Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sotomayor: Pro-Abortion, Anti-Gun

Information is starting to come out indicating that Sonia Sotomayor shares Barack Obama's pro-abortion and anti-gun-rights views. Those views could hurt her chances of being confirmed, as some Democratic Senators who have claimed to be pro-life and/or pro-Second Amendment may have difficult times explaining to constituents why they supported her.

Note: On my DraftPalin2012 blog, I'm printing some controversial comments about the death of abortionist Dr. George Tiller. Would love to see your comments

Senators who have taken some pro-life positions in the past include Tim Johnson of SD and Bob Casey of PA. Senators who have been pro-gun include (amazingly) Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders of VT, Jacob Tester and Max Baucus of MT, Nick Begich of AL, and PA's Casey. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY was pro-gun when she represented a conservative district but has now apparently switched miraculously to being a gun-control advocate. (In the House, which has no say in Sotomayor's confirmation, 105 Democrats recently voted for pro-gun legislation related to concealed carry.) The two Senators from NM (Bingamen and Udall), a pro-gun state, are wild cards. However, they tend to vote slavishly with Obama.

Tomorrow I'll write more about Sotomayor's bizarre judicial opinion stating that the Second Amendment does not apply to states. (The Supreme Court decision that the Bill of Rights applied to the states was resolved early in the 19th century, a precedent Sotomayor apparently missed in her days at Yale Law.)

Today, I'm reprinting reports from on Sotormayor's pro-abortion stance.

White House Says Obama Comfortable With Sonia Sotomayor's Abortion Views
Washington, DC ( -- In a lengthy press conference late Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fielded more than 40 questions about where Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor stands on the issue of abortion. Gibbs reiterated that President Barack Obama did not ask Sotomayor directly about her abortion views but talked enough about legal theory with her that he feels comfortable with her abortion stance. "In their discussions they talked about the theory of constitutional interpretation, generally including her views on unenumerated rights and the Constitution and the theory of settled law," he said. "He left very comfortable with her interpretation of the Constitution being similar to that of his, though the bulk of the conversation was about her approach to judging." Gibbs largely ducked questions about Sotomayor's abortion views or her position on a so-called "right to privacy" that has been used to validate abortion. He retreated to his boilerplate language saying that Obama and Sotomayor have essentially the same outlook on the Constitution. "He felt comfortable that they shared a philosophy on that interpretation ... [of] the living document of the Constitution of the United States of America," he added. Full story at

Abortion Advocates Point to Supreme Court Brief Showing Sotomayor Backs Roe
Washington, DC ( -- With both sides of the abortion debate desperate to get their hands on anything that would give an indication of where Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor stands on abortion, abortion advocates are pointing to a Supreme Court brief written 20 years ago as evidence she's alright for them. In the late 1980s, Sotomayor, then an attorney and not yet a federal judge, sat on the board of directors of a group now called Latino Justice. While sitting on the board, the group, called the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund at the time, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court urging support for abortion. The brief came in the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services case where the high court did not overturn Roe but did allow a Missouri state law limiting abortions to pass constitutional muster. The PRLDEF sided with other abortion advocates and essentially argued that Hispanic women would be discriminated against if the Supreme Court overturned Roe and abortion were prohibited. The brief claimed women would resort to illegal abortions should that happen. Full story at

Note: Democrats for Life of America will hold their annual conference and Hall of Fame dinner on July 14 at the Phoenix Hotel in Washington. Meet pro-life Democrats! See for more information on the conference and dinner.

Pro-Abortion Senator, Ex-Law Partner: Sonia Sotomayor Will Support Roe v. Wade
Washington, DC ( -- As advocates on both sides of the abortion debate wonder where Sonia Sotomayor may come down on the controversial Roe v. Wade case, a former law partner and the top pro-abortion member of the Senate have no doubt that she will side in favor of upholding the decision allowing more than 50 million abortions. Sotomayor, whom pro-abortion President Barack Obama named to the Supreme Court to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter, has little in the way of an abortion record. However, Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has long been one of the top abortion advocates in the Senate, says she has little doubt Sotomayor will back abortion. "I feel as comfortable as I could possibly feel," Boxer told the Washington Post. Someone who can make a more certain prediction is George Pavia, senior partner in the law firm that hired Sotomayor as a lawyer before her days on the bench. He told the Post there is no doubt Sotomayor is pro-abortion. "I can guarantee she'll be for abortion rights," Pavia said. Full story at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sotomayor's Offensive "Latina" References

Sonia Sotomayor's most offensive comments -- and she's made -- plenty deal with her self-portrayal as a "Latina" whose Latina-ness somehow makes her superior to those less fortunate creatures known as "white males." She has made a career out of emphasizing her Puerto Rican roots. If they are truly so important to her, then why isn't she a candidate for the Puerto Rican Supreme Court. If she's not an American first, then why on earth is she seeking a lifetimes appointment in a country with more than its share of "lesser breeds without the law" (Kipling), such as Whites, Blacks, and Asians of both genders?

There is a lot more at stake for this country than whether the Republicans win in 2010 and even 2012. We won't win anything unless America finally decides what it wants to be when it grows up.

Republicans alone -- remember Arlen Specter, remember Olympia Snowe? -- are not enough. I remember a month ago when Senatorial Campaign head John Cornyn was backing Arlen Specter, then a Republican, because, well, "we generally support incumbents, blah, blah, blah." I thought at the time, John does not get it all all, does he? Then he rushed to support Charlie Crist, an Arlen-Specter in waiting.

If Republicans are just a grumpier, better tanned version of the Democrats, who needs them? If Sarah Palin were just a younger, more attractive version of McCain, which of us would be supporting her?

We have to be Americans; I prefer Audie Murphy and Katharine Jenerette and Sarah Palin types. The Republican Party will endure (remember the Whigs? Or the Federalists? Or The Bull Moose Party?) as long as it helps us support American values and great candidates (no, not "incumbents"). Arlen Specter's main problem wasn't that he was a less-than-stellar Republican; rather, it was that he was not -- and is not -- much of an American.

Those of us who believe in the real America, may end up going down -- heck, that's not unprecedented. But perhaps it would be better if we went down with guns blazing . . . rather than trolling for Hispanic voters more comfortable with waving Mexican flags than singing "God Bless America."

I just looked up one of my favorite quotes from James Madison, one of those "Founding Fathers" Sotomayor claimed to respect the other day. Gee, I wonder how she would like this quote from the man known as "the father of the Constitution":

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State." (Madison, The Federalist, Number 45.)

The other day at a congressional hearing, Michelle Bachmann kept grilling Geithner about what was the constitutional authority for all the handouts, bailouts, and takeovers the government was doing. Geithner's response was to look at her as if she were from another planet.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sotomayor: The Elevation of Mediocrity

Sonia Sotomayor at age 21 as a student at Princeton . . .

On the crucial matter of abortion, Sonia Sotomayor's views are not known. Obama claims he did not ask her about her views on the issue. Justice Atonin Scalia, the father of a Catholic priest as one of his and his wife's 11 children, is personally opposed to abortion.

