Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bang Bang Blame

This article from Thursday's Bloomberg on the economics of U.S. gun and ammo sales is very interesting reading, but it's most interesting for what it dangerously refuses to say.
“The U.S. is by far the largest importer of pistols and revolvers, sporting shotguns and small-caliber ammunition,” the study said. “Increases in demand in the U.S. explain almost half of the global rise in exports of small arms.” The research group is financed by the foreign ministries of Belgium, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.

Companies like Austria’s Glock GmbH, the world’s biggest pistol exporter, and Alliant Techsystems Inc., the largest ammunition supplier to the U.S. military, are benefiting from rising sales. Authorized small-arms trades rose 28 percent, or $653 million, between 2000 and 2006, according to the survey.

Researchers used 2006 data because it was the “most comprehensive available,” said Helsinki-based Nicholas Marsh, an author of the report, today in a telephone interview. Countries routinely enter export data into the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database two years after a product has been sold, he said.

“A country can become a major global player just by developing an export market in the U.S,” the report said, citing HS Produkt d.o.o., a Croatian pistol maker that ships 98 percent of its products to the U.S. and increased sales to $27 million in 2006 from $1 million in 2000.

Look at what's selling most in the U.S. to the point where we have to import weapons from f'cking Croatia: pistols, revolvers, shotguns and ammunition for those weapons. But what's the most common reason given for such record-breaking sales?
U.S. gun sales have benefited from the country’s weapons- culture and regulations, according to the survey. A 10-year ban on U.S. assault-weapon sales expired in 2004.

“The production of civilian versions of assault rifles and high-caliber sniper rifles is mainly concentrated in the U.S., where the country’s gun culture embraces, and permissive regulations facilitate, the ownership of semi-automatic assault rifles and sniper rifles by civilians,” the report said.

Americans are buying more guns in anticipation of potentially tighter regulation of firearms under President Barack Obama’s administration, Merriman Curhan Ford & Co analyst Eric Wold said June 19. The U.S. recession, the worst in half a century, has also contributed to gun sales as people seek to protect themselves against crime, he said.

Stop and ask yourselves this: do either of those reasons given, the return of the assault weapons ban or increased violent crime, make any sense right now based on what people are buying?

No. First, the assault weapons ban reason. That one is mentioned in every story about ammo sales and gun sales being up. But pistols, revolvers, and shotguns aren't rifles. It makes no sense whatsoever to stock up on Glocks and 9mm ammo if you're expecting a ban on rifles.

Second, the violent crime reason. Again, violent crimes actually went down in many parts of America over the last fifteen years, and we've had recessions before in that same fifteen year come we're seeing such a dramatic increase in gun sales in just the last eight months?

"Ahh," you're saying. "But Zandar, people are afraid the Democrats are going to ban all guns, that's why people are buying them."

That's ridiculous.

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats took over Congress back in 2006. If Americans were really worried about Democrats passing "ban all guns" laws, then 2007 should be filled with the same kind of record purchasing for handguns, shotguns, and ammo for those weapons.

It wasn't. From USA Today, May 21, 2007:

Ammunition shipments to local gun shops and police departments are being delayed for months because the Army has more than tripled its demand for small caliber ammunition.

Ammunition plants have dramatically ratcheted up production, but company officials acknowledge delays to police and retailers of up to a year.

"There are millions of rounds backordered because the war has put such a demand on the manufacturers," said Lana Ulner, manager of Ultramax Ammunition, a distributor for several manufacturers. "In some cases, it can take eight to 12 months."

The Army's demand for small caliber ammunition has soared to 1.5 billion rounds in 2006 from 426 million rounds in 2001, according to the Joint Munitions Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

The government spent $688 million on ammunition last year, up from $242 million in 2001, said Gail Smith, a Joint Munitions Command spokeswoman. The most common rounds ordered are 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and .50 caliber, she said.

Wait, what?

