America, The Land of the Free? What Constitution?

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Apart from some of us in the blogosphere, Americans go about their daily live with no cognition that their freedoms are being eroded away. There is no perception that they are any less free today than they ever were. And that, I believe, is by design.

Our constitution exist to protect us from our government, to protect our unalienable rights and, to limit the power of our government in Washington. Yet today our government pays little heed to this sacred document.

While I was recovering from retina surgery to my only, I managed to read my favorite blogs every day. Looking over the top of the gas bubble that was in my eye and using the Window’s virtual magnifying glass, I would spend over an hour reading a typical post. we old retired folks have plenty of time on our hands and I made use of it to stay up with my internet friends.

There are a handful of blogs that for me are a must read every day. One of those is the Bunkerville blog. Back in January, Bunker put up this post about the doings of Cass Sunstein, one of Obama’s czars who is no friend of our constitution. If you missed this article, you really need to give it a read. For now let me share his closing paragraph:

Continued Sunstein: “We suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of believers by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.” Full story at WND

Mr.  Sunstein really doesn’t like those who support conspiracy theories. Hmmm.  That means me, doesn’t it? Mr.  Sunstein has no qualms what so ever on spying on Americans that have a difference in opinion with our government.

But Sunstein is not the only out-of-control czar in this administration. Rereading Bunker’s post today, I read the comments for the first time. One of the commentors,  Wilma Frank,  sheds some light on some of the other czars:

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The rest of the list:

Daniel Fried Guantanamo Closure Czar Human Rights activist for Foreign Terrorists.  Believes America has caused the war on terrorism. Believes terrorists have rights above and beyond Americans. Nancy-Ann DeParle.   Health Czar Former head of Medicare / Medicaid.  Strong Health Care Rationing proponent.  She is married to a reporter for The New York Times. Vivek Kundra Information Czar Born in New Delhi , India .  Controls all public information, including labels and news releases.  Monitors all private Internet emails. (hello?) Todd Stern   International Climate Czar Anti business former White House chief of Staff- Strong supporter of the Kyoto Accord.  Pushing hard for Cap and Trade.  Blames US business for Global warming.  Anti- US business prosperity. Dennis Blair Intelligence Czar Ret. Navy.  Stopped US guided missile program as “provocative”.  Chair of ultra liberal “Council on Foreign Relations” which blames American organizations for regional wars. George Mitchell Mideast Peace Czar Fmr. Sen from Maine Left wing radical.  Has said Israel should be split up into “2 or 3 ” smaller more manageable plots”.  (God forbid) A true Anti-nuclear anti-gun & pro homosexual “special rights” advocate Kenneth Feinberg Pay Czar Chief of Staff to TED KENNEDY.   Lawyer who got rich off the 911 victims payoffs. (horribly true) Cass Sunstein Regulatory Czar Liberal activist judge believes free speech needs to be limited for the “common good”.  Essentially against 1st amendment.  Rules against personal freedoms many times -like private gun ownership and right to free speech.   This guy has to be run out of Washington !! John Holdren Science Czar Fierce ideological environmentalist, Sierra Club, Anti business activist.  Claims US business has caused world poverty.  No Science training. Earl Devaney Stimulus Accountability Czar Spent career trying to take guns away from American citizens.  Believes in Open Borders to Mexico  .  Author of  statement blaming US gun stores for drug war in Mexico . J. Scott Gration   Sudan Czar Native of Democratic Republic of Congo .  Believes US does little to help Third World countries.  Council of foreign relations,asking for higher US taxes to support United Nations Herb Allison TARP Czar Fannie Mae CEO responsible for the US recession by using real estate mortgages to back up the US stock market. Caused millions of  people to lose their life savings. John Brennan Terrorism Czar Anti CIA activist.  No training in diplomatic or gov. affairs. Believes Open Borders to Mexico and a dialog with terrorists and has suggested Obama disband US military   A TOTAL MORON !!!!! Aneesh Chopra   Technology Czar No Technology training.   Worked for the Advisory Board Company, a health care think tank for hospitals. Anti doctor activist.  Supports Obama Health care Rationing and salaried doctors working exclusively for the Gov. health care plan Adolfo Carrion Jr. Urban Affairs Czar Puerto Rico born Anti-American activist and leftist group member in Latin America . Millionaire “slum lord” of the Bronx , NY.  Owns many lavish homes and condos which he got from “sweetheart” deals with labor unions.  Wants higher taxes on middle class to pay for minority housing and health care Ashton Carter Weapons Czar Leftist.  Wants all private weapons in US destroyed.  Supports UN ban on firearms ownership in America  ..  No Other “policy” Gary Samore WMD Policy Czar Former US Communist.   Wants US to destroy all WMD unilaterally as a show of good faith.  Has no other “policy”.

Americans should be very worried about what is going on in their government. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans are walking around in ignorant bliss.

Our constitution has been under attack since the day it was ratified. But never more blatantly than when Republican President, George W. Bush, took advantage of our collective fear after 9/11 to impose upon us the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act received overwhelming bipartisan support and continues to be renewed with bipartisan support. Where is the outrage?

Our current president, Barack Obama, has eagerly followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. Besides the evil doings of his Marxist czars, Obama has blatantly ignored the constitution on a regular basis, he ignores the orders of federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, he ignores Congress and, he ignores the will of the people. He has an agenda and that is all that matters to him. Through the National Defense Authorization Act, he gained the power to detain citizens “suspected” of being terrorist without due process. Where is the outrage?

The most recent attack on our rights and the constitution comes to us  by way of Obamacare, which in itself is an affront to the constitution. Obama is insisting that religious institution violate their beliefs (protected by the first amendment to the constitution) to provide women’s right to contraception and the morning after pill (abortion). This time there is outrage. It is coming from the leadership of the Catholic Church and other religious leaders and from social conservatives. Does Obama care? Not in the least. Obama and Axelrod have made the political calculation that they will have the support of the majority of women in November and they were never going to have the votes of the social conservatives anyway. So for Obama it is a net win. Is he right? He may very well be right. If the outrage remains confined to the social conservatives, then he has made a strategically good move. Unless more Americans recognize that this has nothing to do with “women’s rights” and everything to do with an attack on a fundamental pillar of our constitution; unless the outrage spreads dramatically, Obama’s agenda will take another giant step forward.

Yes, I am questioning if America is still the land of the free and I am question if our constitution still has relevance.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

Original Post: Conservatives on Fire

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The Utility of Free Speech Redux

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If you read the recent post, From The Front Lines of the Culture Wars: Student Disciplined for Thinking Homosexuality is Wrong, you would have seen an interesting exchange between Harrison, of  Capitol Commentary, and myself.  While we happen to disagree on that topic, I consider him to be a good blogger, who often asks us to question some core beliefs.  Our exchange reminded me of the following, which was originally posted on September 29, 2009.  

As we all know, freedom of speech is under attack.  Mark Lloyd proposes to replace privately owned media with a government approved and moderated PBS.  Cass Sustein and Henry Waxman have both floated the idea of regulating Internet content.  Speech codes on campus restrict the free flows of ideas on college campuses.  The ACLU threatens to sue kids that pray at graduation ceremonies.  People are threatened if they pray in public.  Conversely, the left is able to engage in whatever outrageous activity they choose, and even do what they accuse the right of doing.  The double standard is sometimes astounding.

Following Marxist concepts like “tolerant repression,” the left seeks to limit or eliminate dissent. We understand that this is part of their effort to obtain power by silencing all opposition, or making said opposition ineffective, and unable to reach the people.  Their allies in the media do not cover stories critical of the left, or distorts them into a one sided attack on the opposition.  The government ignores mass protests and accuses the protesters of “racism, terrorism,” and being paid by special interests.  What they cannot ban, or cover up, they will discredit.  They attempt to cloud genuine dissent with hate, all in order to attack the messenger, and thereby cause the actual message to be ignored.

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, this is certain.  And we know that in a Constitutional Republic, free speech is vital for debate and the free flow of ideas.  Without free speech, the Republic that so many bled and died for would take a short trip into tyranny. All these are true, but I would submit that there are additional benefits to  freedom of speech.

Every nation has fringe groups; racists, religious extremists of every type, anarchists, communist revolutionaries, national socialists, and probably a huge number of others.  It is tempting to deny these people a public forum, as they are repugnant to most all Americans, irregardless of  political affiliation. But, I would submit that there are benefits to allowing them speak and function in the open:

  1. If they are public, we know who they are.  Putting a face to the hate allows us to confront it.
  2. If they speak openly, we can know what they believe, and what they want.  Knowing this allows us all to confront them.
  3. If they operate openly, we know what they are doing.  We can keep track of them, and monitor their activities.

If we ban free speech,or  even “only” the speech that we find disgusting, we lose some things:

  1. We will have no idea who the extremists are, as they won’t go away, they’ll go underground.
  2. We will have no idea what they believe or plan to do.
  3. By banning their speech, the government will prove most of their beliefs about their ideas being a threat to power.
  4. Being banned makes them more attractive to “recruits.” They will have the “truth that those in power don’t want you to know.”
  5. They become dangerous and more likely to take violent action.

Freedom of speech means that you might be offended by something that is said or written.  We can’t run and cry to government every time something upsets us.  We have to take hate for what it is, and confront it, or just let if fail under the weight of it’s own stupidity.  We have to allow all of it, or face tyranny, as when the state is given the power to ban some speech, it will eventually seek to ban more and more of it.   Then, one should not be surprised when it is their own  speech that is banned . The State is a hungry beast, and it always seeks more and more power upon which to feed.  Elimiating dissent is a fine way to accomplish that end.

In the end, no party or group should have the ability to eliminate freedom of speech, or our Republic is doomed.

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Fairness Doctrine Officially Dead: Why That Means Absolutely Nothing

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Yesterday, the FCC officially killed the fairness doctrine.  While it hadn’t been enforced since the late 80’s, the left would occasionally state the desire to resurrect it, and the right always feared it.  Here is coverage from The Blaze…

The last nail was finally driven into the Fairness Doctrine’s coffin when the FCC eliminated more than 80 media industry rules, ending the obsolete post WWII-era regulation. The doctrine, that sought to ensure inclusiveness of different viewpoints broadcast on the airwaves, was officially erased by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday.