But here's what he said on "60 Minutes" about it: "The Constitution does not prohibit abortion. The Constitution does not permit abortion." I found that statement fascinating but very much in keeping with Scalia's view that where the Constitution does not mention a particular action, then it probably is a state matter. I don't insist that anyone agree with Scalia, although his belief that "the Constitution means what it says" is a hard one to challenge.

Scalia also repeated a statement whose original author is hard to determine: "Not everything that is Constitutional is good, and not everything that is 'good' is Constitutional."

Some truly great justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Learned Hand, William Rehnquist, and Benjamin Cardozo looked at being a Supreme Court Justice as something of a gut check: that is, they looked at impartiality as difficult but at the same time a sign of judicial maturity and character. The question for them was not whether they "liked" a particular litigant, but whether he or she was right in terms of constitutional and statutory law. Their knowledge that we have a human tedency to be unfair led them to guard against that tendency.

Some of the most serious charges against Judge Sotomayor are, in the words of those who have practiced in front of her, that "she doesn't understand the role of lawyers in an adversarial system." I mean, my goodness: the woman has been a lawyer for 30 years! And she doesn't understand what it is attorneys are supposed to do?

When Jonathan Turley, a liberal, told Chris Mathews and David Shuster that Ms. Sotomayor was an intellectual lightweight, he (Turley) opened himself up to Daily Kos types, some of whom said he must a "racist and a sexist." Turley is a liberal, but he neither racist nor sexist.

Sotomayor has zero reputation as a consensus builder. There is evidence that her colleague Judge Ralph Winter, a "conservative" and a gentleman, has "protected" her opinions on a couple of occasions by inserting clarifying footnotes in some of her muddier legal opinions.

Here are a few lines from Judge Learned Hand's eulogy to Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo:

"The wise man is the detached man," Hand wrote. "Our convictions, our outlook, the whole makeup of our thinking, which we cannot help bringing to the decision of every question, is the creature of our past; and into our past have been woven all sorts of frustrated ambitions with their envies, and of hopes of preferment with their corruptions, which, long since forgotten, determine our conclusions. A wise man is one exempt from the handicap of such a past; he is a runner stripped for the race; he can weigh the conflicting factors of his problem without always finding himself in one scale or the other."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's most disturbing about the picture below in not just that Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor appear to have fallen deeply in love, but that they are both advocates of a kind of "racial identity" politics that most of us thought our country had outgrown.
We learned today that Sonia Sotomayor, who cheerfully dabbles in racism and sexism, has been a leader in La Raza ("The Race"), an Hispanic group that promotes racial separatism and extreme forms of ethnic pride. If Sotomayor, with her outrageous statements and mean-spirited attitudes, were a white man -- or even a white woman -- she would have no chance of being confirmed.
Yes, Lady Justice wears a blindfold. Yes, judges are supposed to do everything in their power to be fair and impartial. But tell those truisms to Obama, who favors empathy for certain groups but not for others, and to Sotomayor, who believes "wise Latina" judges are inherently better than wise white male judges.
Question for Obama and his Latina nominee: when, if ever, has she demonstrated wisdom? What would her "wisdom" tell her about a white judge who had joined a group called "The Race" (in his case, of course, the WHITE race)?
Some of the best writing about Sotomayor's severe deficiencies as a judge -- and as a human being -- came from Stuart Taylor, writing in The National Journal before Obama named his nominee. He says:
"It follows that the Supreme Court might well be a wiser body -- other things being equal -- if the next justice is a Hispanic woman of outstanding judgment and capability. But do we want a new justice who comes close to stereotyping white males as (on average) inferior beings? And who seems to speak with more passion about her ethnicity and gender than about the ideal of impartiality?

"Compare Sotomayor's celebration of 'how wonderful and magical it is to have a Latina soul' and reflections 'on being a Latina voice on the bench' with Judge Learned Hand's eulogy for Justice Benjamin Cardozo in 1938."

"'The wise man is the detached man,' Hand wrote. 'Our convictions, our outlook, the whole makeup of our thinking, which we cannot help bringing to the decision of every question, is the creature of our past; and into our past have been woven all sorts of frustrated ambitions with their envies, and of hopes of preferment with their corruptions, which, long since forgotten, determine our conclusions. A wise man is one exempt from the handicap of such a past; he is a runner stripped for the race; he can weigh the conflicting factors of his problem without always finding himself in one scale or the other.'

Taylor says, "Some see such talk as tiresome dead-white-male stuff, from a time when almost all judges were white males -- although, in Cardozo's case, descended from Portuguese Jews. I see it as the essence of what judges should strive to be."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Obama's Bad Choice

Exquisitely Awful Picture of Two Unpleasant Human Beings, Obama and Sotomayor

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life." (Sonia Sotomayor at Univ. of Cal., Berkeley, 2001).

The big problem is that Sonia Sotomayor may even believe her own B-S. In roughly 30 words, she managed to be both racist and sexist. One striking fact is that she devalues the experience of everyone who is NOT Latina (or even Latino?). She is making the outrageous claim that her experience is more valuable -- richer -- than yours -- unless you happen to be a female Latina who grew up in the South Bronx. What arrogance! What narcissism! Yes, if a white male said anything similar, he would be hooted at, scorned, and disgraced. But because Sotomayor is a Latina -- although certainly not a wise one -- she may get away with it. Because of her ethnicity and gender, she will be held to lower standards than you. In four short months of the Obama presidency, America has become almost unrecognizable.

About Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comment, Stuart Taylor wrote the following in the National Journal: "Do we want a new justice who comes close to stereotyping white males as (on average) inferior beings?"

Barack Hussein Obama wants such a Justice. Sonia Sotomayor obviously does . . . but does America really want to go down that road of identity politics? We shall see.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, falsely claimed today (May 26) that she believes deeply in "the rule of law." As you learn more about this woman, you'll find that for her the "rule of law" is a term that means the rule of law-flouting liberal activist judges.

Barack Obama clearly believes that Sotomayor possesses the quality he believes most important in a judge: empathy. However, in her case, empathy apparently is synonymous with bias in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. From her public statements and rulings, she seems to believe that people should receive unequal protection under the law.

Specifically, in the case of the New Haven, CT, firefighters, Sotomayor was one of those ruling that Caucasian firemen (and one Hispanic) somehow had an unfair advantage when it came to promotion. However, on any objective basis, they had no such advantage.

Many lawyers who have argued cases before Sotomayor believe she lacks a judicial temperament. In fact, some make the case that she's a bad-tempered individual.

Consider the comments made by lawyers in The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, as outlined in one of Jeffrey Rosen's articles in the liberal New Republic:

  • "She is a terror on the bench."

  • "She is very outspoken."

  • "She can be difficult."

  • "She is temperamental and excitable. She seems angry."

  • "She is overly aggressive--not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament."

  • "She abuses lawyers."

  • "She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out of control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts."

  • "She is nasty to lawyers. She doesn't understand their role in the system--as adversaries who have to argue one side or the other. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like."

Those are descriptions of a narcissist or an egomaniac, or both. Is that the kind of person we really want on the Supreme Court?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Obama Nominating Leftist Diane Wood

There is a very high probability that this week Barack H. Obama will nominate US 7th District Court of Appeals Judge Diane P. Wood to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. For those of you who admire Sarah Palin and her commitment to American values and our Constitution, you will find almost nothing to like about Diane Wood.

