Archive for February, 2011

Forced budget cuts at the NHS lead to rationing

February 28, 2011 1 comment

It can’t happen here, right?

NHS managers are blocking hospital appointments for patients to save cash, a survey of family doctors has revealed, and at least one health trust proposes to stop sending obese people and smokers for routine hip and knee surgery because their unhealthy lifestyles lower the chance of the operations’ “success”.

With the health service asked to find an unprecedented £20bn efficiency savings over the next few years, many are resorting to moving procedures out of the NHS. In Kent hospital managers say abortions will now be provided by the charity Marie Stopes with hospitals only dealing with complicated cases. Last winter local GPs were asked to “stop referrals” for many procedures.


Health trusts are having to pare back costs in new ways. NHS North Yorkshire and York, the area’s primary care trust, is planning to stop patients who smoke, and those with a body mass index of more than 35, from having routine hip and knee operations.

The rules of economics apply to the English as well as to Americans.  When the government needs to rein in costs in a regulated healthcare market, the inevitable result is rationing.  Plain and simple.

3M chief rips ‘Robin Hood-esque’ POTUS

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Apparently, this is what “winning the future” is all about:

The head of one of the US’s biggest industrial groups has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama’s attempts to repair relations with companies, dubbing him “anti-business”.

Manufacturers could shift production out of the US to Canada or Mexico as a result, warned George Buckley, chief executive and chairman of 3M.

“I judge people by their feet, not their mouth,” he told the Financial Times. “We know what his instincts are – they are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business.” […]
There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.”

He added: “Politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada and Mexico – which tend to be pro-business – or America.”

The problem with Mr. Buckley and other businesses like 3M, is that they will never have the President’s ear when it comes to job creation.  That is reserved for those who contribute the most to the DNC’s political pot.

In the meantime, Americans will have to make do with companies sending jobs overseas, something Candidate Obama said he would put an end to, and finding less onerous and stifling markets from which to operate.  All of this as the Federal government continues to grow in size and scope, sucking up all of the oxygen in the room.

On collective bargaining and the public unions

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Collective bargaining is indeed a problem in the hands of public sector unions:

It enables unions rather than citizens to set the price of government. It is, thus, a direct assault on republican democracy, and it needs to be destroyed. Unlovely as they are, the Greek rioters and the snarling thugs of Madison are the logical end point of the advanced social democratic state: not an oppressed underclass, but a spoiled overclass, rioting in defense of its privileges and insisting on more subsidy, more benefits, more featherbedding, more government.

Big Unions fund Big Government. The union slices off two per cent of the workers’ pay and sluices it to the Democratic Party, which uses it to grow government, which also grows unions, which thereby grows the number of two-per-cent contributions, which thereby grows the Democratic Party, which thereby grows government… Repeat until bankruptcy. Or bailout.

[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]

“Gaddafi has hours left”

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

So says a Libyan diplomat:

The recently resigned Libyan representative to the Arab League, Abd Al-Mun’im al-Huni, said Saturday that “the regime in Libya is in its final hours”. Muammar Gaddafi no longer controls large parts of Tripoli, he added.  […]

In an interview published Saturday by London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily, al-Huni said Gaddafi is in dire straits and that he had sent calls of assistance to his tribesmen in the coastal city of Sirte. […]

The Libyan diplomat said protesters were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to get rid of the leader. “It’s only a matter of time,” he said. “Gaddafi has just hours left.”

Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, Libya’s closest European ally:

“It appears that, effectively, Gaddafi no longer controls the situation in Libya.”

Meanwhile, the United States has closed its embassy in Tripoli and the United Nations is meeting today.  Good luck with anything substantive coming from that.

UPDATE.   Tripoli is buckling:

Gaddafi’s security forces have abandoned parts of Tripoli, where protesters now openly defy the regime, Reuters reports.

The withdrawal of security forces from the working-class Tajoura district after five days of anti-government demonstrations leaves Gaddafi’s grip on power looking tenuous, says the news agency.

Chicago Law School professor/community organizer’s state department can’t figure out the Meditteranean tides

February 26, 2011 Leave a comment

The Chinese sent a naval frigate to rescue its citizens from Libya.  We sent an undersized ferry:

While U.S. citizens are finally getting out of Libya, many have rounded on the Obama administration for delays in the evacuation.

