Views on the News
October 17, 2009
Views on the News*
Candidate Obama charmed inexperienced, poorly educated youth and disaffected elders with promises of an undefined abstraction called change, which we now can see, was to be forcible imposition of Obama’s true religion, secular socialism. Change that candidate Obama promised turns out to be restructuring society to achieve social justice, which in the socialist lexicon is egalitarian redistribution of income and wealth. Obama has surrounded himself with un-vetted, unconfirmed leftist “fellow travelers” as a stealth Cabinet of advisors who share his anti-American “One World” views. That means higher taxes, tight regulation of all sectors of the economy, and further expansion of the welfare state increasingly dependent upon the political state for its sustenance. The president’s pattern of industry czars and heavy new regulations, along with government financing and partial government ownership of major private companies is reminiscent of Mussolini’s Fascist State Corporatism in the 1920s and 30s, as well as of Hitler’s tight regulation of German industry after 1933. In neither case did these dictators seize full ownership of private industry, which liberal-progressives tell us is the definition of socialism. Instead, Mussolini and Hitler followed the prescription of socialism’s early theorists: regulation alone is sufficient to impose socialist statism. More threatening to the survival of the United States is Obama’s continual diminishment of American political, economic, and military stature as a step toward world government, a sort of international egalitarianism. If the United States is impoverished by high taxes and socialistic regulation, and other nations become equally so, a world government will be at hand. Hypothetically war will cease to exist as an instrument of national policy. All of us will live harmoniously while scrounging for crumbs that remain from the former period of capitalistic plenty. Obama is now proposing to make meaningless the sacrifice of our armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq by premature withdrawals and curtailment of military support. His cowering appeasement of the United States before the world’s forces of evil is again in consonance with the aboriginal doctrine of socialism, reinforced by the Nobel Peace Prize committee in socialist Norway.
(“The Meaning of Change” by Thomas Brewton dated October 9, 2009 published by Thomas Brewton at http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/the_meaning_of_change/
“Ship of Fools: Obama’s Intimates and Advisors” by Mac Fuller dated October 11, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/ship_of_fools_obamas_intimates.html )
If the Left had the simple integrity to open their minds they would have found out exactly what you and I knew a long time ago about Mr. Obama, and the country would have averted a real risk of a catastrophe. Obama's descending poll numbers are a reflection of the determination by American citizens that his administration is taking the country in the wrong direction. Obama Himself is not to blame for his gargantuan ego. Chances are that he's been flattered outrageously by all his mentors from toddlerhood onward, most of them being whacky white liberals. That might be why he surrounds himself with all those “Leftocrats.” They are the best sources of ego fodder, since they enable his fantasy life, where he's always the Hero. Human beings drift out of touch with reality when they are constantly poodle-licked with flattery. They become easy to manipulate, which is why all the cynical courtiers constantly polish the egos of their little princes. He doesn't need any achievements; Obama is Nobel Prize material just by being Himself. Now the Nobel PC Committee finally jumped the shark, and a real sense of shock seems to ripple through the Left. Overall 48% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance, a new low, and worse yet is that a full 51% disapprove. It all happened because millions of liberal voters were just not willing even to Google "Obama." They took him at face value, and swooned, and now nine months later some of them woke up. It's those voters who deserve the blame, and all the teachers and professors who taught them to be as blind as they are. That's what you get when race, gender and LGBT status become your sole standards for judging people. Simple honesty, competence and integrity are left behind, which happens wherever Political Correctness is spoken.
(“The Self-Censorship of Liberals: It’s Too Scary to Look” by James Lewis dated October 13, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/the_selfcensorship_of_liberals_1.html
“Credibility for Conservatives” by Lauri B. Regan dated October 13, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/credibility_for_conservatives.html
“Daily Presidential Tracking Poll” dated October 15, 2009 published by Rasmussen Reports at http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll )
Obama is pushing a job-killing agenda that promises to expand an already bloated government while simultaneously shrinking individual freedom. Stocks are up, but jobs are down, so if you're an investor you're enjoying a vibrant recovery and if you're a worker it still feels like a grinding “Great Obama Recession.
