Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Farm-equipment manufacturer John Deere "said it expects its expenses to rise by around $150 million on an after-tax basis, mainly in the second quarter, as a result of the legislation."
Verizon "told employees in an email Tuesday that Verizon's costs will go up in the near term, pinpointing a tax-subsidy reduction for retiree health benefits."
Heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar "said that its first-quarter earnings will be hit with a $100 million after-tax charge under tax law changes attached to the new health care reform legislation."
AK Steele Holding Corp., "the third largest U.S. steelmaker by sales, said it will record a non-cash charge of about $31 million resulting from the health-care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama. The charge will be recorded in the first quarter of 2010."
Valero Energy "will take a $15 million to $20 million charge to second-quarter earnings for the same reason."
Medical-device maker Medtronic "warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers."
If you want to reduce unemployment, stop passing legislation that kicks the snot out of employers.
This is a new low for the American presidency. Our idiotic president invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for a meeting. When Netanyahu refused to let Obama tell him how to run his country and did not agree to stop building settlements in his own capital of Jerusalem, Obama WALKED OUT on Netanyahu in the middle of the meeting to have dinner in private. He said Netanyahu could stay in the White House and let him know "if there is anything new."
What kind of way is this to treat a supposed friend and ally? Netanyahu is snuck in the back door of the White House, with no photographers permitted, and is left hanging when the U.S. president walks out of the meeting. As one Israeli newspaper put it, the Israeli prime minister received "the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea." This is a public humiliation of the only democracy in the Middle East and our only reliable ally on the War on Terror in that region of the world. Israel exists in an increasingly anti-semitic world and is surrounded by enemies whose stated goal is to wipe her out of existence. One of those enemies, Iran, is developing nuclear weapons. Europe despises Israel. We are their only real ally in the world. And now our president, who can't even bring himself to use tough rhetoric (much less tough action) against terrorist-sponsoring, election-rigging, dissident-murdering Iran, goes ballistic against Israel over a lousy building development.
This behavior is worse than just childish and petty (although it certainly is that). This tells me where Obama's real sympathies lie. And they are not with our country's democratic values. How many times does Obama have to suck up to anti-American dictatorships and terrorist-sympathizing Muslim states while publicly snubbing democratic allies before we realize that he doesn't share our country's values? He bends over backwards to accommodate our enemies but gives the back of the hand to our friends. Hugo Chavez is Obama's amigo but Netanyahu can't even get the normal respect given to any overseas visitor, much less a friend's welcome? Iran and North Korea and Russia get whatever concessions they want out of Obama. He agitated to get the socialist president of Honduras reinstated (he was deposed for openly violating the country's constitution). At the same time, in one year in office he has succeeded in angering England, France, Germany, Japan, and most of Eastern Europe. He has filled his Justice Department with attorneys who have spent their lives defending and apologizing for terrorists. And it shouldn't come as a surprise to any of us, because this guy sat under the preaching of "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright for 20 years. You know, the preacher who said "God damn America" and said that our country deserved 9/11 and that our government deliberately injected inner-city blacks with the AIDS virus. Obama counted terrorists like Bill Ayers among his friends and associates in Chicago. And now we're surprised because his foreign policy is anti-American and he is destroying decades-old alliances and friendships? His entire view of the world is upside down and backwards because his mind has been poisoned his whole life by anti-American friends and mentors.
Every time I hear about Obama's latest outrage, I keep thinking that it can't get worse. And then it does.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"U.S. Backs Off Tough Iran Sanctions"
"Matthews Condemns GOP For Climate of Violence"
"Farrakhan: Anti-Obama Comments May Lead to Death"
"Biden Jokes About F-Bomb"
"Dems Vote to Give Viagra to Sex Offenders"
I only wish I were kidding. Will someone please tell me what is happening to our country?
You tell me.
