Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Socialist Healthcare

How many people in this country expect subpar medical treatment on a regular basis? Compare that to the number who expect excellent care.

Socialist healthcare exists throughout Europe. Way back when, sometime after WWII, all those post-utopian governments (excuse my sarcasm) decided to take the healthcare field out of private hands. From across the pond and from the north, we are bombarded with horror stories involving killer waiting lines, denial of expensive drugs, denial of service due to age or likelihood of living, and deteriorating technology. The citizens of these countries flock here for treatment they're denied at home. Why are we emulating them?

Just because some people insist that healthcare is a right (it's not) does not make it not subject to the laws of supply and demand, like any other good or service. Therefore, the best way to maximize care is enact policies that maximize incentive for supply. If the government was really interested in providing more care, they'd lift all taxes on medically related fields.

Cost-cutting in healthcare is currently done by the private sector and their desire for profit. "Cost-cutting" in the state's hands will be paid in lives and suffering. They are, afterall, the resultant of medical care rationing.

Medical care is too expensive? According to whom? Surely not the patient paying for life extending drugs, for an open-heart surgery, for a new set of teeth, for skin grafts. This argument from the left is absurd but ever so persistent.

The cost of nationalized healthcare will be astronomical. The debt is already unmanageable. It's clear Obama doesn't care about people, about patients, about posterity; even those Republicans in denial figured that out after the first month of his administration. As a nation, we cannot afford this program even if it were healthful . Obama knows that. Apparently he has reckoned that crushing debt and a valueless dollar are no reason to impede his aims.

On a personal note, as the recipient of extensive (and expensive) medical care as a very young child, care that saved my life, I do not want my children born into a tyranny where cold, politically motivated bureaucrats decide who live and die. Keeping abreast of the news emanating from socialist healthcare systems and seeing first hand the treatment provided to friends in Canada, I very much doubt I'd be typing this message today had America followed this deadly lead in the years following the war. Barack Obama, if by some chance in hell you step down from your throne and come across this blogger's post in a lonely corner of the internet, remember that the blood of all those denied care will be on your hands for generations to come should this plan pass.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Response to David Frum's Review of Levin's Liberty and Tyranny

David Frum has written a review of Mark Levin's #1 bestseller Liberty and Tyranny. It can be found here.

I write these comments as a long time listener and fan of Mark Levin. For anyone interested in learning about the nature of government, or “the State”, there are few who are as learned, articulate, and entertaining as Levin, who is a first rate litigator, communicator, and teacher. Any close listener recognizes the erudition and thought behind what Frum calls “ferocious rage;” or what listeners and normal humans might call passion. While I cannot speak for Levin I will come to his defense: a myopic review such as Frum’s, seemingly substantive, breaks down after critical thought.

First off, the title of the book could not be more accurate. Some of the self-styled sophisticates in Republican circles might cringe at what they consider a gross simplification of what is, in reality, political complexity. But were Fascism and Communism so different for the citizens trapped under the machinations of their fanatical leaders? Does it really matter to the individual whether mob-like syndicalism or unchallengeable bureaucratization direct economic policy? In the end these are details; descriptions of the channels of power from which one man or one party directs incontestable rule. Both are tyrannical, and I very much doubt Americans would choose either over traditional American liberty. To the contrary of Frum, this blunt description is arresting because it is true.

Next, it should be no consolation to Mr. Frum’s readers that he picked the likes of the Germans and Poles to refute Levin’s claim that liberty once lost is rarely recovered. Yes, perhaps Levin should have added a qualifier to his proposition: that it is rarely recovered without great suffering. But few people would look at the experience of these two nations in the 20th century, under Hitlerism and Stalinism, and see models of government we should emulate. Thanks, but I’d rather not endure that extensive a reclamation process here in America.

Much of the review is dedicated to the notion that conservatives have little interest in practical politics, but long for simplified and idealistic arguments (and personalities) that make them feel good. This might come as a surprise to the ostensibly monkish Frum, but voters are people, too. There is little hope for electoral victory based on statistical readouts of current trends that offer no coherent and organizing philosophy. People do no follow pollsters – they follow leaders. Sarah Palin, looked down on by the ranks of Frum as parochial, is the movement’s most popular leader. Could it be that people can identify with her, trust her, see conviction in her professed beliefs? (I know it’s hard for Frum to stomach the idea of a party that is pro-life and opposes gay “marriage,” but frankly what do you expect from the son of a Canadian journalist?) Maybe this attraction to people and ideas is also why Levin’s book has been #1 on the NYT bestsellers list nine out of ten weeks? Nobody in their right mind looks to build a popular movement based on legislative tinkering. Finally, I’m sure that Levin, a former member of Reagan’s cabinet, could write a statistic-heavy, Frum-like book, but then again, who would read it?

