Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Aura is dimming


July 30, 2009
Obama Has Aura but Doesn't Know How To Legislate
By Michael Barone

Aura dazzles, but argument gets things done. Consider the debate on the Democrats' health care bill and the increasingly negative response to Barack Obama's performance. Democrats have the numbers to pass a health care bill -- 256 votes in the House, 38 more than the 218 majority; 60 votes in the Senate, enough to defeat a filibuster. But they haven't come up with the arguments, at least yet, to put those numbers on the board. It's something not many predicted that bright January inauguration morning.

We knew that day that Obama was good at aura, at generating enthusiasm for the prospect of hope and change. His inspiring speeches -- the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines, the race speech in Philadelphia, the countless rallies in primary and caucus and target states -- helped him capture the Democratic nomination and then win the presidency by the biggest percentage margin in 20 years.

But it turns out that Obama is not so good at argument. Inspiration is one thing, persuasion another. He created the impression on the campaign trail that he was familiar with major issues and readily ticked off his positions on them. But he has not proved so good at legislating.

One reason perhaps is that he has had little practice. He served as a legislator for a dozen years before becoming president, but was only rarely an active one. He spent one of his eight years as an Illinois state senator running unsuccessfully for Congress and two of them running successfully for U.S. senator. He spent two of his years in the U.S. Senate running for president. During all of his seven non-campaign years as a legislator, he was in the minority party.

In other words, he's never done much work putting legislation together -- especially legislation that channels vast flows of money and affects the workings of parts of the economy that deeply affect people's lives. This lack of experience is starting to show. On the major legislation considered this year -- the stimulus, cap-and-trade, health care -- the Obama White House has done little or nothing to set down markers, to provide guidance, to establish boundaries and no-go areas.

The administration could have insisted that the stimulus package concentrate spending in the next year. It didn't. It could have insisted that the cap-and-trade bill generate the revenue that was supposed to underwrite health care. It didn't. It could have decided either to seek a bipartisan health care bill or insist that a Democratic bill be budget-neutral. It didn't -- and it still hasn't made this basic policy choice.

Most of Obama's top White House staffers are politics operatives, not policy wonks. The one leading policy wonk on health care, Budget Director Peter Orszag, has either missed signals of danger or has failed to communicate their seriousness to his colleagues. On Feb. 25, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, a Democratic appointee, signaled in testimony to the Senate Finance Committee that the CBO would not credit health care bills with the budget savings the administration was promising.

Orszag, as a former CBO director himself, should have realized what this meant, which is that Democrats would have to shape their bills accordingly. They didn't, and were stunned when CBO came out in June and this month with estimates of little or no savings.

And someone in the White House should have taken note when 40 Blue Dog Democrats signed a letter dated July 9 warning that they wouldn't vote for anything like the health care bills being considered in committee.
Without those 40 votes, Democrats don't have a majority in the House. It's unusual for dissenting members of the majority to set down such a public marker. Predictably, they haven't backed down so far, despite foot-stomping by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a chat session with Obama.

Obama's July 22 press conference was intended to rally support for the Democrats' health care bills. It didn't. The president eschewed serious arguments and rattled off campaign-type talking points. Those used to be enough to elicit cheers from enthusiastic audiences in Iowa and Virginia.

But aura can only take you so far, particularly when you diminish it by disrespecting the Cambridge police department. Being president means being more than commenter-in-chief. You need to know how to legislate. You need not just aura but argument.

Presidential scare tactics replace Hope and Change

From the Wall Street Journal:

Obama’s Great Health Scare

The president resorts to the politics of fear.


On the campaign trail last year, Barack Obama promised to end the “politics of fear and cynicism.” Yet he is now trying to sell his health-care proposals on fear.

At his news conference last week, he said “Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage, or lose their job. . . . If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction.”

A Fox News Poll from last week shows that 84% of Americans who have health insurance are happy with their coverage. And because 91% of all Americans have insurance, that means that 76% of all Americans will be concerned about anything that threatens their current coverage. By a 2-1 margin, according to the Fox Poll, Americans want coverage from a private provider rather than the government.

Facing numbers like these, Mr. Obama is dropping his high-minded rhetoric and instead trying to scare voters. During last week’s news conference, for example, he said that doctors routinely perform unnecessary tonsillectomies on children simply to fatten their wallets. All that was missing was the suggestion that the operations were conducted without anesthesia.

This is not a healthy way to wage a policy debate. It also risks making the president look desperate at a time when his proposals are looking increasingly too expensive for Americans to accept.

Last weekend, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) demolished Mr. Obama’s claims that his plan cuts the growth of future health spending and won’t add to the deficit. Responding to a White House proposal to create an independent panel to recommend Medicare cuts, the CBO said on Saturday that “The probability is high that no savings would be realized” in the next decade, while entitlement spending would rise $1.042 trillion. The CBO did say there might be $2 billion in savings in the second decade of the program—a pittance.

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag shot back at the CBO with a blog posting on the White House’s Web site arguing, “the point of the proposal . . . was never to generate savings over the next decade.” Really? The White House rolled out the proposal hoping to give cover to Blue Dog Democrats in Congress barking about the cost of overhauling health care.

The House version of ObamaCare adds to the deficit even though the new taxes to pay for part of it begin two years before the program itself kicks in. That head start puts ObamaCare in the black through 2013. But net new spending after that overwhelms future revenue to add to the deficit each year.

Keith Hennessey, who was a National Economic Council director for George W. Bush, estimates the annual deficits in Mr. Obama’s plan will grow to $64 billion a year by 2019. And this assumes that Mr. Obama gets all the tax increases and Medicare cuts he wants.

On Sunday, the CBO released another torpedo at the burning hull of USS ObamaCare. Responding to an inquiry by Rep. David Camp (R., Mich.) about whether the House bill would run a deficit in its second decade, the CBO reported it would “probably generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits during the decade beyond the current 10-year budget window.” The CBO does not believe that Mr. Obama’s proposal “bends” health-care spending down, as the president has repeatedly claimed it would. The CBO says it escalates above today’s rate.

By 2029, Mr. Hennessey estimates that new taxes will bring in $143 billion a year, while net new health spending will have increased by $348 billion a year.

Damaging reports from the CBO had earlier provoked some Chicago-style intimidation, with the president summoning CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf to the Oval Office. It’s safe to assume that they didn’t talk about the Chicago White Sox. Imagine if Mr. Bush had done that after the CBO released numbers that undercut the centerpiece of his domestic agenda. “White House thuggery” and “intimidation” would have been the theme of nearly every editorial writer in the country.

Team Obama’s pressure, however, might have caused the CBO to release its latest missives on a weekend, when fewer people are paying attention to the news.

Mr. Obama’s problem is that nine out of 10 Americans would likely get worse health care if ObamaCare goes through. Of those who do not have insurance—and who therefore might be better off—approximately one-fifth are illegal aliens, nearly three-fifths make $50,000 or more a year and can afford insurance, and just under a third are probably eligible for Medicaid or other government programs already.

For the slice of the uninsured that is left—perhaps about 2% of all American citizens—Team Obama would dismantle the world’s greatest health-care system. That’s a losing proposition, which is why Mr. Obama is increasingly resorting to fear and misleading claims. It’s all the candidate of hope has left.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fennville Legends

Last Round With Tuffy

Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated, July 6, 2009

They say old athletes cling to their youth, but maybe it's the other way around. How else to explain the story of Rubin (Tuffy) Jordan?

You probably don't know his name, but if you're from southwest Michigan you may be familiar with his son, Richie. He's the one they still talk about in the bars and pool halls, the short kid with the flattop who could do anything with a ball. As a senior for Fennville High in 1964--65, Richie set a state record with 5,132 career rushing yards, averaged 44.4 points in basketball and hit .550 as an outfielder. He went on to play two sports for Michigan State and signed as a free agent with the Pirates before a shoulder injury ended his career. He's one of only two Michigan athletes in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Richie was remarkable, but he'll be the first to tell you he couldn't compare with his dad. Barely 5'7", Tuffy could climb stairs on his palms and, as the story goes, once hopped five miles on one leg to win a nickel bet. He bowled an 824 series, and when Eddie Feigner, the famed softball pitcher of the King and his Court, came through town, Tuffy was the only player to get a hit off him He might have made a hell of a major league shortstop—that is, if he hadn't started working at 12 and then spent five years as an antiartillery gunman in Europe during World War II. For the better part of a year he lived in a foxhole. There's a reason he had the nickname.

Tuffy got restless if he wasn't working—he owned a dime store in Fennville—so he played golf and beat all comers in arm wrestling. "He made everything look easy," says Bill Barron, a high school teammate of Richie's. "He was the kind of guy who thought anything was possible."

Funny, because that's what Tuffy always told his son. "There was never anything more important to him than me," says Richie. "But he was never one to brag on me, like some fathers do. He taught me to be proud of myself but always respect the people you play against." When Richie moved to Sarasota, Fla., taking a job in education (he's now a special-ed teacher), the two men continued to talk almost every day. Once, when Tuffy didn't like the sound of Richie's voice—he was laid up with a bad fever—the father hung up the phone and caught the next flight to Florida. "When I woke up he was in my house, sitting there," says Richie. "He just stayed with me, watching Yankees games together, until I got better. That's how he was."

