Saturday, August 15, 2009

op ed review 8/15

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone, 57% are opposed. Fifty-two percent (52%) believe such a system would lead to a lower quality of care while 13% believe care would improve.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/august_2009/32_favor_single_payer_health_care_57_oppose

A national telephone survey from Aug. 9-10 found public support for a health care overhaul falling to a new low of 42 percent. That is 5 percent lower than two weeks ago and 8 points down from six weeks ago. Most of the stiffest resistance comes from individuals over age 65. 62 percent of self-described unaffiliated voters now oppose the plan, signaling further erosion among political independents.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/cq/20090812/pl_cq_politics/politics3190495

The White House's claim that large and boisterous protests against health care reform have been scripted performances, underwritten by industry lobbyists and the Republican Party, continues to run into a stubborn reality check: public polling on the matter.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/10/drooping-polls-undercut-claims-of-scripted-protest/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_headlines

There were no buses, no swastikas, not a piece of Astroturf in sight. But there was name-calling, jeering, red faces and finger-pointing as Michigan residents shot back with fury at a congressional town-hall meeting geared to explaining President Obama's health care plan. Rep. John D. Dingell, a Democrat and a lead author of health care legislation in the House, did his best to remain composed, even as many constituents and other residents argued that the plan is socialized medicine and rained down fury against a smaller group of supporters for the plan.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/10/fury-on-health-care-in-michigan/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_photo_feature

At Rep. Russ Carnahan's, D-Mo., town hall meeting on Aug. 6, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) thugs, clad in purple shirts, punched in the face, brutally beat and kicked in the head when he was down an African American named Kenneth Gladney, while hurling a torrent of racial slurs. The SEIU goons were following White House advice: "Don't do a lot of talking," and if they encounter resistance, "punch back twice as hard." The Purple Shirt Brigade picked on Gladney because he was passing out historical American flags with the inscription "Don't Tread on Me," and the Left won't tolerate African-Americans as conservatives.

http://townhall.com/columnists/PhyllisSchlafly/2009/08/11/obama_brings_chicago-style_intimidation?page=full

House Democratic leaders have set up a healthcare “war room”.

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/house-dems-set-up-healthcare-war-room-2009-08-10.html

President Obama’s supporters have received an email urging them to show up at town halls and congressional offices as a counter to the protestors against the president's health care reform push.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/08/painting-protestors-as-partisan-mobs-with-lies-about-health-reform-democrats-rally-their-own-town-hall-activists.html

In fact, one of the Obamacare websites announces: "Work to Pass Obama's Healthcare Plan and Get Paid to Do it! $10-15 hr!" (Probably using stimulus funds)

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/08/obama-healthcare-reform.html

A democrat congressman who opposes showing photo id to vote, now requires photo id to attend his town hall meetings.

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/rep.-green-to-require-photo-id-at-town-halls-2009-08-12.html

Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, is on the Obama team as a special adviser on health policy. In an article last year he wrote "Savings will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously 'as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others.'" And this from an essay co-authored by Emanuel on the "just allocation of health care resources": "(S)ervices provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/s_637295.html

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called President Barack Obama's health plan "downright evil", saying in a Facebook posting that he would create a "death panel" that would deny care to those who are not “participating citizens.”

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090808/D99UJ4B00.html

Perhaps former Governor Palin was referring to the tragic predicament of Barbara Wagner of Oregon. Ms. Wagner received a letter from the Oregon Health Plan in response to a $4000 a month drug her doctor prescribed after her lung cancer, long in remission, returned. The insurance company refused to pay. What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/death_panels_in_oregon.html

In what can fairly be described as an admission that former Alaska Gov. Palin knew what she was talking about, the Senate Finance Committee Thursday dropped language from its healthcare reform package that Palin had suggested would eventually lead to mandated end-of-life counseling sessions for seniors.

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/peter-roff/2009/08/13/score-one-for-sarah-palin-on-the-healthcare-reform-death-panels.html

A leading British health expert has warned that patients are missing out on specialist treatment because doctors in the UK are overstretched. Prof Sikora also claimed that NHS queues for scans and other tests ''can emulate Heathrow on a bank holiday weekend''.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/6017690/Barack-Obama-healthcare-NHS-patients-missing-out-British-expert-warns.html

The Cafepress.com store, a cultural barometer of sorts for political and social expression, offers about 3 million Obama products, she said, but now is up to about 1 million that are "anti-Obama-oriented," reflecting a "significant shift in the last couple of months than what was the trend a year ago." " Whereas we had the campaign of Obama centered around hope, and it was a very optimistic message, now they're asking: 'How's that hopey-changey thing going?' "

