Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Future of Health Care?

Dr. Lemuel Calhoon, magister maximus of Hillbilly White Trash, posted this gem at the end of one of his weekly re-postings of Ann Coulter's op-ed genius. I wanted to bring it here because, well, he is exactly right.

Read it for yourself here, or go there and read it.

Lemuel Calhoon:

"The absolute worst thing about socialized medicine in the US is that it will slow the advancement of of medical science in the whole world to a glacial pace.

Right now the vast majority of new medical techniques, drugs and technology are discovered in the United States. This is because America still has a thriving free market health care system. For-profit companies which develop and manufacture drugs and medical equipment are free to pour their profits into research and development to bring new medications and medical equipment to market. All in pursuit of profit.

Because our doctors are not employees of any kind of National Health Service they are not required to see X number of patients per week and to choose only from a government approved list of treatment options (approved more for reasons of cost than effectiveness). Doctors in the US are free to innovate and experiment.

The fact that in America we attempt to keep our elderly people alive as long as possible and give them the best quality of life possible (in addition to proving our moral superiority to other nations) provides a test bed for methods of managing, treating and even curing chronic conditions which are associated with (but by no means exclusive to) aging. You can see that this is far more conducive to creating an upward spiral of medical knowledge than the "give granny morphine until she stops breathing" approach taken by nations with government run health care.

Let me tell you a true story about Mother Calhoon, who is 76. Earlier this year she broke her leg. In 1950 the doctor would have set the bone and put her leg in a cast. The bone would have taken the better part of a year to heal and would have never been the same. During this time her mobility would have been so severely restricted that she would have not been able to live at home alone. So mom would have gone to a nursing home where she would probably have spent the rest of her life. But the doctor's bill for setting the leg and applying the cast would have only been a few hundred dollars.

Today mom was taken to an excellent hospital where a doctor operated on her leg installing a metal rod to support the bone so that it would not break again. She was given a battery of tests which determined that she had mild osteoporosis and was put on medication to treat the condition. After a few days in the hospital she was sent home where a nurse looked in on her three times a week for the next three months. The cast on her leg was designed to allow her to walk and she was encouraged to do so (with the aid of a walker, then a cane). As time went by she was instructed to put more and more weight on the leg until now, less than a year later, she has no cast and no longer needs walker or cane (unless she is going to walk for more than two miles or so, then she brings along the cane). The cost of the entire episode came to around $40,000.00 - which comes to $4500.00 in 1950 dollars.

Assuming that we do not plunge down Barack Obama's rat hole of socialized medicine and freeze the advancement of medical science what can a 76-year-0ld woman with a broken leg expect in 2050?

With the proviso that no one can predict the future with absolute accuracy I would assume based on current trends in medical science that it would go something like this:

The ambulance brings the patient to the emergency room where a doctor scans her leg building a detailed three dimensional picture of the injury, including damage to tissue and blood vessels caused by the broken bone. The doctor then looks over the computer's recommended course of action and signs off on it. The patient is then sent to surgery where the surgeon adds a few refinements to the computer generated plan.

In the operating room the woman is sedated and her leg is immobilized. A robot surgeon will then set the bone and repair any other damage to the leg - while a human doctor and nurse observe ready to step in if required. The leg will then be placed in a rigid cast and the woman will spend the next few days in a hospital room while bone regenerators heal the fracture.

A few days later she leaves the hospital with her leg as strong or stronger than it was before. While it is impossible to estimate the dollar amount of the bill for this treatment I very much doubt that it will be more, in 1950 dollars, than the 2009 bill. But look at how much better the outcome for the patient!

But what if we adopt Obama's plan for government run health care? What will a 76-year-0ld woman with a broken leg face in 2050?

The doctor will set the bone and put her leg in a cast. The bone will take the better part of a year to heal and will never be the same. During this time her mobility will be so severely restricted that she will not be able to live at home alone. So she will have to go to a nursing home where she will probably spend the rest of her life. But the doctor's bill for setting the leg and applying the cast would have only been a few hundred dollars - in 1950 dollars.

This assumes that the hospital's rationing panel (we won't call it the "death panel") doesn't decide that at her age she (who will never again pay income taxes) simply isn't worth the money to treat. Then she will be put in a bed and given morphine until she stops breathing. The bill for that will be under a hundred bucks.

The problem with a government solution to anything is that government is a piss-poor innovator. Let the government decide that something is so important that the private sector cannot be trusted to run it and whatever "it" is becomes frozen in time. It cannot be otherwise when a powerful entrenched bureaucracy has a massive vested interest in keeping things exactly as they are.

Someone suggested this thought experiment. Imagine that some visionary in government had looked at Henry Ford's Model T and realized how important the automobile would be to America's future. Suppose that this visionary had been able to convince the legislature and the president that the development and manufacture of cars was too important to be left to the profit-seeking private sector.

You don't have to imagine what the result would have been. All you need do is look back to East Germany before the Wall fell and remember how an East German could spend his fifteen years on the waiting list dreaming about what he would do when he took possession of his new Trabant.

Some things are too critically important to be taken out of the hands of the private sector. Our health care is one of them."

National Gun Registry

Dr. Paul Broun, U.S. Congressman, Republican (GA-10), has sent out an email which came to me via containing information on House bill H.R. 45--Obama's gun control package. Among other things, this bill would establish a national gun registry database of every gun and its owner for the whole country. According to the email, "Your private information and every gun you own would be in the system."

It also bans all private firearms sales.

Big Brother is coming after our guns.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Most Oppressive Tyranny

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”–C.S. Lewis

Look for this one to go in the sidebar soon.

Change Is Coming

Wihin a week or two The River will undergo a few changes. Primarily this means it will become a team blog. And, though the main course will still be politics and ideology, the banquet will also include side dishes of pop culture commentary, Christian apologetics, and, hopefully, some regular features. Obviously, some of this is beyond my range of expertise which is why I am calling in some help.

