Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Rock in Your Trick or Treat Bag

Democrats Push for Plan to Cut Deficit

The administration has not signaled what specific proposals it might make, but Mr. Orszag’s challenges are formidable: the chief sources of significant deficit reductions — savings in government health programs and tax increases on the rich — will have been tapped to offset the cost of a health care bill if it is enacted.

Health care taxes won't just hit "the rich," as we well know. Everyone will pay them. And savings in government health programs is a pipe dream. Basically, we have an administration that has gone on a spending spree over the last 10 months and wants to jam an overpriced, underproducing health care "reform" package down the collective American gullet, then argue how we need to increase taxes and suck it up to pay for the "inherited" financial crisis. Most reasonable people aren't going to buy this argument anymore, as Obama's slipping approval rating indicates.

The place to save will be cutting services, something Democrats are loathe to do, since their entire base is made up of leeches desperate to suck the blood out of everyone else.

The laugher in this silly article comes here:
Mr. Conrad favors something like the successful commission to close military bases, another decision that lawmakers found difficult to make because of parochial and political considerations.

What successful commission to close military bases? The one that has politicized base closings, punishing bases located in the opposition's territory? As someone who lived through the closing of Carswell A.F.B. (which was reopened as a Joint Naval Reserve Base), I can tell you that the effects on the local economy can be devastating. And back in 1995, President Bill Clinton bragged about taking a base off the closing list more than a month before the list was supposed to be released. There are clearly political considerations in base closings and I don't think that it is the process to look at deficit reduction.

Playing the Spoiler

Scozzafava suspends 23d campaign
Scozzafava can't win and is acting as a spoiler to Doug Hoffman, who could. Originally, I was against Hoffman being in this race because third parties are typically a waste and it's more important to get Republicans--any Republicans in Congress. True, this is party politics, but as I've said before, conservatives can forget getting any legislation passed that they want as long as Democrats control Congress.

But now that Hoffman has a reasonable chance of winning, Scozzafava should have bowed out more than a week ago, when polls showed her trailing both Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens. At this point, her campaign suspension does nothing to help Hoffman at all. Which may have been the point.

Sorry for using military in Iraq but there was no choice: Bush

Gotta love this:

Justifying his decision on Iraq, former US President George W Bush today said dislodging of the "brutal dictator" Saddam Hussain was a necessity after 9/11 attacks but regretted that military had to be used to do so as there was no other "choice"...

Describing Hussain as a "brutal dictator" who posed a danger to the US, he said it had become more important for America to remove him after the 9/11 attacks.

Removal of Hussain was important as it was "felt" that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction and the then President was not allowing IAEA inspectors in, Bush said while addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

"My hope was to disarm Saddam peacefully... I am sorry we had to use military but there was no choice," the former US President said.

Explaining the necessity of using force, he noted that the UN Security Council had passed 17 resolutions calling for disarming of Hussain but the Iraqi ruler was not cooperative.

As Orrin Judd notes, the problem is that George W. Bush was the only world leader who took the U.N. seriously when it passed resolutions.

It's So Fun Watching the Left Explode

Read virtually any post at Iowa Liberal in the past week and you'll see what I mean.

You can start with this whinging from Jeromy Brown that Republican pundits manage to find good news in the Democrats' inability to pass legislation with a veto-proof majority in the Senate. He uses the dubious "60% of Americans approve a public option" number (gimme a different poll and I can give you different results) as, somehow, proof positive that Republicans iz stoopid.

For eight years we were governed by an idiot in thrall with conniving corporatists and narcissistic neocons, and any mention of his continuous blundering was More Bad News For Democrats (Possessed by Bush Hatred). Straining to present anything Bush ever did right, special attention had to be paid to making sure that everybody recognized Republicans Are Real Americans and that all logic aside, Bush had to be feared and respected because he was President.

Now we’ve had ten months of Death Panels, StaliNaziFascism, ZOMG Czars!, Birthers, Beck’s tears, Limbaugh worship, and the most popular Republican politician, Sarah Palin, undergoing continuous meltdown as she strives to make a quick buck off the sucker base. It’s been terrible, terrible news for Republicans every day. Which is, of course, Good News for Republicans. After all, bad publicity is still publicity! THEY HAVE CONTROLLED THE NEWS CYCLE. Continuous filibustering? ZOMG DEMOCRATS CAN’T GET THINGS DONE THEY HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME!

That's chockful of some crazy there. It's tough being a liberal these days when you don't have George W. Bush to blame for every crack in the pavement. And it's especially galling when your party has run the legislative branch of government for more than 2 1/2 years and has run the entire government for 10 months and still can't get any legislation (other than the pork barrel variety) passed. Gee, as dumb as George Bush was, he'd at least managed to pass tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, and created the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives by this this point in office. But I guess we're just supposed to take that as more examples of the Nazi-like quality of Republicans. Or something.

After you whet your appetite with that goody, move on to this luscious course of crying about Joe Lieberman, the John McCain of the Democratic party.
But that doesn’t stop Joe Lieberman, who acted like a Republican until Obama came into office, minded himself, and waited for the perfect moment to declare himself the most powerful person in the country.

Lieberman doesn’t have a response to the facts, in that the public option will save money according to the CBO. He’s got his “gut,” on this, so there’s little arguing.

Let's not confuse the dears with the fact that (a) the bill in question was only a "vapor bill" without real legislative language for the CBO to scrutinize, (b) that the CBO bought into the fiction that this bill saved money by not paying out any benefits in the first five years or that (c) the CBO numbers have ever been right on its predictions about the costs of any government program. That would be problematic. The real beef here is that a Democrat with a 15.96 lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union would actually agree with Republicans on anything. Because that's what Democratic civility and bipartisanship means to the Dems: you agree with us or you're--*gasp*--not a real Democrat!

After that main course of sweet, salty tears, move on to the dessert: a post complaining because President Obama just isn't sufficiently emasculated to get rid of rendition. Now, admittedly, it's fun to bash Democrats over the head with the fact that their guy, who promised a whole new War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operations, has actually had to realize we can't feed bad guys milk and cookies and expect them to talk. It just makes me all giggly.

It's been a while since I'd had a good laugh, but Iowa Liberal just never fails to entertain.

Regardless of the Number of Jobs This Administration Claims to Have "Saved," The Unemployment Rate Is Still Almost 10%

The White House is laughably trying to claim that it has "saved" 640,000--er, make that 1 million jobs, but has to admit to a lot of fuzzy math to get to that figure.

The White House argues that the actual job number is actually larger than 640,000 -- closer to 1 million jobs when one factors in stimulus jobs added in October and, more importantly, jobs created indirectly, such as "the waitress who's still on the job," Vice President Biden said today.

Now, is that the waitress who has a job today but has already been told that she's being let go at the end of the week? I guess that's above Biden's paygrade to assess. Lots of people have survived layoffs to this point but who are in line to get cut by, say, January.

And more to the point, even if we credit the Obama administration with "saving" 1 million jobs, those jobs come at the cost of $160,000 a piece.
Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that "calculator abuse."

He said the cost per job was actually $92,000 -- but acknowledged that estimate is for the whole stimulus package as of the end of 2010.

$92,000 for a waitressing job? That's an accomplishment only the echo chambers at Delaware Liberal could love.

It's true that GDP was up 3.5% for the quarter, but as long as unemployment stays around 10%, the Obama recession isn't going to be over in most people's minds. And don't bother with the "unemployment is a lagging indicator" meme. If you just won the layoff lottery, you aren't too interested in lagging or leading indicators.

White House Transparency?

Frankly, I'd be more impressed with White House transparency if Teh One kept the promise about health care debates being on C-SPAN and all of us getting to participate (without being called un-American and Nazis), but that's just me. Instead, we're left with a White House that thinks it should be praised for doing what the candidate promised: not to hide stuff.

