Saturday, 05 March 2011

IS "OBAMACARE" OFFENSIVE?

Ken Berwitz

In recent weeks, a new meme has found its way into the media:  that the term "ObamaCare" is offensive and derogatory.

Let's discuss this.  Is it either of those things?

Let me start with the answer to that question.  No, it is not offensive or derogatory. 

The term "ObamaCare" does not say anything good or bad.  It is a colloquialism that ties President Obama to the health care legislation he pushed as hard as he could to enact.  The term means no more and no less than "this is your baby, President Obama"

If the country favors this legislation, "ObamaCare" is a benefit to the President and his party.  If the country does not favor it, "ObamaCare" is a detriment.  It, therefore, is not the term itself, but opposition to the legislation, that makes "ObamaCare" a detriment.

My assumption is that supporters of ObamaCare see this opposition, hear the term being used derogatorily because of it, and are searching for some way to deflect that negativism.  Claiming that the term is the problem rather than the legislation itself appears to be their strategy.

Then, of course, there is always the sarcastic over-the-top stuff as well.  One good example is a very interesting back-and-forth between Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "Daily Show" and John O'Hara, who wrote "The New American Tea Party", which I got from Dan Miller's blog at pajamasmedia.com:

Stewart: Isnt Obamacare, by nature of you using the phrase, derogatory? Instead of saying Lets just talk about the new health care reform.

OHara: I dont think thats a slam. Thats a moniker that its been given because its his

Stewart: John, Jooohn, Johhhhn? Why dont I call it the tea bagging book? I dont think thats a slam. Lets not call it a slam. Its just something I said.[audience applause] OHara: One is an obscure sexual fetish, the other is a guys name. (emphasis added)

As you can see, Stewart's brainstorm is to equate a neutral term, "ObamaCare" with a pejorative term, "tea bagging", which refers to an explicit sexual act many people find disgusting.  And, of course, since the audience is Stewart's, thus is in his corner, it is going to laugh and applaud at anything he says, even a comparison as ludicrous as this one.

But, in a way, I don't blame the Stewart's and other leftward folks, for trying to will "ObamaCare" into a derogatory expression.  I guess they have to do something. 

The only problem is, that if ObamaCare went away, and was replaced by a different term, that term would become derogatory as well, for exactly the same reason - that so many people are opposed to the legislation.

But Mr. Stewart should look at the bright side.  At least it would give him a bit more material for the show.....

free` I have an idea, lets call it the George W Bush health care plan. Then we can be sure the left will join the rest of us in hating this law. ;) (03/05/11)


IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT: THE NEW YORK TIMES' VIEW

Ken Berwitz

The Obama administration has made immigration enforcement a non-issue.  Not on the front burner, not on the back burner, not on any burner.  It not only will not enforce the laws of this country but is suing at least one individual state, Arizona, for trying to do so on its own.

As a result, dozens of states around the country are scrambling to emulate Arizona and pass their own enforcement laws. You can read all about it in Huma Khan's article at ABC News.

Would they be doing so if the Obama administration was acting like it had the responsibility to enforce existing laws, instead of like a dictatorship which makes up the laws as it goes along?  Nope.

So how does this sit with the so-called "Gray Lady", the New York Times? 

Well, is your answer.  The Times (as befits its relevance these days) is in rust.  My reactions (as befits my reaction to the editorial) are in blue:

Washingtons inaction on immigration reform has left the states feeling abandoned and wondering what to do. Thank you, Times, for this one and only reference to the Obama administration's de facto abrogation of immigration law. When the frustration boils over, as it has most scarily in Arizona, Republicans have been pushing what amounts to vigilantism states taking on federal enforcement, shouldering aside civil rights and the Constitution and spending whatever it takes to get rid of illegal immigrants.  Er, you mean trying to enforce the laws that Washington, as you put it, has completely ignored?  Where is your outrage about that?  Nowhere, thats where.   Its a seductively simple vision, and lawmakers across the country are grasping at it, pushing Arizona-style copycat laws.  Yep, enforce the laws that are already on the books.  Seductive simplicity at its finest. 

 

Thank goodness for the pushback. In dozens of states considering such crackdowns including Nebraska, Indiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas elected officials, law enforcers, business owners, religious leaders and regular citizens are providing the calm voices and cool judgment that are lacking in the shimmering heat of Phoenix.   Translation:  As in Arizona, dozens of other states also are forced to deal with immigration laws because the Obama administration is ignoring them.  And there are advocates for illegals who dont like it.  Thats too bad.

They are reminding their representatives that replacing federal immigration policy with a crazy quilt of state-led enforcement schemes is only a recipe for more lawlessness and social disruption, for expensive lawsuits and busted budgets, lost jobs and boycotts. And all without fixing the problem. WHAT immigration policy?  To pretend the laws dont exist?  How telling that the Times does not have one word of criticism regarding non-enforcement of the law.  In its parallel universe, that isnt the reason for lawlessness or social disruption, it is just a convenient excuse for those Neanderthals who actually believe laws mean something. 