If, as the Democrats tell us repeatedly, the need for health care reform is urgent because many people are dying without access to health care -- well then, why do the major provisions of this bill not begin to take effect until 2013 (conveniently after the 2012 presidential elections). We know people have an urgent need for access to immediate life-saving health care, so we have passed a bill that will cover them in 3 or 4 years, after they're already dead. Apparently the only thing urgent about the health care bill for the Democrats was claiming immediate political victory by passing some bill. Is this really even about helping the uninsured at all?
You tell me.
When asked about the lawsuit that a number of state attorneys general are bringing against ObamaCare for being unconstitutional, the White House domestic policy chief responded by saying, "If you want to look in the face of a parent whose child now has health care insurance and say we're repealing that . . . go right ahead." Hmmm. The only problem with that is that every child in the U.S. is already covered by a government insurance plan called SCHIP, provided that child's family income is under a certain level. That income level is $55,125 or more for a family of four in every state except for five very low-cost-of-living Western states. It is $88,200 in New York and New Hampshire. So is Obama's administration just lying, claiming it's about the children when really the bill does nothing for them? Or does he believe that our tax dollars should pay for children's health insurance when their parents make more than $88,200 per year?
You tell me.
In an interview with ABC News, Vice-President Joe Biden said regarding the health care bill, "You know we're going to control the insurance companies." Democratic Congressman John Dingell said in a radio interview, "The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings said, ""There ain't no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something. . . .All this talk about rules. . . .When the deal goes down . . . we make 'em up as we go along." And then there was the President's elaborate signing ceremony for ObamaCare on Tuesday. After receiving a rock star welcome from the partisan crowd and being introduced by Joe Biden with the words "This is a big f***ing deal," Obama crowed about how he had finally succeeded where his predecessors (he listed them out from Theodore Roosevelt to the Clintons) had failed. Again, is this really about helping the uninsured? Or is this about politicians expanding government power and therefore their own power? Is this about doing what's best for the country? Or is this about using whatever means necessary to pass some bill that will enable them to take credit for "making history" and winning a big political victory?
You tell me.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
1. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1)
2. Harry Mitchell (AZ-5)
3. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8)
4. Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
5. Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
6. Loretta Sanchez (CA-47)
7. John Salazar (CO-3)
8. Betsy Markey (CO-4)
9. Allen Boyd (FL-2)
10. Alan Grayson (FL-8)
11. Ron Klein (FL-22)
12. Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
13. Melissa Bean (IL-8)
14. Deborah Halvorson (IL-11)
15. Bill Foster (IL-14)
16. Joe Donnelly (IN-2)
17. Brad Ellsworth (IN-8) - actually running for Senate instead of for re-election
18. Baron Hill (IN-9)
19. Leonard Boswell (IA-3)
20. Bart Stupak (MI-1)
21. Mark Schauer (MI-7)
22. Gary Peters (MI-9)
23. Tim Walz (MN-1)
24. Dina Titus (NV-3)
25. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-2)
26. Tim Bishop (NY-1)
27. John Hall (NY-19)
28. Scott Murphy (NY-20)
29. Bill Owens (NY-23)
30. Bob Etheridge (NC-2)
31. Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL)
32. Steve Driehaus (OH-1)
33. Charlie Wilson (OH-6)
34. Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15)
35. John Boccieri (OH-16)
36. Kurt Schrader (OR-5)
37. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3)
38. Chris Carney (PA-10)
39. John Spratt (SC-5)
40. Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23)
41. Solomon Ortiz (TX-27)
42. Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
43. Tom Perriello (VA-5)
44. Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
45. Alan Mollohan (WV-1)
46. Nick Rahall (WV-3)
47. Steve Kagen (WI-8)
Don't get me wrong -- there are probably a lot more Democrats who voted for the health care bill that can be defeated as well. But here are the ones that voted most flagrantly against their constituents. They must go.
