"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I need an answer.

  1. Why is Barry the only president to seal his transcripts?
  2. Why can he not produce a birth certificate?
  3. What information is he hiding from by sealing his transcripts?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Economic Non-Recovery

Check out this great article in the Wall Street Journal about what Congress and the President are doing to ensure a non-recovery from this recession.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sarah Palin Goes Rogue

Sarah Palin's new book Going Rogue has hit the bookstores, and she is putting herself front and center with numerous high-profile interviews and public appearances around the country. Her book is already a New York Times bestseller, and she attracts large, enthusiastic crowds wherever she goes. Speculation is swirling about the possibility of a presidential run in 2012. Certainly, there are few political figures who attract this much attention.

But obviously, much of the attention is less than positive. Because there is probably no other political figure in recent memory who has been more viciously attacked and hated than Sarah Palin. Within days of her surprising ascension to the GOP vice-presidential ticket, the non-partisan media began slamming her. They sent hordes of journalists to Alaska to try to dig up dirt from her past (how many journalists do you think they sent to investigate Obama's Chicago thug ties?). They accused her of censoring library books while mayor of Wasilla and gleefully jumped on an obviously politically-motivated ethics investigation against her in Alaska. (Both stories were later proved to be completely bogus.) They slammed her for going back to work as governor of Alaska within days of the birth of her son, and authoritatively pronounced that she had no right to be running for vice-president when she had a special-needs child she should be attending to (remember, a woman's place is in the home!). They ridiculed her for her small town accent and her colloquialisms. The major networks got their top anchors to belittle her in condescending interviews (Charlie Gibson) and to ask her "gotcha" questions to try to embarrass her (Katie Couric). They smeared her family and accused her of negligence because her teenage daughter was pregnant. They made nasty insinuations that one of her kids was really her daughter's kid. They relentlessly attacked her for being badly unqualified for the vice-presidency, conveniently ignoring the fact that Obama was just as unqualified -- and was running for an even higher position! And of course, they enlisted a slew of Hollywood celebrities to add their opinion of her, using the requisite four-letter words. Even George W. Bush wasn't treated that badly -- and that's saying something. All this, of course, was in contradistinction to Barack Obama, The Chosen One, who got relentlessly positive press coverage despite ties to some very questionable people (Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko).

Now Sarah Palin is out to remake her reputation. She is telling the world about the way that the McCain team treated her and how they kept her from being herself during the 2008 campaign. She is speaking out on issues she cares about. And what is the result? The usual suspects are up to their old tricks. In her interview with Barbara Walters, the video camera zoomed in as close as possible to her face, a well-known device used to try to make someone appear less honest. Newsweek did a cover hit piece article on her with this even-handed title: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah? She's Bad News for the GOP -- and For Everybody Else, Too." Of course, the cover had a photo of her in short shorts taken for a running magazine -- intended to marginalize her to the status of a model rather than a serious political figure. The Associated Press hired eleven factcheckers to analyze her new book, page by page, for errors. (How many factcheckers do you think they hired for Obama's book? Zero.) Martha Stewart remarked that she was a "very dangerous" person, while comedian George Lopez showed his funny side by calling her a "piece of ****" and making obscene comments about her daughter. Oh, and of course, they slam her for daring to defend herself too. As Alan Colmes so wisely pointed out on the O'Reilly Factor, her book is full of whining and playing the victim. You see, the media has the right to declare open season on Palin, but she must never, under any circumstances, attempt to reply to any of the attacks. Because then she is "playing the victim"!

Here's the bottom line: the media and the Democrats hate Sarah Palin because she is a beautiful, successful, Republican woman. She exemplifies every value they hate: evangelical Christianity, pro-life beliefs, small-town values, a traditional family, and unapologetically conservative views. From the moment she came onto the national stage, our elite liberal institutions determined to destroy her reputation beyond hope of recovery. And they have done everything in their power to carry out that determination. She's not the first person the media has done this to -- Dan Quayle comes to mind -- but the frenzy of hate is unprecedented.

Now don't get me wrong -- Sarah Palin did not run a flawless campaign in 2008, and some of her mistakes played into the image the mainstream media created for her. They were understandable, given her sudden and unexpected thrust into the limelight, but that didn't change the harm to her reputation. Even many conservatives are wary of her. To speak up for Sarah Palin is to invite ridicule in most cases. But I think it's important for conservatives to realize that the prevailing image of Sarah Palin is not an accurate one. It's an image completely fabricated by the media. And if they can do that to Palin, they can do that to any conservative. Instead of jumping on the bash-Palin bandwagon, conservatives should speak out against the vicious and unfair attacks against her. Palin's reputation may be ruined to such an extent that it would be unwise to nominate her for president in 2012. But that certainly shouldn't stop us from fighting for truth. The embarrassment here is not Sarah Palin. The embarrassment is our mainstream media, which has given up even the pretense of objectivity.

