A short, sweet Easter afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesIt’s Easter Sunday, and that means all family all the time.  No complaints here, though.  It’s been a lovely day so far and I anticipate an equally pleasant afternoon and evening.  Full blogging will not happen today, but here are a few (a very few) links that intrigued me:

I’ve long known in a vague sort of way that Egypt is one grain of wheat away from a famine.  Having read David Archibald’s article, though, I now know in a very specific way precisely what kind of famine may be facing the world’s most populous Muslim nation.  While the Western world seems to have managed to stay one step ahead of Malthus, that’s not the case in Egypt, where bad things — overpopulation, underproduction, lack of diversification, political upheaval, and probable drought — are coming together to create a Perfect Storm of advanced hunger.

***

One of my favorite non-fiction books is Thomas Cahill’s The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels. In authoring the book, Cahill has no ego. To the extent that he’s vastly well-informed, he wants to share his knowledge with people, not overwhelm them with his erudition. The result is a book that is simultaneously scholarly and accessible. I mentioned it here because Shmuley Boteach has written what could be the short version of that same book, describing how the Jews have contributed to the world’s well-being.

***

Two very specific things in the early 1980s taught me that socialism cannot work. The first was the fact that, when my father visited his sister in East Germany, shortly after she retired from her decade’s long career as a high level Communist Party functionary, he discovered that she had lived for nine years with a broken and unusable kitchen sink. Not to worry, this true believer told my father.  She was “on the list” and was confident that the glorious Communist Party would one day get around to fixing her sink.  I suspect that it was still broken when the wall came down.

The second thing that taught me that socialism cannot work was the story of two hip replacements. Back in 1974, my father got his hip replacement two months or so after he was told that it was the only way to keep him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He walked, albeit with pain for the next twenty years of his life, until his death.

Meanwhile, in 1981, while I was living in England, I met a woman who had been told back in 1979 that a hip replacement was the only thing that would keep her out of a wheelchair. When I met her, she’d been barely functioning for two years, although she’d avoided the wheelchair. After I left, she went into the wheelchair. I lost contact with her about two years after a left England (i.e., four years after the referral for hip surgery), at which time she was still in that wheelchair. I don’t know whether she ever got that hip.

Keep those realities in mind when you read about Sweden’s socialized medicine, which works wonderfully only if you live long enough to benefit from it.

***

The DiploMad may not be in the State Department any more, but he has friends who are. He’s learned from these friends that the State Department has a new initiative to ensure that something like Benghazi never happens again. Let me just say that I’m with the DiploMad in thinking that the movers and shakers in State are delusional — and to despair that they’re pursuing their delusions using our dollars and American lives.

***

A lawyer friend of mine is brilliant, informed, and an incredibly good writer.  I hope those are adequate reasons for you to check out his post about the Free Speech (and Association) implications of the attack on Brendan Eich.

Has Obamacare increased or decreased the chances of socialized medicine?

We all know that Obama and the Democrats committed fraud on a massive scale when the sold the public on Obamacare.  I do not believe that, in the annals of history in any democratic country has a government ever committed fraud against its people in such a way.

Andrew McCarthy makes the case that the purpose behind this fraud was to pave the way for socialized medicine.  The goal he says, was to knock everyone off their insurance, to destroy the insurance companies by bankrupting them, and then to have the government ride to the rescue.  I have no doubt that this is correct.  Indeed, I have never had any doubt, since conservatives, including those gathered at this blog, having been making precisely that argument since 2009.

What I’m wondering now, though, is whether the Democrats bollixed up their obvious goal through their own corruption and incompetence.  In a couple of years, when everything collapses, will people see the government as the white knight charging to the rescue or, after having watched Obamacare in action, will they do everything possible to avoid having the government take over health care?  If this plays out right, moving into 2016, won’t there be a rush to Republicans?

As always, the only question is whether the Republicans will offer a real market-based plan, or if they’ll just offer their own dreadful version of government-run medicine.

Incidentally, when it comes to government’s built-in incompetence creating large-scale technological projects, I cannot recommend this post highly enough.

Harry and Louise commercials were prophetic

The last time Congress considered a government medicine takeover, Harry and Louise beat it back.  In that regard, IOwnTheWorld discovered a couple of prophetic Harry and Louise commercials.

Here’s a question for you:  why were Americans and Congress resistant the last time around?  Have we changed?  Has the media become that much more powerful?  Or was the fact that Obama was the president sufficient to lead Americans to embrace a pathway to socialized medicine?

Hat tip:  Sadie

When it comes to end of life decisions, the state does not love you

Many years ago, when Holland first enacted its euthanasia law, NPR ran an interview with a Dutchman who explained why euthanasia was a good idea in Holland, while it would be a terrible idea in America.  The secret to Holland’s euthanasia, he said, was socialized medicine.  The man explained that, in America, where medical costs could bankrupt families, those with terminal illnesses could be actively or passively coerced into turning to euthanasia in order to save their family’s finances.

Old woman walking away

Put another way, this man and the NPR host who interviewed him were both certain that Americans, when given the choice, would cheerfully throw Grandma from the train in order to save some money.  Europeans, the Dutchman explained, with their cradle to grave care, would never be pressured into killing themselves.  The beneficent state would pay all the medical bills, so money would not be an issue when it came to life and death decisions.  The only thing that would matter in Europe, said this Dutchman, was the terminally ill person’s wishes.

I, being a good liberal back in the day, enthusiastically endorsed what he had to say.  Clearly, euthanasia was a dreadful idea in America, where money was God, and people would be tempted to slip arsenic into their dying child’s broth in order to save the college fund for the next kid in line.

Buried under debt

History has revealed that this Dutchman was absolutely and completely wrong. In America, people have willingly bankrupted themselves to save beloved family members.  Mammon becomes meaningless when an extra treatment might give your child or a young mother a few more days, weeks, or years of life.  People have hearts and souls.  They connect to others, especially to those in their families.

It’s very different in socialist states, where euthanasia is the name of the game, often without the patient’s, or her family’s, agreement.  In England, thousands of terminally ill people were hastened to their deaths by the Liverpool Care Pathway.  It was meant to be a national hospice program that provided palliative care to the terminally ill in their final days.  What ended up happening, of course, when the National Health Service started running out of money is that thousands (even tens of thousands) of elderly patients who were terminally ill, but weren’t anywhere near death’s door, were hastened to their deaths.  They had become too expensive or just too difficult to manage.

Loving care for sick child

It turns out that, twenty-odd years ago, when I heard that Dutchman speak, he had failed to consider two pertinent facts:  First, socialist states invariably run out of money once they finally destroy their productive class; and second, the state has neither heart nor soul.  To you, Patient X is your beloved mother, or brother, or child.  To the state, Patient X is an unnecessary cost to an already strained system.

What frightens me is that, in Obama’s America, even before socialized medicine takes over, we might be losing the heart and soul that distinguishes individuals from the state.  The Anchoress found at Salon an article in which Mary Elizabeth Williams, who supports abortion, finally comes out and said it:  So what if abortion ends life? It’s almost refreshing to see this kind of honesty about one side of a divisive issue:

Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.

[snip]

And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.

