Monday, August 31, 2009

Here's evidence that the Fed drives inflation

From TCS Daily

"From 1776 to 1912 (136 years), the value of the dollar, relative to the Consumer Price Index, increased by 11%. A dollar could buy 11% more goods in 1912 than in 1776. Thus, if in 1776, you sat on your savings pile of $1,000,000 for 136 years, it would then be worth $1,110,000 in purchasing power (it will have appreciated in value by 11%). A loaf of bread for Thomas Jefferson cost the same as a loaf of bread for Lincoln 50 years later and again the same for J.P. Morgan 50 years after that.
The United States Federal Reserve System was created in 1913. The stated purpose of the Fed, by the definition taken from its own website, is to "conduct the nation's monetary policy by influencing money and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices." Note that "stable prices" is another way of saying "stable dollar," they are two sides of the same coin (couldn't resist the pun).

After the Fed's creation, from 1913 to 2008 (95 years), the value of the dollar, relative to the Consumer Price Index, decreased by 95%. A dollar could buy 95% fewer goods in 2008 than in 1913. Thus, if in 1913, you sat on your savings pile of $1,000,000 for 95 years, it would then be worth only $50,000 in purchasing power (it will have depreciated in value by 95%). One would now need to pay about 20X more than J.P. Morgan for one's bread. Ask my mother how much the price of milk has increased just in the last ten years alone.

In other words, the value of the dollar remained extremely stable for 150 years, the Fed was created in order to "stabilize the value of the dollar," and the result has been a 95% devaluation of the dollar in less than 100 years following its creation. Below is a graph of this history, which I've marked with the year 1913 so you can see the change. The graph is also marked with the years of decoupling from the gold standard, as no examination of dollar value would be sound without such mention."

(Click the headline link to view a persuasive graph)

Why tort reform is not on the health care table

From San Francisco Examiner

"...trial lawyers have effectively bought themselves veto power.

In the ranking by of campaign contributions by the top 100 special interests during the past 20 years, the American Association for Justice — formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America — ranks sixth. The AAJ is trial lawyers’ Washington lobbying group, and 90 percent of its $30.7 million in contributions since 1989 went to Democrats. At the other end of this pay-to-play process in the Capitol, AAJ has spent nearly $14 million lobbying Congress just since Democrats won control of both chambers, including $2.3 million so far this year.

The Democratic focus of the plaintiffs’ bar is even more obvious from campaign contributions of National Journal’s top 15 class-action trial attorney firms.

As the Examiner’s David Freddoso and Kevin Mooney reported last week, those firms have in 2009 contributed more than $636,000, 99 percent of which went to Democrats. And employees of those firms have given more than $236,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces an uphill re-election battle, but the top trial lawyers’ firms are right there for him, with contributions totaling some $54,000 to date."

Obama has lots of czars; Potemkin villages next

Other than that, President Obama seems to be having a good time away from the White House

From American Thinker

"Barack Obama is on track to have the most spectacularly failed presidency since Woodrow Wilson."


"Barack Obama is failing. Failing big. Failing fast. And failing everywhere: foreign policy, domestic initiatives, and most importantly, in forging connections with the American people. The incomparable Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal put her finger on it: He is failing because he has no understanding of the American people, and may indeed loath them. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says he is failing because he has lost control of his message, and is overexposed. Clarice Feldman of American Thinker produced a dispositive commentary showing that Obama is failing because fundamentally he is neither smart nor articulate; his intellectual dishonesty is conspicuous by its audacity and lack of shame."


"It's not so much that he's a phony, knows nothing about economics, is historically illiterate, and woefully small minded for the size of the task-- all contributory of course. It's that he's not one of us. And whatever he is, his profile is fuzzy and devoid of content, like a cardboard cutout made from delaminated corrugated paper. Moreover, he doesn't command our respect and is unable to appeal to our own common sense. His notions of right and wrong are repugnant and how things work just don't add up. They are not existential. His descriptions of the world we live in don't make sense and don't correspond with our experience."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dems still protecting forgetful Rep. Charles Rangel

From New York Post

"House Democrats are willing to rally around Rep. Charles Rangel in his latest spate of tax missteps -- but only as long as no more embarrassing revelations come to light, sources told The Post.

The head of the powerful Ways and Means Committee last week amended six years' worth of financial disclosure forms and revealed he'd earned $1.3 million in previously unreported income.

That's on top of ongoing House Ethics Committee probes into four other areas of Rangel's financial past -- including failure to properly report income taxes on a Caribbean villa he owns.

But unless the Ethics Committee probes hit Rangel with something more than a slap on the wrist -- or a bigger scandal arises -- Democrats are unlikely to push him off the Ways and Means Committee, a Washington insider said."

Energy prices falling; world may be "awash in oil

From UK Telegraph

" have probably missed one of the biggest pieces of good economic news to emerge recently: energy prices are coming down, in some cases to record lows. Furthermore, even if prices start to recover, they are not likely to return to the ridiculous levels of 2008 any day soon.

This is excellent news, of great import. The trend for gas and electricity bills is downwards; diesel is back at the same price as regular gasoline; the world is practically choking on gas, and is potentially awash with oil.

The main international gas price has this week fallen to a record low, due to a surplus of new resources from North America. Even the stubbornly high oil price has dropped. On Tuesday next week, the main energy suppliers are going to have to explain to the energy regulator why they have not passed this on to consumers. The answer, they tell me, is that they are about to do so, just as soon as they have worked through old gas bought at last year's higher wholesale prices."

Is the $787 billion stimulus just a gigantic earmark? Sleepy border crossing gets $15 million

"A sleepy Montana checkpoint along the Canadian border that sees about three travelers a day will get $15 million under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan. A government priority list ranked the project as marginal, but two powerful Democratic senators persuaded the administration to make it happen.

Despite Obama's promises that the stimulus plan would be transparent and free of politics, the government is handing out $720 million for border upgrades under a process that is both secretive and susceptible to political influence. This allowed low-priority projects such as the checkpoint in Whitetail, Mont., to skip ahead of more pressing concerns, according to documents revealed to The Associated Press.

A House oversight committee has added the checkpoint projects to its investigation into how the stimulus money is being spent. The top Republican on that committee, California's Rep. Darrell Issa, sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday, questioning why some projects leapfrogged others."

57 % would like to fire entire U.S. Congress

"If they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, just 25% of voters nationwide would keep the current batch of legislators.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% would vote to replace the entire Congress and start all over again. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure how they would vote.

Overall, these numbers are little changed since last October."

Hero of Katrina mulls U.S. senate race in Louisiana

From Bayou Buzz

"In a breaking story, The Louisiana Weekly and have learned that the hero of Hurricane recovery, General Russell Honore is seriously considering entering the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate seat against incumbent David Vitter. Honore, a Republican since the Reagan Administration and a registered Louisiana voter from his Zachary home, has spoken to friends and supporters in the last two weeks signaling that he is, according to one, "more than 50% sure that he will run."


While polls show Vitter as the clear favorite in both the primary and the general election, one very senior Louisiana Republican predicted that if Honore runs, "He wins." As that GOP party elder further explained to the and Bayoubuzz on the promise of confidentiality, "All he has to say is 'Stuck on Stupid', and Vitter is toast."

Military voters, who constitute a plurality of the Republican electorate, will flock to Honore, and the party leader in question also believes that the General's race will matter to primary voters less than his social stands. Honore admitted through aides to the Weekly that he is "pro-life and pro-family."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Letters suggest oil was factor in bomber's release

From London Times

"The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release."

Gifted with insight into "the other side of things," Ted Kennedy often joked about Chappaquiddick

Forget death panels; let's talk circumcision panels

From Reason

"Forget death panels. If you're really interested in putting a stop to the public option (and some truly entertaining town hall meetings), let's talk circumcision panels.

Growing up in the Jewish faith, I witnessed my fair share of 7-day-olds taken from their parents to face scalpel, prayer, and barbaric snip. Why seven days? Undoubtedly, the number of Jewish boys converting to Methodism grows exponentially each day the foreskin remains attached."

Sinclair Lewis's "It Can't Happen Here" is back in the news; the question is, "Is It happening here?"

Question of the day: did Sinclair Lewis anticipate our time by writing a novel that is suddenly back in the news?

"It Can't Happen Here" was published in 1935. Today, in a story in the Wall Street Journal, it's ranked first on a list of the best five political conspiracy novels ever published.

This is how John Miller describes "It Can't Happen Here" at the Corner on National Review online:

"A charismatic Democratic senator who speaks in 'noble but slippery ­abstractions' is elected president, in a groundswell of cultish adoration, by a nation on the brink of economic ­disaster.

"Promising to restore ­America's greatness, he promptly ­announces a government seizure of the big banks and insurance ­companies. He strong-arms the ­Congress into amending the Constitution to give him unlimited emergency powers. He throws his ­enemies into concentration camps.

"With scarcely any resistance, the country has ­become a fascist dictatorship.

"No black helicopters here, though. Sinclair Lewis's dystopian ­political satire, now largely forgotten except for its ironic title, was a ­mammoth best seller in 1935, during the depths of the ­Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe.

