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They Really Do Believe We Are Idiots August 14, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in children, culture war, Democrats, economy, health care, Left, life, media, Medicare/Medicaid, news, politics, religion, right to life, senior citizens, welfare.
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Liberal religious groups announced on Monday they are teaming up with President Barack Obama in a national campaign to counter the surprisingly vehement conservative opposition to his plan for overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry this year. Organized by liberal-leaning evangelicals, some mainline Protestant clergy, and some Catholic groups, it will include Obama participating in a call-in program with religious leaders streamed on the Internet on August 19, prayer meetings and nationwide television ads.”

From “U.S. religious left wades into healthcare fight,” which appeared yesterday in Reuters.

When a reporter and/or media outlet is behind you, your vocal support for something or another is “passionate,” “caring,” even “prophetic.” When they don’t, that same intensity is “vehement,” “fueled by anger,” even (to quote Democratic congressional leaders) “unAmerican.”
Some of the same religious leadership that helped Obama navigate the political shoals last year are putting the band back together again, this time in an attempt to blunt massive grassroots resistance to health care “reform.” Let me talk about a few of the particulars.

If you believe a lot of the “mainstream” press, resistance is either synthetic, bought and paid for by those “opposed to health care reform,” ill-informed, and/or stoked in part (as Reuters put it yesterday) by “Christian and conservative radio,” and/or leaders of the “religious right.”

As you undoubtedly know from watching television or reading accounts, President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress are fighting back.

The two-fold strategy appears to be (yet AGAIN) to marginalized anyone who wants an explanation of how they are going to square various circles, and to (yet AGAIN) stop talking about specifics (which always gets them into loads of trouble) and return to the kind of sparkling generalities that Obama specializes in.

That’s where the Religious Left comes in the form of something called “People of Faith for Health Reform and its “40 Days for Health Reform.” One of the usual suspects is Jim Wallis, who told Reuters that “his group’s mission is to keep universal health-care coverage alive as a ‘moral issue.'”

According to NPR, the division of labor goes like this. The Obama Administration has rolled out a website to contest “wild rumors” about its health care initiative and to “call out misinformation.” (Gulp!) So what is the role of this “coalition of progressive religious leaders”?
“Argue morality,” or, according to Liz Halloran, “more specifically, what members characterize as the moral and religious imperative of providing ‘inclusive, accessible’ health care coverage and the need for a civil discourse about the issue, says Jim Wallis of the progressive Christian group Sojourners, one of the coalition sponsors.” (Keep that “civil discourse” comment in mind.)

So, let’s look at the ad. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaBq0QeM3-8) True, there is one statement that is unobjectionable. A pastor looks in the camera and says, “God’s given us a spirit not of fear but of love and action.” But the rest of the ad is the usual us v. the “special interests” drivel that is the hallmark of those who insist you either accept the thrust of the Democrats health care “reform” sight unseen, or you want nothing.

The first statement in the 30-second ad tells you all you need to know: “Special interests in Washington are spending millions to block health insurance reform,” followed by “Killing reform will boost their profits.” In case anyone misses the point a moment later a woman opines, “The special interests are strong.”

However, thanks to NPR, there can be little doubt of the campaign’s real motivation. “According to Gordon Whitman of the PICO National Network, a faith-based community organizing group that is also one of the coalition’s sponsors, the group’s effort will focus on moderate, swing districts where ‘religion is significant to public life.'”

They really do believe we are idiots, don’t they?

Switching gears but to a related subject, there’s been an enormous amount written about “Section 1233 of the health-care bill drafted in the Democratic-led House, which would pay doctors to give Medicare patients end-of-life counseling every five years,” as the Washington Post described it. How much should we be worrying about this?

Let me offer the concluding paragraphs of “Facing the Challenge of Health Care Rationing,” a page one story in the July/August issue of NRL News, written by NRLC’s Burke Balch, JD. Mr. Balch, director of NRLC’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics wrote the following.

