Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

Tragic consequences of the left’s control of education

Posted by Richard on October 22, 2016

Those of us who intelligently embrace the concept of American exceptionalism don’t do so in the “Rah, rah, we’re number one” way that sports fans embrace their team; we do so because the United States is unique among nations because of the nature of its founding. America isn’t based on a shared ethnic or religious or geographic heritage, it’s not based on conquest or assimilation by royal marriages. Instead, it’s based on a set of ideas, the ideas of John Locke and the Enlightenment: the sovereignty of the individual, the natural rights of all human beings, government as the servant of the people and not their master. The Declaration of Independence outlined these ideas and the Constitution was their implementation. As Margaret Thatcher said, “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”

For as long as there has been an organized “progressive”/leftist movement in this country, it’s tried to diminish and destroy those ideas and with them American exceptionalism. It has succeeded to a large extent because the left gradually, and in the last couple of generations almost completely, took over education all the way from kindergarten through college. The result today is young people full of ignorance and indoctrination.

Some of the consequences of the left’s current monopoly of education are on display in the depressing results of a recent public opinion survey (emphasis added):

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released its first “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Towards Socialism” Monday. The survey showed a distinct generation gap regarding beliefs about socialism and communism between older and younger Americans.

For example, 80 percent of baby boomers and 91 percent of elderly Americans believe that communism was and still is a problem in the world today, while just 55 percent of millennials say the same.

Just 37 percent of millennials had a “very unfavorable” view of communism, compared to 57 percent of Americans overall. Close to half (45 percent) of Americans aged 16 to 20 said they would vote for a socialist, and 21 percent would vote for a communist.

When asked their opinion of capitalism, 64 percent of Americans over the age of 65 said they viewed it favorably, compared to just 42 percent of millennials.

The survey also revealed a general lack of historical knowledge, especially among young adults. According to the report, one-third (32 percent) of millennials believed that more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.

Let that last statistic sink in for a moment.

Where do you think they got such an insane idea?

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Socialist, Democrat – “What difference does it make now, anyway?”

Posted by Richard on January 8, 2016

Shot:

Video: Matthews discovers that Hillary can’t tell the difference between Democrats and socialists, either

By this time, Chris Matthews must be panicked. When he asked DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to explain the difference between Democrats and socialists, the MSNBC host expressed considerable angst that the party’s leading officer couldn’t do so. “I used to think there was a big difference,” Matthews lamented at the time.

Fast forward five months. Matthews posed the question to the party’s leading candidate for its presidential nomination, and … Hillary Clinton couldn’t explain it either. Who else can Matthews ask? Joe Manchin, please pick up the red courtesy phone:

Chaser:

Party-Dif-NRD-600

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Obamacare is an abysmal failure by its own standard

Posted by Richard on March 27, 2014

The raison d’être for Obamacare is to provide health insurance coverage for the 30 million to 50 million people (depending on whose wild-ass guess you believe) uninsured. How’s it doing so far?

The Obama administration and its media shills have been crowing that 5 million people have “enrolled” for Obamacare on the state and federal exchanges. When asked how many of those have actually paid the first month’s premium, they claim they don’t know, although their own rules require insurance companies to report that information monthly. Estimates of the number of “enrollees” who haven’t actually completed the process by paying their premiums range from 20% to 25%.

So let’s do a little math. Assuming 20% of the 5 million “enrollees” haven’t paid brings the number covered down to 4 million. According to the management consulting firm McKinsey, as of the end of February, 27% of the “enrollees” were previously uninsured, but they were even less likely to have paid their premiums than the previously insured. McKinsey’s number crunching arrives at an estimate that only 14% of those actually now covered were previously uninsured.

But let’s be generous and assume that more of them have paid premiums since February. Heck, let’s be real generous and assume that a full 25% of the 4 million were previously uninsured. That’s 1.25 million.

Divide 1.25 million by 50 million or by 30 million, and you discover that Obamacare has covered somewhere between 2.5% and 4% of the previously uninsured. Epic fail.

And to achieve that underwhelming result, it’s cost millions of the previously insured their insurance plan of choice, forced millions more to pay higher premiums, and resulted in probably tens of millions having a smaller provider network that may not include their doctor or hospital of choice. Not to mention saddling insurance companies with a process so screwed up that, if it isn’t fixed soon, many (most?) may just stop offering individual (and probably small group) health insurance entirely.

One could be forgiven for suspecting that the real purpose of Obamacare all along was to destroy the private health insurance market in order to replace it with a British-style, government-run, single-payer socialist system. After all, one of the architects of this abysmal failure has said as much.