“ Never forget that the U.S. economy is recovering naturally from the recent recession, but everything the government has done has elongated the recovery and undermined job creation. More than seven months after Obama's $787 billion non-stimulating “stimulus” bill was rushed through Congress, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate rose to 9.8%, bringing the total number of unemployed to 15.1 million. Recent economic projections forecast 10.3% unemployment as of next June and 8.5% unemployment through 2013. That doesn't count the so-called "discouraged" workers who've quit looking for work and are no longer considered part of the labor force and the part-timers seeking full-time work. Add these underemployed part-timers and the "discouraged" to the official jobless rate and the real unemployment rate in September was 17%. Under tax hikes now being considered by the administration, the top federal tax rate on income would climb to 45%. In states with top tax rates, the combined federal, state and local tax on income would exceed 50%. Three fourths of those affected by these rate changes are small-business owners, meaning that funds will be drained directly from "the sector of the U.S. economy that's producing 63% of all the new jobs created." Adding to this capital drain from the private sector and the subsequent job destruction is the Obama administration's cap and trade proposal to address the environmental hoax known as “global warming.” As Obama explained in January 2008, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." Obama’s plans to increase the size and reach of government, increase people’s dependence on government, and increase the tax burden to pay for this government expansion will likely increase cost of living, increase inflation, and not create many long term private sector jobs.
(“Obama’s Job-Killing Agenda” by Ralph R. Reiland dated October 12, 2009 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/10/12/obamas-job-killing-agenda )
Economic crises can be used to usher socialism into the U.S., argued President Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. In his 2004 book "The Second Bill of Rights," Sunstein used the precedent of the Great Depression to point out that historic economic crises "provided the most promising conditions for the emergence of socialism in the U.S." The GAO's simulations continue to show escalating levels of debt that illustrate that the long-term fiscal outlook remains unsustainable. As the United States struggles to emerge from the steepest economic downturn since the Depression, the Heartland Monitor survey found that large majorities of Americans expect the economy in the years ahead to keep plunging through unusually severe cycles of boom and bust that increase families' risk of dire financial reversals such as unemployment and foreclosure. This apprehension is shared almost equally by young and old, whites and minorities, rich and poor and those in between, Republicans, Democrats, and independents. The poll also found that the ambitiousness of Obama's agenda on issues from overhauling health care to stabilizing the financial system, coupled with the ferocity of the conservative resistance to it, appears to be pushing the debate over government's role to a boiling point -- and ominously fracturing the country along lines of age, class, and above all, partisanship and race. Although most Americans continue to express a resilient confidence in their ability to navigate through tough times, the poll captures a public that is emerging from the recession uneasy about the nation's future, distrustful of large institutions, and strongly polarized. These attitudes are not conducive to building stable support for either party or consensus for any particular direction in public policy.
(“Paddling Alone on the Economic Rapids” by Ronald Brownstein dated October 10, 2009 published by National Review Magazine at http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/nj_20091010_8988.php
“Economic crisis could usher in socialism” by Aaron Klein dated October 11, 2009 published by World Net Daily at http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=112630
“Nation’s ‘Long-Term Fiscal Outlook Remains Unsustainable’ GAO Says” by Susan Jones dated October 16, 2009 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/55629 )
As the CBO noted, there is no actual Baucus “Senate Health Care Reform” bill, just some "conceptual language," and the final language will undoubtedly result in "significant changes" in its estimates. The outline of the Senate Finance Committee product is pretty clear: massive spending, more taxes, more bureaucracy, and more federal rules, regulations, penalties and fines. In a word, less personal freedom and much smaller, independent private sector that is financing and delivering medical care. This is what many Democratic Senators are calling progress on health care reform. CBO estimates that the Baucus "conceptual language" would increase federal spending by $829 billion over 10 years. The question then is how do you increase federal spending and cut the deficit at the same time? This bill is entirely paid for by Medicare cuts and tax increases, including tax increases on the middle class which Obama pledged over and over would never happen, "in any form," if he was elected. These taxes include a tax on high-cost insurance plans ($210 billion), penalties for not having insurance ($27 billion) and "indirect offsets" (whatever they are -- $83 billion). The Baucus approach has resorted to accounting tricks that make it appear that it won't add to the deficit. One trick is imposing tax hikes and benefit cuts right away, including $121 billion of Medicare reductions between 2011 and 2015, but new spending really doesn't start until five years out (2015) and isn't fully operational until 2017. The bill uses 10 years worth of tax hikes and benefit cuts to fund a few years worth of benefits. In addition, costs are shifted to state governments in the form of more Medicaid spending, and savings are projected from future reductions in Medicare that will surely turn out to be imaginary. The Baucus approach