May 7, 2006

Truth Comes Out Quote of the Day

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:00 pm

Markos Moulitsas (affectionately, or not, known to most as the “Kos” of “DailyKos”), in a WaPo op-ed (may require registration; HT Instapundit) primarily about Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances in 2008:

While Republicans spent the past four decades building a vast network of small-dollar donors to fund their operations, Democrats tossed aside their base and fed off million-dollar-plus donations. The disconnect was stark, and ultimately destructive. Clinton’s third way failed miserably. It killed off the Jesse Jackson wing of the Democratic Party and, despite its undivided control of the party apparatus, delivered nothing. Nothing, that is, except the loss of Congress, the perpetuation of the muddled Democratic “message,” a demoralized and moribund party base, and electoral defeats in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

And I thought the GOP was “the party of the rich.”

Illegal Immigrant Healthcare Insanity

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:33 pm

This requires much wider distribution. It comes from Arizona, on the frontlines of the illegal-immigration disgrace (bolds throughout this post are mine):

When illegal immigrants crash, taxpayers usually foot the bill
May 6, 2006, 10:30 AM EDT

Within the last month, close to three dozen illegal immigrants have been injured or killed in three Southern Arizona accidents.

The first happened April 19 near Elgin in Santa Cruz County, the second on April 30 near Tangerine Road and Interstate 10 and on May 3 at Interstate 19 and Pima Mine Road.

Often, hospitals foot the bill to care for illegal immigrants injured here in the U.S.

Those costs are then passed on to the taxpayers.

Smugglers use older vehicles, cramming as many people as possible inside and taking extreme measures to get their cargo across the border.

In the last month, three separate accidents have occurred, one of them killing four illegal immigrants.

….. According to the Border Patrol, vehicle wrecks are frequent with the victims needing medical attention.

“Paramedics are the ones who decide which hospital they go to and, in a large accident where there’s a lot of people, it could be spread out to a bunch of hospitals in the area, depending on the need, what the hospital can help them with.”

Among them, the only trauma center in Southern Arizona, and weeks after one of the recent accidents illegal immigrants are still being treated at Tucson’s University Medical Center.

“It has a negative impact on our bottom line. First, our priority is taking care of the people that are injured and making sure that they get the proper care, but the reality is that there is no direct reimbursement for that,” said Kevin Burn, Chief Financial Officer for UMC.

Two months ago, UMC received $500,000 of your tax money from the federal government as payment, but it’s not enough.

According to Burns, “At the current run rate we’ll incur 5-to-6 million dollars in unreimbursed costs for taking care of foreign nationals.”

How many hospitals can take a $5-6 million hit straight to the bottom line, every year, before many of them close? Answer: Many of them have. Here’s news on that topic in an Arizona publication about the situation in California as of a year ago:

The federal law that put the hospitals on the hook for the medical bills of illegals goes by the acronym EMTALA–Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. It says that anybody who shows up in an ER must get screened, treated and stabilized, regardless of citizenship or ability to pay.

But since its passage in 1985, the definition of emergency has evolved to include just about anything, and because Congress didn’t fund the requirement, hospitals have had to eat the costs as word has spread that the federal goodie wagon is parked at the ER door.

In cities with huge illegal populations, such as Los Angeles, the effects have been disastrous. In its spring 2005 issue, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons reported that between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because, for several reasons including EMTALA, half of their services became unpaid.

Another 24 are near closing, says author Madeleine Pelner Cosman. She also writes that in 1983, before EMTALA, L.A. County put together a trauma network that was “one of America’s finest emergency med response organizations.”

A mere 22 years later–again, in part because of EMTALA–Cosman says the system is coming apart, with most trauma hospitals having left the network, along with physicians, surgeons and others.

This disgrace isn’t just costing money; it’s costing EVERYONE in the quality of health care being delivered.

Yet our US Senate won’t do anything meaningful to stop the flow over the border. I say: If they won’t, The Minutemen must.

George Will on Galbraith’s Liberal Elitism

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:01 am

Though its more recent strain is louder and more rude, the “How can they be so stupid?” contempt that liberal elites hold for the average person is not a recent phenomenon.

George Will is old enough to remember; I’m not (barely), but I remember the economy-based ridicule that Will describes carrying over into the 1960s (HT Made 4 The Interenet) and evolving into an across-the-board contempt.

