Tuesday, December 22, 2009

3 Things Affect Your Life. You Can Change Any Two of Them.

In a previous life the Watchman worked as a technology consultant.  When a client would question the cost of a project, he would tell them that there are three parameters that define a project and the client is welcome to change any two of them.  The third one will then compute itself.
  • Cost
  • Scope of Work
  • Delivery Date
If the client wanted the project to cost less while still being done quickly, then he or she would have to accept  a reduction in the scope of work.  Want all the bells and whistles for a low price?  Then don't expect it to be finished quickly.  You can control any two, but not all three.

A similar triad exists in the public sector:
  • Personal Taxes (Cost)
  • Entitlements (Scope of Work)
  • Public Debt (Delivery Date)
The only difference is that in the private sector the third item refers to the delivery date of the work while in the public sector it refers to the delivery date of the bill.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Location, Location, Location - updated

Or perhaps in the case of the Thomson Correctional Center the saying should be amended to 'Never give a sucker an even break.'

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blaming the Banks

Today President Obama summoned executives from the nations 12 largest banks to the White House to chastise them for... operating their banks in a sound and profitable manner that does not again imperil the world financial system.  That's not what he said of course.  But whether he knows it or not, that's what he did.

Liberty Watchman encourages President Obama to learn about how the banking system works by watching this video. It's an easy to understand explanation of how banks work. The story is told through a cartoon video so even children can understand it. Even a man-child President can understand it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Death of Objectivity

A civil society needs at least some non-partisan institutions.  Where there are no umpires, the players argue incessantly.  Where there are corrupt umpires, the players riot.

Who then are the umpires of American society?  At one time the Fourth Estate played that role, but no longer.  The left leaning main stream media utterly abandoned any pretense of objectivity with the coming of their King, Barack Obama.  That slobbering love affair has been fully consummated and government tyranny is their demon seed.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Party Crashers Highlight Problem

Three months ago Liberty Watchman sounded the alarm concerning the need to increase security for President Barack Obama.  Threats against the president are up 400% yet serious security lapses continue to occur.  This week Tareq and Michaele Salahi slipped past the secret service to gain entrance to a state dinner at the White House.

They did more than gain access to the dinner.  They shook hands with the President.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give Thanks

On the eve of our annual day of gratitude, let's remember the true significance of the day.  Below are two examples of how our continental forbears marked this day.  A common theme, both then and now:

  • Times were difficult
  • The difficulty was sent by God 
  • Yet His mercy sustained us
  • We owe a debt of gratitude

Our present day notion of thankfulness lacks this context.  Thankful in affliction?  We're grateful for blessing, but rarely thankful for our problems.  God sends affliction?  How does that square with our prosperity gospel?   And the thanks we do give lacks direction.  We say that we are thankful for this or thankful for that, but rarely do we say to whom we are thankful.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let's remember the simple Latin phrase inscribed on the tip of the capstone of the Washington monument:  Laus Deo.  Praise God.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Incompetence Thy Name Is Holder

Just as Tiny Tim was anything but small, and Pete Best was the worst of the Beatles drummers, Attorney General Eric Holder seems unable to actually hold.  In fact, he's doing everything possible to loose the 9/11 terrorists.

Think of it.  He's got them all bottled up -- held -- there in Gitmo and all he can think to do is scatter them to the wind.  Some to come to NY for the show trial of their dreams, some to arrive in IL for R&R at the Thomson facility for wayward Jihadist boys,  and others... well, who knows where they will end up.

Holder's incompetence in planning for a trial of the 9/11 terrorists was highlighted during today's Senate hearings.  In an exchange that will go down in history, Senator Linsey Graham asked Holder,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Please Don't Forget #14

Words matter.  Numbers matter.  Life matters.

As Liberty Watchman pointed out last weekend, the Ft Hood massacre was a cowardly act of murder carried out by a Jihadist terrorist.  I wrote this because there was so much equivocating and hand-wringing going on in the Lame Street Media -- even by the likes of the generally more intellegent Bill O'Reilly -- about whether or not this was a terrorist attack or just a run-of-the-mill shooting performed by an unstable man who 'just snapped'.

In the week since the atrocity occurred, there has been some improvement by the LSM in terms of enemy identification.  However, they remain mealymouthed about certain descriptions and accounts of this travesty.  For example, the most frequent phrase I read in the press is 'Fort Hood Tragedy'.  What happened at Ft Hood was indeed a tragedy, but that is about the mildest descriptor one can apply to this travesty, this massacre, this atrocity, this murderous abomination, this... well, you get the idea.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ft Hood Shooting Was a Terrorist Attack

The blame-America-first lame stream media are holding a pity party for the Fort Hood mass murderer Major Nidal Malik Hasan.  Poor boy.  Picked on by bullies and forced to do his duty to his country, if not his God, we're told we should have compassion for this tortured soul.  It's our fault of course.  And we can expect more of the same if we don't change our ways.

And then comes a dose of truth from Lt Col Ralph Peters.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Win small, Lose Big(gert)

One step forward, two steps back?

On Tuesday the City of Naperville heeded the call to put on hold any further development of the Joseph Naper Homestead Park.  Echoing the Watchman's wisdom, Councilman Paul Hinterlong said,
"We don't need to do anything right now given our situation with the economy. The property has looked that way for years and years and years, and there's no reason not to wait a couple (more) years."
Bravo Mr. Hinterlong!  My thoughts exactly.  And in the face of the city's looming $14 million budget deficit, those should be the foremost thoughts of the council as they weigh every single expenditure going forward.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Porculus Illinois

So... how's that $787 stimulus spending bill going?  It's all about jobs, jobs, jobs, right?

According to the federal government's official site for all numbers Porculus, recovery.gov, as of October 10, 2009, Uncle Sam has created a staggering... 30,383 new jobs across the fruited plain.  We have 138 million workers in the US and 15 million of them are out of work yet the full-faith-and-credit of the US government could only create 30,383 new jobs.  That's a city about the size of Woodridge, IL.  Blink and you miss it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fool Me Twice - Update

The Congress is at it again.  Will we, like Charlie Brown, keep falling for it?

Maybe not.

Lucy's latest rouse was to pull the so-called 'doctor fix' -- a $250 billion provision to increase the fees of doctors who provide medicare services -- out of the massive trillion-plus dollar Obamcare bill in the House of Representatives and pass it as stand alone legislation.  These Lucillian Legislators are used to the Charlie Brown public being too dumb to realize that two spending bills which add up to a trillion dollars are just as bad as one bill that costs the same amount.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rush Drop Kicked

Today Rush Limbaugh was apparently drop kicked out of the investment group attempting to purchase the St Louis Rams.  Limbaugh, always the lightning rod, had drawn flags from owners, players, and the NFL commissioner due to previous comments Rush made about Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The Watchman will leave it to others to debate whether or not Rush was slandered or libeled by anyone during this process.  Ultimately the courts will decide that issue.  Two key conservative principles were demonstrated here: the right of free men to do as they wish with their private property and the right of free men to associate or not associate with others as they please.