The thing about men like Tuffy: They aren't supposed to get old and need help, so it always comes as a surprise when they do. On May 1 doctors told 86-year-old Tuffy he had cancer of the bladder, liver and colon. There was nothing they could do; the disease was eating through him by the day. When Richie heard the news, he drove straight through to Michigan and found his father weak and disoriented. Barron suggested they should get Tuffy out for one last round of golf.

Three weeks later, under clear skies, the trio arrived at the nine-hole Winding Creek course in Holland, Mich. The 1st hole was an ordeal, to say the least. Richie had to carry his father to the tee box, an arm looped under his rib cage as if he were a wounded comrade, then stand in front of Tuffy while Barron stood in back, a pair of human safety nets. The old man drew back his driver—the one with the oversized head he was so proud to have bought on sale for $29—and looped it through the zone. The ball stayed true. It always did. "I don't know what's wrong with you guys," Tuffy was fond of saying. "You just gotta hit it on the fairway."

More than once, as they made their way around the course, Tuffy toppled backward on a swing, into the waiting arms of Barron. Eventually, Richie took to carrying him on his back, like an oversized toddler. What's more, Tuffy had forgotten his glasses and could barely see the holes. But damn if he wasn't going to finish.

Finally, two hours later, there they stood: looking up at the par-3 140-yard 9th, which has an elevated green behind two sand traps. Barron drove first, sending his shot high and to the right. Then Richie put one toward the back of the green. Finally it was Tuffy's turn. Richie tried to focus on the hole, and the cloudless sky, and the expanse of green—anything not to get emotional thinking about the moment. In two weeks' time he would carry his father into a hospice bed. Four days after that Tuffy would die in his sleep, and three days later military rifles would echo at his funeral. The following weekend, while watching David Duval's surge at the U.S. Open, Richie would excitedly pick up the phone to call Tuffy—"Dad always loved the underdog," he says—before slowly setting it down.

Tuffy drew back the club and smacked a high fade, the effort sending him off balance once again. The golfball landed above the traps and rolled, juiced on topspin, before disappearing from the men's sight. Tuffy turned to his son and smiled. "Now there's the way you hit the ball," he said.

And he sure was right about that. For when the men climbed to the peak of the green, they saw only two balls. With what turned out to be the last swing of his life, Tuffy Jordan had made a hole in one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gasbag Joey Plugs

-- On July 16, 2009, Vice President Biden gave a blunt summation of the administration's approach to stimulus spending.

"People, when I say that, look at me and say, 'What are you talking about, Joe? You're telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?" he said at a stop in Virginia. "The answer is yes."

-- On July 5, 2009, in an interview with ABC's "This Week," Biden conceded that the White House team "misread how bad the economy was." His confession came as unemployment hit 9.5 percent, despite the administration's insistence that it would hold to 8 percent with the stimulus plan.

-- On April 30, 2009, Biden gave advice on dealing with swine flu that seemed to contradict President Obama's warning not to panic. Speaking on NBC's "Today," Biden, a longtime Amtrak rider who has commuted for decades daily from Delaware to Washington, D.C., said he wouldn't advise family necessarily against going to Mexico, the source of the H1N1 outbreak, but he wouldn't tell them to get into any small area like a subway car, automobile, classroom or airplane.

"I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places right now," Biden said. "It's not that its going to Mexico, it's that you are in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes, it goes everywhere through the aircraft. That's me."

-- On March 13, 2009, Biden addressed a former Senate colleague by saying, "An hour late, oh give me a f**king break," after he arrived on Amtrak at Union Station in Washington, D.C. The vice president's expletive was caught on a live microphone.

-- During a Feb. 25, 2009, interview on CBS' "Early Show," Biden encouraged viewers to visit a government-run Web site that tracks stimulus spending. When asked for the site's web address, Biden could not remember the site's "number."

"You know, I'm embarrassed. Do you know the Web site number?" he asked an aide standing out of view. "I should have it in front of me and I don't. I'm actually embarrassed."

-- At a Jan. 30, 2009, swearing-in ceremony of senior White House staff, Biden mocked Chief Justice John Roberts for his presidential oath blunder on Inauguration Day.

"Am I doing this again?" Biden said, after Obama asked him to administer the oath. When Biden was told the swearing-in was for senior staff -- and not cabinet members -- the vice president quipped, "My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts," prompting a stern nudge from Obama.

-- On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20 2009, Biden misspoke when he told a cheering crowd of supporters, "Jill and I had the great honor of standing on that stage, looking across at one of the great justices, Justice Stewart." Justice John Paul Stevens -- not Stewart -- swore Biden in as vice president.

-- When criticizing former GOP nominee John McCain in Athens, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2008, Biden said, "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."

-- In a Sept. 22, 2008, CBS interview, Biden misspoke when he said Franklin D. Roosevelt was president when the stock market crashed in 1929.

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened," he said. Herbert Hoover -- not Roosevelt -- was president in 1929, and television had not yet been invented in 1929.

-- During a Sept. 12, 2008, speech in Columbia, Mo., Biden called for Missouri State Sen. Chuck Graham, who is wheelchair-bound, to "stand up."

"Oh, God love ya," Biden said, after realizing his mistake. "What am I talking about?"

-- At a Sept. 10, 2008, town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., Biden said, "Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me."

-- Biden mistakenly referred to Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the "lieutenant governor" of her state during a town hall meeting on Sept. 4, 2008 at George Mason University in Manassas, Va.

"I heard a very, by the way I mean this sincerely, a very strong and a very good political speech from a lieutenant governor of Alaska who I think is going to be very formidable, very formidable not only in the campaign but in the debate," Biden said.

-- Biden said he was running for president -- not vice president -- during a Sept. 1, 2008, roundtable discussion in Scranton, Pa.

"Today is the moment for me as a United States senator running for president to put aside the national politics and focus on what's happening down there," Biden said.

-- Biden referred to John McCain as "George" during his vice presidential acceptance speech on Aug. 27, 2008, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Co. "Freudian slip, folks, Freudian slip," he explained.

-- Biden confused army brigades with battalions when speaking about Obama's plan for sending troops to Afghanistan.

"Or should we trust Barack Obama, who more than a year ago called for sending two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan?"

-- During his first campaign rally with Obama as his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 23, 2008, Biden introduced Obama by saying, "A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States -- Barack America!"

-- On Jan. 31, 2007 -- the day Biden announced his presidential bid -- the Delaware Senator was roundly criticized for calling Obama "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."


July 28, 2009

A Post-Racial President?

By Thomas Sowell

Many people hoped that the election of a black President of the United States would mark our entering a "post-racial" era, when we could finally put some ugly aspects of our history behind us.

That is quite understandable. But it takes two to tango. Those of us who want to see racism on its way out need to realize that others benefit greatly from crying racism. They benefit politically, financially, and socially.

Barack Obama has been allied with such people for decades. He found it expedient to appeal to a wider electorate as a post-racial candidate, just as he has found it expedient to say a lot of other popularthings-- about campaign finance, about transparency in government, about not rushing legislation through Congress without having it first posted on the Internet long enough to be studied-- all of which turned to be the direct opposite of what he actually did after getting elected.

Those who were shocked at President Obama's cheap shot at the Cambridge police for being "stupid" in arresting Henry Louis Gates must have been among those who let their wishes prevail over the obvious implications of Obama's 20 years of association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who can believe that Obama did not understand what the racist rants of Jeremiah Wright meant can believe anything.

With race-- as with campaign finance, transparency and therest-- Barack Obama knows what the public wants to hear and that is what he has said. But his policies as president have been the opposite of his rhetoric, with race as with other issues.

As a state senator in Illinois, Obama pushed the "racial profiling" issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was racial profiling when in fact the cop was investigating a report received from a neighbor that someone seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge.

For those who are interested in facts-- and these obviously do not include President Obama-- there has been a serious study of racial profiling in a book titled "Are Cops Racist?" by Heather Mac Donald. Her analysis of the data shows how this issue has long been distorted beyond recognition by politics.

The racial profiling issue is a great vote-getter. And if it polarizes the society, that is a price that politicians are willing to pay in order to get votes. Academics who run black studies departments, as Professor Henry Louis Gates does, likewise have a vested interest in racial paranoia.
For "community organizers" as well, racial resentments are a stock in trade. President Obama's background as a community organizer has received far too little attention, though it should have been a high-alert warning that this was no post-racial figure.

What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.

To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.
Not only Barack Obama's past, but his present, tell the same story. His appointment of an attorney general who called America "a nation of cowards" for not dialoguing about race was a foretaste of what to expect from Eric Holder.

The way Attorney General Holder has refused to prosecute young black thugs who gathered at a voting site with menacing clubs, in blatant violation of federal laws against intimidating voters, speaks louder than any words from him or his president.

President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court is, like Obama himself, someone with a background of years of affiliation with an organization dedicated to promoting racial resentments and a sense of racial entitlement.

