Tag Archives: Barack Obama

2012 Presidential Election: Obama’s campaign rapidly losing focus amidst Obamnesia

26 Oct

Yesterday, I posted how Romney is surging as Obama is slipping, and how an electoral college victory is certainly extremely realistic.

Today’s poll results show the continued stunning change in momentum as Romney now actually leads Obama!

This astounding reversal from a month ago is why Romney recently called the Obama campaign the “incredibly shrinking campaign.”

Obama’s campaign is indeed shrinking because it has been saying nothing that is resonating with swing voters.

Misfiring campaign strategy: Romnesia?

Obama first tried spinning Romney as a candidate who can’t be trusted b/c Romney flip-flops positions, using the Twitter-friendly term “Romnesia.”

This tactic might appeal to the gullible. But Insightful people know that Obama himself has flip-flopped positions many times, inspiring the equally Twitter-friendly term “Obamnesia.”

The Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberly Strassel wrote a brilliant column highlighting just some of Obama’s double-talk:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program”—Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama, June 2003.

“I have not said that I was a single-payer supporter”—President Obama, August 2009.

***

“Leadership means that the buck stops here. . . . I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit”—Sen. Barack Obama, March 2006.

“It is not acceptable for us not to raise the debt ceiling and to allow the U.S. government to default”—President Obama, July 2011.

***

“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages”—Obama questionnaire response, 1996, while running for Illinois state Senate.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage”—Sen. Obama, November 2008, while running for president.

“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married”—President Obama, May 2012.

***

“We have an idea for the trigger. . . . Sequestration”—Obama Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew in 2011, as reported in Bob Woodward’s “The Price of Politics.”

“First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed”—President Obama, October 2012.

***

“If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election”—Sen. Obama, 2007.

“We’ve made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election”—Sen. Obama, June 2008.

***

“I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign”—Sen. Obama, June 2008.

“The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is . . . [he] added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. . . . That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic”—Sen. Obama, July 2008.

“I don’t remember what the number was precisely. . . . We don’t have to worry about it short term”—President Obama, September 2012, on the debt figure when he took office ($10 trillion) and whether to worry about today’s $16 trillion figure.

***

“[Sen. Hillary Clinton believes] that . . . if the government does not force taxpayers to buy health care, that we will penalize them in some fashion. I disagree with that”—Sen. Obama, Jan 2008, opposing the individual mandate for health insurance.

“I’m open to a system where every American bears responsibility for owning health insurance”—President Obama, June 2009, supporting the individual mandate.

***

“Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive”—President Obama, April 2009, in France.

“We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms”—President Obama, April 2009, in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing”—Barack Obama, October 2012, on whether he went on a global apology tour.

***

“The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel”—Sen. Obama, September 2008.

“Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years”—President Obama, January 2010.

***

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them”—Sen. Obama, January 2008, on his plans to financially penalize coal plants.

“Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution”—Sen. Obama, August 2008.

“Here’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment”—President Obama, October 2012.

***

“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition”—President Obama, 2009.

“We’ve got a long way to go but . . . we’ve come too far to turn back now. . . . And that’s why I’m running for a second term”—President Obama, October 2012.

Obamnesia about Iraq and transparency

Lew Rockwell adds that Obama also made a “promise” that the FIRST thing he would do as President would be to pull our troops out of Iraq, and that “you can take that to the bank.”

Rockwell also noted that Obama promised that transparency would be the “touchstone” of his presidency. The President had Obamnesia on that one too.

That video didn’t even address the closed-door backroom railroading of his famous Obamacare, the dealings for which Obama promised would be shown on C-SPAN but never were.

Obamnesia about his “apology tour”

Obama claimed in the third presidential debate that his so-called “apology tour” is “the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign.”

Obama may not have used the word “sorry” but there’s no denying that Obama went from nation to nation admitting that America was wrong in various ways.