On defeating the nomination of Diane Wood consider the following: ”He who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven, making it impossible for the enemy to guard against him. This being so, the places that he shall attack are precisely those the enemy cannot defend.” – Sun-tzu, The Art of War.

As I make clear in the previous column below Judge Wood is a left-wing extremist whose decisions show contempt for Americans who are: (1) pro-life; (2) advocates of traditional marriage; (3) orthodox Christians; (4) believers in the concept that judges should interpret the law rather than use the bench to make new laws; and (5) those who believe in the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment. Yes, she has "empathy," but apparently it extends only to those who agree with her on social issues.

She regularly displays contempt for lawyers taking legal positions at variance with her social and political philosophy. In her judicial opinions, Wood has consistently taken positions at variance with the intent of the framers of the Constitution. In one opinion, she indicated she would like to remove the phrase "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

This exceedlingly strange woman has even suggested that having gays and Christians -- or even Republicans and Democrats -- in the same law school classrooms could create an atmosphere she described as "poisonous."

In one of her law review essays, she argues that the Constitution is out of date and that judges' "evolving" (socially acceptable) liberal opinions should take precedence over the Framers' views. But as an Oklahoma legislator (Charles Keye) recently said, "The Constitution either means what it says . . . or it means nothing at all."

Wood should not be nominated and, if as appears likely, she is, should not be confirmed. Wood is a symbol of everything that's wrong with the American judiciary. Read the column below and click on the links to Ed Whelan's National Review Online columns (link below) to see quotes demonstrating this woman's outrageous views.

Stop Obama's Outrageous Wood Nomination

There is a very high probability that this week Barack H. Obama will nominate US 7th District Court of Appeals Judge Diane P. Wood to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. As I make clear in the previous column (below) Judge Wood is a left-wing activist whose decisions show contempt for people who are: (1) pro-life; (2) advocates of traditional marriage; (3) orthodox Christians; and (4) believers in the concept that judges should interpret the law rather than use the bench to make new laws.

Yes, she has "empathy," but apparently it extends only to those who agree with her on social issues. She regularly displays contempt for lawyers taking legal positions at variance with her social and political philosophy.

In her judicial opinions, Wood has consistently taken positions at variance with the intent of the framers of the Constitution. In one of her law review essays, she argues that the Constitution is out of date and that judges "evolving" opinions should precedence over the Framers' views. But as an Oklahoma legislator (Charles Keye) recently said, "The Constitution either means what it says . . . or it means nothing at all."

Wood should not be nominated and, if as appears likely, she is, should not be confirmed. Wood is a symbol of everything that's wrong with the American judiciary.

Read the column below and click on the links to Ed Whelan's National Review Online columns (link below) to read quotes demonstrating this woman's outrageous views.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Bulletin: Information is leaking out of Washington, DC that next week Barack Obama will name Judge Diane Wood, age 58, of Chicago (and the 7th US Court of Appeals) as his choice to replace David Souter on the US Supreme Court. This is single-source information, but it's from a very reliable individual.

Obama's political guru and senior adviser, David Axelrod, reportedly has "cleared" the choice with George Soros', a group that favored another candidate (Hispanic Sonia Sotomayor). Also, Diane Wood is a major favorite of the National Organization of Women (NOW).

She is notable for favoring the view of the Constitution as a "living document" (or "evolving document") which for strict constructionists means she sees it as something open to liberal "interpretations" by activist judges. Apparently, she disagrees ith the Oklahoma legislator who recently observed, "The Constitution either means what it says, or it means nothing at all."

Wood apparently was chosen over other candidates (incuding Sotomayor, Kathleen Sullivan of Stanford, and Elena Kagan, former Dean at Obama's alma mater, Harvard) because of her "real world experience." Specifically, she is a divorced mother of three with a legal background not confined to the academic world. Apparently, no male candidates received any serious consideration.

Obama interviewed Judge Wood last week.

Stay tuned for much more information on Judge Diane Wood.

Key articles by Diane Wood below:

"‘Original Intent’ Versus ‘Evolution’," The Scrivener 7 (Summer 2005) (also published in Green Bag Almanac & Reader 267, 2007.

"Our 18th Century Constitution in the 21st Century World," 80 New York University Law Review, 1079, 2005.

Obama proclaimed that a key quality for his appointee would be "empathy" (for the downtrodden). As you'll see from Ed Whelan's National Review Online articles (there are five) below, Judge Wood's empathy is clearly selective -- and don't apply to people with orthodos Christian beliefs:

Supreme Court Candidate Diane P. Wood—Part 5 [Ed Whelan]

I’ve just read two speeches turned into law-review articles by Judge Diane Wood, “Reflections on the Judicial Oath” (8 Green Bag 2d 177 (2005)) and “Our 18th Century Constitution in the 21st Century World (80 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1079 (2005).) There is a lot wrong with both articles, but for now I’ll limit myself to a few points:

1. Wood gives no sign that she recognizes any meaningful bounds on the role of the Supreme Court. In her view, “the text of the Constitution tends to reflect broad principles, not specific prescriptions,” and “broad language may legitimately be interpreted broadly [by the Supreme Court], in a manner informed by evolving notions of a decent society.” (80 N.Y.U. L. Rev. at 1098.) Among the matters that Wood doesn’t address is how it is that the Court has the authority to override democratic enactments based on its own reading of language whose meaning is, in relevant respects, indeterminate.

2. Wood believes that it’s proper for the Supreme Court to revise the meaning of constitutional provisions to reflect contemporary international and foreign practices. Commenting on the Court’s decision in Roper v. Simmons, she states that “the Court appropriately chose to enrich its understanding of the issue by reviewing international practice, acknowledging implicitly that the American people are indeed part of the broader human community and at least presumptively share its core values.” (80 N.Y.U. L. Rev. at 1101.)

3. Wood evidently believes that the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Establishment Clause and that a Supreme Court ruling permitting that phrase would “announce that the United States is a nation that has adopted monotheism as its official state dogma.” But perhaps I’m misreading her opaque and seemingly incoherent text, so I set forth the full paragraph here:

Last [of three cases involving “displays of patriotism”] is Newdow, in which Mr. Newdow tried unsuccessfully to raise the question whether the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. The Court ducked the issue. Ordinarily, that would be the end of the matter for now. And perhaps it will be here too, assuming that the Congress does not pass the legislation that has cleared the House that would strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear any case involving the Pledge. No matter what happens, however, it seems clear that no amount of pressure will cause the Court to announce that the United States is a nation that has adopted monotheism as its official state dogma.

(8 Green Bag 2d at 181.)

4. Wood strongly signals, in her discussion of Loving v. Virginia, that she believes that there is a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage: “The right not to have the State prescribe a set of acceptable spouses, in the absence of the kind of powerful reason it would have for incest laws or laws designed to protect children, is implicit in the concept of liberty.” (8 Green Bag 2d at 184.)

(For more on Wood, see my [Whelan's] Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 and this post on Jeffrey Rosen’s praise for Wood.)