As for the look and feel of the new place, it will be essentially the same. I like the color scheme and the menagerie of faces and the quotations in the sidebar. So, though the address will be slightly different, the page will look the same, sort of. I will also leave a permanent link here so that the new abode can be easily found.

Look for the regular posting to continue until then.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Krauthammer on Van Jones and Linguistic Salt

I like Charles Krauthammer for more than just his ability to turn a phrase and make a solid point. Krauthammer does not mind going against the grain of popular Republican or conservative thought on a given topic. When I go to one of his columns I know that I am not just going to get the standard Republican fare regurgitated into soundbytes like I might get were I to tune in to Sean Hannity, for example. Krauthammer gives me something original and causes me to think. For that, I recommend you read him regularly.

Here is an excerpt from his column from September 11 entitled "The Van Jones Matter":

So Van Jones, the defenestrated White House green-jobs czar, once called Republicans "assholes." Big deal. I've said worse about Democrats. I've said worse about Republicans. I've said worse about members of my family (you know who you are).

How prissy have we become? Are we allowed no salt in our linguistic diets?

Having once written a column praising Vice President Cheney's pithy deployment of the F-word -- on the floor of the Senate, no less -- I rise in defense of Jones. True, Jones's particular choice of epithet had none of the one-syllable concision, the onomatopoeic suggestiveness, the explosive charm of Cheney's. But you don't fire a guy for style.
I recommend the whole column, of course, which is here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

45% of Doctors Would Consider Quitting

And 65% of doctors oppose ObamaCare according to a poll published today in Investor's Business Daily.

Major findings included:

• Two-thirds, or 65%, of doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan. This contradicts the administration's claims that doctors are part of an "unprecedented coalition" supporting a medical overhaul.

It also differs with findings of a poll released Monday by National Public Radio that suggests a "majority of physicians want public and private insurance options," and clashes with media reports such as Tuesday's front-page story in the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Doctors Go For Obama's Reform."

Nowhere in the Times story does it say doctors as a whole back the overhaul. It says only that the AMA — the "association representing the nation's physicians" and what "many still regard as the country's premier lobbying force" — is "lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama's sweeping plan."

The AMA, in fact, represents approximately 18% of physicians and has been hit with a number of defections by members opposed to the AMA's support of Democrats' proposed health care overhaul.

• Four of nine doctors, or 45%, said they "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind.
Can anyone say Atlas Shrugged?

Jimmy Carter Plays the Race Card

America's worst hack President on critics of America's first black President:

Nothing says "decorum" like a Georgia hack playing the race card to get air time on television, especially when it's an ex-President who will probably go down in history as America's worst (but Obama isn't done yet.)

Note to self: be sure to take time to make fun of the Georgia peanut farmer every once in a while just to fight off boredom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ACORN, Murder, Prostitution, and Obama

Just when you thought you had heard it all, along comes the San Bernadino, California, office of ACORN. This video crosses into new areas of government-funded depravity and felonious behavior.

WARNING: CONTENTS ADVISORY: This woman drops the f-bomb at one point in the video. Don't say you weren't warned.

The most insidious thing about all this is how far the tentacles of ACORN reach into the Obama administration. In many ways, Obama is ACORN and ACORN is Obama. This is not to say that Obama is as corrupt as the people in these videos. But this is the organization with which he proudly associates himself (or has up until now).

For a thorough documentation of Obama's ties to ACORN, see Stanley Kurtz's article at National Review On-line here.
Obama: “I’ve been fighting alongside Acorn on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, Acorn was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

Charlie Gibson - Derelict or Dishonest?

The ACORN videos have been available on-line and reported on by Fox News television for nearly a week. It has been the hot topic on talk radio for several news cycles. There have been interviews, scripted statements, firings, threats of lawsuits, you name it. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate took action, adopting an amendment to a transportation and HUD appropriations bill that would de-fund ACORN.

But from ABC, NBC, and CBS? Silence. The New York Times? Nothing. The Washington Post? Not a peep.

If it does not fit the template, big media ignores it.

Big media bias has been well-documented for decades. They used to at least pretend objectivity, but even that is now out the window. They are no longer biased, they are active propagandists.

And their deportment exhudes hubris. If they do not report it, then it is not news-worthy. Obviously.

Enter Charlie Gibson on a radio interview this morning in Chicago. Here is the transcript:

Don: Ok here’s my question, Senate bill yesterday passes cutting off funds to this group called ACORN. Now we got the…we got that bill passing, we got the embarrassing video of ACORN staff giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel with 13 year old hookers. It has everything you could want corruption and sleazy action at tax funded organizations that’s got government ties. But nobody’s covering that story why?

Charlie Gibson: (laugh) I don’t even know about it. Uh, so you got me at a loss, I don’t know. Uh, uh, but, but My goodness if it’s got everything including sleaziness in it we should talk about it this morning.

Roma: This is the American way…

Charlie Gibson: Well maybe, maybe that’s one you just leave to the cables.

Roma: Well I think that this is a huge issue because there’s so much funding that goes into this organization and it’s a multi…

Charlie Gibson: Well, I know we’ve done some stories about ACORN before but uh, uh this one I don’t know about.

Roma: Jake Tapper did some blogging on it. I know he’s at least blogged once on this scandal.

Charlie Gibson: You guys, you guys are really up on the uh on the website.
For audio click here.

So here we have the news anchor for ABC news. If anyone is going to be the last one to know about something it is not going to be him, right? I mean, we're talking about Charlie Gibson, not Ron Burgundy. Aren't we?

Or maybe he is Ron Burgundy. Either that or we have a blatant ideologue masquerading as an objective news anchor. Those are our choices. But objective, intelligent news anchor? That is not a conclusion we can draw with any credibility. Charlie, himself, does not leave us that option.

Pelosi Apologize?

You gotta love Limbaugh. This from yesterday's program:

"If I were Joe Wilson, I would say, 'I'll apologize as soon as Pelosi apologizes to the CIA.'"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama Stage a Coup?