On Levin’s economic analysis, Frum criticizes Levin for citing the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates as a catalyst for the unsustainable boom. By way of this remark and the shallow remarks on handouts that follow, Frum has exposed himself as an economic ignoramus who does not understand political economy or monetary policy. His entire analysis is incoherent. For example, Frum states “Then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan refrained from doing so because his libertarian instincts recoiled from the suggestion that he as a government official should decide that asset prices had risen ‘too high.’” Chairman Greenspan’s libertarian instincts were already gone when he slashed interest rates to 1%. If Frum is curious, he should read Hayek’s works beyond the popular “The Road to Serfdom,” and learn what flooding the banks with fake credit does to capital structure. Further, one wonders what Frum thinks of the Fed’s actions over the last year as our dollar finds itself dangerously close to demise. (There is more silliness that deserves retort, such as the crafty insinuation that Levin favors a “more restrictive immigration policy” when in fact what he demands is control over the southern border.)

A few closing thoughts. In 50 years, when the history of the present era is being written, Frum might be footnoted as being the Great Anti-Popularist. He has, after all, consistently demeaned the most popular conservative politician, Sarah Palin, and slandered the leader of the movement, Rush Limbaugh. That embarrassment of a Newsweek article will rightly be judged as carping from a petulant and largely ignored GOP fringer whose primary mission seems to be enforcing burdensome self-censorship rules on outspoken conservatives who refuse to surrender the language. After he is finished misrepresenting the free market, blushing at traditional social values, and adopting a Clinton-esque political correctness, Mr. Frum might consider reading the works of his AEI colleague Michael Novak for a rectification of his beliefs.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Glimpse of Our Future?

I recently went north, to Montreal. Throughout Quebec, liquor is distributed through the Société des alcools du Québec, or the SAQ. It is a Crown corporation, the Canadian term used for a state owned enterprise, their political language still reflecting Canada's intimate political ties to England. (As a side note, characteristic of the SAQ are higher prices reflecting a state monopoly and oppressive - and self-righteous - sin taxes paying for national healthcare.)

I bought a bottle of white wine and my friend a bottle of Crown Royal. Canada being a so-called progressive nation, eco-conscious and environmentally friendly in every silly way, the provincial authority responsible for liquor sales has actually ceased providing any shopping bags for their customers.

Get that? You buy alcohol, you walk back home (or ride your bike along the perennially frozen bike lanes that now dominate the city's roads) without the assistance of a bag. No choice, not even the option to pay $0.05 to obtain a bag so as not to look like a drunkard walking home at 2pm with a bottle of whisky in plain sight. Pay the clerk, get your change, and walk away with a bottle in your hands. Are you readying yourself, America? Nakedly parading alcohol down city streets is what happens when a population surrenders their lifestyle choices to an elected elite that knows no boundaries to their power.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Boys of Pointe du Hoc by Ronald Reagan

Attached is a video of President Reagan's speech "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc" delivered on the shores of Normandy on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1984.

Below is an excerpt from the speech:

We're bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we're with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

Strengthened by their courage and heartened by their value [valor] and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Friday, June 05, 2009

GOP: How To Become A Majority Party

Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal looks at the fall of the Republican Party in non-southern states. The statistics are astounding and very scary for conservatives and libertarians who make up the base of the GOP. Here are a few:

  • Since the 1972 presidential election, Republicans have beaten Democrats in the South 53-46, but have lost severely in non-Southern states 56-42.
  • In the past five elections, the GOP has only won an average of 21.1% of the electoral college votes from non-Southern states.
So how does the GOP turn around their fortunes? How do they get back to a majority in states outside the South?

I believe they must stick to their conservative principles and provide a true alternative to the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. Being moderate on key differences between the two parties will just further erode support for the GOP and cause it to lose control of its current strongholds. What Republicans need to do to win is find a better way to message to a vast majority of Americans. Party in-fighting is necessary at times, but it doesn't help the American people understand clearly where you stand on major issues, which is crucial when you are the opposition to the President.