Steve adds: The Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution, but at the very least, it informs us about the thinking of the Founding Fathers. In the Declaration, Jefferson says that we are "endowed by the Creator [singular] with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Jefferson certainly didn't believe that by saying so he was "establishing" a specific religious denomination's views (note to Judge Wood: monotheism is NOT a religion) as what she calls "the official state dogma."

For those still reading, I'd like to say one more thing. I'm sure Barack Obama, like many other liberals, believes Diane Wood is possessed of "intellectual firepower." In fact, as Ed Whelan observes, most of her thinking is incoherent and inflamed by political bias.

She has no business beingon the Supreme Court. She has no business being on the Court she currently serves. She's a simpleton.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama's Bogus "Rule of Law"

Waterboarding is NOT torture, except by the prissy standards of the ACLU and America-haters like George Soros. Of course, Obama's recent speech on "national security," which Obama has redefined as "making nice with those who want to kill us," made much about his commitment to "the rule of law." Obama never really defined that concept, mainly because it is little more than a platitude.

(Note: Scroll down to the previous column for an analysis of Obama's major failings as a public speaker.)

Obama implies that he, our national custodian of righteousness, is for "the rule of law," while the wicked Bush Administration supposedly was against it. Logically and intellectually, his argument is worthy of the third-brightest student in a middle school.

In the real world, people disagree on what laws mean -- on how they should be interpreted. In fact, that's why we have judges, courts, and attorneys -- an insight that shouldn't come as news to lawyers like Obama and his sour, angry spouse. They both went to a big-time law school, Harvard, where they apparently learned nothing except to feel eternally superior to people who didn't graduate from Ivy League institutions.

Barack Obama is "sure" that waterboarding constitutes torture. Actually, it appears he's sure that calling it torture will appeal to the far-left types who catapulted him into high office. Exactly why he supposedly thinks it's torture is something we will never hear in this lifetime. Remember, this is the guy who didn't think that listening to Rev. Wright's harangues for 20 years didn't constitute cruel and unusual punishment for him and Michelle.

Torture is not defined as unpleasant interrogation -- enhanced or unenhanced. It is not defined as questioning people under high-stress conditions -- the kind that might actually produce useful information necessary to prevent the death of thousands (tens of thousands?) of Americans.

"Torture" is treatment that creates permanent injuries and intense, unbearable pain. Examples? Burning someone with a hot poker . . . or tearing out a person's fingernails with a pliers . . . or hooking up battery cables to their genitals . . . or scalding them with hot water . . . or making them read nonstop the various autobiographies of Barack Hussein Obama.

Waterboarding is very different. Essentially, it involves pouring small amounts of water into a supine individual's face to give him the ILLUSION of drowning. Is it very unpleasant? Yes. But is it any worse than jumping into a pool and breathing in when you should have breathed out? Nope.

Is it really dangerous? Of course not. But as we learned with Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Muhammed, it was very effective at eliciting information that saved countless American lives. GWB was interested in saving lives. Obama is more interested in saving face.

I'd love to debate this issue with clueless souls like Obama and Eric Holder. But the chances of that happening are about the same as someone actually being harmed by waterboarding. In other words, zero.

Is Obama really a "skilled debater?" We really won't know that until he actually debates someone.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hope, Change Become Grope, Harangue

The best characterization of Obama's speech today: "Hope and Change Become Grope and Harangue." Only Barack Obama could create a situation where, by contrast, Dick Cheney starts sounding like Abraham Lincoln. Michelle Obama once famously said, "America is a downright mean country." From the evidence of her husband's remarks, he clearly agrees with her.

There was much to dislike about the substance of Obama's ridiculous speech on "national security" (national insecurity?), but the worst part of it was his incredibly pompous tone. We often hear what a "great speaker" Obama is. In fact, he's a terrible speaker, and his speechwriter isn't any better.

He's in love with phrases like "on a daily basis." What that really means is "daily." The other words -- on, a, and basis -- are unnecessary. A good, straightforward speaker would know that.

He also uses uses phrases like "categorically reject" whenever he's talking about anything done by George W. Bush. What's the difference between "categorically reject" and just plain "reject?" There is no difference.

My friend Jill in Hawaii notes some more obnoxious Obamaisms: he also likes to use the phrases "fundamentally disagree" and "let me clearly state." All his minions use the same phrases (I just saw one on Fox News).

"Fundamentally disagree" means nothing more than "disagree." As for his "let me clearly state," the words are all unnecessary. Just state it, Barack. Don't tell us that you're about to state something.

Barack also tells us he's against "fear-mongering." Gee, is there anyone in America advocating it? The Obama Administration seems to believe that anyone with a justifiable fear of terrorism belongs on Napolitano's long list of supposed extremists.

In his speech today Barack talked of the "hateful ideology" of the people who used to be called, in a previous administration, terrorists. Alas, Obama didn't tell us anything about that ideology or who holds it. To do so might have offended some Muslims, the source of the aforesaid hateful ideology. Of course, a man who could sit through Rev. Wright's sermons for 20 years may have a strange definition of what's hateful.

Obama is NOT a great speaker. He's a guy with a baritone voice who reads a TelePrompter filled up with some inept speechwriter's words. Obama has too many words and too little substance. In short, he's a windbag.

American Veterans: Confront NY Times!

Last night (Wednesday) on "The Factor," Bill O'Reilly basically read American veterans the riot act for not confronting anti-military outlets like the New York Times. He noted there are 25 million veterans in the country, but in terms of political action they're almost invisible. The following is an e-mail I sent to many veterans and members of military families:

The subjects raised on the O'Reilly Show are very much worth discussing. He was talking about direct action and demonstrations, something many of you are very familiar with but which some military people regard only as something engaged in by the Left.

[Some pro-military people are recommending the placement of a full-page ad in the Times]

I'm fearful about the effectiveness of an ad in the NY Times. Perhaps my greatest concern is that such an ad costs a lot of money (in the tens of thousands), and of course the revenues go completely to . . . the NY Times. Personally, I don't read the Times (a few exceptions on the Internet); in fact, I don't subscribe anymore to any daily.

In that regard, I hear people telling me, "Well, I don't watch The View anymore because of [some outrage or other]." I admit I always wonder, "Why on earth did you ever watch The View in the first place?" We need to wean people away from the MSM. Only if we do that will we truly have an effect on the MSNBCs of the world.

In the last election, several people -- some of them friends of mine -- did everything but beg (and maybe we even did that) the American Legion and the VFW for their name/address/contact information for veterans. They acted as if we'd asked them to commit an immoral act. Didn't we, they asked, "understand that [they] were a non-partisan (even non-political) organization?" Organizations that preserve their non-partisanship at all cost are nothing more than enablers for a totally politicized creature like Obama.

Meanwhile, Obama and ACORN were busily trading mailing lists, and the SEIU and the unions generally were acting iin concert, sharing vital information. The Obama organization claims (and they may be exaggerating somewhat) that they had an e-mail list of 13 million people. We had nothing that came anywhere near that number.

Obama has taken actions, including his speech today, that will cost the lives and the limbs of American soldiers. He -- and those who carry water for him -- must be confronted. God bless Dick Cheney for saying today essentially the same thing.

No one is claiming that organizations like Gathering of Eagles don't do great work, but the reality is that WE have lost the last two elections badly, and those results have severely harmed our country. We must do a much better job of organizing and getting our message out.