"His president, Berzelius ("Buzz") Windrip, is a ruthless phony with the 'earthy sense of humor of a Mark Twain'; one of the few who dare oppose him openly is a rural ­newspaper editor who is forced to go on the run.

"Lewis's prose could be ­ungainly, but he captured with caustic humor the bumptious narrow- ­mindedness of small-town life."

Cato: abolish Department of Homeland Security

"Does "time with my family" ever actually mean "time with my family" in Washington? Tom Ridge gave the standard resignation line when he stepped down as Secretary of Homeland Security shortly after the 2004 elections, but last week he revealed that there was much more to the story.

In a forthcoming book, Ridge complains that the weekend before Election Day, Bush administration officials leaned on him to raise the color-coded threat level. Dismayed, Ridge refused the demand, and concluded he needed to resign. "I wondered," Ridge writes, "Is this about security or politics?"

That's a question we ought to ask about DHS as a whole. Since its creation in 2003, the department has done little to provide genuine security and much to encourage a pernicious politics of fear. We'd be better off without it."

Cato rebuts Obama's claims on health insurance

"In his most recent weekly radio address, President Barack Obama denounced "willful misrepresentations and outright distortions" in the debate over health care reform. He then went on to repeat one of the most outright distortions in the entire debate: "If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period."

No, Mr. President. No you can't.

To go straight to the chapter and verse: under Section 59(B)(a) of HR3200, the bill making its way through the House, and Section 151 of the bill that passed out of a Senate committee, every American would be required to buy health insurance.

It is time for the president to stop spreading this particular 'willful misrepresentation and outright distortion.'

And not just any insurance: to qualify, a plan would have to meet certain government-defined standards. For example, under Section 122(b) of the House bill, all plans must cover hospitalization; outpatient hospital and clinic services; services by physicians and other health professionals, as well as supplies and equipment incidental to their services; prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, mental health and substance-abuse treatment; preventive services (to be determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Preventive Services Task Force); and maternity, well-baby, and well-child care, as well as dental, vision, and hearing services for children under age 21."

In going after the CIA, AG Holder may be acting on Obama's view that nationalism is so yesterday

"Hue and cry followed Holder’s decision this week to have a prosecutor investigate CIA interrogators and contractors. The probe is a nakedly political, banana republic-style criminalizing of policy differences and political rivalry. The abuse allegations said to have stunned the attorney general into acting are outlined in a stale CIA inspector general’s report. Though only released this week — a disclosure timed to divert attention from reports that showed the CIA’s efforts yielded life-saving intelligence — the IG report is actually five years old. Its allegations not only have been long known to the leaders of both parties in Congress, they were thoroughly investigated by professional prosecutors — not political appointees. Those prosecutors decided not to file charges, except in one case that ended in an acquittal. As I outline here, the abuse in question falls woefully short of torture crimes under federal law.

Americans are scratching their heads: Why would Holder retrace this well-worn ground when intimidating our intelligence-gatherers so obviously damages national security? The political fallout, too, is palpable. Leon Panetta, the outraged CIA director, is reportedly pondering resignation. President Obama, laying low in the tall grass on his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, is having staffers try to put distance between himself and his attorney general. It is unlikely that many will be fooled: Both Obama and Holder promised their antiwar base just this sort of “reckoning” during the 2008 campaign. But the question remains, Why is Holder (or, rather, why are Holder and the White House) instigating this controversy?

I believe the explanation lies in the Obama administration’s fondness for transnationalism, a doctrine of post-sovereign globalism in which America is seen as owing its principal allegiance to the international legal order rather than to our own Constitution and national interests.

Recall that the president chose to install former Yale Law School dean Harold Koh as his State Department’s legal adviser. Koh is the country’s leading proponent of transnationalism. He is now a major player in the administration’s deliberations over international law and cooperation. Naturally, membership in the International Criminal Court, which the United States has resisted joining, is high on Koh’s agenda. The ICC claims worldwide jurisdiction, even over nations that do not ratify its enabling treaty, notwithstanding that sovereign consent to jurisdiction is a bedrock principle of international law."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Powerful Rep. Rangel got rich in Congress, failed to report $3 million in business transactions

"Rep. Charles Rangel failed to report as much as $1.3 million in outside income -- including up to $1 million for a Harlem building sale -- on financial-disclosure forms he filed between 2002 and 2006, according to newly amended records.

The documents also show the embattled chairman of the Ways and Means Committee -- who is being probed by the House Ethics Committee -- failed to reveal a staggering $3 million in various business transactions over the same period.

This week, Rangel filed drastically revised financial-disclosure forms reflecting new, higher amounts of outside income and numerous additional business deals that had not been reported when the reports were originally filed."

It's magic: raise future growth rates, cut deficits

"The White House projects that GDP will grow by 3.8% in 2011 and climb above 4% a year for the next three years, followed by two years above 3%. This is far higher than historical norms-the economy has not seen such a period of growth since the 1960s.

This is self-serving optimism. By assuming higher economic growth, the forecasters can show more tax revenue and lower estimates of future deficits."

Rep. Diane Watson, D-CA, rips. Rush Limbaugh, lauds Fidel Castro and Cuba's health care system

Compulsary health insurance would drive up cost

"The most sweeping provision in the health care reform legislation before Congress is not the new government program Democrats wish to create, but the "individual mandate" that would make health insurance compulsory.

According to Cato scholar Michael F. Cannon, the individual mandate that Massachusetts enacted in 2006 shows that ObamaCare would effectively outlaw low-cost health plans, making health insurance more expensive for millions, and "would expand federal power by enabling it to ration care to patients under age 65."

Obama sacrificing Panetta to appease "angry left"

From Wall Street Journal

"If the latest flap over CIA interrogations shows anything, it's that Mr. Panetta has officially become the president's designated fall guy.

The title has been months in the making. Mr. Obama is contending with an angry left that's riled by his decisions to retain some Bush-era counterterrorism policies. He's facing Congressional liberals still baying for Bush blood. He's hired Attorney General Eric Holder, who is giving the term "ideological purity" new meaning. Mr. Obama's way to appease these bodies? Hang the CIA and Mr. Panetta out to dry."

Ex-doc Dean admits Dems protecting trial lawyers

From Washington Examiner

"Whatever else he said Wednesday evening at the town hall hosted by Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA, former Democratic National Committee chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean let something incredibly candid slip out about President Obama's health-care reform bill in Congress.

Asked by an audience member why the legislation does nothing to cap medical malpractice class-action lawsuits against doctors and medical institutions (aka "Tort reform"), Dean responded by saying: “The reason tort reform is not in the [health care] bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on. And that’s the plain and simple truth,”

Dean is a former physician, so he knows about skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates, and the role of the trial lawyers in fueling the "defensive medicine" approach among medical personnel who order too many tests and other sometimes unneeded procedures "just to be sure" and to protect themselves against litigation.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently described in an Examiner oped the medical-malpractice caps enacted by the state legislature at his urging that reversed a serious decline in the number of physicians practicing in the Lone Star state and the resulting loss of access to quality medical care available to Texas residents. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbor also shared some of his successes in this area in a recent Examiner oped.

Credit goes to the American Tort Reform Association's Darren McKinney for catching this momentary outbreak of political honesty by Dean."

It isn't about making a better light bulb; it's about getting government to require the bulb you make

From Washington Examiner

WINCHESTER, VA--“Government did us in,” says Dwayne Madigan, whose job will terminate when General Electric closes its factory next July.

Madigan makes a product that will soon be illegal to sell in the U.S. - a regular incandescent bulb. Two years ago, his employer, GE, lobbied in favor of the law that will outlaw the bulbs.

Madigan’s colleagues, waiting for their evening shift to begin, all know that GE is replacing the incandescents for now with compact fluorescents bulbs, which GE manufactures in China.

Last month, GE announced it will close the Winchester Bulb Plant 80 miles west of D.C. As a result, 200 men and women will lose their jobs. GE is also shuttering incandescent factories in Ohio and Kentucky, axing another 200 jobs.

GE blamed environmental regulations for the closing.


So, GE gets environmentalist brownie points for selling “clean” light bulbs, and they also get to charge more for their bulbs. But there’s another advantage—they save on labor with fluorescents, because they make the fluorescents in China.

Not only are wages lower there, but so are the regulatory burdens, both environmental and labor. The Times of London recently reported, “Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs.”

Pollster: Obama's drop in polls could affect agenda

From USAToday

"Barack Obama, who completed six months in office Monday, has a 55% approval rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, putting him 10th among the dozen presidents who have served since World War II at this point in their tenures.

That's not as bad for Obama as it may sound: The six-month mark hasn't proved to be a particularly good indicator of how a president ultimately will fare.

Two-thirds of Americans approved of the jobs Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were doing at six months, but both would lose their bids for re-election.

And though the younger Bush and Bill Clinton had significantly lower ratings at 180 days — Clinton had sunk to 41% approval — both won second terms.

