An Adjustment In Republican Party Politics?

Today’s New York Post is reporting that Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in New York’s 23rd District has suspended her campaign.   Mrs. Scozzafava was challenged on the left by a Democrat Party candidate, Bill Owens, and on the right by a Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman. 

According to the article:

“A Siena Poll released this morning showed Owens picking up 36 percent of the vote, Hoffman with 35 percent, and Scozzafava taking only 20 percent.”

This is a poll that is consistent with the grass roots activities that have been taking place around the country since last Spring.  Although Washington does not seem to notice, the American public is beginning to tire of big spending and big taxing. 

It is interesting to note that the article in the New York Post points out that Republican officials backed Doug Hoffman as soon as Mrs. Scozzafava withdrew from the race.  Are these the same tone-deaf officials that chose Mrs. Scozzafava (behind closed doors) to run for the House of Representatives in this district? 

The fact that Mrs. Scozzafava has dropped out of the race may preserve a Republican seat. However, if the Republican party leadership (and I use that word loosely) intends to win House and Senate seats in the future, they would do well to listen to the mood of the country. 

New Taxes In The Healthcare Reform Proposal

HR 3962 “Affordable Health Care For America” was introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday.  On Thursday, Americans For Tax Reform printed a list of the new taxes the bill would create. 

  • Employers who do not pay 72.5 percent of a single employees’ health care premium or 65 percent of a family employee must pay an excise tax.  The percentage of the tax increases according to the amount of the payroll of the company.   (Page 275)
  • If a person fails to obtain acceptable private healthcare coverage, he must pay a tax of 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) or the average premium.  (Page 296)
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) could no longer be used to cover non-prescription medications (with the exception of insulin).  That means that over-the-counter allergy medicine or cough drops, etc. would no long be included.  (Page 324)
  • There would be an annual cap on FSAs of $2500 (currently uncapped).  (Page 325)
  • Non-qualified distributions from HSAs would face an additional tax of 20 percent (current law is 10 percent).  This disadvantages HSAs relative to other tax-free accounts (e.g. IRAs, 401(k)s, 529 plans, etc.).  (Page 326)
  • No tax deduction for employer health plans coordinating with Medicare Part D.  (Page 327)
  • Surtax on individuals and small businesses that would raise the top marginal tax rate in 2011 from 39.6 percent under current law to 45 percent–a new effective top rate.  (Page 336)
  • Excise tax on medical device manufacturers equal to 2.5 percent of the wholesale price.  (Page 339)
  • Requires that 1099-MISC forms be issued to corporations as well as persons for trade or business payments.  Current law limits to just persons for small business compliance complexity reasons.  Also expands reporting to exchanges of property. (Page 344)
  • Delays for nine years the worldwide allocation of interest, a corporate tax relief provision from the American Jobs Creation Act.  (Page 345)
  • Increases taxes on U.S. employers with overseas operations looking to avoid double taxation of earnings.  (Page 346)
  • Empowers the IRS to disallow a perfectly legal tax deduction or other tax relief merely because the IRS deems that the motive of the taxpayer was not primarily business-related.  (Page 349)
  • Publicly-traded partnerships and corporations with annual gross receipts in excess of $100 million have raised standards on penalties.  If there is a tax underpayment by these taxpayers, they must be able to prove that the estimated tax paid would have more likely than not been sufficient to cover final tax liability.  (Page 357)

I apologize for the length of this list, but actually I think Congress should apologize for the length of this list.  This is a disgusting government money and power grab that needs to be stopped in its tracks.  It took about twenty pages to create the American government, if Congress can’t reform healthcare in less than fifty pages, they shouldn’t call it reform.

Interfering In Someone Else’s Constitution

According to the Yahoo News Honduras has accepted a deal which will allow for the return of  President Manuel Zelaya as President until January of 2010.  The article refers to the “military coup” that deposed Zelaya in June.  There was no military coup.  President Zelaya had put in motion an unconstitutional scheme that would allow him to become “President for Life”in the manner of Hugo Chavez.  In June, the Honduran court and legislature ruled that his planned ballot initiative that would allow him to continue his term as President was unconstitutional.  The ballots were supplied by Hugo Chavez!