Lindsay Graham Destroys Eric Holder

Check out this video of Lindsay Graham destroying Eric Holder. The only disappointment is when Graham calls Eric Holder a "good man." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG7lm8Sfbo4.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Families of 9/11 Speak Out

Check out this letter to Obama, signed by many, many family members of 9/11 victims, strongly urging him to rethink his administration's irresponsible decision to have Mohammed tried in New York civilian courts. http://www.thebravest.com/ObamaLetter110909.htm.

In my previous post on this topic, I failed to mention how much pain this decision would bring to the families of the victims -- especially since Mohammed had already agreed to plead guilty and face execution under a military commission. Now this forces the victims' loved ones, who have already suffered so much, to have to go through the whole painful ordeal again -- in a public courtroom on a national stage, with the chance that the 9/11 mastermind might actually go free. Doubtless Mohammed will do everything possible to insult the U.S. and his victims and to re-open painful wounds and memories from that dreadful day -- which will inspire terrorists everywhere while demoralizing lovers of freedom here and around the world.

Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was killed by Mohammed in Pakistan. Pearl's father is speaking out about this, saying that the decision made him "sick to the stomach" since it would give the mass murderer the chance to "boast about his cruelty." He adds in an interview with the New York Post, "I don't want to hear every morning in the papers what KSM did. Danny was killed once. Now he will be killed 10 times a day. Leave him alone."

And now we hear that Obama wants to transfer all the detained overseas enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to some detention center in Illinois, in the heart of America. What is our president thinking? His left-wing ideology is leading our country toward utter ruin.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama Administration vs. America, Part 239

Honestly, I would like this blog to be able to focus on something other than criticizing the Obama Administration. But almost every day, Obama and his administration are responsible for some new outrage. Just when I tell myself, "This is as bad as it gets," Obama and his cronies do something even worse that catches me off guard. I'm tired of being outraged. I wish Obama would do something bipartisan or patriotic so I could give him a little bit of credit for being in some way up to the task of being the leader of the free world. I'm still waiting.

The latest outrage is yesterday's announcement by Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, that top al-Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators will be brought to New York City and tried in civilian courts for their roles in the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed, of course, is the admitted mastermind of the World Trade Center attacks. This is an outrageous decision for the following reasons:

1. Mohammed and other al-Qaeda terrorists, as well as the other Guanatanamo Bay detainees, are not U.S. citizens. They are foreign enemy combatants and part of an organization that is at war with our country. For this reason, these terrorists do have not constitutional rights and are in no way subject to the jurisdiction of the federal court system. Holder's decision grants these terrorists rights that do not belong to them -- and should not belong to them.

2. Trying these terrorists in civilian courts makes it far more difficult to prosecute them effectively. Remember -- these terrorists were detained under the laws of war. Some of them, including Mohammed, were subject to enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding. They were not read their Miranda rights and did not receive lawyers. Much of the evidence against them may not even be admissible in court. Left-wing, terrorist-sympathizing defense attorneys will have a field day with these cases. They will bombard the court with pre-trial motions and motions to dismiss and attempts to free the defendants based on technicalities. They will claim that these terrorists were tortured, that they were denied access to legal help, that they were held without proper evidence, and that their confessions were coerced. They could use all sorts of legal tactics to delay these cases for months or even years. We have all heard horror stories about corrupt, left-wing federal judges who award old ladies millions for spilling coffee on themselves and give child rapists three months in jail. What's to prevent such a judge from acquitting one or more of these terrorists because of the prosecution's failure to meet due process requirements, or to make a point about torture or war-time detention? These men are extremely dangerous terrorists, and we must never open the door to the possibility that any of them could be set free.

3. Trying these terrorists in civilian courts risks the exposure of intelligence methods and sources and other confidential information that could jeopardize U.S. national security. U.S. civilian courts have very burdensome discovery and witness-confrontation rules that could force the government to disclose a huge amount of classified intelligence information. This is dangerous to our country because it could give our enemies a great deal of insight into our methods and activities in the War on Terror which they will not hesitate to use against us. Bin Laden gained valuable information from the 1995 trial of one of the bombers of the World Trade Center, which led him to flee from Sudan to Afghanistan. Also, such a disclosure of U.S. national security secrets will discourage cooperation from intelligence sources and foreign intelligence services, leaving us even more vulnerable to terrorism.

4. Trying these terrorists in civilian courts gives the terrorists exactly what they want -- a big microphone to spout their hatred and contempt for the U.S. The civilian trial of the 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, turned into a circus. No one doubts that Mohammed is guilty. He and his lawyers will use his trial not to argue for his innocence, but instead to try to embarrass the United States military and the CIA while emboldening terrorist sympathizers around the world.

5. A civilian trial for al-Qaeda terrorists in New York is a huge security risk. Bustling, densely-populated Manhattan is already a bull's eye for terrorism, and a public trial of al-Qaeda members makes it worse. Our country will pay a huge amount of money for top-level security at these trials, and still run the risk of inviting terrorist attacks that could cost many lives.

