Steny and Nancy: Irate and Lying

In USA Today today, Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are irate at overly feisty demonstrators confronting members of Congress:

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views -- but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.
Emphasis added. That's an interesting choice of words. Karl at Patterico's Pontifications notes the major problem with the Pelosi/Hoyer assertion:
"Un-American" is an epithet Pelosi and other top Democrats save for the Right.
Exactly. Someone should ask them why they do that. "Have you ever called a leftist un-American, Nancy? How about you, Steny?" Watch them sputter.

Steny and Nancy, being in charge of the House of Representatives, have a perfect remedy available to them: bring back the House Un-American Activities Committee. It had its day, from 1938 until 1975, when it was famous for rooting out Commies. Of course, some liberals got their knickers in a twist over it, but a current version controlled by the right (by which I mean: the Left) people probably wouldn't bother them.

Stunning bald-faced hypocrisy isn't the only thing wrong with the Pelosi/Hoyer op-ed. They say:

Health care is complex. It touches every American life. It drives our economy. People must be allowed to learn the facts.
OK, fine. But this is immediately followed by:
The first fact is that health insurance reform will mean more patient choice. It will allow every American who likes his or her current plan to keep it. And it will free doctors and patients to make the health decisions that make the most sense, not the most profits for insurance companies.
Now, this "first fact" is a total lie. It's a coldly cynical talking-point falsehood that (for example) the official White House website, my own CongressCritter's website, the AARP, and Consumer Reports echo as well.

If you get away from the blithe assurances of Democrats and their sock puppets, meant to calm the rubes, even supporters will back off on promises they can't deliver:

Q: I'm sorry, but what about keeping your promise to the American people that they won't have to change plans even if employers --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, no, no, I mean -- when I say if you have your plan and you like it and your doctor has a plan, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.

Emphasis added. And note: that was Barack Obama on June 23.

It should be obvious that even if "the government" is not going to make you change plans, someone else could, and likely will. That's not an admission Democrats will make willingly, but it's the plain and simple truth.

Here's a recent (PDF) study by Peter Ferrara of the Heartland Institute, which (among many other things, check it out) easily destroys the "you can keep it" lie:

But in fact, if you currently have employer-provided health insurance, whether or not you get to keep it wouldn't be up to you. Your employer would decide.

President Obama and the Democratic leaders in Congress want to create a new "public option" health insurance program that the federal government would run in competition with private insurance. Your employer would have several incentives to stop paying for your private health insurance and instead enroll you in the public plan and pay an 8 percent payroll tax. If your employer's work force averages $50,000 a year in wages, the employer would face a payroll tax of only $4,000 per year per worker, which may be considerably less than what he is currently paying for your health insurance.

Even if your employer wants to preserve your current private insurance, the federal government's new Health Choices Commissioner may decide your employer's plan is not "qualified" because it doesn't cover all mandated treatments and procedures or requires too much cost-sharing by the employee. Your employer could be fined for every day the "violation" continues and even prohibited from enrolling new employees. This would further encourage your employer to drop your current health plan and "dump" you into the public option.

Finally, even if you currently purchase health insurance directly on your own, you won't necessarily be able to keep that insurance under the Obama plan. There would be a good chance your insurer would be driven out of business by unfair competition from a government- subsidized program that operates under rules different from those enforced on private insurance companies. The government-run plan could be the only "choice" you have left.

And it's not as if it wasn't widely acknowledged by its more honest supporters that Obamacare really is a scheme to get us to government-monopolized health insurance.

I don't advocate bad manners in public places, but if I heard a pol try to pull that "if you like your plan you can keep it" line, I would be sorely tempted to stand up red-faced and call him or her a liar. And I wouldn't feel un-American in the slightest in doing so.

A Study in Scarlet

[Amazon Link]

While rooting around the Barnes and Noble bookstore at a University Near Here, I came across an incredibly cheap deal on a two-volume paperback collection of Doyle's complete Sherlock Holmes stories. Irresistible! I hadn't read any since I was a kiddo, long ago; arguably, it's what hooked me on my mystery habit. Might be fun to read again. So…

This one recounts the initial meeting between Holmes and his faithful companion and biographer, Dr. Watson. Soon they're off on their first case together, as a corpse has been found in a crumbling house in a seedy London neighborhood. Holmes is called in by Scotland Yard bumblers Lestrade and Gregson to do his thing; his advice, however, is subsequently ignored, and soon another body turns up…

The (I think) unusual thing about the yarn is that Holmes solves the case about halfway through; the remainder of the story is written to set up the back story for the victims and their murderer. This latter part is mostly set in Utah, Holmes and Watson are absent, and it's kind of rough on the Mormons. Oh well.

So: do the stories hold up? Sure! Arguably, even better now than when I was a kid, since I'm a little more aware of funny British language, history, and culture. (And, since I'm a fan of House, it's interesting to see the parallels between Sherlock and Greg: both prickly, drug-addicted geniuses, skilled at deducing the truth via meticulous observation, vast knowledge, immense egos, and awestruck co-workers.)

Consumer note: The version I'm reading is available from B&N here and here. The type is small, but legible to even my aging eyes. Noted Holmes scholar Kyle Freedman does introductions and notes to the text. You can spend more, or less; free versions are easily found online.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 4:20 PM EST

Race to Witch Mountain

[2.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Sometimes movies aimed at kids work OK for me, but this is one of those that work less well.

Dwayne "Don't Call Me The Rock" Johnson plays Jack Bruno, an small-time hood trying to go straight as a cab driver in Las Vegas. Two kids sneak into his cab, and demand to be taken to a mysterious location. They turn out to be alien kids in human disguise with mysterious powers. They are relentlessly pursued by a semi-military human, and also a murderous military alien. (There's no love for the military in this Disney flick.) Carla Gugino shows up to help out, and there's a very amusing bit with Garry Marshall as a super-paranoid UFOlogist.

And there's a lot of shouted action movie dialog: "Get back!" "Get down!" "Go, go, go!" "Watch out!"

It's funny in spots, because alien kids in human disguise always act a little off. And Dwayne Johnson does OK.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 4:20 PM EST