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Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

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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Dems abandon Slaughter plan

Posted by Richard on March 20, 2010

With even some of their supporters criticizing the outrageous and unconstitutional plan to "deem" the Senate health care bill passed without voting on it, House Democrats have backed down and agreed to a vote:

The House Sunday will have to pass a Senate-authored health care bill that many House members don't like. They have crafted a smaller bill that makes changes to the Senate bill, including new language that will exempt labor unions from much of the impact of an excise tax on expensive insurance policies. Democrats wanted to pass the smaller bill and then "deem" the larger, unpopular bill to be passed without ever voting on it directly. But they received considerable backlash, with even Democrats in their own caucus complaining about the tactic.

"We've had sanity prevail here and I'm very pleased about that," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., who is a member of the House Rules Committee, which on Saturday spent hours debating the bill and the process that will be used to consider it.

According to a top Democratic leadership aide, the House will vote on the smaller bill first, then hold an up or down vote on the Senate bill.

The dirty little secret about the "smaller bill that makes changes to the Senate bill" is that it's of no real consequence. If the House passes the Senate bill unchanged, it's been passed by both houses, and the President can (and will) sign it into law in a heartbeat. The bill with the changes will have to go to the Senate. Once their version is signed into law, what incentive do Senate Democrats have to even seriously consider, much less pass, a bill that makes changes they don't want? 

Call or email the representatives on this list and tell them that if they're planning to vote for the Senate bill because of the changes being made in the separate House bill, they're fools. Or they think their constituents are. 

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ObamaCare will create jobs

Posted by Richard on March 19, 2010

The inimitable Mark Steyn (emphasis added):

Last Thursday, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to set up a committee to examine whether condoms should be required on all pornographic film shoots.

California has run out of money, but it hasn't yet run out of things to regulate.

For a government regulatory hearing, the testimony was livelier than usual. Porn star Madelyne Hernandez recalled an especially grueling scene in which she had been obliged to have sex with 75 men. The bureaucrats nodded thoughtfully, no doubt contemplating another languorous 18-month committee assignment looking into capping the number of group-sex participants at 60 per scene.

The committee will also make recommendations on whether the "adult" movie industry should be subject to the same regulatory regime and hygiene procedures as hospitals and doctors' surgeries. You mean with everyone in surgical masks? Kinky.

If you've ever been in the filthy wards of Britain's National Health Service, it may make more sense after the passage of ObamaCare to require hospitals to bring themselves up to the same hygiene standards as the average Bangkok porn shoot.

One can make arguments for permitting porn and banning porn, but there isn't a lot to be said for the bureaucratization of porn. Hard to believe there will be California bureaucrats looking forward to early retirement on gold-plated pensions who'll be getting home, sinking into the La-Z-Boy and complaining to the missus about a tough day at the office working on the permits for "Debbie Does The Fresno OSHA Office."

Meanwhile, ObamaCare will result in the creation of at least 16,500 new jobs. Doctors? Nurses? Ha! Dream on, suckers. That's 16,500 new IRS agents, who'll be needed to check whether you — yes, you, Mr. and Mrs. Hopendope of 27 Hopeychangey Gardens — comply with the 15 tax increases and dozens of new federal mandates about to be "deemed" into existence.

This will be the biggest expansion of the IRS since World War Two — and that's change you can believe in. This is what "health" "care" "reform" boils down to: fewer doctors, longer wait times, but more bureaucrats. …

Read. The. Whole. Thing.  

And then go here for the Code Red list of representatives to contact to stop this economy-destroying government takeover of the health care industry. And go here to email your representative and the 58 Blue Dog Democrats. And then go here to add to the more than 1 million faxes sent  to Washington opposing government-run health care. 

We're coming down to the wire, folks, and the Socialist Democrat leaders are trying to paint this as a done deal in order to sway some fence-sitters into voting their way. But they still don't have the votes — if they had the votes, they'd have started the roll call immediately instead of waiting until Sunday. This Obamination of a bill can still be stopped if you make your voice heard loud, long, and often, and start right now.

