Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Every Liberal SHOULD Oppose The Health Care Restructuring Bill

It is simply stunning to me that a single Democrat would vote for the convoluted, wasteful, bloated, complex and pork laden Health Care Restructuring Bill that is now in the early stages of reconciliation.

It is stunning to me that a President as bright and seemingly idealistic as President Obama would ever consider signing it.

This bill is a hopeless mess of bureaucracy that institutionalizes into law Sarah Palin's notorious death panels, fails to live up to President Obama's promise of being able to keep your current insurance, raises taxes through the roof and insures drastically higher insurance costs.

Worst, it will destroy the one part of Medicare that works so exceedingly well, the Advantage Program, that is a lifeline to many senior citizens.

It is literally a damned mess.

If we, as liberals, have any principles left, we cannot endorse a program that pays off the drug companies, actually prohibits or completely eliminates competition, rewards the insurance companies, taxes current health care programs, hides new taxes under every rock (most of which will hit low wage earners hardest), and fails to cover many Americans.

What the hell are the Democrats in Washington drinking. Virtually every American KNOWS this bill is a disaster that will completely destroy our current health care system, hurt the economy, hurt Medicare, raise prices, and ultimately ration health care. How is it that there are almost no Democrats in Washington that are as aware of the facts as the voters?

I am reminded of all this as I watch
Senator Ben Nelson fight for his political life. Things are so bad in Nebraska that Nelson is going to be forced to air a political ad during the Nebraska-Arizona Holiday Bowl Game and, literally, beg his constituents for forgiveness.

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you Senator, but it ain't gonna work. When you sell out your principles for this load of crap, you will be punished by the voters who used to look up to you and used to respect you.

Nelson is just the first. You cannot vote for a bill so horrifically bad that every voter on earth knows is a failure and not pay the ultimate price.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Can The People Stop Health Care Restructuring?

With the last holdout, Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, announcing he will finally support the massive Health Care Restructuring Bill now before the Senate, nothing stands in the way of this bill passing.

The American public have made it increasingly clear for many months they want nothing to do with the tax grab and benefits cutting monstrosity. But, under massive pressure from President Obama and his staff, Democrats have caved and are willing to defy the public wishes and pass the bill that could have and should have been the crown jewel of the Obama Presidency.

However, after months of buying off Senator after Senator, the bill is no longer a jewel, but just a pork filled bag of bacon larded up for the drug industry, the insurance industry and, rather curiously, the A.A.R.P., whose Medicare supplement insurance program (run by insurance industry giant, United Health Care) stands to make millions off Medicare cuts.

Certainly the worst feature of this bill is the disastrous cuts in Medicare which will result in denied benefits through the establishment of a health care panel to provide guidelines to Doctors on approved treatments Medicare will cover. This absolutely is Sarah Palin's famous "Death Panel." It will become a reality.

While Republicans make every effort to delay the passage of this bill, they have done a poor job of making every American aware of the massive tax increases we will face once the bill passes. Five Hundred Billion Dollars in tax increases will touch every American, even those who will supposedly receive aid in purchasing insurance.

Unions hard won insurance policies will be devastated by the proposed taxes on "Cadillac Plans" which are, in fact, not owned by the wealthy, but mostly by union workers won through years of hard negotiations. Benefits in these plans will be stripped.

But the fix is in, the backroom deals are done. Harry Reed will push the whale through the keyhole on Christmas Eve. Nothing can stop this from happening, except.......

Well, except the people. If all the Tea Party people, a disorganized lot if there ever was one, can somehow break out of their Christmas routine and mount a massive campaign to call their Senators, especially the Democrat Senators, they might just derail this process.

Here's the number: 202-224-3121. You need to call today! Saturday! Today!

Michelle Malkin is alerting her readers:

Now, make sure to take time out of your busy Saturday before Christmas and burn up the Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) with a clarion message for your Senators:

No. Hell no.

Say it louder and often. Spread the word. Sound the alarm. They are pretending not to hear you yet.

A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Religion Versus Science

Throughout history the conflicts between religion and the scientific community have been explosive, emotional, violent and, occasionally, deadly.

When we think of science versus religion we often think of Galileo Galilei, whose on-going battle with the Catholic Church resulted in his imprisonment and, ultimately, in his death in 1642.

Galileo is best known for is his studies of astronomy, free fall, and his several inventions. His inventions include the telescope, microscope, compass and thermometer. Galileo studied medicine, philosophy and mathematics and taught mathematics at the University of Pisa and at the University of Padua.

While teaching his theories, Galileo gained a following of students that recognized his genius. In 1616 however, he came into disfavor with the church. Galileo, as a man of science, expressed his support of the Copernican theories that stated the earth and other celestial bodies rotated around the sun.

Unfortunately his teaching directly contradicted the teachings of the church and he was summoned to Rome and reprimanded for his "heresy". In 1633 he was sentenced to life in confinement. Even though his health was declining and became completely blind by 1638, he continued developing his theories and communicated, often in secret with his followers.

Over 300 years after his death, a statement by the Pope before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1992 is interpreted as the official rehabilitation of Galileo by the Catholic Church.

Any time an idea or philosophy becomes a religion it tends to lose all flexibility. True believers defend the orthodoxy at all costs and make every effort to silence, or even imprison or kill opponents.

Ultimately, it tends to all be about power. The church in Galileo's time had enormous power and wealth. It felt terribly threatened by Galileo's ideas. If people no longer believed the earth was the center of the universe, they might not continue to support the church with tithes, taxes and lavish gifts.

Today we have a rather strange twist on the old science versus religion battle. But, in this case, the "religion" is the orthodoxy of "global warming" or, as it is now more properly called, "climate change." The great religious leaders of climate change are still hounding, censuring and trying to silence the scientists who dare to question the established religion.

And, just as in the time of Galileo, it is still about money and power. There is the opportunity for great power and immense wealth in climate control. One Prophet of the new religion, former Vice President Al Gore, has already made millions of dollars, won a Nobel Prize and is poised to make billions. But the issue certainly isn't Al Gore. Governments and corporates stand to gain immense profits and power from the enforcement of climate control regulations.

For some time a rapidly growing number of scientists have realized that climate change models just don't work. We've had global cooling for eleven straight years and it now appears this cycle of cooling will continue for at least twenty more years. In addition, some models point to entirely different, and occasionally more dangerous scenarios going forward. And the solutions being proposed by the established global warming religion might make matters a whole lot worse.

The very unscientific efforts to hide conflicting facts, destroy historical data and marginalize those who dared to question global warming
all came to light when a huge series of emails were hacked and then released to the public. And, as is often the case, the cover-up quickly became worse than the original crimes.

