Category Archives: Current Events

Hungry like the wolf…

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – California authorities say a clash between opponents and supporters of health care reform ended with one man biting off another man’s finger.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank O’Hanlon says about 100 people demonstrating in favor of health care reforms rallied Wednesday night on a street corner. One protester walked across the street to confront about 25 counter-demonstrators.
O’Hanlon says the man got into an argument and fist fight, during which he bit off the left pinky of a 65-year-old man who opposed health care reform.
A hospital spokeswoman says the man lost half the finger, but doctors reattached it and he was sent home the same night.

She says he had Medicare.

O’Hanlon says the attacker fled but authorities have a good description.

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‘Obama’s Summer of Discontent’…

By FOUAD AJAMI
So we are to have a French health-care system without a French tradition of political protest. It is odd that American liberalism, in a veritable state of insurrection during the Bush presidency, now seeks political quiescence. These “townhallers” who have come forth to challenge ObamaCare have been labeled “evil-mongers” (Harry Reid), “un-American” (Nancy Pelosi), agitators and rowdies and worse.

A political class, and a media elite, that glamorized the protest against the Iraq war, that branded the Bush presidency as a reign of usurpation, now wishes to be done with the tumult of political debate. President Barack Obama himself, the community organizer par excellence, is full of lament that the “loudest voices” are running away with the national debate. Liberalism in righteous opposition, liberalism in power: The rules have changed.

It was true to script, and to necessity, that Mr. Obama would try to push through his sweeping program—the change in the health-care system, a huge budget deficit, the stimulus package, the takeover of the automotive industry—in record time. He and his handlers must have feared that the spell would soon be broken, that the coalition that carried Mr. Obama to power was destined to come apart, that a country anxious and frightened in the fall of 2008 could recover its poise and self-confidence. Historically, this republic, unlike the Old World and the command economies of the Third World, had trusted the society rather than the state. In a perilous moment, that balance had shifted, and Mr. Obama was the beneficiary of that shift.

So our new president wanted a fundamental overhaul of the health-care system—17% of our GDP—without a serious debate, and without “loud voices.” It is akin to government by emergency decrees. How dare those townhallers (the voters) heckle Arlen Specter! Americans eager to rein in this runaway populism were now guilty of lèse-majesté by talking back to the political class.

We were led to this summer of discontent by the very nature of the coalition that brought Mr. Obama, and the political class around him, to power, and by the circumstances of his victory. The man was elected amid economic distress. Faith in the country’s institutions, perhaps in the free-enterprise system itself, had given way. Mr. Obama had ridden that distress. His politics of charisma was reminiscent of the Third World. A leader steps forth, better yet someone with no discernible trail, someone hard to pin down to a specific political program, and the crowd could read into him what it wished, what it needed.

The leader would be different things to different people. The Obama coalition was the coming together of disparate groups: the white professional liberals seeking absolution for the country in the election of an African-American man, the opponents of the Iraq war who grew more strident as the project in Iraq was taking root, the African-American community that had been invested in the Clintons and then came around out of an understandable pride in one of its own.

The last segment of the electorate to flock to the Obama banners were the blue-collar workers who delivered him Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. He was not their man. They fully knew that he didn’t share their culture. They were, by his portrait, clinging to their guns and religion, but the promise of economic help, and of protectionism, carried the day with them.

The Obama devotees were the victims of their own belief in political magic. The devotees could not make up their minds. In a newly minted U.S. senator from Illinois, they saw the embodiment of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Like Lincoln, Mr. Obama was tall and thin and from Illinois, and the historic campaign was launched out of Springfield. The oath of office was taken on the Lincoln Bible. Like FDR, he had a huge economic challenge, and he better get it done, repair and streamline the economy in his “first hundred days.” Like JFK, he was young and stylish, with a young family.

All this hero-worship before Mr. Obama met his first test of leadership. In reality, he was who he was, a Chicago politician who had done well by his opposition to the Iraq war. He had run a skillful campaign, and had met a Clinton machine that had run out of tricks and a McCain campaign that never understood the nature of the contest of 2008.

He was no FDR, and besides the history of the depression—the real history—bears little resemblance to the received narrative of the nation instantly rescued, in the course of 100 days or 200 days, by an interventionist state. The economic distress had been so deep and relentless that FDR began his second term, in 1937, with the economy still in the grip of recession.