Conservative critics of the Fairness Doctrine believed the rule violated broadcasters’ rights to free speech and feared Democrats would try revive the regulation to silence conservative talk radio programs. While the doctrine was essentially abandoned in 1987 during the Reagan administration, it remained on the books until Monday.

Apparently, the FCC tossed over 80 old regulations, and you know what?

It doesn’t mean a single thing!

Yes, the statists had been periodically dragging out the corpse of the fairness doctrine, using it to get Conservatives in an uproar, but in reality, they never really intended to re-instate it.  Instead, they were looking at different ways to implement something similar, while calling it something else.  I have covered that quite a few times in the past.  Here is some more background…

Our “progressives” are no different in their desire to control the flow of information. Over the last several years, they have pressed on with various “packages” for controlling information, and therefore, us.  I think a review of the various agendas is in order, as they have evolved.  Following the tendency to “call it something else,” the “progressives” have been morphing and relabeling their narrative, seeking something that will resonate sufficiently to implement.

Since I started the CH, I have been covering these efforts, as have my blogging friends.  So I think reviewing the last two years is in order.

First, back in later 2008 and early 2009, Henry Waxman was discussing a new Fairness Doctrine.  Of course, they would “call it something else.”

According to The Prowler, Waxman and his staff are already looking at ways to police content on the web. (emphasis mine throughout)

Senior FCC staff working for acting Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps held meetings last week with policy and legislative advisers to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the “Fairness Doctrine” without actually calling it such.

Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. “It’s all about diversity in media,” says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. “Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them.”

Waxman and his staff are also thinking about creating congressionally mandated advisory boards to police both radio and TV programming:

One idea Waxman’s committee staff is looking at is a congressionally mandated policy that would require all TV and radio stations to have in place “advisory boards” that would act as watchdogs to ensure “community needs and opinions” are given fair treatment. Reports from those advisory boards would be used for license renewals and summaries would be reviewed at least annually by FCC staff.

What about policing internet content?  According to The Prowler, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is already looking into this.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also looking at how it can put in place policies that would allow it greater oversight of the Internet. “Internet radio is becoming a big deal, and we’re seeing that some web sites are able to control traffic and information, while other sites that may be of interest or use to citizens get limited traffic because of the way the people search and look for information,” says on committee staffer. “We’re at very early stages on this, but the chairman has made it clear that oversight of the Internet is one of his top priorities.”

Then, I covered that the they were seeking different means to acheive a “fairness doctrine,” again, calling it something else.

To accomplish this piece of fascism, the messiah has created a “diversity committee” at the FCC to address the lack of minority and female ownership of radio stations.  Why is this important?  Well, according to a think tank put together by the messiah early in his campaign…

It also was reported when a think tank headed by John Podesta, co-chairman of Obama’s transition team, mapped out a strategy in 2007 for clamping down on conservative talk radio by requiring stations to be operated by female and minority owners, which the report showed were statistically more likely to carry liberal political talk shows.

That report found the best strategy for getting equal time for “progressives” on radio lies in mandating “diversity of ownership” without ever needing to mention the former FCC policy of requiring airtime for liberal viewpoints, known as the “Fairness Doctrine,” a plan thrown out in the 1980s.

Then, facts about the “regulatory Czar,” Cass Sunstein, were revealed.

Now comes a more insidious form of thought control a la 1984, courtesy of long-time friend and probable new regulatory czar Cass Sunstein (who recently married another long-time confidant of Barack Obama’s, foreign policy guru Samantha Power).  Kyle Smith writes in the New York Postabout one aspect of Sunstein’s ideology:

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a “chilling effect” on speech that might hurt someone’s feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them.

Advance copies of Sunstein’s new book, “On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done,” have gone out to reviewers ahead of its September publication date, but considering the prominence with which Sunstein is about to be endowed, his worrying views are fair game now. Sunstein is President Obama’s choice to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It’s the bland titles that should scare you the most.

In “On Rumors,” Sunstein reviews how views get cemented in one camp even when people are presented with persuasive evidence to the contrary. He worries that we are headed for a future in which “people’s beliefs are a product of social networks working as echo chambers in which false rumors spread like wildfire.” That future, though, is already here, according to Sunstein. “We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet,” he writes. “We live in that world. What might be done to reduce the harm?”

Sunstein’s book is a blueprint for online censorship as he wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading “rumors.”

Smith notes that bloggers and others would be forced to remove such criticism unless they could be “proven”. The litigation expense would be daunting; the time necessary to defend a posting (or an article) would work to the benefit of the public figure being criticized since the delay would probably allow the figure to win an election before the truth “won out”. The mere threat of retaliatory actions would be enough to dissuade many commentators from daring to issue a word of criticism or skepticism.

This strikes me as interesting, as “progressives” tend not always ban activities.  Many times, they use regulations to make it so expensive, or so laborious, that the activity isn’t worth the time or expense.  This would be a prime example.

And, of course, a discussion on this matter would be incomplete without mention of Mark Lloyd.

“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press,” he said. “This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

“[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance,” said Lloyd. “[T]he problem is not only the warp to our public philosophy of free speech, but that the government has abandoned its role of advancing the communications capabilities of real people.”

My general point is that if they had wanted the fairness doctrine back, they would have done it long ago.   Instead, they have spent considerable time and effort towards creating something that would accomplish the same thing, and would be called something else.  The result would be the same-the end of dissent, but it would be phrased and presented in a slightly different way.   So, while they have been busy scaring folks with the fairness doctrine, they have been working on other options to slide past us while we’re distracted.  Think of it this way, while one person is distracting us with something shiny, another is sneaking up behind us with a tire iron.

In other words, beware!  The “death” of something that was long dead anyway is nothing more than a distraction.  We need to be looking at what they ARE doing.

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Was Fast and Furious Meant to be Cloward-Piven for the Second Amendment?

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If you recall, the lefty meme from a while back was that Mexican gun violence was caused by guns imported from the US.  While that came into debate, the governments of both the US and Mexico made the claim, and the lapdogs in the MSM followed suit.  Of course, the porous border and the fact that these guns are being used by CRIMINALS never entered into the discussion.

As the details of Operation Fast and Furious have come to light, we see that that narrative is at the very least partially true.  The US government was sending the guns to Mexico in the first place.

We’re all familiar with the case by now, as well as the stonewalling and apparent lies told by government officials in response to Rep. Issa’s inquiries.  But was there another motivation for Fast and Furious?  Katie Pavlich  at Townhall has some evidence that there was…

“Internal ATF emails seem to suggest that ATF agents were counseled to highlight a link between criminals and certain semi-automatic weapons in order to bolster a case for a rule like the one the DOJ announced yesterday [Monday].”

Townhall has obtained the email which states “Can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same FfL and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks Mark R. Chait Assistant Director Field Operations.”

So, to make a long story short, the ATF was looking for some evidence to justify something that they wanted.  Whatever happened to looking at evidence, and they taking action based on that evidence?  That logic apparently escaped the bass ackward folks of the ATF, who decided on the action, and looked for data to justify it!  Of course, with Fast and Furious, there was plenty of “evidence” to be cited.

Let’s connect the dots…

1.  Obama is a gun grabber.  He just toned it down to get elected.

2.  Holder is a gun grabber.

3.  Sunstein is a gun grabber.

4.  Kagan is a gun grabber.

5.  As per Obama’s MO, he is using his minions to do the dirty work behind the scenes, while he get’s to avoid the resulting heat.

6.  Fast and Furious is publicly announced in 2009.

7.  As if on cue, the government and MSM start blaming guns from here as being the cause of Mexican violence.

8.  The Justice Department releases this…

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 11, 2011
Statement of Deputy Attorney General James Cole Regarding Information Requests for Multiple Sales of Semi-Automatic Rifles with Detachable Magazines

WASHINGTON – Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued the following statement today regarding information requests for multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines in select states along the Southwest Border:

“The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States.  Federal, state and foreign law enforcement agencies have determined that certain types of semi-automatic rifles – greater than .22 caliber and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine – are highly sought after by dangerous drug trafficking organizations and frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest Border.  This new reporting measure — tailored to focus only on multiple sales of these types of rifles to the same person within a five-day period — will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations.  These targeted information requests will occur in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to help confront the problem of illegal gun trafficking into Mexico and along the Southwest Border.”

Now, let’s be honest.  This does not ban any guns.  It does not prevent people from buying multiple guns.  However, by tracking guns, they leave themselves a “back door” by which to know where and how to find them if they did want to confiscate them.   Additionally, it is an undue It’s an unnecessary invasion of privacy that does nothing more than give the government more information. And as we know, information is power.  Iin the investigation of Fast and Furious, gun shop owners attempted on multiple occasions to report and stop sales to suspicious buyers, and they were told by ATF to allow them.   There is a system for sellers to report suspicious activity.  Then why have this rule, unless it is to collect information on legal gun owners?

We know that Obama, and the people that he has appointed are not fans of the Second Amendment.   And Rahm Emanuel has suggested, this administration does not like to let a perfectly good crisis go to waste-even if they have to create it themselves.

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Robo-Trolls: Coming Soon to a Website near you?

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The other day, RS McCain did a post, Sock Puppet Software,  that got me thinking.    Here is what FOX had to say about it…

The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage “fake people” on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues.

The contract calls for the development of “Persona Management Software” which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.

 

When I saw this, I immediately thought of some things I had covered in the past.  They seemed to go along together quite nicely (or not so nicely, as the case might be).  Here is what I had to say about it back in 2009…

After hearing so many bloggers complain of trolls, and being on forums with heavy troll populations, I wasn’t surprised when I saw this.

Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy – us. They want to ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency – and the humanity – of George W. Bush.

Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way – all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its “idealism” in a most cynical fashion.

Much of Mr. Obama’s vaunted online strategy involved utilizing “Internet trolls” to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that’s called “vandalism.” But in a political movement that embraces “graffiti” as avant-garde art , that’s business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people’s property in pursuit of electoral victory.

This reportedly played a large role in Obama’s defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2008.  Her online efforts were infiltrated by Obama supporters, some allegedly paid, who sowed discontent, got discussions off track, and generally made a wreck of things.

 

This also reminded me of some things Cass Sunstein had been suggesting.  My point about groups being infiltrated by trolls has taken another turn.  Apparently, Cass Sunstein, the Regulatory Czar, had suggested, in a 2008 paper, that government agents, or allied groups, infiltrate and undermine groups that spread “conspiracy theories.”

