New Home Here.
This commenting system is just too much of a pain in the @ss. Don't want. So, I'm going to wordpress. Almost everything is over there (all the old posts) - still have to get my blogroll going. The comments didn't transfer, but alas I'll get over it.
Even easier to find!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
New Home Here.
Posted by Carin at 7:34 AM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan.
We have no interest in stopping trial lawyers from milking the system for billions. And we don’t want to address in any meaningful way the individual’s responsibility in some cases (drink, drugs, violence, dangerous sex, bad diet, sloth, etc.) for costly and chronic health procedures.
No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we “are leveling the playing field” and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law. (NB: do the math: add higher state income taxes in most states; the new Clinton-era federal income tax rates to come; the proposed lifting of limits on income exposed to FICA taxes; and now new health care charges — and I think you can reach in some cases a bite of 65%to 70% of one’s income.)
So we are in revolutionary times in which the government will grow to assume everything from energy use to student loans, while abroad we are a revolutionary sort of power, eager to mend fences with Syria and Iran, more eager still to distance ourselves from old Western allies like Israel and Britain.
So, what can we expect in the future?
Pelosism: In our brave new world, expect more of the lurid stories about the secretary of the Treasury not paying his FICA taxes. The multimillionaire Madame Speaker will spend more of the state’s millions on private jet travel as she lectures on carbon footprints and a culture of corruption. We will hear more about the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee hiding his income, or a member of the House Rules Committee bragging that, given the historic importance of health care, they are just making up the rules as they go along — and proud of it. Our guardian class has become the new French aristocracy at Versailles. They will rail about Citation jets for the CEO, and then fly federally-owned Gulfstreams; they will put us in Smart cars but limo in Yukons and Tahoes on “official business.” Our lifestyles will be as monitored as much as those who do the monitoring will not be at all.
Posted by Carin at 9:57 AM
From Obama. Edited for accuracy.
For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform.
AmericaSocialists in America have waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.
Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:
Because of you, every American (, except that 30 million who still won't ) will finally be guaranteed
high quality, affordablehealth care coverage.
Every American will be covered under the toughest patient insurance protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever. Of course, the services you do receive will be approved by the government. And not every service may be available. Or, you may be advised - by your government - to instead simply take a pill. Except for folks like me, because my plan is different than yours.
And we'll finally start reducing the cost of care ( HA - I mean, it's even hard to say that with a straight face, but Rahm says I have to put that in here ) -- creating millions of government jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy except those companies that go out of business, or people who lose their jobs over this , and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children HA, ok, that's a pipe dream, right? We all know that's not gonna happen .
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.
It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe. Except, of course, it's not like people aren't going to still get sick and die. I mean, there might even be more that die, because we're going to have to ration shit. I mean, you do know that, right?
It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill. I mean, like Nancy said, why should a writer actually have to earn a paycheck and contribute to society in order to get shit from the rest of us? Am I right?
And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need. Except, of course, that healthier thing is just bullshit.
This is what
changeSocialism looks like.
My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations past communist, socialists, and progressives whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you useful idiots and the ass kissing media who didn't really look very hard at the back room deals and my hypocrisy regarding bipartisanship and transparency.
This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. As I said on the campaign trail, complete government control of health care would take time. This is just the first step to a single-payer system. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.
Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that
fundamental changea transformation to a social democracy is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.
We progressives have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we've faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time, but we elites simply know more and better than you workers. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could
still rally together when the cause was rightfigure out what we were actually up to -- and actually create the change we believe in.Socialism right here in America.
Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.
President Barack Obama
Update: Sean M has a the proper response to Bob's linking of Frum. David Frum is super scary-smart.
Let us not forget, that Nancy is one of the biggest hypocrites out there. H/t Alex the Chick.
Posted by Carin at 7:40 AM
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Cut and Pasted from JHoward at PW:
Highlights of report, which is entitled “The Wrong Prescription: Democrats’ Health Overhaul Dangerously Expands IRS Authority,” include:
-IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
-IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
-IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
-IRS audits are likely to increase;
-IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade;
-IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and
-Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)
The Republicans noted that despite all these new mandates on Americans, the Democrats prohibit the IRS from imposing these same taxes and penalties on illegal immigrants.
How you like them apples? I have to say I don't like 'em at all.
Posted by Carin at 7:21 PM
The White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle has been feverishly sending out unsolicited email messages to federal employees in an effort to build support for President Barack Obama’s health reform package over the last several weeks.
The unsolicited emails also request that the federal employees take action in order to ensure that Obama’s health reform package is passed and the federal budget isn’t at risk for bankruptcy. One federal employee was so concerned about DeParle’s language in one email that he questioned whether his department’s budget would be cut or eliminated without passage of Obama’s bill. DeParle uses scare tactics that some assume are meant as threats:
“No ifs, ands or buts about it -- if we do nothing to reform our broken health care system, costs will continue to skyrocket and break the budgets of American families, small businesses and the Federal Government,” read the March 12th email from DeParle.
But should federal employees be subjected to partisan propaganda? What precedent does it send for the White House to use the federal work force for their partisan agenda? And shouldn’t we let State Department federal workers concentrate on pressing issues like the Israeli-Palestinian issue or the Iranian nuclear weapons issue? Why would Department of Transportation employees have to worry about forwarding The White House’s partisan emails to their address books?