The House legislation, as reported from the Energy and Commerce Committee, contains provisions to promote advance directives like “living wills,” including:

1) Medicare reimbursement for consultations about “advance care planning” between health care providers and their patients when they enter Medicare, every five years thereafter, and if they become seriously ill;

2) requiring private and public health care plans to give potential enrollees the option to establish advance directives; and

3) a public education campaign, toll-free telephone hotline, and clearinghouse to promote advance directives and other advance care planning.

Advocates of such measures frequently cite the cost savings if, as they expect, this promotion results in more directives rejecting lifesaving treatment. “We refer to the end-of-life discussion as the multimillion-dollar conversation because it is associated with shifting costs away from expensive … care like being on a ventilator in an ICU, to less costly comfort care …,” said Holly Prigerson of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. National Right to Life strongly encourages the execution of a pro-life advance directive, the Will to Live (see http://www.nrlc.org/MedEthics/WilltoLiveProject.html). However, the pro-life fear is that efforts to push patients and prospective patients to prepare advance directives may in practice become a means of persuading or pressuring them to agree to less treatment as a means of saving money. Moreover, governmental promotion of advance care planning must not include the “option” of assisted suicide. Especially in the Senate, NRLC is working to address these concerns through negotiations and, if necessary, by preparing amendments to be offered in the Senate Finance Committee and on the Senate floor.

It is critically important that pro-life citizens make their voices heard while senators and representatives are at home during August, and after they return to Washington in September. The contemplated restructuring of America’s health care system will affect the life–and death–of every American.

So here’s the scoop: The above critique of the Democrats’ health care agenda is that they want to save us all a lot of money by reducing our health care coverage, eliminating as many worthless people on Medicaid so that they can reduce the amount of money made by private health care insurers to increase the pay of cooperating physicians in their scheme.

I almost forgot an implied one: they will kill two or more birds with one stone–they will save us all money by making us wait for health care by putting us on long waiting lists to reduce our health care. The add bonus is costs will be further reduced because while some of us while waiting for health care will die. And, the double bonus will be that those of us who don’t die will develop the moral virtues of patience and endurance or long suffering.

By accomplishing all of that, they will be able to further justify giving themselves more raises in the future and maybe even helping pay for the billions in give-a-way money for keeping poorly managed financial companies and auto companies as well as foreign investors making more profits at all of our expense.

Yes, the logic of the Left is if you abort all of the worthless babies, worthless welfare poor, and worthless elderly folk–of course, according to their own preplanned consent–everyone can have a better, more profitable, and a good secular life. In the process, they may be able to save some of their prized socialist programs like social security and medicaid from going bankrupt.

What a wonderful utopia we will all live in now that the Left rules our world. We are commanded to now go and spend to support the cause for tomorrow we will surely die; they are planning on it. Oh, what joy it is to live in a planned society.

Source: National Right to Life, August 11, 2009 except for the scoopish commentary.

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State of America, First Six Months Under Pres. Obama & 5 Previous Presidents August 7, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in Barak Obama, Bill Clinton, Congress, economy, employment, federal budget, George W. Bush, health care, military, national debt, national security, news, politics, presidents, senior citizens.
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Brookings recently published mid-year report on the state of America at the end of Pres. Obama as compared with the past five presidents. There is a stark contrast between Obama and GW Bush. The tables below include comparisons of the presidencies of Bill Clinton, GW Bush, and Barak Obama. (To see the entire report, go to www.brookings.edu).

“Common Defense”

 

Bill Clinton (1993)

George W. Bush (2001)

Barack Obama (2009)

U.S. defense budget (billions of constant fiscal 2009 dollars)
$416
$395
$697
Number of U.S. military personnel stationed abroad
308,000
255,000
476,000
U.S. defense budget as a percentage of GDP
4.2%
2.9%
4.2%
Number of U.S. military combat fatalities
29
3
212
Number of nations that have tested a nuclear weapon
5
7
8
Armed conflicts worldwide
32
28
26
Civilian casualties due to armed conflicts worldwide
103,000
42,000
25,000

“General Welfare”

 

Bill Clinton (1993)

George W. Bush (2001)

Barack Obama (2009)

