Saturday, August 15, 2009

An Homage to Ordinary Barbarians



Maybe some of y'all have seen this—I got an e-mail today pointing me to it; it's a commercial made by a high-schooler down in Alabama for their local April 15 Tea Party. It is, I think, a moving salute to the ordinary barbarians of this country; Gov. Palin isn't in this video, but she could perfectly well be.



Update: Commenter AKReport in the thread on this post suggested her own video on Gov. Palin, which I think goes nicely with the one above.

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What Sarah Palin Is Fighting: Dispatches from the Health Care Front



As the ABC News website tells the story (HT: commenter William Collins),

The news from Barbara Wagner's doctor was bad, but the rejection letter from her insurance company was crushing.

The 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay.

What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

"It was horrible," Wagner told ABCNews.com. "I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won't give you the medication to live."

Barbara Wagner is not alone in this experience.

"It's been tough," said her daughter, Susie May, who burst into tears while talking to ABCNews.com. "I was the first person my mom called when she got the letter," said May, 42. "While I was telling her, 'Mom, it will be ok,' I was crying, but trying to stay brave for her."

"I've talked to so many people who have gone through the same problems with the Oregon Health Plan," she said.

Indeed, Randy Stroup, a 53-year-old Dexter resident with terminal prostate cancer, learned recently that his doctor's request for the drug mitoxantrone had been rejected. The treatment, while not a cure, could ease Stroup's pain and extend his life by six months.

"What is six months of life worth?" he asked in a report in the Eugene Register-Guard. "To me it's worth a lot. This is my life they're playing with."

The thing is, though, to the state of Oregon, six months of these people's lives isn't worth much of anything—and it's the state of Oregon that's paying the bills. The inevitable result of this, as Gov. Palin has been pointing out, is that a dollar value is placed on human life; if the cost of keeping someone alive is higher than that dollar value, then their life is judged "not worth living." The logical thing to do in that case is to maximize savings and simplify the situation by encouraging the patient to accept euthanasia. This time, euthanasia advocates apologized for this in the case of Barbara Wagner—not because they believed they were wrong, but because the encouragement was offered with "insensitivity," without "the human touch." Next time? Who knows?

There's a reason that in her first Facebook note on this subject, Gov. Palin's thoughts went immediately to her son Trig: this sort of attitude is already dominant in the medical response to Down Syndrome babies. There's a reason why over 90% of such babies are aborted, and it isn't all about what the parents think or want, let me tell you. Or, better, let Gretchen tell you, from her post "Remembering" on the group blog Beautiful Work (HT: Jared Wilson):

It was 2 years ago this month that I was sitting in a chair looking at my unborn baby in 4D. She was precious! We had previously found out that our baby had several “markers” for down syndrome and had enlarged kidneys which may have required surgery upon birth. Thus we were monitored more carefully and had a ton more ultrasound shots at a hospital. This was the first level 3 ultrasound with this pregnancy (I had had one with my 3rd with no problems). I got to gaze upon my baby for almost a full hour—it was wonderful! I was there alone as my husband was out of town. The specialist doctor called me in after the ultrasound to go over the findings. The first words out of his mouth to me were “Well you will have to come in tomorrow for your abortion because of how far along you are.” I was utterly shocked and devastated. All I could do was mutter “What??????” He then proceeded to tell me that my baby had more “markers” for down syndrome and it didn’t look good. I was more shocked that his automatic assumption was that I would abort my baby. I almost couldn’t comprehend what he was telling me in that office. All I wanted to do was run as far away from that man as possible.

Read the whole post—it's well worth it. Like the Palins, Gretchen and her husband opted to have the baby. The irony of their story is that their baby was born two years ago . . . without Down Syndrome, and in fact with no medical issues whatsoever. The automatic reflex of the medical system would have aborted a perfectly healthy little girl.

In all this, I think the reactions of Wagner's ex-husband Dennis, on the one hand, and euthanasia advocate Derek Humphry, on the other (both quoted in the ABC News article), are telling. Here's Humphry:

People cling to life and look for every sort of crazy cure to keep alive and usually they are better off not to have done it.

In other words, Humphry believes, people are better off dying than fighting to live. By contrast, here's Dennis Wagner:

My reaction is pretty typical. I am sick and tired of the dollar being the bottom line of everything. We need to put human life above the dollar.

As it happens, I do believe his reaction is pretty typical among most folks; and in my experience, Humphry's attitude is usually lurking in there among advocates of euthanasia, even if most of them can't afford to be as blunt about it as the founder of the Hemlock Society, a man who has already "assisted" one wife into the grave. This really is the line between the sides here.

Now, at this point, you might be thinking that this doesn't affect you all that much, because the concept of euthanasia doesn't really bother you that much. What you need to understand, though, is that assigning dollar values to human lives corrupts the whole system—the extent to which that already happens with our private insurance bureaucracy is part of the problem with our health care system—and that when it's the government doing the assigning, there's no way to counterbalance that corruption, so it spreads unchecked. As is always the way with consequences propagating through a complex system, that produces changes beyond those which we have already thought to expect.

For instance, in that same first Facebook note, Gov. Palin pointed out a very important point made by Thomas Sowell: "Government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost." She went on from there, as most critics have, to point out that this will inevitably result in the rationing of health care—and so it will, as it always does. But that will not be the only effect of this new reality if Obamacare goes into effect. Our own Doug Brady has also pointed out that the US health care system drives most of the world's medical innovation, including the creation of new drugs, and that government price controls will bring an end to most of that innovation. This too is true, and important; but it too is only part of the cost of price controls. It's not merely that price controls will limit who receives medical care, or that they will depress the future potential of that care; they will also, over time, reduce the present value of that care.

To illustrate this, I want to take you inside a world which I hope is unfamiliar to most of you: that of the neo-natal intensive care unit, or NICU (pronounced "nick-you"). Specifically, I want to tell you a couple stories from the Canadian NICU experience. One, highlighted by Mark Steyn a couple months ago, comes from Hamilton, Ontario:

Hamilton's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was full when Ava Isabella Stinson was born 14 weeks premature at St. Joseph's Hospital Thursday at 12:24 p.m.

A provincewide search for an open NICU bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two-pound, four-ounce preemie to Buffalo that evening.

Steyn comments,

Well, it would be unreasonable to expect Hamilton, a city of half-a-million people just down the road from Canada's largest city (Greater Toronto Area, 5.5 million) in the most densely populated part of Canada's most populous province (Ontario, 13 million people) to be able to offer the same level of neonatal care as Buffalo, a post-industrial ruin in steep population decline for half a century.

