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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

BRITISH "OBAMACARE" UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

Since ObamaCare is, in no small part, modeled on the British National Health System (NHS), I thought you might be interested in Padraic Flanagan and Laura Donnelly's article in London's Daily Telegraph. 

Here are a few highlights.  Please pay particular attention to the paragraphs I've put in bold print:

At least 1,000 hospital patients are dying needlessly each month from dehydration and poor care by doctors and nurses, according to an NHS study.

The deaths from acute kidney injury could be prevented by simple steps such as nurses ensuring patients have enough to drink and doctors reviewing their medication, the researchers say.

Between 15,000 and 40,000 patients die annually because hospital staff fail to diagnose the treatable kidney problem, a figure that dwarfs the death toll from superbugs like MRSA.

The report comes less than a year after the NHS watchdog NICE was forced to issue guidelines on giving patients water after it found that 42,000 deaths a year could be avoided if staff ensured the sick were hydrated.

It highlighted how old and vulnerable patients can be left on wards without fluids, quickly becoming too weak from dehydration to request a drink from nurses, which hastens their deterioration.

"Many of the failings identified in the report related to basic medical care, such as checking of electrolytes, performance of physiological observations and adequate senior review," the researchers found.

How can this be?  How can this happen?  Are doctors and nurses indifferent to their patients' health?  Or are they overwhelmed by the system as it is, and forced to make decisions as to who will and will not be helped?

How can seniors, in particular, be treated this way?  Has a conscious decision been made that, with limited resources, they are the ones who fall to the back of the line?  And, if so, does that mean the people making these decisions are, in fact, "death panels"?

Take a good, long look at what you just read.  Because it is not at all out of the question that, before too long, you will be reading the same about hospitals not in Britain, but in Boston.  And New York.  And Chicago, and Kankakee, and Podunk Station.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 07:48 AM   Add Comment

THE NEW YORK TIMES & THE SUPREME COURT MICHIGAN DECISION

Ken Berwitz

Since the previous blog discussed an excellent (if belated) editorial by the Washington Post, let's go to the other side and look at a foolish, even bizarre, one from the New York Times.

As you are probably aware, The Supreme Court ruled, yesterday, that Michigan - and, therefore, other states as well -  was within its constitutional rights to allow voters to ban the use of criteria such as race and gender in college admission policies.

The New York Times, being a decidedly liberal-left publication, is, of course,  thrilled at this ruling, because it celebrates equality and reaffirms Martin Luther King's famous ideal of people being judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character, right? 

Uh....nope.  The Times, being today's version of liberal-left, is outraged by it.

You can read the paper's entire editorial - with its remarkable title, "Racial Equality Loses at the Court", by clicking here.  But let me give you a few "highlights":

A blinkered view of race in America won out in the Supreme Court on Tuesday when six justices agreed, for various reasons, to allow Michigan voters to ban race-conscious admissions policies in higher education.

"This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it."

Not so, Justice Sonia Sotomayor responded, in a stinging 58-page dissent. "Our Constitution places limits on what a majority of the people may do," she wrote, such as when they pass laws that oppress minorities.

In response to her pointed rebuke, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote a terse concurrence chiding Justice Sotomayor for questioning her colleagues' "openness and candor." Yet the chief justice's own words on race show no true understanding of what she called America's "long and lamentable record" of rigging the political game against racial minorities. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," he wrote glibly in a 2007 case striking down school integration efforts in Washington and Kentucky. "Things have changed dramatically" 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, he wrote last year in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a provision of that act.

These quotes represent a naive vision of racial justice. As Justice Sotomayor put it, "we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society."

As you can see, the Times is 100% in Justice Sotomayor's corner on giving preferences to minorities, even after 50 years of the United States passing laws to insure they have full legal redress against discrimination.

Remind me:  Isn't Ms. Sotomayor the one who said "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a White male who hasn’t lived that life"?  

We are supposed to be lectured on equality from someone who has told us, in so many words, that, because of her Latina ancestry, she is better able to judge things than White men?  How does that differ from a KKKer telling us White people, by virtue of the richness of their experiences in western civilization and their skin color, are smarter and more productive than Blacks or Latinos?

But this is all lost on the Times' editorial board. Just as the simple truth of Justice Roberts' view that you stop discrimination by stopping discrimination, not by creating more of it as Ms. Sotomayor and the Times would like.

It's funny (in a strange, not ha-ha way) how the world has changed in recent times.  When I was growing up the ideal was that all people should be treated equally, and the racists who demanded that there be different sets of rules based on skin color were all on the right.