 

The bottom line

Let’s use Obama’s theme of trust against him, just from the few points raised in this post:

  • Obama cannot be trusted to handle the economy.
  • Obama cannot be trusted to be transparent.
  • Obama cannot be trusted on his own promises.

The momentum is shifting for good reason: Obama cannot be trusted. He had his chance and he failed—spectacularly.

No wonder people are swinging in droves to Romney the past few days.

Mitt Romney on cusp of winning the 2012 Presidential Election

25 Oct

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in a dead heat. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal reported in the first paragraph:

Mitt Romney has strengthened his image as the candidate best able to boost the economy and has fought President Barack Obama to a near-draw on who can best serve as commander in chief, helping turn the 2012 election into a tie among likely voters.

Both candidates hold 47% support from likely voters—where Obama once led Romney by 5 points a month ago, when the election was once touted as another easy win for the incumbent President.

Now, though, the race is deadlocked. As the Wall Street Journal notes:

Mr. Romney is close to erasing the president’s once-large advantage in perceived leadership on foreign policy. Closing that gap would moot the issue for many voters and put the spotlight squarely on economic issues or other concerns. The race now has all the makings of one of the closest in U.S. history.

The Journal also noted one of the biggest reasons for his freefall:

The danger for the president: His support has fallen to 36% of likely white voters in the new poll, a level seen as perilous by political operatives on both sides. Exit polls in 2008 showed he won around 43% of the white vote, which accounts for over 70% of the overall electorate.

In fact, the latest AP poll, which is even more recent than the Journal‘s poll, shows Romney with the lead, 47%, to Obama’s 45%!

However, both the Journal and the AP predict that despite Romney’s surging growth in the popular vote, Romney’s challenge lies in winning the electoral vote. And that is the focus of today’s Insightful post.

Those of us Insightful people know that such commentary is not to be accepted merely at face value. Let’s dig a little deeper at that perception of a tough electoral win for Romney.

What do the Electoral Maps currently say?

Here are five of the most well-known electoral college maps as of this writing:

Not surprisingly, the liberal outlets are projecting the biggest Obama leads here.

What do the Electoral Maps really show?

To gain context, we need to look back to the 2008 presidential election between Obama and McCain.

Now let’s analyze the states with the closest margins of victory (<10%) for Obama in 2008:

  • North Carolina (15 electoral votes), 0.33%
  • Indiana (11 electoral votes), 1.0%
  • Florida (27 electoral votes), 2.8%
  • Ohio (20 electoral votes), 4.6%
  • Virginia (13 electoral votes), 6.3%
  • Colorado (9 electoral votes), 9.0%
  • Iowa (7 electoral votes), 9.5%
  • New Hampshire (4 electoral votes), 9.6%

In 2012:

  • North Carolina is leaning Romney (according to two electoral maps, toss-ups in the other three maps)
  • Indiana is strongly leaning Romney (all five electoral maps have Indiana for Romney)
  • Florida is a toss-up in all five electoral maps
  • Ohio is a toss-up in all five electoral maps
  • Virginia is a toss-up in all five electoral maps
  • Colorado is a toss-up in all five electoral maps
  • Iowa is a toss-up in all five electoral maps
  • New Hampshire is a toss-up in all five electoral maps

Thus, Romney looks to have picked up two states (and 26 electoral votes) that went for Obama in 2008.

Now let’s look at the states with the closest margins of victory (<10%) for McCain in 2008:

  • Missouri (10 electoral votes), 0.13%
  • Montana (3 electoral votes), 2.3%
  • Georgia (16 electoral votes), 5.2%
  • Arizona (11 electoral votes), 8.5%
  • South Dakota (3 electoral votes), 8.4%
  • North Dakota (3 electoral votes), 8.6%
  • South Carolina (9 electoral votes), 9.0%

In 2012, all seven of these states are going to Romney.

What we know so far, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence, is that everyone who voted Republican in 2008 is sticking Republican in 2012—but two states that voted Democratic in 2008 have now seen Obama’s failures and are changing to Republican in 2012.

