Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Gonna Be Infotainmenty!

Here are some of the things we’ll learn during tomorrow night's ABC Obamacare infomercial:

- We can’t afford not to act.

- If you like your current health plan you can keep your plan.

- People who are against this plan want to “do nothing”.

That’s going to be the gist of it. It just doesn’t seem fair that for an overhaul of the health care industry this massive, ABC will give Obama a stage from which he can spout reliable talking points for an hour, while no dissenting voices will be present to expose the true, single-payer consequences of Obama’s multi-trillion dollar reforms.

Instead, the opposition must hope that one of the civilian questioners stumps Obama with a tricky question (unlikely). Or that Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer call Obama on some of the inconsistencies present in his efforts to explain the plan thus far (much more unlikely).

Nope. Tomorrow night you can expect another MSM/Obama love fest, filled to the brim with health care sob stories and meaningless reiterations from Obama on how his plan is not “socialized medicine”.

But if there’s a sleeper in the audience tomorrow. If somehow an above average policy mind sneaks into the taping and gets to present the President with a question, here’s what it should be:

“Mr. President, you’ve repeatedly stated that if you like your current health insurance coverage you can keep it. But, most people get their health insurance through heir employer. So what’s going to stop the employers from dropping their coverage in an effort to save money and simply encouraging all of their employees to take the “public option?”

Now, we already know the answer that Obama will give to this question. He’s going to say that there will be a fine on employers who don’t cover their workers. What he wont say is how high that fine will be. If the penalty is less than the savings that can be reaped by dropping the company health plan, then America is in for a permanent, expensive government funded health care debacle, courtesy of the spendyest President to ever take up residence in the White House.

- Dan

"Bitch Thinks She Cute!"

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

This Father's Day, Thank A Boomer.

This Father's day, don't let liberal guilt go to your heads dads.

This Boomer Isn't Going To Apologize

Last weekend I attended my niece's high-school graduation from an upscale prep school in Washington, D.C. These are supposed to be events filled with joy, optimism and anticipation of great achievements. But nearly all the kids who stepped to the podium dutifully moaned about how terrified they are of America's future -- yes, even though Barack Obama, whom they all worship and adore, has brought "change they can believe in." A federal judge gave the commencement address and proceeded to denounce the sorry state of the nation that will be handed off to them. The enemy, he said, is the collective narcissism of their parents' generation -- my generation. The judge said that we baby boomers have bequeathed to the "echo boomers," "millennials," or whatever they are to be called, a legacy of "greed, global warming, and growing income inequality."

And everyone of all age groups seemed to nod in agreement. One affluent 40-something woman with lots of jewelry told me she can barely look her teenagers in the eyes, so overcome is she with shame over the miseries we have bestowed upon our children.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that graduation ceremonies have become collective airings of guilt and grief. It's now chic for boomers to apologize for their generation's crimes. It's the only thing conservatives and liberals seem to agree on. Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, told Butler University grads that our generation is "just plain selfish." At Grinnell College in Iowa, author Thomas Friedman compared boomers to "hungry locusts . . . eating through just about everything." Film maker Ken Burns told this year's Boston College grads that those born between 1946 and 1960 have "squandered the legacy handed to them by the generation from World War II."

I could go on, but you get the point. We partied like it was 1999, paid for it with Ponzi schemes and left the mess for our kids and grandkids to clean up. We're sorry -- so sorry.

Well, I'm not. I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old, and I can say firsthand that if boomer parents have anything for which to be sorry it's for rearing a generation of pampered kids who've been chauffeured around to soccer leagues since they were 6. This is a generation that has come to regard rising affluence as a basic human right, because that is all it has ever known -- until now. Today's high-school and college students think of iPods, designer cellphones and $599 lap tops as entitlements. They think their future should be as mapped out as unambiguously as the GPS system in their cars.

CBS News reported recently that echo boomers spend $170 billion a year -- more than most nations' GDPs -- and nearly every penny of that comes from the wallets of the very parents they now resent. My parents' generation lived in fear of getting polio; many boomers lived in fear of getting sent to the Vietnam War; this generation's notion of hardship is TiVo breaking down.