The Anchoress slices and dices the whole argument, but I found this point particularly compelling:

A point of order, please: One may certainly sacrifice one’s own life for another. That is what makes it a sacrifice. Sacrificing “another’s” life is not a sacrifice, unless that other person actually (like Jesus Christ or a soldier who has volunteered to serve, or a mother like this one) says, “yes, I will be sacrificed for the sake of others.”

Absent that permission, though, it’s not a sacrifice. It’s just an expedient, and wasteful killing.

In fact, the notion that someone else’s life is “worth sacrificing” for the furtherance of one’s own situation — the mindset that can advance that thinking — is precisely one that deserves the name “diabolical.”

Although both the Salon article and the Anchoress’ rebuttal focus on the beginning of life, the whole article is unnerving about life’s end too.  The writer’s approach to human beings — we must sacrifice innocent lives for the greater good — has the same stark utilitarian logic found in the heartless and soulless socialist state that readily puts humans on a death pathway because they’re too expensive to care for.

Twenty years ago, I wrongly thought that a state’s magisterial power and wealth would be more pro-life than the human ties that bind people together.  I’m now scared that, twenty years hence, both states and humans will cheerfully dispatch any expenses or inconveniences.  And yes, it can happen here.  It happened in Germany, it happened in the Soviet Union, it happened in Turkey, it happened in Cambodia, it happened in Rwanda….

Cambodian victims

Whether one believes that the Bible is God’s handiwork or man’s, it is a book of inestimable wisdom about humankind’s strengths and foibles.  The constant exhortations to life stand as a reminder that man wears his civilization very lightly and that, beneath it, there is animal savagery, without any sense of morals, ethic, justice, or love.  It would be interesting to see what that long ago Dutchman, or the representations of the National Health Service, or even Mary Elizabeth Williams would say about the Biblical injunction to “choose life.

Double paying in Britain for health care

When I lived in England, those who could afford to escape from government medicine by paying twice did so.  I addition to their high taxes, they bought a private insurance that I remember rejoiced in the name BUPA.  Things haven’t changed.  I don’t know why I’m on the mailing list, but I just got this announcement in today’s email:

NHS Waiting Lists Soar by 50% in the Last Year !!

Can you afford to be without Health Insurance ??

With the NHS waiting lists out of control, it’s no surprise millions of UK residents are protecting themselves with medical cover.

Premiums have dropped dramatically in recent years and are now at an all time low due to increased competition.

There are more providers and more plans available which has had an impact on price. Providers also offer more flexible underwriting terms which means helps people switch even if they have pre-existing conditions.

For many people, medical insurance may seem like a luxury that they just cannot afford to have. The reality is that medical insurance is a necessity that they cannot afford to live without.

Whether you have still not yet taken out Medical Cover, or wish to review an old one – let us do the hard work for you and compare the leading providers for you.

If you don’t have Health Insurance Click here

If you are about to renew Click here

We’re actually all familiar with this situation. Everyone pays for public schools. Thanks to unions, though, even the best public schools indoctrinate as much as they teach. The worst public schools are dangerous slums where children learn basic survival skills. Parents who want out, in addition to paying high taxes, also end up paying tuition for private schools. Poor parents, of course, are trapped, and beg for vouchers, which their elite Democrat masters deny them. (And yet they still vote Democrat. Go figure.)

Socialized anything is low-quality, crowded anything. Only the rich, who can afford to double pay, escape.

Hey, I want free medicine too

People are rightly protesting on religious grounds the fact that Obama has mandated that health care plans must cover birth control and morning after pills:

Most healthcare plans will be required to cover birth control without charging co-pays or deductibles starting Aug. 1, the Obama administration announced Friday.

The final regulation retains the approach federal health officials proposed last summer, despite the deluge of complaints from religious groups and congressional Republicans that has poured in since then. Churches, synagogues and other houses of worship are exempt from the requirement, but religious-affiliated hospitals and universities only get a one-year delay and must comply by Aug. 1, 2013.

Aside from the religious aspects, I think this whole thing is grossly unfair.  What about my migraines?  I should get free medicine.  And how about the heartburn that’s plagued me since my pregnancies?  I want free Prilosec.  Many of you, I’m sure, have medicines that you think should be free too.

My point is that, entirely aside from the ethics of forcing religious institutions to fund birth control, it’s simply wrong to make everyone in America underwrite one specific type of prescription.  Of course, in the world of socialized medicine, where the president gets to call the shots, rather than the people who actually foot the bills, there is no right and wrong:  there’s only politics.  The Hell with religious freedom or other outdated Constitutional doctrines.  We live in a modern age, with a modern president, one committed to turning us into the dying old world of Europe.

Britain’s NHS to suffer drastic cuts

In a market economy, the marketplace drives the availability of goods and services.  If there’s a big demand, the market will create a big supply; if the demand dries up, so does supply, as the market sends its resources elsewhere.

Supply and demand, however, have no place in government controlled sectors of the economy.  Although Britons are getting sick in the same numbers they have in past years, because the government is broke, so is the National Health Service, and the supply of medical care is swiftly vanishing:

Thousands of doctors and nurses face being made redundant or not replaced if they leave, while many hospitals have cut treatments, the British Medical Association has found.

Despite ministers’ assurances that the health service would not face the same cuts as other departments, many hospitals are feeling the strain, according to the BMA.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has boasted that frontline services would be protected. But it emerged yesterday that in his Cambridge constituency, Addenbrooke’s Hospital is planning to sack 170 nurses and up to 500 staff in total over the next year.

Read the rest here.

Unless ObamaCare can be stopped — and that’s a big “unless” — reading the preceding paragraph means that you’re looking at America’s future, one in which goods and services are made available to the public, not on the basis of the public’s need, but on the basis of the government’s efficiency and solvency.  If you’re not worried, you are very optimistic person or a fool.

Maggie Thatcher got it:  “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess.  They always run out of other people’s money.”

What happens when medicine sinks in pay and status

As the Soviet Union showed, by the time medicine is fully nationalized, careers in medicine have been reduced to the lowest status level, somewhere around street cleaning.  Learning medicine and practicing medicine (including nursing, pharmacy, technical jobs, etc.), is incredibly time-consuming and, in a society that still has the gloss of being capitalist, costly.  The jobs themselves are incredibly tough, both physically and emotionally.  Aside from the undoubted pleasure many find in helping sick people, the real remuneration for all the time and energy involved in working in medicine is money.  Government, of course, takes that incentive away.  And, absent the incentive, that’s how you end up with this:

An NHS hospital has staff from a staggering 70 countries on its payroll.

The huge number of overseas nurses, cleaners and porters has forced health chiefs to send them on ten-week English courses because many do not understand basic medical phrases.

Among the terms some workers from countries such as Burma, the Philippines and Poland can’t follow are ‘nil by mouth’, ‘doing the rounds’ and ‘bleeping a doctor’.

They highlight the language problems throughout the Health Service, which critics say are putting patients’ lives at risk.

The lessons follow several ‘near-disaster’ cases, including one where a meal was delivered to a patient because a member of staff did not understand that ‘nil by mouth’ meant the man could not eat or drink.

Although all doctors from outside the EU must pass an English language test set by the General Medical Council before they can practise, the same rules do not apply for other hospital workers.