Real GDP growth (annualized for first quarter of presidency)
0.5%
-0.5%
-5.5%
Unemployment rate
7.0%
4.5%
9.5%
Consumer confidence (Conference Board consumer confidence index in June)
58.6
118.9
49.3
Inflation (six-month change in Consumer Price Index, annualized)
2.8%
3.6%
2.7%
Interest rate on 30-year fixed mortgage
7.42%
7.16%
5.42%
Public debt as a percentage of GDP
49.4%
33.0%
54.8%
Oil imports (as a percentage of U.S. oil consumption)
55.9%
70.6%
78.4%
Percentage of large metropolitan areas with employment declines
13%
37%
97%
Percent of large metro areas with house price declines
69%
1%
61%
Federal Reserve balance sheet as a percentage of GDP
6.20%
6.29%
14.51%
Personal savings rate
5.7%
1.9%
4.3%
Life expectancy for people born in year of election
75.8
77.0
77.8 (est.)
Percentage of non-elderly Americans lacking health insurance in year of election
16.8%
16.8%
16.6%

“Blessings of Liberty”

 

Bill Clinton (1993)

George W. Bush (2001)

Barack Obama (2009)

Approval rating of the president, as of July 15
45%
57%
60%
Approval rating of Congress, as of July 15
24%
49%
33%
“Satisfied with the way things are,” as of July 15 
24%
51%
31%
Satisfaction improvement over six months 
-5%
-5%
+14%
Approval rating of the president by independent voters, as of July 15
41%
52%
54%
Gap between Republican and Democratic presidential approval ratings 
58
59
65

What the above statistics tells us is what problems a president inherited and how much change he was able to effective produce. Clinton inherited Reagan’s fiscal discipline. Reagan’s ability to decrease taxes as well as government spending was a success that made Clinton appears a better president than he actually was. Congress is the legislative body that creates the final budget. A spending crazy Congress required a vetoing President like GW Bush. Now, we have Obama, one of those spending crazy members of Congress. GW Bush did as well as he did most likely because he a conservative Congress during his first six months in office.

To see how Carter, Reagan, HW Bush compares to the Clinton, GW Bush, and Obama, go to www.brookings.edu.

Senior Citizens Left Off Government’s Swine-Flu Vaccination Priority List August 6, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in Democrats, economy, ethics, euthanasia, health care, legislation, medicine, news, politics, senior citizens, socialism, taxes.
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Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to minimize suffering and death from influenza, the Health and Human Services Department says on its Web site.

But some senior citizens complain they’ve been left off the list of people who will be first in line to get the swine flu vaccination, when it is ready. One CNSNews.com reader suggested the omission is in line with the Obama’s administration’s plan to “minimize” health care for the elderly, as the reader put it.

On its Flu.gov Web page, HHS says the government is working to produce enough vaccine for the entire population, but there will be shortages when a vaccine first becomes available – probably in mid-October.

That means the “limited supply” will have to be “prioritized for distribution and administration.”

On July 29, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices – a group that advises the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — recommended that novel H1N1 flu vaccine be made available first to the following five groups:

— Pregnant women
— Health care workers and emergency medical responders
— People caring for infants under 6 months of age
— Children and young adults from 6 months to 24 years
— People aged 25 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes)

Nothing is said about people over the age of 64, with or without underlying medical conditions.

HHS admits that its vaccination plans have changed as swine flu has spread:

“Now that an actual flu pandemic has arrived, we must be flexible and adjust our response based on the nature of the actual virus that has emerged, is circulating and causing disease around the world,” Flu.gov says.

“Based on what we know now about the novel H1N1 virus and the most vulnerable groups that are being affected most by this virus and those most likely to encounter it —younger people, pregnant women, healthcare personnel, and people who have underlying health conditions—it is necessary to revise and refine our vaccine prioritization guidance based on real world events.”

HHS says it already has invested more than $1 billion to produce a bulk supply of vaccine and to prepare pilot lots of potential vaccine for use in clinical studies.

In addition Congress passed and President Obama recently signed a supplemental appropriation for $7.5 billion to cover the costs of preparing for H1N1, including a vaccination campaign.

Commentary: In addition to the absence of any consideration for the very large and vulnerable senior population, the paternal health care of the federal bureaucrats costs taxpayers another $7.5 billion.