Any gun aficionado, cop, military vet, or military history buff will tell you the same thing: those 3 ammo types are all rifle cartridges, not handgun or shotgun ammo. Handguns in the US overwhelmingly use 9mm ammo, or .357 or .45 caliber rounds. Shotguns use 12-gauge shells. It makes sense for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to cause shortages in rifle ammunition...but there's no report of handgun ammo shortages in the article. Not a word about handguns or shotguns.

And yet, the Democrats took over the law-making body of the United States. They could have introduced all sorts of laws...but didn't.

Local gun control legislation makes no sense as a reason's a national shortage of handguns and shotguns and ammo for those weapons.

So, we're left with what changed in 2008. The answer, Obama was elected. But when did Barack Obama ever say he was making gun control a priority? He didn't. He did mention in one debate that he thought the assault weapons ban should have been renewed, but he's also said he respected the second amendment. None of his policy decisions explain a national, massive, complete shortage on pistols, revolvers, shotguns and ammo for those weapons in every state across the country.

So what does explain this?

I have a theory. You're not going to like it.

Handguns and shotguns are inexpensive, easy to use, clean, maintain, and are reliable. They are sold in far more places than rifles. Handguns especially are the kind of thing you teach beginners to use. They're the kind of thing you want around for actually using when you have to use them, not for showing off or for dick-measuring contests. They are the kind of things you teach your wife, your sister, your younger son or daughter to use and keep as a serious tool for protection.

Protection from what, however? Crime is down, we've already said. Yes, it is. Why now? And especially why the ammo sales? There's a reason to purchase lots of semi-automatic and automatic rifle ammunition. You go through a lot of it. Why buy a crapload of 9mm ammo now?

Because you plan to use it. Because you think you'll need it. A lot of it. And soon.

Why? What are all these people doing with all this ammo? These shortages have gone on for months. Ammo manufacturers know they are losing money. They have every reason to ramp up handgun ammo sales and have had months of warning to adjust. There are still shortages.

Why? Why would ordinary Americans stock up on pistols and 9mm ammo like it was, well, the end of the world once Barack Obama specifically was elected President?

Can you come up with another reason? One that so far hasn't been given? One that you most likely don't want to think about?

I'll give you a hint.

Barack Obama represents the first African-American elected to the White House.

Yeah, I said it.

The reason?

Obama Derangement Syndrome on a national scale. And a very, very, very dangerous scale. All the talk about revolution. All the talk about secession. All the talk about "us" vs "them".

A whole hell of a lot of people think this shit is for real, folks. Enough to the point of buying shitloads of guns and ammo in this crapass economy, when middle class Americans are struggling to buy food. Think about that. Americans have nearly limitless extra cash for handguns and ammo in this economy. They are prioritizing.

They have been told to prioritize. They have been told to prepare. All this talk about taking back the country? People are taking it seriously. Deadly seriously. Millions of Americans. Your friends and neighbors. They are listening to the revolution fantasies. They see them as practical, pragmatic realities.

You don't believe me? In 2009, only 39% of Americans believe in evolution. Yeah, 25% of Americans don't believe in it, but 36% of Americans AREN'T SURE. Yeah, that means 61% of Americans doubt evolution. 3 out of 5 of us. Odds are good your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your boss, your family members...they doubt evolution. You wouldn't expect that, at least I wouldn't. But there you are.

So yeah, if I can believe Americans doubt evolution, then I can believe they want to be in the Revolution, too. They believe increasingly that Obama is the Enemy. They believe they need to be arming their families with reliable weapons for what's coming next. They've been told to do so.

It's going to get really, really ugly soon, folks. I honestly believe that. It's coming apart out there. The evidence is there if you look.

I'm scared. Honestly and truly frightened. You should be too.

Never Mind The Cheney, Here Comes The Bombshells

While we're on the subject today of investigating unfinished Bush business, here's another in that series of bombshells from what's turning into the longest Friday news dump in history of Friday news dumps. And guess who it involves?
The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

Yeah, you knew the Nameless One had to be behind all this.
The disclosure about Mr. Cheney’s role in the unidentified C.I.A. program comes a day after an inspector general’s report underscored the central role of the former vice president’s office in restricting to a small circle of officials knowledge of the National Security Agency’s program of eavesdropping without warrants, a degree of secrecy that the report concluded had hurt the effectiveness of the counterterrorism surveillance effort.