I admit Bill O'Reilly "ambushed" Pete and Ollie on his show, and I also believe sometimes O'Reilly's ego occupies all the space in a room. But he does understand the way modern politics works.

Remember last night when Bernie Goldberg suggested O'Reilly write a letter to the editor of the Times? O'Reilly scoffed at the notion, because he believed such a letter would do no earthly good. He was right.

How many stories about the Abu Ghraid outrages did the Times have on its front page? The answer is FIFTY-FIVE. They did so to harm the then-President (GWB) and the US military. They did NOT do to inform the American people.

If we can turn out thousands -- tens of thousands -- of people -- and do it repeatedly --it will get noticed. If we send a thousand letters to the Times, they will be discarded. The Times has nothing but contempt for a million active soldiers and 25 million veterans. The Times (like NBC) believes, correctly to this point, that it can get away with such behavior.

Look at it this way: My goal is not to get the Times or other radical outlets to apologize . . . or even "to mend their ways." My goal is to work with others to put them out of business.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gitmo: An Obama Disaster Emerging

I'll be writing today and tomorrow about Guantanomo -- "Gitmo" -- which is becoming a political disaster for America's worst President, Barack Hussein Obama. The Democrats in the Senate will not vote to give money to Obama to close Gitmo -- until, as they say, he "has a plan in place."

It appears that "plan" is a euphemism for: "We don't want any Gitmo detainees housed in the U.S., let alone in our states!" The only exceptions to this view are "blame-America-first" leftists like Obama's former colleague Richard Durbin of IL, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse of RI, Pat Leahy of VT, and one or two other senatorial buffoons.

Perhaps Durbin and Obama might hatch a "plan" that would house the detainees in Illinois -- perhaps even in Obama's own Hyde Park neighborhood? Whilte there, they could go over for tea at the home of Hyde Park residents Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn? Maybe the Rev. Wright might stop by?

Or maybe Senators Reed and Whitehouse could house the detainees in Rhode Island. Newport, home to the rich and famous, is a nice place to reside in the summer. Reed and Whitehouse could share with the former Gitmo-ites tales about the foreign policy evils of the US. Maybe Nancy Pelosi could drop by to discuss how the CIA "always misleads" members of Congress.

We have a president who may not even be an American citizen. Perhaps that's why preserving and protecting the Constitution -- and even safeguarding the American people -- seem not to be major concerns for the current inhabitant of the White House.

Come to think of it, perhaps the White House itself would be a good place for housing terrorists. Frankly, they would be among friends. The First Lady could explain to them why she believes "America is a downright mean place." That line would result in 241 heads nodding. Barack could outline for them Rev. Wright's theory that the US government "invented" AIDS in order to kill Black people.

Alas, this is what we've all come to in the country formerly known as America.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Conservabid: Fundrasing for Conservative Candidates

To win elections, conservatives must raise money . . . a lot of money. If we have good candidates -- even great candidates -- but they don't have the funds to get their messages across, then they will lose. Karen Allen, a political activist from NC has come up with a solution, "an eBay for conservatives" called Below you'll find Karen's description of the rationale behind Conservabid. Please visit it today, register, use the site, and tell your friends, family, and political allies about it. Working together, we can start taking back our country.

Conservatives selling for Conservatives...because the stakes are too high not to.America's financial state has seen better days. To right the situation requires putting those who "get it" in office...which requires money many of us don't have. It's a "between a rock and a hard place" situation.

ConservaBid provides another venue for individuals, families, and groups to raise needed funds...for themselves and the conservative causes they support.

Whether it is from your attic, something you made, or your group's branded items, there is surely something you can list on ConservaBid. The site operates like eBay, with the exception that there are free listing and storefront options, and you and your cause get the profits, instead of the machine behind the site.

Recent elections have left us little money, spent emotions, and dwindling time. We not only have to come up with serious loose change, we have to do it in a hurry and with lots of fervor to get the job done.

ConservaBid is a fun way to network with other Conservatives and give each other the boost we need...financially and politically.For more details, please visit our FAQs page.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama Disgraceful at Notre Dame

At Notre Dame yesterday, Barack Hussein Obama demonstrated once again his belief that no issue is so important than it can't be talked to death. His constant refrain is, "Look not at what I've done -- and am doing -- but rather listen to what I'm saying." In his attitudes not only to the unborn but to the ailing elderly, Obama shows his contempt for the most vulnerable members of society.

If I had been at Notre Dame, I would have been arrested with Dr. Keyes, "Jane Roe," and many other patriots. Obama said that we "can't know" God's exact views on issues, blah, blah, blah. If we believe in the Judeo-Christian God, we do know that His views are that we should obey his Commandments and that we must, to the best of our ability, follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who ordered us to love our fellow human beings, not to do away with them. Obama's supposed "faith" has led him to support infanticide (partial-birth abortion and even live-birth abortion) and unlimited destruction of the innocent..

If Obama believes that is God's will, then he has the Creator mixed up with the guy with the pointy ears. The people who applauded Obama at Notre Dame were celebrating the Emperor of Death. We need to oppose Obama with every fiber of our being.

I've been writing recently about Prof. Peter Singer, a supposed "bioethicist" at Princeton University (look him up in Wikeipedia). He's another Obama type. He supports abortion on this basis: the ones having the abortions are strong, while those being aborted are weak. He's doesn't deny that the embryos -- the unborn -- are living beings. But since they can't protect themselves, they have no right to life. Singer suggests that parents should be able to snuff out the lives of children up until the age of two.

In logic, that's called favoring a "slippery slope." In the Christian tradition, it's called -- or should be -- the Fast Track to Hades. At Princeton, the large Judeo-Christian group there calls Singer the "leave babies to die on the hillside man."

Remember Obama's "joke" about the young people in Special Olympics? Obama has a lifelong record of contempt for those who don't qualify, unlike him and Michelle, as "the beautiful people." Compare Obama with a decent person like Sarah Palin, who has proclaimed her son Trig to be "perfect." No, she doesn't mean Trig will ever be a brain surgeon, but rather that Trig's existence on earth is the fulfillment of God's will. "In His will is our peace."

What kindred souls like Obama and Singer are proposing is not morality. Rather, it is pure evil, and it is our duty to resist their worship at the altar of Death. (More later)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama Destroying American Health Care

Barack Hussein Obama is pursuing "health" policies that may cost you -- your loved one -- and your friends -- their lives. Doubt it? Read on . . . "

We had to destroy the village in order to save it." (Statement reportedly made by a US military officer during the Vietnam War).

Barack Obama is saving the US healthcare system by destroying it. The material below is from columnist and political guru Dick Morris. I'll be continuing to write all thise week on Morris' column, Dr. David Gratzer's great book The Cure, and the critical subject of Obam's choosing death-care over health-care. Please tell your friends about these columns -- thanks.

The following is:
By DICK MORRISPublished on on May 12, 2009

When all of America’s top health insurers and providers met at the White House [last] week and pledged to save $2 trillion over the next decade in health costs, they were pledging to sabotage our medical care. The blunt truth, which everybody agreed to keep quiet, is that the only way to reduce these costs is to ration healthcare, thereby destroying our system.

