I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. [emphasis added] I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.
—Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) founded FEE [Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.] in 1946 and served as its president until his death.
“I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman.
Continue Reading at I, Pencil
I said in this post that there might be a strange coalition between right and left to defeat Obamacare before it gets to desk of The One. I referred to a piece by Dan Perrin at Redstate that fleshes out a plan.
But Moe Lane, Also at Redstate, is skeptical whether that would work. He says,
To put it more simply: these people are not our friends, they are not trustworthy – or particularly useful – allies, and they don’t really want what we want. There’s no point to working with them.
Read the whole thing.
OK, Dingy Harry Reid (can’t call him “Dirty Harry” because that handle is reserved for someone pursuing an honorable goal by questionable means) got his 60 votes under cover of darkness to move the Senate’s fetid healthcare charade to debate and toward a final vote to passage. But Rich Lowry at National Review Online has come up with five (5) reasons it still may be stopped.
1. Public revulsion. As the Wall Street Journal says in it’s editorial today, this is Change Nobody Can Believe In. Polls find somewhere around 57% of the public is opposed and prefer Congress do nothing rather than what they are doing.
2. Taxpayer Funded Abortion. The House bill contained the Stupak Amendment which withdraws public funding of abortion. The Nelson compromise contained in the Senate bill is only a small sop to those opposed to public financed abortions. When Barbara Boxer supports it you know that it does not really stop public funding of abortion. This will cause a fight in the House because many of the blue dogs are from districts that will be up in arms over the Senate version of forcing people opposed to abortion to pay for the abortions of others.
3. Difference in Financing Between The Senate Bill and the House Bill. The differences in the sort of new taxes tht are in each bill sets up a conflict between taxpayers and unions. This could produce a fight over who gets socked with the worst of the new tax bites.
4. Blue Dogs. Blue Dog Democrats are supposed to be conservative Democrats, or at least they used to be. These days the emphasis in not on “Democrat” and not “Blue Dog.” They grumble and complain but in the end they are Democrats first and Blue Dogs second, or perhaps last. Nevertheless, in 2010 they will be feeling the heat from their constituency a little more and will have to think about how bad do they really like being in Congress.
5. The Looney Left. The Looney Left hate this bill as much as conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party protesters. Whether this will make a difference, however, remains to be seen. Democrat politicians know something about the loonies that the loonies themselves don’t know, or admit. That is, Dem Pols can send an up-raised finger right in the eye of the looney left and they are still going to turn out on election day and they are still going to vote for Democrats. So when they get upset the politicians can safely ignore them. See Moe Lane at Redstate who thinks the whacked-out left can’t be relied on to do more than whine.
This is my paraphrase of Rich Lowry’s five reasons the bill might still be stopped but you really must read it all for yourself, right here.
Dan Perrin at Redstate has four (4) more reasons, in addition to Rich Lowry’s five, to be optimistic that this depraved, putrid legislation may yet be stopped:
6. Illegal Aliens. The Senate bill bans (maybe) free health care for anyone in the country illegally. The Hispanic caucus probably won’t support that. This would lose some votes for the bill in the House.
7. Objection to Conferees. A single GOP Senator could throw a monkey wrench into the whole process by objecting to the appointment of conferees. Just have to find one with the cojones to do it.
8. The House bill passed 220-215. That is a small margin of error. If Madam Pelosi loses 3 of those votes it doesn’t pass the House.
9. The Looney Left Wakes up to How They Have Been Dissed by Their Almost-But-Not-Quite-As-Looney Fellow Democrats. They’ve been snookered and ignored on everything so far. At some point the battered wife calls the cops.
I’ve only paraphrased Dan Perrins’, additional four reasons this gawd-awful bill might yet be stopped. Please go here to read it for yourself.
Well, not Christmas, just your health care.
