Date ►►► November 27, 2011


Hatched by Dafydd

Can somebody please explain to me why conservative bloggers are transcendentally driven to kill and eat their own candidates?

...If you know who I mean (and I think you do).

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 27, 2011, at the time of 9:03 PM | Comments (6)

Date ►►► November 17, 2011

Big Lizards Mini-Scoop: Major Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Case

Hatched by Dafydd

Big Lizards is the first -- among the teeny, tiny circle of blogs we read, I mean -- to break this major story. (Or rather, we would have been the first, if we hadn't bothered to edit this post; as it happened, while editing, another blogger in my tiny circle beat me to the punch, the dirty vole. I was momentarily tempted to just change the timestamp; but I'm pathologically honest, so my hands are tied.)

Background: Back in early 2000, during a primary election, California voters enacted Proposition 22 by a whopping 61% to 39%; the law defined marriage in the Golden State to be between one man and one woman, both for purposes of getting married here and also for recognizing marriages contracted in other states or countries. The wording basically mimicked that of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

But eight years later, the California State Supreme Court ruled, by the narrowest of margins (4 to 3), that Prop. 22 was unconstitutional under the state constitution. Then, in a fit of partisanship and pique, the court even refused to stay their ruling -- despite the fact that a new citizen initiative constitutional amendment, Prop. 8, was on the ballot for November of that year and seemed likely to pass.

Between that decision and the November vote, thousands of same-sex couples legally married in California; those marriages were never invalidated.

Despite the attempt to ram same-sex marriage down our throats, the citizens of this state fought back; even in the midst of the Obama landslide in California (he carried the state by more than 24%) -- and despite the state Attorney General (former and now current Gov. Jerry Brown), in a blatant attempt to bias voters, changing the title of the initiative to read, "Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" -- Californios nevertheless enacted Proposition 8, effectively writing Prop. 22 word for word into the state constitution... and neatly overturning the state Supreme Court's decision to spit in the voters' faces.

The vote this time was a narrower 52.24% to 47.76%... but that probably does not represent a drop in statewide support for traditional marriage; rather, it reflects the difference between a primary and a general election (more Democrats vote in the latter), and the Obamic surge that brought more liberals and Progressivists to the ballot box.

I'm sure you can guess the next step: Same-sex marriage fans filed lawsuits in both state and federal court, seeking to overturn the new constitutional amendment. The state Supreme Court upheld the amendment (what else could they do?); but U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who heard the federal case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, ruled the constitutional amendment unconstitutional on August 4th, 2010 -- on the grounds that the United States Constitution mandates same-sex marriage throughout the entire country. Who knew?

(We knew during the trial that Walker was gay; but what we did not know until after his ruling was that he was in a long-term, committed relationship with his same-sex partner, thus in exactly the same class as the plaintiffs in the suit. If his ruling is upheld, he will have cleared the decks for his own same-sex marriage. Quite frankly, Judge Walker sat in judgment on his own case; but the current Chief Judge of that district court shrugs off the obvious conflict of interest. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along!)

Walker tried the same trick the state Supreme Court had used: He announced that he was going to lift the stay of execution on his ruling almost immediately, despite the fact that the ruling had been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The plan -- as in 2008 -- was to allow a huge surge of same-sex partners to marry in California, hoping that a future court would simply roll over and find a new ground to hold the marriage amendment unconstitutional: Because we would now be in a situation where many tens of thousands of people were in valid same-sex marriages, but the remaining tens of thousands were barred from marrying.

That is, first the state Supreme Court and then Judge Walker wanted to (a) set up a clearly unequal situation for same-sex couples, where many were married but the rest were prohibited from marrying, and then (b) use the very situation they themselves had concocted to argue that the law violated equal protection under the law! So it goes on the great Progressivist merry-go-round.

Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit itself stayed the ruling indefinitely, until the case could be finally decided, thus thwarting Walker's end run.

The case now sits at the Ninth Circus -- but a new wrinkle has arisen... and that is the subject of this post. (Yes, the preceding 500,000 words were just preamble and prolog.)

By law, the state Attorney General is required to defend citizen initiatives against lawsuits; but since he was Jerry Brown, a huge fan of same-sex marriage, he refused to perform his constitutional duty.

By law, if the Attorney General cannot or will not defend a law, then the governor is required to do it; but since the governor at the time was RINO Arnold Schwarzenegger, and since he too is a big supporter of same-sex marriage, he likewise refused to defend the law.