Will explains that evolution on the death of John Kenneth Galbraith:

Even at height of his career, Galbraith was liberally wrong
Thursday, May 04, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith, the Harvard University economist who died last week in his 98th year, has been justly celebrated for his wit, fluency, public-spiritedness and public service, which extended from New Deal Washington to India, where he served as U.S. ambassador.

….. (Galbraith’s) 1958 book The Affluent Society, was a milestone on liberalism’s transformation into a doctrine of condescension. And into a minority persuasion.

In the 1950s, liberals were disconsolate. Voters twice rejected the intelligentsia’s pinup, Stevenson, in favor of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who elicited a new strain in liberalism: disdain for average Americans. ….. How to explain the electorate’s dereliction of taste? Easy. The masses, in their bovine simplicity, had been manipulated, mostly by advertising, particularly on television, which by 1958 had become the masses’ entertainment.

Intellectuals, that herd of independent minds, were, as usual, in lock step as they deplored “conformity.”

….. Galbraith brought to the anti-conformity chorus a special verve in depicting Americans as pathetic, passive lumps, as manipulable as clay. Americans were what modern liberalism relishes: victims, to be treated as wards of a government run by liberals. It never seemed to occur to Galbraith and like-minded liberals that ordinary Americans might resent that depiction and might express their resentment with their votes.

Advertising, Galbraith argued, was a leading cause of America’s “private affluence and public squalor.” By that he meant consumerism, which produced Americans’ deplorable reluctance to surrender more of their income to taxation, trusting government to spend it wisely.

If advertising were as potent as Galbraith thought, the advent of television – a large dose of advertising, delivered to every living room – should have caused a sharp increase in consumption relative to savings. No such increase coincided with the arrival of television, but Galbraith, reluctant to allow empiricism to slow the flow of theory, was never a martyr to Moynihan’s axiom that everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.

Although Galbraith coined the phrase conventional wisdom, and thought of himself as the scourge of groupthink, The Affluent Society was the distilled essence of the conventional wisdom on campuses. In the 1960s, that liberalism became a stance of disdain, describing Americans not only as Galbraith had, as vulgar, but also as sick, racist, sexist, imperialist, etc. Again, and not amazingly, voters were not amused when told that their desires for big cars, neighborhood schools and other things did not deserve respect.

….. The Affluent Society was the canonical text of modern liberalism’s disparagement of the competence of the average American. This liberalism – the belief that people are manipulable dolts who need to be protected by their liberal betters from exposure to “too much” advertising – is one rationale for the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance-reform law, which embodies the political class’ belief that it knows just the right amount of permissible political speech.

Of course, if advertising really could manufacture consumer wants willy-nilly, few new products would fail. But many do. The Affluent Society, postulating the awesome power of manufacturers to manufacture whatever demand they find it convenient to satisfy, was published nine months after Ford Motor Co. put all of its marketing muscle behind a new product, the Edsel.

Small wonder that a conservative wit has surmised that the wisdom of economists varies inversely with their heights. Milton Friedman, 93, is 5 feet tall.

And of course, liberals still don’t get the idea that the ability to persuade is not at helped by hurling insults.

Free Speech Is in Peril under the Guise (As Usual) of “Reform”

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:12 am

A few weeks ago, I criticized Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and the other three area Congressmen (Chabot, Boehner, and Davis) for supporting a similar bill, and candidate Bob McEwen for not campaigning against it.

What was in the bill I objected to has apparently made further progress under the guise of “Ethics Reform” (HTs OH02, a Club for Growth [CFG] e-mail, and another e-mailer).

OH02 objects to the softness on lobbying, and there is some validity to that. But the infinitely bigger issue is the suppression of free speech, which CFG is on top of (links were in original e-mail):

Reject the Assault On Free Speech!

This week, the Club for Growth joined with 64 other organizations to tell Congress to oppose a new attempt to restrict political free speech. Click here to read the coalition letter (PDF). Also click here (probably requires registration) to read the Washington Post’s recap of a relevant vote that occurred on Wednesday evening, and here to read an article from The Hill. Finally, here’s how The Wall Street Journal explained it (requires subscription):

    One of the more egregious proposals would limit campaign giving by reducing individual donations to so-called 527 political advocacy groups. This assault on political speech has nothing to do with ethics and would only make it harder for voters to assemble to influence their representatives. This kind of “campaign-finance reform” is always sold as high-mindedness but is really designed to insulate Members from political accountability.