6. Our country has a long history of trying foreign enemy combatants in special military tribunals during wartime. In 1942, eight Nazis who sneaked into the U.S. were tried by a military tribunal and hanged. And make no mistake about it -- we are in a war against radical Islamic terrorism. The Fort Hood attacks are just the latest reminder of that sobering truth. Military tribunals are not against the rule of law -- they are part of the rule of law. The 2006 Military Commissions Act was passed to establish a detailed legal process for detainees in response to a Supreme Court ruling and received bipartisan Congressional support. These commissions, held at the impenetrable Guantanamo Bay fortress, were widely considered to be impartial and effective. They provided very generous due process protections for wartime combatants, but ensured that information vital to our national security would not be disclosed. Such a commission had already been established for Mohammed and his fellow terrorists, and they had already agreed to plead guilty and accept execution. Yet Obama has broken with this long American tradition and discontinued this system of military commissions.

7. Obama apparently thinks this decision will reduce or eliminate radical Muslim hostility to the U.S. This is ludicrous. Obama has taken a much softer approach to terrorism than his White House predecessor, and the result has been a significant increase in attempted terrorist attacks on our soil. Nearly half of all the attempted terrorist attacks against U.S. targets that have occurred since 9/11 have occurred in the past seven months -- since Obama took office. He has also taken a conciliatory approach toward the worlds' #1 terrorist-sponsoring country, Iran, which has produced no positive results or cooperation whatsoever. Obama's approach is interpreted as weakness and lack of resolve on the part of our enemies, and they appear to be more emboldened than they have been in quite some time.

In summary, this is a terrible idea born out of Obama's twisted left-wing ideology. It shows that the Obama Administration does not take terrorism seriously. It is giving these terrorists far more respect and far more rights than they deserve and allowing them to use our country's institutions against us. It emboldens other terrorists around the world. It is putting our national security and confidential intelligence information at risk. It is creating the possibility that dangerous terrorists might be set free. It shows a dangerous lack of resolve during wartime. May God have mercy on our country.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dishonesty in the abortion debate

I found this video from CNN on Reasoned Audacity. The video, which includes statements by Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood regarding the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, is a good example of the confusion and dishonesty surrounding the abortion debate.

Here's a link to the text of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment so you can see for yourself what it does and does not say.

Now here are a couple quotes by Cecile Richards about the amendment.

The intent of this amendment was to ensure that no one under health care reform could purchase a plan that included abortion coverage.
It's a very far-reaching amendment that would fundamentally change women's access to getting health insurance that covers all of their reproductive health care.

Anyone who has read the amendment should know that these are complete lies. The Stupak-Pitts amendment (which passed the House and is now a part of the medical care bill in the Senate) does nothing except to maintain the status quo with regard to federal funding for abortions. Federal funding for abortions under most federal programs is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment only applies these same restrictions to the 1990-page monstrosity under debate right now.

Besides prohibiting federal funding for abortions, this amendment specifically says that nothing in the amendment prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion procedures. It is nothing short of dishonesty for Cecile Richards to say that this amendment would "fundamentally change women's access to getting health insurance that covers all of their reproductive health care".

[Am I the only one who finds it a little odd that somebody would need insurance for abortions? People usually buy insurance for unexpected situations, like a car accident or brain cancer (not that I would ever equate a pregnancy with those things). I would think that most people know where babies come from and could take the appropriate measures ahead of time if they do not want to have a baby. ("I'm pregnant? How on EARTH did that happen?")]

In addition to the dishonest statements by Cecile Richards, the CNN video contains misleading graphics. As correspondent Dana Bash discusses the restrictions on federal funding for abortion under the proposed bill, the following graphic appears:

While this graphic is on the screen, Dana Bash says, "Private insurance in a new government-regulated exchange would also be prohibited from offering abortion coverage to anyone getting taxpayer money for health care." This is basically true, but the graphic suggests that it would be illegal for private insurance companies to pay for abortions at all. (At the beginning of the video, she also refers to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment as "an amendment that restricts abortion".)

During the debate on the House floor, Mike Pence (R-IN) had the following insight:

Ending an innocent human life is morally wrong, but it’s also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of Americans and use them to provide for a procedure that they find morally offensive.

Advocates of abortion rights are quite narrow in their support for "choice", at least as it concerns the "choice" of taxpayers in how their money is used. To Cecile Richards and other pro-abortion advocates, the only choice which is sacred is the choice of a woman to kill her child in the womb.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sad Commentary on our President

November 9, 2009 was an important anniversary -- the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is one of the most significant events in modern history, and it came about largely through the bold and courageous leadership of President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in confronting the evils of Soviet Communism.

