November 9, 2009

WSJ’s Timely Wall-Fall Reminder: In 1987, Rather Said USSR Citizens ‘Do Not Yearn For Democracy’

BerlinWall1986The Wall Street Journal’s editorial today on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is excellent, as would be expected, and gives credit where credit is due:

In the debate over who deserves credit for causing the Berlin Wall to collapse on the night of November 9, 1989, many names come to mind, both great and small.

There was Günter Schabowski, the muddled East German politburo spokesman, who in a live press conference that evening accidentally announced that the country’s travel restrictions were to be lifted “immediately.” There was Mikhail Gorbachev, who made it clear that the Soviet Union would not violently suppress people power in its satellite states, as it had decades earlier in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. There were the heroes of Poland’s Solidarity movement, not least Pope John Paul II, who did so much to expose the moral bankruptcy of communism.

And there was Ronald Reagan, who believed the job of Western statesmanship was to muster the moral, political, economic and military wherewithal not simply to contain the Soviet bloc, but to bury it.

In the editorial’s second-last paragraph, the Journal reminds us of an alleged journalist who was so blinded by his partisan disdain for any Republican in power that he refused to acknowledge what had become clear years earlier, and of the risk-averse weenies who tried to talk him out of delivering the signature line of what is probably his most famous speech (bold is mine):

Yet it bears recalling that even these obvious political facts were obscure to many people who lived in freedom and should have known better. “Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy,” said CBS’s Dan Rather just two years before the Wall fell. And when Reagan delivered his historic speech in Berlin calling on Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” he did so after being warned by some of his senior advisers that the language was “unpresidential,” and after thousands of protesters had marched through West Berlin in opposition.

The only substance to former CBS Evening News anchor Rather’s contention was that 70 years of statist conditioning and state-sponsored terror would make such a transition difficult — as it has been, and with much recent dangerous backsliding. That doesn’t change the fact that as our Founders stated, freedom is a God-given right to which every person is entitled, or that those who have come here from the old Soviet Union almost universally sing America’s praises (often more recently with somber warnings about the direction we have taken in the past year or so).

Sadly, there are even some on the right who subscribe to the untenable assertion that the Soviet Union imploded on its own because it was unsustainable — in other words, it would have fallen anyway, with or without Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher, John Paul, or Reagan. Those who hold to this belief on both sides of the aisle need to ask themselves how that self-implosion theory is working out in Cuba and South Korea, both of which are in arguably worse shape than the Soviet Union ever was.

In a probable comment engine-starter, it also should not go unnoticed that the only vote against the resolution in the House recognizing the significance of the Wall’s fall came from Ron Paul. I could not find an explanation for Paul’s vote on his congressional web site or elsewhere. If he thinks it’s because the resolution could have been stronger, I’d be inclined to agree with him, but for heaven’s sake, not to the point of voting against it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

NYT’s Krugman Quotes 1960s Song Proving ObamaCare Opponents’ Point

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:09 pm

220px-Buffalo_springfield_2Isn’t that Paul Krugman clever? The title of his latest op-ed (“Paranoia Strikes Deep”) quotes a line, presumably deliberately, from a 1960s protest song many consider one of the opening shots in that decade’s protest movement.

Before he got cute with his title, Krugman should have gone to the song’s full lyrics, as they only serve to prove that what he describes as paranoia is, based on what is in HB 3962 (or was, if excised at the last minute), really very justifiable concern and fear. Or maybe he read the lyrics and was too dense to appreciate their meaning in the current circumstances.

The song that apparently inspired Krugman’s column title is “For What It’s Worth,” a 1966-1967 mini-hit by Buffalo Springfield. The album containing the song peaked at #80 on the hit charts; my recall is that the single made it to the mid-30s.

That band featured Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Jim Messina, and Dewey Martin. A YouTube of their lip-synching Smothers Brothers appearance is here.

Here are a few paragraphs, otherwise known as insults to our intelligence, from Krugman, commenting on the crowd that gathered last Thursday to protest the House’s statist health care bill. I’ll follow it with the song’s final lyrical lament that destroys Krugman’s diatribe:

The key thing to understand about that rally is that it wasn’t a fringe event. It was sponsored by the House Republican leadership — in fact, it was officially billed as a G.O.P. press conference. Senior lawmakers were in attendance, and apparently had no problem with the tone of the proceedings.

True, Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican, offered some mild criticism after the fact. But the operative word is “mild.” The signs were “inappropriate,” said his spokesman, and the use of Hitler comparisons by such people as Rush Limbaugh, said Mr. Cantor, “conjures up images that frankly are not, I think, very helpful.”