If you're not outraged, you not paying attention.
Posted by Carin at 7:53 AM
Friday, March 19, 2010
To see the bill’s true first-decade costs, we need to start the clock when the costs would actually start in any meaningful way: in 2014. The CBO says that Obamacare would cost $2.0 trillion in the bill’s real first decade (from 2014 to 2023) — and much more in the decades to come.
But $2.0 trillion wouldn’t be the total ten-year costs. Instead, that would merely be the “gross cost of coverage provisions.” Based on earlier incarnations of the proposed overhaul, the total costs would be about a third higher (the exact number can’t be gleaned from the CBO’s analysis, which is only preliminary and is not a full scoring) — making the total price-tag between $2.5 and $3 trillion over the bill’s real first decade.
How would we pay for all of this? According to the CBO, by diverting $1.1 trillion away from already barely-solvent Medicare and spending it on Obamacare, and by increasing taxes on the American people by over $1 trillion. Among the Medicare cuts would be cuts of $25,000 in Medicare Advantage benefits per enrollee — up from $21,000 in the previous scoring. To be clear, those living in South Florida wouldn’t have to worry about this, as the newly politicized nature of health care would cause them to be exempted. These cuts would affect only less-fortunate seniors, namely those living in just about any other part of the country.
Oh, but there's more
We’d also pay for this through increased deficits. Under strict instructions from the Democrats, the CBO gave Obamacare credit for over $400 billion (from 2014 to 2023) in phony “savings” that would allegedly result from cutting doctor’s payments under Medicare by over 20 percent and never raising them back up. As the CBO notes, one of two things could happen: Congress could either follow through on these severe pay cuts — in which case doctors would view all Medicare patients as if they have the plague — or, Congress could eliminate these pay cuts — as everyone in Washington expects to have happen under the so-called “doc fix” — in which case the CBO projects that this bill would raise deficits by over $100 billion from 2017 to 2019 alone.
And what do we get?
According to the CBO, health insurance premiums would STILL rise 10 to 13 percent. The percentage of GDP STILL rises to 21% by 2019. And, according to the CBO, 23 million people will STILL be without health insurance.
GOOD JOB, BROWNIE!
Not to mention, crammed into this piece of shit, is the federal take-over (except in North Dakota) of the Federal Family Education Loan. Why? So they can use the profits from those loans to pay for other federal spending.
But, please, say it again, because it's amusing. No socialism here. Nope. Not a bit.
Now, to bring me off the ledge:
Thom, you may be a lefty loon, but you're awesome when you're just doing your thang.
Posted by Carin at 7:47 AM
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Democrats are telling us ObamaCare will only cost $940 billion over ten years and cut the deficit.
Keep in mind that no government entitlement, especially one this big, has ever come in under budget. Look no farther than Massachusetts for proof. Or look at Social Security and Medicare.
But here’s what the Democrats probably don’t want you to know. Of the $940 billion, most of that will be spent in the last six of the ten years, so it’s like a lay away plan for health care.
From Ed Morrissey:
Here’s the key table from CBO’s letter to Pelosi. Via Philip Klein, want to see what a shabby fraud these cost estimates are? Check out the line for “Gross Cost of Coverage Provisions”.
This is why they’re delaying the start of the program, of course. If it kicked in right away, the decade-long estimate would obviously be well into the trillions. So they simply stalled it for four years, incurring just $17 billion in costs — or 1.8 percent of the total 10-year estimate — through 2013 so that wavering Democrats could go back to their districts and tell baldfaced lies to their constituents about the pricetag. A perfect ending to this travesty.
Posted by Carin at 4:36 PM
I know there is a lot of back and forth, name calling, and outright nastiness here at ITBO. But today, I ask that we come together for one special cause. The recent earthquake in Hawaii.
I don't know why or how this one flew under the radar, but I'm sure people are suffering over there, and Obama wants to get HCR passed so they can get some of that filthy-lucre-aid money. But they need help NOW.
OBAMA: That also — I’m giving you an example of one that I consider important. It also affects Hawaii, which went through an earthquake. So that’s not just a Louisiana provision. That is a provision that affects every state that is going through a natural catastrophe.
That "Louisiana purchase" crap? Nonsense. It applies to every state that has a devastating natural catastrophe. Well, let me be clear. It applies to every "state" that qualifies. And to qualify it would have to, among other things, have been a state that "during the preceding 7 fiscal years" been declared a "major disaster area."
And, the state name has to start with the letter "L."
Anyway, so I'm concerned that Hawaii may not get that aid it so desperately needs. Can't we come together? For Hawaii?
Posted by Carin at 6:22 AM
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Another excellent article by Doc Zero.
If you have studied the history of socialism and communism around the world, you know what the inevitable results of a nationalized bread industry would be: hungry people staring at dusty shelves containing a few expensive loaves of low-quality bread. Humanity has invented few weapons that kill people more efficiently than collectivist agriculture.