That is, in recent weeks, Romney hasn’t lost any ground, but Obama has. Romney has flipped two states to his side.

The impact of the debates

Could the debates have an impact on the presidential race in these swing states? In other words, with all three presidential debates and the lone vice-presidential debate in the books, how would one summarize the entire package of 2012 debates?

For me, it’s this: Romney looked like the Commander-in-Chief; Obama looked like the challenger.

In the first debate, Obama was despondent, disconnected and rambling. Romney looked confident, assertive and authoritative. If you were dropped in from a time machine and had no idea who these two candidates were, you almost certainly would have guessed that Romney was the incumbent President and Obama was a neophyte challenger.

In the vice-presidential debate, Vice-President Joe Biden rolled his eyes, snorted and guffawed inappropriately, and used the Twitter-friendly-but-not-vice-presidential line “That is a bunch of malarkey.” In contrast, Paul Ryan came across as significantly more professional. The liberal media excused Biden’s behavior as “just Joe being Joe”. However, in a nationally televised debate, Joe is not supposed to be Joe the Buffoon—he’s supposed to be the Vice-President.

In the second debate, Obama was fiery, argumentative and confrontational. Romney counterpunched but generally was not as snide as Obama was (“Not true,” “Get the transcript”, “My pension isn’t as big as yours”, etc.). Again, if you were dropped in from a time machine and had no idea who these candidates were, you probably would have guessed that Romney was the Commander-in-Chief and Obama looked like a playground bully.

In the third debate, Obama was attacking, angry and accusatory. Romney was professional, calm and firm. Again, the contrast was very clear: Romney projected himself like a cool Commander-in-Chief while Obama projected himself as the angry, hostile and volatile challenger.

Newt Gingrich noticed the same thing.

So these debates should have an impact. If you’ve read any books on public speaking with a political focus, you already know the tremendous importance of visual appearance as being much more important than the auditory (i.e., the substance of their comments). While pundits tried to spin who won and who lost each debate and the various fact-checkers and Truth Squads parsed claims, if you had muted the TV as Gingrich suggested when watching the debates, you would have clearly seen who looked authoritative and who looked like the sneering challenger.

A little-known fact about the remaining swing states

Aside from Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Virginia and New Hampshire, there are four more swing states. Why haven’t I mentioned them yet?

Because they had given Obama double-digit percentage victories back in 2008.

You see, in 2008, Obama comfortably won the following states by the following percentages over McCain:

  • Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), 10.4%
  • Nevada (6 electoral votes), 12.5%
  • Wisconsin (10 electoral votes), 13.9%
  • Michigan (16 electoral votes), 16.5%

Now, those states are all considered toss-ups (although the more liberal CNN and NY Times electoral maps have Michigan and Pennsylvania leaning Obama).

Just to emphasize: this is no small feat.

Romney has the realistic opportunity to flip 2-4 states that had previously been easy wins for Obama!

Clearly, voters are recognizing Obama’s record-breaking economic ineptitude and inability to foster the bipartisan politics he had promised. Moreover, swing voters are starting to also see that Romney is not just an “anybody but Obama” candidate but a legitimate contender who brings genuine leadership, business acumen and actual bi-partisan accomplishment as a governor.

Heck, even in Obama’s home town of Chicago, a mutual fund investor even said that he voted for Obama in 2008 but if he saw Obama today, he not only wouldn’t vote for him, he would actually punch him in the face!

Wow. Talk about Obama’s incompetence stirring up the emotions of independent voters in 2012!

The bottom line

Anybody can offer an opinion. But the above facts show very objectively that Romney has a very real chance of unseating Obama. Romney will need to focus on the biggest swing states, which are, in order:

  • Florida (27 electoral votes)
  • Ohio (20 electoral votes)
  • Virginia (13 electoral votes)
  • Wisconsin (10 electoral votes)
  • Iowa (7 electoral votes)
  • Nevada (6 electoral votes)

And given the number of electoral votes at stake, Romney also should fight hard for the following two states, regardless of what CNN and the NY Times say:

  • Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes)
  • Michigan (16 electoral votes)

Here’s more incredible bad news for Obama: Romney has erased his once-untouchable 16-point lead among female voters!