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Barry explains Cloward-Piven Strategy

Posted by Richard on January 18, 2014

From Lt. Col. Allen West:

This brilliantly simple review of the Obama administration’s plan for our nation via Cloward-Piven was emailed to me by a fellow Georgian, retired Marine fighter pilot Colonel Orson Swindle who was John McCain’s roommate at the Hanoi Hilton.

It all makes perfect sense. … Read. Then weep.

Young Barry Soetoro explains Cloward-Piven

(HT: Doug Giles)

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Radical redistributionist blocked

Posted by Richard on May 19, 2011

The Senate has blocked the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court by failing to invoke cloture. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) joined all the voting Republicans to block the motion. This is very good news indeed. The 9th Circuit Court is already home to some pretty far-left judges (and is the most frequently overturned circuit court), but Liu would have made them look restrained and centrist. As Reason's Ilya Shapiro noted:

As I blogged last year, Liu is, without exaggeration, the most radical nominee to any position that President Obama has made. He believes in constitutional positive rights — not that the welfare state and all its accompanying entitlements (and then some) are a good idea, but that they are constitutionally required.  That is, someone ought to be able to sue the government (qua the taxpayer) if they don’t have adequate health care, or food, or shelter, or… well, anything Liu envisions is part of his indeterminate Constitution whose evolving norms adapt to the times “in order to sustain its vitality in light of the changing needs, conditions, and understandings of our society.”


Moreover, he’s opined that words like “free enterprise,” “private ownership of property,” and “limited government” are “code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections.”

People like Goodwin Liu should be kept as far away from a judicial appointment as possible. And a president who wants people like Goodwin Liu on the federal bench should have his appointments blocked by any means possible.

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Michael Moore vs. Abraham Lincoln

Posted by Richard on March 4, 2011

Fat cat (no pun intended) movie mogul Michael Moore, interviewed on something called Grit TV, has declared that the money of wealthy Americans isn't theirs, it's a "natural resource" that the government should seize and redistribute. I can't help but wonder why the interviewer didn't ask what Moore has done to redistribute the tens of millions of dollars of this "natural resource" that reside in his bank accounts.


[YouTube link]

Moore and those like him are guilty of two egregious errors. The first is an error of ignorance (willful ignorance, I'm tempted to say). They seem to believe that wealth (or money, which they seem to think is the same thing) is just a fixed pile of stuff that somehow, magically, exists — and that all that's necessary is deciding how it should be distributed. 

The second error is even more egregious, and it rests on the first — because it requires one to be ignorant of (or indifferent to) how and why wealth is created and even of the fact that there are those who create wealth. It's the moral error of believing that it's OK to take wealth from those who've created it to give it to someone else. As I noted, people like Moore can believe and justify this because they don't view those who've created the wealth as its creators, and thus don't view them as its rightful owners. Wealth just exists, or appears magically like manna falling from heaven, so it's a "natural resource" that we all collectively own.

Peter Wehner contrasted Moore's perspective with that of Abraham Lincoln, and quoted Lincoln: 

I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. …. I want every man to have the chance — and I believe a black man is entitled to it — in which he can better his condition — when he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.

Allowing individuals the chance to better their condition is a legitimate moral claim that citizens demand of government. Government’s goal should be to ensure equality of opportunity instead of equality of outcome; to work toward a society where everyone has a fair shot rather than one where government enforces equality.

This issue — equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome — is one of the great dividing lines between modern conservatism and liberalism. If given the choice between the philosophy of Michael Moore and the philosophy of Abraham Lincoln, my hunch is that the public will side with Lincoln.

I think the public sided with Lincoln in last November's elections. I think — I hope — enough people understand that increasing the total wealth of our society depends on ensuring that people have the opportunity to create wealth. And that the redistributionist philosophy of Moore and those like him destroys that opportunity. And thus makes us all poorer in the long run. 

Besides, it's not just that it would do more harm than good — it's just plain wrong. The person who creates something that didn't exist before is the rightful owner of that creation. Calling it a "natural resource" and redistributing it is theft, plain and simple. 

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Obama Democrats embrace socialism and hate

Posted by Richard on November 1, 2010

On Friday, President Obama appeared at a rally in Charlottesville, VA, for Rep. Tom Perriello. Americans for Prosperity volunteers were on hand to offer free "Socialism Isn't Cool" bumper stickers to the Obama/Periello fans waiting to get in. They didn't have any takers. It seems that most (if not all) Obama/Periello fans think socialism IS cool. Watch the video.