My question then is why do we need the bureaucrats in Washington funding our health care? Are not the big drug companies and their university labs not capable of funding their own profit-making drugs?

Maybe it is merely how health care works in a socialists system. We pay government, insurance companies, co-pays to doctors and drug companies, and then more through inflation to all of them. When the socialist bureaucrats Americans keep electing to rip them off of their income get their health care reform, Americans will spend even more of the money on health care and more time in line waiting to get health care. If you happen to be elderly, you might as well lessen the financial burden of all others by dying.

That appears to be the Democrats formula for compassionate euthanasia. Such has been the life long goal of Senator Sir Edward Kennedy.

News Source: CNSNews.com, July 31, 2009

Liberals’ Promise of Health Care Utopia Doesn’t Fool Americans August 3, 2009

Posted by Daniel Downs in Barak Obama, economy, ethics, euthanasia, family, health care, legislation, news, senior citizens.
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By Gary Palmer

Beginning with the very unpopular stimulus bill followed by an almost equally unpopular massive energy tax in the form of the cap-and-trade bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, President Obama has seen his approval rating steadily decline to the point that his rating is now lower than President Bush’s was at the same point of their presidencies.

As of this writing, the latest Rasmussen presidential index poll shows Obama with a substantial negative rating. The presidential approval index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of people who strongly disapprove of the job he is doing – 40 percent – from the percentage of people who strongly approve – 28 percent – leaving a negative approval index of 12 percent. Overall, only 48 percent say they at least somewhat approve of Obama’s performance while 51 percent say they at least somewhat disapprove.

Other polls are also reflecting the change in the public’s attitude toward Obama, and essentially toward all Democrats in Congress, especially in regard to their efforts to nationalize health care in America.

The fact that the public is solidly against the bill at this point in the debate is important because the public does not yet fully comprehend the entire impact of the legislation. Obama and the Democrats insist their bill will lower costs while still providing everyone with access to the best technology and best-trained doctors and best-equipped hospitals. They argue that nothing will change in our health system except that costs will come down and everyone, regardless of age, income or citizenship, will have access to high quality health care.

Like magic, utopia will arrive in the form of a government-run health care system and we will all be part of one big, healthy, happy family … except of course, our elderly who will be encouraged by a government counselor to help save money by simply signing an agreement to avoid life-saving medical help.

According to an analysis by Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, pages 425-430 of the current version of the health care bill contain provisions for government counseling for end-of-life planning such as Advanced Death Care Planning, government consulting on living wills and durable power of attorney, government-approved end-of-life resources, approved end-of-life treatments, approved orders for end-of-life planning and approved doctors for end-of-life orders.

If the health care reform bill passes, elderly citizens could endure long waits for treatment and access to medical equipment and be excluded from receiving some treatments and technology altogether because of their age. Elderly patients in Canada and Great Britain have been routinely put at the end of the line for expensive medical care. In the minds of the bureaucrats who control access to health care in those countries, the life expectancy and quality of life relative to younger patients does not justify the expense of treating elderly patients.

Because health care costs are extremely high for older people, Obama has targeted late-life care as an area where spending can be reduced to help cover the costs of this massive government takeover of health care. He talked about this recently in the context of his grandmother who received a hip replacement even though she was terminally ill with cancer.

Obama said this is where we get into some very difficult moral issues because late-life health care and care for the chronically ill is very expensive. He said, “… the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there.” When asked how we should deal with it, Obama explained that “… you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.” That guidance will be authorized by the mandates found in the pages of the massive health care bill.

Despite liberal promises of a health care utopia, the majority of Americans know better. Americans know from the experiences of the people of Canada and Great Britain that government-run health care will cost us trillions of dollars resulting in massive economy-crippling tax increases and lower quality service.

Four months ago, public opinion seemed to indicate this president could do no wrong. But as so often happens with politicians, Obama has overreached in his efforts to remake America as the polls show public disapproval of his agenda growing almost daily. Just over 15 months from now, the public’s opinion on socialized health care and the whole liberal agenda may very well be evident in the only poll that matters, the one that is taken on Election Day.

Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.