Even so, a president's standing at the moment is more than a matter of vanity. It affects his ability to hold the members of his own party and persuade those on the other side to support him, at least on the occasional issue.

"Approval ratings are absolutely critical for a president achieving his agenda," says Republican pollster Whit Ayres.


More people disapprove than approve of Obama on four domestic issues: the economy, taxes, health care and the federal budget deficit. He scores majority approval on handling Iraq."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

London supercomputer used to predict climate change turns out to be leading British polluter

From London's Daily Mail

"The Met Office has caused a storm of controversy after it was revealed their £30 million supercomputer designed to predict climate change is one of Britain's worst polluters.

The massive machine - the UK's most powerful computer with a whopping 15 million megabytes of memory - was installed in the Met Office's headquarters in Exeter, Devon.

It is capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second to feed data to 400 scientists and uses 1.2 megawatts of energy to run - enough to power more than 1,000 homes.

The machine was hailed as the 'future of weather prediction' with the ability to produce more accurate forecasts and produce climate change modelling.
However the Met Office's HQ has now been named as one of the worst buildings in Britain for pollution - responsible for more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

It says 75 per cent of its carbon footprint is produced by the super computer meaning the machine is officially one of the country's least green machines."

Your free and easy postings on Facebook and MySpace may titillate, but they also may inform

From The Wall Street Journal

"Tax deadbeats are finding someone actually reads their MySpace and Facebook postings: the taxman.

State revenue agents have begun nabbing scofflaws by mining information posted on social-networking Web sites, from relocation announcements to professional profiles to financial boasts.

In Minnesota, authorities were able to levy back taxes on the wages of a long-sought tax evader after he announced on MySpace that he would be returning to his home town to work as a real-estate broker and gave his employer's name. The state collected several thousand dollars, the full amount due."

A suggested color code for threats from D.C..

From Reason

"You know what Americans could really use these days? A high-quality, five-tiered, color-coded warning system to caution us about the threat level coming out of Washington. As one of those clueless, frothing-at-the-mouth, slack-jawed yokel extremists, I know I certainly could use a color scheme to help me get a handle on such a complex issue.

—Code Green is easy: a low risk of economic attack. It's the default color code for those wondrous days when Congress is on recess and the president is enjoying Martha's Vineyard, Camp David, or a Broadway play. We can home in on the "first pets" and swoon over Barack Obama's extraordinary reading list. Isn't he brilliant?


—Code Pink. "Go it alone." Ignore public opinion. Reconciliation enacted. Reform is here. Unintended consequences, stifling bureaucracy, failed promises, and more substandard care and rationing to the elderly. An unmitigated disaster. Cuba. No, worse: Canada."

Rent seeking is the new game; lobbying is the key to winning the game; GE is leading the league

From Washington Examiner

"Steve Milloy, a pro-free market investor at the Free Enterprise Action Fund, obtained this e-mail and says it reveals General Electric for what it really is. "GE is lobbying to become the biggest rent seeker this country has ever seen," Milloy told this column. Rent seeking is using government legislation or regulation to generate private profits the free market wouldn't provide.

"On climate change," Rice wrote, "we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives. If this bill is enacted into law it would benefit many GE businesses."

Most of all, Waxman-Markey would profit a GE joint venture called Greenhouse Gas Services, which deals in greenhouse gas credits, products that have value only if a cap-and-trade bill like Waxman-Markey passes.

The leaked e-mail shows how tightly GE connects PAC contributions and lobbying efforts. "Our Company is heavily impacted by a number of issues pending in Washington this fall," Rice wrote.

GE spent more on lobbying in the second quarter of this year than did any other company, according to federal lobbying files. Since 1998, GE has been the king of lobbying expenditures, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, outpacing its runner-up by 40 percent.

Last election, GEPAC spent $2.4 million, with a slim majority going to Democrats. So far this year, two-thirds of GEPAC money has gone to Democrats."

Dems are "hysterical bed wetters"

From Ann Coulter

"With the Democrats getting slaughtered -- or should I say, 'receiving mandatory end-of-life counseling' -- in the debate over national health care, the Obama administration has decided to change the subject by indicting CIA interrogators for talking tough to three of the world's leading Muslim terrorists.

Had I been asked, I would have advised them against reinforcing the idea that Democrats are hysterical bed-wetters who can't be trusted with national defense while also reminding people of the one thing everyone still admires about President George W. Bush.

But I guess the Democrats really want to change the subject. Thus, here is Part 2 in our series of liberal lies about national health care.

(6) There will be no rationing under national health care.

Anyone who says that is a liar. And all Democrats are saying it."

Fed official: jobless rate higher than stated

"The real US unemployment rate is 16 percent if persons who have dropped out of the labor pool and those working less than they would like are counted, a Federal Reserve official said Wednesday.

"If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking -- so-called discouraged workers -- and those who are working fewer hours than they want, the unemployment rate would move from the official 9.4 percent to 16 percent, said Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart.

He underscored that he was expressing his own views, which did "do not necessarily reflect those of my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee," the policy-setting body of the central bank."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tax Chair Rangel finds more unreported money

From Sweetness & Light

"Embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel — who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee — failed to reveal personal assets totaling as much as $780,000 in financial-disclosure reports filed with Congress, records released yesterday show.

Democrat Rangel, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, submitted corrected documents with the House Clerk earlier this month, more than a year after filing handwritten and wildly inaccurate 2007 disclosure forms that left out a hefty checking account, several sizable investments and land in New Jersey."

Dedicated taxes do the job but then don't die

From Real Clear Markets

"Ever on the prowl for new revenues, New York initiated its 911 tax at the dawn of the era of widespread cell phone use, in 1991. Since then the tax has generated more than $600 million in revenues, but of that money, a paltry $84 million has been spent on 911 services, according to an investigation by the Buffalo News. Last year $88 million from the tax went straight into the state's general fund and millions more were used to pay for public safety services that used to be financed by the state's general taxes, including millions spent by the state's National Guard. In New York, so little money makes it to EMS centers from the tax that most counties now have their own 911 tax, on top of the state's tax.

Inspired by such outright audacity, other states have moved in on 911 taxes. Wisconsin built up a $25 million surplus in the fund in just four years, but rather than end the tax or at least cut it after doing the upgrade work, the legislature swept the surplus into the general fund and, just for good measure, more than doubled the fee. This year, according to the AP, Oregon, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Tennessee are also diverting money from their funds. These states have filched this money even though a 2008 federal law says states can't use 911 taxes for other purposes. Still, Tennessee argued it could take the money because it was only grabbing the interest that was building up on the tax, not the tax revenue itself. That the state didn't do the opposite, which is to cut or repeal the tax because so big a surplus was sitting unused in the bank, tells you everything you need to know about how legislators view your tax dollars-as theirs, no matter what. But at least Tennessee offered a rationale for disobeying Congress. After Oregon's attorney general issued an opinion that the state couldn't transfer money out of its emergency response fund, the governor simply went ahead and did it by arguing "extraordinary" budget circumstances justified the move. Makes you want to tell the IRS that you won't be paying your taxes this year because of "extraordinary" family budget issues.

Politicians love to convert revenues from dedicated taxes into general uses because dedicated levies are often easier to justify to voters who believe (foolishly, it seems) that the taxes will be used as officials claim."

Why not memorialize Ted Kennedy, deregulator?

"...maybe as the Kennedy tributes continue to pour in, someone will notice his role in deregulating the transportation sector in the 1970s. As a result, both the trucking and airline industries were exposed to market forces that lowered costs for moving both people and goods across the country. Likewise, more fully exposing the U.S. healthcare system to market forces is essential to lowering costs and ensuring continued technological innovation. Now that would be a fitting tribute to the totality of the Kennedy legacy."

Election or appointment to federal office means free rides to glitzy talkfests from Honolulu to Paris

According to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, the U.S. Department of Justice alone "spent at least $312 million over seven years on conference attendance and sponsorship. In 2006, the agency sent 26,000 employees (one fourth of its total workforce) to conferences and spent $46 million in the process."

Just yesterday, my Examiner colleague David Freddoso reported that "a group of 18 major federal agencies that includes Justice spent a combined $2 billion on conferences" in a seven-year period ending in 2007.

David further found that "Department of Defense was the biggest spender at $515 million, but others in the group include the Agriculture Department ($91 million), the Environmental Protection Agency ($104 million), the State Department ($164 million), and the Department of Health and Human Services (at least $349 million)."

And, just as often, congressmen - usually accompanied by admiring retinues of family members and staffers - commandeer Pentagon aircraft to fly them to such exotic locale as Paris, Rome and Peking on "official business." These trips are, of course, better known as "junkets," and they invariably involve comprehensive fact-finding outings to golf courses, swimming pools, and fine dining.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that "spending by lawmakers on taxpayer-financed trips abroad has risen sharply in recent years ...involving everything from war-zone visits to trips to exotic spots such as the Gal‡pagos Islands."

A somewhat satirical look at Barack Obama's promised transformation of America

President Barack Obama disclosed Wednesday that the transformation of America he promised on the eve of his election has been transformed by the wicked refusal of voters to support his transformational proposals.

