Sunday, February 28, 2010
In the wake of last week’s Blair House Summit on the takeover of healthcare the question of torture really does rise to the surface. Last year around this time President Obama signed an executive order banning torture, which is the use of repetitive and unfair tactics to get a predictable result like getting information through water-boarding. When I was a kid we had this game called “Chinese water torture.” It was usually done to new kids in the neighborhood who do what all young kids want to do: Make friends and fit in. You would hold him down and drop water on his forehead until he said “okay, I give up.” We had all heard the story about a Chinese warlord who had tied up a man beneath a water faucet and drove him crazy by dropping painless, but incessant drops of water on his forehead every few seconds for days at a time. In the end the man became a babbling idiot and served as a living example of the failure to cooperate. The American people have been subjected to a similar type of incessant dropping and it raises the question of whether it is torturous for the President and the Democratic leadership to constantly drop the subject of healthcare reform onto the foreheads of the American people? They do not have the votes for the contentious package that now exists. And, truth be told, there is very little prospect for the Democratic House to pass the Democratic Senate package, because the ability to get an agreement is inversely proportionate to the number of days until election day 2010. The closer we get to Election Day the more difficult it becomes to pass a bill. Is that torture?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
As the “big” healthcare Dog N’ Pony show approaches we must remember what is really being proposed. The Whitehouse and the democratically controlled Congress would have Americans believe that healthcare reform is a choice between Americans and the healthcare industry, when the choice being offered is government-run or privately-run healthcare. Some say the current proposal would result in a hybrid system that combines government control with a semi-capitalist, free-enterprise network of providers. You might say, Medicare for everyone. Don’t let phrases like price-gouging insurance companies; profit-driven doctors and over-charging hospitals mislead you into thinking the government may have a good solution. You only need to examine the one government system we already have to see the Obama plan will not cover everyone, will not reduce costs and will not permit those employed in the healthcare industry to earn a decent wage. Medicare doesn’t cover everyone and it doesn’t cut costs: It only pushes them into our children’s future. Many doctors and hospitals are already trimming back their Medicare patients because reimbursement fees are too low. Not to mention that all Medicare recipients must have supplemental plans to cover the items the program doesn't. So while insurance companies that market healthcare are making billions in profits our government-run system has compiled $60-trillion in unfunded liabilities that will be paid by future generations in higher taxes. In the final analysis Americans will have to choose between government-run or privately-run healthcare. For me, personally, it is not a hard choice; How about you?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
"The Massachusetts election obliterated the argument that we could [govern] all on our own," said the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. "What we're doing now is actively reaching out and demonstrating our interest in bipartisanship -- but not passively standing by if Republicans are not willing to meet us halfway.” This quote from a LA Times story by Peter Nicholas reporter says it all. The Obama Administration thought its Democratic majority could pass anything he and they wanted and shut Republicans out from Day One. The Democrats seemed to forget that the American people are also part of the equation; they have been reminded, most recently by Scott Brown. So this week in yet another attempt to box the Republicans into a corner, Obama wants a healthcare sit-down where he dictates the terms and tries to blame the ultimate failure of healthcare on the Republicans instead of where the blame belongs: On the legislation itself. How the upcoming healthcare confab can be seen in any other way is just wishful thinking. As it stands the Senate version of the bill will never get approval from the House, reconciliation or not. If the Democrats thought they could pass it they would already have done so. The simple truth is it cannot pass because when you cut through all the euphemisms what the Democrats want is a single payer system. The American people know that despite its shortcomings ours is better than any single payer system found in other countries so why lower the quality and raise the price of what is already the premiere healthcare system in the world. If the Obama Administration continues to chose parlor games over serious discussion healthcare will fail, and Obama and the Democrats will also fail, to live up to the expectations of the American people.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In August of 2008 when the vice presidential sweepstakes was in full swing, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh was Obama's choice for VP, but Bayh declined. How do I know you ask? Let me tell you. On the night Obama selected his VP media crews were parked at the homes of the potential candidates including Joe Biden, Tim Kaine and Evan Bayh. Biden and Kaine were at home with their families waiting for the phone call that would put them on the ticket. Evan Bayh's house was dark. There was no one home. Since he had never declined publicly it was reasonable to assume he would say yes if offered the vp slot. It was never offered publicly and he wouldn't have been home to receive the call if it came. This led me to claim on August 23, 2008, that Bayh was Obama's first choice. To the President's chagrin, Bayh was the first man to ever say thanks, but no thanks. Bayh's unwillingness to be Obama's VP expressed itself yesterday, when for all intents and purposes Bayh put Obama on notice. Barring some incredible turn of events in political terms Obama will be challenged in the 2012 Democratic Presidential Primary by Evan Bayh and Hillary Clinton. Either Clinton or Bayh will win that contest and Obama will be a one-term President.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
If Patrick Henry were alive today gridlock is what he would ask for. Larry Kudlow of the Kudlow Report said gridlock would be a welcome result of the current political environment. Gridlock would represent stability for a jittery investment community seeking relief from government over-reaching and control. If business could be sure that Congress will fail to pass any major legislation, except tax and spending cuts, for the next few years the market and the economy would have the stability it needs to recover. If the Bush Tax cuts are extended; If Cap N' Trade and the Bank Fee bills fail to pass; If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be made to pay the piper; Oh, there I go again. Thinking there are people in Washington who worry about the nation. Give me Gridlock…
Democratic allies in the mainstream media are still trying to blame the failure of healthcare on the Republicans by saying the bill failed because the Democrats lost their filibuster proof majority in the Senate. (http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_14395887?nclick_check=1) That is a lie and the article states it twice. Healthcare failed because it is a bad bill. It's so bad that even people who believe in the concept could not support the bill. The President's upcoming event is just a charade designed to portray the Republicans as obstructionists or get them to share the blame by incorporating some of their signature causes concerning cross-border sales, tort reform, etc. The truth is the current bill is dead. It will never see the light of day in its current form and it's very unlikely the President can fool anyone anymore.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
There is nothing wrong with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. He is planning to move Iran into the nuclear club and the only way he will be stopped is if a country or group of countries with courage decides to reduce his dream to cinders. The world has dithered on sanctions for more than a decade and it is time for action. In response to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's upcoming statement on Thursday, America should send a cruise missile to Iran's main enrichment facility on Natanz, damage it beyond repair and clearly state that any attempt to build or use nuclear weapons will meet a similar fate.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
In a January 24th commentary called The Healthcare Trap I warned Republicans to be on the lookout for attempts by the Democrats and the President to co-opt them on Healthcare. And as usual, Obama doesn't disappoint. On Super Bowl Sunday he announced plans to televise a bi-partisan meeting on healthcare February 25th. His goal is to try and embarrass the Republicans into accepting a building block of nationalized healthcare and giving as little as possible in return. As I indicated in the earlier column the Democrats and their progressive allies will not stop until they are convinced Single Payer can never pass.