In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated “cognitive infiltration” of groups that advocate “conspiracy theories” like the ones surrounding 9/11.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.(Emphasis mine)

Now, while the particular article focuses on “truthers,” we have seen this before, have we not?  Also, isn’t it ironic that Mr. Sunstein discusses infiltrating a group, that among it’s members, was former fellow Czar Van Jones?

I think we also might consider that most of what we discuss on Conservative blogs and forums would be classified by the left as  “conspiracy theories.”  ClimateGate, the “Czars,” the lack of transparency, the public option being a trojan horse for single payer, the Porkulus money going to places that don’t exist…are all well documented, but because the left has to discredit them, they will be categorized as “conspiracies.”

Sunstein’s article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that “our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a ‘crippled epistemology,’ in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.”

By “crippled epistemology” Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public — the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.

Crippled epistemology?  I wonder if Mr. Sunstein realizes that many of us regularly watch MSM news shows, visit sites and feeds from MSM newspapers, and visit left leaning web sites (or am I being redundant)?  I can’t be alone in that.  After all, how can one fight an ideological battle when one does not know what the opposition thinks and believes?

Sunstein argued that “government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories.” He suggested that “government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”

Hmm.  Using deceit to undermine online groups…I guess they would not be visiting the HuffPo or the Kossacks, would they?

Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of “extremist” groups so that it undermines the groups’ confidence to the extent that “new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides.”

Discourage, undermine, and discredit…seems similar to the Alinsky Method, doesn’t it?  I’ve received comments here that I know were from trolls posing as conservatives.  It will get worse, especially since the left will grow increasingly desperate.  They are facing more organized and effective resistance.  They won’t stand for that.

 

So, we have paid trolls, and a regulatory Czar that wants the government to do “psyops” on online groups.  Disrupting discussions, sowing distrust and discontent, and ending cohesion.  That sounds light an enlightened, transparent, and tolerant thing to do, doesn’t it?

 

This goes right to the left’s inability to win the real debate.  They have had to use deceit to tilt things to their side.  Bloggers, folks on forums, Twitter, and Facebook have all had a role in exposing the left’s lies.  They no longer have a media monopoly, so they have to deny access to the playing field in any way they can.  The fairness doctrine is dead.  Net Neutrality is about to bite the dust.  So, they have to resort to good, old fashioned, dirty tricks to get the job done.

 

If this actually happens, it will mark another phase in the info wars.  Social networking sites, if they are actually interested, will need to come up with ways to block the fake accounts.  Then, the government will buy tweaks to their artificial sockpuppet army, and the pendulum will swing back and forth.   Sadly, that is what happens when the one side of a debate is so intellectually bankrupt so as to use false flag to control discussion, or spread a narrative.

 

The real question is this, will we call it “RoboTurf?”

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Exploring the Intent of ObamaCare: Donald Berwick and Ezekiel Emanuel

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Note from Matt: Since Donald Berwick has been re-nominated to his post, and the left is busily trying to discredit anyone who speaks out about ObamaCare, let’s tale a look at where the real “big lie” is being told.  Here is a post from last May.

As regular readers are well aware, I’ve spent a great deal of time covering the death and abuse that are part of the British NHS.  We’ve covered that over 20,000 cancer victims die each year because the NHS won’t cover their medications.  We’ve covered the terrible conditions at some NHS facilities, and we’ve covered the lack of care and waiting periods that are part and parcel to any socialized medical system.  Needless to say, the NHS should be viewed as a cautionary warning against a single payer system.

Here are some of the posts here that discuss the carnage that is the NHS.

Does Single Payer Kill? Why Yes, Yes it Does

Does Single Payer Kill?

The Results of Socialized Medicine: Do we Really Want What Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are Selling?

Rationing Your Life Away

Not everyone see’s it that way.  One person, in particular, is Obama nominee Donald Berwick.  Berwick has been nominated to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Like so many other nominees, Berwick seems to have the typical “progressive” elitism, as well as a health portion of reality denial.  Redstate has a great post on the situation, and I will be using the material that they dug up on Berwick.

“I am romantic about the NHS; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.”

Not enough people dying here?

“Berwick complained the American health system runs in the ‘darkness of private enterprise,’ unlike Britain’s ‘politically accountable system.’ The NHS is ‘universal, accessible, excellent, and free at the point of care – a health system that is, at its core, like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just’; America’s health system is ‘toxic,’ ‘fragmented,’ because of its dependence on consumer choice. He told his UK audience: ‘I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.’”

Source: American Spectator

Wow, this guy is actually bold enough to openly state that he believes we’re too dumb to manage our own health care.

Also, Berwick is an admitted advocated of a single payer system.

“If we could ever find the political nerve, we strongly suspect that financing and competitive dynamics such as the following, purveyed by governments and payers, would accelerate interest in [our policy ideal] and progress toward it: (1) global budget caps on total health care spending for designated populations, (2) measurement of and fixed accountability for the health status and health needs of designated populations, (3) improved standardized measures of care and per capita costs across sites and through time that are transparent, (4) changes in payment such that the financial gains from reduction of per capita costs are shared among those who pay for care and those who can and should invest in further improvements, and (5) changes in professional education accreditation to ensure that clinicians are capable of changing and improving their processes of care. With some risk, we note that the simplest way to establish many of these environmental conditions is a single-payer system, hiring integrators with prospective, global budgets to take care of the health needs of a defined population, without permission to exclude any member of the population.”

Source: Health Affairs

Rationing?  Yes we can!

“NICE is extremely effective and a conscientious, valuable, and — importantly — knowledge-building system [which has] developed very good and very disciplined, scientifically grounded, policy-connected models for the evaluation of medical treatments from which we ought to learn.”

Source: In an interview on Comparative Effectiveness Research

Now, we’ve covered NICE before.  NICE is the rationing body in the UK that determines that life saving treatments are not “cost effective.”  As a result, tens of thousands of British citizens die each year from treatable conditions, such as cancer.

The Redstate article also shows that Berwick publicly embraces rationing.

The interviewer pointed out: “Critics of CER have said that it will lead to the rationing of health care.” To which Berwick replied: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

OK, here’s the twist; we’ve heard some very similar things before.  Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother, is a government adviser on health care.  Here are some quotes from Emanuel.

“Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.”

Source:  First Things

“Ultimately, the complete lives system does not create ‘classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,’ but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated”

So, they will use rationing per population, just like Berwick suggests.  Here’s some more.

“There is a widespread perception that the United States spends an excessive amount on high-technology health care for dying patients. Many commentators note that 27 to 30 percent of the Medicare budget is spent on the 5 percent of Medicare patients who die each year. They also note that the expenditures increase exponentially as death approaches, so that the last month of life accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the medical care expenditures in the last year of life. To many, savings from reduced use of expensive technological interventions at the end of life are both necessary and desirable.”

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One commentator observed: “Managed care and managed death [through physician-assisted suicide] are less expensive than fee-for-service care and extended survival. Less expensive is better.” Some of the amicus curiae briefs submitted to the Supreme Court expressed the same logic: “Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

Source: What Are the Potential Cost Savings from Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide? New England Journal of Medicine, July 1998

So, as Glen Beck would suggest, we need to judge Obama by with whom he associates.  He has Emanuel as an adviser, and now, he nominates Berwick.  Both men seem to mirror very similar ideas when it comes to rationing care, and doing so by “population.”  I think it is safe to assume that both men reflect Obama’s beliefs regarding health care.  If they didn’t, why would he appoint or nominate them?

Actually, this is something that Obama does quite often.  He says he’s against censorship, yet he appointed Cass Sunstein and Mark Lloyd, both of whom DO advocate censorship.  His latest nominee to the SCOTUS also seems to think that the state can squelch free speech.  He claims not to be a gun grabber, but his AG is.  He still tries to portray his position as more moderate, and the MSM helps, but his appointees and nominees clearly reflect his true intent.  Basically, his rhetoric goes one way, but his appointees tell the true story.

Note: Don has a great post on this subject over at his place, Present Discontent.

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Ending Dissent: An Overview of Media Control Part I

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It is well known that totalitarian systems seek to control all media.   To achieve, and then maintain, control of the people, the totalitarian must prevent dissent.  In such a scenario, obedience to the state is first and foremost, and is difficult to achieve if people are able to share actual thoughts and ideas.  Dissenters must be marginalized and/or punished, and they cannot be permitted to defend themselves in the court of public opinion.  Additionally, as the regime takes more and more from the people, and, as a result, causes suffering, actual information as to the reasons for the suffering must be suppressed.  Essentially, totalitarianism, whether it comes in the form of Fascism, Socialism, or Progressivism, uses control of information and ideas to achieve power, maintain power, and cover for the inevitable failure that results from total government control.

Our “progressives” are no different in their desire to control the flow of information. Over the last several years, they have pressed on with various “packages” for controlling information, and therefore, us.  I think a review of the various agendas is in order, as they have evolved.  Following the tendency to “call it something else,” the “progressives” have been morphing and relabeling their narrative, seeking something that will resonate sufficiently to implement.

Since I started the CH, I have been covering these efforts, as have my blogging friends.  So I think reviewing the last two years is in order.

First, back in later 2008 and early 2009, Henry Waxman was discussing a new Fairness Doctrine.  Of course, they would “call it something else.”

According to The Prowler, Waxman and his staff are already looking at ways to police content on the web. (emphasis mine throughout)

Senior FCC staff working for acting Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps held meetings last week with policy and legislative advisers to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the “Fairness Doctrine” without actually calling it such.

Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. “It’s all about diversity in media,” says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. “Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them.”

Waxman and his staff are also thinking about creating congressionally mandated advisory boards to police both radio and TV programming:

One idea Waxman’s committee staff is looking at is a congressionally mandated policy that would require all TV and radio stations to have in place “advisory boards” that would act as watchdogs to ensure “community needs and opinions” are given fair treatment. Reports from those advisory boards would be used for license renewals and summaries would be reviewed at least annually by FCC staff.

What about policing internet content?  According to The Prowler, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is already looking into this.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also looking at how it can put in place policies that would allow it greater oversight of the Internet. “Internet radio is becoming a big deal, and we’re seeing that some web sites are able to control traffic and information, while other sites that may be of interest or use to citizens get limited traffic because of the way the people search and look for information,” says on committee staffer. “We’re at very early stages on this, but the chairman has made it clear that oversight of the Internet is one of his top priorities.”

