Sunday, September 29, 2013

op ed review 9/29

House Republicans will vote to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare in exchange for funding the government, a plan that drastically increases the chances of a government shutdown this Tuesday. Republicans will also pass a separate bill to fund U.S. troops if the government shuts down.

For daring to put conditions on raising the debt limit, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer compared Republicans to arsonists, hostage-takers and suicide bombers.

Obamacare Will Increase Avg. Individual-Market Insurance Premiums By 99% For Men, 62% For Women

Obama on Obamacare: “We did raise taxes on some things.” Some things means uninsured families, medical devices, flex accounts, small businesses, people with high medical bills and even charitable hospitals.
“(Sen. Ted Cruz’s) 21-hour pseudo-filibuster was an immensely stylish endurance stunt — a feat made all the more impressive by the rhetorical fluency that did not flag, the clarity of argument that was present in the first hour and the 21st and the unflappable demeanor…….. In the last hour (Cruz) found himself in a debate with Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on the Congress’s generous health-care plan……Despite his marathon of speaking and standing and arguing, after nearly a day on his feet, Cruz — there is no other term for it — squashed Durbin like a bug….”

Cruz and his allies notched up the fourth longest occupation of the floor since precise record-keeping began in 1900.
Following the epic, 21-hour speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, either voters made so many calls to establishment Republicans that their phone lines melted, or those GOP leaders took their phones off the hook.

Americans Turn on Washington, 68% Say Wrong Track in Poll
Six in 10 Americans (60%) believe the federal government has too much power, one percentage point above the previous high recorded in September 2010.

Once the United States was among the most economically free nations on the planet, but now we barely crack the top 20.  Now ahead of us: Canada, Finland, Australia, Jordan, Denmark, Estonia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has no Catholic right to be granted Communion, said the leading cardinal of the highest court at the Vatican. Mrs. Pelosi should be denied Communion until she changes her advocacy views on abortion, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke said.  That’s canon law, not opinion, he said.

Secretary of State John Kerry plans to sign a controversial U.N. treaty on arms regulation despite warnings from lawmakers that the Senate will not ratify the agreement. 

Scary:  Why are interest rates so low? Because we’ve reached the point that if they went back to a more historically normal level, all personal income taxes collected would go to servicing the debt. “One thing is clear: Based on CBO projections, if interest rates just rise to their 20-year average, we will have an untenable, unacceptable interest rate bill whose beneficiaries are China, Japan, and others who own our bonds. And if Americans find out that the lion's share of their income tax payments are going to service the debt, prepare for a new American revolution.”

So much for handshake diplomacy. President Obama’s bid to mellow 30 years of hatred and hostility blew up in his face at the United Nations when Iran’s new leader, Hassan Rouhani, snubbed him three times — and wouldn’t even meet him for a much-anticipated grip and grin.

An 800 lb. stone monument of the Ten Commandments that sits on a street behind the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC was toppled by vandals.
Vandals also set fire to a life-size statue of Ronald Reagan at a Southern California sports park that bears his name

A California youth football league has established a $200 fine and possible suspension of a any coach who allows his team to win a game by 35 points or more.

Isn’t that special?  The fifth-season premiere of ABC's Modern Family features a gay marriage proposal.

A New York teacher fired earlier this year for possessing a stash of heroin could get his job back after a judge found his firing to be “unduly harsh.” The penalty of termination is excessive and shocking to the court's sense of fairness."

The number of Dutch people killed by medical euthanasia has more than doubled in the 10 years since legislation was changed to permit it, rising 13 per cent last year to 4,188.


Joe Ashby, American Thinker, 9/25

"Dumbest idea I've ever heard."  "Can't happen."  "Picket had a better chance." So say some of the right's sharpest and most experienced political minds of the defund ObamaCare effort……The defund gambit carries risk; there is no way around that.  As long as Harry Reid and Barack Obama are willing to shut down the government rather than spare people from the added expense, reduced choice, and invasions of privacy that ObamaCare brings, things will get dicey.  Ironically, however, it will be the Democrats themselves who serve as the catalyst for conservative success. Here's how it can happen.

In order to score a political win in a government shutdown, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and others must portray the situation as intolerable.  That portrayal stimulates an incentive within the Beltway crowd, the media, and (to a lesser extent) the citizenry to end the shutdown. Once the demand to open non-essential government services reaches a fever pitch, the GOP (who have no incentive to extend the shutdown) can simply say, "Great, let's hammer out a deal and reopen government."  Once Obama's party comes to the table, the GOP will have won, because any negotiations will mean repealing, delaying, and/or de-funding ObamaCare -- not a 100% repeal/delay/defund, but something higher than 0%.

Certainly the Democrats will realize that negotiation will mean giving away some of their precious domestic "achievement," and thus they will resist coming to the bargaining table.  But Obama, Reid, et al. will be trapped by their own rhetoric.  If the shutdown is so bad, and the GOP want to end it, then the pressure to negotiate a deal becomes more and more intense.