In fact, it was so important...that President Obama, who was perfectly willing to fly to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago getting the Olympics, was unable to make time in his busy schedule to attend. He sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instead, who gave a brief speech at the Brandenburg Gate, and then introduced Obama, who gave a brief speech by video.

Obama's and Clinton's speeches are an embarrassment. Neither one of them contains a single mention of the Soviet Union, Communism, Ronald Reagan, or Margaret Thatcher. Clinton singles out numerous people groups for praise, but completely omits praise for the leading role of the U.S. and its military. Both speeches make vague references to "tyranny" and an "iron curtain" but say nothing about the nature of this tyranny or how it was defeated. Clinton provides this moral lesson from the fall the Berlin Wall: "There are still millions across our world who are separated – maybe not by walls, maybe not by barbed wire, although that still exists – but who are separated from loved ones, who are kept down and behind, unable to fulfill their own destinies." What pathetic pablum. It sounds like she's getting ready to launch into a speech advocating universal health care. What about the evils of tyranny globally? What about the importance of courageously speaking out in favor of freedom and against Communism and other forms of totalitarianism, and the necessity of confronting them and defeating them with actions, including force? Those are the real lessons of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But Hillary just wants us all to get along and work together to help people reunite with their loved ones.

The biggest embarrassment of all was the fact that Obama was the only American even mentioned in either speech. Leave it to Obama to make even the fall of the Berlin Wall about himself. Clinton closed her speech by saying, "I am deeply honored to introduce now a message from someone who represents the fall of different kinds of walls – of walls of discrimination, of stereotype, of character, the walls that too often are inside minds and hearts." Awww. Then Obama rambled on for a couple of minutes, making a few vague references to historical events before getting to the really important point about the fall of the Berlin Wall: “Few would have foreseen … that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent. But human destiny is what human beings make of it."

You know, it wouldn't be so bad if this were the first time Obama had showed this incredible egotism. But it's not. When Obama spoke to the UN General Assembly in September, he had this to say: "For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months." As far as Obama is concerned, American history began when he took office. He is oblivious to the greatness of our country and its grand history of protecting the innocent and promoting democracy and freedom around the world. The best thing he can think of about America is his election and presidency. Or as Michelle Obama put it, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." The overwhelming narcissism is sickening, but the complete ignorance of history and inability to demonstrate pride in the country he was elected to represent on the world stage is even worse. America has a proud history, a great record of accomplishments, and values that are worth celebrating. We deserve a president who recognizes that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Great Lynyrd Skynyrd line

"It's to the women and men who in their hands hold a Bible and a gun
And they ain't afraid of nothing, when when they're holding either one."
~Lynyrd Skynyrd, "That Ain't My America"

Lessons from Fort Hood Terrorist Attack

Last week, Maj. Nidal Hasan went on a horrific killing spree at Fort Hood, killing 13 Americans and wounding 29 others. Here are the facts:
1. Maj. Hasan was a radical Muslim who attended a mosque led by a jihadist cleric who is under investigation for terrorist involvement.
2. Maj. Hasan shouted out "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") right before going on his killing spree.
3. Maj. Hasan had been a vocal critic of America and of America's overseas wars for years and had declared that the U.S. was in a war against Islam.
4. Maj. Hasan had published odes to suicide bombers on the Internet, had publicly praised a radical Muslim who killed a soldier at a recruiting station in Arkansas earlier this year, and had attempted to contact Al Qaeda, all in the weeks and months leading up to the shootings.
5. Maj. Hasan was an Army psychiatrist who had never been in combat and had never even been deployed overseas, and who was promoted despite poor job performance.
6. Maj. Hasan sold off most of his belongings and handed out copies of the Koran in the days leading up to the shootings.

Here are the inevitable conclusions that an objective observer would draw from these facts:
1. This was a premeditated and evil act of Islamic terrorism perpetrated on American soil -- the worst one in fact since 9/11 -- and our government needs to publicly label it as such.
2. We need to condemn not only the attacks, but also the radical Muslim ideology that inspired this attack, and redouble our efforts to effectively monitor, and if necessary, arrest, deport, or silence clerics, mosques, and individuals that promote this ideology.
3. We need to ask ourselves what went wrong in our country's War on Terror to allow this Muslim extremist to get away with this crime. The warning signs were obvious, and Maj. Hasan has been on the FBI's radar screen for months prior to the shooting. Why was nothing done?
4. Many military acquaintances of Maj. Hasan's are coming forward now with damning statements about this man's sympathy with Islamic terrorism, his dangerous religious views, and his hatred and contempt for the U.S. and the U.S. military. Why did they not come forward earlier to report these things? Some of them have stated that it was because they were fearful of being branded as intolerant or being punished for opposing Islam or diversity. What does the military (and other branches of government) need to do to encourage members to report potential terrorist suspects or plots?

