Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Podcast for 09 Aug 09

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the furor over the Health Care bill.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2007, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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BlogTalk Radio – Tonight 8pm (EST)

Call in number: (718) 664-9614

Yes, friends, it is a call-in show, so do call in.

Subject(s): Health care – the protests and how the Democrats have been handling them so far. Honduras. Cash for Clunkers. And others stuff is we so choose.

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Got My Bit Of Astroturf (update)

Back during the presidential campaign, I signed on to Barack Obama’s website to receive email “alerts”. As an avid blogger, I wanted the info firsthand.

Obviously that information is now part of a coordinated astroturfing campaign:

organizing_america_email_header

Friend —

I wanted to send you an urgent invitation to an important town hall with Rep. Hank Johnson on Monday evening (August 10th). He’ll be talking to constituents and gathering feedback — this is an ideal opportunity to make sure your support for health insurance reform is seen and heard at exactly the right time.

Our congressional representatives are back home this month, and they’re facing more and more pressure from special interests on health insurance reform. It’s critical that we get out there and show them where we stand.

I hope you can join us.

What: Health Care Town Hall with
Rep. Hank Johnson

Where: Georgia Perimeter College
555 North Indian Creek Drive
Clarkston, GA 30021

When: Monday, August 10th
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

RSVP

Our representatives are under attack by Washington insiders, insurance companies, and well-financed special interests who don’t go a day without spreading lies and stirring up fear. We need to show that we’re sick and tired of it, and that we’re ready for real change, this year.

Please try to arrive early to the town hall, and make sure that the most powerful voices in this debate are those calling for real reform, not angrily clamoring for the status quo.

RSVP here:

http://ga.barackobama.com/ClarkstonTH

Thanks,

Lee

Lee Goodall
Georgia State Director
Organizing for America

P.S. — Before the event, please print off a flyer to display and make sure that your support is visible.

I’m not in Hank Johnson’s congressional district, but apparently that doesn’t matter. So feel free to copy the url and “RSVP”. If you’re in the area, feel free to drop by.

UPDATE: More astroturfing. This time from Mitch Stewart, the Director of Organizing America (a subsidiary of ACORN International – just kidding, kind of):

Friend —

All throughout August, our members of Congress are back in town. Insurance companies and partisan attack groups are stirring up fear with false rumors about the President’s plan, and it’s extremely important that folks like you speak up now.

So we’ve cooked up an easy, powerful way for you to make a big impression: Office Visits for Health Reform.

All this week, OFA members like you will be stopping by local congressional offices to show our support for insurance reform. You can have a quick conversation with the local staff, tell your personal story, or even just drop off a customized flyer and say that reform matters to you.

We’ll provide everything you need: the address, phone number, and open hours for the office, information about how the health care crisis affects your state for you to drop off (with the option of adding your personal story), and a step-by-step guide for your visit.

According to our records, you live near Rep. John Linder’s office in Lawrenceville, GA.

Sign up now to visit Rep. John Linder’s office in Lawrenceville this week.

(Not your representative, or think there might be another office that’s easier for you to get to? Click here to find a different office.)

As you’ve probably seen in the news, special interest attack groups are stirring up partisan mobs with lies about health reform, and it’s getting ugly. Across the country, members of Congress who support reform are being shouted down, physically assaulted, hung in effigy, and receiving death threats. We can’t let extremists hijack this debate, or confuse Congress about where the people stand.

Office Visits for Health Reform are our chance to show that the vast majority of American voters know that the cost of inaction is too high to bear, and strongly support passing health reform in 2009.

Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before. The congressional staff is there to listen, and your opinion as a constituent matters a lot. And if you bring a friend, you’ll have more fun and make an even greater impact.

Click below to sign up for an Office Visit for Health Reform:

http://my.barackobama.com/OfficeVisit

Wherever you live, these visits matter: Many representatives are pushing hard toward reform, and they are taking a lot of heat from special interests. They deserve our thanks and need our support to continue the fight. But those who are still putting insurance companies and partisan point-scoring ahead of their constituents must know that voters are watching — and that we expect better.

Earlier this week, the President wrote that “this is the moment our movement was built for” and asked us all to commit to join at least one event this month. This is the way to answer that call, and rise to the challenge of this moment together.

