« February 2010 | Main | April 2010 »

March 29, 2010


Corporations are scrambling to deal with, and advise shareholders of adjustments to their long term health insurance liabilities for retirees owing to the passage of ObamaCare. The Obama people, stung by the bad press in the middle of their self-celebration, are calling CEO's to scold them and call them liars, all while coming off as if they have no real understanding of what they have wrought.

The American Spectator calls it Obama in Rude Denial

A White House legislative staffer is quoted as saying "These are Republican CEOs who are trying to embarrass the President and Democrats in general . "Where do you hear about this stuff? The Wall Street Journal editorial page and conservative websites. No one else picked up on this but you guys. It's B.S."

"Most of these people [in the Administration] have never had a real job in their lives. They don't understand a thing about business, and that includes the President," says a senior lobbyist for one of the companies that announced the charge. "My CEO sat with the President over lunch with two other CEOs, and each of them tried to explain to the President what this bill would do to our companies and the economy in general. First the President didn't understand what they were talking about. Then he basically told my boss he was lying. Frankly my boss was embarrassed for him; he clearly had not been briefed and didn't know what was in the bill."


On Friday White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett were calling the CEOs and Washington office heads of the companies that took the financial hits and attacked them for doing so. One Washington office head said that the White House calls were accusatory and "downright rude."

These are one-time write-downs, necessary because the bill takes away tax breaks that had incentivized companies to maintain their retirees on the companies' drug benefit plans rather than dumping them into Medicare. The short and long term result of the policy is predictable. More and more companies will say "see ya", and the public burden grows. Hate to use a tired blog cliché, but to the Obama people that's not a bug, it's a feature.

UPDATE 3/30: Lots of common sense and a persuasive case made here by Donald Marron, a former Bush aide, who says the bill did the right thing by closing this particular tax loophole, and sheds no tears for the corporations that won't be getting it any more. Of course that doesn't make the effect on these companies' benefits liabilities any less real.

March 28, 2010


Rounding up some links and some thoughts in the wake of Obamacare's passage.

Matt Continetti's op-ed is a good place to start- Obamacare's Consequence

The liberal line is that President Obama has secured his place in history by signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. And secured it he has. Henceforth Obama will be remembered as the man who accelerated America’s mad dash toward bankruptcy. He will be remembered as the leader who promoted a culture of dependency. He will be remembered as the figure who sacrificed a dream of national unity upon the altar of big government liberalism. It’s true: Obama is now a president of consequence. And almost all of those consequences are bad.

Polling in Florida reveals it to be bad medicine so far

The Obamacare Writedowns - "The corporate damage rolls in, and Democrats are shocked!"

It's been a banner week for Democrats: ObamaCare passed Congress in its final form on Thursday night, and the returns are already rolling in. Yesterday AT&T announced that it will be forced to make a $1 billion writedown due solely to the health bill, in what has become a wave of such corporate losses.

This wholesale destruction of wealth and capital came with more than ample warning. Turning over every couch cushion to make their new entitlement look affordable under Beltway accounting rules, Democrats decided to raise taxes on companies that do the public service of offering prescription drug benefits to their retirees instead of dumping them into Medicare. We and others warned this would lead to AT&T-like results, but like so many other ObamaCare objections Democrats waved them off as self-serving or "political."

Perhaps that explains why the Administration is now so touchy. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took to the White House blog to write that while ObamaCare is great for business, "In the last few days, though, we have seen a couple of companies imply that reform will raise costs for them." In a Thursday interview on CNBC, Mr. Locke said "for them to come out, I think is premature and irresponsible."

As we've come to expect, no shortage of gall from the administration. All audacity, all the time. How dare those corporations spoil the celebration of our transformational achievement by bringing up these new taxes we're whipping on them? The irresponsible thing of course would have been to delay informing their shareholders of their financial condition as per the new legislation. But when bullying and character assassination are all you've got...that's what you use.

Several of Obama's health care promises are among the 33 broken ones compiled by Jim Geraghty. Clip and save.