[YouTube link]

(HT: Gateway Pundit)

The next day, there was a rally for Perriello's challenger, state Sen. Robert Hurt, and AFP volunteers putting up signs drew the ire of some Perriello supporters. To put it mildly. Watch the video.


[YouTube link]

(HT: Washington Examiner)

Socialism and hate — the defining values of the left today.

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Free markets save miners, command economies kill them

Posted by Richard on October 20, 2010

Frank Warner:

A few pseudo-liberals tried to blame capitalism for the Chile mine cave-in, which trapped 33 men for two months before they were rescued. But if by “capitalism” the critics meant a free market with the reasonable regulations of a democracy, they were dead wrong.

The worst mine disasters have been in command-economy dictatorships, China being the most obvious example. (And by the way, if by “capitalism” you mean industrial monopolies without serious safety regulation, you are talking about China, Cuba and the other Communist-brand economies.)

On Saturday, Oct. 16, three days after the 33 Chileans were brought back safe and sound, a Chinese coal mine explosion killed 37 miners. Two years earlier, 23 Chinese were killed in the same mine. This is normal in China, where the coal mine fatality rate, per 1 million tons mined, is 37 times the U.S. miner death rate.

Protective freedom. As the Chinese dictatorship has loosened Communist control over the economy over the last two decades, mine safety has improved. And when China is free politically, safety is likely to improve a whole lot more. Never underestimate the protective, creative and healing power of liberty.

(HT: Instapundit)

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U.S., Europe on different paths

Posted by Richard on June 26, 2010

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told the BBC that the United States can "no longer drive global growth," and that the world "cannot depend as much on the US as it did in the past." There's a good reason for that.

The administration of which Geithner is a part apparently has as its goal cutting the US down to size — hobbling our economy, reducing our standard of living, slashing the "disproportionate share of the world's resources" we consume, and driving us toward a stagnant society that's more egalitarian because the successful have been forcibly impoverished.

Geithner also said that Europe and the US are taking "different paths, at a different pace," and he's not kidding. As most other developed nations are moving away from socialism in an attempt to restore economic growth and fiscal responsibility, the Obama administration is moving the US as fast as it can in the opposite direction.

So now we have the ironic situation of European socialist countries defending their government spending cuts against attacks from Obama and arguing against Obama's calls for more government "stimulus" programs. For instance

Germany and the United States appear set for a heated showdown at this weekend's G20 summit in Canada after Chancellor Angela Merkel flatly rejected warnings from President Barack Obama that Europe's attempts to save its way out of the debt crisis could put fragile global economic growth in danger.

She added in a recent rebuttal of economic stimulus packages: "If we don't go for sustainable growth, but just create puffed-up growth, we will pay for that with another crisis." 

Merkel isn't alone. While the Obama administration embraces protectionism and fiscal profligacy, Britain's David Cameron calls for progress in the Doha free trade talks and embraces the fiscal conservatism that's becoming increasingly popular around the world:

"Delivering progress on Doha will not be easy. However, I’m also impatient for change and people in Britain, Canada, Asia, Africa and elsewhere can't wait for negotiators to come to agreement.

"World leaders have made previous commitments on Doha in good faith – but despite almost a decade of talks, there’s been no breakthrough."

The comments come as America noticeably distances itself from the economic agenda of most other world powers.

Once internationally isolated, Mr Cameron's fiscal conservatism now constitutes something akin to a consensus among world powers, and president Barack Obama is isolated in his desire for further spending – a plan he has been struggling to get through domestically.

Heck, even China has repeatedly chided the Obama administration about its fiscal irresponsibility. You know we're in trouble when the Chicoms are saying our government is getting too big.

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Another boot on another neck

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

The Democrats have reconciled House and Senate financial legislation differences, crafting yet another 2000-page bill that no one has read. They're prepared to pass it next week: 

After more than 20 hours of continuous wrangling, congressional Democrats and White House officials reached agreement on the final shape of legislation that would transform financial regulation, avoiding last-minute defections among New York lawmakers that had threatened to upend the bill.

Fannie and Freddie aren't much affected — the Socialist Democrats want to regulate everything except government. I'm guessing that their friends at Goldman Sachs and other liberal-dominated, generously-contributing firms will make out OK, too. As for the rest of the financial services industry, especially the little guys buried under a new mountain of regulations and red tape, and their customers — well, I suspect this observation is accurate: 

"My guess is there are three unintended consequences on every page of this bill," Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said of the nearly 2,000-page bill.

If passed into law, this abomination will give the Obama administration yet another boot on the neck of yet another industry. Apparently, the Socialist Democrats aren't going to rest until they fulfill Orwell's dystopian vision of a boot stomping a human face forever. 