The list of White House visitors contains some obvious hoaxes such as Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright showing up on the rolls. As Allahpundit notes, neither of those guys is going to show up and sign their names in the White House guest book. I'm sure President Obama can call them any time he wants.

Who is on the list? Why, the most frequent visitor is SEIU head Andy Stern. Which makes sense, since he had to set up all those non-thuggish, grassroots protests protesting protesters last August.

Friday, October 30, 2009

No Wonder Democrats Aren't Interested in Tort Reform

Pelosi health care bill blows a kiss to trial lawyers/

The health care bill recently unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is over 1,900 pages for a reason. It is much easier to dispense goodies to favored interest groups if they are surrounded by a lot of legislative legalese. For example, check out this juicy morsel to the trial lawyers (page 1431-1433 of the bill):

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

Malpractice insurance is a factor in health care costs, but Democrats are too far up the asses of trial lawyers to really care.

Most Ethical Congress Has Dozens of Democrats Under Investigation

One of the things that brought down Republicans in the 2006 mid-terms was a series of ethical violations that had been covered up or just not dealt with. Democrats brayed that they would run the "most ethical Congress EVAR," but we knew that wouldn't be true. How do we know that? Because dozens of Democrats are under investigation for violations.

House ethics investigators have been scrutinizing the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July.

Before Perry decides to tell us that the fact that dozens of Democrats are under investigation is evidence of how uber ethical Democrats are, let's remind the readers that Democrats have, in fact, have tried to avoid investigating wrongdoing by fellow Dems. Transparency, indeed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shocker! White House Overstates Jobs "Saved" or "Created"

Overstates is a nice word for "lies," but let's not go there. Let's go here.

The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

It's amazing that the same people who can't do math are supposed to be trusted with our health care.

The Non-Partisan War in Afghanistan

I wasn't going to say anything about President Obama photo-opping visiting the military dead in Delaware where the bodies are returned from Afghanistan. I thought the skepticism might be too, shall I say, political.

But that was before the liberal idiots decided it was one more chance to try to slime President George W. Bush.

Puh-lease. President Bush met with families in private without cameras. He didn't attend funerals or pose for pics because it distracted from the person these events are supposed to be about. Namely, the soldier.

But liberals think snapping a salute for a camera makes President Obama look serious or presidential or something. I'd rather he took seriously the casualties of the necessary war, the casualties that mount as he hems and haws.

Instead, we're treated to Firedoglake, of all jerks, trying to sound all jingoistic or something.

UPDATE: Blackfive says it better than I ever could.

Pelosi Unveils Mis-Named "Affordable Health Care for America Act"

Perhaps that name should just be the LOL of the Day.

House health-care reform bill to include public option

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will unveil a health-care reform bill on Thursday that includes a government insurance option and a historic expansion of Medicaid, although sticking points in the legislation involving abortion and immigration remain unresolved.

Pelosi's bill backs off using Medicare reimbursement rates, which would have been been a deal-breaker, but there's plenty here to still kill it.
Ending the Medicare reimbursement rates will certainly gain Pelosi some votes, but that sounds fishy. The bottom-line number didn’t change from last week to this. How did the House bill calculate the costs of negotiated rates as opposed to the Medicare rates they used in their earlier calculations? How did that not increase the overall cost of the bill?

The answer, as Ed Morrissey goes on to explain, is that Pelosi passes the costs on to states to do her dirty work.
Well, it turns out that Pelosi & Co have decided to shift more of those costs onto the state. Earlier versions had people at 133% of the poverty line eligible for Medicaid, the costs of which states largely have to bear. The new version hikes that to 150% of poverty line, forcing more people onto state rolls rather than federal. That allows Pelosi to claim some cost savings, but the public burden felt by taxpayers will increase, thanks to unfunded mandates on the states.

The bill is chockful of the usual lies and statistics, trying to hide the true costs of this monstrosity by not offering benefits for the first five years, then using that savings to cover the deficit this plan will run.

That doesn't bother Amanda Marcotte at all, who is clapping her hands like someone actually asked her on a date.
In general, the bill is exactly what most of us thought it would be. The big thing is the Health Insurance Exchange that would allow people who aren’t covered for whatever reason to buy insurance through the exchange, which would increase competition and drive down prices. There’s also a mandate, which is uncomfortable but should help drive down costs.

Amanda really should get paid for using the Dem talking points this blatantly. I mean, "increase competition and drive down prices" sounds really nice, but I've yet to see a liberal spell out how, exactly, prices are going to go down (as opposed to going up) when insurers are required to cover every person, regardless of when that person gets insurance. But Amanda just keeps swallowing the Kool-Aid.
One big thing the bill does that will help a lot of people out is it not only bans denials based on pre-existing conditions, but it also bans premium increases. This was a major concern of mine, because simply mandating that insurance companies cover everyone doesn’t really help that much, if they just jack the rates up on the people with pre-existing conditions. The elimination on caps will also help people with catastrophic illnesses.

Emphasis mine.

How are insurance companies supposed to stay in business if premiums can't be raised? Even someone in the comments asked this question, but I doubt thumb-sucking Amanda wants to think that far ahead. She's just clapping her hands that everybody gets free ice cream.
What makes reading this summary of the bill really exciting is that not only did the House make sure to get the minimum basic decency standards covered, but they threw in a bunch of goodies on top of the necessities:
# Guarantees that every child in America will have health care coverage that includes dental, hearing and vision benefits.
# Provides better preventive and wellness care. Every health care plan offered through the exchange and by employers after a grace period will cover preventive care at no cost to the patient.
# Increases the health care workforce to ensure that more doctors and nurses are available to provide quality care as more Americans get coverage.

I hate being such a party pooper (well, no, I really don't, but I feel obligated to pretend I do), but these "goodies" bring up a lot of unanswered questions--at least Amanda doesn't answer them.
1. Doesn't providing "dental, hearing and vision benefits" increase the costs of health care?

2. Who pays for the preventive and wellness care if it is "at no cost to the patient?" Are doctors and hospitals and health care providers just going to work for free?

3. How does this bill "increase the health care workforce"? Are we just going to start calling nurse's aides nurses or something? Or is there going to be some required public service for everyone to work in the hospital now?

Of course, I'm being slightly facetious about the public service part, but I fail to see what in the billwill " ensure that more doctors and nurses are available to provide quality care," given that 45% of doctors would consider quitting if Obamacare passes.

I know it's a downer to keep asking how we're supposed to pay for all this, in the land of sunshine and lollipops, but somebody has to be the adult here. The truth is, insurance premiums will skyrocket under any of the proposed bills, people will have to pay more in taxes and there will be new taxes on things (such as wheelchairs) that have never been taxed before. All this to still not insure millions of Americans. But don't tell Amanda that. She'll just stick her fingers in her ears and sing "LALALALALALA!"

You'd think, since Pelosi is so proud of the bill, that she'd want to exhibit some of that transparency Democrats promised during last year's election. Not so.
House Democrats blocked the public from attending the unveiling ceremony of their health-care bill Thursday morning, allowing only pre-approved visitors whose names appeared on lists to enter the event at the West side of the Capitol.

The audience at the crowded press conference included Hill staffers, union workers, health care providers and students, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who thanked them for attending.

Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders announced the chamber's long-awaited version of a health care overhaul, which would expand insurance coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans, costing less than $900 billion over 10 years.

The West side of the Capitol - the area where President Barack Obama was inaugurated - is traditionally open to the public. But the entrances were blocked off Thursday morning by metal fences, with Capitol police officers standing next to staff members holding clipboards with lists of approved attendees.

This administration looks more and more like Animal Farm.