Whereupon, Judge Walker declared that nobody else had standing to defend the amendment; only the plaintiffs' side would be heard by the Ninth, and proponents of same-sex marriage would get to win their case by default.

(Again we return to the traditional Progressivist playbook: Rather than allow both sides to present their cases -- or, God forbid, allow the citizens of the state to decide what shall constitute marriage -- the Left always wants to stack the deck by banning all argument but its own. Don't look now, but Progressivists seem to be allergic to democracy and freedom of speech.)

The "defendant intervenors" -- that is, the original sponsors of Proposition 8, who undertook to defend their initiative themselves when Brown and Schwarzenegger gave voters the finger -- filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit panel; but the Ninth punted, kicking the vital question of standing back to the state Supreme Court (which still supports same-sex marriage). And we have been waiting with bated breath their decision.

Until today. The ruling was just issued... and in an astonishing act of (heavens) following precedent, the State Supreme Court held that the defendant intervenors do have standing to defend the amendment!

Even more remarkably, the vote was unanimous, 7 to zip:

In a unanimous ruling, the justices sided with Proposition 8 sponsors, who've argued they should be able to appeal a federal judge's decision last year striking down the same-sex marriage ban because the governor and attorney general have refused to defend the voter-approved law. The state Supreme Court overwhelmingly agreed that Proposition 8 backers can go it alone in trying to preserve the gay marriage ban.

Here is the court's reasoning:

The Supreme Court was emphatic that it would "undermine" the California ballot initiative process if the governor and attorney general can trump the voters by declining to defend such laws in the courts.

"The inability of the official proponents of an initiative measure to appeal a trial court judgment invalidating the measure, when the public officials who ordinarily would file such an appeal decline to do so, would significantly undermine the initiative power," Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote for the court.

So now we finally get to a decision on the actual merits: Does the U.S. Constituition mandate that every state must allow same-sex marriage? If so, then how about polygamy, group marriage, line marriage? Does the Constitution demand that every conceivable relationship between two or more persons must be considered a marriage, on the well-accepted legal argument that "love is all you need?"

Or do the people themselves -- even those who aren't lawyers! -- get to speak on this seemingly important societal issue? I know at least one famous blogger who supports same-sex marriage and voted against Prop 8 and Prop 22, but who vigorously opposes any and all attempts to legally overturn the voters' decision in court.

The Ninth-Circuit panel comprises ultra-liberal Judge Stephen Reinhardt (appointed by Jimmy Carter), Michael Daly Hawkins (Bill Clinton), and N. Randy Smith (George W. Bush); so my cynical guess is that they uphold Walker's ruling by 2-1. But no matter how the Ninth Circus decides, the case will surely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court -- where I believe the people will prevail by a 5-4 decision. And that should finally give closure to the issue of same-sex marriage: Each state will be allowed to decide for itself whether it will allow same-sex couples to marry and whether it will recognize such unions when licensed by other states.

So in the end, the people, as they should, will have the last word.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 17, 2011, at the time of 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

Date ►►► November 16, 2011

How the Gingrich Can Save Christmas

Hatched by Dafydd

Shockingly, the New York Times misunderstands conservative, tea-party, and Republican attitudes towards Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and those Republicans who have worked with them, including Newt Gingrich; the Times imagines that the Right comprises the same unsophisticated, unnuanced simpletons as compose the Left.

For instance, to the Left, the Koch brothers are "BadThing," cartoon villains with absolutely no redeeming qualities, like Monty Burns. Any connection to or interaction with BadThing, no matter how faint or remote, taints the interactor and turns him into BadThing as well. Thus, if a leftie discovers that, say, Democratic House candidate Bismuth "Snorky" Riceburner once worked for a company that sold ink and paper to the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research... then Snorky becomes BadThing and must be shunned, shouted down, and refudiated on Facebook.

In stark contradistinction, when folks the Right hear that Newt (rather, his advisory firm, the Gingrich Group) once worked with Freddie Mac, the first question they will ask is not, "Where can we get some tar and feathers," but rather, "What advice did he give them?"

The fact that Freddie paid the Gingrich Group in excess of $1.6 million for his advice won't send Republicans into a mindless, hyperventilating rage, because we don't hate people for being financially successful. As with all other issues, we have a more nuanced approach: Wealth is only bad when it comes from committing immoral acts, such as fraud, extortion, or buddying up with the feds to form a government-enforced monopoly.

