Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tools in the News

This week's Tool in the News is House Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers (D-MI).

Looks to me like we now know what Congressman Conyers thinks of his constituents.

How about this, Congressman? If you can't read the bill due to time constraints or legalese, just don't pass it!

I Just Don't Get It...

Jack Dunphy (a pseudonym, not to be confused with the late playwright) had a brilliant article at Pajamas Media on the the reasonability of Officer Crowley's behavior.

Color me ignorant, but I just don't get it; does Henry Louis Gates actually believe that he would have been treated differently if he were white? Dunphy points out in some detail just why Crowley was justified in his concern. Crowley did not stop Gates because Gates was black. There was a 911 call involved, and when police are dispatched with information from a 911 call, an emergency must be presumed.

Gates sounds to me like a whiny petulant little child. I'm not about to paint with a broad brush, but he sure makes a lousy amabassador for his race.

Teh 3pic Fa1l uv 0bama

Like many conservative pundits, I am worried the future. Even in the best of the times, the future can be an uncertain uncanny beast waiting to devour us, or it can be an angel swooping in to save us from ourselves at just the perfect time.

In 2010, the midterm congressional elections will likely serve as a bellweather for 2012 and beyond. Unlike many of my conservative brothers and sisters, I have recently discovered a cause for renewed optimism. One needs only to look at the second-most socialist president ever to come down the pike in my lifetime: William Jefferson Blythe-Clinton.

President "Slick Willie" was painfully aware of certain forces at work, which I call "political considerations." Clinton was notorious in political circles for commissioning polls to determine every last bit of minutiae for his public persona, such as what to eat when going out, where to go on vacation, Etc. Dick Morris, being a professional political advisor, could probably say a lot more, and in a lot more detail, than I could about such considerations, but the important thing to recall is how Clinton reacted to them.

Clinton was a noted member (charter, I believe) of the Democratic Leadership Council. He campaigned as a third-way moderate which he clearly was not, but recognition of inviolable political considerations led him to do more than a few things reluctantly; he privately encouraged Hillary to scrap her health care reform plans early in his administration, he signed the welfare reform act that was passed by a Republican congress after the 1994 takeover, and faced with the infamous blue dress, Clinton finally had to make a flimsy apology to the American public.

Quite clearly, Barack H. Obama has believed up until this point that he could succeed where Clinton failed. His rockstar status during the campaign was almost enough to make me worry that he was right. Now that he is in the Oval Office and actually has to deliver on the promises he made, the wine is going sour and the roses are starting to wilt.

On the subject of Health Care, Hillary Clinton presented Congress with a draft bill that was the subject of heavy critcism from many pundits, and even a significant segment of Congress at the time. Obama has submitted no draft bill, apparently in the hopes that he could escape that criticism. All he would need to do was trust Congress to churn out something -- anything -- for him to sign before the American people, or even most of Congress, could know what was being voted on. Might have worked, but for the fact that Obama himself admitted his ignorance concerning what was in the House health care reform bill.

When it comes to racial animus, Obama had yet another chance to shine in his answer to Lynn Sweet last week during his health care presser. For someone in a "post-racial" presidency, he seemed awfully happy to condemn a white police officer for the very act of arresting a black man, even though Obama said he knew he didn't have all the facts, himself.

With each passing week, talk of the economy and war on terror that Obama "inherited" sounds more petty to more people. His failure to take responsibility for problems of his own creation will ring hollow as an empty eggshell if it remains into the 2010 congressional campaign season.

Perhaps it could be said that in the end, Bill Clinton was chiefly worried about his own power. When he had his back against the wall, Clinton was more than happy to sacrifice his socialist/Marxist principles to ensure a second term. In that, he was successful. On the other hand, Barack H. Obama makes a terrible mistake in thinking that his charisma can carry him through his presidency as an ideologue. Sooner or later, the people will expect delivery. We'll know if we get a bill of goods.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Refreshingly Honest Look at Health Care

July 21, 2009
Dateline: Washington

Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar hasn't done President Obama any favors with the article he wrote for Tuesday's news cycle:

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare law on July 30, 1965, and 11 months later seniors were receiving coverage. But if President Barack Obama gets to sign a health care overhaul this fall, the uninsured won't be covered until 2013 -- after the next presidential election.

Good grief! What's the hurry? But wait -- it gets even better:

In fact, a timeline of the 1,000-pagge health care bill crafted by House Democrats shows it would take the better part of a decade -- from 2010-2018 -- to get all the components of the far-reaching proposal up and running. The moving parts include a national insurance marketplace overseen by a brand new federal bureaucracy -- the Health Choices Administration.

"Moving parts?" "Bureaucracy?" This is wrong on so many levels. The alarm bells going off in my head are deafening. Color me cynical, but there has to be a reason to put off the full impact of health care reform until after the 2012 elections. Whatever that reason is, it doesn't bode well for the American people.

No Pork in the Stimulus Bill? Wha...?