Then, I covered that the they were seeking different means to acheive a “fairness doctrine,” again, calling it something else.

To accomplish this piece of fascism, the messiah has created a “diversity committee” at the FCC to address the lack of minority and female ownership of radio stations.  Why is this important?  Well, according to a think tank put together by the messiah early in his campaign…

It also was reported when a think tank headed by John Podesta, co-chairman of Obama’s transition team, mapped out a strategy in 2007 for clamping down on conservative talk radio by requiring stations to be operated by female and minority owners, which the report showed were statistically more likely to carry liberal political talk shows.

That report found the best strategy for getting equal time for “progressives” on radio lies in mandating “diversity of ownership” without ever needing to mention the former FCC policy of requiring airtime for liberal viewpoints, known as the “Fairness Doctrine,” a plan thrown out in the 1980s.

Then, facts about the “regulatory Czar,” Cass Sunstein, were revealed.

Now comes a more insidious form of thought control a la 1984, courtesy of long-time friend and probable new regulatory czar Cass Sunstein (who recently married another long-time confidant of Barack Obama’s, foreign policy guru Samantha Power).  Kyle Smith writes in the New York Postabout one aspect of Sunstein’s ideology:

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a “chilling effect” on speech that might hurt someone’s feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them.

Advance copies of Sunstein’s new book, “On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done,” have gone out to reviewers ahead of its September publication date, but considering the prominence with which Sunstein is about to be endowed, his worrying views are fair game now. Sunstein is President Obama’s choice to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It’s the bland titles that should scare you the most.

In “On Rumors,” Sunstein reviews how views get cemented in one camp even when people are presented with persuasive evidence to the contrary. He worries that we are headed for a future in which “people’s beliefs are a product of social networks working as echo chambers in which false rumors spread like wildfire.” That future, though, is already here, according to Sunstein. “We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet,” he writes. “We live in that world. What might be done to reduce the harm?”


Sunstein’s book is a blueprint for online censorship as he wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading “rumors.”

Smith notes that bloggers and others would be forced to remove such criticism unless they could be “proven”. The litigation expense would be daunting; the time necessary to defend a posting (or an article) would work to the benefit of the public figure being criticized since the delay would probably allow the figure to win an election before the truth “won out”. The mere threat of retaliatory actions would be enough to dissuade many commentators from daring to issue a word of criticism or skepticism.

This strikes me as interesting, as “progressives” tend not always ban activities.  Many times, they use regulations to make it so expensive, or so laborious, that the activity isn’t worth the time or expense.  This would be a prime example.

And, of course, a discussion on this matter would be incomplete without mention of Mark Lloyd.

“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press,” he said. “This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

“[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance,” said Lloyd. “[T]he problem is not only the warp to our public philosophy of free speech, but that the government has abandoned its role of advancing the communications capabilities of real people.”

More recently, Jay Rockefeller chimed in as well…

I could go on with quotes and citations for some time, but I think that the purpose of the “progressives” is clear.  I believe that they want to regulate CONTENT on the airwaves and on the internet.  I believe that they wish to begin incrementally, via “Net Neutrality” to get a foothold on regulating the Internet, while other groups work on the broadcast end of the media.  Once more entrenched, they can begin picking away, bit by bit, on the freedoms of speech and the press that we hold so dear.

When an individual or group states their desire to accomplish something, and then starts to make movements, no matter how small, in that direction, we need to scrutinize all of their actions.  Those actions not only need to be examined on the basis of the immediate stated purpose, but by also looking at what those purposes may evolve into over time.  Simply put, if someone says they’re going to do something, and then starts to do it, it’s safe to assume that it’s by intent.

For Part Two, we’ll take a look a Wikileaks, and how this might be something more than it appears.

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Blog Focus: Negating the Electoral College and the Trolls that Love it

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Over the years, there has been some talk from the “progressives” about doing way with the Electoral College.  I remember folks in the Clinton Administration talking about it in the 90’s.  It came back again in 2000.  Lately, there are a number of states that have been passing laws to do just that.  I first heard about this at Kristen’s Mishmash.  Here is a quote from her original article on Bypassing the Electoral College

A bill is working its way through the Massachusetts state legislature that would bypass the electoral college and give all electoral votes to the candidate who won the national majority. Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington already have this kind of legislation.

This is another way that Progressives are chipping away at the Constitution and the vision of our Founders. Our Founders believed that the people should not elect the president directly, so they set up the Electoral College whereby the people of a state would vote for an Elector who would have pledged to vote for a specific person for president.

Obviously, we are already a long way from this method (I can’t help but think of the 17th Amendment here, but that’s another story). These laws will further erode the Republic. A candidate who was not supported by the citizens of a state could easily win the state’s electoral vote.

There is a reason Progressives, Communists, Marxists and their ilk like to call the United States a Democracy, not a Republic. Our Founders warned about democracies. A democracy is the enslavement of the minority by the majority. Venezuela is a democracy.

Seems simple enough, however, there was a development that After Kristen’s first post, she was visited by a troll by the name of “toto.”  This person created a blogger profile this month, and suddenly spams Kristins comment section with talking points and links to sites that support this law.  She then did her second post.  Here is the comment that I left on that post…

Their reasoning is simple. Most of the population is concentrated on the coasts in blue states. By mass of numbers, they’ll carry most election. If you’re in “flyover country,” you might as well stay at home on Election Day. It won’t matter how you vote. The millions of libtards in the cities will render your vote irrelevant.

The Electoral College, much like the structure of the Congress, is set up to give less populous states a voice in elections. Do away with the college, and folks in, for example, the plains states will have no voice. It’s a perfect way to gain “progressive” dominance, and silence all of us “rednecks.”

At the time, I didn’t think much about seeing a troll.  We all see them from time to time.  I didn’t see “toto” as being worth the time, so I didn’t engage.

Then, I did my daily visit with Steve at America’s Watchtower.  He was covering the Electoral College story as well.  Not only did “toto” arrive, but they also brought some friends.  They didn’t leave permalinks, and they all agreed with each other.  They also linked the same websites that were left at Kristen’s place.

Steve and Kristin do not link each other, so “toto” and friends (or sockpuppets), must be searching Google for anyone that is covering this, and spamming up the boards.  For me, this is actually the most interesting part of the story.  I know that the left wants to co-opt the electoral process.  That’s not at all a surprise.  When you consider that Holder will not enforce the parts of Motor Voter that force states to purge voter rolls of deceased, or otherwise ineligible to voters, and that the Dems have sought to control Secretaries of State all over the nation (they certify elections), we see that there is a pattern of electoral malfeasance.  Also consider the fact that ACORN added who knows how many fake voters to the rolls, and will again now that they split into dozens of smaller organizations with different names.  In the end, once you piece it all together, there is a pattern of interfering with the electoral process.  The elimination of the Electoral College can  simply be seen as another part of that overall effort.

We have also documented that the left will use trolls to attack, silence, spam, or otherwise disrupt Conservative sites and forums.  We also know that some are paid.  I have no idea if that is the case here, but who knows?  Maybe they’re doing some of Cass Sunstein’s “cognitive infiltration.”  No matter the cause or impetus, these same messages are being spammed extensively.  This is clearly an indication of a coordinated effort.

Here is a list of sites that have been spammed with the same “copypasta:”

The Baltimore Sun Forum

Stuck in Massachusetts

The Ten O’clock Scholar

Philadelphia Speaks

Hannity

I could go on, but you get the point.  Someone really wants to support this destruction of our electoral system, and they are quite persistent in doing so.

To sum it up, let’s hear from Thomas Jefferson…

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

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Apparently, Socialists Are not in Favor of Dissent: Venezuela Jails Two for Twitter Posts

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Now, we all know that, according to Sean Penn and Oliver Stone, Hugo Chavez is a really swell guy, and not at all a dictator.  However, reality intervenes and sheds light onto his true nature.  The Washington Times recently published an account of what happens when you disagree with the kindly communist dictator in Venezuela.

In Venezuela, Luis Enrique Acosta Oxford’s ordeal began June 30, when he posted a 120-character piece of financial advice on the popular micro-blogging site Twitter: “Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t say you weren’t warned… Pull out today… I’m telling you, there are just a few days left.” Eight days later, Venezuelan authorities incarcerated Mr. Oxford, 41, and a fellow Twitter user – Carmen Cecilia Nares Castro, 35. A court this week charged them with “disseminating false rumors” on Twitter to “destabilize the banking system.” They were released pending trial and face up to 11 years in prison.

Translation: They warned others, and have to be punished.  That, and given the damage that Chavez has already done to the economy there, warning people of more economic downturns is not prudent, but a crime. In the socialist utopia, the truth is a crime. Here’s some more…

What’s more, Venezuelan authorities have indicated they may pursue similar charges against 15 others. “The assault on free, independent, and critical media in Venezuela has run its course,” said Thor Halvorssen, the Venezuelan-born president of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), a New York-based nongovernmental organization that monitors human rights conditions in the Americas. “There is little left for the government to do, considering it has used every tool at its disposal to silence dissent,” he said, noting a crackdown on media critical of the government. “This is phase two – going after individuals in private action for simple freedom of expression.” Mr. Halvorssen said the Twitter arrests were carried out to have a “chilling effect.”

Chilling is right.  They want to discourage anyone else from speaking out against Chavez.  Come to think of it, why doesn’t Chavez have his media call anyone who disagrees with him a racist?  Oh, that’s what happens here in the US, my bad.

“What began with the closing of Radio Caracas Television in 2007 and the harassment and closures of other media outlets has now trickled down to the silencing of ordinary citizens,” Mr. Lansberg-Rodriguez said. “These arrests, and the precedent they set, should concern all Venezuelans, regardless of political affiliation.” In March, he openly declared his intent to tighten Web restrictions for other Venezuelans. “The Internet cannot be a completely free space where anything is said and anything is done,” he said. “No, each country must impose its own rules.”

