Archive for the ‘Universal Healthcare’ Category

We Can Only Contain Costs Through Rationing

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

While everything else is falling apart, don’t forget about ObamaCare.

In the newspapers we all read that the legislation was passed via reconciliation. Most people do not understand what this represented. What Congress did was to pass this legislation under the Congressional Budget Act of 1984, which allows a loophole to avoid a 60 vote filibuster in laws which refer to changes in revenue and spending amounts; i.e. budgetary issues.

The legislation which Congress passed certainly does affect the budget, but clearly the bill’s intent wasn’t budgetary; rather it concerned dramatic changes for a large portion of our economy: health care. Given the bill’s intent, one can only hope that the upcoming elections bring greater ideological balance so that what promises to be damaging can at the very least be amended.

“Obamacare”, as it is colloquially termed, is financially a disaster for doctors, hospitals, insurers, and will ultimately be a disaster for our nation’s budget. It is also unfortunate for patients needing care.

Obamacare’s proponents tout the legislation’s cost controls, along with expansion of coverage for those who currently do not have insurance. The policy wonks seek cost containment and “efficient” use of resources. More realistically, cost containment could only be achieved if access to care were rationed.

Most Say Health Care Bill Too Costly

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

USA Today:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.

Supporters “are not only going to have to focus on implementing this kind of major reform,” says Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard. “They’re going to have to spend substantial time convincing people of the concrete benefits of this legislation.”

The risk for them is that continued opposition will fuel calls for repeal and dog Democrats in November’s congressional elections. The bill was enacted without a single Republican vote.

Two thirds? Gee…that’s big, or something, right? A two-thirds vote in Congress can override a Presidential veto. Two thirds of Americans, I was told, think Sarah Palin is unqualified to be President. Two thirds gets into that level where, if you’re part of the remaining third, you should just shut up. That seems to be the opinion of some on the Palin question. Wonder if it applies here.

Actually, if two-thirds somehow doesn’t impress you — how about we got a little bit higher still?

Tucked away inside a new Washington Post/ABC News poll is a key figure — 72 percent. That’s the percentage of voters who disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and the number hasn’t been that high since — you guessed it — the week before the 1994 election.

The Cornhuser Kickback and Gator-aid — two controversial provisions in the healthcare bill — are a couple of attractively named and accessible reasons why people don’t like how Congress operates. And at no point in the last 16 years has that picture been so clear to voters.

Republicans are by no means immune to the dirty politics that permeate Washington. Democrats, though, have brought it to a whole new level. Pelosi promised Americans the most ethical Congress ever — and instead, we got corruption, cronyism, thuggery, bribery, and secrets. Obama promised Americans hope and change — and instead, we got Chicago style corrupt politics as usual. Ethics? Transparency? Yeah, right. It’s no wonder that Americans are furious.

And then, Democrats hypothetically spat in the faces of their constituents, passing a takeover of the American health care system against our will.

Barack Obama’s one accomplishment.

It’s so bad, Janet Napolitano would say it’s perfect.

Update: But don’t oppose it or else you’re a racist.

NHS is Deflating

Monday, March 29th, 2010

How’s that socialized health care system workin’ out for ya?

Hospital wards to shut in secret NHS cuts

Tens of thousands of NHS workers would be sacked, hospital units closed and patients denied treatments under secret plans for £20 billion of health cuts.

The sick would be urged to stay at home and email doctors rather than visit surgeries, while procedures such as hip replacements could be scrapped.

The plans have emerged as health chiefs draw up emergency budgets that cast doubt on pledges by Gordon Brown to protect “front line services” in the NHS.

Documents show that health chiefs are considering plans to begin sacking workers, cutting treatments and shutting wards across the country.

The proposals could lead to:

* 10 per cent of NHS staff being sacked in some areas.
* The loss of thousands of hospital beds.
* A reduction in the number of ambulance call-outs.
* Medical professionals being replaced by less qualified assistants.

The consistent theme permeating throughout all of the promised benefits of ObamaCare, has something to do with getting-more-for-less.

Has it been modeled on any ingredient that was successful in delivering such a thing?

Stupak to Back Deal; Passage Appears Likely

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

WTF??

Stupak, from Menominee on the Upper Peninsula, said he and the others “stood on principle,” even if it meant bringing down the health care reform bill that most, if not all, of them otherwise supported.

Just before taking the podium at a 4 p.m. news conference, the White House released the text of an executive order to be signed after the health care reform legislation is passed. It makes clear the president’s intention “to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services” and continues the current prohibition on taxpayer money being used for abortions known as the Hyde amendment.

Update: WTF??

Update 3/22/10: Double-WTF, and there it is.

Steyn:

[O]ver time, as I’ve been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people…there’s plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

Ace is Worried

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Worrisome times.

I am getting really worried, because if 222 Democrats voted for this unconstitutional, very-unpopular maneuver, doesn’t that mean that all 222 will also vote for the bill itself? Why vote for this if you’re not going to vote for that?

Technically Speaking: Drew notes that this wasn’t a vote on the Slaughter House Rule itself, but on a GOP motion to compel the House to not employ the Slaughter House Rule.

The Slaughter Rule is not yet actually implemented. But the motion to halt it was rejected.

Yes there are lots of possibilities open for phony posturing. But this was still an important vote because it’s the first hard signal about how many in the House are willing to use deem-and-pass. To actually fasten their names to it. So I’m worried along with Ace.

This was not a costless maneuver for them by any means. In fact, they just handed the Republicans the perfect campaign theme for 2010, while they have yet to realize any benefits from doing so.

As I said before, Mark Steyn nailed it. Completely. House and Senate seats are important to them…but delivering the “legislation” is more important than that, if & when the two are in conflict. It isn’t quite so much the legislation as the public mindset that comes with it. The prevailing way of looking at life.

The old “Haven’t Got the Luxury of Loving Freedom” attitude. Opportunity-over-security would be wonderful and titillating if I could afford to prioritize things that way, but I just cannot afford it. Mediocrity for me, as long as it’s delivered on demand, on time.

The spirit that made nothing great.

They want to get that promulgated and propagated. This is more important than anything. This is their mother’s-milk. They know, if they lose seats getting this accomplished, it’ll be a trivial matter to get those seats back again. Conservative spirit is about as useful as a pot without a bottom, in a nation of the helpless. So their eye is on the #1 job.

They are despair.

Update: Something from yesterday. To help cheer you up. Because it’s refreshing hearing a grown-up talk like a grown-up in these worrisome, worrisome times.

The Baier Interview

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I stopped watching the YouTube clips. It isn’t my fatigue with political figures, although it is partly that…I’ve had jobs before where I had to sit down and talk to important people. People highly placed enough that one would expect them to have had coaching and grooming and training on how to change a subject when you find it desirable to change the subject. People who would be motivated to change the subject by what I had to ask them.

Got a bellyful of this already. Enough to last me a few lifetimes. Maybe that’s why I despise democrat politicians so much.

From all I’ve been able to skim over, it seems Don Surber‘s conclusion agrees with mine. Baier did an adequate job pressing a question against an important official who didn’t want to answer it. President Sort-Of-God opted for the ol’ “The People Don’t Care About The Process Now Let Me Talk About What’s Really Important” approach.

Hint for Obama: Blogger friend Rick cares about the process, as do I, and…well, who knows how many.

From the clips I’m hearing on the radio, Obama did a sufficiently decent job of weaseling out of this thing in such a way that the mentally flaccid will fail to notice His weaseling. Hopefully, your average middle-of-the-road folks will come away thinking…you know what, from what I’m hearing I do care somewhat about the process. This seems wrong. And I don’t know if I trust someone who passively denies having an opinion about it. I think I need a better answer.

We shall see.

I’m left thinking back on a column by Noemie Emery I have in my files.

Denial is a river that runs through the White House, where the denizens are in the grip of two major delusions: One, that the country really wants really expensive big government, and two, that Obama is “sort of like God.”

Since early last spring, they’ve been waging a fight with the reality principle, convincing themselves (and fewer and fewer in the larger political universe) that in the very next speech, Obama will recapture that old campaign magic. If people don’t like what they’re doing, the way to regain and to hold their affection was to give them much more of the same.

In the face of plummeting polls, stunning upsets in blue states, and gathering dread among Democrats, they carry on as if the year 2009 never happened, and they were back with their mandate and magical candidate, who was declared a success before he even took office.

Conservatism was dead, the age of big government being over was itself over, and we were all socialists. And if we weren’t at the beginning, Obama would talk us around.
:
On March 4, Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland explained the administration’s rationale for its renewed health care offensive: “The reason … we have the moral authority to do this is Massachusetts was just an act of God,” she related. “We had that seat; we got profoundly unlucky. … This election wasn’t scheduled to happen normally, so we shouldn’t allow this to knock us off course.”