Why is this always the tragic outcome of collectivism? After all, government control of goods and services is presented as a way to control costs. The bribes and shady backroom deals perpetrated in the service of ObamaCare are supposed to produce a system that increases “access to health insurance” and make it more “affordable.” The inevitable result will be a system that reduces the quality of care, makes it harder to come by, and increases its overall cost to American citizens.
The same thing has happened across decades and around the world, every single time the State has taken control of a private industry. There’s some grim amusement in watching a supposedly educated man like Paul Krugman make an utter fool of himself trying to pretend otherwise. (“In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.“)
Follow-up essay by J.E. Dyer here on how the government cannot bend the cost curve downward.
Posted by Carin at 9:21 AM
No surprise here. A couple of the findings:
Health Reform and Primary Care Physicians
• 46.3% of primary care physicians (family medicine and internal medicine) feel that the passing of health reform will either force them out of medicine or make them want to leave medicine.
Health Reform, Public Option, and Physician Supply
• 72% of physicians feel that a public option would have a negative impact on physician supply, with 45% feeling it will “decline or worsen dramatically” and 27% predicting it will “decline or worsen somewhat.
• 24% of physicians think they will try to retire early if a public option is implemented.
• 21% of physicians would try to leave medicine if a public option is implemented, even if not near retirement age at the time.
Oh, I'm sure they don't mean it.
Posted by Carin at 8:19 AM
Monday, March 15, 2010
An "interesting"* NYT image of Obama, as pointed out by Doug Ross, has:
1) the halo light behind him
2) a small superimposed image of the White House - Obama being "bigger" than the WH
3) Obama is pointing to heaven
4) Superimposed "cross" image using some sort of filter dead center in the middle of the image.
Let's first examine the headline: "As Health Vote Awaits, Future of a Presidency Waits, Too."
The Times' concern, laughably, is for the Obama legacy, not the hundreds of millions of citizens whose very lives will be impacted by a Rube Goldberg-esque, certain-to-fail, country-bankrupting, Soviet central-planner's wet dream. The Times, of course, has yet to report on the outrageous and illegal attempt to surreptitiously pass the Senate's health care bill. This effort, orchestrated by the House Rules Committee and known as the "Slaughter Rule", threatens to light the fuse on a full-blown Constitutional crisis.
For those who cried incessantly about the Patriot Act during the Bush presidency, the lack of concern (as voiced by OC in comments just a moment ago) for their circumventing of the Constitution in the attempt to pass the biggest piece of legislation in my lifetime, gives proof of the left's bankruptcy of core principals and disregard for both the will of the people and that document on which we base our government.
I know this is HARD, but try to follow:
The Slaughter solution cannot be squared with Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution.
...Last Christmas Eve, the Senate approved a health-care bill by 60 votes, overcoming a Republican filibuster. This is the bill that contains the so-called Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, taxes on high-cost health insurance plans and coverage for abortions. Virtually no one now supports that version of the bill, but Senate Democrats no longer have enough votes to pass an alternative bill under ordinary procedures.
That is where reconciliation fits in. If the House passes the Senate bill and the president then signs it into law, reconciliation would permit Congress to pass new legislation making changes to that law. Reconciliation might not solve the abortion coverage problem or other nonbudgetary issues, but it would allow Democrats to correct most of the Senate bill’s offensive features.
The rub is that, according to the Senate parliamentarian, reconciliation is permitted only for bills that amend existing law, not for amendments to bills that have yet to be enacted. This means that, for the Senate to be able to avoid a filibuster, House Democrats first have to vote for the identical bill that passed the Senate last Christmas Eve. That means voting aye on the special deals, aye on abortion coverage, and aye on high taxes on expensive health-insurance plans. Challengers are salivating at the prospect of running against incumbents who vote for these provisions.
Enter the Slaughter solution. It may be clever, but it is not constitutional. To become law—hence eligible for amendment via reconciliation—the Senate health-care bill must actually be signed into law. The Constitution speaks directly to how that is done. According to Article I, Section 7, in order for a “Bill” to “become a Law,” it “shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate” and be “presented to the President of the United States” for signature or veto. Unless a bill actually has “passed” both Houses, it cannot be presented to the president and cannot become a law.
To be sure, each House of Congress has power to “determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” ...But House and Senate rules cannot dispense with the bare-bones requirements of the Constitution. Under Article I, Section 7, passage of one bill cannot be deemed to be enactment of another.
The Slaughter solution attempts to allow the House to pass the Senate bill, plus a bill amending it, with a single vote. The senators would then vote only on the amendatory bill. But this means that no single bill will have passed both houses in the same form. As the Supreme Court wrote in Clinton v. City of New York (1998), a bill containing the “exact text” must be approved by one house; the other house must approve “precisely the same text.”
These constitutional rules set forth in Article I are not mere exercises in formalism. They ensure the democratic accountability of our representatives. Under Section 7, no bill can become law unless it is put up for public vote by both houses of Congress, and under Section 5 “the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question . . . shall be entered on the Journal.” These requirements enable the people to evaluate whether their representatives are promoting their interests and the public good. Democratic leaders have not announced whether they will pursue the Slaughter solution. But the very purpose of it is to enable members of the House to vote for something without appearing to do so. The Constitution was drafted to prevent that.
