Where does your representative rank?

In a time of economic uncertainty, which is not helped by runaway government spending, you might be surprised (happily or otherwise) to learn where your Senator or House member stands when it comes to pro-growth policies.  I was not at all surprised to learn that my representatives — Woolsey, Boxer and Feinstein — are busy spending us into bankruptcy, with rankings of 0%, 3% and 3%, respectively.

The important takeaway is that the campaign speeches at home don’t often match the votes in Congress.  For example, Renee Elmers, who is running for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district, points out that her opponent, who talks the talk at home, walks the fiscally irresponsible walk once he’s in D.C. (coming in at 6%, behind Pelosi, who is a 7%).

Does Obama even bother to listen to himself?

A brief history:  Obama promised that the health care debate was so important, it would be carried on C-SPAN.  That did not happen.  Obama promised that any proposed bill on health care would be placed on a website for public comment far in advance of the vote.  That did not happen.  Obama promised that he would wait at least 72 hours (is that right?) before signing any health care bill into law.  That did not happen.

What did happen was that Nancy Pelosi promised that the only way to learn about what was in the bill was to pass it, a reasonable promise given the number of congressmen who conceded that they personally had no idea what was in the 2000+ page monstrosity for which they voted.  In sum, our Democratic government took over 1/6 of the American economy without public input, without debate, and without even any idea of what it was doing.

Congress is now trying to take over Wall Street.  If Congress was merely trying to impose a “few rules but unbreakable” (a quote from one of my favorite books) in order to keep Wall Street honest, I’d be there.  But this is a Democratic initiative, so that’s not what’s going on.

What’s going on, instead, is political grandstanding along with some power grabs and market control.  You and I won’t be benefiting any time soon, but it could prove very costly and damaging to the vitality of the American marketplace.

The Republicans, having figured out that Obama legislation invariably means wasted money and increased government control (i.e. less individual freedom), is refusing to be pushed into a rushed decision on something so important.  Obama is irate.  And this is what an irate Obama says:

“The American people deserve an honest debate on this bill,” Obama told the crowd. “You should not have to have to wait one more day.”

Obama said Senate Republicans “unanimously blocked efforts to even being debating reform.”

“They won’t let it [the bill] get on the floor to be debated,” Obama said. “It’s one thing to oppose reform, but to oppose just even talking about reform in front of the American people and having a legitimate debate? That’s not right.”

From someone else, this might have been a reasonable question.  Coming from Obama, however, it amounts to an insulting slap in the face of the American people.  He has no interest in an open politic process.  This is just more of Obama’s governance by insult.  Really, what a dreadful little man he is.

Hank Johnson’s geography and the cost of private sector employment *UPDATED*

Yes, you’ve already seen this video of Rep. Hank Johnson from Georgia (Cynthia McKinney’s old district), but I’m going to show it again, if for no other reason than to appreciate the Admiral’s incredible polite restraint.  An officer and a gentleman, that’s for sure:

Many have noted that Rep. Johnson is ill, which may account, not just for this bizarre delusion, but for the myriad delusions that populate his brain:

I contacted Rep. Hank (D-Goin’ down for the third time) Johnson’s office and asked them if the good Representative had any other fears he wished to share. I was told that Rep. Johnson also fears:

-Future missions to the moon will cause Earth’s satellite to “go all crazy and spin out of orbit”

-Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will mean “heavy drilling equipment will cause the poles to shift and Kansas City will end up as the new North Pole”

-Excessive use of the office microwave will cause “the oxygen in the oven to interact with the atmosphere, making it overheat and burn away.”

You can laugh at his delusions or mourn the ravages of disease, but what you cannot avoid is that this guy is getting paid on the public dime and that he turned is mental energies, such as they are, to a yes vote on Obama Care.

In the private sector, Rep. Johnson would long since have been politely placed on early retirement, and someone competent would have replaced him.  In the wonderful world of politics, though, Johnson gets to waste people’s time (poor Admiral) and, worse, have an effect on America’s policy.

Remember, please, what a squeaker the health care vote was.  Had Johnson been in his right mind, perhaps (and yes, this is an extreme hypothetical given the district from which he comes) he might have put the brakes on the whole thing.  As it was, Pelosi probably took gross advantage of someone who is mentally dysfunctional.

Your government at work, people.

UPDATE:  Lissa suggests that the Ace of Spades content is satire.  She’s probably right (although the post went up on March 31, not on April 1).  The sad thing is I can’t quite tell.  Johnson’s original statement is so utterly insane, that anything else insane that is attributed to him has the gloss of reality.  Satire only works when there’s some bright line, no matter how slender, between reality and spoof.

UPDATE II:  Neo-neocon says that what we’re actually seeing is a long-running gag between two old friends.  If that is the case, I would suggest that in Congress, before television, in front of an audience that doesn’t get the joke, is a bad way to have fun.  My kids often try to defend an insult by saying “it was a joke.”  I’ve repeatedly told them it’s only a joke if the audience gets it.  On the other hand, considering that Neo’s own post came out on April 1 — well, where’s the reality in all of this?

