Saturday, February 17, 2018

Misdirected Efforts?

Having a hard time finding the time to blog these days. Busy is often good, so I am not complaining. But I cannot resist sharing insights of others from time to time, like the following quotes and cartoons, mostly from my favorite news source, The Patriot Post.
At the same time, I can't resist a bit of editorial, in case you wonder as you read the quotes below, "why is abortion a topic in this discussion?" Abortion is one of the many cultural markers of the political left (along with others like turning marriage from a solemn commitment and nurturer of children into a whatever-makes-me-happy arrangement, the objectification of women, the prevalence of violent video games with names like Cop Killer or in which the object is to shoot kindergarten children, the coddling of lazy takers and punishment of diligent workers, the subsidizing of illegitimacy, and so many more misnamed "progressive" trends) which have, as C. Adams says below, fundamentally altered America from the former, better days when "right and wrong was more starkly defined, where expectations about behavior were clear, and wickedness hadn’t been normalized." The dominant voices in this liberal culture have normalized all manner of wickedness, emphatically teaching that there are no absolutes, there are no lines in the sand, there is no edge to go over. When the predominant culture raising our children preaches loudly, "if it feels good, do it, your feelings matter above all else, by all means draw attention to yourself, undesirable consequences of your pleasure can be eliminated, and whatever you can get away with is perfectly OK"...why are we surprised when an occasional young person goes over the edge?
“To me an obvious thing is for schools to have armed and trained security guards. It is not unusual to see armed security guards at banks because we don’t want someone taking our money. Aren’t our children more valuable? Instead, we ‘protect’ them with ‘Gun-Free Zone’ signs. It makes absolutely no sense for our children’s safety to depend entirely on whether or not a maniac wakes up in the morning and decides to kill children in a ‘gun free zone.’ Guess what? Once the killer steps onto the campus of that school, it is no longer a ‘gun-free zone,’ and the only armed individual is the criminal. Why is this so controversial to the Left? Sadly, it is easier for a murderer to walk into a school with a gun than it is for a student to walk in with a Bible and attempt to give it away. The default position of progressives is to attack the Second Amendment and the availability of guns. Yet the percentage of households with guns has been declining for decades. Fewer Americans hunt today than did several decades ago. In fact, many schools used to have gun clubs on campus. Yet school shootings were rare. Logic suggests that something else explains this shocking trend.” Gary Bauer

Why would leftists object to armed guards? Because it looks scary? It makes the children feel bad? It suggests that the school is a dangerous place? Probably. In other words, liberals insist that the children believe in the utopia that liberals are creating. God forbid that the children realize that our new culture of death has dangerous consequences even to them! That you can't redefine what is good, right, and wholesome, and not change the nature of our society into something genuinely more frightful. As Winston Churchill said, "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." The results of liberals' values-free utopia are ugly. Curt
“Thirty years ago, kids who brought their rifles to the high school shooting range didn’t wonder about evil and cultural decay. They simply lived in a time in America when right and wrong was more starkly defined, where expectations about behavior were clear, and wickedness hadn’t been normalized.” —J. Christian Adams
“Abortionists kill more kids each year than mass shooters, but let’s talk about the latter and not the former.” —Erick Erickson     
Since there are over a million abortions per year in the US alone, and well under 10,000 murders with guns, Erickson grossly understates the point! Actually, abortionists kill over 100 times more kids each year than all firearm murders of all kinds combined...but lets talk about gun control instead of the damage (hardening our culture while killing innocent babies) caused by abortions. Curt

“Liberal arguments on guns: ‘Outlawing them is dangerous.’ ‘No one likes them, but people should have access to them.’ ‘If you don’t like them, don’t get one.’ ‘Your body, your choice.” Oh, wait. My bad. That’s just on abortion. You know, the thing that’s ALWAYS intended for murder.“ —Allie Stuckey
"I believe the shootings of random, happy people doing normal, quotidian things are a symptom of the spiritual emptiness and loneliness that afflicts a subset of our people — a byproduct of family dissolution and fraying communities. It won’t be solved by any gun measure." Mona Cheren

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Cartoons: Mike Lester for February 16, 2018

Monday, August 21, 2017

Whitewash all references to slavery! or not?