(from Doug Ross pasting from the Wall Street Journal piece by Michael W. McConnel, Constitutional law Scholar at Standford)
We WILL hold you accountable. You cannot hide behind the Slaughter solution. And you cannot hide from this monstrosity of a power grab.
* by interesting, I mean worthy of Joeseph Goebbels. Which is an apt comparison, because I think the NYT is committing suicide rather than surrendering to being balanced.
Posted by Carin at 8:13 AM
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Obama and Nancy and Harry have taken the stance that they must pass HCR by any means necessary. Even if it goes against our Constitution.
These are very scary times.
Reports have come out today that the Parliamentarian has not ruled that the President must sign a law before it is considered a law for reconciliation purposes. First, they came up with a strategy to get Obamacare passed in the House without the House ever voting on the bill, now they have come up with a strategy and a ruling to get the Obamacare bill to qualify as law without the President signing the law. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Reid should not support efforts to violate the clear words of the Constitution to pass Obamacare.
Just to restate a shocking development in the Obamacare debate; Congressional leaders have found a way to ignore the Constitutional requirement that a law be signed by the President before it is considered a law. Outrage is not a strong enough word for the feelings many American’s have toward elites in Washington, D.C. who will do anything to pass Obamacare.
Darleen has the appropriate photoshop for the occasion.
Alexthechick has a little review for those who don't remember how a bill becomes a law.
And Eddiebear, in his special way of voicing his austere displeasure. The first paragraph is f-bomb free. After that? You're on your own.
Posted by Carin at 11:13 AM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
As to me twisting your comment, feel free to school me, name one rich white guy* who hung out at the WH under Bush and condemn him. Until you do I just figure you're hanging white sheets on the racist republican clothesline.
Bob, I'm not going to let you get away with this, so I'm bringing it up front and center. The issue wasn't that Jay-Z and Beyonce (and her mom) were hanging out at the WH. It was that they were in the Situation Room. Which requires top secret clearance-only to access.
The WHSR was established by President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961. That crisis revealed a need for rapid and secure presidential communications and for White House coordination of the many external communications channels of national security information which led to the President.(1) Since then, the mission of the "Sit Room" has been to provide current intelligence and crisis support to the NSC staff, the National Security Adviser, and the President. The Sit Room staff is composed of approximately 30 personnel, organized around five Watch Teams that provide 7-day, 24-hour monitoring of international events. A generic Watch Team includes three Duty Officers, a communications assistant, and an intelligence analyst.
Where, in that description, does it mention it is open for celebrity tours?
The Sit Room has always been designed to hum nonstop. Mr. Bush goes there for regular meetings with his National Security Council and to talk via secure videoconference with foreign leaders. In times of emergency, the Sit Room becomes a crisis-management center.
Watch officers are glued to computers 24 hours a day, sifting through intelligence information from the CIA, the Pentagon, the State Department and other quarters. They monitor diplomatic cables and public sources such as Internet traffic and news dispatches, watching for developments big enough to warrant telling national security adviser Stephen Hadley, who decides whether Mr. Bush must be alerted.
Unless, of course, some rich celebrity wants to pose in the President's chair and post the picture on the internets.
If you've got a picture of some Bush crony laughing it up in some sensitive area of the White House, go ahead an link.
Posted by Carin at 9:43 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
With arguments like this ... how can you disagree?
“I want to be free to have health care!” exclaimed Joanna Durham, a resident of North Carolina, originally from Trinidad and Tobago, who led a small group in a chant of “Health care is a human right.”
“We are Americans and we are free to have health care!” She said she believes Americans deserved “free” care, like people in other countries receive. “Are we not in America? We have free speech, free press, we need free health care now! Right now!”
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/03/10/obama-health-care-supporters-storm-washington-hoping-for-arrests-but-end-with-health-care-whimper/2/#ixzz0hmPfjmcE
You know, if we made doctors work for free we'd go far in reducing health care costs. Just thinking out loud here. Going outside the box.
Oh, but there is more:
“If Republicans really cared about their children, they would all be vegans,” she continued. “I don’t believe its going to add to the deficit, if it’s handled right. Obama has plans to cut down on fraud and defensive medicine. It seems to work in other countries, like Canada.”
Dallabetta went on to explain why she thought Republicans were obstructionists. “I have an aunt in Oklahoma who hates Obama. At bottom she’s a bigot, very racist … and I think that’s the case for a lot of Republicans. I know they use the ‘n’ word around their dinner table all the time. They’re not going to say it outside their house but that’s really what’s going on behind closed doors.”
It's like she's a fly on the wall of my dinning room. If only I had a rational reason to oppose health care. No, Obama being black really takes care of all that for me. I can just reject it on principal.