Senior citizens balked at the implicit idea that they might have to saunter off into the twilight to reduce the drain on health care services. The notion that government bureaucrats or agents would be empowered to select who is worthy of such services scared the hell out of everybody else.

The upshot: the Senate, which ordinarily loves legislation that strikes at basic American values, threatens to bottle up the health care overhaul at least until year's end.

Word is that the administration is reworking the health care bill to limit the end of life provisions to red states and congressional districts represented by Republicans and blue dog Democrats.

The Chinese also have jumped aboard the anti-Obama train. In response to efforts by global warming careerists to promote a cap and trade tax on oil and coal emissions, the Chinese government laughed uproariously and asked, "You kiddin me?"

What this means is that, if Obama again calls on the Senate to enact the cap and trade bill approved by the House, that answer is almost certain to be, "You kiddin me?"

Enactment by Congress of cap and trade would hand China a huge advantage in international trade, where the Cinese already are prospering because of their low-price advantage over American companies. It also would be equivalent to hanging a sign around the neck of every senator who votes for cap and trade - a sign that says, "Kick me, I'm stupid."

That's something many voters undoubtedly would line up to do.

China already is dumping dollars, undoubtedly heeding tha advice of western-trained economists whom it employs, economists who are telling the government that the dollar is becoming a more and more risky investment as the U.S. stumbles toward insolvency.

Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget has raised its estimate of cumulative deficits over the next 10 years to $9 trillion.

Given the growing apprehension that the Obama team is economically ignorant and the U.S. has run off the tracks, who is going to finance those deficits? At what interest rates?

"The transformation of America starts in five days," Obama said during the runup to the election.

Who knew the magnitude and direction of that transformation?

Obama's political values rooted in Chicago's Daly machne: "Who gets what, when and how?"

"If you want to understand the political agenda of Barack Obama, forget Alinsky, stop calling Obama a "socialist," and start thinking of Barack Obama as a guy who received his political baptism, not from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but from the Chicago machine.

Chicago politics is not about ideology. It is about, "Who Gets What, When, and How," to quote the inimitable Harold D. Laswell, one of the outstanding political theorists of the last century.

The sine qua non of Chicago politics is power, getting it and keeping it. Everything else is incidental. Even corruption is a byproduct of power and is functional only if it enables you to stay in power.

In Chicago politics, you don't make waves, you don't back losers, and you "don't talk to nobody nobody sent." Chicago politics is always about hierarchy and centralization.

Chicago politics is also parochial. In the City of Neighborhoods, ethnic consciousness is strong. An Irish machine, for years, ran a Polish city by making sure that the Poles got a big piece of the pie. There is seldom a perception of a common good. There is the amalgamation of different ethnic interests. In Chicago, the whole is clearly the sum of its parts, and the lubricants for the parts are political spoils.

If you want to understand Obama's health care policy, you need to start where Obama starts. You need to start with Chicago. You need to look at constituent interests."


"...building a new power base resulting from the mobilization of the political and economic periphery requires redefining the nation's health problems as the nation's health catastrophe.

Health reform is Chicago politics on a national level. Welcome to the city."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Top Dem fund raiser charged with defrauding Citi

From Dow Jones

"A New York man was charged with allegedly defrauding Citigroup Inc. (C) out of $74 million in loans.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigations say Hassan Nemazee, with residences in Manhattan and Katonah, N.Y., fraudulently applied for the loans for Nemazee Capital Corp., of which he is chairman and chief executive.

Federal prosecutors contend Nemazee obtained the money by giving the banking giant "numerous documents that purported to establish the existence of accounts in Nemazee's name at various financial institutions containing many hundreds of millions of dollars," the Justice Department said in a statement. "In fact, those were fraudulent and forged documents."

From Wikipedia

"During the United States presidential election, 2004, Nemazee was a supporter of John Kerry and a major contributor to his campaign. He was the New York Finance Chair for the Kerry campaign, and is currently the national finance chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.[5] With Nemazee as the national finance chair, Chuck Schumer's DSCC in 2006 raised $115 million, outpacing the NRSC by substantial sums, and helping the Democratic Party take control of the Senate.[6] During his presidency, Bill Clinton nominated Nemazee to fill the position of U.S. Ambassador to Argentina.[7]

More recently, Nemazee served as Finance Chairman to Hillary Clinton's 2007-08 presidential campaign, and also donated $50,000 (the maximum amount) to Barack Obama's Presidential Inaugural Committee.[8] In addition, Nemazee was a bundler for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee."

Here's a preview of your future pizza order

Detroit, where hope and reform go to die

From Corner at NRO

"To be a Kilpatrick or a Conyers was once political gold in Detroit. “The Detroit Kennedys,” some called them. Reference their legacy on your application and you were all but guaranteed admittance to public office. But the young scions have brought shame to the family crest. Suddenly, the Kilpatrick and Conyers names are radioactive — and, in a remarkable twist of fate, the political careers of the family elders are now in peril.

In 2002, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick rode the coattails of his mother, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and his politically connected father, Bernard, to become, at age 31, Detroit’s youngest mayor. Self sure and media savvy, Kwame’s tumultuous two terms attracted plenty of charges of political corruption. But c’mon, Jake, it’s Chinatown.

Only when Kilpatrick was caught in text messages negotiating a multimillion-dollar, city-financed payoff to cover up a sex scandal did the wheels come off. Kwame became a national embarrassment, a pariah at the 2008 Democratic Convention, and very nearly deep-sixed his mother’s re-election last fall (she won with 39 percent, only because two challengers split the rest of the vote). Now, with 2010 looming, a mere 27 percent of voters in her Detroit district want her re-elected."

UK has to fly in foreign doctors to treat patients

From Daily Mail

Foreign GPs who commute to Britain:
£100-an-hour Poles and Lithuanians
fly in for shifts our doctors won't do

"The huge extent to which the NHS needs foreign doctors to treat patients out of hours is revealed today.

A third of primary care trusts are flying in GPs from as far away as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland because of a shortage of doctors in Britain willing to work in the evenings and at weekends.

The stand-ins earn up to £100 an hour, and one trust paid Polish and German doctors a total of £267,000 in a year, a Daily Mail investigation has found.

It raises fresh concerns that British patients are being treated by exhausted doctors without a perfect command of English.

Yesterday the Royal College of GPs and the General Medical Council called for a 'radical review' of out-of-hours care so that the NHS no longer has to rely on help from abroad.

The figures come months after an investigation was launched into the conduct of a German doctor after two patients died on his first shift in Britain.

Daniel Ubani had just three hours sleep."

Here's a Dick Morris video ad that ABC won't run

A marine speaks truth to power

Rely on government rescues, forget responsibility

"No small part of the current confusion between 'health care' and medical care comes from failing to recognize that Americans can have the best medical care in the world without having the best health or longevity because so many people choose to live in ways that shorten their lives.

There can be grave practical consequences of a dogmatic insistence on external explanations that allow individuals to escape personal responsibility. Americans can end up ruining the best medical care in the world in the vain hope that a government takeover will give us better health.

Economic issues are approached in the same way. People with low incomes are seen as a problem for other people to solve. Studies which follow the same individuals over time show that the vast majority of working people who are in the bottom 20 percent of income earners at a given time end up rising out of that bracket.

Many are simply beginners who get beginners' wages but whose pay rises as they acquire more skills and experience. Yet there is a small minority of workers who do not rise and a large number of people who seldom work and who-- surprise!-- have low incomes as a result."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Your tax dollars + China's loans at titillating work

From the New York Post:

"The stimulus package is living up to its provocative name by funding a bacchanalia of behavioral sex research, a Post analysis reveals.

The next fiscal year is set to be one of the friskiest ever in the nation's science labs, as researchers probe the ins and outs of sex patterns among humans and even some of our four-legged friends.

Among the most titillating grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health are studies that would:

* Examine "barriers to correct condom use" at Indiana University, at a cost of $221,000.

* Study "hookups" among adolescents at Syracuse University. Study's cost: $219,000.

* Evaluate "drug use as a sex enhancer" in an analysis of "high-risk community sex networks" at the University of Illinois, Chicago. That study will cost $123,000.

* Study how methamphetamine, thought to produce an "insatiable need" for sex among users, "enhances the motivation for female rat sexual behavior." Some $28,000 has been awarded for the University of Maryland at Baltimore study."

Mission creep is again at hand in Afghanistan

"The U.S. military's top uniformed officer expressed concern Sunday about eroding public support for the war in Afghanistan and said the country remains vulnerable to being taken over again by extremist forces.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said President Barack Obama's new strategy for defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida was a work in progress as more U.S. troops are put in place."

Here's a hint: the phrase "work in progress" means mission creep is again at work in Afghanistan.

The initial American invasion was fully justified. Afghanistan's Taliban regime had provided a base for the fanatics who planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks.

The American military destroyed that base, while doing heavy damage to the regime. At that point, mission creep took over, and the U.S. and its allies took up the "nation building" phase. We're still engaged in that mission, but be alert for the next effort by the Pentagon's phrase makers.