Unfortunately, as Steyn goes on to point out, whenever the Canadian government starts outsourcing its health care to the US, that creates additional complications:

When a decrepit and incompetent Canadian health bureaucracy meets a boneheaded and inhuman American border "security" bureaucracy, you'll be getting a birth experience you'll treasure forever:

Her parents, Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson, couldn't follow their baby because as of June 1, a passport is required to cross the border into the United States. They're having to approve medical procedures over the phone and are terrified something will happen to their baby before they get there.

Once Buffalo enjoys the benefits of Hamilton-level health care, I wonder where Ontario will be shipping the preemies to. Costa Rica?

The other story I want to tell you is my own. Our oldest daughter has dual US/Canadian citizenship by virtue of having been born in Vancouver, BC; I was a student in the country at the time, so we spent five years as net beneficiaries of the Canadian health care system. I'm not going to demonize it or try to deny its virtues; combined with the medical benefits my wife received for her job, she was without question our cheapest baby despite spending the first two weeks of her life in the NICU. Yet, as I wrote last summer, there were some enormous downsides to the system as well.

We had some truly brilliant doctors, and some wonderful nurses, and the staff at BC Children's Hospital were beyond superb; they cared deeply about their tiny patients and were past masters at making bricks without straw. The thing is, they had to be.

The equipment was junk—they finally gave up on the blood-oxygen monitor on my little baby and took it off when it reported a heart rate of 24 and a blood-oxygen level of 0 (or the other way around—it's been a few years now); while we were there, the provincial government tried to donate some of its used medical equipment, and no one would take it. The Sun quoted one veterinarian as saying the ultrasound they wanted to give him wasn't good enough to use on his horses. Meanwhile, the doctors kept taking "reduced activity days," or RADs (which is to say, they took scheduled one-day strikes without calling them strikes), to protest their contract. I was actually up at St. Paul's in Vancouver for a scan one of those days; the techs were there, obviously, but no doctors. A hospital with no doctors is a very strange place.

I could also tell you about the time we took our daughter to the ER (different hospital) at midnight; there were only a few patients there at the time, but it still took them three hours just to get us into a room, and another hour to see us. It was 5am before we walked out the front door. At that, we were the lucky ones—there were a couple folks still waiting to be seen who'd been waiting when we got there.

Nor was our experience unusual, or even extreme; we prayed for people's friends or family members dealing with serious illness, not just that they would get better, but simply that they would get treatment before they died. Sometimes they didn't. That's why (as I noted in that post) there's an increasing movement against national health care in Canada and elsewhere (though not, as far as I understand, in Britain). That's the kind of thing that happens when the dollar, not human life, is the bottom line of the health care system. We already have too much of that in our country as it is; what Sarah Palin understands, and why she's leading the charge against Obamacare, is that letting the government run the system will only make it worse, not better. Yes, we need change; but for that change to bring actual hope, it needs to be change for the better. Obamacare is the wrong prescription.

(Cross-posted at The Spyglass)

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Palin Help!



I caught a glimpse of something very interesting this morning on Michelle Malkin's site.

I was watching a protest video against ObamaCare being held in San Francisco.

If you watch the video, at about the 1:38 mark you will see a woman hold up a sign that says "Palin Help!". The woman holding the sign then states, "She is coming". I cannot make out the rest of what she said, but I would have loved to hear the entire thing. This video is fun to watch especially since it takes place in San Francisco.



I could not agree more with this woman. The fight is not over.

Palin Help!

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Sarah Palin: A Small and Simple Soul





As the video extension to an earlier blog that I wrote, I thought I'd publish this video.

In my quiet reflections, I have come to realize that the whole of history has truly hinged upon the shoulders of the small and simple. Everyone has a story. Everyone. It seems to me that the people who have accomplished the greatest good in this world are those that have done it by overcoming TREMENDOUS odds.

Think about it. When was the last time you looked up to someone who had it easy? What encouraging stories have you told to others that did not feature someone having to face something difficult? I truly believe that small and simple people are made mighty and strong people when faced with opposition.

The placement of Sarah Palin in this video was no mistake. Liberals (or people who watch SNL more than read a book) will often turn off a video or ignore a positive article about the Governor simply because they see her face. I wanted people to understand the thesis of this video so that they could see Sarah Palin for what she truly is: a hero.

Please help others to realize who Sarah Palin is and to see their own potential by sharing this video with everyone you can!

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Saturday Open Thread





Jonah Goldberg: Testing Obamacare’s Meddle

Fox: Poll: Most Americans Want Unused Stimulus Money Returned to Taxpayers

Glenn Reynolds: New jobless claims rise; retail sales fall

IBD: Lend $10 Billion To Drill... Brazil?

The Economist: Assessing 'quantitative easing'

WSJ: U.S. Seeds New Crops to Supplant Afghan Poppies

Reuters: North Korea says door always open to U.S. for talks

AP: Reformers call for probe of Iran supreme leader

WSJ: The Hillary Doctrine: An Interview with the Secretary of State

RSM: The GOP Media ‘Bubble’

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Glenn Beck: Sarah Palin is Right



Today on on Fox News Channel's "The Glenn Beck Program":

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Tammy Bruce on Gov. Palin's Demonstration of Power



Here's the audio of Tammy Bruce discussing Governor Palin's latest statement on the troubling aspects of Obamacare on her show today:

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Attention GOP12



The blog "GOP12" has decided to actually give Sarah Palin some credit for something, although they can't quite refrain from being sarcastic.

Politically-speaking, Palin's scored a win on the end-of-life care issue (even though the real issue was end-of-life counseling, which is an entirely different matter).

Actually, the real issue is rationing, as Palin clearly pointed out in her initial Facebook note:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care.

Governor Palin used the words "death panels," and make sure you note that those words appear in quotations, to describe the government entity/board that would ration health care under Obamacare. This all ties directly to the Complete Lives System and the "expert panel" referred to within the CLS. The core principle is the rationing of medical resources. "End of life" provisions are just one of the many things that can fall under government rationing of health care.

Again, here is Sarah Palin:

I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200). It’s gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress; however, that provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones.

Next, GOP12 attacks C4P for crediting Palin for changing the health care debate:

The group then cites a Rasmussen poll indicating opposition to the health care plan, and then an online-based AOL poll, asking participants whether they agreed with Palin that Obama's health plan was "evil".

GOP12 brings up both the Rasmussen poll and the AOL online poll, but they only attack the AOL poll. Hmmmm...