Hall of mirrors, here I come!

UPDATE: Neo sent me an email confirming that she was making the joke, not Johnson.  I suspected that, but Johnson’s behavior was so over-the-top, and Willard’s response so exquisitely composed, I could almost be convinced that it was theater.  Also, Neo has a delicate touch and did a lovely job with her satire.

UPDATE III:  Assuming any truth in this report, Johnson himself makes no mention of a long-standing friendship and practical jokes.  Instead, he claims that he was building an elaborate metaphor.

Elaborate metaphor?  Elaborate hoax?  I don’t know but, again, it’s dangerous to make a joke if you’re in power and your audience isn’t in on the joke.

I contacted Rep. Hank (D-Goin’ down for the third time) Johnson’s office and asked them if the good Representative had any other fears he wished to share. I was told that Rep. Johnson also fears:

-Future missions to the moon will cause Earth’s satellite to “go all crazy and spin out of orbit”

-Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will mean “heavy drilling equipment will cause the poles to shift and Kansas City will end up as the new North Pole”

-Excessive use of the office microwave will cause “the oxygen in the oven to interact with the atmosphere, making it overheat and burn away.”

The topsy-turvey world of modern politics

As part of a longer rumination about the stability that the Cold War provided for our political system, James Taranto makes the following observations about yesterday’s House vote:

Why did it happen? Last November voters sent what seemed to us a pretty clear message by rejecting Democratic candidates for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, both states Obama carried a year earlier. It didn’t seem so clear to the Democrats in Washington, who were able to argue that in the one contested race for Congress, in upstate New York, a Democrat (assisted by a GOP circular firing squad) picked up a previously Republican seat. The House’s initial ObamaCare vote took place the following weekend.

But if November’s results left room for ambiguity, January’s did not. Scott Brown campaigned for a Senate seat in Massachusetts–Massachusetts!–by promising to be the 41st vote against ObamaCare. He won in a state that had not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. The voters sent a clear message: that the Democrats were going too far, jeopardizing their power.

Obama and Pelsoi, it now seems clear, took the opposite message: Our power is in jeopardy, so we’d better use it before it’s too late. A dispatch from the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti illustrates the topsy-turvy results:

The initial blush of President Barack Obama’s health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality–he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.

Voters may not buy it.

Gee, ya think, Liz? Normally, politicians sell their programs to the public before enacting them into law. Representative democracy is premised on the consent of the governed, not the idea that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Victor Davis Hanson on the President’s and the Dem’s conduct with regard to the health care vote

Victor Davis Hanson sums everything up in one paragraph:

The president is pushing legislation that a clear majority of the people dislike, and whose details neither he nor his supporters can explain in simple language. Its ends-justify-the-means passage will require legislative gymnastics that border on the unconstitutional, and in Orwellian fashion are designed to reassure its sheepish supporters that they can appear not to be voting for the bill they vote for. And to achieve a House majority, Obama must offer an array of personal favors, political payoffs, federal stipends, and open threats, which, if done in the private sector, would be actionable acts of felonious bribery or racketeering.

Well, yes, there is all that….

UPDATE:  And a truly powerful Wall Street Journal editorial on the tremendous threat to American liberty if health care gets passed this Sunday.

Building government on the bodies of American workers

You’ve all heard by now about the 2300 “reconciliation” bill that the House won’t vote on but will simply deem passed, thereby, in a completely unconstitutional way, making the bill a law.  (Ahem.)

But did you know that Pelosi has been busy sticking in more than just student loan relief so that we can have fully government funded education?  The bill also adds in something called the PUBLIC HEALTH WORKFORCE CORPS.”

All I could think of after reading that announcement, given the talk of Death Panels and Obama’s known problems with the English language was :  “New Public Health Workforce Corpse.

I suspect that, if this non-bill becomes law, my interpretation will prove to be strikingly apt.

(Hat tip:  The Anchoress)

Wondering about the Blue Dogs’ pride *UPDATED*

Pride can make us do very stupid things.  Once we’ve committed to something (a job, a marriage, a principle, whatever), and once we’ve touted that commitment to the world as the most wonderful thing evah, it is extremely difficult to stand up to that same world and admit “I made a mistake.”

I’ve been thinking about this very human aversion to admitting major errors in judgment whenever I think of the Blue Dog Democrats.  I find it almost impossible to believe that the Blue Dog Dems aren’t perturbed by Obama’s radicalism and Pelosi’s insanity.  I believe that these men and women understand that the Obama/Reid/Pelosi triumvirate is advancing a political agenda that, while it may play beautifully on liberal White Papers, will destroy America’s economy.  While these Blue Dogs like liberalism, I don’t believe any really want to see America simultaneously remade and destroyed.

