrote that day. But the more I thought about the issue the more I realized that I no longer believe in the individual mandate.

Blame Canada

December 10, 2009

Generally speaking, I like our neighbors to the North. They’re so darn nice. And even if Canada is where Mark Steyn was put on trial for publishing an article critical of Islam, and where waiting lists for CAT scans stretch around the block, and where French is considered a second language if not the first…well, darn it, they make great beer and that goes a long way in my book.

Then I come across an incredibly wrong-headed and stupid thing like this editorial from Canada’s national newspaper advocating a world-wide ban on families of more than one child and I think to myself, “Darn it, is the sweet, creamy, delicious taste of Molson Brador really worth having idiots like this in my hemisphere?”

My first thought upon reading this was that it was some Swiftian modest proposal, but I read it again and if satire is the medium, the message is lost. What I think we really have here is the fully unhinged environmentalist mindset. The Malthus lovers had a vogue in the early 1970s, but their fears were as nonsensical as the worries about the coming ice age that also got a lot of play before it didn’t happen because of global warming. Or something.

So here we go again, with the environmentalist nutcases like Canada’s own Diane Francis, trying to tell the world that the only solution to our problems is to stop breeding. Diane goes as far as wishing for a world with roughly half our current population:

This would have immediate positive effects on the world’s forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.

Once again the environmentalist crazies fail to appreciate the real solution: people are not the problem, Diane. People are the solution to the problem.

But there’s more at work here than simple environmentalism. I’ve been saying for years that the environment is just a new, trendy face on the same old enemies of freedom. Fortunately, dear Diane spells it out for us:

None [of her proposed “solutions”] will work unless a China one-child policy is imposed. Unfortunately, there are powerful opponents. Leaders of the world’s big fundamentalist religions preach in favor of procreation and fiercely oppose birth control. And most political leaders in emerging economies perpetuate a disastrous Catch-22: Many children (i. e. sons) stave off hardship in the absence of a social safety net or economic development, which, in turn, prevents protections or development.

Now read between the lines. What can be done about those “fundamentalist religions” (by which she means Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Hindi, Buddhism, and Islam)? Clearly they can’t continue to advocate for “procreation” if we’re trying to save the planet. Government will, of course, have to pass this law over the objections of these religions, thus eradicating the separation of church and state here in America. What darling Diane is really wishing for here is a method of silencing religion (like is done in her favorite nation, China).

Then there’s the second half of her paragraph: “Many children (i. e. sons) stave off hardship in the absence of a social safety net or economic development.” The solution here is also implied. We need an ever-larger social safety net provided by…c’mon, guess who…the Government. Only if the Government takes care of our needs will we be willing to welcome daughters in Diane’s brave new world.

Oh, Diane, you look green all over but your true colors are shining through, and they’re as red the maple leaf on the Canadian flag.

Harry Reid Gets It Backwards (As Usual)

December 7, 2009

So Harry Reid has come out of the lunatic closet and compared the opponents of health care reform to those advocating for the continuation of slavery, the opposition to women’s suffrage and civil rights.

Congratulations, Harry! You have won the award for the single stupidest statement made by a politician in 2009.

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ‘slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.'”

He continued: “When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn’t quite right.

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.”

My God, the idiocy of this man is overwhelming.

First off, it was Republicans who ended slavery. It was also Republicans who fought to overcome a filibuster sponsored by then-Democrat Strom Thurmond for the Civil Rights Act.

It sounds like things aren’t going particularly well behind the doors that Reid closed to Senate Republicans. This sort of shrill, hyper-partisan buffoonery is a pretty good indicator that Reid’s losing what few marbles he ever had. I can only wonder how Democrats like Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, and Dem-leaning independent Joe Lieberman feel about being cast as modern day Simon Legrees? And all you people out there…you know, the majority of Americans who don’t want this health care reform? Well, now you know what the Democrats really think about you when they’re behind closed doors. You should remember it at election time next year…if this is what Reid feels he can say in public, imagine what he thinks about you in private.

