Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Those model Canadians again

Further to my weekend column on how a government health system inevitably means restricted access to treatment, a word from British Columbia: "The Fraser Health Authority confirmed Thursday it intends to cut surgeries, seniors' programs and services for the mentally ill to help deal with a budget shortfall of up to $160 million. However, it said the emergency department at Mission Memorial Hospital will stay open."

That's awfully sporting of them, all things considered: "The board said 10 to 15 per cent of elective surgeries will be cut in the latter part of the 2009-10 fiscal year, with slowdowns already scheduled for the Olympic period."

That's how it works. You can elect to have the surgery but they won't elect to give it to you. And don't ask me why hosting the Winter Olympics should necessitate cuts in health care. Unless they're expecting an epidemic of two-man luge teams with buttocks frozen to the sled or men's ice-dancing teams felled by attempting a double-axle in a too tight bolero jacket, it would seem to be just one of those things that happens when governments of advanced wealthy nations decide they can run every aspect of life more "efficiently" than the citizenry.



Can Republicans Do Any Better Than This?

A strong alternative to Obamacare needs to be offered

The party in charge in Washington is doing a horrible job. But can Republicans do any better? To say that the Democrats are “drunk with power” or “out of touch” is inadequate. Something on the order of “clueless” or “oblivious” or “tone-deaf” would be more accurate.

But simply to have the Democrats tripping over their own kingly and queenly arrogance and their incompetence, is not enough to create success for the Republican Party. Republicans - in Congress, running for Congress, and elsewhere - need a cohesive message that signals a competent, respectful, “American” styled government leadership alternative. Can the Republican Party produce this kind of message?

Let’s start by examining just how bad things are with the Democrats. The President that put together the bi-partisan economic advisory dream-team has a moderate, Clinton-era, reasonable appearing member in Larry Summers. But where is former Reagan economic advisor Paul Volcker? He’s neither seen nor heard. And despite Summers’ occasional media appearances, Obama’s economic policies look nothing like either the Reagan era or the Clinton era.

Instead, we got an $800 billion economic “stimlus” bill that funded, among other things, “free” tatoo removal, cricket control, the promotion of astronomy in the Hawaiian islands, a federal sex education program called “Booty Call,” and other non-economically simulative pet projects. The so-called “shovel ready” infrastructure construction projects that were promised have yet to materialize, consumer spending is declining again, and unemployment benefits claims are rising.

Then there was President Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget (Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is now asking Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling above $12 trillion for fear that there won‘t be money to fund Obama‘s budget after October of this year); the so-called “cap-and-trade” energy tax bill that Congressional Democrats themselves scuttled because of outrage from constituents; President Obama’s “firing” of GM’s C.E.O. and his take-over of GM and Chrysler; and the $3 billion plus “cash for clunkers” program that was supposed to get people out of fuel guzzling old cars and into energy efficient new cars, but now is known to have been used for purchases of luxury sedans and SUV’s.

And then there is the proposed nationalization of healthcare. Congressional Democrats can’t seem to fathom how their stupid, un-enlightened constituents could possibly dare to question a proposal to intervene into some of the most personal and intimate area’s of a person’s life. Those who dare to ask questions, or worse yet disapprove, have been labeled by Congressional Democrats as “un-American,” “evil,” “Astroturf,” and “the mob,” and have been accused of “carrying swastikas,” “trying to bring down the President,” and have been compared to the KKK in the days of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Congressional disdain for the “commoner” hit a crescendo last week when Liberal Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, at a town hall meeting in her district, was caught on video suddenly stepping away from her podium to take a call on her mobile phone, even as an audience member was on-microphone, in mid sentence, asking the Congresswoman a question about healthcare.

Nothing says “I don’t care about the idiot voters” like a member of Congress taking a mobile phone call, while a constituent is trying to ask a question.

So, yes, those controlling Washington these days are performing horribly. But what can Republican offer as an alternative?

The current healthcare mess provides tremendous opportunity for Republicans. For starters, Republicans could pledge that they will not legislate any healthcare “reforms” that they would not live with themselves. It’s no secret that the healthcare benefits afforded to members of Congress are of superior quality. Yet, Democrats continue to draft legislative provisions that in some cases would restrict people’s access to healthcare, in other cases would tax people’s existing healthcare, and have contemplated the possibility of levying taxes on “plastic surgery” purchases.

The message being sent by the Democrats to America is “we’re better than you, and we’ll decide what you need,” yet that’s an unacceptable message for most Americans. Republicans can’t simply talk about private-sector reforms (although that must be at the epicenter of the message); they must now address America’s outrage towards the Congressional majority‘s arrogance, and convey that, “no, we are not better than you, and we want better choices for everybody.”