They're calling this the Dodd/Frank Act. And they gave those two weasels, who share a significant portion of the blame for the housing bubble and resulting financial meltdown, a standing ovation. 

Patrick Dorinson had the best comment about this that I've seen: 

"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

– Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the health care bill, March 2010

"No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”

– Sen. Chris Dodd, on House-Senate conference approval of financial reform, June 2010

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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More doctors turning away Medicare patients

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2010

Remember that Presidential promise, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? Well, if you’re a Medicare patient, that may not be true for long. Congress hasn’t acted to rescind a 21% reimbursement cut that took effect last week (they removed the so-called “doc fix” from the Obamacare bill in order to maintain the fiction that it would reduce health care spending). Since Medicare reimbursements averaged only 78% of private insurance payments before the 21% cut, more and more doctors are refusing to take new Medicare patients or opting out of Medicare entirely:

The number of U.S. doctors refusing new Medicare patients has increased to record levels as low government payment rates force them out, statistics show.

USA Today notes the doctors’ exodus comes just six months before millions of baby boomers begin enrolling in the federal government healthcare program.

“Physicians are saying, ‘I can’t afford to keep losing money,'” said Lori Heim, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

AAFP reports 13 percent of doctors who responded to a survey said they didn’t participate in Medicare last year, up from 8 percent in 2008 and 6 percent in 2004.

The American Medical Association said 17 percent of more than 9,000 doctors surveyed said they restrict the number of Medicare cases, and the rate rises to 31 percent for primary care physicians.

Shortages of primary care physicians already alarm many experts, and the seniors group AARP says record numbers of doctors refusing Medicare will make matters worse.

So “you can keep your doctor” is just as false as “you can keep your health care plan” (emphasis added):

Employers would lose grandfathered status if they switch insurance companies — unless the plan is covered by a union contract or the employer pays claims out of its own funds and uses the insurer only to administer the plan.

It isn’t clear how much the restrictions on co-payments and deductibles will save consumers, because health plans can still raise premiums. The rules issued Monday say plans would relinquish grandfathered status if they reduce the percentage of the premium they pay by more than five percentage points. The broader health-care law includes checks on unreasonable increases, which have not been defined.

The administration estimated that by 2013, health plans covering as few as 39 percent and as many as 69 percent of employees could lose protected status. For small employers, the total could be as high as 80 percent; for large ones, it could reach 64 percent.

The picture isn’t actually as rosy as the Washington Post tries to paint it. The hundreds of pages of restrictions and regulations in the Obamacare bill, coupled with the implementation rules announced last week, coupled with the rules yet to come, will ensure that existing “grandfathered” plans become unprofitable and untenable, and they will go away. That, as I’ve argued before (for instance, here and here), is part of their plan to force everyone into a single-payer system.

If some insurance companies try to maintain their existing plans by emulating Medicare — cutting reimbursements for health care providers — they’ll find themselves between the same rock and hard place that Medicare is now in: providers will simply stop providing under those conditions. Unless the government steps in and forces them to do so.

And if the government forces health care providers to provide their services against their will — well, I recall something Ayn Rand said about socialized medicine decades ago (I’m paraphrasing): Do you want your life in the hands of a doctor who resents being forced to treat you? Do you want your life in the hands of a doctor who doesn’t?

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Kiss your health care plan goodbye

Posted by Richard on May 8, 2010

After Obamacare was signed into law, several major corporations took well-publicized charges (as required by SEC rules) because of the anticipated revenue loss due to elimination of a tax deduction. This angered Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and other Socialist Democrats. They demanded that the companies turn over all Obamacare-related internal documents and explain themselves at Congressional hearings.

Oddly enough, however, after the Socialist Democrats received the documents, they promptly canceled the hearings and declared that there was nothing to see. Why? 

According to Fortune, it's because the internal documents from AT&T, Caterpillar, Deere, and Verizon revealed the dirty secret of Obamacare — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan" was a lie (emphasis added): 

Internal documents recently reviewed by Fortune, originally requested by Congress, show what the bill's critics predicted, and what its champions dreaded: many large companies are examining a course that was heretofore unthinkable, dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penalty fees to the government.

That would dismantle the employer-based system that has reigned since World War II. It would also seem to contradict President Obama's statements that Americans who like their current plans could keep them. And as we'll see, it would hugely magnify the projected costs for the bill, which controls deficits only by assuming that America's employers would remain the backbone of the nation's health care system.

In 2009, it cost AT&T $2.4 billion to provide health care coverage for its active employees. The alternative cost of paying the penalties for not providing coverage: $0.6 billion. It's hard to ignore math like that. AT&T could give its workers a nice raise to compensate them for dropping health care and still come out ahead.

