Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where's the outrage?

$165 million of the $200 BILLION that we gave (yes, gave) AIG goes to executive bonuses that the company was contractually obligated to pay and people are up in arms.  Losing their damn minds over less than 1/10 of 1% of the taxpayer money given to the company.  By the way, much of that bonus money was paid to Americans who would in turn invest it into the economy and pay taxes on it.  But, that's overlooked of course.

What about the $2.9 billion that George Soros has made during the current economic crisis by betting against the housing market?  Where's the outrage there?  Where are the hearings, congress?  Where are the late night sessions to craft a special tax for Mr. Soros' profits?  How about a windfall tax on Mr. Soros just like what was proposed against the oil companies?

Not so much.  See, here's why:  He's a financial supporter of the Dimwitocrats.  No way are they going to cut off their nose to spite their face there.

Where's the outrage over the bigger bonuses that went to the FannieMae and FreddieMac executives who ran a tax-payer supported business into the ground?  Nowhere to be found.  Where's the outrage over Bawney Fwank and his step-brother Christopher Dodd profiting from their close relationships with AIG, Freddy and Fannie?  *POOF* disappeared.

Manufactured outrage isn't going to get us through this crisis and isn't going to reform our government.  Change is only a slogan that is used to get elected (as we saw this past election cycle) when used by politicians.  The people need to support change, and the current government officials are definitely not part of that solution.  Never have been.  The only change they want is what is left in your pockets.

This country is ripe for a revolution, and I think it's coming sooner rather than later.  I don't mean a guns and ammo type revolution, but one where our thinking changes and we're reminded that this country was started on a foundation of some basic freedoms that seem to be eroding away by the incrementalism of government's over-reaching policies.

It's time to water the tree of liberty.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Open Letter to Senators Levin, Stabenow, and Congressman Upton

I emailed my Senators and Congressman in regards to the proposal by the President Obama to force veterans to pay for their own care with their private insurance.  I would respectfully ask that everyone who reads this, do the same.  I am livid over this proposal for so many reasons I can't even begin to document them.  However, here are a few of them that I tried to put into words to my elected officials:
Senator Levin,
President Obama's recent signature to expand the SCHIP program to include persons who make up to $82,000 a year shows willingness of the administration to pay for the healthcare of citizens who are far outside the definition of poor in this country. 
However, in his recent proposal to the VA, he wants to bill Veterans private insurance companies for their care?  The hypocrisy here is outrageous and unacceptable.  The sacrifices made for their country by veterans should allow them full coverage for their lifetime if they are injured during their service.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that politicians aren't paying a penny for their insurance and tend to be much more financially capable of doing so than most veterans.

As a veteran, I find this proposal by President Obama offensive and extremely thoughtless and counterproductive to bringing about a fair system of healthcare in America.  The message it seems to send is that if you want to be lazy, sit home and have kids, we'll pay for your health care, but if you join the military, serve your country, and get injured, requiring long term care, you're on your own.

This proposal is unacceptable and I hope that I can count on your support to find alternative ways to raise the $500 million that President Obama is looking to find with this proposal.
 Senator Patty Murray (yes, FAR left Patty Murray) has stated that this proposal will be DOA if it gets to her committee, which comes as a pleasant, yet shocking, surprise.  Normally, she's pretty far out there on the left wing, but I think the fact that Washington has a couple naval facilities as well as a number of veterans, she's counting the votes and thinking it doesn't make sense to make enemies over a half-billion dollars.

We'll see how this battle comes out, but I'm willing to bet that Obama doesn't have the political capital to win one this big.  Or at least, isn't willing to gamble that he does and take it to the mat with veterans groups over it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Veteran? BOHICA.

For those of you who are veterans, you know what BOHICA means. Usually you're at the end of a long day of stress, stupidity, and you're on your last nerve. About that time, the platoon commander comes up to you and says "Hey, I know you I told you guys to set up the tents here, but we need to move them ten feet to the south".
BOHICA - Bend over, here it comes again.....

For veterans everywhere who have served their country and been injured, be prepared to BOHICA, because President Obama wants to fund his social engineering experiments.

His proposal to have private insurance companies reimburse the VA for expenses to treat disabled and injured veterans is not only unreasonable, but unconscionable. Only could someone as liberal as President Obama even think that this would be a good idea. He anticipates to save $540 million in expenses for the VA by doing this. However, the American Legion has already said that he could easily recover that amount and more if they worked with Medicare to pay for these expenses rather than putting the burden upon private individuals, their employers, and the veterans themselves.

The most screwed up thing about this is that the Obamessiah just signed the expansion of the S-CHIP program which allows people to be considered "children" for purposes of the law up to the age of 21, as well as expanding the coverage to include families of four that earn up to $82,600 a year. Now, I understand that $82k isn't huge money when you have two kids, but it CERTAINLY isn't poor, who are the persons this program was designed to help, even though we all know that it wasn't designed to help anyone, but rather to expand governmental healthcare and further the effort of socialized medicine.