What all this shows is that the G.O.P. has been taken over by the people it used to exploit.

The state of mind visible at recent right-wing demonstrations is nothing new. Back in 1964 the historian Richard Hofstadter published an essay titled, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” which reads as if it were based on today’s headlines: Americans on the far right, he wrote, feel that “America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion.” Sound familiar?

But while the paranoid style isn’t new, its role within the G.O.P. is.

This comes from a guy whose publication and others on the left were constantly worrying about “stifling of dissent” that occurred at the behest of George W. Bush only in their vivid, authentically paranoid imaginations.

The final verse of “For What It’s Worth,” with text added by me frpm what’s really in HB 3962 (unless excised in the final hours, but which could reappear at any time if that’s case), reads as follows:

Paranoia strikes deep.

Into your life it will creep.

It starts when you’re always afraid.

You step out of line ….

HB3962StepOutOfLine1109

the man come ….

HB3962TheManComes1109

and take you away:

HB3962ManTakesYouAway1109

Thanks for proving our point, Paul. It’s not paranoia if it’s really there, or if “the man” (actually in this case Nancy Pelosi and her party) is really contemplating putting people in jail merely for not buying health insurance.

I think that a better theme song describing the Tea Party and other sensibly conservative, Constitution-based protests would be the Who’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It may be too late for Krugman, who seems totally fooled by the current bunch in the White House, more and more resembling one of Lenin’s useful idiots.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (110909, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:58 am

Presence:

  • In response to what is probably the worst attack on American soldiers on American soil since the end of the 19th century (Hawaii was not yet a state when Pearl Harbor was attacked), our president …. made a statement that came off as perfunctory, and stayed in Washington for three days. He will finally visit Fort Hood on Tuesday.
  • In response to what is probably the worst attack on American soldiers on American soil since the end of the 19th century, our previous president …. visited the wounded (HT Neptunus Lex) and “thanked Fort Hood’s military leaders and hospital staff for the ‘amazing care they are providing.’”

Remembrance:

  • To recall the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, our president …. won’t go to remember it. Meanwhile, Newsweek told readers that “Five American presidents delivered addresses at the Berlin Wall,” and includes Obama in a montage with with the four who did (Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush). Only when you get to Obama’s page do you learn that Obama a) wasn’t president, and b) didn’t make any speech at the site of the Wall last year when he campaigned for the U.S. presidency in Europe.
  • In remembrance on the 8th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, our president …. sent Joe Biden to Ground Zero in New York City.

Deliberate ignorance:

  • The British press was out front (HT Hot Air) in telling the world that the perpetrator of the Fort Hood attack “worshipped at a mosque led by a radical imam said to be a ‘spiritual adviser’ to three of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept 11, 2001.” That the attack was jihad-inspired is not open to real dispute.
  • Meanwhile, the PC-addled American press does all it can to minimize the enormity (HT Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters) of what occurred at Fort Hood and makes excuses for the perpetrator, even to the point of claiming that he might (even though he never experienced combat) have caught that heretofore non-communicable mental condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from some of his combat-expericence patients.

National Right to Life Did What?

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 9:31 am

While this type of thing breaks my heart (b/c it goes on all the time), I am grateful for the truth.

(HT: Emailer)…

Dear friends,

Please take 5 minutes to read this…then read it again. A friend and I were just talking about the “major” Right to Life organizations being focused NOT on ending abortion on demand, rather “regulating” abortions and as such remaining plausible, “fight-the-good-fight” entities (to whom billions of dollars are given each year). Too many of them have taken our money, bought a political seat at the table and then pimped out our votes to one or both political parties…all for self-preservation (Mt. 23:13-39).

We must continue to seek out alternative sources of information and prayerfully ask the Lord to continue revealing the wolves in sheep clothing and realize that anyone who claims to be “pro-life” should be unabashedly eager to lose their “title,” “seat at the DC table,” and [in some cases] their private jet if it means that their mission was a success.

Let me know if I can assist you in further research.

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” ~Hosea 4:6

What followed in the email from AIP continues to enrage me to the point of no words…

Nov. 8, 2009
I have my pro-life credentials. I’ve fought in the trenches, so shut-up.

Too many times while in the trenches, Right-to-Life national leaders have been there wiping out our side, handing victory to the pro-aborts.