The question, then, is whether any of the Blue Dogs will have the courage to stand up and say “This isn’t right.  Back in November 2008, I thought it was, but the reality is playing out differently from what I imagined.  I’m going to accept that I erred, and place love of country ahead of ego-driven party loyalty.”  The alternative is to do what they’re doing now, which is to cower behind Democratic party loyalty, as if that’s some sort of moral pass for helping to be an engineer of America’s destruction.

Of course, if these people lack the courage to stand up and admit that things are not going as planned, but they still don’t want to buy into the insanity, they can always take Carol Perrachio’s advice (advice I also give my own children) and use the Senate Republicans as their shield:

When my daughter was a teenager, her friends would occasionally phone with an invitation  to a party or outing which she was reluctant to attend. I’d hear her say, “Let me ask my mom.” She’d cover the phone receiver and tell me about the invitation. I’d take one look at her face and ask, “Do you want to go?” She’d shake her head no. So I would give her some mom-cover. “Tell them I said no.”

My daughter would then tell her friend, “Sorry, my mom says I can’t go…yeah, you know how parents are.”

By the way, I don’t think Peracchio knew when she wrote the above that the Senate Republicans, all 41 of them (thank you Scott Brown and Massachusetts voters), had signed a letter assuring the House that Republicans will prevent the Senate from using Reconciliation to “fix” those clauses in the Senate bill that the House finds problematic.  The Blue Dogs can, with absolute certainty, state that they cannot vote for the Senate’s Obama Care Blue because the mean Republicans won’t let them fix it.  It’s not a noble way out, but it’s a way out.

UPDATE: Even as I was writing the above post, jj was writing an answer as a comment to another post, with both of us unloading our opinions simultaneously. Here’s jj weighing in on my post about things we can do to stop Obama Care:

You can’t do anything about Obamacrae, because they aren’t going to actually vote on it at all. The charming Louise Slaughter has come up with a way (it’s solid BS, of course, but there you go: democrats) “deeming” it passed, so there it’ll be – and no one will have to be held to account for a vote because there won’t be one.

But here’s an opportunity for everybody else to wake up. What would be called a “teachable moment.” The lesson to be learned is: There is no such thing as a “blue dog” democrat. There are no “sleeping dog” democrats, no “hound dog” democrats, “no “lap dog” democrats, and no “Siberian Malemute” democrats: there are only democrats. Under any (every) and all circumstances, they are democrats first, and they will vote democrat every single time, despite whatever line of crap they put out. When it comes down to it, they will fall into lockstep and vote democrat. Period!

It would be very nice if the republicans would learn that, and stop thinking they can work with these people, and stop allowing so much as a second’s complacency to creep in when dealing with these alleged people. Get over it: when democrats are in the room there are no rules (as this Slaughter deal ought to amply demonstrate); and they are democrats first, last, and always.

Dems may not have votes, but they’ve got constitutional disregard down to an art

Perhaps it really is true that Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for Obama Care.  After all, if she did, why would the Democrats be considering the “Slaughter Option” something that involves bypassing votes altogether:

The Slaughter Solution is a plan by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Democratic chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and a key ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to get the health care legislation through the House without an actual vote on the Senate-passed health care bill.  You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House.  Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply “deeming” the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.

An article in this morning’s edition of National Journal’s CongressDaily breaks the story, starting with the headline: “SLAUGHTER PREPS RULE TO AVOID DIRECT VOTE ON SENATE BILL.”  Excerpts:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

I mean, really, the whole concept of democracy is so out-dated. Tyranny is faster, easier and so much more efficient.

Friends, I feel tired.  Really.  Fatigue is my dominant emotion at this moment.

In the face of this overwhelming barrage of lies, doublespeak (“A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes”), inanities (““But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it….”), and corruption (think Cornhusker kickbacks, union deals, etc.), it’s hard to keep ones energy burning bright.  This whole thing has felt like death by a thousand, not cuts, ’cause this is bigger than cuts, but death by a thousands assaults each of which, alone, isn’t quite fatal.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up.  I’m just whining a bit.  Pardon me — or feel free to chime in.

Hat tip: Kim Priestap

Health care may well pass, and what will happen if it does

The American Thinker spells it out:

Richard Baehr, ace political watcher, thinks the odds are that Nancy Pelosi, through brute force, will get Obama Care through.  Once that happens, of course, it’s the law, and “reconciliation,” which is ostensibly meant to smooth away any lingering roughness, will die a’bornin’

Christopher Chantrill explains what government will look like once it passes — and that’s regardless of any efforts, successful or not, not repeal it:

There are a number of reasons why the outcome of Obamacare would be a lot less enjoyable than this rosy scenario.

First of all, in the period between passage and repeal, many damaging events will have taken place. Taxes will have gone up. Many employers will have terminated their health plans and accepted a tax that costs them less than their employee health plan. Seniors will have lost their Medicare Advantage. Doctors will have retired rather than deal with the hassle of Obamacare. Already the curtain will have rung up on a meaner, nastier America.