No Mr. Chavez, for you, and your “progressive” cousins here in the US, free speech interferes with your acquisition of power.  People speaking out, sharing ideas, and even worse, exposing your failures, cannot be tolerated.  Here in the US, they are just having the government, the Democratic party, a host of related interest groups, and the MSM marching in lockstep to silence any dissent.  No jails, yet. For commentary from the US Government, let’s turn to Mark Lloyd, Diversity “Czar” at the FCC…

Hmm, I see he’s not really on our side here.  Come to think of it, Cass Sunstein, and even SCOTUS nominee, Elena Kagan have made statements regarding limitations on free speech.  Maybe the White House will be of some help?

Well, their mouthpiece didn’t seem very helpful, especially since what we were talking about back then is actually happening now.  That, and she seemed to be encouraging people to turn in others for saying what we now KNOW to be true. Could it be that there are those in our own government that share the same views as the dictator Chavez? It’s more likely than you think.

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The Tale of Two Obama Minions: Donald Berwick and Ezekiel Emanuel

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As regular readers are well aware, I’ve spent a great deal of time covering the death and abuse that are part of the British NHS.  We’ve covered that over 20,000 cancer victims die each year because the NHS won’t cover their medications.  We’ve covered the terrible conditions at some NHS facilities, and we’ve covered the lack of care and waiting periods that are part and parcel to any socialized medical system.  Needless to say, the NHS should be viewed as a cautionary warning against a single payer system.

Here are some of the posts here that discuss the carnage that is the NHS.

Does Single Payer Kill? Why Yes, Yes it Does

Does Single Payer Kill?

The Results of Socialized Medicine: Do we Really Want What Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are Selling?

Rationing Your Life Away

Not everyone see’s it that way.  One person, in particular, is Obama nominee Donald Berwick.  Berwick has been nominated to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Like so many other nominees, Berwick seems to have the typical “progressive” elitism, as well as a health portion of reality denial.  Redstate has a great post on the situation, and I will be using the material that they dug up on Berwick.

“I am romantic about the NHS; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.”

Not enough people dying here?

“Berwick complained the American health system runs in the ‘darkness of private enterprise,’ unlike Britain’s ‘politically accountable system.’ The NHS is ‘universal, accessible, excellent, and free at the point of care – a health system that is, at its core, like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just’; America’s health system is ‘toxic,’ ‘fragmented,’ because of its dependence on consumer choice. He told his UK audience: ‘I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.’”

Source: American Spectator

Wow, this guy is actually bold enough to openly state that he believes we’re too dumb to manage our own health care.

Also, Berwick is an admitted advocated of a single payer system.

“If we could ever find the political nerve, we strongly suspect that financing and competitive dynamics such as the following, purveyed by governments and payers, would accelerate interest in [our policy ideal] and progress toward it: (1) global budget caps on total health care spending for designated populations, (2) measurement of and fixed accountability for the health status and health needs of designated populations, (3) improved standardized measures of care and per capita costs across sites and through time that are transparent, (4) changes in payment such that the financial gains from reduction of per capita costs are shared among those who pay for care and those who can and should invest in further improvements, and (5) changes in professional education accreditation to ensure that clinicians are capable of changing and improving their processes of care. With some risk, we note that the simplest way to establish many of these environmental conditions is a single-payer system, hiring integrators with prospective, global budgets to take care of the health needs of a defined population, without permission to exclude any member of the population.”

Source: Health Affairs

Rationing?  Yes we can!

“NICE is extremely effective and a conscientious, valuable, and — importantly — knowledge-building system [which has] developed very good and very disciplined, scientifically grounded, policy-connected models for the evaluation of medical treatments from which we ought to learn.”

Source: In an interview on Comparative Effectiveness Research

Now, we’ve covered NICE before.  NICE is the rationing body in the UK that determines that life saving treatments are not “cost effective.”  As a result, tens of thousands of British citizens die each year from treatable conditions, such as cancer.

The Redstate article also shows that Berwick publicly embraces rationing.

The interviewer pointed out: “Critics of CER have said that it will lead to the rationing of health care.” To which Berwick replied: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

OK, here’s the twist; we’ve heard some very similar things before.  Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother, is a government adviser on health care.  Here are some quotes from Emanuel.

“Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.”

Source:  First Things

“Ultimately, the complete lives system does not create ‘classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,’ but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated”

So, they will use rationing per population, just like Berwick suggests.  Here’s some more.

“There is a widespread perception that the United States spends an excessive amount on high-technology health care for dying patients. Many commentators note that 27 to 30 percent of the Medicare budget is spent on the 5 percent of Medicare patients who die each year. They also note that the expenditures increase exponentially as death approaches, so that the last month of life accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the medical care expenditures in the last year of life. To many, savings from reduced use of expensive technological interventions at the end of life are both necessary and desirable.”

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One commentator observed: “Managed care and managed death [through physician-assisted suicide] are less expensive than fee-for-service care and extended survival. Less expensive is better.” Some of the amicus curiae briefs submitted to the Supreme Court expressed the same logic: “Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

Source: What Are the Potential Cost Savings from Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide? New England Journal of Medicine, July 1998

So, as Glen Beck would suggest, we need to judge Obama by with whom he associates.  He has Emanuel as an adviser, and now, he nominates Berwick.  Both men seem to mirror very similar ideas when it comes to rationing care, and doing so by “population.”  I think it is safe to assume that both men reflect Obama’s beliefs regarding health care.  If they didn’t, why would he appoint or nominate them?

Actually, this is something that Obama does quite often.  He says he’s against censorship, yet he appointed Cass Sunstein and Mark Lloyd, both of whom DO advocate censorship.  His latest nominee to the SCOTUS also seems to think that the state can squelch free speech.  He claims not to be a gun grabber, but his AG is.  He still tries to portray his position as more moderate, and the MSM helps, but his appointees and nominees clearly reflect his true intent.  Basically, his rhetoric goes one way, but his appointees tell the true story.

Note: Don has a great post on this subject over at his place, Present Discontent.

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ObamaCare Damage: IPAB, Rationing and the Dealth Panel?

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I caught this video over at Hot Air today, and thought it best to share it here.  Kindly give a close listen to Peter Orszag, the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget under the POTUS.

So, we have the IPAB, which stands for Independent Payment Advisory Board.  From what Orszag is saying; that it will cut costs by not being “based on quantity,” I think we can safely assume that this is a rationing body.

Now, if this is a rationing body, and they are going to cut costs by not treating things, might this also be the “death panel?”  Both Sunstein and Emanuel (EZKILL, not Rahm), have both tagged end of life care as something to be limited.  IPAB would seem to be a great way to accomplish just that.  No, you won’t have to stand before them and justify your life, but they might just arbitrarily decide to not pay for something that keeps you alive.  Considering that this already happens in the UK with cancer drugs, and 20,000 Brits with cancer are killed by the NHS each year, are we seeing a pattern here?

You be the judge.  Also, note that Orszag states that the Congress was notified of this.  So, not only have they been denying that rationing is part of ObamaCare, they were clearly aware that this is a lie.  In the end, there will be unelected bureaucrats deciding what type of treatments that we can, or can not have.  Add to that, the quotes from the aforementioned government officials who have been suggesting that we cut end of life care, and this law is everything that we’ve been saying it was all along.

Better get Granny ready for the pain pill.

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MSM vs. Reality: More Media Bias Concerning the Tea Parties

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With all the talk of “threats” and vandalism lately, the MSM has continued to repeat the talking points that the GOP and the Tea Parties and guilty of racial slurs, threatening government officials and breaking windows at Democratic offices (even ones that are 30 stories up!).  Now, there are no videos of this (other than the one that showed that the Congressional Black Caucus was lying).  There have been no arrests, but the MSM keeps going along without evidence, just like they did last summer.

I would also be negligent if I omitted the violence at the 2008 GOP Convention.  The Powerline Blog has a great post on the subject.

I attended the convention and remember the terrorist acts that were carried out by anti-Republican protesters very well. They threw bricks through the windows of buses, sending elderly convention delegates to the hospital. They dropped bags of sand off highway overpasses onto vehicles below. Fortunately, no one was killed.

These were anti-Bush and anti-Republican protesters. Is it a stretch to think that some of them, at least, may have been inspired by over-the-top, hateful attacks on the Bush administration by Democratic Congressmen, DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Michael Moore, who was a guest of honor at the Democrats’ own convention, various show business personalities, and many other leading liberal figures? I don’t think so. We haven’t seen that sort of hate campaign since the Democrats went after Abraham Lincoln. It seems unlikely that none of the “protesters” who tried to commit murder were inspired by those liberal voices.

Didn’t hear about that from MSNBC, did you?

So, we see that there is a proud history of lying about the right, ignoring the actual documented violence of the left, and it’s only getting more blatant and transparent.

Next up, the Tea Party rally in Nevada yesterday.  Here is CNN’s coverage, courtesy of NewsBusters.

Dozens, eh?  Let’s compare “dozens” to reality.  Here is an aerial view of the protest courtesy of Gateway Pundit.

Yup, that’s dozens alright!  That’s about as accurate as the estimated costs of ObamaCare!

Then, to keep on spreading the talking points, the WaPo chimed in as well.

The angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar. They resemble faces of protesters lining the street at the University of Alabama in 1956 as Autherine Lucy, the school’s first black student, bravely tried to walk to class.

Those same jeering faces could be seen gathered around the Arkansas National Guard troopers who blocked nine black children from entering Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.

Again, this is the typical talking point:  The Tea Parties are racists, and will engage in violence at some point.

Considering all the evidence, and looking at the past history of the Democrats, I think that this is the plan:

1.  For over a year now, the government, the Democratic Party, and the MSM have been in lockstep in describing anyone who disagrees with the POTUS as a terrorist in waiting.

2.  Once the Tea Parties started, the same folks in government, the Dems, and the MSM, have been alternately minimizing the size and scope of the movement, as well as simply making up unsubstantiated lies about it.  Note that the lies are meant to craft a public perception that matched the claims that the movement is filled with racists and potential terrorists.

3.  Now that the Health Care bill is done, a distraction is needed.  After all, the party doesn’t want stories about job losses, rising premiums, and the other flaws of the bill making it onto the news, so why not kill two birds with one stone?  Smear the opposition and distract everyone at the same time.  Now, some will say that this is wild speculation, but kindly remember that the Clinton administration would fire off a cruise missile and make some rubble bounce every time one of his civil cases went to court.  How many former Clinton operatives now work for Obama?