The agreement to return Zelaya to power until January was reached with extreme pressure applied by the United States State Department.  I am really sorry to hear this–we used to stand up for democracy.  President Zelaya is strongly supported by such freedom loving people as Fidel Castro and his brother and Hugh Chavez.  Theirs in the side the United States has chosen in this situation.

According to the article:

“The United States, the European Union
and Latin American leaders had all insisted Zelaya be allowed to finish
his term and they threatened not to recognize the winner of the
November election unless democracy was first restored.

“A U.S. team led by Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon and Dan Restrepo, Washington’s special assistant for Western Hemisphere affairs, sat in on talks earlier in the day and warned that time was running out to reach a deal.

“The coffee-producing Central American country has been diplomatically
isolated since Zelaya was rousted at dawn by soldiers on June 28 and
flown to exile on a military plane.

“Zelaya had angered many in Honduras by becoming an ally of socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Critics also alleged he was seeking backing to extend presidential term limits, a claim he denies.”

In the past, one of the ways to rate an American president was to evaluate the role he played in the spread of democracy around the world.  President Obama has not done very well in that respect.

Environmental Consequences Of Cap And Trade

Today’s Washington Examiner has a staff editorial posted on the effect of the current Cap and Trade proposal on the environment.  The current Cap and Trade bill is very invasive and expensive and would have a very detrimental effect on the American economy–but it would also have a very detrimental effect on the environment!  

Princeton University’s Tim Searchinger and his colleagues have discovered that “carbon reduction laws encourage widespread deforestation as trees and other vegetation are harvested to produce energy from biomass to replace oil and gas. The problem is that in long run, this process actually increases greenhouse gas emissions, which cap-and-trade is meant to reduce.”

According to the article:

“”By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years,” the Princeton authors say. “Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%.” Neither the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nor existing European cap-and-trade programs have taken into account widespread deforestation as farmers worldwide respond to the new economic incentives, Searchinger added.”

We saw a minor version of this disruption in farming when the US government subsidized ethanol–the price of corn jumped and groceries became more expensive.  We also have learned that without government money, ethanol is not practical.

Without the introduction of standardized nuclear plants (as in France), we will not be able to substantially cut our carbon emissions.  The demands of modern life give us two choices–build nuclear power plants or give up our standard of living.  I am willing to see our country build nuclear plants, I think France has shown that they can be operated safely, but I am unwilling to give drop my house temperature below 68 degrees in the winter or give up driving a car that is safe for me and my grandchildren. 

Media Sleight Of Hand Regarding ACORN

Newsbusters posted an article yesterday posing the questions the media had not asked regarding the video tapes made of ACORN employees offering to help a couple buy a house to set up a brothel with underage girls brought into the country from Central and South America.

Hannah Giles, the actress in the videos posted her set of questions the media has not asked.  Here is that list: 

  • Baltimore-Why no mention of the toddlers that were in the room while James and I were being counseled on how to manage our underage prostitution ring?
  • San Bernardino-The content of this video was largely ignored except for the part where Tresa Kaelke mentions she shot her husband. What about when she told us not to educate our sex-slaves because they won’t want to work for us? Or when we talked about making more money off clients who are permitted to physically abuse the girls? What about the whole transport-the-girls-in-a-school-bus-to-avoid-suspicion discussion?…
  • San Bernardino: What happened to the list of politicians that Ms. Kaelke rattled off when she spoke of her ACORN office’s community involvement and influence? Has anyone set out to uncover just how close these politicians relationships are with the San Bernardino ACORN? Does anyone even remember the names?
  • San Diego: Has anyone questioned why Juan Carlos would want to help smuggle girls across the Mexican border right after an ACORN-sponsored immigration parade???

Ms. Giles has written an article for Big Government asking these questions and a few others that most of the media has not been curious enough to ask.  The article asks some very good questions.