(Sadly, however, Hugh Hewitt fell right into the Left's trap; he went to town today on his radio show, savaging Gingrich at a fatcat looter and trying to blur the distinction between advising a company and lobbying for that company -- something that a lawyer, of all people, should understand.

(Of course, one must remember that Hewitt is a Romney guy from way back. So it goes.)

Now that Gingrich appears to be on the rise, in some polls actually topping the leader board, Jeff Zeleny and Trip Gabriel, writing on the New York Times blog "the Caucus," dish out the print medium's "death of a thousand paper cuts" to the Newtster. They appear to be trying their darndest to queer the deal between Newt Gingrich and Republican voters, which I take as a sign that the Left is starting to worry that Gingrich might not only be nominatable but even electable.

In response to the supposed "bombshell" that the Gingrich Group advisory firm had Freddie Mac as a client for a while, Newt Gingrich clarified at least some of the "advice" he gave:

In last week’s debate, Mr. Gingrich sought to explain away his involvement, saying that he had done no lobbying and that he had warned the company that its practices were an “insane” part of a housing bubble.

“My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do,’ as I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible,” Mr. Gingrich said during the CNBC debate.

Note the Times' caricature of Newt's point; they say he tried to "explain away" his paid advice, as if he's just mumbling some absurd justification or rationalization. Gingrich explained what he did, he didn't try to explain it away.

And he may very well be telling the truth; certainly the Times has dug up no evidence that he encouraged Freddie to continue its appalling lending practices.

Backgrounder: Freddie Mac (and its sister gorgon, Fannie Mae) guarantees to buy a huge percent of mortgages; this includes a whopping big pile of the bad mortgage debt that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA, 100%) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 85%) forced the banks and S&Ls to issue, by requiring them to lend money to people who couldn't possibly repay it. (And to give the devil his due, Jimmy Carter shares the blame, because his Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 paved the way for Frank and Dodd's similar antiCapitalist idiocy.)

The actions of these quasi-governmental entities, Fannie and Freddie -- technically, they're "Government Sponsored Enterprises," or GSEs -- in guaranteeing "insane" mortgages (to use Newt's word) wound up nationalizing hundreds of billions of dollars of bad debt; this in turn precipitated the mortgage crash of 2008.

Back to our story. If it turns out that Gingrich actually aided and abetted Freddie (or Fannie, or both) in this pyramid scheme, even to the point of lobbying for them (being paid to push the Freddie Mac line, then that would indeed severely damage and possibly torpedo his campaign.

But if Newt Gingrich is telling the truth about his involvement, if he warned Freddid that its policies were leading Freddie and the country to financial ruin, then I believe that conservatives, Republicans, and even tea partiers will applaud his efforts (though maybe not Hugh Hewitt)... even if Freddie's response to that advice was to storm off in a huff, mortally offended, and send Newt his fee all in pennies, submerged in a half-million jars of sour cream.

If Newt is honest (and I'm inclined to believe him at this point, considering who his accuser is), then he will easily bat aside the smarmy charges and roar into the Christmas holidays soaring in the polls, probably even taking the pole position. (I'm tempted to say "poll position," but that would be too stupid a joke even for me.) Gingrich himself puts the two possibilities about as cleverly and forthrightly as I've ever seen:

At an energy forum in Des Moines sponsored by Politico, Mr. Gingrich was asked whether he could reassure Republicans who were considering supporting him that he could withstand the scrutiny on his campaign.

“If three or four weeks from now, I have confronted the scrutiny, as you put it, in an even-keeled way, then they’ll be able to relax and go, ‘Oh, he was certainly even-keeled,’” Mr. Gingrich said. “If I blow up and do something utterly stupid, they’ll be able to say, ‘Gee, I wonder who the
next candidate is?’”

This is no mere fluke on the Times' part; here's an even more telling example of the superficial, almost childish take on conservatives found in the nation's "newspaper of record;" this graf is a drive-by whose only purpose is to bash Gingrich as a supposed hypocrite. In the littany of horribles it ascribes to the former Speaker, "the Caucus" includes the following:

Mr. Gingrich left Congress in 1998 after a revolt by some of his Republican members following the party’s losses in the midterm elections. He has been married three times, and has acknowledged having an affair during the time he criticized President Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Catch the naive misunderstanding of the real reason the Right despised Bill Clinton? They hated Clinton because he got a you-know-what in the Oral Office -- and everybody knows that conservatives hate and fear sex in general, and especially any sex outside of strict, rigid monogamy. In the missionary position. With the lights off. With nearly all your clothes on. Only for purposes of reproduction. And you'd better not enjoy it, you prevert!