will not lower the cost of health care by forcing more people into Medicaid, with the final number still unknown. Expanding Medicaid is not reform and will ultimately shift even more costs to providers and the private sector which is a giant step backward from what was promised, and it comes at the cost of everything else. The bill would cut Medicare by $400 billion to start, including $133 billion for the private Medicare Advantage plans that 10 million seniors have chosen because those plans provide them a better deal than standard Medicare. While Obama has repeatedly promised everyone that if you like your health plan you can keep it, this would not apply to seniors on Medicare Advantage if the more than $100 billion in cuts for those plans forces them out of business. In any event, seniors on Medicare Advantage would lose benefits under these plans as a result of these cuts. The Baucus approach attempts to force more Americans to buy health insurance policies designed according to government specifications, which means they will be very expensive and consumers will be shielded from costs. The likely result will be to produce an increased demand for health care procedures and bend the cost curve not downward but upward. A PriceWaterhouseCoopers analysis reveals that health insurance will cost voters 50% more if the bill passes than if congress does nothing at all. The bottom line after spending over $829 billion this approach will only cover 21 million of the 46 million uninsured, or only a 9% increase in the total number of Americans covered! The Baucus approach includes specific, overt, government health care rationing, which the Obama Administration has already begun to implement under existing legal authority. This approach provides that the top 10% of doctors who spend the most in Medicare funds on their patients will automatically be penalized with reduced compensation for the services they provide to seniors under Medicare. This will create, as intended, a new competition among doctors to see who can provide the least to their patients under Medicare, to avoid the personal penalty to their own compensation. Doctors will just retreat from providing care for serious illnesses. They will "specialize" in low resource care for the more healthy, and the truly sick will discover that finding a doctor for necessary health care will become quite difficult, if they can find one at all. President Obama has said if you like your doctor you can keep him, but the question is, under the incentives of the Obama health plan, will your doctor keep you? There are no rational public policy reasons to pass this “health care reform” bill hurriedly and before it can be fully read, analyzed, and debated. We need to ask our representatives whether they actually read the bills that they vote for, or are they just voting based on party preference?
(“Conceptual Language Hides Health Care Costs” by Michael Barone dated October 12, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelBarone/2009/10/12/conceptual_language_hides_health_cares_costs
“The Baucus Bill Grows Big Government” by Robert E. Moffit dated October 12, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33925
“Better Than Baucus” by Ross Kaminsky dated October 12, 2009 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=33935
“Ruination from Obama-Baucus” by Peter Ferrara dated October 14, 2009 published by American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/10/14/ruination-from-obama-baucus
“Obama Hasn’t Closed the Health-Care Sale” by Karl Rove dated October 15, 2009 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574473372635087870.html
“The Baucus Medicaid Provisions: The Senate’s Massive Welfare Expansion” by Dennis G. Smith dated October 15, 2009 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm2652.cfm )
A 2009 visit to the doctor’s office is depressingly similar to a 1982 visit to the doctor’s office, and in many ways is worse: it is more expensive, the insurance and billing systems are even more frustrating, the record-keeping is frequently defective, and the system is plagued by fraud, waste, and malfeasance. The market for health-care services is a lot like the market for cellular phones: It is driven by technology and innovation and, because the capital costs of building a cellular network or a hospital MRI clinic are substantial, the markets tend to be more efficient when there are larger numbers of participants. There have been some great innovations in medical technology, but there has been reluctance to implement pervasively. The most important difference between the market for cell phones and the markets for health care and education is this: who spends the money. If you buy a cell phone, you spend your own money to meet your own needs, and you have an incentive to get the best value for your dollar. It’s a pretty competitive market, so providers have to answer to you. In health care, you have to convince somebody else, either an insurance company or the government, to spend money on you, and other people don’t really want to spend money on you. The government has an incentive to ration or deny care, and health-insurance companies have an incentive to create impenetrable bureaucratic barriers between you and their money. There is much to lament about that system, and real reform is needed. A meaningful body of reforms would do three things: 1) establish a real market for health-care services and health insurance, one that is fiercely competitive and driven by consumers who are not beholden to their employers, the government, or any concern other than their own needs; 2) take intelligent steps to reduce the expense of health care and health insurance, and the bureaucracy attached to them; 3) offer intelligently designed support for the poor, the sick, and other vulnerable participants in the market. Here are ten things that would go a long way toward actually reforming health care:
1. Closing the Company Store: You Choose Your Own Insurance. Give refundable tax credits against the purchase of personal health insurance, thereby equalizing the tax treatments of individual and employer-based insurance spending.