Posted by Carin at 8:25 AM
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Today's a work day, but I thought I'd leave you (care of Maggie) with a bit of one of the Amazon WALL -O-TEXT reviews of "The 5,000 Year Leap":
The author is an intellectual, which is good, however, he is so caught up in his own world view (which is distorted) that he arrives at many false conclusions. 1) all of American progress is due to capitalism and freedom to do what you want. False, Thomas Jefferson said "If men were angels, we wouldn't need government." We need a big government to have enough power to control giant corporations. That should be obvious now, as we are about to fail & fall into another depression because of the greedy SOB's who screwed us all, and stole money right and left, because Bush destroyed most of the oversight and watchdogs who were trying to keep unbridled greed from running rampant! Capitalism without morality and a stronger structure to keep oversight is the same as totalitarianism, as it will inevitably lead to one successful corporation destroying another until there is only one left. As an example, look at the excesses of Microsoft when it was in its heyday. There were dozens of excellent computer programs written/invented in the late 1980's and early to mid-1990's which were brought about by small businesses, and which their survival depended on selling. In most cases like this, and I am aware of close to 10 personally I was interested in, Microsoft announced they were going to add that feature either to their operating system, or to Internet Explorer in the next year. In every case I know of like this, the sales of these small start-up companies (the kind that create the 5000 year leap) dropped so drastically, that the companies went bankrupt and died out. In the vast majority of these cases, Microsoft never did bring out the feature they had said they would. It is not clear to me if they were just plain evil, or if they were intending to produce something like the products they killed off, but in either case, no one else would dare step in and try to produce it, after seeing how the originators of the idea were crushed by the larger corporation, Microsoft. 2) Perhaps this man's ideals could be met by a modified form of capitalism wherein there was some society or government defined limit to how big a company could be allowed to grow. It should be obvious to everyone today that when some companies grow too big they suffer from the dictator at the top. (In case you never thought about it, the government that everyone seems to like to vilify and hate, is elected by us, but the CEO of your company is the dictator that can fire you any time he wants, and thus he has life and death control over whether or not you can pay for your house and feed your family.) The corporate CEO does not answer to you, and you cannot vote for or against him unless you own stock, and in a large corporation that means very little, because the amount of stock you can afford is a paltry percentage of the total amount unless you are a billionaire. One of the major problems in the world now is the growth to humongous size of corporations, so that they are able to control governments. A few examples: a) look at the horror and devastation that Shell Oil has brought on several small South American nations, where they are so powerful that they can afford to give millions of dollars (or hundreds of millions) to support corrupt politicians, and they are (or at the very minimum were up until a few years ago) polluting the environment to the point they should have senior executives being tried for mass murder! (Watch some of the environmentally oriented documentaries on educational or science channels for more details) There are multiple whole villages where massive increases in cancer are seen from all the organic toxins just being dumped on the ground, or where oil pipelines are leaking, but it's cheaper to let them leak, then to repair them. This is great for the efficiency of capitalism, but morally reprehensible to the average human. Similarly, towns in Nigeria are now uninhabitable due to oil company callousness (I think this may also be from Shell Oil actually). Another example of a company grown too large, too big in the ego of the CEO, and creating disaster for others, including almost ALL of its employees is Enron. Enron purposely re-designed the way its accounting practices were carried out so it could deceive the investors and its own employees. It is a perfect example of what happens when capitalism is allowed to run free with no laws, morals or oversight from a more powerful government that has enough power to control it. It was not controlled in the end, it simply imploded, and maybe less than a dozen of the exploiters who screwed grandmothers in California out of their life savings (making them pay higher electric bills due to purposely staging brownout when there was plenty of power available), as opposed to hundreds or thousands of immoral SOB's who should have gone to jail for the equivalent of economic war crimes against the American public. 3) American giant corporations are NOT American. Look at Haliburton, who screwed the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars by having no bid contracts in Iraq, thanks to having Vice President Cheney as a friend in the White House. They have now moved their corporate headquarters to Dubai, an Arab country! All these SOB's care about is earning more money, and damn whomever gets in their way. 4) There are good things that have been done by large corporations, but that does not mean we should roll over as this author seems to think, and just let everyone have at it, doing whatever they want to, to try and invent or build whatever they can get away with. 5) Look at China today, that's the closest thing we have to pure capitalism on the planet today. The government lets them run wild, only pulling them in when they threaten to destroy their trade advantages by causing bad headlines such as those with the poisoning of our dogs, or the lead based paint on children's toys sent to America. (Then they finally did what maybe we should do with some of our evil CEO's, they executed some of them.) That serves as a good reminder to the next guy that maybe he should not just do what he can get away with all the time.) 6) One of the most obvious Errors in this book is possibly closest to me. As a physician, with real knowledge of how drugs are tested, OK'ed by the FDA, and recalled, I am aware of the huge influence that multibillion dollar companies have on drug regulation. The FDA in the last 10 to 20 years has started allowing many more drugs to be put on the market, based on studies funded by the drug industry! (Has anyone here heard of conflict of interest?) Obviously, if your University or you as a professor of Medicine obtain a multi-million dollar grant to research a drug for a company that is paying you the millions of dollars, you are going to be influenced (even if it's subconsciously) to not want to "bite the hand that feeds you." A specific example is the drug Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug. Soon after it was released onto the market, there began to be reports that there were a significant number of people having kidney failure due to use of this drug. It was still not pulled off the market for almost 2 more years, as the FDA (which is highly compromised) kept putting off pulling it, based on arguments from the drug company, and listening to arguments like: "What will those people using it do, there's no good substitute for it?" [Yeah, well, there's no good substitute for having your own functioning kidneys either!)