Rush had no god-given right to become an owner of a NFL franchise, only the god-given opportunity.  He took advantage of that opportunity and failed.  Such is the nature of the American free market system.

The government played no role in this drama.  When was the last time you could say that about anything.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forrest Gump, Cracker Jack, and Bo

Some situations are so ludicrous as to leave one's mouth hanging open with no words to speak.  This is certainly the former if not the later.

Award the Nobel Peach prize to Barack Obama?  This has got to be a joke, right?  If not it lays the final ax swing to the once venerable prize.  Soon the Nobel Peace Prize will be given out with each box of Cracker Jack.

Even Obama is trying not to laugh. “I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures”, says the President.  Finally, he speaks the truth!  He doesn't deserve this award and even he, the world's narcissist-in-chief, knows it.

Barack Obama leads a life more charmed than Forrest Gump.

And what is the the justification given by the Nobel knuckleheads? Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, said the group, “in particular looked at Obama’s vision and work toward a world without atomic weapons."

Work?  What work?  Can one now win the Nobel Prize based on one speech to the UN and a press release?  Obama has made zero progress in jump starting the Arab-Israeli peace process — long the gold standard for Nobel Laureate credentials.  He was elected for his anti-war rhetoric yet he continues to preside over two wars while meeting today to decide how many more troops he will send into battle.  His is hardly a Nobel Peace Prize record.  Even Nobel Laureate Lech Walesa says this is a case of premature immaculation

Hey, you know what?  Today is Bo's birthday!  You know, the President's dog.  Despite desecrating Force One on his trip to the International Olympic Committee (something Obama does ever time he steps aboard), Bo has done at least as much as his owner for the cause of world peace.  They should give the award to Bo — in honor of his birthday if nothing more important.

Maybe somebody should check the addressee on that box of Cracker Jack.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halt Naper Homestead Project

Does Naperville city government have even a nodding acquaintance with reality?  I ask because of the city's fantastic plan to develop a new park on the site of the original Joseph Naper homestead at the corner of Jefferson and Mill.

Where, may I ask, are the funds going to come from for this project?  From the city as it faces a $14 million budget deficit next year?  Or perhaps from the Naperville Historical Society which is so short on cash that they've had to cancel next year's Naper Days event?

Oh, I forgot.  They have the SECA grants.  Great sounding name, isn't it.  Makes you think some wonderful benefactor just pours out this money from the sky.  But that's not how it works.  SECA is funded by a 1% tax on food and beverage in this city.  That money, about $2.5 million per year, is then doled out to various charities for various projects of dubious worth.

The city doesn't live in the real world of financial constraints to which you and I are subject.  Rather than do any serious budget cutting next year, the city proposes to do SECA one better -- to establish a brand new city sales tax or to raise our already astronomical property taxes.  Yes, they plan to raise taxes during the worst economic decline since the Great Depression!

I ask again.  Does anyone in city government have even a nodding acquaintance with reality?  Even ol' Joe doesn't look happy about this!

Don't get me wrong; developing the Naper Homestead site might be a fine idea for another time.  But in the face of large city deficits and growing unemployment, it's a fiscally bone-headed and politically tone-deaf  idea.  What say we take half the SECA money and start putting a dent in next year's deficit.

I encourage all Tea Party Patriots to show up for the Naper Homestead public open house on October 13 at 6pm at the Naperville Municipal Center in order to provide a fiscal reality check to local government.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Honeymoon Souring, Buyer's Remorse, Bloom Is Off the Rose...

Tide Turning, Wall Crumbling, Political Sea Change, Changing Horses Midstream, Thrown Under the Bus, etc, etc.

Pick your euphemism, the times they are-a-changin'!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Did Bill Ayers Write Obama's Book?

During a fascinating airport encounter with Bill Ayers, Chicago blogger Anne Leary (nom de plume: Backyard Conservative) claims Ayers took credit for writing Obama's book Dreams From My Father.

It was a chance encounter at Reagan National Airport and Ayers knew he was talking to a conservative blogger.  So why did he offer this info out of the blue?  And why did he lay down a challenge to Ms Leary to prove the claim true?

Obama's Secret Plan for Victory in Iran

President Obama has been getting a lot of foreign policy flack lately.

First, he was criticized for unilaterally dropping the anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe.  Then he caught heat for being soft on Iran's nuclear ambitions.  There was even a report that the President was being advised to shoot down Israeli planes if Israel acted independently against Iran.  Most recently Mr Obama has appeared weak and indecisive while he delays acting on General McChrystal's request for 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

But what if there is a method to Obama's madness?  What if BHO actually has a secret plan for victory in Iran that goes something like this...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

March on Washington 9/12/2009

Due to a mechanical problem, Liberty Watchman was not able to attend the march in Washington, DC today.   However, here are some videos he has culled from the event.

Attendance figures will be hotly debated as they always are for protests at the Capitol.  The Watchman has yet to see a good aerial photo so he reserves judgment on the final count.  However, from the pics he's seen and this map of the mall, a minimum of 240,000 seems likely.

Here's a nice time lapse video of the crowd building at the start near the white house

A nice medley of images from the protest.

This is a very moving video warning not to underestimate the will of the American people.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You Lie!

The most dramatic moment in the President's address to Congress last night was when Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) hurled this verbal missile at the President: "You Lie!"  Every head in the room craned around to see who had the audacity to say something like that.  House nanny, Nancy Pelosi, known for her windswept wallpaper-like visage on such nights (or is it every night?), glared in disbelief at her petulant charge.  Even President Obama momentarily locked eyes in a death-grip stare-down with Joe.  It was must-see-TV.

Can we set aside the question of veracity for a moment?  I mean -- just for a moment -- let's not debate whether the President actually lied or not, nor whether Congressman Wilson lied when he called Obama a liar, nor any Pilatian meditation of "Veritas?  Veritas?"  I know it's hard, but let's set that issue aside for just a few paragraphs.

Nobody enjoys a good, spirited political debate more than the Watchman.  He doesn't mind a little old fashioned political mud wrestling or verbal sparing.  He prefers a reasoned argument that avoids ad hominem attacks, but in his weaker moments, he's been known to hurl the occasional epithet himself.  He's not proud of it, but it happens.

And such is the traditional of our country.  If anyone thinks that political discourse has become more base, crude, or vile in our generation, he need only read the political commentary of the revolutionary era.  Even by today's standards, the language and attacks of that day could curl your hair.

And while the Watchman believes that these behaviors are just fine in the digital ink of a blog page, the curtained stage of a political debate, or the open air of a town hall meeting, he thinks there are still some lines that should not be blithely crossed.

One of those lines is a joint session of Congress where the heads of all three branches of the federal government are present to exchange ideas.  If we don't reserved any hallowed locations or occasions for statesmanship without rancor, we might as well dump our constitutional system in favor of  a parlamentary melee.