The more the established global warming community attempted to explain the email, the obvious it became that the cover-up was long running and unacceptably extensive. The most recent "disclosure" that historical data was destroyed to "save space" is so laughable that all remaining integrity of the climate change community has been lost.

Science will ultimately prevail, as it always does. Those who forecast global may ultimately be proved correct. Or, it may be determined that the global warming heretic's ideas were censured or imprisoned under false pretenses.

But certainly the warnings about the dangers of turning scientific research into a political or religious cult should be learned and heeded.

Excellent articles that should all be read:

Financial Times:
Secrecy in science is a corrosive force By Michael Schrage

The Telegraph UK:
Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

Associated Press:
UK climate scientist to temporarily step down

US News and World Report:
Penn State Will Investigate 'Climategate'

Finally, a real and genuine tip o' the Wizard's Pointy Cap to Lee over at
Lee's Tid Bits who has been at the leading edge of this controversy for over a year. Like the scientists who dared to question the global warming orthodoxy, Lee has been subject to great harassment and persecution. Lee has constantly held his own. His blog is a must read in my book (for this and for many other reasons, including that he is just a great guy).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on a $1,118.00 Day

If it is always darkest before the dawn, daybreak must just be moments away. Because, on both the social and economic scales, it is a very dark time in America. Gold today hit a record high of over $1,118.00 an ounce as investors and governments around the world abandoned the US Dollar and other paper currencies in favor of the precious metal. Publicly and privately many say the see the collapse of the US Dollar and possible the collapse of the United States.

[Most Recent Quotes from]Misled and misguided by a President wholly unqualified and unready to lead this nation during an economic crisis, the United States is floundering. And the deaf, dumb and blind US Congress is leading the nation off the edge of the cliff as surely as the Pied Piper led the rats and then the children in the fairly tale to their potential doom. I'm not at all certain we can have a happy ending.

Clearly investors and foreign governments don't think a happy ending is in our future as they abandon on currency as if it were infected with Swine Flu (or, more likely, the Ebola virus). Death be to those holding US currency when the end times arrive.

President Obama's biggest mistake today is that he is ignoring the economy as he pursues a Health Care Restructuring Plan that is horrifically bad in its own right. He should be working on the economy and the deficit, but if, god forbid, he succeeds in forcing this Health Care Bill down the throats of a public that neither wants it nor needs it, it will bring on the collapse all by itself.

Poor President Obama has done virtually nothing right. Being naive in both the ways of Congress and in basic economics, he turned the Economic Stimulus Act over to Nancy Pelosi and give little or no guidance. Pelosi hadn't the slightest idea how to build a stimulus package, so she did what she does best, packaged up 780 billion dollars of pork and special favors for friends and supporters and called it stimulus.

Now some folks are surprised (or, at least, act surprised) to find the stimulus package isn't doing any good and the very slow economic recovery is exactly what would have been expected without a package.

The problem is the stimulus package is actually a time bomb and is ready to explode the deficit. Gold, therefore, is the safe haven for investors and other nations that are handling their economy correctly.

Three things need to happen. First, and perhaps most important, the Health Care Restructuring Bill must be stopped.

Second, the President needs a new economic team, a strike force if you will. He should ask Mitt Romney to head up this effort to, literally, save the United States.

Finally, Nancy Pelosi should step down as Speaker of the House and usher in a new spirit of true bipartisanship. Now is not this time to build walls and foster hatred. Pelosi isn't capable of anything else and she must go.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Worst Bill Ever

The Worst Bill Ever.

That's how
The Wall Street Journal characterized the House version of Health Care Restructuring introduced yesterday to a waiting world by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Last night on Bill O'Reilly's cable opinion show comedian Dennis Miller referred to Pelosi as "sub-reptilian." I couldn't agree with both characteristics more.

I've said before that Nancy Pelosi is the "worst Speaker of the House in United States history." I repeat that here again today. The woman, left unchecked, will destroy our country and never, ever realize what she has done.

I know I'm offending many folks and I usually don't get this emphatic, but the woman is a menace and this bill..... well, this bill is the worst bill ever.

Here are just a few of the key points from the journal article:

In a rational political world, this 1,990-page runaway train would have been derailed months ago. With spending and debt already at record peacetime levels, the bill creates a new and probably unrepealable middle-class entitlement that is designed to expand over time. Taxes will need to rise precipitously, even as ObamaCare so dramatically expands government control of health care that eventually all medicine will be rationed via politics.

All this is particularly reckless given the unfunded liabilities of Medicare—now north of $37 trillion over 75 years. Mrs. Pelosi wants to steal $426 billion from future Medicare spending to "pay for" universal coverage. While Medicare's price controls on doctors and hospitals are certain to be tightened, the only cut that is a sure thing in practice is gutting Medicare Advantage to the tune of $170 billion. Democrats loathe this program because it gives one of out five seniors private insurance options.

As for Medicaid, the House will expand eligibility to everyone below 150% of the poverty level, meaning that some 15 million new people will be added to the rolls as private insurance gets crowded out at a cost of $425 billion. A decade from now more than a quarter of the population will be on a program originally intended for poor women, children and the disabled.

All told, the House favors $572 billion in new taxes, mostly by imposing a 5.4-percentage-point "surcharge" on joint filers earning over $1 million, $500,000 for singles. This tax will raise the top marginal rate to 45% in 2011 from 39.6% when the Bush tax cuts expire—not counting state income taxes and the phase-out of certain deductions and exemptions. The burden will mostly fall on the small businesses that have organized as Subchapter S or limited liability corporations, since the truly wealthy won't have any difficulty sheltering their incomes.

This surtax could hit ever more earners because, like the alternative minimum tax, it isn't indexed for inflation. Yet it still won't be nearly enough. Even if Congress had confiscated 100% of the taxable income of people earning over $500,000 in the boom year of 2006, it would have only raised $1.3 trillion. When Democrats end up soaking the middle class, perhaps via the European-style value-added tax that Mrs. Pelosi has endorsed, they'll claim the deficits that they created made them do it.

Read the entire article.

Friday, October 23, 2009

An American Tragedy

I've often pondered and occasionally stated in this blog that Barack Obama was not ready to be President. He lacked the experience, especially the Washington experience to handle the complexities and the political maneuvering of the job.

Sadly, I have once again been proved right. But much, much worse, he lacks the temperament and intelligence to handle the job. What we are watching this past few weeks is simply heartbreaking.

Now I must stop this essay for a moment and say that we all must support President Obama to the very best of our abilities. He is OUR PRESIDENT. And we all need him to succeed. Our success as a country is tied directly to his success as a President.