Next, GOP12 says that Palin just jumped onto an already moving train:

All of this obscures the fact health care reform was bleeding badly before Palin stepped onto the stage, with her first Facebook post. Hence, the town halls. Hence, the town halls. And hence, the town halls.

She stepped onto the moment at the right time but with the wrong post. Then she quickly corrected and turned to the footnotes. Wise correction of course, and shrewd political move.

How was it the wrong post? The President of the United States himself addressed the Facebook note in his next town hall. And she didn't correct anything, she simply made the first move, saw that people were obviously interested and put "the pedal to the metal."

Speaking of "interested," where are the other candidates that GOP12 lists on their sidebar in this debate? I believe only Jim DeMint has had the political courage to take on Obamacare head on.

Where is GOP12's favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, on this? Of course, what would he oppose in Obamacare?

Where is "health care expert" Bobby Jindal? I believe he wrote an op-ed on the subject last month, but I can't seem to remember the exact date or what was in it. I believe he, like many Republicans, merely asked for a "slow-down" in the health care reform process (a kinder, gentler nationalized health care). With the exception of DeMint, only Palin has come out strongly against nationalized health care.

GOP12:

Was it an error for Obama to acknowledge the death panel comments in his speech? Probably not. Conservatives correctly identified the death panel suggestion as various things -- including "extreme", "nuts", and the language of direct mail purevyors; not policy-makers.

Now, I know that the person who runs GOP12 is an absolute expert in political science (at least in his own mind), but to say that it was not a mistake for Obama to mention Palin's Facebook note is absolutely ridiculous. Obama's mention of her note proves that she is in his head and that the White House does take her seriously.

"Conservatives correctly identified" the "death panel" comment by the names GOP12 suggests? Why do I have the feeling that those who are considered "conservatives" by GOP12 sit in a country club lounge all day? Does Kevin Madden run GOP12?

And, why oh why, did the Senate Finance Committee remove the end of life provision from their version of the bill? Can GOP12 honestly say that any other Republican in the United States has the influence to get something like that done? The Beltway weenies are all but useless when it comes to defending conservatism or upholding free market principles. They gambled the Reagan Revolution away, but now Sarah Palin is reintroducing America to the principles that Reagan championed.

After he left office as governor, Reagan used the medium of talk radio to get his message out. It was a novelty and unconventional. It was outside of the power structure, which was the television networks. Sarah Palin has left office as governor and is now using an unconventional medium to get her message out. All she needed was an internet connection and a Facebook account. She's just an ordinary American with a laptop.

The jerk at GOP12 can snicker all he wants. He couldn't have done what Palin did. She's smarter than him, but to be brutally honest, that's not really saying much because the jerk who runs GOP12 is a moron. He has Gavin Newsome listed as a potential Republican candidate for 2012. Yes, that would be the same Gavin Newsome who is currently the Democratic mayor of San Francisco.

Keep chortling about that silly snowbilly... Meanwhile, she's typing away and leading the charge against the socialists in DC.

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Laura Ingraham and Amanda Carpenter Smack Down Noted Sexist Matthew Littman



Filling in for Bill O'Reilly on the O'Reilly Factor tonight, Laura Ingraham moderated a discussion about Governor Palin's influence on the national health care debate between Amanda Carpenter, columnist for The Washington Times, and Matthew Littman, a former speechwriter for Vice President Biden. But as is so often the case with liberals, Littman proved that he is still incapable of having a rational and non-sexist discussion about Governor Palin.

As a reminder we've addressed Littman's previous sexist attack toward Governor Palin here, and the New Agenda also addressed Littman here.

On the O'Reilly Factor tonight, Littman began by repeating the latest liberal lie that somehow Governor Palin was once in favor of "death panels", which Mel showed to be easily debunked. Then Littman descended into his familiar sexist attacks when he declared that he expected Governor Palin to be dating a rapper with a reality show in a few years. Laura and Amanda didn't respond well to that comment. Here's the video:



I wonder how Vice President Biden feels about Littman's sexist rhetoric considering that he once hired Littman to write his words for him.

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Robert A. George: Sarah Palin Still a GOP Superstar



Robert A. George, in an article for NBC's San Francisco affiliate, writes:

Don't underestimate the lady from the great state of Alaska.

[...]

Palin's declaration that the end-of-life-counseling procedures in at least one of the Democratic health-care bills amounted to a "death panel" elicited outrage from all corners.

[...]

Then a funny thing happened: Democrats were forced to explain that there wasn't any "death panel" language in these bills. Rule Number One in politics: If you're explaining, you're losing. Headlines that say "Democrats deny existence of 'death panels'" constitute a "win" for those opposed to reform efforts. Indeed, the denial actually helps repeat the charge that opponents have introduced into debate.

Another funny thing happened: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), hardly a raving right-winger essentially gave Palin some back-up: Considering that Grassley was part of the bipartisan group in the Senate working on a bill, his words carried a lot of weight. He's not as easily dismissible as Mrs. Palin.

In any event, despite howls from the press about the non-existence of the "death panels," the Senate Finance Committee announced that it was stripping out language in its own bill related to "advance-care planning consultations." That it happened reflects how much the White House and Democrats have lost the message battle over health-care.

None of this would have occurred were it not for Sarah Palin.

Of the possible 2012 GOP candidates, she's the one who managed to introduce a meme that helped keep the "reform" side completely off-balance. Anyone heard something similar from Huckabee or Pawlenty or Romney? Palin has been the one to tap perfectly into the aggressive nature expressed in town halls across the country.

Obviously, she's no longer in office; she's no longer a governor. If the healthcare debate is any indication, she doesn't need the platform of being governor to get media coverage and get her own message out.

[...]

She's not going anywhere, folks. And she may be more successful than either detractors or supporters might have ever guessed.


More here.

Even NBC's San Francisco television affiliate recognizes the power and influence of Sarah Palin and her message.

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Debunking the Left's Latest Talking Point Was Just Too Easy



I saw a story last night about how Sarah Palin was evil and hypocritical and had advocated for "death panels" as governor of Alaska. Or something. I think there might have been something in there about her killing bunnies and telling little kids the secrets of Santa Claus too. And I had big plans to write a post about it, pointing out the obvious: that it was stupid and inaccurate. But I was sleepy, so I went to bed instead (Sorry, Governor).

Turns out that my post pointing out the obvious wasn't needed. Governor Palin had things under control. From her statement last night:

Last year, I issued a proclamation for “Healthcare Decisions Day.” [6] The proclamation sought to increase the public’s knowledge about creating living wills and establishing powers of attorney. There was no incentive to choose one option over another. There was certainly no financial incentive for physicians to push anything. In fact, the proclamation explicitly called on medical professionals and lawyers “to volunteer their time and efforts” to provide information to the public.