UPDATE: Here is a comprehensive list of the taxes in Pelosicare.

Quote of the Day

"It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness." --James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Now, You Can't Even Watch Your Own Children at the Playground

...because you might be a pedophile.

This is in the U.K. Thank God we haven't gone quite this nutty here.

Parents are being banned from playing with their children in council recreation areas because they have not been vetted by police.
Mothers and fathers are being forced to watch their children from outside perimeter fences because of fears they could be paedophiles.
Watford Council was branded a 'disgrace' yesterday after excluding parents from two fenced-off adventure playgrounds unless they first undergo criminal record checks.

Children as young as five will instead be supervised by council 'play rangers' who have been cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Councillors insist they are merely following Government regulations and cannot allow adults to walk around playgrounds 'unchecked'.

Another Duh! Moment: Under Obamacare, Private Insurance Prices Would Triple

And we now have the study to show it.

At the request of Congressional delegations worried about their constituents—call it a public service—WellPoint mined its own actuarial data to model ObamaCare in the 14 states where it runs Blue Cross plans. The study therefore takes into account market and demographic differences that other industry studies have not, such as the one from the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, which looked at aggregate national trends.

In all of the 14 states WellPoint scrutinized, ObamaCare would drive up premiums for the small businesses and individuals who are most of WellPoint's customers...

In fact, what distinguishes the Wellpoint study is its detailed rigor. Take Ohio, where a young, healthy 25-year-old living in Columbus can purchase insurance from WellPoint today for about $52 per month in the individual market. WellPoint's actuaries calculate the bill will rise to $79 because Democrats are going to require it to issue policies to anyone who applies, even if they've waited until they're sick to buy insurance. Then they'll also require the company to charge everyone nearly the same rate, bringing the premium to $134. Add in an extra $17, since Democrats will require higher benefit levels, and a share of the new health industry taxes ($6), and monthly premiums have risen to $157, a 199% boost.

Meanwhile, a 40-year-old husband and wife with two kids would see their premiums jump by 122%—to $737 from $332—while a small business with eight employees in Franklin County would see premiums climb by 86%. It's true that the family or the individual might qualify for subsidies if their incomes are low enough, but the business wouldn't qualify under the Senate Finance bill WellPoint examined. And even if there are subsidies, the new costs the bill creates don't vaporize. They're merely transferred to taxpayers nationwide—or financed with deficits, which will be financed eventually with higher taxes.

These estimates are devastating to the argument that everybody would get better care for less money.

I Remember When War Casualties Were Terrible

Back in 2005, it seemed like the New York Times, Washington Post and every leftwing blogger was horrified at the casualties our troops suffered in Iraq. It was part of the "We support the troops but not the war" shtick, which was difficult to swallow, but they kept insisting that they were really, really concerned about troop casualties, and that's why they wanted to end the war!

Yeah,I didn't buy it either, and I sure don't buy it now that casualties are rising dramatically in Afghanistan and the left seems way more concerned with Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the public option than the lives of our soldiers.

Obama has simply failed to act on Afghanistan and as a result more troops have died than in any other year of the war. Obama criticized Bush for not being aggressive enough in Afghanistan, but when it is his turn to get tough he can't make up his mind.

Dana has a nice post posing the question, Is President Obama’s foreign policy making a difference yet? I would say, yes, it is making a difference, but not a difference for the better. We're seeing more casualties and chaos. Shouldn't the Left, who argued repeatedly over the last four years that Afghanistan is the "necessary war," be putting more pressure on President Obama to win?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We Had Different Expectations for GWB

What if Bush had done that?
Well, we know what would have happened, don't we?

Valerie Jarrett Attacks Fox News Then Has to Backtrack

It's tough for the Obama White House to keep attacking Fox News, knowing that, as they do so, it makes the cable network more popular. So, instead, we're treated to Valerie Jarrett attacking Fox News, then weaseling out.

To the question of whether Fox News is biased, Jarrett replied: "Well, of course they're biased. Of course they are."

But when Brown followed up by asking Jarrett if she thinks MSNBC is biased, she quickly downplayed her original remark. "Actually, I don't want to generalize all of Fox is biased or that another station is biased. I think what we want to do is look at it on a case-by-case basis," she said. "When we see a pattern of distortion, we're going to be honest about that pattern of distortion....

"We're actually calling everybody out. So this isn't anything that's simply directed at Fox. We just want the American people to have a really clear understanding," said Jarrett.

Oh, yeah. BO and his minions have been sooooo tough on, say MSNBC. Riiight.

This is obviously in response to the skyrocketing ratings Fox News has enjoyed since the Obama administration declared war on it. The war hasn't worked for Obama, and that explains this change in communication strategy.

Ha Ha Ha Joe Lieberman Says He'll Filibuster Harry Reid's Health Care Bill

This is sweet.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday that he’d back a GOP filibuster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s health care reform bill.

Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats and is positioning himself as a fiscal hawk on the issue, said he opposes any health care bill that includes a government-run insurance program — even if it includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, as Reid has said the Senate bill will.

"We're trying to do too much at once," Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now."

This essentially kills the public option, which will infuriate the left, but which is a deal killer for anyone who was interested in reform of some sort. From Hot Air:
(W)hile the left will beat him up for not being able to buy 60 votes via horse-trading, isn’t Reid actually helped a bit by Lieberman taking the lead among the opposition? So deeply do progressives despise Joementum that the storyline here will be his betrayal and obstructionism, not Reid’s idiocy, which is a huge help to Dingy Harry. As scapegoats go, you can’t do better than a guy who lost a primary to a nutroots-supported liberal three years ago and then endorsed John McCain.

Joe Lieberman is no conservative, but he clearly understands the risks in a new government program with questionable funding at a time of economic uncertainty. But this does make one wonder what health care reform will look like without a public option.

UPDATE: Keith Olbermann is so pissed off, he wonders if Lieberman is on the take.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fox News' Ratings Way Up Since White House Declared War on It

Oh, the irony. Or maybe not. I could have predicted that the flap would be a ratings booster for Fox News. People who never watched the channel would be wondering what all the fuss was about, and those who occasionally watched Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity are probably more regular. Anecdotally, I'd never watched Glenn Beck's show until Color of Change declared war on him.

From Hot Air:

It’s a nine-percent bump in the two weeks since Anita Dunn’s whine heard ’round the world — in terms of overall audience. Among the coveted 25-54 demographic? A 14-percent bump. Good work, Barry. People keep telling me that this PR offensive by the White House benefits both sides but I don’t see how that’s true. If the goal is to contain Fox by framing the stories it breaks — Van Jones, ACORN, etc — as somehow illegitimate, then every tenth of a point that Fox’s ratings go up undermines that goal. There will come a point where other news nets will follow Fox’s lead simply for business reasons, ideology or no ideology; follow the link, eyeball the list of top 20 news shows, and ask yourself how far we are from that point, really. To put it in perspective: “Red Eye,” at 3 a.m., is beating Campbell Brown at 8 p.m. on CNN in the demo. (Worse, perhaps: Anderson Cooper is getting beat by... re-runs of Nancy Grace.)

It's clear that people prefer the opinion shows on Fox News as well as MSNBC (whose ratings are nowhere close to Fox News') to the staid, straight news programs on CNN and HLN. And why not? The straight news shows are on all day long on all four cable networks, and there's also the nightly news programs on the broadcast networks. IOW, there are plenty of places to watch the straight news. But Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or Keith Olbermann bring an entertainment value that is obviously attracting eyeballs on a nightly basis. That must be worrisome to the White House, if they didn't want people watching or listening to Fox News.

What Enemies List?

Obama's Enemies List.

So Much for that "Death of Conservatism" Stuff

Conservatives maintain edge as top ideological group.

Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.