Boy, has that changed.  Look at who the two-sets-of rules people are now.  And marvel at the fact that the left wing racists we are seeing today, actually think they are the tolerant ones.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 07:35 AM   Add Comment

SYRIA TODAY: THE RESULTS OF OUR "DEAL"

Ken Berwitz

Anyone remember the "deal' President Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry, made with Syria, through its Russian puppeteers?  Click here to remind yourself of just how ridiculous, how naive, how ineffective, how one-sided in favor of Syria and Russia it was.

Well, that "deal" was cut about 7 months ago.  So now we can look back and see how things have worked out.

The answer, of course, is that they has not worked out.  Not at all.  Estimates of the Syrian dead now hover around the 150,000 mark, Lebanon has been crushed by something like 1,000,000 Syrian refugees, and the chemical weapons Syrian President bashar al-assad was supposed to turn over?  Not only does he still have them, there are credible reports that he is openly using them.

Things are so bad there, and al-assad is so much stronger, that the Washington Post could not take it any longer.  Here are the first two paragraphs of yesterday's editorial - and be assured that the rest is every bit as disdainful:

BASHAR AL-ASSAD is feeling confident enough to schedule an election six weeks from now that will extend his term as president by another seven years. And why not? Three years into the country's civil war, Syrian government forces continue to make significant gains against rebels. This week they are reported to be close to recapturing the city of Homs, once considered the capital of the resistance. The regime has returned to using chemical weapons with impunity: Half a dozen attacks involving chlorine gas have been reported by opposition forces since last month. Though Mr. Assad is blockading the delivery of humanitarian aid to 4 million civilians in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution, there has been no reaction.

Meanwhile, the United States - the one power with the means to end the horrific crimes against humanity that are paving Mr. Assad's road to "reelection" - no longer even pretends to have a strategy. On March 26, Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson responded to questions about the administration's policy from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by promising a classified briefing. Secretary of State John F. Kerry made the same pledge when senators from both parties demanded answers on April 8. The briefing has not yet been scheduled.

Sad to say, this is a case study for anyone who wonders why the United States has lost so much credibility as a world power during Barack Obama's presidency.

And the fact that this editorial, coming over half a year since the "deal" was struck, is such a rarity in mainstream media is a case study in just how far those media are willing to go to cover for this woefully incompetent, inept administration. (Think about it:  how many stories on Syria have you come across in print or broadcast media over the past three months?)

Looking at our Syria "deal", negotiated with Russia, does anyone wonder why vladimir putin did not think twice about expropriating Crimea from The Ukraine?  Or of massing his troops at its other borders, presumably so they will be able to move in and take more at a time of his choosing?

The United States used to be respected and feared.  Now it is neither. You tell me:  is the world safer or less safe for it?

Three more years of Obama.  God help us.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 07:09 AM   Add Comment

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

GAY PRIDE: AN EXCELLENT STATEMENT

Ken Berwitz

This was posted to my facebook account by our pal Special Ed Robin.  I think it says a great deal in very few words.  See if you agree:


Brighton & Hove Pride - Official Page's photo.


Yep.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 19:34 PM   Add Comment

IS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY A RIGHT WING CONCEPT?

Ken Berwitz

Strange title, wouldn't you say?

But after reading the blog by Josh Gerstein, Maggie Severns and Stephanie Simon of politico.com, I have to wonder.

Read the first three paragraphs and see why:

The Supreme Court delivered another setback to affirmative action Tuesday, easing the way for states to bar public colleges from considering race in admissions and to prohibit officials from taking race into account in hiring and contracting.

The decision upheld a constitutional amendment in Michigan voters approved in 2006, banning preferential treatment based on race, gender, ethnicity or national origin.

The outcome of the case was not a shock, but the lopsided, 6-2 vote signaled the court's continuing rightward shift on issues of race.

Banning discrimination by race, gender or ethnicity or national origin is a rightward shift?????????????? 

I keep re-reading those words, trying to figure out how it could be, given that the corollary, allowing discrimination based on those criteria, would then be more centrist in nature.  Do the folks at politico.com think intentional discrimination is a centrist position?  (Actually, the truth is that discrimination, these days, is far more a left wing position than right wing.  But that deserves a full blog, not just a squib within this one).

Let me ask another question:  if preference based on race, gender, ethnicity or national origin is centrist, then does it follow that the segregated south, which engaged in overt racial discrimination - something I have always thought of as despicable - had a valid point?  Gender-wise, does it mean that the companies my wife applied for work at, with her newly acquired college degree, were correct in primarily being interested in how many words a minute she typed?

Let's remember that this is not the 1950's or 60's, when overt discrimination was rampant and few serious laws offering redress for such discrimination were on the books.  This is 2014, over a half century later.  