A Step Backwards In Healthcare

Today’s New York Post posted an editorial by Scott Gottlieb, a physician and American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, who was a senior official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is partner to a firm that invests in health-care companies, on the effects of the healthcare bill produced by the Senate Finance Committee which is currently being modified in committee.

As it is currently crafted, the parts of the bill that insure more people and reduce insurance costs don’t begin until years after the bill begins imposing large costs on consumers. 

According to the article:

“Starting in 2010, the bill would impose annual fees of $2.3 billion on brand-name drugs and $4 billion on medical devices, plus $6.7 billion on certain insurance providers — and more than $100 billion in cuts to what Medicare pays to health-care providers. These costs will immediately shift onto consumers, in the form of higher prices on medical products and rising premiums.

“Meanwhile, the promised subsidies to help pay for insurance don’t fully kick in until 2014. (And those subsidies only go to people earning below 300 percent of the poverty line, or about $66,000 for a family of four.)”

Evidently this was the only way to keep the first-10-years’ cost under $900 billion.

What we have here is an accounting gimmick–something Congress is very good at putting forth.  What we need to do is make sure the whole plan is rejected and sent back to the drawing board.  If you really want to cut costs and insure more people, you need tort reform and insurance portability across state lines.  Until Congress puts those two things in a healthcare bill, I will not be convinced that they are actually serious about healthcare reform.

The New York Post Endorses Doug Hoffman For Congress

Yesterday’s New York Post announced its endorsement of Doug Hoffman for Congress.  Sounds like your basic news story–a newspaper endorsing a candidate–but there is a lot more going on here behind the obvious. 

Doug Hoffman is running for a Congressional seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.  Doug Hoffman is running as a Conservative.  The Republican candidate in that race, Assemblywoman
Dede Scozzafava, was not chosen in a Republican primary election, but in a behind-closed-doors meeting of Republican Party Big Wigs.  She is not only a social liberal, but a tax and spend liberal who supports card check and is supported by the Working Families Party (which is closely aligned with ACORN.  The choice of Assemblywoman Scozzafava was tone deaf in terms of what has been happening around the country for the past six months.  A conservative revolt against the runaway spending of the Obama Administration is not a surprise, but the revolt is beginning to include nonconservatives alarmed by the rapid growth of the federal deficit.

This district has historically been a Republican district, but this election could change that.  The Republican Party needs to decide whether it is willing to listen to its members or continue to act like the Democrats.  To me, there is no difference between Ms. Scozzafava and the Democrat candidate.  If the Republicans lose the seat, that’s too bad, but her voting record would not be any different than the Democrat candidate, so why support her?  Some Republicans have spoken out in support of Doug Hoffman, and I hope more will do so.  Until the Republican Party realizes that many Americans do not support unchecked growth of government, they will not have my support.

ACORN On The Rebound

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner posted an article showing that the Democrat party has not given up their support of ACORN.  Despite numerous lawsuits involving voter fraud and numerous videos showing ACORN employees aiding people they think are committing illegal acts, the Democrats still love them!

Last week the House Financial Services Committee was preparing to vote on legislation to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency when a fight erupted over ACORN.  Democrats offered an amendment that could allow ACORN and groups like it to participate in the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency they were creating.

The bill the Democrats were voting on set up two boards within the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, an Oversight Board and an Advisory Board.  The Republicans, knowing what would logically happen next, prepared an amendment to keep ACORN from being part of the Advisory Board, the less powerful of the two boards, figuring that the Democrats would not try to set up a place for ACORN on the more powerful Oversight Board.  Well, they were wrong.  So the Republicans have had to regroup. 

According to the article:

“(Representative Michelle) Bachmann knows that Democrats managed to open up the Oversight Board to
ACORN and other groups without even being forced to publicly defend the
decision. Now, she hopes they will be forced to vote up or down on a
proposal to bar ACORN from the Oversight Board. “What we’re going to
try to do is offer an amendment when the bill goes to the floor,” says
Bachmann. “That’s the goal — to keep people who are from ACORN from
serving on the Oversight Board.””