Here’s why:

Essential to any cost reduction is a cut in doctors’ fees. Congress is trying to cut Medicare fees by 21 percent. But cuts in fees and doctors’ incomes will just discourage people from entering the profession and those already in it from practicing.

The limited number of doctors and nurses in the United States is the key constraint on the availability of healthcare. Our national inventory of 800,000 doctors is growing at only about 1 percent a year (18,000 med school graduates annually minus retirements), while the nurse population is stagnant at 1.4 million. To stretch these limited resources so that they can treat 50 million more people is possible only through the most severe kind of rationing.

As in Canada, the best way to cut medical costs is to refrain from using the best drugs to treat cancer and other illnesses, thereby economizing at the expense of patients’ lives.

Forty-four percent of the drugs approved by the Canadian health authorities for use in their country are not allowed by the healthcare system due to their high cost. As a result, death rates from cancer are 16 percent higher in Canada than in the United States. We will pay for the attempt to save $2 trillion with our lives. (And remember, one cannot opt out of the Canadian system and pay for the medications out of pocket.)

Go to to read all of Dick's columns!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Bogus Stock Market Rally

We all hear (ad nauseam) that "stock market is a forward indicator," which as an observation ranges between meaning very little and being absolute BS. During the early years of the Great Depression, the stock market often "indicated" things were going to get better -- and, mostly, they got worse. Remember the old mantra called "Buy and hold." Those of us who adhered to it learned it actually meant, "Buy and hold until you go brankrupt. Then, make sure your best friend is named . . . Tim Geithner."

The people who most passionately advocate the "forward indicator" theory are those who are . . . selling stocks. The recent rally has consisted mainly of a rise in bank stocks, as well as -- one guesses -- the manufacturers of vats of red ink for sale to banks. Here's how the assesses the "recent rally."

"Admittedly, the stock market can resemble the oil markets of a year ago when oil price went steadily up with no rhyme, reason, or connection to supply and demand. (They went up because speculators sold oil This Rally Is Ridiculous "futures" to each other at stratospheric prices, until they all got onto one another's scams and prices collapsed.)

"I realize the market is a discounting machine -- with investors collectively trying to anticipate future events and price shares accordingly -- but let's face it: This rally is getting ridiculous. Wall Street is on a bender (yet again), and the shiny, happy future it seems to be looking forward to overlooks the fierce grimness of now. It's a mirage, at least in the near term. Maybe the midterm, too.

"You may be right; I may be crazy.

"Still, it's worth pondering just how much longer this particular bout of irrational exuberance might last. If the market can make it here, after all, it can make it anywhere.

Unemployment is high and poised to climb higher; GDP has famously fallen off a cliff; and the much ballyhooed news that consumer spending rose during the year's first quarter (hurrah!) evaporated on contact with even just casual analysis. January produced virtually all the quarterly gains; February was flat; and March actually saw consumer spending decline. (Boo! Hiss!)

"And yet the market has been on a tear, with the S&P 500 climbing by some 11% during the month of April alone. And guess -- just guess -- where the bulk of those gains have come from? Why, from financial stocks, of course, with the sector posting a 22% rise over the period.

Black hole sun

"This particular mirage is a mesmerizing doozey, with the likes of American Express (NYSE: AXP), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), and Capital One (NYSE: COF) rocketing to gains in excess of 30% over the period.

"And this despite the fact that the black hole at the center of our financial galaxy remains, with toxic assets sucking liquidity out of the credit markets just about as fast as government largesse can pour it back in.That, however, is a temporary "solution" (right, elected officials?).

"And unless someone pulls a rabbit out of a hat soon, gallingly, it may be the banks themselves that shoot this one down.

"And why not? Our apparent willingness to prop 'em up into perpetuity has yet to be seriously challenged, which explains the financials rally. Rumors of profitability have been greatly exaggerated (thanks in part to mark-to-dream-on accounting), but when the U.S. taxpayer is your compulsory patron, it is, as the kids used to say, all good. Indeed, we might as well call it rational exuberance.

History repeats?

"With that as a backdrop, it's worth asking whether financial-stock multibaggers can be far behind, even from their currently inflated levels. Based on its closing price last Thursday, for example, seemingly beleaguered AIG (NYSE: AIG) would be a 10-bagger by returning to "just" $11 a share, a price it exceeded as recently as last September.

"Don't get me wrong: I don't believe such a rocket-shot would be warranted, at least not based on fundamentals. Indeed, I'm among those who believe that the financial sector should return to its former lack of glory, becoming a comparatively much smaller slice of the market's pie chart, complete with permanently shrunken market caps for former big boys.

"Between now and that smaller, shabbier future, though, there may be money to be made, largely by speculators betting that the financial sector will essentially become a government entitlement program -- albeit one that puts up with little of the pesky regulatory oversight that attends, say, Medicare or Social Security."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

America's Bad Medicine: ObamaCare

ObamaCare inevitably will make the US health care system more like the Canadian one, and that's not a good development. The cure rate in our country is well ahead of that in Canada for just about every ailment known to mankind. Eventually, rationing will become the order of the day in American hospitals and physicians' offices. Sarah Palin will oppose such developments, and we need to stand with her.

Consider the following story from Dr. David Gratzer's book The Cure:

"In medical school, I learned the most important lesson not in a classroom but on the way to one. On a cold Canadian morning about a decade ago, late for a class, I cut through a hospital emergency room and came upon dozens of people on stretchers -- waiting, moaning, begging for treatment. Some elderly patients has waited for up to five days in corridors before being admitted to beds. They smelled of urine and sweat. As I navigated past the bodies, I began to question everything I thought I knew about health care -- not only in Canada, but also in the United States. Though I didn't know it then, I had begun a journey into the heart of one of the great policy disasters of modern times." [page 2]

In fact, Barack Obama and Kathleen Sibelius are beginning the same dismal journey -- and they, along with us, will experience the same disaster. That disaster will not occur overnight, but occur it will.[On Saturday and Sunday, I'll have new columns up here -- the first one being about Sarah Palin's support of "Miss California," Carrie Prejean.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama Healthcare: An American Disaster

Below, Sarah Palin holding a Down Syndrome boy who's carrying a sign that says, "Trig is Perfect." Bible passage from Psalms 50:2: "From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth."

Jean Avery, a McCain-Palin stalwart and a young mother in Seattle, is a graduate of Princeton, and she put me onto "bioethicist" Professor Peter Singer, who is a very dangerous man. Singer doesn't believe in God, but he somehow feels he is qualified to BE god.

He's famous for believing that animals have rights (relax, I'm an animal lover), but he's not convinced that (all) human beings have such rights. If they're more trouble than he determines they should be, they're candidates for termination. (See Singer material on Wikipedia:

Obama's comments on the "democratic decisions" (made by government employees and not including patients, their own doctors, their families, and their priests, rabbis, or ministers!) about when to deny care to terminal patients, truly was chilling. It didn't get a lot of attention from the media. He was saying what many people on the agnostic Left are thinking.

It's not an Obama paradox but rather a contradiction: In order to provide care, excessive in many cases, to all, government must deny it to the some, and the sick elderly are the first ones who will lose.