An 18th century philosopher said, "When I speak I put on a mask. When I act I am forced to take it off." Barack Obama's mask slipped for a moment last week but he quickly recovered, with the help of the media. But we should never forget what we saw.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Transcript of Krauthammer on Hugh Hewitts show

HH: Joined now by Fox News all star and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles, what a day for the news. What do you make of the President’s extraordinary appearance in the White House today to try and put the Gates-Officer Crowley matter behind him?
CK: Well, I think his folks realize they made a pretty big mistake. You know, it hearkens back to the old Democratic stereotype of Democrats, which actually was quite accurate for half a century, of soft on crime, and the flip side of that is tough on cops. And they just don’t respect the people of the thin, blue line between us and barbarism. And that’s what came out. Here was the president of the United States not knowing the facts, taking the side of a professor at Harvard over a cop who has an incredibly good and clean record of being respectful, particularly on issues of race, and secondly, accepting the narrative, that’s the word that the left loves, the narrative that the reason for the altercation was racism, for which there is no evidence. And I think the turning point was when the Cambridge Police Department held that press conference. It’s a multi-racial police department. They’ve got support from surrounding police departments saying that this simply wasn’t right, the President had got it wrong, that the police had acted correctly. That’s when they understood they did not want to stay in a confrontation with cops. That is really bad politically for Democrats, for all kinds of reasons, historical and political. And that’s when he had to beat a retreat.
HH: You know, Charles, when I saw that press conference, I said this is going to be far more significant than the incident, because it’s an example of people pushing back against the Obama administration, and against the President himself. No one’s really done that in that kind of a context thus far. I mean, people have tried, you know, DeMint got into it on the Waterloo thing, and other people have had tête-à-têtes with him, but no one stood up and said you’re not going to bully us, we’re not going to be intimidated the way that the Cambridge cops did today. And I think that may have a long-lasting effect on opposition to the President.
CK: And I think you’re right, and I think it’s even more significant that the issue on which the pushback came was on race. I mean, after all, go back to the Philadelphia race speech the President gave last year when he got in real trouble over Jeremiah Wright, a speech in which he basically blamed everybody, black, white and grandmother for racism except himself, and in which he refused to renounce Jeremiah Wright. Well, I thought it was an outrageous speech and a fraud, and yet you remember how the mainstream media heralded it as a second coming of Abraham Lincoln. I think Gary Wills wrote it should be taught in schools along with the great speeches of Abraham Lincoln. It was absurd. So he must have thought well, if he got away with that, which was truly scandalous, he’s untouchable on issues of race, and he can sort of freelance. And this is what he did when he answered that question at the press conference. So the fact that the pushback is on this issue, in which he must have thought himself invulnerable, must have been an amazing shock to him.
HH: As I also note, and you made me think about this, most of the press analysis of what happened today has been that the President wanted to get back on message about health care, which is to a certain extent helping him camouflage what is a rapid retreat from a confrontation with police as you spelled it out. But I don’t think that’ll last over the weekend. I think this is going to be played again and again, and that there’s going to be more analysis of what happened here. And I think probably your analysis, your take, is going to be the dominant one. What does that mean for like the next week and the following weeks? What’s the message for opponents of Obama policies and confrontations in this exchange, Charles Krauthammer?
CK: Well, I think first of all, in terms of this particular story, it will have legs if the Cambridge police release the 9-11 tapes and if you actually get an airing of the eyewitness accounts and all that. It’s going to need a little more fact to maintain itself. But I think you’re right. The fact that the President was sort of caught on this, had to push back, I’m not sure it’s necessarily going to carry over into everybody piling up on him on other stuff. I think what’s going on is his policies themselves are so weak, the cap and trade energy thing is a disaster. People oppose it now. The health care, you know, when he talked about it in the abstract, who’s against improved health care expanded coverage, well, as soon as it gets written into legislation, people see what an abomination it is, how you know, completely off the wall it is in terms of spending, and how it’s going to sort of get in the way of anybody’s freedom of choice. So it’s the reality and the facts and the details of the legislation he’s proposed that is now beginning to pull him down. He still has the personal aura. I think he got a nick on the Gates affair. He still has that personal aura. But what’s dragging him now is reality trumps rhetoric at the point where you begin writing legislation.
HH: Now Charles, yesterday Glenn Reynolds on this program, the Instapundit, professor of law at University of Tennessee, marveled at how ill-informed the President is when he speaks about the specifics of medicine. He brought up the question about the pacemaker being treated with Vicodin or painkillers. He brought up the red pill/blue pill, and pointed to the fact that he’s just not that well informed on medicine.
CK: Yeah.
HH: You’re a doctor. Has the same thing struck you?
CK: Yeah, especially on the tonsillectomy stuff. I mean, that’s stuff from the 1950s he might have heard growing up somewhere, or you know, in a bull session in Harvard Law School. The real problem with Obama is he’s extremely intelligent, but he’s even more arrogant. And he trusts his own intelligence to get him through anything, even with a lack of knowledge. And it is amazingly arrogant. He’s standing up there, and he’s saying that there are doctors out there who will rip out a kid’s tonsils in order to make some money, without even knowing what are the indications for a tonsillectomy, and what’s not. He sort of made it up as he went along. You’re right. He operates on what he thinks he only needs, a minimal level of knowledge. He has quite a lot for a president. Remember, he has to know everything from Afghanistan to North Korea to health care and all that. He can’t just specialize. But still, you should have respect for how little you know if you’re a generalist like a president, and not a specialist. And to go after the docs on that, the way he went after the cops on the Gates thing, just shows this man’s supreme self-confidence, which far outruns his knowledge.
HH: How did you grade his overall performance at the press conference?
CK: Well, I must say, I was in the minority. I thought, given the brief he had, which was to defend the indefensible, after all, what’s he proposing? Health care, expansion of coverage, secure coverage, lifetime coverage, portable coverage, everybody has that coverage, you can’t be denied that coverage, which is a huge increase in this entitlement at no cost. So that’s his brief. That’s what, you know, a couple of millionaires will pay a little income tax surcharge, but nobody else is going to pay…that’s absurd. That’s sort of a contradiction in terms, and yet he’s up there for an hour, and I thought he defended the indefensible rather well. You know, after 20 minutes, had I been up there defending a proposition like that, I would have turned myself in on grounds of fraud.
HH: (laughing) Now looking ahead, today Nancy Pelosi announced we’ve still got the votes, and Henry Waxman says we’ll bypass the committee. Do you think they do, Charles? And dare they, do they think they can intimidate the blue dogs? And will the blue dogs potentially take a lesson from the Cambridge police about pushback?
CK: You know, I almost hope the Democratic leadership tries this stunt, and goes around the committee and tries to stiff the blue dogs. There are 52 of them. They only have about a 40 seat majority. If 40 of the blue dogs resist, and a lot of them are really angry today over the threat of the bypass, they accused the chairman of that committee of lying to them. If they lose 40, they would actually lose a vote in the House. And when you have an 80 seat majority in the House, and you control the rules, it’s like the Supreme Soviet. You ought to be able to pass anything you want with the waive of a gavel. If they were to lose on that, it would be catastrophic.
HH: Now in terms of the White House’s tactical approach to the Republicans in the Senate, I had James Inhofe on the program, it’s now all over Think Progress and ABC, because he said very obvious things, which is you know, we can beat this, we can do this, and we’ve got to do it. They’re trying to turn political opposition to the health care disaster that is looming into some sort of an attack on the American creed, or the way that business is done in Washington. Is that working, Charles?
CK: Well, I wouldn’t give it a chance to work. You know, the cardinal rule in Washington, when the other side is in the middle of a civil war and committing suicide, get out of the way. I don’t want to hear a Republican Senator saying that if Obama loses this, we break his presidency. Of course it will destroy his presidency. Just don’t say it. Don’t give them the ammunition to make it into a partisan issue, because the reason it’s going down is because of Democrats. And the reason that Democrats are opposing it is because the numbers don’t add up. So let the reality work itself out. Let the Democrats be the ones to bring it down.
HH: What about the need, though, to get the GOP base back in the game, not just for this, but for other issues of importance, not political importance, but policy importance?
CK: Look, you can quietly state your opposition, and say that you support alternatives, that this thing is a disaster. But you don’t have to turn it into a contest about Obama. The minute you do that, you get accused of playing politics. Whether that’s okay or not is irrelevant. I’m talking about the public relations aspect. Why would you do that? Why would you open up yourself to an attack that it’s a political issue, it’s a way to destroy Obama? It’s a way to say we’re not going to saddle American health care with a terrible idea and stop right there.
HH: Charles Krauthammer, a fascinating conversation, thanks for the time, great column on health care by Charles today in the Washington Post.
End of interview.

Friday, July 24, 2009

An ex-cop's perspective on Gates incident

July 24, 2009
Obama is the One Who 'Acted Stupidly'
By Bob Weir

From the moment a police officer dons that uniform, he/she becomes a symbol of authority, and it becomes obvious very quickly that most people in a free country resent authority. It could be the guy who gets pulled over for speeding or passing a red light; it could be the guy who's clobbering his wife during a family dispute, or it could be a guy who breaking into a residence that turns out to be his.

Although these are situations in which the police must take action, their authority will usually be resented. It's the type of job in which you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't. When a neighbor called police to the Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood next to Harvard University, she said there were two men breaking into a home. Sergeant Jim Crowley, a sixteen year veteran of police work, took the call and arrived at the scene to discover that the door had been jimmied and two men were inside.

It turned out later that it was Henry Gates, a Harvard professor, and his chauffer. Unfortunately for Sgt. Crowley, Gates did not have his name and address tattooed to his forehead. Therefore, it became necessary for the sergeant to ask him to show his identification.

What ensued from that moment is something that any veteran cop can relate to. This professor, evidently indignant about being questioned by a mere public servant, launched into a tirade that included references to the cop's mother and charges of racism.

In addition, it was reported that Gates made insinuations about his political influence. When he asked the officer if he knew who he's "messin' with," it was a likely reference to his friendship with President Obama.