Yes, Romney is on the cusp of winning the election—something that was previously thought to be impossible as recently as just a month ago. Romney supporters should be highly encouraged!

Not only that but they should also determine how they can help do their part to aggressively do grass-roots campaigning in those key swing states. For example, some Democrats in the Chicago area are planning to bus down to Iowa to campaign for Obama; hopefully, an army of Republicans will be willing to do the same for Romney.

If grassroots campaign traveling is not possible, how about blogging, tweeting or other activities that can generate positive buzz for Romney in these last two weeks? Think of ways in which you can help.

Victory is too close to sit back and let it slip through our fingers. Go out and do something for Romney!

Second 2012 Presidential Debate Fact Check: The truth about Obama’s ‘act of terror’ Libya comment

17 Oct

Plenty of punches were figuratively thrown by both sides in the town hall-style second presidential debate. The one that has gotten plenty of press in particular was the dispute about Libya and who was correct.

In case you missed it, Romney accused Obama of not knowing for 14 days whether the attack in Benghazi (where four Americans were killed) was due to a terrorist attack or retaliation for an American-made video mocking the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and that Obama even went fundraising twice during those 14 days. Obama attempted revisionist history in saying he knew from the beginning that it was a terrorist attack.

In the debate recap on ABC’s Nightline show, Terry Moran showed a clip where Crowley confirmed Obama’s assertion, leaving the impression that Romney had egg on his face.

And some bloggers were all too happy to tout Obama’s seeming victory on the issue.

For example, Lisa Taylor at examiner.com wrote:

The piece of tonight’s debate that caught my attention the most was the moment President Obama chastised Romney on his statement about campaigning during the Libyan crisis, and rightly so. Romney had been misbehaving like an ill-mannered child all evening. But to imply that the President didn’t care, rather went on the campaign trail and ignored the Libya situation was quite a mistake.

If you didn’t actually watch the debate, you would simply conclude that must be true.

But here at Minor Insights, we Insightful people know that there is more than meets the eye if you want more, ahem, Insightful analysis.

Ready?

What they actually said

Here is the transcript of the exchange from the debate:

CROWLEY: Because we’re — we’re closing in, I want to still get a lot of people in. I want to ask you something, Mr. President, and then have the governor just quickly.

Your secretary of state, as I’m sure you know, has said that she takes full responsibility for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Does the buck stop with your secretary of state as far as what went on here?

OBAMA: Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I’m the president and I’m always responsible, and that’s why nobody’s more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I do.

The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime.

And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.

And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president, that’s not what I do as Commander in Chief.

CROWLEY: Governor, if you want to…

ROMNEY: Yes, I — I…

CROWLEY: … quickly to this please.

ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That’s what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.

It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?

OBAMA: Please proceed, governor.

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror…

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did, as well, take — it did, as well, take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.

CROWLEY: It did.

Now that we have the full context of this exchange, let’s take a look at the various issues surrounding this Libya moment in the debate.

Issue #1: with whom did moderator Crowley side with?

Many media reports did not report Crowley agreeing with Romney. As I mentioned earlier, Nightline did not show that part of the clip. So some media reports made it appear that the moderator only backed up Obama.

But as you saw in the transcript, Crowley agreed with Obama (in using the phrase “act of terror”) and with Romney (in the Obama administration not knowing whether the attack was in reaction to a video for 14 days).

Perhaps Romney would have come across stronger if he also asked Crowley to “say that a little louder” after Crowley agreed with him.

So, technically, Crowley sided with both Romney and Obama. But Crowley later admitted that, semantics aside about whether Obama used the words “act of terror”, when it comes to the issue itself, she agrees with Romney.