Democratic lawmakers have occasionally been caught on video being honest about their means and their ends. But mostly what they've been trying to do is change the subject from the substance (and the consequences) of the fiscal train wreck they just foisted on the American people against their will...to the discussion of just what awful people the bill's opponents are. Racists, prone to violence, mostly...turns out.

As Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski write, the administration is now left with Demonizing Everyday Americans

This excerpt from Lori Byrd at Wizbang speaks to the new ugliness...the leftist smearing of regular folks...

Democrats have seen the pure, raw force of American freedom of expression. They have seen it rise up against them and they are scared spitless. They realize how unpopular they have become and they have to fight back to survive. It is hard to fight back against elderly people with walkers at town hall meetings, and mothers holding infants at tea party rallies, and peaceful, clean cut, tax paying American citizens. So they have to vilify them -- just like they have vilified Republicans all these years. It is just harder to do now that people have cell phone cameras and Twitter and blogs and YouTube and talk radio and Fox News, etc.

I predict this is gonna blow back on them big. Even with the help of those in the media, the reality of what is happening is getting to the people. The little people. And now instead of beating up* on rich Republican politicians, and fat cat CEOs, they are beating up* on the little people who don't give a crap about party or politics. They just want their voices to be heard. They care about their pocketbooks, their childrens' futures, their freedoms and the future of their country. They don't care what letter is behind your name. They want representatives in Washington who will listen to them. Vilifying those people, calling them names (such as teabaggers), questioning their motivations, accusing them of being racists and just generally beating up* on those people, just because they disagree with the Democrat/Obama agenda, is just downright ugly. So much so that not even the MSM will be able to spin it as anything but that. When I think about it in those terms, I begin to understand why the Democrats are doing what they are doing. It doesn't make it any less ugly, but at least it helps me to understand.

Erick Erickson on conservatives' alleged incitement to violence. More at Brutally Honest.

Andrew Breitbart sorts through the "evidence" of conservative racism, hatred and violence at their protests.

The PowerLine guys make regular sport of demolishing lame Paul Krugman columns (excuse the redundancy), and they do a number here on his fevered warning of Republicans' calls to shoot somebody...or something. Krugman throws out a challenge that took all of one minute with an Internet connection to meet...

Democrats had a lot of harsh things to say about former President George W. Bush -- but you'll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials.

About halfway down this cornucopia of leftist hate from the Bush years, (you want menacing?...I've got your menacing!) we find John Kerry, who I believe qualifies as a senior party member, having been his party's candidate for President, being interviewed by the semi-literate Bill Maher....

Maher: You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone.

Kerry: Or, I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.

Nothing remotely close...even in jest, as Kerry's crack surely was...has been uttered by any GOP politician. And there's nothing terribly "menacing" about that quip, is there?.....just as there's nothing terribly menacing about Sarah Palin's Facebook image putting crosshairs on a map of the U.S. (pop-up image) to show the political districts the GOP is "targeting" in the next election. But somehow one is a bon mot and the other a dangerous provocation...and unfortunately, not just to a nitwit like Krugman. He has readers who probably take him at his word that Palin put up "a map literally putting Democratic lawmakers in the cross hairs of a rifle sight." You'd think an established writer like Krugman would know what "literally" means. Alas...no.

I'm afraid that after seeing that map, some crazed right-winger will be provoked to go out and take a shot at Indiana.

UPDATE 3/31: Verum Serum did not search in vain.

For effect, let's compare violent imagery. Krugman has his hair on fire over Palin's menacing map. Then there are Democratic protests...not from the violent, riot-torn 60's...but from the second Bush term. Incitement? You tell me (pop-up image)

And even if John Kerry had been the only senior political leader caught on video fantasizing about killing the President, it surely wasn't because it was considered beyond the pale to address the subject in polite company. The popular culture of the time was positively fetishized on the idea of Bush's assassination. Why should the political class get their hands dirty with this trash when the video game manufacturers, authors of fiction, New York theater producers and documentary filmmakers were busy mainstreaming the idea of murdering their political nemesis. It always had something of a "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" quality to it.