I have heard rumblings of this over the last few months. It is a reflection, I think, of the growing fear that regular Americans have of government, and the immense swing to the left that Obama has attempted to take us on in his first few months in office. Add to that Obama's radical associations and the Chicago-style one-party politics that are Obama's forte, plus the fact that he stubbornly marches forward with his agenda in spite of the overwhelming opposition of the population at large, and you have ample reason for many people to entertain these fears.

But, says Bruce Walker at American Thinker, these fears are not likely to materialize. Here is his column. (or go here)

Some conservatives have begun to openly wonder if Obama is going to seize power in America. Would he want to do this? Perhaps so (a scary thought, but he has promised change.) No one dreamed that Carter, the worst president of the last century, wanted or planned to seize power. Clinton wanted to win power, but the worst anyone expected of Clinton was Huey Long bossism.

Obama rose in politics through the thoroughly corrupt one-party government of Chicago. His spiritual advisor sounds like a rabble-rousing storm trooper. His intellectual mentor, Saul Alinksy, like the Bolsheviks and Nazis, believed in state terrorism. If Obama wanted to follow their leads, could he? I believe not.

Once it became clear that Obama was acting without any pretense of constitutionality, he would need muscle to back him up. Yet the greatest source of that muscle, the United States Military, loathes Obama as much as he loathes them. He would need intelligence, yet his maltreatment of the CIA ensures that those operatives would toss more bananas peels in front of him than real information should he make an extraconstitutional move.

Obama would also need the police, yet the President’s comments about a Cambridge policeman, a member of what has to be among the most politically correct force in America, shows the natural antipathy between Obama and law enforcement officers. The police, “pigs,” to the crowd that Obama belonged to as a community organizer, cannot be a solid support of any seizure of power.

What about the civilian national security force promised by Obama during the campaign? Conservatives are much more likely to be veterans and own guns than leftists. The creation and coordination of a real civilian army would also profoundly antagonize all state and local police forces.

Our federal system still exists, although states’ rights have declined greatly, but state governments still exercise real power (as several governors demonstrated in rejecting stimulus funds.) Nazis, Soviets, and Fascists all had to first crush federalism before gaining absolute power. States founded America, something almost unique among nations – state governments still have a special role in our United States. Crushing states completely would be very hard and very risky.

Beginning a coup or a revolution from above, as some fear Obama may do, also presumes that the revolution will end in a certain direction. If Obama and his elitist cohorts began a revolution, it would surely end: but how? Not only are the military, the CIA, and the police generally disgusted with Obama, but the ideological sentiment of the American people is profoundly out of step with Obama.

In every single state of the nation, according to a recent Gallup Poll, conservatives outnumber liberals. Consistently over the last decade, including the most recent, Battleground Poll, sixty percent of Americans call themselves conservatives. It is impossible to imagine conservatives support a leftist coup or revolution from above.

But the problem for Obama would extend beyond that. Attempting something like a seizure of power could be expected to alienate vast numbers of moderates and many self-defined liberals as well. Probably three-quarters or more of Americans would oppose any practical effort to end democracy, suspend civil rights, or end the Constitution which was open and clear.

Even his political party would have nightmares about any attempt by Obama to seize political power. The consequences of failure, which would be likely, could be a conservative counter-revolution. More likely, though, would be an electoral nightmare for Democrats which would last for decades. This is why a seizure of power is unheard of in the English-speaking democracies of Britain, Canada, America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The British Parliament, in which the Labour Party has huge majorities, has the theoretical power to pass a law which ended the requirement for new elections at least every five years. The Labour Party could simply make its power permanent. This would not even be an unconstitutional seizure of power. Yet no one believes Prime Minister Brown would ever propose that or that he could persuade his party to accept that. Even though he will be thoroughly trounced in the next general election, there will be an election in about nine months.

Politicians need elections just like lawyers need lawsuits. Without contested elections, Congress becomes as irrelevant as the Reichstag after Hitler got the Enabling Act passed. So even Obama's own party, or much of it, would oppose a seizure of power.

Finally, if Obama attempted an effective seizure of power and provoked a real national revolution, the repercussions for Democrats and the left in a successful counter-revolution could lead to a second American revolution in which vast amounts of political power could be explicitly returned to the states, the role of government in our lives precisely defined, the semi-divine status of judges overthrown, and power returned to the people.

Could the leftist choke hold on the media prevent a new revolution? Well, the left has tried to stop the Tea Party movement and the Town Hall protests with no success at all. Polling data shows the increasing ineffectiveness of the establishment media in controlling American’s thinking and actions.

Obama is not going to try to seize power, because he would fail utterly and damn his precious radicalism for decades in America. What he will do is what his predecessors on the left have done: acquire power through Fabian tactics; win one battle (like increasing union bosses’ power) and then move to the next lever of power in government and society. That is the dangerous path we have been on for many decades. We need to fight the very real enemies, not imaginary ones.
For an alternative viewpoint (sort of) click here.

More on the ACORN Statement and Lawsuit Threat

John Fund, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, had this to say on Fox News.

Now, here's Fund writing in the Wall Street Journal:
I thought I'd heard every possible charge about corruption at ACORN, a feisty, union-backed activist group that became infamous last year when it was investigated for voter registration fraud in 15 states. Just yesterday, 11 ACORN workers were accused by Florida prosecutors of falsifying information on some 900 voter registration forms.

But this morning brings a Fox News report that ACORN officials in Baltimore offered to help get a housing loan and falsify tax documents for a proposed house of prostitution that would employ underage girls from El Salvador. The episode was captured on tape by an undercover filmmaker, James O'Keefe, who wanted to see just how far ACORN would go. Watching the tape -- which can be seen at -- is a creepy experience. ACORN itself has told Fox News the episode represents "gotcha journalism" but wouldn't comment further until it sees the full tape.