Let's be clear about this. I have said some very nice things about Stupak on this blog, and I still believe he is a principled man, as politicians go. But this is a cave, pure and simple, and a cave at the 11th hour when he had all the leverage on his side and when it was most important for him to stand firm. The only way to ensure that government-run health care will not cover abortions is for there to be a specific provision against taxpayer abortion funding in the bill itself. An executive order is meaningless, not even worth the paper it's written on. When there is a conflict between an executive order and a piece of legislation, the piece of legislation always takes priority. If the bill requires taxpayer funding of abortion (which it does), then an executive order cannot nullify that. And of course, this executive order is doubly meaningless because it, unlike the bill passed by Congress, is not permanent. A president can rescind an executive order at any time for any reason. Given this president's extreme pro-abortion record, what reason do we have to trust that he will make any effort to enforce this executive order? He could rescind it next week, next month, or next year. Make no mistake about it, if this executive order were truly binding, pro-choice activists in the House would be up in arms about it. They are not, because they know it is meaningless. As Congressman Joe Pitts put it, “I find absolutely no comfort in this executive order. This puts the fate of the unborn in the hands of the most pro-abortion president in history.”
I am truly saddened by the decision of Bart Stupak and a few other pro-life Democrats to compromise and vote for this bill. Congressman Stupak had shown so much principled leadership on this issue for so long, and then threw it all away on a non-binding executive order in the bottom of the ninth inning. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain by continuing to insist on pro-life language in the actual bill. I know he was under tremendous pressure from his party's leadership. His wife disconnected their home phone because they were getting threatening phone calls. He was facing the prospect of no help from the Democratic party whatsoever in his re-election bid in a swing district -- and possibly being threatened with much worse. In the end, I think he really wanted to vote "yes" (as a big supporter of government health care) and he found a way to justify his vote. The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List had chosen Stupak to receive their "Defender of Life" award at their annual gala in Washington on Wednesday. They have now rescinded that award, and rightly so.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, who has fought this legislation tooth-and-nail, gave an impassioned speech on the House floor right before the vote. Here are some excerpts:
Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, I rise tonight with a sad and heavy heart. Today, we should be standing together, reflecting on a year of bipartisanship, and working to answer our country’s call and their challenge to address the rising costs of health insurance in our country. Today, this body, this institution, enshrined in the first article of the Constitution by our Founding Fathers as a sign of the importance they placed on this House, should be looking with pride on this legislation and our work. But it is not so. No, today we’re standing here looking at a health care bill that no one in this body believes is satisfactory. Today we stand here amidst the wreckage of what was once the respect and honor that this House was held in by our fellow citizens. And we all know why it is so. We have failed to listen to America. And we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents. And when we fail to reflect that will – we fail ourselves and we fail our country. Look at this bill. Ask yourself: do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have, that you can keep it? No, you can’t. In this economy, with this unemployment, with our desperate need for jobs and economic growth, is this really the time to raise taxes, to create bureaucracies, and burden every job creator in our land? The answer is no. Can you go home and tell your senior citizens that these cuts in Medicare will not limit their access to doctors or further weaken the program instead of strengthening it? No, you cannot. Can you go home and tell your constituents with confidence that this bill respects the sanctity of all human life, and that it won’t allow for taxpayer funding of abortion for the first time in 30 years? No, you cannot. And look at how this bill was written.
Can you say it was done openly, with transparency and accountability? Without backroom deals, and struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people? Hell no, you can’t! Have you read the bill? Have you read the reconciliation bill? Have you read the manager’s amendment? Hell no, you haven’t!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Democrats point out that the "deem-and-pass" rule has been used in the past by Republicans. It's true -- but always to make minor, non-controversial legislative changes. It has never been used as a way to bypass a floor vote on a major, stand-alone, controversial piece of legislation. But regardless of who has used it in the past, it is clearly unconstitutional. The Constitution clearly specifies that a bill cannot become law until it is passed by an up-or-down vote by both houses of Congress. (Why would they let the Constitution stand in the way of their agenda? Remember, if the gate is closed they can pole-vault in!) Furthermore, this shows the Democrats' utter contempt for the public's intelligence. Do they really think that voters will be fooled if they vote for a rule to deem the Senate bill passed without actually voting to pass the Senate bill? Do they really think we're that stupid?