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The truth about health insurance profit margins

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2010

As the President continues, in speech after speech, to demonize the health insurance industry as greedy exploiters of consumers raking in inordinate profits, it seems like a good time to look at the actual data, which refute such demagoguery.

Dr. Mark J. Perry did exactly that last month in a Carpe Diem post. He found that the Health Care Plan industry ranked 88th out of 215 industries, with a profit margin of 3.4% (and even that was inflated by one outlier, Wellpoint, due to a one-time surge in profits from the sale of a division).

Perry did the heavy mathematical lifting of calculating just what that profit margin means for the typical consumer (emphasis added): 

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry's trade association representing 1,300 members, reported last October that annual health insurance premiums averaged $2,985 for individual coverage and $6,328 for family plans in 2009. Using the industry average profit margin of 3.4% means that insurance companies make about $100 per policy in profits for individual coverage, and a little more than $200 in profits for each family policy.

So even if we could strip away 100% of the health insurance industry's profits, it would only save patients between $100 and 200 per year in health insurance costs.

Wow. $100 to $200 per year. So if the government take-over of health care is enacted and completely wipes out the private health care insurance industry (and make no mistake, that will be the long-term consequence), it might save each of us $100 to $200 per year. But only if a bunch of government bureaucrats can deliver the same quality of service with no increase in overhead or decrease in efficiency. 

If you believe that will happen, you're not familiar with the Postal Service. Or the Social Security Administration. Or the Veterans Administration. Or the Department of Education. Or the DMV. Or …

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When will the time for talk really be over?

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2010

I thought it was about a week ago that President Obama, at a campaign-style rally, argued that everything to be said about health care "reform" had already been said and that "The time for talk is over," so I Googled it. I was apparently remembering his speech on March 8 in Philly. But according to Google, he also said it on March 11. And February 5. And December 18. And July 21. And who knows how many more (I didn't check all 603,000 hits).

So if the time for talk has been over since last summer, why has the Prez continued giving the same demagogic and tiresome speech, misrepresenting the bill and the opposition to it ("some people say we should do nothing"), about three times a week for eight months? Why does he keep trotting out poster children for "reform" like Natoma Canfield (who, contrary to what Obama implied, is in no danger of losing her house and is receiving top-notch care at the excellent Cleveland Clinic)? 

Apparently, when the Prez says, "The time for talk is over," he really means, "The time for the rest of you to talk is over. Just shut up and do what I tell you."

Personally, I think the time for talk is over, too. And so is the time for vote-buying, deal-making, rule-breaking, threats, and subversion of the democratic process. Stop it all and hold a roll-call vote in the House right now. Or tomorrow morning. Under Roberts' Rules of Order, calling the question is almost always in order. Isn't there some equivalent rule in the House? The Republicans should do whatever is possible under House rules to force a vote right now. 

Clearly, if Pelosi had the votes to ram through this government take-over of the health care industry, the roll would already have been called. Do these rabid socialist ideologues get an indefinite period of time to cajole, bribe, and coerce more of their own party into line? I should hope not. Somebody call the question!

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Slaughtering our form of government

Posted by Richard on March 12, 2010

Just when you think Congressional Democrats can't get any more brazen, contemptible, and outrageous in their effort to cram government-controlled health care down our throats despite overwhelming opposition by the American people, along comes the "Slaughter Solution." Mark Tapscott explains (emphasis added):

Would House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow House Democratic leaders try to cram the Senate version of Obamacare through the House without actually having a recorded vote on the bill?

Not only is the answer yes, they would, they have figured out a way to do it, according to National Journal's Congress Daily:

"House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

"Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Each bill that comes before the House for a vote on final passage must be given a rule that determines things like whether the minority would be able to offer amendments to it from the floor.

In the Slaughter Solution, the rule would declare that the House "deems" the Senate version of Obamacare to have been passed by the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for a rule, not for the bill itself.