Health Care News Round-Up

--Harry Reid says Dems have a health care bill in the Senate and it contains the lie of an "opt out" public option for states. The reason this is a lie is that everyone has to pay into this boondoggle whether their state accepts Obamacare or not. This leaves no incentive not to be in Obamacare, which will lead to everybody in the not-public option. Which, of course, is the plan, after all.

--The health care system wastes $800 billion per year, largely because of unnecessary care:

such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of healthcare waste or $200 to $300 billion a year.

Oddly enough, Democrats don't want to include tort reform, since their pockets are overflowing with trial lawyer money. So much for the idea they actually want to fix anything.

Next on the list was fraud, which syphons off $200 billion a year. If you want to see how it works, watch Steve Kroft's expose of Medicare fraud in South Florida on 60 Minutes. According to that story, Medicare fraud costs $60 billion per year in Florida. And Medicare only treats about 46 million Americans. Think about this when Democrats tell you Obamacare can be paid for by policing fraud. They can't even police the fraud in systems we already have, let alone those not set up yet.

--Nancy Pelosi thinks the only reason people don't like the public option is the name.
In an appearance at a Florida senior center, the Democratic leader referred to the so-called public option as "the consumer option." Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., appeared by Pelosi's side and used the term "competitive option."

Both suggested new terminology might get them past any lingering doubts among the public—or consumers or competitors.

"You'll hear everyone say, 'There's got to be a better name for this,'" Pelosi said. "When people think of the public option, public is being misrepresented, that this is being paid for with their public dollars."

I think the reason people don't like the public option is that they know it's a great big lie and should be called the "you'll pay for everybody" option. It would at least be more truthful.

--Another excellent take on why health care costs so much was presented on This American Life, in a series of three stories about doctors, patients and insurance companies. Not your usual INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE EEEEVILLLLL AND WANT YOU TO DIE CUZ THAT'S HOW THEY MAKE MONEY!!!11!!11!! story.

--Congress' health care bills leave millions uninsured
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates 17 million Americans would remain uninsured under the Senate Finance Committee's 10-year, $829 billion health care bill. Health experts such as Rowland say that number would include families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for insurance.

Wasn't the point to make everybody insured?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The White House Doesn't Want Us To Know What His Czars Do

White House to Keep Obama’s ‘Czars’ from Testifying Before Congress
Among the czars Congress wanted information on:

-- Energy and Environment Czar Carol Browner (whose official title is Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change)

-- Health Czar Nancy Ann DeParle (Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform)

-- International Climate Czar Todd Stern (Special Envoy for Climate Change)

-- Guantanamo Closure Czar Daniel Fried (Special Envoy to Oversee the Closure of the Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay)

-- Urban Affairs Czar Adolfo Carrion Jr. (White House Director of Urban Affairs);

-- Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg (Special Master on Executive Pay)

-- Afghanistan Czar Richard Holbrooke (Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan)

-- Auto Recovery Czar Ed Montgomery (Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers)

-- Car Czar (Manufacturing Policy) Ron Bloom (Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury)

-- Domestic Violence Czar Lynn Rosenthal (White House Advisor on Violence Against Women)

-- Economic Czar Paul Volcker (Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board)

-- Senior Director for Information Sharing Policy Mike Resnick

-- WMD Policy Czar Gary Samore (White House Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Security and Arms Control)

-- Great Lakes Czar Cameron Davis (Special advisor to the U.S. EPA overseeing its Great Lakes restoration plan)

-- Central Region Czar Dennis Ross

-- Border Czar Alan Bersin (Special Representative for Border Affairs and Assistant Secretary of State for International Affairs)

Two of the positions – the Green Jobs Czar and the Cybersecurity Czar -- are unfilled. Van Jones, who was first appointed to the Green Jobs post, resigned recently under fire.

Remember when Barack Obama promised transparency and open government?

Voters Trust Republicans More

According to this poll.

For the first time in recent years, voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. The GOP holds double-digit advantages on five of them.

Republicans have nearly doubled their lead over Democrats on economic issues to 49% to 35%, after leading by eight points in September.

The GOP also holds a 54% to 31% advantage on national security issues and a 50% to 31% lead on the handling of the war in Iraq.

The poll shows voters giving Republicans higher marks on issues Republicans typically do well on, but neither party scores well on ethics and corruption, which should be a concern to both sides.

Bogus Mortality Statistics on Health Care

By now, you should know that anyone touting "health care reform" (i.e., Obamacare) is lying about who dies due to lack of insurance. The reason they lie is because there's no verifiable way of tracking whose death is actually caused because they "couldn't" (as opposed to wouldn't) go to the doctor because they didn't want to pay the office visit.

Michelle Malkin has a terrific post up addressing the problems and outright lies associated with the "studies" on this subject, starting with the fact that the authors are not impartial scientists bent on discovering the truth about the uninsured, but lobbyists who want Obamacare.

Worse, though, is the shoddy research and questionable methods used in these studies to come to conclusions they want.

Two of the co-authors, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, are avowed government-run health care activists. Himmelstein co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program, which bills itself as the “the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program.” Woolhandler is a co-founder and served as secretary of the group.

Sounding more like a organizer than a disinterested scientist, Dr. Woolhandler assailed the current health reform legislation in Congress for not going far enough: “Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives.”

So, how did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants if they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000. Drs. Himmelstein, Woolhandler, and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.

At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggy-backed off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America’s callous health care system had insurance or not. In fact, here is what the report actually says:

“Our study has several limitations,” the authors concede. The survey data they used “assessed health insurance at a single point in time and did not validate self-reported insurance status. We were unable to measure the effect of gaining or losing coverage after the interview.” Himmelstein et al. simply assumed that point-in-time uninsurance translates into perpetual uninsurance – and that any health calamities that result can and must be blamed on being uninsured.

Another caveat you won’t see on Rep. Grayson’s memorial to the dubious dead: The single-payer advocate-authors also conceded in their study limitations section that “earlier population-based surveys that did validate insurance status found that between 7% and 11% of those initially recorded as being uninsured were misclassified. If present, such misclassification might dilute the true effect of uninsurance in our sample.”

To boil it all down in plain English: The single-payer scientists had no way of assessing whether the survey participants received insurance coverage between the time they answered the questionnaires and the time they died. They had no way of assessing whether the deaths could have been averted with health insurance coverage. A significant portion of those classified as “uninsured” may not have even been uninsured, based on past studies that actually did verify insurance status. But the Himmelstein team just took the rate of uninsurance from the original study (3.3 percent), applied it to census data, and voila: more than 44,000 Americans are dying from lack of insurance.

I've discussed the bogus 18,000 people die per year due to lack of insurance figure, as well, pointing out that the death toll includes people who have longterm diseases like diabetes or heart disease, things which don't kill you just because you don't have a HumanaCare plan. These shills have to inflate the number of people harmed because they don't have insurance, since the realy "death toll" would be considerably lower. The fact that they are including in the uninsured anyone who's ever been uninsured, whether it's for a month or 20 years, also shows their desperation. But as with Democrats hellbent to push through a public option, the ends justify the means for these people.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This Is Shocking

Top employees leave financial firms ahead of pay cuts

The Historic Presidency

Barack Obama sees worst poll rating drop in 50 years

His current approval rating – hovering just above the level that would make re-election an uphill struggle – is close to the bottom for newly-elected president. Mr Obama entered the White House with a soaring 78 per cent approval rating.

This is hardly surprising. Voters elected an empty suit and have now discovered it.

Olbermann as "Pet Media"

This sums it up very well.

H/T: Olbermann Watch.

Is MSNBC a real news organization? More from Gibson.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

White House Tries to Exclude Fox News from Interview

Hard to see how even Media Matters can defend this.