In helping Mr. O'Keefe set up his supposed brothel, ACORN employees also invited him to attend an August conference the group was holding for prospective home-buyers. But it linked attendance to Mr. O'Keefe joining ACORN and paying $120 in annual dues: "We ask that you join ACORN." The problem is that such a request is illegal, since the ACORN housing conferences are underwritten by federal government grants. ACORN has a political arm, so insisting that attendees at its housing conferences join the group and pay dues is a no-no.

It was precisely that kind of activity that got ACORN in trouble during the Clinton administration. The Inspector General of AmeriCorps, the government's volunteer agency, accused the group of "using government resources to promote legislation." ACORN was stripped of its federal grant as a result.

This past March, Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, tried to block ACORN from receiving additional federal funds when he proposed restrictions on federal support of the group. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Senator whose state hosts the office featured in the undercover video reported by Fox, dismissed the idea: "I think this is an amendment that has no purpose and has Draconian consequences if passed." The Senate voted against Mr. Vitter's amendment by 53 to 43, with only two Democrats -- Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Robert Byrd of West Virginia --voting to restrict ACORN funding.

In light of the Fox video, Mr. Vitter should revive his amendment -- pronto.

--John Fund
Now, another Republican senator has introduced an amendment to defund ACORN.

9/12 Washington D.C. Tea Party Rally

From the Columbia Independent Examiner:
Saturday's "Tea Party" rally in Washington, D.C. may have far exceeded almost all expectations. According to individual reports on the internet late Saturday The National Park Service had reportedly estimated around 1.2 million people attended the rally. There is no mention of the rally on the Park Service website and I have been unable to confirm that they have released any official estimate.

Some websites citing the 1.2 million number have claimed to be quoting Park Service employees, but I can find no direct quotes from anyone connected to the Park Service that can be confirmed at this time. Phone calls to the NPS went unanswered on Sunday.

There were also several reports Saturday saying that ABC and Fox News had reported that the crowd was estimated to be as high as 2 million. ABC News is now saying they never reported that number. According to ABC they were misquoted by a rally speaker. At this time there is no report on the Fox News website that includes an estimated attendance figure.
Some liberal websites and blogs are putting the number much lower, with estimates ranging anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000. Based on photographs and video footage of the event the numbers would appear to be much larger than those estimates. The ticketed area of the National Mall alone has a capacity of 240,000 and the crowd clearly filled that area and beyond. The public access area of the Mall holds nearly 950,000 and photographs of that area show it to be at or near capacity, although it has been reported that other groups were holding events in that area.
There was also this gem of a paragraph in the article:
On Friday the White House claimed they had no idea the rally was even planned. A ridiculous assertion that shows how dismissive the Obama administration and the Democrat-led Congress are of those who oppose their agenda. It is impossible to believe that President Obama knew nothing of the event. The denial is a perfect example of why the President is losing the trust of many Americans. He stretches his credibility to its limits, and beyond.

ACORN Scandal III (New York, New York)

Here is a brief synopsis of what has been going on over the weekend as chronicled by the blog at the center of the storm, Big Government.

Fox News has been the only major news organization in this country covering this scandal to any extent at all. No surprises there. The rest of these organizations have reduced themselves to propaganda arms for the DNC. This doesn't fit their template. Look for them to continue ignoring it until it becomes too big. For more click here.

ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis released a statement defending ACORN, attacking her detractors as frauds, and threatening legal action. I blogged on this already.

James O'Keefe demanded an apology from Bertha Lewis, stating in response to her threats of legal action against him, "Bring it on."

The UK Telegraph picked up the story that the American media has mostly ignored.

A Leftist pundit responded in typical leftist fashion--ignore the accusations, attack the messengers.

Then, this morning, over at Big Government, O'Keefe quoted Bertha Lewis . . .
This recent scam, which was attempted in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia to name a few places, had failed for months before the results we’ve all recently seen.
-Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer, ACORN
. . . before dropping two more bombs.

ACORN Responds - Bertha Lewis

From Bertha Lewis, chief organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN):
The relentless attacks on ACORN’s members, its staff and the policies and positions we promote are unprecedented. An international entertainment conglomerate, disguising itself as a “news” agency (Fox), has expended millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, in their attempt to destroy the largest community organization of Black, Latino, poor and working class people in the country. It is not coincidence that the most recent attacks have been launched just when health care reform is gaining traction. It is clear they’ve had these tapes for months.

We are their Willy Horton for 2009. We are the boogeyman for the right-wing and its echo chambers. If ACORN did not exist, the right-wing would have needed to create us in order to achieve their agenda, their missions, their ideal, retrograde America. This recent scam, which was attempted in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia to name a few places, had failed for months before the results we’ve all recently seen. I am appalled and angry; I cannot and I will not defend the actions of the workers depicted in the video, who have since been terminated. But it is clear that the videos are doctored, edited, and in no way the result of the fabricated story being portrayed by conservative activist “filmmaker” O’Keefe and his partner in crime. And, in fact, a crime it was – our lawyers believe a felony – and we will be taking legal action against Fox and their co-conspirators.

We will not be intimidated by this international conglomerate, which has made as its mission the destruction of our organization. ACORN members are committed to the empowerment of their communities – Black, Latino, poor, and working class – at the deepest level. We are an organization committed to halting the foreclosure crisis and keeping people in their homes. We are an organization committed to ensuring quality, affordable health care for every American. We are an organization that will not be stopped in our commitment to our members and our communities which has included:
Read it for yourself on their webpage. Click here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Icarus, Daedalus, and Barack Obama

Charles Krauthammer has an excellent op-ed piece on the decline of President Obama's poll numbers. Here it is, and be sure to check his columns in the Washington Post regularly:

Obama, the Mortal

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 4, 2009

What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?