But the reality is that the Right is far more sophisticated than the world-weary, decadent Left. Leaving aside the real reason most GOPers wanted Clinton impeached -- he sold the presidency to Red China for campaign cash -- just sticking to the sex-related scandals, what enraged most of us was not that Clinton got a lewinski, but that he was credibly accused of using threats, intimidation, and brute force to sexually harass and assault women who didn't want such contact. Clinton paid an $850,000 settlement to Paula Jones for her claim that he exposed himself to her and forced her to fondle him when he was governor of Arkansas; Kathleen Willey claimed that Clinton had committed sexual battery on her; and Juanita Broaddrick accused Clinton of forcibly raping her.

In addition to the charges of sexual assault, conservatives were outraged by Clinton's oft-repeated lies about the incidents -- many of those lies under oath, in an attempt to obstruct justice. (But at least Clinton didn't bow deeply at the waist to the Chinese dictator.)

Nothing of the sort has ever been creditably alleged against Newt Gingrich.

True, he did have an affair with a member of his staff, Callista Bisek, while the House of Representatives investigated Clinton's crimes. But the charges they were delving into were perjury, obstruction of justice, and corrupt fundraising; and as part of impeachment, the House investigated cash funneled into his reelection coffers by the People's Liberation Army of Communist China -- after which he altered several aspects of American national-security policy in ways that China requested. It's impossible for any honest observer to equate those serious crimes against individual women and the nation itself with "having an affair."

Newt Gingrich never swore under oath that he did not have sex with that woman, Miss Bisek. He never obstructed justice. He was never accused of sexually assaulting anyone. And in all he reelection efforts, not once was he ever accused of accepting bribes from America's most dangerous foreign enemy.

Evidently, Zeleny and Gabriel can't quite parse the distinction.

So when next you're tempted to think of the east-coast elites (or west-coast decadents) as arbiters of sophistication and a nuanced, layered understanding of reality, give yourself a hard slap in the kisser. They love to gloat about their lofty, refined, complex Weltanschauung; but in reality, they're a bunch of hick rubes who cannot compare or contrast but only equate: Either A equals B, or else A is totally different from B; on the left, there is no middle ground between hard Left and hard Right.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 16, 2011, at the time of 6:42 PM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► November 15, 2011

"Occupy White House" and the Election Riots of 2012

Hatched by Dafydd

I hope I'm just thinking strategically, but I'm starting to worry about the Left's response to the 2012 general election.

We can expect massive vote fraud of course, but we're used to that; it's endemic and inevitable. Any district where the vote is close, expect the physical and electronic versions of ballot stuffing, ballot destroying, deliberate confusion, and repeated acts of "lawfare," as Democrats try to sue their way into office.

But this year, we might actually see widespread voting violence, which has long been virtually institutionalized in many European and Asian countries. We had a recent inkling of how the Left thinks during the 2008 election in Philadelphia, where members of the New Black Panther Parth intimidated both voters and Republican poll watchers; but next year's violence might involve thousands of radical leftists across the entire country. I have a hard time believing that participants in and supporters of the "Occupy" criminal gangs would get a sudden attack of conscience and reject "Occupying" the polling places.

Thus I anticipate the serious possibility of actual violent assaults at, and attempts to seize control of, hundreds of polling places in swing states, with the deadly serious attempt to allow voting only by Progressivists... and with the Occupiers actually standing in the voting booth with the voter to ensure there's no weaseling or backsliding.

I expect that in many normally Democratic districts that seem to be drifting rightwards, if there is vote-violence, the police will be directed by civilian authorities not to intervene or protect Republican voters. Attorney General Eric Holder has already signalled -- heck, has blatantly told us -- that the DoJ will not prosecute any "hate crime" committed by federally protected minorities against anybody who is not in that favored category; the Occupier goons will naturally assume (and not without good cause) that the DoJ will turn an equally glassy eye on any voter intimidation or outright violent assault that furthers the reelection of Barack H. Obama.

And they'll expect to catch the Right slow-witted, late to realize the danger, and flat-footed, as they did in the 2000 election.

We really, really need some young tea partiers and other conservatives to "hippie up" and infiltrate the Occupiers and related organizations, from radical political groups to violent labor unions; our spies must gather intel about what the Left intends to do, how far they're willing to go, to retain the presidency and the Senate. Will this election fall into the late-60s, early 70s category of "by any means necessary?"

