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Friday, January 22, 2010
Dems Double Down
Posted 01/20/2010 06:53 PM ET
Health Care: Will the administration seize the moment of Scott Brown's victory to work out real solutions, or will it follow Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid over the cliff? Or is it just about government control?
Before Sen.-elect Brown became the Scott heard 'round the world, House Speaker Pelosi was asked what his victory in the bluest of blue states would mean. "Certainly the dynamic will change depending on what happens in Massachusetts," she replied in a bit of an understatement.
The dynamic has changed, yet the Democrats, as the country song goes, apparently don't know when to hold them and when to fold them.
"I heard the candidate in Massachusetts, the Republican candidate, say 'Let's go back to the drawing board,'" Pelosi told reporters in California on Monday. "There is no back to the drawing board. . .. We will have health care one way or another."
After the 1994 GOP tsunami, largely due to the failed attempt at HillaryCare, President Clinton wisely chose to work with the people's representatives. Rather than fight ideas that weren't his, he co-opted them, such as welfare reform.
He went on to a second term and, in cooperation with a GOP Congress, had budget surpluses on his watch.
Somehow we doubt this administration will choose the course of cooperation and go back to the drawing board, as it should, and open the closed door. There should be no Cornhusker Kickbacks to the Ben Nelsons or reprises of Mary Landrieu's Louisiana Purchase. Those lawmakers sold their political souls to be the 60th vote to close debate and now there are only 59. They lost Tuesday along with Martha Coakley.
Polls show that Americans have seen the future of the medical overhaul and know it won't work. Government-run, single-payer health insurance hasn't succeeded anywhere on this planet. They ask why their government is pushing solutions it must know can't work, slicing and dicing monster bills just to get something that will pass.
Perhaps it's because it's never been about health care. It's been about nationalizing one-sixth of the economy and making as many people as possible dependent on government. After all, the idea of a health care overhaul began with a lament about the uninsured, whose numbers changed with the political wind, and ended with a 2,000-page, $2.5 trillion hash that would leave millions uninsured.
We were never told why exactly the finest health care delivery system in the world had to be destroyed to insure those who choose not to buy coverage or can't afford it. What about lowering insurance costs by letting people buy plans across state lines? University of Minnesota economists showed that interstate insurance sales could cover an additional 12 million Americans.
Mandates on insurance plans also increase costs, and the average state imposes 38 mandates, according to the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon . These mandates have made private insurance too expensive for many. The Congressional Budget Office says state regulations boost premium costs by 15%.
There are simpler ways to deal with health care issues than through the Democrats' proposals. We could use health savings accounts to provide portability between jobs and create a financial incentive to stay healthy. We could enact real tort reform as some states have done, in the knowledge that lawsuits cure no one.
Pelosi et al. might try to ram the Senate bill through the House, but it's doubtful many wavering congressmen will fall on their swords. Let's address the doable, one issue at a time, such as the uninsured. Let's go back, as Scott Brown says, to the drawing board.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Hubris in Action
One of the most useful characteristics of liberals is their hubris and capacity for self-delusion. After the “Miracle in Massachusetts” on Tuesday, which saw the Democrat – in one of the bluest of blue states, who was up by more than 30 points, who had Obama fly out to campaign for her – get convincingly trounced by a virtually unknown Republican, you’d think most Democrats would realize the electorate wasn’t buying what they’re selling.
You’d think so – but you’d be wrong. Incredibly, there are a lot of liberals running around saying that the voters in
Here are a couple of examples:
- Obama Needs to Come Out Fighting
By E.J. Dionne
Brown's victory is also a rebuke to a United States Senate that acted as if it had unlimited time to pass health care legislation and ignored how foolish its listless ways appear to normal human beings. … In the short term, Democrats have to make a quick decision on health care. The obvious path is for the House to pass the Senate's bill and send it to Obama's desk, while reaching agreement on certain changes that, under existing practices, can get through the Senate with fewer than 60 votes. It would be the equivalent of a political crime for Democrats to have invested so much in health reform only to let it die because of one election in one state.