2. Real Competition: A National Market for Health Insurance. Allow any insurer to sell a policy in any state to anybody who wants to buy one, empowering consumers to shop in a large market and, equally important, to escape state-level mandates that force them to buy coverage they do not want or need.
4. Raise the Roof: HSAs Need High Ceilings, No Taxes. Enable consumers to spend their own money from pre-tax funded health savings accounts, with no taxes on interest or capital gains generated by those accounts.
5. Insurance on Your Insurance: How to Handle Pre-Existing Conditions. Provide a two-pronged approach to insurance: “health status” insurance, which is, essentially, an insurance policy that keeps you covered in the event you develop a chronic condition that would normally render you uninsurable; and medical insurance which covers the risk of medical expenses.
6. Tort Reform: Starve the Lawyers to Feed the Doctors (and Nurses, and Patients). Implement reasonable limits on non-economic damages (the “pain and suffering” awards) and pre-trial review of medical malpractice claims by a panel of doctors.
8. Pharm to Market: Getting Drug Prices Down. Streamline FDA approval process and improve patent protection would make pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices less expensive. The first step is to make experimental and early-stage therapies available to people with life-threatening conditions.
9. Make Medicare and Medicaid Compete. Every Medicare enrollee should be given a voucher equivalent to the value of his Medicare benefits and then allowed to choose from any available health-care plan in the marketplace. And thrifty Americans who choose private plans that cost less than the value of their Medicare benefits should be allowed to keep the difference. Likewise, some Medicaid benefits should be voucherized. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a.k.a. food stamps, is far from a perfect program, but a debit card covering such routine expenses as vaccinations and physicals would considerably improve access to health services for many poor Americans.
10.CHIP Dip: Don’t Pour More Money into CHIP, but Register Eligible Kids. CHIP, the Children’s Health-Insurance Program, is another imperfect entitlement regime, but it’s the one we have and it is unlikely that we will replace it. So the best thing we could do is to enroll the kids who most need its coverage and who cannot very well be expected to enroll themselves.
(“Real Health-Care Reform” by Kevin Williamson dated October 13, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MWUzNjI2NGM4M2Y1Yzk4MWY5Y2Q4ZjEwMmJjZmQzOGI= )
Determined scientists are beginning to fight back to present evidence that the claim that climate change is caused by nature, not by man, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but the hope for a greener planet. The scientists show that Mother Nature controls climate around the world and that CO2 in the atmosphere benefits people, plants and animals. “Nature, not human activity rules the planet,” said Fred Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist and research professor at George Mason University and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1860, the amount of CO2 put into the air has increased average plant growth by 12% and average tree growth by 18% around the world. “So if we want to green the earth,” Steward said, “we need to put more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It’s the earth’s greatest airborne fertilizer. If we want the ecosystems and the habitats to be more robust and hold more animal life, more plant life, we need to put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” In keeping with scientific protocol, much of the presentations consisted of graphs, charts, and other data to make the case that much of climate change is the result of natural phenomenon rather than human activities and that any contribution by humans is miniscule. The lie that carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has anything to do with "warming" has driven the totally deceitful "global warming" hoax and is used to create a market for worthless "carbon credits" that ultimately increase the cost of energy and everything else. The tide is turning against what are called global warming alarmists, who are allowed to get away with systemic and epidemic sloppiness, ineptitude, cherry-picking, exaggeration, deception, falsification, concealed or lost data, flawed studies and virtual fraud. Instead of being investigated and incarcerated, the perpetrators are revered and rewarded, receiving billions in research grants, mandates, subsidies and other profit-making opportunities. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has asked to hold a global warming trial, complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect. The truth is that nothing humans do has any affect on the climate that is dependent on solar and ocean cycles. Hopefully an objective scientific examination would finally refute the hysterical claims of global warming zealots who advocate massive governmental intervention to address this imaginary threat.