So, here we have a case of a man who lost his keys to his house, broke in through a rear door and then became indignant when police responded to a report of a burglary and had the temerity to ask him to identify himself. When he was asked to step outside to speak with the officer, this Harvard-educated, "learned" professor said: "I'll speak with your mama outside!"

Such trash talk is generally confined to inner-city ghettos, not upscale areas which are often targeted by burglars. Is it any wonder that the cop doubted he was talking to a prominent citizen and respectable member of the community?

The fact that the cop is white and the professor is black made this a dream scenario for an opportunist to scream racism. Gates, who is reportedly working on a documentary about racism in America, apparently seized the moment as an excellent way to grab publicity for his upcoming project.

Keep in mind that the actions of the sergeant were thoroughly investigated by the Professional Standards Unit of the Cambridge PD and found to be in accordance with proper police protocol. If that cop had not followed procedure, and it turned out later that the house had in fact been burglarized, he could have been fired.

Speaking as a veteran cop (retired), who has effected more than 500 felony arrests in my 20 years with NYPD, I can tell you that Sergeant Crowley must be very tolerant indeed to have taken so much abuse from Gates before putting the cuffs on him. If it had been me, not only would he have been arrested sooner, but those manacles would have secured his arms behind his back, not in front, as Crowley did, once again being overly tolerant with this arrogant agitator.

If anyone is a racist in this confrontation, it is this obstreperous professor who evidently feels that his loft academic status and his friendship with Obama not only put him above the law, but give him a platform to inject "color" into every situation. Make no mistake about it, if Crowley were black and followed the same protocol, Gates would have recognized that there was no opportunity for a public spectacle, so he would have behaved properly.

Speaking of behavior, President Obama showed his own lack of class and judgment when he said the Cambridge PD "acted stupidly." To make such a sweeping statement of condemnation after admitting that he didn't "know all the facts," is beneath the dignity of his high office.

For a black man who has achieved the level of Chief Executive in a country where the overwhelming majority of voters are white to use that tired old canard about everything being racist, is stunningly contemptible. If this is the type of judgment Obama uses to make decisions, God help us if he's able to pass any more legislation.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department.

Charles Krauthammer is the man!

July 24, 2009
Rhetoric Meets Reality
By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- What happened to Obamacare? Rhetoric met reality. As both candidate and president, the master rhetorician could conjure a world in which he bestows upon you health care nirvana: more coverage, less cost.

But you can't fake it in legislation. Once you commit your fantasies to words and numbers, the Congressional Budget Office comes along and declares that the emperor has no clothes.

President Obama premised the need for reform on the claim that medical costs are destroying the economy. True. But now we learn -- surprise! -- that universal coverage increases costs. The congressional Democrats' health care plans, says the CBO, increase costs in the range of $1 trillion plus.

In response, the president retreated to a demand that any bill he sign be revenue neutral. But that's classic misdirection: If the fierce urgency of health care reform is to radically reduce costs that are producing budget-destroying deficits, revenue neutrality (by definition) leaves us on precisely the same path to insolvency that Obama himself declares unsustainable.

The Democratic proposals are worse still. Because they do increase costs, revenue neutrality means countervailing tax increases. It's not just that it is crazily anti-stimulatory to saddle a deeply depressed economy with an income tax surcharge that falls squarely on small business and the investor class. It's that health care reform ends up diverting for its own purposes a source of revenue that might otherwise be used to close the yawning structural budget deficit that is such a threat to the economy and to the dollar.

These blindingly obvious contradictions are why the Democratic health plans are collapsing under their own weight -- at the hands of Democrats. It's Max Baucus, Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who called Obama unhelpful for ruling out taxing employer-provided health insurance as a way to pay for expanded coverage. It's the Blue Dog Democrats in the House who wince at skyrocketing health-reform costs just weeks after having swallowed hemlock for Obama on a ruinous cap-and-trade carbon tax.

The president is therefore understandably eager to make this a contest between progressive Democrats and reactionary Republicans. He seized on Republican Sen. Jim DeMint's comment that stopping Obama on health care would break his presidency to protest, with perfect disingenuousness, that "this isn't about me. This isn't about politics."

It's all about him. Health care is his signature reform. And he knows that if he produces nothing, he forfeits the mystique that both propelled him to the presidency and has sustained him through a difficult first six months. Which is why Obama's red lines are constantly shifting. Universal coverage? Maybe not. No middle-class tax hit? Well, perhaps, but only if they don't "primarily" bear the burden. Because it's about him, Obama is quite prepared to sign anything as long as it is titled "health care reform."

This is not about politics? Then why is it, to take but the most egregious example, that in this grand health care debate we hear not a word about one of the worst sources of waste in American medicine: the insane cost and arbitrary rewards of our malpractice system?

When a neurosurgeon pays $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance before he even turns on the light in his office or hires his first nurse, who do you think pays? Patients, in higher doctor fees to cover the insurance.

And with jackpot justice that awards one claimant zillions while others get nothing -- and one-third of everything goes to the lawyers -- where do you think that money comes from? The insurance companies, who then pass it on to you in higher premiums.

But the greatest waste is the hidden cost of defensive medicine: tests and procedures that doctors order for no good reason other than to protect themselves from lawsuit. Every doctor knows, as I did when I practiced years ago, how much unnecessary medical cost is incurred with an eye not on medicine but on the law.

Tort reform would yield tens of billions in savings. Yet you cannot find it in the Democratic bills. And Obama breathed not a word about it in the full hour of his health care news conference. Why? No mystery. The Democrats are parasitically dependent on huge donations from trial lawyers.

Didn't Obama promise a new politics that puts people over special interests? Sure. And now he promises expanded, portable, secure, higher-quality medical care -- at lower cost! The only thing he hasn't promised is to extirpate evil from the human heart. That legislation will be introduced next week.

From the Wall Street Journal - Peggy Noonan

Common Sense May Sink ObamaCare

It turns out the president misjudged the nation’s mood.


This is big, what’s happening. President Obama appears to have misstepped on a major initiative and defining issue. He has misjudged the nation’s mood, which itself is news: He rose from nothing to everything with the help of his fine-tuned antennae. Resistance to the Democratic health-care plans is in the air, showing up more now on YouTube than in the polls, but it will be in the polls soon enough. The president, in short, may be facing a real loss. This will be interesting in a number of ways and for a number of reasons, among them that we’ve never seen him publicly defeated before, because he hasn’t been. So we may be entering new territory, with new struggles shaped by new dynamics.

His news conference the other night was bad. He was filibustery and spinny and gave long and largely unfollowable answers that seemed aimed at limiting the number of questions asked and running out the clock. You don’t do that when you’re fully confident. Far more seriously, he didn’t seem to be telling the truth. We need to create a new national health-care program in order to cut down on government spending? Who would believe that? Would anybody?

The common wisdom the past week has been that whatever challenges health care faces, the president will at least get something because he has a Democratic House and Senate and they’re not going to let their guy die. He’ll get this or that, maybe not a new nationalized system but some things, and he’ll be able to declare some degree of victory.

And this makes sense. But after the news conference, I found myself wondering if he’d get anything.

I think the plan is being slowed and may well be stopped not by ideology, or even by philosophy in a strict sense, but by simple American common sense. I suspect voters, the past few weeks, have been giving themselves an internal Q-and-A that goes something like this:
Will whatever health care bill is produced by Congress increase the deficit? “Of course.” Will it mean tax increases? “Of course.” Will it mean new fees of fines? “Probably.” Can I afford it right now? “No, I’m already getting clobbered.” Will it make the marketplace freer and better? “Probably not.” Is our health care system in crisis? “Yeah, it has been for years.” Is it the most pressing crisis right now? “No, the economy is.” Will a health-care bill improve the economy? “I doubt it.”

The White House misread the national mood. The problem isn’t that they didn’t “bend the curve,” or didn’t sell it right. The problem is that the national mood has changed since the president was elected. Back then the mood was “change is for the good.” But that altered as the full implications of the financial crash seeped in. The crash gave everyone a diminished sense of their own margin for error. It gave them a diminished sense of their country’s margin for error. Americans are not in a chance-taking mood. They’re not in a spending mood, not after the unprecedented spending of the past year, from the end of the Bush era through the first six months of Obama. Here the Congressional Budget Office report that a health care bill would not save money but would instead cost more than a trillion dollars in the next decade was decisive. People say bureaucrats never do anything. The bureaucrats of CBO might have killed health care.

The final bill, with all its complexities, will probably be huge, a thousand pages or so. Americans don’t fear the devil’s in the details, they fear hell is. Do they want the same people running health care who gave us the Department of Motor Vehicles, the post office and the invasion of Iraq?

Let me throw forward three other things that I suspect lessen , or will lessen, support for full health-care reform, two of them not quantifiable.

The first has to do with the doctors throughout the country who give patients a break, who quietly underbill someone they know is in trouble, or don’t charge for their services. Also the emergency rooms that provide excellent service for the uninsured in medical crisis. People don’t talk about this much because they’re afraid if they do they’ll lose it, that some government genius will come along and make it illegal for a doctor not to charge or a hospital to fudge around, with mercy, in its billing. People are afraid of losing the parts of the system that sometimes work—the unquantifiable parts, the human parts.