And we know today what that looks like. It looks like Greece, where the government is teetering on the edge of default and workers from a bloated public sector are rioting in the streets over the possibility of any reduction in their pay and benefits. It looks like Iceland, where the voters just voted by 93 percent to 1.5 percent against the government’s proposal to pay back losses suffered by British and Dutch depositors after its bank meltdown in 2008. And let’s not forget Argentina, which has lumbered from inflation to default and back again numerous times since it opted for the empty promises of Juan Perón and the lovely Evita back in 1946.

The squalor of this kind of government is dreadful. It is government that lurches from crisis to crisis, resorting to loans, IMF bailouts, and defaults on debt, followed by “restructurings” that deliver a 60- to 70-percent loss to bondholders. In the Argentine crisis of 1999-2002, the government blithely seized dollar deposits in personal checking accounts and replaced them with pesos worth about 25 percent as much.

Under government like that, you can’t be an independent soul. You have to work for the government, join a union, pay your dues to the local party boss. Otherwise, you will get run over. The glory of America is that most of the time, it has avoided this misery.

This is one of those cases where Obama and the Democrats break it, but we, the citizens, end up owning it.

My prediction, if the House Democrats swallow the reconciliation bait

I believe more and more strongly that reconciliation is a red herring, meant to induce the House to pass the Senate bill.  Once that’s done, this so called “reconciliation,” an alleged second bill that will smooth away the differences between the two chambers (especially the House’s demand that abortion, which is part of the Senate bill, be excluded from taxpayer funding), will vanish.  Instead, Obama will proclaim that Obama care is a done deal, with the outrageous, huge, convoluted, corruption-riddled Senate bill as the law, and let his Democratic House die in November.  End of story.

Re-elect Obama!? — by guest blogger Danny Lemieux

Hear me out. Sure, the public is indignant about our current state of affairs, especially the mushrooming deficits that have pretty much sealed our national bankruptcy (in my humble opinion). What worries me, though, is what needs to be done to fix the problem. I personally don’t see any solution except to administer massive haircuts to the very entitlement programs that have become sacrosanct in the minds of our citizenry. Sure, everybody talks the talk about wanting to reduce deficits, as long as you don’t touch their own pet programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pharmaid, Farm Programs, School Aid, Home Mortgage aid etc. ad nauseum. However painful, retrenchment is coming, either through political reform, through inflation, or through simple bankruptcy and a government failure to pay-up. This is made even worse by the fact that more and more beneficiaries of these programs don’t pay for them, so they have no longer have skin in the game.

Now, one of the rules in our politics is that while budgets and policies are often driven by Congress, it is the President that gets the blame or credit for what happens under his/her watch. Recall, that the economy took off when Bill Clinton was forced to answer to a Republican congress. Clinton got the accolades. The economic damage under Bush didn’t begin until the Democrats took over Congress. Bush got blamed! With a Republican in the driver’s seat, the Republicans will take all the blame for the harsh medicine that must be administered and be promptly voted out of office. With a Republican Congress working against a weak Democrat President, I say let the weak Democrat President be the pinata.

So, what do you think? Are we better off with a Republican President and Republican Congress, or a weak Democrat President and strong Republican Congress?

Democrats become visibly anti-democratic

As part of a longer post about the Democrats’ anti-democratic tendencies, Peter Wehner has this to say:

If you wanted a sound bite that embodied much of what is wrong with contemporary liberalism, you could do worse than listen to the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on health care:

We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in but we’re going to get health-care reform passed for the America people.

Set aside the fact that Ms. Pelosi sounds like Tareq and Michaele Salahi trying to crash a White House State dinner. She seems to view herself as part of the guardian class, as one of our philosopher kings who knows better than the great, unwashed masses what is good for them. It is of a piece with the collectivist mindset, one that believes that it is with the ruling class that wisdom resides. They know best – and they will give you not what you may want but what they believe you need.

This view is exceedingly arrogant and, if it is indulged in often enough, it becomes, in some sense, anti-democratic.

There is a long history in America to dictate the proper role of its legislators. Some argue they ought to mirror public opinion all the time; others argue that we elect people to political posts based on our confidence in their judgment. They therefore have a relatively free hand to pursue the agenda they deem appropriate. But even those who subscribe to the views of the second group understand that in the end, ours is a representative form of government. The will of the people matters. We are, after all, a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

I concur heartily and urge you to read Wehner’s entire post.

The new Republican playbook

In the wake of the 2008 election, Republicans and conservatives were paralyzed.  They’d been trounced, not so much by sweeper percentages (that is, the elections were all just over the slightly 50% mark), but by huge numbers of elections in which Democrats edged out Republicans by those few percentage marks.  If there are 100 races, and you lose 90 of them, it’s really irrelevant whether you lost by 5% or by 30%.  You still lost big across the board.  What to do?  What to do?

Fortunately, adversity has a way of clearing out the deadwood and clarifying the issues.  We know that Barack Obama is anti-American in ideology and that he hates America as a practical matter.  We know that he has surrounded himself with a cadre of advisers and czars who share his views, and that the top echelons in Congress do too.  It’s all spread out before us.