The bottom line here is very simple.  The Democrats do not want ACORN to lose either its government support or its power.  ACORN is one of the best sources of money and votes for the Democrat Party.  It will require extreme vigilance on the part of every honest Congressman to keep ACORN from regaining public funds and positions of power in Washington.  Hopefully there are enough people left in Washington who take their responsibilities seriously enough to want to keep our government honest.

Misusing The American Court System

Yesterday’s Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial on the cash settlement paid to the “Flying Imams” by US Airways and Minneapolis airport police.  The case was brought in response to an incident three years ago at Minneapolis airport.

Six Islamic clerics were taken off a Phoenix-bound flight for behaving much like the 9/11 hijackers.  One of the things that raised the suspicions of the airline was that half of them had no luggage and had purchased one-way tickets.

According to the article:

“Some yelled “Allah, Allah, Allah,” and changed their seats while asking for seat belt extensions they never used. Though situated throughout the cabin, the six men appeared to be acting in concert. Witnesses also said they loudly cursed the U.S.”

The article details the Imams search for a court to hear their discrimination suit. 

The article also points out:

“The imams’ attorney — a board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which financed the case — says the deal involves an undisclosed amount paid to his clients by airport police. Details are sealed. The airport authority issued a statement saying insurance limits its liability to $50,000.

“The settlement of this case is a clear victory for justice and civil rights,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.””

We need to remember that the enemies of America study our court system carefully.  CAIR chooses its lawsuits very carefully to move the legal system in their direction.  Unfortunately this case will make the skies of America less safe as people are less willing to act in the face of inappropraite behavior.

How Many Uninsured Are There?

Yesterday National Review posted an article by Duncan Currie taking a closer look at how many Americans do not have health insurance. 

The article states:

“According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), that’s roughly how many people (the more precise figure was 45.7 million) lacked health insurance at a given moment in 2007 — nearly one-sixth of the entire U.S. population. The latest CPS data show that 46.3 million were uninsured at a given moment in 2008.”

The article explains why that figure is misleading.  Economist Keith Hennessey has analyzed the numbers and come to a very different conclusion.  Many of the people currently enrolled in government insurance programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were not counted as enrolled (a phenomenon known as the “Medicaid undercount”).   Many people eligible for federal programs were not enrolled, some of the uninsured were illegal aliens, many were childless adults between 18 and 34 years old, and many of the uninsured were families earning well above the poverty level who simply chose not to have insurance.  When you eliminate all of the above groups of people, the number becomes about 10.6 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

The article concludes:

“The emergence of such a (dynamic, conpetitive market for individual insurance)…would not guarantee universal health-insurance coverage — but neither would the Baucus bill, according to the CBO. Health-care reforms that reduced costs, increased value, enhanced insurance portability, improved transparency, and promoted competition would also substantially boost coverage. Lawmakers must remember that an expansion of insurance coverage could either mitigate or exacerbate America’s underlying health-care problems, depending on how it is achieved. Implementing price controls and costly mandates would only make those problems worse.”

We need to examine the history of the cost of government programs.  Government programs very rarely (if ever) cost less than their predicted cost.  The also tend to be less effective than the private sector because they do not have to be efficient–there is no reason to be efficient–there is no profit involved.  Please read the article at National Review.  It is long, but has a lot of good ideas on the subject of health insurance reform.

The Missile Shield In Poland And The Czech Republic

Today’s New York Post has an opinion piece by Peter Brookes dealing with the changes America has made in the missile shield promised to Poland and the Czech Republic.  Vice-President Biden visited those two countries last week to explain the program the White House is planning to put in place there. 

The new plan for a missile defense shield is based on a new evaluation of existing intelligence on the Iranian ballistic-missile threat.  The Pentagon currently says that short and medium range missiles from Iran are more of a threat than any long range missiles.  The decision to use US Navy ships to defend Europe from Iranian missiles is a good idea if the threat is from short and medium range missiles; however, the system promised by the Bush Administration would also have been an early warning system to protect the US. 