The only way to read this is that the administration was lying when it said White House officials would be available for interview by Fox News. Fortunately, as Allahpundit points out, the WH press corps closed ranks to support Fox News, not just on principle, but to ensure their own access when a Republican sits in the executive mansion.

Again, the more Obama's administration attacks Fox News, the more Fox News's stature grows and Teh One's diminishes.

Cassandra at Villainous Company notes,

The press did the right thing ... behind closed doors. But as of the time of this posting I don't see ABC, MSNBC, or CNN have any plans to inform their readers of today's events.

This is an outrage that Americans should be concerned about. During the George W. Bush administration, we were constantly told that he wanted to "stifle dissent" and shut down the press. Now, we have a president who actually wants to do these things.

Cross-posted at Common Sense Political Thought.

UPDATE: Anderson Cooper compares Obama with Nixon.

UPDATE x2: Moderate Democrats are concerned about the backlash against them from the White House's all-out push against critics. The strategy is doomed to failure; criticism of the President, any President, is normal. Expending one's energy attacking the critics makes the White House look petty and small. Remember, this President promised to bring "a different tone" to Washington and to listen to critics. Stunts like this, as well as bashing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, rightfully concerns voters who thought they were getting something different.

UPDATE x3: Interesting view of this at Balkinization.
In the long run, it will probably be better for the Administration and future Administrations not to say that Fox and its successors are not "legitimate" journalists, but that they are not actually objective journalists; instead they are members of a new party or partisan press. That model of the press may be legitimate in the twenty-first century, but politicians have obligation to treat it as they treated an earlier model of journalism.

This isn't wholly true. "Objective journalism" has been a source of debate for first-year journalism students since the Dark Ages. This idea that reporters check their biases at the White House door is bogus, as the fawning coverage of Teh One during last year's campaign illustrates. And more to the point, the President of All of Us has an obligation to answer critics, not shut them out. Remember, the purpose of newspapers--and journalism in general-- is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

"Yelling Is the New Spanking,"

So says Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions.

“This is so the issue right now. As parents understand that it’s not socially acceptable to spank children, they are at a loss for what they can do. They resort to reminding, nagging, timeout, counting 1-2-3 and quickly realize that those strategies don’t work to change behavior. In the absence of tools that really work, they feel frustrated and angry and raise their voice. They feel guilty afterward, and the whole cycle begins again.”

We've been told that spanking is abusive. Is yelling abusive? And if so, how do you get two kids to stop picking, poking and irritating each other in the backseat of the car without yelling at them?

Republican Fratricide?

David Frum's column on the impending disaster in the New York Congressional race and New Jersey gubernatorial race.

By all rights, the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District should be a Republican cakewalk. Stretching across the hunting and fishing towns along the Great Lakes and Canadian border, the district contains Fort Drum, base of the 10th Mountain division, and re-elected its Republican congressman in the disaster years of 2006 and 2008 by margins of 60-plus percent.

Yet polls show the Republican candidate in serious trouble. State Republican Party leaders prevented an open primary race and instead engineered the nomination of one of their own, moderate, pro-choice Assemblywoman Deirdre Scozzafava.

Angry conservatives in the 23rd rebelled, rallying to the third-party candidacy of local accountant Doug Hoffman. Hoffman and Scozzafava are splitting the Republican vote between them, allowing Democrat Bill Owen to emerge as the front-runner.

I've heard all the arguments that conservatives are making against Scozzafava, including that she's been endorsed by ACORN. These arguments for ideological purity are great if, as Frum says, Republicans are committed to " a more coherent, better mobilized, but perpetually minority party."

Me? I'm interested in winning elections, because only by having majorities can we (a) stop the madness that is Democrats with the pursestrings and (b) pass any legislation with which conservatives can agree.

The main point of this post, was to show that the vast majority of Americans voters don't know a lot about the issues that get the rest of us riled up about. We have to find ways to appeal to the broad middle of the country which isn't as torn up about Scozzafava's endorsements as conservatives might be. I'm not saying that I'm happy with an ACORN-endorsed Republican candidate, but even that candidate would help the GOP regain control of the legislative process (even if she would vote largely with the Dems).

I'm all for discussing and debating the pros and cons of every issue, and I'm certainly open to having my mind changed on many of them. But the ideological purity demanded by much of the Right is not going to entice moderates back to the party. The Party of Reagan was quite tolerant of lots of people who didn't agree on abortion or religion, and the only way to pass any conservative legislation is to convince enough moderates that we're not scarier than what they already face with the Democrats in control.

Stimulating Renewable Energy

Jonathan Adler has a post up on this New York Times story on the differing approaches to renewable energy by Texas and California.

the oil-and-gas state has nonetheless emerged as the nation’s top producer of a commodity prized by environmentalists: wind power. Eager developers are covering its desolate western mesas with giant turbines. The world’s largest wind farm began operations in Texas this month, and the state now has close to three times as much wind capacity as Iowa, the second-ranked state.

This achievement puts Mr. Perry’s state in odd company. The race for clean-energy leadership is on — and big red Texas is going head-to-head with the gung-ho greens of California. That state has thrown itself into solar power and now leads the nation by a huge margin; it has also aggressively pursued energy efficiency...

Texas’s secret, besides strong winds and lots of land, is its lack of regulation. Wind developers rave about the fact that, in essence, they need few state permits to build a turbine farm. They deal mainly with local officials, who are generally permissive (energy, after all, is a well-loved commodity in Texas).

From Adler:
The comparison illustrates how regulatory policy can have a large effect renewable energy development. Mandates can certainly force investment into renewable energy sources, but regulations can also stifle otherwise productive investments as well. Indeed, as I’ve discussed before, some companies seeking to advance renewable energy sources have found environmental regulations to be among their greatest obstacles.

Kudos to Echidne

As I've said previously, it's not often I agree with Echidne of the Snakes, politically or regarding feminism, but she has put together some very fine posts over the last week regarding evolutionary psychology (particularly Satoshi Kanazawa) and her regular roundup of stories regarding the abuse of women. At first, these areas don't seem linked, but the problem with Kanazawa's work is one can certainly see where adhering to his theories (such as that men should dominate women) can lead to abuse of women (such as this article about Somali Islamists whipping women for wearing bras). Much food for thought here.

Propaganda? No!

Here's a Media Matters video attacking Fox News:

A couple of things come to mind with this video. First, Media Matters would like you to believe that Sean Hannity's opinions drive the news at Fox News. The problem with this argument is that there's nothing nefarious about both news programs and opinion programs covering the same topic. Networks do it all the time. Does Media Matters consider NBC or CBS not to be news organizations because they covered the War on Terror, followed by late night comedians doing skits on the war? What about MSNBC? If Keith Olbermann goes nuts about Carrie Prejean and MSNBC covers the story the same way, will Media Matters start complaining that they aren't a real news organization?

More to the point, Media Matters' biggest complaint seems to be that Fox News is actually asking why Barack Obama has so many unvetted people in his administration, people with radical pasts (and presents), who have, at best, been unethical. If Media Matters was actually interested in journalism (which they aren't), they would be far more concerned with why the MSM and MSNBC and CNN refuse to scrutinize the Obama White House.

UPDATE: Another fine example of MSNBC's "news organization."

Unemployment Rate 9.8%

That's 531,000 new jobless claims this week.

More people are dropping from the rolls or moving on to "extended benefits."

Many recipients are moving onto extended benefit programs approved by Congress in response to the recession, which began in December 2007 and is the worst since the 1930s. Those extensions add up to 53 weeks of benefits on top of the 26 typically provided by the states.

When those programs are included, the total number of recipients dropped to 8.8 million in the week ending Oct. 3, the latest data available, down about 50,000 from the previous week. That decline is likely due to recipients running out of benefits, rather than finding jobs, economists say.

