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Hitchens On Maureen Dowd’s Column Yesterday –“Drivel”– and Speaker Pelosi’s Lying About What She Knew About Waterboarding

Thursday, May 14, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here’s the transcript of yesterday’s conversation with Christopher Hitchens.

The podcast is here. Yesterday’s Dowd column blaming Dick Cheney for all future terrorist attacks in the U.S. no matter when or where they occur marks the most obvious case of end stage BDS I have ever seen, and the low point in the opinion section of the New York Times, until of course Dowd writes again. “Drivel” is exactly right, but Dowd’s anticipatory defense of President Obama’s innocence of any responsibility for a future terrorist attack is a signal that even the left knows the new president is dismantling the defenses brick by brick.

Columnist-to-the-world Mark Steyn leads off today’s program from Cleveland and we’ll go over Maureen’s descent into driveldom, followed by the second hour of my two-hour interview with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (the transcript of the first hour is here), and a replay of my interview with the Washington Post’s Jay Matthews about his very compelling book on the Knowledge Is Power Program –KIPP– Work Hard, Be Nice. I have been telling audiences across the country on the “100 Days of Obama Tour” that Jay’s book is one of the most important books of 2009 and the most important book on education reform in many years. It is also an inspiring read for anyone who cares about the possibility of resurrecting public education where it has failed most massively –in the urban core.

Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

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The Rush To Rationing, Con’t. Old Folks, Get Those Burial Plans Updated

Thursday, May 14, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Finally, a lobbyist sends along the outline of the Waxman plan that will issue from the House to the Conference on Obama/Pelosi/Reid rationing:

The Waxman bill will include:
  • Mandates
    • Individual mandate for all Americans to purchase health insurance.
    • Employer mandate-those who don’t offer insurance will be fined or taxed, not sure which
  • National health insurance exchange.
    • Government will regulate private plans, mandate minimum benefits.
    • Three tier-options will exist for each plan.
    • Individuals and families up to 400% FPL will be given a sliding scale of subsidies to purchase plans in the exchange
    • New regulations private insurance regarding rating and guarantee issue
  • A federal public option will compete with private plans.
    • States can create their own public plans, opting out of the federal public plan.
    • A Medicare payment structure will be used for reimbursement.
    • Public plans will be geographically rated.
  • “Evidenced based medicine practices” will be adopted in the public plan and Medicare/Medicaid (sounds like CE)
  • Incentives to employers to keep employees healthy.
  • Medicaid eligible patients will still receive traditional Medicaid.
  • Workforce issues will be addressed-increasing primary care doctors, loan reimbursements, etc.
  • Expansion of community health centers
  • Improved data collection

The last bullet is my favorite: We can chart the declining expected life span as the elderly get “delayed” into dying. Rationing under such an unbelievably complicated bureaucracy as this one is of the very quiet sort. You never get denied urgently needed medical care. You just never get approved to receive it.

BTW: The MSM continues to write in broad generalities about the approach of rationing, proving again that no matter how radical the proposal, if it is part of the president’s agenda, it deserves a fair shot at being passed before it is examined critically by the Beltway press.

A “No” Vote Grows In California, And What It Means For Obama/Pelosi/Reid Rationing

Wednesday, May 13, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The majorities rejecting the attempt to tax California into a brave new world are growing, and Arnold and his tax-and-spend-and-tax-again Democratic allies are facing an embarrassing meltdown in next week’s vote in California.

The tax hike crowd have spent massively on the initiatives and Arnold is stumping furiously, but the no vote is fueled by voter anger at the enormous surge in spending in the Golden State over the past decade, and by the refusal to make serious reforms in the way the state runs. The public pension problem is also beginning to come into view, and ordinary voters are shocked at the amount of spending the public employee unions have carved out of the legislature.

The single biggest driver behind the “no” vote is, however, the dishonesty of the “yes” campaign. The brain trust in Sacramento decided to try and sell their massive tax hike and theft of money from designated funds as a “spending cap,” and in so doing conveyed enormous contempt for the voters. Every time Arnold calls Measure 1A and its sister stealth proposals as other than a massive tax hike and a series of tax grabs –1D is literally stealing money from kids programs like dentistry and autism/asthma treatment even as the legislature kept its cars and staffs– the public feels, correctly, that Arnold and the Sacramento Dems thinks they are idiots. The smart guys running the campaign have managed to telegraph a sneer with every add that shows a weary fireman pleading with the voters not to end firefighting in the state. Voters know they are being conned, and no amount of campaign spending can erase the complete knowledge that the electeds and their sharpie advisors think the voters a vast crowd of fools.

The significance of the “no” vote on !A through 1E is that it signals more of the same disgust as powered the Tea Parties: Government is too large, takes too much of our money, and lies about doing so. President Obama’s personal popularity through his honeymoon period is obscuring the rising disgust with the massive expansion of the federal government that is underway, but that disgust is real, and it will grow larger when the public gets a clear vision of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid attempt to ration health care.

On yesterday’s program I played a clip of Professor Stuart Altman’s testimony before a Senate committee meeting devoted to the radical restructuring of health care. Professor Altman got perilously close to candor:

People are using technologies that really don’t work at all or keep people alive for very limited or very high costs, hospice is one option, but we do need to take account of the costs, ya know, I hate to say it, the cost benefits of some of the things we do.

As I told the audience yesterday, this is a message to older Americans that they are the target of health care “reform,” and that they are going to find themselves the first to run into rationing. Mortuaries should be gearing up for the transition to ObamaCare because the life expectancy of the elderly is going to take a sudden turn for the worse under any cost-benefit analysis of treatment of older Americans.

This brush with candor will be the exception, I think, but the experience in California gives me hope for the coming battle. The Obama/Pelosi/Reid coalition of those willing to let other people die in the cause of lowering health care costs will try and sell the radical restructuring as other than it is –which is rationing. In so doing they will be repeating Arnold’s mistake of contempt for the electorate. Even though the MSM in California is nearly as craven in its coverage of the propositions as the MSM in the Beltway has been in its coverage of Obama, the reality of the proposed laws will get through. President Obama is insulated from the public for another 40 months, but Democrats who want to ration care have to present themselves for re-election in a year and a half, and the old people and the families of the significantly disabled –who along with the elderly will be pushed out the hospital and clinic door by Obama/Pelosi/Reid– will get their say then. And it is likely to be as loud as that about to be heard in California.

The 100 Days of Obama tour heads to Chicago tonight and Cleveland tomorrow. At each of the first eight stops the great crowds have been full of enthusiasm and constructive energy. The GOP needs only to clearly present and argue its case against the massive bloating of the federal budget, the apology rhetoric of the president and especially health care rationing, and its fortunes will revive quickly. It remains a center-right country, as next week’s vote in California will demonstrate.

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