If so, and if the police refuse to protect our sacred franchise, are we prepared to defend it ourselves? I don't know; I sure hope it doesn't come to that.

But if it does, one thing is certain: We cannot allow the Left to chavez the 2012 elections. Defending America means not only defending our physical territory but also our God-given rights -- and the integrity of the institutions that protect and preserve them, including the vote, the secret ballot, and a true and proper enumeration of those ballots.

We cannot afford to cede the vote to thuggery, intimidation, and an army of socialist sabateurs, in the craven hope that maybe we can reverse it in court months later. 2000 was a shot across our bow; next November, a dozen years later, the antiAmerican Left will be more determined than ever to hold their ideological territory... and to hell with what the actual electorate wants.

And a postscript. A number of conservative gatherings have recently been inundated by Occupiers who scream, chant, and play out creepy "call and response" catechisms in an effort to drown out the speech of their political rivals (that is, ordinary American citizens). We have yet to formulate a coherent and winnable response.

I have a suggestion: In all future political events staged by the limited-government Right that are disrupted by the Left, when the latter begin chanting their "99%" and "mike check" mantras, the Right should immediately begin loudly chanting "Four legs good, two legs bad! Four legs good, two legs bad!"

A few on the left might pick up the reference to Animal Farm and be annoyed and offended; but the vast majority will simply be befuddled; and like all lower life forms, when befuddled, they will fall into confusion, disunity, anxiety, and useless floccillation. Some really dumb Occupiers might even pick up the chant themselves, not realizing it didn't come from their own playbook. Either way, it's a win for the forces of liberty and the rule of law.

So please remember and tell your friends: When the Left starts to chant, counterchant the iconic cry of unreconstructed sheep: Four legs good, two legs bad! It'll drive them nuts trying to decode its deeper meaning, and trying to work out whether it's a compliment or an insult.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 15, 2011, at the time of 2:31 PM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► November 14, 2011

ObamaCare: Double-Edged Scalpel

Hatched by Dafydd

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opted to rule on at least some of the issues anent the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (a.k.a., ObamaCare), a rather sticky wicket arises. The decision will likely be announced in mid-2012, a few months before the election; most believe that any decision will affect Barack H. Obama's reelection chances... but the question is, which way?

The naïve analysis is that a decision overturning the individual mandate and perhaps other provisions (the expantion of Medicare, for example) would hurt Obama's chances at the voting booth because it makes him look feckless, foolish, and incompetent. But on the other hand, if the Supremes strike down ObamaCare in whole or in part, that might take some electoral pressure off of Obama, since ObamaCare would no longer loom over Americans' heads.

But on the next hand, many conservatives and independents might already believe absolutely that the Court is going to strike the law down. In this scenario, a decision upholding the law might drive more Americans to vote against Democrats, as that would become the only remaining path to undoing ObamaCare.

But on the fourth hand (in case you lost track), a decision more robustly overturning the law (6-3 or 7-2) would probably fuel the perception that the Obama administration is a lawless regime, thus mainstreaming the arguments of conservative activists. Contrariwise, a decision decisively upholding it would do the opposite, making conservatives who argue that it's unconstitutional seem more extremist and hysterical.

On yet another hand -- in politics, there's always one more hand! -- a 5-4 decision overturning could look nakedly political, since it would almost certainly split exactly along the lines of the president who appointed the justices: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito, appointed by George W. Bush, would join Justice Clarence Thomas (George H.W. Bush) and Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy (Ronald Reagan) in the majority vs. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan (Barack Obama) and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer (Bill Clinton).

(The fact that Justice Kagan was Obama's Soliciter General before being elevated to the Court, and that she and may or may not have actually helped prepare the defense of ObamaCare in the District Court hearings, would certainly not help to dispel the notion of politicization.)

In that case, Democrats -- already dancing on the knife-edge of sanity merely by dint of being Democrats -- might be so enraged that they riot across the country (à la the Rodney King police-beating verdict in 1992, which sparked the L.A. riots); such "unrest" (violence and vandalism) would probably help the GOP. But such a verdict would also motivate more Democrats to the polls on November 6th, which would hurt the GOP's chances.