It isn't easy to make a nation out of people who are still killing each other over events that took place in the 7th Century.

As free enterprise breaks through another barrier, power mad politicians grasp for more control

We are witnesses to a stunning reenactment of an old drama: The stars, free men and women pursuing success while at the same time doing good, are about to break through another barrier by creating artificial life.

From England's Daily Mail:

"Scientists are only months away from creating artificial life, it was claimed yesterday.

Dr Craig Venter – one of the world’s most famous and controversial biologists – said his U.S. researchers have overcome one of the last big hurdles to making a synthetic organism.

The first artificial lifeform is likely to be a simple man-made bacterium that proves that the technology can work.

But it will be followed by more complex bacteria that turn coal into cleaner natural gas, or algae that can soak up carbon dioxide and convert it into fuels."

Meanwhile, grasping, power-mad American politicians are exaggerating the shortcomings of our health care system while deploying disgraceful tactics and strategies in pursuit of government health care, seemingly blind to the failings of such systems in Canada, Great Britain and Russia.

For the left, capturing health care is not a new objective. After all, Vladimir Lenin famously said, "Medicine is the keystone of the socialist arch."

That may have been good politics. After all, Lenin did become a central figure in the establishment of communism in Russia.

But the ultimate result for health care is not impressive. Even though communism's grasp has loosened, Russia remains the sick man of both Europe and Asia. It has contagions of tuberculosis, alcoholism and heart disease, along with unusually high rates of homicide, suicide and fatal auto accidents.

The average age at death for Russian men is 59 and falling.

The New York Times reported another dimension of the problem in this story:

When Karen Papiyants lost his leg in a road accident last year, his medical nightmare was only beginning.

Although like any Russian he was entitled to free treatment, he says the doctors strongly suggested he pay $4,500 into their St. Petersburg hospital's bank account, or be deprived proper care - and perhaps not even survive.

Faced with that choice, relatives of the 37-year-old truck driver scrambled to scrape together the money. But Papiyants said that did not stop the nursing staff from leaving him unattended for most of the night and giving him painkillers only after he screamed in agony.

"It's nothing but blackmail and extortion on the part of doctors," Papiyants said.

In theory Russians are supposed to receive free basic medical care. But patients and experts say doctors, nurses and surgeons routinely demand payments - even bribes - from those they treat. And critics say the practice persists despite Russia's booming economy and its decision to spend billions to improve the health care system.

Medical care in Russia is among the worst in the industrialized world. A 2000 World Health Organization report ranked Russia's health system 130th out of 191 countries, on a par with such nations as Peru and Honduras.

Victims of disease and socialized medicine in Canada and the UK have an alternative and are using it, making medical tourism a growing industry.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

U.S. government moves to oversee yard sales

From American Thinker

"The Bush era Congress passed the "Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act" in August of 2008. It was, as most legislation, an overreaction to the Chinese toy scare.

It was designed to "require extensive testing of any toy, book, or item of clothing intended for kids under the age of 12."

But ambitious bureaucrats have taken the bill and interpreted it to mean "used" toys as well. And now it appears that CPSC enforcers are going to be fanning out across the country in search of garage sales and church bazzars that are not in compliance.

No - I'm not kidding. An agency of the federal government in Washington is actually going to reach all the way down to your neighborhood and make sure that you're following their interpretation of the law.

This handy 28-pager from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds the American people that, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (which I have blogged about here and here), the government is totally in charge of your yard sale..."

Heritage: advocates still mislead on Obamacare

The Heritage Foundation fact-checks Obamacare:

■Taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants: The House bill, as currently structured, does not offer clear guidelines to ensure that illegal immigrants cannot access taxpayer-funded health care benefits. An amendment to safeguard so only U.S. citizens could access federal health care benefits failed on a straight party-line vote.

■Government takeover of health care system: Whether it’s a public health insurance plan, government-run cartel (which is being dubbed a “co-op”), individual mandate or employer mandate, the provisions in the health bills being pushed by the Obama administration call for more government regulation and intrusion in the American health care system. Even the mainstream media is calling President Obama to task for his own “misinformation” — that if you like your health insurance you can keep it if a public plan is introduced in the private insurance market. The Lewin Group found an estimated 56 percent of Americans with employer-based coverage would lose their current insurance under the House bill.

■Funding abortions with taxpayer dollars: This concern has been raised in all three House committees and the Senate HELP committee. Based on the passage of an amendment to require at least one insurance plan to cover abortion each geographical region and the failure of several amendments to prohibit federal funds for abortion services, taxpayers could end up financing abortion.

Sign makers for recovery see surge in sign making

Mark Steyn:

"Still, what do I know? Evidently, it's stimulated the sign-making industry, putting America back to work by putting up "PUTTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK" signs every 200 yards across the land. And at 300 bucks a pop the signage alone should be enough to launch an era of unparalleled prosperity, assuming America's gilded sign magnates don't spend their newfound wealth on Bahamian vacations and European imports. Perhaps if the president were to have his All-Seeing O logo lovingly hand-painted onto each sign, it would stimulate the economy even more, if only when they were taken down and auctioned on eBay.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, India, China, Japan and much of Continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn't afford it. They did not invest in the critical signage-in-front-of-holes-in-the-road sector. And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world's biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can't compete with Obama's $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet."

"Your Life, Your Choices:" the VA enlists in the Obama team's search for savings through death

From the WSJ:

"If President Obama wants to better understand why America's discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.

Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."

Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

"Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living."


"When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?

One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender."


"This hurry-up-and-die message is clear and unconscionable."

Obama falls to new low of -14 in Rasmussen poll

From Rasmussen Reports

"The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 27% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14. These figures mark the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President. The previous low of -12 was reached on July 30 (see trends).

Prior to today, the number who Strongly Approved of the President’s performance had never fallen below 29%. Some of the decline has come from within the President’s own party. Just 49% of Democrats offer such a positive assessment of the President at this time.

At the other end of the spectrum, today’s total for Strongly Disapprove matches the highest level yet recorded. The 41% mark was reached just once before and that came one week ago today. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans now Strongly Disapprove along with 49% of those not affiliated with either major party."

Illionois voters go nuclear: "no more Dick"

Even in Illinois, the home office of the White House Daly machine, the folks are so mad they're going nuclear.

"No more Dick," commanded a protest sign this weekend.

The reference was to Dick Durbin, the talkative Democrat senator from Illinois.

Other interpretations are, however, inevitable. If the women of Illinois accept those other interpretations as their own, look for a surge in liquor sales, an uptick in bar fights, even a possible declaration of war by Illinois against Indiana.

If that's the price of retiring Dick Durbin, so be it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

49 % favor opt-outs from failing Social Security

"Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters say working Americans should be allowed to opt out of Social Security and provide for their own retirement planning.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% disagree and do not believe Americans should be able to opt out of Social Security. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

A majority of voters under 50 say workers should be allowed to opt out. A plurality of those over 50 disagree.

One of President Obama’s top economic advisers signaled this week that the president will try to reform Social Security before the end of his first term. Voters are also closely divided on whether this is a good idea despite news that the system may be closer to running out of money than previously reported."

Friday, August 21, 2009

InstaCzar Glenn Reynolds intro's Obama's czars

How trial lawyers won power and wealth as hired guns for government policy makers

"Ten years ago, notorious trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs, apparently frustrated with elected officials' inaction on health care, decided to take matters into his own hands, filing class action lawsuits against HMOs.

Reporting on the suits,Time magazine asked Scruggs whether the plaintiffs' bar was trying to run America. His response, accompanied by laughter, was "somebody's got to do it."

Today, even though Scruggs is jail, his manifest destiny-like vision of private lawyers making public policy has become a troubling reality. To borrow a phrase from author and legal commentator Walter Olsen, trial lawyers have become "an unelected fourth branch of government."

Plaintiffs' lawyers, cloaking themselves in the veil of "public interest," have earned billions from class action and other private suits aimed at imposing new taxes or regulations. But these lawyers have found that bringing the same types of suits on behalf of public entities, instead of private individuals, is a far more effective and lucrative way to advance their policy agendas."

Krauthammer: Paying doctors for end of life counsel is to nudge the dying "toward letting go"

"... why get Medicare to pay the doctor to do the counseling? Because we know that if this white-coated authority whose chosen vocation is curing and healing is the one opening your mind to hospice and palliative care, we've nudged you ever so slightly toward letting go.

It's not an outrage. It's surely not a death panel. But it is subtle pressure applied by society through your doctor. And when you include it in a health care reform whose major objective is to bend the cost curve downward, you have to be a fool or a knave to deny that it's intended to gently point you in a certain direction, toward the corner of the sick room where stands a ghostly figure, scythe in hand, offering release."