(“Saving the earth by hating humanity” by Alan Caruba dated October 11, 2009 published by Renew America at http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/caruba/091011
“Scientists Rebut Claim That Man Causes Climate Change” by Penny Starr dated October 12, 2009 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/55278
“None Dare Call It Fraud” by Paul Driessen dated October 15, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulDriessen/2009/10/15/none_dare_call_it_fraud )
The evidence is clear that doubts about Obama's backbone in foreign policy are spreading. The Financial Times says the view that Obama talks a good game but doesn't get anything done is no longer confined to conservatives. European politicians say the president often goes wobbly when challenged. There has been a conscious decision, by Obama and his advisors, to abandon the firm and decisive defense strategy that kept this country safe for eight years. Obama's policy toward terror is an extension of his foreign policy in general and can be expressed in a single word: appeasement. While words like “Islamic terrorist,” “jihad” and “Muslim extremist” have been scrubbed from administration chatter, we remain at risk from the same people. Less than a year into his term, he's appeased the Russians, the European Union, the Palestinians, the Saudis, and the Muslim world in general, taking his Cairo speech into account. The terrorist releases, the easing up on Richard Reid (“shoe bomber”), the promised closure of Gitmo, the new procedures in Afghanistan, the nod and wink on the Megrahi deal, and certainly the interrogation restrictions and the Holder investigation, stand as acts of appeasement and nothing else. Appeasement is simply a method of restoring the balance between oppressor and oppressed, a method of ensuring justice on behalf of the victim. Appeasement is of benefit to both parties, empowering the victims while rendering the strong party less capable of oppression. This explains why the left, personified by Obama, is desperate to shed national power so as to shed responsibility, and with it the "oppressor" label. Now Obama is dithering about what to do in the Middle East after proclaiming the need to win the Afghanistan “war of necessity” while exiting from the Iraq “war of choice,” never understanding that they are the same “Global War on Terror” on different geography. Obama's United Nations speech, with all its references to global governance, cooperation, and interdependence, may well be all the solution that we are ever going to hear. Obama is at the low point now, walking though a dream world, convinced that he can make friends with monsters, that a man who is rapidly revealing himself as the most inept national leader since Franklin Pierce can act as our protector.
(“Terror and the theatrical paradigm” by J.R. Dunn dated October 11, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/terror_and_the_theatrical_para.html
“In the Shadow of the War on Terror” by Salena Zito dated October 11, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/SalenaZito/2009/10/11/in_the_shadow_of_the_war_on_terror
“Nobelist turning whiny as his medal is tested” by Michael Goodwin dated October 14, 2009 published by New York Post at http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/nobelist_turning_whiny_as_his_medal_DHhbOkdO3S7Z0CAaSYdV1L
“Barry honey, can we talk about Afghanistan?” by Kyle-Anne Shiver dated October 16, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/barry_honey_can_we_talk_about_4.html )
It is time for a secular Reformation to call our country back to the Constitutional principles that made this country exceptional. American voters have been demonstrating a lack of confidence in both parties lately. George W. Bush nearly destroyed the Republican Party, but Barack Obama is giving it a chance at resurrection. Unfortunately, it may take a prolonged recession, lingering unemployment and more bankrupt states and cities for Americans to realize that more entitlements and more stimulus packages are not the answer. Out of our abundance and economic success, we have allowed politicians to promise more than we can afford. The increase in the numbers of seniors applying for Social Security and the decrease in employed workers paying into taxes, the money going out in Social Security payments is now exceeding receipts. The tipping point projected for 2017 has already arrived. America has steadily been drifting from the Constitutional grounding our Founding Fathers established. What started with FDR's New Deal has now blossomed into a nanny state where the Constitutional rights that promoted life, liberty, personal responsibility and the opportunity to pursue happiness have been transformed into the right of citizens to have healthcare, welfare and lifetime security. Going back to our Constitutional underpinnings would not be a retreat into the past, but a liberating adventure that would rekindle the American Dream. A return to individual responsibility and caring communities would foster economic growth, jobs, personal charity and revitalized community involvement. It's time to stop depending on an inefficient, expensive, and failing big government and start exercising our own moral imperative to take responsibility for our own lives and to do our part to help others in our own communities. Sounds like a Return to Common Sense to me!
(“America Needs a Constitutional Reformation” by Terry Paulson dated October 12, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/TerryPaulson/2009/10/12/america_needs_a_constitutional_reformation
“Can Republicans Grasp the Opportunity for Revival?” by David Boaz dated October 12, 2009 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/10/12/can_republicans_grasp_the_opportunity_for_revival_98680.html
“GOP Needs More Conservative Substance, More Moderate Tone” by Michael Medved dated October 14, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelMedved/2009/10/14/gop_needs_more_conservative_substance,_more_moderate_tone )
* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. If you are sick and tired of government and politics as usual, read my web site http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com with its individual issue analysis and recommendations:
· Employment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/employment.html