Speaking about the three day delay in the Dolores leaving Tripoli, Tony Munoz, Editor of shipping magazine The Maritime Executive, said: ‘I don’t understand why this vessel didn’t leave earlier – The Maria Dolores is a new vessel built for Mediterranean seas.

‘I can only imagine the captain was refusing to sail because he felt the vessel was not capable enough of taking the sea on.

Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Munoz said that there was no comparison between the 68 metre Dolores and the 204 metre Hellenic Spirit, used by the Greek government to evacuate its citizens from Benghazi.

‘The U.S. needed to charter a bigger boat like the Greeks’ he said.

‘The fully hulled Spirit will be more durable outside a port, this much bigger vessel could take the rough seas on.

‘There is no question about it, they [U.S.] should have been out of there long ago – why haven’t they chartered a bigger boat like the Greeks or Turkish.

‘At the very least, the government should have had a larger back up vessel on the way.’

Maybe the Smart Power team was trying to “grapple” with the idea of sending a larger vessel.  Regardless, this is amazing in its incompetence.

The good news is that the detonator failed to go off it appears that all Americans have made it out safely.

In solidarity against the mob

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The Wisconsin State Assembly voted on and passed Governor Walker’s budget bill early this morning.  This is what happened after the vote was tallied:

Democrats erupted after the vote, throwing papers and what appeared to be a drink in the air. They denounced the move to cut off debate, questioning for the second time in the night whether the proper procedure had been followed.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” Democrats shouted in the faces of Republicans as the GOP lawmakers quietly filed off the floor and a police officer stood between opposing lawmakers.

“Cowards all! You’re all cowards,” yelled Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) as another Democrat tried to calm him down.

Here’s the video:

This is how the Democrats and their union overlords  roll–intimidation, heated rhetoric, etc.  We’ve seen it play out all week long.  And they’ve taken it to the statehouse.

To the extent that the left now considers the Koch brothers the face of their opposition, they should be wary as the Kochs won’t be intimidated by the amateurish actions of the unions and their protesters.   No, the Kochs aren’t backing down:

“With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight,” says Richard Fink, the executive vice president of Koch Industries. “We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. […]

“This is part of an orchestrated campaign that has been going on for many months. It involves the Obama administration, the Center for American Progress, aligned left-wing groups, and their friends in the media.

Here’s the deal.  The union bosses are thugs, plain and simple.  But they can be simple-minded.  They’re used to getting their way and will throw a tantrum when they feel opposition.

Here in New Jersey, for example, the NJEA have had their way with Trenton for years until Governor Christie was elected.  They were used to demanding previous governors to jump and the governor would happily oblige.  When Governor Christie pushed back–and hard–the unions immediately started with the demonstrations, the in-your-face tactics, etc.–the typical nonsense.  They’re used to getting their way.  They’re spoiled.

So far Governor Walker is standing his ground and I would like to think that once the State Senate takes up the legislation, that Wisconsin’s Republicans stand firm.  It’s the only way  to reverse the unions’ ruinous cycle of fiscal destruction.

[Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin and Memeorandum]

Tripoli on the brink

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Protesters are swarming the last defenses of the capital:

Clashes have continued on the outskirts of Tripoli for a third consecutive day as Muammar Gaddafi’s loyalists attempt to shore up the capital from a rampant anti-government revolution.

Demonstrators at a large opposition rally in Libya’s second city, Benghazi, today received numerous phone calls from frantic relatives in Tripoli who relayed details of ongoing battles nearing the centre of the city.

There were unconfirmed reports today of a major airbase in Tripoli having fallen into opposition hands. If true, it would be a serious blow to the Libyan leader’s attempts to cling to power in the capital. In much of the rest of the country, the battle already appears lost.

Opposition activists have been striving to get their hands on military bases and ammunition, seeking to further weaken the regime of the veteran dictator […]

Meanwhile, Gaddafi loyalists are staging a pro-government rally.  Who knows what’s behind this?  An act of defiance, ignorance or just insanity:

In the party of Italian journalists invited to Libya by the authorities is a correspondent of the news agency Ansa. A short while ago he reported that an “imposing” pro-Gaddafi demonstration was under way:

“7-8,000 people have gathered in Green Square with photos of the Libyan leader and the green flags of the Jamahiriya. Ansa was able to verify this on the spot. The square is being watched over by a small number of police.”

