BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The extinct political slogan "As Maine goes, so goes the nation," may be supplanted by what is happening in the United Kingdom. There is a form of functional political illiteracy here that does not bode well for the United States should it follow Britain's very bad example, particularly on matters involving immigration and health care.
For several years, the British media have been full of horror stories about failures in the National Health Service (NHS). "Thousands of Elderly at Risk in Care Crisis" screamed the front-page headline in the Times of London last week. This is nothing new, because a headline in The Daily Telegraph nearly two years ago warned, "Cruel and Neglectful Care of One Million NHS Patients Exposed." Is anyone listening?
Hear that? It's the escalating cry of American employers and workers trying to hold on to their health care benefits in the age of stifling Obama health insurance mandates: Gangway! Gangway! Save me! Waive me!
Obamacare refugees first began beating down the exit doors in October 2010. As I've documented since last fall, waiver-mania started with McDonald's and Jack in the Box; spread to Dish Networks, hair salon chain Regis Corp and resort giant Universal Orlando; took hold among every major Big Labor organization from the AFL-CIO to the CWA to the SEIU; roped in the nationalized health care promoters at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (whose board of trustees includes health care czar Nancy Ann DeParle); and is now gripping entire states (Maine, New Hampshire and Nevada all recently got in on the act).
The latest to catch the waive? West Coast liberals.
I think people are missing the main point of Obamacare's alleged "death panels": Obama has forfeited any claim to moral authority in pursuit of his so-called health care reform.
It is indisputable that the thrust of Obama's push for Obamacare was that too many Americans were being denied access to medical care, and that health care "should be a right for every American." He obviously believes insurance companies let his mother die in refusing to cover her medical bills because of her pre-existing condition.
As NewsBusters previously noted, there were 204 ObamaCare waivers issued in April, and almost 20 percent of them went to establishments in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) San Francisco district.
The Daily Caller's Matthew Boyle reported Tuesday:
When an admittedly liberal Nobel laureate in economics thinks trying to balance the budget is holding America hostage, one has to wonder if there are any adults remaining on the left side of the aisle.
Consider what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote Monday:
Until now, MSNBC's "Lean Forward" ad campaign had largely avoided wearing the network's leftward slant as a badge of pride. Sure, there were hints here and there that "Lean Forward" really means "left-leaning," but the older ads were subtle compared to the latest batch which beat you over the head with their liberal take on major political issues.
For example, you can expect to see MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell in this spot lamenting that ObamaCare didn't go far enough to the Left:
The New York Times's chief economics writer David Leonhardt has won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
The prize committee praised Leonhardt for “his graceful penetration of America’s complicated economics questions.” The White House and congressional Democrats are huge fans as well, emailing around his previous defenses of programs like Obama’s stimulus. However, the paper's Public Editor chided the Times in January for placing Leonhardt's neo-liberal commentaries promoting Obama-care on the front page, which gives them the imprimatur of objective news.
As documented by Times Watch, Leonhardt's "graceful penetration" generally involves digging into citizen's wallets for even more federal tax money.
CNN's Howard Kurtz is either astonishingly naive or so strongly in the tank for Barack Obama that he's willing to ignore the totally obvious to assist the President's reelection efforts.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Kurtz actually discussed with far-left guests Joan Walsh of Salon and John Aravosis of Americablog.com - without ever disclosing the painfully inconvenient truth! - why the "so-called liberal media" don't report divisions within the Democrat Party especially left-wing disappointment with the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and lots of commentary):
It certainly isn't a surprise that Nobel laureate Paul Krugman was far more pleased with the deficit reduction plan proposed by Barack Obama this week than the one unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) last week.
In Friday's New York Times column "Who's Serious Now?" the unabashed liberal declared the President's proposal "really serious" and the Congressman's "a sick joke":
New York Times chief economics writer David Leonhardt argued against the deficit-reducing House Republican budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan in his Wednesday front-page Business Day column “A Lopsided Proposal for Medicare.” Instead, Leonhardt called for higher taxes on "affluent Americans"(his reasoning: All wealthy countries do it). It’s one of his favorite arguments for redistributing the wealth.