The article points out the future dangers to the US in terms of our own missile shield:

“The Alaska and California sites could take out an Iranian ICBM targeted at much of the United States, but there are serious questions about coverage — including New York and Washington — because of the missiles’ trajectory and range.

Worse yet, President Obama decided to reduce the number of West Coast interceptors from 40 to 30, which would limit the capability to take out incoming ICBMs, because several interceptors would be fired at each missile to ensure a kill.

That means there’s a gap in our defenses against an Iranian ICBM strike until the land-based SM-3s are operational, which, by the way, will almost certainly face funding and engineering-development challenges.

In the end, the Biden proposal not only lags the Bush plan’s deployment time frame, it’s possibly more expensive and probably only equally as capable. Plus, the Russians (and Chinese) may try to get us to stand down on the new, “juiced” land-based SM-3, arguing that they’re a counterspace weapon in the arms-control talks many think the Obama administration is interested in opening on the weaponization of space.”

We currently live in a very complex world.  I am not sure our present administration is equipped to deal with the complexities of that world.

Climate Change And The Economy

The Hill is reporting today that Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander said that the climate change bill currently being promoted by President Obama would “deliberately” kill American jobs. 

According to the article Senator Alexander has an alternative program to the one being discussed:

“…Alexander said he accepts the science behind global-warming and the need for a climate-change bill, but emphasized the Republican approach is superior. As he has for several weeks, Alexander said the country should devote itself to building 100 more nuclear power plants over the next 20 years, converting half of the country’s autos to electricity in the next 20 years; increase offshore oil exploration and increase investments in energy research and development.”

Democrat Senator John Rockefeller is also opposed to the current bill.  The current emission standards in the bill would devastate the coal industry in his state.

There is a related article in Newsweek this week about the negative effects of the amount of money being invested in green energy worldwide right now. 

The Newsweek article points out:

“Energy economist Manuel Frondel of Germany’s RWI Institute says the country’s lavish subsidies have blocked innovation and delayed the advent of cost-competitive solar power worldwide. For several years solar-module costs stagnated because German subsidies sucked up global production at virtually any price. Only when Spain decided in 2008 to scrap a similar subsidy scheme it had copied from the Germans did the global solar bubble collapse and costs fall. The German solar case also defies the green-jobs model. The idea is that subsidies create a new industry and a lot of high-tech jobs. Yet Germany’s solar producers are downsizing. With little pressure to become efficient and cost–competitive, they are now getting crowded out by Chinese producers.”

Government is never a successful innovator and more government subsidies do not lead to economic growth.  We need to use the energy we have in America as we let the marketplace freely determine our energy supplies of the future.

Tim Pawlenty On The New York Congressional Race

Hot Air posted an article today on Tim Pawlenty’s comments of the New York 23rd Congressional District race. 

According to the article:

“Governor Pawlenty sent RedState the following statement:

“We cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail, but then vote like Democrats in Congress on issues like card check and taxes. After reviewing the candidates’ positions, I’m endorsing Doug Hoffman in New York’s special election. Doug understands the federal government needs to quit spending so much, will vote against tax increases, and protect key values like the right to vote in private in union elections.””

I understand that there is a fairly good chance that Tim Pawlenty will make a run for President in 2012.  I don’t know if this statement was made with that in mind, but I totally agree with what Mr. Pawlenty said.  Bad policy is bad policy–it really doesn’t matter which party enacts it.  The Congressional spending by Republicans under George Bush was deplorable (it would have been deplorable regardless of which party did it).  I realize that we are a country at war and that is expensive, but there is a lot of other spending that could easily be cut.  I hope more Republicans remember that they were sent to Washington to make government smaller–not drive the country into bankruptcy.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) And Afghanistan

Yesterday the blog at the Weekly Standard posted an article on NATO’s reaction to the delay in President Obama’s committing more troops to Afghanistan.  This is an interesting situation.  President Bush tried very hard to obtain larger troop commitments from our NATO allies and was often unsuccessful.  In many cases when the troops were granted, they were restricted as to what their activities could be.  Now, as President Obama is still deciding what to do, in Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering increasing the number of German troops and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has stated that he will be sending 500 more troops to Afghanistan.