With the malignant disease of rampant anti-American Leftism — a world view antithetical to an increasing number of Americans — finally diagnosed in Washington, Jennifer Rubin has the prescription:

Now it has unfolded. We know what Obamaism looks like. On the domestic side, it is liberal statism: higher taxes, mammoth bureaucracies, and a vortex of government regulation that sucks up private enterprise and transforms business decisions into political ones. It comes with an ungracious and sneering contempt for opposition. On the international scene, we have the intersection of incompetence and folly, with a strong element of cynicism. The Obami have deployed aggressive and losing gambits (Honduras and the Middle East), betrayed friends (Israel, Poland, the Czech Republic), snubbed allies (the Churchill bust goes home), thrown ourselves at the feet of adversaries (Russia, Iran), jettisoned human rights and the defense of democracy (Burma, Sudan, Iran), projected angst-ridden indecision (Afghanistan-war formulation), damaged our fighting ability (defense cuts and missile-defense withdrawal), and shown deference to debased institutions (the UN). Most alarmingly, Obama and his attorney general have scarred and scared our intelligence community and placed Lefty pie-in-the-sky moralizing above the safety of Americans (trying KSM, closing Guantanamo, and halting enhanced interrogations).

And so what should conservatives be doing? Well now it’s obvious — oppose, obstruct, warn, and cajole. There aren’t many weapons at conservatives’ disposal, but there are some. And the greatest is to be found in the reservoir of common sense and decency of the America people, who, when stirred, have risen up to oppose pernicious legislation and those whom they mistakenly trusted to behave in a responsible fashion. As Kristol points out, three years is a long time, but the congressional elections are approaching and the argument has begun. And now conservatives know precisely what must be done: as best they are able, slow and stop Obamaism until reinforcements arrive and the voters can render their verdict.

To which I’ll add Bruce Kesler’s reminder, in the context of Obama’s insane nuclear strategy, that we should “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Be aware, and more determined than ever to slow and halt this self-destruction in the elections of 2010 and 2012. Start by demanding that potential Republican challengers are informed and resolute, and don’t ignore the saner Democrats. We’re all in this together.”

Standing up for the rights of American people not to get tricked and bullied by Congress

That Nancy Pelosi is a pistol.  Here she is, a terrible public speaker, but still arguing strongly that it’s absolutely unconscionable for Congress to sneak bills through committee, to vote on things they haven’t read and don’t know, to vote on bills that the American public hasn’t had to read, to have bills in the thousands of pages that are unintelligible, to vote on things the voters strongly oppose, and to allow the government to have access to people’s tax information for matters unrelated to taxes.  These are some amazing, even if somewhat muddled speeches.  I felt like standing up and cheering whenever, periodically, I was able to understand her.

The only problem was that these speeches were given in 2005.  Apparently these heart-felt principles just don’t matter when you’re the party in power, and you have the opportunity to take over almost 20% of the American economy and forever after deprive American citizens of their freedom from government control:

Hat tip:  Stop the ACLU and Andrea Shea King

Pelosi did it. Now, will Senate save us? *UPDATED*

Maybe she got those Dems to vote yes because she assured them that, at the end of the day, the Senate will vote no.  Or, maybe, we’re screwed:

The US House of Representatives has approved the broadest US health care overhaul in a half-century, handing President Barack Obama a major victory on his top domestic priority.

After hours of bitter debate and an appeal from Obama to “answer the call of history,” lawmakers voted late Saturday 220-215 for a 10-year, trillion-dollar plan to extend health coverage to some 36 million Americans who lack it now.

The chamber’s Democrats erupted in loud cheers and triumphant applause the moment the bill had the 218 votes needed for passage, about 11:07 pm (0407 GMT), a happy din that grew deafening when a gavel made it official.

The president had paid a rare visit to Congress to lobby for unity among his Democratic allies and reinforced it with a public speech, but 39 still joined 176 of the chamber’s Republicans in opposition to the proposal.

One Republican broke ranks, nominally fulfilling, in the barest terms, Obama’s vow to secure bipartisan support.

That Republican, by the way, would be Representative Timothy Johnson of Illinois. Either the rules for Republicans are different in Illinois, or Johnson was getting ready to retire anyway. I don’t see him riding the train again to Washington.

UPDATED:  Last night’s news story seems to be in error.  The renegade Republican was Joseph Cao from Louisiana.  As for me, I’ve written a very nasty letter to my anything but renegade, tied-in-the-wool wacko liberal representative Lynn Woolsey, much good that will do me.  She got returned by a 75% margin last time around.

Karl Rove sums up the health care bill’s fiscal effect

I like how clearly Karl Rove sums up the economic pain the Democrats’ proposed health care plan will impose on the economy as a whole and on individual Americans:

For starters, the bill is a lot more expensive than advertised. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) pegs its cost at $1.055 trillion over 10 years, not the $894 billion Mrs. Pelosi claims. Politico reports that “the legislation is projected to create deficits over the second five years” by front-loading revenue and benefit cuts and back-loading costs. The real cost, according to a Republican House Budget Committee report, could be $2.4 trillion for its first decade of operation.