I remember liberals complaining about GWB's "jobless recovery." Well, at least unemployment was still about 4-5%. Now we're told to get used to 8% unemployment.

It's not a recovery without jobs. Period.

Birthers Lose in Court Again

'Birthers' Lose Again as Federal Judge Nixes Challenge to Obama Presidency

U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle in Camden, N.J., ruled Tuesday that four voters lacked standing to attack Barack Obama's eligibility or to claim their rights were violated by Congress' failure to investigate his place of birth...

Simandle agreed with Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Pascal that because the plaintiffs couldn't prove they had suffered any harm that was particularized, imminent or concrete, they lacked standing to sue. A claim that alleges the entire public is threatened or raises a general grievance about government isn't a sustainable under the Article III of the constitution, Simandle ruled in Kerchner v. Obama, 09-253.

The plaintiffs tried to get around the standing issue by pointing out that lead plaintiff Charles Kerchner, Jr. is a U.S. Navy reservist subject to recall to active duty. He would then need to know if his orders were emanating from a legitimate commander in chief, argued plaintiffs' lawyer Mario Apuzzo of Jamesburg.

But such an assertion is impermissibly conjectural and not an "injury in fact," as required by the rules on standing, Simandle said.

Even if they could show an injury in fact, the plaintiffs' claim raised the kind of abstract issue the U.S. Supreme Court has viewed as a legislative question, Simandle said, adding, "The Court acknowledges plaintiffs' frustration with what they perceive as Congress' inaction in this area, but their remedy may be found through their vote."

As I've said before, the Birthers should give up this fight. No court is going to hear or rule on their complaint.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remember Transparency and Oversight? Not by Dems

I remember being told that with Democrats in control of Congress, there would be much more oversight than before. I guess the person who told me that wasn't really talking about oversight of Democrat wrongdoing. What we have, instead, are Democrats locking Republicans out of committee meetings for having the audacity to demand Congress conduct oversight of wrongdoing.

The Democratic chairman of the House committee responsible for government oversight has indefinitely locked Republican members out of the hearing room, following a dispute over a mortgage loan controversy.

Kurt Bardella, spokesman for ranking Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., had the locks on the Republican entrance changed Tuesday.

The move was apparently was in retaliation for Issa's efforts to subpoena records on Countrywide's so-called VIP loan program and for a video Issa's staff recorded of Democrats darting from their chambers a week ago in the face of a vote.

Here is the offending video:

The problem, of course, is that Democrats don't want to look into the Countrywide sweetheart mortgages given to Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad as bribes.
On Thursday of last week, as the committee was about to meet, the Republicans said that they wanted a vote on whether to subpoena Countrywide's records on the VIP program. The Democrats were between a rock and a hard place: the last thing they want to do is investigate their own party's corruption, but at the same time, they don't want to be seen voting to cover up the Countrywide scandal.

So what did the Democrats do? To a man (or woman), they hid. They failed to show up for the scheduled committee mark-up, leaving the Republicans sitting there by themselves in the committee room. The Democrats claimed that they didn't show up because of a conflict with a Finance Committee hearing, but in fact they were there, and were caught on video sneaking out a back door of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's offices.

It's hard to duck corruption in your party after you campaigned as Change We Can Believe In. But we have a word for it around here: democrisy.

Top Execs To Get $200K?

I know liberals think that's adequate compensation for running a multi-billion-dollar corporation, but my guess is that there will be lots of turnover at these companies if this order goes through. Then mediocre underlings will advance, not running the companies as well.

UPDATE: From PowerLine:

We are living through dark times. The administration's demagoguery will have far-reaching consequences. Presumably most of the executives affected by the cuts will leave their companies, while adequate replacements can hardly be hired at the rates the federal government is offering. And it isn't clear what ripple effects the government's high-handed decree will have. At Citibank or Bank of America, for example, will there be hundreds of employees paid more than the former top 25? Or will the pay cuts work their way down the chain? Any way you look at it, this decree will make it harder for the affected companies to regain profitability, the ostensible point of the TARP program...

One of the basic problems with the ever-increasing intrusion of the federal government into our economy is that questions that should be economic become political. What becomes most important is not providing the best product or service at the best price, but having the most pull in D.C. The Obama administration is feverishly engaged in rewarding its friends and punishing its opponents. That's a natural instinct for politicians, but having almost unlimited sway over the economy opens hitherto-unknown scope for political control and influence. Here, as in many other respects, we are sailing in uncharted waters.

We were told George W. Bush was the tyrant that was going to punish his political enemies. As usual, the boot in your face comes from the Left.

At least the guy deciding who should make what got to decide his own pay.

Patriot Act? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Patriot Act!

There are no terrorists here!

Test Your Political I.Q.

I scored better than 93% of people.

David Benzion at Lone Star Times uses this quiz to make the point that most people following politics on the internet are not normal, and that Republicans need to reach out to normal folks who don't eat, drink, and breathe politics.

Which means to win elections–still required in this nation to actually govern–you need to both mobilize your base AND win over enough voters who are less informed, who lack a coherent and principled political belief system, and who self-define as “independent” and “moderate.”

This is an important point to remember going into the 2010 election cycle. Democrats' approval is slipping badly, but Republicans still are looked at disfavorably, too. The trick it to get more of those who are angry/irritated/disappointed with Democrat rule to vote for Republicans in the mid-terms, rather than just stay home. Republicans need fresh blood, new ideas, and a greater sense of tolerance for moderates than is currently in vogue.

Dallas/Fort Worth Has Lost 75,000 Jobs

According to MITACS. Mouse over your favorite metropolitan area to compare!

Thanks to Lone Star Times for the link.

I'm in the Wrong Business

Carnegie Hall Stagehand Moving Props Makes $530,044

Why? One word: unions.

The stagehands benefit from a strong union: Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees demonstrated its clout in November 2007 when its members walked off their Broadway jobs and closed 26 shows for almost three weeks. The strike ended after stagehands and producers agreed to a five-year contract that both sides called a compromise.

Joshua B. Freeman, a U.S. labor historian at Queens College and author of “Working Class New York,” said the union’s power to shut down a vital part of New York’s entertainment industry gives it leverage in negotiations.

“They have a credible threat of withdrawing their labor,” Freeman said.

Local One President James J. Claffey Jr., who earned $260,877 in salary and benefits in 2007, declined to comment. Union spokesman Bruce Cohen said O’Connell had no comment. Gillinson also had no comment, while Matlaga and Weber didn’t return calls.

Cohen said in an e-mail that members “work under collective bargaining negotiated fairly with management, signed by management and ratified by the membership of the union.”

Hooray for the little guys! Not.

Another Duh! Moment: Democrats Want a Single Payer System

Anyone who has paid attention to the health care debate shouldn't be surprised to learn it's just a way to get to socialized medicine.

The truth is that the public plan is a carefully devised scheme, a sneaky strategy, to deceive American voters. It’s a political marketing ploy designed to move the nation to a single-payer system – like the one in Canada – over the next decade. The public option is the Trojan horse. On the outside it’s all about “choice and competition”, but once it has been dragged within the walls of American medicine it’s true nature will become evident. By that time, it’ll be too late.

It's been stated many times and in many ways that the whole purpose of the public option is to create an unsustainable mandate for private insurance to cover everyone--not just those who can't afford insurance, but every person who decides they want insurance--and that the premiums must be reasonable. This requires young people, who don't use health care as much, to be forced to buy it. But the current bills have fines that are too low to be effective, which will mean people will wait until they are sick before getting insurance. This will drive insurance companies out of business, or require them to jack up premiums to levels most people can't (or won't) afford.