This reminds me of a debutante playing hard to get.  I don’t think that President Obama necessarily planned it this way, but the results are interesting.  Because America is quietly stepping away from her role as the world’s protector of freedom and democracy, the rest of the world is getting nervous.  The question is, “If America leaves a vacuum as it steps down from the role of world policeman, who will fill that role?”  I realize that some Americans will welcome the pulling back of America from its role, but we need to consider who will take our place and what they will stand for.  The logical successor to America as the leader of the world is China–it has the largest population and the strongest economy.  When you consider the civil rights record of China, I can understand why our NATO allies are getting nervous.

To me, the question is whether or not America has a responsibility to work toward freedom for everyone.  What form should that work take?  We have been free and prosperous for a long time.  Even in the current economic times, poor Americans have a standard of living that is the envy of many people in other countries.  What responsibility do we have to share our freedom and prosperity?

Why We Need To Pay Attention To What We Are Not Being Told About Greedy Insurance Companies

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about the profit margins of the insurance companies that the Democrats have so often characterized as greedy.  It turns out that according to their annual reports, health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two.  Last year they were very low.  Profits barely exceeded 2 percent of revenues in the latest annual measure. That doesn’t seem particularly greedy to me.

In contrast, trial lawyers showed a profit margin of almost 14%,  I have never heard Democrats demonize trial lawyers because of their profit margin, despite the fact that it is more than six times the profit margin of insurance companies.  Donations by trial lawyers comprise a major part of Democrat fund raising, so I guess it’s ok for them to have a large profit margin.

Anyway, next time you hear the Democrats talk about the greedy insurance companies, think about the greedy trial lawyers who support the Democrat party!

Further Proof Of the Afghanistan Strategy That Was Handed To President Obama

Power Line today posted an article by Scott Johnson.  The article lists statements by Kristofer Harrison, who served as the Chief of Staff to the Counselor of the Secretary of State during the Bush administration.  Mr. Harrison writes to comment on Paul Mirengoff’s post “No class, bad character” on Dick Cheney’s speech this past week, Stephen Hayes’s Weekly Standard article “Obama’s minions are ingrates,” and Scott’s post “No class, bad character: The inside story”.

Mr. Harrison confirms that both presidential candidates were briefed on Afghanistan before the election.  He confirms the fact that the Obama administration asked the Bush administration to keep the findings of their in-depth study of Afghanistan secret. 

Mr. Harrison points out:

“In March, when Obama announced his new Afghanistan strategy, I did not notice a single change from the new plan that we had given him…only Obama did not resource it with enough troops.”

The Power Line article points out that in blaming President Bush for not giving him information on the situation in Afghanistan does not affect President Bush–the stalling in sending more troops does, however, affect the troops on the ground now.  This is the kind of political game that the Democrat party played in Viet Nam that caused the unnecessary deaths of many American soldiers.  I hope President Obama is not going to do the same thing again. 

An Interesting (But Sad) Story In Light Of All That Is Going On Around Us

Last week, Sky News posted a story about the death of a British Nuclear Expert.  The man fell from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna.  It has been reported that four months ago another UN worker also believed to be British fell from a similar height in the same building. 

According to the article:

“The latest incident happened on Tuesday as the United States, France, Russia and Iran held talks nearby about Tehran’s nuclear programme.”

The man who fell worked for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, an international agency charged with uncovering illicit nuclear tests.

I originally came across this article at  Based on the comments at that website, the average American internet reader is not very trusting of official reports regarding the death of nuclear experts.  The timing of the man’s death does make me wonder, although a UN spokesman in the Austrian capital said there were no “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the man’s death.

Is Mandatory Healthcare Constitutional

Hot Air posted an article today by Ed Morrissey addressing the question as to whether or not mandatory healthcare is constitutional.  I am by no means a legal scholar, and much of the argument was way above my pay grade, but the case Mr. Morrissey made was interesting.