There are a lot of things about this President that really push my buttons but this, by far, is the lowest, most immoral proposal that I've seen from him so far.

I hated McCain and held my nose while I voted for him. I didn't vote for him in the primary. But I guarantee that there is NO WAY he'd even consider this proposal, much less support it.

RIP Ron Silver

As an example of what happens to conservatives in Hollyweird, Ron Silver lost work since 9/11 when he did a philosophical turnaround and supported President Bush and the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. Ron was a life-long liberal whose worldview was changed as a result of the attacks. He narrated the counter to the FatBastard's "Fahrenheit 911", "Fahrenhype 911", which systematically dismantled FatBastards arguments. He won an emmy for his portrayal of a Dimwitocrat strategist in the NBC hit "West Wing" and a Tony for his role in "Speed the Plow". He also played a great bad-guy in several movies such as

Ron died Sunday of esophogeal cancer at 62. Ron is a great example of what can happen to a mind that remains open to change based upon facts around him. When hit over the head by the attacks of 9/11, he came to the only conclusion someone with intellect can come to: That sometimes violence IS the way to ensure peace. It's not pretty, but it's reality.

Godspeed Ron, may the big-man enjoy your talents as much as we did.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bush can fail, Obama cannot

As some of you have noticed, apparently it is no longer patriotic to dissent. At least, not if you're a conservative radio talk show host. It was perfectly fine to dissent and disrespect the office of the President of the United States for the previous eight years, but apparently along with electing a new president, we've also abdicated our right to freedom of dissension.
Rush Limbaugh has been roundly criticized for hoping that the Obama presidency fails in their stated goals of a much more socialist country. Granted, they didn't state that their goals were socialist in principle, but it doesn't take a PhD in PoliSci to figure out that it's not capitalism they're aiming toward. Rush's words have been criticized in circles such as Newsweek, Time, NBC, CBS, ABC, and most importantly, by the White House and President Obama himself.
Now I don't mind when the idiot talking-heads whine about what conservatives say, that's pretty much par for the course. However, when the President of the United States uses his office in an attempt to destroy the credibility of his critics (And before you even think it, President Bush NEVER did this) who happen to be private citizens, that crosses a line that should NEVER be crossed. The government should never be able to target a private citizen for their speech, no matter what the speech is. President Obama, despite his mentality of being an 'outsider', IS the government. He is the face of the government now and his words bear the full weight of the government.

What I find most ironic of all this whining and gnashing of teeth is that on the morning of 9/11/2001, James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, both Dimwitocrat strategist/pollsters/thug/apologists were having a discussion with a group of media-types where Carville specifically stated: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed." Now, I'm not an english teacher, but I'm pretty sure that Carville's statement is pretty much the equivalent of Limbaugh's. However, because this statement occurred the morning of the attack against the World Trade Center, obviously there wasn't much ink dedicated to it. In fact, there was essentially zero press covering this and it wouldn't have been reported at all were it not for the current controversy with Limbaugh.

Dimwitocrats...Hope-ocrisy in Action.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Another arrogant Chicago politician

Charlie "Tax man" Rangel

More "the rules are for the little people" stuff from the Dimwitocrats. This time Charlie Rangel.

Friday, March 06, 2009

And another step in the socialization of medicine

Many people think that the Freedom of Choice Act that forces hospitals to perform abortions if their patients choose to have one is a naive act by the Obama administration that will tear a hole in the safety net that is currently made up by the various Catholic health care organizations which tend to serve the underserved much more than other areas.

However, I think this is a planned move, to destroy the safety net completely and force people to a government-sponsored health care plan. Think about it. "Oh, sorry, the Sisters of Charity closed their doors because they were greedy and wouldn't perform abortions, but our new government run hospitals, they'll hook you right up"

Don't think they're that smart?

Think again

Follow the yellow brick road.....

That'd be that beautiful golden road of socialized health care, or "Health Care for All", as those way smarter than myself love to call it. Single Payer, Wellness for Everyone, whatever silliness you want to call it, these educated idiots are pushing very hard for this to happen NOW. They see the economic crisis and say "Hey, your employer isn't going to provide health care for you for long at the cost and if you don't have an employer any longer, who do you turn to? US!"
Back to my standard argument that anyone who believes the government can do a better job of running healthcare than private companies should have open heart surgery at a VA hospital and come back to me (in the afterlife because that's likely where they're headed) and in a spooky haunted voice tell me "You were right, sorry, I'm an idiot".

But why stop with my opinion? How about that bastion of conservatism, ABC news? Even they're checking the facts of Obama's talking points around the costs of health care and finding they don't quite add up. Really? Welcome to the party guys, where ya been?