But that doesn't mean for even a millisecond that we should not criticize his mistakes, and point out his failings. We also should compliment his successes and, most important, we should give him our advice and council.

But now Barack Obama has made a potentially tragic error. Although he has already broken almost every single campaign promise he made in 2008, he is now breaking his most important promise and violating his trust with the American people. He has decided he will not be President of all the people, but only of the people who agree wholeheartedly with his every mood and policy swing.

So Barack Obama has decided to make enemies of FOX News, The Chamber of Commerce, and various media pundits. More importantly, he has made enemies of everyone who watches FOX, runs a small business or occasionally even rarely agrees with a Limbaugh, Hannity or Beck.

Why is this happening?

Timothy P. Carney writes today in
The Washington Examiner, "Chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten told me that White House is picking a high-profile fight with his group because, given Democratic supermajorities, Obama "needs an enemy" to blame for the difficulty he's having in getting his policies approved."

"But there's another reason Obama is running low on enemies: He's already bought off many of the most powerful industries and businesses."

"Look at health care, where Obama has brought the name-brand drug makers on board to his reform with promises of subsidies and pledges not to attack the industry's special favors. Look at cigarettes, where Obama signed a tobacco regulation bill with the firm backing of Philip Morris."

"And of course, look at climate-change legislation, where Obama has on his side coal giants like American Electric Power, manufacturing giants like Nike, agribusiness giant Monsanto, and lobbying giant General Electric, to name a few. The Democrats have bought off these special interests by rigging the legislation so that taxpayer and ratepayer money is funneled into corporate coffers."

Indeed, much of what is happening here is done to distract Obama's critics and especially his supporters. And it's working. The Press is eating this up. Virtually every newscast is covering Obama's fight with FOX News and The Chamber.

But, We the People are the losers. In creating a class warfare between Americans, Obama is dividing the country as it has never been divided before.

Wesley Pruden writes today in his essay Obama's
Third World Press Rant. "Mr. Obama and his White House can't seem to get their brains around the fact that the election of '08 is over, and he won. A candidate feeds on red meat, but a president is the president of everyone, and must set a different table."

"Mr. Obama campaigned with promises of a post-racial, post-partisan, post-rancor administration, and millions of Americans responded with enthusiasm. The candidate who said he took inspiration from Abraham Lincoln of Illinois now acts as if he takes inspiration from the distinguished statesmen of the Third World, where press opposition to the leader is usually a bloody no-no. The remarkable White House attempt to define which news organization is legitimate and which is not began in August, as Mr. Obama's poll numbers began a dramatic slide."

The press from the other networks are beginning to see the light and many are questioning the Presidents actions and motives.

And the public is appalled. Obama's poll numbers are sinking at an alarming rate. Frankly they should be sinking faster because this level of betrayal of the American people is tragic.

The British newspaper
The Telegraph writes, "The decline in Barack Obama's popularity since July has been the steepest of any president at the same stage of his first term for more than 50 years."

Peggy Noonan, a liberal leaning Republican in name only, who has generally been supportive of the President
writes in The Wall Street Journal, "At a New York fund-raiser this week, Obama said to the Democratic audience, are "an opinionated bunch." They always have a lot of thoughts and views. Republicans, on the other hand—"the other side"—aren't really big on independent thinking. "They just kinda sometimes do what they're told. Democrats, y'all thinkin' for yourselves."

"It is never a good sign when the president gets folksy, dropping his g's, because he is by nature not a folksy g-dropper but a coolly calibrating intellectual who is always trying to guess, as most politicians do, what normal people think. When Mr. Obama gets folksy he isn't narrowing his distance from his audience but underlining it. He shouldn't do this."

"But the statement that Republicans just do what they're told was like his famous description of unhappy voters as people who "cling to guns or religion." (What comes over him at fund-raisers?) Both statements speak of a political misjudgment of his opponents and his situation.They show a misdiagnosis of the opposition that is politically tin-eared. Politicians looking to win don't patronize those they're trying to win over."

Sadly, Peggy Noonan has misread the President's intent. He has absolutely no desire to win over the other side. He really wants to simply destroy them. Failing that, he wants to ignore them or bully them into compliance. He is a Blue State Only President. We can support the President best by simply turning a majority of states back to red.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fractured Fairy Tales

I have long been an admirer of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. But no more.

She remains bright, articulate and extremely well informed. Rachel is obviously a hard worker and tireless in her research and documentation. She prepares for each show and each interview with a thoroughness I can only wish every television and radio host would emulate.

She then completely wastes her talent and all her effort with fractured fairy tales. Instead of real discussion and real information, we get partisan political grandstanding, puff pieces of self aggrandizement, false guests that are either lightweight pseudo opposition fall guys or embedded supporters of Maddow's preordained positions. At least 90% of each show is personal attacks. It's a rare night the 10% is about issues or ideas.

It would be generous of me to assume that no real, articulate opponents of her progressive/liberal positions are willing to appear against the bright and aggressive Maddow. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps every real conservative quakes in their collective boots at the mere thought of a confrontation with Maddow. But I doubt it.

More likely is the Rachel and the powers at MSNBC program each night like bloodsport in the Roman coliseum with sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered by the powerful and very hungry lioness that is Rachel Maddow.

Blood flows and the crowd cheers.

Meanwhile we the viewer learn nothing. If we really want to understand the actual and true position of conservatives we must change the channel and watch Sean Hannity, who hosts the right wing mirror image of the Maddow Show.

At least Sean Hannity had the courage and honor to engage in a long and thorough interview with Michael Moore and actually let Moore make his positions clear and complete.

What we Americans really need is to see Maddow in a format where she really interviews real guests and has genuine discussion about the issues and not just the name calling and demonizing of Republicans we see each night.

Rachel, you are a lot better than this. You deserve a better format. And you're capable of holding your own in a real, honest and fair debate of facts and policy.

I dare you to try. The viewers will flock to your door and your rating will go through the roof. More importantly, your viewers will be well served.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don Imus Triumphant Return to Morning Television

OK, OK, I know Imus was actually on the RFD cable television channel for at least a year. And I'm certain he found an audience there, but their reach was limited and it was simply the wrong forum for the metropolitan and edgy Imus. But put him back where he belongs on a major news/business network and Imus immediately staged a major comeback.

Now simulcasting his WABC (770 AM, New York) radio show on the FOX BUSINESS CHANNEL, Imus catapulted FOX to it's first ever rating victory over rival CNBC in Imus first week on FOX. Trust me, this is only the beginning.

