In his State of the Union address, President Obama again endorsed carbon emissions control within the context of the IPCC global warming thesis. He characterized the science behind the IPCC recommendations as a scientific consensus (a remark that was greeted with laughter). Alas, again our President speaks of that of which he knows not. On the basis of its review of the climate data gathering for the past half century behind the climate change models, the Science and Public Policy Institute called the IPCC recommendations a "policy driven deception". Climate scientists have a lot to anwer for. And politicians, even more. Another mask has been ripped of the Leftist drive to impose a statist global regulatory government on all of us.
At his discussion with the GOP at its retreat earlier this week, President Obama claimed that the health care reform bill contained basic elements that had also been proposed by Republicans. Therefore, he argued, Republican opposition to the bill was simply partisan obstructionism. This is the same theme he has sounded for months; but it is nonsense. Obama and the Congressional Democrats fashioned ObamaCare to put one-sixth of the economy under the control of thirty or so Presidentially appointed panels to administer delivery, costs, and prices of health care, and a super-panel he would appoint to administer Medicare. The structure of ObamaCare's universal mandate, basic health plans, and the exchanges would have turned market based medical insurance companies into nationally regulated utilities; companies that would be, moreover, due to the pricing-fine structure of the mandatory health plan, on a spiral to destruction, leaving all medical insurance under the direct control of the federal government. In other words, ObamaCare called for medical national socialism; that outcome is what most Republicans and Conservatives opposed.
Yes, it is true that there is a lot of arbitrary administration of medicine now, especially of medical care for older Americans through Medicare and for poorer Americans through Medicaid programs. But that socialist state management of medical care did not extend to control of private insurance care that covered 75% of not-older American adults. And note that 70-75% of Americans polled repeatedly stated their satisfaction with their own medical insurance. And note that the current executive administration of medical care in Medicaid programs and Medicare accreted over the decades in ways that a moment to stop creeping socialism was not possible, with Democrats controlling Congress most of the time. Like HillaryCare, ObamaCare was a political bridge too far and hence an opportune moment for Americans to call a halt. We have.
As for Republican "obstructionism", Obama and the Congressional Democrats locked Republicans out of health care deliberations by last Spring, refusing to entertain a host of ideas Republicans offered, including medical torte reform, allowing persons to purchase plans out of state, tax incentives, and risk pools, among others. They did not accede to Republican efforts to study the benefits and flaws of foreign health plans, especially Switzerland's and Netherlands, and American state plans in place in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Tennessee. They did not consider simply making Medicaid available to anyone who wanted it.
Obama and the Democrats were locked into a nearly two-generation old ideological vision of socialized European universal health care and refused to entertain any recent experience with those programs. Put simply, they refused to entertain any medical reform that did not move, at least piecemeal, toward a statist command medical economy.
They refused to acknowledge the rejection of socialism by Russia and the liberated countries of central Europe. They refused to acknowledge the recent, gradual drawback of Western European medical systems from command medical economics and the curtailment of benefits under those systems.
They refused to acknowledge the concerns about ObamaCare's costs, which would suck the lifeblood out of the enterprise economy. They refused to acknowledge that ObamaCare's costs would be so great as to require dramatically cutting back medical care for the citizenry medically enslaved within it.
They refused to listen to the concerns of the overwhelming majority of Americans who feared loss of medical liberty under such schemes as they proposed.As their response to the Tea Party movement indicated, they even refused to grant legitimacy to those concerns.
Obama stated that he wanted to be the last president to deal with medical reform; but as Steyn pointed out, socializing all medicine would simply mean that medical care would be the major topic of political debate and controversy for all eternity. Why? Because only through politics could the command medical economy administered by presidential appointees be redressed. The politics would be rancorous, because the Democrats structured ObamaCare in such a way that even Congressional change of the medical command economy would be almost impossible.
ObamaCare was and is an antiquated, quasi-totalitarian medical scheme. Shame on Obama for proposing it in our land of liberty. Shame on the Democrats for proposing it in our land of freedom. Shame on them for lacking historical understanding of the dangers of such a scheme. Shame on them for lacking the practical imagination to fashion modest reforms that preserve medical freedom.
ObamaCare has been a disgusting episode of American political history. Obama deserves all the opprobrium he is receiving for having proposed it and for promoting it through lies and deception. Congressional Democrats deserve all the disgust they are receiving for passing it through a closed door, corrupt process of political bribery in the face of the clear opposition of most of the citizens they represent. A Marxist ideologue, Obama is not a president we can trust. He should be, he must be, he can be removed from American politics as soon as possible.