An intelligence agency spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, declined on Saturday to comment on the report of Mr. Cheney’s role.

“It’s not agency practice to discuss what may or may not have been said in a classified briefing,” Mr. Gimigliano said. “When a C.I.A. unit brought this matter to Director Panetta’s attention, it was with the recommendation that it be shared appropriately with Congress. That was also his view, and he took swift, decisive action to put it into effect.”
Watch the Sunday shows on this one. We're going to see the usual suspects declare we can't investigate, we can't go back, we can't look at Cheney or his "robust interrogation methods" or anything else, or Obama's agenda will get "hijacked" or "delayed" or "put on the back burner" or pick your own euphemism for "If Obama doesn't kick Eric Holder's ass on this, we will make sure his agenda dies screaming."

Of course, the Village wants to see both Obamacare and climate change legislation deader than Nixon. They're trying to kill it and have been for a while now. But the threats were never this open until today. Watch how the Village will define the torture investigation and Obama's health care and climate change agenda as an either/or proposition. The Wise Villagers will tell us tomorrow on TV that Congress simply will not be able to do both...

And of course, they will say that "he's trying to do too much" and he will get nothing instead. Congress will be "paralyzed by partisan rancor." Obama will risk "poisoning the atmosphere with this investigation."

Which is exactly what the Village wants.

Watch tomorrow.

A Blow For Justice, Or A Naked Warning?

Via BooMan, Newsweek is reporting that AG Eric Holder may be finally ready to appoint an independent prosecutor to look into the Bush torture regime. However, it's clear that the Village is warning strongly against Holder doing so.
These are not just the philosophical musings of a new attorney general. Holder, 58, may be on the verge of asserting his independence in a profound way. Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter. Such a decision would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. "I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda," he says. "But that can't be a part of my decision."
Now, let's think about this. We're supposed to imply that there's a choice here, and the implied choice is between Obama's domestic agenda and cleaning up Bush's mess, you can't have both.


Says who? Says the Village, apparently. The logic here is that if Eric Holder goes against his President's wishes and digs too deep in the past, he may scuttle health care and climate change legislation. Really? What do the two subjects have to do with each other? Why is this an either/or choice?

This is a warning from the Village, plain and simple, and the article is full of subtle and veiled threats, with the White House on one side (represented by Rahmbo) and the DoJ and Eric Holder on the other.

It's a pretty masterful stroke here. In this paragraph, we're supposed to believe that the White House is run by Rahmbo's strong-arm tactics, that he's basically Obama's Dick Cheney, and we're not supposed to root for them.
Any White House tests an attorney general's strength. But one run by Rahm Emanuel requires a particular brand of fortitude. A legendary enforcer of presidential will, Emanuel relentlessly tries to anticipate political threats that could harm his boss. He hates surprises. That makes the Justice Department, with its independent mandate, an inherently nervous-making place for Emanuel. During the first Clinton administration, he was famous for blitzing Justice officials with phone calls, obsessively trying to gather intelligence, plant policy ideas, and generally keep tabs on the department.
But at the same time a few paragraphs down, we're supposed to believe that Eric Holder is a tool of the Left and that he's risking everything to wreck the bipartisanship and comity of Washington, so we clearly can't be on his side.
It was soon clear to Holder that he might have to launch an investigation to determine whether crimes were committed under the Bush administration and prosecutions warranted. The obstacles were obvious. For a new administration to reach back and investigate its predecessor is rare, if not unprecedented. After having been deeply involved in the decision to authorize Ken Starr to investigate Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, Holder well knew how politicized things could get. He worried about the impact on the CIA, whose operatives would be at the center of any probe. And he could clearly read the signals coming out of the White House. President Obama had already deflected the left wing of his party and human-rights organizations by saying, "We should be looking forward and not backwards" when it came to Bush-era abuses.
The article gets worse with several examples of how Holder "miscalculated" and "made mistakes". We clearly can't trust the guy's decision to install an independent prosecutor, is the bold implication.
Holder and his team celebrated quietly, and waited for national outrage to build. But they'd miscalculated. The memos had already received such public notoriety that the new details in them did not shock many people. (Even the revelation, a few days later, that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another detainee had been waterboarded hundreds of times did not drastically alter the contours of the story.) And the White House certainly did its part to head off further controversy. On the Sunday after the memos were revealed, Emanuel appeared on This Week With George Stephanopoulos and declared that there would be no prosecutions of CIA operatives who had acted in good faith with the guidance they were given. In his statement announcing the release of the memos, Obama said, "This is a time for reflection, not retribution." (Throughout, however, he has been careful to say that the final decision is the attorney general's to make.)
Note in that last paragraph how Holder "miscalcuated" the "national outrage". This one's subtle but nasty, you're supposed to nod your head and go "Yeah, what national outrage? Nobody really seemed to care about all this torture nonsense, right?"

