Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

08/20/2009 (12:55 pm)

Death Panels Already Exist

ezekiel_emanuel1One of my readers directed my attention to this article from American Thinker, which makes the case that Congressional Democrats have already created the mechanisms through which the government will make, then enforce, care decisions according to cost-benefit algebra. Death panels are not in Obama’s plan because they already exist.

Of course, “death panel” is not precise; it’s just gruesome jargon. This portion of the health care debate rages over how, when, and by whom decisions should be made to cease treatment of the elderly or terminally ill because the cost of further care is greater than somebody wants to pay. In a sane system, care ends when the patient chooses not to pay. Under national health care, care ends when a bureaucrat chooses not to pay. Defenders of Obama’s or the Democrats’ plans love to point out that today, care ends when the insurer chooses not to pay, but they are badly mistaken for several reasons. First, shortages are not nearly so severe, and prices not so prohibitively high, when the government is not manipulating the market, so fewer such decisions are necessary in a free market; second, even if the insurer says “No,” private care is available at the patient’s expense that would not be available under a government plan; and third, appeals (and, if necessary, lawsuits) are possible with an insurer that would not be possible under a government plan. Even with insurers in the mix (who are so prominent in our current system because of government meddling), the final decision is made by the patient and his or her family where it should be made, and not by an unconnected bureaucrat.

However, the Democrats have apparently side-stepped the debate (who’s surprised?) by inserting language into unrelated legislation, the Stimulus bill. Pay attention; you’re going to learn how vague laws and unread legislation can be used to implement tyranny. This is tricky.

Critics call attention to two regulatory boards created by the Health Care portions of the Stimulus bill: the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (HIT), and the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). The HIT coordinator is the administrator responsible for building a national patient record system, a measure that will certainly improve health coordination if the system is built correctly. The portion of the Stimulus bill that creates the HIT coordinator position spells out the process of creating, coordinating, and propagating this new, central database of health information to public and private health care providers around the nation. In my mind, this is a rare measure that might actually fall within a legitimate definition of the role of the national government, and if our nation’s fiscal health were not in crisis, I might even favor it — but wait ’till you hear what’s buried in it.

The HIT legislation states that it “…reduces health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical errors, inappropriate care, duplicative care, and incomplete information….” Then the legislation sets up the means by which a nationwide information system will be created, with review, strategic planning, testing, and financing. Finally, it says it will phase itself in over several years by paying a financial bonus to doctors and hospitals who become “meaningful users” of the system. “The Secretary [of HHS] shall seek to improve the use of electronic health records and health care quality over time by requiring more stringent measures of meaningful use selected under this paragraph,” it adds, regarding the payment standards for doctors and hospitals separately.

Now, if I were paranoid, I might note that this is vague enough that literally anything might be slipped in, in the definition of a “meaningful user.” I might further note that the bill contains a mechanism by which the Secretary of HHS might add new restrictions at will, without oversight from any source, and without the public’s knowledge. Since it is entirely at the whim of the Secretary of HHS, he or she could say that a “meaningful user” is one who uses the system’s recommendation of the most cost-effective treatment — after inserting a cost-benefit calculus into the system. In this manner, a clever definition of “meaningful user” could incent doctors and hospitals to implement a value-assessment standard for care decisions, like the one Democrats have been favoring.

Why would I be so paranoid as to imagine such a thing?

Two reasons. The first is that former Senator and nominee for HHS secretary Tom Daschle wrote a book in 2008 entitled Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis, in which he described measures almost identical to those in the Stimulus bill, and explained how he would use them. His intentions and the legislation by which he would achieve them were covered back in February by New York’s former Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey in this article on Bloomberg. Since the bill she wrote about at the time was an interim version, I verified that the wording on which she reported actually remained in the final bill. It’s all there. With Daschle or somebody familiar with his intentions at HHS (like, say, the radically pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius), we can expect doctors and hospitals to be required to use the new patient and treatment database as a means of restricting care by cost, or forfeit healthy incentive payments by the government.

madbobThe second reason is the other commission, Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). Remember when I said that given fiscal health, I might even favor the national patient information system? The Comparative Effectiveness Research body is another story; the government has no business performing this analysis at all.