This isnt just an immigrants cause. Business owners in places like Kansas and Texas, the attorney general in Indiana, Catholic and Protestant bishops in Mississippi these and hundreds of other community leaders have been sending a contrary message. ?????

The businesses say bills to force employers to check workers legal status are redundant, costly and anticompetitive.  Every business says that?  Not just the ones which hire, and exploit, illegal workers?  The Times conducted a poll?   The clergy members have denounced bills to criminalize acts of charity, like driving an undocumented immigrant to church or the doctor. Every clergy member says that?  The Times conducted a poll?   Lawyers have said new layers of enforcement paperwork would heavily burden legitimate business and overwhelm state bureaucracies.  Every lawyer member says that?  The Times conducted a poll?  Gee, I guess just about everyone is against enforcing immigration lawsexcept the Quinnipiac Poll's 60% who say they disapprove of President Obamas handling of immigration laws, compared to 28% approving.   Or the 68% who say there should be stricter enforcement.  I guess none of them are in business, or clergy or lawyers  

Police chiefs and sheriffs are leading the skeptical resistance to the bills, which frequently involve having local police checking the immigration status of people they stop. A report released on Thursday by a national police research group looked at cities where police officials had been drawn into heated immigration debates. Its conclusions: federal enforcement is no job for local officers, who should be forbidden to arrest or detain people solely because of their immigration status.  How artful.  The claim is that police chiefs and sheriffs are leading the charge against checking for illegals.  Based on what?  An unnamed national police research group.  Were supposed to just nod dumbly and accept this, while completely ignorant of the source.  Sadly, some of us will, too.

The reasons: it costs too much, prompts false-arrest lawsuits and frightens law-abiding immigrants. I have a responsibility to provide service to the entire community no matter how they got here, said Chief Charlie Deane of the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia. It is in the best interest of our community to trust the police.   Then why isnt the Times demanding that the Obama administration DO ITS JOB and ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAW?  Is it not 100% clear that the Times position is that illegal immigration should continue unchecked?  The feds shouldnt enforce it and the states shouldnt enforce it either.  How does that sit with you?

The chiefs of Nebraskas two largest police departments in Lincoln and Omaha recently told the State Legislature basically the same thing.

A peculiar mix of nativism and immigration panic has pushed the immigration debate far out into the desert of extremism. Its going to take a serious effort by saner voices to ensure that what happens in Arizona stays there.  Ahhh, there you have it.  If you want the existing immigration laws enforced you are an extremist.  You also display a level of insanity.  The corollary, therefore, is that if you want the laws ignored you are both in the mainstream and more sane.

Once upon a time, the The New York Times was a great newspaper.  Then it was just a newspaper.  

 

Now?  Anyone got some fish to wrap?

 

Zeke .... .... .... Notice how editorials in the NYT consist of adjectives .... only adjectives. .... No logic, no weighing of pros and cons. .... "Crazy quilt", ... "A peculiar mix of nativism and immigration panic", ... "a recipe for more lawlessness and social disruption". ... .... The NYT seems to think that trash-talking constitutes compelling debate. .... (03/05/11)


SPEAKING OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.....

Ken Berwitz

While we're on the subject of illegals, you might be interested in reading this excerpt from Dave Williams' piece at the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

All but the smallest businesses in Georgia would have to keep illegal immigrants off of their payrolls under Republican-backed legislation that passed the state House of Representatives Thursday.

The bill, which passed 113-56 virtually along party lines, would require companies with five or more employees to enroll in a Web-based federal verification system to check on the immigration status of new hires.

Supporters blamed illegal immigrants taking jobs from legal citizens as a contributing factor in Georgias record-high 10.4-percent unemployment rate reported in January.

Opponents warned that passing another bill targeting illegal immigrants would only worsen the states economy by discouraging foreign investment and tourism, citing Arizonas losses of convention and meeting business since that state enacted a similar law.

Georgia will join a dubious list [of states] that say, The welcome mat has been pulled up, and the welcome light is off, said Rep. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta.

In other words, as in other states, Republicans are clearly the party of immigration law enforcement and Democrats are clearly the party of ignoring immigration law enforcement.

Call me a pessimist, but somehow I doubt that is going to be a great place for Democrats to be on election day next year. 

Incidentally, isn't it interesting to note how upset Rep. Elena Parent is that "the welcome mat has been pulled up, and the welcome light is off"? 

WHAT welcome mat?  WHAT welcome light?  When did the voters of Georgia (or other states) ever indicate in any way that they welcome people who come here illegally and either take jobs that legals would have gotten or take no jobs and all and live off of the legals?