The conventional wisdom is that Obama made a tactical mistake by farming out his agenda to Congress and allowing himself to be pulled left by the doctrinaire liberals of the Democratic congressional leadership. But the idea of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pulling Obama left is quite ridiculous. Where do you think he came from, this friend of Chávista ex-terrorist William Ayers, of PLO apologist Rashid Khalidi, of racialist inciter Jeremiah Wright?

But forget the character witnesses. Just look at Obama's behavior as president, beginning with his first address to Congress. Unbidden, unforced and unpushed by the congressional leadership, Obama gave his most deeply felt vision of America, delivering the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president. In American politics, you can't get more left than that speech and still be on the playing field.

In a center-right country, that was problem enough. Obama then compounded it by vastly misreading his mandate. He assumed it was personal. This, after winning by a mere seven points in a year of true economic catastrophe, of an extraordinarily unpopular Republican incumbent, and of a politically weak and unsteady opponent. Nonetheless, Obama imagined that, as Fouad Ajami so brilliantly observed, he had won the kind of banana-republic plebiscite that grants caudillo-like authority to remake everything in one's own image.

Accordingly, Obama unveiled his plans for a grand makeover of the American system, animating that vision by enacting measure after measure that greatly enlarged state power, government spending and national debt. Not surprisingly, these measures engendered powerful popular skepticism that burst into tea-party town-hall resistance.

Obama's reaction to that resistance made things worse. Obama fancies himself tribune of the people, spokesman for the grass roots, harbinger of a new kind of politics from below that would upset the established lobbyist special-interest order of Washington. Yet faced with protests from a real grass-roots movement, his party and his supporters called it a mob -- misinformed, misled, irrational, angry, unhinged, bordering on racist. All this while the administration was cutting backroom deals with every manner of special interest -- from drug companies to auto unions to doctors -- in which favors worth billions were quietly and opaquely exchanged.

"Get out of the way" and "don't do a lot of talking," the great bipartisan scolded opponents whom he blamed for creating the "mess" from which he is merely trying to save us. If only they could see. So with boundless confidence in his own persuasiveness, Obama undertook a summer campaign to enlighten the masses by addressing substantive objections to his reforms.

Things got worse still. With answers so slippery and implausible and, well, fishy, he began jeopardizing the most fundamental asset of any new president -- trust. You can't say that the system is totally broken and in need of radical reconstruction, but nothing will change for you; that Medicare is bankrupting the country, but $500 billion in cuts will have no effect on care; that you will expand coverage while reducing deficits -- and not inspire incredulity and mistrust. When ordinary citizens understand they are being played for fools, they bristle.

After a disastrous summer -- mistaking his mandate, believing his press, centralizing power, governing left, disdaining citizens for (of all things) organizing -- Obama is in trouble.

Let's be clear: This is a fall, not a collapse. He's not been repudiated or even defeated. He will likely regroup and pass some version of health insurance reform that will restore some of his clout and popularity.

But what has occurred -- irreversibly -- is this: He's become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He's regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.

For a man who only recently bred a cult, ordinariness is a great burden, and for his acolytes, a crushing disappointment. Obama has become a politician like others. And like other flailing presidents, he will try to salvage a cherished reform -- and his own standing -- with yet another prime-time speech.

But for the first time since election night in Grant Park, he will appear in the most unfamiliar of guises -- mere mortal, a treacherous transformation to which a man of Obama's supreme self-regard may never adapt.
(pictures added by The River.)

ACORN Scandal II (Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun)

Just when ACORN (and CNN) was in the process of explaining how the alleged video tape may have been edited in a politically advantageous way by some right-wing hacks, was only a product of "gotcha" journalism, and how that one particular incident was surely an isolated incident, and how it could not possily be something endemic to the system they have in place, James O'Keefe produces another, this time in the Washington D.C. office of ACORN.

And . . .

Once again, your tax dollars at work. This is Washington D.C.

For more, see the entire post at Big Government.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bizarro World of Babylon D.C.

Only in Washington D.C., where the real world and the ethos of the common people seldom enter, could the spectacle of last night and this morning have taken place. As I contemplate these things, it causes me to muse on that magical, mystical place . . .

We shall call this chimerical city Babylon D.C. Behold its mystery and mayhem!

First, we have King Barack I, whose wardrobe consists of the world's finest oratory. A quick check with the opinions of all the smartest and most beautiful people will squelch any doubts about that. Just ask them. These, in fact, whether one asks them or not, are always at the ready to remind us of that indisputable point. Barack I is the finest orator to have ever ascended the throne of Babylon D.C. To say otherwise, to doubt such hyperbolic orthodoxy, is akin to saying he has no clothes on at all!

Next, we have the Democrats, champions of the people! These brave heroes never miss an opportunity to stand up for fairness, justice, and the little guy, thumbing their considerable noses at special interest groups, big corporations, and evil right-wing Nazis like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Truth is their Gibraltor and they will fashion that Gibraltor on their potter's wheel into whatever form best suits their political ends. We might point out that one cannot be a champion of the people while robbing individuals of their rights and property, but in doing this we prove ourselves to be just the mind-numbed minions of Rush Limbaugh. We should learn to think for ourselves . . . think like Democrats! We must be at one with the beautiful and important people. Watch them as they hail the great leader!

And watch the Republicans follow suit! Those evil neo-cons are always trying to destroy our democracy by standing in the way of the smart and beautiful people. They dare to offer an alternative--themselves as the wiser, safer central planners. They seek to show us a better way. "Let us grow government, yes," say they, "but let us grow it leaner and more efficiently, and in slower increments." We might point out to them that the end result is still the same, a bloated distortion of the founders' intent, but they only respond, "Reagan! Reagan! I was a foot soldier with Reagan!" And so they applaud the great leader as well, and admire his fine clothing.

Behind King Barack I sits Lady Pelosi, Duchess of Ditz. She wanly smiles, fearing to overdo it lest the royal botox injections should be stressed at the overmuch pressure. Above all things, Lady Pelosi desires, nay lusts, to obtain and to wield Barack's scepter, to take his reins and turn him in whatever direction she chooses. It is her agenda he is pushing, or is it vise versa? Who wields the scepter when it is just the two of them behind the scenes?