“Comparative effectiveness” is jargon in the Progressive policy world for rationing on the basis of cost-benefit analysis, using language uncomfortably reminiscent of the Eugenics craze of the early 20th century. Naturally, the language speaks of “social justice,” but such justice is defined as certain citizens sacrificing their rights (not voluntarily) for the benefit of other citizens who produce more. You are blessed, citizen! You have been selected to sacrifice for the good of all! And it speaks of the “maturity” to enact such “difficult” measures, like this smug essay by a medical school prof at UCSF.

Take the comments by CER board member Ezekiel Emanuel (Rahm’s brother), taken from recent medical journals by Betsy McCaughey:

…Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.

Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.

Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (JAMA, Feb. 27, 2008).

Translation: Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.

He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years” (Lancet, Jan. 31).

By Emanuel’s logic, discrimination against blacks, women, gays, Jews or any other group would be justifiable, so long as that group is given the opportunity to pay it back against their oppressors at some other time. This is insane, but it’s the sort of rationalization that has been going on for years among Progressives, who wonder whether humankind is a cancer on the planet.

The CER panel is modeled after the board in the UK’s national health system called the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE. NICE is, simply put, the UK’s health care rationing board. It decides what sort of care is appropriate on the basis of a cost-benefit calculus that says that Britain can only afford to spend up to $22,000 to extend a life for 6 months.

From the Wall Street Journal:

What NICE has become in practice is a rationing board. As health costs have exploded in Britain as in most developed countries, NICE has become the heavy that reduces spending by limiting the treatments that 61 million citizens are allowed to receive through the NHS. For example:

In March, NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer. This followed on a 2008 ruling against drugs — including Sutent, which costs about $50,000 — that would help terminally ill kidney-cancer patients. After last year’s ruling, Peter Littlejohns, NICE’s clinical and public health director, noted that “there is a limited pot of money,” that the drugs were of “marginal benefit at quite often an extreme cost,” and the money might be better spent elsewhere.

In 2007, the board restricted access to two drugs for macular degeneration, a cause of blindness. The drug Macugen was blocked outright. The other, Lucentis, was limited to a particular category of individuals with the disease, restricting it to about one in five sufferers. Even then, the drug was only approved for use in one eye, meaning those lucky enough to get it would still go blind in the other. As Andrew Dillon, the chief executive of NICE, explained at the time: “When treatments are very expensive, we have to use them where they give the most benefit to patients.”

And it is this board that the Stimulus bill recreates in the form of the CER. But it is delusional to think that Obama’s health care proposal contains death panels. We’re bearing false witness, says the most patently dishonest President in our history (yes, worse than Clinton.) With all due respect, Mr. President, you can shove that self-righteous posturing right up your ass.

McCaughey, in the Bloomberg article, states that the Stimulus bill language requires that Medicare care decisions include the findings of the CER. This is not entirely clear in the language, but then, that’s the point. The Secretary of HHS has latitude to define a “meaningful user” as anything he wishes, and to impose more stringent standards as time goes along. Without oversight. Or letting anybody know, aside from the hospitals who must comply if they are to be reimbursed for installing the patient records system.

No, there are no laws saying “We are going to withhold care from granny.” Who was naive enough to imagine that there would be, if such a thing were to come about? But Daschle explained how he would slip it in, empowering an unelected bureaucracy to make the hard decisions about health care rationing that elected politicians are politically unable to make. They are unaccountable for our good, don’t you see?

The demographic impact of the Baby Boom on medical care and Social Security has been apparent for some time now. It has been amplified by the loss of 50 million potential wage-earners to abortions. But now, it appears that Progressives have chosen to deny the Boomers any say in their own demise; simply because it is convenient, not to mention consistent with their misanthropic world view, the Obama administration is preparing to solve the demographic crisis by simply allowing the Boomers to die with only minimal care. He’ll never say so, of course. We’re bearing false witness if we mention it. Holocausts never arrive through the front door.

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August 20, 2009 @ 2:23 pm #

Double talk has been going on for quite some time. I fly a charter aircraft and there have been times where on consecutive days I flew competing “Hospital groups” from our area. I was taking them to speak with State Legislators regarding “certificate of Need” they were seeking for themselves or to block for the competitor. Guhment intervention regarding competition to drive prices down has been prohibited for quite some time. I haven’t heard much in this area – ever.


