Joseph Bottum writing in Bad Medicine grieves:
…….I was utterly mistaken. I did warn that Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats in the House are, after all, people who have always favored health-care reform—and they were going to vote for the Democratic program if they possibly could. But after Stupak stood firm during the debates over the House version of the bill, forcing his amendment through even while enduring the fury of what seemed like every mainstream editorial page in the nation, I thought he would not desert the pro-life organizations when it came down to a vote on the Senate’s version. But desert he did. Praise Bart Stupak now, I demanded—and, like many other pro-lifers, I was left with nothing to show for it.
Bottum writes of arguments that were used to give cover to the Democrats who call themselves pro-life, from Harry Reid and Bob Casey in the Senate to Bart Stupak in the House.
The first was the claim that, through its complicated payment procedures, the Senate bill ensured that the government portion of the new insurance program wouldn’t actually fund abortions. The second was that nationalizing the health-care system would result in a net drop in the number of abortions performed. And the third was that an executive order from the president would ensure that abortion funding would not follow from the new bill.
Meanwhile, the desertions of Harry Reid and Bob Casey and Bart Stupak mean that the pro-life cause must look entirely to the Republicans for leadership. Oh, they may pick up a few Democratic votes along the way for pro-life measures, but we now know that those Democrats will not take the lead in a pro-life fight. This is a bad result for the pro-life movement—in part because the Republican party platform is not a unified whole: People can oppose abortion while rejecting all the rest. But it’s also bad for the pro-lifers because it weakens the leverage they have within the Republican party.
H/T Anchoress for directing us to this thought provoking article by Spengler writing about Obama with a view to his late mother,Ann Dunham, and his “rancorous wife, Michelle.” David P. Goldman exams “Who Is Barack Obama?”
America has the great misfortune to have encountered Obama at the peak of his powers at its worst moment of vulnerability in a generation. With malice aforethought, he has sought out their sore point.
Be afraid – be very afraid. America is at a low point in its fortunes, and feeling sorry for itself. When Barack utters the word “hope”, they instead hear, “handout”. A cynic might translate the national motto, E pluribus unum, as “something for nothing”. Now that the stock market and the housing market have failed to give Americans something for nothing, they want something for nothing from the government. The trouble is that he who gets something for nothing will earn every penny of it, twice over.
“Evil will oft evil mars”, J R R Tolkien wrote. It is conceivable that Barack Obama, if elected, will destroy himself before he destroys the country. Hatred is a toxic diet even for someone with as strong a stomach as Obama. As he recalled in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father, Obama idealized the Kenyan economist who had married and dumped his mother, and was saddened to learn that Barack Hussein Obama, Sr, was a sullen, drunken polygamist. The elder Obama became a senior official of the government of Kenya after earning a PhD at Harvard. He was an abusive drunk and philanderer whose temper soured his career.
The senior Obama died in a 1982 car crash. Kenyan government officials in those days normally spent their nights drinking themselves stupid at the Pan-Afrique Hotel. Two or three of them would be found with their Mercedes wrapped around a palm tree every morning. During the 1970s I came to know a number of them, mostly British-educated hollow men dying inside of their own hypocrisy and corruption.
Both Obama and the American public should be very careful of what they wish for. As the horrible example of Obama’s father shows, there is nothing worse for an embittered outsider manipulating the system from within than to achieve his goals – and nothing can be more terrible for the system. Even those who despise America for its blunders of the past few years should ask themselves whether the world will be a safer place if America retreats into a self-pitying shell.
It will cost the IRS $5 billion to $10 billion over 10 years to handle the new workload, according to a March 11 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office. But the Senate bill doesn’t provide any funding for the expansion of the IRS, and it virtually ties the hands of the IRS to collect fees on individuals and businesses who don’t buy health insurance.
“The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty,” according to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation. “Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.”
That means there’s virtually nothing the IRS can do to enforce the fines in the legislation, forcing the tax man to rely on the consciences of taxpayers or to skim off any federal benefits, tax credits or refunds they have coming to them.
Charles Krauthammer prognosticates, “The VAT Cometh”:
American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.
Obamacare was sold on the premise that, as Nancy Pelosi put it, “health care reform is entitlement reform. Our budget cannot take this upward spiral of cost.” But the bill enacted on Tuesday accelerates the spiral: It radically expands Medicaid (adding 15 million new recipients/dependents) and shamelessly raids Medicare by spending on a new entitlement the $500 billion in cuts and the yield from the Medicare tax hikes.
With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you have to reduce government spending.Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.
And the VAT is the only trough in creation large enough.
Fr.Celsus repeatedly and passionately asked, “Who are you in the story?”
He said that if you are church and this is your story, you must be in it. Who are you? Are you Pilate, who knows the truth and yet rejects it out of fear to chose and serve the world? Are you the good thief on the cross, condemned for sins you really did commit? Are you John, the Beloved Disciple, standing with Mary, the Mother of Jesus? Who are you in the story?
From a homily by Saint Gregory Nazianzen,
We are soon going to share in the Passover
We are soon going to share in the Passover, and although we still do so only in a symbolic way, the symbolism already has more clarity than it possessed in former times because, under the law, the Passover was, if I may dare to say so, only a symbol of a symbol. Before long, however, when the Word drinks the new wine with us in the kingdom of his Father, we shall be keeping the Passover in a yet more perfect way, and with deeper understanding. He will then reveal to us and make clear what he has so far only partially disclosed. For this wine, so familiar to us now, is eternally new.
It is for us to learn what this drinking is, and for him to teach us. He has to communicate this knowledge to his disciples, because teaching is food, even for the teacher.
So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way, but according to the teaching of the Gospel; not in an imperfect way, but perfectly; not only for a time, but eternally. Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one; the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies. We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling; but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon his heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise. We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies. I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.
If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.
If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christs body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christs body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.