The reason is simple. Imus is easily the very best interviewer on all of radio or television. His show is instant must see-TV. In his 15 to 20 minute segments with each guest, Imus really cuts to the core of each issue and each individual. And he does it without interrupting or badgering the guest. He asks sharp and often unexpected questions and then he actually listens to the answer. He NEVER tries to ambush or set up a guest. His interviews are the real deal.

Imus is so powerful, he has actually improved the FOX BUSINESS NEWS ratings for the entire morning, long after he leaves the air, viewers remained on FOX. You can't ask for better results.

But the real winners are we viewers who have recently had to put up with completely bogus partisans like Hannity or Olbermann or strident egotists like O'Reilly or the unbelievably obnoxious Dylan Ratigan, who may actually be the nastiest person on all of television. Keep in mind that Ratigan is usually right, he is still an unbelievable jerk. The only thing you will ever learn from a Ratigan interview is what Ratigan thinks.

Kudos to FOX BUSINESS NEWS on the brilliant move.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Who Will Protect Us from Washington?

A POX on both their houses.

Universal Health Care was within easy reach. This was a "no brainer," a goal that should have been the crown jewel of President Obama's first term as President. Everybody wanted it, no one opposed.

And reduced health care costs were even easier. The formula for dropping health care costs was so simple that even our Congress could have figured it out.

Alas, the Health Care Restructuring we are about to get served is the absolute worst of all possible worlds. We will like not have any public option (not that I wanted one). And we will not have universal choice. We will be stuck with our current policies with lower benefits, less choice, more governmental controls (Sarah Palin's Death Panels, but with a kinder, gentler name) and costs that will quickly spiral out of control.

Thinking Democrats and liberals like MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan are protesting mightily, but it's falling on deaf ears.

Now go ahead and read Matt Miller's complete article in the Wall Street Journal: A Real Employee Free Choice Act Although Miller didn't know this when he wrote the article, Sen. Ron Wyden's (D., Ore.) Free Choice Act was permanently shelved at 1 am last night by the Senate Finance Committee without a vote.

As Ratigan and others have said, Congress is being boxed in by the odd couple combination of Labor Unions, who don't want their members to be able to chose a different plan, and businesses who are too stupid to realize that they should be begging to get out of the Health Care Business, not lobbying to stay in control of a system that will surely bankrupt them.

So we will get higher health care costs, a massive tax increase and government controlled care. And, because no one is willing to consider tort reform, we will get fewer doctors, fewer hospitals and higher premiums to cover malpractice insurance.

Finally, we are not really getting universal coverage, instead most people will face stiff fines if they somehow fail to purchase insurance they might not be able to afford.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who is Lying to Seniors?

I'm certain that you've heard that the Medicare Advantage Program is very controversial. If you are young and you are not caring for an elderly relative, the Medicare Advantage Program may mean nothing to you. But if you or a loved one is enrolled in one of the programs, you are likely very concerned about the debate raging in Congress today.

What is Medicare Advantage? Under today's Advantage programs private insurers like United Health Care or Humana take over the administration of Medicare including the interface with the United States Government. They standardize all fees and greatly reduce the paperwork and eliminate virtually all complications for seniors. They often pay more than Medicare for many services, saving seniors substantial amounts of money.

But, they do cost the government about 14% more per senior than standard Medicare enrollment. Many claim this just goes to fatten the bankroll of evil and greedy insurance company executives. And anecdotal horror stories, generally totally unsubstantiated, are flowing through the blogosphere about seniors being denied care. These are almost certainly false because the companies are highly regulated and must, by law, cover any expense Medicare itself would cover.

My mother is enrolled in an Advantage Program through United Health Care. It is stunningly excellent and has saved her a great deal of money and countless headaches. I cannot praise the program enough. So I am biased.

On the other hand, I have several close friends who are doctors and also get to hear their side of the story. While the bookkeepers like the amazing simplicity of Advantage Programs, the doctors and hospitals actually are paid less than they would receive under straight Medicare. You see, Insurance Companies actually negotiate lower prices from health care providers. And, doctors tell me, the payments are often much more logical under Advantage programs, fees are more in line with real world costs. Medicare vastly overpays for certain services.

It is important to note, before I continue, that Advantage programs are primarily used by the very poor who cannot afford traditional Medicare Supplemental Insurance programs. Advantage covers some expenses much more fully than traditional Medicare. And, as I've already mentioned, it's a lot easier to use.

Today's debate revolves around what Insurance Companies are allowed to communicate with their customers. The Obama Administration has DEMANDED that all insurance companies cease and desist all communication with customers about the impending elimination of the Advantage Program. Today, on a nearly straight party line vote, the Senate backed the Administration.

The claim by the Obama Administration was that some communication lied or attempted to frighten seniors. However, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf seemed to back the insurance companies Tuesday testifying under oath that seniors in the private Medicare Advantage plans would likely see substantially reduced benefits under the Senate Finance Committee legislation now under debate.

President Obama and virtually all Congressional Democrats have all PROMISED that despite the massive reductions and other planned cuts to the Medicare program, seniors would not see their benefits reduced under the Obama Health Care Restructuring. That claim is the centerpiece of every Obama speech and his address to the joint session of Congress last week. The only thing is, as Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified, that simply isn't true!

In his attack on the insurance companies yesterday, Senator Max Baucus, Finance Committee Chairman, boldly declared, "It is wholly unacceptable to mislead seniors regarding any subject — particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform."

I agree completely. It's damned time Senator Baucus and his fellow Democrats STOPPED LYING TO SENIORS AS THEY ATTEMPT TO SECRETLY GUT A SUCCESSFUL AND IMPORTANT PROGRAM.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is the Left's Demonization of Glenn Beck Good for America?

Time Magazine has an excellent analysis of the Glenn Beck phenomena as this week's cover story. Lead writer David Von Drehle and the Time reporters are remarkably "fair and balanced" in their coverage of Glenn Beck and his appeal to a large and largely disaffected portion of America.

The article is hardly a "puff piece" as some on the left have claimed. The magazine cover photo alone portrays Beck as a clown or even a mad man, not a business or political leader or a intellectual icon.

Still, Joseph A. Palermo, writing over at
The Huffington Post is outraged. He calls David Von Drehle's article "a clinic for journalism students who wish to learn about faux balance, false equivalencies, straw men, and omissions of important facts."

While I'm not going to get in between Palermo and Von Drehle, I feel the real story here is the lefts virtually insane obsession over Beck and his fellow conservative talk show and television personalities. This preoccupation that verges on fixation is unhealthy for the critics, the left wing progressives and maybe for all America.