August 20, 2009 @ 3:13 pm #

Here’s another article – not exactly on topic, but Health Care related.


I have a feeling from other conversations on other blogs that there’s a _lot_ of government intervention already that results in driving up the costs of health care that could be eliminated.

Just as an example, apparently the AMA does some fancy math work to predict how many doctors will be needed in ten years (and beyond), and then – somehow … I’m not sure exactly how – limits the number of Med students to fill the need. How many new medical schools have opened or expanded lately? UC just opened a new law school in Irvine – in spite of being told by the state that another law school was unnecessary. Why don’t we have “unnecessary” medical schools opening? Given that only about the top 1% of applicants are accepted, it certainly isn’t for lack of candidates.

Then there’s the problem of interstate insurance – why is that such a problem when it isn’t for auto insurance? Why don’t we have an insurance “pool” for chronically sick people like we have a “pool” for bad risk auto drivers? Average out the cost and spread it out among the insurers.

There are problems, without a doubt – but I don’t think a new program is the solution unless Obama can solve the Medicare/Medicaid financial problems first – just to prove that he _can_. He says there are savings to be had in those programs – who’s stopping him from doing that _first_?

Besides – we also need to establish the intent of the program…full medical care for everybody and nobody pays their own bills? catastrophic care? What’s the goal?

August 20, 2009 @ 3:49 pm #

Guhment intervention regarding competition to drive prices down has been prohibited for quite some time. I haven’t heard much in this area – ever.

Ann Coulter wrote about it today. And I’ve written about it, too.

August 20, 2009 @ 10:02 pm #

“Of course, “death panel” is not precise; it’s just gruesome jargon.”

Not only is it not precise, it’s a VERY steep exaggeration.

But I was trying to parse exactly through your discussion here the answer to this question, and I am asking it honestly. As the system stands right now, and as it would do under Obama’s health care bill, is there anything that would stop a person from using their own money to get medical help BEYOND what Medicare/Medicaid pays?

Even if some panel decides Medicare will not pay for some exhorbitant procedure (just as the private insurers do), what in our CURRENT bill would stop someone from digging in their own pocket?

If the answer is nothing, then you are not really arguing against the current bill, but against bogey men again. If a couple of portions of the stimulus package and the proposed Medical bill are bad ideas…strike them down already!

If the current bill does make progress toward decreasing the number of uninsured, just say so! Even most Republicans are in favor of that.

August 20, 2009 @ 10:06 pm #

And on the false witness thing, does the Bill itself contain the alleged “Death Panels”?

If not, Obama is right. And if enough people point out the problems with the panels in the Stimulus package, even when they exaggerate just to make sure Obama is defeated, Obama seems more than willing to work with them. Try it and see…I’d be surprised if the Stimulus package stuff was even fully KNOWN to Obama.

August 21, 2009 @ 7:10 am #

For the moment, you are probably right, there would be nothing that would keep people from paying for it themselves, other than their ability to pay for a procedure. Remember though that the procedures that would most likely be denied by the proposed bureaucracy would be the most costliest ones, which are the type of thing that health insurance is SUPPOSED to be there to pay for i.e. catastrophic.

Also, if you accept our argument that care and procedure costs will go up rather than down under the President’s plan, then more lower level procedures will be out of reach of the common man. This means the effect of the plan will be a twofer, one it will mean that the bureaucracy will pay for fewer and fewer things (because of their cost and the cooresponding “value assessement”.) Two, the overall system will have more inflated costs, therefore ceratin procedures will be beyond the reach of people who might be able to pay for them now. So, in essence, the plan would have exactly the opposite effect of the one claimed, health care access to higher level procedures will actually be REDUCED to many people.

To your point about alarmism, remember we are not just considering the effect of this one bill, but also the effect of all of the other things going on. It is kind of like looking at Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. We are talking about the effect of the entire painting, while it seems you are arguing whether a figure in the lower left corner really looks lifelike or not.