Second, and this is big, some of the bills being worked on in Congress will allow for or mandate taxpayer funding of abortion. Speaking only and narrowly in political terms, this is so ignorant as to be astounding. A good portion of the support for national health care comes from a sort of European Christian Democrat spirit of community, of “We are all in this together.” This spirit potentially unites Democrats, leftists, some Republicans and GOP populists, the politically unaffiliated and those of whatever view with low incomes. But putting abortion in the mix takes the Christian out of Christian Democrat. It breaks and jangles the coalition, telling those who believe abortion is evil that they not only have to accept its legality but now have to pay for it in a brand new plan, for which they’ll be more highly taxed. This is taking a knife to your own supporters.

The third point is largely unspoken but I suspect gives some people real pause. We are living in a time in which educated people who are at the top of American life feel they have the right to make very public criticisms of . . . let’s call it the private, pleasurable but health-related choices of others. They shame smokers and the overweight. Drinking will be next. Mr. Obama’s own choice for surgeon general has come under criticism as too heavy.

Only a generation ago such criticisms would have been considered rude and unacceptable. But they are part of the ugly, chafing price of having the government in something: Suddenly it can make big and very personal demands on you. Those who live in a way that isn’t sufficiently healthy “cost us money” and “drive up premiums.” Mr. Obama himself said something like it in his press conference, when he spoke of a person who might not buy health insurance. If he gets hit by a bus, “the rest of us have to pay for it.”

Under a national health-care plan we might be hearing that a lot. You don’t exercise, you smoke, you drink, you eat too much, and “the rest of us have to pay for it.”

It is a new opportunity for new class professionals (an old phrase that should make a comeback) to shame others, which appears to be one of their hobbies. (It may even be one of their addictions. Let’s stage an intervention.) Every time I hear Kathleen Sebelius talk about “transitioning” from “treating disease” to “preventing disease,” I start thinking of how they’ll use this as an excuse to judge, shame and intrude.
So this might be an unarticulated public fear: When everyone pays for the same health-care system, the overseers will feel more and more a right to tell you how to live, which simple joys are allowed and which are not.

Americans in the most personal, daily ways feel they are less free than they used to be. And they are right, they are less free.

Who wants more of that?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

From the Washington Post - Bill Kristol

Obama Attacks Docs and Cops

President Obama spent most of his press conference tonight denying what President Kennedy famously affirmed -- that to govern is to choose. Obama promised us health care this is at once better and cheaper, with both more regulation and more freedom to choose, featuring an assurance that government won’t limit our care and a commitment to a government panel that will save money by restricting care.

The juvenile happy talk reached its peak with this presidential statement: “If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well?” Now, there’s good idea. Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that? For this reform, we need to spend $1 trillion?

So on health care, I’d be surprised if the president changed any minds, because he never seriously tried to address criticism of his proposal on the merits.

But at press conferences there are often throwaway lines and unscripted moments that are interesting. I was struck by two that seemed to exemplify Obama’s easy disdain for the less enlightened among us -- in this case, for family docs and for Cambridge cops.

First, Obama offered this example of how doctors make decisions under the current system instead of doing what’s in their patients’ best interests:

"Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out."Does Obama really think pediatricians knowingly order unnecessary tonsillectomies in order to “make a lot more money?”

Isn’t this a rather casual slander of a lot of doctors? And in any case, is this what’s driving up health-care costs? It’s probably as likely health-care costs are high because hospitals have too many vice presidents for government relations making $300,000 a year. But I wouldn’t think it appropriate for the president to single them out for attack either.

Second, Obama answered a question about his friend Henry Louis Gates’s run-in with the Cambridge cops, after acknowledging “not having been there and not seeing all the facts,” by nonetheless asserting that “the Cambridge police acted stupidly.” Does he really know enough about what happened to say that? Maybe it was Professor Gates who behaved stupidly, or at least arrogantly. He is, after all, a Harvard professor. I was once a Harvard professor, and my instinct is to side with the Cambridge cops. But if I were president of the United States, I might pause before casually accusing other Americans of acting stupidly unless I were confident I knew what I was talking about.

You gotta love Ann Coulter!

All the problems with the American health care system come from government intervention, so naturally the Democrats' idea for fixing it is more government intervention. This is like trying to sober up by having another drink.The reason seeing a doctor is already more like going to the DMV, and less like going to the Apple "Genius Bar," is that the government decided health care was too important to be left to the free market. Yes -- the same free market that has produced such a cornucopia of inexpensive goods and services that, today, even poor people have cell phones and flat-screen TVs. As a result, it's easier to get your computer fixed than your health.

Thanks, government!

We already have near-universal health coverage in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' hospitals, emergency rooms and tax-deductible employer-provided health care -- all government creations.So now, everyone expects doctors to be free. People who pay $200 for a haircut are indignant if it costs more than a $20 co-pay to see a doctor.The government also "helped" us by mandating that insurance companies cover all sorts of medical services, both ordinary -- which you ought to pay for yourself -- and exotic, such as shrinks, in vitro fertilization and child-development assessments -- which no normal person would voluntarily pay to insure against.This would be like requiring all car insurance to cover the cost of gasoline, oil and tire changes -- as well as professional car detailing, iPod docks, and leather seats and those neon chaser lights I have all along the underbody of my chopped, lowrider '57 Chevy.

But politicians are more interested in pleasing lobbyists for acupuncturists, midwives and marriage counselors than they are in pleasing recent college graduates who only want to insure against the possibility that they'll be hit by a truck. So politicians at both the state and federal level keep passing boatloads of insurance mandates requiring that all insurance plans cover a raft of non-emergency conditions that are expensive to treat -- but whose practitioners have high-priced lobbyists.

As a result, a young, healthy person has a choice of buying artificially expensive health insurance that, by law, covers a smorgasbord of medical services of no interest to him ... or going uninsured. People who aren't planning on giving birth to a slew of children with restless leg syndrome in the near future forgo insurance -- and then politicians tell us we have a national emergency because some people don't have health insurance.

The whole idea of insurance is to insure against catastrophes: You buy insurance in case your house burns down -- not so you can force other people in your plan to pay for your maid. You buy car insurance in case you're in a major accident, not so everyone in the plan shares the cost of gas.Just as people use vastly different amounts of gasoline, they also use vastly different amounts of medical care -- especially when an appointment with a highly trained physician costs less than a manicure.Insurance plans that force everyone in the plan to pay for everyone else's Viagra and anti-anxiety pills are already completely unfair to people who rarely go to the doctor. It's like being forced to share gas bills with a long-haul trucker or a restaurant bill with Michael Moore. On the other hand, it's a great deal for any lonely hypochondriacs in the plan.

Now the Democrats want to force us all into one gigantic national health insurance plan that will cover every real and mythical ailment that has a powerful lobby. But if you have a rare medical condition without a lobbying arm, you'll be out of luck.

Even two decades after the collapse of liberals' beloved Soviet Union, they can't grasp that it's easier and cheaper to obtain any service provided by capitalism than any service provided under socialism.You don't have to conjure up fantastic visions of how health care would be delivered in this country if we bought it ourselves. Just go to a grocery store or get a manicure. Or think back to when you bought your last muffler, personal trainer, computer and every other product and service available in inexpensive abundance in this capitalist paradise.Third-party payer schemes are always a disaster -- less service for twice the price! If you want good service at a good price, be sure to be the one holding the credit card. Under "universal health care," no one but government bureaucrats will be allowed to hold the credit card.

Isn't food important? Why not "universal food coverage"? If politicians and employers had guaranteed us "free" food 50 years ago, today Democrats would be wailing about the "food crisis" in America, and you'd be on the phone with your food care provider arguing about whether or not a Reuben sandwich with fries was covered under your plan.Instead of making health care more like the DMV, how about we make it more like grocery stores? Give the poor and tough cases health stamps and let the rest of us buy health care -- and health insurance -- on the free market.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Canadian's view of socialized medicine:

From the Weekly Standard Blogs:

Tomorrow Shona Holmes will testify before Congress about Obama’s proposed health care plan, but unlike most of the people debating health care on the Hill, Holmes is not a lobbyist, a doctor, a policy wonk or even an American.

Shona Holmes is a Canadian who almost went blind waiting for vital brain surgery in her country’s nationalized health care system, and who owes her sight to the quick care of American doctors.

When Holmes went to a doctor complaining of headaches and fuzzy vision, an MRI revealed a brain tumor. Unfortunately, she was told she would have to wait four to six months to see a specialist.

“I never truly understood that little inner voice--that gut feeling--until that time,” Holmes told me during an interview at THE WEEKLY STANDARD’s offices today. “And I thought, ‘I better figure out what’s going on.’”

So Holmes flew to the Mayo Clinic, where, within in a week, she was seen and diagnosed as having a Rathke’s cleft cyst. The cyst was growing and putting pressure on her optical nerves, slowly blinding her.

However, when she returned to Canada for surgery, Holmes had trouble finding a doctor. And when she did, she only ran into more trouble, thanks to laws and regulations against purchasing private health care.

“The one doctor I did see wouldn’t even open my American medical files and look at them,” she said.

When specialists from the Mayo Clinic tried to talk to the doctor, he wouldn’t even answer the phone.

“I was always told that if you were sick enough, you would be treated,” Holmes said. “And there I was, standing in the doctor’s office, and he wouldn’t take the call.”

So Holmes flew back to the Mayo Clinic, where neurosurgeons removed the cyst. Her vision has been 100 percent restored.

Her tribulations have spurred Holmes to action. In Canada, she has been fighting an ongoing legal battle with the province of Ontario to repeal the ban on purchasing private health care.

