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By Scott W. Atlas from National Review Online, December 14, 2009

Trumpeting the straw-man argument that “doing nothing is simply unacceptable,” U.S. lawmakers continue to advocate a frighteningly sweeping government takeover of American health care. Those Democratic senators who dare to hesitate a bit before voting for this takeover are characterized as “moderates.” Yet their initial votes — made a whole three days after the unveiling of a 2,000-page bill that pushes a radical overhaul of the world’s most advanced health-care system, a bill opposed by the majority of American voters, and at a cost of a trillion dollars paid by massive taxes, penalties, and cuts in coverage — in the end were a loud and unanimous “yes” to proceed. Ultimately, these “moderate” senators merely wish to tinker with a grossly flawed plan that hemorrhages money, rather than thoughtfully consider alternatives and preserve the excellence of our medical care.

All the while, several obvious, commonsense reforms that would benefit American citizens have been stonewalled. Reforms that can bring health costs down without imposing government restrictions and mandates are being ignored, as if they just don’t exist. Americans should ask their elected officials why commonsense reforms that would increase health-insurance competition and reduce costs are being disregarded. Let’s consider six such reforms.

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Before Thanksgiving, the Senate voted to opening debate on President Obama’s health-care bill, and that debate has begun in earnest this week.

Well, if they want a debate, let’s let them have it. But let’s not get distracted by the sideshows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has planned for us.

Forget about abortion. Of course the left will accept restrictions on funding for abortion, because they want to keep moderate Democrats on board for the goal they know is really important: giving the government a dominant role in health care. Everything else is just details, and funding for abortions is an issue to which the left can return at leisure later on-once government is firmly in charge of everything.

And don’t bother debating the “public option,” either, because it’s already dead; enough Democratic senators have come out against it. But Harry Reid is all too happy to have a debate over the public option so he can make a show of “compromising” and giving it up. And while we’re having that fake debate, he’s hoping that we won’t be challenging everything else in the bill.

So let’s get straight what the real essentials of the bill are-and how disastrous they are.

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Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders like this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She wrote, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.” The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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Source: National Review

Ten things that ought to be in the health-care bill (but probably won’t).

By Kevin Williamson

If you want to know what the solution to America’s health-care problems looks like, reach into your pocket: About 90 percent of Americans own cellular phones, up from less than 1 percent 20 years ago. The cell-phone market is a highly democratic one in that working-class and poor Americans have access to roughly the same range of products and services as middle-class and wealthy Americans, and practically everybody has access to products and services that 20 years ago were reserved to millionaires, to the extent that they were available at all. Remember those gigantic cellular bricks that Wall Street traders toted around in their briefcases back in the 1980s? Those were pricey status symbols in the Reagan era — Motorola’s two-pound DynaTAC 8000X cost the equivalent of $9,000 in today’s money, and the service fees were enormous — but using one today would get you laughed out of the poorest trailer park or housing project in America.

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Source: National Review

Ten things that probably will be in the health-care bill (but shouldn’t).

By Stephen Spruiell

Rummaging through the stacks here at National Review world headquarters, I discovered in our Dec. 13, 1993, special supplement on Hillarycare a curious little ad that read “Just say NO to socialized health care.” The ad implored me to call 1-800-5RESIST, so just for fun, I dialed the number, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the brave soul who set up this hotline back in the ’90s was still manning the post, dispensing advice on the best way to oppose Obamacare.Wrong. A male voice offered me an invitation to “talk to ladies all over the country,” and I don’t think he meant Blanche Lincoln and Olympia Snowe. I hung up and returned to the health-care debate, 2009. The Republicans are in disarray. The Democrats are cutting deals. The Congressional Budget Office is acting like Burger King, telling Max Baucus, “Have it your way.” Of course 1-800-5RESIST is now a phone-sex line: We’re screwed.

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President Barack Obama’s push for a sweeping health care overhaul edged closer to a major victory in the Senate Finance Committee. Early next week, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on final passage on the “Vapor Bill” being debated and marked up in Committee. The term “Vapor Bill” is used to describe the legislation, because the Senate Finance Committee has been debating the outline of a bill and not actual bill text in Committee. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) offered an amendment to allow a reading of the bill for 72 hours before final passage, so that members could read the bill they were voting upon, yet liberals in the committee blocked this amendment. We have mapped out one scenario for Senate consideration before, but we now have more details on the secret plan to pass Obamacare.

The Senate floor debate on health legislation could start as early as next week, but more likely they will consider Obamacare starting on October 13th. The Senate Finance Committee has been held up and will not have a final vote on the Committee bill until next Tuesday, therefore the Senate will have to wait another week before the debate starts.

Here is what we know. Sources on K Street and on Capitol Hill have confirmed the following scenario:

  1. Senate staffers from the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee) are in the process of writing the bill RIGHT NOW that the Senate will consider the second full week of October;
  2. Senator Reid will have to move to proceed to a House passed tax measure to avoid a “Blue Slip” problem. The term blue slip describes the procedure the House uses to stop the Senate from originating a tax bill. The Constitution states “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” The House passed tax measures that are on the Senate Calendar are as follows:
    – H.R. 1664 The AIG Bonus Bill;
    – H.R. 2751 A tax bill promoting fuel efficient cars;
    – H.R. 2454 House passed Global Warming bill; and,
    – Any other tax measure that comes from the House in the next few days.
  3. Senator Reid uses all the procedural tactics in his toolbox to shut down debate and control the Amendment process to get this Senate debate completed by the end of October. They can add the Public Option as an amendment on the Senate floor with a simple majority if they have the will.

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