Peggy Noonan says there have recently been “interventions” (the term for when loved ones send you to the Betty Ford Clinic), as in “So-and-so tried an intervention with the president, and it didn’t work.” David Gergen said Obama reminded him of the old joke about how many psychiatrists were needed in changing a light bulb.

The President does seem to be in need of something. An actual intervention? Perhaps something along those lines…

He still seems so polished and smooth, so sonorous.

You know, it really isn’t His problem, it’s ours. There is something deep inside our programming that makes us think when we hear a person explaining something calmly, that person must have a plan. And, that if there’s a plan somewhere, everything’s going to be alright regardless of what the plan is supposed to do.

Both ideas are mistaken. Correct now & then, but no more often than a random-chance decision.

The Big Lie About Health Care

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Anybody who knows anything about this whatsoever, won’t see this as news. Still and all, it’s like unbending a coathanger and getting that itch under the cast finally, finally scratched. Ahhhhhh…….

One-sixth of the U.S. economy is threatened with a takeover by the federal government on the erroneous rationale that “tens of millions of people in the U.S. are without health care insurance, and therefore are being denied access to adequate health care.” Unjust! Unfair!

This is, of course, an absolute lie. Nor does some large number of people “die every day from lack of health insurance coverage.” That too is a lie.

Access to the health care providers (professional services) and medicine (products) of the best health care system in the world is already universal and available to every U.S. citizen, legal resident, illegal alien, prisoner, detainee, or visitor — regardless of whether anyone is covered by any insurance policy or health plan. For heaven’s sake, even the illegal aliens have figured out that anyone who walks into an emergency room is required by law (EMTALA) to be treated, regardless of the person’s ability to pay.

You can find out more about EMTALA here.

Congressman Freeberg would introduce a rider to repeal EMTALA as a condition of passing ObamaCare…just to be an irascible sonofabitch, to make the right kind of enemies, and to call attention to this obsessive-compulsive layering of safety nets that threatens to suffocate our country. Then he would be burned in effigy and run out of the beltway on a rail. That’s why we do not have a Congressman Freeberg.

The point stands nevertheless. We make society all lovely and perfect and germ-free, make it impossible to ever encounter any kind of personal disaster…we’re never, ever done. It never, ever ends.

This is a good, functional difference between Architects and Medicators. Architects construct a device that is supposed to do a certain thing, and then the thing somehow goes undone. Before they construct a new thing, the old thing m-u-s-t be retired. It is almost like a primal instinct.

Medicators just pile on. Can’t go back, we can only go forward. I suppose this is a fundamental attribute to any chemical addiction, which is what they’re really doing. They’re…well…they’re medicating. And so we have EMTALA, but we still have to have President Obama’s wunder-programme. Can’t go back, we can only go forward.

Health Care by Easter

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Oh, so now the dealine is Easter, is it. Seems like just a few months ago it was by Christmas.

Dems are aiming to pass health care legislation, once and for all, by Easter recess. But for all their optimistic talk, one thing remains clear: They don’t have the votes just yet. Then again, they don’t have a bill yet, either.

The first step of what promises to be an arduous process will come when Dem leaders unveil the package of proposed measures to fix the legislation and make it more palatable to some House lawmakers. Once the Senate demonstrates it is able to pass the bill via reconciliation, the House will vote on the Senate legislation.

Still, the math for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Maj. Leader Steny Hoyer and House Maj. Whip James Clyburn isn’t adding up at the moment. In order to keep an ongoing tally, Hotline OnCall brings you our whip count, the list of Dems who may be vulnerable to overtures from Dem leaders and the WH — or to overtures from GOPers who continue to believe they can defeat the bill.

There are just a few important goals here. One, they want a Medicator society, chock full of helpless whelps with unchecked impulse drives and addictive personalities who feel their way around life’s challenges rather than thinking their way through them. They want dependence. That is the way it always has been, and always will be: Medicators, inherently controlling, want everyone else to be a Medicator, to become a Medicator, or go away.

Second, they want an accomplishment. That’s why there really isn’t any final bill as of yet. They just want something with the words “health” and “care.” That second thing is so important to them, that here & there it changes places with the first.

And as a third priority, they want more people to be covered. But that isn’t really honest. If the first two items are achieved, and in the end result there are fewer people covered than there were before, they’ll be happy. Champagne and scrambled eggs for breakfast, and a ticker tape parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from noon until three. Hope nobody gets hurt.

In fact, for a model of what is likely to happen, look no further than the “jobs created or saved” with the so-called Stimulus from a year ago. NET LOSS — but — it’s a good thing we got our bill passed, or the number of people losing their health care coverage would be even bigger. So don’t call it a failure, because our bill never was supposed to fix anything, it was just there to keep things from getting worse. Mission Accomplished.

Any one among them, Republican or democrat, could double his approval ratings in a single instant by taking to the floor of whatever house and saying — “Let’s make it a primary objective in this new bill of ours that whatever covers everybody else, covers Congress as well.” In fact, that’s probably the only proposal anyone could offer at this point that the electorate would generally find appealing and positive.

Somehow…in that mysterious universe called “The Beltway”…it seems such an idea is not likely to gain traction. I haven’t heard of anyone suggesting it just yet. Have you?

Update: Great minds think alike. James Lewis, writing at Pajamas Media, has exactly the same thought. And somehow I doubt like hell we’re the only two.

“Onward, He Said, Regardless”

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Obama’s given 34 or 35 speeches now trying to resurrect His monster of a health care bill. Charles Krauthammer is ready to pull the plug and send Igor back to the graveyard to put the pieces where they came from.

…Obama was reduced to suggesting that his health care reform was indeed popular because when you ask people about individual items (for example, eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions or capping individual out-of-pocket payments) they are in favor.

Yet mystifyingly they oppose the whole package. How can that be?

Allow me to demystify. Imagine a bill granting every American a free federally delivered ice cream every Sunday morning. Provision 2: steak on Monday, also home delivered. Provision 3: A dozen red roses every Tuesday. You get the idea. Would each individual provision be popular in the polls? Of course.

However (life is a vale of howevers) suppose these provisions were bundled into a bill that also spelled out how the goodies are to be paid for and managed — say, half a trillion dollars in new taxes, half a trillion in Medicare cuts (cuts not to keep Medicare solvent but to pay for the ice cream, steak and flowers), 118 new boards and commissions to administer the bounty-giving, and government regulation dictating, for example, how your steak was to be cooked. How do you think this would poll?

Perhaps something like 3-1 against, which is what the latest CNN poll shows is the citizenry’s feeling about the current Democratic health care bills.

Health Care Legislation Made Simple

Monday, March 1st, 2010

George Will, who is so smart that he is opposed to Sarah Palin even though he agrees with all her positions, puts it in terms that even a liberal can understand:

Ever catch a raccoon digging around in your trash? With a flashlight? You know that one-second pause where he looks at you with that “oh shit” expression before he bolts outta there?

That’s Paulie.

Now, why do people, anywhere, think government is going to give them choices? Last night we had dinner with a couple — I used to work with one of them on a government contract — and they were admiring my Android. One of them made the comment that, of course, working on government contracts he’d have to get a Blackberry or else resign himself to hauling around two phones. Indeed he would. Government means “you have to do it like T-H-I-S. Just because.”

I’ve come to view that word exactly that way. Why doesn’t everyone? “Of course, you have to do it XXXXX way or you have to get a XXXXX brand…because of our contracts.”

There is choice, and then there is government.

“Scrap It”

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

“Death Panel for ObamaCare.”

It’s a catchy slogan, but it’s a model for what Steele, and the GOP, should not be using. The first time Palin used it, it was a net plus. It got people talking about the power being invested in government — read that as “a bunch of strangers” — over not only end-of-life counseling, but all equally intimate issues involved in the delivery and administration of health care.

Now drop the sound bites.

They don’t work as well in the conservative realm as they do in the liberal realm. They simply don’t. Anyone who’s sat down to a Thanksgiving meal with one token right-wing curmudgeon at one end of the table, and a liberal counterpart at the other (uncles, grandparents, in-laws, whatever) knows what I’m talking about. The liberal loves to drop sound bites and then smirk smugly. The conservative isn’t quite as likely to do this. That’s because the conservative has some genuine concerns over the idea of strangers in the beltway telling him he has to pay more taxes…or not eat fatty foods…or his bonus was too big…or that only Washington spending can “stimulate” this economy…or that people who’ve never owned slaves, should pay billions of dollars in “reparations” to people who’ve never been slaves.

It’s not that the conservative’s brain is bigger (although that is likely the case). It’s that his motives are more honest. “I want to pay more taxes so the government can give it to people who deserve it more than I do” is simply not an honest thing to say. If it was honest, the guy who says it would be paying his tax liability plus a whole lot more…something I’ve personally not seen, been told about, or believe to have taken place very often.