Holmes decided to come talk in the U.S. after hearing Canadian politician Jack Layton offer support for Obama’s health care plan (all the while touting the wonders of the Canadian system.)
She calls Obama’s plan a “slippery slope,” but she doesn’t like to think of herself as an activist or advocate.

“All I have is a story and an experience from both sides of the border,” she said.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who loses with Obamacare? Mom and Dad!!!!

By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann


Published in The New York Post July 21, 2009

If the Democrats obey President Obama’s command and pass a health-care bill by the August recess, they’ll be committing partisan suicide.

Obama’s insistence that we completely remake our health-care system — and do it two weeks after the first bill was marked up in the first committee — is too arrogant by half. It smacks of the kind of overreaching of FDR’s second term in 1937, when, after his landslide win in 1936, he tried to pack the Supreme Court to reverse its anti-New Deal rulings.

Americans are increasingly turning against Obama’s program. A Washington Post poll has the plan’s public approval below 50 percent; Rasmussen has it trailing 46-49.
For Obama to ride roughshod over Americans’ rising concerns about a matter so intimate will be too much.

What’s the rush? they’ll ask. The bill isn’t even slated to take effect until next year. You passed the stimulus package, they’ll note, in a similar rush during the administration’s first week — only to see it fall flat. Now Obama aides are claiming the package was never intended to have much effect this year!

How, voters will ask, can we cover 50 million more people without any new doctors or nurses? The answer is to ration health care, with the government deciding who’ll get hip and knee replacements, heart-bypass surgery and other medical treatments. And what does rationing mean? It means that the elderly will be denied care that they can now get whenever they want.

The Obama plan effectively repeals Medicare, putting a Federal Health Board between the elderly and their doctors. This board will instruct public and private insurance carriers on what procedures are to be approved, at what cost and for what patients.

The bulk of this rationing will fall on the elderly. We’ll have to revisit the idea that the elderly have, in the words of former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, “a duty to die.”

The more word gets out about what the bill contemplates, the firmer opposition will grow. That’s why Obama wants to push it through now, while he retains some popularity.
And if the bill passes? The howls of protest from the elderly the first time they’re denied care will be something to behold. It will become evident that the health-care resources being denied to the elderly are going instead to immigrants — legal and not. The anger will be enormous and instant.

Most Americans aren’t sick and don’t use medical facilities often. But the elderly constantly stay in touch with their doctors and medical providers. The curtailment of that access will become immediately apparent — and in more than enough time for the 2010 elections.

Some votes live on and on. People remember senators’ votes on the Kuwait war resolution. President Bill Clinton chose Vice President Al Gore for the 1992 ticket largely based on Gore’s vote in favor of the invasion. It sent a signal that Gore and he were a “new kind of Democrat.”
This health-care vote is similarly consequential; it will linger for years.

From - a must read...

July 21, 2009
Medical Care Confusion
By Thomas Sowell

Is there a coherent argument for government-controlled medical care or are slogans and hysteria considered sufficient?

We hear endlessly about how many Americans don't have health insurance. But, if we stop and think-- which politicians hope we never do-- that raises the question as to why that calls for government-controlled medical care.

A bigger question is whether medical care will be better or worse after the government takes it over. There are many available facts relevant to those crucial questions but remarkably little interest in those facts.

There are facts about the massive government-run medical programs already in existence in the United States-- Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' hospitals-- as well as government-run medical systems in other countries.

None of the people who are trying to rush government-run medical care through Congress before we have time to think about it are pointing to Medicare, Medicaid or veterans' hospitals as shining examples of how wonderful we can expect government medical care to be when it becomes "universal."

As for those uninsured Americans we keep hearing about, there is remarkably little interest in why they don't have insurance. It cannot be poverty, for the poor can automatically get Medicaid.

In fact, we already know that there are people with substantial incomes who choose to spend those incomes on other things, especially if they are young and in good health. If necessary, they can always go to a hospital emergency room and receive treatment there, whether or not they have insurance.

Here, the advocates of government-run medical care say that we all end up paying, one way or another, for the free medical care that hospitals are forced by law to provide in their emergency rooms. But unless you think that any situation you don't like is a reason to give politicians a blank check for "change," the relevant question becomes whether the alternative is either less expensive or of better quality. Nothing is cheaper just because part of the price is paid in higher taxes.

Such questions seldom get asked, much less answered. We are like someone being rushed by a used car dealer to sign on the dotted line. But getting stuck with a car that is a lemon is nothing compared to signing away your right to decide what medical care you or your loved ones will get in life and death situations.

Politicians can throw rhetoric around about "bringing down the cost of health care" or they can even throw numbers around. But the numbers that politicians are throwing around don't match the numbers that the Congressional Budget Office finds when it analyzes the hard data.

An old advertising slogan said, "Progress is our most important product." With politicians, confusion is their most important product. They confuse bringing down the price of medical care with bringing down the cost.
And they confuse medical care with health care.

Nothing is easier than for governments to impose price controls. They have been doing this, off an on, for thousands of years-- repeatedly resulting in (1) shortages, (2) quality deterioration and (3) black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things when it comes to medical care?

Refusing to pay the costs is not the same as bringing down the cost. That is why price controls create these problems. When developing a new pharmaceutical drug costs roughly a billion dollars, you are either going to pay the billion dollars or cause people to stop spending a billion dollars to develop new drugs.

The confusion of "health care" with medical care is the crucial confusion. Years ago, a study showed that Mormons live a decade longer than other Americans. Are doctors who treat Mormons so much better than the doctors who treat the rest of us? Or do Mormons avoid doing a lot of things that shorten people's lives?

The point is that health care is largely in your hands. Medical care is in the hands of doctors. Things that depend on what doctors do-- cancer survival rates, for example-- are already better here than in countries with government-run medical systems. But, if political rhetoric prevails, we may yet sell our birthright and not even get the mess of pottage.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Enough is enough!

Sign this petition now - it costs nothing, only some time, and will save us from the idiocy proposed by the Obama administration...

Friday, July 17, 2009

An urgent call to action from Dick Morris

From Dick Morris' blog:

In two weeks, Obama’s health care plan is likely to become law, ending medicine as we know it in the United States! Unless we can stop him, our own personal access to medical care will be attenuated (no matter if we can pay for it ourselves) and we will all be subject to bureaucratic rationing.

Seeing his popularity draining away rapidly, President Obama has cynically decided to ram through the complex health care legislation in two weeks, without debate or amendment. He is going to give up the attempt to win sixty votes in the Senate and will use the budget reconciliation procedure - which is only used for budget bills - to push it through with fifty votes.

His plan would:

• Force employers either to offer health insurance to their employees or pay a tax of 8% of their payrolls. This would apply to all with payrolls of $250,000 a year or more (basically every business)

• Reduce medical fees to the Medicare Schedule Plus 5%, driving doctors out of the profession and increasing the need for rationing.

• Raise taxes on all making more than $250,000 a year ($350,000 for a couple) with a surcharge. Rates will go as high as 45%.

• Set up a government owned health care plan to compete with private plans. Getting a subsidy, it will soon put the private plans out of business and we will have a single payer Canadian style system.

In Catastrophe, we enumerate the disaster of the Canadian health care system. A cancer death rate 16% higher than in the US. A colon cancer rate 25% higher due to waits for colonoscopies and a death rate once afflicted that is 41% as opposed to 32% in the US. An eight week wait for cancer radiation therapy.

We are organizing a media campaign to target swing state Senators to delay or kill the Obama bill. We will concentrate on:

Montana - Baucus and Tester
North Dakota - Dorgan and Conrad
South Dakota - Johnson
Nebraska - Nelson
Arkansas - Pryor and Lincoln
Louisiana - Landrieu
North Carolina - Hagan
Indiana - Bayh
Connecticut - Lieberman
Maine - Snow and Collins

The text of the ad will be:

“How can Obama care for fifty million new people without more doctors? By cutting access to care for the elderly. End Medicare as we know it. The government decides who gets hip, knee, or heart surgery. Eight month wait for colonoscopies. In Canada, an eight week wait for cancer radiation. Say no to Obama’s plan. Write Senator Evan Bayh today so you can still see your doctor tomorrow.”

On Monday or Tuesday, we will e mail you info on how to donate to our campaign. We need to raise $4 million in one week to impact this vote. With those funds, we can saturate these states and send the moderate Democrats scurrying for cover. But we need your quick response.
The stakes have never been higher.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Truth from Dick Morris....

By Dick Morris

Published on on July 15, 2009

Now President Obama says in The Washington Post that he never envisioned that his stimulus package would afford quick relief to the American economy, but would do so only after it had run its two-year course. But when it was passed, Obama sang a different tune, urgently demanding its enactment to speed relief to a sagging economy. He claimed it would “create or save” 600,000 jobs. Now, even as the economy loses 450,000 jobs each month, he pretends that it is a matter of time until the stimulus kicks in.

He now justifies the stimulus package by saying it was adopted to prevent the “collapse” of the economy and the banking systems. But it was really the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), first passed under President Bush, that stopped the banks from going under. At the time of the enactment of the stimulus package, Obama never mentioned that he was counting on it to save the banks.

All these shifting justifications are designed to explain why the stimulus package has totally failed to accomplish anything. Not only has it done no good. It has done significant harm by ballooning the deficit, driving up interest rates, creating doubts about the U.S. currency and fanning inflationary fears.

