Friday, March 30, 2012


Now that the arguments both for and against ObamaCare have been made, it is in the Supreme Court's hands.  Going into the fight, the law's supporters were cocky and arrogant.  Coming out the other side, it's a different story, to say the least (actually, the term "panic" seems to be the go-to phrase).  While we wait for the Court to make it's decision, I'd like to see some ideas from Republicans about what to replace the law with in the event it is struck down.

It is important to note that while oral arguments went badly for ObamaCare, oral arguments are only a small part of the overall process.  It may seem that the law went down in flames, but we won't really know for sure until the Court's session ends in June and they issue their verdict.  They vote today on the issue and will spend the next few months writing their opinions.   Keep in mind, too, that their vote today might not be the final verdict we see this summer.  Justices have been known to change their vote upon reading a particularly persuasive opposing argument.  So we really won't know for sure until the published opinions are released over the summer.  Anything released before then is mere speculation and should be regarded as such.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is taking the brunt of the blame from the left for the judicial beating the law took over the last few days.  Poor guy.  His inability to defend the mandate's alleged constitutionality wasn't due to incompetence, it was due to the indefensible unconstitutionality of the mandate.  Simply dismissing talk of constitutionality out of hand as the left has consistently done is just not a convincing argument outside of the echo chamber. His stumbling over whether it was a tax or a penalty wasn't because he is too inept to figure out the difference, it's because he has been put in the difficult position of trying to, at times, make it not just both, but also neither.  I'd say he did a pretty damn good job, considering. 

The law, as conservatives have been saying for two years now, is fatally flawed.  That has now been made quite clear by the probing questions of the Justices that cut through to the constitutionality (or lack thereof) at the heart of the matter.  The question now is severability.  How do you strike down the mandate without causing an insurance industry "death spiral"?  How do they decide what stays and what goes (my favorite comment on it was Scalia's invocation of eighth amendment protections from cruel and unusual punishment in regards to having to read the bill)?

While we wait for the verdict of the court, due sometime this summer, Congressional Republicans need to take the opportunity to talk about their free market solutions in the event the law is struck down.  Having a series of small bills that would implement those solutions at the ready would be a wise decision as well, particularly since the White House has decided to forgo a contingency plan, preferring to keep all of their eggs in the ObamaCare basket. 

Any talk of a "comprehensive" republican approach should be shunned.  If we didn't want a 2,700 page monstrosity from the left, why in heaven's name would we want the same from the right?  Small, targeted bills that address health insurance issues point by point are the way to go, not colossal, byzantine laws that will require judicial intervention to interpret. 

The "goodies" former Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised us have already been rolled out, and lots of people have felt the benefits of them, particularly those with pre-existing conditions (like myself).  Many liberal pundits have  argued in support of the law by talking about the pain that would be felt if it was struck down.  But keeping the whole confusing, cumbersome, ever-more-expensive law because of a few perks is not a good idea. 

What we need to keep in mind is that striking down the law in toto won't create a vacuum, it will return us to the pre-obamacare system.  A system that was cheaper, and covered more people, by the way.  This doesn't mean republicans shouldn't have a game plan ready, though, because while ObamaCare made things worse, they weren't that great to begin with.  It should be obvious that among the solutions republicans need to offer is a continuation of the two most popular "goodies" - abolition of pre-existing conditions and an option for parents to keep their 26 year-old adult children on their insurance.  The costs for these perks will be passed on to the consumers who opt for them, of course - but then, you're only fooling yourself if you thought they weren't going to under ObamaCare. 

Republicans also need to start making the argument for severing the ties between health insurance and employment, as well as relaxing the regulations governing interstate commerce that keeps the more than one thousand insurance companies in this country from practicing in all fifty states.  Toss in a little torte reform and and a few other free market ideas, and the disastrously lumbering behemoth that was ObamaCare can be replaced with a consumer-oriented free market that can be tailored to each individual customer according to their needs, not government diktat.

Isn't it amazing that Congress wasn't allowed to read the bill before they voted for it, the president didn't bother to read it before he signed it, and now some members of the Supreme Court are calling reading it an eighth amendment violation?  Considering the way it was written, it seems even those who were tasked with writing it didn't bother read it.  But we're all supposed to be overjoyed and filled with gratitude for having to living under it.  Yeah, right.