It is critical that Republicans stand strong against Obama on issues that assault conservative principles, otherwise their is no need for a second party. Americans like the tw0-party system, since they are able to "change" control in Washington when the country is headed in the wrong direction. That's how Obama became president. He had no ideas on policy, but rather just said that the voters needed to "Throw the Bums Out."

Well I got news for everybody...President Obama may become one of those Bums. Republicans need to oppose him on crucial issues facing this nation, such as nationalized health care and massive government spending. America is a center-right country, and none of these things jive with "Independents" or "Moderates"

Most independents are voters who don't care much about politics and just get engaged around election time. They don't follow issues closely and just choose the side that most other people are choosing. It is imperative that a party builds support from its grassroots base and then pushes its message to a broader audience. That's what President Obama did by reaching out to the anti-war left, which is a small percentage of this country, but a decently sized component of the Democratic Party.

I think that Republicans should rally around a true conservative such as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who did a great job in rallying the GOP base after being selected by John McCain as his vice presidential nominee. Without Palin, McCain would have had results against to Barack Obama similar to Barry Goldwater in 1964 running against Lyndon Johnson. Some say she can't win in the Northeast and Midwest, but that's nonsense. 2012 will be a referendum of Barack Obama's presidency, so the GOP just needs a candidate who can provide a difference to his agenda. Palin may have been too green as a VP choice, but remember she was thrown into the race with roughly two months till election day. Now Gov. Palin will have to go throw a year gauntlet of policy debates before the Iowa primary. That will make her battle tested and dangerous.

Remember the media said the same things about Ronald Reagan. He was just a stupid Hollywood actor...he was too conservative...he was out of the mainstream. You know why they attacked him in this way? Because they were afraid he could win and he did win...beating incumbent Jimmy Carter by 10 points in 1980.

Palin can do the same thing to President Obama. She is just the candidate that can appeal to midwest voters who are going through tough times with the demise of the American car industry. She can even appeal to Wall Street moderates who will eventually tire of Obama's hands-on approach to big business. Suburbanites will get annoyed over high inflation rates and President Obama's weakness on national defense issues, so they will be looking for a candidate who restores American exceptionalism in economics and defense.

Times are tough for the GOP and the party needs to be built from the bottom up. It is important for the party to have success in the New Jersey and Virginia governor races in 2009 and the Congressional races in 2010. When things aren't going well for an individual, business, or political party, it is important for them to go back to the core principles that once made them great. They need to look back and figure out what their greatest success has been, then try to put together the pieces to achieve it once again. That means for the GOP going back to the Ronald Reagan strategy. That strategy entails finding a charismatic leader who delivers a strong message in a way that the majority of the country can identify with it. Governor Palin is that leader and Republicans must rally around her as their leader.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

NYYRC Hosts 97th Annual Dinner Gala

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristine Nalbone
NYYRC PR Committee
Email: pr@nyyrc.com

The New York Young Republican Club, Inc. Hosts 97th Annual Dinner Gala

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Young Republican Club (NYYRC) will host their 97th annual alumni dinner gala on Wednesday, June 10, 2009. The event will be held at the prestigious Manhattan Penthouse, located on 80 Fifth Avenue on the 17th floor. The ever-anticipated cocktail hour commences at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards reception, which will begin promptly at 7:15 p.m. Cocktail attire should be worn by all who attend.

This year the NYYRC will honor Richard Miniter, who is the recipient of the New York Young Republican Award. In addition, keynote speakers include: Governor Jim Gilmore, John Avlon, and Richard Brownell who is the Master of Ceremonies. Surprise guests, who are always a highlight of the evening, are expected to make an appearance as well. “We expect this year’s dinner to be one of our finest to date, as the lineup is shaping up nicely, and the Republican community of the New York metropolitan area is stronger than we’ve seen in years,” said Lynn Krogh NYYRC President.

The annual dinner is the biggest event the NYYRC holds each year, and in 2009 they are expecting over 150 young professionals and business and community leaders from the New York metropolitan area. To commemorate the dinner, the NYYRC will produce a dinner journal to recognize event sponsors and make their commitments known to the distinguished guests.

On Saturday May 16, 2009 the NYYRC faced-off in a charity kickball game with the MYD, and the NYYRC was victorious. This means that all proceeds raised during that game will be donated to the NYYRC’s chosen charity, which is the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The NYYRC will be asking for continued donations at the dinner gala for all those interested in helping out with this imperative cause.