But Obama has paid and will continue to pay dearly for betting on his stimulus package. Because of it, the Bush recession is becoming the Obama recession much faster than it would have had he adopted a more gradual approach to solving economic problems. By jumping in immediately, as he did, in order to increase government spending and pass eight years of Democratic dreams in one day, he made the public expect a solution.

At first, a sick patient looks forward to seeing the doctor. But when the medicine his physician gives him fails to make him better, he is likely to turn on his doctor. And then, gradually, when it dawns on him that the cure is making the disease last longer and get worse, he will really get mad at the physician. This is Obama’s fate.

The stimulus package used up all the wiggle room he had to increase the budget deficit. He probably could have passed the healthcare program without a tax increase had he not already sent the deficit soaring with his massive spending. (Hillary and Bill pretended that there was no need to raise taxes to pay for their 1993 reform package and few questioned their presumption.) But now that the deficit has soared to 12 percent of the gross domestic product, everyone realizes that taxes must go up to pass healthcare “reform,” making its adoption even less likely. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has passed $550 billion of tax increases, but everyone knows that at least $1 trillion is required. And, in the current environment, Congress will not vote to add the balance to the deficit, even if Charlie wants to “charge it.”

Finally, Obama has laid a trap for himself. Just as the economy is coming out of its recession — in 2010 and 2011 — and he begins to run for reelection, he is going to face massive inflation. The money supply has more than tripled since October of 2008 and is going up each week as the Fed buys Treasury bills and other securities to “monetize the debt” (i.e., give other people money so they can lend it back to the government and charge it interest for doing so). With each new infusion of cash, the problem of avoiding inflation becomes particularly severe. Obama could well lose the elections of 2012 because of the inflation his deficit has created.

Of course, we all know that the only way to put the inflation virus back in the test tube is to trigger a new recession, this time caused by massive increases in interest rates, as Fed Chairman Paul Volcker did in 1979. If the recession doesn’t doom Obama to a single term, the inflation will. And if the inflation doesn’t get him, the subsequent recession will.

The deeper he gets into his term, the more it is apparent that he threw it all away when he first took office and demanded over $1 trillion in stimulus and supplemental appropriation spending.

He was doomed to lose the game right after he received the first kickoff.

Now this is real Hope and Change....

From the American Spectator:

By Peter Ferrara on 7.15.09 @ 6:09AM

Next year's elections are going to produce a political earthquake. That is because we currently suffer the most left-wing government in our nation's history. After just 6 months in office, the flower children that rule Washington in overwhelming numbers are already smashing through all records regarding federal taxes, spending, deficits, and debt. Obama and his ultra-left Democrats adopted a so-called stimulus bill raising spending a trillion dollars that never had a prayer of actually creating jobs and promoting long-term economic growth, because it was based entirely on old-fashioned, brain dead, proven to fail, Keynesian economics. Though we would have to double federal taxes to finance the entitlement promises we have already made, the ruling Washington Democrats completely ignore that and focus instead on adopting yet another entitlement -- national health insurance -- that would be the biggest of all.

Global atmospheric temperatures are down over the last 11 years, and temperature trends during the 20th century were consistent with natural causes such as varying ocean current temperatures and solar activity, and not with the theory of manmade global warming and carbon dioxide emissions. Yet the left wing extremists that run Washington insist on adopting the largest tax increase in world history to reduce the use of oil, natural gas, and coal by 83%, which would effectively repeal the Industrial Revolution. Mandating high cost energy is only going to trash the economy for no good reason.

Meanwhile, Obama is explicitly pursuing nuclear disarmament with the full support of Congressional Democrats on the openly expressed, child-like theory that if we get rid of our nukes our enemies will get rid of theirs. While North Korea is conducting nuclear tests and shooting missiles in the direction of our homeland, and Iran is openly building nuclear weapons and threatening to wipe our allies off the face of the Earth, Obama and Congressional Democrats are cutting missile defense and planning to cancel the Airborne Laser system capable of shooting down enemy missiles from planes hundreds of miles away. These are not the policies of serious people committed to our national defense.

After just 6 months, Obama has also already forgotten his pledge not to increase taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year, a promise he cynically used to lie his way into office. He fully supports the cap and trade tax bill, which would sharply raise the prices of electricity, gasoline, home heating oil, and every product or service that uses energy for its production or transportation, including food, particularly meat, cheese, eggs, milk, and other dairy products that require refrigeration. Moreover, his Democrat Congressional allies are developing a new value added tax (VAT) that would further sharply increase the prices of all goods and services, not to mention a new tax on health benefits and increases in payroll and other taxes.
Remember George Bush Senior was booted out of office for violating his campaign pledge not to raise taxes. Maybe this is the right precedent for Obama's violation of his central campaign pledge. Obama's poll numbers are certainly starting to reflect that distinct possibility. The latest Rasmussen daily Presidential tracking poll shows that only 28% of voters now strongly approve of Obama's performance as President, while 36% strongly disapprove, a negative 8% margin. Rasmussen focuses on those who strongly approve or disapprove because these are the people who have made a decision regarding Obama and his policies. Obama's numbers have been plummeting on this measure. Obama's overall approval rating is down to 53% in Rasmussen's polling, while 46% overall disapprove, a poor showing for so early in his term.

Rasmussen's polling also shows that only 30% now trust Obama on the economy, which 84% say is the most important issue. A large majority, 61%, believes America is on the wrong track. The GOP leads the generic Congressional Ballot by 3%, while only 18% rate the Democrat-controlled Congress as good or excellent. These numbers will only get worse for Democrats as Congress adopts mega tax increases and other ultraliberal policies, portending a GOP takeover of the House next year. A plurality of Americans also now oppose the Obama/Democrat takeover of health care 49% to 46%.

Barack Obama makes Franklin Roosevelt look like a conservative. But that should not have been a surprise given his record in Congress as the most liberal Senator of all, more liberal than Teddy Kennedy, or Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry. The media parroted Obama's propaganda that his ultraliberal voting record didn't mean that he was liberal, and those labels don't mean anything any more. Now we can see too late that such propaganda was silly.

But it is not just Barack Obama. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco is just as far left, and seems to be even more dreamy and unrealistic on national defense. Barney Frank from Boston is equally loony left, yet serves as Chairman of the House Banking Committee, where he continues to promote the same easy mortgage credit policies that caused the financial crisis. Henry Waxman, the Congressman from Hollywood, is another left-wing extremist, serving as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he wrote the unjustifiable cap and trade tax legislation.

Charley Rangel, the Congressman from Harlem, serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he is preparing tax increases that will cause capital flight from our economy, befitting a banana republic. John Conyers, Congressman from Detroit, is so far left he has flirted in the past with the Communist Party USA. Yet, he serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, where he regularly calls for prosecution of former Bush Administration officials.

Many Democrats in Congress ran and won as conservatives in their districts back home. But it is these so-called Blue Dog Democrats who keep all the above left-wing extremists in their lofty positions of power. Many of these so-called conservative Democrats voted for the ineffective stimulus package based on outdated, liberal, Keynesian economics, and then voted for the Obama budget with its record spending, deficits, taxes, and debt. Tell them these are not conservative votes, and true conservatives would not be supporting San Francisco ultraliberal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and keeping all the above ultraliberal left Committee Chairmen in power.

These Blue Dog Democrats posing as conservatives provide the margin for the Democrat majority in the House. They are the most vulnerable to defeat in 2010. But it is not just them. A lot of liberal warhorses seemingly invincible today will go down in next year's elections. Challengers should especially check out the opportunities in wealthy limousine liberal districts that have been sending left-wing extremists to Washington for far too long. Some shocking surprises will quite likely come from those districts next year, given how they have been targeted for punitive tax increases and suffer greatly from the failing Obama/Democrat economic policies.

One specific target of opportunity for next year is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, where 62% of voters are telling pollsters they want someone other than Reid as their Senator next year. Not yet known in Washington is the emerging powerhouse candidacy of Chuck Kozak, who will be running next year against Reid on an optional 15% flat income tax, with taxpayers free to choose that system or the deductions and credits of the current system. He will also be running on reducing the current 35% federal corporate tax rate, second highest in the industrialized world, to 15% as well. Kozak recognizes that capital gains taxes kill jobs and entrepreneurship, so he proposes reducing the corporate capital gains rate from 35% to 15%, and keeping individual cap gains at 15%.

Kozak pledges to stop Congress from continuing to raid the Social Security trust funds, and to allow workers the freedom to choose personal savings and investment accounts for Social Security, which would begin to replace the payroll tax. He wants to restore Federalism by sending the 85 remaining means tested federal welfare programs back to the states, with each state free to establish an entirely new safety net system based on work instead of handouts. And he wants to free the marketplace to produce new energy, including the traditional, known, reliable sources such as oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power, as well as the newer alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. This would assure a reliable, low cost energy supply to boost the economy. Kozak's powerful agenda would produce another long-term economic boom, just as Reaganomics did over 25 years ago.

Turncoat Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania will also be retired next year, when he will find that an 80-year-old opportunist, RINO Republican is not going to appeal to Democrat primary voters any more than to Republican primary voters. Specter's craven lust for power over any principle reflects all that is wrong with our politics. Primed to win that Senate race next year is conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey, another star equal to Kozak.

But it is not just elections at the federal level that present blazing, white hot, political opportunities next year. If California voters do not recognize next year that the liberal Democrats they keep electing to the state legislature are destroying that state, they will prove themselves incapable of self-government. Look for Republican Ebay CEO Meg Whitman to win the California Governor's race next year, and for Republicans to win at least one house of the California legislature.