Why don't the Socialist Democrats just drop the fig leaf of representative government entirely? They could save a lot of time and pointless posturing and pretense if the President simply deems the bill to have passed both Houses of Congress and immediately signs it into law. Come fall, Reid and Pelosi could shepherd through rules deeming all the incumbent Democrats to have been reelected. Then the President could deem the Constitution to have been amended and declare himself President for Life. 

I deem these people to be enemies of the Constitution, our liberties, and our way of life. 

Go here right now to quickly send an email to your congresscritter and to the 58 members of the Blue Dog Democrat coalition. Tell them how angry you are and how adamently opposed to this outrageous attempt to rule against the will of the people and impose government control of health care on us. 

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Boudreaux bitch-slaps Obama on “rationing”

Posted by Richard on March 10, 2010

George Mason University Economics Professor Don Boudreaux wrote an open letter to the President on Monday, and it's a doozy. Enjoy:

CBS radio news this morning ran a clip of one of your recent speeches.  In it, you criticize insurance companies because they “ration coverage … according to who can pay and who can’t.”

My first thought was “not exactly; coverage is rationed according to who pays and who doesn’t.”  Ability to pay isn’t the same thing as actually paying, and what insurers care about is the latter.  Many folks – especially young adults – have the ability to pay but choose not to do so.  They get no coverage.

But further pondering of your point leads me to look beyond such nit-picking to see fascinating possibilities.  Not only insurers, but all producers who greedily refuse to supply persons who don’t pay should be set aright.  Now I’m sure that you don’t ration the supply of the books you write according to any criteria as sordid as requiring people actually to pay for them.  But our society is full of people less enlightened than you.

For example, the typical worker rations his labor services according to who pays and who doesn’t.  That must stop.  Oh, and supermarkets!  Every single one rations groceries according to who pays.  Likewise with restaurants, clothing stores, home-builders, furniture makers, even lawyers!  You name it, rationing is done according to who pays.  Indeed, my own county government has been corrupted by this greedy attitude: if I don’t pay my taxes, the sheriff takes my house – effectively booting me out of the county merely because I didn’t pay for its services.


I look forward to your changing this selfish and unfair system of rationing that for too long now has kept Americans impoverished.

Of course! It's so simple! We could all be wealthy and happy and have every desire fulfilled if only the producers didn't insist on making us pay! I look forward to our enlightened socialist President putting Boudreaux's modest proposal into practice. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!"

What could possibly go wrong?

(HT: Carpe Diem)

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Why voters are rejecting ObamaCare

Posted by Richard on March 10, 2010

In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Scott Rasmussen (president of Rasmussen Reports) and Doug Schoen (pollster for President Clinton) examined the polling numbers on ObamaCare. They noted that the numbers have been remarkably stable. For the past four months, the percentage opposed has ranged from 52% to 58%. More significantly, the percentage strongly opposed has been about double the percentage strongly in favor (41% to 20% in the most recent survey).

A deeper analysis suggests some reasons why, despite their best efforts, the President and his lackeys minions allies haven't been able to budge the numbers (emphasis added): 

… Polling conducted earlier this week shows that 57% of voters believe that passage of the legislation would hurt the economy, while only 25% believe it would help. That makes sense in a nation where most voters believe that increases in government spending are bad for the economy.

When the president responds that the plan is deficit neutral, he runs into a pair of basic problems. The first is that voters think reducing spending is more important than reducing the deficit. So a plan that is deficit neutral with a big spending hike is not going to be well received.

But the bigger problem is that people simply don't trust the official projections. People in Washington may live and die by the pronouncements of the Congressional Budget Office, but 81% of voters say it's likely the plan will end up costing more than projected. Only 10% say the official numbers are likely to be on target.

As a result, 66% of voters believe passage of the president's plan will lead to higher deficits and 78% say it's at least somewhat likely to mean higher middle-class taxes. Even within the president's own political party there are concerns on these fronts.

None of this matters to the socialist ideologues determined to "transform" America, as I noted on Sunday. They're going to try to defy the American people no matter what the political cost.

