Independence Week: Roundup

Obamacare Roundup

1. Here’s a story from those leftist pinkos at Forbes, explaining that Obamacare is not a huge tax on the middle class, at all. In fact, it goes as far as to call that narrative a “lie”. 

2. In the wake of the Supreme Court holding that Obamacare is constitutional, support for the law has jumped.  Significantly, support among independents went up from 27% to 38% in just the past week. It was just a week ago that Mitt Romney was explaining that Romneycare (the conservative Heritage Foundation’s health insurance scheme on which Obamacare is largely based) was great for Massachusetts, but that its expansion to all 50 states was an improper usurpation of federal power. However, the Supreme Court just held otherwise. Oopsy. By the same token, people who dislike the law are somewhat energized now. 

3. It wasn’t too long ago – at least as far back as the debate over HillaryCare in the early 90s – that universal health care coverage was a bipartisan goal, we just disagreed on how to get there. Now that we have a constitutional statute that gets us about as close to universality as we’re likely to get, the Republicans are signaling that they no longer consider universal coverage as a policy aim. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says, in essence, that the 30 million people whom Obamacare would cover, and who would not be covered were the law to be repealed, can go to hell.  

4. Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans all pledge to repeal Obamacare. Did you know that 30 votes have been held in Congress since 2010 to repeal Obamacare? What’s one more going to accomplish? How many jobs will that create? And pay close attention to what Republicans say when asked, “with what would you replace Obamacare?” The answer is – nothing. They’d just maintain the pre-2010 status quo, with 40 million uninsured, skyrocketing costs, substandard care, and an untenable hodgepodge of private for-profit bureaucracies keeping people from their doctors and needed treatment, and separating them from their money – oftentimes rendering them insolvent. 

5. Paul Ryan, Republican Chairman of the House Budget Committee shat the following from his mouth

“I think this at the end of the day is a big philosophy difference. We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours, they come from nature and God, according to the Declaration of Independence – a huge difference in philosophy.”

The right to have access to health care is, at its core, a pro-life notion, isn’t it? Any politician who turns to Jesus or God, (and uses the Declaration of Independence, a document that has no legal effect in 2012), as justification to essentially leave millions of Americans with a choice between death or bankruptcy, shouldn’t pontificate about what God would and wouldn’t do. 

Carl Emails, WNY Yawns

6. Did you get emails from Carl Paladino threatening to “expose” former Senator Al D’Amato for being a “predator” because he’s aligned with people like Mark Grisanti and Joel Giambra, and because he supposedly helped Cuomo pass same sex marriage? So did I. I deleted them. Seriously, who cares what that person says? 

Fast & Furious: NRA Flip & Hochul Votes for Contempt

7. Last week, Congress held a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Of course, about 88% of Americans hold Congress in contempt, but that’s beside the point.  Many Democrats walked out during the vote, charging that it was just a witch hunt. Among the few Democrats who not only stayed, but voted in favor of the contempt order was Kathy Hochul (NY-26). I think the Fast & Furious inquiry is a load of nonsense, and a purely political stunt designed to harm the administration; politics as usual. What follows in blockquote below is what Hochul released to explain her vote, but answer me this: a lot of gun enthusiasts link Fast and Furious to 2nd Amendment rights. I don’t really get why, and since I’m not a gun fetishist I don’t particularly care. But the first thing an NRA type will tell someone who is in favor of gun control is that, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Yet, the entire focus of the Fast & Furious inquiry is about the guns that ended up in the possession of Mexican drug cartel members who then used one to murder a Border Patrol Agent in Arizona. A horrible crime, to be sure – but it was committed by a criminal. Is the NRA now standing “guns don’t kill people” on its head because it suits their political aim of attacking Obama? Shall we add an asterisk, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people* [*except in cases where the gun was purchased by the Justice Department in furtherance of an investigation into where Mexican drug cartels get their weapons, and one of those weapons disappears and is used in a particularly horrible crime, in which case the gun killed the agent, not the narco-killer].”

 “We can all agree that the Fast and Furious operation was ill-conceived and the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was an avoidable tragedy. Now, our objective must be to evaluate the facts and work to prevent such an event from ever happening again,” said Hochul. 

“At a time when our country is facing significant economic challenges, it’s disappointing that both parties have, yet again, become distracted by Washington politics.  The people of Western New York deserve a transparent government, regardless of which party is in control.  Congress has a constitutional responsibility to exercise appropriate oversight, and I believe Attorney General Eric Holder should fully disclose the documents requested and allow this issue to be resolved.”

What I see is a conservative Democrat staving off any accusation that she’s weak on the 2nd Amendment – an issue about which her opponent in November has proven himself to be somewhat weak. I also see a Republican congress that continues its singular mission of harming the President at all costs, even if it collaterally does harm to average Americans or the country in general. 


8. On Friday, the Erie County Democratic Committee sent out two press releases. One likened the execrable Chuck Swanick, who is incredibly running to return to elected office, to Mitt Romney, calling the two “peas in a pod”. Swanick’s a lot of things – most of them negative – but he’s nothing like Romney, even remotely. The second release was much, much better. Remember how Chris Collins ran for County Executive re-election by touting how, under his “leadership”, he’d extricated the county from the hospital business? Yeah, about that – 

In 2011, Collins campaigned on the promise that Erie County was out of the hospital business, but clearly he was mistaken. The troubling news that Erie County Medical Center will cost nearly $39 million this year alone, more than double the “fixed” cost that Chris Collins promised taxpayers in 2009, raises serious questions about Collins’ ability as a manager and executive.Erie County deserves a full explanation from Chris Collins over the creation of a deal that has come back to bite taxpayers to the tune of more than $38 million over three years.

