Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Ken Berwitz

From Scott Johnson at www.powerlineblog.com:

All about Natoma: A case study

March 16, 2010 Posted by Scott at 8:05 AM

Have more lies ever been told about a worse public policy than the Democrats' impending nationalization of health care? If so, I can't think of it offhand this morning.

Obamacare won't improve the health care system. It isn't fiscally responsible. It won't reduce the deficit. It won't lower insurance premiums. It won't increase coverage choices. It won't control health care costs. And it does not respect the virtues of the current system.

Take the case of Natoma Canfield. Obama's flaks were all over the Sunday shows telling her sad story as the reason why Obamacare is necessary. She is a cancer survivor who has struggled to pay increasing health insurance premiums. Last year she incurred significant health care expenses and dropped her health insurance coverage.

Then Canfield contracted leukemia. She wrote a letter to Obama this past December bewailing her fate. She described herself as in desperate need of Obama's help.

Canield's letter provided the pretext yesterday for Obama to visit Ohio, stump for Obamacare and give Dennis Kucinich a ride in Air Force One (with or without the missus?).

Natoma Canfield's is a sad story. Leukemia is a ferocious disease, although American medicine has made incredible strides in treating it.

But it turns out that Natoma Canfield didn't need Obama's help after all. Canfield is the beneficiary of the advances in the treatment of leukemia. She is receiving treatment for her leukemia. Indeed, she is receiving treatment for her leukemia at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the finest medical facilities in the United States (one that Obama has previously recognized as a model facility).

And the Cleveland Clinic is apparently treating Canfield without payment up front. Instead, it is relying on Canfield qualifying for Medicaid or is willing to providing her care at the expense of the clinic.

According to Fox News, the executive director of patient financial services at the Cleveland Clinic, said "all indications" at the outset are that Canfield will be considered for assistance. "She may be eligible for state Medicaid ... and/or she will be eligible for charity (care) of some form or type. ... In my personal opinion, she will be eligible for something," he said, adding that Canfield should not be worried about losing her home.

The New York Times somehow missed that story.

To my (and I hope your) disgust, this is what rapidly has become the standard Democratic formula for selling legislation the public either is iffy about or doesn't want outright:  trot out someone with a tragedy related to the legislation and put on a little roman circus for the folks.  Make 'em think that they're monsters if they don't immediately become proponents of whatever the tragedy is about.

This week it is Natoma Canfield - who, has gotten excellent health care for her condition without ObamaCare and, evidently, is in no danger of losing her home.  Last week it was a child named Marcellus Owens, being showcased because his mother died at the age of 27 - after receiving health care for her condition without ObamaCare.

Is there a point to this, other than bamboozling people?

If so, what?


Ken Berwitz

From Byron York at the Washington Examiner:

Pelosi: 'Once we kick through this door,' more reform will follow

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
03/16/10 1:56 AM EDT


If you have any doubt that the Democratic leadership of the House views passing the current health care reform bill as the beginning, not the end, of the process of creating a national government health care system, just note what Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a group of bloggers on Monday. "My biggest fight has been between those who wanted to do something incremental and those who wanted to do something comprehensive," Pelosi said, according to an account by Washington Post reform advocate Ezra Klein. "We won that fight, and once we kick through this door, there'll be more legislation to follow."


But since the current bill is unpopular, and Pelosi at the moment does not have enough Democratic, much less Republican, votes to pass it, the door she will be kicking through is the back door. Pelosi told the bloggers she favors using the "self-executing rule" strategy in which the House would pass the Senate health care bill without going on the record as specifically voting for it. "I like it," Pelosi said of the scheme, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill." The strategy of passing the Senate bill while avoiding a direct vote, writes Klein, "is all about plausible deniability for House members who don't want to vote for the Senate bill."


In a particularly Alice-in-Wonderland moment, Pelosi argued that the debate over health care reform can begin after the bill is passed. "Pelosi said passing the bill would allow Dems to undertake a 'debate' with Republicans over 'what is the balanced role that government should have,'" writes another pro-reform blogger at the Post, Greg Sargent. According to Sargent, Pelosi explained, "We have to take it to the American people, to say, this is the choice that you have. This is the vision that they have for your health and well being, and this is the vision that we have." Again, in Pelosi's scenario, that debate would occur after the bill is passed.


Finally, Pelosi downplayed statements from her own team that she does not yet have the votes to pass the national health care measure. On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Democratic Whip Rep. James Clyburn said, "No, we don't have them as of this morning." Meeting with the bloggers, Pelosi said, "The reason [Clyburn] said that is we dont have a bill yet." In the end, the Speaker declared, "I have no intention of not passing this bill."

We would do well to heed Ms. Pelosi's own words here.  She is going to pass legislation whether we, the people, want it or not.  And then, by degrees, build it into the atrocity that we want even less:  nationalized health care.  To be run by who?  By the government, with its sterling record of efficiency and frugality, that's who.