“I trust myself to spend my money more than I trust the government to spend it” — maybe you think that’s impure, or evil. But it’s honest. And so the conservative argues from the heart. He doesn’t need his party boss to tell him what the focus-group-tested phrases are.

And so, by and large, conservatives do not squeal with delight when they hear their so-called-leaders blossom forward with a new slogan. That’s what liberals do. Anything to avoid actually addressing the logic of this or that thing said at that holiday meal by that asshole on the other side of the family tree.

Conservatives do not adore sound bites, they do not think with them. And so conservative leaders should not use them. “Death panel for ObamaCare” does not have the same effect as Obama Himself saying “We should get out of Iraq with the same level of responsibility we did not use getting in” or what-not.

It’s kind of like a guy-driver crying to get out of a speeding ticket. NOT GOING TO WORK FOR YOU. …and that is just the way life is. All things are not equal. Knights and princesses.

Having said that, where do we go from here? I think everything that needs to be said about health care, has been said. No minds are going to be changed, one way or t’other. Some of us are living our lives to embiggen our opportunities, and we see security as something that will never be complete — it has to be compromised, in some increment, just to get life lived. I referred to these earlier as the Architects, because while we’re living life and trying to increase our options we’re building stuff. Or trying to.

Others don’t give two shits about opportunity, and they see every single marginal potential that something might go wrong, as some sort of unfinished task. They try to get everything they want, and occasionally the message sinks in that that’s never gonna happen. Stunned, they blink a couple times, their throats do that bobbing-up-and-down thing, and then they announce equality must be the new name of the game. It’s called tall-poppy syndrome, or TPS: we all gots ta be equally miserable. These are the Medicators. They go through the motions of thinking through their problems just like Architects, but really what they’re doing is feeling their way around the problems which is why they’re constantly self-medicating. When the whale to your Ahab is something that has to do with eliminating risk, and you’ve lost sight of what you’re trying to do by eliminating this risk…you’re probably a medicator.

Those of us who are into living life, rather than sanitizing it, labor day in and day out to stop those other people from ever learning the horrible secret: The human body is a miracle machine that is built to fall apart. Once the utopia-hype-sanitization-equality people catch onto that, their tall-poppy mania will kick in and we’ll all be living in Logan’s Run City of Domes. It is an absolute certainty. They have to remain ignorant of this, or by the next weekend we’ll all have colored blinking crystals embedded in the palms of our hands.

I’m exaggerating? Think back. These people are never done. They are just as obsessive as any other self-medicating druggie. They don’t compromise. If they do, it’s on the size of the baby-step to be taken today. Once we are agreed on that, the ink won’t even be dry on the signatures before they are planning the next baby step. They just take these baby steps to look moderate, but there’s nothing moderate about ‘em. There’s always something left to be done, they’re never happy, and the next “progress” is always in the same direction. That isn’t compromising.

One other thought…

There’s something about being a security-over-opportunity person that causes one to buy into the malarkey that we’ll save money providing health care insurance to whatever-the-number-is-today millions of folks who currently do not have it. Also, they tend to buy into the idea that a tax cut costs money. They’re wrong on both counts, of course. But if that is where the lines are drawn, I say let us then do this:

Bundle whatever monstrosity emerges from this perversion of a process, with a huge tax cut across the board for corporations, small businesses and individuals. Scrap the death tax for good while you’re at it.

Those of us who know what we’re talking about, will look at it like: The economy is going to take this deadly beating from the monstrosity, but with this other item to sweeten the pot maybe we’ll survive it.

Those among us who believe every little word told to them by He Who Argues With The Dictionaries, just because His voice sounds a little bit like Walter Cronkite’s and He says “uh” and “um” so thoughtfully — they can console themselves with the double-falsehood that the tax cut will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but ObamaCare will save so much money that we’ll break even.

If the democrat party really does believe all the nonsense they’re telling people, this could be given some serious consideration at the very least.

Update: Blogger friend Buck dropped this into the comments, and it needs to see light, get around, be seen. Especially by the Medicators mentioned above…and The Blog That Nobody Reads is not the ideal place for that, of course. But still. This deserves a second & third look.

On the “Health Care Summit”

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I could say all that needs to be said with a disrespectful and dismissive “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…” Word count: Seven, or five, or three, or whatever. Maybe twenty to capture the sheer magnitude of the blah-blah-blah-ness and get-nothing-done-ness and waste-of-time-ness of the event.

But this would venture outside my sphere of knowledge, for I am not in the Noonan/Chait/Podhoretz camp of folk who suffered through from moment to moment (and now bitterly regret it, I venture to say). I am in the more voluminous set of casual observers who caught a snippet here and there, and then read the re-caps afterward.

It is purely out of respect for the mere concept, not the practicality, that says one should confine one’s remarks to those things about which one knows — that I shall refrain from going out on a limb speculating on what a massive waste of oxygen this really was. Let the record state, however, that in my opinion this would not be going out on much of a limb at all. I’ve attended meetings.

And so I shall quote from persons who are known to me to be experts on their chosen subject matter.

First up, is me. Commenting on meetings in general, in the Architects and Medicators essay. Prescient as always.

Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally.

The architects, who see the world as a massive assembly of parts, each part further reducible into a plurality of parts and then into atomic parts that can be reduced no further…grind through an agenda. Or blast their way through. If, that is, things are left up to them. The medicators, who see the world as a mysterious orb that gives off emotional vibes, bask in the glow of the meeting and go through this time-consuming cycle of adjusting the emotional tenor, then feeding off of it. Then adjusting it again.

It doesn’t take too much professional experience before one can say one has sat through both types of meetings. Doesn’t take too much wisdom to start to notice the contrast.

The fact that this “summit” took seven and a half hours tells me all I need to know about what kind of meeting this was. And that tells me all I need to know about what sort of person was running the meeting. Let is say none of this comes to me as a huge surprise.

Next expert (who did not attend) to opine is James Taranto, in yesterday’s Best of the Web.

[Wall Street Journal Commentary's John] Podhoretz…summed it up this way:

My sense of this summit is that President Obama is exactly as he always is — extremely intelligent, knowledgeable about policy details, so certain of the rightness of his views that he has no compunction about declaring the views of his antagonists to be merely politically convenient rather than substantive, startlingly condescending at moments, and even more startlingly long-winded when he gets going. As a result, he both looks good and bad in these settings — good because he’s serious and doesn’t appear to be a fanatic, and bad because of the condescension.

Which prompted this defense of condescension from [The New Republic's Jonathan] Chait:

Podhoretz calls Obama “startlingly condescending at moments.” How can that be avoided when you’re trying to have a high-level discussion with people who reply either on debunked claims at best and talk radio-level slogans at worst?

Actually, describing that as a defense of condescension is too charitable, isn’t it? It’s an example of condescension. If we didn’t know better we’d think Chait was exaggerating in order to illustrate Podhoretz’s point. And it’s not the first time–not even the first time in a day–that Chait did this. Podhoretz’s post quoted an earlier one of Chait’s:

President Obama is so much smarter and a better communicator than members of Congress in either party. The contrast, side by side, is almost ridiculous. . . .

Most the time [sic], this is like watching Lebron James play basketball with a bunch of kids who got cut from the 7th grade basketball team. He’s treating them really nice, letting his teammates take shots and allowing the other team to try to score. Nice try on that layup, Timmy, you almost got it on. But after a couple minutes I want him to just grab the ball and dunk on these clowns already.

Podhoretz’s answer:

Here we have a sterling example of how ideological predilections, his and mine, might color our opinions here. Except for one thing: You can only think Obama is Lebron James playing 7th graders if you are already certain his opinions are right, because the best you can say about this summit so far for him is that it’s a draw, and it’s probably worse than that. And given that only 25 percent of the public wants ObamaCare, he needs to be Lebron James. And Pete Maravich. And Oscar Robertson. And Kareem. All at the same time.

Chait actually makes two distinct claims about Obama: that he has a superior intellect and that he is a superior “communicator.” The first claim could be true, although it is far from indisputable. But the second claim is so absurd as to be delusional.

Obama has spent the past year trying to sell Americans on ObamaCare. He has failed utterly, as Podhoretz notes. Now, maybe Chait is right that opposition to ObamaCare is a product of stupidity. Maybe ObamaCare would be popular if a majority of Americans were as brilliant as Jonathan Chait. But in a democratic republic, elections are not limited to the elect. Shockingly, half of all Americans have below-average IQs. They vote too.

By no imaginable standard can a politician be considered a great “communicator,” or even an adequate one, if he is unable to persuade voters of average-or-below intelligence to back his policies.