Instead, they are usually assessed on their grasp of the language at interview.

The problem has become so acute at Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals that foreign workers are being encouraged to attend ten-week, taxpayer-funded ‘English For Speakers Of Other Languages’ courses, which are run by a nearby college.

Research has found that up to a quarter of nurses  -  more than 60,000  -  working in London are foreign, with the largest number coming from the Philippines.

Read more here.

While the above report makes clear that the language problem in the NHS involves nurses, not doctors (who must be minimally competent in England), reading the British papers makes it clear that foreign educated doctors carry their own problems.  Training isn’t standardized, many of them commute from overseas and are perpetually jet lagged, and practice values are different.  In a country that makes being a physician worthwhile — which is what America has done for so long — you get the best and the brightest.  Once practicing medicine or being a nurse is about as high status (and high paying) as being a clerk in a government office, you’re going to see the best and the brightest gravitate elsewhere.

Another example of how liberals teach our children — even when they’re unclear on the concepts themselves

Readers of my blog know that one of my personal bête noires is liberal indoctrination in public schools.  I blog about it frequently.  My last outing on that subject was here, and I’ll get back to that in a little bit.  First, though, I’d like you to see how one public school teacher saw fit to educate American children about America’s involvement in WWII, as well as the response of one politely appalled man who was actually involved in the historic moment at issue.

Not only is this kind of indoctrination par for the course, it’s produced at least one generation of people who can throw out conclusions to their heart’s content, but are incapable of backing them up with common sense or actual knowledge.  And that’s how we wrap around to that post of mine that I mentioned earlier.  If you link over to it, you’ll see that I spoke with my daughter about a teacher’s facile and ill-educated assertion that “all civilized countries” have socialized medicine.

I carefully led my daughter through a few fairly uncomplicated facts.  A lot of uncivilized countries (North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union) have socialized medicine.  I also pointed out what is undoubtedly true, which is that those countries with socialized medicine cannot maintain them.  They work well initially when a big chunk of taxpayer money is poured into them, but that they then go downhill:  they don’t generate revenue themselves and, since they suck up wealth, they leave the taxpayer pool less wealthy and therefore less able to pay for them.  This isn’t rocket science and, more importantly, it’s not ivory tower theory — it’s actual real world fact, as proven by real world, actual events.

What’s interesting is what happened with my post when it got picked up on a liberal thread at reddit.com (the thread is entitled “libertarian” but it’s clearly not, as the tenor of the comments indicates).  The liberals are very angry at what I wrote, but they don’t have substance to back up their anger.  Lots of insults, lots of conclusions, but no facts and no coherent, sustained argument.  Here are a few comments, plus my replies:

Wow, there is actually book that describes why the mother is an idiot, it is called Economics 101 – look in to it.  [Insult, conclusion; no argument.]

Also, dear mother: You do realize you already pay for the uninsured, right? You just pay 20 times as much as you should. Why is this not considered a tax?  [Boy is s/he unclear on free market concepts.  If the market wasn't stultified by thousands of government regulations, not to mention the perverse incentives of mass buying by employers, there shouldn't be uninsured.  Also, I don't think I should be for the 30% of uninsured who are illegal aliens under any circumstances.]

***

Unfortunately, this kind of overly simplistic thinking is exactly why the tea party has no credibility. As cutesy as the exchange is, “Momma” didn’t address the fact that universal health care is working in many countries in Europe (not that it’s sustainable, but that’s not that point).  [I'm delighted this person thinks I'm cute, but the fact is that if universal health care is unsustainable, it's not working in Europe, no matter how much you wish it was.  As it sucks money out of the economy, the initial benefit vanishes, with the health care system in Britain the perfect example.   You don't need a Harvard PhD to figure that one out.]

Not only that, but the link that was posted at the end about the girl getting the abortion:

a) has absolutely nothing to do with the exchange about health care. b) I don’t see why the girl should be forced to tell her parents…we should be expanding the rights of the youth, not restricting them.  [Had the person read my post, s/he would have realized that it was relevant, as I explained, because it goes to the way in which public high schools indoctrinate students, right to the point where they bypass parents entirely when it comes to political hot topics such as abortion.]

tl;dr? As a hardcore libertarian, I think this article reeks of sensationalist neocon.  [Uh, I don't read hardcore libertarian here.  I read Progressive troll.]

***

That was a lot of stupid in one place. Too bad the teacher did not point out that the CBO said that the bill saves money, not costs money. [Where to begin.  Here, perhaps.  The person also doesn't understand that the CBO was forced to work with the numbers that Congress used as predicates for the bill, rather than actual real world costs.  Even with that, as Paul Ryan carefully explained, the bill is affordable only because of accounting jiggery-pokery and because of deferred costs.] Perhaps they are wrong, but that mom had better go over the figures and say where they are wrong. Then the teacher could point out how the bill helps small businesses get health care for employees. Then there was that deep dishonesty that North Korea having universal health care, both false and distracting from Europe and Canada and all that.  [All communist countries have universal health care because they have no private enterprise.  To the extent there is any health care, it comes from the government.  Of course, perhaps what this person meant is that North Korea has no health care at all, because the government has run out of money and the people are eating dirt.]

Insults, conclusions, false facts, ignorance — what are they teaching young people nowadays?

UPDATE:  If you’ve come this far in the post, you’ll know that the history teacher who put a unique spin on WWII history had edited the iconic Iwo Jima photograph to turn the flag into a McDonald’s arch with Arabic writing.  Perhaps that teacher was educated at the same schools as our president who managed, in his Easter message, to edit Jesus Christ out entirely, including the part in which he quoted from a WWII pastor.  (See also Flopping Aces, which tipped me off to this one, and which adds some more information.)

I understand that the president of a multicultural United States must be careful not to speak in such overtly religious terms that he sounds more as if he’s giving a sermon, than a speech.  One cannot avoid, however, the fact that Easter is a Christ centered religion.  (Unless, of course, Obama is actually celebrating the Pagan rite of spring which involved fertility goddesses and suchlike.)  For Obama, who professes to be a Christian to edit Christ out entirely from a message that should, in theory, resonate personally with Obama, is somewhat surprising.

Risks and strategies re health care *UPDATED*

Here’s what I see going on and, please, correct me if I’m wrong:

Reconciliation is a red herring.  Right now, the House is being promised that, if it votes on the Senate bill, the Senate will fix differences between the two bills through reconciliation.  So everyone is focusing on whether the Senate will indeed have the votes for reconciliation.  That is irrelevant.  Once the House, with that carrot dangling before it, votes on the Senate bill that bill will become law.  Reconciliation will vanish!  Poof.  Gone.  The thing we need to do is stop worrying about reconciliation in the Senate and start focusing on the House itself.

If you live in a District with a liberal House member, as I do, my suggestion for derailing that Representative’s vote is to taunt that person for selling out to the insurance companies.  After all, while government is taking over providing health care, each and every one of us will still be forced to pay big bucks to an “evil insurance company” to pay for that health care.  This is a twofer, in other words:  a government takeover and an unprecedented corporate boondoggle.  Your liberal representative is excited about the government takeover, but the base can still be inflamed over that corporate giveaway.