Tea Party Patriots announced today that National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin has been told by two "reliable sources" in Washington that the Blue Dog Democrats are starting to cave and that House Speaker Pelosi may soon have the votes to pass the Senate bill. If you want to help stop this "Obamination" from destroying our country, take action now! Follow that link to see TPP's recommendations for what you can do now, along with lists of congresscritters to contact and how to do so. Check their calendar for scheduled events in your area. A personal visit to a representative's local office is the best thing you can do, as TPP noted: 

The absolute most effective thing that you can do is to go to the office of the Congressmen who are on the fence and still undecided on this government takeover of health care bill. Let the Undecided Congressmen see the live faces of the people who do not want this health care bill shoved down our throats. Make them look in your eyes.

But if you can't do that (or you know it's pointless with your particular congresscritter), phone calls are good. So are emails. Even blast emails and blast faxes sent through one of the many organizations that make that easy for you (here's one) are better than sitting back and doing nothing.

As Mark Steyn explained in the column I quoted from on Sunday, the stakes are immense.

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Dems want fundamental change at any price

Posted by Richard on March 8, 2010

A few days ago, I saw Bob Beckel argue that if the Republicans really believed that passing ObamaCare will be a disaster for the Democratic Party, they'd lay off a bit and let it pass to assure themselves of success in November. Beckel is a political hack, not a man of ideas. His argument is based on the assumption (itself no doubt based on projection) that people like John Kyl, Steve Shadegg, and Paul Ryan would put their party's success ahead of the nation's future.

The people in power in the Democratic Party aren't like Beckel. They're hard-core ideologues, and they're willing to sacrifice their strong majorities in Congress and even a second Obama term in order to fundamentally transform America. The inimitable Mark Steyn understands what's at stake: 

I've been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally "conservative" parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (Let's not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a "conservative").

The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic. … The Democrats understand that politics is not just about Tuesday evenings every other November, but about everything else, too.

Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever-expanding number of government jobs will be statists – sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily "compassionate" statists, but always statists. The short history of the post-war welfare state is that you don't need a president-for-life if you've got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect "conservatives," as the Germans have done and the British are about to do, and the Left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who, for tuppence-ha'penny or some such, would agree to go and warm the seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects strolled in and took their rightful place.

Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A bigtime GOP consultant [ed.: the Republican equivalent of Bob Beckel] was on TV, crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass Obamacare because it's so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.

OK, then what? You'll roll it back – like you've rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago? Like you've undone the federal Department of Education and of Energy and all the other nickel'n'dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter? Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus:

"Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?"

A commenter at Big Journalism put it well: 

A lot of conservatives seem to grasp the idea of Islamic extremists who proclaim "we love death more than you love life", but don't allow for the possibilty that extreme leftists may cherish "the fundamental transformation of America" more than a reelection.

Don't sit back and say, "Just wait until November." And don't tolerate anyone who does. Our values, our liberty, our way of life — all the things that make the United States better than the sclerotic Eurosocialist states are at stake in this battle. ObamaCare must be stopped!

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Make the negotiations open

Posted by Richard on January 14, 2010

Remember when candidate Obama promised transparency in the creation of a health care plan, that negotiations would "be on C-SPAN," and that "the public will be part of the conversation and will see the choices being made"? Newt Gingrich remembers, and he has the video:

[YouTube link]

In a Dec. 30 letter [PDF], Brian Lamb, CEO of C-SPAN, asked the President and the leadership of the House and Senate to "open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage" and pleaded with them "to allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American."

The campaign promises were broken. Lamb's plea was ignored. The secret meetings to craft a government take-over of health care continue. Nothing — not even the overwhelming opposition of the voting public — can be allowed to slow their headlong rush toward socialism.

Today, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid met for eight hours behind closed doors in the White House, and they're rumored to be "very close" to having put together a deal. A deal that we know almost nothing about, and probably won't even have a chance to read before Pelosi and Reid try to ram it through Congress without debate. 

This is outrageous, arrogant, elitist, and profoundly undemocratic. Please sign the Center for Health Transformation's letter to the President and Congress calling for open negotiations and the posting of all legislative language on And contact your senators and representative. This has to stop!