Yet, as can be seen above, believing in equality apparently is a very thorny issue to some people.  I happen not to be one of them.  Are you?

Oh, one other thing, in the form of a quick one-question quiz:  which President initiated race-based affirmative action? Was it FDR? Was it JFK?  Was it LBJ?

Uh....no.  Actually it was RMN.  That's right, Richard Nixon.  His "Philadelphia Plan", in 1970, was the first of its kind.  And, at the time, it was a damn good idea.  Many people, with consummate ignorance, write Nixon off as an ultra-conservative.  In fact, as proven by the Philadelphia Plan, his endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment, implementation of wage-price controls, the EPA, OSHA and détente with China among others, Nixon was actually a remarkably successful social engineer.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 17:33 PM   Add Comment

WANTED: A BIRD BRAIN

Ken Berwitz

For the second straight year, birds have, for some reason, taken up residence in our chimney. 

Last year they stuck around for a couple of weeks - which was more than plenty.  This year it is already over two weeks and they are still happily ensconced among the soot and ashes. 

I keep telling my wife that they'll be gone any day now.  She keeps giving me the rolling-eye look and complaining that their incessant chirping is in competition with her TV shows (NOTE:  my wife read this and says I have it all wrong:  she can hear the shows, it's just that she wants them out.  "By this time, either they pay rent or leave").

Apparently ornithology is no match for The Voice, The Real Housewives of (pick a city) and American Idol.

If anyone has a good idea as to how to send them on their way, unharmed of course, I'm all ears...assuming I can hear you over the chirps.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 16:05 PM   3 comments

WASHINGTON POST'S HARD-LEFT HIRE: THE FIX IS IN

Ken Berwitz

Ever hear of Philip Bump?  If not, you will - he is the Washington Post's latest hire for its "The Fix" web site.

Dailycaller.com's Brendan Bordelon has the lowdown on Bump - who is an aggressively far-left hatchet man if there ever was one - and you can read it by clicking here.  But, in the meanwhile, here's just a taste:

According to the political blog San Jose Inside, in 2009 Bump worked for the South Bay Labor Council (SBLC), a Silicon Valley-based union group with a penchant for making the political personal.

Bump, for his part, was SBLC's political director and administrator of "San Jose Revealed," a pro-union website which published vitriolic hit pieces against the Council’s perceived enemies.

Under his direction, "San Jose Revealed" published the personal address - obtained under spurious circumstances - of a frequent target of pro-union groups. This individual's home was later vandalized, with property destroyed and defiled with swastika graffiti.

Bump also reportedly published a map to the house of a deputy district attorney who prosecuted violent Bay Area gangs for a living, shamed a local business owner's daughter for an unpaid garbage bill and posted the Match.com dating profile of an opposing local politician.

A cursory review of even his most recent articles for The Wire - one mocking former Republican governor Jeb Bush’s bank account, one admittedly "trolling" the conservative Heritage Foundation for "making Obamacare work," still another suggesting inherent racism in the Republican Party - reveals a talented writer with an unapologetically progressive bent.

Just what the Washington Post needs to even things out.  An ultra-leftist, to bring it back from it's overload of conservative personne....oh, wait.

On a more serious note, it is not easy for a paper like the Washington Post to lurch leftward - not considering where it is right now.  But lurch leftward it most certainly has.

Congratulations guys.  I assume you know who and what Philip Bump is, so I assume you got what you wanted.  

Hopelessly Partisan @ 14:10 PM   Add Comment

CHARLIE CRIST: EXACTLY WHAT WE DON'T LIKE ABOUT POLITICIANS

Ken Berwitz

In 2006, Charlie Crist was elected the Republican Governor of Florida. 

In 2010, he declined to run for re-election, instead running for the US Senate.

He lost the Republican primary to Marco Rubio...

...whereupon he immediately left the Republican party and ran as an independent.

He lost to Rubio by almost 20% (with Kendrick Meeks, the Democrats, well behind both candidates).

Crist then became a Democrat and started attacking the exact same people he had supported as a Republican.

As a Republican, Christ was both pro-life and against same-sex marriages. 

Now that he is a Democrat he is pro-choice, and supports same-sex marriages.

In short, Charlie Crist is anything he has to be to get votes.  Do you doubt that he would become a social conservative again if the Republican Party somehow welcomed him back?

If this is not exactly what we don't like about politicians, please tell me what is.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 09:11 AM   1 comment

OBAMACARE: WILL DEMOCRATS PROUDLY RUN ON IT?