Comparing the “Healthcare Decisions Day” proclamation to Section 1233 of HR 3200 is ridiculous. The two are like apples and oranges. The attempt to link the two shows how desperate the proponents of nationalized health care are to shift the debate away from the disturbing details of their bill.

And some other folks were ready to point out the stupidity of the story, as well. Allahpundit at Hot Air:

If you think it’s hysterical to call the consultations Obama has in mind “death panels,” fine; the Times evidently does, even though its own archives quote The One talking explicitly about a “very difficult democratic conversation” on reducing health-care expenses by providing “independent” guidance to the sick and elderly. But to equate it with Palin’s proclamation is either idiotic or a deliberate smear.

And from William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

Think Progress, the Democratic policy and media-watch group, has come up with an amazing discovery. Sarah Palin was in favor of voluntary, private counseling so that people could put their end-of-life affairs in order, before she was against government bureaucrats getting involved in a mandatory process as part of health care restructuring cost savings efforts.

Nothing inconsistent about Palin's position. It's private versus public. It's one thing for individuals to plan their own lives on their own, but quite different when government enforces mandates and gets involved in such decisions as part of an effort to cut health care costs. Remember, keep your laws off my body, or something like that?

It's almost like there's a theme here. I think it might be that equating the governor's proclamation with Section 1233 of the ObamaCare bill is stupid.

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S.E. Cupp: Sarah Palin has Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain



Conservative columnist S.E. Cupp writing in Politico's Arena today about Governor Palin's weighing in on President Obama's health care plan "Death Panels":

Sarah Palin has nothing to lose and everything to gain here. She weighs in on a politically volatile issue that concerns a great many Americans, and in doing so engages in a serious domestic policy debate and keeps her profile high, on her own terms, and for all the right reasons -- divorce rumors, teen pregnancy and absurd ethics investigations not among them.

What's fascinating here is her inarguable level of influence, especially considering just how irrelevant the liberal press likes to insist she is. She mentions "death panels" and suddenly the president is pushed to defend and explain the issue at his nationally televised Portsmouth town hall. Then, she writes a short note on Facebook responding to him, and the Senate Finance Committee (just a day later) drops the provision from its bill.

President Obama had that kind of influence, before his overexposure depreciated his ability to persuade the American public, Congress, the AARP, and various other lobbying groups, and before his administration took to the bizarre tactic of insulting the citizenry.

It's clear that the Obama White House, at least where this health care disaster is concerned, would love to be as "irrelevant" as Sarah Palin is right now.

Read more of S.E.'s discussions in Politico's Arena here.

S.E. has been a staunch defender and supporter of Gov Palin. She is currently a FOX News Contributor and writes for other publications such as The Washington Post, Foxnews.com, The American Spectator, Townhall, Newsmax, and Human Events. She is also the co-author of the book Why You're Wrong About the Right with Brett Joshpe.

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Sean Hannity to Gov. Palin: "Thanks for Winning One For the Good Guys"



Sean Hannity praised Governor Palin on his radio show today for the effectiveness of her statements on Obamacare. Take a listen:

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James Taranto: Palin Wins the Debate



James Taranto writing in the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today" feature:

The first we heard about Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment was in a conversation last Friday with an acquaintance who was appalled by it. Our interlocutor is not a Democratic partisan but a high-minded centrist who deplores extremist rhetoric whatever the source. We don't even know if he has a position on ObamaCare. From his description, it sounded to us as though Palin really had gone too far.

A week later, it is clear that she has won the debate.

Read the whole thing.

Be sure to check out Tim Blair's post at The Daily Telegraph, as well.

UPDATE by RAM: Tim Blair is worth quoting here:

According to the New York Times:

The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks.

From nowhere, you say? But as Mickey Kaus, the WSJ and many others have noted, Obama gave an interview three months ago – to the New York Times, as it happens – in which he appeared to suggest a kind of “panel” that might decide “which patients were worthy of living”:

THE PRESIDENT: I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

NYT: So how do you — how do we deal with it?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.

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Sarah Palin Keeps the Pressure On



Sarah Palin is keeping the pressure on Obamacare by using her Facebook page to disseminate and publicize the following statement from the American College of Surgeons:

CHICAGO—The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight.

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what’s right for the patient.

We agree with the President that the best thing for patients with diabetes is to manage the disease proactively to avoid the bad consequences that can occur, including blindness, stroke, and amputation. But as is the case for a person who has been treated for cancer and still needs to have a tumor removed, or a person who is in a terrible car crash and needs access to a trauma surgeon, there are times when even a perfectly managed diabetic patient needs a surgeon. The President’s remarks are truly alarming and run the risk of damaging the all-important trust between surgeons and their patients.

We assume that the President made these mistakes unintentionally, but we would urge him to have his facts correct before making another inflammatory and incorrect statement about surgeons and surgical care.

If Obamacare fails to pass, it will be because Gov. Palin Facebooked it to death (is that a verb? Can I do that?). Given the Obama administration's approach to dissent, I'm with JR, wondering how long until they try to appoint a Facebook czar to stop uppity folks like Sarah Palin from using it against them.

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Ann Althouse: If Palin was Wrong to Say Death Panels, Why Did the Senate Drop End of Life Provision?



From Ann Althouse:

Why didn't the congressional Democrats defend their own bill? If it was so terribly wrong to say "death panels" — and what indignation was expressed! — then why wasn't it easy to crush stupid, crazy Sarah for what she so outrageously said? By backing down and removing the language she leveraged, they not only seem to admit she had a point, they sacrifice credibility that they need to promote what's left of the bill.

Here's the NYT article headlined "False 'Death Panel' Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots":

Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party’s last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.

"Seemed reminiscent"? To whom? "Death panels" was a characterization of a provision in a bill — an aggressive, politicized attempt at interpretation of the text of the proposed law. It was a parry in the debate about the bill, and the bill's defenders could have explained exactly why the text could not mean what Palin said it meant, or they could have rewritten the provision to make it absolutely clear that it meant whatever it was that they'd wanted it to mean when they wrote it. Rather than meet Palin's attack, the Democrats pulled the provision altogether, leaving us wondering what other provisions would have to be pulled if someone subjected them to a memorable — viral — attack.

More here.