And for what reason has this regal assemblage been called? Is it a call to war? Is the kingdom at stake? Must some catastrophe be averted? It is all three. This coven has gathered to expose and then cast out that infernal disease, that enemy of the state, corporate greed, along with its sibling, profit, and its progenitor, irresponsibility (that wicked criminal which has ever haunted us under the pseudonym freedom.)

Silence ensues as King Barack pauses to begin his speech. The willing crowd is mesmerized at his electrifying elocution, his dynamic diction, his resounding rhetoric. A thought pops into someone's head . . . this guy is wholly dependent on the telepromptor, what would, what could he do without it? But the thought is quickly squelched and evaporates into the oblivion as kingly rhetoric overcomes it.

"Black is not black," says the King. "It is white."

Everyone cheers.

"There are those who have been saying that black is black. Such in-sophisticants do not deserve our time nor attention. Nevertheless, they have poisoned the minds of many with their mis-information. Their words are false and deleterious. These are just pushing their corporate agenda. They are against reform just for the sake of being against reform. They make up facts. I am not just speaking of rancorous radio hosts or nefarious news programs on cable television. I am speaking even of politicians. In short, they lie." His mind's eye reaches out to the wicked witch of Alaska as he says it. "But I'm here to tell you tonight that black is white, has always been white, and never will be otherwise, not as long as I am king. Moreover, it is free! It will never cost anyone anything!"

"You lie!" hollers a young knave from the gallery.

Everyone stops. The king pauses, stutters, mumbles, then goes on. Botox bubbles appear on the rosy cheeks of Lady Pelosi seated behind the king. But, the moment is lost.

Finally the Liar is finished with his speech. The great assembly of liars and thieves is delighted. We shall work together. We shall overcome. We shall create utopia! But not until that young and foolish villain is brought under the iron fist, forced to bow the knee!

Before anyone can think what to do, old general McCrotchety speaks up and speaks out against such insolence as was brazenly and doltishly displayed by the upstart Congressman. He demands an apology.

And, thus, the young scallywag is brought forward and forced to submit, under the guise of decorum, as truth and integrity are assiduously ignored.

And so all the earls and dukes with their royal knights and ladies attendant leave, lying to each other about what has taken place, how important they all are, how great was their king's oratory, and how much good has been done for the people, while the lone honest man is censured.

Welcome to Babylon, D.C.

ACORN Scandal

These are the people who helped put Obama in office. These are the people before whom our beloved leader gave a speech proclaiming fidelity, thanking them for their tireless efforts on his behalf, promising to help push their radical agenda forward. This is a group which has received millions in federal tax dollars and is poised to receive billions more as a political payback from Congress and Obama through the stimulus package. This is your tax dollars at work.

Warning: the following videos contain conversations about prostitution and other criminal activities.

This is what Washington D.C. has become. For more info go to Big Government.

About That Speech Last Night

Thomas Sowell published a beautiful and poignant op-ed piece yesterday before our great leader's health care address to Congress and the nation. Now that you've had a night's sleep and a few hours this morning to help you digest that diabolical little morsel of oratory, how about washing it down with some truth from the pen of Thomas Sowell. Joe Wilson was not the only one calling Obama a liar yesterday.

From Thomas Sowell:

Listening to a Liar

The most important thing about what anyone says are not the words themselves but the credibility of the person who says them.

The words of convicted swindler Bernie Madoff were apparently quite convincing to many people who were regarded as knowledgeable and sophisticated. If you go by words, you can be led into anything.

No doubt millions of people will be listening to the words of President Barack Obama Wednesday night when he makes a televised address to a joint session of Congress on his medical care plans. But, if they think that the words he says are what matters, they can be led into something much worse than being swindled out of their money.

One plain fact should outweigh all the words of Barack Obama and all the impressive trappings of the setting in which he says them: He tried to rush Congress into passing a massive government takeover of the nation's medical care before the August recess— for a program that would not take effect until 2013!

Whatever President Obama is, he is not stupid. If the urgency to pass the medical care legislation was to deal with a problem immediately, then why postpone the date when the legislation goes into effect for years— more specifically, until the year after the next Presidential election?

If this is such an urgently needed program, why wait for years to put it into effect? And if the public is going to benefit from this, why not let them experience those benefits before the next Presidential election?

If it is not urgent that the legislation goes into effect immediately, then why don't we have time to go through the normal process of holding Congressional hearings on the pros and cons, accompanied by public discussions of its innumerable provisions? What sense does it make to "hurry up and wait" on something that is literally a matter of life and death?

If we do not believe that the President is stupid, then what do we believe? The only reasonable alternative seems to be that he wanted to get this massive government takeover of medical care passed into law before the public understood what was in it.

Moreover, he wanted to get re-elected in 2012 before the public experienced what its actual consequences would be.

Unfortunately, this way of doing things is all too typical of the way this administration has acted on a wide range of issues.

Consider the "stimulus" legislation. Here the administration was successful in rushing a massive spending bill through Congress in just two days— after which it sat on the President's desk for three days, while he was away on vacation. But, like the medical care legislation, the "stimulus" legislation takes effect slowly.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will be September 2010 before even three-quarters of the money will be spent. Some economists expect that it will not all be spent by the end of 2010.

What was the rush to pass it, then? It was not to get that money out into the economy as fast as possible. It was to get that money— and the power that goes with it— into the hands of the government. Power is what politics is all about.

The worst thing that could happen, from the standpoint of those seeking more government power over the economy, would be for the economy to begin recovering on its own while months were being spent debating the need for a "stimulus" bill. As the President's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said, you can't let a crisis "go to waste" when "it's an opportunity to do things you could not do before."

There are lots of people in the Obama administration who want to do things that have not been done before— and to do them before the public realizes what is happening.