The bills also contain numerous taxes which will make private insurance less and less appealing. Your so-called "Cadillac" health plan that is part of your compensation will probably go the way of the dinosaur. Why not? Employers will have to pay taxes for health insurance anyway, and it will be much cheaper to just pay the 8% tax Obamacare is asking for.

Morgen Richmond's piece gives us the frightening facts behind the public option push, but it's not like we didn't really know this stuff before.
More damning still, we uncovered video of the original architect of the public option, Yale professor Jacob Hacker, describing how it was designed to not “frighten people into thinking they are going to lose their private insurance” even though that is the inevitable result. In another clip he denies the plan is a Trojan horse saying, on the contrary, “it’s right there”. In other words, it’s not even a secret. Most relevant of all, Hacker admits in another clip that the real advantage of his plan is that “at least you can make the claim that there is competition between the public and private sectors”. In other words, this is all a marketing strategy designed to get around public resistance to government-run health care.

We've heard the mantra over the last nine months about "choice and competition," from every Tom, Dick and liberal on the internet. Troll Perry has tried to make this claim multiple times in the comments, yet one has to be willfully blind to believe this crap.

Someone needs to say it bluntly, and I've never shied from that. The President is lying about Obamacare. He's lying when he says it isn't designed to lead to a single payer system. He's lying when he says you'll be able to keep your insurance. He's lying when he says you'll get to keep your doctor. He's lying when he says the public option brings "choice and competition." The only problem is, Democrats like lying and don't care that people don't want this plan.

The Real Reason the White House Is Attacking Fox News

According to Allahpundit is containment.

The White House is working to prevent stories born on Fox from crossing over into more widely-viewed media. Most Americans still haven't heard of Van Jones, for instance; and the strategy is now all about containment

Both Fox News and commentators like Glenn Beck have been all over the number of communists and radicals in the Obama White House, and this is information Anita Dunn and Rahm Emmanuel are highly motivated to prevent average Americans from knowing. Given that Fox News's ratings, gigantic for cable, are tiny by network news standards. Once these stories are picked up by ABC, NBC and CBS, the exposure is far greater, which is exactly what the White House is concerned about.

As Allahpundit notes, Jake Tapper is the only non-Fox News reporter willing to ask WH spokesman Robert Gibbs the tough questions. It's plain that the other media outlets are already isolating Fox News under the false assumption that asking Teh One uncomfortable questions will get you banned or something.
Ideological solidarity only goes so far; as Axelrod himself acknowledged about FNC, ultimately the news nets are in business to make money. So here he and Emanuel are, leaning on them not only to ignore Fox but to ignore stories that Fox covers, as if the underlying facts are somehow tainted by association (“Let’s make sure that we keep perspective on what are the most important stories”). Creepy.

Much has been made about the media savvy of this administration, but there is a darker side to that savviness. It's called control.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama's Smart Diplomacy Looks More Like Chamberlain All The Time

Read this synopsis of President Obama's "smart diplomacy" with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program and you'll immediately noticed how we were played. But the post also links to this comment that I found even more interesting.

Now we know why Obama turned his back on Iranian protesters. Note that the secret negotiations began in June. What else went on in June in Iran? Oh yeah... those pesky election results protests.

Basically, he turned his back on the Iranian people because that whole free election fight of theirs wasn't nearly as important as the nuclear deal he was working out with Iran's regime. Too bad the regime couldn't be trusted to actually live up to its end of the bargain. Big surprise there, that you can't trust political leaders who believe in silencing their own people...

Maybe that should serve as an object lesson to us about Obama...

There was considerable confusion in June about why President Obama wasn't more forceful with Ahmedinejad regarding the peaceful protests in that country. We were told that it "wasn't our business" and that there were irregularities in our own elections, so, using that favorite false equivalency of the left, "we can't tell others how to run their elections."

But I find these developments more sinister than mere isolationism. The fact that President Obama was unwilling to condemn the harsh treatment of political protesters in Iran was most likely tied to these negotiations. How can any peacenik support a president who is willing to sell common citizens out this way?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Journalists Are Journalists No Matter What the Political Stripe

Thomas to White House: End Fox fight

Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas on Monday advised the Obama administration to stand down and avoid fighting with Fox News and its correspondents...

"They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger," said Thomas, who has covered every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.

Other than distracting from his disasterous fight over health care reform, picking a fight with a news organization is never a good idea. Journalists know they've struck paydirt when the target squeals.

Say It Ain't So...

The Obama-Dubya Connection:
Obama is a lot more like Bush 41 than anyone involved—-including Obama and Bush 43—-would readily admit.

Suddenly, however, once confronted by the complexities of the presidency, Kennedy found that perhaps Eisenhower was not so out of it after all. The photograph of the two men, taken from the back (Ike is carrying his hat), shoulder to shoulder, embodies a truth that remains relevant now: for all the sound and fury of the arena, on big issues American presidents tend to have more in common with one another than one might at first think. There is a presidential character intrinsic to the office. Part of this is because what seemed black and white while you were running looks a lot grayer once ultimate power is yours, and part of it is that the country changes presidents more frequently than the country changes itself. We are a center-right nation politically and culturally, which means we value moderate governance—and we punish those who stray too far one way or the other.

Obama started backpedaling once he started receiving the Presidential Daily Briefings.

Pandagon Watch: I Guess PETA Is a Rightwing Organization

Amanda Marcotte has to dig deep in this post to find those malevolent conservatives to be at fault for violence at a animal protest.

Members of an animal rights group were the victims of sniper fire during a protest here Saturday and are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) staged a protest in front of the Aquarium & Pet Center to protest the retailer's alleged sale of "puppy mill" dogs, or purebred pups that have been bred in inhumane conditions. That's when the shots rang out.

Three protesters were hit with what was later determined to be brass pellets fired from a high-powered air rifle. The protesters suffered minor injuries, said Sgt. Jay Trisler with the Santa Monica Police Department, which is asking for the public's help in identifying the shooter...

(West Coast director of CAPS Carole) Davis said the attack occurred at a time when there is a "highly charged atmosphere" when it comes to animal rights. The Santa Monica City Council recently voted in favor of banning cat declawing and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have put caps on the number of animals used in puppy mills, becoming the only governor in the six states where puppy mill legislation passed this year to override it with a veto. Jeffrey Prang, a City Councilman from West Hollywood, which has also banned cat declawing, is working on an ordinance to ban the re-selling of any pets except bred or rescued animals in that city.

Here's what Amanda had to say about the incident:
But all that is essentially unimportant, especially if this is what it seems, which a case where an independent operator with no ties to the pet store decided to take potshots at people whose larger point---that puppy mills are evil and people should not financially support them---is a sound one. If indeed this is a random act of right wing violence, then that tells you a lot about how bad things have gotten, that someone is willing to act violently in the name of a man’s god-given right to torture puppies.

Huh? How does anyone--even a nutjob like Amanda--come to the conclusion that this was "a random act of rightwing violence," versus either (a) a nut or (b) someone with a different beef with this group or (c) an animal rights organization like PETA or Animal Liberation Front? Why, because Amanda tells us so! In the comments, someone asks how she knows it is "rightwing violence" and Amanda answers it.
I don’t know for sure, nor did I say. I went out of my way, in fact, to say that it was likely but not certain.

But, of course, she did say. She speculated that it was "a random act of rightwing violence," then went on to juxtapose that story with one on high schools barring cross-dressers from appearing in the yearbook as cross-dressers. It's an odd (and difficult to make) analogy to be sure, but leave it to those intrepid bloggers at Pandagon to make it.