Republican leaders would also do well to convene a series of “heatlhcare alternative” town hall meetings across the country. Republican leaders who have sound, free-market heatlhcare reform ideas - some members of Congress would fit this description, like Congressman John Shaddegg of Arizona and Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia, but so would Governor Tim Pawlenty and perhaps other Governors as well - should arrange their own speaking tours across the country. The message here would be “we have an alternative to the President’s plan, we’re in the minority, yet our vision is closer to yours..”

The opportunity for Republicans is at hand. Can they seize the moment? Can they do any better?




Much more about the healthcare debate on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE

Rasmussen Poll: 54% Say Passing No Healthcare Reform Better Than Passing Congressional Plan: "Thirty-five percent (35%) of American voters say passage of the bill currently working its way through Congress would be better than not passing any health care reform legislation this year. However, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters (54%) say no health care reform passed by Congress this year would be the better option. This does not mean that most voters are opposed to health care reform. But it does highlight the level of concern about the specific proposals that Congressional Democrats have approved in a series of Committees. To this point, there has been no Republican support for the legislative effort although the Senate Finance Committee is still attempting to seek a bi-partisan solution."

Democrats give veterans a pass from ObamaCare: "We're still sorting through the health-care deal Henry Waxman struck with Blue Dog Democrats recently, but one 11th-hour revision stands out. Namely, veterans will now be "exempt from the requirements of the legislation." That's how Mr. Waxman's staff put it in a memo to reporters earlier this month, announcing amendments that the House Energy and Commerce Committee included before passing the bill 31 to 28. These changes were designed to assuage the "grave concerns" of the American Legion, Amvets and others about how their members could be penalized by new taxes and insurance regulations. We're delighted service members will be let off this particular hook, but why doesn't everyone else warrant the same dispensation? Or to put it another way, Mr. Waxman is conceding that his plan will interfere with all insurance arrangements that aren't exempted, including private options that are working well."

LOL! Obama burnt in effigy by Indian Leftists: "Congress workers today staged a demonstration and burnt the effigy of US President Barack Obama here for detention of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan at an American airport. The party workers, who gathered in front of the historic Anand Bhawan, raised slogans against the US administration and termed as an "insult to one billion Indians" the questioning of Khan at Newark airport. The 43-year-old actor was detained and questioned for two hours at the Newark Airport near New York yesterday." [There is a more reasonable Indian response here].

Russian aircraft good at crashing: "Two Russian air force fighters rehearsing acrobatic manoeuvres have collided near Moscow, killing one pilot and sending the jets crashing into nearby vacation homes. The Su-27 fighters were members of the elite Russian Knights flying group preparing to perform at the MAKS-2009 air show - the largest and most important exhibition for Russia's aerospace industry. Drik said three pilots ejected from the jets after the collision. He said rescuers found two in satisfactory condition but the third was killed. The Kremlin identified the dead pilot as the Russian Knights' commander, Colonel Igor Tkachenko, a decorated air force officer. In recent years, Russian air force jets have suffered a series of mishaps, many blamed on the ageing condition of Soviet-era planes. Earlier this year, officials grounded the air force's entire fleet of Su-24s after two crashes in three days. Two crashes of MiG-29 jets in 2008 let to the grounding of that entire model as well. A subsequent investigation demonstrated that a large number had become unsafe to fly and they were scrapped." [And that's not mentioning the many crashes of Russian civilian aircraft]

What Obama’s Town Hall Charade and Pam Anderson’s Breasts Have in Common: "The only problem with the Portsmouth town hall is that it was more artificially stacked with Obama lap dogs than Pam Anderson’s ta-tas are with boat caulk. Of course the meeting was upbeat and thumping . . . it was contrived. A Cyclops could see that. Look, as a knuckle-dragging heterosexual who lives in a God-blessed testosterone fog, I don’t mind fake when it comes to breasts. But when it comes to being conned by a Boob and his stacked crowd, well . . . I gotta admit . . . that makes me want to spit."

The real astroturfers: "Members of the nation's labor unions have made up a hefty segment of the audiences that flocked to town halls Mr. Obama held in the past week, and they have played an even larger role in a nationwide campaign for an insurance overhaul. Financially, and with boots on the ground, unions have become the backbone of the president's effort... The Obama administration decried the opposition movement as a cynical, fake grass-roots campaign manufactured by the insurance industry to undermine his effort. To respond meant galvanizing a movement of his own. That began to take shape, at least visibly, when AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney sent an Aug. 6 memo to union officers across the country to mobilize."

Dealers get paid for only 2% of “clunkers”: “The federal government has only reimbursed auto dealers for 2 percent of the claims they’ve submitted through the popular ‘cash for clunkers’ program, a Pennsylvania congressman said, calling on the Obama administration to help speed up the process. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., called for ‘immediate action’ to address the problem in a statement Sunday, after writing a letter to President Obama Saturday expressing his concerns. In the letter, Sestak said only 2 percent of claims have been paid and that four of every five applications have been ‘rejected for minor oversight.’”