Making matters more advantageous for Cruz, Lee, John Boehner, etc. is the long-arching media narrative that compromise is the holiest of all political rites.  This standoff puts the eager-to-compromise GOP against the Democrat position of "No way.  No how.  Not even going to talk about it."  That political ground becomes increasingly difficult to hold as time passes.

Despite the potential viability of this course of action, many on both left and right believe that a government shutdown is a guaranteed disaster for the GOP.  Shutdown-phobia has been the conventional wisdom in Washington for nearly two decades.  A close look at the evidence, however, reveals a not-so-shocking truth: Washington is wrong. There is zero measurable historical evidence that suggestions of shutting down the government will be electorally damaging to the Republican Party.  None.  Republicans held the House and Senate before the last partial shutdown.  They held it after.  Bill Clinton's approval ratings cratered from 53% when the first shutdown began to 42% by the tail-end of the second (a period of about seven weeks)….

Besides the utter absence of electoral damage done by the prolonged 1995-1996 shutdown, the Newt Gingrich-led Congress successfully wrested the agenda-setting power in Washington away from the presidency.  As then-Majority Whip Tom Delay said on the Mark Levin Show last week, "[the shutdown] was the most important thing we ever did," adding, "The result of that was for six years Bill Clinton did not get to sign one major bill that he initiated." 

Looking past the politics of the next election, we must recognize that there may be no "next time" for stopping ObamaCare.  Once the main subsidies begin, there is little doubt that the law's politics will only get more difficult.  And while some welcome the coming "train wreck," the do-it-and-see-how-bad-it-is approach is a satisfying retort but a poor practical theory.

Government programs don't come and go based on performance.  Social Security, for example, is popular not because it's a good way to provide for retirement; the opposite is true.  Social Security is popular because ending it would put people without other means of income in a dire situation.  Yes, those people could have made other provisions in the absence of the program (which would serve them better than Social Security), but the reality is that the program wasn't absent, and now many can't make other provisions.

The ObamaCare subsidies will lead to the same brand of dependency.  ObamaCare will be poorly run, unable to fulfill the promises made at its passing, but as long as millions of people are receiving billions of dollars based on the law's provisions, history cautions us that repeal becomes virtually impossible. Given a concrete path to victory and the shrinking prospects of future success, the defund effort is not only winnable, but the most urgent and realistic attempt yet at stopping the law.  It's time for the establishment to get in line.  It's time for conservatives to unite.  We are not guaranteed a win, but we have a strong game plan.  Now we need the whole team to buy in.

More wisdom from Dr. Ben Carson, professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.  “Today, the freedom of Americans to control their own health care needs is being threatened by massive governmental interference. Those attempting to fundamentally change America are attempting to take control of the most important thing any of us possesses: our health……..Those representatives and senators who insist on pushing through Obamacare against the will of the people should be clearly identified so they can be appropriately dealt with by their constituents. The authority of officeholders, after all, is dependent upon the ballot box……We have an opportunity to re-establish a government in which freedom of speech is cherished. As Thomas Jefferson once famously said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” We must remember that our representatives work for us; we don’t work for them. Whenever they forget that, we must act to re-establish proper order. Those who wish to fundamentally change America are happy with the trends we see. However, those of us who love the Judeo-Christian values upon which our country was founded and under which it flourished in the past, must not dwell on past mistakes, but learn from them. We must not capitulate to secular progressives, and unlike them, we should be loving and kind. But most importantly, we must never give up. ________________________________________________________________________

“[Y]ou would think that Republicans will sweep in 2014 – increase their hold on the House, and take the Senate. But that isn’t what voters have in mind. Rasmussen … finds that currently, Democrats lead Republicans in the generic Congressional preference poll by 40%-37%. It’s a paradox: voters prefer Republicans on the issues, but still lean toward voting for Democrats. One could speculate about why that is true; I think it is obvious that the press’s ceaseless attacks on Republicans are part of the explanation. That is a longstanding problem, but the numbers suggest that Republicans will do best if they keep pounding away on the issues, especially the ones where voters are predisposed to favor them.”
                     -John Hinderaker

Groundbreaking books about the history of communism are never written by "professional" historians. Indeed, historians typically meet those books with remarkable hostility.  Yet, non-academic history books certainly have their advantages. For one thing, they are readable. More often than not, they are better researched too. Above all, they are intellectually honest, free from the unspoken taboos of the academic world and from allegiances to theories and to colleagues that tie the hands of many an academic. Where a professional historian pursues an academic career, the amateur seeks after the truth. Ignorant of taboos, the amateur can follow the trail of evidence to wherever it leads and discovers things which, according to the academic conventional wisdom, are best left untouched and unsaid.  That is what Diana West does in “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character.” By her own admission, she started that book with no intention of writing much about the Cold War. She started not as a historian, but a simple mortal puzzled and disturbed by the obvious question: how on earth could this great civilization of ours have degraded into such a hypocritical nonsense as political correctness? Having written her previous book about the death of the civilization of grown-ups, now Mrs. West, in her own words, attempts a post mortem--only to discover unmistakable signs of a murder.