Further, is there any evidence that Obama is especially good at communicating with those on the far right of the bell curve? Chait is persuaded, and we’re willing to stipulate that Chait is brilliant. But Chait was persuaded before, and we know lots of brilliant people who oppose ObamaCare.

Obama is very good at making smart liberals feel superior. That is a communication ability, but not a terribly useful one for a politician in a democratic country.

This is a “D’Jever Notice” moment and a “Best Sentence” all rolled into one. The D’Jever notice moment is about conservatives and liberals — supposedly, in spite of their different outlooks on the world, they view each other in more or less exactly the same way. Dimbulbs, on the other side of the divide, who are just plain wrong. Two images opposite from each other. Alike in so many ways, just mirror-image-flipped.

It’s obviously not so. Conservatives — the ones I know — are pretty consistent in their curiosity about what makes sense to liberals and how it might make sense, even for a moment. In a “What in the F*ck Are They Thinking??”, bewildered sort of sense. They become disgusted with it, but only occasionally and only temporarily. They/we are constantly trying to come up with explanations.

This is not true of the liberals. They are dismissive of those who disagree with them. They work at achieving a superlative of this dismissiveness, and they work very hard at it. As if they’re competing with each other, which they probably are.

They are not curious. They are like Jonathan Chait. Just dunk these clowns already!

And the best sentence has to be this zinger at the end about “Obama makes smart liberals feel superior.”

Under what circumstances, as a flawed human mortal being, could my need to feel superior to others trump my curiosity about how lesser human beings think? The only answer I can produce is that something might have happened to make me feel inferior, and I’m trying to compensate for it. But that, again, would venture outside of my sphere of knowledge…and so these skewed priorities of “smart liberals” like Chait, and many others, shall remain a mystery to me.

They must be realizing inwardly, right about now, that it isn’t going to work because it labors under an irreconcilable internal contradiction. The process of deciding what is to be done, is to be an all-inclusive “summit” from which no one will be deprived of the opportunity to participate. This will ensure that the conclusion at the end will be perfect, in some way, having been produced democratically. But! In the process of producing this decision we shall make it a glorious goal of ours to neutralize, to ineffectualize, to practically geld any & all who do not share our correct opinions.

These are mutually-exclusive, oppositional goals.

Barack Obama tried to achieve them both on Thursday, and that is why He wasted so much time and got nothing done.

That’s my take on it, just from what little I know, since I did not attend. I await the words of those who disagree with me and are in a position to so disagree, since they attended and I did not. Should any of them come along, I bow before their superior knowledge.

But I don’t need to dive into the sun to know it’s hot.

Apple-Milk Cycle

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I was just wondering about this comment I put up at Old Iron & KC’s place. Background: Old Iron was noticing (with great glee) that yet another member of Canada’s upper crust elite is doing the southward walk-of-shame, turning his back on the glorious canuck ‘free” health care system to partake of some of our own services. You remember our health care system, right? That horrible awful one that needs changing so badly? And so he proceeded to grill KC about it and make her squirm a little. Or maybe a lot.

And I made the point that when you remove the meaningless details from our recent health care fiasco — I don’t know if I can write about it in the past tense or not, but God I really do hope I can — the whole thing is nothing more than another ride on the same stupid merry-go-round. And health care itself is one of the meaningless details. It’s just the latest thing to be “reformed,” or for them to try to reform, and the reform always goes the same way.

The “health care” aspect of it really doesn’t matter, because it’s the same story as any other commodity. Just name one. Education for your children, legal services, barrels of crude oil.

Trickle Up Poverty“The rich” can get ahold of it and the poor people cannot, so someone gets the idea of “reform.” No one defines what the R-word really means, because anyone who’s in a position to communicate with the public about it understands reform is only appealing until people understand what it is. So some new laws are created to make the commodity “equally available to everyone.”

Which, it turns out, doesn’t mean the poor can get it. It means the rich people can’t. And was anyone wondering why people refer to socialism as “trickle-up poverty”?

Except if you get to watch how the politicians live, up close, you see something rather interesting. Whatever the commodity is…they can get ahold of it a lot more easily than the rich people were ever able to. Proceed to re-enact the scene with Squealer and the milk & apples from George Orwell’s Animal Farm…

This cycle [is] absolutely consistent, event for event, with each and every market the United States has semi-nationalized…and the U.S. has semi-nationalized quite a lot. My country’s gutless this way; we like to go halfway on things. That way we don’t have to admit that some things work and other things don’t.

Yes, that last part is worth re-reading again. Admitting that there’s a right way & a wrong way to do something, really does take balls. Some people just don’t have ‘em. They don’t want to admit this is true about anything — even though, in reality, it’s probably true about damn near everything. And so everything is “middle of the road” because of the balls these people don’t have. These loud, loud people. Their one consistency ends up being “I am absolutely opposed to the death penalty”; and then, given enough time, they’ll come across a situation that requires an exemption from even that.

So they don’t want any rules; they’re anarchists who don’t want to admit that they’re anarchists. They want every little thing to be decided on a case by case basis. They are gregarious, friendly, trusting people, and they seem to have gotten it in their heads that any “common sense” decision anybody ever makes about anything, will be to their liking. I don’t know where they get this. I don’t think they know either. But it isn’t stopping them.

Let us count all the other things worth mentioning, shall we?

1. The “Status Quo”: Irony be here. One of the hottest squares in Obama Speech Bingo is the one captioned “false choice.” As our President uses the phrase, it has diminished to the level of a thoughtless verbal tic, a reflex. He can’t stop Himself from saying it anymore. What He’s really talking about is the False Dilemma Fallacy: “When two alternatives are presented…[t]his can lend credence to the larger argument by giving the impression that the options are mutually exclusive, even though they need not be.” The irony is — quick, what’s the best possible example in recent memory? Why, it’s President Obama’s favorite dichotomy! If you’re not for the “reform”…you must be among “those who want to preserve the status quo.” How’s that work out? Can you find me a hundred people who are opposed to the reform? Won’t take long to round ‘em up…now, once you have those hundred, can you promise me each and every single one of them is tickled pink with the status quo? Cross your heart & hope to die, stick a needle in your eye? Of course you can’t. At least sixty…and probably eighty…are wrestling with avoidance-avoidance conflict. President Obama’s choice is false. But he continues to repeat it. This is part of that cycle that continues to play out, across all those other events involving semi-nationalization of those other commodities. That is how they were done. You had to support the “reform”…or else you must be in favor of the “status quo,” and nobody liked the status quo. So reform it is. Except — in each and every single case — things didn’t really go so hot in the long run.

2. Debunking “Urban Myths”: Since vagueness is the best friend of the proponent of the “reform,” no one is in a position to definitively state what exactly is involved in the final “reform” plan until it has been signed into law. By which time, of course, it’s too late to talk about anything. And so as the critics do what critics are supposed to do, and enlighten the public about some of the things that really deserve attention as the details are being hashed out, the proponents highlight these concerns as “urban myths” and start to “debunk” them. Case in point? Sarah Palin’s “death panels.” Politifact named it “Lie of the Year.” I seem to recall more than one left-leaning commenter pointed out that hey, it can’t be true, the legislation hasn’t even been written yet. Well no duh…that’s kind of the point isn’t it, Sparky? Wherever there’s an unknown, you have to figure out who you’re going to be asked to trust, and how much you trust them. Even as of today, to my knowledge, the debunkers have yet to come up with a single example of a country with socialized medicine that doesn’t have some kind of Death Panel — call it what you will.

3. Aristocracy. There always is one, after all the dust has settled. The people who write the legislation that ultimately defines what kind of [insert name of commodity here] we are going to be consuming, and how it is to be apportioned among us, never, ever, ever use the same machinery to get theirs. They enjoy the exclusive use of a bypass gate. From time to time we all make a bunch of noise about it, and people get really upset. But it blows over.

4. Half a Loaf. The people who are “for” the plan, after it has been put in place, end up making such an incredible weak show of their apologia that it hardly sounds complimentary at all. Go back and read KC’s commentary about the Canadian health care system. That’s precisely what I’m talking about. The waiting is interminable and the “free” services aren’t really free, they’re expensive as all holy hell. BUT — well, but something. It’s a mix of good-and-bad. The road always leads back there…mix of good and bad. Now ask yourself this: Would you ever, in a million years, be able to sell “reform” that way to a country that hadn’t yet signed on to the reform? I can just see Obama with that one now: “Folks, Let Me Be Clear. Make No Mistake. After we enact my ‘reform,’ things are still going to suck a whole lot and suck large. It’ll be a mix of the good and the bad. But For Far Too Long, as a country we’ve been tring to make things better than they were before when we try to fix things. We need to have the courage to change, even if it’s scary change, change that makes things worse. Even bad change is better than no change at all. For you little people, I mean. I don’t need to change of course, I’m perfect as I am.” It would be honest. But I don’t think the pundits would gather the following Sunday morning to proclaim “His last speech was the Best Speech Evar, until this one, and now this is the Best Speech Evar!!” At least, I think they probably wouldn’t say that. But at this point who the hell knows.