I'm not under any illusions that end-of-life issues are easy. Personally, I'm in favor of hospices and DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate forms signed by patients or their next-of-kin), as long as it isn't some bureaucrat signing the DNR. The problem with Obama's "statistical" approach to health care is that it turns out the statistics don't really apply to unique individuals.

As for Prof. Singer, his reasoning about it's being okay to euthanize severely handicapped people is a lot like some of the "moderately evil" Nazis, who looked at handicapped individuals (and other groups) as merely a cost-benefit question. In doing so, they were "enablers" for the "pure evil" Nazis.

Obama-care is going to impose unsustainable costs on the health care system, including payoffs to SEIU members (many of whom are hospital workers) and "cooperative" providers. Also, more and more patients are going to start demanding the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins rather than their local hospital. That will cause costs to skyrocket.

oon after, the government rationing will begin. The good news will be that we'll all have a "health care" card; the bad news it will be worth less and less.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What's Wrong with US Healthcare?

There are many things wrong with health care generally in the "advanced" world, including the US.

Because health care (and education is similar) exists outside the realm of competitive choice, there are not good options for people in terms of price and level of care (ranging from awful to outstanding). There are no analogues to the situation where one can link to and choose among some tremendous computers . . . at lower prices than in 2007 or 2008. On, you can find lawyers' abilities evaluated by their peers, but there's really nothing similar in medicine.

Health care costs rise dramatically (doubling every 8-9 years), but the health "product" available improves slowly. Mediocre doctors and hospitals "charge" roughly the same prices as excellent ones. It's an absurd situation, where organizations like the AMA do little or nothing to bring about necessary changes.

Hospitals and doctors, most of whom are "average" by definition, don't want to provide more information about outcomes, because doing so would cause many of them to lose business. (The situation is similar in education, where most teachers and schools are "average," but everyone gets paid about the same amount. The truly excellent teachers are out of luck in terms of compensation.)

Doctors and hospitals are extremely hesitant, as Dr. David Gratzer points out in The Cure, to evaluate their counterparts. That means patients -- "customers" -- lack necessary information. So, heath providers get chosen mainly on issues of geography (how close are they?) or personality ("is he/she 'nice?'").

I haven't mentioned the biggest problem, which is that employer and government-financed health care makes health consumers assume that the product is "free" (or close to it). That of course sharply reduces the incentive for patients to make wise choices. When people are spending their own money, they will almost always make better decisions.

Relatedly, when anything is (presented as) "free" (or relatively low cost), people tend to over consume. Many elderly people visit doctors (and even hospitals) as largely a social activity. Have a cold? Hey, go to the emergency room. Lonely? Hey, go see that nice, sympathetic doctor and his friendly nurse. Is your doctor competent? Hey, look he's got a degree up on his wall, right?

A generation ago I had a doctor/friend in Athens, GA. He told me, as he chain-smoked his Camels and talked about his former problems with "substances," that he had been "a C student at the University of Tennessee medical." He was a good guy, but if you needed brain surgery, well, I don't think he was your man.

On costs: If a local bar offered free beer, a lot of people will end up very drunk. If health is essentially perceived as free, medical offices and hospital emergency room will regularly be full. And costs will keep spiraling out of control.

The points I'm raising here are real issues -- important ones. But you'll rarely if ever hear them discussed in the so-called "national debate" about health care. Instead, you're going to hear many proposals -- especially from Obama -- that will make the situation worse.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Medical Horror Stories, Physician Incompetence

Unfortunately, most Americans eventually experience one or more medical horror stories. One problem with American health care is that some (not all, not most, but some) doctors and hospital administrators are embarrassments to their profession. One answer to America's health care problems is to put the bad doctors and the deficient hospitals out of business.

Individuals who don't have health insurance and pay out of their own pockets for health care deserve more choices and better prices. In Dr. Gratzer's case (in a previous column), he was paying out of his own pocket, and was told (sort of) that the price for his wife's surgery was "negotiable." Shortly after that, the hospital's collection agency started dunning him for payment.

A few months after my wife had her devastating stroke in 1991, I received a notice of delinquency from a primary care physician (billing service I guess) saying that if the payment was not received immediately, it would be subject to collection and that my credit would be damaged, etc.

What was the "delinquent fee? It was $0.07 -- that's right, seven cents. I thought the doctor (Wendy Klein in Springfield, Vermont) and her service had lost their minds. How could any responsible business engage in such atrocious behavior? I never received an explanation. I refused to pay the seven cents.

I've also written about my brother's experience. He was indigent for various reasons, and he went into the emergency room because his blood pressure had dropped and he was faint. He was in the hospital for 30 hours. The diagnosis was "syncope," which means the symptoms he had. Syncope is one step up from a headache.

The first bill I saw was $22,600. There were many bills, all with wildly varying numbers -- making them up as they went along. I never received an explanation for the syncope -- until later, when a non-physician explained to me that what my brother had experienced was a vagus nerve problem. Vagus nerve problems and syncope go together like a horse-and-carriage. No one at the hospital, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) gave any sort of coherent explanation.

My brother's family care doctor (Dr. Catena)? My brother because he had no money received free drugs from Pfizer and others. Pfizer insisted that they had to go to the doctor, assumed to be a responsible individual. The doctor's repeatedly "lost" the pills, meaning occasionally that my brother ran out of them. The doctor didn't give a damn and regarded having to receive and process the pills as an imposition -- i.e., he wasn't getting paid for his activities.

My experience (and I have many others, some perhaps worse, given my wife's condition) is that most people regard what goes on at hospitals as a giant scam, one designed to enrich the people involved (aside from the nurses and the maintenance personnel).

Two months after my wife emerged post-stroke from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in New Hampshire, she let me know -- she has experessive aphasia -- that she expected to die soon.(That was 18 years ago, and she's fine). It turned out that none of the overpaid boobs at Hitchcock had even given her a prognosis, so she assumed she must be near death.

There is much more about Hitchcock. One guy (neurologist Dr. Williamson) making $330,000-plus a year put her on a Closed Circuit monitoring device . . . and then never checked the monitor. His explanation, "Hey, you know those CC devices cost a lot of money, and we need to keep them operating!" If one were allowed to punch eminent physicians, I would have given that creep, that incompetent, two black eyes. To him, my wife was not a human being; she was a revenue stream.

Yes, some physicians are superb, professionals actually dedicated to making their patients better. However, I look at many doctors, and I see . . . Dr. Williamson . . . with his $300,000 salary (now doubled I'm sure) and his five cent medicine. When I visualize that overpaid egotist, I see a person who's a menace to patients.

As you whould know, UPMC, with its $22,600 bill for my brother, is one step up from a criminal enterprise. In that regard, it's a major supporter of Cong. John Murtha. They have given him more than a quarter-million dollars in exchange for the many millions in earmarks he's given them.

I'm sure UPMC will thrive under socialized medicine. It will provide less care than it already does (if that is physically possible) and still make hefty sums.

I support a more traditional form of medicine not because the current system -- and the physicians who operate under it -- are free from flaws, some of them major, but rather because I believe a private enterprise approach will lead to the best quality care at the most reasonable costs.