Thank you for going the extra mile when it matters the most,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America

I’m just flattered beyond belief. This time they got it right – Rep. Linder is my congressman. Of course he’s not going to vote for this nonsense, but apparently it again doesn’t matter if you are a member of his district or not. You are encouraged to stop by, deliver your preprinted flyer and “discuss”” health care with him. And you may want to take a square of astroturf as well just to let him from whence this all came.

~McQ

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California Chutzpa

The disaster that is California government has now turned into the theater of the absurd:

Small businesses that received $682 million in IOUs from the state say California expects them to pay taxes on the worthless scraps of paper, but refuses to accept its own IOUs to pay debts or taxes.

The vendors have filed a federal class-action lawsuit. But the depth that government will stoop too to collect revenue never surprises me. With housing prices crashing everywhere, local governments continued to try to collect at the same value rates as before or, in some places, actually raise the taxes.

And here we have California issuing, what to this point are absolutely valueless promises to pay – maybe – and then expecting those in receipt of those worthless bits of script to treat them as real money and to pay taxes on the amount in real money.

The onions it takes to make that sort of demand is just breathtaking. Or perhaps arrogance is a better word. But regardless it is just a stunning thing to behold.

And, as an aside, you can’t help but wonder what California will pay the lawyers it hire to defend its indefensible demand. As a further aside, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the court find in the state’s favor.

~McQ

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Speaking Truth To Power? No Longer Welcome!

Someone at one of the protests recently yelled:

I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration.

Oh, wait – that was Hillary Clinton back when there was a Republican administration.

So, is the sentiment expressed by Clinton and so roundly applauded by the left -then – no longer applicable?

Is “speaking truth to power”, no longer approved or something to be desired?

This is the most sickening and disgusting aspect of the left’s reaction to the protests of average Americans against a government action with which they disagree.

What happened to “we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration?”

I heard no caveat in that declaration. She didn’t say “any administration but a Democratic administration”. Or “any administration but one trying to pass health care legislation”.

If the left actually believes in speaking “truth to power” and that Americans have the right “to debate and disagree with any administration”, what is all the name-calling and hyperventilating over real Americans doing precisely that?

If they actually believe that, what’s this?

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, said she thought the protests against government health care at lawmakers’ town hall meetings were “un-American and disrespectful.”

And this?

“What we’re seeing right now is close to brownshirt tactics,” [Rep. Brian] Baird (D-WA) said Wednesday …

What is becoming increasingly apparent as America watches this train wreck unfold – and concerned Americans are characterized as enemies of freedom – is that all the previous talk about “dissent” and “patriotism” and “speaking truth to power”, not to mention a “right to debate and disagree with any administration”, was just words. They were a convenient weapon to use against their political enemy at the time. They gave the proper lip service to freedom and liberty and empowered the left’s dissent.

But when the occasion to actually apply those words and ideas presents itself, even if they happen to be on the other side of the debate, they toss them overboard like so much trash. No such empowerment to the rest of us – no sir.

With the left, politics and party have and always will trump freedom and liberty. Hopefully the brownshirted, un-American mobs protesting this unconstitutional hijacking of health care are picking up on that this time.

Hope and change.

~McQ

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Racialists Cannot Believe Health Care Protesters Aren’t Racist

Protesters have been called “angry mobs”, “paid agitators” and recently, “brownshirts” and “unAmerican” – all by Democratic Congressmembers.

You knew it was only a matter of time before the racialists got into the act.  And right on cue I give you “WhiffleBall” with Chris “thrill up his leg” Matthews:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Put 100 of these people in a room. Strap them into gurneys. Inject them with sodium pentathol. How many of them would say “I don’t like the idea of having a black president”? What percentage?

CYNTHIA TUCKER: Oh, I’m just guessing. This is just off the cuff. I think 45 to 65% of the people who appear at these groups are people who will never be comfortable with the idea of a black president.

Just freakin’ amazing – it’s all about Obama to these folks. Having looked at video after video after video of interviews with the “mob”, the “browshirts” the “unAmerican”, I can only wonder where Tucker and Matthews even pretend to come up with this line of dialog.

Pretty sad stuff, but, for the party which invented identity politics and the politics of personal destruction, not at all surprising.

~McQ

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The Best Description Of This Guy Is “Arrogant Jerk”.

