Thanks, Liberal Democrats!

From the LA Times:

In the House, liberals are furious at their leaders for striking a deal with conservative Democrats that would weaken the proposal to create a government insurance program, a dream long cherished on the left.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I heard the news today that a “compromise” bill was making its way through one of the six-hundred-seventy House subcommittees, and I worried. Is $900 billion a number that Congress would expect us to swallow? Was the originial $1,000,000,000,000+ bill merely intended to shock and make way for a marginally less sickening little brother?

Then I saw this LA Times story. The Democrats have a problem: not all of them are lunatics. Without a lunatic supermajority, there’s a limit to how many trillions of unfunded spending you can ram through Congress unread and unchallenged. The “Blue Dogs,” those arrogant SOBs, think they have a right to strip the shiniest bauble out of Team California’s pretty, pretty bill.

Today, 57 of these liberals sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) warning that they would vote against any bill that contained the terms of the deal.

“We have compromised and we can compromise no more,” an angry Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) said at a raucous news conference outside the Capitol.

Good! Keep demanding the same Berkeley commune crap you’ve been pushing since the 70s, and soon even President Obama won’t be able to spin your tired stoner fantasies as rational federal policy.

Hard Questions – From Political Reporters!

I think I can comfortably say that print and broadcast media sources not owned by Rupert Murdoch (full disclosure: I’m a News Corp shareholder, dun-dun-DUUUNNNNN) were generous to Senator Obama and have continued broadly positive coverage of President Obama. So, it came as a surprise to see the President treated not-so-gently in stories today from both Politico and the Associated Press.

Politico:

At a campaign stop in Virginia last summer, he said: “We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators, insurance companies, drug companies – they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”

Now, though, none of the White House negotiations are open for public consumption. And the Obama administration has rejected a request from a watchdog group to disclose the health care industry executives who have come to the White House to discuss the issue. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, is poised to sue Obama’s administration to obtain the records.

Emphasis mine. The piece makes several good points and raises a lot of valid questions. If Politico grows into a site where no one, regardless of their left-ness on the political spectrum, is safe from this kind of story, that could be pretty great. The AP article is not so exhaustive, but includes this:

It’s true that people would not be forced to give up a private plan and go with a public one. The question is whether all of those private plans would still be in place if the government entered the marketplace in a bigger way.

Acknowledgment that Obama is capable of being less than 100% forthright combined with a recognition that government “competition” tends to be a stacked deck? I’m sort of amazed.

The Helpless, Uninsured Masses

A coworker sent me a link to an interesting story from KeithHennessey.com, a site I hadn’t visited before. Hennessey was an economic adviser in George W. Bush’s administration, and offers more detailed analysis of the problem – and more recommended solutions – than anyone I’ve stumbled across.

First, a post from way back on April 9, “How many uninsured people need additional help from taxpayers?” takes a close look at the “46 million uninsured” number we hear from President Obama, leading Democrats, and most media outlets. A brief excerpt:

Of that amount, 6.4 million are the Medicaid undercount. These are people who are on one of two government health insurance programs, Medicaid or S-CHIP, but mistakenly (intentionally or not) tell the Census taker that they are uninsured. There is disagreement about the size of the Medicaid undercount. This figure is based on a 2005 analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s one point from a bulleted list wherein Hennessey lists categories of people included in the 46 million number advocates of expanded health entitlements use to paint a Dickensian picture of uninsured Americans dying in the streets. Six million here, four million there, and it’s obvious that far fewer than 46 million Americans need the ~$1,000,000,000,000 legislation slithering through Congress – unless you consider every good and service a “right” to be doled out on the government’s terms.

And here’s Howard Dean:

But, wait a minute, that’s, that is the farce of the argument, uh, on the conservative side. The farce is consumers can make informed decisions about medical care. You can make some informed decisions, but I practiced for ten years, I never had anybody with substernal chest pain get off my table and say, “Doc, the guy down the street does it $2,000 cheaper, I’ll see you later.”

In a single (bolded) sentence, the rotten core of Progressive thought. There’s an element of truth in Dean’s point – yes, medical decisions can be very complicated and difficult. But the conclusion that citizens cannot make decisions, and thus Government must make them, is telling. Replace “medical care” in the bold sentence with “credit,” “automobiles,” “home buying,” et cetera, and you have the foundation on which all the Democrats’ policies are built.

Profiling Questions?

The Associated Press reports on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., in a story titled, “Black scholar’s arrest raises profiling questions“:

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home after a woman reported seeing “two black males with backpacks on the porch,” with one “wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.”

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

Why, because I’m a black man in America?” Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.

Emphasis mine. I can think of just one question this raises: Why is Henry Louis Gates Jr. such a jackass? Police responded to a phone call, and apparently it’s too much to ask of a Harvard professor that he behave like an adult. In America, where – as Professor Gates may not have realized – we have a black President, jumping to complaints of racial profiling is about as much an issue as racial profiling itself.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is vowing to attend Gates’ arraignment.