How bad can the legacy of the baby boomers really be? Let's see: We're the generation that spawned Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, ATMs and Gatorade. We defeated the evils of communism and delivered the world from the brink of global thermonuclear war. Now youngsters are telling pollsters that they think socialism may be better than capitalism after all. Do they expect us to apologize for winning the Cold War next?

College students gripe about the price of tuition, and it does cost way too much. But who do these 22-year-old scholars think has been footing the bill for their courses in transgender studies and Che Guevara? The echo boomers complain, rightly, that we have left them holding the federal government's $8 trillion national IOU. But try to cut government aid to colleges or raise tuitions and they act as if they have been forced to actually work for a living.

Yes, the members of this generation will inherit a lot of debts, but a much bigger storehouse of wealth will be theirs in the coming years. When I graduated from college in 1982, the net worth of America -- all our nation's assets minus all our liabilities -- was $16 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Today, even after the meltdown in housing and stocks, the net worth of the country is $45 trillion -- a doubling after inflation. The boomers' children and their children will inherit more wealth and assets than any other in the history of the planet -- that is, unless Mr. Obama taxes it all away. So how about a little gratitude from these trust-fund babies for our multitrillion-dollar going-away gifts?

My generation is accused of being environmental criminals -- of having polluted the water and air and ruined the climate. But no generation in history has done more to clean the environment than mine. Since 1970 pollutants in the air and water have fallen sharply. Since 1960, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh have cut in half the number of days with unsafe levels of smog. The number of Americans who get sick or die from contaminants in our drinking water has plunged for 50 years straight.

Whenever kids ask me why we didn't do more to combat global warming, I explain that when I was young the "scientific consensus" warned of global cooling. Today's teenagers drive around in cars more than any previous generation. My kids have never once handed back the car keys because of some moral problem with their carbon footprint -- and I think they are fairly typical.

The most absurd complaint of all is that the health-care system has been ruined by our generation. Oh, really? Thanks to massive medical progress in the past 30 years, the chances of dying from heart disease and many types of cancer have been cut in half. We found effective treatments for AIDS within a decade. Life expectancy has risen and infant mortality fallen. That doesn't sound so "selfish" to me.

Yes, we are in a deep economic crisis today -- but it's no worse than what we boomers faced in the late 1970s after years of hyperinflation, sky-high tax rates and runaway government spending. We cursed our parents, too. But then we grew up and produced a big leap forward in health, wealth and scientific progress. Let's see what this next generation of over-educated ingrates can do.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal's editorial page

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is it Just Me.....

.......or is Iran ripe for regime change? We all know how much President Obama loves "soft power". Well now would be a great time to use it. Even if not initially successful the Administration could show the Iranian people that America truly stands with the Muslim world by supporting what very well could be the majority that voted for Mr. Mousavi, rather than setting up some kind of moral equivalency between the United States and treacherous Islamic regimes as Mr. Obama did in his Cairo speech. A public show of support for what's happening in the Iranian streets would give us just as much leverage and is far more in keeping with our values than sitting down and talking to a Holocaust denier. Here's a good one from The Weekly Standard that expands on this theory and another article from Neoavatera that defines the missed opportunity very succinctly.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meanwhile, On The East Coast....

First of all I want to thank everyone out there who made Saturday's posting such a hit. Especially Michelle Malkin who is the heart and soul of the conservative blogosphere.

Now, while I was undercover in L.A. on Saturday, Byron York was openly observing one of the Obamacare meet-ups in Northern VA. Notice the similarities to what I described in my last post. In other words, Obamabots are the same wherever you go.

Digging in for Obama’s health-care offensive
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
06/09/09 12:05 AM EDT

It's hard to tell whether this meeting, at a La Madeleine restaurant in a sprawling shopping-center complex just outside Washington, is the start of a historic movement or just a strangely wonkish group-therapy session.

About 20 people from Northern Virginia have come to this faux-rustic French café on a Saturday morning to discuss health care reform. That alone makes them unusual; after all, there are a lot of other things one could be doing to begin the weekend. But they have answered the call from Organizing for America (OFA), which is basically the 2008 Obama campaign operating under a new name.