The proliferation of White House "czars" in charge of everything from financial issues to media issues is more of the same circumvention of the public and of the Constitution. Czars don't have to be confirmed by the Senate, the way Cabinet members must be, even though czars may wield more power, so you may never know what these people are like, until it is too late.

What Barack Obama says Wednesday night is not nearly as important as what he has been doing— and how he has been doing it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

McCain Should Apologize

John McCain is already calling for Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina to apologize for his outburst during the speech that Generalissimo Obama made before a joint session of Congress about two hours ago. As already noted, Congressman Wilson hollered "You lie!" when Obama was lying about how government-run health care's public option would not be available for illegal aliens in any way. McCain said the outburst was embarassing and that Joe should apologize immediately.

As a representative of American liberty, I also would like to call on a Congressman to apologize immediately. I would like to call on Senator John McCain to apologize for a long record of compromising with those who would rob us of liberty and property, and also for running one of the most inept political campaigns in American presidential history, arguably helping our marxist great leader Obama become President.

Senator, you should be ashamed. Apologize.

"The General Welfare" (re-visited)

Yesterday, I posted the following. After having done so I thought of some additional comments I wanted to make. You will find them at the end of this re-post.

"...promote the general welfare."

This little clause, found twice in the Constitution if I am not mistaken, is the favorite clause of the Left and the one used most often as a pretext to foist whatever form of wealth-redistributing, soft tyranny they wish upon the public. What did the founders, the actual writers of the Constitution, have to say about it?

First, James Madison.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson:
"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the 'Articles of Confederation,' and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted."

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one...."
-- James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792

Now, Thomas Jefferson.

"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817
It is worth noting that in the two founders I have quoted above we have both sides of the American political spectrum from the late 18th century represented.

That is, we have Madison who represents the Federalist party and who was one of the major contributors for The Federalist Papers, papers written in defense of federalism and for the adoption of the Constitution into law.

And we have Jefferson, who represents the Democratic-Republican party, the one opposed to the Federalist party.

So we have both sides of the political aisle in the late 18th and early 19th century, the time of the founding of the country, opposed to the modern idea that the "general welfare" clause should be used (abused) in the way it is today by many in both major parties.

Would you say we have drifted?

Would you say that to a man the founders would have stood against this sort of misuse of the Constitution to enable the federal government to do whatever it wanted? The only possible exception I can think of to that would have been Alexander Hamilton, and even he would have been far to the right of today's political center.

"You Lie!"--Obama's Offensive Oration

"South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" after Obama had talked about illegal immigrants." - Fox News article.

Say it ain't so, Joe!

I cannot wait to hear all the fallout from this, especially what Congressman Wilson has to say for himself about it later. I will say this, though. What did you expect, Joe? Of course, he lied. Leftists cannot be truthful about their agenda. If they are they will be rejected.

See here.

And here.

While that was the most interesting thing said at the speech, did anyone notice how deftly Obama tried to position his proposal as centrist, neither right nor left? Yes, he really believes he can get away with that.

And as predicted he simply denied some of the tougher allegations against his plan, no actual refutations necessary.

He did throw a bone to the right by offering to consider some retort reform in the future, but then he outright stated that he planned to take away liberty from millions of Americans by forcing them onto insurance plans that they do not want. Claiming their "irresponsible" behavior costs society too much, Obama cheerfully and unashamedly promised to rob them of liberty and property in the name of the greater good of the collective. Goodbye, liberty. Hello, tyranny.

Obama also noted that he was not the first President to attempt health care reform before adamantly stating that he would be the last. He has drawn a line in the sand. He will have his health care reform bill.

Obama's Speech Tonight

I do not look for anything new here--no changes, no specifics, just the same lame generalities and denials. I will be, frankly, shocked to see anything more than that. There has been no depth to this administration thus far, why should we expect some now? We will get the same tired platitudes and an attempt to blame ignorance and right-wing instigators for all the dissent.

Pay attention and see if I am right about this . . . there will be no substantive refutation of any negative criticism of this plan--only denials. Because they are such rabid idealogues, they will not hesitate to lie with impunity to achieve their ultimate goals. The end always justifies the means with these patricians. Sheer arrogance leads Generalissimo Obama to believe that he can say anything he wants, no matter how patently absurd or obviously false, and because he is so eloquent and we plebians so dull, it will work. This is the plan.

Oh, they may change the labels again, as they have done several times already, but the substance will be the same--more government, less liberty, and the citizen be damned. The citizen doesn't know what's best for him anyway.

A denial is not a refutation.

This administration and Congress have been under relentless attack from the Right--not the Republicans who are still looking around cluelessly, wondering what in the world happened to them the last two election cycles--but from the Right. The Right has been leveling charge after charge against this bill and these accusations, because they have substance behind them, substance like specific page numbers in the house or senate bill, have rung true. If these charges were false and Obama were on the side of truth, then the best thing Obama could do to win the debate and persuade the citizenry of the rightness of his plan would be to argue it substantively, show where the accusations of the Right were either unfounded or misguided, and then speak plain truth to the people.

But he won't.

What he will do is libel the dissenters (ad hominem) and deny the accusations.

Again, a denial is not a refutation and his tactics demonstrate the weakness of their position.

Watch and see if I am right.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The General Welfare

"...promote the general welfare."

This little clause, found twice in the Constitution if I am not mistaken, is the favorite clause of the Left and the one used most often as a pretext to foist whatever form of wealth-redistributing, soft tyranny they wish upon the public. What did the founders, the actual writers of the Constitution, have to say about it?

First, James Madison.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson:
"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the 'Articles of Confederation,' and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted."

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one...."
-- James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792

Now, Thomas Jefferson.

"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

The American Form of Government

I ran across this gem while looking around over at the home page of Walter E. Williams, columnist and professor of economics at George Mason University. I had to bring it here, and though it is ten minutes in length it is well done and most certainly worth your time.

I'm thinking of putting it permanently, somehow, on the front page here, perhaps at the bottom.