Frankly, I wish at least a few more doctors (other than Dr. Gratzer) shared my perspective. Too many physicians -- and too many hospital administrators around the country are embarrassments to their profession. They generate hostility because they falsely assume they can do no wrong.

"First do no harm," and then physicians need to heal themselves.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Obama: Making Health Care Worse

As part of my continuing series on Obama-care, his death-inducing proposals for health care, I previously quoted him on "democratic decisions" about whether patients should live or die. What essentially is Obama's plan for people with catastrophic care needs and those in conditions that appear to be terminal?

As one analyst on FOX News said Saturday morning, Obama essentially is proposing the "European solution," which is to tell very sick people to wait in long lines . . . until many of them die. At that point, they no longer will qualify as a "cost burden" on the health system. Ah, the joys of cost savings!

Am I exaggerating what Barack Obama said in his interview with the NY Times? Read his chilling words for yourself (at the very bottom of this piece).

Don't get me wrong: great as it is compared to other countries', our health system does have some serious flaws. In a capitalist society, efficiency and cost control depend greatly on the amount of information we have from businesses. In health care, alas, we have very little transparency.

Consider the following statement by health care expert Dr. David Gratzer (in his superb book The
Cure), speaking of the time a few years when he was a young Canadian-trained physician who'd moved with his wife to the US.

"In 2003, when my wife ruptured a disc in her spine, I set about to find her a neurosurgeon in western New York. Uninsured and uninformed, I resorted to cold-calling neurologists, asking for their opinions on reputable surgeons. Few were willing to speak to a stranger about a colleague's skills.

"Meanwhile, having a choice of two hospitals and on information on either, we selected one at random . . . and then spent a nervous night before the operation at a Hampton Inn, which I had chosen after reviewing detailed reports at I found myself musing darkly that for a mundane accommodation decision, we had a surplus of data, whereas for a critical medical decision, we had little or nothing to go on."

Gratzer continues, "The surgery itself required only an inch-long incision, took under half an hour, and resulted in an inscrutable bill for an extraordinary sum. When we called in to inquire, a hospital administrator hinted that the bill was 'negotiable.' Before we could negotiate, however, we started to receive threatening letters from a collection agency." (The Cure, p. 1)

In one sense. Gratzer's story is mind-boggling. At the same time, it's not atypical. It's a lot easier to get details and the quality and price of hotel accommodations than it is to get useful information about health care. There is no real or equivalent to

Unlike local grocery stores, pharmacies, and motels, health care operations do not advertise their comparative prices. They also don't provide any useful information about the kind of care patients might receive. If there are low-cost, high quality health alternatives available, you -- and hundreds of millions of other Americans -- have no way of finding out who or where they are.

How do your doctor's charges -- and skills -- compare with those in your area? If you know the answer to that, you qualify as a veritable fount of knowledge. Years ago, my mother had one of the most incompetent family care physicians imaginable. She loved him because as she said, "He's such a nice man." He was a nice man. He was also a health provider much more likely to read People magazine than a medical journal.

Apparently, local and national medical societies like it that way . . . and so apparently do state and federal governments. It allows doctors and hospitals to avoid competing on messy matters like price and quality of service.

Where there is no transparency -- basically, no advertising -- there is no incentive to compete on price. There's also no incentive to provide evidence that not all doctors and hospitals are created equal. What evidence does exist shows that some low-cost hospitals provide superior outcomes to their high-priced counterparts.

Yes, the US government's rules and regulations -- along with rapacious trial lawyers -- are responsible for most of American health care's problems of affordability and availability. But they're not the only culprits. Without transparency, health consumers -- even ones as knowledgeable as Dr. Gratzer -- can't make good decisions.

The end result is that health care in the US costs a great deal more than it should. Where there are no real informed choices, neither efficiency nor capitalism exists. It makes no sense for us to be fully informed about motel choices . . . and totally in the dark about health care options.

Note, the following are Obama's scary comments (in italics) I referred to earlier:

"There's always going to be an asymmetry of information between patient and provider," Obama said. "And part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options." In other words, the federal government would be a middle-man, basically usurping a doctor's and patient's determination what treatment is appropriate.

In addition, Obama stated that "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here." (Note: it should not come as a surprise that people who are sick are big consumers of health care. People who are well don't need it.) The actual percentage cost of end-of-life care is about 30% (according to health expert Dr. John Donaldson).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama: Wrecking US Health System

Barack Obama's efforts to "fix" the American health care system are destined to fail. He will be taking the best medical system in the world and making it resemble the poorer quality variety found in other industrialized countries. (Second in a series)

Paul Krugman, far-left economist and columnist for the NY Times says “Americans tend to believe that we have the best health care system in the world. . . . But it isn’t true.” I have news for Dr. Krugman: when it comes to evaluating health care, he’s an idiot.

The problem is that people like Obama and his left-wing colleagues in Congress tend to believe individuals like Krugman. They know that many people in the US (although not as many as they think) lack adequate health insurance, so they assume our country must be doing a poor job treating people. But in contrast with care in other advanced nations, the US is doing an outstanding job.

By every relevant measure, the U.S. has the best health care system of any developed country. Doubt that? Well, consider the following points from Dr. Gratzer’s marvelous book The Cure:

Women with breast cancer in Europe are four times as likely as women in the U.S. to be diagnosed after the tumor has spread and thus are much less likely to survive the disease; for example, the survival rate for first-stage breast cancer in the US is 97% but only 78% in Great Britain;
Cancer patients in the U.S. have much higher survival rates than their European counterparts. US doctors and hospitals catch 70% of prostate cancers in the, while their British counterparts catch only 58%; Germany and France are better than Britain but well behind the US; and,
The US consistently beats Europe in survival rates for cancer – with the American survival rate for leukemia being 50%, while Europe’s average rate is 35%.

The statistics are similar with heart disease and stroke. On both, the US is well ahead of Canada and Europe. Our system dramatically outperforms the care provided in the national health systems. The second and third best systems are Canada and Australia. The worst performers are Great Britain and New Zealand.

A friend wrote me yesterday saying that Germany and Switzerland had good health system. Small, relatively homogeneous countries (Switzerland, the Scandinavian nations) aren’t really comparable to large, diverse countries like the US.

As for Germany, Dr. David Gratzer doesn’t give it high marks.

He says, “If French health care appears shaky, the house of German health care sinks on its own unsustainable foundation. ‘The German health care system is facing bankruptcy on an unprecedented level,’ states The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal. Faced with rising pressures, the German government has to various methods of cost containment, such as global spending caps [e.g., “you can spend this and no more”]. One colorful result: large-scale doctor strikes.

Gratzer adds about Germany, “Some say the quality of care suffers. ‘Not even half the patients who have suffered a heart attack are treated according to the medical state-of-the-art,’ observes Ulla Schmidt [former federal minister for health and social security]. ‘Health care for women – especially precautions against breast care – is so bad that it results in unnecessary amputations and late diagnosis.’”

The government-dominated health systems Obama and his political allies are holding up as models for us . . . aren’t systems we want to imitate. Yes, we pay more for health care than other advanced countries, but we also get much more.

(Note: I'm not saying the US health system can't be improved, and later in this series I'll give some ideas on how to do so. What I am saying is that Obama's efforts will harm the system much more than they will help it.)