The fact is that nothing seen at any Tea Party comes close to the orgy of hate protest directed at Bush that we all witnessed for eight years, a small sample of which is documented at the zomblog post linked earlier. Back two years ago, when dissent was the highest form of patriotism, there was nothing provocative, let alone dangerously inciting, about a poster (displayed at a 2008 Los Angeles protest) depicting the President of the United States with a bullet hole in his forehead. (pop-up image). By the way...do you know that woman's name... the one in that protest photo? Do we know the first thing about her?

In order to illustrate the ridiculousness of the current hand-wringing by the left over largely exaggerated if not totally fabricated anecdotes of Tea Party violence, just consider what the reaction would have been to a poster similar to the one above...only this time at a Tea Party, with a woman carrying instead an image of Obama with the dripping red spot on his forehead. I guarantee you we would all know her name within two days, because she would have had a Time cover and a 60 Minutes exposé already. Hell, Joe the Plumber achieved instant and unwanted fame for daring to confront The One with a simple question.

Similarly, these bumper stickers aroused no concern on the Left at the time that someone might discern in them a call to violence. (You see any menacing? I don't see any menacing!)


It was just two or three years ago these things were the rage at all the chic Bush protests. Remember the outrage in the media and by the left about this hateful, violent imagery? Me neither. Were there prompt denunciations of these images by Democratic political leaders analogous to what we have seen in recent days by Republicans responding to even the hint of hatred by overheated and isolated conservative protesters? Nope. Again, just imagine the modern day GOP equivalent of the bumper sticker. Right. You simply cannot imagine it.

And returning once again to the zomblog post as partial documentation, violent imagery of the sort now imagined to exist on the right, has long been a staple of leftist protests of all sorts. (I didn't see any guillotines with the President's severed head in a basket at the Tea Parties, did you?...Come to think of it, it was a little leftist dust-up that popularized the real thing)

And if the Left had traditionally stopped at violent imagery alone, that might put their current ginned up outrage on somewhat firmer ground, but actual violence has often been more their style. The smashing of windows and other destruction of private (or public) property, the smearing of fake blood on people and property, the assault of counter-protesters...all have been part and parcel of leftist protests for years. That is, when they're not setting bombs. As Erickson wrote:

The Weather Underground was not a Republican insurgency at the Weather Channel.


A number of links to important and worthwhile reads on the way forward in the wake of Obamacare, and toward the goal of its eventual repeal....

Yuval Levin- Repeal: How and why Obamacare must be undone

Bill Kristol - Repeal and Defeat

Mark Steyn - Obamacare Dystopia

Victor Davis Hanson - We've Crossed the Rubicon

IBD - 20 Ways Obamacare Will Take Away Our Freedoms

WSJ - The Obamacare Crossroads

Peter Suderman at Reason - The Lie of Fiscal Responsibility

Jennifer Rubin at Contentions


"If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man." - C.S. Lewis

March 15, 2010

Self-Execution on Health Care

Byron York has an explanation of the "self-executing" House rules sleight of hand the Democrats are planning to use to pass the Senate health care bill, a transparently cynical way to try to avoid the accountability of voting on the measure as required by the Constitution. Such is the hole they have dug for themselves with their support of a health care bill opposed by a broad bipartisan majority of Americans, and the corrupt deal-making process they have used to get this far. UPDATE: Even the Washington Post thinks it's unseemly.

Their desperation to socialize American medicine is palpable. Their contempt for the will of the people of America is astonishing. The tactics they are using to bully people like Bart Stupak are despicable.

Stupack says that, in addition to other intimidation tactics, Democrats are threatening to file ethics complaints against him. This is the preferred harassment technique for modern day leftists. They used it on Newt Gingrich when he was the Speaker. They used it on Sarah Palin to run her legal bills into seven figures and prompt her to resign her office. It doesn't help the accused that the charges are baseless. They are expensive and troublesome to defend against, and there is no limit to the number of them that can be brought.

The Left continues to prove that absolutely nothing is beneath them in the pursuit of the destruction of their political opponents and the expansion of state power.