And the numbers will likely get worse, as all four companies predicted significantly higher costs in the future due to Obamacare's new taxes, the expansion of coverage to "children" up to age 26, and other new mandates. 

Instead of dumping their health care benefits completely, many companies may find it economically and politically more palatable to offer only the basic government "pool" plan.

In any case, as many of us insisted at the time, you can kiss your current health care plan goodbye. And as at least some of us have argued all along, that's not going to be an unintended consequence — it's by design. The ultimate goal of the Socialist Democrats has always been "single payer," and Obamacare implements their stealth plan to destroy the private health care industry and eventually leave us with a "public option" as the only option.

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Controlling the people and redistributing the wealth

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2010

For a long time, the Socialist Democrats have hidden their true agenda from the American people. No more. They're now so cocky and confident (and so contemptuous of their opposition) that they're dropping the facade of moderation and centrism.

On Tuesday, Rep. John Dingell (SD-MI) was asked on a Michigan radio program why Obamacare would not be fully implemented until 2014 when so many people are dying each year due to lack of insurance (a claim based on a totally bogus study, BTW). Dingell explained that "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."

The same day, a New York Times story (I'll link to the excellent fisking at Sweetness & Light) made it clear that the government takeover of the health care industry is "the federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago" and the centerpiece of Obama's plan to reverse the Reagan Revolution and redistribute wealth. 

And just today, as the Senate was preparing to pass the "reconciliation" bill containing the House "fixes" for Obamacare, Sen. Max Baucus (SD-MT) addressed the Senate as follows: 

Too often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind. Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.

So. Now that it's a done deal, the Socialist Democrats are proudly proclaiming what they previously and angrily denied, what they previously denounced as right-wing lies and fear-mongering: the government takeover of the health care industry is intended to control the people and redistribute the wealth. It's intended to turn citizens into subjects and to ensure equality of misery.

They're slightly less crazy-sounding, but fundamentally not all that different from Hugo Chavez.

But don't worry about the constitutionality.  Rep. John Conyers (SD-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and noted constitutional scholar, has assured us that it's all authorized by the Constitution's "Good and Welfare Clause."

Costa Rica's looking better all the time. Or maybe Honduras, where they still respect the rule of law.

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Sowell and Williams on the health care vote

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2010

Two of my favorite living economists have slightly different takes on the House vote for government-controlled health care. Dr. Thomas Sowell, as I would have guessed, has a somewhat pessimistic take:

With the passage of the legislation letting the federal government take control of the country's medical care system, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of America's values and institutions.

Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels — as momentous as that is — does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation.

With politicians now having access to our most confidential records and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?

The corrupt manner in which this massive legislation was rammed through Congress, without any of the committee hearings or extended debates that most landmark legislation has had, has provided a road map for pushing through more such sweeping legislation in utter defiance of what the public wants.

Too many critics of the Obama administration have assumed that its arrogant disregard of the voting public will spell political suicide for congressional Democrats and for the president himself. But that is far from certain.

Dr. Walter Williams, predictably, is somewhat more optimistic: 

If there is anything good to say about Democrat control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, it's that their extraordinarily brazen, heavy-handed acts have aroused a level of constitutional interest among the American people that has been dormant for far too long.

Part of this heightened interest is seen in the strength of the Tea Party movement around the nation. Another is the angry reception that many congressmen received at their district town hall meetings.

Yet another is seen by the exchanges on the nation's most popular radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and others. Then there's the rising popularity of conservative/libertarian television shows such as Glenn Beck, John Stossel and Fox News.

 Read both columns, please. I think both make valuable points. I agree with Sowell that this is a terrible turning point, and one that could usher in a new era in which this country permanently abandons the ideals and principles that have made it unique among nations.

I also agree with Williams that there are reasons for optimism — that the brazen and outrageous nature of this bill's passage and the contempt Democrats have shown for the will of the people will serve to awaken the populace and lead to a wide-spread public reaction and "Constitutional reawakening." 

Of course, I hope Dr. Williams is right. But I won't just hope. I'll do what I can to help make it come to pass. 

I hope you will, too. 

And keep an eye out for that new Reagan or Thatcher, too. We could really use one. 

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House passes socialist health care takeover

Posted by Richard on March 22, 2010

Concluding the most corrupt and sleazy legislative process of my lifetime, the House moments ago passed a 2700-page bill enacting the complete government takeover of the health care industry. A bill that will lead inexorably to America's decline.

Tonight, I weep for my country. 

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