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Gov. Ritter is latest Dem to bail

Posted by Richard on January 5, 2010

On the heels of the news that Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) won't seek reelection and that Sen. Chris Dodd, too, has decided to slink away quietly rather than face a humiliating defeat, Denver's 7News has now reported that Gov. Bill Ritter has also pulled the plug on his reelection campaign:

Gov. Bill Ritter, who was in for a tough re-election fight this year, canceled a scheduled fundraiser on Tuesday night and has decided not to seek re-election, according to Democratic sources familiar with the governor’s plans.

There was no word on why Ritter chose not to seek re-election.

The Call7 Investigators have learned that a press conference will be held Wednesday.

The "leak" came out of Washington, suggesting that the DNC and/or Obama administration are behind his sudden interest in spending more time with his family. It's rumored that he'll get an appointment to a job in the Obama administration — maybe Czar of Whatever We Don't Already Have a Czar For. 

It's also rumored that the purpose of having the unpopular Ritter step aside is to entice State Rep. Andrew Romanoff into abandoning his primary challenge to the equally unpopular Sen. Michael Bennet and going for the governor's race: 

ABC News is reporting that former Rep. Scott McInnis is the likely GOP nominee and will have a far clearer shot at becoming governor in an open seat race. Colorado is likely to now be a potentially good pickup opportunity for Republicans.

However, Democrats are far from ready to concede the race just yet, ABC News reported. Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has been a thorn in the national Democrats side with his primary challenge to appointed Sen. Michael Bennet. Several Democrats believe Romanoff will now take a serious look at the governor’s race instead of continuing his Senate battle.

Ritter's decision may have been influenced by his dismal poll numbers, like a recent Rasmussen poll showing him trailing McInnis by 40% to 48%.

If poll numbers are any indication, we may see a bunch of congressional Democrats deciding to spend more time with their families. Among likely voters, the Democrats are cratering in Rasmussen's generic congressional ballot (emphasis added): 

Republican candidates start the year by opening a nine-point lead over Democrats, the GOP's biggest in several years, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.

The new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 35% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.

The latest generic ballot numbers highlight a remarkable change in the political environment during 2009. When President Obama was inaugurated, the Democrats enjoyed a seven-point advantage on the Generic Ballot. That means the GOP has made a net gain of 16 percentage points over the course of the year. Support for Democrats has declined eight points since Obama's inauguration while Republican support is up nine points.

There has been a notable shift this week among women, who now favor Republicans slightly 40% to 38%. Last week, women favored Democrats 45% to 38%. Men prefer Republicans 49% to 32%, showing little change over the past week.

Among all voters not affiliated with either party, the GOP leads 48% to 17%.

That last set of numbers really strikes me. Among independent voters, support for the Democratic candidate is in the toilet.

If that isn't enough to give Dems everywhere pause, maybe the polling numbers from that bluest of blue states, Massachusetts, will do so. Among likely voters, Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley leads Republican Scott Brown by only nine points. And if you dig further into the numbers, they're even more disturbing for Coakley (emphasis added): 

Twenty-one percent (21%) of those likely to vote in the special election have a very favorable opinion of Coakley, while 22% have a Very Unfavorable view.

For Brown, the numbers are 25% very favorable and 5% very unfavorable.

Special elections are typically decided by who shows up to vote and it is clear from the data that Brown’s supporters are more enthusiastic. In fact, among those who are absolutely certain they will vote, Brown pulls to within two points of Coakley. That suggests a very low turnout will help the Republican and a higher turnout is better for the Democrat.

I donated a few bucks to Brown a while back. A Brown victory is very much a long shot (Dems have something like a 6-1 voter registration advantage in Massachusetts), but I figure if he can get within a few percentage points, it should scare the beejeebus out of a bunch of Dems. Maybe make them think twice about supporting Obamacare and the rest of the headlong rush to a Socialist America. 