In its first 10 years, the bill calls for $572 billion in new taxes (including a 5.4% income surtax on anyone making more than $500,000 a year), and $426 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts, which will hurt seniors and the poor and could lead to rationing of care.

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation reported recently that the House’s legislation will whack small businesses because they would pay $153.5 billion of the surtax. Small businesses unable to provide health coverage to their workers would also pay up to 8% in new payroll taxes. This would cost them $135 billion more over the next decade, thereby diminishing their ability to create jobs.

In the House bill there is a $2 billion tax on those who already have health insurance, $20 billion in taxes on medical devices, $8 billion in taxes on anyone who buys over-the-counter drugs with money from their health-savings accounts, and $140 billion in higher taxes on drugs.

Mrs. Pelosi’s bill will drive up premiums. A family of four with an income of $78,000 would pay $13,800 for insurance a year by 2016, according to CBO. Their tab would average $11,000 without the bill.

Every American would be required to buy health insurance or be fined up to 2.5% of their income.

There’s even more, which you can read here.

Being wealthy makes you unfit for office

The way this attack ad against rising star Doug Hoffman (in NY’s 23rd district) is framed, it’s clear that Hoffman’s sin is being wealthy:

I think that’s a marvelous standard by which to disqualify people from political office, at least this year.  (And we know from what happens in Massachusetts that you can change the rules whenever it suits you to ensure that your party holds office.)  So I vote that we immediately purge the following millionaires from the United States government:

Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton

Nancy Pelosi

Dianne Feinstein

Harry Reid

Jane Harman

Mark Warner

Herb Kohl

Jared Polis

Jay Rockefeller

Frank Lautenberg

Carolyn Maloney

Alan Mark Grayson

Nita Lowey

(For more on who’s rich, check out the Center for Responsive Politics.)

I had no idea that the Founders had imposed wealth caps on politicians but, if that’s the the DNCC’s standard, I say we make them stick with it.  After all, people who live in glass houses need to disarm themselves.

For more on the real story behind that attack ad, check this out.

Call your Congress person on SEIU’s dime

Got the following email from a friend, which is an appropriate follow-up to the post I did about Michele Bachmann’s recommendation that you call your Congress person daily to protest Obama Care:

Hey, all! When you make those phone calls to senators and congresspeople in response to Michelle Bachman’s call for help, Roberto suggested we do the following (I did a test run and it’s a great, great idea):

Use the hotline provided by the comrades at SEIU

The SEIU “Hotline” for calling your representative to urge him to pass Obamacare (hah!) is:

1-800-603-7348.

It’s free, it’s on the SEIU dime. Let’s use their dime against them.

I tried it too and it seems to work.

Incidentally, while I’m truly no friend of the SEIU, which I consider a thuggish operation at best, I want to remind you that unions are not monolithically behind the President on this one. Gerald W. McEntee, president of the very big American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has written a fiery denunciation of the president’s “tax the middle class” scheme, although he’s perfectly happy to tax the rich to achieve the same goal.

Blast faxing Senators regarding the upcoming vote on Obama Care *UPDATED*

Just got the following message:

Citizens in Action is providing Americans who are opposed to the proposed health care legislation  with an easy and effective way to fax the 31 Senators who could vote one way or the other on health care reform. Because the first important Senate vote is Tuesday, the time to act is NOW!

In just a few minutes, you can fax your opposition to this irresponsible health care reform to 20 Democrats, 1 Independent and 10 Republicans.  It is critical that you let these 31 Senators know how the American people feel and inundate their fax machines with non-stop faxes.

HERE’S HOW:

1.  Go to  http://ciafax.ning.com/

2.  A fax has already been prepared although you can elect to write your own.

3.   Fill out all of the information under Step 1.

4.   Select the Responsible Healthcare Fax.

5.   After you send the fax, locate the DONATE button in the lower left hand quadrant of the page.  Please either pay with PayPal or send a check to the address listed.

IMPORTANT:

While there is no fee for this service, which is being provided free of charge by Citizens in Action, they are doing so at a great cost.  Therefore, Bay Area Patriots [the organization that sent out this notice] is requesting that you donate a minimum of $3 to defray their costs and, if you can, please donate more.  Any extra donations will fill the gaps for those who are not in a position to make the suggested minimum donation.

Please forward this email and link to any groups or individuals you know who want to take this kind of action to stop the passage of this irresponsible healthcare reform.

It’s important that this blast fax campaign reaches every citizen who is opposed to this irresponsible legislation, especially in the states of MT, IN, AK, CO, PA, ND, NC, SD, AR, FL, PA, VA, MO, UT, IA, NH, ME and OH. Our best chance to stop this government healthcare takeover is to let our legislators know, whether they are home or in Washington, we are watching closely.