While admitting the Republican budget was “a daring one in many ways” he faulted it for not reforming Medicare, which he interestingly admits is a “welfare program,” since people generally get more out of it in care than what they paid into the program in taxes. Leonhardt again called for rationing health care in the name of cost control.
A fairer, more fiscally conservative plan would not postpone dealing with Medicare. It would leave in place the cost control measures in the health reform bill and go even further to reward the quality of care rather than the volume.Obviously, these steps would run some risk of restricting good treatments, too. But, remember, we’re facing “an existential threat.” We can’t limit ourselves to solutions without risks.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was in his predictable defend Obama at all costs mode on Sunday's "This Week."
When former Bush administration official Torie Clarke said unemployment remains high because the private sector is concerned about future regulations, the Nobel Laureate scoffed, "All of this stuff about uncertainty is just a myth being made up to blame this on Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For over two years, liberals and conservatives have been at odds over whether the public actually wants ObamaCare.
On Friday's "Inside Washington," NPR's Nina Totenberg took the predictable liberal position that polls show folks want all the "goodies" in the bill, but Charles Krauthammer made it clear that these survey results change drastically when people are told the cost (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wednesday’s CBS Evening News celebrated the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare by touting its benefits before Katie Couric, who devoted half her newscast to Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, fretted: “What about the legal battles? Could they actually derail health care reform altogether?”
Neither ABC nor NBC touched ObamaCare on Wednesday night but, in contrast to CBS, on FNC’s Special Report Carl Cameron noted “the latest Gallup poll suggests it’s less popular than a year ago” and raised how Obama allies are trying to escape it, citing “requests for over a thousand waivers, half of which went to labor unions letting them and some other organizations and businesses opt out of the plan until at least 2014.”
Couric began by asking Jan Crawford “what changes has the law made in the health care system so far?” Crawford recited:
New York Times political blogger Michael Shear used loaded language to describe the Republican Party’s “assault” on Obama-care on the one-year anniversary of that “historic measure," in his Wednesday morning post “Boehner, McConnell Push Assault on Health Care Law”
A year after President Obama signed his health care law into effect, the two leading Republicans in Congress are making it clear that they do not intend to let up in their assault on thehistoric measure.
It seems Starbucks is regretting the health care Frankenstein it helped create. The company was a key corporate backer of Obamacare in its legislative stages, but its top executive has raised concerns about the law's economic damage.
Even as the Republican governor of Wisconsin was signing a bill Friday that all but ended collective bargaining for state employees, Democrats nationally had put out advertisements and letters to use his own success against him.
In a push to raise money for their candidates, Democrats hope Wisconsin will be for them what the health care overhaul was for Republicans in last year’s midterm elections: a galvanizing force for their base, and an example of overreaching that will win them crucial independent voters, not just in Wisconsin but also in Congressional races and the presidential election next year.
That’s not exactly how the Times covered the passage of Obama-care. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” strongly suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (Oops.)
Friday’s New York Times off-lead story from Madison by Monica Davey and A.G. Sulzberger, in the aftermath of a defeat for public-sector unions in Wisconsin, spun the win by Republican Gov. Scott Walker as a long-term political victory for Democrats: “Wisconsin Curbs Public Unions, But Democrats Predict Backlash.” The online headline was even more blunt: “In Wisconsin Battle on Unions, State Democrats See a Big Gift.” Walker has evidently awoken “the sleeping giant” of labor unions (as if they had previously stayed out of politics).
By contrast, there was no such wishful thinking or hunt for the bright side for the losers in the aftermath of the fiercely contested passage of unpopular Obama-care last year. Adam Nagourney’s front-page “political memo” of March 23, 2010, “For G.O.P., United Stand Has Drawbacks, Too,” suggested Republicans could pay a political price for opposing Obama-care. (It didn’t quite work out that way.)
Remember during the peak of Bush Derangement Syndrome in the previous decade when it seemed that liberal media members had forgotten all of our nation's history prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003?
