Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ObamaCare: Not in My Back Yard

"ObamaCare would be good for you...but for me or my constituents, not so much"

We've been through this before. Serious efforts to compel or encourage members of Congress to enroll in the very health care plans that they wish to foist upon the American public have failed to garner support from Democrats. Members of Congress simply cannot be expected to give up their Cadillac plans, their VIP treatment, and their extraordinary perks.

To appease Senators in states whose governments have already driven the cost of health insurance through the stratosphere, preferential treatment is in the works. Senator Baucus has set up new health insurance taxation to phase in slowly for states such as Olympia Snowe's Maine. For the 17 states with the highest-cost premiums, ObamaCare would come in a gentler form, taxing insurance plans at a more forgiving threshold than for the rest of the country.

Nobody seems to want plain old ObamaCare in their own back yard. It has become something of a NIMBY phenomenon.

This week, we were treated to the finest example of this sickening hypocrisy:

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, has secured a special deal protecting his state against the costs of expanding Medicaid under one of the major health care bills moving through Congress.

Mr. Reid, a Democrat, complained about the impact on Nevada when the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, unveiled his bill on Sept. 16.

Now Mr. Baucus has modified the bill to spare Nevada and three other states, and Mr. Reid, who faces a potentially difficult race for re-election next year, is taking credit for getting a “major increase” in federal money for his state.

The Senate bill, like a companion measure in the House, would expand Medicaid to cover childless adults, parents and other people with incomes less than 133 percent of the poverty level, or $29,327 for a family of four. The federal government would pay most of the new costs — anywhere from 77 percent to 95 percent, with a higher share in poorer states, in the first five years.

Under Mr. Baucus’s original proposal, the federal government would have paid 87 percent of the new costs in Nevada. Under the modified version, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the new costs for the first five years.

Seems fair to me!

Update: Hawaii May Get to Opt Out of Health Bill


Extraordinary Health Care Perks for Congress
Little Known Office on Capitol Hill Provides VIP Medical Care for Low Price

Harry Reid makes special deal to protect Nevada from Obamacare.

Interactive refresher: From a bill to a law - health care

ObamaCare: No Insurance, Go to Jail!

Obama has spoken with Letterman more than he has spoken with General McChrystal.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Who's in YOUR Wallet?

Obama discussing his favorite topic, i.e., himself: "...You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

How very true. Obama is quite unlike the presidents on the dollar bills but in ways that go much deeper than the surface of his skin.

U.S. law, passed in 1866, prohibits portraits of any living person on currency. This reinforced the tradition established by the man who refused to be king, George Washington. Washington was vehemently opposed to displaying his image on coins, as that was what monarchies did. "I am certain it will be more agreeable to the citizens of the United States to see the head of Liberty on their coin than the head of presidents," Washington told Congress shortly after becoming president.

Times have changed.

Now we have a narcissist presiding over a citizenry that hardly values its liberty. Moreover, too many have lost any appreciation for decorum befitting a modern democratic republic. There are millions among us who are like Chris Matthews, Peggy Joseph and Charisse Carney-Nunes. Sobriety has given way to fanaticism.

This is very dangerous.

The ardent support of the NEA notwithstanding, our cities are not yet filled with giant Obama statues and there are no ten-story portraits of our Dear Leader. As far as I know, there are no immediate plans to put Obama on the $2 bill. But our prez does have a cult-like following. Led by their teachers, our school children sing and shout Obama's praises. Journalists are weak at the knees. Women swoon.

To date, Obama has done nothing to discourage any of the irrational, Obama-centric behavior.

Doctor Zero reflects on Obama mania:

The bigger the government, the greater its leaders. The unfortunate citizens of the biggest governments in the last century were told their maximum leaders were demigods.

Must we repeat the stupid mistakes of the 20th century?


The omnipresent leader

Your change has changed. Have you noticed?

The dollar is dead, long live the renminbi.