The “try and see” attitude many people on the left seem to have to critics is pretty crazy. We all know that social spending, once in place, is virtually impossible to alter or remove. Social spending is also THE most prone type to unintended consequences. We are saying that this is a bad idea before the bill is passed, because we know there will be no way to get rid of it after. Pres. Obama knows this too which is the reason for the speed and the crazed need for us to “get out of the way.”

August 21, 2009 @ 8:27 am #

But I was trying to parse exactly through your discussion here the answer to this question, and I am asking it honestly. As the system stands right now, and as it would do under Obama’s health care bill, is there anything that would stop a person from using their own money to get medical help BEYOND what Medicare/Medicaid pays?

The answer is “yes.” What the bill is going to do is drive out alternative providers and insurers, making doctors in effect employees of the state (in that they will, in short order, receive 100% of their compensation from state insurance.) Between this and government caps on medical compensation, the number of doctors in the system is going to shrink, and the number who provide private care is going to shrink dramatically. The result will be that the very wealthiest people will still be able to find a doctor who will treat them privately, but the cost of that treatment will be absolutely prohibitive for anybody but the super-wealthy.

This is the normal course for government takeovers of medicine (it happened that way in Canada, for example), and in fact for government takeovers of anything. Free markets generally produce a wealth of options that are available to the middle-class but out of the reach of the poor; socialist replacements produce a single product of very low quality, with high-quality options for the extremely wealthy (who are generally the highest echelon in the socialist government.)

That said, we will probably see an expansion of a trend that is already underway: Americans seeking health care overseas. There’s a growing exodus from the American health system, and it’s not just people seeking alternative treatments not available in the states (Laetril and such like), but people who have discovered that the cost of certain major surgeries in, say, India, INCLUDING the price of the air fare, is less than the comparable cost in the US, even after the insurer has paid.

This is really a separate thread, though, Jim. My concern with the death culture and the demographic age bubble is actually separate from the Obama health plan; I’ve been expecting this to happen for decades, actually, and the current debate is just the first vehicle in which it has arrived. It will not be the last. My response to the Obama health plan is that it’s 1) economically irresponsible, and 2) the wrong approach in every conceivable way. What we need is LESS government interference, not more. Government interference is the CAUSE of the high prices, not the cure. In this regard, I recommend that you swallow your distaste and read Ann Coulter’s latest essay at Human Events. (Buck up, Jim, I always read your links to Glenn Greenwald and such…)

August 21, 2009 @ 8:35 am #

And on the false witness thing, does the Bill itself contain the alleged “Death Panels”?

If not, Obama is right.

Ok, Jim, let’s try out a hypothetical case. I’m touting a law that requires mandatory annual IRS audits for abortion providers, and requires them to set aside 10% of their gross revenue in a fund to cover malpractice suits. Last month I was touting a nationwide parental consent law. The month before that, I was jockeying for the confirmation of a socially conservative judge to the Supreme Court, and before that it was laws banning transport of individuals across state lines for the purpose of obtaining abortions.

You make the claim that my IRS audit law is “just another attempt to limit or ban abortions.” I call you a LIAR (I don’t just deny it, I publicly accuse you of falsehood, and take out national advertising accusing you of lying) because the bill has nothing whatsoever in it that would make abortions illegal or deny them to anybody, I’m just trying to make sure abortion providers are financially secure (never mind that roughly 1/3 of them will be put out of business by the 10% fund requirement).

Am I being honest, and is your claim a lie? Take your time, and answer thoughtfully.

And if you answer the obvious — that in fact I’m being as disingenuous as the day is long, and that my anti-abortion agenda is clear — will you please, PLEASE, get off this laughable, ridiculous, unimaginably obtuse, dishonest, CAT-EATING BULLSHIT of yours that Obama is right to say that he has no part in the progressive death march because the wording of a specific piece of legislation does not contain the entire program???????? I mean, seriously, Jim, you cannot possibly be that dense.

August 21, 2009 @ 10:59 am #

Here’s another log for the fire:


August 21, 2009 @ 4:00 pm #

Here are a couple of relevant articles.



August 21, 2009 @ 4:17 pm #

And yet another…


>>I mean, seriously, Jim, you cannot possibly be that dense.>>

Can you?