In any event, that’s the tactic I tried with my Representative, telling her that a “yes” vote on the Senate bill would mean that she’s now owned by the insurance companies.  My thinking was that you have to argue with people in terms they understand.

UPDATE:  Rush corrects the flaw in my thinking and explains precisely why Lynn Woolsey and others of her stripe are all for this bill, one that ostensibly forces people to buy insurance.  Two things:  First, the penalty for failing to buy insurance is hugely cheaper than the cost of buying insurance.  Second, insurance companies are no longer going to be allowed to play the odds of calculating whether some will get costly illnesses and others won’t.  Instead, under the Senate bill, they must sell insurance to people after they get sick.  Meaning, as Rush said, it’s not insurance at all.  Under this scheme, the only ones who will get insurance are people who are already sick, which will quickly bankrupt the insurance system.  Once that happens . . . voila! Public option.

The common bonds between Iraniah Mullahs and the Democrats *UPDATED*

Several years ago, when Bush Derangement Syndrome was at its peak, I tackled the “he’s got his finger on the button and he’s going to blow up the world” meme that anti-war activists were so shrilly screaming.  I pointed out that there was no evidence whatsoever to indicate that George Bush was an apocalyptic person.  Indeed, every indication was that he was someone who fought reluctantly and defensively only — that is, he wanted to protect America from destruction at the hands of another.  That his information was wrong, that the threat from Iraq was something of a Potemkin threat, with Hussein blustering about his capabilities to elevate his profile, doesn’t take away from the fact that Bush engaged with Iraq, not to destroy Iraq, but because he believed America was at imminent risk from Iraq’s destructive capabilities.  (Incidentally, I believe that much of Iraq’s arsenal, whether it rose to the level of WMDs or not, is currently sitting comfortably in Syria, except for the bit that Israel destroyed in 2007.)

How different are the Mullahs.  Western pragmatists (including Leftists in deep denial about the nature of Apocalyptic Shia Islam) believe that Iran is merely bloviating for effect when it constantly insists that Israel will be reduced to ashes.  They believe that Iran is merely trying to gain regional stature by creating functional nuclear weapons.  After all, they say, Iran knows that, if it launches a nuclear bomb at Israel, two things will happen:  First, Israel’s last act before its own destruction will be to destroy Iran (assuming Israel has that long-range nuclear capability itself).  Second, Iran will become a pariah among nations for committing this genocidal act, which will lead to the downfall of the Mullahs and the end of their dreams.  As for this last, considering the rampant antisemitism on the rise around the world, considering the region in which Iran is located, and, right now, considering the man in the White House, I don’t believe that for a minute.  Iran will get her hand politely slapped at the UN, and the world will continue as usual, minus a few million Jews.

The last argument in the pragmatists’ quiver is that, even if Israel can’t destroy Iran, and even if Iran doesn’t become a pariah nation, Iran will not drop the bomb because, if she does, as many Muslims will die as will Jews.  After all, not only does Israel have a huge Arab population, it is surrounded by Muslims — in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Lebanon.  Nuclear bombs have fallout, and many millions of Muslims will die along with the hated Jews.

And that’s where the pragmatists show themselves to be ignoramuses.  They actually believe that the Mullahs care whether Muslims, Iranian or otherwise, die.  The Mullahs don’t.  Their Shia religion is an apocalyptic one, and one that doesn’t care whether man or God ignites the maelstrom that brings about the returning of the missing imam and the end of days.  In that, their apocalyptic fervor is quite different from the Christian belief in an apocalypse.  As I understand it, the latter predicts the Apocalypse’s ultimate arrival, but does not believe that man is the instrument that will bring it about.  God will, when he wills.

For the Mullahs, then, there’s a distinct virtue in simultaneously wiping God’s enemies (Jews and the hated State of Israel) off the earth and in simultaneously bringing about the end of days.  That the latter might involve the deaths of millions, including Iran’s own citizens, is completely irrelevant.  The goal matters, and the collateral damage just has to be accepted as part of that greater good.

I promised in the title of this post that I would compare Mullahs and Democrats.  I will or, rather, Andy McCarthy will explain that the Democrats, too, do not care about self-immolation if it will lead to their own apocalyptic vision, which is the destruction of America’s evil capitalist, individualist system, and the emergence, like a phoenix from the ashes, of a socialist promised land.  Any pragmatist Republican fantasies that Democrats will retreat in the face of failing poll numbers are just that — fantasies:

I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they’re right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Nor is there any consolation to be had in a Republican sweep in November.  Even if the Republicans grab the majority in both houses, they will not be able to pass veto-proof bills undoing the reconciliation damage heading down the political path.  Obama, after all, is every bit as interested in transformation as the rest of the current crop of Democrats and will willingly sacrifice himself by vetoing bills aimed at undoing a government takeover of 1/6 of the American economy.

Democrats are political martyrs, willing to die for the cause.  This willingness explains Obama’s silly double-talk, where he urges compromise on the one hand and, on the other hand, says his way or the reconciliation highway.

And really, when you think about it, the martyrdom here is minimal.  No actual crucifixion, no arrows, no flayings, no nuclear annihilation.  Instead, you pack your bags, board a plane, and head off into the sunset of six figure speaking gigs, corporate jobs, and endless media adulation.  That is, until the whole system implodes and the true anarchy begins.

Cross-p0sted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  From Andy McCarthy’s savvy predictions to Nancy Pelosi’s small brain and loud mouth:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue’s massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program “This Week.”
“We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

[snip]

Her comments to ABC, in the interview released Sunday, seemed to acknowledge the widely held view that Democrats will lose House seats this fall — maybe a lot. They now control the chamber 255 to 178, with two vacancies. Pelosi stopped well short of suggesting Democrats could lose their majority, but she called on members of her party to make a bold move on health care with no prospects of GOP help.

“Time is up,” she said. “We really have to go forth.”

Her comments somewhat echoed those of President Obama, who said at the end of last week’s bipartisan health care summit that Congress should act on the issue and let voters render their verdicts. “That’s what elections are for,” he said.

American health care is better than socialized medicine

One of the bludgeons used to beat opponents of socialized medicine is the claim that everybody in Canada/England/Northern Europe/Etc., is soooo much happier with health care than we are.  A doctor friend of mine has been scouring the literature, and she’s discovered that this isn’t true.  Polls show that people in countries with socialized medicine are quite unhappy and, given the patient outcomes, this isn’t a surprise:

What progressives won’t admit is that people reliant on nationalized health care are unhappy. Recent polls show that more than 70 percent of Germans, Australians, Britons, Canadians and New Zealanders think their systems need “complete rebuilding” or “fundamental change.”

These polls reflect the poor outcomes those systems provide. In countries with nationalized care, outcomes for some of the most common diseases are catastrophically worse than in the United States. Compared to the U.S., Germany’s breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher, the U.K.’s is 88 percent higher and Canada’s is 9 percent higher.

For prostate cancer, the U.K.’s mortality rate is 604 percent higher, Norway’s is 457 percent higher and Canada’s is 184 percent higher. Colorectal cancer outcomes are no better with the U.K.’s mortality rate 40 percent higher and Canada’s 10 percent higher than here.