This obsession is so wrong and so misplaced on so many different levels. First, by concentrating their fire on personalities like Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and (curiously) Bill O'Reilly, they miss huge opportunities every day to focus on issues and ideas and the real personalities that shape today's policies. Some blogs and even television shows devote nearly 100% of their space (or airtime) to demonizing these personalities.

By writing and blogging and talking all day every day about Beck and Limbaugh, progressives actually give them immense power. Beck's popularity and importance and audience size are all fueled by the constant and generally misplaced (and often completely false) attacks by Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and the bevy of Hollywood Glitterati writing over on Huffington.

Indeed the efforts by progressives to get advertisers to stop advertising on the Beck Telecast on Fox have only increased Beck's popularity and viewership. While similar boycotts have, in the past, actually cost personalities their jobs, it has increased Becks popularity and strengthened his position at Fox.

As a side note, President Barack Obama's boneheaded move to exclude Chris Wallace and Fox New Sunday from his Sunday barrage of appearances to promote his Health Care Restructuring is the absolute worst public relations decision ever made. He has done more real damage to his agenda by this lame and schoolyard childish insult than he can possibly gain by his appearance on the other five programs. President Obama seriously needs new advisers!

Back to the topic. By concentrating their fire on Beck, opportunities are missed to actually promote the progressive agenda. While Beck spends his time and ammunition on issues, programs, ideas and philosophies, the (not very) credible personalities on the left spend their time whining about Beck and O'Reilly.

Even the Democrat Party has fallen into this tragic trap.

As Beck observes at the end of this clip, doesn't the DNC realize he's not running for office?

Such attacks only increase Beck's power and popularity. Worse yet, the ad above displays the DNC's complete ignorance of Beck and his stand on the issues. Beck was and is extremely critical of President Bush and especially Bush's use of CZARS. The ad itself ends up promoting Beck and his position!

Worst of all, when progressives demonize a personality, they blind themselves to both his appeal and his position on important issues. If you put on colored glasses, you blind yourself to what's actually happening. Once you've put a Glenn Beck in a corner, you feel safe in ignoring everything he says. This ignorance is always at your own peril!

Rather than simply ridicule Beck, progressives ought to try to understand why his ideas resonate with millions of people. They aren't all nut cases or whack jobs. They have genuine concerns, good ideas, real problems and valid and important points of view. Turning Beck into the enemy won't ever change any one's mind. Posing good, valid and well thought out counter positions on the issues might.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Battles You Cannot Win

I've been reading quite a lot of different blogs over the last week. I've started with the blogs I normally frequent, then followed the links to other blogs many folks provide on their sidebars. I've also read the comments made on blog posts and followed the poster to his or her "home" blog.

To say our nation is divided is an understatement. I've read charges, accusations, attacks, slurs and hate speech. It's really quite ugly in almost all of the politically oriented blogs.

Lots of people are shouting. Nobody is listening.

Generally people do not venture outside of their own political spectrum. So they are free to feed upon one another. Readers seek out blogs with which they already agree. Then each comment plays one-upsmanship on the previous remark. "My hate speech is more hateful that your hate speech."

Often it's a race to see who can mention Hitler first. Charges of racism as sure to follow. Socialist! Communist! Fascist!

Don't get me wrong. These aren't any arguments. There is no opposing point of view.

No conservatives dare visit the progressive dens of hate. Why would they? Why should they? No one is going to listen. And no real issues are being discussed. It's not like there is a discussion of the merits of the public option of health care. Nope, the only discussion is how stupid.... or mean..... or cruel.... or evil.... or racist the opposition really is.

Many right wing blogs traffic is the same vacuous diatribes.

These bloggers are preaching to the choir. They are tilting at windmills, fighting battles they cannot possibly win. They are poisoning themselves in their homemade cesspools of hate.

There is one last unifying factor. Not one of them realize what they are doing. They will read what I've written and never realize I'm talking about them. That's why it's called blind hatred.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering the Reality: 9-11-2001: Sue Kim Hanson

Here is a reprint of the article I wrote three years ago as part of the 2,996 Project. In this project, one blogger was assigned to prepare a remembrance for each of the victims who died during the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001

Today 9/11 seems like a lifetime away. And, for many people it is. There will be a complete moratorium on politicking and all other posts on the WIZARD site for 24 hours.

Please take time to remember just how frail and how fleeting life really is. Read and remember Sue Kim Hanson.

Sue Kim Hanson
September 11, 2006

A short note appears on the Boston University Medical Campus Calendar Website noting that Jonathan W. Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Cellular Biology Section of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases will be speaking tomorrow, September 11, 2006, on the topic of "Gained in Translation: Generating Viral and Cellular Peptide Antigens from DRiPs."

He is speaking at 4:00 pm in Keefer Auditorium and a Reception in the Wilkins Board Room will follow.

What might be missed by a casual observer is perhaps the most important fact of all. Dr. Yewdell is the guest speaker for the
5th Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology.

If you noticed this, you might simply assume that Sue Kim Hanson is (or was) some generous benefactor to the University. A lecture named for her to repay her gift.

Or perhaps you would guess that she is (or was) a notable scientist who, at one time or another, taught or studied at Boston University. Someone who should be honored for the advancements she made in Immunology.

And, indeed, all of the above is true. Just not in the way you might expect.

Susan Kim Hanson was one of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that took the lives of
2,996 souls in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania.

Sue, her husband Peter, and her two year old daughter Christine were on United Airlines Flight 175 that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Her daughter Christine was the youngest victim of the September 11th attack.

But the Boston University Lecture Series is not named after Sue Kim Hanson because of the way she died, but because of the way she lived.

Sue Kim HansonSue was a great scientist in the making. She was a doctoral candidate in micro-biology immunology at Boston University and working on her final thesis. Her work promised to reveal the workings of a chemical believed to regulate immune responses. She had isolated in lab mice a gene suspected of being involved in asthma sufferers and AIDS patients. Her work had the potential to help millions of people.

Susan Kim was one of those wonderful American success stories. A Korean-American, Sue had lived with her grandmother in Korea until she was 6. Her mother died when she was 15 and she was raised by her strict Korean father. Through hard work and discipline, sacrifice, dedication and sheer will power she neared the goal her mother and father and grandmother had hoped she would achieve, her doctorate degree.

Dr. Hardy Kornfeld, Hanson's thesis adviser, said "She was sort of fearless. Sue just took on tasks that were incredibly challenging, and more often than not she was able to make a go at them."

