Monday, March 22, 2010


That should be the rallying cry for every Republican running for Congress this coming November.

On today's Fox News panel, Charles Krauthammer predicted that President Obama will push for the imposition of a European-Canadian style VAT (Value Added Tax) to help pay for his new health care entitlement. After November, of course.
It just gets better and better.

Yesterday, I became a Republican. For a little more than a decade, I've considered myself a conservative with no real party affiliation. I voted for Republicans mostly because they weren't Democrats. But with yesterday's House vote on the health care bill, Republicans earned my respect and loyalty. Unanimously rejecting that awful piece of legislation was a remarkable, admirable achievement. It renders the Democrats' "victory" hollow - illegitimizes it as a scandalous bribe-fest with Party leaders reduced to buying votes from their own reluctant members with taxpayer money.
The House vote follows the Senate vote last December which was similarly unanimous. That's 217 - 0 among all GOP legislators. One voice shouting a resounding, NO!

A recurring theme of Mark Steyn's is the langorous effect of a citizenry's overreliance on government. As dependency advances it saps the nation's economic vitality. National defense capabilities wither and national culture and identity dissipate. Birth rates plummet. The culmination is a demographic death spiral. Steyn cites government control of health care as the tipping point in this process. Once personal medical decisions are surrendered to a centralized bureaucracy, there's no turning back.
Is all of this ridiculously overstated? Is the passage of the health care bill really the beginning of the end of the American way of life? Of Western Civilization?
Well, in just one generation, Great Britain went from being a proud world superpower to a self-loathing welfare state. Its postwar Labor Party government led by Prime Minister Clement Atlee, the Barack Obama of his day, put the British National Health Service in place. (Labor was kicked out in 1951 and didn't return to power until 1964 but the damage was done). Except for a brief resurrection during the Thatcher years it's been all downhill from there. Britain's disgraceful health care system* is only one dysfunctional segment of a society in decline - its entitlement rich economy heavily dependent on assimilation-averse immigrants.
Steyn has written that Europe's decline has been relatively comfortable, cushioned as it is by American largesse in the form of our defense umbrella. There'll be no such cushion for us. Steyn lamented after the House vote,

Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side . . .

Paul Ryan's impassioned speech on the House floor yesterday addressed the dependency syndrome that Steyn describes. He blasted the Democrats' paternalism, arrogance, condescension and their disregard of the national will. Ryan also gave a forceful affirmation of traditional American ideals and American exceptionalism. His performance should propel him to the top tier of GOP presidential prospects.
Here's hoping it does.

The passage of health care legislation by the House yesterday generated some Latin (and mock-Latin) responses among conservative commentators.

National Review advised conservatives,
Nil desperandum—never despair

Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard) added the mock-Latin motto of the Harvard band, Illegitimi non carborundum--don't let the bastards get you down

My own personal favorite is
Comunistus vacumum - Democrats suck

* Britain's notoriously decrepit hospitals are the stuff of legend. Here's a report of just a few examples. (link below)

In March 2008, Lord Mancroft, a Tory peer who has held responsible positions in the public health area, claimed it was a miracle he was still alive after a stay in a filthy British public hospital with uncollected infected waste in the wards and dirty, drunken and sluttish nurses.

The Daily Telegraph wrote in 2007 that in the hospitals run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells National Health Service Trust staff told patients suffering from diarrhea to "go in their beds." Between 2004 and 2006, 90 patients there died from Clostridium difficile, and the disease was a factor in the death of a further 241: "Were it not for bad nursing, bad medical attention and bad administration, none of these patients need have died. Indeed, they would not have contracted C. diff. at all unless they had gone into hospital. So, after 150 years' advance of education, technology, prosperity and science, we have lost what Florence Nightingale taught [about cleanliness]."

Recently, at Eastbourne General hospital in East Sussex, another 13 patients died after an outbreak of Clostridium diff. Several wards have now been closed for cleaning. Others have died in the East Sussex Hospital. "Hospital care for the elderly has been given a very low priority," says Sarah Harman, a solicitor representing families of several victims.

A senior Conservative MP, Nigel Evans, demanded an inquiry into "shocking" failures of care after his elderly mother died of C. diff. He demanded to know why she had not been tested sooner and he criticized doctors for the off-hand way in which they told the family she had died.

Mr. Evans's sister said: "We were told to leave the room and a doctor came and asked us whether we'd discussed resuscitation. When we looked shocked, he said: 'I can tell you weren't expecting this.' It was only then that we realized she was dying." She said she had found patches of grime in the corners of bathrooms at the hospital as well as under beds. "The whole thing was like a horror film."

"First of all this infection can and should be prevented, and secondly it can be treated if it's diagnosed in time," he said. "Neither of these things happened. There are thousands of families up and down the country grieving for the same reason."

Deaths involving C. diff. in England and Wales doubled from 3,757 in 2005 to 8,324 in 2007, the vast majority of them elderly people, before a decline last year. It appears that while restaurants are prosecuted for unsanitary conditions, hospitals are not.

It has now come to light that up to 1,200 -- yes, that's right, one thousand two hundred -- patients may have died through bad nursing and filthy conditions at a single National Health Service hospital in Staffordshire.

Thanks Barack, Nancy and Harry. We now have something to look forward to. (Especially the sluttish nurses).

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