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Friday Open Thread





Jackson Sun: Rescuer honored: On hurricane relief trip, Jacksonian saved man tangled in electrical lines

NY Times: Wounded Warrior Re-emerges as a Sprinter

Telegraph (UK): Perseids and Leonid meteor showers in pictures

State Journal-Register: Butter cow meets Abe at Illinois State Fair

WSJ: Did Something Fishy Cause Benson the Giant Carp to Go Belly Up? Scales of Justice Await Autopsy.

AP: Vampire tourism in Forks, Wash., still strong

North Platte Bulletin: Nice hair, chicken (Full story here and more about the breed here.)

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Sarah Palin: Troubling Questions Remain About Obama's Health Care Plan



From Governor Palin's Facebook Page:

I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200). It’s gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress; however, that provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones.

As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing. There is simply no way to cover everyone and hold down the costs at the same time. The rationing system proposed by one of President Obama’s key health care advisors is particularly disturbing. I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential. [1] Why the silence from the president on this aspect of his nationalization of health care? Does he agree with the “Complete Lives System”? If not, then why is Dr. Emanuel his policy advisor? What is he advising the president on? I just learned that Dr. Emanuel is now distancing himself from his own work and claiming that his “thinking has evolved” on the question of rationing care to benefit the strong and deny the weak. [2] How convenient that he disavowed his own work only after the nature of his scholarship was revealed to the public at large.

The president is busy assuring us that we can keep our private insurance plans, but common sense (and basic economics) tells us otherwise. The public option in the Democratic health care plan will crowd out private insurers, and that’s what it’s intended to do. A single payer health care plan has been President Obama’s agenda all along, though he is now claiming otherwise. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what he said back in 2003:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan.... A single payer health care plan – universal health care plan – that’s what I would like to see.” [3]

A single-payer health care plan might be what Obama would like to see, but is it what the rest of us would like to see? What does a single payer health care plan look like? We need look no further than other countries who have adopted such a plan. The picture isn’t pretty. [4] The only way they can control costs is to ration care. As I noted in my earlier statement quoting Thomas Sowell, government run health care won’t reduce the price of medical care; it will simply refuse to pay the price. The expensive innovative procedures that people from all over the world come to the United States for will not be available under a government plan that seeks to cover everyone by capping costs.

Our senior citizens are right to be wary of this health care bill. Medical care at the end of life accounts for 80 percent of all health care. When care is rationed, that is naturally where the cuts will be felt first. The “end-of-life” consultations authorized in Section 1233 of HR 3200 were an obvious and heavy handed attempt at pressuring people to reduce the financial burden on the system by minimizing their own care. Worst still, it actually provided a financial incentive to doctors to initiate these consultations. People are right to point out that such a provision doesn’t sound “purely voluntary.”

In an article I noted yesterday, Charles Lane wrote:

“Ideally, the delicate decisions about how to manage life’s end would be made in a setting that is neutral in both appearance and fact. Yes, it’s good to have a doctor’s perspective. But Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party -- the government -- recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don’t have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach.” [5]

I agree. Last year, I issued a proclamation for “Healthcare Decisions Day.” [6] The proclamation sought to increase the public’s knowledge about creating living wills and establishing powers of attorney. There was no incentive to choose one option over another. There was certainly no financial incentive for physicians to push anything. In fact, the proclamation explicitly called on medical professionals and lawyers “to volunteer their time and efforts” to provide information to the public.

Comparing the “Healthcare Decisions Day” proclamation to Section 1233 of HR 3200 is ridiculous. The two are like apples and oranges. The attempt to link the two shows how desperate the proponents of nationalized health care are to shift the debate away from the disturbing details of their bill.

There is one aspect of this bill which I have not addressed yet, but it’s a very obvious one. It’s the simple fact that we can’t afford it. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of Doug Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. He told the Senate Budget Committee last month:

“In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.” [7]

Dr. Elmendorf went on to note that this health care legislation would increase spending at an unsustainable rate.

Our nation is already $11.5 trillion in debt. Where will the money come from? Taxes, of course. And will a burdensome new tax help our economy recover? Of course not. The best way to encourage more health care coverage is to foster a strong economy where people can afford to purchase their own coverage if they choose to do so. The current administration’s economic policies have done nothing to help in this regard.

Health care is without a doubt a complex and contentious issue, but health care reform should be a market oriented solution. There are many ways we can reform the system and lower costs without nationalizing it.

The economist Arthur Laffer has taken the lead in pushing for a patient-center health care reform policy. He noted in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this month:

“A patient-centered health-care reform begins with individual ownership of insurance policies and leverages Health Savings Accounts, a low-premium, high-deductible alternative to traditional insurance that includes a tax-advantaged savings account. It allows people to purchase insurance policies across state lines and reduces the number of mandated benefits insurers are required to cover. It reallocates the majority of Medicaid spending into a simple voucher for low-income individuals to purchase their own insurance. And it reduces the cost of medical procedures by reforming tort liability laws.” [8]

Those are real reforms that we can live with and afford. Once again, I warn my fellow Americans that if we go down the path of nationalized health care, there will be no turning back. We must stop and think or we may find ourselves losing even more of our freedoms.

- Sarah Palin

[1] See http://www.scribd.com/doc/18280675/Principles-for-Allocation-of-Scarce-Medical-Interventions
[2] See http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/14/white-house-adviser-backs-off-rationing/
[3] See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hsqzSKuC44
[4] See http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=N2M0ODk0OTNkZjkwNGM4OGMyYTEwYWY3ODUzMzFiOTc=
[5] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703043.html
[6] See http://www.gov.state.ak.us/archive.php?id=1094&type=6
[7] See http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/07/cbo-sees-no-federal-cost-savings-in-dem-health-plans.html
[8] See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574324361508092006.html

Update by JR: When will Obama appoint the "Palin czar" to monitor her Facebook?

Joe Biden: Hey, do you guys have that number for her Facebook page?

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Tammy Bruce on Sarah Palin... Type, Type, Type, Type....Send



Tammy Bruce on Governor Palin's Facebook postings and the impact they had on the Senate Finance committee dropping the End of Life Provision from their bill. Take a listen:




Previous coverage of the Senate Finance committee dropping the End of Life Provision can be found here.

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Rush Smacks Down Lisa Murkowski



On his show today, Rush took Lisa Murkowski, the Veruca Salt of the Senate, to task over her recent comments on health care reform. Take a listen:

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mark Levin and Sean Hannity: Sarah Palin is Right



On their radio shows today, Mark Levin and Sen Hannity discussed why Governor Palin's statements on Obamacare are right.