But there’s a larger point here and Reid has it completely backwards. This is a man who feels that a government takeover of 1/6 of the US economy will somehow free people when, in fact, it will do the opposite. A government that provides all that we have can take all of that away at any time. Making more people dependent on government for the necessities of life is a type of slavery. While it lacks the whips and chains, forcing people to look to the government to meet their needs is every bit as condescending, emasculating, and crippling as iron shackles. Slaves were the property of their owners; government-run health care makes those who accept it wards of the state. Reid views the American public as infants, children who need to be looked after from womb to tomb. His motives may be beneficent, but the end result is the same as slavery, creating a segment of the population who depend on you for everything while you sit in your Senate office growing fat off the fruits of their labors.

Who’s really interested in freedom here? I maintain it’s not Harry Reid.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more. And now Hot Air weighs in.

Kevin Jennings And The Radical Agenda Of Sex

December 7, 2009

Michelle Malkin is highlighting this terrifying report from Gateway Pundit about Kevin Jennings, the “Safe Schools Czar” appointed by Obama. If this doesn’t force Jennings to step down, I truly tremble in fear for my country.

Briefly, an organization named the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which was founded by Kevin Jennings, maintains a reading list for school kids. Jennings’ creation of GLSEN seems to be the reason that Jennings was appointed by Obama. According to Jennings’s bio on the U.S. Department of Education’s site, GLSEN is the one aspect of his career that distinguishes that career. GLSEN’s goal is to “make schools safe for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

But the fact is that Jennings is an avowed homosexual activist who is looking to promote an acceptance of homosexuality among children as young as kindergarten age.

The reading list (there are three actually, K-6, 7-12, and a list for teachers) is appalling. For K-6 (that’s kids aged 5-11), the reading list includes books like: And Tango Makes Three:

This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City’s Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are “a little bit different.” They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too.

Then there’s How My Family Came To Be: Daddy, Papa, and Me:

A boy recounts the story of how his family came to be in a cheerfully illustrated book for young children.

The Different Dragon:

In this bedtime story, one of young Noah’s mothers (emphasis mine) takes him through an adventure through a bedtime story about a dragon that dares to be different. Follow this story as Noah learns a lesson about character and expectations.

The Harvey Milk Story:

This biography of the first openly gay elected city official in the U.S. introduces young readers to one of the greatest figures in modern LGBT history.

Marvin Redpost: Is He A Girl?

When Casey Happleton tells Marvin that if you kiss your elbow you’ll turn into a girl, Marvin doesn’t believe a word of it. Then Marvin kisses his elbow by accident and starts to feel very strange. He wants pigtails and starts dotting his i’s with little hearts. Could Casey be right? Or is it all in Marvin’s head? You decide!

There’s plenty more, here, but Gateway Pundit is rightfully emphasizing the grades 7-12 list.

From Gateway Pundit:

We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air. One memoir even praised becoming a prostitute as a way to increase one’s self-esteem. Above all, the books seemed to have less to do with promoting tolerance than with an unabashed attempt to indoctrinate students into a hyper-sexualized worldview.

There are plenty of excerpts available here, but here’s a sample from the book Queer 13, a series of nostalgic reminiscences about seventh grade:

Soon I was spending a great deal of time hanging out in shopping malls and cruising the rest rooms for sexual encounters. My rest-room exploits started to be a great burden on my mind. The better part of the year was spent making deals with God, asking for a sign, then ignoring and rationalizing everything I perceived to be a sign, praying for forgiveness, and being obsessed with raging hormones and a seemingly endless supply of dicks. I believed that it was all part of a test by God to see if I was a sinner. I was.

I had known before that something was up, and that I was attracted to men, but this toilet thing was a whole new realm of sin and Satan, a new level that I had never before imagined. The following years were spent praying for forgiveness and trying to purge my homosexuality through prayer and Bible study. While my classmates wondered what sex was like, content to masturbate over pinups, I was out there having my cock sucked and my ass fucked. These were grown men I was tricking with. Some were nice, grateful for a young boy to have their way with. Some were harsh and mean. There were a few nasty encounters, brutal and painful experiences, near-rapes, but through it all, I never thought that I had the ability to say no.

I was scared about what I was doing, scared of God’s judgment and of being caught in all those rest rooms and parks, but I really did enjoy those sexual encounters. That feeling of doing it to them and them doing the same for me was just too damn good.

Charming, isn’t it?

I’m not interested in censoring books. I don’t care if these authors want to write explicitly pornographic books about their sexual histories, whether homosexual, heterosexual, or what they’ve been up to all by themselves. I don’t even care if consenting adults want to read them. Maybe there’s even some literary merit to some of them, as you could make the case for a novel like Fanny Hill. I strongly doubt it, but I’ll concede the point.