More salve on societal scars. Wait, “salve” is the wrong word… salt. That’s what I meant.

“This arrest is indicative of at best police abuse of power or at worst the highest example of racial profiling I have seen,” Sharpton said. “I have heard of driving while black and even shopping while black but now even going to your own home while black is a new low in police community affairs.”

“The Reverend” is a blowhard who does more harm than good. Each time I see his Malcolm X impression, I’m grateful to have grown up in a world where skin color is only a big deal to a few of my racist white peers — and a few of my racist black ones.

Adventures in Health Care

Today’s AP story on health insurance has one of the best opening sentences I’ve read in a looong time:

House Democrats on Tuesday rolled out a far-reaching $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans, with Medical providers, employers and the wealthiest picking up most of the tab.

When I say “best,” I mean “worst,” because words can mean anything you want them to mean. This is a fact I learned from the Associated Press, just now!

House Democrats want to “make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans.” No, not a ‘responsibility’ like it is now, with you responsible for determining your health insurance needs. That type of responsibility is utter crap. House Democrats mean the kind of responsibility where the federal government decides what you need and who’s going to pay for it, with fees and taxes for the convenience — and penalties for disobedience.

And before even coughing up a period, the AP story mostly contradicts itself, saying that “Medical providers, employers and the wealthiest” will cover the majority of the costs. Of course they will! Can’t expect poor people to pay for their own… anything. Here we get closer to the point: some Americans have responsibilities, while other Americans simply are responsibilities.

Not to mention that what Democrats are suggesting is “a far-reaching $1.5 trillion plan.” Well, by all means, if it’s far-reaching, giddy-up! After all, what’s another $1.5 trillion among friends?

Standing before a banner that read “Quality Affordable Care for the Middle Class,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the moment “historic and transformative.” The bill would provide “stability and peace of mind” by braking costs and guaranteeing coverage, she said.

This plan, like the AP’s coverage of it, is amazing. “Affordable care” will result in a doubling of our exploding deficits. Heaping more taxes on the economy’s producers to insure the poor equals “responsibility.”A bill based on the horrendous failure of Medicare will yield “stability.”

…backers of a public plan – including Obama – say it would provide healthy competition for the insurance industry.

Ah, nearly forgot: “healthy competition” is what you get when you take an industry and add a competitor whose costs are determined arbitrarily, enforced by the federal government, and covered by hundreds of billions in Treasury debt.

“We are going to accomplish what many people felt wouldn’t happen in our lifetime,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., one of the main sponsors.

Really… so, in whose lifetime did many people feel Congress would accomplish the permanent ruination of republican government in the United States?

[Update: Fixed a typo – made it clear to the last sentence! Then misspelled a stupid word.]

Fun With the Ayatollah

Because it looks like the Iranian mullahs will continue doing as they damn well please, because the Obama administration is infuriating beyond words in its dealings with terrorists, and because I can…

It’s time foooorr: Fun With the Ayatollah! Play dress-up with everyone’s favorite totalitarian representative of a violent political system masquerading as a religion!

The ayatollah as:
Disney devotee
Francophile
Fatwa waiting to happen
Philosophizer
(Groucho) Marxist
Piratollah
Cross-town rival
ayatollah

Happy Independence Day!

Dangerous Territory

Sarah Palin’s July 4th resignation, with little explanation beyond, “Many just accept that lame duck status, and they hit that road… They draw a paycheck. They kind of milk it. And I’m not going to put Alaskans through that,” seems strange. The AP headline suggests she’s gearing up for a presidential campaign. As usual, Mark Steyn offers a far better postulation.

I’m a fan of Sarah Palin, but I hope she doesn’t run in 2012. I’m also a Romney fan, and we know what a short memory the press has. Aware that Palin’s damaged goods after the ravaging media and Hollywood elites put her through last year, how much you wanna bet she suddenly becomes the quirky underdog versus Romney, capitalist tool with a soul as black as night?

Not like it matters. No GOP candidate will get much face time in 2012, with the networks (and any newspaper still in business) so busy trumpeting the glorious achievements of Obama’s first four years. Maybe in 2016… though I’m not as optimistic as Victor Davis Hanson that Palin can grow from a refreshing conservative talker to “a charismatic Margaret Thatcher type heavyweight.”

My bigger concern is the health of the nation’s elite. What if Sarah Palin announces she’ll never run for national office again? With Dubya at home on the ranch and the Republican party in a state of disarray, on whom will our progressive betters loose their bile? I fear we’d more likely see a spike in ulcer-related deaths in California and D.C. than any acknowledgment that Obama is an arrogant statist, Biden’s a horrendous VP, or Democratic Congressmen are at least as dumb as Republicans.