Nor was JFK about style. He had known military service and combat, and familial loss; he had run in 1960 as a hawk committed to the nation’s victory in the Cold War. He and his rival, Richard Nixon, shared a fundamental outlook on American power and its burdens.

Now that realism about Mr. Obama has begun to sink in, these iconic figures of history had best be left alone. They can’t rescue the Obama presidency. Their magic can’t be his. Mr. Obama isn’t Lincoln with a BlackBerry. Those great personages are made by history, in the course of history, and not by the spinners or the smitten talking heads.

In one of the revealing moments of the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama rightly observed that the Reagan presidency was a transformational presidency in a way Clinton’s wasn’t. And by that Reagan precedent, that Reagan standard, the faults of the Obama presidency are laid bare. Ronald Reagan, it should be recalled, had been swept into office by a wave of dissatisfaction with Jimmy Carter and his failures. At the core of the Reagan mission was the recovery of the nation’s esteem and self-regard. Reagan was an optimist. He was Hollywood glamour to be sure, but he was also Peoria, Ill. His faith in the country was boundless, and when he said it was “morning in America” he meant it; he believed in America’s miracle and had seen it in his own life, in his rise from a child of the Depression to the summit of political power.

The failure of the Carter years was, in Reagan’s view, the failure of the man at the helm and the policies he had pursued at home and abroad. At no time had Ronald Reagan believed that the American covenant had failed, that America should apologize for itself in the world beyond its shores. There was no narcissism in Reagan. It was stirring that the man who headed into the sunset of his life would bid his country farewell by reminding it that its best days were yet to come.

In contrast, there is joylessness in Mr. Obama. He is a scold, the “Yes we can!” mantra is shallow, and at any rate, it is about the coming to power of a man, and a political class, invested in its own sense of smarts and wisdom, and its right to alter the social contract of the land. In this view, the country had lost its way and the new leader and the political class arrayed around him will bring it back to the right path.

Thus the moment of crisis would become an opportunity to push through a political economy of redistribution and a foreign policy of American penance. The independent voters were the first to break ranks. They hadn’t underwritten this fundamental change in the American polity when they cast their votes for Mr. Obama.

American democracy has never been democracy by plebiscite, a process by which a leader is anointed, then the populace steps out of the way, and the anointed one puts his political program in place. In the American tradition, the “mandate of heaven” is gained and lost every day and people talk back to their leaders. They are not held in thrall by them. The leaders are not infallible or a breed apart. That way is the Third World way, the way it plays out in Arab and Latin American politics.

Those protesters in those town-hall meetings have served notice that Mr. Obama’s charismatic moment has passed. Once again, the belief in that American exception that set this nation apart from other lands is re-emerging. Health care is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath it is an unease with the way the verdict of the 2008 election was read by those who prevailed. It shall be seen whether the man swept into office in the moment of national panic will adjust to the nation’s recovery of its self-confidence.

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It’s like that Annie Lennox song…

Why???
Let’s forget about the fact that a system like this costs an unbelievable amount of money to sustain, money we don’t have. What about the quality of patient care? With all the news we read about other nations who have universal healthcare, why would we even consider it a viable option?

Thousands of surgeries may be cut in Metro Vancouver due to government underfunding, leaked paper…

Over 45,000 NHS staff call in sick every day, which is lowering standards of patient care, according to the first national NHS Health and Wellbeing Review into staff habits.

The Office of National Statistics revealing that more than 30,000 people have died in England and Wales from hospital infections in just five years. Translated proportionately into American demographics, that would be 150,000 fatalities. Not the best advertisement for socialized health care.

Canada Sees Boom in Private Health Care Business

knee2We don’t even have to look around the word to find examples of this at work. Look at the Massachusetts and Oregon healthcare plans. These sovereign states have the right to experiment with both socially and economically. The results of these experiments can then be looked to in order to discern whether or not these same experiments should be adopted by other states. They have failed (much like Medacare, Medacaid and Social Security have failed). Looking at these failed experiments, both at home and worldwide I’ll ask my question again. Why?? The answer is simple. This was never about healthcare, it’s not about helping people, it’s not about the poor. This is about the federal government expanding the power they have over our lives. Plain and simple. Clip those strings- I don’t believe they can run our lives better than we can.