Rather than screw up his data, I'll just quote it and link it for proper attribution:

President Obama’s kicking off his health care reform today in the worst
possible way: with a mischaracterization of data.
“The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds," Obama said at the opening of his White House forum on health care reform.

The problem: That claim, based on a 2001 survey, is simply unsupportable.
The figure comes from a 2005 Harvard University study saying that 54 percent of bankruptcies in 2001 were caused by health expenses. We reviewed it internally and knocked it down at the time; an academic reviewer did the same in 2006. Recalculating Harvard’s own data, he came up with a far lower figure – 17 percent.
A more recent study by another group, approaching it another way, indicates that in 2007 about eight-tenths of one percent of Americans lived in families that filed for bankruptcy as a result of medical costs. That rings a little less loudly than “one every 30 seconds.”

The extrapolation of Harvard’s data to “a bankruptcy every 30 seconds,”
which Obama also mentioned in his address to a joint session of Congress last
month, comes, per the White House, from a 2005 Washington Post op-ed
by Prof. Elizabeth Warren, a co-author of the Harvard paper.
has noted that even using Harvard’s numbers, it’s more like a bankruptcy every minute; indeed if you add up all bankrputcies in a year you barely get one every 30
seconds. (I've e-mailed Warren for comment.) But more to the point is that
the Harvard data are clearly inflated, or at best, mischaracterized.

Himmelstein tells me that the reason for the difference is a change in federal law that sharply reduced the number of bankruptcies. In 2005, the year he and Warren wrote their op-ed, there were just over 2 million bankruptcies. Data out just today say that in 2008 there were 1.1 million (up sharply, by the way, over 2007). So this error in the White House claim stems simply from the fact that it's using out-of-date information. The next question is whether the estimate of “medical bankruptcies” is reliable in the first place.

A good part of the problem is definitional. The Harvard report claims to measure the extent to which medical costs are “the cause”of bankruptcies. In reality its survey asked if these costs were “a reason” – potentially one of many – for such bankruptcies.

Beyond those who gave medical costs as “a reason,” the Harvard researchers chose to add in any bankruptcy filers who had at least $1,000 in unreimbursed medical expenses in the previous two years. Given deductibles and copays, that’s a heck of a lot of people.

Moreover, Harvard’s definition of “medical” expenses includes situations that aren’t necessarily medical in common parlance, e.g., a gambling problem, or the death of a family member. If your main wage-earning spouse gets hit by a bus and dies, and you have to file, that’s included as a “medical bankruptcy.” When I asked the lead author, Dr. David Himmelstein, about his definitions of medical bankruptcy back in 2005, he said, “It’s a judgment call,” and added that any death, for example, “to our mind is a medical event.”

A last problem was sampling: The Harvard researchers surveyed bankruptcy filers in five federal court districts accounting for 14 percent of bankruptcies nationally; projecting this to the other 86 percent is sketchy. Said Himmelstein: “Obviously the extrapolation is rough.”

Of such rough extrapolations are presidential pronouncements made.

Himmelstein today told me that he’s comfortable saying medical costs, as his study defines them, are “a cause” but not “the cause” of bankruptcies. In his view, “It’s accurate to say medical problems cause half of bankruptcies. There may be other conditions as well but medical problems were causal. I wouldn’t be comfortable with it as the ‘only’ cause.”

Worth keeping in mind is the fact that no one (apparently) disagrees about the pain medical expenses can cause to uninsured Americans. Prof. David Dranove of Northwestern University, who wrote the 2006 paper picking apart the Harvard study, noted that he has a new paper in the works showing that uninsured people who have a severe illness lose a substantial portion of their retirement assets.

"There is general agreement: Being uninsured and getting sick in the United States is really a bad thing,” Dranove told me today. “But for academics the validity of the research matters.” In the Harvard paper, he says, "The methods were so poor they gave cover to those who want to dismiss the problems of the uninsured – they can
say the only paper out there uses a suspect method."

There’s been a fair amount of academic back-biting about this issue. On one hand Himmelstein, the lead Harvard researcher, is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, created to promote a government-run single-payer health system. On the other, Dranove took $5,000 from the nation’s health insurance industry for his report, which he says he now regrets for the criticism of his impartiality it’s engendered. Both papers were peer-reviewed. “It stinks to be uninsured. I don’t want to be quoted saying anything else,” Dranove says. “But there are correct studies, and incorrect studies. For academics, the validity of the research methods matters.” It should for the rest of us, too.

Himmelstein’s referred me to a 2006 paper in which he replied to Dranove, whom he accuses of “several out and out errors.” Says Himmelstein: “They were paid by the insurance industry to make this critique… They were hired guns out to try and make a point, and used a variety of illegitimate techniques to make that point.” Science
marches on.

(...and a 4 p.m. update: Elizabeth Warren, Himmelstein's co-author, is serving as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP. Per spokeswoman Shanan Guinn, she's not currently giving interviews on her previous research.)