Free Markets, Free People

Bart Stupak

The sell-out

How coincidental:

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.

“This federal funding will help these airports better provide critical services to communities in northern Michigan,” Stupak said. “I am pleased the FAA has made this investment in our local airports and the individuals and businesses they serve.”

Do you seriously believe that Bart Stupak is so ill-informed that he believes an executive order will stand up in court against a law passed by Congress? Every single time the law passed by Congress will take precedence over an executive order. If the Senate bill allows for federal funding of abortions then the court is not going to set that aside for an executive order. Federal funding for abortions will be the law of the land.

So what is behind such an obvious cave by Stupak?

Unless Stupak is the dumbest Representative to walk the halls of Congress, he know his EO holds little but symbolic power. He has a nice autograph from the president that might bring a dollar or two on Ebay. And assuming he knows his EO is baloney, then you have to conclude that he just pitched principle (the supposed principle he found to be more important than health care reform) over the side. By doing so, he essentially announced that his former position wasn’t a position of principle, but one of convenience.

I can’t believe it was for airport funds although I do believe the FAA did “conveniently” decide now was a good time to award those grants (yes, friends – grants. That means your tax dollars given away to a few local airports in Stupak’s district). If it was he’s a cheap date. Or a cheap sell-out.

There has to be something more.  Somewhere, hidden in all of this, we’re going to find 3o pieces of silver.

But hell, if that’s all it took, he’s not as cheap as Dennis “this bill stinks and I’ll be voting no” Kucinich. All it took for him was a 45 minute airplane ride.

Principles – something you can always depend on the left abandoning when the going gets tough.



On the verge

What we’re on the verge of, at the moment, isn’t yet clear, but after today, this health care reform bill will either be law or be dead.

Unfortunately my sneaking suspicion is it will be law and we’ll all be the less free because of that.  The rumor of a Stupak deal (via Executive Order no less – can’t wait to hear how that will actually work) has me to the point of figuring the deal is done.

Debate is now underway on the floor – not that it is really debate (it is more like an announcement of positions) nor will it change any minds.

There have been a number of pronouncements made concerning this bill.  One of my favorites is “it will fundamentally change the relationship between the people and the government”.

No it won’t. There’s nothing fundamental about the change this bill will bring. It simply expands on the fundamental change that was introduced in the progressive era, was further expanded under the New Deal and has yet to be successfully rolled back.

Given the nonsense about helping reduce the deficit when it is clear that it will add to it dramatically, the one thing it may do is hasten the demise of the welfare state that’s been cobbled together here, but even that’s still a way off.

What it is doing and has done is awaken at least a portion of the population to what has been happening much more slowly and incrementally over the past decades. And because of what is being taken over, something which is a very personal and important part of people’s lives, it will most likely keep the attention of a good portion of them. That’s especially true as the law of unintended consequences begin to take hold and those doctors people like aren’t available anymore (or retire) and that plan they love isn’t available because their employer cut back to avoid the tax or dumped them into another health care plan altogether.

I keep seeing the claim that Democrats are looking at the long game on this one and are willing to sacrifice short term to bring the largest entitlement in most of our lifetimes to fruition. I don’t believe that for a second. There’s a much easier and majority preserving way of passing health care reform. So you have to believe that this isn’t all about health care or reform. The bill in front of Congress is a pretty radical bill which is not at all liked by many of the rank and file Democrats. No, this is a process and a bill being driven by the Democratic leadership – a leadership as radical and as leftist as any we’ve had in 80 years. This is phase III of an agenda begun in the progressive Wilson administration, expanded in the Roosevelt and Johnson eras and now again gaining legs, even limited ones, in the Obama administration.

Incremental collectivism designed to concentrate more and more power in central government.

The change isn’t fundamental at all, but the effect is cumulative and the only question is whether or not we’ll reach the stage where it collapses under its own weight before they successfully take over everything.



Health care reform – update

Byron York’s count has it at 209 “no”, 204 “yes”, with 18 undecided.   David Dayden at FDL puts the count at 191 “yes”, 206 “no” (205-209 with leaners), with 17 undecided.

As you can imagine, the pressure on the remaining 17 or 18 is going to be enormous. Bart Stupak claims it has been a “living hell”.

Still nothing out of the CBO which means a Saturday vote is unlikely.

Obama’s interview with Brett Baier of Fox is likely to do nothing to change minds about health care, just as his speech in Ohio had little effect. He may as well have gone to Australia as this is shaping up.  But it is clear he and the Democrats want to avoid any talk about “process” and continue to wave it away as something the American people just aren’t concerned with.  Big mistake.

And although he wouldn’t own up to it in the Baier interview, Obama has told others that the fate of his presidency is on the line with this vote.

All it took for Dennis Kucinich to cave was a 45 minute ride on Airforce One.  The liberal Ohio Democrat has found a way to rationalize his change of mind.

If you don’t think this is having an effect throughout the land, just remind yourself of the Scott Brown race, where Brown ran for liberal lion and chief health care reform advocate Teddy Kennedy’s seat as the “41st vote against health care”.  Then cast your eyes west and note that Barbara Boxer, another Senate liberal is vulnerable as well.

Speaking of California Senators, Dianne Feinstein’s “National Insurance Rate Authority” has been dropped from the reconciliation bill.  Since it has nothing to do with budgetary matters, it can’t be included.  If this monstrosity passes, look for her to attempt to add it at another time as an amendment to some other Senate bill.

And Code Red suspects two new “yes” votes for the bill, from California Democratic Reps Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa have to do with announced water allocations for the water starved Central Valley in the state.  Yesterday the Interior Department moved up the March allocation, something never done in the past.  A “back room deal” for their votes?

One of the things Baier did in his interview is question the health of Medicare.  He got the president to admit that the bill doesn’t fix the structural problems of the program.  More and more medical providers are recognizing that problem and opting out of taking Medicare patients because they claim they can’t afford them.  And if Medicare is in bad shape, Medicaid is in worse shape.  As if to emphasize that point, drug store chain Walgreens has announced that after April 16th, it will no longer take new Medicaid patients.

The point, of course, is this “reform” does nothing to address the structural problems of the two government run systems which are at the core of the health care cost problem in the US.

Last, but not least, the Attorney General of Virginia has announced the state’s intention to sue the federal government if the present health care bill is passed under the “deem and pass” rule.  Virginia has already passed a law declaring it illegal for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance.