Health Care Freedom Amendment Clears Leftist Challenge

Per The Columbus Dispatch:

The Ohio Supreme Court this morning unanimously rejected an attempt to block an issue from the November ballot that would attempt to opt-out Ohio from the new federal requirements that everyone obtain health insurance.

Good news, as expected. The Health Care Freedom Amendment does what it says, providing Ohioans with an opportunity to fight leftist attempts at centralized government medicine. Complainant ProgressOhio uses this platform as they use all platforms, spinning harebrained Progressive nonsense:

“Ohioans will now have a choice — to return to the days when children were denied insurance coverage over pre-existing conditions; return to the days when seniors have to choose between prescription drugs and groceries; return to the days when young adults can’t stay on their parents insurance and return to the days when small businesses did not get tax breaks for providing insurance.

“This fall “no” will be a beautiful word.”

Where is the option for magically affordable coverage for everyone? Somehow ProgressOhio has missed the past year’s worth of news about what a budget-busting, care-rationing disaster Obamacare will be if it’s not disassembled.

If you live in this dimension’s Ohio, where things aren’t free just because socialists think they can force The Rich to pay for them, vote Yes on Issue 3!

Cross-posted at Columbus Tea Party and Third Base Politics.

A Tale of Two Ballot Measures

With yesterday’s news that the Secretary of State has certified more than 425,000 signatures supporting The Healthcare Freedom Amendment, it’s official – the November ballot will include a referendum on Obamacare’s key mandate. This is excellent news for Ohioans, and less-excellent news for Progressive advocates of big government.

The amendment, championed by the Ohio Liberty Council and other conservative groups, has found support among Ohio’s GOP establishment – which is finally recognizing the old Democrat-lite agenda as a dead end. In addition to being unaffordable, guaranteeing rationed care, and limiting Ohioans’ health care choices, Obamacare is plainly unconstitutional. Unless you believe (as Sherrod Brown does) that “interstate commerce” means “Washington can decide what you do or do not buy; when, where, and from whom.”

But those reasons don’t explain Republican support for The Healthcare Freedom Amendment! No, according to the Dispatch, “The measure was supported by the state Republican Party as a possible GOP counterweight to the Democrat-backed referendum on Senate Bill 5.”

Ok… let’s go down that road. Progress Ohio and the usual array of mathematically-impaired leftists insist Obamacare is good and necessary legislation, while Senate Bill 5 is the work of hateful extremists. Need proof? Just look at the campaigns behind the two ballot issues:

  • Socialized medicine is a long-time goal of Progressives, therefore opposition to Obamacare is evil. Senate Bill 5 changes a law passed by Democrats in 1983, therefore Senate Bill 5 is evil.
  • The Health Care Freedom Amendment has support extending beyond Ohio: astroturf! All government unions march to a nationally financed and centrally-organized drum: solidarity!
  • Wealthy people sometimes donate to tea party groups – those capitalist swine! Union bosses pay themselves six figures in member dues – those martyrs for workers’ rights!
  • Obamacare was written by a few Democrats and lobbyists before being rammed through using flagrant bribes, as all legislation guiding the lives of 308,000,000 people should be. Senate Bill 5 was passed with GOP maneuvering, which is obviously far worse.

Shall we start a collection for train tickets so the InnoProgPolicy Ohio scholars can depart our cloud of backwardness when The Healthcare Freedom Amendment passes and the SB 5 referendum fails?

Cross-posted at Columbus Tea Party and Third Base Politics.

Obamacare Still an Awful Idea

If you’ve not read about the recent McKinsey & Company study investigating the likelihood of businesses dropping employee health coverage due to Obamacare, The Weekly Standard has all the gory details.

The study finds that, “Overall, 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering ESI [employer-sponsored insurance] in the years after 2014… Among employers with a high awareness of reform, this proportion increases to more than 50 percent.”

You didn’t actually believe President Obama when he promised you could keep your current coverage, did you? This particular mandate, of course, isn’t mandatory for government medicine’s loudest proponents, as summarized fiendishly by Karl Rove’s minions at Crossroads GPS –

Cato Institute writer Michael F. Cannon opines about one of Obamacare’s central cost-saving schemes, and why it’s destined for failure:

Inefficient providers have effectively killed nearly every pilot program that previous administrations promised would make Medicare more efficient. Suppliers of wheelchairs and other medical equipment have blocked efforts to reduce the inflated prices Medicare pays them. The industry has killed or sabotaged at least four federal agencies dedicated to researching which medical treatments don’t work.