August 21, 2009 @ 9:40 pm #

Hey Suek,

Thanks for the “FirstThings” link, I was a long-time subscriber to their magazine. Neuhaus, when alive of course, was one of the keenest Christian minds in the business! I loved that guy!

But, as to your questions about my density, Phil misunderstood me to be questioning the intelligence of his readership a few posts ago, and promptly asked me to clarify, and not do that. I NEVER, EVER question the intelligence of someone I am speaking with…only the prior commitments that may get in the way of objective conclusions.

I would ask the same favor of you.

August 21, 2009 @ 9:53 pm #

As to you, Phil, on your blog your blog you can question my density at any time : )

But I honestly see a shift to the left happening under the Obama administration…duh, it is what we voted for as a nation.

However, the most honest conservatives and liberals I know will refuse to paint anything the other side is doing as destroying the country, or shredding the constitution, or any one of a number of other alarmist phrases.

I think your step-by-step interpretation of all that has happened under Obama (the majority of which predated him in origin) is the very worst way to interpret every step.

I share with you the concern for the expansion of government, on its face, because it is indeed difficult to contract. However, as I have said to you before, I don’t share your pessimism (which is actually your precommitted philosophy) that government can do anything right whatsoever in social areas. I gave examples about six months ago that mostly went unchallenged by you.

The current health care bill does NOT turn over control to the government, at least not as I am reading it, but it DOES attempt to address the problem of the uninsured. What do you make of Obama’s statement that the public option is not vital to the bill? Is there any way to uncharitably interpret that, outside of ignoring it (and unless I am missing something, that is what you’ve done)?

No, I am not ready to consign Obama to minionhood to Satan just yet…he appears on the Medical Care Bill count to actually be honestly addressing a real problem. How much is free visits to the emergency room costing hospitals and ultimately the government right now?

August 21, 2009 @ 10:54 pm #

To call Zeke Emanuel an ethicist is really a joke!

August 22, 2009 @ 10:06 am #


I for one completely agree with you that we have to always be cognizant of the fact that our political adversaries are not evil. The whole politics as holy war is one of the things that really does get in the way of our country functioning properly. We have to not only be willing to dissect what our adversaries are doing but also try to understand why they are doing what they are doing in a calm, reasoned fashion.


As far as the effect. I love history. One of the main focuses on my studies was World War II, simply because I really enjoy military history. As a result when I went to College I wanted to take as many history classes dealing with WW2 as possible. IU history dept is majorly focused on Slavic studies. Their professor mix is heavily geared toward the Soviet period. So as a result I ended up learning more about the soviet era than I might have otherwise done on my own. One of the professors I had was Prof. Alexander Rabinowitch. He is an authority on the October revolution as well as the Stalinist period. I took Russia In WW2 with him and enjoyed it so much, that I went ahead and took a History Seminar with him dealing with Stalin.

Studying the Rise of Stalin was very eye opening. Two things it really taught me: One, it is very dangerous to think of political enemies as evil. Two, people get into very dangerous territory when they believe their leaders are reasonable. Three, immense power int he hands of a single man is a crap shoot. We got out ok with General Washington because he was the type of man that only comes around once in a century, a truly decent and honorable man. You are just as likely to get someone like Stalin or Hitler though, who are at the other end of the spectrum. Better not to give that much power to one man in the first place. Play the odds.

One of the fundamental mistakes that pretty much EVERYONE made when dealing with Stalin in the Soviet union (and not just political adversaries but also his own supporters) was believing what Stalin was telling them but not looking at what he was really doing.

You have many victims of the purges saying in their various accounts or during the time of their trials that Comrade Stalin must not know what is really going on. They believed that if he knew what was going on, he would put a stop to it. Many blamed the “Excesses” of the Purges on Beria or Yezhov. They were wrong. They were really wrong.

