August 30, 2009
The New York Times has shown itself to be a public propaganda machine for the Democratic party in this editorial. They are agreeing with the Democrat proposal 100%. Very disappointing.
Health care desperately needs reform to control costs and a national solution is the right way to go, yet the Democrat proposals will not control costs, rather they will expand the deficit and debt dramatically as the Congressional Budget Office has stated. None of this seems to matter to the Times as they exert editorial clout to line up with TeamObama.
Why Folks Are Upset
Millions of people are upset with the hurry-up process that TeamObama has taken, not so much because they are against health care reform. They simply do not trust government to get this right when the Democrat strategy has been to move it fast without the understanding, let alone the buy-in, of average Americans who are being asked to pay more for it. This is a terribly flawed approach and has been correctly exposed as wrong, if not duplicitous. Exposing one more event that destroys trust, the Wall Street Journal opines about Sen. Dodd's 'secret' health care bill.
Extremely partisan Republicans are taking every opportunity to capitalize on the likely failure of TeamObama to pass his domestic agenda. That's also a lousy approach to needed reform. Why can't grown men and women in Congress do the right thing?
Incremental Change is a Better Solution
This grand plan of ObamaCare is not the right approach. I think significant changes in our health care system should be made incrementally. For example, adding 40+ million uninsured to insurance plans seems to me to presume they will also be expected to choose a primary care physician if preventive medicine is a goal of reform that is intended to lead to cost containment. If that's true, where will we find these physicians? Will ObamaCare redirect the medical careers of thousands of doctors to accommodate the influx?
Reform the Medical Malpractice Industry Immediately
A good place to make an important change would be reform of the "medical malpractice industry" to take lawyers out of the business of unnecessarily increasing the costs of insurance for doctors. There are other ways to protect patients' rights to compensation when mistakes are made. The free-for-all created by lawyers trying to extract massive jury awards for their own benefit should be curtailed immediately.
August 28, 2009
Congressman Rangel is unethical at best and a crook at worst. He is the type of person that signifies 'politician.' He should be unelected or resign. Is it any wonder that people have such a low opinion of Congress, Sen. Kennedy notwithstanding?
August 27, 2009
The internet is the playground for all sorts of ne'er-do-wells. The time will come when hostile governments or terrorist groups will unleash damaging software that will infiltrate and destroy precious information.
There should be no expectation of privacy or anonymity for anyone who is an active internet user. I long ago gave up my expectations in favor of the convenience, power and sheer awe of what's possible online.
Nevertheless, keep your firewalls strong, your backups current and your anti-virus software up to date!!
"...Researchers speculate that the computer could be employed to generate vast amounts of spam; it could steal information like passwords and logins by capturing keystrokes on infected computers; it could deliver fake antivirus warnings to trick naïve users into believing their computers are infected and persuading them to pay by credit card to have the infection removed.
There is also a different possibility that concerns the researchers: That the program was not designed by a criminal gang, but instead by an intelligence agency or the military of some country to monitor or disable an enemy’s computers. Networks of infected computers, or botnets, were used widely as weapons in conflicts in Estonia in 2007 and in Georgia last year, and in more recent attacks against South Korean and United States government agencies. Recent attacks that temporarily crippled Twitter and Facebook were believed to have had political overtones."
Politics trumps Principle. Perhaps it has always been true. Nevertheless, I am outraged that the Democrats in Massachusetts will attempt to overturn the law (Perhaps Republicans would do the same if they were in power.) they passed to prevent Republican Governor Romney from appointing a replacement for Sen. Kerry if he had won the Presidential election in 2004.
"Republicans have attacked Mr. Kennedy’s proposal as flagrantly partisan, and indeed, the state’s Democrats are in the awkward position of being asked to reverse their own 2004 vote to keep vacant Senate seats empty until a special election.Until that year, Massachusetts law had called for the governor to appoint a temporary replacement if a Senate seat became vacant. But when Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, was running for president in 2004, the Democratically-controlled State Legislature wanted to deny the Republican governor at the time, Mitt Romney, the power to name a successor if Mr. Kerry won. The resulting law requires a special election 145 to 160 days after the vacancy occurs."
As soon as I learned of Sen. Kennedy's death, I said, "They will use him as a martyr in their quest to pass a flawed national health care overhaul." Here is the first attempt to do just that.
Is it any wonder that so many Americans do not trust their government and their politicians when flagrant partisan actions such as this are endorsed by political leadership? My guess is that Massachusetts lawmakers will roll over for this, despite the obvious hypocrisy underlying their narrow political interests. I also suspect that the New York Times editorial writers are even now crafting their columns to endorse such hypocrites.
Here's a story from the Wall Street Journal on August 28, 2009. Some Democrats do see the hypocrisy of the Governor's and many Democrats' position:
"...In 2004, Democrats took the opposite tack. When some Republicans complained of the cost of a special election, Democratic Rep. William Straus said such reasoning might have been used in a "totalitarian country" and that "one person, whoever happens to be governor, will not make the decision for you."
In an interview Thursday, Mr. Straus stood by his words, saying he recently heard from many other Democrats who feel Mr. Patrick is making a mistake.
Mr. Straus said there always will be a pressing issue in Washington that seems more important than having an election. "We need to hold ourselves to the higher principles of democracy," he said.
Massachusetts state Sen. Brian A. Joyce, a Democrat who headed the election-laws committee in 2004, agreed. "If we were to allow an appointment, it would be wholly undemocratic," he said. "When you cut through the rhetoric on both sides, it's pure partisan politics."
Where have all the principled leaders gone? It 's encouraging that at least two Massachusetts Democrats see the folly of the proposal. Is it too much to ask that all politicians stand for principle over power? [As I think about recent history of Illinois and New York, I've asked a rhetorical question question.]