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/11/cashing-in-on-no-he-cant/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_headlines

What kind of stimulus is this? Brazil is about to get $10 billion from U.S. taxpayers to develop its offshore oil reserves.

http://www.ibdeditorial.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=334968315717535

The American Psychological Association said last week that it is ethical and can even be beneficial for counselors to help clients overcome homosexual impulses. The news is a shift from recent years, in which so-called "gay affirming" therapy has been the only accepted form.

http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/15788

Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) and nine other members of Congress went on a trip to the South Pole, diving and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, rode a cable car through the Australian rain forest and visited a penguin breeding ground during the 11-day trip. The group also stopped in Hawaii on the way home. Baird called international travel important for a member of Congress and said it would be a "tragedy" if such trips had to be curtailed because of bad publicity.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009634635_apwacongressionaltripbaird.html?syndication=rss

The first U.S. industry to face a cap on its greenhouse gas emissions is not, as might be expected, the coal-burning power utilities. It's not the oil refineries. It's not the automakers. It's the airline industry. Sometime this month, the European Union will release a list of airlines it will regulate under its existing cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide.

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/08/12/12greenwire-airlines-will-be-first-us-industry-to-confront-77552.html

The Senate Ethics Committee -- surprise! -- cleared two Democrats of using their positions to obtain special sweetheart deals and preferential treatment in refinancing their homes through the lender Countrywide. While the complaints were dismissed, the pair were chastised and told that they should have "exercised more vigilance in [their] dealings with Countrywide." Democrats, of course, are never guilty; sometimes they're just "careless" about the appearance of impropriety.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703620.html

Meanwhile, a Florida school principal and an athletic director are facing criminal charges and up to six months in jail over their offer of a mealtime prayer.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/14/criminal-prayer-case-stirs-protests/?feat=home_headlines

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Mark Steyn

What’s the end-game here? I suppose it’s conceivable that there are a few remaining suckers out there who still believe Barack Obama is the great post-partisan, fiscally responsible, pragmatic centrist he played so beguilingly just a year ago. The New York Times’ David Brooks stuck it out longer than most….But now he says we’re in “the early stages of the liberal suicide march”. For a famously moderate moderate, Mr Brooks seems to have gone from irrational optimism over the Democrats’ victory to irrational optimism over the Democrats’ impending downfall without the intervening stage of rational pessimism.

The end-game is very obvious. If you expand the bureaucratic class and you expand the dependent class, you can put together a permanent electoral majority. By “dependent”, I don’t mean merely welfare, although that’s a good illustration of the general principle. In political terms, a welfare check is a twofer: you’re assuring the votes both of the welfare recipient and of the vast bureaucracy required to process his welfare. But extend that principle further, to the point where government intrudes into everything: a vast population is receiving more from government (in the form of health care or education subventions) than it thinks it contributes, while another vast population is managing the ever expanding regulatory regime (a federal energy-efficiency code, a government health bureaucracy) and another vast population remains, nominally, in the private sector but, de facto, dependent on government patronage of one form or another – say, the privately owned franchisee of a government automobile company, or the designated “community assistance” organization for helping poor families understand what programs they’re eligible for. Either way, what you get from government – whether in the form of a government paycheck, a government benefit or a government contract – is a central fact of your life.

A lot of the developed world has already gone quite a long way down this road. If you want to know what Obama’s pledge to “save or create” four million jobs would look like if the stimulus weren’t a total bust, consider what “good news” means in an Obama-sized state: A couple of years back, I happened to catch an intriguing headline up north. “The Canadian economy is picking up steam,” reported the CBC. Statistics Canada had just announced that “the economy added 56,100 new jobs, two-thirds of them full time.” That’s great news, isn’t it? Why, the old economy’s going gangbusters, stand well back.

But I was interested to know just what sectors these jobs had been created in. And, upon investigation, it emerged that, of those 56,100 new jobs, 4,200 were self-employed, 8,900 were in private businesses, and the remaining 43,000 were on the public payroll. “The economy” hadn’t added those jobs; the government had: that's why they call it “creating” jobs. Seventy-seven per cent of the new jobs were government jobs, or “jobs”, paid for by the poor schlubs working away in the remaining 23 per cent. So the “good news” was just more bad news, just a further transfer from the vital dynamic sector to the state.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, government spending accounts for between 72 and 78 per cent of the economy, and, as I wrote here earlier this year, that’s “about the best a ‘free’ society can hope to attain this side of complete Sovietization.” But, if you’re not on welfare, working in the welfare office or working for a “green solutions” company that’s landed the government contract for printing the recycled envelopes in which the welfare checks are mailed out, it’s not an attractive society to be in. It’s not a place to run a small business – a feed store or a plumbing company or anything innovative, all of which will be taxed and regulated into supporting that seventysomething per cent. After all, what does it matter if your business goes under? Either you’ll join the government workforce, or you’ll go on the dole. So you too will become part of the dependent class, or the class that’s dependent upon the dependent class. Either way, Big Government wins (as we already see in California).