Here are the conclusions that our government and our media are drawing from this attack:

1. Gen. George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, made the following comments in the days following the attacks: “Speculation could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers and what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here. It’s not just about Muslims, we have a very diverse army, we have very diverse society and that gives us all strength." NOTE: The real tragedy is not the death of the soldiers or the violence of radical Islam, but a potential backlash against Islam and diversity. He added in another interview, "I'm concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And I've asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that." NOTE: The real thing to watch for is not terrorism, but "anti-diversity" behavior. If that's the attitude of the military leadership, I wouldn't hold my breath to see changes for the better in preventing future terrorist attacks.
2. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano made the following comments: “This was a terrible tragedy for all involved. Obviously, we object to — and do not believe — that anti-Muslim sentiment should emanate from this.... This was an individual who does not, obviously, represent the Muslim faith." Well, obviously. There have only been a little over 14,000 attacks worldwide by Muslim terrorists in the 8 years since 9/11. So it's good to see the woman responsible for keeping American soil safe zeroing in on the real threat to our security -- anti-Muslim bigotry.
3. ABC's newly-picked World News Tonight anchor commented that she wished that Maj. Hasan were named "Smith." That's what I call real journalism -- wishing out loud that the facts would just go away.
4. Chris Matthews, who has a prime-time MSNBC show (with approxmately 7 viewers per night) made the following comments: "See - we have a problem. How do we know when someone like Hasan is going to make his move and do we know he's an Islamist until he's made his move? He makes a phone call or whatever, according to Reuters right now. Apparently he tried to contact al Qaeda. Is that the point at which you say, ‘This guy is dangerous?' That's not a crime to call up al Qaeda, is it?" Hmmm. Once he kills a few dozen soldiers, gets arrested, gets a lawyer, and is duly declared guilty in a court of law, we can conclude he's dangerous. I'm feeling safer already.
5. And here's Evan Thomas, Editor-At-Large of Newsweek: "I cringe that he's a Muslim. I mean, because it inflames all the fears. I think he's probably just a nut case. But with that label attached to him, it will get the right wing going and it just -- I mean these things are tragic, but that makes it much worse." Of course, no pattern here. The guy just happens to be Muslim. What a "tragic" coincidence! I just hope we can be vigilant about the real threat -- those right-wingers!
6. Numerous news outlets have claimed that he must have just snapped and are blaming post-traumatic stress syndrome (despite the fact he had never been in combat). This was the original explanation of most of the media, which failed to even initially report the fact that Hasan was a Muslim (which seems like it could be a somewhat relevant fact).

This politically correct attitude by people in top positions in government and media shows why this attack was able to happen in the first place. Nobody dares to report or go after anyone who is Muslim, no matter what they say or do, because they will be branded as bigoted. The pansy White House won't even use the word terrorism. Our government won't even admit we're in a war against radical Islam -- so how can we fight it effectively? How many people have to die before we learn the tragic lesson from Fort Hood?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reducing the price of medical care can increase costs

Thomas Sowell argues in a recent series of columns that price and cost are not the same thing. (Link goes to the first article.) Under the proposed monstrosity of a medical care bill, bureaucrats would set the price of care, not the cost. The price of a commodity, such as medical care, only matters if that commodity is available.

What do you suppose would happen if the government mandated that doctors' salaries be reduced by 90%, as in the case of corporate CEOs? My guess is that not very many people would want to be doctors. The price of medical care would be reduced, but it would not matter, since you would never get to see a doctor anyway. The cost, then, is that you just have to suck it up and hope that your cancer goes away on its own.

The rest of Dr. Sowell's articles are here: linky linky

Hi. I'm From the Government, and I'm Here to Help

Here is a non-exhaustive list explaining why the mild-mannered Wall Street Journal called the House health care bill "the worst bill ever." This bill is due to be voted on this weekend, and it must be stopped for the sake of our country.