How quickly we forgot the month of April. You're supposed to. The Village has told you that nothing happened, that the outrage was "miscaluculated". Dirty F'ckin Hippies.

Ahh, but back to out hit piece. In fact the article goes to great lengths to portray the White House and the Justice Department as implacable foes.
The miscues began to reinforce a narrative that Justice has had a hard time shaking. White House officials have complained that Holder and his staff are not sufficiently attuned to their political needs. Holder is well liked inside the department. His relaxed, unpretentious style—on a flight to Rome in May for a meeting of justice ministers, he popped out of his cabin with his iPod on, mimicking Bobby Darin performing "Beyond the Sea"—has bred tremendous loyalty among his personal staff. But that staff is largely made up of veteran prosecutors and lawyers whom Holder has known and worked with for years. They do not see the president's political fortunes as their primary concern. Among some White House officials there is a not-too-subtle undertone suggesting that Holder has "overlearned the lessons of Marc Rich," as one administration official said to me.
And that all goes towards a finishing blow:

The next few weeks, though, could test Holder's confidence. After the prospect of torture investigations seemed to lose momentum in April, the attorney general and his aides turned to other pressing issues. They were preoccupied with Gitmo, developing a hugely complex new set of detention and prosecution policies, and putting out the daily fires that go along with running a 110,000-person department. The regular meetings Holder's team had been having on the torture question died down. Some aides began to wonder whether the idea of appointing a prosecutor was off the table.

But in late June Holder asked an aide for a copy of the CIA inspector general's thick classified report on interrogation abuses. He cleared his schedule and, over two days, holed up alone in his Justice Depart ment office, immersed himself in what Dick Cheney once referred to as "the dark side." He read the report twice, the first time as a lawyer, looking for evidence and instances of transgressions that might call for prosecution. The second time, he started to absorb what he was reading at a more emotional level. He was "shocked and saddened," he told a friend, by what government servants were alleged to have done in America's name. When he was done he stood at his window for a long time, staring at Constitution Avenue.

This is one hell of a hit piece, frankly. It savages Holder as a populist Leftist loon you're supposed to pity for just trying to do his job while being manipulated by Dirty F'ckin Hippies, and impales the White House as being beholden to the same political motives that drove the last Administration. You're supposed to ask "Man, isn't there anyone in Washington we should be listening to on this issue?"

And the answer, also implied, is the Serious Washington Centrists. Look at the disarray in Washington! Look at Obama lose control! Look at Eric Holder about to ruin his President's agenda by looking into the past! If only we had listened to the Wise Men of Washington!

So sayeth the Village. So sayeth us all. The implication here is that the Serious Centrists are supposed to step in and put a leash on both Rahmbo and Holder, and maintain the peace of the status quo. Otherwise, well, if Holder goes through with this, Obama could lose health care, cap and trade, the whole thing...

And you wouldn't want that, would you? Clearly, we need an intervention here from those moderate and well-respected lawmakers in the middle. You'll see this meme played out all over tomorrow's Sunday shows, and all the way up until Holder "makes his final decision". There's no doubt as to what the Village and the Centrists believe that final decision will be. At the same time, they get free shots at the naughty, overly partisan behavior of Rahmbo and the White House. After all, somebody has to rein these guys in, and who else has the credibility and the gravitas for that?

But I'm not falling for it. I don't think Obama is that stupid either. Does Holder have the stones for this? God I hope so. It's the right thing to do and always has been. Obama has left this in Holder's court for some time now. I'm hoping that it meant all along that Holder's job was to clean this mess up and that Obama will not interfere like the Village clearly wants him to do.

We will see. Obama has so far disappointed me on civil liberties. Holder's investigation could have been the card he was holding all along. Perhaps the White House and Holder are outsmarting the Village after all.

Things just got a hell of a lot more complicated. We'll see what happens.

Dear America:

"Now that whatsherface from Alaska is gone for a while, the GOP needs to understand that while everything she said was clearly 100% right like I said during the 2008 campaign, she was the wrong person for the job. I admit that now. So, now that she's gone from the limelight we can work on beating the Dems by coming up with superior ideas to Obama's agenda, like...umm...wait a minute, let me check my notes again...ideas like...well...let's see really, we've got some great ideas here, and as soon at the public hears them they will drop the Democrats like a hot potato...ahh...I'm sure they're around here somewhere...hello? Hello? Wait, where are you going? The Dems are bound to blow it any second now...hello?"

--CNN's John Feehery

The Political Taxonomy Of Geeks And Nerds Like Myself

A new Pew Research poll shows that 81% of professional scientists are either Democrats or lean towards Democrats.
Most Americans do not see scientists as a group as particularly liberal or conservative. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say they think of scientists as “neither in particular”; 20% see them as politically liberal and 9% say they are politically conservative.

In contrast, most scientists (56%) perceive the scientific community as politically liberal; just 2% think scientists are politically conservative. About four-in-ten scientists (42%) concur with the majority public view that scientists, as a group, are neither in particular.

The scientists’ belief that the scientific community is politically liberal is largely accurate. Slightly more than half of scientists (52%) describe their own political views as liberal, including 14% who describe themselves as very liberal. Among the general public, 20% describe themselves as liberal, with just 5% calling themselves very liberal.

Most scientists identify as Democrats (55%), while 32% identify as independents and just 6% say they are Republicans. When the leanings of independents are considered, fully 81% identify as Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party, compared with 12% who either identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP. Among the public, there are far fewer self-described Democrats (35%) and far more Republicans (23%). Overall, 52% of the public identifies as Democratic or leans Democratic, while 35% identifies as Republican or leans Republican.

Majorities of scientists working in academia (60%), for non-profits (55%) and in government (52%) call themselves Democrats, as do nearly half of those working in private industry (47%).
It's an interesting survey, but then again, I'm a geeky kind of guy. Then again after the last 8 years of Republicans treating science as a joke and scientists as the enemy under Bush and the party's continued antipathy towards science in general, I'm not surprised in those numbers at the least.

Obama's Strong Words In Ghana

President Obama's speech in Ghana pulled no punches in a region of the world where Ghana's peaceful and open democracy is the exception that proves the rule.

Steve Benen has more:
"This is about more than just holding elections -- it's also about what happens between elections," Obama said. "Repression can take many forms, and too many nations, even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or if police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end."

"Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power," the U.S. president added. "Africa doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions."

And lest there be any doubts about the audience's familiarity with Obama's rhetoric, the response was especially strong towards the end of the speech: "[H]ere is what you must know: The world will be what you make of it. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, and end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes, we can, because in this moment, history is on the move."

The "tough love" aspect of the speech was Obama urging his audience to take responsibility for the continent's future. He conceded the serious consequences of colonialism, "unnatural" borders written by outsiders that have bred division, and unbalanced trade practices.

"Now, it's easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these problems on others," the president said, adding, "The West has often approached Africa as a patron or a source of resources rather than a partner. But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants. In my father's life, it was partly tribalism and patronage and nepotism in an independent Kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career, and we know that this kind of corruption is still a daily fact of life for far too many.
What continues to bother me is that Obama gets it. As I have said on many occasions, the guy was a Constitutional Law professor. He clearly understands both the basic and more advanced legal concepts behind the advances in civil liberties and equality, from the Magna Carta up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and beyond. He understands that without a country being a country of laws, there is no country.

And yet, he constantly seeks to expand the same lawless collection of executive powers that the Bush administration proclaimed it had beyond even the limits of what Bush's junta was willing to go.

Part of me knows he's fully cognizant of what needs to be done in places like Africa. But part of me also knows he's guilty of the same crimes he is speaking of here, violations of law, appropriations of power, and abrogations of oversight he continues to commit against the American people.

The argument is there that Obama can only proceed by baby steps, lest he be crushed by the gears and cogs inside the system itself. But we can handle the truth. Why not tell us what's really going on? Why not practice what he is preaching here in Ghana?

Note: Another long overdue location tag: Africa.

Another Taxing Problem

House Democrats are moving forward with their plan to tax health care benefits on those families earning over $350,000.

The proposal calls for a surtax on individuals earning at least $280,000 in adjusted gross income and couples earning more than $350,000, said the chairman, Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York.

It would generate about $550 billion over 10 years to pay about half the cost of the legislation, Mr. Rangel said. As the proposal envisions it, the rest of the cost would be covered by lower spending on Medicare, the government health plan for the elderly, and other health care savings.

With the economy still hobbled and Republicans already sharpening their tax-and-spend attack line, the proposal is perhaps the clearest expression yet of the mandate that Democrats believe they won last November, when voters expanded Democratic majorities in Congress and sent Barack Obama to the White House.

An aide to the House speaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said she and other leaders were supportive of the idea, which they concluded would be their main way to pay for Mr. Obama’s top policy priority: expanding health insurance coverage to virtually all Americans and curtailing the steep rise in the cost of medical care while improving patient outcomes.

But it remains unclear whether the Senate will go along. Most Republicans there, or perhaps all, oppose the idea, along with some centrist Democrats.

Even in the more liberal House, where Democrats have a majority of 255 to 178, the tax proposal will most likely cost a substantial number of Democratic votes. The Blue Dog Coalition, made up of 52 fiscally conservative Democrats, expressed apprehension this week about the unfolding health care legislation, and that was before Mr. Rangel’s announcement Friday.
As I said yesterday, this idea's a non-starter in the Senate. It's a good idea, but one that'll never get past our Guardians Of Bipartisanship because Republicans will never go for it...and that means ConservaDems will find a way to oppose it too. If enough of them do so, it's curtains for this one.

It might not even get out of the House, as the Blue Dogs will almost certainly rise up en masse to block it. If all of them revolt, it's dead.

So what's the answer? We do have to pay for this plan somehow. But the argument coming from the right will be that any additional taxes will simply drive America's wealthy to move to other countries. That argument may have play in the Eurozone, but honestly, where are the wealthy going to go, Toronto and commute? To a country that health care for all citizens? To Mexico and hop across the border once in a while to go shopping?

If a new program results in drastically lower premiums for all Americans (including the rich) won't they save money too? We'll see how this goes, but frankly I somehow doubt a lot of middle class Americans making $35k a year are going to complain too much about the guys bringing down $350k having to help pay for health care.

Of course, pretty much anyone in Congress is going to be making over $350,000 or so. We'll see what the reaction is. Surely we'll see from the right how this plan will lead to health-care rationing. You're already subject to rationing by your ability to afford the costliest health care on the planet.

As BooMan says this morning, your health insurance through your employer has a provider that stays in business by not paying your claims. Our employer-based, corporate-profit based system has to go.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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