In the normal course of events, the process takes a while. But Obama believes in “the fierce urgency of now”, and fierce it is. That’s where all the poor befuddled sober centrists who can’t understand why the Democrats keep passing incoherent 1,200-page bills every week are missing the point. If “health care” were about health care, the devil would be in the details. But it’s not about health or costs or coverage; it’s about getting over the river and burning the bridge. It doesn’t matter what form of governmentalized health care gets passed as long as it passes. Once it’s in place, it will be “reformed”, endlessly, but it will never be undone. Same with a lot of the other stuff: Keep throwing the spaghetti at the wall. The Republicans may pick off the odd strand but, if you keep it coming fast enough, by the end of Obama’s first year the wall will be a great writhing mass of pasta entwined like copulating anacondas in some jungle simulacrum of Hef’s grotto. And that’s a good image of how government will slither into every corner of your life: You can try and pull one of those spaghetti strings out but it’ll be all tied up with a hundred others and you’ll never untangle them.

Edited from a longer column, read it here:

http://www.steynonline.com/content/view/2341/26/

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FROM OTHER COLUMNS

"The health debate, which now has moved beyond the Beltway and into raucous town halls across the land, is so intense in part because it's not really about health care at all. On a deeper level, it's about the role of government in America's economy. And that is a raw and unresolved topic, only made more so by months of exceptional government intervention amid a deep recession."

-Gerald Seib

"Today's ruling Democrats propose to fix our extremely high quality (but inefficient and therefore expensive) health care system with 1,000 pages of additional curlicued complexity -- employer mandates, individual mandates, insurance company mandates, allocation formulas, political payoffs and myriad other conjured regulations and interventions -- with the promise that this massive concoction will lower costs. This is all quite mad. It creates a Rube Goldberg system that simply multiplies the current inefficiencies and arbitrariness, thus producing staggering deficits with less choice and lower-quality care. That's why the administration can't sell Obamacare."

-Charles Krauthammer

"President Obama is attempting to transmogrify America's entire medical system. It is literally a matter of life and death. If Obama and his supporters find mirth in the thought of 'pulling the plug on grandma,' do you trust them anywhere near your health care?"

-James Taranto

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LEFTIST WATCH

CNN aired a piece of Communist Party propaganda about how Cuba could serve as 'a model for health care reform in the United States' " The CNN report included clips from Michael Moore's Sicko as CNN's Morgan Neill, on location in a Potemkin Havana hospital, gushed about Cuban healthcare's "impressive statistics." "Cuba's infant mortality rates" he reported, "are the lowest in the hemisphere, in line with those of Canada!" And indeed, according to UN figures, Cuba's current infant mortality rate places her 44th from the top in worldwide ranking, right next to Canada. (the lower the rate the higher the ranking) What CNN left out is that according to those same UN figures, in 1958 (the year prior to the glorious revolution), Cuba ranked 13th from the top, worldwide.. And even plummeting from 13th (Capitalist) to 44th (Communist), Cuba's "impressive" infant mortality rate is kept artificially low by Communist chicanery with statistics and by a truly appalling abortion rate of 0.71 abortions per live birth. This is the hemisphere's highest, by far. Any Cuban pregnancy that even hints at trouble gets "terminated."

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/cubas_healthcare_a_model_for_t.html

"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program."

-President Obama in 2003

"I have not said that I was a 'single-payer' supporter."

-President Obama, at a town hall meeting this week

A new liberal coalition is launching $12 million in television ads to support President Barack Obama’s health-reform plan, in the opening wave of a planned tens of millions of dollars this fall.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090813/pl_politico/26076

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NEWS FROM THE ISLAMIC WORLD

Somali Islamist group al Shabaab is forcibly removing gold and silver teeth from residents in southern Somalia because it says they contravene strict religious law. Residents in Marka say al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips them out using basic tools.

http://www.news24.com/Content/Africa/News/965/f443eaff1a8f4932901ff567497b0f82/10-08-2009%2006-08/Gold,_silver_fillings_a_sin

A Muslim Ohio girl ran away to Orlando because she said her family threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity.

http://www.wftv.com/news/20349388/detail.html

“My week wearing a burka: Just a few yards of black fabric, but it felt like a prison…..Moved by the plight of Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese woman who faces 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public, I decided to spend a week enveloped in what she should have been wearing.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1205208/LIZ-JONES-My-week-wearing-burkaJust-yards-black-fabric-felt-like-prison.html

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BOOKS

Three of the top four books on the New York Times nonfiction hardcover bestseller list are by conservatives -- and none have been reviewed by the Times.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/NYT-Book-Review-snubs-conservative-authors-Sun-rises-in-east-52886612.html

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GLOBALONEY

A new study found under a high-cost scenario the House global warming bill could reduce economic growth by 2.4 percent and cost 2 million jobs by 2030.