 For all we know, the Court could decide to uphold the law. God forbid. But in the meantime, doesn't it make sense to be prepared if they don't?

Oh, and that lame spin from the left about the law's repeal being good for democrats and bad for republicans?  Wow.  Proof positive of democratic over reach and the downfall of Obama's signature achievement due to it's being unconstitutional is going to be bad for republicans, eh?  Boy, they really are freaking out over on the left, aren't they?  They must be tied up in knots to come up with such ridiculously twisted logic.  It's almost a little sad, isn't it? 


Monday, March 19, 2012


The so-called Republican War on Women™ that the press and various liberals have been ginning up was starting to die down a bit (although Sen. Chuck Schumer is determined to milk every drop out of it first).  Expect it to heat up again, though - provided the neo-pravda media decide to run this latest wrinkle.

Bristol Palin is now stepping up to the plate with an open letter to President Obama on the issue.  And boy, does she knock it out of the park:

"If Maher talked about Malia and Sasha that way, you’d return his dirty money and the Secret Service would probably have to restrain you. After all, I’ve always felt you understood my plight more than most because your mom was a teenager. That’s why you stood up for me when you were campaigning against Sen. McCain and my mom — you said vicious attacks on me should be off limits.

Yet I wonder if the Presidency has changed you. Now that you’re in office, it seems you’re only willing to defend certain women. You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you.


What if you did something radical and wildly unpopular with your base and took a stand against the denigration of all women… even if they’re just single moms? Even if they’re Republicans?

I’m not expecting your SuperPAC to return the money. You’re going to need every dime to hang on to your presidency. I’m not even really expecting a call. But would it be too much to expect a little consistency? After all, you’re President of all Americans, not just the liberals."

Over to you, Mr, President!
PS - it seems to be getting a lot of attention, because in the time it took me to read her blog and post my own about it, her site has shut down.  Be sure to check back and read the whole thing!


Thursday, March 15, 2012


As the mom of a teenaged daughter, I find myself reading many books I normally might not, such as the less than exciting Twilight series (although kudos to author Stephanie Meyer for keeping it clean and having Bella wait 'til her wedding night - a rare and refreshing thing in young adult literature these days).  But I like to know what my kids are reading, as there are so many questionable books out there.  And so I found myself reading the much-hyped Hunger Games.  I absolutely loved them.  In fact, I read all three books in four days.

For those unfamiliar with the series, it follows the events of heroine Katniss Everdeen and the two young men who love her, Peeta and Gale.  But this is no love story, not by a long shot.  No, this book is bloodsport and survival.  A David and Goliath story, in which Goliath isn't some rich banker or CEO; Goliath is a vicious, ends-justify-the-means, oppressive totalitarian governmental regime.   Unfortunately, one of the stars of The Hunger Games, Donald Sutherland, (perhaps lead there a bit by the interviewer) said this at a recent interview:

Q: It's interesting that you could really connect it to the Occupy moment. The underdog speech is something you might hear on conservative radio.

Sutherland: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Except for Rush [Limbaugh] [laughs]. I bet Lionsgate doesn't want us to dwell too much on Occupy Wall Street. But you're right. I went there. I went to Occupy Vancouver. It felt so good. Somewhere around '74, whatever we were doing was co-opted. It was commercialized. It became a brand and everybody lost heart. I have here [reaches for his briefcase], I have it here I don't want to take it out, The Port Huron Statement, that the SDS made in 1962... Oh god, read it. Read it! Read it! It's so -- it's just brilliant. It's really brilliant. It's brilliant today and I can't read it because I can't see properly, but it ends with something to the effect of 'You might think that what we are proposing is unattainable. But we're proposing that because otherwise what is going to happen is unimaginable.' And that's what happened.

Uh, okaaaay....  By the way, for those not in the know, the SDS is the Students for a Democratic Society - a radical '60's group that eventially spawned the Weather Underground, the radical group of bombers headed by William Ayers.  So, what Sutherland expects us to believe then is that Occupy's main target isn't bankers, hedge fund managers or CEO's, it's the over reaching federal government?  Interesting.  And here I though that was the Tea Party.  Silly me.