Ken Berwitz

If you ask President Obama, and DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and assorted other Democrats who are completely safe politically, either because they are not running anymore or come from a heavily Democrat district, ObamaCare is a wonderful system, everyone either loves it or should love it, and it should proudly be featured in their 2014 midterm campaigns.

Then there are the Democrats with a chance of losing.

A Fox News poll, released yesterday, shows that political independents - those are the folks who usually swing elections one way or the other - shows that independent voters say they will back candidates who are against ObamaCare...by a margin of 54% to 29%.  And that about half the entire sample (51%) calls ObamaCare the single worst thing that Barack Obama has done as President.

At this point ObamaCare proponents will probably be saying "hey, it's a Fox News poll, those people hate the President, so they've just cooked the books on ObamaCare."  If I were one of them, I'd probably be saying that too. 

But their problem is that Fox - unlike a lot of other supposedly more "neutral' polls - has its research done jointly by Anderson Robbins Research, a Democrat polling outfit, and Shaw & Company Research, a Republican outfit.  So if there were any overt fudging of the study designs, questions, or data on behalf of one side, it stands to reason that the other side would be screaming about it.  Neither is.

In fact, you would have to go back to January to find any major poll from any source showing a positive reaction to ObamaCare.  You would have to go back to mid-2011 (that's right, almost three years ago), to any instance at all where three or more consecutive polls showed the country favoring ObamaCare.

And let's remember that this polling, conducted April 13 - 15, was done two weeks after Democrats, along with most media, were heralding the claim of 7 - 8 million sign-ups, and assuring us of how this meant ObamaCare was a big success.

So:  do you think Democrats in competitive races will be embracing ObamaCare this year?  If so, take two anti-naivete pills and see me in the morning after election day.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 08:39 AM   Add Comment

Monday, 21 April 2014

OBAMACARNAGE: THE COST OF INSURANCE

Ken Berwitz

Among the many - and still growing number of - lies the President and his fellow Democrats have told us about ObamaCare, is the absolute BS that it is lowering health care costs.

I could write about this, but I would be re-inventing the wheel, since Paul Mirengoff at powerlineblog.com has done such a terrific job of it.

Click here to read his full commentary.   But, meanwhile, let me give you just a taste (the bold print is mine):

One of the supposed benefits of Obamacare was that, somehow, it would "bend the cost curve" for health care cost - in other words, slow the rate of growth of these costs. Just how providing subsidized health care to millions would accomplish this feat was never clear. But the claim, nonetheless, was part of the sales pitch.

...most economists attribute the "bent" cost curve, which predates the passage of Obamacare, primarily to the impact of the recession. As the New York Times explains, the more that workers lost their jobs and health coverage, the less their families spent on health care.

But now, employment is rising steadily (albeit slowly). Thus, the New York Times reports that health care costs are surging:

"Following several years of decline, 2013 was striking for the increased use by patients of all parts of the U.S. health care system," Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, said in a statement. . . .

The annual pace of spending growth on health care increasing to 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, from 1.3 percent in the first quarter. That 5.6 percent growth rate is the highest since 2004. . . .

Many. . .analysts said they had long expected health spending to increase. "If we are seeing an uptick, it's the beginning of the uptick," said Drew Altman, the president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. "We've expected to see a lagged effect, both when the economy declines and when it improves."

The uptick that began in 2013 can be expected to continue, and probably accelerate, as (1) millions of previously uninsured Americans (how many millions remains to be seen) obtain health insurance as a result of Obamacare and (2) previously insured Americans are forced to replace catastrophic-type plans with plans that cover virtually everything.

Both of these developments will mean more visits to doctors' offices, more hospital stays, and more purchases of prescription medication. In some cases, the spending will be beneficial to the patient; in others, it will be wasteful. In all instances, it will contribute to higher health care costs.

In other words, it is probable that we have had a temporary drop in health care costs because the Obama economy has been so bad for so long.  But now, the combination of a recovery - an anemic one, but a recovery nonetheless - formerly uninsured people utilizing ObamaCare coverage, and people who had "disaster insurance" now being forced to buy "everything" insurance whether they want it or not,  is going to push insurance premiums up - probably by plenty.

Is some of this good (e.g. formerly uninsured people obtaining coverage)?  Yes it is.  But instead of coming up with innovations which would provide health care for the relatively small percentage of uninsured, ObamaCare has ruined it for just about everyone who had been satisfied with their coverage...with a major soaking of taxpayers as an extra-added attraction.  Which is disastrous.

Anyone who believes this will result in cost savings instead of significantly higher insurance premiums, better wake up and smell the ObamaCare.

Hopelessly Partisan @ 20:27 PM   Add Comment

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