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/climate-bill-could-cost-2-million-jobs-2009-08-12.html

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ACTIVISM

A petition opposing President Barack Obama’s plan for a government-led overhaul of the nation’s health care system has garnered over 1 million signatures since it launched May 25, something its sponsors say is proof that public opposition to Obama’s plan is very real. The petition, available online at www.freeourhealthcarenow.com, was created by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=52245

Here’s the petition:

http://www.freeourhealthcarenow.com/

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ARTICLES

And the words he used very well may go down in history, defining precisely why Democrats fail to get their big-government-style health-care reform done during this quickly closing window. "I mean, if you think about it . . .", Obama said, halting warily as if he realized he was about to make a terrible mistake. "If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right?" he said, half-joking yet completely serious. "It's the Post Office that's always having problems." Exactly. Obama promised a new health-care program every bit as inept as the Postal Service. America's medical future will be long lines, lost mail and surly federal employees. In this unscripted instant, Obama laid out precisely why -- outside the high-school gym -- there were hundreds of seething protesters, barred from expressing their vitriolic opposition to the directly to the president. They held aloft signs with quotes from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison about the dangers of a government too large to be accountable to the people any longer. Said one sign held by a young mother: "Keep your change and I'll keep my freedom."

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08122009/news/columnists/big_warning_from_big_bad_governments_ove_184122.htm

Town hall meetings: “They’ve awakened a sleeping giant” State College, Pa. - Nancy Snyder says she kept quiet when abortion was legalized and prayer in schools was eliminated. Not this time. “They did it for prayer, they did it for abortion, and they're not going to do it for our health care,” the 70-year-old nurse from Philipsburg, Pa., said Wednesday as she and her husband Robert, 74, a retired coal miner, waited in a long, snaking line for Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter's town hall meeting.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/health/6570918.html

Whole Foods Market Inc.'s CEO John Mackey has published an op-ed critical of Obamacare in the Wall Street Journal: "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare.” The op-ed piece that begins with a Margaret Thatcher quote, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money," has left liberal Whole Foods loyalists enraged.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=8322658&page=1

John Stossel’s take: “Mackey is making a good-faith effort to offer his views on health care reform. Because they don’t conform to liberals’ fantasies for some iteration of a government-dominated plan, they want him to shut up? They seem to think they own the man’s opinions.”

http://blogs.abcnews.com/johnstossel/2009/08/liberal-customers-to-whole-foods-ceo-shut-up.html

5 freedoms you'd lose in health care reform”: If you read the fine print in the Congressional plans, you'll find that a lot of cherished aspects of the current system would disappear.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/24/news/economy/health_care_reform_obama.fortune/

Does someone have answers to these questions?

http://www.post-trib.com/news/opinion/1706053,col-henrichs-08xx.article

BenStein: “By a total coincidence, I was tossed overboard (by the New York Times) immediately after my column attacking Obama. (You can attack Obama from the left at the Times but not from the right.)”

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/08/10/expelled-from-the-new-york-tim/1

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

Ronald Reagan speaks about socialized medicine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs

That was then, this is now. Here’s video of Nancy Pelosi telling anti war protestors “I am a fan of disruptors!”

http://www.breitbart.tv/06-flashback-pelosi-tells-anti-war-protesters-im-a-fan-of-disruptors/

One of Rush’s best parody songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFquafUtYeM

JetBlue is offering an all-you-can-fly pass, good for one month, for $599.

http://www.nydailynews.com/money/2009/08/14/2009-08-14_plane_crazy_for_new_allyoucanfly_pass.html

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WISE WORDS

"The history of the race, and each individual's experience, are thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal."

-Mark Twain

"The intellectual establishment [is] so busy demanding more power for government, more bureaucracy, regulation, spending and -- oh, yes -- more and more taxes, they forgot all about the secret of America's success -- opportunity for people, for all the people. ... Will we heed the pessimists' agenda of higher taxes, more bureaucracy, and a bigger welfare state leading us right back to runaway inflation and economic decay, or will we [take the] road toward a true opportunity society of economic growth, more jobs, lower tax rates, and rising take-home pay?"

-Ronald Reagan

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