I think you guys get the point. Capitalism unbridled is a horror of manipulation and domination by the most efficient company, which does not mean the most compassionate and caring company. Corporate bottom lines are based on profit, not on not killing people or polluting the environment, and basically, we should not let capitalism run rampant without large powerful government oversight, or we will eventually be in a dictatorship run by one company with executives that we do not get to vote in or out of office. Thanks for reading.
Take note; this reviewer is a doctor.
And, Mr Physician, JAMES MADISON said in Federalist #51:
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
Now, that there is one of those dealos OC was talking about yesterday where the review misquotes someone (in this case MADISON) and make the phrase to mean something it didn't.
I know OC is appalled.
Posted by Carin at 6:13 AM
Monday, March 08, 2010
Part One, page 29-30.
Since the genius of the American system is maintaining the eagle in the balanced center of the spectrum, the Founders warned against a number of temptations which might lure subsequent generations to abandon their freedoms and their rights by subjecting themselves to a strong federal administration operating on the collectivist Left.
They warned against the "welfare state" where the government endeavors to take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave. Jefferson wrote:
If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.
They warned against confiscatory taxation and deficit spending. Jefferson said it was immoral for one generation to pass on the results of its extravagance in the form of debts to the next generation. He wrote:"... we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life expectancy of the majority."
Every generation of Americans struggled to pay off the national debt up until the present on.
The Founders also warned that the only way for the nation to prosper was to have equal protection of "rights." and not allow the government to get involved in trying to provide equal distribution of "things." They also warned against the pooling of property as advocated by the proponents of communism. Samuel Adams said they had done everything possible to make the ideas of socialism and communism unconstitutional. Said he:
The Utopian schemes of leveling [re-distribution of the wealth] and a community of goods [ central ownership of the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional.
Posted by Carin at 9:22 AM
The entire family would like to take a month-long trip to Aspen. We all agree that something must be done. The discussion is over.
The only thing left to figure out is how to pay for it. I say there is no way we can afford such a thing, but a simple majority vote in the household over-ruled me.
So, I guess I'll make the reservations.
Posted by Carin at 7:45 AM
Friday, March 05, 2010
Gotta love lefties. From the comments at Patterico's regarding the Pentagon shooter:
Everybody feel better now? You should, because THIS time the shooter is not tied directly to the unhinged, violent anti-government rhetoric of the right. No, this time he’s tied to the unhinged, violent anti-government rhetoric of the left. So, good job, unhinged, violent rhetoricians of the right, you are clearly the better of two viles this time.
Yea, THIS time. Oh, and those other times ...
Posted by Carin at 7:28 AM
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Obama just made an excellent case to Jim Matheson (D- Utah), who voted against the Health Care bill in November. He nominated his brother to the US Court of Appeals (10th Circuit).
Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit…
Whattaya think? Too heavy handed?
He did say he would do everything in his power to make the case for reform.
Posted by Carin at 8:22 AM
Andrew McCarthy highlights the Bunning kerfuffle over extending unemployment benefits.
In this case, there ought to have been raging controversy: Bunning was objecting to yet another monthly extension of unemploymentpayments absent an explanation of how it would be paid for.
He was right to do so. These extensions happen continually. The stimulus — which is a redistribution of wealth from the private to the public sector, and from people who work to people who don’t — extended unemployment benefits for 53 weeks. Another extension in November added 20 more weeks. Cato’s Alan Reynolds reports that this brings the total to 99 weeks of benefits in high-unemployment states. The measure on which Bunning has relented adds another month. And having browbeaten him into withdrawing his objection, Democrats will now seek an extension through the end of this year, i.e., another 36 weeks or so.
Bunning was fighting the good fight. The Tea Party fight. But what happened? Republicans urged him to back down. Republicans.
In sum, Bunning’s battle gave Republicans a chance to make points about runaway deficit spending, the fraudulence of PAYGO posturing, the foolish redistribution of wealth to create expensive and unproductive government jobs, unemployment-benefit extensions that Democrats refuse to pay for and that actually increase unemployment, and the monstrous rationing that would be wrought by Obamacare. So, did Republicans rally behind Bunning? Not a chance.
THIS is why there is a Tea Party movement. It isn't about racism "straight up." It's about those fuckers in Washington acting in a manner that protects THEIR interests, not ours. Why did they get Bunning to back down? Because they're afraid of losing elections. Well, then why don't we all just give up?
What's the point in any of it?
If you really want to be depressed, go read the rest of McCarthy's article, in which he explains that the Democrats are ok with backing this electoral-loser health care bullshit, because they know that they'll get theirs in the form of a cushy, overpaid government job where no one will be able to see 'em or vote them out of office. With THAT as an incentive, growing government is always a winning proposition.
Posted by Carin at 7:51 AM
There are riots in Berkley.
Students at the University of California’s flagship Berkeley campus took to the streets on Friday night, vandalizing university buildings, burning trash cans and clashing with police in the latest expression of frustration over cuts to the educational budget in California.
The ironies are so numerous, I don't know where to begin.
Posted by Carin at 7:34 AM
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
And with Republicans preparing to force a vote Wednesday seeking to oust Mr. Rangel from his chairmanship, support among his fellow Democrats appeared to be crumbling. He huddled in a meeting with senior party leaders, including Ms. Pelosi, and officials said Democrats were urging him to step down, at least temporarily.