And if, by some miracle, Brown pulls off a win — wouldn't it be the most delicious irony ever to have the deciding "No" vote on Obamacare cast by the man elected to replace Ted Kennedy?

I can dream, can't I? 🙂 If you'd like to help the dream, go here and contribute what you can. 

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The beginning of the end for democracy

Posted by Richard on December 23, 2009

The Senate health care bill contains a provision so outrageously anti-democratic, unconstitutional, and fraudulent that Harry Reid and everyone associated with it ought to be tarred, feathered, and ridden out of Washington on a rail. Bill Wilson of Americans for Limited Government blasted it (emphasis added):

In the Reid Substitute, under Section 3403 in a section entitled “Limitations on Changes to this Subsection,” it states, “It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.”

Section 3403 establishes the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB), which would “reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending” under the Reid substitute. Wilson said that is “rationing.”

“The whole purpose of this panel is to ration health care to seniors, no question,” Wilson said.

The Senate rules change was exposed on the floor of the Senate by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), as reported by the National Review Online. Senator DeMint said, “This is not legislation. This is not law. This is a rule change. It’s a pretty big deal. We will be passing a new law and at the same time creating a Senate rule that makes it out of order to amend or repeal the law.”

A Senate rule change requires a two-thirds vote. And the Senate cannot constitutionally enact a rule that binds the House: 

“This is completely unconstitutional,” Wilson noted, pointing to Article I, Section 5 of the Federal Constitution, which states: “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings…”

But the Democrats' lapdog parliamentarian simply dismissed Sen. DeMint's objection. I'm sure if this abomination of a bill is passed, the same pissant parliamentarian will dutifully rule that this provision, once enacted, can't be changed without a two-thirds vote. So, without a two-thirds majority, the Democrats are going to enact a provision that can't be changed without a two-thirds majority! 

Reid applied this rule change only to the section dealing with IMAB and not to the whole bill. I guess that shows how critical he thinks this board, which will control who gets what care when, is to their total control of health care. And it shows he doesn't have the balls to go all-out just yet. 

But this is a first cautious step down the road these Democratic Socialists sorely want to travel. If this bill passes and this outrageous rule change stands, I predict we'll see many more efforts to enact unrepealable legislation in the future. This is a means to ensure that even if they lose their majority, the changes they enact now can never be reversed (at least as long as they control at least a third of the votes).

The Democratic Socialists running this country, from the President to the Senate and House leadership and down through the ranks of their rabidly leftist minions, are profoundly undemocratic at heart. Think about the implications of enacting laws that can't be changed or repealed: if broadly applied, future elections become irrelevant. The people who know what's best for us are decreeing how we are to be governed (in defiance of strong public opposition), and we will not be able to overrule their decisions. Ever.

If this effort succeeds and is replicated, we're on our way to no longer being a democratic republic.

Hugo Chavez no doubt approves. 

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GOP senators can stop Obamacare — if they have the will

Posted by Richard on December 14, 2009

The current leadership of the Republican Party leaves a lot to be desired in terms of commitment to the party's alleged limited-government principles, ability to articulate those principles, and willingness to fight hard for those principles. As Obama applies the screws to wavering Democratic senators, and the terrifying specter of government-controlled health care looms closer, the failure of Republican senators to mount any effective opposition is simply unconscionable.

It's not like they're helpless to stop the Obamacare juggernaut. Erick Erickson makes it clear that they have a multitude of tools for stopping this thing dead (emphasis added): 

The Founding Fathers created a Republic, but 60 Senators are poised to take it away. With the pending disaster of the passage in the Senate of a bill nationalizing one sixth of the U.S. economy and our entire healthcare system at a cost of over $2.5 trillion, we are faced with a crucial question: are the Republican senators using every means at their disposal to stop this looming, tyrannical abuse of power? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be “no.”