From TheHill.com, Drudge had this story plastered all over his site yesterday.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsac was quick to point out:

“Press reports suggesting that the Recovery Act spent $1.19 million to buy ‘2 pounds of ham’ are wrong. In fact, the contract in question purchased 760,000 pounds of ham for $1.191m, at a cost of approximately $1.50 per pound.”

Well doesn't that just put your mind at ease? What a nice man. What concern. [/sarcasm off]

I am hoping and praying with every fiber of my soul that this administration will be held accountable for every wasted dime!

Small Town, Bad Reputation

Sunday, July 20
Dateline: Zeeland, ND

Some exposition is in order. I work for a newspaper in a town of about 24,800 people. My hometown is surrounded farms and even smaller communities, many of which virtually straddle the South Dakota/North Dakota border.

James MacPherson, writing for the Assocated Press, paints a bleak picture of life in a hamlet far smaller than my own:

Bad blood among feuding residents is commonplace in the tiny south-central North Dakota town of Zeeland. Even the mayor has a restraining order against him for allegedly harassing his neighbor over her barking dog.

Residents seem to be ceaselessly involved in rifsts in the McIntosh County town of about 140 people, the county's top prosecutor says.

And in a sidebar:
Mayor Bob Schumacher pleaded not guilty last month to a disorderly conduct charge accusing him of threatening a woman about her yapping pooch. The affidavit says Schumacher not only complayed about her dog, but also scolded her for being unemployed and overweight.

I can about imagine how that conversation might have gone...

Get that mutt away from me, you fat lazy [expletive deleted]!

To all the residents of Zeeland, and especially Mayor Bob Shumacher, I have a message: Grow up!

I hope someone in Zeeland read's MacPherson's article and sees themselves in it. If absolutely no one does, then that pitiful little backwater is beyond help.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pick up the Pieces, Fill in the Gaps, Etc...

Saturday, July 11, 2009
Bob Mercer, writing for the Aberdeen American News

An interesting article in the Aberdeen American News speaks to the dread that socialized health care should engender.

The most important part of the story comes in the third and fourth paragraphs:

[South Dakota] State Social Services Secretary Deb Bowman said there is no question that South Dakota must help pay when the Indian Health Service refers patients to outside health care providers.

She described the Indian Health Service as "woefully inadequately funded" by Congress and said many services, including even normal births of babies, must be provided through outside clinics, hospitals and specialists.

Every time I read about the Indian Health Service and its failings, I think I get a different picture than these articles intend to give. Many tribes see the failure of the IHS as a failure of the white power structure (i.e. the federal government) to live up to its obligations (which were entered into by our forefathers largely in bad faith anyway).

What I see is a shining example of what a single-payer federally funded health care system would be like for everyone. Make no mistake, it's not a question of if the private insurance industry would be crowded out; it's only a question of when. At least in Indian Country, they have an option for when the Federal Government fails them. What would our options be with a nationwide system of the same kind?

On a more personal note, I'm getting socked in the pocketbook twice already. My federal tax dollars pay for IHS, and state tax dollars pay for the medicaid that picks up the slack. I do not want to be charged a third time for someone else's health insurance.

But Will They Get Burned?

On Monday (July 13), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, charged that Sonia Sotomayor is "out of the mainstream," but hastened to add that she would get a fair hearing in front of the committee.

Once again we find ourselves, as conservatives, playing by the ground rules set by the liberals. We played by their rules when we were out of power, we played by their rules when we were back in power, and now we're out of power again.

Someone should step up to the plate and say that "being judged fairly" does not mean that Sotomayor is assured of any senator's vote only on the basis of a "compelling life story." Judge Sotomayor does not have the judicial temperment to be called as a citizen juror, much less a judge.

I'm already bracing myself to be disappointed based on the tenor of the dialogue thus far. We may be in danger of sounding like Democrats, but we have something on our side that the Democrats never had:

The Truth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who's deceptive?

July 6, 2009
From Associated Press writer Alan Fram

WASHINGTON (AP) - Staring at the camera, Shona Holmes says a brain tumor would have killed her had she relied on her Canadian, government-run health plan that would have provided treatment far too late. "Now, Washington wants to bring Canadian-style health care to the U.S.," a narrator says darkly.

The television ad from a conservative group is dramatic—but deceptive.

In fact, President Barack Obama and Democrats pushing to overhaul health care want to create an optional, government-run plan to compete with private insurers but not replace them. As Obama told a health forum last week, "We're not suddenly just going to completely upend the system. We want to build on what works about the system and fix what's broken about the system."

Does any right-thinking person, any person with half-a-brain think that President Obama is actually concerned about competing with private health insurance? There's already been far too much said behind closed doors.

And it's worth noting that there are other ways to coerce people into a single-payer system; it doesn't have to be done statutorily. If you don't look to Canadian health care as your example, one only needs to look at Medicare's low payouts, rampant fraud, and general mismanagement, to see where this is headed.