If Ms. Parent wants to live where illegals are welcome, I suggest she move to San Francisco - Nancy Pelosi's district would be a pretty good bet.  Because, in Georgia, I doubt she is going to see quite as much of it.


HILLARY CLINTON: THE PRICE OF INEXPERIENCE AND INCOMPETENCE

Ken Berwitz

Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, combines two major attributes:  inexperience (no foreign policy background, other than going on state trips with her husband) and incompetence (can anyone tell me what way Ms. Clinton has ever shown competence in any job she has held?).

Not surprisingly, therefore, when faced with a serious crisis which requires experience and competence, she is failing miserably.

Excerpted from Caroline Glick's excellent - and therefore frightening - essay  originally published in the Jerusalem Post :

A new Middle East is upon us and its primary beneficiary couldn't be happier.

 

In a speech Monday in the Iranian city of Kermanshah, Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Politburo Chief General Yadollah Javani crowed, "Iran's pivotal role in the New Middle East is undeniable. Today the Islamic Revolution of the Iranian nation enjoys such a power, honor and respect in the world that all nations and governments wish to have such a ruling system."

 

Iran's leaders have eagerly thrown their newfound weight around. For instance, Iran is challenging Saudi Arabia's ability to guarantee the stability of global oil markets.

 

In the midst of Egypt's revolutionary violence, Iran quickly deployed its Hamas proxies to the Sinai. Since Mubarak's fall, Iran has worked intensively to expand its proxy forces' capacity to operate freely in the Sinai.

 

Recognition of Iran's expanded power is fast altering the international community's perception of the regional balance of forces. Russia's announcement last Saturday that it will sell Syria the supersonic Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile was a testament to Iran's rising regional power and the US's loss of power. 

 

Russia signed a deal to provide the missiles to Syria in 2007. But Moscow abstained from supplying them until now - just after Iran sailed its naval ships unmolested to Syria through the Suez Canal and signed a naval treaty with Syria effectively fusing the Iranian and Syrian navies. So too, Russia's announcement that it sides with Iran's ally Turkey in its support for reducing UN Security Council sanctions against Iran indicates that the US no longer has the regional posture necessary to contain Iran on the international stage.

 

Iran's increased regional power and its concomitant expanded leverage in international oil markets will make it impossible for the US to win UN Security Council support for more stringent sanctions against Tehran. Obviously UN Security Council sanctioned military action against Iran's nuclear installations is out of the question. 

 

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has failed completely to understand what is happening. Clinton told the Congress and the Senate that Iran's increased power means that the US should continue to arm and fund Iran's allies and support the so-called democratic forces that are allied with Iran

 

So it was that Clinton told the Senate that the Obama administration thinks it is essential to continue to supply the Hizbullah-controlled Lebanese military with US arms Clinton claimed that she couldn't say what Hizbullah control over the Lebanese government meant regarding the future of US ties to Lebanon

 

So too, while Palestinian Authority leaders burn President Barack Obama in effigy and seek to form a unity government with Iran's Hamas proxy, Clinton gave an impassioned defense of US funding for the PA to the House Foreign Relations Committee this week.

 

Clinton's behavior bespeaks a stunning failure to understand the basic realities she and the State Department she leads are supposed to shape. Her lack of comprehension is matched only by her colleague Defense Secretary Robert Gates' lack of shame and nerve. In a press conference this week, Gates claimed that Iran is weakened by the populist waves in the Arab world because Iran's leaders are violently oppressing their political opponents.

 

In light of the Obama administration's refusal to use US military force for even the most minor missions - like evacuating US citizens from Libya - without UN approval, it is apparent that the US will not use armed force against Iran for as long as Obama is in power. 

 

And given the administration's refusal to expend any effort to protect US interests and allies in the region lest the US be accused of acting like a superpower, it is clear that US allies like the Saudis will not be able to depend on America to defend the regime. This is the case despite the fact that its overthrow would threaten the US's core regional interests.  

Is this what we want for our foreign policy?  Does this make any sense? 

Well, it doesn't matter.  Because this is our foreign policy and, unless something changes, we're going to have to live with it.

But let's be candid here:  what more could we have expected?  We have a President and a Secretary of State who, between the two of them, took those offices with as much foreign policy experience as your local plumber.  What basis do we have for expecting them to handle foreign policy with any level of capability?

Now, add in the fact that President Obama has a penchant for deferring to our enemies in the Muslim Middle East while giving Israel the back of his hand, and Hillary Clinton is a political toadie/chameleon who will say or do anything at any time to look good for that moment.  What do you have?

The answer, sadly, and more and more tragically, is that you have this administration's foreign policy.  With all the consequences that go with it.

The 2012 elections cannot come fast enough.


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