But even before bringing up the cross-dressers, Amanda tries to find a way that Republicans are responsible for shooting pellets at protesters in front of a pet store.
Indeed, this attack came after the Governator vetoed a bill that would have set a limit on the number of puppies you could cram into a puppy mill, which seems to be yet another example of a Republican standing up for cruelty on the grounds that American penises will fall off if we don’t engage in needless cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

It really is too bad Amanda couldn't get the gig as official White House blogger. I mean, aside from attacking Fox News and trying to get people to snitch on their friends, there's just not enough leftwing hysteria on display from the POTUS.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Humor of the Day

Humor of the Day

Obama Approval Dropping Again...

Faster than the prices on Halloween gear.

The survey contacted over 2200 adults on line, and his numbers dropped significantly from September’s poll, giving Obama an unfavorability rating of -10.

Worse for Teh One, he's losing those optimistic, happy-pappy 20 somethings that bought HopeNChange.
During the election, Echo Boomers (those aged 18-32) were the strongest age group supporting the president. Now they are of mixed minds on his performance as just over half (51%) give the president positive ratings and 49% give him negative ratings. The oldest generation, Matures (those aged 64 and older) are even more negative with just 39% giving President Obama positive marks and 61% giving him negative marks.

Americans have had a good look at one-party rule under the Democrats and, unsurprisingly, they do not like the direction they want to take us.

White House Losing War with Fox News

That's according to The New York Times.

Even though almost all the critiques contained a kernel of truth, in each instance the folks who had the barrels of ink, and now pixels, seemed to come out ahead. So far, the only winner in this latest dispute seems to be Fox News. Ratings are up 20 percent this year, and the network basked for a week in the antagonism of a sitting president

It could all be written off as a sideshow, but it may present a genuine problem for Mr. Obama, who took great pains during the campaign to depict himself as being above the fray of over-heated partisan squabbling. In his victory speech he promised, “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

We can put this in the list of the many Obama promises not kept (a.k.a. lies). We have the most thin-skinned (and that's not raaaaacism) president in history, who never ran anything and thinks the world should love him because he's the First Black President. Shame on anyone for not bowing down! Why, it's un-American! God, I miss the days when dissent and criticism were patriotic.

More criticism of leftwing whining here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

So, Even If the Record Deficit is Bush's Fault...

Shouldn't Democrats quit spending money we don't have? Good God, at what point will this weasly administration quit blaming George W. Bush for everything? You'd think Democrats hadn't held Congress since January 2007. At some point that "It's George W. Bush's Fault" card is gonna expire. My suspicion is, in 2010.

Pandagon Watch: Raaaaacism Is Everywhere! Edition

Whenever someone I know expresses surprise at the bizarre naivete of the Left regarding Teh One, and the unbridled hatred the Left holds for anything conservative, I simply tell them to spend a few minutes at Pandagon and they'll learn all they need to know about the stupidity masquerading as political thought by leftwingers.

Granted, it's probably a little unfair to tarnish all liberal sites with the mouthbreathing Pandagonistas (take, for example, this site, with which I disagree quite a bit but tends to be less noxious than most feminist sites), but given the echo chambers easily found, I might be excused for assuming that all liberals (or at least a large number of them) are every bit as batshit crazy as the Pandagonistas.

Take the assumption that all Republicans are raaaaacists, and that good, upstanding people believe America isn't a fair and decent country. Not that this belief should be, in any way, construed as "hating America," because, as we all know, thinking your country is a terrible place is the height of patriotism, right up there with calling the president a liar and fantasizing about assassinating the POTUS.

Here's some slop from Amanda:

The only possible answer is that many Americans have opposed President Obama’s policies. But why would that cause African-Americans to think that our society is “discriminatory” rather than “decent”? No mystery there: in a well-coordinated campaign, the Democratic Party has relentlessly portrayed all disagreement with the Obama administration’s policies as “racist.” That contemptible and divisive tactic had seemed to produce no results, but we now see that it had one consequence: alienating African-Americans from their country.

The only theory he’ll accept is that there’s been a campaign to trick black people into assuming that there’s racism where there isn’t. And that they’d be so easily fooled. Not that what he’s saying doesn’t fall right in line with the usual conservative mythology that presents black voters as sheep that follow white liberal shepherds, because conservative literally cannot accept that black voters who vote for Democrats might do so because they want to. This assumption is 2 parts racism and 1 part unwilling to admit that the racism of Republican politics drives off black voters. But it’s 100% offensive, because the assumption is that black people are feeble, or they’d be able to see through the evil lies spun by the Liberal Mafia of Hollywood Elites.

The weird part about this argument--that Republicans are racist and think black people are gullible, voting for Democrats because they're "sheep"--is exactly the same argument liberals made back in 2004 with such scholarly works as What's the Matter with Kansas? Indeed, those voting for Republicans because they did not see themselves as victims were considered, well, gullible and stupid. Amanda's hypocrisy knows no bounds, of course, but it's still amazing to watch.

She buys quickly into the Sadly, No! idiocy, where a Tammy Bruce post titled Nobel Committee Announces Another Peace Prize Winner with a raccoon rifling through a Cracker Jack box, is raaaaacism.

Because, you know, it's a raccoon and that's short for coon which is a slur against black people. So, obviously, the headline ("Nobel Committee") doesn't really mean that the Nobel committee is the one sifting through a Cracker Jack box looking for a new peace prize winner. In that clever, clever skullduggery of the Right, the raccoon is President Obama, because, I guess, he's now a Norwegian on the Nobel Peace Prize committee. Or something.

And just to show how very subtle this raaaaacism is, many commenters to Amanda's post missed it until Amanda pointed it out. I mean, that's subtle, designed to infiltrate even the battle-hardened, racism-finding everywhere folks at Pandagon!

Of course, the opposite conclusion, that finding raaaaacism in a joke clearly not raaaaacist just emphasizes the raaaaacism of the left, is really just too subtle for these guys. Or that the reason black people might be thinking America isn't fair and decent has more to do with false raaaaacism charges from Democrat demogogues than actual racist statements and behavior. Nah. If we believe that Democrats are just using stupid raaaaacism charges to tar their political opponents, that would be impugning their motivations. Because, you know, only white Kansans can be "gullible."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Don't Democrats Just Admit...

The Baucus "bill" explodes the deficit, creates even more disincentives for doctors to treat Medicaire patients and RAISES BLOODY COSTS FOR EVERYONE???

To be honest, I am so tired of the lying going on with the so-called health care debate. Read this and remember the 14 despicable jerks who passed this monstrosity out of committee.

I'd Love to Think They're Concerned About the Children, but That'd Be a Lie

Evidently, I missed the Cupcakes for Life campaign, but it drove abortion supporters batshit crazy.

For Cupcake Day, you bake cupcakes and ice them with pro-life messages, explaining to people that kids love cupcakes for birthdays, but when women kill their babies, those babies don't get birthdays anymore.

This message drives abortion supporters nuts, of course (kinda like the New York Times showing what abortion actually is), because they want everybody to believe that babies are kinda like your appendix, except after nine months they detach without the surgery (or, I guess, with the surgery if you have a C-section).

What's worse for the pro-aborts is the fact that Pro-Life Cupcake Day is aimed at the children. Gasp!

They're straight-up organizing elementary and high school kids to spread the message that abortion's wrong, only instead of using bloody photographs or baby dolls, they're using birthday parties and cupcakes to get their point across.

Yes, those intrepid, evil pro-lifers should be talking about bloody fetuses to third graders because, you know, that would be very ineffective, which is what pro-abortion types want. I mean, it's not like they indoctrinate children with leftwing ideas or anything.

No, it's just infuriating for children to be faced with cupcakes that say "I Heart Babies" on them because, you know, it just rolls off the tongue better than "National Insidious Anti-Choice Agenda-Pushing Week."

It's also amusing how concerned abortion supporters are with not breaking the rules here on distributing homebaked goods in school. Nevermind the inconsistency here when they are all supportive of breaking the law to get minors abortions without parental notification. The ends justify the means, you know?