Thank you for participating in this important blast fax campaign.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers.  I’m so glad you’re checking this post out, because Citizens in Action is offering an incredibly useful service.  Remember that the Senate, while populated by self-styled “Progressives,” is, in fact a fairly antiquated body when it comes to technical sophistication.  The average Senator almost certain responds more strongly to a stack of paper faxes than he or she does to a box full of emails seen only by one of his or her minions.

Citizens in Actions’ fax approach is especially wondrous because it enables concerned conservatives to send only one message, even as the service blasts out 31 faxes.  In this, it is much more user friendly than any blast system that’s come before.

Rmember that the people in Washington are sheltered in their lovely little Nobel Prize, NY Times, WaPo, MSNBC cocoon.  They actually think large swathes of the country agree with them.  Seeing mountains of paper might help them recognize that they are embarking upon a course that is unpopular with the voters, regardless of the media love affair.

So, please forgive the fact that I’m essentially spamming you here by sending you the same message, not once, but twice.  This Citizens in Action service strikes me as something that’s just too important to slip through the cracks that so often serve as the ultimate repositories for Sunday afternoon emails.

Bu the way, I’d be delighted if you’d check out more of my blog than this post — and, if you like it, come back soon.

UPDATE II:  Welcome, Gateway Pundit readers.  I’m delighted to see that so many people are taking advantage of this opportunity to contact Senators about a very important piece of legislation.

A reminder to join the Navy League *UPDATED WITH CLARIFICATIONS*

My mind is full of Fleet Week events.  As in the past two years, it promises to be a very exciting week for me and my family.  I know I’m going to be on a Coast Guard boat on the Bay when the Blue Angels fly, I know I’m going to a reception to meet the fliers themselves, and I hope that my family and I will get to hear the Marine Corp band playing (news on tickets is still pending).  The Blue Angels reception and the Marine Corp band performance are events that were made available to the public, but I wouldn’t have known about them but for my Navy League membership.  As for the Coast Guard boat, that is a privilege reserved exclusively for Navy League members.

And what is the Navy League?  Long-time readers know that it’s an organization formed to support the Navy and related military organizations.  Here, from the Navy League’s own website, are the organization’s mission and policy statements:

The Navy League has set forth the following objectives:

  • To foster and maintain interest in a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine as integral parts of a sound national defense and vital to the freedom of the United States.
  • To serve as a means of educating and informing the American people with regard to the role of sea power in the nuclear age and the problems involved in maintaining strong defenses in that age.
  • To improve the understanding and appreciation of those who wear the uniforms of our armed forces and to better the conditions under which they live and serve.
  • To provide support and recognition for the Reserve forces in our communities in order that we may continue to have a capable and responsive Reserve.
  • To educate and train our youth in the customs and traditions of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine through the means of an active and vigorous Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

Statement of Policy

We of the Navy League of the United States stand for a strong America – a nation morally, economically, and internally strong.

We believe that the security of our nation and of the people of the world demands a well-balanced, integrated, mobile American defense team, of which a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine are indispensable parts.

We support all Armed Services to the end that each may make its appropriate contribution to the national security.

We know that in a free nation an informed public is indispensable to national security and, therefore, we will strive to keep the nation alert to the dangers which threaten – both from without and within.

We favor appropriations for each of the Armed Services, adequate for national security, economically administered.

We oppose any usurpation of the Congress’s constitutional authority over the Armed Services.

We urge that our country maintain world leadership in scientific research and development.

We support industrial preparedness, planning, production.

We support efforts of our government to achieve worldwide peace through international cooperation.

We advocate a foreign policy which will avoid wars – if possible; if not, win them!

The Navy League is not a political group or lobbying group.  As it says:

The Navy League of the United States is a 501(c)(3) organization of more than 60,000 members  dedicated to nonpartisan, enhanced public understanding of the missions and challenges facing today’s Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine, as well as advocating for the well-being of the men and women of each service.

Nor is it the only group associated with the various military entities it supports.  This post is not to compare it to or elevate it above other military support organizations.  It is just to say nice things about an organization I think is really delightful and that truly carries out its goals and effectuates its policies.

As for those policies, I don’t know about you, but I am in complete agreement with the policies that the Navy League advances, and I think its organization does a good job of effectuating those policies.  If you join the Navy League, your donation will work to forward those goals — goals that benefit, not just the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, but that benefit all of us by helping to educate the public about our military, which in turn creates a stronger military, one dedicated to our protection.  After all, a citizen military that is hated by its citizens is going to be an ineffectual military.

With the heat in Afghanistan, we, as private citizens can contribute to the military by giving it the moral support it needs.  Every time the military suffers economic cuts, taking away funds for weapons and personnel, the energy needed to resurrect those lost resources is far greater than the ease with which they were cut.  In order to minimize painful and unnecessary cuts, the military needs to have critical mass at its back when it comes to public sentiment.  If the public fails to understand what the military is and what the military does, it lacks necessary moral authority when it goes before Congress.  The Navy League, by encouraging public support for the Navy and related organizations, empowers the military when it voices it budgetary and strategic needs.