Anyhoo, back to the book.  Learning a little about the story is all you need to see how wrong Sutherland is in his socialistic rapture.  His interpretation is so off the mark that it's difficult to imagine he even read the script, let alone the books. 

The setting is a post-apocolyptic America, now called Panem, which has been broken down into thirteen Districts, all ruled by the iron fist of the Capital's President Snow (Sutherland's character).  Each district is known for the product it produces:  District Four, being near the ocean, produced fish and seafood; District Seven produced lumber; District Twelve, Katniss' home, produced coal.  Travel between districts was only allowed to Capital officials, military, and lesser officials stationed in the various districts, not the general population.  If you were born in District Three, you died in District Three. 

Many years before Katniss' time, District Thirteen rebelled against the Capital.  Reprisal was swift and merciless - no less than the total destruction of the district - and the legacy of that rebellion was the Hunger Games.

The Games are a yearly event where two candidates, or 'tributes', were sent from each District to the Capital.  The tributes, children between the ages of 12-18, were selected at the annual "Reaping", where one male and one female tribute would be randomly chosen from each district.  Of those twenty-four chosen, only one would survive.  The Games were a major event, broadcast to every District.  Viewing was required. 

The point of the Reaping and the Games themselves was psychological warfare, meant to keep the remaining districts docile and in line.   The yearly reminder of the ruthlessness with which the Capital put down Thirteen's rebellion is the harshest imaginable: Defy us, and we will kill all of your children.

The prize for the winner?  Fame and riches beyond measure courtesy of the Capital, plus additional bonuses of food and other necessities to the winner's home district for that year.  This was an important incentive for Katniss, whose home district was the poorest of them all and starvation was something barely kept at bay.  In fact, the spectre of starvation was so strong that, upon the loss of her father at a young age, Katniss took it upon herself to learn to hunt with a bow, sneaking out of the district into the fertile hunting grounds of the surrounding wilderness to keep her mother and sister alive. 

Katniss' culture shock upon arriving at the wealthy Capital is much like the culture shock citizens of communist block countries endured after the fall of the Iron Curtain.   As with totalitarian states in the real world, Panem's Capital sucked up all the resources of it's satellite districts, concentrating the wealth in the elite political classes and those who leech off of them. 

The pomp and propaganda of the Games is reminiscent of both the Roman Circus and the propaganda films of the Nazi party.  The blood quells the masses and every moment is spun politically to favor the State.

Katniss rebels against this system, not out of noble intent or a revived American spirit.  America is something she knows nothing about, becasue her history was stolen from her long ago by the Capital.  But self preservation and a desire for freedom cannot be quashed, not even by the most ruthless regimes.  We see parallels today in Syria, where the people refuse to back down, even though their leader, Assad, has now resorted to bombing their cities. 

Katniss eventually (in subsequent books) comes across an underground network whose sole mission is to depose Snow and bring down the Capital.  She joins forces with them, only to discover later that the system they would impose is no better (and possibly a bit worse) than that of the Capital. 

The point is, at every turn, Katniss chooses freedom over the totalitarian state.  The enemy isn't the people who make the goods, the enemy is the government that unfairly prospers while the people they profess to be loving caretakers of languish and die from starvation and disease.

Perhaps Sutherland misunderstood his character.  Perhaps he thought the character's name, President Snow, denoted some other title, such as CEO.  Now granted, this first movie only covers the first book, which doesn't include the later information involving the possible overthrow of the Capital.  So perhaps he thinks that Snow wins out in the end, and the nanny state, which Sutherland apparently believes knows best, continues on unaltered. 

Unfortunately for President Snow, author Suzanne Collins ends the rule of the Capital the way many totalitarian regimes end - with rebellion and bloodshed.  If the Occupy movement were a part of the story, they would be fighting on the side of their beloved nanny state, not the side of the rebels, who want to take away their "free" stuff and replace it with true liberty.

Long story short, my daughter and I can't wait to see the movie (opening nationwide March 23rd).  And I can't wait for the sequels to start production, too, so that Mr. Sutherland can get a fuller picture of just what, exactly, the whole thing is all about.


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