The enduring testimony of Communists who lost faith: "Although the Cold War was a "great game" played out on the field of diplomacy, a conflict between military superpowers that sometimes turned hot, it was also the 20th century's war of religion: a clash of beliefs and a battle of the books. This mortal combat ­between Communism and liberal democracy produced a vast literature, some books famous in their day, some ­famous still. Now John V. Fleming has had the excellent idea of telling the story of four of them, and the result is the readable and fascinating "The Anti-Communist ­Manifestos." It may be all the better because Mr. ­Fleming, an emeritus professor at Princeton, isn't a modern historian by trade but an authority on medieval literature who knows how to read a text and its context. His four manifestos are "Darkness at Noon," Arthur Koestler's novel about the Soviet show ­trials, and three memoirs: "Out of the Night," by the pseudonymous "Jan Valtin," a mysterious ­Communist ­agitator; "I Chose ­Freedom," by the ­Soviet defector ­Victor Kravchenko; and "Witness," by Whittaker ­Chambers, best known to history as the man who ­accused Alger Hiss of ­espionage."

NY: No lemonade permit? That’ll cost ya, kid!: "Three sourpuss Parks Department agents put the squeeze on a 10-year-old girl in Riverside Park yesterday, slapping the tyke with a $50 ticket for hawking lemonade without a permit. Clementine Lee, who lives just blocks from the Upper West Side park, had dreamed of opening a lemonade stand since last year and took advantage of yesterday’s beautiful weather to set up shop. ‘It was such a hot day I figured people would want a cold drink,’ the aspiring juvenile juice-mogul told The Post. … But yesterday, after The Post contacted the department, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced that the ticket would be nixed.”

Obama wants the government to own your house : "The Obama administration, in a major shift on housing policy, is abandoning George W. Bush’s vision of creating an ‘ownership society’ and instead plans to pump $4.25 billion of economic stimulus money into creating tens of thousands of federally subsidized rental units in American cities. The idea is to pay for the construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and town houses, as well as the purchase of foreclosed homes that can be refurbished and rented to low- and moderate-income families at affordable rates. Analysts say the approach takes a wrecking ball to Bush’s heavy emphasis on encouraging homeownership as a way to create national wealth and provide upward mobility for low- and working-class families, especially minorities. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan’s recalibration of federal housing policy, they said, shows that the Obama White House has acknowledged that not everyone can or should own a home.”

TN: State law lets thugs pack heat : “Some might question the wisdom of allowing Carlos Antwan Fletcher to carry a loaded handgun in public. He has a lengthy criminal arrest history, including being involved in a violent attack that sent a Metro Police officer to the hospital, a separate aggravated assault charge and various drug and gun arrests. Yet, the state has said it’s OK for the 28-year-old Nashville resident to carry a gun. … Fletcher’s past is not typical of the 237,000 Tennesseans who have obtained gun permits and renew them regularly. … But not touted, and often ignored, is a persistent group of Tennesseans with violent pasts who carry gun permits through loopholes, administrative mistakes and the realities of a court system where charges based on violent incidents can be reduced or eliminated in plea bargains.”

Making a noise about gun rights paid off: “The video of Chris Matthews badgering William Kostric says it all. He was all but foaming at the mouth over the audacity of a CITIZEN bringing a gun to a presidential event. I have to admit to being pretty amused at his outrage, since I figure that there were easily a thousand or more guns carried by citizens at that event the MSNBC cameras DIDN’T see — and I can confirm two from personal knowledge. Let's just think about this, though. The hoplophobes would dearly love to have seen this fellow hauled away. I’ll guarantee you that they tried to get the police to do exactly that. Portsmouth is not exactly one of the more conservative towns in New Hampshire, yet good citizen Kostric was not cuffed and shoved into a squad car. Nor, since he appeared on ‘Hardball’ later, was he ‘neutralized’ by a Secret Service sniper.”

Judges who would be king: "“When a federal judge ordered 17 Chinese Uighurs, detained at Guantanamo Bay, released into the United States last October, he took to its logical conclusion the judiciary’s increasingly bold effort to supervise the president and Congress. Justifying his ruling in the face of Congress’ exclusive constitutional power over when, which, and how foreign nationals may enter the United States, Judge Ricardo Urbina reasoned that ‘our system of checks and balances is designed to preserve the fundamental right of liberty.’ He saw his order as necessary to that end. But if he’s right, then the judiciary itself is the unchecked branch of government. And while judges have expanded their power before in our history, never have the claims to supremacy of some of them been so extreme.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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