The National Endowment for the Art of Persuasion?

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Building a Religion

Today's of my favorites:

*Censored by YouTube: watch at your own risk!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Proof Is Not Enough

Liberals will not let facts or reason get in the way. Show them the dire reports from the Congressional Budget Office or the Congressional Research Office and they just snort. Tell them about the horrors of government-run medicine in Canada or Great Britain and they change the subject. Show them the failures of health insurance mandates and the public option in Massachusetts...they'll call it a success.

As I've noted repeatedly, we've seen enough in Massachusetts with the skyrocketing increase in health care expenditures, the increasing waiting times and the decreasing supply of health care providers to know exactly what will happen with ObamaCare. And as if we didn't already know enough, now there's this:

A study just published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine shows a 9% increase in emergency room visits since the commonwealth [of Massachusetts]’s universal health-care plan was signed into law in 2006.

Obama and the Democrats have had quite a bit to say lately about improving the tone and quality of the debate over health care reform. If they really want a civilized debate, it would help if they would actually listen, and accept the facts for what they are.


Emergency Room Visits Increase Under Universal Coverage

Massachusetts Is a Health-Reform Model (for failure)

Obama Calls for 'Civil' Tone on Health Care

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School Kids Taught to Praise Obama: Lyrics and Analysis, Update: School Responds

By now you've probably seen the creepy "Kids Sing Obama" video. This was was an official school activity, recorded in February at a public school (B. Bernice Young Elementary School, Burlington, NJ), and organized by Ms. Charisse Carney-Nunes, author of I Am Barack Obama. The school denies having authorized the video recording. Here are the lyrics of the chant:

Mmm, mmm, mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must all lend a hand
To make this Country strong again

Mmm, mmm, mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be fair today
Equal work means equal pay

Mmm, mmm, mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
He said we all must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance

Mmm, mmm, mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
He said red, yellow, black, or white,
All are equal in his sight

Mmm, mmm, mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
Yes, mmm, mmm, mmm
Barack Hussein Obama

Here are the lyrics of the song (updated):

Hello Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments
We all [inaudible] say "hooray!"

Hooray Mr. President, you are number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans,
To make this country's economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we’re really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So [inaudible] President, we honor you today!
So here's a hearty [inaudible]

Hip, hip hooray! (3x)

Some of the discussion about the chant has focused on the fourth stanza. The words were ripped from "
Jesus Loves The Little Children."

Hey kidscan you say "quasi-religious"?!

Fox News describes the video well:

The video shows nearly 20 young children taught a song overflowing with campaign slogans and praise for "Barack Hussein Obama," repeatedly chanting the president's name and celebrating his accomplishments, including his "great plans" to "make this country's economy No. 1 again."

The song quotes directly from the spiritual "Jesus Loves the Little Children," though Jesus' name is replaced with Obama's: "He said red, yellow, black or white/All are equal in his sight. Barack Hussein Obama."

I don't particularly appreciate the implications of the first stanza, i.e., "Our country is weak and needs a presidential savior." And I wonder if kids this age are really ready to be introduced to the ERA (second stanza).

If nothing else, this story highlights the importance of keeping Obama's cult-like following away from the children.

The "Kids Sing Obama" video was posted on YouTube on June 19, 2009 as a Fathers' Day tribute to Barack Hussein Obama.


NRO: Kidz4Change: Singing to Dear Leader

School Kids Sing About The Greatness Of Obama…No Indoctrination There

Washington Times: "I went to grade school during the early 1980s, and I do not recall a music teacher asking my class to sing the praises of President Ronald Reagan..."

Update I:

Charisse Carney-Nunes (a classmate of Obama at Harvard Law School, and author of I Am Barack Obama) was apparently involved in the “Kids Sing Obama” video. The "Kids Sing Obama" video was posted on her YouTube channel, BrandNuWords (since removed). Note the I Am Barack Obama poster in the background of the "Kids Sing Obama" video.

