I am so glad I begin every day by clicking open American Digest, as opposed to plucking the paper “digest” off my front porch. Thomas Jefferson said “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers” and I wish I knew how exactly our third President arrived at this — only because it must be a great story. I have no choice but to agree; so I’m going to do what I wish he did. I’m going to put down in writing exactly why I think what he came to think. Which means: I’m going to write down today, why I agree with Jefferson today.
Gerard has a couple of good ones this morning: Jennifer Rubin’s inventory of what exactly is in the health care bill as it’s being debated right now; and Zombie’s twenty-two reasons why the very concept should be repugnant and deeply offensive to all of us, and rejected in any form whatsoever.
Really, what’s left after they take out the public option and the Medicare buy-in? A GOP leadership aide put it this way: “$500 billion in Medicare cuts, $400 billion in tax increases, raises premiums, raises costs, onerous regulations, individual mandates, employer mandate, and expensive subsidies.” So what’s not to like? Well, just about everything. Perhaps, in a moment of clarity, everyone will go home, think this through clearly, and come back with a list of a few discrete reforms that will have bipartisan support. Then they can declare victory. Makes too much sense. Instead the Democratic leadership seems hell-bent on coming up with the umpteenth version of ObamaCare no matter how unpopular it may be with the public and making vulnerable members walk the plank. Seems crazy, huh? It is.
What I don’t like about the very concept of universal health care is that it compels me to become my brother’s keeper and insert myself into the moral decisions of his life. I’d rather grant each person maximum freedom. I’d prefer to let people make whatever choices they want, however stupid or dangerous I may deem those choices to be. Just so long as you take responsibility for your actions, and you reap the consequences and pay for them yourself — hey, be as foolish or hedonistic or selfish or thoughtless as you like. Not my business.
But if the bill for your foolishness shows up in the form of higher taxes on me, then I unwillingly start to care what you do. And, trust me on this, you don’t want me turning my heartless judgmental eye on your foolish lifestyle. Because I’d have no qualms criticizing half the stuff you do.
Do you want that? No. Do I want that? No. And that’s the point. Instituting a single-payer universal health-care system, or even a watered-down version as the government is now proposing, compels me to become a meddlesome busybody in your personal choices. [emphasis in original]
But the definitive, must-go-to piece on this turdpie of a bill, as of yesterday, is Byron York’s tattle-tale job that was on the innerwebs, and featured on the radios all day long — rightfully so. Maybe you got that out of your newspaper, but I didn’t get it out of mine…and you’ll see in some of the paragraphs below later on, I shouldn’t go looking for it there. You m-u-s-t read this, all the way through, and right now…
[T]he margin of opposition [to this turkey] seems to be growing, not diminishing. And yet Democrats seem determined to defy public opinion. Why?
I put the question to a Democratic strategist who asked to remain anonymous…
You have to look at the issue from three different Democratic perspectives: the House of Representatives, the White House and the Senate.
“In the House, the view of [California Rep. Henry] Waxman and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi is that we’ve waited two generations to get health care passed, and the 20 or 40 members of Congress who are going to lose their seats as a result are transitional players at best,” he said. “This is something the party has wanted since Franklin Roosevelt.” In this view, losses are just the price of doing something great and historic.
“At the White House, the picture is slightly different,” he continued. “Their view is, ‘We’re all in on this, totally committed, and we don’t have to run for re-election next year. There will never be a better time to do it than now.’”
“And in the Senate, they look at the most vulnerable Democrats — like [Christopher] Dodd and [Majority Leader Harry] Reid — and say those vulnerabilities will probably not change whether health care reform passes or fails. So in that view, if they pass reform, Democrats will lose the same number of seats they were going to lose before.”
[H]e compared congressional Democrats with robbers who have passed the point of no return in deciding to hold up a bank. Whatever they do, they’re guilty of something. “They’re in the bank, they’ve got their guns out. They can run outside with no money, or they can stick it out, go through the gunfight, and get away with the money.”
Sacramento Bee, my local paper, has done some things right and some things wrong. Yesterday, they chose to revert to their common form as a hard-left hippy-dippy Pravda snotrag. Do it just like they taught ya in journalism school, class — lead with the tearjerker human interest story, and then round the bend from there into a festering stewpot of statistical bullshit just like we always do…
Insurance cost for small businesses could ride on Congress’ action
L.D. Schmidt is a working man who arrives, in sickness and in health, at his small midtown Sacramento electronics shop to repair audio equipment.
Schmidt lacks health insurance, and hopes that the health care overhaul being debated in Congress will get him affordable coverage without driving up his costs of doing business.
Schmidt’s shop is among the tens of thousands of mom-and-pop firms scattered across America, enterprises whose proprietors often can’t even afford health insurance for themselves, let alone their workers.