- Pass Universal Coverage Now, Fix It Later
By Froma Harrop
Passuniversal coverage now, fix it later. … Even though their reforms are superior, Democrats in could have done better still by not trying to please everyone (including Republicans who were just playing with them). But despite their control of the White House and majorities in Congress, Democrats seemed capable only of reacting to critics, of cringing with fear under even the most ludicrous attacks. Washington
If you don't have the courage of your convictions, it doesn't matter whether your party has 59 or 60 or 65 seats in the Senate. Under President Bush, Republicans got whatever they wanted with 50 senators.
New York Times Editorial
There are many theories about the import of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the race for Edward Kennedy’s former Senate seat. To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform — even though it has upended the effort to pass a reform bill, which Mr. Obama made the centerpiece of his first year.
Mr. Obama was right to press for health care reform. But he spent too much time talking to reluctant Democrats and Republicans who never had the slightest intention of supporting him. He sat on the sidelines while the Republicans bombarded Americans with false but effective talk of death panels and a government takeover of their doctors’ offices. And he did not make the case strongly enough that the health care system and the economy are deeply interconnected or explain why Americans should care about this huge issue in the midst of a recession: If they lose their jobs, they lose their health insurance.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
By MICHAEL GOODWIN
Last Updated: 9:20 AM, January 20, 2010
Posted: 3:53 AM, January 20, 2010
A friend who toiled in the magazine business tells a story. In the mid-1970s, the publisher of their national news weekly took him to lunch to celebrate how well things were going. Circulation and ads were both roaring, making for happy campers all around.
As he clinked Martini glasses with my friend, the publisher declared, "The dogs like the dog food!"
The story's glib disdain for the customers comes as a well-timed metaphor. Unfortunately for President Obama, American voters don't like the crap he is plopping in their food dishes.
Now they are doing something about it. His health-care monstrosity has turned simmering discontent into a battle cry of resistance and cost him iron-clad control of the US Senate.
That Ted Kennedy's seat in
And so his arrogance and the heavy hand of big government sparked the second. A year to the day after he made history by taking the oath, he stands on the wrong side of a new American revolution.
It's hard to believe how quickly the nation has turned against Obama and the Democratic Party. Then again, it feels like an eternity since he swept into office on a tide of good will and hope.
Remember how he would unite the country? And boost the economy? As his faith in government grows, the public's faith in him declines. Even the stock market rose yesterday on expectations that the Obama agenda would be stalled.
It is a remarkable fall from grace for a man who squandered a mandate and basic trust. Even he cannot govern without the consent of the governed.
The victory by little-known Republican Scott Brown marks the third time where a state Obama won in 2008 has turned thumbs down on him in the last three months. Starting with
While it is true he inherited an economic mess and two wars, the electorate is concluding his policies have made things worse. That fully half the country views his first year as a failure marks a record decline in presidential score keeping.
Obama has only himself to blame. While the far-left barons of Congress played their predictable part, the president has played their eager accomplice.
Historians will judge whether he led or followed them. For now, it's sufficient to say they are in the soup together.
Yet still they show only defiance. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed the health-care package would become law "one way or the other." With only about 35 percent of the public supporting it, she has picked a fight with an angry public. Does she not believe in democracy?
Most disheartening, the White House has boarded her ship of fools. Politico.com reports Obama will respond to the defeat with a "combative turn."
Apparently his hostility and contempt for dissent was his Mr. Nice Guy routine. The article quotes an aide saying the president has no doubts about his course and growing opposition "reinforces the conviction to fight hard."
This madness was echoed by White House flack Robert Gibbs, who chalked up the anger over the health bills to public ignorance of the benefits.
Yes, that must be it. It isn't possible the dogs don't really like the dog food!
It must be the packaging and the selling job. And so in coming days, watch as the best and brightest reach for shinier labels and loftier adjectives.