Ultra Creepy: Does she have a crush?

Big hat tip to ModernConservative!

Update II:

Jon at Exurban League has a response from the school district confirming the rap session as an official school activity.

Update III:

The school issues a non-apology

Update IV (October 11, 2009):

Washinton Post Plays shifts the blame:

Carney-Nunes said an associate of hers videotaped the children's performance and later uploaded it, along with video and photos from other of her readings, to Carney-Nunes's YouTube account.

"Fathers day tribute to President Obama!! Children sing!"
(above: screen cap, original video removed by author)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sarcstic Millionaires

Sorry guys, you make WAY too much money to be criticizing anybody for making too much money. And you make your millions by doing work that is entirely dispensable and often despicable.

What kind of money do these sanctimonious, self-absorbed stage monkeys make? Examples:

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby $20,000,000
Bewitched $20,000,000
Kicking & Screaming $20,000,000

No. 17 among Prime Time's 20 Top-Earning Women according to Forbes. Earnings: $3.5 million in 2008.

As far as I'm concerned, you thespians should rake in as much cash as you can make for yourself. Just don't criticize others for doing the same, particularly when their work is more important than yours.


Hollywood Talkin’ But Where’s The Cash? Plays The Wealth Envy Card ... Again

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First Amendment Trampled by Federal Government

The Democrat-run Federal Government has ordered a private insurance company to stop educating seniors on the potential disadvantages of ObamaCare proposals.

The Health and Human Services Department (HHS), which oversees the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), launched an investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from His Royal Highness, Max Baucus, D-MT.

Background info from the AP:

Humana is one of the largest private carriers serving seniors under a program called Medicare Advantage. About one-fourth of the elderly and disabled people covered under Medicare participate in the Advantage program, which offers a choice of private plans that usually deliver added benefits.

Humana has about 1.4 million Medicare Advantage enrollees, and the program accounts for about half the company's revenue...

Humana sent out a mailer focused specifically on the Medicare Advantage program. Here are some excerpts from the letter that was banned by your Imperial Federal Government:

With the media reporting daily on Congress' and President Obama's efforts to enact meaningful health reforms this year, many Humana Medicare Advantage (MA) members are contacting us with questions. Members just like you want to know what these reforms might mean for their Medicare health plan and how they can get involved to help protect Medicare Advantage.

Let your Members of Congress know why Medicare Advantage is important to you. Congress is considering significant cuts to Medicare Advantage now, and your Members of Congress will want to know why this program is valuable to you because these cuts could mean higher costs and benefit reductions to many on Medicare Advantage.

Leading health reform proposals being considered in Washington, D.C., this summer include billions in Medicare Advantage funding cuts, as well as spending reductions to original Medicare and Medicaid. While these programs need to be made more efficient, if the proposed funding cut levels become law, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.

As the Wall Street Journal has noted, senior citizens enrolled in Medicare Advantage have good reason to be concerned about the Obama-Baucus plan:

"The Baucus draft legislation slashes $123 billion over the next decade from Medicare Advantage, which Democrats hate despite the fact that almost one-fourth of beneficiaries have chosen it over traditional fee-for-service Medicare. One reason seniors like it is because private insurers focus on quality and preventive care and try to manage benefits, as opposed to simply paying bills."

This is obviously not the sort of information that should be freely disseminated. Fortunately, our benevolent dictators in Washington D.C. have banned the Humana letter in order to protect senior citizens from the vulgar and unvarnished truth. Here are some excerpts from the letter sent to Humana from our courageous HHS/CMS Officials:

CMS has learned that Humana has been contacting enrollees in one or more of its plans and alleging that current health care reform legislation affecting Medicare could hurt “millions of seniors and disabled individuals..."

CMS is concerned that, among other things, this information is misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, represents information to beneficiaries as official communications about the Medicare Advantage program, and is potentially contrary to federal regulations...