That she would be attracted to the wild and undisciplined Peter Hanson was a great surprise. Three years younger than Sue Kim, Peter gained his education by following The Grateful Dead. Peter believed that the group and its music would become classics, up there with Beethoven, Bach and company, and he tried to sway the opinion of anyone who would listen. Many of our listeners to Wizard Radio would certainly agree with Peter.

But even if Sue wasn't quite convinced about the Dead, she believed in Peter. And her faith was well placed. Peter was, by all accounts, a brilliant software engineer, a great salesman and a wonderful person.

He was passionate about Sue and Sue fell head over heals in love with Peter. She obviously had a great effect on him. has a reprint of a New York Times article about Sue that tells the story:

    "The relationship spurred Peter Hanson to clip his tangle of brownish-red dreadlocks, trade in tie-dyed T- shirts for suits, go to business school and become one of the best software salesmen his friends and family had ever met. He was vice president of marketing at TimeTrade in Waltham, Mass."

    "Her bond with the Hansons was so strong that they accompanied her to California when she went to inform her father about her engagement. She worried that her father would protest because Peter Hanson was not Korean. But her family embraced the Hansons."

Sue and Peter were married and had a beautiful daughter. Sue continued to pursue her doctoral degree. She was scheduled to defend her thesis in November, 2001.

Sue, Peter and ChristineTaking a last break before finalizing her research and thesis, Sue, Peter and Christine were on their way to visit the Sue's father and grandmother in California, and take Christine to Disneyland, when they boarded United Airlines Flight 175. Peter was one of those who made a final cell phone call to his parents moments before the plane crashed into the south tower.

Sue's friend
Mona Pengree writes, "Sue was awarded her PhD posthumously, as her professor finished her work on her behalf. This is a wonderful picture of her, and she shone every bit as brightly in person. Probably more. Her loss was a loss to all mankind."

Sue gave a great deal to Boston University and she gave a great deal to all of us. Her work in immunology inspired her fellow students, faculty and the University to continue her research and finish her thesis. They awarded her a doctorate degree. And they established the Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture In Immunology, not just to honor her memory, but to give full credit to her work and the inspiration, the strength and the courage Sue provides to us all.

God bless you Sue... and Peter and Christine and all those who died so tragically five years ago.

God bless.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, there is a wealth of information, tribute and love scattered throughout the Internet in remembrance of Sue Kim Hanson. I owe every contributor who came before me a deep debt of gratitude. Through each of you I have come to know Sue, Peter and Christine. You have touched my heart.

If my Tribute to Susan Kim Hanson here today fell short in any way, I deeply apologize and would love to hear from any of you.

I suggest these following resources from which I have borrowed freely in preparing this tribute:

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 VICTIMS: Sue Kim Hanson

Remember September 11, 2001

A mother to her son: How could I forget your curiosity and energy? By Eunice Hanson, for The Associated Press

Peter, Sue Kim, and Christine Hanson Memorial Web Site

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back in 2006, the 2,996 Project asked bloggers to prepare tributes to all who died in the tragic events of September 11th. Many of those blog entries remain on line and many will be reprinted today.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

    I thought President Obama gave a bitterly partisan speech last night on "Health Care System Restructuring," using the very hyperbole and scare tactics he had been accusing the Republicans of using.

    I can't call it "Health Care Reform" because the word reform implies fixing a problem or improving a system and the Obama Plan, as it can finally be called, will do neither. At this point I'm simply saddened that a bill will eventually pass based on counterproductive ideas and mythology.

    But that's not the point of today's entry. Today's subject is one man's self destructive insanity. If we look back a year from now at the exact moment President Obama won the battle for his Health Care System Restructuring it will be the moment that Congressman Joe Wilson lost control of his emotions (or his intellect) and shouted "you lie" at President Obama. At that magical moment the entire nation completely and permanently forgot everything the President was saying. At that magical moment the entire nation was on President Obama's side.

    I was on Twitter as the President spoke. To paraphrase Obi Won Kenobi in Star Wars, it was as if millions of voices cried out all at once. Twitter exploded in shock, horror and anger. Tweets from the 400 or so folks I follow erupted so quickly, my service could not keep up. At that was just a microcosm of what happened nationwide.

    Never mind that President Bush was
    treated much worse by Democrats when he tried to get Medicare and Social Security Reform in a Joint Session of Congress. Bush was wildly unpopular. Nobody cared, although they should have.

    No, Congressman Joe Wilson galvanized a nation. Hell, his opponent,
    Robert Miller, enjoyed a windfall of over $400,000.00 in donations in minutes after Wilson shot off his mouth. Wilson cannot possibly win re-election.

    But the real beneficiary was President Obama and his Health Care Restructuring that is about to be inflicted upon our weary nation. Totally unnecessary, hugely expensive and structurally damaging, our new system will prove to be outrageously expensive and will rather quickly dismantle the greatest Health Care System on earth. Got to give Joe Wilson credit. The man is a political powerhouse. President Obama couldn't have done it without him.

    Wednesday, September 09, 2009

    Wizard Prediction: Barack Obama Will Blow It! Big Time!!!


    I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC every morning after my full dose of National Public Radio. I enjoy Joe and Mika and his entire rotating crew. They make sharp observations, provide reasonable balance of opinions and they are entertaining. While MSNBC lacks any real conservative voices (Joe Scarborough is a weak kneed Libertarian and Pat Buchanan is a radical isolationist), they still try to present all sides of most issues.

    This morning the panel was lamenting the disastrous drop in the polling of both Congress (lowest approval ratings in the 50 years of polling) and President Obama (lowest approval rating of his short Presidency). They discussed that Republicans had solid leads in the races for the governorships of both New Jersey and Virginia

    One of the panel observed that Barack Obama WON THE ELECTION because he promised a new kind of Presidency. He promised he would embrace bipartisanship and end the gridlock.

    The Morning Joe Crew all agreed. It was Obama's absolute FAILURE to even attempt bipartisanship along with Nancy Pelosi's refusal to work with Republicans that had so infuriated the American public.

    I couldn't agree more. As I've written several times in this space, had President Obama merely picked up the telephone and TOLD NANCY PELOSI to sit down and genuinely listen to Republicans and to make an effort to forge a bipartisan bill, he could have already had a new Health Care Plan. He would have made his summer goal and basked in a major victory.

    Instead he allow Pelosi and her team of reactionary progressives to build plans that were weird, complicated, convoluted and generally unworkable. A thousand pages of nonsense. I've read them.

    Pelosi insured every single Republican amendment was handily defeated. She even went so far as to write into the bill provisions that directly contradicted promises the President was publicly making on funding of abortion, taxation, and deficit spending.