1. It is 1,990 pages of incomprehensible jargon. The bill has only been out for a week, and it is a safe bet most congressmen who are voting for it have not and will not read it.
2. It costs $1.3 trillion dollars over the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Pelosi claims it only costs $900 billion, but she is playing games and excluding numerous real costs of the bill.
3. The true 10-year cost of the bill is hidden because most of the costs of the program do not take effect for several years. From the time the full provisions of the bill go into effect, it will cost $1.8 trillion, increase taxes by $1.1 trillion, and take $800 billion from Medicare over the first 10 years.
4. It heavily subsidizes health insurance for people earning 150%-400% of the poverty level -- people who don't need the government to pay for their health insurance.
5. It cuts Medicare reimbursement rates to doctors by 21.5% and increasing, which accounts for for supposedly $250 billion of cost savings in the bill. Such regulations have repeatedly failed to slow rising costs in the past.
6. It cuts Medicare by over $400 billion, including $175 billion from Medicare Advantage, a program which gives seniors private insurance options.
7. It expands Medicaid coverage to everyone up to 150% of the poverty level.
8. It establishes a new government insurance commissioner and a board of federal bureaucrats, which equates to a government takeover of the insurance industry.
9. This new government health care board will decide what private insurers must cover and what they must charge. It will mandate that insurers offer coverage at virtually the same price to everyone, regardless of medical history. Of course, these mandates and regulations will cause health insurance costs to skyrocket.
10. It prohibits the sale private health insurance to individuals beginning in 2013, meaning that individuals will be forced to buy health coverage through the federal government.
11. It levies about $575 billion in new taxes, including taxes on certain insurance policies.
12. It imposes a 5.4% tax on individuals earning more than $500,000, bringing the top marginal income tax rate to 45% (not including other phase-outs of tax deductions/exemptions & state income taxes). It is NOT indexed for inflation, so more and more people will fall under this tax in the future.
13. More than 50% of this 5.4% tax burden will fall on small businesses (S corporations and LLC's). It has been estimated this tax could cost up to 5.5 million jobs.
14. It imposes an 8% of payroll penalty on all but the smallest businesses that fail to pay at least 72.5% of their employees' health insurance premiums (and the health insurance must be government-approved). This provision would destroy job creation and economic growth, only making our terrible employment situation worse.
15. It imposes a 2.5% of AGI tax on people who don't buy insurance, even if they make less than $250,000 per year (breaking an Obama promise).
16. It requires the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion through the government-run plan. There are no opt-out provisions, meaning that people would be forced to pay for abortions with their premiums.
17. It creates a "public option," a new government-run health plan that would force private companies to compete against the government and would cause over 100 million people to lose private insurance coverage in the future.
18. It exempts Congress from being covered by this plan.
19. There are no provisions to prevent the government plan from denying access to life-savings treatments on cost grounds. Britain's National Health Service already does this.
20. It will inevitably result in the rationing of health care as our government drowns in debt more and more. The elderly are most at risk.
21. It is full of budget gimmicks that make costs look lower than they actually are. For example, some costs like the repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula are pushed into separate pieces of legislation to make this bill look less costly.
22. It is full of pork and special benefits to particular interest groups.
23. As a result of the tax increases in this bill, a Harvard economist estimates that the average taxpayer will see his taxable income fall by 17%.
24. It fails to include any reform of the current medical malpractice liability system, even though this is a significant reason why health care costs are so high.
25. It fails to allow individuals to purchase health coverage across state lines, which would enable 12 million more Americans to purchase health insurance.
26. It is opposed by a vast majority of doctors, as well as a clear majority of Americans.
27. It is far worse than an alternative Republican plan, which would cost $60 billion with no new taxes and no funds taken from Medicare, yet would still increase insurance coverage and would lower insurance premiums by 3-10%. Which bill would you prefer, one that costs less and reduces insurance costs, or one that costs far far more and increases insurance costs?

In summary, this bill would destroy our excellent health care system, increase already high unemployment, stunt economic growth, vastly increase the deficit, and vastly increase government control over our lives. We must stop this bill from becoming law, and give early retirement to any congressmen who votes for it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election 2009 Results

So, Election 2009 is in the books, and I'm 2 for 3 in my predictions. Overall, it was a pretty good night for the GOP, but unfortunately the result in NY-23 gives Democrats the chance to spin the election as a repudiation of "right-wing extremists." I was pleased -- and a bit surprised -- at the margin of victory in Virginia & New Jersey, but the New York results soured my evening a bit.

I think it's easy to overlook the significance of the Virginia results, since they were widely anticipated. Yes, we all knew McDonnell was going to win, but his final margin of victory is pretty impressive by anybody's standards -- nearly 18 percentage points. The last time Virginia elected a governor by that wide of a margin was 1961! Republicans also won the lieutenant governor & attorney general races by wide margins, and have apparently picked up five seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. Remember, Obama carried Virginia by about 6 points in 2008, so we are talking about nearly a 25-point swing from Democrat to Republican in just one year. Remember, McDonnell is an unapologetic conservative who took direct aim at Obama's policies during the campaign. Exit polls showed a significant majority of voters thought that the government was becoming too powerful and needed to reduce its role in society. And significantly, independents broke for McDonnell over Deeds by a 2 to 1 margin -- the same independents who supported Obama in 2008. At least part of Deeds' loss can be attributed to a weak campaign, but it's very hard to argue that Obama's left-wing, big-government policies had no effect on this race. A purple state moving into the red category in such a big way clearly reflects a changing political climate that could bode poorly for Democrats in 2010. All Democrats in Congress who represent districts that supported McCain or narrowly supported Obama should take note of the Virginia results and reconsider their support for ObamaCare.