Winner: Romney.

Lesson learned: don’t let the media spoon-feed you their conclusions b/c most media will intentionally slant their reports with a bias. Check for yourself.

Issue #2: did Obama really say “act of terror” in his Sep 12th speech?

For the answer to that, we would need to “get the transcript,” as the President advised.

OK, President, here is that transcript:

Good Morning. Everyday all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interest and values of our nation.

Often, they are away from their families, sometimes in great, great danger.

Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. Among those killed was our Ambassador Chris Stevens, as well as his Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.

We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed and today the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.

The United States condemns, in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world.

And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.

We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.

The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts. Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.

Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’ body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi.

With characteristic skill, courage and resolve he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya.

When the Gadhafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy. And I think both Secretary Clinton and I have relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there.

He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.

Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. And today the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on.

I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who loved them back home.

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourn with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.

Today we mourn for more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.

But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.

We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory and let us continue their work in seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children. Thank you. May God bless the memory of those we lost, and may God bless the United States of America.

So did Obama say “act of terror”? Yes. In paragraph #18 of the 21 paragraphs he read.

Winner: Obama, on a technical point. But there’s more to this story. Read on.

Issue #3: did Obama believe the attack was terrorist or retaliation to a video?

If you read the transcript, you saw that Obama believed the attack was in retaliation to an American-made video insulting Muhammad.

In paragraph #7, he said:

We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.

Obama clearly linked “this type of senseless violence” with “denigrating the religious beliefs of others.”

So, yes, later in his speech, “this type of senseless violence” was referred to as an “act of terror.” But Obama did not believe this “act of terror” was a terrorist attack. This fact was borne out over the ensuing days when the Obama administration continued to insist the attack was a “spontaneous protest” in order to give American citizens the false impression that al-Qaeda is not still a threat. In fact, townhall.com has a handy timeline of the Libya debacle.

Winner: Romney.

Bottom line

Obama seemed to convince un-Insightful people that he won the point on Libya because Crowley confirmed that Obama technically did use the phrase “act of terror”. But only Insightful people do fact-checking to realize the larger point that Obama did not know—or did not want to admit to the public—that it was a planned, premeditated terrorist attack.

Obama demonstrated passion and fire as he defended himself against Romney’s Libya charge. But passion and fire to cover up lies and administrative bungling is just putting lipstick on a pig.

By the way, the person who asked the question that sparked this whole firestorm in the first place said afterward, “I really didn’t think [Obama] totally answered the question satisfactorily as far as I was concerned.”

4 reasons why the health care system will always fail you

20 Dec

VioxxMy mom is fine now.

Ten years earlier, she was not.

She suffered through multiple strokes. And while she somehow survived them, her doctors assigned as many as four simultaneous prescriptions for her. Despite the drugs, her health continued to struggle. Aside from the usual health indicators struggling to stay within the normal range, she also became physically bloated and exhibited several new, bizarre symptoms.

By accident, my stepdad stumbled upon a Minor Insight: when she didn’t take the drugs, she got better.

Her odd symptoms went away and her health returned to a normal range and has remained stable.

But how can that be? Aren’t the drugs supposed to make her better?

Ah. That’s what we’ve all been conditioned to believe. And just like the myth of orange juice, the belief that drugs are always the magic bullet to our health problems is also a myth that we’ve been conditioned to believe.

The health care system WILL fail you

The problem isn’t just drugs. The problem is the entire health care system, which includes drug companies, doctors and the government, is designed to make you sicker, not healthier. And ironically, the problem has little to do with insurance companies!

Think back to 2008. One of the biggest stumps in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign then was reforming the health care system.

Known perjoratively as  “Universal Health Care”, Obama’s first priority in reforming the system was requiring that every American have health care coverage. He routinely would parade uninsured citizens at his campaign rallies and narrate their “woe-is-she” stories about how they couldn’t afford to buy the drugs they need. Problem is, Obama’s plan was D.O.A.  I will explain why in a moment, and it has nothing to do with whether or not I personally like Obama. [As a matter of fact, McCain’s plan, while better than Obama’s, was also D.O.A.]