Have you ever seen the parlamentary sessions that the British call the "Prime Minister's Questions"?  Why you would think that a football game had broke out indoors complete with cheering, booing, grumbling, gufawing, and all other manner of boisterous behavior.  I think they draw the line at flipping the bird, but that's about it.

And that's the world's tame parlament.  Shall we abandon all decorum and become like the Russians...

...or the Koreans, where even the ladies duke it out...

...or, Heaven help us, like the Bolivians?

What ever happened to the artfully crafted zinger as when Lloyd Benson said to Dan Quayle, "I know Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Jack Kennedy". And who could ever forget Reagan's backhanded slam of a reporter's question about his age? Reagan said, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience."

By comparison, "You Lie!" seems singularly lacking in creativity, wit, and wisdom. "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" would at least have been more entertaining.

I really enjoy the pomp and circumstance that goes along with the beginning of a joint session of Congress.  I still get a thrill when the doorkeeper of the house stands just inside the door and bellows, "Madame Speaker, The President of the United States!" and everyone rises to give the President a thundering ovation.  Call me old fashion, but I like the formal way in which one branch of government honors the head of another branch even when that head is a sniveling weasel (digital ink... it's OK)

Will the day soon arrive when the door keeper is reduce to the role of a WWE announcer, "And in this corner, at 6' 1'' and weighing 155 pounds including the 1200 pages of his health care bill, Barak 'The Bomber' Obama!  We've got a great match up tonight folks, a tag team event with 'The Bomber' and his partner Nancy 'Stretch' Pelosi vs Joe 'Loose Lips' Wilson and his tag partner..."  Well, you get the idea.

To prevent this slide into Vince McMahon's world, the Watchman encourages a return to the traditional standards of congressional decorum.  It's good that Mr Wilson was rebuked for his conduct and very good that he quickly offered a genuine apology and not the kind of whiny explanation that usually passes for an apology in Washington.

And while we are at it, let's have an apology from Mr Obama for his use of the word 'lie'.  I guess the passive voice in that sentence softens the blow somewhat.  It's a half step better than "You Lie!", but only a half step.

Let not conservative leaders extol Congressman Wilson as some kind of truth-telling hero. [editor's note:  14 paragraphs.  Not bad.]  He set a bad example and made a terrible precedent.  Do not embrace his mistake.  Leave the name calling to us bloggers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

263 Speeches in 231 Days

Aside from the military, the most powerful weapon at the disposal of the President of the United States is what Theodore Roosevelt called the "bully pulpit" -- the premiere platform from which to advocate an agenda.

CBS newsman Mark Knoller has chronicled President Obama's use of the bully pulpit as follows:
  • 263 speeches or remarks
  • 231 days in office
  • 32   more speeches than days served
Unfortunately Teddy forgot to tell President Obama that the bully pulpit is an asset class of diminishing returns.  The more a President uses it, the less it's worth.  And like every account at the government's disposal, this one has been spent down to zero and now runs a deficit.

Rather than lay off the bully pulpit credit card for a while to let the account rebuild, Obama will pull out his Presidential Gold Card one more time tonight at a joint session of Congress.

What's he planning to buy (or should I say sell)?  Health care, of course.

But that account is overdrawn too:
  • 28   speeches on health care
  • 121 remarks mentioning health care
Like the dizzy dame who can't understand how her account can be overdrawn when she still has checks left, the President will attempt to pass some more bad paper tonight.

Except for gender, the dizzy dame analogy is spot on.  Obama refuses to believe there's anything actually wrong with his health care proposal.  It doesn't matter that our existing government health plans, medicare and medicaid, are in the red to the tune of $53.7 Trillion (with a 'T').  He's still got checks in the check book!

He believes that by the force of his own magnetic personality he can finally persuade the electorate and the Congress to accept his bad check tonight.

As my father likes to say, "You're just not holding your face right."

But even the bully pulpit won't save Mr Obama's health care plan.  And with it's demise perhaps the nation will have a chance to put it's financial house in order.  Maybe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent...

...was one summer away from Washington, DC.

If you haven't seen Rep Hall's (D-IN) Mea Maxima Culpa gem yet, you gotta spend 50 seconds between 3:00 and 3:50 on this clip.

Encourage, Inspire, but Expect?

President Obama's release yesterday of his speech to America's students might be the most anticlimactic Presidential press release in recent memory.  As expected, it's a call to work hard, study hard, stay in school, don't give up and don't give in.  All good stuff.

Well done, Mr President.  You gave us exactly what everyone expected.  That is, you gave us exactly what every President says to students in every era.  Drab, but safe.

Of course if the President had been inclined to say anything non-standard, that impulse probably fled quickly after all the hubbub over the speech and especially over the accompanying lesson plans.  Did he want to say something else -- something more -- and change his mind in the end?  We'll probably never know.

But now that he has chosen the safe road, the predictable road, let's move on, right?  I may take a lot of flack for this, but in this masterpiece of political correctness I still find something disquieting... even slightly disturbing.

Am I the only person in America who finds the President's use of the word 'expect' a bit out of place?  He uses it three times in the speech.  First, he sets the stage by saying,
"So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I'm here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year."
In the passive voice this doesn't catch in the lint trap of the mind quite so much as the subsequent uses.
"They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same."
The President expects.  Somehow that strikes me as odd in this context.
"So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down - don't let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it."
Let's see.  Parents and teachers can expect students to get serious.  Parents and teachers can expect a student to put forward his/her best effort.  And Parents and Teachers can expect great things from students.  But does a President of the United States have the right to impose his expectations on American students? Even when those expectations are quite healthy and likely align with the goals and desires of the parents and teachers?

No, I don't think so.  We might anticipate that a President would encourage students to get serious, or encourage them to put their best effort into everything, or encourage great things from each student.  We might even imagine the President sharing stories (as he did in this speech) to inspire getting serious, putting forth their best effort, and getting great things from them.

But to expect?  Am I the only one who feels like saying, "Who does this guy think he is?  What right does he have to lay his expectations -- however noble -- on my child?"  He may be the President of the United States and he may be due certain honors and respect.  But he crosses a line when he thinks he has the right to expect anything from children who are not his own.

It's possible he meant something different.  When one says, "I expect", it can mean two very different things.  It can mean, "You better do it," or it can mean "I have every confidence that you will achieve it."

A master orator like President Obama certainly knows this distinction.  In his trio of expectations he almost seems to move from "You better get serious" and "you better put your best effort into everything" to "I have every confidence that you will achieve great things."

Maybe this is Obama's idea of tough love.  No doubt he's worried about students who might drop out.  Such students might need a bit of tough talk.  But is he their Papa that he has the right to deliver that tough talk to them?