And that "strategy" of passing the bill without actually voting on the bill?  That's not a "strategy" at all; that's a government by fiat.  The kind of action that hugo chavez would be proud of.  Are you? 

And what about democracy?  What about actually voting on a bill that incorporates something like one sixth of our entire economy into government control?  Overrated and unnecessary.

Unfortunately for us, it looks like the 2010 elections won't come fast enough to prevent this national disgrace, this change of the way our country works. 

But for god sakes, let's do something about it in November.  Something these people, who are so indifferent to the will of the people and to democracy itself, won't forget for a long, long time.


Ken Berwitz

Read this quote from President Obama.  Watch the video so you can see it is 100% accurate and in context.  And then think about what would have happened if George Bush ever said it, and his audience had reacted as this one did:

"For Americans who get their insurance through the workplacehow many people are getting insurance through their jobs right now?  Raise your hands.

"Alright, well, a lot of those folks, your employer, its estimated, would see premiums fall by as much as 3000%, which means they could give you a raise"



Yes, you heard that right.  Yesterday, President Obama told a cheering crowd (even that kid behind Obama who yawned at the beginning of the clip) that employers could lower their insurance by as much as 3000% .

Well, at least he got the raise thing right.  It's hard to dispute that employees are in line for a raise if the company they work for winds up getting $30 for each dollar it used to spend on their premiums.

Again:  suppose George Bush had said that.  And suppose his audience had reacted with gasps of joy and cheers, as this one did.  Do you think we'd have heard about it from the media today?  Do you think we'd have heard about what a dunce Bush is, and what blithering idiots his supporters are for accepting something so obviously wrong?  Is there any doubt?

Well, did media say that about Mr. Obama and his supporters?

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.......


Ken Berwitz

Maybe it's just that the career Israel/Jew-hater pat buchanan posts columns there, and he brings them out of the woodwork. 

But if you want to see some of the most classically anti-Semitic commenters in the blogosphere, go to http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36047&page=11#c1 and you'll find them.

Keep a barf bag handy.


Ken Berwitz

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, just released this afternoon, tells us that:

-President Obama gets only a 48% approval rating, versus 47% who disapprove;

-36% say the health care legislation is a good idea, versus 48% who say it is a bad idea;

-The lopsidedly Democratic congress has a remarkably minuscule 17% approval rating;

-67% of Republicans are enthusiastic about the November elections (i.e. eager to vote)  versus 46% of Democrats.

But, as I type this, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd are trying to convince each other that these numbers are good for President Obama and Democrats because they are a couple of points better than last month (read the numbers again to get the full belly laugh) .

That is roughly equivalent to congratulating your child for getting 37% on this week's test, because last week's was 34%

And, if that wasn't enough, Matthews - part of an MSNBC lineup that, from 5PM to 11PM consists of himself, Ed Schultz, keith olbermann and Rachel Maddow - just attacked Fox News for being one-sided.

You cannot beat this man for sheer comic relief.


Ken Berwitz

From an Associated Press article about reaction to the Obama administation's stance against Israel building 1,600 residential units in Jerusalem, its capital city:

Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he was "shocked and stunned at the administration's tone and public dressing down of Israel on the issue of future building in Jerusalem."

"We cannot remember an instance when such harsh language was directed at a friend and ally of the United States," Foxman said.

To Mr. Foxman:  Are you an idiot?  Can you possibly be this stupid?

Barack Obama was a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ for almost 20 years - a church led by jeremiah wright, an Israel hater second to none, who subscribes to "Black liberation theology", which is both anti-White and anti-Semitic.

And you're "shocked and stunned" that Barack Obama, who voluntarily stayed in that church all those years, is taking stands against Israel?

Asking one more time:  are you an idiot?  Can you possibly be this stupid?

And to the 78% of Jews who voted for Barack Obama and most of whom presumably support Israel:  Are you happy with what you got?

Speaking as one of the other 22% - one who didn't look the other way and rationalize Obama's two-decade attachment to wright -  I can assure you I am not. 


Ken Berwitz

In case you're wondering about those promises of transparency we heard throughout Barack Obama's presidential campaign, we have this, excerpted from an Associated Press article:

WASHINGTON (AP) - One year into its promise of greater government transparency, the Obama administration is more often citing exceptions to the nation's open records law to withhold federal records even as the number of requests for information decline, according to a review by The Associated Press of agency audits about the Freedom of Information Act.


Among the most frequently cited reasons for keeping records secret: one that Obama specifically told agencies to stop using so frequently. The Freedom of Information Act exception, known as the "deliberative process" exemption, lets the government withhold records that describe its decision-making behind the scenes.


Major agencies cited the exemption at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, up from 47,395 times during President George W. Bush's final full budget year, according to annual reports filed by federal agencies. Obama was president for nine months in the 2009 period.


The government's track record under the Freedom of Information Act is widely considered a principal measurement of how transparently it makes decisions. When Obama promised last year to be more open he said doing so "encourages accountability through transparency," and said: "My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government."