5. NOW! President Obama took a lot of hammering over his strong-arming Congress to pass health care “by Christmas.” And after it became clear it was costing Him some support, He kept right on doing it. That’s because this is part of the cycle. It always goes this way. It happens to you, you’ll see, when you think back on your own personal past events. It’s how salesmen sell shitty things. “Of course you don’t have to sign today, but I have another couple interested in this house, matter of fact they came by here just the other day…hey why don’t we go to my office for some coffee, and you can sign some papers and at least get your name in? Have you got your checkbook?” This is starkly at odds with the other thing that happens, about the status quo. It’s supposed to be such a widespread realization, an undeniable one, that the status quo reeks so much. If that was really the case, and a point presented honestly, you’d be able to put your “reform” on a table and let it just sit there, while the representatives eventually come ’round to the unavoidable conclusion that buying-in is just the smart thing to do. See, that is how good products are sold. But the Apple-Milk bandwagon cannot afford to tolerate it. It’s like a “gorgeous” actress whose time has passed, one who is overly-reliant on the perfect makeup and lighting. Up close, she doesn’t look that good and she damn well knows it. So it has to be sold now, now, now! When we buy things for our household, a lot of us raise a red flag when we hear that pitch. Somehow, with public policy, a lot of us don’t.

6. Bad Examples. Even though nobody can say anything good about this “reform” after all’s been said & done, other jurisdictions will seek to emulate it as if it had been wildly successful. The results here will be far superior to the results there, the proponents (in the new country) will say. The same basic framework may have been tried a dozen times…a hundred times…and failed each and every single time. Still people will want to go for it. They’ll say the reason it didn’t work out too well in whoozeewotsitplace is — well, the right people weren’t in charge. Some variant of that theme. You know why that is? It’s because the proponents aren’t really proponents of the plan per se. They are proponents of a lifestyle that is associated with the plan; the lifestyle that has to do with sacrificing opportunity and freedom for the sake of a little temporary security. There is something obsessive-compulsive and manic-depressive about viewing life through this lens. People who do it that way want everyone else they know to do it that way, too. So the plan is to the lifestyle, you might say, as a man-carved idol is to the deity it is supposed to represent. It’s just a manifestation. If prosperity surrounds the idol, this is testament to the power and the benevolence of the deity. But if there is suffering wherever the idol goes, it ceases to carry any symbolic weight and is no longer representative of the will or karma involved in the deity. The stupid sculptor must not have carved it right. Our village is dying, and our suffering has been most acute since this idol was put up, but our deity is a good one.

“Can’t Win Them All”

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Great Scott.

State Sen. Scott Brown has pulled a Bay State bombshell by upsetting his Democratic rival to capture the open U.S. Senate seat by a 5-point margin.

Brown, 50, of Wrentham, will roll into Washington as Congress wrestles with health-care reform. But Brown has vowed to be “the 41st Senator” who will defeat the measure and bust up the Democratic supermajority.

Democrat Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, has gone down in a stunning defeat. Brown has won 52-47 percent, with 94 percent of the precincts reporting. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy finished way back with 1 precent of the vote.

In her concession speech, Coakley said President Obama called her to say, “We can’t win them all.”

It’s history. And every time it’s mentioned, I’m going to immediately think of Daphne’s comment:

HAH!

Obama takes one right in the nads!!!!!

Way to go Massachusetts!

Drinks are on me, boys.

I Told You SoWhat happens from here on out? Frank has some predictions.

* The Democrats will try to rush their Obamacare bill through the House, not even checking it for errors, and we’ll all wind up with free halth care.

* Obama locking himself in his office, and when he’s told the people want to hear from him, he’ll say, “I’m too awesome for the American people! They don’t deserve me!” This will be followed by loud weeping.

* Left-wing blogs will break down into even more rage and incoherence such that posts will just be made by the bloggers angrily bashing their keyboards with their tiny fists.

Guess I can stop writing posts with the recurring headline “Twilight of Honeymoon.” It’s freakin’ pitch black now, and the honeymoon’s over. Undeniably. In less than a year.

Update: When my optimism of the human condition gets to be a little bit too high, I hit FARK. Cures me every time.

In fact, while I can always predict the outcome, sometimes I cannot predict the means. Case in point — you’ll never guess what they’re doing tonight. Never in a million years. If your very first exposure to the site was through this thread, you’d swear on your grandmother’s bones that the place was an underground bulletin board for lifelong Republicans. “Take that, you stinking democrats!” seems to be the prevailing theme. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of assholes!”

You FARK people…who in the blue fuck do you think you’re kidding. You’d have to cross-reference the names to find out for sure: Are these people changing their tune, now that York has overthrown Lancaster…or is it one crowd of people, previously overbearing, now shutting up; and another one, previously silent, letting loose? Which one is it?

Does it really matter?

People are jackals. Cowardly jackals. Fucking hyenas. Scavengers of the first order. Well…you read it here first, folks. FARK is now a hard-right Republican news site. Obama? Aw, they could never stand the guy, nope.

Well, whatever. Tomorrow, we start following the saga surrounding the “halth care” bill. It should be in terminal decline. I won’t stop worrying about it until the dirt is hitting the coffin lid.

Bury it with Ted’s rancid carcas, and dump nine feet of wet cement on the whole stinking mess. You want a nanny state to manage your aches and pains and treat you like a five-year-old with a tummy ache, there’s a hundred other countries you can go. I’ll help you pack. One-way ticket.

America Needs One Brave democrat

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Washington Examiner Editorial:

As the clock ticks down to the final decisive vote in Congress on Obamacare, one question stands above all else: Is there one Senate Democrat with the political courage to stand with the American people and say no? Who among the 60 Senate Democrats will put the national interest above partisan politics and say to his or her colleagues that “We must start over and do this the right way”?

It’s an interesting way of looking at it.

Best Sentence LXXVII

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

The last Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award of 2009, the seventy-seventh one, goes out to Lee Doren’s twitter account (hat tip to Ann Althouse, via Gerard).

This is pure gold, folks. True too.

The people calling for Rush Limbaugh to die are the same people who ask to control your healthcare.

Know what I’d choose as worst sentence of the year? Something about the Cambridge cops acting stupidly…but close behind that, I think I’d pick any one of a number of journalistic bromides I’ve seen lately about how much the past decade sucked, and was the worst one ever. Time Magazine, I’m looking at you.

I’m sure if you’re in the print media somewhere, it did suck large. Well, here’s how I see it: Yes, it sucked, and the nineties sucked just as bad. But with the nineties it was much easier to stick your head up your ass and ignore reality. That means, if you think this one was really so different from the nineties, that must have been precisely where you stuck it.

Housing bubble, dot-com bubble, oil market bubble, radical Islamic terrorism, S&L mess — these things were all Philip K. Dick stuff, unreality-within-reality. You know what happened in the decade just past? We all got our heads pulled out of our asses. Whether we were ready for it or not. Some among us still aren’t ready for it.

But time keeps on rolling on, regardless of who’s ready. Best wishes to you all, hope 2010 fulfills all your hopes. And wherever it doesn’t, hope you find wisdom and strength in that experience.

Best Sentence LXXVI

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Death Panels, There Really Are SomeThe seventy-sixth award for Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) goes out this Christmas Even morning…to…me.

Me, commenting at Melissa Clouthier’s place, on the subject of Sarah Palin declaring vindication for herself (nobody in the press ever will), what with the supposed urban legend about “death panels.”

Me, commenting on this…parodying the liberal’s everlasting insistence on molding and shaping every single word in a discussion, and how it is to be received by whatever audience is watching…dripping with un-Christmas-y sarcasm:

They aren’t Death Panels, sitting around deciding who’s going to die, you silly Republican goose you. They’re Life Panels, making decisions about who’s going to live.

“Cheapened the Presidency with Needless Attacks on His Predecessor”

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Rove takes ‘em off and goes in bare-knuckled.

Barack Obama has won a place in history with the worst ratings of any president at the end of his first year: 49% approve and 46% disapprove of his job performance in the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll.
:
Mr. Obama has not governed as the centrist, deficit-fighting, bipartisan consensus builder he promised to be. And his promise to embody a new kind of politics—free of finger-pointing, pettiness and spin—was a mirage. He has cheapened his office with needless attacks on his predecessor.

George Will expounds.

Consider his busy December — so far.

His Dec. 1 Afghanistan speech to the nation was followed on Dec. 3 by his televised “jobs summit.” His Dec. 8 televised economics speech at the Brookings Institution was followed on Dec. 10 by his televised Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, which was remarkable for 38 uses of the pronoun “I.”

And for disavowing a competence no one suspected him of. (“I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war.” Note the superfluous adjective.) And for an unnecessary notification. (“Evil does exist in the world.”) And for delayed utopianism. (“We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.” But in someone’s.) And for solemnly announcing something undisputed. (There can be a just war.) And for intellectual applesauce that should get speechwriters fired and editors hired. (“We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected.” If the human “condition” can attain perfection anyway, human nature cannot be significantly imperfect.)

Then on Dec. 13, he was on “60 Minutes” praising himself with another denigration of his predecessor, aka “the last eight years.” (Blighted by “a triumphant sense about war.”) When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that five accused terrorists would be tried in federal courts, he said: “After eight years of delay. …” When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made the controversial recommendation that women should get fewer mammograms, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said: “This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush.” In congressional testimony, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner almost deviated from the script. He said the Obama administration began after “almost a decade” — slight pause — “certainly eight years of basic neglect.”

Will finishes strong…

A CNN poll shows 36 percent of the public in favor of what the Democratic Senate is trying to do to health care, 61 percent opposed. It is clear what the public wants Congress to do: Take a mulligan and start over.

So Republicans can win in 2009 by stopping the bill, or in 2010 by saying: Unpopular health legislation passed because of a 60-40 party-line decision to bring it to a Senate vote. Therefore each incumbent Democrat is responsible for everything in the law.

The folks from whom I’d really like to hear, are the ones who one year ago were looking forward to the inauguration ceremonies and a new era of (heh) unity, an end (snicker) to partisan bickering, and a (guffaw) new age of mutual cooperation in Washington so things could (groan) finally get done!

They’re probably skipping the expected apology because they figure nobody’s really waiting to hear it.

Well, I’d certainly like to hear it. I think they owe it to the rest of us.

D’JEver Notice? XLIX

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

So we had a water-cooler conversation at work about the health care bill. These are good to have, occasionally. I can’t practice my skills at pretending I’m a “middle of the road” guy if I don’t know where the middle of the road is. And as of right now…your local water-cooler may vary…it seems to me the middle-of-the-road is here:

People are confusing “hope” with “faith.” The centrist position to be taken-up is that Obama’s health care bill will lower costs, because, well, it’s just gotta. To say confidence is shaky would be charitable toward that confidence. It’s like what Gagdad Bob said; science is using the facts to arrive at a conclusion, religion is tailoring the facts to fit the conclusion. So don’t go asking why they think it’ll work. It’s just gotta.

Obama says they’re all right about this, though. Or at least, if we don’t pass the bill, disaster shall ensue.

“If we don’t pass it, here’s the guarantee,” Obama said. “Your premiums will go up, your employers are going to load up more costs on you … Potentially they’re going to drop your coverage, because they just can’t afford an increase of 25 percent, 30 percent in terms of the costs of providing health care to employees each and every year.”

Uh oh. I’m not the first to point out this is exactly what He said about swindle-us.

Here is what I notice about this. To hear the President tell it, we are about to pass a rule that will bring costs down. In my lifetime, I’ve only seen two kinds of rules that bring costs down:

1. Rules that force one targeted demographic to provide a commodity to another targeted demographic, free of charge or at a reduced cost — an artificially redusted cost;
2. Rules that suspend or revoke other rules that existed before.

There is no third category.

So if you do have some of this faith, I guess you’re thinking we’re about to discover a third way to do it.

It doesn’t seem terribly likely I must say. Go through the decades in back of us, and go through the list of regulated commodities. Rental living space; gas; oil; labor; land; legal servics; health care; public education; water; precious metals.

Rules…especially rules signed into law by democrats…make prices go up. It can’t work any other way. It gets harder to provide something, that thing’s cost goes up. That’s how it works, folks.

Memo For File CVI

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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.

Rubin:

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.

ZombieTime:

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.

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… XXII

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Neal Boortz says it all, doesn’t say anything that doesn’t need saying, covers everything that does. A home run.

THE BEST QUICK MOVE TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMY?

For Democrats to announce that they’re abandoning all attempts at health care “reform” until the economy is back on its feet. People – knowledgeable people – are scared to death about what these Democrats may dream up. If they stick with this scheme it just cannot end well.

He’s Been Getting Treatment

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Quite the little circus going on as Michelle Malkin takes down a Nicholas Kristof column that appeared in the New York Times about a man who needs ObamaCare, because he can’t get any medical treatment anywhere. The whole Malkin column is quite delicious, you should go read it all. But the dessert course is at the very end:

Well, Kristof can’t be bothered to respond to my Tweets directly — or to actually read anything I’ve written about his crappy column — but he did have time to add this update to his blog post tonight:

UPDATE 3: Several readers are asking about a Michelle Malkin account claiming that John was already receiving treatment at OHSU. John had one appointment there. He says he was told to give up, that they could not help him, and he was despairing when he told me about it; their version is different, that he was under “observation.” In any case, he says that after the column appeared, he suddenly got a series of phone calls from OHSU saying that they wanted to see him and could address his needs after all. In any case, it now appears that he will get treated, and other doctors are also offering him assistance.

I didn’t merely “claim” that Brodniak was being treated. The Brodniaks, through OHSU, informed me that John Brodniak has been a patient there for three weeks. Not “one appointment.” Not “under ‘observation.’” He has been a patient there for three weeks.

Note how, once again, Kristof relies solely on Brodniak’s accounts to him (”he says,” “he says,” “it now appears”).

“In any case, it now appears that he will get treated:” Complete disingenuousness.

He has been treated, Mr. Kristof. He was getting treated BEFORE you tried to make a federal case out of him not being treated.

Joe Wilson moment.

Thomas Jefferson apparently knew something about the New York Times:

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

Death Panel Cartoon

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

From here.

D’JEver Notice? XLVII

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Think of this one (along with all the other d’jever-notice posts) as an inquiry of the “Am I The Only One Who” sort. Not so that I can tell others what they should be thinking…I really do want to know if I’m the only one.

Liberals are working on two pieces of “landmark legislation” right now. You know the drill: They pass “landmark” stuff, everybody else “sets the clock back a hundred years.” I’d sure like to exchange some ideas with them right about now — find out what in the hell is going on in their head, how it makes sense to call a new offense punishable by hard prison time a “public option.”

But it is at times like these that it is toughest to engage them. Going by their words, it is all my fault. I’m at my stupidest right now. I need to pipe down and shut up until the “landmark” is safely on the desk of “basically God” getting that Presidential signature. Then, presumably, I’ll smarten up and I’ll be fit for casual conversation again. They’ll be happy to discuss with me the latest Boston Legal re-run, and what a wonderful job it did of “presenting both sides.”

So am I particularly stupid during these times? Or am I always stupid, and it’s only evident when liberals are in the middle of trying to do something that makes the living of life a whole lot more secure but also a whole lot tougher?

I keep wondering, because when they are in the middle of doing their damage, I don’t get the impression that they think I’m stupid…or that they think it’s evident that I’m stupid. The impression I get is of a subtly different thing. It’s that there is great urgency in audibly pointing out how stupid I am. To sit there silently, nodding, thinking to one’s hardcore-liberal self about what a stupid dolt I am, is decidedly out of the question. It’s rather like an air raid siren. And it competes with others, because anyone else pointing out facts inconvenient to the latest liberal attempt, is just as stupid as I am, and it’s just as urgent an exercise to point out that too.

My God, the energy liberals spend giving instructions to each other on what to think about things. Just the sheer wattage involved. One must naturally wonder if it might not be a principal cause of global warming.

This is not natural. I do, just in my own personal stuff, some “landmark” things now and then. Like anyone else who labors to make things a certain way and wants them to turn out right, I try to avoid it. Go for the smaller, incremental, testable changes first. When a “landmark” thing becomes unavoidable, my readiness, willingness, and ability to engage ideas reaches a high zenith rather than a low nadir. It’s my natural desire not to screw up. When I’m doing “landmark” things I want to make sure they’re being done right. It’s when I’m doing the tedious, mundane everyday maintenance things that I might be inclined to brush off what other people say.

Here liberals are with not just one “landmark” thing, but two — health care and climate — and all of we who are not them, are cresting out in our dumb ol’ chuckle-headedness. Perhaps it is a lack of ammunition that is the liberals’ problem. As Ann Coulter said,

If liberals were prevented from ever calling Republicans dumb, they would be robbed of half their arguments…the loss of “dumb” would nearly cripple them. Like clockwork, every consequential Republican to come down the pike is instantly, invariably, always, without exception called “dumb.” This is how six-year-olds argue: They call everything “stupid.” The left’s primary argument is the angry reaction of a helpless child deprived of the ability to mount logical counterarguments…the “you’re stupid” riposte is part of the larger liberal tactic of refusing to engage ideas. Sometimes they evaporate in the middle of an argument and you’re left standing alone, arguing with yourself. More often, liberals withdraw figuratively by responding with ludicrous and irrelevant personal attacks.