Cook: Situation "has slipped completely out of control" for Obama and Congressional Democrats

"For those of you not addicted to the 1:00pm EDT daily release of Gallup’s three-night moving average tracking poll, President Obama’s job approval rating in both their August 16-18 and August 17-19 averages was just 51 percent, the lowest level of his presidency. The latter sampling showed his disapproval up to 42 percent, matching his all-time low hit in the August 15-17 tracking poll. The 51% job approval rating is identical to two other polls released in recent days conducted by NBC News and the Pew Research Center. Today’s regression-based trend estimate computed by our friends at from all major national surveys show an approval rating of 50.7 percent and disapproval of 43.7 percent.

These data confirm anecdotal evidence, and our own view, that the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats. Today, The Cook Political Report’s Congressional election model, based on individual races, is pointing toward a net Democratic loss of between six and 12 seats, but our sense, factoring in macro-political dynamics is that this is far too low."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Illegal aliens will be treated at times even though rationing is likely for dying Americans

Health care services may be scarce, and therefore expensive, but they're not so scarce or expensive that the United States should stop treating illegal aliens.

So says President Barack Obama.

This raises the possibility, indeed the probability, that at some point in the future an American citizen who is a combat veteran, retired after a 40-year career as a police officer, will be told that he can not receive life-prolonging treatment while a lawbreaker who is not a citizen can show up at a hospital emergency room and get treatment.

One of the inescapable implications of the various Democrat health care plans rattling around Washington is that health care will be rationed, at least for those who are in the final stage of life.

Obama describes treatment of illegal aliens, in certain circumstances, as "a basic standard of decency." One of those situations, he said, would be a child who shows up at an emergency room and is found to be suffering from tuberculosis or is in another "death situation."

It's preferable to treat them, Obama said, than to send them home and risk having them play with other children at school.

Whoring for hispanic votes - it's on top of the agendas of both political parties, and will be until American voters decide to take their country back.

Democrat party identification drops to 49 %

"The percentage of Americans who hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party has slipped below 50 percent for the first time since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.

Only 49 percent of Americans now hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party, down from 62 percent in the same poll shortly after Obama assumed office. Democratic favorable ratings hovered around 60 percent as recently as April, when 59 percent of those polled held a favorable view."

Governments add 110,000 jobs during recession

"While the private sector has shed 6.9 million jobs since the beginning of the recession, state and local governments have expanded their payrolls and added 110,000jobs, according to a report issued Thursday by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

The report, based on an analysis of federal jobs data, found that state and local governments steadily added jobs for eight months after the recession began in December 2007, with their employment peaking last August. State and local governments have since lost 55,000 jobs, but from the beginning of the recession through last month they gained a net of 110,000 jobs, the report found, in part because of the federal stimulus program."

Nat Hentoff: "I am finally scared of a White House"

"I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover's FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama's desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) - as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill - decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive. Watch for that life-decider in the final bill. It's already in the stimulus bill signed into law."

Would crippled FDR have passed worthiness test?

"Would Ezekiel Emanuel want to give medical coverage to a 48 year old pre-presidential Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a wheelchair with polio? Keep in mind he was also famously a smoker who used a cigarette holder.

Pres. Roosevelt used to go for hydrotherapy treatments to Warm Springs, Georgia (he died there in spring of 1945) and for anyone familiar with "Health Czar" Emanuel's philosophies, it is realistic to assume that ObamaCare would never pay for hydrotherapy treatments of a less politically connected person than FDR who suffered from the same ailments."

On health care, Texas took on the lawyers and won; congress chooses campaign funds over reform

Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

"In 2003, I declared the medical liability crisis an emergency item and the Legislature responded by passing sweeping reforms that protected the patient, but also shielded doctors and hospitals from unscrupulous trial lawyers eager to make a quick buck.

We capped noneconomic damages at $250,000 per defendant, or up to $750,000 per incident, while placing no cap on more easily determined economic damages, such as lost wages or costs of medical care due to injury.

We ended the practice of allowing baseless but expensive lawsuits to drag on indefinitely, requiring plaintiffs to provide expert witness reports to support their claims within four months of filing suit or drop the case.

These measures were supported by the people of Texas, who in September 2003 approved a ballot measure, Proposition 12, authorizing all the changes.

Changes were seen immediately, and continue to be felt. All major liability insurers cut their rates upon passage of our reforms, with most of those cuts ranging in the double-digits. More than 10 new insurance carriers entered the Texas market, increasing competition and further lowering costs.

As a result, Texas doctors have seen their insurance rates decline by an average of 27 percent.

The number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas has skyrocketed by 57 percent. In 2008, the Texas Medical Board received 4,023 license applications and issued a record 3,621 new ones.

In all, in just the first five years after reforms passed, 14,498 doctors either returned to practice in Texas or began practicing here for the first time.

And our reforms finally brought critical specialties to underserved areas. The number of obstetricians practicing in rural Texas is up by 27 percent, and 12 counties that previously had no obstetricians now have at least one. The statistics show major gains in fields like orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, neurosurgery and emergency medicine."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Greenpeace leader: Greenland ice pack will endure

Obama's campaign for government health care is putting big dollars in hands of top consultants

From Associated Press

"President Barack Obama's push for a national health care overhaul is providing a financial windfall in the election offseason to Democratic consulting firms that are closely connected to the president and two top advisers.

Coalitions of interest groups running at least $24 million in pro-overhaul ads hired GMMB, which worked for Obama's 2008 campaign and whose partners include a top Obama campaign strategist. They also hired AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama's campaign and now to the White House. AKPD did work for Obama's campaign, and Axelrod's son Michael and Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe work there.

The firms were hired by Americans for Stable Quality Care and its predecessor, Healthy Economy Now. Each was formed by a coalition of interests with big stakes in health care policy, including the drug maker lobby PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union and Families USA, which calls itself "The Voice for Health Care Consumers."

Their ads press for changes in health care policy. Healthy Economy Now made one of the same arguments that Obama does: that health care costs are delaying the country's economic recovery and that changes are needed if the economy is to rebound."

One market still works: the black market in organs

Here's some good news that will be deeply deplored by our mostly deplorable news media: There seems to be a thriving international black market in human organs. Willing buyers are paying up to meet the demands of willing sellers. Even in the age of Obama, markets work.

Here's the scoop:

"In 2005, a rebellious and sporadically employed Israeli man flew to New York to give up a kidney to save an American businessman. For that, he says he was paid $20,000, which appeared in a brown envelope on his hospital bed after the operation.
That payoff would be illegal.

But the kidney donor, 39-year-old Nick Rosen of Tel Aviv, says that doesn't matter. "I smoke pot. That's also against the law."

Rosen believes he did a good deed and that organ donors like him should be compensated. Much of his story can be confirmed, and the case gives new resonance to claims that a black market for kidneys has thrived even in the United States."

The Obama administration faces a choice:

1. Come down hard on Mr. Rosen, start an FBI investigation of how big the organ market is, and then try to stamp it out with prosecutions and regulation.

2. Try to consolidate its dwindling base by wailing about how unfair, even evil, it is that the well-off can buy replacement organs while the poor have to soldier on with the old, worn-out ones.

My bet is they'll go with the class warfare angle.

"The welcome mat has been pulled out"

From American Thinker

"... if you don't live in your heart, if you live in your ideology, then your eyes see a different reality. You divide the world up into those who can serve the state and those who cannot.

In the world of Obama and his friends, there are able bodied people who can be used. Then there are the clunkers, the parasites and sponges. The welcome mat has been pulled out from under us; the Statue of Liberty is sinking.

For Obama, the only needy people are the invented victims, casualties of what Michelle Obama has deemed a "mean country." These sufferers deserve special status and help; for the rest of us, the sands of time may be running out.

People often say that Obama is a ham, who relishes the limelight. I question this. I actually think that his love of the camera is an act, just another page lifted from the Left's rule book. It's what all socialist/communist regimes do: foster dependence on the Leader; plaster his face everywhere. Make it all Obama, all the time.

I actually don't think Obama likes people very much. He enjoys playing Messiah, the Savior. But real, live human beings -- no."

Health care expert debunks Obama's assumptions

Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute and author of The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care, interviewed by Frontpagemag:

"I think the President believes that government is more efficient than the private sector and can do things cheaper. We know this is not the case. Since 1970, according to PRI scholar Dr. Jeff Anderson, medicare and medicaid costs per patient are about 35 percent more expensive than the costs of private insurance. Also, government economists and politicians are never able to estimate the cost of a government program. Look at Medicare--when it began in 1965, the cost was $3 billion per year. The precursor to the Congressional Budget Office predicted that Medicare would cost about $12 billion. In fact, it cost $110 billion. Medicare and Medicaid are projected to cost about $700 billion each by 2017 and they will be bankrupt. There is also tremendous fraud and abuse in these programs.

President Obama wants us all in a government-run health care program. It will not be cheap. The estimates of the various bills on the table today range between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion over 10 years. They will not be deficit neutral. The CBO is saying they will add about $239 billion to the deficit at the end of 10 years. We will all face increased taxes, higher deficits, rationed care, and a lower quality of care.

Canadians have an escape valve--30,000 out of a population of 32 million come to the U.S. to have surgery and tests done because the waits are too long. Where are the best doctors in America going to go and where will we as patients go when government takes over our health care system?"