What you’ll see here is an example, from the Representative of the 13th District of GA, David Scott, forgetting for whom he works (via Hot Air). Talk about “manufactured outrage”:

I’d have been horribly tempted, had I been at the event and been one of his constituents, to remind him that he is the one who works for us and not the other way around. Amazing arrogance on display. Making untrue assumptions, casting aspersions, and refusing to address his constituent’s question. Is this the new Democrat plan to address the problem they now have at townhalls – be arrogant jerks?

Interestingly, the questioner is a not only a constituent, but a doctor and a Democrat.

Scott’s arrogant reply says it all – You peons sit down, shut up and listen. Your government will tell you what you need and what you need to know. And if you want to talk with me about pressing issues, make a freakin’ appointment.

~McQ

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Why The Proposed Health Care Reform Isn’t Selling

As much as some would like to believe that the reason that Obamacare isn’t doing well among the American people has to do with “misinformation” being thrown about, in reality it is much more basic than that. Ramesh Ponnuru does a very good job of laying out the two conflicting portions of the promises made and why Americans aren’t buying the explanations given by politicians when they question them:

There are two basic points about health-care reform that President Obama wants to convey. The first is that, as he put it in an ABC special in June, “the status quo is untenable.” Our health-care system is rife with “skewed incentives.” It gives us “a whole bunch of care” that “may not be making us healthier.” It generates too many specialists and not enough primary-care physicians. It is “bankrupting families,” “bankrupting businesses” and “bankrupting our government at the state and federal level. So we know things are going to have to change.”

Obama’s second major point is that–to quote from the same broadcast–“if you are happy with your plan and you are happy with your doctor, then we don’t want you to have to change … So what we’re saying is, If you are happy with your plan and your doctor, you stick with it.”

So the system is an unsustainable disaster, but you can keep your piece of it if you want. And the Democrats wonder why selling health-care reform to the public has been so hard?

Add to this the fact that while Obama makes the promise about keeping your doctor and keeping your coverage, the legislation that has been passed out of committee in the House does not reflect that promise at all. Underlay all of that with the understanding most Americans have about the proven inability of government to handle anything in an efficient and cost-effective manner and you can understand both the angst and anger reflected out there today.

But Ponnuru’s point is very important – Americans may not be read in on the fine print and nuances of the bill (but then neither are the politicians who’re out there saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread without ever having read the thing), but they know enough to understand you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have a radical and complete overhaul of a system – changing the status quo – while at the same time, at an individual level, keep everything in the “status quo”.

And that’s what they’re fighting. The conflicting promises are obvious. Just as obvious then is one of those promises is a lie. And Americans have figured out which it is. Thus the roiling anger at townhall meetings that greet the purveyors of the lie and polls showing whopping majorities of Americans want nothing to do with this plan.

~McQ

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Quietly, Honduras Has Won

Yes I meant to put that in the title.  They have won.  As Investors Business Daily  reports, things have quietly changed to the advantage of Honduras.  While Chavez could run his mouth and the OAS could make threats, the 800 pound gorilla which could really make it miserable for Honduras was the US, and it has quietly backed off its former stance:

In a welcome about-face, the State Department told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in a letter Tuesday that the U.S. would no longer threaten sanctions on Honduras for ousting its president, Mel Zelaya, last June 28.

Nor will it insist on Zelaya’s return to power. As it turns out, the U.S. Senate can’t find any legal reason why the Honduran Supreme Court’s refusal to let Zelaya stay in office beyond the time allowed by Honduran law constitutes a “military coup.”

This marks a shift. The U.S. at first supported Zelaya, a man who had been elected democratically but didn’t govern that way. Now they’re reaching out to average Hondurans, the real democrats.

Sure, the U.S. continues to condemn Zelaya’s ouster and still seeks mediation of the dispute through Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. But no U.S. sanctions means Hondurans have won.

You have to admire the little country that stood up to the world and said, “it’s our Constitution, it’s our law and we’re going to enforce it”, and refused to back down.

And it is apparent that our State Department, after its initial knee-jerk reaction, has seemingly come to understand that what happened was done legally and in accordance with the Honduran constitution. The Senate was unable to find anything illegal about the action taken.

Certainly things are not back to normal in Honduras, but with the US backing off, the chances of returning to normal are greatly increased. Congrats to the Honduran people for sticking up for their Constitution and refusing to allow it to be violated, and for demonstrating that no man is above the law.

I just wish we had the same level of respect for our own Constitution.

~McQ

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