"This is the political issue I care about most, apart from the war," declares one woman, who says she was born and raised in Canada and favors a Canadian-style, single-payer health care system for the U.S.

"It's a moral issue," says another woman, who identifies herself as a nurse.

"It's criminal," says a woman who is from France and envisions a European-style, single-payer system for this country.

This meeting, and others like it -- OFA says there were thousands all across the country -- is the beginning of the hand-to-hand phase of the health care reform fight. After months of buildup, the White House is planning an all-out campaign to pass its reform package, whatever that turns out to be.

Organizing for America prepared a video to accompany the meetings. Much of it is news clips of Obama stressing the need for change. But the second part is a message from Addisu Demissie, the Canadian-born political director for OFA. "We cannot and we will not compromise" on Obama's principles for health care, Demissie says.

Sitting in front of an "I Stand With Sotomayor" poster, Demissie tells participants to "practice sharing your personal health care story." He stresses the need to "be able to articulate what this effort means to you -- your story is the most valuable tool in your arsenal as you talk to your friends and neighbors about the urgent need for reform."

The striking thing about the group at La Madeleine is that most of them don't really have personal health care stories. When the leader goes around the table, none of them has a terrible illness. No one is uninsured. In fact, nearly everyone begins by saying they don't have a problem with health insurance; they have it through their jobs, or in their retirement arrangement, or can afford to purchase it.

But they have their concerns. One woman tells of watching as her mother, and then her younger sister, developed Alzheimer's disease. She is clearly worried about what is next. "I'm by myself," the woman says. "When I walk out of my job, I don't have health care."

A few are nurses who say they've seen patients in dire straits with no coverage. Others are a little, well, quirky. "I'm kind of into alternative, integrative medicines," says one woman. One man appears to be there looking for business opportunities. But many are just people who care a lot about the issue -- and want to win the political debate.

You've heard Republicans warning about a "government takeover" of the health care system. It's safe to say that's exactly what a lot of these people want. Although it's not on the agenda -- "The purpose of the meeting wasn't to discuss policy," the group leader tells me -- in the world of Organizing for America, the most intense debate is among those who want Obama to seek a single-payer government plan now and those who prefer such a plan but believe it is not politically possible at the moment.

A few weeks ago, GOP strategist Frank Luntz conducted research suggesting that Republicans should oppose a government takeover of the health care industry but at the same time acknowledge that the system has serious problems that must be fixed. Seeing this group would be a good companion lesson for the GOP.

Listen to the woman worried that she'll develop Alzheimer's and you'll see why Republicans should have their own plan. But listen to those who just seem to relish the fight and you'll realize they really don't have much of a case for the nationalization of health care. You can help the worried woman without blowing up the system.

Luntz showed Republicans how to make the argument. But as the battle begins, can they match Obama's organization?

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Monday, June 08, 2009

My Day At An Obama Health Care Meet-Up

Being a conservative Republican, I originally only signed up for a profile on Mybarackobama.com in order to examine the site and write about the various ways in which Obama used social networking to entice young people to help his campaign. I never though that this research would lead me to the house of a middle aged woman named Sandra Cuneo in North Hollywood, California.

Mybarackobama.com listed Sandra’s house as one of hundreds of meet-up locations around the country where Obama supporters could get together and discuss their strategy for selling the president’s health care plan to the nation. “Brainstorming Sessions” was what the literature created by the Obama administration and distributed to the meetings' participants, called it.

While this type of grassroots organizing worked exceptionally well for Obama in the fall election, I was skeptical that the same excitement and willingness to hit the pavement would exist among the activists when it came to an issue as complex and controversial as health care reform.

So there I was, undercover, on a Saturday afternoon, sporting a name tag that read “Al”, eating organic sushi and vegetarian burritos with some of Obama’s most loyal supporters, listening to a woman discuss the difficulties she had in putting a Barack Obama Fathead sticker on her apartment wall.