In addition, the NYYRC will host a silent auction with prizes such as the CPAC Diamond package, which includes: a ticket to the Presidential Diamond Reception and Banquet, a ticket to the Ronald Reagan Diamond Reception and Banquet, admittance to all three days of the general sessions and the Exhibit Hall, an exclusive pre-CPAC event with conservative leaders on February 17, 2010, an express bypass lanes to enter the main ballroom and book signings, a one-year membership to The American Conservative Union, and the latest edition of the ACU’s Congressional Ratings Book.

Additional details for the event are as follows:

R.S.V.P: www.NYYRC.com
Inquires: Lynn Krogh/Jennifer Gallacher; Phone: 917.922.4194; Email: RSVP@NYYRC.COM
$250 Per Person/ $300 with Photo Opp $150 Member Rate/ $200 with Photo Opp/ $3000 Per Table

About the NYYRC:
The New York Young Republican Club, Inc., is a not-for-profit political organization that exists to bring Republicans aged 18-40 together to discuss the Republican Party platform and aid the Republican Party in the education of the public about the Republican agenda and the promotion of Republican candidates for office. To find out more about the New York Young Republican Club, Inc.

Taxing Plastic Bags? You Gotta Be Kidding.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a 5 cent/per bag tax on plastic bags euphemistically called the "Consumer Plastic Bag Use Fee." I didn't think it was necessary to pay a fee to carry your groceries home. I thought the high price of groceries was enough of a fee. Apparently I was wrong.

Essentially this so-called user fee is an attempt to close budget holes made by a spendthrift city government that simply refuses to spend less money. This time they are masking their charade in an environmentally friendly package.

City Public Advocate candidate Alex Zablocki flagged this item, which is suspiciously not being reported on in the news. He has created a petition. Sign it.

And tell everyone you know about this madness. Enough with the stupid little taxes. We have enough trouble with the big taxes, thankyouverymuch.

Gates Considers More Spending for Missile Defense

Nice to see that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is mulling over an increase in spending for missile defense after North Korea's continuous missile tests in the east and Iran's continued nuclear development in the Middle East.

What is difficult to understand is the fact that our government, currently run by liberals who have little concern for national security, is willing to cut spending on research for missile defense. Their continuous refrain since Ronald Reagan first introduced the idea of a missile shield has been that it could never work. The only way they have ever been able to prove that it could never work is by denying research and development funding for the project.

Now Iran and North Korea are in the latter stages of developing offensive nuclear capabilities. And now Secretary Gates is thinking that "if" they develop missiles that could threaten us and our allies, then we "may" need to increase funding for missile defense.

We are not in the age of "if." We are in the age of "when." Let's get back to work on this now.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Farce That is Cap and Trade

Jim Manzi of the Manhattan Institute has a great piece at NRO about the cap and trade fiasco.

Be sure to read it because you can never do too much bashing on cap and trade.

The Country is Not Turning Left

If one were to believe the media, one would think the country is marching in lockstep to Obama's ideas and to his philosophy. One would be wrong.

Check out some of these numbers from recent polls conducted by Rasmussen:

  • 21 percent favor the GM bailout, 67 percent oppose it
  • 76 percent believe economic recovery is possible if GM fails
  • 18 percent believe the government will run GM effectively

And Pew Research Center:
The proportion of independents now equals its highest level in 70 years.... Independents are more conservative on several key issues than in the past. While they like and approve of Barack Obama, as a group independents are more skittish than they were two years ago about expanding the social safety net and are reluctant backers of greater government involvement in the private sector....

37 percent of Americans describe themselves as politically conservative – roughly double the number who say they are liberal (19 percent). This ratio has remained largely stable over the past nine years, even while the balance of party affiliation has changed substantially.

Obama is First President to Have Voted to Filibuster SCOTUS Nominee

First President in US History to Have Voted to Filibuster a Supreme Court Nominee Now Hopes for Clean Process

I'll take Hypocrisy for $1,000, Alex.

Reflecting on the Obama Lovefest

Robert Samuelson has another gem in today's Washington Post about "The Obama Infatuation" and how the media's inexplicable love affair with the president is shortchanging America's ability to have an honest political debate about his policies.

An excerpt:

Obama's rhetoric brims with inconsistencies. In the campaign, he claimed he would de-emphasize partisanship -- and also enact a highly partisan agenda; both couldn't be true. He got a pass. Now, he claims he will control health-care spending even though he proposes more government spending. He promotes "fiscal responsibility" when projections show huge and continuous budget deficits. Journalists seem to take his pronouncements at face value even when many are two-faced.

Read more here.