Health Care Reform — Now It’s Personal — Obama Video Address: August 22, 2009

In this week’s video address, President Obama takes another stab at calming fears about impending health care reform legislation. The basic points:

  • The new bill will federally fund abortions — BUNK
  • The new bill will make it easier for illegal aliens to get free health care — BUNK
  • The new bill will incentivise euthanasia — BUNK
  • The new bill is a total takeover of the health care system — BUNK

Obama repeats another statement that he has been making consistently and that up until recently I felt was misleading. He stated that if you like your current insurance you’ll get to keep it. I have always argued that your insurance choices are dictated by your company and if they dump all choices but the public option, then you will indeed have to make a change. I tuned into Obama’s meeting with Organizing for America (OFA) at the DNC headquarters last week and finally someone asked him how this statement could be true. For the first time I heard an answer. The bill will contain what Obama referred to as a “firewall” which will explicitly make it illegal for companies to “dump” their employees into the public option. With this measure in place, my only major misgiving about the legislation has been answered.

In the days since Obama recorded this message, the fight for health care has become even more personal. Of course, for Obama it always was since his mother spent her final months fighting with insurance companies to pay for her cancer treatments. But the latest event to make the matter more personal was the passing last night of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat from Massachusetts. Kennedy spent decades fighting for universal health care and it was a prime imperative that he thrust upon the new President, even before Obama was elected.

Admittedly, I have mixed feelings about the politicization of Kennedy’s death. There seems to be a theme emerging among politicians with a pro-reform agenda, that to oppose the new health care bill is to dishonor the memory of Senator Kennedy. I consider this emotional blackmail and to some degree, disrespectful of the late Senator. Be that as it may, Kennedy himself would probably be quite pleased if his death “guilted” the opposition into cooperating with reform. We shall see what the impact is in the coming weeks.

And now the President of the United States of America:

The Kennedy Paradox

While we’re on the subject of Kennedy’s passing, one cannot let the event go by without discussing the unusual paradox that is the Kennedy clan. Legend has it that John and Robert Kennedy were voracious philanderers, even going so far as to “share” Marilyn Monroe. Ted Kennedy’s own presidential aspirations were ruined by his own detestable handling of an automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in which a female former campaign worker of Robert Kennedy was killed. We live in a forgiving country (can anyone say “David Vitter”?) and had the accident at Chappaquiddick happened last year and not 40 years ago, I still think the ultimate reaction would have been of forgiveness.

Yet the paradox remains. Embodied in the Kennedy brothers was at once an unsteady moral compass, at least in matters of sexuality, and a dogged commitment to public service. Few men have served this country so long and with such dedication as Ted Kennedy. There are those for whom Chappaquiddick erases any good deeds Kennedy did before or since. For me, the Kennedy’s teach us how complicated it is to be a human being and how readily good and evil can co-exist within us all.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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How the Death Panel Gets You Your 15 Minutes of Fame

This morning I watched the extended interview between Jon Stewart and Betsy McCaughey and I have to admit it saddens me that it takes a comedian to show what a horse’s ass this woman is. If only this interview could have been conducted before Sarah Palin took the dynamite stick and lit a match to it, perhaps the entire “Death Panel” controversy could have been averted.

For your reference, here are links to the full interview:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-20-2009/betsy-mccaughey-pt–1

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-17-2009/exclusive—betsy-mccaughey-extended-interview-pt–1

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-17-2009/exclusive—betsy-mccaughey-extended-interview-pt–2

While Ms. McCaughey apparently lost her Director position at a medical device company, she at least managed to get more than her 15 minutes of fame. This got me to thinking that perhaps my fast track to fame could go similarly. Join me on a flight of fancy for a few moments:

The House of Representatives writes a bill to help inner city kids. A portion of Bill 1234ABC appears below:

Article 1.
Every year, 2.5 million dollars shall be allocated across the country to establish and maintain playgrounds in inner city neighborhoods so that children will have a safe and constructive place to congregate, keeping them off the streets and out of mischief.

Article 2.
To monitor the progress of this program, volunteers shall be solicited by the government to periodically visit these playgrounds, observe the activities and conditions there, and report back on findings.

Blogger Rutherford Lawson reads the bill and alarms go off in his head. Who are these volunteers monitoring the playgrounds? Will they be given background checks as part of the volunteer process? Bill sounds dangerous. We don’t want “strange” people observing kids at playgrounds.

Lawson’s comments go into limited circulation until they are seen by several vocal national figures. The story progresses:

Sarah Palin writes on her Facebook page: “I will not allow my Down Syndrome baby to grow up in a country that allows child rapists to salivate over his every move! A country that allows this is a country that is evil.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner comments: “I knew that President Obama and I disagreed on a lot of policy issues, but I never believed until now that he supported perverts.”

Michele Bachmann: “This is the first step down a slippery slope to Saddam and Gonorrhea! Oh, by the way, God told me to say that.”

Michelle Malkin: “My investigative efforts have unearthed the following critical fact. Have you ever noticed that in the immediate aftermath of Michael Jackson’s death, Obama never condemned the freak for his history of child abuse? What does this say about our President?”

Before you know it, the protesters are out in full force. This is just one of the posters seen at rallies:

Uncle Sam Perv

Well, now all I need to do is find a real bill, totally distort it, and then I’m off to the races!

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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30 Years to Life — or Cancer, Whichever Comes First

Apparently we have entered the age of  “compassion” for the guilty.

The first case that struck me was that of the “Great Train Robber”, Ronnie Biggs. Ronnie was convicted in the early 60’s of a huge haul from a mail train. During the heist, a man was knocked unconscious but not killed. Ronnie was sentenced to 30 years in the slammer. Ronnie escaped and spent about the entire time of his sentence on the run, much of it in Brazil. In 2001, Ronnie, his health on the decline, suddenly decided he’d be better off in a British prison and surrendered himself to the authorities. Now by my reckoning, that means old Ronnie should not have been released from prison until 2031. But you see, old Ronnie got pneumonia and the Brits felt sorry for him and commuted his sentence. As it turns out, he was too ill to actually leave the prison hospital and as far as I know, he is there to this day.

When I first heard the story I said to myself “what gives”? He’s sick. So what? He was sentenced and the sentence should be served. Little did I know that just a couple of weeks later a new case would make the Biggs story look like Romper Room.

On August 20, Scotland released Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi who had been serving a life sentence for involvement in the explosion of Flight 103 over Lockerbie. Was his case overturned on appeal? No. He was released on “compassionate” grounds because he has termnal prostate cancer. The only form of death penalty that I favor is the spiritual death that results from a lifetime in prison. There are people who show such reckless disregard for life that they should not be allowed to live among civilized people.  Megrahi was one such person.

I watched a relative of one of the victims of Flight 103 comment this morning. She said that she found it so ironic that this man was boarding a plane that would safely take him home to Libya, when his actions 21 years earlier made Flight 103 the last flight any of its victims would ever take.

This post does not need to be a long one. The time for compassion is at sentencing. If there are mitigating circumstances that dictate that a man should not go to jail for life, then you don’t sentence him to life. If you do sentence him to life, it means until he dies and it doesn’t matter what he dies of … stabbed and beaten by other inmates, or prostate cancer. It does not matter. A life sentence is a life sentence.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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