They should beware. These American dogs bite.
Friday, January 08, 2010
“Everything that follows is a bonus.”
Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Survivor of 2 Atomic Blasts, Dies at 93
By MARK McDONALD
Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only official survivor of both atomic blasts to hit Japan in World War II, died Monday in
The cause was stomach cancer, his family said.
Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29-year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was in
Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than two miles away from ground zero that day. His eardrums were ruptured, and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city’s buildings and killed 80,000 people.
Mr. Yamaguchi spent the night in a
Mr. Yamaguchi was in his
“I thought the mushroom cloud had followed me from
Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi.
There were believed to have been about 165 twice-bombed people, known as nijyuu hibakusha, although municipal officials in both cities have said that Mr. Yamaguchi was the only person to be officially acknowledged as such.
One of his daughters, Toshiko Yamasaki, who was born in 1948, said her mother had also been “soaked in black rain and was poisoned” by the fallout from the
“We think she passed the poison on to us,” Ms. Yamasaki said, noting that her brother died of cancer at 59 and that her sister has been chronically ill throughout her life.
In his later years Mr. Yamaguchi spoke out against atomic weapons, though he had earlier avoided joining antinuclear protests because of the attention he might have attracted, Ms. Yamasaki told The Independent. “He was so healthy, he thought it would have been unfair to people who were really sick,” she added.
Mr. Yamaguchi rarely gave interviews, but he wrote a memoir and was part of a 2006 documentary about the double bombing survivors. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a showing of the documentary, “Niju Hibaku” (“Twice Bombed”), at the United Nations that year.
At a lecture he gave in
Mr. Yamaguchi was philosophical about his surviving the blasts. “I could have died on either of those days,” he told The Mainichi Daily News of Japan in August. “Everything that follows is a bonus.”
From the Heritage Foundation's "Morning Bell"
Posted January 8th, 2010 at 9.50am in Protect America.
It may have taken President Barack Obama two weeks to deliver a speech on the failed Flight 253 bomb attack without blaming President Bush, but he should still be commended for finally owning up for the massive intelligence failure. President Obama told the American people yesterday: “The
But while the President is right to admit the system failed and that it is his fault that it did, he is still clueless about why. The President promised he would direct “our intelligence community immediately begin assigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high-priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively — not just most of the time, but all of the time.” And he added: “In addition to the corrective efforts that I’ve ordered, I’ve directed agency heads to establish internal accountability reviews, and directed my national security staff to monitor their efforts.”
But this failure of our intelligence system was not just about lack of accountability. It was about empowerment - or more specifically the lack thereof. The system simply moved too slowly because there was a lack of urgency about the war on terror. Intelligence personnel were not empowered to employ their ingenuity and resourcefulness to connect the dots. Adding layers of “internal accountability reviews” will only make the bureaucratic stupor worse. It is people’s resourcefulness and initiative that will stop the next terrorist attack, not a bureaucratic process.
And from the day he stepped into office, President Obama’s actions have done nothing but kill the initiative and morale of our intelligence employees. From day one, he made it clear that he believes the war on terror is a civilian criminal justice problem to be managed, and not a war to be won. That is why he took the responsibility for interrogating detainees from the CIA and gave it to the FBI. That is why he has failed to seek the renewal of key investigatory authorities authorized under the USA Patriot Act, instead settling for a six-month extension tacked on to the Defense appropriations bill. It is why instead of promising victory in Afghanistan, he sent fewer troops than were required and gave al Qaeda a set date for our withdrawal. It is why he has failed to approach Congress with legislation establishing a legal framework for handling terrorism detainees. It is why he is pushing for Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be prosecuted in civilian court despite his previous guilty plea in a military tribunal. And most demoralizing of all, President Obama has allowed Attorney General Eric Holder to re-investigate nearly a dozen CIA interrogators and contractors for their past efforts in the war on terror.
This is an issue of leadership. The President of the
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