The United States does particularly well with breast cancer, in part because of aggressive screening policies.

Please read the whole op-ed my friend wrote.  Not only is it interesting on its own terms, but a large readership will push it onto the “Most viewed” category on the online edition of the paper, encouraging even greater reader numbers.  People ought to be exposed to as much information as possible about health care options, and Callen’s opinion piece is chock full ‘o info.

Mark Steyn summarizes the end result of the Democrats’ health care “reforms”

You can’t summarize the whole fiasco better than Mark Steyn did:

We were told we had to do it because of the however many millions of uninsured, yet this bill will leave some 25 million Americans uninsured. On the other hand, millions of young fit healthy Americans in their first jobs who currently take the entirely reasonable view that they do not require health insurance at this stage in their lives will be forced to pay for coverage they neither want nor need. On the other other hand, those Americans who’ve done the boring responsible grown-up thing and have health plans Harry Reid determines to be excessively “generous” will be subject to punitive taxes up to 40 percent. On the other other other hand, if you’re the member of a union which enjoys privileged relations with Commissar Reid you’ll be exempt from that 40 percent shakedown. On the other other other other hand, if you’re already enjoying government health care, well, you’re 83 years old and, let’s face it, it’s hardly worth us giving you that surgery for the minimal contribution you make to society, so in the cause of extending government health care to millions of people who don’t currently get it we’re going to ration it for those currently entitled to it.

Looking at the millions of Americans it leaves uninsured, and the millions it leaves with worse treatment and reduced access, and the millions it makes pay significantly more for their current health care, one can only marvel at Harry Reid’s genius: government health care turns out to be all government and no health care. Adding up the zillions of new taxes and bureaucracies and regulations it imposes on the citizenry, one might almost think that was the only point of the exercise.

[snip]

As I’ve been saying for over a year now, “health care” is the fast-track to a permanent left-of-center political culture. The unlovely Democrats on public display in the week before Christmas may seem like just a bunch of jelly-spined opportunists, grubby wardheelers and rapacious kleptocrats, but the smarter ones are showing great strategic clarity. Alas for the rest of us, Euro-style government on a Harry Reid/Chris Dodd/Ben Nelson scale will lead to ruin.

It’s no wonder that Steyn describes the bill as a “monstrous mountain of toxic pustules sprouting from greasy boils metastasizing from malign carbuncles.”

Mark Steyn explains Democrats’ long term thinking *UPDATE*

It’s scary, but Mark Steyn is right:

I’ve been saying for a year now, in NR and NRO, that the object for savvy Dems is to get this thing passed in whatever form because, once you do, there’s no going back. Kim Strassel in yesterday’s Journal gets it:

So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

Just so. And that’s worth whatever hit they have to take in 2010. Every time I make the point, someone says, oh, Jim Webb this or Byron Dorgan that, or have you see Harry Reid’s numbers in Nevada? Oh, please. We’ve just seen what happens when you make Ben Nelson your Maginot Line. The Dems are thinking strategically; the Republicans are all tactics.

In other words, as of today, with Nelson’s willingness to sell his soul and the Democrats’ willingness to go forward with a plan everyone hates, we’ve lost not just the battle, but the war.  We can start writing the American eulogy.

UPDATEAnchoress is bummed out too.  She has faith in her faith, though, and it gives her consolation, especially at this time of year.

Obami and Congressional Democrats no longer function rationally

There is something deeply, deeply wrong with the Obami and the Congressional Democrats.  Or maybe not.  Maybe they are just all too human and are living out that saying that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  In this case, the corruption isn’t necessarily monetary (although that’s there too).  Instead, it’s a rot of the soul; an inability to confront the reality of actual governance, and a desire, instead, to live in a fantasy world.

As I read the stories about Dems lately, I keep thinking of Nero.  When Nero first become Emperor in Rome (54 A.D.), he was a golden boy.  He was handsome and charming.  Initially, he decreased corruption and increased freedom in Rome.  Eventually, however, unfettered power led Nero to unfettered acts of insane cruelty and murder.  There was nothing to stop him, so he became unstoppable.  (Leaders ranging from Caligula, to Mao, to Mugabe, to Kim Jong-Il are also nices example of the dangers of having unlimited power vested in a single person/group.)

I see the same thing going on in Washington.  The Democrats control completely both the executive and legislative branches.  Procedurally, there is nothing to stop them.  What should be stopping them, of course, is harsh reality:  the unyielding laws of economics, the increased arrogance of our enemies, and the growing disaffection of the voters.  But the Democrats, drunk on unlimited power, cannot stop themselves.  Indeed, our arrogant president, despite having accomplished nothing but emboldening our enemies, cheerfully awarded himself a B+ in governance.  There’s delusion for you.

Despite the fact that the voters are turning against government health care in droves, the Democrats are bound and determined to pass it.  Despite the fact that more and more evidence is appearing to show that the climate change “science” is corrupt, politically-driven voodoo, the Democrats insist on destroying our economy to meet illusive and impossible climate goals.  And most recently, despite the fact that a respected bipartisan economic organization is stating that the debt path the Democrats are pursuing is unsustainable, the Democrats won’t be stopped there either:

After passing a $447 billion spending bill Sunday, Congress faces a Jan. 1 deadline to raise the ceiling on the national debt even as a bipartisan expert panel warned Monday that the United States faces a potential funding crisis.

The Peterson-Pew Commission, composed of former members of Congress and budget experts, warned that the federal budget has reached a danger zone much faster than anticipated even a year ago. Like a homeowner swimming in mortgage debt, the government’s bills are growing faster than its income, to the point where overseas investors holding U.S. debt could be spooked at any moment.

“The long-run future is upon us,” said former Clinton administration budget chief Alice Rivlin. Bush administration debt, rapidly escalating health care costs, a deep recession that has slashed tax revenue, and record government spending this year on a $787 billion stimulus and a $700 billion bank rescue have, she said, “raised the debt very, very rapidly, to nervous-making levels.”

Still, Democratic leaders in Congress and the Obama administration contend that joblessness is the more important problem now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to pass a new jobs package this week as part of the $626 billion defense bill, including an extension of benefits for the unemployed and new infrastructure spending.

Obama economic adviser Christina Romer said it would be “suicidal” to cut spending with the unemployment rate above 10 percent. Economic growth is the best remedy to the deficit, they argue.

When it comes to the deficit, the closest analogy I can think of is a deranged physician who gives a person with a bad flu a toxic doses of chemotherapy on the principle that the chemotherapy will cure what ails him.   The best thing for the patient would be to fall ill rapidly, go to another doctor, and immediately have the medicine withdrawn.  The worst thing would be for the steady drip of the chemo to debilitate the patient so slowly that, by the time he realizes what’s wrong, it’s too late — he’s as good as dead.

The same holds true for us.  Because of the Democrats’ hubris, the American people are swiftly wising up to the appalling damage the Democrats are inflicting on our nation, both economically and in terms of national security.  That’s good because, in theory, that means we’re like the patient who got a second opinion quickly, rather than dying slowly.  However, the election process means that, even though we know we’re being grossly mistreated, we can’t do anything about it until November 2010.  This question, then, is whether we can survive that long without dying first.