“I just have to keep coming back to work, unless I get so sick and just can’t get out of bed,” said Schmidt…His only employee, a 20-year-old who was kicked off his parents’ health plan last year, is paid minimum wage and can’t afford to buy his own health coverage.
About three in 10 of the state’s self-employed don’t have health insurance, and nearly 43 percent of those working in the state’s smallest firms – those that employ fewer than 10 people – are uninsured, according to the annual Health Care Almanac produced by the California HealthCare Foundation.
Nearly two in five of the state’s 7 million uninsured are either self-employed or work for some of California’s smallest companies, the foundation reported.
I don’t like bashing The Bee, and I don’t relish doing it this time. But this is so sad. Can’t get any sadder. Bee Editor Melanie Sill, predictable as a sunrise, is going to bitch some more about the financial problems of the print journalism industry as a whole and SacBee in particular…every…single…weekend. If only the funny-papers were kept in my Sunday edition with all the reliability of the Sill dirges.
And yet all these journalists have dedicated their entire lives to the mind-expanding task of keeping abreast with what’s going on, for a living. Which is supposed to mean all day every day, right? Well what the hell are they doing. Should I even ask what they’re doing. No, I should not. The pattern has been set, and long ago. It is the constant wailing of the left-wing caffeine-infused human-yip-dog stress-puppy. Obviously, for them it comes down to just the latest tome of “Oh dear, we’re waiting for Congress to ACT!! and we are so SCREWED!! if they don’t!!” Can’t you just see the little rat-tail lashing about, neurotically. Every edition that rolls off the press, further blurs the line between reporting and barking.
Go back to Rubin’s piece to see what exactly it is they’re writing about. Do they know? Do they care? I see the lights are on but is anybody home?
Congress’ clear and obvious failing as servants of this republic over which they seek to rule…it doesn’t even merit a mention. And L.D. Schmidt? In the print edition (downstairs, in the passenger seat of my car, as I write this) the story is emblazoned with a 32-point-type quote from the business owner, that thing about “I just have to keep coming back to work, unless I get so sick and just can’t get out of bed,” See, if you look at it through the glass of a news stand, you think he’s got Lymphoma, or Narcolepsy, or Dr. House’s leg cyst that might shoot up into his brain at any second…at least chronic depression? Something. But if you actually read the story you see the guy’s just a worry-wart. Wants absolute, complete security, in the form of free health insurance from the federal government. God only knows what the guy is doing running his own business. Maybe he doesn’t have any choice because Obama’s made hiring so impractical and expensive, he can’t get hold of an income any other way. One thing you can take to the bank: If I ever make it a project to do some profiles on local entrepreneurial spirit and what I admire about these folks, I probably will not spend much time interviewing L. D. Schmidt. I got my start with small businesses. I grew up in a small-business town. I know something about how they live their lives, how they see the world, what they want to do in it, and what they want to get out of the doing.
Complete security, all risk eliminated, safe & secure as if you’re bobbing in amniotic fluid in your momma’s tummy — that doesn’t really have much to do with it.
But the real story here is not Schmidt…who comes off as being much more concerned, moment to moment, with risk than with opportunities, and has a perfect right to go through life this way if that’s his choice…but rather, The Bee. They are a tragedy. They are almost a villain. What the public really needs to know about what is going on, is so spectacularly distant from what they chose to report. If you understand the big picture, you realize you need to be hoping for this disaster to be derailed. By something. By anything. And this has an effect on what kind of news you need to consume. What question is first and foremost on your mind as you begin every day. How are our supposed “representatives” doing in their latest effort to screw us over. Conversely, of course, if you’re ignorant and think it’s all about “how will they take care of us,” that has an effect on what kind of questions you’re asking, as well…
And that, Ms. Sill, is why people are flocking to the innerwebs rather than reading your paper. You can’t blame it all on technology. It’s got to do with mindsets and world views. Your reporters are just plain lazy and incurious, and this has a deleterious effect on the product you’re selling every day. The fact of the matter is, if you read only the newspapers you’re missing quite a lot. Jefferson was — and is — correct. Your job, ultimately, is to prevent that from being the case. Maybe your goal should be to improve on this, do better at it from here-on-out, than you have up until now. That would be my suggestion.
On this horrible legislation itself, and what Congress should do about it? Anchoress nailed it. “GO HOME. Drop what you are doing, right now, and go home. Put the 2000 page healthcare bill that you haven’t read into the trash can as you turn out the lights and head for the airport…give America a break from your freakish certainties, your falsities, frailties and your folly. Turn off your blackberries and stay off the television and try to find whatever scraps of humanity still remain buried beneath the crust of stinking, corrupt ambition you’ve allowed to grow on you.”
These are no longer our servants. They are usurpers. That’s the real story.