After the group of roughly twenty people had arrived and taken their seats to watch a special video from the President, the first thing I noticed was that besides myself (and obviously, I didn’t count) there was only one individual at the meeting who could have possibly been under 30 years of age. Where were Obama’s legions of young supporters whose energy had helped Obama win the election? Perhaps they were hung-over from Friday night benders. Perhaps they were at other meetings and just not this particular one. Perhaps they don’t care as much about health care policy because they rarely get sick. Whatever it was, the median age at this particular event was clearly somewhere in the 50’s.

As the discussion began, the meeting's participants immediately began firing off questions about the details of the health care plan to Sandra and the other woman who was leading the event. For all of their enthusiasm, these group leaders were completely incapable of describing the particulars of the Obama plan in any coherent way. What they did understand however was that Obama’s “public option”, the government-run insurance program that Obama wants to create to compete with the private insurance companies, was the first step towards the entitlement that almost everyone in that room (based on the raising of hands at the beginning of the meeting) was really longing for: a European style “single payer” health care system. They also understood that part of their job as grassroots activists promoting the plan was to assure people that the plan was not going to result in “single payer”. How Obamaesque.

Sandra and our other esteemed leader explained to the group that the primary focus of the administration's efforts to sell the health care plan was going to be in emphasizing “personal stories”. So, for the next few months, we can expect a steady stream of sob stories about some guy named Raymond who has Lupus and has to subsist on cat food in order to pay his skyrocketing health care bills. The Obama administration knows that the majority of Americans will not be able to grasp the consequences of this complex plan and therefore, as liberals tend to do, they plan to play on the emotions of the American people in order to sell the massive bureaucracy which this plan will inevitably spawn.

In keeping with the community organizer code, we eventually broke into groups where we were to “brainstorm” and think of events we could hold that would raise awareness of Obamacare.

In my group, we sat in a circle and each of us read one of the talking points listed in the Obama health care packet. This practice struck me as being similar to grammar school, where we would go around the classroom and each student would read a certain portion of a given text. Why one person couldn’t have read the entire paragraph I have no idea. We were then each asked to share our ideas for raising awareness and gaining support for the Obama plan.

Some of the ideas that came out of this pow-wow were:

-Going to a busy L.A. intersection and holding up signs saying “Honk If You Support Barack Obama’s Health Care Plan”.

-Sitting in front of grocery stores and having people signing petitions showing their support for Obamacare.

- Holding another meeting.

-Setting up a table in front of a Metro station and having people take a quiz created by the Obama campaign that posed difficult multiple choice questions such as:

“How important is it for you to choose your own doctor?”

a) Very
b) Somewhat
c) Not At All

The correct answer of course being:

“The third principle of President Obama’s health care reform is that everyone have a guaranteed choice of doctor, hospital and insurance plan”

So if you answered that personally choosing your own doctor didn’t matter to you at all, you would be wrong.

There was one very good suggestion made during the group meeting. It was to go to a local mall and hand out a list of the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of the Blue Dog Democrats whose votes will determine whether or not the bill passes. Passersby would be urged to contact these legislators and inform them of their support for the president’s plan.

Halfway through making this suggestion, I realized that I was being far too helpful.

I came away from this meeting with a renewed confidence that Obama will not be able to rely on his loyal activist army to sell nationalized health care. While these individuals are passionate and are perfectly capable of handing out flyers and talking about “hope” and “change” during an election cycle, they are clearly grossly under-prepared to answer questions from concerned citizens about an issue as complex as health care.

Perhaps I’m wrong. I’ll find out on June 27 when the Obama army takes to the streets and we see the results of the brainstorming sessions in action. However, the entire time I was at the meeting, for all of the talk of “health care for all” and how “meaningful reform can’t wait” there was not a single question about or mention of the program's potential costs to the taxpayer. If these well-meaning activists are under the impression that they won’t be confronted by individuals who are already incensed with Obama’s proclivity to spend large sums of money and his failure to propose any realistic way of paying for it all, then they have another think coming.

Concerned citizens have a good chance of killing this ill-conceived health care overhaul. I’m convinced of this after seeing first-hand those who Obama has fighting for him on the ground.

-Dan Joseph

Fathead Obama

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