On Monday's "The Ed Show," the host went into a tirade about Wisconsin governor Scott Walker with seemingly no recollection of last year's healthcare battle (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The milestone is as telling as it is grim. The Hill reported Monday that after the latest bout of waivers awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of businesses and unions lucky (or connected) enough to avoid the law's onerous coverage requirements now stands at 1,040 - and the number of Americans exempted at roughly 2.6 million.
HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago. Waivers have become a hot-button issue for Republicans, eager to expose any vulnerabilities in the reform law.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman doesn't believe education is the key to solving America's economic woes.
Quite the contrary, in his recent article "Degrees and Dollars," the Nobel Laureate argued that the path to a more prosperous nation is for unions to have increased bargaining power and for everyone to have "free" healthcare:
On Monday, New York Times columnist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman ironically asked his readers, "How can voters be so ill informed [sic]?"
Either dishonestly or ignorantly adding to the problem he's supposedly concerned with, the so-called "economist" Friday said President Obama "has done more to rein in long-run deficits than any previous president":
Obamacare will not be fully implemented for another three years, but the Internal Revenue Service is already requesting money for the legion of bureaucrats required to oversee its implementation. The IRS has requested funds for an additional 1,054 employees in 2012 alone, hirings that would cost taxpayers $359 million.
ObamaCare's individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, arguments to the contrary are nonsensical "tea party stuff," and Chief Justice John Roberts shouldn't be counted as a solid vote against the health care purchase mandate when the case comes before the Supreme Court.
That's the perspective of former Reagan solicitor general Charles Fried.
In a February 14 story, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes cited Fried as a scholar with no dog in the ObamaCare fight:
As NewsBusters reported in January, Newsweek's Editor at Large Evan Thomas believes ObamaCare "is a disaster."
On Friday's "Inside Washington," Thomas went even further with his criticism of this law calling it a "flawed bill" and claiming, "I think enough justices perceive that it’s not going to work, that will incline them to reach this high constitutional principle and throw it out" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Wall Street Journal's John Fund on Friday night had a number of interesting battles with Bill Maher as well as Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).
During the panel segment of HBO's "Real Time," Fund found himself needing to defend Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Clarence Thomas's wife from the at times totally illogical attacks by the perilously liberal host and Congressman (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"If the majority [of the U.S. Supreme Court] agrees with [Judge Roger] Vinson, President Obama would find not only his health care bill undone, but also face the most significant scaling back of the government's power to use legislation to solve its problems in decades," Time's Michael Lindenberger warned in a February 2 post at the magazine's website.
To reach such a conclusion, however, Lindenberger must have misunderstood Vinson's ruling on Monday in State of Florida v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, which sought not to "turn back the clock" on commerce clause interpretation but merely prevent its overextension into an unprecedented and dangerous arena: forcing Americans to buy private health insurance under the flimsy illogic that such economic inactivity actually amounts to commercial activity.
"I am required to interpret this law as the Supreme Court presently defines it. Only the Supreme Court can redefine or expand it further," Vinson noted on page 43 of his 78 page opinion. The Reagan appointee noted that no less legislative authorities than the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office have found Congress requiring Americans to purchase private health insurance under penalty of law to be "novel" and "unprecedented"
My guess is that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is an amateur zoologist. Vinson is the federal judge who ruled Monday in Pensacola, Fla., that those who confected Obamacare cannot compel the citizenry to buy health insurance. Moreover, he found that because the 2,600-page bill was created without any "severability clause," the entire law is unconstitutional. The authors of Obamacare declared that without mandatory insurance, the whole bill would have been unworkable. Mandatory insurance was not severable from the law. Hence Judge Vinson, because of the way the bill was constructed, threw the whole law out. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to breathe life into this legislation or to bury it. I say R.I.P.
As learned as Vinson indubitably is — in the course of his meditations on Obamacare, he reread the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, James Madison's notes at the Constitutional Convention, certain cogitations of former Chief Justice John Marshall and more — the erudite judge surely noted a zoological curiosity. Conservatives and liberals are so different as to be drawn from distinct species of political animals. To me, the conservative always has appeared to be some form of mammal. The liberal is reptilian. I could be wrong. I wonder what Judge Vinson might say.