That’s 39 million reasons why the county isn’t out of the hospital business, no thanks to the guy now running against Kathy Hochul to essentially gain what passes for a noble title in America, and also to obtain subsidized federal health benefits while denying them to his constituents, and to supplement his already ample income with taxpayer dollars in the form of salary, fringe benefits, and other legacy costs. Conservative!



  • BlackRockLifer

    On #7, the fact that the NRA influenced the vote against Holder is outrageous, the NRA is nothing more than a front for the Republican Party. Their extreme positions on gun issues makes them little more than a criminals lobby, they are a radical group that in no way represent the interests of the average hunter or sportsman.

    • The NRA says two things: guns don’t kill people, and enforce the laws already on the books. They are an obnoxious harmful group, but have a legit argument that the average citizen mistakenly wants more gun control laws when they see crime using illegal guns. Anything that enhances crime with illegal guns (the net effect of F&F) theoretically increases calls for more restrictive policies. They have gone over the deep end, however, as they are still fighting a fight they’ve already won – there is no appetite on the Dem side for more gun control laws. But moot points don’t keep members, so fights must be invented to keep the dollars flowing.

  • It’s interesting that the R’s can only pontificate against ObamaCare and cannot seem to come up with a solid, repeatable description of what they’re replace it with.

    Such policies DO exist. Good luck getting a coherent message out of the R’s though.

    Paul Ryan is right, as far as his comment goes: We have rights. Period. Government does not, in fact, give us rights. A “right” to health care isn’t a right. Government gives us added privileges for living under it (and adds restrictions too!). One of those privileges that we, in most western societies, like to provide to our citizens, is assurance that a random health event should not bankrupt us.

    Lots of folks want a hell of a lot more than that (‘free’ doctor visits, ‘free’ contraception, whatever, as long as “someone else” is paying for it), but it’s pointless to argue about it when one side won’t even articulate what they ARE for.

  • tonyintonawanda

    Could Hochul pander any more?  She won’t give a straight answer on whether she supports the individual mandate and she votes to  hold Holder in contempt but hedges on calling for his resignation…probably because Holder is her husband’s boss. 

    This Congressional race is going to be about which candidate can say the least about anything substantive so Collins doesn’t fall into the Ryan trap and Hochul can hide her true ideology in a very conservative district. 

    Gotta run, the phone is ringing….must be the start of the robocalls.  

    •  Maybe, Tony, but here’s a problem: Hochul doesn’t have a paper trail of saying and doing stupid things.

      Collins does.

      Need I say any more?

  • Your “story from those leftist pinkos at Forbes” cuts both ways. Maybe if the insurance companies are behind it and Forbes is behind it, we should look again at this health bill and see whom it really benefits?

    •  You don’t NEED to look at it to know that it benefits the health insurance companies. Why? Because they will be getting a lot more customers for their products.

  • Why should I believe, as per Paul Ryan, that the discussion of ‘rights’ should end with what’s written in the Declaration of Independence? When did that document — as great a document as it is — become the very last, final, and ultimately true word on the idea of ‘rights’? I’ve never understood this. Responding to the idea of a ‘right to healthcare’ with some variant of ‘Not according to the Declaration!’ is, shall we say, less than convincing…and I frankly tire of the odd right-wing/libertarian notion that America sprang perfectly formed from the foreheads of the Founding Fathers and it’s been all downhill ever since.

    IS there a ‘right’ to healthcare? I have a hard time saying that there isn’t, when we have a society that can provide it and can AFFORD to provide it. (Which we can.)

    • The Declaration has never been a legal document but is, as the name implies, a declaration that contains the explanation of a philosophy justifying the rejection of authoritarian rule and an embracing of the notion that as sentient beings we have rights that should not be abridged by other humans.  It points out that our rights are not granted by any individual, oligarchy or government which means none of these instruments can take them away.  The Constitution’s reson d’etre was to codify this philosophy in order to insure that the people were to be protected from their government, not, as has been the public discourse of late, to be used by special interests groups to forego their rights.  Those rights are described in the Declaration in general terms and specified in the Constitution.  Cynics at the time  demanded and got additional assurances that authoritarianism would be held at bay in this country by insisting upon the first amendments to the Constitution (The Bill of Rights) as the price for their colonies to join with the others. 

      The Declaration remains relevant because the expectations expressed are universal even as they are general.  The Constitution remains relevant not because it was eternally prescient but because it can be modified through amendments as society evolves.  Unfortunately, when particular groups who are unable to convince a majority of Americans to come to their opinion on something  then the amendment process is short circuited via the courts.  Lawyers are a poor substitute for the voice of the American people.

      As to your question of the existence of a “right to health care”  because “we” can afford it begs the question: If we can afford it why do we need universal coverage?  What many of us see are not the benefits so much as the liabilities of such an action.  A system that is heavily regulated and poorly performing is being subjected to even more regulation and an oversight by an organization (Federal bureaucracy) that is even more inept and corrupt than the disaster it is replacing. In order to prop up this Big Pharma-Medical-Government industrial complex we are about to tax those dwindling few who are working to pay for those who are not.

      One more note of clarification.  You should not confuse right wingers with libertarians. Right wingers despise libertarians just as us libertarians loath both those on the left and those on the right.  To us, monarchies, dictatorships, communism, socialism, fascism, etc are all the same.  They are all agenda driven forms of authoritarianism that treat the individual as a subject and the cause as the the purpose and anyone standing in the way is an enemy of the state.  

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