As he left his crisis meeting with party leaders around 8 p.m., Mr. Rangel insisted that he was not stepping down. Asked if he was going to remain as chairman, he said, “You bet your life.”
Pushed on whether he would step aside temporarily, he replied, “No.”
He said he was headed back to his office to work on jobs legislation, and when a reporter asked if he would still be the committee chairman on Wednesday, Mr. Rangel said, “Yes, and I don’t lie to the press.”
Nice Majority you got there Nancy.
And Kudos to the CBC; all but one of them appear to be standing by their man. As for the one who DARED to to criticize their brother? Rep Artur Davis demanded that RAagel resign from his committee.
"I think Mr. Davis ought to step aside," sneered CBC member Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). "He ain't here much. And if he's speaking for anyone black, he ain't speaking for me."
Ha ha ahhhaa ... that's too good. Thanks to Cyn for that last bit.
Posted by Carin at 8:55 AM
The first book I ever read by Stephen King was "The Stand" when I was about 14. I loved it, but I never confused it with literary greatness. King told a good yarn, and that's always been his thing. I read a few more books, but the yarns got increasingly feeble, and I eventually decided that King just really didn't like writing anymore, since his books seemed to peter-out before they got to the end.
But, despite the fact that his writing quality has gone down, the accolades for King have gone up. Sam Sacks on King.
To me, it all goes back to this idea held by a lot of people who analyze literature for a living, who say, If we let the rabble in, then they’ll see that anybody can do this, that it’s accessible to anyone. And then what are we doing here?
With serious literature (or at least the chimerical “idea” of it) thus -tidily quarantined to a few fusty English departments, the noble fight to reclaim writing for the people could commence, a struggle that reached a rhetorical peak in 2003, when King was honored with the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. This event was an opportunity to prove to the public that you were not a snob. Lev Grossman in Time celebrated the overthrow of the Western canon. In USA Today, Samuel G. Freedman wrote an essay called “Stephen King Deserves Award for Creating Readers,” attributing to King heretofore unknown divine powers. And straight from central casting, Harold Bloom emerged as the perfect foil to the popularizers, grumbling that King writes “what used to be called penny dreadfuls.” In his acceptance speech, King acted as the peacemaker, magnanimously hoping that the “award means that a bridge can be built between so-called popular fiction and so-called literary fiction.”
King certainly writes popular fiction, but is it literary fiction?
Because the truth is that, as praise for his books has become a shibboleth for open-mindedness, King himself has become one of the worst writers in America.
Become is the key word here. The decline of King’s work is not the fault of the horror and suspense conventions his books hew to. All writers are beholden to conventions of one kind or another, and it’s what they create within those strictures (or how they subvert them) that defines their art. The hallmark of horror is to visit the macabre upon the ordinary, and much of King’s earliest work does this very successfully.
Those would be known as his "good books." "The Stand", "Salem's Lot", "Carrie", "Stand by Me", "The Shining." "The Green Mile" was a pretty good book, although it came after a whole bunch of really crappy ones.
In his succeeding books, with his popularity exploding, King tilted his focus to scheming up ingenious guises for his malevolent forces to assume. We got a murderous Plymouth, Saint Bernard, zombie child, spinster nurse, and so on. The evil tended to be explained in terms of psychosis, which relieved King from the burden of providing any rationale for his killers (later he would make them aliens, who are equally inexplicable). People turned to these books for shrieking and viscera, and they left satisfied.
Cough, cough. I wasn't satisfied. I wanted my money back. "It", "Skeleton Crew", "Thinner", "Christine", "Pet Cemetary", and (OMG) "Tommyknockers."
That last one's sins were especially egregious. My complaints with King focus on the story/yarn [or lack thereof]. But there are other, more "literary", problems:
Thus, as early as 1990, a shorthand had emerged in King’s writing, in which massaged clichés (a garden of fear, suffocating fear), redundancies (utter loathing and contempt), laundry-list sentences, italics, and, elsewhere, the CAPS LOCK key do all the work on the writer’s behalf. In these books even the dialogue, once original and often comic, begins to parody itself, exaggerating the New England dialects and salt-of-the-earth aphorisms. King’s small-town backdrops feel increasingly like movie sets that he can trundle from one book to the next.
It’s no exaggeration to say that in the years that have passed, every single one of these lazy writing habits has metastasized to ugly proportions, so that the same Stephen King who wrote a pietistic memoir about his craft (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000) and was anointed in the country’s most-read book pages as a modern-day Hugo ...
So, next up we have King's treatise on fascism in America: "The Dome."
Baffling claims have been made that King is providing an astute vision of modern American life; but really, from the first pages of Under the Dome, you feel trapped in King’s private and intensely self-referential echo chamber, bouncing back and forth between famous movies and King’s own books. I found no less than three directmentions of King’s prior work, including the depressingly accurate observation that what’s happening here is “exactly like in that movie The Mist.”
The dome, you see, is allegorical, a kind of intergalactic lesson in human kindness. The novel ends with a chapter of sententious moralizing about the importance of empathy that would be awful in any book but that is doubly galling from an author who has shown such sophomoric gusto in crashing things into his glass dome, including a fully loaded 767 passenger plane.