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Confused much?…

Is anyone else as confused as I am over this new turn in the healthcare debate? First Obama said he wasn’t goining to sign any legislation that didn’t include a “public option” and now it’s not the most important part of the bill and people are losing site of the rest of the bill. In fact, the public option is just a sliver of the bill, perhaps much like “end of life counseling” is only a sliver.

So now we’ve moved on (maybe) to the coop option. What does that even mean? I get my milk from a coop; it’s the last place I would think about getting my healthcare plan. Edmund Haislmaier blogged on The Foundry

If by health care “co-op,” Congress means allowing private associations to collectively buy health insurance for their members or operate a health insurance exchange, or allowing people to buy health insurance from a non-profit, member-owned private insurer, then those would be positive, pro-consumer developments.

However, simply slapping the word “cooperative” onto a new “insurer,” but then specifying that the government — not the policyholders — picks the board of directors (as Sen. Schumer wants), or that taxpayers will subsidize it, or that it has to pay doctors and hospitals at Medicare rates, would just be an exercise in trying to disguise a “public plan.”

Fresh from the co-op

Fresh from the co-op

So again, whether Sebelius misspoke or the media “missheard” the truth is, we’re not out of this thing yet. The devil, as they say, is in the details and we have to remember that there are still several things wrong with the bill as it currently stands. “The individual and employer mandates, the expansion and federalization of Medicaid, the creation of a new health czar, not to mention the trillion dollar cost of the new plan, are all still intact. If, as Sebelius insists, the White House wants health reform to increase “choice and competition” than there are a number of conservative alternatives in the House and Senate that do just that by pursuing health reform through a “patient-centered” approach.” (The Foundry)

So in short, nothing has really changed and as Rush says, “it’s not the time to get giddy.”

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AARP loses 60k members…

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group’s support for a health care overhaul, a spokesman for the organization said Monday.

The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making health care available for all. But spokesman Drew Nannis said it wasn’t unusual for the powerful, 40 million-strong senior citizens’ lobby to shed members in droves when it’s advocating on a controversial issue.

AARP is strongly backing a health care overhaul, running ads to support it and hosting President Obama at an online forum recently to promote his agenda to AARP members. However, the group has not endorsed a specific bill and says it won’t support a plan that reduces Medicare benefits.

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ObamaCare tactics grow…

The White House is deploying an array of tactics to promote ObamaCare.

Here’s the list to date:

1. Warn about the cost of inaction.
2. Use Grandma to build empathy through association.
3. Accuse opponents of racial prejudice – play the race card.
4. Shift the focus of the debate.
5. When accused of having a controversial proposal, just say “No we don’t.”
6. Hide the plan.
7. Hide key congressional proponents.
8. Pretend to give up on controversial issues that were never acknowledged in the first place.
9. Hold pro-Obamacare pep rallies that profess to be open town hall-like events.
10. Blame the media for focusing on the opponents.
11. Demonize the opposition.
12. Make false claims for Obamacare.

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On tonsils and feet…

scary surgeonSome of the stuff that comes out of the President’s mouth; it’s unbelievable! Remember the pediatricians (who don’t do surgery) cutting out kids tonsils to make some more money? Or the surgeons who we’re running around lopping of peoples feet for the grand prize of 50k per foot? Here’s what the American College of Surgeons had to say to Obama:

CHICAGO—The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight.

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what’s right for the patient.

We agree with the President that the best thing for patients with diabetes is to manage the disease proactively to avoid the bad consequences that can occur, including blindness, stroke, and amputation. But as is the case for a person who has been treated for cancer and still needs to have a tumor removed, or a person who is in a terrible car crash and needs access to a trauma surgeon, there are times when even a perfectly managed diabetic patient needs a surgeon. The President’s remarks are truly alarming and run the risk of damaging the all-important trust between surgeons and their patients.

We assume that the President made these mistakes unintentionally, but we would urge him to have his facts correct before making another inflammatory and incorrect statement about surgeons and surgical care.

Remember to get out of the way when someone is self-destructing.

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