So, if you were sort of thinking about joining the Navy League, now would be a very good time.  And if there are comparable organizations for other branches of the military, please write and let me know, so that I can publicize them too.  There is no better time to take our military seriously than when we have a groveling weakling in the White House.  Right now, I can guarantee you that, unless some magical alchemy occurs and the world’s bad actors feel inclined to be generous our military is going to be very, very necessary in the next few years.

The real truth behind the August recess

AllahPundit explains what’s really and truly going on in Washington, D.C.:

Let me remind you again: They can pass any bill they want any time they want. Conservatives can scream their heads off at these things and there’s not an ounce of good it’ll do if Democrats are united. This whole partisan “war” Obama and Axelrod have concocted is kabuki theater against an enemy they’ve already (momentarily) defeated; it’s the Blue Dogs’ fear that they’ll be thrown out of office if they vote for this travesty that’s put the left in the predicament they’re in. The cowardice they’re showing in not wanting to face their constituents is actually obscuring the deeper cowardice of the the party stalling on a landmark bill they finally have the numbers to pass for no better reason than that doing so will jeopardize their hold on power next year. They want ObamaCare and they want their permanent majority, and if the only way they can get both is by calling conservatives Nazis then that’s what they’re a-gonna do.

As for me, I’m delighted that the Blue Dogs want to hang on to power long enough to derail this Health Care plan.  But to demonize the American people in order to justify cowardice is unconscionable for an elected official in a democratic republic.

Aside from covering cowardice, the demonization is also a useful tool to hide the fact that the Left is out of arguments.  James Taranto spells it out:

If the plan were good, you would expect its proponents to be staking their arguments on its merits. Instead, they are turning this into a debate about the plan’s opponents. A telling video clip of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) on MSNBC’s “Hardball” has been making the rounds:

So all of this is a diversion by the people who want to, frankly, hurt President Obama. You’ve heard the Republican senator Jim DeMint say it: Let’s make this “Obama’s Waterloo, let’s break him. That’s what this is about.

And by the way, I saw some of the clips of people storming these town hall meetings. The last time I saw well-dressed people doing this was when Al Gore asked me to go down to Florida when they were recounting the ballots, and I was confronted with the same type of people. They were there screaming and yelling, “Go back to California,” “Get out of here,” and all the rest of it–until I finally looked at them and I said, “You know what? Your hero Ronald Reagan is from California. You should show a little respect.” And then they quieted down.

So this is just all organized. Just go up on the Web site, Chris. You in the media have to take a look at what’s going on here. This is all planned. It’s to hurt our president, and it’s to change the Congress.

Most of the ensuing criticism has centered on Boxer’s weird fashion commentary. This may reflect no more than a regional difference: Californians tend to be more casual in their sartorial standards than regular people. Still, it’s a head-scratcher why Boxer would think it is to her opponents’ discredit that they are “well-dressed”–i.e., that they look respectable.

But what caught our attention was the plaint that ObamaCare opponents want “to hurt the president.” It reminds us of those hilarious “Leave Britney alone!” videos that were the rage on YouTube a couple of years back. How exactly does Boxer expect this to persuade anyone to support the legislation? Just imagine the thought process: I don’t want higher taxes and government rationing of medical care. But doggone it, I’m for it anyway, because I don’t want to hurt the president!

DeMint’s “Waterloo” quote was ill-considered because it suggested his concern was for partisanship and personality rather than policy. The president looked statesmanlike when he replied, “This isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics.” But pro-ObamaCare Democrats seem to have internalized DeMint’s mistake. They are making their case on personality and politics while ignoring substance–because, one assumes, their position on substance is so weak.

After giving more examples of Dems lashing out at voters without actually touching upon the merits of the plan itself, Taranto sums things up:

So, let’s review the arguments:

• Republicans are bad, they lost the last election, and they have partisan motives for wanting to stop ObamaCare.

• People who are angry about this are crackpots who display swastikas and other invidious symbols. Also, their anger is insincere, and they are shills of the RNC. They wear nice clothes, and this is not to their credit.

• Some of the arguments against ObamaCare are false, according to Obama.

• If ObamaCare is defeated, Obama would be hurt.

Is there any argument for ObamaCare? In all the material we reviewed for this item, only this, from the Obama email:

Every day we don’t act, Americans watch their premiums rise three times faster than wages, small businesses and families are pushed towards bankruptcy, and 14,000 people lose their coverage entirely. The cost of inaction is simply too much for the people of this nation to bear.

In other words, the “crisis” is so urgent that any thoughtful deliberation would entail intolerable delay. This is the same old argument that has already failed.

If this is the best the president can do, he deserves to lose resoundingly. If that hurts him, there’s always aspirin.

If these screaming ad hominem attacks seem like a familiar tactic, think Khrushchev.  After all, it was he who brought to an art form the old lawyer’s adage that “if you have the facts, argue the facts; if you have the law, argue the law; and if you have neither, pound the table.”