4.  So, without evidence of any kind, the administration, Dems, and MSM lapdogs are beating the same drum.  The GOP and Tea Parties are racists that are threatening Dems and vandalizing Dem offices.  Again, there is no evidence, and history clearly indicates that the Dems have done this themselves many times themselves in order to smear their opposition.

5.  If the Dems can cause the GOP to distance themselves from the Tea Parties, they might split the Conservative Vote.  I doubt it will happen, but it makes sense for the Democrats to try.

6.  The Democrats are also blaming talk radio, FOX News, and any other voices that disagree with the administration, of engaging in hate speech.  They are blaming Limbaugh, Beck, and the others for inciting “violence” out there.  And all the while, the left is actually suggesting violence.

7.  Cass Sunstein, Mark Lloyd, and Henry Waxman have all floated the idea of regulating media content.  Lloyd in particular, being a big fan of Hugo Chavez, has suggested nationalizing all media.  Needless to say, in that situation, the left’s messages would be the only ones allowed on the airwaves, or possibly the Internet.  “Hate speech,” in other words, dissent against the administration, is “hate,” and would be banned in such a scenario.

8.  If they can’t smear and create a crisis by lying, they might just stage their own “Reichstag Fire” in order to create a crisis sufficient to justify banning this “hate speech.”

Kindly consider that everything that I just mentioned has been done before, I covered some of it in my False Flag post.  It’s simply a question of looking at their past behavior, their stated objectives, and their current actions, and we can make some fair estimations as their current intent.  Is it conjecture?  Yes, but conjecture based on previous statements and behavior.  After all, why would we expect those that deal with deception to suddenly become honest?

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Czar Wars & Trolls: Cass Sunstein Advocates “Cognitive Infiltration” of Groups

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My point about groups being infiltrated by trolls has taken another turn.  Apparently, Cass Sunstein, the Regulatory Czar, had suggested, in a 2008 paper, that government agents, or allied groups, infiltrate and undermine groups that spread “conspiracy theories.”

In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated “cognitive infiltration” of groups that advocate “conspiracy theories” like the ones surrounding 9/11.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.(Emphasis mine)

Now, while the particular article focuses on “truthers,” we have seen this before, have we not?  Also, isn’t it ironic that Mr. Sunstein discusses infiltrating a group, that among it’s members, was former fellow Czar Van Jones?

I think we also might consider that most of what we discuss on Conservative blogs and forums would be classified by the left as  “conspiracy theories.”  ClimateGate, the “Czars,” the lack of transparency, the public option being a trojan horse for single payer, the Porkulus money going to places that don’t exist…are all well documented, but because the left has to discredit them, they will be categorized as “conspiracies.”

Sunstein’s article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that “our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a ‘crippled epistemology,’ in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.”

By “crippled epistemology” Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public — the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.

Crippled epistemology?  I wonder if Mr. Sunstein realizes that many of us regularly watch MSM news shows, visit sites and feeds from MSM newspapers, and visit left leaning web sites (or am I being redundant)?  I can’t be alone in that.  After all, how can one fight an ideological battle when one does not know what the opposition thinks and believes?

Sunstein argued that “government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories.” He suggested that “government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”

Hmm.  Using deceit to undermine online groups…I guess they would not be visiting the HuffPo or the Kossacks, would they?

Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of “extremist” groups so that it undermines the groups’ confidence to the extent that “new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides.”

Discourage, undermine, and discredit…seems similar to the Alinsky Method, doesn’t it?  I’ve received comments here that I know were from trolls posing as conservatives.  It will get worse, especially since the left will grow increasingly desperate.  They are facing more organized and effective resistance.  They won’t stand for that.

My guess is that they will try to fragment us based on single issues, pitting Libertarians against Conservatives, and so on.

Sunstein has been the target of numerous “conspiracy theories” himself, mostly from the right wing political echo chamber, with conservative talking heads claiming he favors enacting “a second Bill of Rights” that would do away with the Second Amendment. Sunstein’s recent book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, was criticized by some on the right as “a blueprint for online censorship.”

There we go.  We quote the guy, and he’s the victim?

Sunstein “wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading ‘rumors,'” wrote Ed Lasky at American Thinker.

Now, let’s take a look at how this might play out.  For example, let’s say I write an article about an administration official or Congressman.  I use quotes and videos to document what the official stands for or is suggesting, and it doesn’t look to good for the official.  The lefties then have someone post a false or inflammatory comment.  Then, the public official might sue me, or has my web host shut me down.  Voila!  Dissent eliminated.

So what might the consequences of this be?  Bloggers might limit, or turn off comments, and thereby conversation on issues, for the fear of being sued.  Forget hosting a forum at all.  The lefties will infiltrate and lay waste to those completely.  I’ve seen that happen without the fear of being sued.  As time wears on, web hosts might not host blogs at all, rather than face penalties or harassment from the government or lefty groups.

The left would be perfectly happy with that.  We are a thorn in their side.  We have that pesky habit of resisting them, and posting quotes from liberals.  In the end, the chilling effect on free speech would be most effective.

But it doesn’t end there.  Remember that Mark Lloyd denied writing what he had written and saying what he said?  Well friends, forget that this is all documented in audio clips, videos, articles and books.   You might just get sued anyway.  Remember, for the left, the idea is NEVER to have a free exchange of ideas; it’s to silence anyone who disagrees with them.  If they have to file thousands of frivolous lawsuits or complaints to make bloggers stop, or ruin them…so be it.  The end goal is the elimination of dissent.

Think I’m exaggerating?  Ask Sarah Palin.  How many frivolous complaints and lawsuits were filed against her when she was still governor?  All were thrown out, but the amount of  money spent to fight them was massive.  That’s the idea, they don’t have to win; they just have to wear you down to the point that you just throw in the towel.

All the while, they’ll deny limiting free speech.  They won’t jail anyone.  They won’t make anyone disappear, but they will use more subtle means to silence bloggers, or anyone else that disagrees with them. And all the while, they’ll couch their fascism in kind terms.  That is what is makes it difficult to define.  Always remember that totalitarians never announce themselves, or their true intent.  They never tell you  the real agenda, and they will use terms like “civility, openness, and balance” to justify their censorship.

Main Image Credit: Michigan Daily

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Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, Ezekiel Emanuel, and the “Death Panels”

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So, with the announcement/unveiling of PelosiCare, the Heath Care debate has heated up once again. Here’s my take on several of the debated issues.

Death Panels:  First, let me say that have a strong dislike for this term.  I believe it to be the hyperbolic, and not accurate to the true form and function of the heath care rationing that is to come.   That being said, there are some are some patterns in the actions of the government that suggest that there will be rationing decisions made that will end lives.  When Sara Palin suggested that people are going to be before “death panels” that would decide who live and dies, she was stretching the truth a bit.  Life and death decisions will be made, just not in that particular context.

End of life counseling, i.e., the “Death Panels,” are back.  The Democrats took it out of one of the earlier bills, after initially denying it existed.  They made a big deal out of removing it; yet apparently expect us to forget the whole thing.  In all honesty, I really don’t have an issue with end of life counseling.  Patients and doctors might see the need to discuss that issue.  However, it is completely inappropriate for the government to mandate it.  A medical professional knows when the “writing is on the wall,” and is fully capable, and trained, to bring up medical topics at the appropriate time.  Mandating it seems to be a “one size fits all” government approach.  Until, that is, you consider some of the other actions of the government.  When you look at the components of the change, and what the advisors and other are saying and doing, the real picture emerges.

Next, let’s take a look at this from CNS News.

Slashing Medicare payments to hospitals that readmit ailing senior citizens–a component of the health care reform bill under consideration in Congress–could have serious consequences for the hospitals, including raising costs on hospitals an estimated $19 billion over 10 years, according to the American Hospital Association.

A plan to reduce preventable hospital readmissions is included in all of the health care bills before Congress and would impose a fee on hospitals that readmit patients for certain conditions, such as pneumonia and heart failure.

The details on how the readmissions policy would work, however, are largely left up to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), a fact that concerns the nation’s hospitals. The penalties would only apply to hospitals where the readmission rates were well above the national average.

OK then, since when is admitting someone for pneumonia or heart failure preventable?  I mean, if someone is having a heart attack, is there a more efficient alternative than admitting them…other than letting them expire in the ER waiting area?

Then, we must consider that the legislation in this case, does not set any criteria or qualifications for this, they simply charges Heath and Human Services with creating them.  Who is going to write them?  Will that process be open to debate?  Will we even be made aware of the rules, or will a “czar,” or will a special interest group write them?  Will the rules change with each new administration?  Will the rules ever make sense?  These are questions that need to be asked, however, we have to remember that this will be a “one size fits all” approach, so there will be little logic involved.

Here’s some more…

The Senate Finance Committee left the definition of a “selected condition” up to the HHS, specifying only that the government use eight conditions with a high rate or cost of readmission. The government can expand the list of selected conditions after three years, in 2016.

As the summary states, “Three years after implementation of the readmissions policy, the [HHS] Secretary would have the authority to expand the policy to other conditions. Additional conditions would be selected based on: (1) high spending on readmissions or high rates of readmissions; and (2) other criteria as determined by the Secretary.”

The American Hospital Association (AHA), in comments submitted to Baucus May 15, said that the Finance Committee’s plan could lead to “serious consequences” if the government does not get the details right.

“Hospital leaders and clinicians who care for patients recognize that some readmissions can be prevented,” the AHA said.

“But there are a number of factors beyond the hospital’s control that affect whether a patient is readmitted, including the natural course of the disease, the limited availability of post-acute and ambulatory health care services, high levels of poverty among some hospitals’ patients, and a lack of community-based social services,” it added.

“If these factors are not accounted for, they will lead to payment penalties, inequities and other serious consequences–intended and unintended–for hospitals, particularly safety-net hospitals,” said the AHA.



Now, they appear to be intent on punishing the hospitals for things that might be out of their control.  For example, what If the patient doesn’t go to follow-up appointments?  That’s a common occurrence.  What if the aftercare practitioner isn’t taking more patients dues to being ripped off by the government plan, or has retired as they can no longer make enough money to justify their effort?  What if the patient simply gets sick again?  That’s the problem with a “one size fits all” plan, it cannot see or take into consideration the individual needs of each patient, or facility.  There are facilities that are in areas with large senior populations.  That population, statistically, will be sicker, as well as have more repeat episodes.  Will hospitals in these areas simply have to cut back services as a whole?  Or will they discourage certain patients from returning?