Ominously, just a few minutes earlier, the agency filed a dispatch from Rome quoting an eyewitness in Tripoli as saying that Green Square was also the destination of an anti-Gaddafi protest.

With reports of the main airbase in Tripoli being overrun by anti-government protesters, at this point it appears to be a matter of not if but when the regime will fall.



Qaddafi offers $400 per family as rebels advance

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

An act of desperation to be sure:

As antigovernment forces and demonstrators draw nearer to Libya’s capital, Tripoli, Col. Muammar Qaddafi appears to be further losing his grip on power.

In an attempt to appease the masses – possibly inspired by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who promised his subject $36 billion in benefits to stave off any potential revolutionaries – Libya’s besieged leader on Friday pledged a 150 percent increase in some government workers’ wages and promised to give every family $400.

Libyan state television announced the wage increase and said each family would receive $400 to help them cope with the rising food prices. The broadcast aired shortly before Libyans went to mosques for Friday prayers. After prayers, antigovernment protesters are expected to continue demonstrating, reports MSNBC.

The dictator no longer has control of the eastern half of Libya, and from what I’ve seen, that’s the oil-rich half of the country.  No doubt Ghaddafi Qaddafi’s power is was derived from the oil proceeds there.  Offering cash to back off the capital is the last gasp of a deranged tyrant.

Tripoli in the shadow of death

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

A remarkable account from inside of Tripoli by Robert Fisk of the UK Independent:

There is little food in Tripoli, and over the city there fell a blanket of drab, sullen rain. It guttered onto an empty Green Square and down the Italianate streets of the old capital of Tripolitania. But there were no tanks, no armoured personnel carriers, no soldiers, not a fighter plane in the air; just a few police and elderly men and women walking the pavements – a numbed populace.  […]

Libyans and expatriates I spoke to yesterday said they thought he was clinically insane, but they expressed more anger at his son, Saif al-Islam. “We thought Saif was the new light, the ‘liberal'”, a Libyan businessman sad to me. “Now we realise he is crazier and more cruel than his father.”

The panic that has now taken hold in what is left of Gaddafi’s Libya was all too evident at the airport. In the crush of people fighting for tickets, one man, witnessed by an evacuated Tokyo car-dealer, was beaten so viciously on the head that “his face fell apart”. Talking to Libyans in Tripoli and expatriates at the airport, it is clear that neither tanks nor armour were used in the streets of Tripoli. Air attacks targeted Benghazi and other towns, but not the capital. Yet all spoke of a wave of looting and arson by Libyans who believed that with the fall of Benghazi, Gaddafi was finished and the country open to anarchy.

[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]

The word for this is “astroturfing”

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Democratic party operatives are planning protests, with the hopes of copying the energy and exuberance of the Tea Party movement that gained momentum during the summer of 2009, and the Obamacare town-hall debates:

Working with labor unions and liberal groups, they are using the Presidents Day congressional recess to organize a public backlash against billions of dollars in cuts to federal programs.

One labor organizer said that members have been urged to attend congressional town hall meetings to ask Republican lawmakers “pointed questions” about the cuts they supported last week.

“We are targeting various House Republicans in town hall meetings during the recess to let them know these budget cuts are beyond the pale,” said the labor source, who added that it has been difficult to mobilize supporters to public question-and-answer sessions with lawmakers because “they’ve been pretty circumspect in giving out information about the meetings.”

Justin Ruben, the executive director of, a progressive advocacy group, has also encouraged members to grill lawmakers at town hall meetings.

“Whenever we hear about a town hall meeting we encourage them to go and ask pointed questions about what is happening,” he said.

This is interesting.  Is the general public really supposed to know that radical front groups financed by wealthy, foreign individuals are behind these protests?  I thought that was a myth of the right-wing propaganda machine?

And I was under the assumption that political operations funded from “outside” sources was a detriment to the public discourse on the issues.

Once again, a story the political commentariat should be pointing out on their cable news shows, but won’t.

[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]

UPDATE. A warning, via Weasel Zippers:

Things are about to get ugly in America my friends. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what will happen when the leftists try to storm town halls packed with tea partiers.