Patterico's Pontifications

3/22/2010

Watching the Sausage Makers

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 11:31 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Everyone has heard the old saw about people who like sausage and respect the law should never watch either of them being made. I’ve never had occasion to observe the sausage-making process, but as it happens two of my siblings long ago had summer jobs at a slaughterhouse here in the Los Angeles area. For as long as they held those jobs I was regaled almost daily with tales from the “kill floor” and other aspects of the operation that saw livestock go in one end of the building and packaged meat products come out the other. It was those tales, together with the peculiar aroma that seemed stubbornly to cling to my brother and sister even after their after-work showers, that often had me feeling less than at my ease when sitting down to find my plate decked out with pork products.

But none of the tales I heard from my brother and sister, of people slipping about on hogs’ entrails, and of “no part of the animal going to waste,” if you dare to imagine what that might mean, none of it even begins to compare with the gory spectacle we observed this week in Washington. Indeed, if the sausage-making process were revealed to be anywhere near as gruesome as that which produced what has been labeled “health care reform,” demand for sausages would cease overnight.

The health care debate has brought a level of attention to Congress that has seldom been seen, and the light that now shines on our elected representatives is in most cases not a flattering one. Before this circus began, how many Americans would have recognized Nancy Pelosi if she stood up in their soup? Not one in a hundred, I suspect, but now lots and lots of people have had the chance to observe and form conclusions about the Speaker’s demeanor, and my guess is that few of these newly introduced Americans are comforted in the knowledge that Mrs. Pelosi is second in the line of succession to the presidency.

And as for the lesser lights of Congress, it should now be clear to those who heretofore had paid little attention to the goings-on of Washington that a disturbing number of Members are neither especially bright nor especially principled. That so many of them could be threatened, bribed, or cajoled into voting for this monstrosity over the clearly expressed will of the American people is, quite literally, frightening.

It took some time, but I did come to enjoy sausages again. It will be much, much longer before I can respect Congress.

–Jack Dunphy

Reconciliation Marches On

Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 9:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Senate is considering the Reconciliation Bill and dealing with those pesky Republicans:

“After hearing arguments on both sides, [Senate parliamentarian Alan] Frumin said that Democratic plans to push back an excise tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans until 2018 was within the purview of budget rules allowable under the filibuster-proof reconciliation process. The GOP had challenged the language on the grounds that it violated a 1974 budget law because of its impact on the Social Security statute, and was thus subject to a point of order that would doom the bill in the Senate.

Now Republicans say there are a series of other challenges they plan to levy against the bill in the coming days, and believe there is still a chance to knock out the Cadillac tax by arguing it violates the so-called Byrd rule, named after Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), which states that extraneous provisions not related to the budget can be stripped from reconciliation packages. Frumin has not yet ruled on that objection.”

The Parliamentarian’s ruling “leaves a big part of the reconciliation bill intact and makes the road for Democratic passage of the bill much smoother.” It also protects those big union health insurance plans from hefty tax hikes.

Democrats like to say Republicans are in bed with their richest constituents. What does that make Democrats and Unions?

— DRJ

Hillary-isms

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 6:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Vice President Joe Biden is known for his tendency to misspeak but, in a post entitled “Clinton decides that Hamas controls Ramallah,” Carl in Jerusalem shows that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is doing her best to catch up:

“Hillary Clinton has given her speech to the AIPAC conference. You can find the full transcript here (8-page pdf). The headline of this post came in the middle of this speech. It is nothing short of astounding that Clinton is so misinformed (or is she lying?) that she believes Hamas was behind the dedication of that square in Ramallah to mass murderer Dalal al-Mughrabi. Well, it was Fatah.
***
What a bleeping moron. Ramallah – the city that named the square after Dalal al Mughrabi – is controlled by FATAH not Hamas. Dalal al Mughrabi was a FATAH terorrist. FATAH did that dedication – not Hamas. What will it take to get through her thick skull that FATAH ARE TERRORISTS just like Hamas. They just talk more nicely.”