Another thing is that the mistake many of those who came in opposition to Stalin made was in believing him to be a reasonable man. He might say he was going to do something, but they believed he would not really go through with it. You have many men brought up on show trials, with their families threatened by Stalin so that they would sign confessions, believing that if they signed, he would not really have them executed. In numerous cases they were told by Stalin through the interrogators that if they confessed, they would merely be exiled or sent to the Gulags. What usually happened when they confessed though was that they get shot for being an Enemy of the People, and their families as well are either executed or sent to the Gulags. Even those watching the show trials did not quite believe that Stalin was doing what he was obviously doing, both from a sense of wanting to believe in their own safety as well as trying to deny how much power they had given One Man who was truly one of the, if not the most evil man, in my opinion, the world has ever seen. Him and Mao kind of duel for the title. Not to say that others could not have been more evil, but their positions allowed them to inflict their evil on entire Nations.

I have always taken away from studies of Stalin this maxim: watch a politicians Hands, don’t listen to what his Mouth says.

Do not mistake me here, I am most emphatically NOT saying that Obama is Stalin. What I am saying is that we have to watch what is happening and try to leave all conclusions on the table. You have to follow Sherlock Holmes’ maxim here and be willing to explore every possibility, no matter how remote.

What Stalin teaches you is that a lot of seemingly unconnected events, can have truly disastrous consequences.

History teaches you pretty much everything about what the Human being is capable and what can happen. You just have to be willing to understand what it teaches, or else a lot of people have lived and died for nothing.

Am I too alarmist because of the course my history studies have taken? Perhaps. That is something that has to be taken into account as well.

August 22, 2009 @ 12:37 pm #

>>I would ask the same favor of you.>>

You’re offended because the example Phil offered was so clear and so related to what’s happening that if you _don’t_ see the connection then either you are 1)dense, 2)willfully blind to the facts or 3)dishonest.

“Dishonest” in this case means that you agree with the ultimate political goals of Socialism and have no problem with lying to achieve that goal.

You say you are not dense and are offended that I’d imply it. Frankly, I think it’s the least offensive of the three.

If the goal of the legislation was simply to care for those who have uninsured medical expenses, there are other simpler solutions. Heck – it would be cheaper and simpler for the government to simply subsidize hospitals for unpaid bills. The fact is that the bill is 1000 pages, which will then expand to another 10,000 pages or more of regulations and organizations to regulate the provisions of the bill. This is a massive increase of government spending, and government employment. Pretty soon at this rate everybody will have a job – they’ll all work for the government. Sound like the USSR to you? it does to me.

Government doesn’t produce _anything_. Government only has the money it takes from its producer population.

If I threaten you with a gun and take your money, it’s called armed robbery. You’re apparently in favor of the government threatening you with jail if you don’t give them 50% plus of your income but don’t want to call it theft.

This is also a Tenth Amendment issue, by the way.

August 22, 2009 @ 7:18 pm #

However, the most honest conservatives and liberals I know will refuse to paint anything the other side is doing as destroying the country, or shredding the constitution, or any one of a number of other alarmist phrases.

Dammit, Jim! How many times do we have to have the same conversation???

What you’ve established, in the quoted portion above, is a mindless law. In order for that to be effective, it must never, ever be the case that anything anybody does can destroy the country, shred the Constitution, or such like. If an individual, a Congress, or a party arises that actually does one of those things, following your neat little law will prevent you from seeing and responding to the truth.

That is the situation in which we find ourselves. To say “Obama is Hitler” is not precisely correct, because there are a number of very relevant differences, most notably the absence of starkly anti-semitic persecution (although it seems clear that he really is anti-semitic.) However, it is entirely correct to say that Obama represents the triumph of World Socialism over the United States, and that Obama’s policies are an attempt to turn the US into, in effect, the Soviet Union. That this results in a government and a nation that no longer conforms to the Constitution hardly even needs to be said; the Constitution is a mild irritant to the Progressives, certainly not a guiding document. They ignore it, or they distort it.

It is also correct to say that the fiscal irresponsibility of the President and the Democratic Congress has led the US to the edge of a fiscal cliff, over which the nation is about to tumble.

Thus it is factually correct, in this instance, both to say that the current government intends to do fatal damage to our Constitutional system of government, and that their policies are destroying the country economically.

And if it is factually correct, dammit, I am going to say it.

It’s the people who are following your neat little formula, Jim, who are, by incorrect presupposition, unable to respond to the situation in which we find ourselves.