On the sixth hand, a 5-4 decision upholding ObamaCare, which would result from Justice Kennedy crossing over to the dark side, would likely enrage Republicans, who would see Kennedy as yet another RINO seizing his best opportunity to stab his supposed allies in the back. In this case, it would be the Republicans who would rise up en masse to throw the bums out, probably more determinedly than they would if the verdict upholding the law was more lopsided, with "real Republicans" joining the Democratic appointees.

Sadly, I really cannot predict which of these scenarios would play out, and I've run out of hands in any event. The case surely has to be heard; we must have clarity about such an urgent question: Can the federales demand Americans buy a government approved but privately offered commercial product, such as health insurance?

If so, then the list of what Congress can regulate under the "commerce clause" of the Constitution is virtually limitless... meaning we no longer have even the veneer of limited government; we will have become a de-facto parliamentary democracy, just like those in Europe.

Ergo, the Court must rule; but how such clarity will play out on the battlefield of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections is the flip of a coin or the turn of a card, thus fraught with peril for both sides.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 14, 2011, at the time of 5:35 PM | Comments (3)

Date ►►► November 10, 2011

Your Future Under ObamaCare: Pain Panels

Hatched by Dafydd

President Barack H. Obama himself has admitted that what he really wants for American health care is single-payer, one-size-fits-all socialized medicine. Well we have many examples to choose from, including Japan, Canada, and of course Great Britain's National Health Service (NHS).

We already know about the NHS's death panels; doctors and even nurses frequently write "do not resuscitate" on patients' charts -- without telling friends, family, or even the patient himself what won't happen if he has a cardiac arrest. Why bother to let patients know they've been marked for expiry? They would only intrude upon a decision that should only be made by experts!

The motive should be clear: When the government pays for all health care, it has an obvious conflict of interest; every patient allowed to die, rather than kept alive by "heroic efforts," is another load of medical outlays off the Health Minister's plate. Word is passed along to the government-controlled hospitals (typically by a nod and a wink), and doctors and nurses receive the message loudly and clearly.

But wait, we still have a problem... those wily patients who require medical treatment, including expensive painkilling medication, but who contrive to avoid having a heart attack by which they can be eased off the ministry's books and into the afterlife (where some higher ministry can pick up the tab). How can the NHS -- and the endgame for ObamaCare -- avoid all those nasty, expensive medical payments?

Very simply, and Britain's National Health Service leads the way: A government in financial trouble must foster an anti-treatment, anti-painkiller health-care culture. In clearer words, the NHS now needs pain panels to determine who gets painkillers (and how much), and who is left to suffer:

In Britain, the popular U.S. painkiller OxyContin is considered similar to morphine and used sparingly. Vicodin isn’t even licensed. And at most shops, remedies like ibuprofen are sold only in 16-pill packs.

To avoid risks including addiction, strong painkillers are often kept at arm’s length from patients -- even if that means some people will be left suffering....

For people seeking relief from everyday pains like headaches or sore muscles, painkillers like acetaminophen, sometimes sold as Tylenol, and ibuprofen are only sold in limited quantities. By law, most shops can only sell packs of 16 tablets and no one is allowed to buy more than 100 pills at once without a prescription.

The basic argument is pure utilitarianism; too many patients who require too much help, costing the ministry too much money, equals a major crackdown on expensive painkillers. Some physicians don't even bother to dissemble anymore. Here's my favorite, from "Dr. Anthony Ordman, founder of a pain clinic at London’s Royal Free Hospital":

Ordman also said British doctors may be less inclined to automatically do what their patients want. "In the U.S., doctors might wish to please their patients and prescribe them something because they’re clients," he said. "But in the U.K., the patient doesn’t pay the doctor directly so I can choose not to prescribe painkillers without the fear of suffering financially myself." [Emphasis added -- DaH]

(Which reminds me of Saturday Night Live's fake motto for Bell Telephone: "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company.")

Not all doctors are on board the pain train:

"To make it harder to prescribe enough painkillers for a patient in agony is wrong and essentially a form of torture," said Dr. Michael Platt, lead clinician for pain services at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. "Either we need to treat the pain properly or we tell the patient they are just going to have to suffer."

After the next election, when ObamaCare fully kicks in, see if you can guess which of those two alternatives the administration will push. (Hint: Time to start hoarding aspirin, Motrin, and Tylenol.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 10, 2011, at the time of 3:28 PM | Comments (1)

Date ►►► November 8, 2011

Mr. Slick Goes to Washington - Again?