Americans may have insurance now, but they’re not healthier. Rates for Type 2 diabetes and other diseases continue to surge. That’s because, as I stated before, the problem has little to do with health insurance.

The current U.S. health care system is destined to fail you…unless you understand four critical concepts.

[Disclaimer: this discussion is not about health care issues like accidents that require surgery; it’s strictly about health care issues that involve prescription drugs.]

1. Your health is primarily determined by what you eat. And what you eat has nothing to do with what kind of health insurance you have.

Obesity map 1985

Obesity Map Over Time

Obesity Map Over Time

Poor diet is the biggest cause of our nation’s health problems. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes are raging through Americans at increasing rates, coinciding with the nation’s growing obesity rates.

On the left is a map of obesity rates in 1985 and a map in 2010. These two images don’t do the rise in obesity justice. Check out the animated map on the CDC site that dramatically shows this stunning rise of obesity. In 1985, states were primarily white and light blue rates of obesity; in 2010, there is not a single state has even a dark blue rate of obesity! By 1997, an entire new color shade had to be created (the beige). And by 2005, the latest new color shade (deep red) was created.

Many health problems stem from our poor diet. Improve your diet and you will improve your health, making the need for “universal health care” unnecessary regardless of your political affiliation.

So what’s wrong with our diet?

The problem is not in the amount of calories we eat or even the calories we burn, as Gary Taubes explains in his groundbreaking book Why We Get Fat.

Rather, it lies in our unwitting obsession with carbs, particularly refined carbs. Bread, (white) rice, potatoes, and sugar are the biggest culprits. These “Fatal Four” are practically everywhere in our supermarkets, and consequently, our kitchens. Think bagels, baked potatoes, sandwiches, french fries, PB&J, cupcakes, doughnuts, soft drinks, and much more.

Further, contrary to what we’ve been led to believe for decades, dietary fat and cholesterol has little impact on our blood cholesterol. Rather, animal meat & fat is actually beneficial to our health profile. I know it sounds impossible, considering what we’ve been taught for so long (and are still being taught) about the evils of saturated fat and cholesterol in food, but Taubes clarifies this in great detail in his book. It’s beyond the scope of this post, so I encourage you to read the book if you are skeptical.

I had my blood tests taken recently having followed a low-carb, high-protein, high-fat diet for over six months, and my health profile in all categories has improved. So has Taubes’ health profile, which he posted publicly.

2. Drug companies are in the business of making money, not improving health.

If drug companies cured all our diseases, they would go out of business.

Drug companies actually want the opposite: they want more patients using their drugs, not less.

According to the book What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You And Your Doctor Doesn’t Know by Michael Murray, as more people suffer from high cholesterol, drug companies convince the government to lower the level of what is considered “high cholesterol”. In turn, this creates millions of new customers overnight. The number of people identified with “high cholesterol” has increased from 13 million to nearly 100 million today.

How are drug companies influencing the cholesterol guidelines? Eight of the nine experts who wrote the latest cholesterol guidelines for the U.S. National Institutes of Health also serve as speakers, consultants or researchers for the world’s largest drug companies.

This is not the only area where drug companies have inappropriate but significant influence within the government. More than half of the experts hired to advise the FDA on the safety and effectiveness of drugs have financial relationships with drug companies that will be helped or hurt by their decisions.

You would think that it should be illegal for the FDA to use experts with such financial conflicts of interest…and it is. But apparently, that can be waived because the FDA waived this rule 800 times in a 15-month period from January 1998 to June 2000. What’s more, in an analysis of all advisory panel meetings from 2001 to 2004, at least one member had a financial link to the drug’s maker or a competitor in 73% of the meetings.