Britain, with Communist medicine, has Communist health outcomes: lots of death

Britain’s NHS, which is government-run (i.e., Communist) medicine, has, unsurprisingly, Communist outcomes.  Lots of people die unnecessarily in England under the government’s beneficent care:

British health care is little better than that of former Communist countries, which spend a fraction of the billions poured into the NHS.

A survey published yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development sees Britain languishing with the Czech Republic and Poland in international league tables on health.

The OECD – which represents developed Western countries, some former Soviet nations, Mexico, Japan and South Korea – compared healthcare standards among its 30 members and found that we lag even further behind the wealthiest nations, such as France, Sweden and Germany.

The figures showed:

  • British cancer and heart attack victims are more likely to die than almost anywhere in the developed world;
  • Asthma and diabetes patients are more than three times as likely to end up in hospital as their neighbours in Germany;
  • Life expectancy in Britain – 79 years and six months for a man – is far worse than in France, where men expect to live until 81. The deficit is similar for women.

Britain performed only marginally better than former Communist states whose governments spend only half as much on healthcare.

Read the rest here.

Do I need to say, again, that this is the ultimate goal the Democrats have for America?  Repeated evidence to the contrary (the entire Soviet bloc, England, Canada, etc.), the Democrats are convinced that, if you can just do it right, government health care will be better than health care in a market economy that is only subject to limited government constraints.  They can’t get it through their heads that, to the extent medical care in America is too expensive, that expense is driven by government interference in the free market.

As I always say, government should exist to police fraud and protect citizens from overreaching.  Government becomes a problem when it dictates what people must buy (as is the case in practically every health insurance market in America), and controls the available products.  Government becomes a threat when it takes over the market entirely, as it has in England.

Some liberals admit the $1.8 trillion health care takeover will not provide universal insurance

Liberals are very gung-ho for a health care bill that will see the government take over 1/6 of the American economy, that will dramatically raise taxes, that will (if all goes according to plan) destroy private sector insurance, that will force Americans to “buy” insurance or pay a penalty, that will force all Americans to fund abortions whether they believe abortions are murder or not,* that will not exclude illegal immigrants, and that will cost an estimated $1.8 trillion dollars over the next decade.  The justification for this economically back-breaking, totalitarian approach to health care is that the care will be universal.  Everyone in America will finally, at long last, be covered.  Except that they won’t.

You see, even liberals are admitting that this draconian, unbelievably expensive, revolutionary step towards socialism and away from the liberty that has long characterized America will not accomplish its stated goal, or at least it won’t at any time in the near future:

Health experts say it would be great if national health reform legislation would render San Francisco’s groundbreaking health program unnecessary – but they don’t see that happening anytime soon.

None of the bills under consideration in Congress promises to cover everyone living in the United States, leaving some people without coverage. Those include new immigrants who can’t afford coverage but are not yet eligible for public programs, low-income people who wouldn’t qualify for subsidies, and illegal immigrants.

These are among the groups of people who have health coverage under Healthy San Francisco.

[snip]

With Healthy San Francisco, which began in July 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the country to guarantee basic health services for its uninsured residents. Eligibility is not based on immigration, employment or health status.

Now covering some 43,000 San Franciscans, it is paid for by a combination of state and city money, patient co-payments and fees from employers who don’t provide health insurance for their workers.

[snip]

The proposals in the House and Senate include expansions to the Medicaid program, particularly for low-income childless adults who currently don’t qualify for Medicaid.

But “depending on which proposal gets passed, there are still going to be a significant number of people who won’t be insured,” said Jean Fraser, former chief executive officer of the San Francisco Health Plan who is now in charge of the San Mateo County Health System.

Even if a federal law requires people to have health care, illegal immigrants won’t be included and some people will choose not to purchase it or won’t be able to afford coverage.

These include people who may find it cheaper to pay a fee or fine than buy health insurance, said Lucien Wulsin Jr., director of the Insure the Uninsured Project in Santa Monica. He added that some may seek and receive hardship waivers, exempting them from the mandate.

Read the rest here.

In other words, no matter which $1.8 trillion plan is passed, and no matter how much our taxes are raised, and no matter how many working Americans are forced at gunpoint to buy a product they don’t want, there still won’t be universal insurance.  Even worse, if I read the above correctly, the Progressives in San Francisco are planning on making sure that gainfully employed San Francisco residents get stuck with a treble socialized medicine burden:  they will have to pay for it at the federal, state and local level.  Which leaves one wondering how many gainfully employed San Francisco residents will still exist in the hear future.

____________________________

*I have to add here that my understanding is that the House bill removed the abortion funding provision, while the Senate bill has it prominantly displayed.  I believe that, if both houses of Congress finally pass a health care bill, abortion will be included, either directly or indirectly.

Use Thanksgiving week to let your Senators know what you think about health care

A message from William Kristol, one that I’ve already put into effect as to my own Senators (much good it will do, of course, as they’re Feinstein and Boxer):

I gather Rasmussen will report today that its latest survey shows support for the Congressional health reform legislation falling to a new low — 38 percent favor, 56 percent oppose. The lowest support level prior to now has been 41 percent.

The polling data will have an effect. But it needs to be supplemented by citizen activism. Senators are especially responsive to their constituents in their home states. Senators are home this week for Thanksgiving break. If you live in Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Connecticut — but also Florida, Maine, Colorado, and elsewhere (quiet nervousness by Senators can have an effect along with public opposition) — or if you have friends, relatives, and colleagues in those states, you and they might want to weigh in on this tax-and-spend-and-Medicare-cutting monstrosity.

In my letter to my Senators, I focused on the fiscal issues, which I think are a more useful sales pitch for ultra liberal Senators than anything else. (And I’m not the only one thinking that; h/t Sweetness & Light.)  They don’t care about quality medical care, they don’t care about socialized medicine, they desperately want abortion to be fully paid for — but they do know that their party can be destroyed quickly if they destroy the American economy. And while they may not care about the American economy either, they care about the Democratic party’s long-term prospects.

Government health care rationing strikes again in England

Just so you know, Britain, the ne plus ultra of single payer care, is having a little bit of death panel trouble:

Liver cancer sufferers are being condemned to an early death by being denied a new drug on the Health Service, campaigners warn.

They criticised draft guidance that will effectively ban the drug sorafenib – which is routinely used in every other country where it is licensed.

Trials show the drug, which costs £36,000 a year, can increase survival by around six months for patients who have run out of options.

The Government’s rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said the overall cost was ‘simply too high’ to justify the ‘benefit to patients’.

However, relatively few would be eligible for the treatment – around 700, or one in four of those diagnosed each year with primary liver cancer.

[snip]

Kate Spall, founder of the Pamela Northcott Fund, which assists cancer patients denied new therapies, last night said cancer sufferers had been sold down the river.

She said: ‘These policies were specifically designed to help patients with rarer cancer such as liver to access new treatments for a previously untreatable disease.

‘This decision will condemn patients to an earlier death than was necessary.’

Only 20 per cent of patients with primary liver cancer – where the tumour originates in the liver – are alive one year after diagnosis.

Of course it’s socialized medicine! And that’s a good thing.