Hatched by Dafydd

Bill Clinton believes that "a former two-term president should be able to run again after having taken some time off" -- but he promises he's not talking about himself. In fact, he will happily raise his hand and swear under oath that he did not have that two-term president, Bill Clinton, in mind:

"I've always thought that should be the rule," he told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. "I think as a practical matter, you couldn't apply it to anyone who has already served, but going forward, I personally believe that should be the rule."

"People are living longer, people are developing greater capacities, so I've always thought that should be the rule, not to affect me or anyone that's served, but going forward," he added.

Obscure, Mr. C.

Does anybody really believe he's saying this entirely altruistically, with not an inkling of self indulgence in mind? Nevertheless, I find it hard to imagine that such a constitutional amendment (which is what it would take) would allow for two-termers to serve a third time (after "some time off") -- but would explicitly exclude anyone whose two terms were already in the bag: "-- but not these guys!"

Which brings to mind this Calliopean calamity, which sprang effortlessly to my fingers, like Obama bursting from the brow of Seuss:

Higgledy Piggledy,
Billious Billery,
Bored in retirement,
Starting to squirm;

Finds his salvation as
Thinks it hilarious:
"I shall re-term!"

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 8, 2011, at the time of 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

Occupiers: Befouling the Hand That Feeds Them

Hatched by Dafydd

This is juicy:

Coffee cart owner Linda Jenson and hot dog cart operators Letty and Pete Soto said they initially provided free food and drink to [Occupy San Diego] demonstrators, but when they stopped, the protesters became violent....

“Both carts have had items stolen, have had their covers vandalized with markings and graffiti, as well as one of the carts had urine and blood splattered on it,” said Councilman Carl DeMaio.

Gives a new edge to the phrase "smelly hippies." And of course, the inevitable Progressivist extortion racket:

In addition to the attacks, the vendors also said they recently received death threats....

After a relatively peaceful start, the “Occupy” movement has sparked violent clashes with police in Oakland and recently saw protesters push an elderly woman down a flight of stairs in D.C.

Does Ex-Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury) still stand shoulder to shoulder with the Marxian mobsters? How about President Barack H. Obama? One would think that the very name the goons have chosen for themselves -- "Occupiers" -- would have been a big enough clue for the most brilliant mind ever to "Occupy" La Casa Blanca. (Wile E. Obama... supergenius!)

Perhaps not, when a president is every bit as besotted with fame, glory, power, and the sonorous, soporific sounds of his own silver tongue -- as the Occupiers are bewitched by getting free stuff. Are these the kids that Napster wrought?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 8, 2011, at the time of 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► November 5, 2011

Absolute Freedom of Speech - Progressivist Style

Hatched by Dafydd

This blogpost isn't about the low-hanging fruit; these fruits have already dropped into the mud and are starting to rot.

ACORN -- remember them? -- have evidently been embarassed by yet another scandal: They were caught red-handed (such a glorious phrase!) funneling money to fuel the Occupiers, on Wall Street and Elsewhere, and even paying their own members to make signs and join the protests. Fox News reports and you decide:

The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed "leaderless" Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing "guerrilla" protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell

The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.

So now, ACORN -- sorry, I meant NYCC -- has formulated its official response to disclosure of its covert ops... and it's a doozie:

Officials with the revamped ACORN office in New York -- operating as New York Communities for Change -- have fired staff, shredded reams of documents and told workers to blame disgruntled ex-employees for leaking information in an effort to explain away a report last week on the group’s involvement in Occupy Wall Street protests, according to sources.

NYCC also is installing surveillance cameras and recording devices at its Brooklyn offices, removing or packing away supplies bearing the name ACORN and handing out photos of Fox News staff with a stern warning not to talk to the media, the sources said.

The depths of censorship, thought suppression, and manufactured unanimity to which NYCC is willing to stoop is positively Stalinist; only the hapless futility and hair-on-fire panic among the tree-nuts transmute base tyranny into lowbrow comedy. These are not your grandfather's totalitarians!

NYCC is also monitoring its staff’s behavior, cracking down on phone use and socialization. Officials have ordered all papers -- even scraps -- to be shredded every night, the source said.

"And all the supplies -- everything around the office that said 'ACORN' -- is now all in storage until this blows over," the source said. "People literally have to cover up the cameras on the back of their cellphones in the office."

"Now there’s no texting in the office, no phone calls in the office. They tell us to take our phone calls out into the waiting room where there’s an intercom, and then they turn on the intercom to hear our conversations. They’re installing new cameras and speakers around the building so they can hear everything.