Friday, September 4, 2009

UK Doctors Question Treatment of Terminally Ill

The powerful US Health Lobby is at it again, this time subjugating that right-wing mouthpiece (ahem), the Associated Press, and forcing them to promote their sinister propaganda. We hope that the people's best interests shall prevail over these powerful corporate interests. (ahem)

LONDON — A group of senior British doctors expressed concern Thursday about the treatment of the terminally ill, saying some people are dying prematurely because of guidelines for dealing with patients in their final hours.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the six palliative care specialists criticized the "tick-box approach to the management of death" in guidelines used by hundreds of hospitals within Britain's universal health care system.

Britain's system has been at the center of debate at home and in the United States, where opponents of health care reform have used it to attack President Barack Obama's plan for national health insurance. U.S. conservatives have used the British system as a negative example, saying it provides rationed care and allows bureaucrats rather than doctors to make life-and-death decisions.

On Thursday, a leaked consultants' report recommended drastic cuts in the U.K.'s National Health Service to help cope with the ever-rising cost of supporting universal health care — a development that opponents of the U.S. health care reforms are likely to welcome.

Most in Britain defend their NHS, but complaints about bureaucracy are common.
Complete AP aticle is here.

But bureaucracy is so much more efficient . . . I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Property Rights: Who Owns You?

In a free society, the answer to the above question should be obvious. The individual is the owner of and is responsible for himself. This is what was believed by the founders of this country and, for those of you who are Christians, this idea of individual responsibility is fundamental to your faith. You are responsible for your actions. You will give an account to God. No one will stand there with you in that day, including government.

Why, then, the question?

I ask the question because, increasingly, Americans are answering it in the same way it is answered in all the other countries of the world. The state owns you. And to an ever increasing degree, that is true.

If this sounds far-fetched to you, or if you would simply like an elaboration, I invite you to read this op-ed piece written by Walter Williams.

Here is an excerpt:

. . . In a free society, the question of who has the right to harm whom, by permitting rap music and smoking, is answered by the property rights question: Who owns the bar? In a socialistic society, such conflicting harms are resolved through government intimidation and coercion.

What about the right to harm oneself, such as the potential harm that can come from not wearing a seatbelt. That, too, is a property rights question. If you own yourself, you have the right to take chances with your own life. Some might argue that if you're not wearing a seatbelt and wind up a vegetable, society has to take care of you; therefore, the fascist threat "click it or ticket." Becoming a burden on society is not a problem of liberty and private property. It's a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of someone else. That being the case, the government, in the name of reducing health care costs, assumes part ownership of you and as such assumes a right to control many aspects of your life. That Americans have joyfully given up self-ownership is both tragic and sad.
Do you think that our founders would have turned over their rights of self-determination when it comes to medicine in exchange for a massive federal program which taxes people unequally in order to dole out mediocre benefits to all while taking freedom of choice away from them? Are we really ready to give up our rights for this mess of pottage?

The Collective vs. the Individual

The heart and soul of the health care debate hinges on whether one holds to a theory of government which champions the collective or a theory of government which champions the individual. This is evident both from the arguments I have heard proposed on the radio and from a reading of my on-line discourse with our Aussie liberal friend.

Whether it is Marxism, fascism, fabian socialism, Eurpoean-style social democracy, or even old-style monarchial systems, a common thread runs through all. That is this. There are a few elite people, an aristocracy or an oligarchy, who are more qualified to make decisions for the masses than the individuals who make up those masses. This is the modern Left, ironic that it should be so because it is the fallback position of most human government throughout history.

The Right, in this country at least, seeks to steer government away from a collectivist mentality and back toward the innovations and ideals of the founders of this nation . . . Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, These men championed the rights of the individual over that of the collective.

At least this is what the Right is supposed to be about. In recent years, however, it has been more or less just a lighter version of the Left.

The collective . . . "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Logical, is it not? At least Captain Spock thought so in Star Trek II, the Wrath of Khan. But then Admiral Kirk showed him the nobility of the opposite viewpoint in Star Trek III, the Search for Spock.

(Don't you just love Star Trek references?)

The arguments for nationalized health care all run along this theme. They are the product of a collectivist mindset. How can we (the smart people, the beautiful people, the ivy-league-set) make society a better place? They cite statistics to prove, ostensibly, that their system would work better for society as a whole. Nevermind that they trample on the rights of individuals. That's not important. Nevermind that they take away the decision-making ability of individuals, most people don't know what is best for them anyway do they?

This kind of thinking can be seen in articles like this piece from the Los Angeles Times in which it is lamented that the states most vehemently opposed to ObamaCare are those which stand to benefit most from it.

Freedom is a dangerous thing. Individuals who have freedom often act very stupidly with it. They are free to eat what they want, so they overindulge, become obese. The Leftist aristocracy comes along and says, "We have a problem in society--too much obesity. What shall we do?" Then, as if they have been appointed the caretakers of individuals, they seek legislative answers to subjugate the freedom of individuals and stop this obesity "problem." This is what happened with smoking. This is what is happening with health care, right now.

(By the way, it is patently stupid to cite statistics on the general health of a society and believe that the only cause affecting that general health is the medical industry. As Captain Spock might say, "That is illogical." There are many other factors involved, including genetics, environment, diet, daily activity, cultural practices . . . I could not possibly name them all. But such is the illogic of the Left.)

The collectivist, be he a European social democrat, an English monarch of old, or a Leninist from Moscow, would seek to improve society as a whole at the expense of individual liberty. The United States of America, in contrast, has historically been the safehouse of individual liberty. Whether or not this works out best for society as whole--according to the theories of some Harvard elites--is unimportant. In America, the rights of the individual have always been more important than the needs of the collective.

At least until now.

We shall see what this Congress and this President do, whether they will uphold American traditions and values and stop this madness, or whether they will stomp on individual rights and thus stomp on everything our founders believed.

Let us hope and pray for the former.