And this does seem to be what I’m seeing.

It causes me great concern. There is supposed to be a whole lot of confidence that Nancy Pelosi has slapped together the perfect stack of 2,000 pages of stuff…stuff that’ll fine your ass thousands of dollars if you don’t buy a health plan, and then after that, throw you in the hoosegow if you still haven’t complied.

That it is a liberal idea, concerns me greatly. These never seem to be good ideas, in the long run. Never.

But it causes me much greater concern that it’s being defended by people who argue like six-year-olds. Even if they’re right about me and others being so stupid…does it matter? Stupid people, every now and then, have the right idea. Smart people, very often have the wrong one.

People who argue like six-year-olds, on the other hand, cannot select the right idea any more often than they would by random chance. To make a good decision more often than you would by random chance, you have to be able to evaluate an idea, figure out where it would lead over time, and think rationally and dispassionately on any objections to it. All that might very well, once in awhile, be within the capacity of a stupid person. But six-year-olds lack this ability, and so people who argue like six-year-olds also must lack this ability. Unless they’re hiding some secret skill set, which does not seem to be the case.

If it’s a great, wonderful plan that will help the country, seems to me it should be possible to see it defended that way now & then. But I don’t. The urgency in pointing out my brainlessness seems to always take priority. So is it just me?

Cross-posted at Cassy Fiano‘s place.

“We Can’t Make That Up; It’s Right There in the Bill”

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Hat tip to Boortz, who elaborates on the theme of “this bill is more dangerous than any terrorist” which some may find questionable at first:

A government takeover of our health care system will do more than the Islamic terrorists to cause permanent damage to our Republic. The amounts of money we will have to borrow from China and Europe to fund this takeover will be a burden on generations of Americans to come. You can’t say that about the Islamic terrorist attacks. The terrorists didn’t rob tens of millions of Americans of their sense of independence. ObamaCare will. The Islamic terrorist attacks did not permanently reduce the quality of health care in the United States. ObamaCare will. The Islamic terrorist attacks did not destroy health care innovation in the United States. ObamaCare will.

Me, I’m just sick of the blatant lying. Lying about just basic concepts…like…when you’re out of money and neck-deep in debt, what you need to do is spend some money. If you’re worried about not being able to make informed choices about your healthcare, what you need is some laws that say you’re not allowed to make any choices and that’ll fix everything.

There are forty million uninsured. No wait, 35. No wait…43. No wait…30. No wait…50. Look if you’re so worried about it, make a new program that will cover them and leave the rest of us alone. Or how’s this. A lot of them are illegal aliens who broke into our country, right? Make a deal with some other countries to have some form of socialized medicine, so that the illegal aliens who are really worried about gaining full access to health care, can go break into those countries instead.

Oh — wait — what am I talking about. We’re supposed to be living under this big disgrace because we’re the only “civilized” country that doesn’t have socialized medicine. So it already works that way! It’s just like the “recovery” we got from last year’s “stimulus” plan, bound to end with the same lament: “Gee, we coulda got nuthin’ for a whole lot cheaper than that.”

Except this is not “nuthin.” It is a fundamental transformation of the relationship between the governors and the governed. Pass this turkey, and your lives are in the hands of government bureaucrats. You are worthy — maybe — of a new liver, even if you’ve been drinking more than the bureaucrat thinks you should have been. Or maybe not. Maybe you can get the surgery to have a cancerous lung removed, even though way back in your twenties you had a smoking habit. Maybe not. Maybe your daughter can get the chemotherapy she needs…if you’ve been doing your part to support a controversial abortion-rights bill. If you didn’t vote like you were supposed to, when you were supposed to, then who knows maybe some paperwork will get lost.

It's About PowerSeem far fetched? Well look at it this way — why sweat the particulars of how far this control will or might extend into our lives. Isn’t that all just an academic exercise? It is known…provable…that the whole point to the process is to extend the control wielded by those who work in government, into the lives of those who do not. Past the magnitude to which that power extends today. We know this. Beyond any doubt.

So when we discuss how far the power is to extend, we are really discussing the willingness with which government might voluntarily restrain itself. Not today, but in generations to come.

Well, governments don’t restrain themselves. They are like a George Patton Army. They are always advancing, never retreating, never holding ground, always looking for a weak spot in the defense of the “enemy” — that’s you and me, if we believe in limited government — and if they don’t find a weak spot, they’ll attack a strong spot. Scratch the analogy about Patton. They’re like sharks. It’s contrary to their mode of existence to remain static. That line that separates what they can do from what they cannot do, has to be in motion all the time…and generation to generation, it always has to move in the same direction. Our government, that other country’s government…government in general. It’s how they roll.

It’s not their job to restrain themselves. Sure you can say it’s in their job description — the United States Constitution. But does the U.S. Constitution work on the honor-system? No…it does not. That’s why the Second Amendment is in there. It’s there to put the people in charge, so our government doesn’t see the kind of opportunity in this creeping fascism that our government so obviously does see.

The Second Amendment really has nothing to do with guns. It has to do with duty…duty of the people to hold our government in check. And we’re failing that duty big-time right now.

Cantor Nails It

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Bingo, bingo, bingo. There is nothing to actually oppose; nobody genuinely believes in this bullshit.

It is a belief that comes to our shores from some surreal other place where there are no genuine beliefs: The best cure for our ailing economy is a ginormous social program, and we’ll have much better health care in our country when it’s run by the country’s government…just like the Post Office…which is always having problems.

President Obama Himself has said those things, and more. They make no sense. It’s all like saying “think I’ll dry myself off by jumping in this lake” or something. This is, as I’ve written before, the natural consequence of spending a childhood like the little boy who wished people out to the cornfield. When you make it to maturity having never ever been told “no.”

We’re gonna defeat those terrorists in Afghanistan, by not doing anything. Yeah, boy that’ll make ‘em sorry.

We’re going to heal the division that has torn our beloved country apart…by making fun of Republicans for clinging bitterly to their Bibles and their guns. We’re going to start a new era of accepting responsibility…by blaming every li’l thing that isn’t turning out the way we’d want, on Obama’s predecessor.

This is the kind of thing that gives me a Lee Iacocca moment. Where in the hell is the outrage?

Update: Silver lining? Maybe the democrat party will be carrying this Bizarro-world logic into the midterms next fall.

Update: Had this in my stack for the last couple of days…Why Obamacare is Failing at the Polls.

According to the Gallup polling organization, the percentage of Americans who believe the cost of health care for their families will “get worse” under the proposed reforms rose to 49% from 42% in just the past month. The percentage saying it would “get better” stayed at 22%.

Many are searching for explanations. One popular notion is that demagogues in the media are stirring up falsehoods against what they say is a long-overdue solution to the country’s health-care crisis.

Americans deserve more credit. They haven’t been brainwashed, and they aren’t upset merely over the budget-busting details. Rather, public resistance stems from the sense that the proposed reforms do violence to three core values of America’s free enterprise culture: individual choice, personal accountability, and rewards for ambition.

Majority Backs a Public Option?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Well, well…summer’s over and it’s time to go pick out costumes and pumkins…start up the family squabbles about who travels where for Thanksgiving…and lookee what we have here.

Americans remain sharply divided about the overall packages moving closer to votes in Congress and President Obama’s leadership on the issue, reflecting the partisan battle that has raged for months over the administration’s top legislative priority. But sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.

Yeah sure, that’s just what everybody figured was missing from the American experiment: More excuses for the government to fine people.

So they got the poll they wanted. This is just wonderful, our politicians are now like the little kid told “absolutely not” by his Mother, who then without skipping a beat runs off to ask Dad. Just wait until after Labor Day and take another poll. Problem solved. And you get to say you’re Doing The Work Of The People.

It's Not About Health CareI wonder…what if it was an “or,” and not an “and”? What if we could have a more involved and paternalistic government, a government upon which larger numbers of our so-called “citizens” absolutely, positively depend…or…we could get this “access to health care” for the 43 million, or 30 million, or 47 million, or whatever the magic number is today.

I predict you would then see lots of ObamaCare pushers opposing the coverage for the 30 million, and opting instead to pursue the more paternalistic government. Can it be denied any longer this is where their priorities are? What does a requirement to purchase health care, have to do with making that health care available to people? If that was the hitch in the giddy-up, how come we weren’t told before that this “47 million people without coverage” included so many who chose not to have it?