Getting elected as a "charismatic demagogue" is one thing; governing requires skills Obama lacks

"What happens when the thing a president knows best is a set of tactics designed to take power from the "haves"? When the most highly prized info a president ever garnered could be summed up as nothing better than gaming an electoral system with ACORN pay-for-registration schemes?

What happens when a president is very skilled in deceptively cloaking these less-than-altruistic means in rhetorical "moral garments" and his lies finally start catching up with him, destroying his credibility? When a president has never actually run anything successfully, not even his own paper route or a PTA meeting or a small town's city council?

What happens when power-grab tactics, taught by a rabble-rousing revolutionary, suddenly catapult a charismatic demagogue into the highest power-perch in the world?

Well, then, Barack Obama's big, fat governance failure happens."

At boisterous Town Hall meeting, banking queen Barney Frank poses as an angry white male

Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama correctly predicted he would transform U.S.; conservatives lead liberals in all 50 states

"Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in all 50 states of the union, according to the Gallup Poll.

At the same time, more Americans nationwide are saying this year that they are conservative than have made that claim in any of the last four years.

In 2009, 40% percent of respondents in Gallup surveys that have interviewed more than 160,000 Americans have said that they are either “conservative” (31%) or “very conservative” (9%). That is the highest percentage in any year since 2004.

Only 21% have told Gallup they are liberal, including 16% who say they are “liberal” and 5% who say they are “very liberal.”

Thirty-five percent of Americans say they are moderate."

Screwball economics drives Obama on health care

"Americans are being urged to worry about the nation spending 17% of its gross domestic product each year on health care—a higher percentage than any other country. Addressing the American Medical Association in June, Barack Obama said, "Make no mistake: The cost of our health care is a threat to our economy." But the president is mistaken. Japan spends 8% of its GDP on health care—the same as Zimbabwe. South Korea and Haiti both spend 6%. Monaco spends 5%, which is what Afghanistan spends. Do all of these countries have economies that are less "threatened" than that of the U.S.?

No. So there must be other factors that affect the health of a nation's economy.

Mr. Obama has said that "the cost of health care has weighed down our economy." No one thinks the 20% of our GDP that's attributable to manufacturing is weighing down the economy, because it's intuitively clear that one person's expenditure on widgets is another person's income. But the same is true of the health-care industry. The $2.4 trillion Americans spend each year for health care doesn't go up in smoke. It's paid to other Americans."

Free markets get little respect from Obama but are killing major planks of his big government platform

Despite the best efforts of the silk stocking radicals who have laid siege to Washington, the market system is stubbornly working its will and is now on the verge of burying two of the Obama administration's most valued objectives.

A government run health care insurer, designed to compete with existing private insurers, has been dropped. The rest of the health care agenda is largely window dressing, which will not discourage the White House from claiming a monumental victory when it is enacted.

What was important was the attempt to place the U.S. government at the table where health care issues are decided, a place that would have allowed government bureaucrats to enlarge again and again their role in health care.

The architect of Russian communism, Vladimir Lenin, regarded control of health care as vital, saying, "Medicine is the keystone of the socialist arch."

For the White House, Canada became a major problem because Americans have been reading and hearing for years about the long waits and bureaucratic procedures that patients encounter. Many seriously ill Canadians come to the United States for treatment at their own expense.

In recent months, opponents have exploited Canada Care's history, as well as recent revelations, in an effective campaign against socialized medicine. American voters, seldom fans of big government, became more and more outspoken in opposition to the Obama plan.

As if on cue, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association said Monday that Canada's health care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

Dr. Anne Doig said patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.

"We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Because of Canada Care's obvious liabilities, more than half of Americans say they would prefer no health reform at all to a reform that places government at the table, according to polls.

The free market has spoken. Obama has dropped the government option.

The other top-priority issue, global warming, remains on the table, but is, at best, on life support.

The House passed a cap and trade bill, effectively a tax on energy, before the August recess, but the Senate did not.

Shortly thereafter, China and India essentially blew off suggestions that they join the global warming hysteria and enact controls on carbon emissions.

China and India are developing rapidly and are heavily reliant on international trade. Handicapping their exporters with energy taxes would slow their development. They are tailoring their laws to suit international markets, not international elites or global warming careerists.

In doing so, China and India have checkmated the Obama administration. If the White House resumes its push for cap and trade, and pushes s bill through the Senate, it will be forcing American exporters to raise prices, damaging their ability to compete in international markets.

The recession would deepen. More workers would be unemployed.

Even if the vaunted $787 billion stimulus were to begin to work, cap and trade likely would halt any improvement.

Then, the Bush recession would be wholly owned by the White House.

Cap and trade is, for all practical purposes, dead.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Obama retreats on public option for health insurance

The country's going to the dogs, I tell ya

Why do private insurers support Obamacare?

From: Reason

"As for the insurance companies, they worry—legitimately—that a government insurance company—the so-called public option—would drive them out of business. This isn't alarmism. It's economics. The public option would have no bottom line to worry about and therefore could engage in "predatory pricing" against the private insurers.

But despite these differences, the biggest companies in these two industries are on board with "reform."

It illustrates economist Steven Horwitz's First Law of Political Economy: "No one hates capitalism more than capitalists." In this case, big business wants to shape—and profit from—what inevitably will be an interventionist health-care reform. Can you think of the last time a major business supported a truly free market in anything?"

Despite "crisis," only 42 % support Obamacare

Rasmussen Reports:

"Public support for the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats has fallen to a new low as just 42% of U.S. voters now favor the plan. That’s down five points from two weeks ago and down eight points from six weeks ago.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that opposition to the plan has increased to 53%, up nine points since late June.

More significantly, 44% of voters strongly oppose the health care reform effort versus 26% who strongly favor it. Intensity has been stronger among opponents of the plan since the debate began."

Vladimir Lenin: "Medicine is the keystone of the arch of socialism"

From: American Thinker

These are perilous times. Last November's election of Barack Obama and a veto-proof majority of Democrats in both houses allowed a virulent cabal to capture our nation's seat of power. As with the Democrat takeover of Congress in 2006, it was a disaster of epic proportions. With one shocking, enormous, blatantly partisan, self-serving and destructive proposal following on the heels of another, the sheer enormity of their power grab defies description. But as each new proposal moves forward, the hand of the Crisis Strategy becomes clear.

If there were ever any doubt that Barack Obama personifies the Crisis Strategy, it should long since have been removed for anyone with a mind. Since so many Americans seem to have lost theirs, I address this to the rest of you. For with God's help, it is you and I, not our gutless, hapless, corrupt politicians, nor our sleeping populus that will save this country or allow it to fall.


"...the Democrats want to nationalize the entire industry, currently 17 percent of GDP, to provide benefits to 4 percent of the U.S. population."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is the judiciary unchecked?

From Slate:

"When a federal judge ordered 17 Chinese Uighurs, detained at Guantanamo Bay, released into the United States last October, he took to its logical conclusion the judiciary's increasingly bold effort to supervise the president and Congress. Justifying his ruling in the face of Congress' exclusive constitutional power over when, which, and how foreign nationals may enter the United States, Judge Ricardo Urbina reasoned that "our system of checks and balances is designed to preserve the fundamental right of liberty." He saw his order as necessary to that end. But if he's right, then the judiciary itself is the unchecked branch of government. And while judges have expanded their power before in our history, never have the claims to supremacy of some of them been so extreme."

What's holding back the poor? taxes, rules, licenses and credentialing imposed by the nanny state

From: American Thinker

"The real problem holding back the poor in the world today is not discrimination and racism; it is the tax bite and the regulatory bite and the credentials bite of the liberal welfare/regulatory state.

The poor are resourceful and they have the will to make it. But they can't afford to pay full freight on all the bells and whistles that the modern state hangs onto every product sale and every employee labor hour. When you insist on all that stuff then the poor have to go off the books. Then they become victims of the police, the politicians, and the gangs.

Taxes, regulations, licenses, credentials: these are the building blocks of liberal power. It's a pity that each block knocks a rung off the ladder of opportunity for the poor.

Yet our liberal friends are even now straining every sinew to increase taxes, regulations so they can give us health care. It's a pity that the increased bite will make it even more difficult for the poor to go legit."

Here's a mad conservative vision. Imagine a world in which the poor got a few breaks. Imagine an America where the cost of government was radically smaller, and they didn't have to go off the books to hide from the liberal tax bite, the liberal regulation bite, and the liberal credentials bite.

Then maybe they could support themselves instead of living as wards of the state on the liberal plantation."

Hillary: Vote rigging in Nigeria, a contested U.S. election that turned on Florida - all the same thing

An irony for the ages: "death panels" are part of the already enacted $787 billion "stimulus"

From American Thinker:

"AP argues that the (stimulus) bill's end-of-life counseling provision has been mistaken as a promotion of euthanasia and thus the death panel assertion by Palin and many other conservatives is false and misleading.

The New York Times has joined in the death panel bashing. Jim Rutenburg and Jackie Calmes assert the following:

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure.

The AP is technically correct in stating that end-of-life counseling is not the same as a death panel. The New York Times is also correct to point out that the health care bill contains no provision setting up such a panel.