Ditto that for New York State, where Republican majorities may well take over the entire legislature next year. Liberal Democrats have made state government there dysfunctional. Michigan may well at this point qualify as a failed state, like Somalia or Afghanistan. Governor Jennifer Granholm and other ultraliberal Democrats have so thoroughly trashed that state it may never recover. Detroit has fallen from a population of 1.8 million with the highest per capita income of any big city to less than 900,000 ranking 62nd in per capita income. Half the city's housing stock is now vacant and serves only to drag down the value of the remaining occupied homes. Fewer than half of all Detroit youth graduate from high school. This is all the fault of the liberal-left Democrats who have uniformly ruled that city for decades. Expect a new Governor to be elected next year, and another possible Republican takeover of the legislature.

Other promising races for next year are John Kasich running for Governor of Ohio and former conservative Congressman Mark Neumann running for Governor of Wisconsin. After next year, Republicans will probably once again have a strong majority among the nation's governors.
Next year would be a Republican year just because it is a midterm election with a Democrat in the White House. But because federal, state and local Democrats have been so extreme left, that is why this time the election is likely to be an earthquake. Normally, people who are unhappy with the incumbent President come out to vote in droves during midterms, while people who are happy are not as motivated because they think all is fixed by the reigning President who is not even on the ballot during midterms. But these effects are going to be so greatly exaggerated this time for several reasons.

Democrat ultra-left policies are going to motivate even more disaffection and voter anger than usual in a midterm. This is why Rasmussen's focus on strongly disapprove versus strongly approve is so important. Obama is already 8 points down on this calculus and dropping fast just 6 months into his first term. Where is it going to be after another 16 months?
Moreover, the conservative Republican vote was down in the last election because these voters were so disaffected by the moderate liberal Republican standard bearer John McCain. But these folks are going to be ultramotivated to vote next year, and probably contribute and volunteer as well, because of the prevailing Democrat ultraleftism that so alienates them. At the same time, Obama inspired a maximum left-wing vote last year. But a lot of those voters are going to be unmotivated next year when they realize after two years that Obama did not show up to pay their house and car payments, or arrive at their door to deliver new kitchen appliances and cabinets at taxpayer expense.

Potential candidates need to start planning to run now. Races that seemed unwinnable last year are going to be shockingly in play by this time next year. Don't sell yourself short. There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, omitted all of life is spent in misery, as Shakespeare told us.

But it is not just potential candidates that need to start organizing now. Conservatives need more grassroots political activism. This should be focused on ideology rather than party. All you need to do to become a local political force is find out which of your friends and neighbors share enough of your beliefs to work with you. Collect their names, addresses, emails, phone numbers. Call regular meetings to discuss particular issues of interest. Study up on the issue and lead a discussion on it, or invite speakers to do that.

If you can get just 20 people to come to regular meetings, biweekly or monthly, you are a local political force, particularly if you are collecting all the contact information of everyone who comes to every meeting. Candidates will come to your meetings to make their case. Study the federal, state and local candidates for your area, and inform your group at these meetings on their records, what they have they been for and against. Decide which of these candidates sufficiently share your values and actively support them with fundraising and volunteers.

But it is not just Republican candidates and activism that will enjoy exciting opportunities next year. In districts that have been drawn to be overwhelmingly Democrat, unexpected opportunities will arise next year for Democrat primary challenges against old, liberal left warhorses. There is opportunity for candidates that will ask voters in these districts if they really are as left-wing as some of the loony left incumbents, like Waxman or Frank or others. America desperately needs black challengers in African-American districts to campaign on new ideas and solutions, like school vouchers that would bring freedom of choice and competition for the poor in education. African-American small businessmen in these districts are being driven out of business by wildly unrealistic liberal-left policies such as excessive taxation, the threat of cap and trade high energy costs, and the threat of forced unionism under the proposed card check legislation.

African Americans would benefit the most from empowering policies such as personal accounts for Social Security that would allow their families to accumulate their own savings and capital over a lifetime. They would benefit the most from realistic policies to produce general prosperity such as low taxes, and reduced federal spending, deficits and debt. They would benefit the most from a new welfare system based on work rather than dependency. Altogether, this comprises a new anti-poverty, civil rights agenda, and America needs candidates in the black inner city to pick up and run with this flag.

Unfortunately, America is headed for some bad crashes under the current flower child policies of left-wing extremism, on foreign policy and national defense concerns as well as domestic and economic policy. Next year's campaigns will involve a crusade to restore policies to rebuild traditional American freedom and prosperity. Where will you be during that crusade?

Peter Ferrara served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why is'nt anyone talking about Global Cooling?

Climate change: The sun and the oceans do not lie
Even a compromised agreement to reduce emissions could devastate the economy - and all for a theory shot full of holes, says Christopher Booker.

By Christopher Booker Published: 6:10PM BST 11 Jul 2009
Comments 286 Comment on this article

The moves now being made by the world's political establishment to lock us into December's Copenhagen treaty to halt global warming are as alarming as anything that has happened in our lifetimes. Last week in Italy, the various branches of our emerging world government, G8 and G20, agreed in principle that the world must by 2050 cut its CO2 emissions in half. Britain and the US are already committed to cutting their use of fossil fuels by more than 80 per cent. Short of an unimaginable technological revolution, this could only be achieved by closing down virtually all our economic activity: no electricity, no transport, no industry. All this is being egged on by a gigantic publicity machine, by the UN, by serried ranks of government-funded scientists, by cheerleaders such as Al Gore, last week comparing the fight against global warming to that against Hitler's Nazis, and by politicians who have no idea what they are setting in train.

What makes this even odder is that the runaway warming predicted by their computer models simply isn't happening. Last week one of the four official sources of temperature measurement, compiled from satellite data by the University of Huntsville, Alabama, showed that temperatures have now fallen to their average level since satellite data began 30 years ago.

Faced with a "consensus" view which looks increasingly implausible, a fast-growing body of reputable scientists from many countries has been coming up with a ''counter-consensus'', which holds that their fellow scientists have been looking in wholly the wrong direction to explain what is happening to the world's climate. The two factors which most plausibly explain what temperatures are actually doing are fluctuations in the radiation of the sun and the related shifting of ocean currents.

Two episodes highlight the establishment's alarm at the growing influence of this ''counter consensus''. In March, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has a key role in President Obama's plans to curb CO2 emissions, asked one of its senior policy analysts, Alan Carlin, to report on the science used to justify its policy. His 90-page paper recommended that the EPA carry out an independent review of the science, because the CO2 theory was looking indefensible, while the "counter consensus'' view – solar radiation and ocean currents – seemed to fit the data much better. Provoking a considerable stir, Carlin's report was stopped dead, on the grounds that it was too late to raise objections to what was now the EPA's official policy.

Meanwhile a remarkable drama has been unfolding in Australia, where the new Labor government has belatedly joined the "consensus'' bandwagon by introducing a bill for an emissions-curbing "cap and trade'' scheme, which would devastate Australia's economy, it being 80 per cent dependent on coal. The bill still has to pass the Senate, which is so precisely divided that the decisive vote next month may be cast by an independent Senator, Stephen Fielding. So crucial is his vote that the climate change minister, Penny Wong, agreed to see him with his four advisers, all leading Australian scientists.

Fielding put to the minister three questions. How, since temperatures have been dropping, can CO2 be blamed for them rising? What, if CO2 was the cause of recent warming, was the cause of temperatures rising higher in the past? Why, since the official computer models have been proved wrong, should we rely on them for future projections?

The written answers produced by the minister's own scientific advisers proved so woolly and full of elementary errors that Fielding's team have now published a 50-page, fully-referenced "Due Diligence'' paper tearing them apart. In light of the inadequacy of the Government's reply, the Senator has announced that he will be voting against the bill.

The wider significance of this episode is that it is the first time a Western government has allowed itself to be drawn into debating the science behind the global warming scare with expert scientists representing the "counter consensus" – and the "consensus" lost hands down.
We still have a long way to go before that Copenhagen treaty is agreed in December, and with China, India and 128 other countries still demanding trillions of dollars as the price of their co-operation, the prospect of anything but a hopelessly fudged agreement looks slim. But even a compromise could inflict devastating damage on our own economic future – all for a theory now shot so full of holes that its supporters are having to suppress free speech to defend it.

Flying in the face of reason

Even now it is not widely appreciated that in 2003 the power to regulate air safety across the EU was taken over by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Several times I reported evidence that this new EU body in its shiny headquarters in Cologne would be too weak, incompetent and bureaucratic to do the job properly. Since then one of many problems reported to EASA has been a serious fault in the speed probes of some Airbus airliners, which can cause the automatic piloting system unexpectedly to shut down. EASA did nothing to ensure that the fault was corrected.

Last month, when Air France’s Airbus flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic, killing everyone on board, this fault was high on the list as a possible cause. So far, apart from hinting at 'pilot error’, the authorities have come up with no explanation. But last week Air France pilots demonstrated in Paris, writing a letter to EASA and its French subordinate agency, protesting that 'appropriate measures from either agency’, forcing the manufacturers to make the necessary changes, 'would have helped prevent the sequence of events that led to the loss of control of the aircraft’. The real problem with handing over to the EU the power to govern Europe is simply that it doesn’t work.