And before you go there: yes, there were others before Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, whose irresponsibility contributed to bringing us to the current fiscal precipice. Lots and lots of them. Yes, some of them were Republicans. Yes, I’ve said so before. But that does not change the facts. Bush, with Paulson, was doing a very wrong thing as he was leaving office. Obama, with Geithner, doubled down and did even more. The Obama administration is the one in the driver’s seat today, and it is destroying our economy. Fact.

August 22, 2009 @ 7:19 pm #

I for one completely agree with you that we have to always be cognizant of the fact that our political adversaries are not evil.

What if some of them are?

August 22, 2009 @ 7:21 pm #

But I honestly see a shift to the left happening under the Obama administration…duh, it is what we voted for as a nation.

Uh… no. What we voted for was a post-racial, post-partisan moderate.

He lied.

August 22, 2009 @ 7:39 pm #


Setting aside your demonization of your earlier comment, you would really disagree that most of the country was voting for a shift to the left from the previous administration, when voting for Obama?

Of course not. And to disagree with that statement just to paint Obama as a liar is less than honest.

It would be PRECISELY the same as if I called Bush a liar for claiming to be a compassionate conservative. The country voted for a shift to the right with Bush…and in many ways they got it. Not in all, because if Bush would have done absolutely nothing as the financial world fell down around his ears, he would have been painted as an ABSOLUTE failure.

Why disagree with a patently obvious statement, except to be contentious?

August 22, 2009 @ 8:10 pm #

>>you would really disagree that most of the country was voting for a shift to the left from the previous administration, when voting for Obama?>>

I don’t know about Phil, but I’d disagree. He carefully and artfully dissembled about his underlying communistic philosophies. He was helped by a long time communist infiltrated educational system that has succeeded in minimizing communism as an evil system.
Most were so enamored of a black man rising to the level of running for president that they never questioned what “change” meant. Most blacks voted for him because he was black. Probably most liberal whites voted for him for the same reason. It was the ultimate result of affirmative action.

And stating that “most of the country voted for a shift” is an exaggeration. He won by 6%. 53% to 47%, and a lot of that was the result of people so disgusted with the Republican candidate that they didn’t even vote. So…it really was not the “most of the country”. Not by a long shot.

August 22, 2009 @ 9:52 pm #

Kyle says it all better than I can:


August 23, 2009 @ 5:20 am #

Hey, couldn’t find a comment address so I’m writing this here. Please come and join us at rightriot.com– link to your blog posts there and we’ll send you conservative blog traffic. Help us build a conservative activist network before the all-important senate elections!

August 23, 2009 @ 7:29 am #


For you to call me a liar because I don’t agree with your particular generalization about what “the country” was thinking is to raise your gross generalization to the status of indisputable fact. I don’t know who the hell you think you are, Jim, but your gross generalizations are not facts, and do not deserve to be treated like them, and for me to disagree with your generalization does not constitute “lying,” it constitutes a difference of opinion. Get hold of yourself, and get off your high horse.

Now let’s deal with the generalization itself, which is questionable whether you like it or not. Perhaps 20% of the nation actually voted for the shift they got, for nationalization of everything, cap-and-trade, national health coverage, prosecution of the “Bush Crime Family,” and the entire leftist agenda. About 30% voted for post-partisanship, a bipartisan fixing of Washington, and an end to the squabbling; these people were lied to, and were fooled (and probably deserved it for being too damned lazy to research past the sound bites). Something like 15% stayed home because they were disgusted with the Republican party being too far to the LEFT, and not fulfilling its promises to move the nation to the right. To call this “a shift to the left” is a mistake at best, and at worst a rationalization for a liar who is not a thing like what he represented himself to be. The US of A is still a center-right nation, and has been for decades.

As to what people were voting for, are you denying that Obama lied about his intentions and represented himself as a moderate when in fact he was a radical leftist? Then go ahead, point to the campaign speeches and promises in which he bragged that he would nationalize as many industries as he could, as quickly as he could, that he would impose cap-and-trade within six months of taking office, that he would attempt to produce a single-payer health insurance plan nationwide, that he would remove every conceivable restriction from abortions, that he would empower the unions at every turn, that he would appoint radicals to the courts and to prominent administrative posts, and so forth. Did he make such claims? You know he did not. Criminy, Jim, only about 50% of the nation even described Obama as LIBERAL before the election (and I would guess that at least half of those voted against him for it).