One more thing…  What happens when the patient’s government insurance stops paying for an episode of care and wants the patient discharged?  Then, the patient gets sick again, and the facility is penalized for doing what the government told them to do?  Sounds like the banks being ordered to make bad loans, and then being blamed when the bad loans clobber the banking system, doesn’t it?  Might this cause facilities to find ways not to admit or treat certain patients?  Is this part of a way to penalize facilities for treating senior citizens?

Next up, this from the Wall Street Journal

• Expanding Medicaid, gutting private Medicare. All this is particularly reckless given the unfunded liabilities of Medicare—now north of $37 trillion over 75 years. Mrs. Pelosi wants to steal $426 billion from future Medicare spending to “pay for” universal coverage. While Medicare’s price controls on doctors and hospitals are certain to be tightened, the only cut that is a sure thing in practice is gutting Medicare Advantage to the tune of $170 billion. Democrats loathe this program because it gives one of out five seniors private insurance options.

So, their denial that they are going to gut Medicare was yet another lie?  Of course, they seem to hate anything that is privately controlled.

In discussing the “death panels,” we have to take yet another look at Ezekiel Emanuel.  Besides being the brother of Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm, Dr. Emanuel is a prominent if medical ethicist that has, shall we say, some rather interesting ideas about medical treatment.  Here are some quotes from Dr. Emanuel:

This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.

So, the government will have the authority to deny treatment for those individuals that they deem unfit for living.  What criteria would be use?  Do you get to appeal?  Do you have any choice?  Under a government controlled plan, I would venture to guess no.

Source:  First Things

“Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.”

Note that the decision has been made based on the amount on money the government has spent “developing” a human.  He is essentially reducing the value of human life to the amount of resources that society has expended upon the said human.  Now, the left can decry the 2% profit margin of the insurance companies; yet engage in far more sinister statistical calculations for who gets care and who gets to die?

“Ultimately, the complete lives system does not create ‘classes of Untermenschen whose lives and well being are deemed not worth spending money on,’ but rather empowers us to decide fairly whom to save when genuine scarcity makes saving everyone impossible.”

This is phenomenal wordsmithing.  He denies in the first part of the sentence, and endorses in the second.  Sir, just saying that the grass isn’t green does not make it orange!

“When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated”

So, I am to be “attenuated?”  Can we say that this is discrimination based on age?  Are all AARP members reading this?  How many times have the Democrats claimed that the Republicans are going to freeze, starve, or kill of the old people? –  Just about every election cycle.  However, look at who is openly proposing to do it!!!

“Every favor to a constituency should be linked to support for the health-care reform agenda. If the automakers want a bailout, then they and their suppliers have to agree to support and lobby for the administration’s health-reform effort.”

As I have said many, many, times, government assistance comes with strings attached.

Source: NCPA

“Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others”

So, is this simply redistribution of wealth, or is it something more?  I believe that this is really about creating a system of scarcity, and using it as means to manipulate population.  It also de-emphasizes ethical considerations, and switches that emphasis to an economic one, especially ironic from a man who is a medical ethicist!

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008

“There is a widespread perception that the United States spends an excessive amount on high-technology health care for dying patients. Many commentators note that 27 to 30 percent of the Medicare budget is spent on the 5 percent of Medicare patients who die each year. They also note that the expenditures increase exponentially as death approaches, so that the last month of life accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the medical care expenditures in the last year of life. To many, savings from reduced use of expensive technological interventions at the end of life are both necessary and desirable.”

“Many have linked the effort to reduce the high cost of death with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One commentator observed: “Managed care and managed death [through physician-assisted suicide] are less expensive than fee-for-service care and extended survival. Less expensive is better.” Some of the amicus curiae briefs submitted to the Supreme Court expressed the same logic: “Decreasing availability and increasing expense in health care and the uncertain impact of managed care may intensify pressure to choose physician-assisted suicide” and “the cost effectiveness of hastened death is as undeniable as gravity. The earlier a patient dies, the less costly is his or her care.”

America, are you reading this?  These people are making economics out of death!  Beyond that, they are projecting savings that can be achieved if you die early.  Combine that with their other actions, and it appears that they are trying to save a buck!  Isn’t that what the left hates about the “evil” insurance companies?  There is a difference though…the state wants to industrialize and manage it at the federal level!

“Although the cost savings to the United States and most managed-care plans are likely to be small, it is important to recognize that the savings to specific terminally ill patients and their families could be substantial. For many patients and their families, especially but not exclusively those without health insurance, the costs of terminal care may result in large out-of-pocket expenses. Nevertheless, as compared with the average American, the terminally ill are less likely to be uninsured, since more than two thirds of decedents are Medicare beneficiaries over 65 years of age. The poorest dying patients are likely to be Medicaid beneficiaries. Extrapolating from the Medicare data, one can calculate that a typical uninsured patient, by dying one month earlier by means of physician-assisted suicide, might save his or her family $10,000 in health care costs, having already spent as much as $20,000 in that year.”

Excuse me for being a bit cynical here, but after reading all of this, can we say that they are trying to sell families on killing off their own family members?  Are they going to sell this to the families as a cost savings for giving granny the “pain pill?”

Source: What Are the Potential Cost Savings from Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide? New England Journal of Medicine, July 1998

I think that anyone who reads this should be frightened.  This has happened before, particularly in Nazi Germany, with their T4 program.  While the T4 program focused on the mentally ill and mentally retarded, it did strike on similar themes, particularly cost savings.

One might ask, why question what a medical ethicist that works for the NIH thinks in regard to the heath care debate?  That is a good question.  In that capacity, those questions should be asked.  I view ethicists as philosophers; they are supposed to ask the difficult or uncomfortable questions. That’s what they are supposed to do.  However, Dr. Emanuel isn’t with the NIH right now.  Why do I say this?  Well, here is the NIH site for Dr. Emanuel:

Ezekiel J. Emanuel is Head of the Department of Bioethics at The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health and a breast oncologist. He is on extended detail as a special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

So, he is a White House adviser…for health policy???  This leads to the question; why have this guy as a special adviser if the administration was not at least evaluating his ideas? And, what does that say about the administration’s stance towards rationing?

It is useful to note that, just like the “czars,” Dr, Emanuel is claiming that his statements are being taken out of context.  That seems to be the claim du jour from the left.  Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, The POTUS, Barney Frank, and the others have all made this claim.  However, I’ll leave the judgment to you.  After all, the doctor has written multiple articles on the topic, and they all end up in the same place.

So, when the Democrats state that there is nothing called a “death panel” in the legislation, they are being truthful, at least superficially.  The real “devil,” as Ross Perot used to say, “is in the details.”  There are cuts in care for the elderly, the mandated “end of life” counseling, and a White House advisor that has repeatedly published his ideas about cutting off care for the elderly and for those “not worthy of life.”  Add this all together (and a few more details- I didn’t want to write a book here), and the pattern emerges.  They do speak to limiting care, and to whom it is to be limited.  They are translating that into their legislation, but not stating it openly.  They do it by creating circumstances in which it will be done, while at the same time denying any complcity.  I beleive that they hope that once the legislation is passed, and takes effect, there will be nothing to do to stop it.  In the end, we arrive at the same place that Sara Palin fears-just in a different form.  Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barak Obama, and Ezekiel Emanuel are taking us there.

H/T: Jeff Head; Notes from Dr. RW

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Czar Wars Profile: Cass Sunstein

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As time wears on, we find out more and more about Obama’s Czars.  First, there was Van Jones being a “truther.”  And, who can forget John “De-Development & Forced Abortion” Holdren?  Then, there was Kevin “Make sure you use a condom with your rapist” Jennings.  For today’s post, we’ll go back to Cass Sunstein, the Regulatory Czar.  We’ve taken a look at Mr. Sunstein before, here and here.  But like most of the Czars, the more one looks, the more one finds.

Apparently, Mr. Sunstein believes that organs should be harvested from terminally ill or the recently deceased, without their consent.

In his 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness,” Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discussed multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as “routine removal,” posits that “the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone’s permission.”

“Though it may sound grotesque, routine removal is not impossible to defend,” wrote Sunstein. “In theory, it would save lives, and it would do so without intruding on anyone who has any prospect for life.”

So, when the state deems it convenient for them, they can claim right over your body.  Ironically, this is the same state that believes that the right for a woman to have control of her body (to kill a baby) is sacred.  Your right to keep your internal organs?   Well…not so much.

This also is reminiscent of the cold and brutal pragmatism of the Nazi T4 program, which was sold to the German public in a similar manner.  The program was seen as a way to free up funding that could be used for other purposes, such as housing.  Mentally ill or retarded individuals would be “liberated from a life not worth living,” and the funds freed by these acts of “mercy” were supposed to be funneled into public programs.  More than likely, they bought tanks and planes with it.

I think it’s easy to project that  if organ transplantation would have existed at that time, it would have been another selling point of the program.

Source: WND

There is more however, Sunstein also seems to think that the current economic crisis is a great way to work towards a socialist state.

In his 2004 book “The Second Bill of Rights,” Sunstein used the precedent of the Great Depression to point out that historic economic crises “provided the most promising conditions for the emergence of socialism in the U.S.”

“With a little nudge or a slight change in emphasis, our culture could have gone, and could still go, in many different directions,” wrote Sunstein in his book, which was reviewed by WND.

Considering that many on the left have been trying to find a way to drag the US into socialism for years, it isn’t surprising that the Cloward/Piven strategy has been used to create the current economic crisis.  Nor is it at all shocking that the left intends on using Cap and Trade and Single Payer to finish what the CRA started.  As usual, when you compare what those on the left say (in candid moments), and then look at what they do, as well as the results, the patterns become clear.

There’s more:

“During the Cold War, the debate about [social welfare] guarantees took the form of pervasive disagreement between the United States and its communist adversaries. Americans emphasized the importance of civil and political liberties, above all free speech and freedom of religion, while communist nations stressed the right to a job, health care and a social minimum.”

Continued Sunstein: “I think this debate was unhelpful; it is most plausible to see the two sets of rights as mutually reinforcing, not antagonistic.”