I have already specified in previous posts why both the content of the legislation and the process the Democrats are using to ram it through are corrupt and harmful to our country. The bill is full of budget gimmicks that enable it to score as "deficit reducing" according to the CBO. It's "deficit reducing" because it steals $500 billion from Medicare, reduces Medicare physician reimbursements by 22%, and offsets 10 years of revenues by 6 years of costs. Anyone who thinks creating a new (nearly) trillion dollar entitlement program is going to reduce the deficit is clearly not running mentally on all cylinders.
One of the saddest things for me is to see how unprincipled and spineless most of the Democrats in Congress are. Many congressmen who have had strong pro-life voting records for decades are giving in and voting for this (James Oberstar, Dale Kildee). Many, many congressmen have expressed their strong dislike for many elements in the Senate bill; yet almost all of them are voting for it anyway. Congressman Dennis Kucinich announced he was voting against the bill on principle; President Obama took him for a little ride on Air Force One and now his principles have mysteriously changed. Congressman Jim Matheson used to be against the health care bill. President Obama just happened to nominate Matheson's brother for a judicial appointment, and suddenly Matheson is a "yes" on the "deem-and-pass" rule ("undecided" on the final bill). Rumors are surfacing of a special sweetheart deal for Congressman Earl Pomeroy. If this were a good bill, they wouldn't have to be buying off their own members like this. Several congressmen, such as Stephen Lynch and Jason Altmire, spoke harshly about the "deem-and-pass" rule as a bad idea. Yet both of them voted "yes" on the vote to allow the "deem-and-pass" rule to be enacted. It's a bad idea, but we're voting for it anyway, because we do whatever Pelosi tells us to. Not one of these "undecided" Democrats can be relied on. They rightly point out all the flaws in the bill, but they don't have the balls to stand up to their party's leadership. I am now convinced that the final bill will pass on Sunday, because Pelosi's lapdogs will come when she calls. It's a very sad week for our country.
One of the few bright spots in Congress is Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, one of the most principled politicians in this country. He issued this ultimatum to wavering House Democrats:
I want to send a couple of messages to my colleagues in the House. If you voted no and you vote yes, and you lose your election, and you think any nomination to a federal position isn't going to be held in the Senate, I've got news for you. It's going to be held. Number two is, if you get a deal, a parochial deal for you or your district, I've already instructed my staff and the staff of seven other senators that we will look at every appropriations bill, at every level, at every instance, and we will outline it by district, and we will associate that with the buying of your vote. So, if you think you can cut a deal now, and it not come out until after the election, I want to tell you that isn't going to happen. And be prepared to defend selling your vote in the House.
I don't have much hope this will change the outcome of the vote. But it's good to know that Senator Coburn is trying to expose the incredible corruption going on beneath the surface of the health care "debate."
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Well, I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills -- for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don't have to pay her treatment, there's something fundamentally wrong about that.
In this article, Walter Williams exposes this notion for the nonsense that it is. Rights are traditionally understood to be things which one person is entitled to do which do not impose any obligation on another person, other than non-interference. In other words, my right to free speech does not diminish your rights. My right to assemble with other like-minded people does not diminish your right to do so or impose any other obligations on you.
Now, consider the "right" to medical care. In order to extend this "right" to people who cannot afford it, the federal government must pay the doctors and hospitals for their services. Contrary to popular belief, the government has no money of its own. Therefore, the government must coerce citizens -- through threats of imprisonment -- into paying for the medical care of everyone else through taxes.
Like Obama and other proponents of this bill, I wish that everyone could afford medical care. I wish that everyone could have a Corvette. I wish that everyone's every desire could be fulfilled. However, a wish is not the same as a right. We must deal with reality. People like Obama who insist that health care is a right which everyone deserves sound like insolent little brats who just want a PONY and want it NOW!!!
Now, I will address some other nonsense which politicians (including President Obama) casually toss around with impunity. Many people (including Obama in the above quote) seem to think that there is something wrong with insurance companies denying coverage for or refusing to pay for preexisting conditions. Maybe in Obama's wonderful world of free lunches and unicorns that poop Skittles, insurance companies could pay for this. However, we live in reality.
Insurance companies exist to make a profit. They are paid insurance premiums by their customers, and in exchange, they assume the risk that the customer will need medical care. Sick people are obviously a greater risk to the insurance company than healthy people, and if they are allowed to purchase a policy, they will probably pay higher insurance rates. This is no different from people with a poor driving record paying higher rates for auto insurance. Buying a health insurance policy after you are sick or injured would be like buying an auto insurance policy after you get into an accident. Insurance companies are not charities.
Let me say again how much I respect this Congressman Stupak. Unlike most pro-life members of Congress, he is not particularly conservative, supports Democratic health care reform, and does not come from a heavily Republican district. Yet this congressman has been a stalwart on the issue of protecting human life from the beginning of the health care debate. Stupak was almost single-handedly responsible for forcing a House floor vote on taxpayer funding of abortion in November which the Democratic leadership did not want, thus ensuring that the House version of the health care bill would not fund abortions. When the Senate passed a health care bill that included taxpayer funding of abortion, Stupak made his voice heard loud and clear during compromise negotiations between the House and the Senate that he and his bloc of pro-life Democrats would not support the Senate version. Now Pelosi is putting huge pressure on House members to vote for the Senate bill verbatim, and Stupak still refuses to cave -- and continues to speak out.
It is not easy being pro-life and a Democrat. Many, many Democratic politicians started out their careers being pro-life, but quickly compromised or abandoned their principles once they realized that standing for the protection of human life would interfere with their popularity in the party or their ambitions for higher office. A list of Democratic politicians who were once pro-life includes Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Harry Reid, Dennis Kucinich, Jimmy Carter, Richard Durbin, Sam Nunn, and many many others. During the health care debate, many "pro-life" Democrats were exposed for what they really are -- big-league phonies. Bob Casey, Jr., senator from PA who claimed the mantle of his pro-life father when he was elected in 2006, not only caved to the pro-abortion faction in the Senate but wrote a "compromise" amendment which specifically allows taxpayer-funding of abortion. Ben Nelson, "pro-life" senator from NE, announced he had drawn a line in the sand and would not vote for taxpayer funding of abortion, and then reversed his position 24 hours later after securing a sweetheart deal for his home state in the bill. Even now, Stupak says that several of the dozen Democratic House members who had pledged they were standing with him against abortion funding are caving under intense pressure from the Democratic leadership. My guess is that in the end, Stupak's coalition of pro-life Democrats will disappear and he will be left standing nearly alone.
Don't think Stupak hasn't paid a price for his principles either. We know how intense the pressure has been on congressional Democrats to support the bill, and who knows how many threats and promises he has had to shake off. He is facing a Democratic primary challenger this year because of his abortion position. His reported ambitions to run for governor are certainly dead. He is being threatened with ethics investigations and is pounded nightly by left-wing pundits who claim he is a traitor. He has been in Congress for nearly 20 years, but do you think he's going to be getting any plum chairmanships or committee assignments from the Democratic leadership? Yet he tells National Review in no uncertain terms, "I am a definite 'no' vote." That takes courage -- and also a deep-seated commitment to justice.
We hear a lot about politicians "being a voice for the voiceless" and "standing up to defend the powerless against powerful special interests." John Edwards, sleazeball and top Democratic politician, mastered this rhetorical device to perfection. But there is only one group in this country that is truly without voice. There is only one group in this country that is literally incapable of providing any precious political support to politicians in exchange for votes. There is only one group in this country that is genuinely powerless, utterly defenseless against a multi-million dollar industry with a vested interest in its destruction. That group is unborn children. Bart Stupak will never enjoy the press adulation and the electoral success of lesser Democratic politicians. He has chosen a higher reward.