"It’s almost like working at Fort Knox." [Emphasis added -- DaH]

No, Ace; it's like working in the Kremlin.

The level of censorship, driven by sheer paranoia, that permeates the Left may be comical; but such fear of exposure is also immanent (or inherent) in the ideology of socialism, in all its forms. Perhaps David Bohm would say it was part of the implicate or enfolded order that overlies all specific characteristics of the ideology; real-world details -- such as the crushing of of freedom, including freedom of speech -- unfold in all their inglory whenever socialist dogma meets reality.

Censorship and gag-orders are unfolded by application of the the Fundamental Syllogism of Socialism:

  • Socialism is, at its core, rule by "expert" administrators; cf. Otto von Bismark's administrative state.
  • Its model is that a handful of experts, freed from the interruptions of competition between factions (and of course the competition inherent in capitalism), can sort through all the data, separate fact from fallacy, and chart the course that serves the greater good.
  • But the illogical, uninformed yammering of ordinary people, non-experts, wastes time and distracts the experts from their vital, urgent work. Normally the latter can just ignore the former; but when the situation is tense, they haven't that luxury.
  • Thus, during a crisis, everyone but the experts must shut the heck up.
  • Alas, as things fall apart (since socialism doesn't work in real life), we always seem to be in a crisis.
  • Ergo, the peons should just shut up, keep shut, and shut up shuttin' up!





And there you have it: "Progresso" brand freedom of speech -- now with extra nuttiness! Maybe we need to Occupy ACORN.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 5, 2011, at the time of 8:23 PM | Comments (1)

Date ►►► November 4, 2011

Desperately Seeking Abuse

Hatched by Dafydd

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI, 95%), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has forced not one, not two, but three investigations -- two by the Pentagon and one by the Government Accounting Office; Levin insists there simply must be something crooked about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's program to enlist retired military officers (RMOs) to analyze and explain the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts to the people. Where there's hokey smoke, there oughta be fire... or at least an awful lot of hot air.

Somewhere, somehow, some RMO simply must have gotten cash under the table from Rumsfeld for talking up the wars; they can't have all actually believed in what they did!

Alas for the Chairman, all three investigations turned up bubkes. Zip. A big, fat bagel. Thank goodness there's nothing important going on in the country that might require the Senate's attention.

Now Chairman Levin, facing the possibility of becoming a Senate laughingstock for his failed Inspecteur Clouseau Javert-like persecution, is reduced to begging the Pentagon to throw him a bone, something disreputable enough to justify his obsession. Say, couldn't they at least allow the Chairman and his staff to rewrite the report to Levin's (and his party's) satisfaction?

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is intervening with a Pentagon investigator to influence the final wording of a report that exonerates George W. Bush-era officials who gave war briefings to retired military TV and radio commentators.

Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, has tried for three years to convince federal investigators that the briefing program violated government rules and that some of the retired officers turned analysts received preferential treatment for Pentagon contracts....

A source close to the third probe said that a Levin staffer, committee general counsel Peter Levine, has engaged in written communication with John Crane, the Pentagon inspector general’s congressional liaison.

The source said the communication is designed to convince Mr. Crane that wording should be added to the findings that criticize the analyst program devised by staff for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. [Emphasis added -- DaH]

Ah yes, the lone whistleblower, crying in the wilderness: "You can't handle the truth!" But the truth may oft be inconvenient:

Two previous government probes found no misconduct, and the Pentagon inspector general now has wrapped up a third investigation....

The findings, as written, say the program followed Defense Department rules, the source told The Washington Times.

All this reminds me of one of the few scenes in the television show M*A*S*H that I found genuinely funny. Season 10 had a two-parter titled "Snap Judgment"/"Snappier Judgment"; it was the double-episode where Sgt. Klinger (post-transvestite phase) is accused of stealing a Polaroid instant camera and trying to sell it on the Korean black market. He is eventually brought up before a general court-martial.

Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III volunteers to be Klinger's defense "attorney," despite having no legal training whatsoever. He botches the case (naturally); and Klinger is standing on the bring of being wrongly convicted when Dr. Winchester gives his closing argument. I can't find the exact quotation, but it goes something like this: "Before you render your verdict, think about me! Think of my reputation. No Winchester has ever lost a legal case; if I lose here -- I'll be ruined!"

At least Maj. Winchester was honest about his real motive, which is more than I can say, sadly enough, for Sen. Levin.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 4, 2011, at the time of 4:25 PM | Comments (0)

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