The Senate, unlike the House of Representatives, has parliamentary rules and procedures that give the minority the ability to stall legislation. In fact, unlike the House, the minority have the ability to virtually paralyze the Senate. Doing so is not something we would want or expect for every bad bill that comes through Congress, but the proposed healthcare legislation is probably the worst piece of legislation ever considered by the United States Congress. It is the most intrusive, most damaging, most costly, most dangerous bill to the economic and personal freedom and liberty of individual Americans that Congress has ever considered. If there is any bill that deserves being stopped by shutting down the Senate, it is this one.

There are a whole series of parliamentary maneuvers that could be used by Republican senators to stop this bill. There is a hard backstop to the current process (Christmas). The Republicans’ goal should be to prevent Reid from passing the bill before that time. If he goes past Christmas and is forced to adjourn or recess, the momentum will shift in favor of those opposing the bill.

How could this be done?

To start with, they should stop constantly agreeing to “unanimous consent” requests from the Democrats. Senate Republicans, to date, have allowed Democrats, by unanimous consent, to process 10 amendments. The amendments that have been accepted – Democrat amendments – did not make the over 2000-page atrocity any better. The Republican strategy of trying to pass their own “message” amendments carries no message unless you consider “no strategy to kill the bill” a message. There are no amendments that could possibly make this bill a palatable piece of legislation – and any amendments the Republicans get passed that supposedly make the bill “better” may just make it easier for the Democrats to get final passage. If the Republicans want the news media to cover what they are doing to educate the American people even further about the atrociousness of this bill, they have to create drama on the floor of the Senate. And the only way to do that is through an all-out fight with no holds barred. They need to look like Braveheart, fighting to the end to save freedom. Because, in fact, it is our very freedom and liberty that is at stake.

Erickson has nearly a dozen examples of ways to delay, derail, and obstruct this abomination of a bill — if only the Republicans have the will to fight. Read the whole thing. If you have a Republican senator, send him or her a copy (or at least a link)!

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The “vicious heart” of Obamacare

Posted by Richard on December 10, 2009

Robert Tracinski urges opponents of government-controlled health care to stop being distracted by all the blather about abortion funding and the "public option." Those are merely sideshows:

Three provisions constitute the vicious heart of the Democrats' health-care overhaul.

The first is "guaranteed issue" and "community rating." This is the requirement that insurance companies have to offer coverage to people who are already sick, and that they be limited in their ability to charge higher rates for customer who pose a higher risk. The extra expense to the insurance companies of covering people with pre-existing conditions will get passed on to existing customers in the form of higher premiums. But why spend years paying these inflated premiums for insurance you're not using, when you can get exactly the same benefits by waiting until you actually fall ill? …

Rather than increasing the number of insured by making health insurance more affordable, this bill makes health insurance more expensive and increases the incentive to simply drop your insurance until you need someone to pay for your medical bills. …

Following the usual pattern of government intervention, the health-care bill offers another intervention as the solution for the problem created by the first. The "individual mandate" requires everyone to buy health insurance and subjects us to a tax if we fail to do so. …

… Congress didn't have the guts to make this new tax very large—only $750. Yet actual insurance can cost more than $3,000 per year—and as we shall see, this legislation goes out of its way to drive up those rates by mandating more lavish coverage. So we end up getting the worst of both worlds. This provision won't actually drive anyone to buy health insurance and prop up the risk pools for those who are insured. All it will accomplish is to create a brand new form of tax.

But the biggest power-grab in the bill is the government takeover of the entire market for health insurance. The bill requires all new policies to be sold on a government-controlled exchange run by a commissioner who is empowered to dictate what kinds of insurance policies can be offered, what they must cover, and what they can charge.

Right now, your best option for reducing the cost of your health insurance is to buy a policy with a high deductible, which leaves you to pay for routine checkups and minor injuries (preferably from savings held in a tax-free Health Savings Account) …

But the health-insurance exchange is intended to eliminate precisely this kind of low-cost catastrophic coverage. Its purpose is to force health-insurance companies to offer comprehensive coverage that pays for all of your routine bills—which in turn comes at a higher price. So under the guise of making health insurance more affordable, this bill will restrict your menu of choices to include only the most expensive options.