Cutting costs is sort of a big deal, with unfunded Medicare obligations already totaling $24.8 trillion before Obamacare’s shady accounting and expanded entitlements kick in. Another Obamacare stick, Comparative Effectiveness Research, might reduce the cost of health care… while gravely damaging its effectiveness:

CER can be beneficial if used solely to inform doctors and patients to guide decision-making. However, the new law lays the groundwork for bureaucrats to use CER in Medicare to make coverage decisions and otherwise compel physicians to treat patients not according to what is best for the individual but according to what the evidence shows is best in most cases.

Back at The Weekly Standard, numbers from a Rasmussen poll of likely voters don’t look good for fans of socialized medicine.

By a margin of more than 2 to 1 (48 to 20 percent), likely voters think Obamacare would reduce, rather than improve, the quality of health care. By a margin of more than 3 to 1 (53 to 15 percent), they think it would raise, rather than lower, health costs. By a margin of 4 to 1 (56 to 14 percent), they think it would raise, rather than lower, deficits.

To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi’s immortal words: the more that we find out what’s in Obamacare, the more appalled we are that you passed it.

Bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government is not the answer to big government’s past and current failures in the health care industry. As responses to Paul Ryan’s budget remind us, Washington leftists have no connection to fiscal reality, no interest in personal freedom, and certainly no concern for the will of the voters.

Have you signed a petition supporting the Health Care Freedom Amendment yet?

Union Bosses Love Unions

Predictably, government unions are up in arms over Senate Bill 5. In a startling twist, union bosses are arguing that taxing Peter to generously compensate Paul is both fair and economically responsible!

“These lower wages and benefits are going to have an impact on our communities. In order to have a healthy community, you’ve got to have good jobs.” – Bruce Wyngaard, Associate Executive Director, AFSCME Local 11

Public union boss Bruce Wyngaard has a good job – to the tune of $94,337 in 2009. Lots of other American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 11 staffers have good jobs, too: the union paid its employees over $5.8 million in 2009. Taken from 30,870 members, that’s the equivalent of nearly $190 per member.

This guy was paid $94,337 in 2009, and wants your taxes increased.

AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall will testify against Senate Bill 5 on Thursday. Lyall was paid $155,482 in 2009. Think he’ll mention that while he’s railing about spending cuts? Excluding payments to officers such as Lyall – and $148,265 for First VP Robert Mitchell – AFSCME Council 8 employees were paid more than $5.7 million in 2009. Annual disbursements to union employees equaled more than $155 per member.

Left: $155k in 2009. Right: $148k in 2009. Both: Want your taxes increased.

For context, the unions spent less than half as much on benefits – pensions, medical insurance, etc. – as on union pay in 2009. AFSCME Local 11 spent a little over $2.5 million on benefits; AFSCME Council 8 spent less than $2 million. Is it unreasonable to conclude the primary service provided by government unions is the enrichment of union bosses?

No wonder “leaders” like Bruce Wyngaard and John Lyall insist that without unions, government employees would endure random firings, no benefits, and a steady diet of discount cheese! Anything to keep pressure on the enemy (“the taxpayer”) and off the characters earning six figures on member dues.

Leftists have proven time and again that getting rich on the backs of others doesn’t preclude you from preaching economic redistribution and decrying personal freedom. AFSCME officials will complain till their complainers are sore about Republican attacks on government employees. Fact is, public union reps are chiefly concerned about public union reps.

Cross-posted at Third Base Politics, The Buckeye Institute, and Columbus Tea Party.

Old-Timey Civility

Though I try to give a wide berth to topics that have been run into the ground, I’ve read some interesting reactions to the recent hubbub about “tone” and “civility” and came across one I wanted to share. Victor Davis Hanson made a good point in a National Review Online article last week:

The hate-filled rhetoric […] was cruel, lunatic, and illogical — and helped demonize President Bush as some sort of monster rather than the center-right moderate who had pressed for No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, called for religious tolerance, warned against anti-Muslim violence after 9/11, won two bipartisan congressional authorizations for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and implemented the largest medical-relief plan for Africa in U.S. history.

The history of American politics is chock-full of incivility, and Dubya is a prime example of the double standard at play. Obviously leftists get a pass on President Bush, because Progressivism is the vibrant, passionate antithesis to all the terrible things George W. Bush represents. Never mind that he represented those things because of the left’s unwavering belief in its own rhetoric. Today’s pleas for civility are an effort to silence opposition, plain and simple.