There’s more. Drug companies fund research as a marketing tool. Randomized, controlled clinical trials are supposed to prove a drug’s effectiveness and safety. But what doctors (and us patients) don’t realize is that many studies are not done by impartial research organizations. Rather, the drug companies were the ones who hired for-profit research organizations, whose research must benefit the drug manufacturers because they’re paying for it. Want numbers? Research sponsored by drug companies was about 33% of all clinical research in 1980 but reached about 90% of all clinical research by 2007.

Lastly, drug companies control medical education. Most physicians have very little formal education in pharmacology, the study of drug actions and interactions. So most of their pharmacology understanding comes from drug company sales reps. Drug companies also sponsor educational programs for physicians. And yes, doctors are also often bribed by drug companies. And according to former editors of three major medical journals (the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the British Medical Journal), some journals are just an extension of the marketing departments of major drug companies. Not surprising since drug companies also sponsor medical journals. Even worse, 95% of medical studies in the most prestigious journals contain false or misleading statistics, and 91% of studies are ghostwritten.

Yes, drug companies are in the business of selling drugs…as much as legally (or sometimes even illegally) possible. So when doctors prescribe you a drug, ask your doctor some questions.

3. Drugs suppress symptoms of disease; they don’t cure disease.

As a Christian parent,  I know that there’s a difference between getting to the heart of a child’s bad behavior versus merely stopping the bad behavior. You can tell a misbehaving child to “stop doing that” and the child may indeed stop, but that doesn’t mean that the child won’t do it again at the next opportunity. It’s analogous to uprooting a weed rather than merely snipping it off.

We don’t think of drugs that way, but they operate as weed-snippers, not weed-uprooters. Because we are most familiar with antibiotics, which do try to uproot the bacterial weeds, we stereotype all drugs as weed-uprooters when they are not.

Most prescription drugs (and many OTC drugs) simply mask symptoms. And because the symptoms are gone, we think we’re cured. For example, cholesterol drugs artificially lower blood cholesterol levels. But the underlying cause of a person’s high cholesterol still hasn’t been addressed. So a person with high cholesterol is prescribed a drug, then gets their blood checked and sees that their cholesterol level went down. That person thinks s/he is doing well, when in fact that body’s time bomb is still ticking.

To add insult to injury, many drugs also add side effects. In many causes, the side effects are significant. And the more drugs a person takes simultaneously, the more serious and unknown the side effects can be.

God has designed the human body with an absolutely astounding capacity to heal itself. Double-blind studies involving placebos have shown that, on average, 32% of patients respond to a placebo. That is, the patients think they’re getting medicine when in fact they’re getting no medicine at all, but their bodies improve anyway.

Drugs have the powerful capacity to alter the body’s systems in unknown ways. While the media jumped on the tidbit that Apple founder Steve Jobs died after wanting to be healed naturally instead of through conventional medicine, the fact is that many times, it’s better to heal the body naturally than with drugs.

Let me be clear: I’m NOT saying that drugs should be avoided at all costs, nor that all medicines are useless. What I am saying is that Americans think prescription drugs are magic bullets when in fact they are not.

My mom can attest to that.

4. Doctors do not practice preventative medicine and have a bias against alternative medicine.

Most physicians have very little formal education in nutrition and its value as preventative medicine,  which explains why they don’t understand the myth of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Nor do many physicians understand alternative or natural medicine and therapies, including the importance of supplements for vitamin D, omega-3, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, etc.

Doctors are taught in school that alternative medicine is foolish. And if they aren’t taught the benefits of anything contrary to what they know, they will typically be skeptical of it.

Conversely, naturopathic physicians are not taken seriously. Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, for example, has been ridiculed in the press for touting the benefits of vitamin D for issues ranging from swine flu to autism, even though research continues to trickle in on the vitamin D’s major benefits.

The bottom line

The health care system today is in critical condition. The system is set up merely to manage disease, not to promote true health care. Be more aware when you visit your doctor and are prescribed drugs.

Take it from my mom.