    Barack Obama then had a chance to take a second bite at the apple and convene a bipartisan panel on health care during the summer recess. He failed to do that, instead going out and campaigning on a group of bills he hadn't even read.

    Now for my prediction. President Obama has now given himself one more chance to embrace bipartisanship and build a great health care plan. All Republicans and all insurance companies are on board for universal health care. Victory is in his grasp. He can still emerge a winner! But he won't!

    Instead Obama will engage in the absolute worst kind on partisanship. He will absolutely FAIL to acknowledge the concerns of the American Public. He WILL NOT call for bipartisan action. He WILL NOT convene a new panel to develop a real health care solution. He WILL absolutely enrage the American Public. He won't listen. He WILL lecture.

    President Obama's speech to the Joint Session of Congress will go down as the death of his Presidency.

    Let's all hope I'm wrong.

    Tuesday, September 08, 2009

    They Shouldn't Call Them Parties, Because Nobody's Having Any Fun

    Rather than principles, we Americans have mostly put all our thought, faith and loyalties into political parties, or often worse, cults of personalities.

    That's why it's so damned easy to be accused of hypocrisy or to accuse others of hypocrisy. When we abdicate our principles, leave them on the sidelines, we have nothing to actually stand upon. We cast out random accusations at our supposed opponents that have little or no merit or worse, actually betray our stated goals.

    We hit an all time low this weekend on two fronts: 1.) President Obama's address to school children today and 2.) Van Jones belated resignation as President Obama's Green Jobs CZAR, a position he should have never held.

    President Obama is a superb role model. Here is a man our children should emulate. He is a model of intelligence, hard work, honor and success. You don't need to agree with his politics to admire and respect the man. None-the-less people who have long held that we should always respect and support the President of the United States, decided he shouldn't ever be allowed to actually talk to school children.

    The position of certain right wing zealots is simple incomprehensible. Fortunately most credible Republican leaders from Laura Bush to Newt Gingrich have lambasted these folks and supported the President's address to our children.

    Does the speech have political overtones? Yes, of course. It is unavoidable. And yet President Obama's speech hits the perfect notes and sets the ideal tone.

    But wait, the nut jobs don't just sit on the right side of the table. When George H.W. Bush made virtually the same speech in 1991, the attackers were all Democrats. And they went way overboard, even going so far as to hold hearings "investigating" the President's gross misuse of funds to make a speech indoctrinating our students.

    This was one scary attack led by none other than Speaker of the House Dick Gephardt: "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students. And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"

    Here is, of course, the obvious problem for Democrats. If was actually wrong for the first President Bush to make such a speech, then today's Speaker of the House ought to be investigating and condemning President Obama. Nope! Bush was investigated only because he was a Republican and Obama is defended only because he is a Democrat.

    Now on to problem #2. Over on the left some real zealots are trying to defend the indefensible Van Jones, just because a much hated right wing television commentator, Glenn Beck, made the discoveries into Van Jones' past that Obama's own people should have found.

    It is absurd to "blame" Glenn Beck for Van Jone's own mistakes and misjudgements. Beck got lucky on this one. Don't worry, it will probably never happen again.

    As a liberal or progressive would you tolerate for one second having David Duke in the White House, advising the President? Of course not. Well Van Jones is nothing less that a left wing David Duke. If you stand on principles, Van Jones cannot be defended.

    Principled liberals are asking the important question: How did President Obama's team let this happen?

    Friday, September 04, 2009

    Out of Touch, Out of Control

    This is a really short blog entry to simply suggest you read the insightful article in this week's TIME MAGAZINE by Tim Padgett: Florida Exodus: Rising Taxes Drive Out Residents.

    This is a real case study in what happens when government officials forget they are public servants, instead acting like they are royalty. And, on a state level, this is a tragic example of exactly what is happening in Washington. Politicians completely out of touch with citizens.

    Both Padgett's thesis and his examples are compelling.

    "Homeowners, especially in Broward and Miami-Dade, have been falling out of their flip-flops in recent days as they open their preliminary property-tax notices to find increases of 15% or more. That's sizable in a low-income region where the median property-tax bill is already some $3,000, and it's doubly frustrating given that property values have slid by some 25% during Florida's housing bust."

    "Residents have barely digested the recent news that their hurricane-insurance premiums, which can top $5,000 a year for most South Florida homes, will rise 10% a year for the next three years (vital, officials claim, for handling claims from the next big storm)."

    "And their public utility, Florida Power & Light (FPL), is lobbying the state for a 30% rate hike."

    " 'It all seems out of control to people here at the time when they can least absorb it,' says Dr. Jose Valladares, president of the conservative Fair Property Tax for All in Miami-Dade."

    This is all eerily similar to the event that have devastated Detroit and left it a mere shadow of its former greatness. Will the same scenario destroy Miami?

    More importantly, will our officials in Washington, including President Obama, realize they are doing the exact same things to all Americans?

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Setting a High Standard

    Party versus principle is the continuing topic I've addressed in the last several posts. I've become more than disillusioned with the our infamous two party system in the United States. Actually I've become disillusioned with the party leaders and members who abandon every cherished principle at the drop of a vote or turn of a poll.

    One man simply never ever abandoned his principles. He stood firm always. He fought his own party tooth and nail when they parted ways with his principles. That man was Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

    To be certain, Ted Kennedy was a consummate politician. He knew how to get things done. He was quick to cross party lines to accomplish his goals. He was willing to compromise for the greater good. But he never sold out. He never took his eye off the goal.

    There are perhaps another half dozen Senators who attempt each day to rise to the Kennedy standard. I wish there were 93 more.

    Today Democrats are hoping to capitalize on Ted Kennedy's memory to pass a health care reform bill. It is a noble goal and one that would please the Senator. But they all lack Kennedy's good sense to cross party lines and enlist a Hatch, McCain or Graham to achieve the real goal. Invoking Kennedy's name isn't enough. They need to invoke his spirit.

    Today, as we all watch the memorials to Senator Kennedy, we need to challenge ourselves to be more like him.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

    This is a moment we, as a nation, will long regret. My prayers are with Leon Panetta, who was thrust into this leadership position unprepared for the weight of the mission that has fallen upon him. And my prayers are with the agents and employees of the CIA who have served this country faithfully, with courage and loyalty, often in the most dangerous of assignments.

    Eric Holder, our nations Attorney General did not reach the decision to prosecute agents of the CIA for their allegedly torturous activities in the pursuit of al Qaeda terrorists, lightly. I know he agonized long and hard. Still, the decision reeks of political decision making.