This animation of the increase of unemployment from 2007 to 2009, month to month, county to county, is chilling, as chilling as watching an animation of a deadly cancer spreading through a body. A must watch.
Scott Johnson of Powerline explains the origin of the obscene error of trying foreign illegal combatants in US federal courts with full constitutional protections, rather in front of military tribunals as provided by Congress. Obama is the author of this false legal doctrine.
The jobless "recovery" is so jobless, that workers are leaving the work force altogether. Since they are no longer in the labor force and looking for a job, they are not counted as unemployed. The official unemployment rate of 10% does not reveal the problem in America, it covers it up. The labor discouragement problem with the statistical "recovery" has been a frequent theme on this blog. Nearly one in five men between the ages of 18 and 65 has left the labor force or is unemployed, the highest rate of labor loss since the Great Depression. For all workers, men and women, the under-employment rate (unemployed and partially employed and looking for jobs with more hours) is over 17%.
The Obama administration has not recognized this situation in its policies. It has ignored the structural catastrophe in our economy altogether. This haughty disregard for the bleeding wounds of the private sector economy is the source of the profound rage that animates Americans.
Read this DEBKAfile report and tell me whether the US is strengthening its defensive position against Iran or beefing its ability to pressure Israel? It could be both; but the better wager is that the administration's anti-Israel policies are the major concern. The US is not beefing up its regional offensive capability against Iran.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal (August Cole and Yochi J. Dreazen, "Pentagon Shifts Its Strategies to Small-Scale Warfare", Saturday, January 30, 2010, A4), in its Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon is apparently going to set aside the traditional American preparedness policy that the US should be able to fight two large conventional wars at once. The policy originated in the experience of the second world war. Instead, the US will reorient its focus on smaller, asymmetrical wars, similar to the current one in Afghanistan. I read elsewhere that Obama's new defense budget will propose mothballing two Navy carrier groups. This proposal would provide substance to the expected QDR recommendations.
These new policies, if instituted, would simultaneously limit the US ability to defend its interests around the world and raise the likelihood of two conventional wars breaking out against us. Our weakness increases the power of our enemies. If we do not have the capability of fighting two large wars at once, while we are engaged against one enemy, our weakness invites other enemies to attack us or our allies. For instance, if we would be engaged in a war with Iran, and we are incapable of mounting a significant effort elsewhere, then we are inviting The People's Republic of China, i.e. Communist China, to attack and seize the Republic of China, that is, Taiwan. Supose the people of Taiwan decide they don't want to give up their own electoral democracy? We are not prepared to defend freedom? Another example: So weakened and engaged elsewhere, we are inviting North Korea to attack South Korea. Or, flip the scenario around. Supupose the US is engaged in a resumption of the Korean War because North Korea has invaded South Korea. Knowing the US is unable to fight two large conventional wars at once, Iran attacks Israel. Are we prepared to let the Jews of Isael die in a new Holocaust? These are the scenarios the recommended policy would create.
Why is the Pentagon thinking of such recommendations? Why is Obama making similar budgetary recommendations? The reasons are not a matter of trimming our sails to fit our budgets. They are a matter of Obama's Leftist ideological commitment. Obama, the Marxist One, is intent on ending the US role as the world policeman. From the Left point of view, our role as policeman for freedom is simply a ruse to enable the US to protect our domination of the global economy, our "commercial empire" as the New Left put it. If you don't think this is what this shift in policy is about, you haven't been paying attention.
Update. January 31, 2010. Bloomberg, with a February 1 date line, says that the QDR only "deemphasizes" the policy of preparedness for two-conventional wars, but doesn't abandon it; instead, the QDR shifts emphasis to asymmetrical engagements. The QDE also calls for new air-sea battle plans to counter the People's Republic of China's military buildup and Iran's military buildup. I comment that at least some shred of common sense remains in the Pentagon, if not in the White House. If Obama insists on mothballing two carrier groups, we'll know that he intends to abandon the capability to fight two conventional wars, inspite of Pentagon reservations.
That Federal scientific agencies are apparently involved, to some degree of duplicity, in manipulation of climate data to support a thesis of a secular warming trend due to anthrogenic CO2, is a profoundly serious ethical impropriety. It would be as serious an ethical breech as NIH research MDs involved in testing candidate pharmaceutical medicines taking bribes from the companies whose drugs they are testing. In other words, the complicity impugns the legitimacy of the Federal research effort.
A soon-to-be-released report by the Department of Justice finds that Bybee and Yoo were not guilty of professional misconduct in their counsel to the President on the definition and use of torture. This is a correct finding.