In response to an argument made by Kathy Kattenburg at The Moderate Voice, Mr. Morrissey points out:

“I’ll allow for the sake of argument that the government has a several-decades-old precedent for establishing government delivery of medical care, but Medicare and Medicaid are entirely voluntary. No American citizen is forced to accept Medicare or Medicaid, as anyone arguing on behalf of the “47 million uninsured Americans” should know.  Several million of the uninsured are people with eligibility in one of these federal programs who have declined to enter them.”

There are a few aspects of this question I had not considered.  When required health insurance is compared to required car insurance, the argument falls down–driving a car is a privilege–it is optional.  If you don’t want to be required to purchase car insurance, you can choose not to drive.  If you don’t want to be required to purchase medical insurance, refusing to see a doctor or obtain medical care is not really an option.  Breathing is not optional. 

Moving The Flat Screen TV’s To The Right Place

I love this story.  Power Line posted a story yesterday about 24 50-inch flat screen television sets that the State of Minnesota had purchased for a facility in Moose Lake that houses sex offenders.  Good grief!  Governor Tim Pawlenty heard about the purchase and had the television sets distributed among four Minnesota homes for veterans instead.  Wow!!  I am impressed.  Can Governor Pawlenty come to Massachusetts for a while?

My Concerns About Freedom Of The Press

Freedom of the press no longer involves companies with large printing presses who buy ink by the ton.  Today’s press includes television, radio, newspapers, and the internet.  Some of these sources are slanted toward one opinion and admit it; some of these sources are slanted toward one opinion and don’t admit it.  Some of our news sources are not news sources–they are opinion sources.  There really is nothing wrong with that as long as the people consuming the news are aware of what they are consuming.  The problem occurs when opinions are stated as facts or facts are left out of the story.  That is part of the cause of the deep political divide in this country right now.   Conservatives and liberals are not always working from the same fact base, and not everyone has all the information they need to form opinions.

Having said that, there were two articles up on the internet last week that may be an indication of danger to our current freedom to access information.  The first article is at the Wall Street Journal‘s Best of the Web column yesterday.  The second article is at

The Wall Street Journal article reminds us of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” published in 1971.  I have cited this book before as a guide to how the Obama Administration deals with opposition.  Four of the rules from “Rules for Radicals” that we are seeing play out here as we watch the war on Fox News are as follows:

1.  Pick the target.

2.  Freeze the target (freeze the perception of the target by the public).

3.  Personalize the target (separate it from the other media).

4.  Polarize it (recommend that other media disregard Fox News).

The idea here is to take out Fox with the consent of the other media.  This also serves as a warning to other media to be careful what stories they cover.

The second internet article that got my attention was the announcement at Breitbart that the FCC is going to begin crafting “net neutrality” rules.  According to this article:

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said regulations are needed to ensure that broadband subscribers can access all legal Web sites and services, including Internet calling applications and video sites that compete with the broadband companies’ core businesses.”

No they’re not.  Anytime the government regulates something, they make it worse.  Politics comes into play, and life gets very complicated.  The dangers of having a ‘government regulated’ internet outweigh anything that may be happening now that is unfair.  The danger here is that new laws would be passed to favor companies that are in political favor with whatever administration is in power.  We have seen this type of favoritism in the way the stimulus money was distributed, the way the auto industry was taken over, and the way Fox News has been dealt with.  Why in the world would we want to pass laws that encourage more of this type of behavior?  

Soupy Sales, I Will Miss You

I realize this article may not belong in the midst of what is an attempt at serious political commentary, but I will miss Soupy Sales.  I spent my teenage years in New Jersey, about thirty minutes outside of New York City.  After my classmates and I outgrew American Bandstand, we turned to Soupy Sales when we came home from school.  I really can’t say what his humor was, but we all loved him.  He represents a time when television stars were gentlemen, well-mannered, and freely gave autographs.  He will be missed.

Fox News has posted the Associated Press write-up on his career.

