We begin with reports on the health care “reform.” On December 21, the Senate conducted the first of several procedural votes needed before a vote on the bill could take place on December 24. While Republicans were unanimously opposed, Democrats managed to muster the necessary 60 votes. Politics went into high gear when Democratic votes were only secured after granting special concessions–a procedure which was criticized as “corrupt” and “bribery.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote on December 21: “Change Nobody Believes In. A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve. And tidings of comfort and joy from Harry Reid too… Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world’s greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new ‘manager’s amendment’ that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what’s in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning… Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.
“The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that ‘reform’ has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.”
On December 24, the Senate adopted the new health care bill. As USA Today reported, “It was the first time since 1963 that the Senate met on the day before Christmas and the first time since 1895 that senators cast a roll call vote on this day… The bill would require most individuals to purchase health insurance and offer subsidies for those who cannot afford the coverage. It also makes companies with more than 50 employees subject to penalties if they do not provide health care and their workers require subsidies…
“The Senate vote now sends the legislation to a conference committee, where Democratic leaders will try to reconcile differences between House and Senate bills on such things as how to pay for health care; how to help low- and middle-income-earners pay for the insurance they will be required to buy; and what restrictions to place on insurance coverage for abortions. The committee cannot formally meet or take action until Jan. 19… Republicans are vowing to wage a public relations campaign to derail the legislation before the next round of votes…”
Turning our attention to the climate summit in Copenhagen, President Obama announced an “unprecedented breakthrough.” However, what was achieved was a non-binding “agreement” between just five nations. It has been described as a trick; and the Copenhagen summit was labeled as an “utter failure”; and the Obama Administration and China are being blamed for it. The summit has received so much negative coverage in the European press that it was coined “Flopenhagen.” While most news reports regret that no results were obtained, the German conservative paper, Die Welt, warns that our approach toward perceived man-made global warming might be totally off track.
We also tell you about continued bank failures in the USA–with no end of the recession in sight; the incredible appointment of President Obama’s “safe schools czar”; another example why our legal system does NOT work, reporting on the conviction of an innocent person; strained relations between the Vatican and Israel; and conclude with an article about ambitions of the Habsburg family to run for the Austrian presidency.