Here's the audio from the Mark Levin Show today:



Here's the audio from Sean Hannity's radio show today:

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Palin Facebook Impostor Uses Religion to Deceive



The Wall Street Journal ran a piece today that included an interview with a former film executive, Alex Grossman, about a fraudulent Facebook page he set up in June in order to impersonate Governor Palin. Grossman even secured the name "Governor Palin" for the page. He then went on to update the fake page on a regular basis with absurd and offensive posts like this:

He posted messages like, “I need a salmon recipe for tonight. Todd just brought home a fresh one. Something spicy!” (Dozens of “friends” sent recipes in response.) Another update read, “GOD LOVES US ALL, no matter how black or African, or even gay or Jewish we are.”

While some may think that this is just innocent fun, I would like to direct your attention to some of the messages people sent to Grossman because they thought he was Sarah Palin:

“Sarah, You are the brightest star I’ve seen in government in decades. I met ‘Joe the Plumber’ … and could see BOTH of you in high office….Please let me know where I can send a donation.”

[...]

One woman wrote that she had a sick child and she asked that “Sarah” pray for him.

I wonder how funny these individuals would find Grossman's antics.

An especially troubling component to Grossman's impersonation was the manner in which he mocked people's sincere faith to manipulate them into thinking they were recieving messages from the real Governor Palin. Here's an example:

Toward the end of July, Grossman found himself facing a few more skeptics. Grossman believed he was able to quell their doubts by making religious references. “As long as I wrote ‘HE IS ON OUR SIDE,’ in all caps, they seemed willing to ignore some of the obvious signs,” Grossman said.

It's common for some on the left to make fun of people's faith in God while they put their own faith in big government. As clever as Grossman thought he was being, he was really taking advantage of the generous qualities inherent in the faith of the people he was fooling.

Thankfully, Facebook management shut down Grossman's page, and a spokesman provided the Wall Street Journal with an explanation:

On August 9, Grossman tried to sign on to the site but was denied with an “Account Has Been Disabled” message. Many of his “friends” have emailed him (Palin) — at iamsaved69@yahoo.com, the address he had posted on the Facebook tab listing Palin’s purported contact — inquiring about the vanished page.

Simon Axten, a spokesman for Facebook said, “It’s a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we encourage users to report anyone they think is doing this.”

Meg Stapleton, Governor Palin's spokeswoman, explained why it is important for people to able to trust Facebook and why she was pleased with the response of Facebook management:

“We have hundreds of thousands of supporters looking out for the governor,” said Palin’s spokeswoman, Meg Stapleton. ” Many emailed us questioning the validity of this one site in particular which pretended to post comments on her behalf. The governor’s private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, contacted the legal counsel for Facebook, Mark Howitson, who worked quickly to resolve the situation and was very responsive. ”

“Every day Governor Palin deals with individuals, politicians, and corporations pushing fake and inaccurate information into various media. She believes strongly in the efficacy of using direct web-based communication forums like Facebook and Twitter to reach her supporters, the media, and the public at large. Maintaining the integrity of these forums is obviously fundamental to this new type of interactive communication. With that in mind, we greatly appreciated Facebook’s prompt response in disabling the impostor site.”

Governor Palin has been able to effectively utilize social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. While some might have speculated that only a few dedicated followers would sign up to hear from her, the response has been incredible. Governor Palin currently has more than 135,000 followers on Twitter, and she has over 740,000 supports on Facebook. These figures are increasing by the hour.

This type of communication allows Governor Palin to get information directly to the people without the bias of the mainstream media. That's not to say she ignores them, but she doesn't have to rely on them to get her message out. This was recently evident with her Facebook statements on Obamacare.

The article ends with Grossman declaring that he has gained some special insight into Governor Palin's supporters through this deceitful process. He concluded that they look to her to lead them in a some sort of religious movement. Grossman believes that people can't possibly support her because of her policies, and the entire foundation of her support is religious in nature. As an aside, a recent Rasmussen poll showed that relative to the other Republican Presidential candidates, Governor Palin supporters were mainly young, unmarried, and never or rarely attended church. So much for Grossman's theory.

As Governor Palin continues to be on the cutting edge of political communication, I expect her influence to continue to increase.

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Senate to Drop End of Life Provision; UPDATED: U.S. News: Score One For Sarah Palin



(H/T Tammy Bruce)

The Hill reports:

The Senate Finance Committee will drop a controversial provision on consultations for end-of-life care from its proposed healthcare bill, its top Republican member said Thursday.

The committee, which has worked on putting together a bipartisan healthcare reform bill, will drop the controversial provision after being derided as "death panels" to encourage euthanasia by conservatives.

"On the Finance Committee, we are working very hard to avoid unintended consequences by methodically working through the complexities of all of these issues and policy options," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. "We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."

The Finance Committee is the only congressional committee to not report out a preliminary healthcare bill before the August congressional recess, but is expected to unveil its proposal shortly after Labor Day.

Grassley said that bill would hold up better compared to proposals crafted in the House, which he asserted were "poorly cobbled together."

"The bill passed by the House committees is so poorly cobbled together that it will have all kinds of unintended consequences, including making taxpayers fund health care subsidies for illegal immigrants," Grassley said. The veteran Iowa lawmaker said the end-of-life provision in those bills would pay physicians to "advise patients about end of life care and rate physician quality of care based on the creation of and adherence to orders for end-of-life care."

"Maybe others can defend a bill like the Pelosi bill that leaves major issues open to interpretation, but I can't," Grassley added.

UPDATE by Daniel: Tammy Bruce writes:

Palin, apparently an irrelevant quitter yet strangely powerful typer, forces the Senate to do the right thing with two Facebook posts. This is called leadership and will prevail regardless of the medium. It also speaks to the impact and import of Palin’s positions despite the establishments, both political and media, insistence (aka strange, misplaced hope) that she’s irrelevant.

More
here.

UPDATE II by Daniel: From Peter Roff at U.S. News: "Score One for Sarah Palin on the Healthcare Reform Death Panels":

In what can fairly be described as an admission that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knew what she was talking about, the Senate Finance Committee Thursday dropped language from its bipartisan healthcare reform package that Palin and others had suggested would eventually lead to mandated end-of-life counseling sessions for seniors.

Supporters of Obamacare, including President Barack Obama, had accused Palin and others of being dishonest in suggesting the counseling sessions would somehow lead to the government encouraging euthanasia as a cost-cutting measure as part of rationed care.

[...]

The move to drop the end-of-life counseling provisions, as reported by
The Hill, suggests otherwise.