Why have the public option? With Obama in charge, isn’t it just child’s play to regulate these insurance companies into dealing with their customers more compassionately? How come there is so much priority put on it during the negotiations? Why is it so critically important to certain people…certain people who are inside the beltway? What do they have in mind?

Whatever your answers to those, one thing is certain. This isn’t listening. This is a case of politicians knowing exactly what they want to do from the get-go, and selecting, colluding and conspiring to produce the poll whose answers they would like the best.

Poor suckers. You’re going to be so sore you won’t be sitting down for a week, and they didn’t even kiss you first.

Death Pathway

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Snopes has spoken on the issue of “Death Panels” — sort of (warning, that site is popup-city). They have avoided, perhaps wisely, using or even making reference to that term. The wisdom of that decision depends on what they’re trying to do, and what they’re trying to do is strongly related to why I don’t visit their site nearly as much as I used to.

I don’t blame them for leaning left; we all have our little quirks in that department. But given a decision that would result in edifying the audience on the one hand, and staying out of a shouting match on the other, Snopes will opt to remain cucumber-cool and leave the audience ignorant. A decade ago I wrote an e-mail to David Mikkelson taking him to task about the Al Gore “Created the Internet” page and the high potential the contents had for giving the readership the wrong impression; the reply I got back convinced me the resolve to remain above & outside of shouting matches, must have been Barbara’s. Oh don’t get me wrong, the man’s words were calm, reasoned, logical in their own way — but it left me wondering if you could ask him “scrambled or sunny side up?” without getting scolded. You know the type, I think.

The death-panel page? It’s pure straw-man.

Claim: The health care bill currently before Congress mandates that seniors be given euthanasia counseling every five years.

FALSE

I haven’t heard that one anywhere. How ’bout you?

No, the discussions I have heard have to do with whether socialized medicine has a proclivity of investing life-and-death decisions with bureaucrats who care only about dollars and cents, and perhaps under-value the life that is left in people who don’t quite have one foot in the grave just yet.

And I think I’ll place my trust on that issue in the relatively popup-free Neo-Neocon:

The Times Online reports the case of Hazel Fenton, a near-casualty of the British health care system:

AN 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened…

Read the whole story. It certainly does add a new perspective, I think.

Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Know When to Argue About Laws

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

I could see both sides of this thing right up until about two-thirds of the way through when Bill and Annie have this dust-up about when it is & isn’t fair to toss something out about the President being a liar. At that point…words fail me. I’m just completely shocked. Not Captain-Renault-shocked, either. Shocked, like finding out an air traffic controller has always believed it’s perfectly possible for two objects to exist in the same space at the same time — you can’t do what you do for a living, thinking such a thing. “If He lies, He loses, if He lies, He loses…If it’s in the bill, He’s a liar! You jump too far ahead!”

Chrissakes, Bill.

I see now that my list of ways to motivate large numbers of people to do a dumb thing without anyone associating the dumb thing with your name later on is incomplete. It’s missing one tactic here…and our President is using that tactic with great aplomb.

It's About PowerI would word it this way: While planting a vision of an object in your audience’s collective head, convince them that their perception of this object trumps truth. I need to work on that wording a little bit. “Convince” doesn’t fit, because what’s being done here is kind of a Judo move, one of encouraging that audience to believe what they’re inclined to believe already. We get these descriptions of what the speaker says he desires the object to be, and from that we become unreasonably hostile toward any other claim about what the object really is.

It works pretty well, even on somewhat intelligent people who consider it their jobs to know exactly what’s going on. Clearly, it even works on 6’4″ leprechauns.

O’Reilly protests calling Obama a liar under this set of circumstances? I see O’Reilly’s point…kinda. Obama is the President, and if the bill doesn’t meet Obama’s expectations when it reaches His desk, He can jolly well reach for His veto pen — and if He doesn’t, The Great One becomes a liar. I get it.

O’Reilly should go back and watch some speeches from Ronald Reagan. Any one from a whole number of speeches, specifically about threatening the said veto. President Reagan never once used this method of deception Obama is using now. Reagan never once came close. He said “When that bill reaches my desk, it better not have…” or “I will veto any bill that reaches my desk, if it doesn’t contain…”

Obama could do that now. It’s a perfect description of what the job of President is. Instead, Obama’s choosing to go the route He is going, while, as Ann Coulter pointed out, these bills are going through the House. And there’s only one reason to do that.

Hat tip to fellow Right Wing News contributor Sharon Soon.

“The Soup is Terrible and the Portions Are Too Small”

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Much of the “governing” that took place in our country throughout the twentieth century, has consisted of a) identifying a problematic social program that had been put in place in some past generation to redistribute money — what in God’s name were we thinking when we put that turkey in?? — and b) putting together yet another one to give our children the same nightmares our parents gave us. We seem to possess a regrettable ability to fail to recognize a Faustian arrangement, right up to the last phases of it, the moment our nose-hairs are tickled by the sulfuric fumes.

Regarding the President’s speech Wednesday evening, I got five things out of them:

No one single plan is finalized yet, so nobody else can criticize it but I can “dispel rumors” by fantasizing about what I’d like to see in the final draft;

I get to call my opponents liars, but when they say I’m a liar it’s a breach of some kind of sacred code of civility;

If my opponents point out something won’t work, you should pretend nothing of value has been said at all, until such time as they can come up with a solution to it — but when I say something that makes no sense whatsoever but sounds good, go ahead and get as excited as you want;

Medicare is broke because it promises things we cannot afford to pay, so the solution is to promise more;

My plans all make it harder for any person or company to make a profit providing the services we say we want & need, thereby making it much less likely that it will happen — but don’t call it that, call it “holding them accountable.”

All in all, a fine and stylish re-hash of all twentieth-century left-wing proposals to “fix” our social-engineering and gimme-gimme programs handed down to us by our parents and grandparents. There’s nothing new added, but all the old stuff has been meticulously covered.

The editors of Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook have gone over the President’s remarks to see what else they can get out of it:

Mr. Obama began by depicting a crisis in the entitlement state, noting that “our health-care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers,” especially Medicare. Unless we find a way to cauterize this fiscal hemorrhage, “we will eventually be spending more on Medicare than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health-care program is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.”

On this score he’s right. Medicare’s unfunded liability—the gap between revenues and promised benefits—is currently some $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Yet the President uses this insolvency as an argument to justify the creation of another health-care entitlement, this time for most everyone under age 65. It’s like a variation on the old Marx Brothers routine: “The soup is terrible and the portions are too small.”

As astonishing, Mr. Obama claimed he can finance universal health care without adding “one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period,” in large part by pumping money out of Medicare. The $880 billion Senate plan he all but blessed this week would cut Medicare by as much as $500 billion, mainly by cutting what Mr. Obama called “waste and abuse.” Perhaps this is related to the “waste and abuse” that Congresses of both parties have targeted dozens of times without ever cutting it.

Apparently this time Mr. Obama means it, though he said this doesn’t mean seniors should listen to “demagoguery and distortion” about Medicare cuts. That’s because Medicare is a “sacred trust,” and the President swore to “ensure that you—America’s seniors—get the benefits you’ve been promised.”
:
Mr. Obama also called for “civility” in debate even as he calls the arguments of his critics “lies.” So in the spirit of civility, we won’t accuse the President of lying about Medicare. We’ll just say his claims bear little relation to anything true.

We’re gerbils on a treadmill, the way we hear these promises about how budgets will be met without cuts being made anywhere. We act like we can look back on some track record that promises accuracy in these rosy prophecies — or at least provides some way to determine accuracy, accurately.

That’s probably the biggest lie that’s been told or implied in this whole issue. These programs don’t cost what we’ve been told they’ll cost; they cost orders of magnitude more. There isn’t even a mathematical formula available to predict how much exploding they’ll do. The only one that’s worked out over the generations has been “>1″. Beyond that — the programs cost every single bit as much money as they want to cost, and when it happens, we’re powerless to stop it. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Except of course for one thing: Make more programs, provided the guy trying to get us to make them, is a really good speech-maker.

Update: John Hawkins interviews Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson. You shouldn’t miss it. You know, that whole thing we talk about from time to time…hearing the other guy’s side of the story. Turns out there is one.

I was looking at all of the amendments and I knew that the Democrats had defeated the enforcement amendments about illegal aliens and these would be the amendments that would provide for verification of citizenship. That’s the wording and I’ve actually read the 1,000 page bill. The references to the illegal aliens in the bill didn’t have any enforcement. It was simply fluff.

So in other words, they say illegal aliens aren’t covered at all in the bill all they want, but if they deliberately leave out any enforcement provisions, it doesn’t mean anything because they can still…

It doesn’t mean anything. The verification, as proposed by the Republican amendments, was defeated in committee. I knew that and so I just felt like what I was hearing was not accurate. …So I was just really appalled at this.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.