What both outlets fail to point out is that the panel already exists.

H.R. 1 (more commonly known as the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, even more commonly known as the Stimulus Bill and aptly dubbed the Porkulus Bill) contains a whopping $1.1 billion to fund the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The Council is the brain child of former Health and Human Services Secretary Nominee Tom Daschle. Before the Porkulus Bill passed, Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant governor of New York, wrote in detail about the Council's purpose.

Daschle's stated purpose (and therefore President Obama's purpose) for creating the Council is to empower an unelected bureaucracy to make the hard decisions about health care rationing that elected politicians are politically unable to make. The end result is to slow costly medical advancement and consumption. Daschle argues that Americans ought to be more like Europeans who passively accept "hopeless diagnoses."

McCaughey goes on to explain:

Daschle says health-care reform "will not be pain free." Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.

Who is on the Council? One of its most prominent members is none other than Dr. Death himself, Ezekiel Emanuel. Dr. Emanuel's views on care of the elderly should frighten anyone who is or ever plans on being old."

Is immigration the answer to low birth rates? Not so much, but it does wonders for welfare rolls

From Mark Steyn:

"The reality is encapsulated in this remarkable statistic from the Bundesausländerbeauftragte: between 1971 and 2000, the number of foreign residents in Germany rose from three million to about 7.5 million. Yet the number of foreigners in work stayed more or less exactly the same at about two million. Four decades ago, two-thirds of German immigrants were in the workforce. By the turn of the century, barely a quarter were. These days, Germany’s Gastarbeiter (“guest workers”) are heavy on the Gast, ever lighter on the Beiter.

Turks in Germany have three times the rate of welfare dependency as ethnic Germans, and their average retirement age is 50. In the Stockholm suburb of Tensta, where immigrants and their children make up 85 per cent of the population, one-fifth of women in their late 40s collect disability benefits. Foreigners didn’t so much game the system as discover, thanks to family “reunification” and other lollipops, that it demanded nothing of them. Indeed, entire industries were signed up for public subsidy. Two-thirds of French imams are on the dole."

Friday, August 14, 2009

The insolent alien author of a local crime spree

ht: Debbie Schlussel

Stagflation president picked as best ex-president

"For nearly one-out-of-three voters (32%), Jimmy Carter is the living ex-president who has done the best job since leaving the White House, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Carter, who served in the White House from 1977 to 1981, ranks first among the four surviving presidents. George W. Bush, who has only been out of office seven months, comes in last with nine percent (9%) support."

U.S. mission in Afghanistan creeps and creeps

"Though U.S. force levels are higher than ever, the U.S. military situation is worse than ever. Though President Karzai is expected to win re-election, he is regarded as the ineffectual head of a corrupt regime. Though we have trained an Afghan army and police force of 220,000, twice that number are now needed. The Taliban are operating not only in the east, but in the north and west, and are taking control of the capital of the south, Kandahar."


"Had we gone into Afghanistan in 2001, knocked over the Taliban, driven out al-Qaida and departed, we would not be facing what we do today.

But we were seduced by the prospect of converting a backward tribal nation of 25 million, which has resisted every empire to set foot on its inhospitable soil, into a shining new democracy that would be a model for the Islamic world.

Now, whatever Obama decides, we shall pay a hellish price for the hubris of the nation-builders."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Senate committee scuttles end-of-life consultation

"The Senate Finance Committee will drop a controversial provision on consultations for end-of-life care from its proposed healthcare bill, its top Republican member said Thursday.

The committee, which has worked on putting together a bipartisan healthcare reform bill, will drop the controversial provision after it was derided by conservatives as "death panels" to encourage euthanasia.

"On the Finance Committee, we are working very hard to avoid unintended consequences by methodically working through the complexities of all of these issues and policy options," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. "We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."

The Finance Committee is the only congressional committee not to report out a preliminary healthcare bill before the August congressional recess, but is expected to unveil its proposal shortly after Labor Day."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sea Monsters in Lake Michigan? And people still wonder why Michigan is a failed state?.

"Michigan just experienced its coldest July on record; global temperatures haven't risen in more than a decade; Great Lakes water levels have resumed their 30-year cyclical rise (contrary to a decade of media scare stories that they were drying up due to global warming), and polls show that climate change doesn't even make a list of Michigan voters' top-ten concerns.

Yet in an interview with the Detroit News Monday, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) - recently appointed to the Senate Energy Committee - made clear that fighting the climate crisis is her top priority.

"Climate change is very real," she confessed as she embraced cap and trade's massive tax increase on Michigan industry - at the same time claiming, against all the evidence, that it would not lead to an increase in manufacturing costs or energy prices. "Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes."

And there are sea monsters in Lake Michigan. I can feel them when I'm boating."

Dems could bend health care cost curve down by infuriating trial lawyers who fund their campaigns

"The second component, which can explain the difference in baseline healthcare costs for the United States compared to other developed countries, is the medical-legal environment that healthcare is practiced in. The United States has the least tort-adverse healthcare system in the world. Studies estimate that $200 - $500 billion of the annual US health care budget is attributable to defensive medicine.

So the question is, can we cut costs and expand access to care for more Americans while maintaining what is good about our current healthcare market and respecting the values of individual liberty, freedom, and personal responsibility that this country was founded upon? The answer is yes but we have to decrease government imposed restrictions on consumer choice in the healthcare market and enact nationwide tort reform."

Barack Obama - eloquent but tone deaf

"...despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country’s heart and character.

He seems unable to grasp what runs counter to its nature. That Americans don’t take well, for instance, to bullying, especially of the moralizing kind, implicit in those speeches on health care for everybody. Neither do they wish to be taken where they don’t know they want to go and being told it’s good for them.

Who would have believed that this politician celebrated, above all, for his eloquence and capacity to connect with voters would end up as president proving so profoundly tone deaf? A great many people is the answer—the same who listened to those speeches of his during the campaign, searching for their meaning.

It took this battle over health care to reveal the bloom coming off this rose, but that was coming. It began with the spectacle of the president, impelled to go abroad to apologize for his nation—repeatedly. It is not, in the end, the demonstrators in those town-hall meetings or the agitations of his political enemies that Mr. Obama should fear. It is the judgment of those Americans who have been sitting quietly in their homes, listening to him."

If government gains a foothold in health care, mission creep could put more and more at risk

Two words, strangely missing from the health care debate, deserve a place.

The words are "mission creep."

Few enactments escape the reach of mission creep, the tendency of small, modestly priced and limited government programs to grow, over time, into expensive, wasteful, far-raching and instrusive programs that bust budgets snd rain unintended consequences on citizen-victims.

The Korean War, the U.S. military adventure in Somalia, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are leading military examples of mission creep. But the phenomenon has spread throughout the universe in which congressional legislation plays a role.

The Community Reinvestment Act, enacted during the Carter Administration in the 1970s, was a response to a court order designed to make more low income people eligible for home ownership. Over time, the CRA led to prolonged low-interest-rate schemes by the Federal Reserve and the creation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In the hands of Democrat social engineers, Freddie and Fannie stood traditional economics on its head by destroying the gatekeeper function of local lenders.

Before Freddie and Fannie came on the scene, local lenders had to scrutinize the viability of borrowers to safeguard their own institutions. With Freddie and Fannie on hand, those lenders no longer faced any risk. They could immediately offload new mortgages to Freddie and Fannie.

The new system not only eliminated local risk, but encouraged recklessness because the more mortgages the lender wrote, the more money the lender would make.

Meanwhile, Freddie and Fannie sold the mortgages to investment banks, which bundled and sold them to big investors throughout the world.

When the mortgage defaults began to swell, the financial industry entered its meltdown phase, eventually taking down the economy.

Now, the Obama administration is campaigning for what seems to be a simple tightening up of the health care system. But his past statements indicate that he favors an eventual single-payer provider of health insurance.

More ominously, Obama's director of the Office of Management and Budget, has as an advisor Ezekiel Emanuel, a brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Dr. Emanuel is a fellow at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research center, that has published articles and books on the patient's right to die, as well as promoted "Assisted Dying" policy as a component of healthcare reform.

Dr. Emanuel's June 2008 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association criticized the Hippocratic Oath as an unwelcome "imperative [for physicians] to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others."

In the article, titled "The Perfect Storm of Overutilization," he instead encourages a "move toward more socially sustainable, cost-effective care."

This philosophy of "socially sustainable care" for older Americans is reflected in nine pages of the bill devoted to a description of a new Medicare benefit: 'Advance Care Planning Consultation.'"

In other words, the fox already is inside the chicken shack.

As of now, the government has no say in how doctors practice medicine. That matter is up to patients, doctors and insurers.

Under any likely health care reform, however, that is likely to change. Once government seizes some control of the health care system, mission creep would come into play.

Bit by bit, it is reasonable to assume that the worst expectations of government medicine - rationed treatment, evaluations of patient worthiness, etc. - would become standard features of American health care.

Bear that in mind as Obama and his social engineers emphasize the limited scope of their project.