I'm going to pass on "The Dome." As I've passed on almost everyone of his his books since "Tommyknockers."
Here is Wiserbud's take on King.
Posted by Carin at 7:42 AM
Obama is putting America on the path of "set a good example and others will follow." It would be funny, if it weren't so fucking scary.
Obama’s intention to halve the existing inventory of about 5,400 nuclear warheads goes well beyond the mutual reduction goal of the Bush-Putin SORT Treaty of 2002, which envisioned 4,600 warheads for the U.S. by 2012. Obama has also cut funding to the Pentagon’s development program for a low-yield nuclear weapon to attack hardened and deeply-buried targets, and he reportedly will scrap the development altogether with implementation of his NPR. This, of course, is the kind of weapon needed to deal effectively with suspect underground facilities in Iran and North Korea.
Moreover, key Congressional Democrats are demanding NPR language that would explicitly commit the U.S. to using our nuclear arsenal solely for the deterrence of nuclear strikes – a short-sighted posture that could not be reversed in the future without precipitating political crises. The Pentagon prefers a more ambiguous formulation, and the outcome of this policy debate is uncertain. But the unprecedented political momentum of the Capitol Hill “deterrence-only” advocates will have the attention of foreign observers from Moscow to Beijing to Tehran.
Obama’s express hope is to set an example for the world with these unilateral reductions and renunciations. By making them, however, he thoroughly undermines the New START negotiations. Cuts of this magnitude would require the Russians to rethink their own policy in order to match them. But with Obama proposing to make the cuts unilaterally, Russia has no incentive to pay the cost of participating. The only bargaining chip left for leveraging Russian concessions is our missile-defense program.
Obama is really taking that "hope" thing seriously, isn't he? I didn't realize it extended to our national security.
Posted by Carin at 7:33 AM
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Leonard Pitts Jr on the Tea Party movement, which is (you know) if not primarily motivated by race, owns it as it's major component:
But ultimately, people seem moved by something even bigger than race. This is race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, culture, and the fact that those who have always been on the right side, the power-wielding side, of one or more of those equations, now face the realization that their days of dominance are numbered.
Dominance of what, Mr Pitts? Who has always been on the "power-wielding" side?
There is a poignancy to their responsive fury because one senses that the nether side of it is a choking fear. We are witness to the birth cries of a new America and for every one of us who embraces and celebrates that, who looks forward to the opportunity and inclusiveness it promises, there is another who grapples with a crippling sense of dislocation and loss, who wonders who and what she will be in the nation now being born.
One hopes they will find answers that satisfy them because the change they fear will not be turned back. No one ever volunteers to return to the rear of the bus.
A "new"America? You know what this is sounding dangerously like, don't you? What are you celebrating? Statism? An abdication of personal responsibility? An ever increasing paternalistic federal government?
So for all the frustration the tea party movement engenders among the rest of us, one also feels a certain pity for people like the woman last year who cried, plaintively, that she wanted her country back.
As if she didn't realize that it is already, irrevocably, gone.
That's rather big talk.
Now, for an alternate perspective:
To sum up: in 2010, an energized Republican Party will address a public charged with grassroots energy, and furious over the passage of legislation they didn’t want… forced on them in the express belief they’re too stupid to understand its magnificence, and too feeble to survive without it. The Republicans will explain the only way to roll back this legislation is to decimate the party that passed it. They might just be smart enough to demonstrate how ObamaCare is the concentrated essence of everything that has gone wrong with American government – not America – over the last half-century, and present its repeal as the beginning of a comprehensive movement to cleanse the tainted ground from which it sprang.
In other words, Democrats, ObamaCare might indeed become your ticket to perpetual influence… or it might become the centerpiece of the best argument Americans will ever hear to get rid of you. You’ll have your core supporters and a few safe seats, but that’s the formula for a rump party. Americans will always insist on a vibrant opposition party, and they are wise to do so. They tremble on the verge of becoming wise enough to realize the Democrat Party doesn’t “own” its position as one of the two major parties, any more than it owned the “Kennedy seat” in Massachusetts. When Barbara Boxer says every state is now in play, believe her. She knows what she’s talking about.
It’s been a hundred and fifty years since a major American political party was erased. I’ve often wondered what it would look like, if such a thing happened in the modern era. I imagine it would take a combination of widespread voter anger, the messy death of a failed ideology, an energized opposition, and hopelessly out-of-touch leadership. Whatever remains of the “moderate” wing of the Democrat Party should consult their own imaginations, before arrogantly passing a bill that can only be rolled back over their dead bodies.
It's game on.
Posted by Carin at 8:49 PM
Monday, March 01, 2010
The media is largely responsible for vetting our political candidates. They SUCK at this. Michael Calderone on the "Edwards Epilogue."
"I feel sorry for the liberals who were duped by Edwards,” said Cliff Kincaid editor of the right-leaning watchdog organization Accuracy in Media. “They were the real victims of the failure to vet Edwards.”
“Now we know that Edwards was a phony in more ways than one,” Kincaid added. “Our media, especially progressives in the media, were in love with Edwards because of his liberal views. But he wasn't in love with them. He was in love with someone else—and it turns out it wasn't his wife.”
Yep. Sad chapter.
Posted by Carin at 7:33 AM