The target of the Grinch was the mythical village of Whoville and the merry and warm-hearted people who lived there, called the Whos. In the children’s book by Dr. Seuss the Grinch is a bitter, cave-dwelling, catlike creature with a heart “two sizes too small.” From his perch high atop Mount Crumpit, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville. Envious of the Whos’ happiness, he makes plans to descend on the town and, by means of burglary, deprive them of their Christmas presents and decorations and thus “prevent Christmas from coming.”
Whoville is now America, Mt. Crumpit is the United States Government under the thumb of 3 Grinch Democrats, Obama, Reid and Pelosi, with brains two sizes too small, and possibly no hearts at all.
Dr. David Janda, an orthopedic surgeon from Ann Arbor, Michigan, has this to say at Big Government:
After reviewing the latest version of health care reform emanating from “the greatest deliberative body in the world”, The Senate, I was transported to Whoville, target of The Grinch…..from this point forward renamed America. It would appear that “Your mean ones,” Mr., Ms and Mr. Grinch (Obama, Pelosi and Reid) have heard and learned nothing from the town hall meetings and from all of the e-mails, phone calls, faxes and letters from ALL of us Whos.
Of the Grinches’ version of healthcare for us, a plan from which they will exempt themselves, Dr. Janda says,
The core and the heart is three sizes too small in both versions, and cuts costs by denying and rationing care, the most inhumane and unethical means of cutting costs. However, Washington’s Grinches have added a couple of “presents” to further harm all of us Whos.
Those “presents” are lumps of coal in our stockings in the form of medicare cuts to pay for the new government-run health system and the privilege of participating in a government insurance exchange that is really a mandate to buy insurance under terms and conditions dictated to us by our betters in the government.
Dr. Janda concludes,
Wow, on behalf of us Whos …..thanks for nothing Mr., Ms. and Mr. Grinch. It becomes evident, “it is déjà vue all over again” when it comes to the Grinches and their health care reform plan for all of us Whos. Their plan is not about creating available, affordable or quality health care. Their plan is about control of every Who’s health-care life. Once the Grinches control every Who’s health, The Grinches have the ability to control every aspect of every Who’s life.
In the real story of the Grinch, the villain had a change of heart. In fact, when his heart grew three sizes, the Grinch learned the real meaning of Christmas…. Whatever the three Grinches believe in, Obama, Pelosi and Reid need to listen to us Who’s, and give back control of our lives. Unfortunately, with our Grinches, their plan remains at least three sizes too small.
Read the whole thing here.
Sen. Ben Nelson
Mike Johanns, the other Senator from Nebraska and a Republican, takes on Nelson at The Corner.
UPDATE: Nelson getting a lot of heat back in Nebraska for his sell out. He tells his constituents to stick it. The Nebraska Republican party started a website to collect funds to defeat Nelson when he is up for re-election in 2012.
The Wall Street Journal calls the Senate healthcare bill, “A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve.”
In its latest editorial the WSJ says,
The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that “reform” has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.
Obama is sticking to his claim that this government-run healthcare scheme will lower costs for individuals. He says, “Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills.” To that the Wall Street Journal replies, “This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.”
The editorial concludes,
The tragedy is that Mr. Obama inherited a consensus that the health-care status quo needs serious reform, and a popular President might have crafted a durable compromise that blended the best ideas from both parties. A more honest and more thoughtful approach might have even done some good. But as Mr. Obama suggested, the Democratic old guard sees this plan as the culmination of 20th-century liberalism.
So instead we have this vast expansion of federal control. Never in our memory has so unpopular a bill been on the verge of passing Congress, never has social and economic legislation of this magnitude been forced through on a purely partisan vote, and never has a party exhibited more sheer political willfulness that is reckless even for Washington or had more warning about the consequences of its actions.
These 60 Democrats are creating a future of epic increases in spending, taxes and command-and-control regulation, in which bureaucracy trumps innovation and transfer payments are more important than private investment and individual decisions. In short, the Obama Democrats have chosen change nobody believes in—outside of themselves—and when it passes America will be paying for it for decades to come.
Read the whole thing here.