So there we have the real essence of this bill. It restricts our choice of which insurance to buy and pushes us into more expensive plans. At the same time, it destroys the economic incentive to purchase insurance in the first place and replaces insurance with a free-floating tax on one's very existence. 

Forget Harry Reid's nonsense about a "compromise" that eliminates the "public option." This monstrous (in every sense of the word) bill, even without the much-debated "public option," is guaranteed to destroy the insurance industry and eventually drive us all into the functional equivalent of Medicaid. It will lead to single-payer with a vengeance, turning health care into a gigantic welfare program. We'll have no choice but to be its "beneficiaries." Ask someone on Medicaid or a health care provider serving Medicaid clients how desirable that is. 

This isn't about "choice" or "affordability" or even "access." It's about control, folks. They want more control. It's unconstitutional as hell, dangerous as hell, and evil as hell. Call or write your senators and tell them not just "No," but "Hell, no!"

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. 

— Daniel Webster

Full disclosure: I have exactly the kind of coverage that Tracinski has — a high-deductible health insurance policy coupled with a Health Savings Account. I love it. I think encouraging more people to embrace this option would go a long way toward addressing the problems with our current health care system.

Does your car insurance cover oil changes, tire and battery replacements, and other routine maintenance? Of course not! Insurance should be for unanticipated expenses. A high-deductible health care plan works just like your car insurance — it covers unanticipated or "catastrophic" expenses (my United Health Care policy also covers "preventative care," including annual physicals — like paying for oil changes to encourage you to do them to minimize future costs). 

In any case, both the Senate and House versions of Obamacare go out of their way to eliminate such patient-centered, consumer-controlled choices. They're determined to substitute their choices for yours. The Senate's POS "compromise" legislation would outlaw such an option.

Even if you're not sure such a plan would be right for you, don't you think that option should be available? Email or phone (PDF) your senators! Now!

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Free money from Obama’s stash

Posted by Richard on October 9, 2009

Remember when they promised us the $780 billion in "stimulus" spending would produce jobs, funding shovel-ready projects that would get the economy moving? Not in Detroit. There, they just created a lottery for free money. Instead of creating jobs, they stimulated a chaotic mob scene, with fights and injuries and a near-riot. Welcome to Obama's redistributionist America.

[YouTube link]

Via The Virginian, here are a couple of transcripts of WJR's Ken Rogulski interviewing some free money lottery participants (emphasis added): 

ROGULSKI: Why are you here?
WOMAN #1: To get some money.
ROGULSKI: What kind of money?
WOMAN #1: Obama money.
ROGULSKI: Where's it coming from?
WOMAN #1: Obama.
ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get it?
WOMAN #1: I don't know, his stash. I don't know. (laughter) I don't know where he got it from, but he givin' it to us, to help us.
WOMAN #2: And we love him.
WOMAN #1: We love him. That's why we voted for him!
WOMEN: (chanting) Obama! Obama! Obama! (laughing)

And the other one:

ROGULSKI: Did you get an application to fill out yet?
WOMAN: I sure did. And I filled it out, and I am waiting to see what the results are going to be.
ROGULSKI: Will you know today how much money you're getting?
WOMAN: No, I won't, but I'm waiting for a phone call.
ROGULSKI: Where's the money coming from?
WOMAN: I believe it's coming from the City of Detroit or the state.
ROGULSKI: Where did they get it from?
WOMAN: Some funds that was forgiven (sic) by Obama.
ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get the funds?
WOMAN: Obama getting the funds from… Ummm, I have no idea, to tell you the truth. He's the president.
ROGULSKI: In downtown Detroit, Ken Rogulski, WJR News.

You can't imagine how much that depresses me.

Gregory of Yardale at Moonbattery thinks this is the model Obama citizen:

There you have the core of the Democrat base, someone lining up for money the government has taken away from someone else (future generations, in this case), who has done nothing to earn it, who doesn't give a damb where it came from, and is happy that Obama is looking out for her.

And Tim Geithner's bailout buddies at Goldman Sachs are no better.

I'd amend Gregory's assessment slightly. These aren't model citizens, they're model subjects.

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