Today, I lament and pray for and with Rep. John Shaddegg (AZ) who knew that if he could have received just a little bit of Right-to-Life’s cooperation, Pelosi’s health care bill would have gone down. Instead, Shaddegg got a Right-to-Life knife in the back.

The battle lost in the House over the government health care takeover rests in large part on the shoulders of the national Right-to-Life leaders. They are pinheads and they must resign now.

As the political dynamics tightened around the health care vote, liberal pro-aborts had to concede to a vote on the pro-life amendment in order to shave off enough pro-life democrats for victory. A bitter political pill for their side, but they saw the bigger victory and could spin the pro-life amendment as “just acknowledgement of existing law contained in the long-standing Hyde Amendment.” (Hyde Amendment = No federal funds for abortions)

Well, Shaddegg had a plan to throw sand in the gears and likely ruin the political machinery grinding out a victory for the government takeover of health care. He was rounding up the votes to kill the pro-life amendment (by voting “present”) and thereby killing the whole bill and quite possibly the entire effort. This would have caused such a train wreck, it is doubtful the liberals could have recovered, i.e., Waterloo.

But, NO … as this plan was quietly being put together, Right-to-Life issues a noontime letter on the day of the vote stating a “present” vote will be scored as a NO vote, elevating it as the “most important vote” since the 1997 vote on the Hyde Amendment.

KABOOM! Right-to-Life once again snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Good for Shaddegg being the lone “present” vote on the amendment.

This screw-up is so historic and monumental that the Right-to-Life leadership must take the honorable actions and resign, immediately.

Shaddegg has a 100% rating from Right-to-Life. He is not a mystery or a double-dealer. After all the work he has done on their behalf, a little help would have gone a long way.

Instead, it is clear … Right-to-Life is more concerned about fundraising by “getting the win” on the pro-life amendment. How long do you think that amendment will hold as the bill makes its way through Congress?

Go away Right-to-Life leadership. Your actions are pitiful.

Posted 2009-11-08 8:35 AM (#27667) By: Editor

And we wonder why Roe still exists? Clearly Congress isn’t the only entity that needs a “do-over.” Hard not to tag both under “scams.”

ObamaCare’s Redistribution of Health

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:30 am

NoObamaCare0809Of course the president and Congress are after money, but they really want control over your life.

_________________________________________________

Note: This item originally appeared at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

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The House’s latest iteration of ObamaCare now weighs in at 1,990 pages. That’s hundreds of pages longer than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s summer rendition. At the rate these people are churning out thousand-plus pagers (stimulus, cap and trade, health care, etc.), they’re going to have to build a separate wing of the Library of Congress just to hold this year’s production.

After sifting through the bill’s deliberately obfuscatory, favor-laden language, it is clear that the Democratic leadership wants to pretend that last August’s town hall meetings, Congressional budgetwatchers’ most recent cost estimates of up to $1.2 trillion (not “only” $894 billion), and Tuesday’s key gubernatorial race results never happened. The elections of Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia were as much a rejection of establishment politics as usual and the specific policies and proposals of President Barack Obama and Congress as they were affirmations of the positive qualities of the victors. The establishment newspapers that obsessed over defeating Christie and McDonnell also extended the cycle of rejection they continue to experience in the form of reduced circulation. The Internet is certainly not the primary reason why the Washington Post’s and New Jersey Star-Ledger’s circulations are down 6% and 23%, respectively, in the past year.

As to the House bill, everything the populace has been loudly and longly rejecting remains firmly in place.

Abortion? It’s still there; Planned Parenthood has in essence admitted it. Provisions Sarah Palin courageously and accurately characterized as de facto “death panels”? You betcha. Rules that force the termination of any private plan if it tries to change even minor provisions, effectively spelling what Investors Business Daily has called “the end of the private medical insurance market” a few months ago? Yes, according to Betsy McCaughey on Sean Hannity’s radio show last week.

Beyond that, as I have previously shown, ObamaCare is still a moral clunker. As has happened in statist health care systems elsewhere, it will inevitably lead to rationed care. That rationing will inevitably favor the currently healthy with longer lives ahead of them over the aged and seriously infirm. Finally, ObamaCare’s operations will be managed and/or heavily influenced by people who, as I said in August, “have frighteningly ghoulish outlooks on life and humanity.” To name just one example of many, there’s Zeke the Bleak Emanuel, who believes that “services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” That’s not “obvious” to me or to the vast majority of others, pal.