August 24, 2009
The New York Times advocates increasing the nanny state even more. They would have the rules governing 401(k)s revamped so that the government picks up much of the risk inherent in private investing. Where has Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness gone? Like Team Obama, the Times would have the government ever more deeply involved in the private and personal lives of people promising to 'guarantee' happiness (and dependence and votes).
That's a fool's errand.
"....The effect of these and other proposed retirement reforms would be to shift risk that is currently borne by individuals onto corporations and the government. That would be anathema to some entrenched corporate interests and their political supporters. But as the recent crisis has so amply demonstrated, having each and every American bear all of the risk is not the path to a secure retirement."
August 21, 2009
Seniors are rightly concerned about rationing. Yet, as I have suggested in previous writings, very few politicians are willing to engage in a full discussion of the inevitable need to ration services in a government-run health plan. Common sense says that rationing will happen if/when 40+ million are added to government managed insurance plans. It happens now, but the decisions are mostly in the private sector, outside of Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. I believe Americans are unwilling to trust their government with these decisions, particularly when politicians obfuscate the issue.
Given the current uproar over ObamaCare, it seems unlikely to pass Congress in its present form.
I generally disagree with Paul Krugman because he has become a shill for the ultra-liberal wing of the Democrat Party. Perhaps he's still that, but in his column today he vents frustration with TeamObama's handling of several issues. As I read Krugman's views, it seems the"Messiah" is tripping on his robes.
Or is it that our President truly is a neophyte,as I have suggested before, and his inexperience is finally on display. I truly hope he becomes a better leader, particularly in foreign policy. Our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan are savvy enough to smell blood and exploit Administration inattention. If TeamObama gets so wrapped up with health care reform that they are overtaken by events on the international stage, we are in big trouble.
"On the issue of health care itself, the inspiring figure progressives thought they had elected comes across, far too often, as a dry technocrat who talks of “bending the curve” but has only recently begun to make the moral case for reform. Mr. Obama’s explanations of his plan have gotten clearer, but he still seems unable to settle on a simple, pithy formula; his speeches and op-eds still read as if they were written by a committee.
Meanwhile, on such fraught questions as torture and indefinite detention, the president has dismayed progressives with his reluctance to challenge or change Bush administration policy."
"And then there’s the matter of the banks.
I don’t know if administration officials realize just how much damage they’ve done themselves with their kid-gloves treatment of the financial industry, just how badly the spectacle of government supported institutions paying giant bonuses is playing. But I’ve had many conversations with people who voted for Mr. Obama, yet dismiss the stimulus as a total waste of money. When I press them, it turns out that they’re really angry about the bailouts rather than the stimulus — but that’s a distinction lost on most voters."
August 20, 2009
Given the problems of administering the 'cash for clunkers' program, I cannot believe our government is anywhere near ready to add 40+ million people to a new health care plan option. Do you believe it? Government is intrinsically inefficient because it is normally behind the curve in technology and does not always hire the 'best and brightest."
August 19, 2009
Bravo for the Justice Department and the IRS! This is the type of enforcement action that is worthwhile!
I have no quarrel with people being rich or making large amounts of money, but when they illegally evade the taxes due on those monies when I and other taxpayers pay their proper share, they deserve to be prosecuted and pay all taxes due.
What the story doesn't reveal is how many years in the past will they attempt to collect taxes and penalties.
We also expect the names will be made very public along with the back taxes and penalties they must pay. If there's jail time after prosecution and conviction for those who don't pay, we'll also want to know that.
A follow-on story in the 8/20 NY Times has this to say:
"The current penalty for this type of failure to disclose assets is up to 50 percent of the highest annual balance of each account for each of the last three years — an amount that can quickly wipe out an investor and still leave him owing taxes and interest.
Investors who come forward before Sept. 23 face a reduced penalty, of 5 percent to 20 percent, depending in part on whether the wealth was inherited. They will also be hit with the penalty just once, on the highest balance in the accounts during the last six years.The Justice Department has opened criminal investigations of 150 UBS clients, and is likely to bring more indictments on top of the four it brought in recent months. Only clients who are prosecuted are likely to have their names become public."
Now, if Justice can root out more of the fraud involved in Medicaid and Medicare...
August 15, 2009
August 10, 2009
This story tries to explain the basics of the health plans roaming around Congress. I have read it carefully and its two pages do not clarify the situation much. Reading between the lines suggests to me that the most important and controversial details are left to future determinations by regulatory agencies.
What it does say, however, is that TeamObama's rhetoric is less than truthful. Perhaps that's the reason folks are so riled up about this massive change.
Charles Krauthammer has suggested the best kernels on which to reform the system to reduce costs. TeamObamaCare can lead to nothing less than rationing, higher taxes, or both.
August 9, 2009
Pogue lay out the sequence of events in the recent dustup over Google Voice on the iPhone and suggests that there will be no stopping GV on the iPhone. One way or another Google and the legions of 'free' programmers will thwart the best efforts of Apple/AT&T.
Verizon and the other cell providers are watching this passion play with glee.
August 2, 2009
I know this may be emotionally satisfying to some and objectionable to others, or simplistic to many. But our culture and conditions ARE shaped by leadership. We find ourselves in a mess because, IMHO, we have experienced a fundamental failure of leadership. I don't mean just the current crop in Washington, but for decades.
We deserve better. I know the forces and conditions we find in the world are powerful and difficult, but we deserve better.
In my view, the leaders of our military have stepped up to the task set before them. I wish I could say the same for our civilian leaders.
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
By Charlie Reese
"Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red .
If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!"
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.