In an Update, Carl explains why this matters:

“I want to make it clear why it’s important that Clinton thinks that Hamas controls Ramallah.

The Obama administration, like every US administration since Bill Clinton’s, is incapable of admitting that Fatah is a terror organization. Only a terror organization would have honored a terrorist like Dalal al-Mughrabi, who was responsible for the murder of 37 Israeli civilians (including 13 children) and one American civilian and the wounding of hundreds of others in what is known as the “Coastal Road massacre.”

So in Clinton’s mind, since Fatah is not a terror organization, Fatah could not have honored al-Mughrabi. So it must be Hamas.

The implications for the ‘peace process’ – the fact that the United States refuses to recognize that it is trying to deal with a terror organization and is asking Israel to make peace with a terror organization – ought to be obvious.”

Carl also points out other discrepancies in Clinton’s statements, such as Clinton’s claim that President Obama’s “commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid.” Here’s what “rock solid” sounded like last July:

“Obama, according to participants, said his approach would build more credibility with Arabs, and he criticized the Bush administration policy of unwavering agreement with Israel as ineffective.”

The relationship between Obama and Israel was already strained following a dispute over Israeli construction in Jerusalem, and now there is a report Obama has invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to a meeting at the White House tomorrow. I’d like to be a fly on that wall.

H/T GatewayPundit.

— DRJ

Nancy Pelosi Leads from the Front

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 5:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Politico looks at Nancy Pelosi’s leadership:

“In 2001, running hard to be House Democratic whip, Nancy Pelosi had a blunt message for her caucus: If she won, she was going to lead from the front — and if colleagues didn’t want that style of leadership, they shouldn’t vote for her.

Sunday night’s historic win for health care reform showed just how real Pelosi’s promise was.
***
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is already warning that she is driving her members “off the cliff.” But Pelosi and her inner circle are convinced that delivering health care reform will re-energize a moribund Democratic base, which has grown less enthusiastic about both President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress as key policy initiatives have been sidetracked by GOP opposition.

“She’s pretty much expecting that this will right the ship,” said a top Pelosi adviser of the health care vote. “To her, this is going to change everything.”

Does Pelosi see herself as Obama’s heir apparent? More important, do Democrats?

— DRJ

What Next?

Filed under: 2010 Election — DRJ @ 5:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What’s next for ObamaCare opponents? Some plan legal action while others are mobilizing for the November elections. Still others may opt for a wait-and-see approach. The Instapundit quotes Randy Barnett, who thinks Obama and the Democrats have awakened the American public:

“This is big. With the passage of the health care bill – especially the way it was passed – the political landscape of the United States has changed, perhaps forever. And I am not referring to the inevitable growth of statism that has resulted from nationalized health care in Europe. I am referring to a clear demarcation between the parties that was not evident in the last election. If John McCain had been elected, we would have had something like this bill enacted last year in a bipartisan fashion – as was Social Security and Medicare. Such a bill would have been irreversible. Now the political consciousness of an enormous number Americans is entirely focused on government and the political class. There is a genuinely grassroots ‘liberty movement’ in this country that has not existed in my lifetime – perhaps not in a century or more. And they are not interested forming in a third party. If the Democratic Party could survive slavery, it should be able to survive the passage of this health care bill. But then again, until the Civil War, slavery was less unpopular in the United States than is this bill.”

Barnett’s description reminds me of Walter Russell Mead’s Jacksonians. During the Bush years, his focus was on the Jacksonian attitude toward war, summarized as “Don’t bother with people abroad, unless they bother you. But if they attack you, then do everything you can.” President Obama and his Democratic Congress have refocused Americans on domestic policies, and there is also a Jacksonian code for domestic affairs.