Chris Christie's 4.5% margin of victory was also impressive and a bit of an upset to conventional wisdom, although I think it has fewer national implications than the Virginia race. The overriding issue in this campaign was the inept and corrupt administration of Jon Corzine. It's very hard to win re-election when your job disapproval rating is hovering near 60%, even in a state very friendly to your party. New Jersey voters remain favorably disposed toward Obama, but they finally had enough of Corzine's out-of-control spending and taxation and cronyism. Still, conservatives can rejoice that New Jersey has a conservative as their new governor. Christie is more conservative than previous New Jersey GOP governors like Christie Todd Whitman and Tom Kean, and we can hope that he will do something to at least stem the tide of corruption and left-wing ideology in the state's government. And let's face it -- the New Jersey results were a real embarrassment to Obama. Obama campaigned hard for Corzine on multiple occasions and expended a lot of political capital trying to get out the Democratic vote in that state. The fact that his presence the final weekend of the campaign was unable to push Corzine over the top in the bluest of blue states, despite polls showing a dead heat, makes Obama look weak and ineffective. The fact that he joined himself at the hip with such a corrupt and ineffective governor makes him look foolish.

The biggest surprise and disappointment of the night for me was the result of NY-23. I knew the race was closer than a lot of pundits thought, and I sensed that Scozzafava's endorsement of Owens was swinging the momentum in the race, but I still felt like the Republican tilt of the district and grassroots enthusiasm would push Hoffman over the top. I was wrong. Did Scozzafava's 5% vote total keep Hoffman from winning? I guess we'll never know, but I still question whether very many of those votes would have gone to Hoffman. This is a disappointing race to lose, because it is a swing district that supported Obama in 2008, and a conservative win here would really have forced Democrats in Congress to take notice. I think this loss gives cover to congressional Democrats and gives them a chance to argue that unelectable right-wing extremists are taking over the party. Perhaps it shows that the anti-Obama tide is not as strong as conservatives would like to think right now. But I also think that this race was very unique and may not necessarily portend anything significant for 2010. In retrospect, it seems like a big issue that Hoffman did not have strong roots in the district. Apparently he was perceived as a johnny-come-lately whose campaign was funded by deep pockets outside of the district, running against two candidates who are upstate New York natives. It certainly hurt Hoffman that Scozzafava, the Republican, endorsed the Democrat and vigorously campaigned for him in the final days of the campaign. And let's face it -- the press is really overstating the conservatism of NY-23. The district has clear Republican tendencies, but not necessarily conservative tendencies. New York Republicans tend to be well to the left of national Republicans. And let's not forget how badly the national Republican party fumbled this race, donating $900,000 to Scozzafava's campaign, some of which was used to attack Hoffman. The real reason the Republicans lost this race was because they nominated such a bad GOP candidate in the first place. Hoffman could have won if he had been the Republican nominee in the first place.

One other note: Maine voted down a gay marriage law. This is significant because Maine is a socially liberal state, and supporters of traditional marriage were outspent by a 10 to 1 margin. National gay rights groups targeted Maine as a state friendly to their agenda and went all out to win. So far, not a single state has voted in favor of gay marriage. Gay marriage has been defeated at the ballot box even in liberal states like California and Maine. I'm sure gay activists will keep trying, but the election results this year show that the public continues to oppose their radical agenda, at least for now.

Now we have to hope that the results of this election will help to defeat ObamaCare.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Election 2009

I know that some of my readers may not be that interested -- but I'm a political junkie and I can't let an election pass without making my predictions about the results. So here goes....

1. Virginia. This is the easiest one to predict. The Republican candidate for governor, Bob McDonnell, has run a very strong campaign and looks to be cruising to an easy victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds. Every poll taken over the past two weeks has shown McDonnell with a double-digit lead over Deeds, ranging from 10 points (Research 2000) to 19 points (Survey USA). Polls also show that the level of excitement and enthusiasm is much higher for McDonnell than for Deeds. In an off-year election, this will likely mean that McDonnell outperforms the polls -- energized conservatives will turn out in large numbers, while depressed Democrats are less likely to vote. I expect McDonnell will end up winning by at least 15 or 16 points, and maybe by as much as 20 points.

There are other races in Virginia as well, and Republicans should also fare well in those races. It seems likely that the GOP will win both the Lieutenant Governor & Attorney General races by comfortable margins. If McDonnell wins by double-digits, he will also sweep other down-ballot Republican candidates for the state legislature to victory. The GOP seems poised to pick up 4 or 5 seats in the House of Delegates -- and maybe even more.

Why this Republican sweep in Virginia? Remember, this once-solid Republican state has been trending Democratic in recent years, and Obama carried it by a significant margin just last year. Some of the blame for the strong swing back to the GOP this year has to go to Creigh Deeds, who was hardly a strong candidate. Deeds ran a relentlessly negative campaign and failed to present a positive agenda to the voters. He stumbled over his words in debates and interviews and flip-flopped badly on numerous issues. But I think the bigger reason for McDonnell's huge victory is widespread dissatisfaction and even anger against the hard-left agenda of Obama and congressional Democrats. Deeds' shortcomings as a candidate may explain why he is losing, but it by itself does not account for the huge margin of loss. Why are Republicans so energized? Why are so many moderates and independents supporting McDonnell? The reason is that they are dissatisfied with Democratic leadership in Virginia and Washington DC and want a change.