VDH’s mention of Bush and the leftist bile he endured reminded me of the only time I sent a letter to the school paper while I was at Miami. It was a couple weeks before the 2004 election, President Bush’s daughters had just visited campus for a campaign event, and the College Republicans were bringing Ann Coulter to Oxford.

Witty Op-Ed Mean Conservative Response
The Miami Student, 10-22-2004, page 13

The Miami Student, 10-22-2004, page 13
(Click to zoom; drag image to scroll)

The Miami Student, 10-26-2004, page 10

The Miami Student, 10-26-2004, page 10
(Click to zoom; drag image to scroll)

Who’s more “civil” – the hatemonger conservative, or the hipster journalism minor? A trivial example, sure. But even though Miami is a relatively conservative campus, The Miami Student‘s editors saw fit to print a sex fantasy attacking a conservative pundit and, for good measure, objectifying the president’s daughters. Imagine if we pulled a few autumn 2004 editorials from the student papers at Berkeley, Columbia, or NYU!

This is one of the great things about freedom of speech. Give a complete jackass ten minutes or a slot on the Opinion page, and he’ll say something closely resembling, “I am a complete jackass.”

Fear Not, Fair Internet

Fear not, fair Internet, for The Government is here:

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski now has the three votes needed for approval, despite firm opposition from the two Republicans on the five-member commission. Genachowski’s two fellow Democrats said Monday they will vote for the rules, even though they consider them too weak.

After a federal court ruled that his Federal Communications Commission could not regulate the internet, Julius Genachowski did what a good Obama appointee does: regulate it anyway.

Yet many supporters of network neutrality are disappointed. Clyburn and the other Democrat, Michael Copps, both said the rules are not as strong as they would like, even after Genachowski made some changes to address their concerns.

You don’t have to be a kook like Michael Copps to worry about providers throttling specific types of content, or charging for services in a way specifically designed to screw customers over. I’ll be the first to say that Time Warner sucks, and though I’m content with Verizon I hardly love ’em. But let’s think about this whole “Net Neutrality” scam for more than fifteen seconds. Time Warner’s monopoly in Oxford was infuriating, so I’m now a happy Wide Open West customer. If I get sick of Verizon, I can dump them for AT&T, or T-Mobile, or Sprint. If the FCC regulates the tubes stupidly, guess what – we’re all stuck with those stupid regulations.

Companies sometimes do bad things. This is a fact that is well established. In some unfortunate circumstances, people have limited options for their home or mobile broadband service. If the FCC could predict trends, regulate wisely, and do more good than harm, that would be one thing. But where’s the evidence that the federal government is competent enough to regulate the industry? Genachowski wants all data to be delivered at the same rate, regardless of the content or how little the customer might be willing to pay for its delivery.

When I think of the government and I think of delivering stuff, I don’t get more optimistic.

Contrast packets of data with items delivered by mail: the USPS conducts business that’s not wildly different from when letters were carried by a dude on a horse. The internet is a global network of networks, supporting the creation of new technologies and businesses every day. The carriers selling access to this web of digital goods and services are continuously developing new ways to provide said access, from varying devices and at a wide range of price points.

Delivering letters is too complicated a process for the federal government. Think they’ll do a better job of regulating the internet? Maybe the USPS is an unfair example. After all, the last time Washington decided to take over a sixth of the economy, it went really well. When bureaucrats decide Americans have a “right” to a product, woe to the industry that produces it!

The Stupid Face of Evil

Lest we forget what we’re up against, here’s Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the dumb SOB who wanted to slaughter thousands of American men, women, and children at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon:

“You know, the streets are packed,” said Mohamud, a tall, thin student at Oregon State University in Corvallis, about 80 miles south of Portland. When one of the men responded that “a lot of children” would attend, according to an FBI affidavit, he replied, “Yeah, I mean that’s what I’m looking for.”

Mohamud shrugged off concerns about security at the event. “They don’t see it as a place where anything will happen…. It’s on the West Coast, it’s in Oregon, and Oregon’s like you know, nobody ever thinks about it,” he explained.

He’s right, and that’s frightening. But think about this for a minute: Mohamed’s a Somalian. He’s not exactly an Oregon State student as the LA Times reports, but has a high school diploma and is a naturalized citizen of one of history’s greatest nations. Somalia blows, thanks in no small part to radical Islam… and Mo wants to celebrate his freedom from that dump by blowing up American civilians.