Steven Den Beste published Mead’s article on The Jacksonian Tradition which explains the Jacksonian code centered on self-reliance, equality, individualism, opportunity and courage. Here’s what Mead said about Jacksonian self-reliance:

“The first principle of this code is self-reliance. Real Americans, many Americans feel, are people who make their own way in the world. They may get a helping hand from friends and family, but they hold their places in the world through honest work. They don’t slide by on welfare, and they don’t rely on inherited wealth or connections. Those who won’t work and are therefore poor, or those who don’t need to work due to family money, are viewed with suspicion. Those who meet the economic and moral tests belong to the broad Middle Class, the folk community of working people that Jacksonians believe to be the heart, soul and spine of the American nation. Earning and keeping a place in this community on the basis of honest work is the first principle of Jacksonian honor, and it remains a serious insult even to imply that a member of the American middle class is not pulling his or her weight in the world.

Jacksonian honor must be acknowledged by the outside world. One is entitled to, and demands, the appropriate respect: recognition of rights and just claims, acknowledgment of one’s personal dignity. Many Americans will still fight, sometimes with weapons, when they feel they have not been treated with the proper respect. But even among the less violent, Americans stand on their dignity and rights. Respect is also due age. Those who know Jacksonian America only through its very inexact representations in the media think of the United States as a youth-obsessed, age-neglecting society. In fact, Jacksonian America honors age. Andrew Jackson was sixty-one when he was elected president for the first time; Ronald Reagan was seventy. Most movie stars lose their appeal with age; those whose appeal stems from their ability to portray and embody Jacksonian values—like John Wayne—only become more revered.”

Regarding Jacksonian courage:

“Finally, courage is the crowning and indispensable part of the code. Jacksonians must be ready to defend their honor in great things and small. Americans ought to stick up for what they believe.”

Mead thinks many Americans are Jacksonians, willing to live and let live until something interferes with their way of life. I agree and I think Obama and the Democrats have awakened Jacksonian America in the past year, especially with health care. Are there enough Jacksonian Americans and will they stand up with courage for what they believe? We’ll see on November 2, 2010.

— DRJ

“Embattled” AG Eric Holder

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 10:05 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

PowerLine links to an AFP article regarding the strained relationship between President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder:

“[T]he final straw for Holder may be the increasing distance between him and Obama on national security issues.

The White House has relented on its original insistence to prosecute five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks before a civilian court in New York City. Strongly defended by Holder, the plan was intended in part as a symbolic gesture to showcase how differently Obama dealt with the prickly subject than his predecessor.

Holder has refused to back away from the plan even as reports suggest the White House will agree to prosecute the five men before a military court in return for Republican support for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.”

The AFB article concludes that a “series of gaffes, fights with both Republicans and Democrats, and apparent disagreements between him and the White House have left Holder looking increasingly embattled.”

This is probably the normal conflict that goes along with strong personalities serving in powerful government positions. But it would also be a convenient time for the Obama Administration to use its health care win as cover for easing Holder out as Attorney General.

— DRJ

Will Illegals Have to Buy That Mandatory Health Insurance? Will They Be Fined If When They Don’t?

Filed under: General,Health Care,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:28 am

Once mandatory purchasing of health insurance kicks in, will that apply to illegals as well?

And if they show up to the ER without insurance, are they going to be fined?

Or will they be the one class of persons exempt from the mandatory requirement?

I can’t easily find the answer to this question. I know that as of July 2009, Michelle Malkin reported that one version of the plan “creates a new preference for illegal aliens by exempting them from the mandate to buy insurance.” Is that still the case?

Here in California, State Senator Gil Cedillo once actually proposed legislation to exempt illegal immigrants from state laws punishing people who fail to purchase auto insurance. That measure failed, and we may never see such a provision written into law for health care insurance — but somehow I think the problem will be handled by a culture of nonenforcement. To the extent the issue arises, the liberals will tell us it would be cruel and wrong to impose the same sanctions on illegals that the rest of us face for noncompliance.

After all, that’s how they’re handling the issue of giving free care to illegals: technically rule it out and then gut the enforcement. Wouldn’t they do the same on the mandate?


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