McDonnell's win is something worth celebrating. He, along with his fellow-Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general, is a true conservative who has fought hard for the pro-life cause and for traditional family values. He is a strong believer in individual freedom, limited government, and lower taxes. And he is a gracious candidate who reaches out to moderates.

2. New Jersey. This state's governor's race is much harder to predict because it is much closer than Virginia's. Up until a couple of days ago, I thought Democrat Jon Corzine was going to win this race. But it does look like the GOP candidate Chris Christie has a bit of momentum right now. The most recent polls have shown him slightly ahead and gaining ground, and it does seem like late-deciding voters are unlikely to vote for the highly unpopular incumbent Corzine.

I am very reluctant to pick Christie as the winner though, because the Democratic organization in New Jersey is so strong. No Republican has won any state-wide race here since 1997 when Christie Todd Whitman, a liberal Republican, was narrowly re-elected governor. Corruption and dirty tricks are very common here, and labor unions and political bosses have their way of getting "their people" to the polls, legally or otherwise. The Democrats are launching a huge get-out-the-vote effort on behalf of Corzine, and Obama was in the state yesterday campaigning. Corzine has outspent Christie by about 3 to 1, and much of that money has been spent on nasty personal attacks designed to increase Christie's negatives. Even with all that, however, Corzine continues to have extremely high negatives -- close to 60%.

I am very hesitantly picking Christie to squeak out a win -- probably by one or two points -- over Corzine, with independent Chris Daggett finishing a very distant third with no more than 5 or 6 percent of the vote. The Democratic ground game and party machinery will be worth at least a couple of points on election day, but I now think that Christie's support among independents and a strong turnout of angry, motivated conservatives will be enough to put him over the top. I do not expect Republicans to gain much, if anything, in the NJ state legislature.

Christie is not a perfect candidate who has not presented a lot of positive ideas, and it's unlikely he will be able to accomplish much as governor with a heavily Democratic legislature working against him. Still, he is more conservative than the typical New Jersey Republican, and his victory is likely to have symbolic significance this year. Obama has spent a lot of time in New Jersey lately and is expending a lot of political capital on a Corzine win. If Corzine were to lose in one of the most Democratic states in the country, it would be a big embarrassment for Obama and could be interpreted as a repudiation of his agenda. Also, it would mean a GOP sweep of the 2009 governors' elections, which would give the Republican momentum going into the 2010 elections and might scare some moderate Democrats who are on the fence about ObamaCare.

3. NY-23 Congressional Race. This is a special election for a U.S. Congress seat in upstate New York that was vacated when the Republican congressman who occupied it for 16 years resigned from Congress to take a post in the Obama administration. I posted earlier about how the Republican party chose liberal state assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava as their nominee, and conservatives revolted and rallied around the Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman. For awhile, this looked to be a very interesting three-way race. Then, Scozzafava began to fade in the polls as more and more Republicans and independents began to defect to support Hoffman. On Saturday, Scozzafava quit the race and endorsed the Democrat, Bill Owens.

There has been quite a bit of polling done on this race, but polling is notoriously inaccurate for congressional races, so it's hard to know how much the numbers can be relied on. The two most recent polls are showing Hoffman leading Owens, but one of them is showing Hoffman with only a five point lead with nearly 20% of voters undecided.

It is hard to know how much of an impact Scozzafava's endorsement of Owens will have on the race. It seems likely to me that more of her supporters will vote for Owens than for Hoffman, and a lot of liberal organizations are pouring money into Owens' campaign in the final days. Still, conservatives are energized and are likely to turn out in large numbers to vote for Hoffman. Considering that turnout is likely to be low and that this is a conservative-leaning district that has a history of voting for Republicans, I think it is reasonable to pick Hoffman as the winner. But Owens may have some momentum coming out of the weekend, so I'm guessing this election will also be close. I'm guessing that Hoffman wins by 3 or 4 points, but I'm hardly sure about this prediction.

4. Other Races. There are a couple of other races happening this year as well. In the New York City mayoral race, Republican incumbent Michael Bloomberg looks likely to win a 3rd term, although his Democratic opponent is making it fairly competitive. And there is a special Congressional election in California that has gotten very little attention. It is a strongly Democratic-leaning district, but the Republican has run a spirited campaign and may have an outside chance at an upset victory if turnout is low and anti-government sentiment is high. I would not rule out a Republican victory here, but in the absence of accurate polling, conventional wisdom would have to favor a Democratic win. Look for this race to be close though.

To summarize -- I anticipate that Election 2009 will be a big night for Republicans, and the headlines do not bode well for Obama and the Democrats in Congress as we look forward to the big congressional elections of 2010.

The Worst Bill Ever