Sunstein is correct.  That debate wasn’t at all helpful…to the left.  The Communist states stressed universal health care (as inferior as it is), the right to a job (whenever or wherever the state decides), and a social minimum (poverty and scarcity), because they do NOT allow civil liberties or freedom.  It was a PR dodge.  “We have free health care and full employment, just ignore the purges and gulags…Mmkay?”  The two positions are not only antagonistic; they are mutually exclusive.  How can one be under the government’s control concerning health care, jobs, education, housing, transportation, energy, wages, or even your own body, and have ANY civil or political liberty?

Source: WND

Well, there you have it.  More words from one of the czars.  Of course, to point out what these unelected officials actually SAY is racist, terroristic, and (insert liberal insult du jour here).

The POTUS has asked us to judge him by the company he keeps.  That says a lot, doesn’t it?

NOTE: Mr. Sunstein, as well as Mr. Jennings, will be added to the Useful Idiot of the Month competition.  They are both worth candidates.

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The Utility of Free Speech

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As we all know, freedom of speech is under attack.  Mark Lloyd proposes to replace privately owned media with a government approved and moderated PBS.  Cass Sustein and Henry Waxman have both floated the idea of regulating Internet content.  Speech codes on campus restrict the free flows of ideas on college campuses.  The ACLU threatens to sue kids that pray at graduation ceremonies.  People are threatened if they pray in public.  Conversely, the left is able to engage in whatever outrageous activity they choose, and even do what they accuse the right of doing.  The double standard is sometimes astounding.

Following Marxist concepts like “tolerant repression,” the left seeks to limit or eliminate dissent. We understand that this is part of their effort to obtain power by silencing all opposition, or making said opposition ineffective, and unable to reach the people.  Their allies in the media do not cover stories critical of the left, or distorts them into a one sided attack on the opposition.  The government ignores mass protests and accuses the protesters of “racism, terrorism,” and being paid by special interests.  What they cannot ban, or cover up, they will discredit.  They attempt to cloud genuine dissent with hate, all in order to attack the messenger, and to ignore the message.

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, this is certain.  And we know that in a Constitutional Republic, free speech is vital for debate and the free flow of ideas.  Without free speech, the Republic that so many bled and died for would take a short trip into tyranny. All these are true, but I would submit that there is an additional benefit for freedom of speech.

Every nation has fringe groups; racists, religious extremists of every type, anarchists, communist revolutionaries, national socialists, and probably a huge number of others.  It is tempting to deny these people a public forum, as they are repugnant to most all Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. But there are benefits to allowing them speak and function in the open:

  1. If they are public, we know who they are.  Putting a face to the hate allows us to confront it.
  2. If they speak openly, we can know what they believe, and what they want.  Knowing this allows us all to confront them.
  3. If they operate openly, we know what they are doing.  We can keep track of them, and monitor their activities.

If we ban free speech, even the speech that we find disgusting, we lose some things:

  1. We will have no idea who the extremists are, as they won’t go away, they’ll go underground.
  2. We will have no idea what they believe or plan to do.
  3. By banning their speech, the government will prove most of their beliefs about their ideas being a threat to power.
  4. Being banned makes them more attractive to “recruits.” They will have the “truth those in power don’t want you to know.”
  5. They become dangerous and more likely to take violent action.

Freedom of speech means that you might be offended by something that is said or written.  We have to take hate for what it is, and confront it, or just let if fail under the weight of it’s own stupidity.  We have to allow all of it, or face tyranny.  No party or group should have the ability to eliminate freedom of speech, or our Republic is doomed.

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A Note on Trolls

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I think many of us have seen an upswing in troll comments.  From what I have experienced, both at the blog and at the forum I used to frequent, many trolls have several common denominators:

  1. They smugly post democratic talking points.
  2. Their posts have little or no evidence.  They post accusations and assertions.  If they back them up at all, they use MSM reports that only give their side of the story.
  3. Their posts are filled with logical fallacies.
  4. If you respond, with evidence and logic, they disregard the facts, and simply make other accusations.

So, I thought about looking at this behavior from a functional perspective. Hence, if a behavior is consistent, and creates the same result, it is safe to assume it is intentional.  For example, a troll posts democratic talking points.  I create a lengthy response with citations, quotes, statistics, and so forth.   The troll responds by disregarding that they have been outmaneuvered, and makes additional accusations.

Let’s also remember some of the things we know about the left, like the fact that they are not fact based.  You can show them pictures, videos, statistics, any sort of factual evidence that you want, and they will respond with rhetoric and talking points.  Also, since they cannot rely on facts, they have to discredit those that promote the facts.  Let’s face it, we can show them 3200 and show them the sections that prove our claims, and they’ll still deny what is in it.  We can show them quotes from Barak Obama, Barney Frank, Jacob Hacker, Ezekiel Emanuel, Cass Sustein, and others, and they’ll still deny it.  In other words, they are not in reality.  They can’t be-their notions don’t match reality!  Alternatively, they may really not care, because their possible intention is to disrupt and frustrate.

Conclusions:

  1. The trolls are not concerned with verifiable facts.  They actually hate facts, which is why they’re attacking anyone who presents them.
  2. The trolls have the objective of, and probably enjoy, the fact that you spend a lot of time responding to them.
  3. When you are responding to them, you are not doing what you want.  They take the initiative.  We are responding to them instead of promoting what we believe.
  4. You’re never to going to convince them.  THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT REALITY!
  5. Time spent responding to them is time wasted.

My recommendation is answer a question or two.  If they act as I describe above, ban them.  No need to waste time on people that want you to waste time on them.

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New Poll, New Useful Idiot!

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Not for much longer!
Not for much longer!

As I covered the other day, Cass Sunstein is the new appointee as the messiah’s “regulation czar.”  And what a czar this guy would be!  We covered at bit of his looneyness in the other post, but I thought taking a deeper look would be hilarious.  He was recently interviewed by Salon Magazine.  Here are some excerpts.

What inspired you to write this book? What sounded the alarm for you that there was a danger to democratic discourse?

What sounded it was all the excitement about personalization and customization, hearing people saying, “This is unbelievably great that we can just include what we like and exclude what we dislike.” At the same time I was studying jury behavior. The empirical finding was that like-minded jurors, when they talk to one another, tend to get more extreme.

You mean, we shouldn’t get to choose what we read, what we watch, what we hear?  You mean we shouldn’t get to change the station or hit the “off” button?  Or, do you mean that no matter what we watch or listen to, we’ll hear the same thing…liberalism?

There’s a book, “The Long Tail,” by Chris Anderson, which celebrates the “niche-ification” of the world. I like the book — I should say, I think it’s a very good book — but what’s amazing to me is the extent to which Anderson and the Internet enthusiasts really can’t even see a problem and can’t see the individual and social benefits of being exposed to stuff you didn’t choose.

Or, not being able to talk to or relate  with people that have the same beliefs as we do?

Where do you see evidence that “niche-ification” is a problem?

I don’t like that Rush Limbaugh listeners call themselves “dittoheads.” It’s funny, but it’s kind of horrible. Fox News is a self-identified conservative outlet. The more extreme elements on the left treat their fellow citizens as if they’re idiots, or as if they’re rich people who don’t care about anybody. So, I look at some of our culture, I see demonization, and I think, where does that come from?

Demonization?  Hmm, where does the demonization come from?

This is good!  He’ s trying to paint with a broad brush here and make all extremism look bad.  That way, he can appear to be “balanced” when he tries to regulate free spech out of existence.  However, he makes no mention of Moveon, ACORN, the SPLC, the recent DHS report, the left’s ridicule of the Tea Parties, and the left’s vilification of anyone who is the slightest bit concerned withe the gay rights agenda.  That’ll just keep on going.

The Clinton impeachment, I think, had an impact on the book. The impeachment was, it seems to me, constitutionally ridiculous. And yet a lot of people, at least publicly, seemed to agree with it, such that President Clinton was actually impeached. Where did that come from? Bush v. Gore had an impact: the fact that all Gore voters pretty much thought [the decision in] Bush v. Gore was wrong and that all Bush voters thought it was right.

The impeachment ridiculous?  I would expect to go to jail if I committed perjury.  Might I remind everyone that Clinton plead guilty to that, paid a fine, and lost his law license.

The studies that you’re talking about show that self-isolation breeds polarization on both the left and the right. A liberal might argue, though, that liberals are by definition more diversity-minded and more tolerant of the views of others.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!  Thug intimidation tactics by ACORN, Move on, and the gay rights crowd?  Temper tantrum protests that destroy property and result in multiple arrests, people being shouted down, threatened, followed to their homes, and forced to leave their jobs?  Yup, the left, as I’ve documented many times here, is VERY FREAKING TOLERANT!

In your book you observe that conservatives tend to congregate around an outlet like Fox News, while liberals tend to congregate around an outlet like NPR. Don’t those outlets treat their ideological adversaries differently?

Air America maybe is more like Fox News, while NPR is not. It’s too simple to say that NPR is a liberal outlet — agreed entirely. I mean, Sean Hannity, who seems to me particularly mean and dumb — and I’m happy to be quoted on that — there’s nobody like that on NPR.

NPR isn’t liberal?  I remember during the Clinton impeachment, I had ABC news on the TV, and NPR on the radio (we didn’t have Fox News at the time).  The NPR feed was on a delay of several seconds.  I would hear one of the Republicans speak on ABC, then several seconds later, an NPR commentator would TALK OVER the Republican speaker!  It wasn’t occasional either, it was nearly constant!

I should say, I have a soft spot for O’Reilly, though. I’ve been on his show, and he’s been fair and likable to me. I don’t watch the show very often, so whether that’s generally the case, I don’t know.

Again with trying to be “balanced.”  Pick on Hannity, be kind to O’Reilly.  Make it look like you’re just after mean people.  Then, won’t we all be surprised when any regulation you propose will silence anyone who isn’t liberal?

OK, I could go on.  This guy really is dangerous though.  He would be the smiling, kind, face of censorship.  He has stated that it would be unconstitutional to try to regulate the internet.  A liberal invoking the Constitution usually means that they are going to try something that goes completely against it.  Combine that with the messiah now being able to nominate a justice to the SCOTUS, and we have the ground work for something pretty bad.

He’s a useful idiot, he’s on the poll, and he’ll likely be confirmed.  Let’s have some fun with it until this blogs reads as follows:

CENSORED FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE!   Why don’t you read over at the Hushtoeveryonebutus Post, they’re fully government approved!!!  ALL HAIL THE MESSIAH!

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