More
here.

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Guess who started all this talk about death panels?



Step forward and take a bow, Barack Obama! Well, actually, he doesn't call them 'death panels', but a rose by any other name...

From the April 14, 2009 interview with the New York Times which also contains the reference to his grandmother's hip replacement. Asked how he plans to deal with what he himself calls "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives [who] are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here", he answers:

Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.

Some sort of independent group that can give guidance about driving down the cost of care for the chronically ill and those towards the end of their lives. Hmmm, that sounds a lot like..., well, let's leave it to Democratic blogger Mickey Kaus to explain what it sounds like in a post called 'So you have a death panel in that basket!':

I'm sure the "not determinative" part was very important to Obama. Still! He's talking about a panel of independent experts making end-of-life recommendations in order to save costs that have an effect at an individual level. And he thought it would be in the bill that emerges. ... It's also pretty clear that something like the "IMAC" panel is what he has in mind. Whether or not the IMAC would actually do this--Harold Pollack says end-of-life issues are well down the curve-bender's list, for example--Obama thought it would do it. . .

H/t: Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute

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Rush: Sarah Palin is Dead Right on Death Panels



On his show today, Rush agreed with Governor Palin's statements on Obamacare. Take a listen:

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Palin Is Not Wrong



(H/T Pat)

Greg Scandlen writing for the American Spectator blog:

As virtually everybody in America now knows, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin posted the following on her FaceBook page:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Naturally, she was roundly reviled for these comments. One person quoted by the New York Times replied, “One problem: None of the bills emerging from various committees includes the kind of ‘death panel’ that Ms. Palin says would be rationing care.”

I guess that’s that, eh? Mrs. Palin should go back to shooting elk and stop irritating the New York Times.

Well, not so fast.

Read More.

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A few home truths and a challenge for Seth



Home truth no. 1: The entire debate has now boiled down to this: Palin versus Obama, individual liberty versus government control. No one else matters anymore. No one. Not Romney. Not Huckabee. Not Lisa Murkowski, or Kathleen Parker, or any of the anklebiters in Alaska.

How do I know? Because I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine. He's a moderate, a Romney supporter and an outspoken critic of Gov. Palin. And he's throwing in the towel, calling Palin the 'de facto leader of the GOP' because of the way she's taken control of the healthcare debate.

So there you have it. It's Palin versus Obama for the soul of the American republic in the longest election campaign in American history. 2012, here we come.

Home truth no. 2: while I've got your attention, I might as well ask if I'm the only one who's stopped reading the deeply tiresome Allahpundit. If you want to get your own back at him, the best way by far is to just stop reading his annoying scribblings. Bloggers get paid per pageview, you see. The fewer of you show up, the more pain he will feel in his wallet. Give it a try. I've been Hotair free for a couple of weeks now, and I sleep a lot better because of it.

A challenge for Seth: I haven't got any clips of Palin material to send you. I did stumble across this video on Youtube the other day when I was looking for news items re Palin's resignation statement. What's most interesting is the way the maker of this video describes herself and the video she's made:

This is just a tribute to Sarah with a "Palin for President" theme. I have been voting Democratic presidents all my life, and this past election I voted Republican for the first time, so whatever Sarah Palin's political aspirations may be, I am on her side. :) Also, I chose to put Lincoln in the montage because Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of her favorite movies. In the movie, Mr. Smith goes to the Lincoln Memorial and sees Lincoln looking straight at him. It gave him this overwhelming sense of need to serve his country for the people who looked to him for a refreshing voice. I'm sure Sarah feels the same way. ;)
A Palin Democrat... See if you can beat this one, Seth:

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A Call for Best Sarah Palin Videos!



Hey everyone! I'm putting together a couple of "Sarah Palin's Best" videos and I need your help! Please post DOZENS of your favorite clips and soundbites from the Governor in the comment section (try to make them more obscure videos....not stuff from the RNC or things that have already been played over and over). I will take a look at them and put them into my latest videos!

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Larry Kudlow: Obama's "Non-Denial Denial"



Larry Kudlow, in an article today for Real Clear Politics, mentioned that Obama, in Tuesday's New Hampshire town hall meeting, was less than convincing in his denial of Governor Palin's death panel concerns:

Obama's response in New Hampshire to the so-called death-board issue also was revealing. Some say these boards are tantamount to euthanasia for the elderly. Placards outside the meeting read: "Obamacare, Down the Chute Granny." (Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is spearheading this protest.)

Obama's response? He says reform "would not basically pull the plug on grandma because we decided that it's too expensive to let her live anymore." But the House bill comes dangerously close to giving unelected health boards the power to pull that plug. And as policy students know, it's not always the precise wording of legislation that counts, but the regulatory interpretations of laws that are made by federal and state officials.

So, in a sense, Obama's denial was a non-denial denial. He should have unequivocally demanded that the death-board language be removed from any bill. But he didn't -- perhaps because he agrees with it. In interviews earlier this year, the president said that while he would have fought for his own grandmother's hip replacement, clinically he can see how these expensive decisions should not be made.
Kudlow further argues that the markets seem to be betting now that ObamaCare will fail:

It's still tough to know whether this behemoth government takeover of heath care will actually pass. But two key markets are betting against it. First, over at the Intrade pay-to-play online betting parlor, the bid for the U.S. government health-plan contract is only 38 cents. That's down from 50 cents in late July. Second, the share prices of big private health insurers have rallied in recent weeks. UnitedHealthcare is up 13 percent, Humana is up 12.4 percent, and Aetna is up almost 10 percent. These firms will be decimated if the government insurance plan passes. But investors are now predicting it won't.

For the sake of economic freedom, liberty and fiscal sanity, let's hope the markets are right.
Read the rest here.

This is quite a turn around. Up until recently, most pundits have assumed that Obama would get his health care plan through a Democrat-dominated Congress. That is no longer the case. ObamaCare's prospects have been steadily diminishing, most dramatically in the past couple weeks. What has happened during this time period that could have caused this most recent change in fortune? Could this, this, or this have had something to do with it?

The opposition to ObamaCare has lacked a clear leader. Not anymore. Nobody else in the Republican Party seems to be taking on this issue more forcefully and effectively than Sarah Palin. Is she defining the health care debate? You betcha!

(H/T militantfeather)


UPDATE: From Rasmussen today:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Pennsylvania voters shows 48% would vote for Toomey if the election were held today. Just 36% would vote for Specter while four percent (4%) prefer a third option, and 12% are not sure.

These figures reflect a dramatic reversal since June. At that time, before the public health care debate began, Specter led Toomey by eleven.