Obama said 95% of the nation would see no tax increases. He was lying through his teeth; he knew perfectly damned well what sorts of shifts he was intending to pursue and that those shifts would require tax increases. Every time anybody pointed to a radical in Obama’s core group, he would banish that person and claim he had no idea that person was so radical. He was lying through his teeth; he has staffed the executive branch with radicals of the same stripe. Obama lied about his Christianity — he attended a liberation theology church for 20 years, but postures as a mainstream, orthodox Christian (and has he ever explained bowing to the Saudi king?). Obama lied about transparency: he promised an open administration, and proceeded to ram bills through deliberately before anybody had time to read them, to meet behind closed doors, and to misrepresent his own intentions. He lied about bipartisanship; he promised to govern from the middle, and he’s governing from the left, locking Republicans out of meetings and appointments and demonizing the right. He lied about lobbying; he said lobbyists would have no place in his administration, when he knew perfectly well that his own staff had lobbyists, and that it would be impossible to ban them from politics (and sure enough, there are lobbyists in his admin, and lobbyists with access to his admin.) And he lied about fixing Washington; he brought the same sort of crony politics that he denounced. And that’s just the big items.

And no, this is not a thing like calling me a liar over Bush calling himself a “compassionate conservative.” That’s a vague marketing slogan, not a promise of any particular set of policies, and so far as I can see Bush actually pursued policies that fit that description. Once I found out what he meant by it, I wished he HAD been lying.

August 23, 2009 @ 5:18 pm #

Please Phil, I said absolutely nothing in this particular argument about what the people actually got. Stop wasting your breath there. You are addressing a single statement of mine – “But I honestly see a shift to the left happening under the Obama administration…duh, it is what we voted for as a nation.”

Then you fired off a list of percentages that add up to whole 65%. You just admitted that FIFTY percent amount to a vote for a shift to the left, no (“An end to bipartisan squabbling” would be a shift to the left of Bush in any case)?

So in the clear sense I meant by the statement you agree with me…but you want to disagree because…well, why exactly?

And I posted another question, did you answer it and did I miss it? If Obama is the leftist Satan (and all I need to do is let you talk for five straight sentences and you’ll get there)…why did he state clearly that the public option is not a vital element of the health care bill?

Listen, I’ll stop anytime here…probably best soon. But your desperation to have this administration defeated at any cost is very…quite…crystal…clearly Obama derangement.

On that note, I need permission to post your third paragraph as an illustration of same to a couple of the moderate sites I poke around.

August 23, 2009 @ 5:21 pm #

You are admitting to RIDICULOUS amounts of exaggeration in that third paragraph, aren’t you? And I apologize if that appearance to me frustrates you.

August 23, 2009 @ 7:12 pm #

Returning to the original topic:


Although I didn’t see it explained in this article, I understand the Veteran’s booklet was developed and use initiated during the Clinton administration, removed from use during the Bush administration, and recently replaced into use by the Obama administration.

August 24, 2009 @ 7:03 am #


I am not admitting to anything but clear representation of the facts, and the facts are not as you insist they are. I’m sorry you cannot carry on a civil conversation without hurling accusations at me, but it is clear that you have abandoned both civility and reason, and I’m calling a halt to this conversation. Calm down and come back on some other topic.

August 24, 2009 @ 7:27 am #

Okay, onward and forward!

Though OSHA regulations would probably require you to post warning signs around that lump in the rug that you swept under there ; )

August 24, 2009 @ 5:08 pm #

Sorry this is so late, but it is very helpful on this and other related topics and how the “bearing false witness” is coming back on Obama in the eyes of William Craig. As usual, he raises some excellent points.


August 24, 2009 @ 5:10 pm #

In case someone clicks the link and the blog entry is not at the top of the list, look for the one titled “Bearing False Witness”.

September 3, 2009 @ 5:55 am #

[...] Comparative effectiveness recommendations are already part of the Obama administration’s plans for health care, having been introduced in the Stimulus Bill. This is not just something that needs to be defeated in Congress today, it is something that needs to be rolled back from legislation already passed and in force (see my blog article from Aug 20). [...]

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