Here's the plan, for what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) calls "their do or die moment"

Ryan says that, come Monday, Democrats “will bring a shell piece of reconciliation legislation” to the budget committee. “The reconciliation process has to begin there,” he says. “Here’s what they’ll do: They will take the House health-care bill and mark it up so that it can become a reconciliation vehicle. Republicans will make runs at this via motions to instruct, but since we’re outnumbered, their package will get through the committee. Then they’ll send that shell of a bill to the House Rules Committee. The rules committee will then gut the budget committee’s reconciliation bill and drop in all of the deals that Speaker Pelosi arranges with members who vote for the Senate health-care bill in the House.” Those deals, he adds, “will be hard to scrutinize, and we may never know their full extent, since many of them will be orchestrated outside of health-care legislation.”

Obstacles remain to passing this monstrosity....public opinion and citizen activism still mean something after all. But given enough time to corrupt a few more members of the House, they may still get their Rose Garden signing ceremony...if they have the nerve to convene one.

The President continues to distort and lie without compunction, shamelessly cooking the numbers to put a Potemkin front on the legislation. He flew to Cleveland today in order to prop up and exploit a pre-selected victim of the supposed cruelties of the existing health care system. The sob story quickly unraveled, but the photo-op had served its propaganda purpose.

In their unguarded moments, even the Democrats concede that the bill will increase premiums, raise taxes, kill jobs, and fail to control health care costs. Indeed the only remaining justifications for passage are that the President desperately needs a political victory, and that for Democrats, their 2010 electoral prospects can hardly get worse.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that an impotent President, especially one just one year into his term, is not a good thing for the country. Perhaps Obama should have considered that before outsourcing the health care and stimulus bills to the far-left wing of his party in Congress, with no more than a head fake toward bipartisanship.

In recent days, Obama has returned to bashing the greedy, heartless insurance companies in his campaign-style speeches. These would presumably be the same insurance companies he has crawled into bed with by mandating under the bill that all Americans buy their products under threat of fines and/or imprisonment. He never seems to run out of ways to insult the intelligence of the American people.

There's still time to call or email your Congressman....or someone else's.


Good article by Shikha Dalmia at Forbes...although I don't like the "wrong time" formulation...implying as it does that there might be a good time for a government takeover like this one.

Paul Ryan v. the President - WSJ

James Capretta - It's Not a $950 Billion Plan

Paul Ryan at the health care summit

Much, much more here and here.

UPDATE 3/16: Hypocrisy...thy name is Pelosi. When the "self-executing" rule was used by Republicans in 2005 to pass a routine budget measure...the use for which it was designed...Pelosi, Waxman and Slaughter backed the ACLU in going to court to contest its constitutionality. Andy McCarthy explains the rules, and the precedents

Newspaper editorial boards, including the reliably left-wing Akron Beacon-Journal and Seattle Times, turn on Obamacare

March 1, 2010

Why Newsweek Fails

This is worth a laugh or two.....Newsweek in 1995 - Why the Internet Will Fail

This excerpt gives you the flavor...

We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet–which there isn’t–the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.

Yeah...that's one thing I really miss while I'm doing my shopping online.....salespeople.

Fat (Grey) Lady Singing

First the New York Times calls for Rangel's removal as Ways and Means Committee Chairman. Now Peter Beinart weighs in with "the photo that could doom the Democrats".

The plodding ethics investigation in the House hasn't even progressed yet to the tax evasion and campaign donation charges against the man who formulates tax policy for all U.S. citizens, and the Times is leading the charge to stop the bleeding. From the center-left, Beinart says Rangel's infractions are "petty, compared to the vast, legalized corruption" of the campaign finance system. But that's kind of beside the point.

What most citizens will be looking at as they become more aware of the ethics charges against Rangel is how his treatment compares to the way they would be treated by the law (or by their employers) in a similar circumstance...(i.e. failure to pay taxes on income from rental property). It would be an understatement to say that Americans' patience with tax cheats in the government is wearing thin.

The Democrats have been able to rid themselves of the downward pull of two of their Big Three corruption-compromised congressmen, with Dodd retiring and Murtha dead. Ironically, that makes Rangel all the more conspicuous. Beinart thinks the Democrats should act, ("since Pelosi won't nudge Rangel, it's time for Obama to nudge Pelosi") before the political damage gets any worse.

I suppose we can wait another week before getting back to the "Holder Must Go" campaign.