The Mess

Events are unfolding rapidly in what is probably the biggest and worst legislative tangle this nation has ever seen. Here are a few remarks and links.

First, it is clear that US health care is not nearly as complete as it could and should be. That’s because it is expensive. Common sense tells us to find ways to make it more efficient so it costs less. That is not what Congress is trying to do. Yet there are practical suggestions that should be tried first.

Second, one can easily see that the specifics of Obamacare do not matter to the president or to Pelosi or to Reid. That should tell the electorate that the wrong people are in charge.

Third, the means the Democrats are using to pass Obamacare as soon as humanly possible appear to TLB to be unconstitutional. This fight is not over, no matter what the short-term outcome.

Fourth, the intrinsic desirability of something like socialized medicine is low. Certainly that is a debatable point, but TLB denies that any nation has made socialized medicine work well so far (claims to the contrary are Utopian fantasies). Clearly the UK and Canada have failed, while there is some dispute as to the records of Germany and France. Anecdotal evidence is unhelpful, so to settle this question one would have to deal with survival rates for specific diseases, and so on. Yet one thing is obvious to those who are informed: given the demographics of Germany and France, the governmental health care systems in those nations will decline in effectiveness in the next few years. The governmental programs there are literally unsustainable. For background, read Mark Steyn’s America Alone.

Whether a US system of socialized medicine can be sustainable is also to be debated, but the following issues should be considered before one arrives at an answer:

1. The level of borrowing required, and the consequences of that debt. Where will the money come from — China?

2. The fact that Washington will have full control of one-sixth of the US economy. Where is the evidence to suggest that this is a good idea?

3. The fact that for the first time US health care will be stripped of its competitive nature. How is that a benefit, given the experience we have with veterinary medicine?

4. A significant number of physicians are contemplating leaving medicine if Obamacare passes.

5. The ability of the tax structure to support ever-increasing costs of Obamacare and service the debt it runs up is in serious question. The cascade of effects is unpredictable.

This newsletter insists that Congress is setting up a program that can neither survive nor do a decent job while it lives.

Links And Comments Related To Obamacare

The legislative squabble is hard to understand because it’s so convoluted, but perhaps the best explanation is found here.

This weblog post sums it up: what the Democratic Party is doing is not just a partisan folly, it’s profoundly damaging to the nation.

Here is the bill. The chances are you won’t read it, and that will probably be because you think your opinion does not matter. And as far as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and The One are concerned, you are right. Since everybody (except this newsletter) agrees you don’t matter, why bother to read the Obama/Pelosi/Reid ukase? Because it will be the basis on which the next national election is fought, and you will have to decide whether to participate.

Some folks might think the culture war is not involved in the Congressional slugfest over Obamacare. Wrong, and in spades. Victor Hanson explains what makes the struggle between what this newsletter calls the Bicoastal Elite and Flyover Country historically unusual, and provides a lot more enlightenment to boot. Highly recommended.

A trilogy of links to Obamacare issues: first, how the legislation will affect the middle class. Second, if it passes, fighting it in court. Finally, “the whole is less than the sum of its parts.”

Some folks are really getting steamed. It’s hard to argue with the view that the Obamacare bill is being passed unconstitutionally (quite simply, the Constitution says, “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States,” and, “in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays,” which is not happening here — and this is major legislation, not an afterthought amendment). Is this somehow democracy rather than tyranny? It seems not. So what do you say to a guy who is angry enough to write the above post?

Related: Maybe you could say, “How about a constitutional amendment? We used them to keep rogues like FDR from hanging on forever, to keep loons from taking away our Laphroaig, to allow people to elect federal senators, and to guarantee due process of law to everybody…so why not use one to stop rascals like Pelosi and Obama from despoiling our future?” Yes! Pass it on!

Links To Other Matters

This is cute: first the NYT blew itself up by publishing a photo that could pass scrutiny only in the Obamania-infested offices of the lickspittle press; then some webloggers saw it and called attention to it; then The Drudge Report picked it up. Editors across the nation must be shaking their heads in disbelief: “How could they make a mistake like that?” Indeed. The appearance of journalistic objectivity is essential if a newspaper wishes to shape the views of the plebs. Yet the NYT published this. (Oops! Click on the link now, and you will see that the NYT removed the photo and made no mention of that fact. That’s journalistic misbehavior; changes of this sort — made in response to criticism of ethics, propriety, taste and fact — are supposed to be acknowledged. Altering the article after the fact is not just an admission of an error, but when you try to keep the alteration secret, it’s doubly damning. Because the NYT can’t censor the entire internet, you can find a screenshot of the original here.) Well, what better way to tell the world that their journalism is bogus, and that the Gray Lady is a propaganda machine? It’s a huge embarrassment, if not religiously offensive blunder, that the paper will try first to ignore, and then pass off as without significance. The NYT’s elitist mindset is so blind and blinding that the editors there can’t see the obvious. They long ago went off the high road and wound up floundering in the Slough of Deceit.

Relations between Israel and the USA are deteriorating drastically, for the unprincipled (remember Honduras) amateur running the demented US foreign policy, Barack Obama, has lost patience. To cut to the heart of the matter: the very idea of a “Palestinian” (extremist/terrorist Islamic) nation in Gaza and parts of the west bank of the Jordan is manifestly absurd. Ideally, the entire region should be Israel. That solution is impossible, so the future can only be uncertain and very dangerous. To make things worse, it seems that Obama and Clinton have read Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby. Its crack-brained pro-Arab solution to the conflict would also fail, as well as cause terrible harm as it collapses. Before the dust settles, some folks will be accusing Obama of being a secret Jew-hater (“anti-Semite,” which is the wrong word). The One is systematically dismantling the future of the Democratic Party with his doctrinaire petulance. The outlook: gloomy to the point of terrified pessimism.

China is run by thugs, murderers, and torturers. Some Chinese are trying to make this clear to the world. Your purchases of Chinese products only worsen the lot of the Chinese population, because prosperity strengthens the tyranny. That makes it easier for the vicious people running China to believe in the legacy of Singapore, and claim that Liberty is not necessary. When you shop, remember these images…and don’t feed the dragon!

The lap dog media continue their relentless campaign to report everything Obama does and says — unless, of course, it involves someone challenging him (it might set a bad example for the plebs). As in this video, which you never heard about. And would never ever have known anything about, if it were not for the internet, webloggers, and this newsletter. Let’s hear it (once again) for the major news outlets: everybody shout together, “We love being underinformed by ideologues!”

Conservatives have a long heritage of support for law enforcement officers, while libertarians do not. The arguments used to be over matters of life and death, while today people debate whether that inexpensive video camera you can carry in your pocket is a threat to law enforcement — and what the cops can do to stop you from photographing things you can legally and naturally observe. Constitutional law(advisory: church-owned newspaper) is involved, just as it was back in the days of church-burnings and the murders of “outside agitators.” TLB does not have much sympathy for today’s cops when they are photographed at work — if they go after the photographers, they are wrong, and way out of line. The current situation calls for a remedy.

Says Oliver Kamm: “It’s not an anti-Catholic crusade but a simple, unexceptionable statement of fact that Pope Benedict has obstructed justice in its pursuit of evil men who found their opportunity and their sanctuary in the Roman Catholic priesthood.” Oh? Read it all here.