Nah.  I'm giving him too much credit.  In his model the government is the supreme being.  Government knows best.  He has already exerted authority over the financial system, the automotive industry, pay scales, etc.  Now he wants to exert authority over health care, one sixth of the US economy.  His ultimate goal is to exert authority over every aspect of the economy so that he can more equitably redistribute wealth.  So why wouldn't he be trying to excercise that same  authority over students?

I think he is.

Local Media Ignore Massive Tea Party Express Turnout

Today's Tea Party Express stop in New Lennox, IL was -- by a substantial margin -- the most highly attended political event in the Chicago metro area on this Labor Day holiday.  Despite the news worthiness of this event, only one major media outlet covered the story: ABC

Kudos to ABC for covering the story at all -- even allocating a helicopter to show the crowd size.  Still, a number of editorial decisions were made which show a bias against this story.

At no point do they say what the crowd size was other than to call it 'big'.  Yet they have no problem stating the crowd size for the Immigration Reform rally at Federal Plaza, even using the organizers hyper-inflated estimate of 4,000 attendees.  NBC estimated that crowd at 200.  Official police estimates for the New Lennox event range from 8,000 to over 10,000, but ABC just calls that 'big'.

They end the story with a real hatchet job in which they videotape two women expressing concerns over their loss of freedoms.  The piece then cuts away from the video and back to the reporter who says when she asked the ladies to explain which freedoms they have lost, one gives a lame answer and the other no specific answer at all.

Certainly there are dopes in any crowd and perhaps the reporter found two at this rally.  But why not broadcast the ladies responses so the audience can judge for themselves rather than depend on the reporter's interpretation of their answers?

If you didn't see the story over the air, good luck finding it on the local ABC web site.  Navigation on their site is confusing enough as it is, but when you bury the story  'below the fold' as the 10th of 12 segments, you pretty much ensure it will never be seen again.  And when the 9th segment is a three paragraph blurb about how Metra now takes credit cards -- a story of award winning merit, I'm sure you will agree -- you realize this story was buried in the 10 slot on purpose.

Despite the bias, at least ABC covered the story, which is more than can be said for CBS, NBC or Fox News Chicago.  NBC did a small text piece on their web site, but no video coverage.

Even more shocking was the lack of any story by the Fox News Channel (either over the air or on the web) despite having Griff Jenkins present to cover the story.  It's possible that FNC may have covered the story in one of their 30-second 'between the shows' news updates, but there was no major coverage during The Factor, Hannity, or On the Record.

How can a significant story like this have been so completely ignored by virtually every main stream media outlet in town?  Is this a continuation of the liberal press bias or just a dropped ball on a holiday?  You decide.

Liberty Watchman and Illinois Review seem to have scooped the entire blogosphere on this story.

*** Late Edition ***

NBC finally did attach a silent video to their web post, but there was no on-air coverage.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Lennox Barn Burner

Liberty Watchman had the privilege of attending the Tea Party Express stop in New Lennox, IL today.  The crowd was huge -- over 10,000 (Sheriff's estimate).  Traffic on Interstate 80 was backed up for 2 miles in each direction and not everyone who wanted to attend was able to get in.

The Watchman's other videos didn't turn out so well, so enjoy these from Illinois Review

Friday, September 4, 2009

Durbin Needs Drubbin' For Made-to-Order Town Halls

After saying that town hall meetings are "not worth my time", Illinois Senator Dick Durbin designed his own politically bullet-proof health care "listening session" for 9:30 AM September 4th in the booming metropolis of Quincy, IL.

The meeting:
  • consists only of Durbin and his hand-picked attendees.
  • is not open to the public -- at least not apparently,
  • was announced only the night before it would take place, and
  • is being held in a relatively small, remote town in Illinois.
This was not Durbin's first 'listening session' this summer, but they have all followed the same closed-to-the-public pattern with little or no notice in advance.

They are clearly fig leaf gestures designed to create (im)plausible deniability against charges that Durbin cowered in a corner during the entire congressional break.  But that, in fact, is just what our Senior Senator did and no amount of 'listening session' flim flam will deceive the voters of Illinois into thinking otherwise come the next election.

Barney Frank or Dick Durbin?  Hari Kari is not an option.

At least Barney shows up to a public meeting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Public Option Top 10 List

Top 10 indicators that your are in a single payer health care system:

#10 - Your annual breast exam is done at Hooters

#9 - Directions to your doctor's office include "Take a left when you enter the trailer park."

#8 - The tongue depressors taste faintly of Fudgsicles.

#7 - The only proctologist in the plan is "Gus" from Roto-Rooter

#6 - The only item listed under Preventive Care Coverage is "and apple a day..."

#5 - Your primary care physician is wearing the pants you gave to Goodwill last month.

#4 - "The patient is responsible for 200% of out-of-network charges," is not a typographical error.

#3 - The only expense covered 100% is "embalming".

#2 - Your Prozac comes in different colors with little M's on them.

And the #1 indication that you are in a single payer health care system:

#1 - You ask for Viagra and they give you a Popsicle stick and duct tape.

A tip of the hat to the Watchman's nurse in Milwaukee.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Schakowski Stacked the Deck

It took about 24 hours to piece this together, but it appears likely that Rep Jan Schakowski 'stacked the deck' on Monday's town hall meeting by bringing in 5 to 10 bus loads of her supporters and allowing them into the auditorium before the rest of the crowd.

On the day of the meeting, only one entrance to the building was open at Niles West High School in Skokie.  That was the north entrance.  Liberty Watchman arrived about an hour before the scheduled start time and saw five yellow school buses parked at the south entrance.  As he parked his car, he saw the last two people get off the buses and enter the high school through the south entrance.  They did not appear to the Watchman's old eyes to be high school age persons.

While unloading from his car, the Watchman observed the buses depart from the school leaving behind a man to stand guard on the south portal and direct all other attendees to walk all the way around the building to the north entrance.

On Tuesday, blog reader 'Illinois Patriot', who also came to the town hall meeting and couldn't get in, told the Watchman that he talked to people on the scene who said as many as 10 buses arrived at the school that evening.  These observations corroborated the account of another man who the Watchman observed walking briskly out of the meeting before it ended, saying "she stacked the deck by filling the room with her own people."  The man stormed away before the Watchman could follow up on that claim.

Unless someone can come forward with an alternate explanation for why there would be so many buses at the school long after students had gone home, I think it's safe to assume they shuttled Schakowski's lackeys and supporters to the town hall meeting.

Let's do some math.  Each of these buses had a capacity of 36-78 passengers and we know that between 5 and 10 buses arrived at the school.  That would mean that somewhere between 180 and 780 of the 1300 attendees were Schakowski's ringers.  That would also explain why the pro-Obama protesters outside the building outnumbered their opponents by at least 2-to-1.

Reports like this are coming in from all around the nation.  What began as a legitimate grass roots protest against Obamacare and excessive government spending has been hijacked by the well-oiled democrat machine.

The Watchman took the following video outside the Schakowski meeting.  Note that as we have seen in many other locations, the pro-Obama signs are all professionally printed while the Obamacare opponents virtually all had hand written/painted signs.

Now that the town hall meetings have become one big statist coordinated farce, it's on to Washington, DC on September 12th for the National Tea Party protest.  Liberty Watchman will be there, video camera in hand, to bring you his first had perspective.


I saw this video on Hannity, but didn't realize it was taken at Schakowski's party. Is there any doubt that these town halls are now a deomocrat sham?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hold That Seat, Please!

Illinois Review has collected a few tidbits from disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's new book, The Governor.  Regarding conversations between Blago and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel,  the AP's  Deanna Bellandi writes:

When Mr. Blagojevich talked to Mr. Emanuel after the election about the Senate pick, Mr. Obama's right-hand man "did not lobby for anyone in particular," according to the book. 
Mr. Blagojevich said Mr. Emanuel was interested in his own career because he had to give up his congressional seat to work in the Obama White House. Mr. Blagojevich writes that Mr. Emanuel dreamed of being speaker of the House and wanted to know whether Mr. Blagojevich would work with him to name a successor to "hold" his seat until he wanted it back.
"Did not lobby for anyone in particular?"  A senate seat is up for grabs and Blago expects us to believe that the White House did not suggest even one potential appointee?  Well, the Watchman guesses he has to write his book in a way that lines up with his court case, now doesn't he.

What is believable, however, is that "Rahmbo" Rahm "Dead Fish" Emanuel wanted Blago to hold his congressional seat for him by appointing a 'place holder' who presumably would step down whenever Rahmbo decided he wanted the seat back.

Liberty Watchman is reminded of the disgusting irony that 'Emanuel' means 'God with us'.  Apparently Mr Emanuel thinks he is God and is entitled to a congressional-throne-for-life just like Ted Kennedy.  The arrogance of this class of politician must be a stench in the the nose of the One True God.  Is it any wonder that in a recent Rasmussen poll, 57% of the American people want to replace the entire Congress, en masse? 

Whether Blagojevich told the truth on Emanuel or a lie, he's now created an adversary on par with the US Attorney.  From now on (or at least until he goes to prison) Blago better smell his mail before he opens it and check his car before he starts it.

Another claim in Blago's book is that he was all set to appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to Obama's vacant senate seat when his own indictment scuttled the deal.  The trouble with that claim is why has  Madigan declined to run for the seat since then?  No, here we have another bit of the book that has to line up with coming court testimony I guess.  He sure can't chronicle in his book how he offered the seat to the highest bidder.

The Watchman wonders if even slick Rod Blagojevich has a hard time keeping track of which statements he has made that are truth versus which ones are fiction.

Bean, Schakowski Town Halls

Thirteen hundred voters showed up for Rep Jan Schakowski's Town Hall meeting on Monday.  At least that many were turned away for lack of seating capacity at Niles West High School.  Liberty Watchman arrived an hour before the meeting started, but even that wasn't early enough to get a seat.

Schakowski finally sent out a lackey to invite those who couldn't get in to attend a Town Hall teleconference on September 9th.  Unfortunately, most of those who couldn't get it had already gone home.  LW saw only a half page of names and phone numbers that had been taken down for the teleconference.

Outside were dozens of protesters, the majority of whom were Obamacare supporters.  As usual, the pro-Obama folks had professionally printed signs while the other side had only hand-written signs.

LW spoke to one man who left the meeting early.  He was mad as a wet hen suggesting that the meeting was stacked with Schakowski supporters.  He told of Schakowski being asked if she would take a survey of her constituents before voting on any bill.  The Congresswoman replied rather lamely that she only takes a survery of her constituents every two years.

Here is a tremendous example of grass roots protesting.  Five women organized a town hall meeting and invited Melissa Bean, Mark Kirk, and Dick Durbin to attend (two of the three have refused to attend open town hall meetings).  None of the politicians showed up of course so the ladies set up life size photographs of each pol and they had their meeting anyway.  They called it the "with or without you" town hall.

Below is the video of the empty chair town hall meeting.  One highlight:  a man says, "Illinois has a kind of term limits.  One term in office and a second term in jail!"

Thanks for Cal Skinner's McHenry county blog for the "with or without you" video.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pastor Anderson: The Unfortunate Flip Side of Reverend Wright

No sooner does the Watchman advocate that conservatives rally behind an increase in Secret Service protection for President Obama, than a pastor in Arizona preaches a sermon calling for God to strike him dead.

Let's take this in two parts:  political and spiritual.

To advocate that God strike Obama down is politically stupid for two reasons.  First it's mean spirited and Americans don't cotton to mean-spiritedness.  Obama is on the wrong track, sure -- a terribly wrong track.  But isn't it enough that we oppose him by every political means possible?  Isn't it enough to protest at every town hall meeting in America and on the steps of the Capitol in Washington?.  No, let's tell the whole world that we're calling on the almighty to be our hit man.  Yeah, that'll get the people on our side... the CRAZIES!  And the reasonable, rational, limited government lovers will cringe in the corners.

Second, like Obi-Wan Kenobi before him, Obama would be legislatively more powerful in death than in life.  I pointed this out yesterday.  He's already losing the battle in the marketplace of ideas.  So let him lose.  When a lib is self-destructing, leave him alone.  Pull up a chair, pop some popcorn and enjoy the show, but leave him alone!

From a spiritual perspective, Pastor Anderson is on the thinest of ice. He's broken with the teaching of his Baptist denomination.  I'd like to know what he believes is the biblical instruction that tells him to pray for the death of the President of the United States -- his own leader.

I can give him two passage of scripture that fly directly in the face of the pastor's actions:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. -- 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. -- 1 Peter 2:17
If these very specific instructions about prayer and respect for leaders are not enough, then consider this general command on how we are to respond to our enemies.
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. -- Matthew 5:43-45
Make no mistake. there's nothing unbiblical about disagreeing with your leaders in our form of government.  It's not wrong to pray for their minds and hearts to be changed.  It's not even wrong to pray that God will give us new leaders.  But to cross over into asking God to strike your leader with brain cancer and death, is very wrong indeed.

There are kooks on both sides, of course. Let's police our own by rebuking comments like those from Pastor Anderson.  And please write your representative in Congress exhorting them to increase Secret Service protection for President Obama.

[If you would like to read other Watchman thoughts on religion and government health care, go here]

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Lion Is Dead. Long Live the King!

As Senator Edward Kennedy is laid to rest, a question is raised.  What effect does the death of a politician have on legislation?

In the case of Senator Kennedy, probably not much.  Despite calls to lionize the liberal lion yet again by naming the health care bill after him, the passage of Obamacare is not likely to be moved much in either direction.

Those who loved ol' Teddy bear already love Obamacare.  Name one Congressman or Senator who's vote will swing based on Kennedy's passing.  Give up?

However, there is one politician whose passing would result in the landslide passage of a government controlled health care bill.  One politician still so beloved by the American people that his demise would create a groundswell of public sympathy to eclipse that even of Teddy's brothers.  A man who has done more to cast the American political and economic system in his own image than any politician in a generation.  The one man whose continued existence is ironically imperative to the survival our center-right republic.

For these reasons, Liberty Watchman calls on conservatives throughout the nation to do everything possible to preserve, protect, and defend, the life of Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States.

The urgency of this call could not be greater.  According to Ronald Kessler's recently published book, In the President's Secret Service, the level of protection provided by the Secret Service has declined significantly in recent years.  Kessler reports that despite a 400% increase in the number of threats against the life of President Obama, the Secret Service has, on more than one occasion, either not screened at all or inadequately screened crowds with metal detectors prior to the President's or Vice President's appearance.

What??  That's right.  No metal detectors.

There may be multiple reasons why security is slipping.  Kessler says that in part it's the result of budgetary constraints imposed when the Secret Service was moved from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.  Maybe, but it would be a mistake to think this is only a matter of money.  No President is at the mercy of his security detail.  Every President is fully briefed on his own security arrangements and has ultimate say over how he is guarded.  If the President wants greater protection, he gets it -- budgets be hanged.  If he wants less, he gets that too.  And more often than not, as Kessler chronicles, Presidents want and get less security.

We have seen the tragic results of Presidents who eschew their Secret Service protection.  Lincoln went to Ford's theater without his security detail.  John F Kennedy refused to have Secret Service agents on the running boards of this vehicle at Dealey Plaza.  It's unclear if guards could have saved President Lincoln, but the first shot having missed President Kennedy, there's a good chance that a human shield could have saved his life.

Why did these men risks their lives in this way?  Was it bravado?  Was it to protect their image?  Was it just the fatigue of being watched like a bug under a glass 24x7 and the desire to have some time unfettered by guards?  In Lincoln's case we're told it was a combination of image and watchman fatigue (no pun intended).  For Kennedy it was purely to protect his image as a president who does not cower.

With Obama we have an even more fearful concern: self-sacrifice.  It's widely reported that Obama has said he would sacrifice his second term as president if that's what it would take to get the health care bill passed.  His sense of noblesse oblige is commendable, but is there more to it than that?

The messianic nature of the descriptions which swirl around Mr Obama give even greater reason for pause.  Does he embrace his alleged divinity?  If he's willing for his second term to be a sacrificial lamb, is he also willing to lay down his life for historic legislation?  Does he fancy himself as the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the titanic struggle between limited and unlimited government. “You can't win, Darth.  If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

I submit that whether he believes in the Obi-Wan philosophy or not, it's probably true.  He would be even more powerful in death than in life.

I'm not saying President Obama has a death wish.  I suspect that like most sane people he does not.  But the pomp and circumstance, the sheer adulation of the office, can cloud a man's judgment.

And what of his staff?  For the sake of quickly seating the guests, his staff pressured the Secret Service to halt magnetometer screening at at least one campaign event last year.  Which of his Chicago mafia gave that order?  Do they believe their own press clippings?  Do they think that Obama's charisma can disarm even an assassin?

I think most men who ascend to the office of POTUS are made more noble by it.  There is a sense of purpose and destiny far beyond one's self.  I'm sure Barack Obama senses this.  But just beyond the horizon of that nobility lies the poison of self-importance and the delusion of invulnerability.  The antidote for these is self-sacrifice.  But beware the noble self-sacrifice that leads to foolish decisions.

Let's hope the president has not taken the poison and let's make sure no one else is allowed to give it to him.  Call your representatives today and insist on a congressional investigation into the claims in Kessler's book.  Insist that President Obama's security detail be increased immediately.

As conservatives we want to see Mr Obama defeated on the field of ideas and policy, not lionized in a state funeral.

The Lion is Dead.  Long live the King.  Long Live the King.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What's Old is New Again

Chicago Tribune.  Circa 1936  (click the pic to see full size)

Some amazing parallels here.  And some surprising ones.

It's the same government debt orgy as today only they didn't have anywhere near the national debt we have going into it.  So although their fear of  "depleting the resources of the soundest government in the world" was real, it's far more achievable today.

Both periods involved a push by the government toward central planning and huge new government programs.

Their communist threat was was largely external and required 70 years of dogged defense to overcome the threat.  Our fascist threat is very much internal and it remains to be seen if we can overcome it or how long it will take.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lake Zurich Chamber Shocked, Shocked at Outrage Over Bean Town Hall

On August 24th, Liberty Watchman wrote to the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce requesting that their meeting with US Rep Melissa Bean be opened to the public:
"Please reconsider opening this meeting to the public. The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce did the same closed meeting with Reps Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk. It resulted in a huge public opinion black eye for the chamber. Please don't make the same mistake."
In an email reply,  LZACC Executive Director Dale Perrin said:
"We initially contacted he Congresswoman’s office 6 months ago to request her participation in this breakfast event. This was before the current health care issue became such a volatile subject. The intent of this breakfast meeting is not to debate the health care issue."
As the Watchman previously reported, the meeting was originally billed as a Town Hall Meeting (what is that if not a place to debate?) and the only legislative subject mentioned was health care.  Here's proof of the original intent from the LZACC's web site.

So why would the Executive Director claim, "The intent of this breakfast meeting is not to debate the health care issue?"

He went on to say:
"Frankly I’m a little confused why the general public seems to think they should have the right to attend a meeting, at not (sic) cost, that an organization they don’t belong to is conducting, just because an elected official has been invited to speak at that meeting. This is the third or fourth time Congresswoman Bean has attended and spoken at one of our Chamber events over the past several years, but the first time anyone outside of the organization has bothered to even take notice."

The Watchman is not asking for a free breakfast.  He's asking the chamber to step up to their unique opportunity to provide a public service.

One thing is clear and one is murky.  It's clear that ol' Bean is not using hers.  She's intentionally dodging a public meeting with her constituents.  The suspicion is that "Blue Dog Democrat" Bean was politically bought off in the health care negotiations in Washington.  Whether that's accurate or not is unknown because she won't sit down in a town hall forum and take questions from the voters.

The murky part is LZACC's role in all this.  Are they intentionally harboring a fugitive from the public as their bald-faced flip-flop on the intent of the meeting and mock shock at the public outrage seem to suggest?  Or are they truly ignorant that they stand at the fulcrum of the most hotly contested public policy issue to hit the 8th district -- and their business owners -- since prohibition?  Are they not aware that the voters are so angry with Bean that 'empty chair' town hall meetings are being scheduled?

The chamber has everything to gain and nothing to lose by opening the breakfast meeting to the public.  If Bean accepts an open meeting, then the chamber has performed a public service.  If she declines the meeting then the chamber has still performed a public service by flipping on the light switch in a room full of political cockroaches.

If the chamber is worried that Bean's rejection of an open meeting might result in their loss of a chamber advocate in Washington, they need not fear.  If she scurries for the baseboards, she only ensures defeat in the next election cycle.  Cozying up to a soon-to-be-defeated Congresswoman won't buy the slightest leverage on Capitol Hill.

Mr Perrin, you can charge for the breakfast or cancel the feed, but please open the meeting!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Protest Outside Bean's Office

Since US Rep Melissa Bean wouldn't come to the Town Hall Meeting, the meeting came to her.  This was Saturday, August 22, outside Bean's office in Schaumburg, IL.

This one caught the Watchman unaware.  He would like to have been there.

H/T  Illinois Review

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kirk Announces Town Hall

Mark Kirk has just announced that he will hold an "open town hall meeting at the Arlington Heights Village Hall's Village Board Room," on Monday, August 24. He says, "We will meet to discuss health care, including my concerns with the cost, complication and taxes included in the House bill."

It's interesting that he refers to it as an open town hall -- obviously in contrast to the closed town hall meeting Kirk had with the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce on August 12th. Liberty Watchman wrote about the fact that media cameras were kicked out of the last town hall meeting attended by Kirk.

Did Liberty Watchman help to influence this new spur-of-the-moment town hall meeting? Certainly we played a part!

The question is how open will this meeting really be? The timing of the announcement is strange -- late on a Friday afternoon, the usual time for press releases you don't want anybody to read. And with only 72 hours notice the turnout probably won't be all that it could be. Add to that a complete absence of the meeting announcement on Kirk's congressional web site and you have to wonder is this an intent to fly under the radar or just poor organization.

The only reason Watchman heard about the town hall is that his better half is on Kirk's email list. By emailing his presumed supporters before making a general announcement, is Congressman Kirk attempting to stack the deck of the meeting? Or again, is this just poor planning? Either way, it raises some unnecessary questions about a would-be US Senator.

Will cameras be welcome this time around? We'll let you know as the Liberty Watchman will be there, camera in hand.

Monday, August 24
Arlington Heights Village Hall
Village Board Room
33 South Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights
3:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Health Care: WWJD?

The public debate over health care has become so heated and so factious that even one as high and exalted as Barack Obama is seeking endorsement from a higher power. Yesterday, in a web conference with 140,000 faithful on the line, President Obama appealed for support of his health care reform plan on religious grounds.

“There are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness.” the president said. He went on to itemize "death panels", "a government takeover of health care", and "government funding of abortion" as some of the falsehoods being promoted by opponents of his plan.

"These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation, and that is that we look out for one another, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.” he said.

Combatants throughout the ages have sought the imprimatur of the almighty on their cause. It's a fool's errand. Our most heralded causes -- even world wars -- are but a jot or tittle in God's eternal plan. The mismatch of context is so staggering that the question "Whose side is God on?" is almost laughable.

But it might be worth a moment to consider this ancient yet trendy question: What would Jesus do? In other words, if Jesus was walking around on planet Earth today, what would he do, what would he think, what would his attitude be toward the health care debate?

Historic Perspective

Let's start with the source of the health care problem: illness and aging. Neither of these conditions existed in the Garden of Eden. It was not until man sinned and was thrown out of the garden that illness and aging came into existence.

It was not God's desire that illness and aging would ever exist. But it's an inescapable fact that Jesus, as the second person of the triune Godhead, booted Adam and Eve out of the garden and cursed them with illness and aging (and ultimately death) as part of their punishment for sin.

So the question "What would Jesus do about health care?" seems incredibly out of place considering Jesus is responsible for the need for health care in the first place.

There, I said it!

No matter what your theology, it seems to me an inescapable fact that an all powerful God simply must be responsible for the illness and aging that we use health care to treat. Whether you believe that God causes the ravages of illness and aging or just allows them as the consequence of sin, the net result is the same. God is on the hook for the health care 'problem'.

Don't worry, God has big shoulders. He's OK with you identifying him as the one responsible for the health care problem. Just don't go so far as to say that it is his fault. He set up a perfect system free from all illness and aging. Adam and Eve were the ones who messed it up. It's their fault and God is responding in a just manner to that fault.

So are we clear on this? We are living a life that is God's plan B for us. Plan A had no illness or aging (nor accidental death or injury either) and no need for health care.

Neither did plan A include socialism or communism. It didn't even include western democracy, representative government (a republic) or market-based economics. In fact, it included no form of human government at all. In plan A God was (and is) the sovereign King. In plan A, God personally governs all of man's affairs and personally provides for all of man's needs. All of them. All the time.

Even after the fall, God was not a fan of human government. He established governmental 'chains of command' for the nation of Israel, but he was always at the top of the chain. Eventually the people begged God for a human king like all the other nations had. God resisted that idea knowing man's tendency would be to look to their king for their every need rather than looking to God.

After a lot of pestering, God finally relented and gave Israel a king. He basically said, "Fine, you want a king? OK, I'll give you a king. But you'll regret it." And Israel often did regret it. They had good kings and bad kings. Their kingdom was like a box 'o chocolates: you never knew what you were gonna get.

So human government is not part of God's plan A. I don't think it's even fair to say that human forms of government are part of God's plan B. He only yielded to man's desire for a human government. He never suggested it and I don't think to this day he much likes the idea.

So doesn't this question of "What would Jesus think of Barack Obama's health care plan?" become ever more absurd? Well God, now that your people have rebelled twice, first by disobeying you and introducing illness and aging to the world, and then again when they rejected you as their preferred form of government, what's the best way to handle this mess? Should we try to mitigate the curse you put on us by turning over the mitigation strategy to a human form of government which does not acknowledge you as it's sovereign?

How, exactly, should God answer this question?

Isn't it ironic that God initially set up the most perfect nanny state one could imagine, but we rejected it and are now trying to recreate that nanny state in our own image?


To understand what Jesus would do about health care if he was walking around on the planet today, we need only to look at what he did about health care the last time he was on the Earth.

"14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. 15Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick..." - Matthew 12:14-15
In every translation of the Bible that I have checked, this passage conveys the clear idea that Jesus healed them all. Not most. Not some. Not just the ones he could. He healed them all. Jesus' health care plan -- then and now -- is to return to eternal plan A: no illness or aging at all.

He didn't tell Caesar that there were 47 million in the Roman world who needed a health care plan. He didn't direct the government to set up health savings accounts for all Roman citizens. He didn't even tell the church to build hospitals for the sick. He personally, forthrightly healed them all.

And he directed his followers to do the same. He told them that they would do even greater medical miracles than he did. This is one aspect of the health care system that I believe is seriously broken. His followers either don't believe what he did or don't believe what he said they could do and as a result the sick are not healed in anything like the numbers Jesus would wish. We don't believe in a return to plan A I'm afraid.

During his time on earth, Jesus did not say very much to or about government. I think this is because he was focusing on the return to plan A and he just didn't think it very worthwhile to spend much time on anything else -- let alone reforming human government which to him was at best a societal band-aid to their self-inflicted wound caused when they rejected him as their King.

The two things he did say about government are of course noteworthy. First he said that we should "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." (Matthew 22:21) It's dangerous to expand the meaning of this verse beyond the original context. Recall that the smarty-pants of the day were trying to trap Jesus into saying something that would get him in trouble no matter which way he answered. So his answer was designed to sidestep that danger more than anything.

I think his answer was also a kind of back-handed slap at the smarty-pants. Why are you guys asking me about plan C? (which I don't even like that much) You should be focusing on plan A -- rendering rendering unto God.

In his second teaching on government, Jesus said,
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." - Romans 13:1-7
This is a clear teaching on government authority. It may be plan C, but government officials still report to God (whether they think so or not) and they operate with God's authority so we are to respect that. This is a hard teaching for citizens of a democratic country where we believe that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed. Also challenging for a conservative like me is this clear teaching that government has the right to tax her citizens. That chaffs a bit!

Two functions of government are described here: "God's servant to do you good" and "God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong doer." Clearly government administers God's justice and dispenses God's judgment.

It also serves to "do you good". I really wish Jesus had fleshed that out a bit more. It's like the "general welfare" clause in the US Constitution which is claimed for a great many more purposes than the original authors intended. I don't think you can argue that Jesus intended to provide justification for the comprehensive nanny state with this one sentence. Remember that Jesus desires to be our nanny state.

But I admit that the statement "do you good" is broad and not further qualified. It's not unreasonable to use it as a supporting argument for the Obamacare plan. However, I've never heard President Obama or anyone in the administration use this scripture in support of their case.

Jesus tells us the administration of justice is a function of government. However, health care is not the administration of justice. To tell you the unvarnished truth, illness and aging are the result of God's justice in action. So it is just wrong headed to say that people deserve health care as a matter of some civil right derived from God's justice.

Health care is the administration of grace and mercy. In the scriptures virtually all the dispensations of mercy are done by an individual or by God. I can't think of a biblical example of the governmental administration of mercy (except in forbearance of the God-ordained administration of justice).

This is subtle, but so important to our way of thinking. Health care is grace from justice, not justice itself. Read that last sentence a few times until it sinks in. To think otherwise is to negate God's right to curse and to treat his grace with the contempt of privilege rather than the thankfulness we owe him.

The very fact that we can rollback the curse to any degree at all is purely a function of God's grace in granting mankind the medical wisdom to do so. To treat that grace as an expectation, worse as a right, is a terrible affront to God I think.

Probably the best example of biblical health care administration is the story of the Good Samaritan. In this story an individual pays the recuperative health care costs for a man who has been mugged and robbed. It was not the government who provided the services or paid the tab. It was a private business that provided the services and a private individual who paid the tab.

In making a biblical case for his health care program, President Obama references the story of Cain and Abel. In the biblical account, God asks Cain what has happened to Abel (Cain has murdered Abel) and Cain replies, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?" Obama decides this means that "...I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.”

Even if that interpretation is correct, that we are all our brothers' keepers, it is not a license for government to force us to be our brother's keeper. At the most, the story is an admonition to personal responsibility, not community or corporate responsibility.

But Obama's interpretation here is wrong. God's response to Cain really had this meaning: "Of course I don't expect you to be Abel's keeper. Why are you throwing up that smoke screen when you know I don't expect that? I am Abel's keeper. Oh, I see, it's a bogus argument designed to distract from what I really do expect -- that you obey my command not to murder. I don't expect you to be Abel's keeper, but I sure expect you not to kill him."

Any claim that the story of Cain and Abel is support for government sponsored health care is a complete misapplication of this scripture.


Let me close with this. God is very interested in health care. He desires that man be healed supernaturally by the administration of God's grace and mercy via his saints (his people on Earth). He also provides the grace to overcome his own curse via the medical knowledge he imparts to mankind.

God's interest in human government is at best tertiary. He desires that man returns to God's eternal plan A in which God is all the government there is and all the provision anyone ever needs.

There are no biblical commands that would require government to provide health care coverage at all. Likewise, there are no biblical commands preventing government from providing health care coverage.

The only biblical examples of health care being provided are voluntary, sacrificial acts by individuals or acts of grace and mercy by God himself. There is no biblical account of compelling anyone to participate in health care and no record of government being involved in health care.

However, there is no biblical reason why people could not decide to join together in a health care program under government auspices. The biblical model would suggest that such an association should be voluntary, but the scripture also gives government the right to levy taxes and says almost nothing about how the taxes should be used.

Based on this brief and admittedly incomplete study, I don't think either side in the Obamacare debate can make any claim that God favors their position.

So why don't both sides cut it out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Open Meetings - The Trilogy

In our third installment of the popular Open Meetings series, the amazing Melissa Bean, US Congresswoman from Illinois' 8th District continues to shrink from view. Like so many brave democrats she refuses to meet with her constituents except under the most controlled circumstances.

As first reported by Michelle Malkin -- somewhat unfairly, I think -- Bean backed away from a free town hall meeting in favor of a $25 breakfast meeting hosted by the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce. Malkin blasted Bean for charging a fee for the meeting, but I have no problem with that. There's no free lunch, Michelle (or breakfast).

What I do object to is the very tight controls over who can attend the meeting. You can see the evolution of that control in these images from the LZACC web site. At first the meeting was billed as a town hall.

A bit later, it was called a 'chamber' breakfast...

... and attendance was limited to chamber members only -- and only members in the 8th congressional district.

How terrified must a congresswoman be to feel that limiting the audience to chamber members only was not enough protection from a blood thirsty public. No, she felt the need to slap on the 8th district limitation to avoid being absolutely overrun by both of the LZACC members who don't live in the 8th district (if there are that many). Oh the horror!

All of this would be fine if Bean was holding other public meetings during the congressional break, but she is not. In fact her web site has no indication that she's having any meetings at all, including the chamber breakfast!

Don't pols usually taught their public appearances? Yes, unless they're hiding from angry constituents.

Doesn't the average chamber of commerce delight in throwing open to the public a meeting like this that demonstrates the chamber's high-minded civic responsibility? Yes, unless the chamber doesn't mind being used as a political shield to hide politicians from the verbal tar and feathers.

The most disturbing aspect of Bean's Town-Hall-cum-Chamber-Breakfast is that she is the third Illinois politician to seek refuge from the big bad public behind the skirts of the local chamber of commerce. I wrote earlier this week about how US Reps Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk displayed a similar act of political cowardice by allowing television cameras to be kicked out of a town hall meeting hosted by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

This is a disturbing trend: an unholy alliance between poltroon politicians on the run and self-serving chambers of commerce who provide safe havens for them.

Come on, politicians! How frightening can a town hall meeting be in a state as blue as Illinois? In your savior's home state??

Come on, chambers! Stop aiding and abetting a political felony.