Mike Huckabee (right) interrupted a hunting trip to appear at a rally in Omaha against the Senate Healthcare Bill. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson got enough of our money for pork in Nebraska to get him agree to provide the 60th vote needed to stop a filibuster of the bill and send it to a vote where a simple majority is all that is needed to pass it. Apparently, the crowd of about 1,000 booed whenever Senator Nelson’s name was mentioned.
UPDATE: Attendance at the rally is now reported to have been 1,800. Huckabee likens Nelson to Judas. Plus, Mike Johanns, the other Senator from Nebraska and a Republican, takes on Ben Nelson at The Corner.
There are many reasons in agreement between the right and the left and the American public about why this bill must be killed:
1. It will increase health care costs;
2. The individual mandate is massive government intrusion on individual freedom, and is a gift to the private insurers, and disproportionately impacts lower-income families;
3. The fantasies of CBO’s assumptions notwithstanding, this bill will accelerate our march to financial insolvency; and,
4. Passage of the bill merely reinforces the practice of buying votes with debt issued by the U.S. Treasury;
5. Among many other reasons, in the words of Howard Dean, the bill does more harm than good.
Perrin posits a step-by-step plan for a strange coalition of Republican Senators, conservatives in the house and left wing net roots (uncharitably referred to as the nut roots in other contexts by conservatives, and by me) to kill the bill after it passes the Senate, assuming it does. He says, wisely, that left and right need to call a temporary truce and stop fighting each other long enough to kill the bill before it can ever get to Obama’s desk.
It’s a fascinating plan and it could work, if all the players will adopt it. Go here to read Dan Perrin’s plan.
In his latest, When Liberal Dreams Collide With Public Opinion, Michael Barone takes note of the dramatic movement in public opinion away from the Obama agenda on climate change and healthcare while Obama and his cheerleaders in the media seem not to have noticed. On what this is likely going to mean for some liberal Democrat politicians, Barone says:
In the Bella Center on the south side of Copenhagen and in the Senate chamber on the north side of the Capitol, we’re seeing what happens when liberal dreams collide with American public opinion. It’s like what happens when a butterfly collides with the windshield of a speeding sport utility vehicle. Splat.
You gotta love that image. Barone goes on to quote Andrew Kohut,
“What’s really exceptional at this stage of Obama’s presidency,” writes Andrew Kohut, the Pew Research Center’s respected pollster, “is the extent to which the public has moved in a conservative direction on a range of issues. These trends have emanated as much from the middle of the electorate as from the highly energized conservative right. Even more notable, however, is the extent to which liberals appear to be dozing as the country has shifted on both economic and social issues.”
From which we can draw two conclusions. One is that economic distress does not move Americans to support more government. Rasmussen reports that 66 percent of Americans favor smaller government with fewer services and only 22 percent favor more services and higher taxes.
The second is that Obama’s persuasive powers are surprisingly weak. His advocacy seems to have moved Americans in the opposite of the intended direction.
You’ll want to read the whole thing, it made me feel a little more hopeful about what’s going on right now in our nation’s capitol, in addition to the snow ball fights.
This is a picture (from the UK Telegraph) of Anna Beckingham, age 40, of Norwich, England with her children. Mrs. Beckingham went to her GP under the British Health Service 14 months ago with a pea-size lump and pain in her right breast. She thought she had cancer but the doctor dismissed it as probably an infection. Finally, on the third visit to her GP practice a doctor gave her a “non urgent” referral to a hospital. But it was 14 months later before she was seen and sure enough she had breast cancer. By that time the only treatment that would save her life was a full mastectomy.
The British labor government has previously issued a manifesto promising that women with signs of breast cancer would see a specialist within 2 weeks. That promise has never been kept. The labour government’s cancer tsar (what is this fascination liberal politicians have with “tsars” or “czars” anyway?) has admitted that Mrs. Beckingham’s experience is about what can be expected for now, and the foreseeable future.
Complete story in the UK Telegraph.