I don’t normally follow film critics to get my political information, so I missed what Roger Ebert wrote back in August to explain why Obama Care is a good thing.  Had I read it then, I would have learned that of course it’s socialized medicine — and that’s a good thing.  In a lengthy post responding to critics who whine about how un-American Obama Care is, Ebert offered a careful point-by-point rebuttal, including to the contention that Obama Care is socialized medicine:

¶ It is “socialized medicine.” Yes, it is. The entire society shares the cost. It does not replace private medicine. Just as in the UK and Canada, for example, we would remain free to choose our own insurance policies and private physicians. But it is the safety net for everyone.

¶ It is “socialism.” Again, yes. The word socialism, however, has lost its usefulness in this debate. It has been tainted, perhaps forever, by the malevolent Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who succeeded somehow in linking it with the godless Commies. America is the only nation in the free world in which “socialism” is generally thought of in negative terms. The only nation in which that word, in and of itself, is thought to bring the discussion to a close.

I feel much better now, don’t you?  Now I understand that socialism is just charity on broader terms.  So what if it’s forced charity?  And really, it’s silly to worry about the government using the IRS and its penalties to force this “charity” on everybody.  ‘Cause really, life in socialized countries is fine.  Just ask the citizens of the former Soviet Union, the former National Socialistic Party Germany (better known as Nazi Germany), the former Czechoslovakia, the former Poland, the former Romania, the former Albania, the current China, the current North Korea, the current Venezuela, the current Cuba . . . and on and on.

But those are extreme examples of a good thing run amok, I can hear Ebert saying.  Things are just great in semi-socialized countries.    Well, Mr. Ebert, I guess they’re okay if you don’t mind the government conspiring to change a whole nation’s social order, or the complete control of speech and thought (my example is in England, but check out speech codes and prosecutions in every other semi-socialized country in the world), or the fact that European countries have completely ceded their sovereignty to the EU (that is, whatever is left over after the UN has taken its cut).   And so on.  You get my point.

Socialism is great if your goal is perpetual childhood, free from the responsibility of caring for yourself.  If a minimal level of comfort and irresponsibility is your goal, who really cares if you give up your freedom to act, speak  or think.  At least the government will ensure that there is food on your plate and, provided you’re not to old or sick (see the second video at this link), some type of injection in your arm.  But I wonder, Mr. Ebert, just how many Americans, raised on a 233 year history of liberty are ready to walk quite so quietly into that socialist night.

(By the way, what’s really funny about the above is that it resulted from a conversation with a liberal during which I politely asked him to explain to me the support for his contention that health care is a “right.”  Once he realized that neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution gave any authority for this government power grab, he sent me this link with the bald statement that this would address the whole “rights” argument.  And I guess it does.  In liberal land, we have no rights.)

Jennifer Rubin on a roll

I just love Jennifer Rubin in the morning.  Let me just cherry-pick some paragraphs from her morning writing.

On Obama’s governing style:

James Capretta notices two developments in the health-care debate. First, the president is telling us to shut up again. (”President Obama said today that the debate on health care has gone on long enough, and now is the time to pass something.”) Here’s the deal: setting the war strategy in Afghanistan is much more important than the made-up health-care “crisis,” and he’s had years on the campaign trail and nine months to think about it, so maybe he should get to that first. (And let’s recall that it was Obama who dumped this all in the lap of Congress,  so therefore complaining about the pace of sausage-making at this late date seems to be poor form.)  [You'll want to read Capretta's second point, too, the one about taxes.]

On the supremely narcissistic speeches Michelle and Barry gave the IOC:

Obama’s entire presidential campaign was constructed on nonsensical rhetoric and an inflated sense of his own fabulousness. From “We are the change we have been waiting for” to the embarrassing Berlin rally to the knee-jerk “I am not George W. Bush” approach to nearly every issue of national security — it’s all been about him. And he has a remarkable lack of ideas and facts to impart. He lectures us on racial profiling because he knows best (but not the facts). He blankets the airwaves but with nothing much to say. He champions health care but lacks a plan with his name on it. And then he goes to the Olympics to tell us how swell it was when everyone came out to celebrate his election. He is the quintessential celebrity — famous for being famous but for not much else, and lacking enough material for anything beyond late-night talk-show interviews.

What was a vaguely creepy cult-of-personality approach to campaigning has become the stuff of parody. And what’s worse, we now get the narcissism in stereo — from both Obamas.  [And you'll want to read the George Will column that triggered Rubin's ranting.]

On health care change only a moron would believe in:

The monstrously complicated Democratic health-care bills costing upward of a trillion dollars are churning through Congress. They are too complicated for the average voter to fully comprehend and too voluminous for the average lawmaker to read. They spend money we don’t have and create enormous new bureaucracies to regulate, limit, control, and, yes, ration care. The actual cost of health care (as opposed to what the government will pay for it) isn’t addressed in any meaningful way. Medicare Advantage, a popular program, will be slashed. And millions will have huge new tax liabilities. There is something for everyone to hate, and a lot of people do.

On the conflict between Obama and McChrystal:

McChrystal’s forthrightness and the defensive reaction of the White House tell us several things. First, the White House doesn’t have a good response on the merits. “Shut up” is not a policy analysis. Second, whatever processes exist within the White House for decision-making have stalled and malfunctioned, causing the debate to go public. Had a decision been promptly made, none of this would have occurred. And third, now the entire country knows the unified position of the military and understands that the opposition comes from the likes of Joe Biden. The public-relations problem for the White House has gotten much worse.

Forcing all of us to pay for others’ indulgent priorities

All of us have long known that poverty in America isn’t like poverty anywhere else in the world.  There really isn’t anything here comparable to the poverty in Haiti, or Calcutta, or large swathes of Africa.  Even poor people have televisions and phones.  And it’s apparent that a surprising number of people who are living on the thin edge economically still find money, not just for basic cell phones, but for fancy ones with lots of service; and are able to buy, not just basic clothes, but status conscious name brands.  Even when one is poor, one still makes choices.

Linda Halderman writes about some of the choices her patients made when she practiced in a low income clinic.  Either because they didn’t care, or because they knew or assumed that our system, which never turns people away at the ER, provides a safety net, many of them chose not to buy insurance but, instead, to invest in things that would affect the immediate quality of their lives:  high end transportation, fancy communication devices, cosmetic surgery, etc.  Being young and healthy, and having to make choices, they invested in their present, not their future.  The question Linda asks is, as to these people, the ones who can and do make choices, why should be, the taxpayers, be forced to provide them with essentially free insurance?

Individuals in this country have a right to decide how — and how not — to spend their money.

But that right does not include accepting entitlements without sharing responsibility. Doing so contributes to the high cost of care that burdens every unsubsidized patient.

If individuals prefer to buy luxury items rather than pay for their healthcare needs, that preference should not be rewarded while taxpayers struggle to foot their own bills.

Obama keeps Hitler analogy in the public eye

Is Obama telling a true story or not?  I don’t know and with Obama’s credibility gap, it’s impossible to tell.  It doesn’t matter, though.  What does matter is that, by relaying this anecdote, Obama is keeping alive the Obama/Hitler analogy:

President Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner last night, discussing false claims made about the health care reform bill, told a little anecdote.