An exhaustive United Nations report that claimed with 95% certainty that humans are responsible for global warming left out data that found the planet has stopped warming over the last 15 years, because it did not fit with the climate change agenda it wanted to advance. Judith Curry, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said if the "if the pause continues beyond 15 years they are toast.”

Muslim terrorists behind the Kenya shopping centre massacre planned to attack high-profile British targets including The Ritz hotel and Eton public school. Members of the Al Shabaab terror group also set their sights on ­London suburbs such as Golders Green and Stamford Hill. They listed targets in a training manual which contained a blueprint for this week’s gun and bomb rampage at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall.

“The West´s strange silence on the martyred Christians of the Muslim world”

In Western news-making and opinion-forming circles, there’s a palpable reluctance to talk about the most noteworthy thing about modern Islamist violence: its barbarism, its graphic lack of moral restraint. Across the commentating board, people are sheepish about pointing out the historically unique lunacy of Islamist violence and its utter detachment from any recognizable moral universe or human values. We have to talk about this barbarism; we have to appreciate how new and unusual it is, how different it is even from the terrorism of the 1970s or of the early twentieth century.

President Obama lied to us. It wasn’t a white lie. It wasn’t a fib. It wasn’t a half truth. It was a bold-faced lie. “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise,” President Obama told the American Medical Association in 2009. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” That statement turned out to be a lie. Period.

Liberals hold that “hate crimes” are worse than crimes involving the same conduct but not the same attitude. But the application of this doctrine may depend on which group the perpetrator hates. If he hates a group that liberals desire for their political base, his crime will be viewed as particularly heinous. If he hates a group that liberals dislike, it may earn him an expression of ideological solidarity from the sentencing judge and perhaps even a break on the sentence.

An adult at 18? Not any more: “Adolescence now ends at 25 to prevent young people getting an inferiority complex.”

The GOP is factionalizing, with the conservative base backing the Cruz-Lee strategy to defund Obamacare, and the GOP establishment attacking it directly but mostly indirectly. It is a remarkable moment, crystallizing the long-simmering revolt against the leadership for its failure to fight on the principles the base cares about passionately. They seek a champion, and Ted Cruz grabbed what he saw as the opportunity to spearhead the opposition to Obamacare, a new program which the public also dislikes and fears. By mobilizing the base, Cruz was able to overcome the resistance of Speaker Boehner, pillar of the GOP establishment…..

Another view from an unimpeachable source:  “Though we fully support Sen. Ted Cruz, he now appears unable to see the battle beyond his trench, and he keeps digging himself into procedural holes.”

“Options are not a luxury we conservatives have.  We have been under siege, and are now surrounded, awaiting the coming salvos of Obamacare implementation which will decimate American liberty.  Government bureaucrats stand ready to sign up millions of new dependents to the government healthcare rolls, whose only job will be to vote for Democrats in the coming elections to ensure continued benefits -- which by hook, crook, or Democrat-organized bussing to the polls, they will do.  IRS agents are standing by, ready to lay down the fiscal hammer of "social justice" on small business owners and individuals with the audacity to not conform to a bill so convoluted that no member of Congress read it before passage, and navigating its intricacies is the subject of a New York Times bestseller.”
One man's ObamaCare nightmare

Henninger:  “Let Obamacare Collapse”  “What the GOP´s Defund-ObamaCare Caucus is failing to see is that ObamaCare is no longer just ObamaCare. It is about something that is beyond the reach of a congressional vote. As its Oct. 1 implementation date arrives, ObamaCare is the biggest bet that American liberalism has made in 80 years on its foundational beliefs. This thing called "ObamaCare" carries on its back all the justifications, hopes and dreams of the entitlement state. The chance is at hand to let its political underpinnings collapse, perhaps permanently. If ObamaCare fails, or seriously falters, the entitlement state will suffer a historic loss of credibility with the American people.  It will finally be vulnerable to challenge and fundamental change. But no mere congressional vote can achieve that. Only the American people can kill ObamaCare.

It is mindboggling that so many people are totally unaware of ObamaCare, have no interest in discussing it, and are dismissive and rude if someone attempts to have a rational conversation about a law that will drastically change the landscape of this country. This deliberate ignorance continues to beget denial. Consequently, we find America on the verge of a system that apparently only African and Eastern European acquaintances of mine instantly understand, since they ran away from the very draconian worldview that we will all face in a matter of days if ObamaCare is not stopped dead in its tracks. Daily, one

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office.”
                    -Ludwig von Mises

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people … must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify."
                     -Federalist No. 33

Leno:  President Obama is now making his case for raising the debt limit. He said raising the debt limit does not increase debt. You know, like raising the speed limit does not increase speed… …Tomorrow night AMC will begin airing a "Breaking Bad" marathon that will show every episode of the show leading up to Sunday's series finale. This is how it ends: Walter White dies in a hospital waiting room while filling out all the paperwork for Obamacare.…. There's a new issue of "Cosmopolitan" that explains Obamacare to women. The article is called "10 pre-existing conditions to drive your man crazy."

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