Thank God for the FBI, but we can’t expect them to catch every jihadist idiot in the early phases of his plotting. Some percentage of these deranged Wile E. Coyote attacks will continue to succeed, and when they do there will be appalling bureaucrats like Janet Napolitano happy to get deeper into our bits and our business. For now, I’m grateful to our troops offering convenient overseas locations where jihadists may die at the hands of The Great Satan. Longer term, we need to drill more of our own oil, find viable alternatives to fossil fuels, or give the Saudis a good swift kick.

Goooo science!

The Creepy Uncle

Uncle TSA

Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion is all over the TSA “get scanned or get groped” insanity, and has been hounding Ohio politicians for what (if anything) they plan to do about it.

My position, as I commented on Ricochet:

Since the TSA loves Security Theater, I have a serious proposal: in every boarding area, a sign that in multiple languages reads “Each flight which departs this terminal is safeguarded by no less than one armed plainclothes agent. Attempts at violence will be met with appropriate force.” Factor in screening time saved, and I guarantee guards would be cheaper than these damnable scanners.

Update: See this Ricochet discussion about Israeli airport security. Questioning, bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors – yes to all three. Leave it to Washington bureaucrats to find the intersection of “most intrusive” and “least effective” when Israel has methods that actually work.

Thwarted Plots and Silly Memes

News this week of a planned terrorist attack spanning multiple Western nations should make us grateful that President Obama at least takes the Islamist threat seriously enough to authorize Predator strikes (even if he would never refer to it as “the Islamist threat”). As usual, The Long War Journal has the best coverage for this sort of thing.

The Christian Science Monitor also featured a useful summary yesterday, but closed with the repetition of a favorite anti-war meme:

The BBC also quotes former CIA officer Robert Baer as saying the plot may be “a reprisal from the [Taliban-allied] Haqqani network against the United States and Britain for the stepped-up aerial campaign in the tribal areas of Pakistan.” If such were true, it would imply a dangerous cycle where militants are constantly plotting revenge attacks on the West, while the West is constantly plotting attacks on militants to thwart their plans.

If America ceased Predator strikes against known terrorists in Pakistan, would Islamists cease planning terrorist attacks? That might be a serious question to consider – and reason for a more hesitant response to Islamist violence – if the world had been created yesterday.

Given the benefit of history, warnings of a “dangerous cycle” are hardly worth the pixels they occupy. Absent Predator strikes, Islamists would be “constantly plotting revenge” for:

When the representatives of classically liberal nations start equivocating our actions against terrorists with the attacks of terrorists on civilians, it’s time to stop and think about how much self-loathing is too much.

Beck’s Bread and Butter

This story on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally made it all the way to paragraph 6 before laying on the sort of tone you’d expect from The Washington Post:

On the Mall, an overwhelmingly white crowd of tens of thousands stood quietly during an opening prayer, the silence broken only by an occasional “amen.” The dense assembly , which contained few young people, stretched from the Lincoln Memorial, past the reflecting pool, to the World War II Memorial and spilled onto the grounds of the Washington Monument.

The crowd, consisting of many from the Midwest and the South, was not visibly angry. Rather, they said they had come to express their fear that the country was at a perilous moment.

Emphasis mine. The crowd’s not primarily or predominantly white, but overwhelmingly so. And the hillbillies aren’t visibly angry – should we expect them to be? – but they are afraid. This endless focus on the race and fear of Tea Party types represents a naked attempt by the “mainstream” media to paint anyone who agrees with Beck, Palin, et al. as a bigoted yokel. It also helps explain why Beck and other Fox News programming generally pulls more viewers than the three top competitors combined.

I’m a News Corp. shareholder, but I watch almost no TV news because I tire quickly of all the networks’ theatrics. For millions of Americans, however, Fox News provides a distinct option in a sea of leftward slanted reporting. That the other fish use every opportunity to whine about the racism and ignorance of anyone who disagrees with them reflects poorly on somebody… and that “somebody” is not Glenn Beck. Charles Krauthammer sums it up perfectly.

As for concerns about Beck co-opting the time and place of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, these seem completely misplaced. Red or yellow, black or white, it’d be difficult to find worse representatives of King’s dream than the professional victims who get away with acting in his name simply because of the color of their skin. I’ll take a speech about what makes America great over a speech about how much we owe the Al Sharptons of the world any day, even if the audience is “overwhelmingly white.”