Sunday, February 28, 2010

Quote of the day - Thomas Sowell - health care costs

Here is a math problem for you: Assume that the legislation establishing government control of medical care is passed and that it "brings down the cost of medical care." You pay $500 a year less for your medical care, but the new costs put on employers is passed on to consumers, so that you pay $300 a year more for groceries and $200 a year more for gasoline, while the new mandates put on insurance companies raise your premiums by $300 a year, how much money have you saved?

Thomas Sowell

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quote of the day - Mark Steyn - Greek crisis; Obamacare

While Barack Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care "summit," thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split-screen - because they're part of the same story. It's just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They're at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided, instead, that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter 20 (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter 17 or 18.

Mark Steyn - 2-27-10

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

John Murtha; Dr. Hendricks; Atlas Shrugged; Ayn Rand; Socialized medicine

There is irony to be found in the death of Congressman John Murtha this week. Congressman Murtha was a liberal Democrat who supported government growth and government pork for decades. He provided unwavering support to the Democrat leadership in Washington as they sought to nationalize the health care system.

The irony is that Murtha died from a medical mistake during otherwise routine surgery. Murtha died from something that will become all too common for every American in the coming years if the government completes its nationalization of medical care. Medical care will degenerate like every other government "service." Today's doctors will either quit or become government bureaucrats (or will take orders from bureaucrats). The fictional Dr. Hendricks told our future in Atlas Shrugged:
I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago . . . . Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything - except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of their patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.' That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards - never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind - yet what is it that they expect to depend on when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kinds of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it - and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn't.
Atlas Shrugged, p. 744, 35th Anniversary Edition

So what was the situation with Murtha's doctors? Did they resent being dressed in white coats as props for Obamacare? Or did Murtha get the leftover doctors after the resentful ones quit?

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Top 12 things that James O'Keefe did not do.

Click here for the James O'Keefe story and my earlier commentary.

Click here for Ben Stein's commentary on James O'Keefe.

We still don't know exactly what O'Keefe is supposed to have done that is illegal. I will add to this story only by listing the top 12 things that O'Keefe did not do:

  1. He did not falsely accuse American soldiers of purposely shooting at journalists.
  2. He did not alter a photo of Condi Rice to make her eyes appear "demonic."
  3. He did not publish a photo of an
    unrelated car to dramatize the aftermath of
    shots fired at an Italian journalist.
  4. He did not falsely report that a Koran
    had been flushed down the toilet, thus touching
    off riots and death across the middle east.
  5. He did not stage a fake canoe ride in 4
    inches of water.
  6. He did not attribute muslim riots in Paris
    to "African-Americans."
  7. He was not forced to resign after being discovered
    inventing characters for columns.
  8. He did not invent the "fake, but accurate" standard.
  9. He did not print analysis of Iraqi
    election results prior to the actual elections.
  10. He did not coach on-air guests to sound angry
    in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
  11. He did not invent a story about baby seal hunts in Canada.
  12. He did not use fake quotes, interviews and sources, forcing the resignation of his executive editor.

These are only the things that O'Keefe did not do in 2004 and 2005. This list does not include the things O'Keefe has not done since that time. The corresponding people and organizations who actually did these things are listed here (with links). They remain at large:

  1. CNN
  2. USA Today
  3. AP
  4. Newsweek
  5. NBC
  6. CNN
  7. Sacremento Bee
  8. CBS
  9. L.A. Times
  10. CNN
  11. Boston Globe
  12. New York Times


Obama attacks the Supreme Court; Mark Steyn; Hugh Hewitt; Justice Kennedy; Robert Mugabe

After last week's "State of the Union" speech (during which President B. Hussein Obama attacked the Supreme Court), Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn discussed Obama's attack in the context of today's politics and future decisions of the Court:
BHO: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our elections.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, that is not accurate. The Austin decision is 20 years old, it had never been directly challenged. This was explained in the Chief Justice’s concurrence. But putting that aside, he attacked the Court which is non-partisan, and is supposed to represent the rule of law. It’s really unprecedented.

MS: Yes, and it’s very interesting. I would be interested to know what Nancy Pelosi thinks of that, because Nancy Pelosi’s comment, best known comment on Supreme Court decisions is that oh well, they’re sort of like God. In other words, once the Court has ruled, that’s it. It’s chiseled in tablets of stone, brought down from the mountain, and delivered in this case by Justice Kennedy. I mean, what I find so odd about this is that Justice Kennedy is the new Sandra Day O’Connor on that Court. He’s the swinger. He’s the swing vote. And I think, I don’t think it’s strictly in naked political interest, it’s sensible for Obama to actually publically sneer at Justice Kennedy when he’s sitting a few feet away from him. It just seems to me a very odd thing to do, and yet another example of how isolated and detached from the facts on the ground this Oval Office is.

Steyn's point is that Obama made a political mistake by attacking a swing voter on the Supreme Court, which attack will adversely affect future Court decisions.

What Steyn does not mention is that Obama (and the left) does not care so much about a few decisions of the Court. He cares about destroying the institution and its ability to check and balance the other branches of government. By attacking the Court publicly in this fashion, he has helped diminish the Court in the eyes of the 40% of the poll respondents that will follow Obama no matter how badly he performs in office.

Obama has promised to transform America. He means it. He has taken many steps designed to bankrupt this country. He has taken over industries. These are transformative steps. Destroying what is left of the rule of law is another such step. Diminishing the Supreme Court is necessary to the destruction of the rule of law.

Obama and the leftist utopians envision a world where the President can give any order without worrying about a pesky court getting in the way. The left can not get to that promised land without constant attacks on the Court. Obama's 40% must be mobilized against the very institutions that stand in the way of the progressive, populist dictatorship. (Whether Obama is the ultimate beneficiary of this dictatorship is irrelevant to the "progressive" masses. There will be a dictator someday - the name of the puppet that dances on the end of the strings is irrelevant.)

Did Robert Mugabe worry about the attitude of the swing voters on the Zimbabwean Supreme Court as he was seizing farms and turning the currency into confetti? Obama and his allies have a broader agenda than bean counting votes on the Supreme Court.

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