Just 43% now have a favorable opinion of Specter while 54% offer an unfavorable assessment of the longtime GOP senator who became a Democrat rather than face Toomey in a party primary. Those numbers have reversed since June when 53% had a favorable opinion of him.

[...]

Specter has found himself front and center in the health care debate just as support for the reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats has fallen to new lows nationwide. In Pennsylvania, 42% of voters support the plan while 53% are opposed.

Those who like the congressional health care plan favor Specter 70% to nine percent (9%) for Toomey. Those who are against the legislative effort oppose Specter and give Toomey an 82% to nine percent (9%) advantage.

This tells me that supporting ObamaCare is hazardous to the health of any politician who does so...even in the blue state of PA.

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Glenn Beck and Mark Levin Back Up Governor Palin



Glenn Beck and Mark Levin took Obamacare to task yesterday, while backing up Governor Palin's statement on the dangers of government rationed health care.

Yesterday on Fox News Channel's "The Glenn Beck Program":



And yesterday on the Mark Levin Show:

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Ann Coulter: Fake Southerner Kathleen Parker Defames the South



No one can take down Kathleen Parker like Ann Coulter. Ann's latest column is vintage.

She puts the smackdown on Parker's insane slander of Southerners. I wrote about it here.

And here's Ann:

But Kathleen Parker has leapt into the fray to explain that the opposition to Obama's agenda is pure Southern racism. And she's from the South, so it must be true!

As she put it on Chris Matthews' "Hardball": "One word, Chris -- one word. 'Confederacy.' I mean, you know, the South is very -- I live there, OK? I want to make that clear, too, because I'm not bashing Southerners."

No, she was certainly not bashing Southerners. This she made clear in her Washington Post column calling for the Republican Party to "drive a stake through the heart of old Dixie."

How one gets from "we don't want socialized medicine" to "we hate black people" was a tough equation. As my algebra teacher used to say: "Please show your work."

Parker's explanation: "Sarah Palin may not have realized what she was doing, but Southerners weaned on Harper Lee heard the dog whistle." And on "Hardball," she said: "You don't position a white woman and a black male and pretend like there's nothing happening there. There's a deep history. That's why I mentioned Harper Lee in there."

So as I understand it, by nominating a black man for president, the Democrats had checkmated Republicans, who should have done the decent thing by not nominating a white woman for vice president, which would be seen as a deliberate ploy to lure gallant Klansmen into defending the white woman's honor by voting against Obama!

Called upon to draw a straight line between Sarah Palin and racism, I guess this is as good a try as any.

Read the rest. Like I said, it's vintage.

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Thursday Open Thread



WSJ: Senators Want Carbon Tariff to Protect Jobs from Cap and Trade

Regina Herzlinger: Health Care’s Taxing Problem

Newt Gingrich: How much is one additional year of your life worth? Do you trust the government to decide?

JWF: Will there come a point when these Democrats stop insulting their constituents?

AP: Federal deficit higher in July, $1.27T this year

Bloomberg: Fed Treasury Buying to Slow Before Ending in October

WSJ: Federal Reserve Has No Strategy to Unwind Easy Monetary Policy

AP: Mixed signals from DOE; stimulus money for weatherization goes unspent

PJTV: Michael Yon reports from Afghanistan

AP: Marines launch new Afghan assault against Taliban

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Sarah Palin: Concerning the "Death Panels"



From Governor Palin's Facebook page:

Yesterday President Obama responded to my statement that Democratic health care proposals would lead to rationed care; that the sick, the elderly, and the disabled would suffer the most under such rationing; and that under such a system these “unproductive” members of society could face the prospect of government bureaucrats determining whether they deserve health care.

The President made light of these concerns. He said:

“Let me just be specific about some things that I’ve been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don’t, it’s too expensive to let her live anymore....It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything.” [1]

The provision that President Obama refers to is Section 1233 of HR 3200, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.” [2] With all due respect, it’s misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.

Section 1233 authorizes advanced care planning consultations for senior citizens on Medicare every five years, and more often “if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual ... or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility... or a hospice program. [3] During those consultations, practitioners must explain “the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice,” and the government benefits available to pay for such services. [4]

Now put this in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.” [5] Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As Charles Lane notes in the Washington Post, Section 1233 “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones.... If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to “bend the curve” on health-care costs?” [6]

As Lane also points out:

Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren’t quite “purely voluntary,” as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, “purely voluntary” means “not unless the patient requests one.” Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.

Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit “formulation” of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would “place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” I don’t think he’s being realistic.
[7]

Even columnist Eugene Robinson, a self-described “true believer” who “will almost certainly support” “whatever reform package finally emerges”, agrees that “If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending.” [8]

So are these usually friendly pundits wrong? Is this all just a “rumor” to be “disposed of”, as President Obama says? Not according to Democratic New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, who writes:

Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives.... It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen ... should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign. [9]

Of course, it’s not just this one provision that presents a problem. My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the President’s chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens....An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.” [10] Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which “produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.” [11]

President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisors are clear enough. It’s all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform.

[1] See http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/08/president-obama-addresses-sarah-palin-death-panels-wild-representations.html.
[2] See http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf.
[3] See HR 3200 sec. 1233 (hhh)(1); Sec. 1233 (hhh)(3)(B)(1), above.
[4] See HR 3200 sec. 1233 (hhh)(1)(E), above.
[5] See http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf.
[6] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703043.html].
[7] Id.
[8] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081002455.html].
[9] See http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/letter-congressman-henry-waxman-re-section-1233-hr-3200.
[10] See http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Where_Civic_Republicanism_and_Deliberative_
Democracy_Meet.pdf
].
[11] See http://www.scribd.com/doc/18280675/Principles-for-Allocation-of-Scarce-Medical-Interventions.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Conservative Comeback: The Veruca Salt of the Senate Snipes At Palin




The Conservative Comeback has a post brilliantly titled "I want a Senate Seat now, Daddy!":

Lisa Murkowski (you know the lady who was appointed to the Senate by her father) is criticizing Sarah Palin again over her accurate death panel statement. Here's what Veruca Salt had to say:

"It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels," Murkowski, said, according to the paper. "Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill."

Now anybody with reading comprehension skills above Lloyd Christmas would realize that Palin's "death panel" statement was in regards to the rationing of health care. How do I know this? It could be that Palin said so in THE SAME SENTENCE. A question some people might ask Murkowski (202 224-3121) is, does she believe universal health care will not have a government bureaucracy which rations care?

More here.

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