Thank Goodness The Other Media Was Willing To Take A Stand

Fox News today posted the story on what happened at the White House yesterday when President Obama tried to exclude Fox News from a briefing by “pay czar” Kenneth
Feinberg.  Mr Feinberg was going to be available for interviews to every member of the White House
pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for
decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the

The Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks decided that if Fox News was not included, they did not want to do the interviews.  Because the other networks took a stand to defend Fox News, the White House backed down and gave Fox News access to the “pay czar.”  The Obama Administration has been at war with Fox News for some time now; when President Obama made his rounds of the Sunday talk shows recently, he omitted Fox News.  This is very petty behavior on the part on the President.

Pay Cuts Compliments Of The Pay Czar

Power Line last night posted a very good article on the pay cuts being put in place by the Pay Czar.  Aside from the basic question, “Where is the pay czar in the Constitution?”, there are some interesting repercussions on this legislation.

The pay cuts, expected to be significant, only apply to certain companies.  Some executives are expected to receive cuts of as much as 90 per cent (For many of the executives, the cash they would have received will be replaced by stock that they will be restricted from selling immediately)As a taxpayer who helped bail out these companies, you may agree with that, but stop and think a minute about the law of unintended consequences.  These executives are not stupid people.  In most cases, the problems these companies encountered had more to do with government policies on sub-prime mortgages than they did with executive decisions.  I am sure the majority of these executives have impressive resumes. 

The salaries of the executive positions were cut–there is nothing written anywhere that says that the people currently in those positions have to stay there–I am sure they are updating their resumes as I write this. 

The article at Power Line lists many of the aspects of the move to control executive salaries that have been overlooked thus far in the discussion.  Please read it for more information on the consequences of this action.

Bi-Partisanship On Healthcare?

The two sources for this story are The Hill (an article posted last night) and (the Congressional website that gives information on votes and activities in Congress on a daily basis).

Yesterday in the Senate twelve Democrats and one Independent joined all Republicans to defeat a bill to halt Medicare cuts affecting doctors.  (Just as a side note, if the fact that Olympia Snow voted to get healthcare out of committee and onto the Senate floor, makes that a bipartisan vote and signals cooperation, isn’t this vote bipartisan?)   The tactic here was to keep this aspect of healthcare out of the healthcare reform bill as it would increase the cost of the bill and make it harder to pass the bill.  The change that was voted down will have to be dealt with in some way in the near future, but evidently some Congressmen did not want to be a part of pulling the wool over the public’s eyes in terms of passing this separately.

The link provided above to has the specifics of the vote.  The hope was that the passage of this legislation would convince doctors in the AMA to support the larger healthcare reform package that Congress is putting together. 

Harry Reid is, of course, blaming the Republicans, but if all the Democrats had voted for halting cuts in Medicare reimbursement fees, the measure would have passed.  It was defeated in a bipartisan manner–not along party lines.

Dick Cheney Speaks Out

The full test of the speech Dick Cheney gave last night is at The Weekly Standard blog.

The source of this story is Fox News.  Regardless of how you feel about Dick Cheney, he tends to be blunt.  Yesterday, he responded to the Obama Administration’s charge by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that the Obama administration had to form an Afghan war strategy from scratch because the Bush administration hadn’t asked any key questions about the war and left it “adrift.”

According to Mr. Cheney, the Bush administration had developed a new strategy on the war in Afghanistan before leaving office — a strategy that he said “bears a striking resemblance” to the one announced by President Obama in March.  The Bush Administration was asked not to reveal their strategy publicly and complied with that request. 

The claim that there was no strategy when President Obama took office has been one of the excuses used to justify the dithering about following the recommendations of General McChrystal. 

According to the article:

“(Rahm) Emanuel told CNN that the president is “asking the questions that have never been asked on the civilian side, the political side, the military side and the strategic side.”

“It’s clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that’s adrift, that we’re beginning at scratch, just at the starting point…and that there’s not a security force, an army, and the types of services that are important for the Afghans to become a true partner.””

The lack of honesty and transparency of this administration is unbelievable.  At some point, President Obama needs to stop whining about what everyone else has or hasn’t done and step up to the plate and deal with the issues of the day.