As we continue our research into this issue, we are instructing you to end immediately all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your website.

Please be advised that we take this matter very seriously and, based upon the findings of our investigation, will pursue compliance and enforcement actions. [emphasis mine]


Yesterday, the agency also barred all Advantage insurers from providing similar information to their beneficiaries.

David Henderson makes an important observation: "One of the ways that governments try to 'win' debates is to make debate by the other side illegal. This is what HHS is doing, at the behest of Senator Baucus."

Baucus and his statist buddies should keep their fingers crossed. If in spite of the Humana letter ban, Seniors do learn too much and begin to feel threatened by what Democrats are trying to do with Medicare Advantage, it could have a significant impact on the 2010 elections. Karl Rove explains:

"There are roughly 23,400 seniors on average in a congressional district who have Medicare Advantage, but who face losing it if Mr. Obama has his way. That's enough votes to tip most competitive House and Senate races."

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Obama is stifling dissent on health care reform, h/t Adrienne

Monday, September 21, 2009

Who Are You Going to Believe…Me, or That Lying Dictionary?

Obama has decided to sacrifice his credibility in pursuit of his health care agenda. If that wasn't perfectly clear before Obama's media blitz on Sunday, it certainly is now. In his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Obama explained that a tax ain't a tax unless he says it's a tax:

ABC: You were against the individual [health insurance] mandate...during the campaign.


ABC: Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?

OBAMA: Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's...

ABC: That may be, but it's still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. For us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.

ABC: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy...

OBAMA: No, but but, George, you you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase. Any...

ABC: I I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition.

Obama makes a lot of audacious claims here. Particularly absurd is the assertion that the Dems are pushing ObamaCare to promote personal responsibility. There can be little doubt that the primary reason for the individual health insurance mandate is "far more cynical and political." As Rivkin and Casey note, the individual mandate is a "cross-generational subsidy...essential to winning insurance industry support for the legislation and acceptance of heavy federal regulations." The young and the healthy will be forced to carry the burdens of the old and the unwell (or illegal) by paying for excessive government-approved the behest of the Obama regime.

Obama has admitted as much: "Unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions just can’t be achieved."

I also take umbrage with the notion that lack of insurance precludes payment for unexpected health expenses. Thomas Sowell has written an excellent article that shreds that myth to bits:

What did we do, back during the years when most Americans had no medical insurance? I did what most people did. I depended on a "single payer" myself. When I didn't have the money, I paid off my medical bills in installments.

The birth of my first child was not covered by medical insurance. I paid off the bill, month by month, until the time finally came when I could tell my wife that the baby was now ours, free and clear.

In a country where everything imaginable is bought and paid for on credit, why is it suddenly a national crisis if some people cannot pay cash up front for medical treatment?

The most objectionable of Obama's claims is the incredible declaration that his tax isn't a tax...simply because he says it isn't.

Do we need a definition czar?

In the very same interview Obama had said that this year's projected increase in total health care spending equates to a tax increase on American families:

"'ve got what is effectively a tax increase taking place on American families right now. The Kaiser Family Foundation report just came out last week. Health care premiums went up 5.5 percent last year at a time when the rest of the economy, inflation was actually negative. So that is a huge bite out of people's pockets."

So money that goes to the health care industry is a tax increase, but money that goes to the government is not? I'm confused.

As The blogprof points out, Obama has a history of dubious claims about tax cuts, taking credit for consumer savings that have nothing to do with tax revenues. "In the case of mortgage refinancing, Obama himself claimed a tax cut even though actual money paid to the government (i.e. - taxes) wouldn't change..."


Why don't we just point out the obvious?

Let’s all open up our copy of the Baucus plan and turn to page 29. We find ourselves in SUBTITLE D: SHARED RESPONSIBILITY. And what does the bill tell us will happen if you fail to purchase health insurance?

Excise Tax. The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.