“I was up at the G20 — just a little aside — I was up at the G20, and some of you saw those big flags and all the world leaders come in and Michelle and I are shaking hands with them,” the president said. “One of the leaders — I won’t mention who it was — he comes up to me. We take the picture, we go behind.

“He says, ‘Barack, explain to me this health care debate.’

“He says, ‘We don’t understand it. You’re trying to make sure everybody has health care and they’re putting a Hitler mustache on you — I don’t — that doesn’t make sense to me. Explain that to me.’”

You and I aren’t dumb.  We know Obama told this anecdote to a black group as a way to make it clear that, all he’s trying to do is help poor folk (read:  black folk) and he, a black man, is subject to the ultimate insult of being called Hitler.

Not that my blog has any impact on Obama and his acolytes, but let me try to set things straight for Obama and that “world leader.”  There is actually a legtimate reason why some (although by no means all, or even a critical mass) of ObamaCare opponents like ObamaCare to Nazi social policy and, therefore, liken Obama, the driving force behind ObamaCare, to Hitler, the driving force behind Naziism.  (And I’m NOT defending the use of the Obama/Hitler meme, I’m just explaining it.)  Although the historically ignorant keep trying to deny it, Naziism was a Leftism philosophy.  The party’s official name was the National Socialist Party.  Socialists socialize things:  they take whatever they can out of the private sector and put it into the government sector.  The more they take, the more control they have over their citizens.

Obama’s self-serving and vicious little anecdote aside, the ObamaCare issue is not about “mak[ing] sure everybody has health care.”  Putting aside the question of whether that’s even the government’s responsibility, there are actually lots of ways to make sure everybody has health care without giving the government more power.  Instead, there are myriad possible ways to expand health care that specifically result from giving the government less power.  You can create greater competition by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, which would lower prices; you can decrease the thousands of regulations that hamper the sale of insurance and the practice of medicine; you can stop requiring insurer’s to sell premium insurance to everyone, whether they need or want it; you can put a cap on outrageous malpractice claims; you can take employers out of the equation so that individuals shop for health insurance just as they do for all other forms of insurance; and so on and so forth.

Alternative, to expand health care, you can do what Obama and his fellow socialists want and take over the medical system, making it a branch of the government. In that way, you can monitor how people work, what they eat, what they drink, how they exercise, perhaps how they procreate, whether babies deserve to be born, etc.  That’s rather extreme, but we know that, in even the most unextreme cases, rather like Santa doling out presents based on whether people have been naughty or nice, the government can start to dole out health care to those the government deems worthy — the young and productive.  The British have certainly gone this route.  While the average young or middle-aged Brit gets decent enough service for colds and appendix attacks, woe unto the Brit who reaches a hoary old age or gets a fatal disease.  If you’re salvageable, the care is adequate.  If you’re not, tough luck. That’s a slippery slope.

If you travel far enough down that slippery slope of government decisions about deserving sick people, you start getting to the Nazis.  No, Obama is not Hitler.  No, the Democrats are not Nazis.  But government health care opens the door to rationing on an extreme scale, with ever more categories of people classes as undeserving of government beneficence and, eventually, undeserving of life itself.  (My great uncle went that way:  A manic depressive one day; a Nazi created corpse the next.)  And once a government starts deciding that people are undeserving of life for health reasons (they’re a burden, not a benefit, to the state), government has a nasty habit of deciding that people are undeserving of life for other reasons, such as ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, etc.

Americans are a freedom loving people.  While Ken Burns may think that the only good idea ever to come out of America is the National Park system (this is true, ’cause his new show is named The National Parks : America’s Best Idea), I’d like to go out on a limb here and suggest that America’s best idea is limited government, with its emphasis an individual freedom and responsiblity.  History has shown, over and over, that unlimited government is a slippery slope, and whether one dresses Obama up as Clement Atlee, or Harold Wilson, or Mao, or Hitler (the most recognizable one of the bunch), the point is the same — like them, and possibly with the best intentions in the world, Obama wants to limit Americans’ freedoms by making every fact of American life subject to government mandate.

When Obama, speaking to a black audience, uses a “world leader” as his ventriloquist’s dummy to imply that conservatives are calling him Hitler because he’s a black man who wants to improve poor/black people’s lives, he is being dishonest or disingenuous.  The relatively small number of protesters who have made the Hitler analogy, while they definitely made a PR mistake, used the analogy to drive home a point about the ultimate dangers that can arise when we let government grow too big, and they’ve used the most memorable and recognizable symbol around to make that point.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

ObamaCare and its link to an old anti-Communist joke. . . coincidence? I don’t think so.

Here’s a classic joke from the height of the Cold War:

Man 1:  Come the revolution, we’ll all be driving Rolls Royces.

Man 2:  But I don’t want to drive a Rolls Royce.

Man 1:  Come the revolution, you’ll have to.

And here’s the bottom line on ObamaCare, which Ed Morrissey neatly summarizes:

Not only can Obama not show how his plan will lower premiums, it’s actually likely to increase them, thanks to the restrictive nature of the exchanges in relation to health-care plan types.  Lower-cost coverage that rely on health-savings accounts (HSAs) and higher deductibles — which make perfect sense for younger individuals and families — will get eliminated in favor of more comprehensive plans.

Let me summarize that summary:

Man 1:  Come the ObamaCare revolution, you’ll get gold-plated, extremely expensive, comprehensive health care.

Man 2:  But I’m 26 years old, single, very healthy, and need cheap coverage that only kicks in should I have a health catastrophe.  I don’t want to pay for expensive, gold-plated health care.

Man 1:  Come the ObamaCare revolution, the IRS and other government agencies will work together to make sure you pay for that coverage anyway.

You can dress it up however you want, with fancy new age/retro posters, with inane babble about “hope” and “change,”  and with swooning over arms and abs, but the bottom line is that, once a government starts talking about mandatory “benefits,” you’re no longer living in a free country.

The most savage Wall Street Times editorial I’ve ever seen

The Wall Street Journal unsheathed its editorial knives in a slashing attack against the President’s health care speech.  Some examples, although I really recommend that you read the whole thing:

The thing about the bully pulpit is that Presidents can make the most fantastic claims and it takes days to sort the reality from the myths. So as a public service, let’s try to navigate the, er, remarkable Medicare discussion that President Obama delivered on Wednesday. It isn’t easy.

Mr. Obama began by depicting a crisis in the entitlement state, noting that “our health-care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers,” especially Medicare. Unless we find a way to cauterize this fiscal hemorrhage, “we will eventually be spending more on Medicare than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health-care program is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.”

On this score he’s right. Medicare’s unfunded liability—the gap between revenues and promised benefits—is currently some $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Yet the President uses this insolvency as an argument to justify the creation of another health-care entitlement, this time for most everyone under age 65. It’s like a variation on the old Marx Brothers routine: “The soup is terrible and the portions are too small.”

[snip]

Mr. Obama did also promise to create “an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead.” That kind of board is precisely what has many of the elderly worried about government rationing of treatment: As ever-more health costs are financed by taxpayers, something will eventually have to give on care the way it has in every other state-run system.