The Post ignorantly spins the free-speech restrictions as disproportionately helping conservatives despite the 64-signature petition objecting to those restrictions submitted by conservative groups:

Some conservative groups protested the legislation because of its restraint on campaign giving — a provision that would on balance benefit Republicans. “The outcry from the conservative community against this move to suppress free speech is loud and unified,” said Pat Toomey, president of the conservative Club for Growth.

This totally ignores the fact that the large majority of the spending by 527 groups continues to be done by organized labor and Soros- or MoveOn-affiliated liberal organizations (the fact that it has been almost totally ineffective is irrelevant to the current post). Everyone who cares about legally affecting the legislative and electoral process through the exercise of their First Amendment rights loses with this bill (HR 4975, which the roll call shows that locals Schmidt, Chabot, Boehner, and Davis all again supported; all but eight of the entire Democrat delegation opposed it). If the labor and liberal organizations aren’t as on top of the peril to their right to free expression as they should be, shame on them.

What also needs to be remembered is that Democrats mostly oppose this bill, not because it’s not tough enough on ethics and lobbying. Nope — They’re still steamed over what the Swiftvets’ relatively tiny 527 achieved in exposing the truth about John Kerry’s military service, and they want the bill to place MORE restrictions on free speech.

The House measure has to be reconciled with a similar bill that passed the Senate in March. Here’s hoping the differences are irreconcilable.

Positivity: Navy Doctor Comes to Afghan Boy’s Rescue

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:58 am

This was to save an 8 year-old boy’s leg:

By Army Sgt. Nina J. Ramon
345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan — After treating hundreds of casualties during a tour with the Marines in Iraq , and then treating hundreds more during his nine months in Afghanistan, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Dave Holder thought he had seen it all. An 8-year-old Afghan boy with a medical condition virtually unheard of in the States quickly changed his mind.

Holder, a physician assistant attached to the 3-141 Battalion Aid Station here, normally tends to U.S. service members, Afghan National Army soldiers, Afghan National Policemen and local civilians.

But, the physician assistant permanently assigned to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, also participates in weekly civilian outreach missions with ANA medics. Holder and the medical team in Ghazni processed nearly 1,000 patients in a few months of work in Afghan clinics. Many of the patients sought medical attention for wounds untreated for extended periods of time because professional care was not available.

During a weekly mission with an ANA medical battalion, Holder was asked by an Afghan doctor to assist with an Afghan boy named Abdul.

“(Abdul) had what appeared to be a piece of wood sticking out of his leg,” said Holder. He soon realized it was Abdul’s shinbone.

Abdul’s story began four months earlier when he first injured his leg. Two months later, he re-injured the leg, causing the shin bone to protrude out of the skin.

“He had a series of injuries to his leg and was hobbling around trying to bear the weight,” said Holder. “It was grossly infected — bone and skin. I decided I would get him taken care of,” he added.

Special cases such as Abdul’s are normally referred to the provincial reconstruction team medical clinic, according to Holder. In many circumstances, patients are then referred to the Egyptian Field Hospital at Bagram.

Holder felt compelled to personally look after Abdul. He made some phone calls and eventually talked with orthopedic surgeon and Bountiful, Utah, native Dr. Shawn Hermenau at the 14th Combat Support Hospital in Bagram. Hermenau agreed to see Abdul.

It took more than two weeks to get Abdul a flight to Bagram because of bad weather and mission-essential flight requirements. While waiting, Holder paid the cab fare so Abdul and his father could visit the clinic each day to have the wound cleaned and dressed.

When the weather cleared, Abdul and his father traveled to the U.S. hospital in Bagram where they met Hermenau and the rest of the team that would help save his leg.

“When you see a kid that breaks his leg, and you get the chance to help him be able to go out and do kid stuff again,” Holder said smiling, “it gives you a ray of hope.”

Holder believes helping Afghans such as Abdul reinforces the positive relationship between Coalition forces and the local population.

“Abdul is from a known trouble spot in the area of operation, so hopefully this will be a good-news story for them that the Americans treated him well,” said Holder.

….. “I came to Afghanistan to take care of Soldiers and the people here and I think I did that,” he said. “I’ll come back a third time.”