    Most importantly the decision puts our country at great risk. Holder and President Obama will deal a death blow to our intelligence gathering efforts. It is a poor decision and one that should have been handled differently.

    This does not mean I advocate torture. This does not mean we should accept torture. This simply needed to be handled within the agency, by Mr. Panetta, in an appropriate manner consistent with the mission of the agency.

    As qualified and talented HONORABLE agents flee the agency, as agents hold back in the performance of their duties in fear of political retribution, the nation will be vulnerable. Agents cannot be put into the position of having to second guess their orders, let alone disobey them.

    Would Barack Obama want agents to second guess his decisions? They will. And we will all pay the price.

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Destroying America $1 at a Time

    I really, really, really hate political parties. Every one of them! They all have a requirement that you check your brain at the door and absolutely prohibit the use of common sense.

    Republican. Democrat. Libertarian. Green Party. Just support the party. Follow the party line. Shut up. Don't think. And don't care. Just help the home team "win," whatever-the-hell that means.

    The White House
    today admitted what everyone on earth with the exception of the entire Democrat Party already knew: the deficit will reach a staggering and totally unsustainable $9,000,000,000,000.00 (Nine Trillion Dollars) over the course of what President imagines will be his Presidency.

    The sad truth is that he will never serve two terms as President. The even sadder truth is that the United States as we know it will not exist in 8 years. And the mindless Democrats are cheerfully spending the country into bankruptcy and beyond. They don't give a single thing they are doing a second thought. Mindless Republicans certainly started the spending, but today oppose it without having the slightest idea why. They just oppose the Democrats.

    The Chinese and nervous, but relatively gleeful. They control our fate. They hadn't really planned on owning the best real estate in the Western Hemisphere, but with prices this low, they just can't pass up the deal. It's a world wide versions of "cash for clunkers," and we Americans are the clunkers.

    So, with the bankruptcy of Medicare and Social Security just a few years away and default on the National Debt to follow quickly, the Zombies in the House and Senate debate a Health Care Program they cannot possibly pay for.

    Sarah Palin was right! There is a Death Panel! It's the US Congress and they're planning the Death of a Country.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Principle above Party

    I've been meaning to write a few lines about the rapidly expanding war in Afghanistan and the strong presence the United States is still maintaining in Iraq, but President Obama's (supposed) Health Insurance Reform has captivated our attention as a society and my attention personally.

    The other day, during my two hour morning monitoring of Morning Edition on National Public Radio, I was astounded to hear that President Obama expected US Troops to be involved in Afghanistan for at least ten more years. Troop strength has already doubled from President Bush's inadequate allocation and may increase again this fall.

    What struck me most was the complete lack of protest or concern on the part of most Americans to our continued adventures in Nation Building.

    I paused for a moment to consider what would have happened if a newly elected President McCain had maintained over 100,000 troops in Iraq for the next five years and then announced that as many as 100,000 troops might be needed for as long as ten years in Afghanistan.

    Had my imaginary President McCain merely echoed Obama's exact strategy, there would literally be rioting in the streets.

    And this is why I so strongly hate the current climate of loyalty to political parties (Republican or Democrat) instead of principle. If 150,000 plus American troops adventuring over in the middle east was wrong a short seven (7) months ago, shouldn't it still be wrong today?

    I'm confident that, had we elected John McCain, our involvement in the middle east would be rapidly winding down. Not because McCain wanted smaller involvement, but because he would be battling Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tooth and nail for every dollar. McCain would be forced by Congress and the American people to speed up his exit and cut his forces and costs. Hell, we might actually be talking about deficit spending!

    But the Democrats in Congress support their President, right or wrong. The very few of them with an ounce of integrity are holding their noses and focusing on the Health Care battle and pretending Iraq doesn't exist.

    What caused me to remember this issue from a week or so ago was Cindy Sheehan, a woman with immense principle. A woman that should be representing Nancy Pelosi's district in the House instead of the opportunistic and totally unprincipled Pelosi.

    Cindy is a woman who puts principle way above party labels. This week she is taking her August vigil from President Bush's summer home in Crawford, Texas to President Obama's summer vacation spot at Martha's Vineyard.

    "We as a movement need to continue calling for an immediate end to the occupations [in Iraq and Afghanistan] even when there is a Democrat in the Oval Office," Sheehan said in a statement. "There is still no Noble Cause no matter how we examine the policies."

    She will fight the battle alone. She will have only a handful of followers. There will be no television interviews. And no one, not even Chris Matthews, will wonder why the President doesn't have the courage to walk down the road and meet with her, even though he strongly urged then President Bush to hold such a meeting.

    And this is exactly why I put PRINCIPLE above PARTY. President Obama and most of the Democrats have betrayed most of the most cherished liberal principles. Calling protesters a "mob." Dismissing the genuine concerns of American Citizens. Harry Reid and many Democrats refuse to even hold town meetings, calling American Citizens who actually care "evil doers." Hell, Reid even sounds like President Bush. "Evil Doers" indeed.

    Democrats do not somehow magically deserve my support because they have a "D" behind their title. They have to earn my respect through honor, honesty and integrity.

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Nancy Pelosi - Then and Now

    Nancy Pelosi was, of course, very correct in 2006. How quickly whe has forgotten.

    Dissent is the very heart of democracy and freedom.

    As Camille Paglia so wisely stated in her column yesterday, "And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech."

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Byzantine Beyond Belief

    The brilliant Camille Paglia, whose rambling columns over at are often incendiary, has written the finest overall analysis of President Obama's health care initiative and the subsequent political battles that I've read by any author, anywhere. In writing Obama's Healthcare Horror, Paglia is witty, biting and, most of all, insightful in her look at the strange progress of what she calls, "one of the most vital issues facing the nation."

    Paglia is an Obama supporter. She voted for him in the election and has high praise for his handling of foreign affairs and other issues. But, in this article, she dissects his political team and his handling of the healthcare debate alternatively with a razor sharp knife and a sledge hammer! She leaves no bodies unbloodied.

    I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama's chief of staff, and hope it's a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

    Case in point: the administration's grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress?

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

    Where Paglia is especially sharp is in her analysis of the various competing healthcare bills floating around Congress this summer. These bills do not do the very things the President promised. Worse yet, it is increasingly clear President Obama doesn't even know the content of the bills he is championing.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

    You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

    And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups

    Camille Paglia echoes my exact sentiments in her review of the current, keenly orchestrated, Democrat effort to brand any concerned citizen as a member of an AstroTurf "mob." It simply isn't possible for a political party to so stunningly betray the American People.

    And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

    Be certain to read Camille Paglia's complete article: Obama's Healthcare Horror