Of course, the latest House bill has the requisite tax increases on “the rich,” which really means “high income-earners” (politicians and the press either really don’t seem to understand the difference). Employing what I consider to be the correct language of taxation, the bill, in combination with other increases that will occur next year unless proactively stopped, will increase the amount of federal income taxes paid by the highest income-earners by as much as 30% – 50%. In a worst-case scenario, it will reduce the effective take-home pay of some by as much as 30%-35%.

Taking a cue from the Massachusetts state-run disaster known as RomneyCare, the bill imposes penalties on individuals and families who don’t purchase mandated health insurance. As the Associated Press reports, these penalties “are described as taxes in the legislation.” That these penalties make mincemeat of Obama’s core 2008 campaign promise not to increase taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year seems not to matter. Thus, there is plenty of what Barack Obama in his more honest moments likes to call “redistributive change.”

But ObamaCare is not simply or even primarily about the redistribution of wealth. It’s about the redistribution of health.

That is why the “public option” remains in the House bill. That polls supposedly tell us that this “public option” remains popular is a testament only to the utter failure of ObamaCare’s opponents to describe and explain its true nature.

The “public option” is not about “competition.” It is about elimination. That “the uninsured” receive “coverage” is only incidental.

The newly conceived entity will more than likely not have to pay federal, state, or local income taxes, and may not have to pay a myriad of other taxes private companies must pay unless they wish to go out of business. This entity will often be in a position to use existing government-owned facilities instead of having to pay for its own. Some of its employees, overhead, and outside services may be charged to other sectors of the government. It may, because of sovereign immunity, be exempt from crippling lawsuits and related legal costs. This stack of playing field de-levelers constitutes what the bill’s sponsors call “competition.” It’s really a sick (pun intended) joke.

Thanks to these self-evident advantages and the restrictions the bill imposes on private plans, the “public option” will inevitably corral tens of millions of American individuals and families into its one-size-fits-all plan design, which will be the standard against which all surviving plans are judged. If a private plan is too generous, ObamaCare will either tax and penalize it until its sponsors bring it down to the same level, or kill it. If a private plan is too restrictive, regulations and penalties will force it up to the “public option” level, or terminate it. Terminations will be rampant. If you dare try to step outside the box yourself and privately arrange for superior medical care for yourself or your family, even with your own resources or funds from charity, you can expect the full force of the “public option” and its friends at the IRS to come after you, your medical providers, and perhaps even those who provided financial kindness.

This is “redistributive health care justice.” Nobody will be able to get health care that is better than anyone else’s. Some of us may somehow still have a bit more money and wealth, but, with the exception of the elite, who always figure out a way around the peons’ restrictions, we’ll all be subject to one health care system.

That’s the openly stated goal. When rationing and other more serious side-effects inevitably intrude, we will see that ObamaCare’s “fairness” will be in how it makes us all equally miserable.

Positivity: Thousands of Catholics turn out for Rosary Sunday in Phoenix

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:13 am

At Catholic News Agency:

Nov 8, 2009 / 02:33 pm (CNA).- From its humble beginnings in the church of St. Francis Xavier in Phoenix, Rosary Sunday has grown into an annual event that draws more than 5,000 people in devotion to Mary. Last month, Catholics in the diocese marked the 34th year the faithful throughout the state gathered for adoration, confession, benediction and the recitation of the rosary.

Under her title, “Immaculate Heart of Mary,” and in honor of the Year for Priests, families and individuals entered the Phoenix Convention Center representing a multitude of ethnic communities and organizations.

Rudy and Barbara Martinez drove 240 miles one-way from Cameron, Ariz. to participate in the public prayer honoring the Blessed Mother.

“We come because we want to show her our love and gratitude,” Barbara said. This is the fifth year the couple has made the journey from the Navajo Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona. “It’s important for us to be here together in honor of Our Lady.”

The strong devotion to the mother of Jesus gave impetus to the Phoenix Diocese embracing an event that has attracted national attention.

Dorothy Westfall, the event’s coordinator and a Legion of Mary member, fields calls from other dioceses around the country each year on how to develop advisory committees in hopes of starting a Rosary Sunday.

“People come because they see this as an opportunity for grace,” Westfall said. “Not only for themselves, but for their family, the country and the world.”

The spirit, beauty and reverence of the afternoon was not lost on the keynote speaker.

“I am very impressed. We need one of these in the Rockford Diocese,” said Fr. James Parker. “When we pray those beads, we touch the heart of the Mother of God and simultaneously touch the heart of God.” ….

Go here for the rest of the story.