In a new statement Tuesday, Obama noted the release of White House visitor logs and federal data online in recent months said his administration was recommitted "to be the most open and transparent ever."


The agencies cited exemptions at least 466,872 times in budget year 2009, compared with 312,683 times the previous year, the review found. Over the same period, the number of information requests declined by about 11 percent, from 493,610 requests in fiscal 2008 to 444,924 in 2009.


The administration has stalled even over records about its own efforts to be more transparent. The AP is still waitingafter nearly three monthsfor records it requested about the White House's "Open Government Directive," rules it issued in December directing every agency to take immediate, specific steps to open their operations up to the public.

Why in the world would anyone believe a word this man says?


Ken Berwitz

This headline, from London's Daily Telegraph (and other media) says it all:

Barack Obama threatens to withdraw support from wavering Democrats

Barack Obama has said he will not campaign for any Democratic congressmen who fails to support health care reform.

If I were a wavering congressperson, I would look at Virginia.  And New Jersey.  And Massachusetts.  And the issue would be settled right there.

My vote will be no.  NO.  That's N!O!  Got it?  Well, here it is one more time, just in case:    NO!

Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. President!!


Ken Berwitz

One more blog on the disgraceful tidal wave of lies that comprises ObamaCare; this time from Rich Lowry, writing for the New York Post.  The bold print is mine:

'Uglier and uglier'

The final drive to ObamaCare

Posted: 1:30 AM, March 16, 2010

Rich Lowry

The finale of the health-care debate couldn't be more fitting. House Democrats are considering passing an exotic parliamentary rule relieving them of the burden of voting for the underlying bill, which will be "deemed" passed.

So a bill sold under blatantly false pretenses and passed in the Senate on the strength of indefensible deals would become law in a final flourish of deceptive highhandedness. How appropriate for what would be the worst piece of federal domestic legislation since the recovery-impairing National Recovery Act of 1933 or the Prohibition disaster in 1920.

After Scott Brown's victory, Democrats claimed to understand how the ugly process had undermined support for the bill. Yet since then, (to paraphrase Alice) it's gotten uglier and uglier.

Because they no longer had 60 votes in the Senate, Democrats decided to bypass regular order in the upper body with so-called reconciliation rules dispensing with the filibuster.

Reconciliation was supposed to be used to eliminate all that bill's unsightly special deals. But one of those deals for a Democratic interest group will actually be extended: Once touted as the prime cost-saving measure in the bill, the Cadillac tax on high-end health plans will be delayed to 2018 at the behest of the unions.

And who's to say what constitutes a "special deal"? After hearing from powerful senators, the White House has a new affection for spending provisions tailored for Connecticut, Montana and Louisiana. Obama strategist David Axelrod explains that the added hundreds of billions in Medicaid dollars of the "Louisiana Purchase" could theoretically be available to any state -- even though the Senate bill devotes pages to describing cryptic, Louisiana-specific eligibility criteria.

Ordinarily, differences between Senate- and House-passed bills are worked out in a conference committee, producing a compromise bill for consideration by both houses. Instead, Democrats want the House to pass an unamended Senate bill that will be cleaned up later. But the Senate bill is so radioactive that the House wants to sidestep a direct vote on it.

No conference committee, no separate House vote: Change has indeed come to Washington.

The endlessly improvised process wouldn't be necessary if Democrats had persuaded the public of the bill's merits.

But President Obama's "closing argument" is as unconvincing as his fantastic assurances that a new entitlement slated to grow at 8 percent a year will contain costs and reduce the deficit.

Obama has taken to lambasting the insurers. Never mind that, as Robert Samuelson of Newsweek points out, the profits of the largest insurers amount to only .4 percent of total annual medical costs -- which are fundamentally driven by the price and volume of care. Obama uses Anthem Blue Cross in California as a whipping boy on the basis of its planned rate hike for individual insurance of as much as 39 percent.

And how exactly is Obama going to stop such rate increases? Massachusetts already adopted a version of ObamaCare, and its average insurance premiums are still the highest in the country. Obama wants to set up a federal Health Insurance Rate Authority. But most states already require insurers in the individual markets to get prior approval for rate increases.

The president's anti-insurer jag is only the latest sedimentary layer on top of his ever-shifting, opportunistic and literally incredible case for his bill.

Obama has said repeatedly that he doesn't want the health-care bill to fund abortion and that it won't. But when a prohibition on abortion funding passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote, fulfilling his stated desire, Obama didn't ask for it to be included in the Senate bill. Now, the final bill will in all likelihood fund abortion, putting the lie to all he said.

That, too, is fitting. If they force the bill through, Democrats will have "made history" -- but not the kind they imagine. ObamaCare will constitute a ramshackle monument to partisan willfulness and unscrupulous salesmanship that should forever discredit its architects.

Remember this in November.

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