What is truly appalling is two-fold: 1) GLSEN is recommending these books to children between the ages of 5-17; 2) the founder and former Executive Director of GLSEN, Kevin Jennings, is now a very highly-placed official at the Department of Education, and from all appearances it was his tenure at GLSEN that got him the job. And although Jennings stepped down from his job at GLSEN a year ago, this reading list was mostly created when he was the Executive Director.

So there it is. A “Safe Schools Czar” who believes that children should be reading books filled with explicit representations of homosexual sex and masturbation. The question that needs to be put to Barack Obama is simply this: Do you agree with Kevin Jennings and, if not, why does he still work for you in this capacity?

UPDATE: Hot Air has joined the chorus. With a Monty Python video!

Obama Promises More Troops, Early Withdrawl

December 2, 2009

The good news is this: President Obama has stepped up and done the right thing by agreeing to send more troops to Afghanistan. If he is successful in getting our NATO allies to send some more, General McChrystal will be getting almost everything he asked for. This was politically brave for Obama. His base hates the war and was hoping that he would start pulling troops out immediately. So for this, Barack Obama, I salute you.

Of course there’s bad news. For starters: number of times the word “victory” was used: 0. It seems that Obama, like the French, has no word in his language for “victory.” Number of times he referred to himself: 987,692 (approximately). My Lord, this man is a narcissist. More troubling, he did his best impression of a teenage boy on prom night, promising to pull out even as he’s making the case for going in.

Some lowlights:

Al Qaeda’s base of operations was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban — a ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere.

Three paragraphs into the speech and he has already apologized for America. This may be a record, folks.

Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a second war, in Iraq. The wrenching debate over the Iraq war is well-known and need not be repeated here. It’s enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq war drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy, and our national attention—and that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.

It’s Bush’s fault.

Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of the men and women in uniform. (Applause.) Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people.

This part isn’t Bush’s fault. For the record, I disagree with nothing in those last two sentences. But it might have been nice to mention that this victory was brought to you by Bush’s order to send more troops to Iraq at a time when it was considered political suicide. But no…Bush gets blame for the bad, no credit for the good.

As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service. And that’s why, after the Afghan voting was completed, I insisted on a thorough review of our strategy. Now, let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period.

What a crock. Although no troops were going to be deployed before 2010, if President Hamlet had made his decision three months ago we could have been laying the groundwork for those troops to start heading over sooner, rather than later. To pretend that his dithering didn’t delay the sending of troops is ludicrous. For three months there has been no forward movement when we could have been making preparations and outlining plans.

And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.

So it’s crucial for our national security to do this in an 18-month time frame? I’m aware that this is actually a handout to the Left, a way of telling the Soros Monkeys that he’s willing to send troops but his heart really isn’t in it. But letting the enemy know the date we’re going to give up isn’t a particularly good strategy.

I’ve traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place.

And despite the fact that I brought a camera crew with me, this was not a photo-op!

All told, by the time I took office the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan approached a trillion dollars. Going forward, I am committed to addressing these costs openly and honestly. Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion for the military this year, and I’ll work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.

As the trillion dollar plus health care reform is working through Congress, I can’t believe this was said with anything approaching a straight face.

We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions—from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank—that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings.

We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes.

Wrapping up…better throw in another apology for good measure.

For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation’s resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. What we have fought for — what we continue to fight for — is a better future for our children and grandchildren. And we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity. (Applause.)

As a country, we’re not as young — and perhaps not as innocent — as we were when Roosevelt was President. Yet we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom. And now we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to meet the challenges of a new age.

In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people — from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children, and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth.

Excellent. Almost sounds like one of George W. Bush’s speeches was left in the teleprompter.

I really shouldn’t complain too much. The policy is what’s important here, and the policy is correct. The problem to me is Obama’s stubborn refusal to talk in clear terms about victory or “winning” this conflict. It comes through the entire speech that Obama views victory as “a successful conclusion,” and “a successful conclusion” as the withdrawl of troops. Obama made the right decision here, and should be applauded for it. But at the same time, I get the feeling that the decision was based on politics and, rhetoric aside, not because he truly believed it was the right thing to do.

Michelle Malkin has more. Hot Air has an open thread and thoughts from Ed Morrissey.

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