Quotable from Gary Bauer...Irony Abounds:
"The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement demanding that “every street, every school, every flag, and every public memorial honoring those who took up arms in defense of white supremacy and slavery” be removed or have its name changed.

"That’s an interesting position for CAIR to take since it would require that every mosque in America be shut down. Mosques are dedicated to the teachings of Muhammad and Muhammad owned slaves. He took opponents as slaves after they were defeated on the battlefield.

"Also joining the fray is Planned Parenthood, which tweeted, “#StandWithCharlottesville against racism & hate in your community.” This is coming from an organization founded by Margaret Sanger, who was a disgusting eugenicist. Her purpose in founding Planned Parenthood was to weed out “less desirable” populations."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Liberty & Health Care

Let me break it down for you. We are all born with nothing. Our parents, responsible for having brought us into the world, provide for our basic needs until we are capable of providing for our own. We then become free to receive from life in proportion to what we contribute to the lives of others. If we contribute little, we receive little. If we contribute much, we receive much. If we contribute wisely, we receive more than if we contribute haphazardly. We are free to choose how much we receive by choosing how much to contribute.

Our contribution, of course, is what we sometimes call "work" or "service" or our "job." What we receive is compensation in the form of money, a resource which we are free to use to enhance our own life as we choose: food, clothing, shelter, health care, iphones, xbox, beer, etc.

I have no right to take anyone else' resources if I do not contribute something to them.
Are there humans who cannot contribute to the lives of others? Of course. And men and women of goodwill have funded hospitals, schools, etc., since the founding of our nation, and before, voluntarily and charitably, to provide for the truly needy. That is good and right. Is the average protestor, Millennial, snowflake, Democrat voter or college student in the category of humans who cannot contribute to the lives of others? No. Are they incapable? No. So why would they be entitled to demand resources from everyone else? Until they have done what they can to provide for their own needs, why should anyone sympathize?

Enough of Reality 101 for today. Following is a good summary of the current health care debate problem in the US Senate, from the Patriot Post. The Republicans can't articulate the basic facts of life, and are left twisting in the wind. No one seems to be able to raise the issue of liberty and the corresponding responsibility that comes with it. Are a majority of voters that irresponsible? Are we such suckers that we let the irresponsible lay claim to the resources of the responsible?

We don't need to replace ObamaCare. Repeal it! We need some insurance and tax reform, like allowing purchasing across state lines, tort reform, tax deductibility for all rather than just employer-sponsored plans, freedom to buy policies that cover things applicable to me but not cover things I'll never need, freedom to have high deductibles...freedom of choice.

With freedom comes responsibility, and if I don't use some of my resources to pay for insurance and then I have a catastrophic health need, it should bankrupt me...not the government, not some insurance company, not all of my friends or my community.

Just a few of my thoughts today.

Republican Gridlock Over Repealing ObamaCare

Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress and a Republican sits in the White House. Yet there is still delay and gridlock in the attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Part of the problem is that, once again, Republicans are far too easily manipulated by Democrats’ class warfare mantra of “benefit cuts for the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich.” Democrats and their Leftmedia colluders continuously conflate welfare with rights, and Republicans are seemingly unable to expose the inherent fallacy of that argument. Even more frustrating is that Democrats aren’t doing anything new, and still Republicans can’t seem to get past it.
Liberty, the foundational principle upon which this nation was founded, recognizes innate, God-given human rights. Rights as opposed to welfare. Liberty both offers and requires the individual to make choices — the consequences of which, whether good or bad, the individual is responsible for. Welfare seeks to protect individuals from the consequences of their poor and foolish choices. Essentially, welfare demands that the responsible pay for the irresponsible, which robs both individuals of their right of Liberty.
Democrats created the concept of welfare equaling “rights” by conditioning people to believe that they are helpless to help themselves and therefore the government must provide welfare programs as a means of protecting human “rights.” Nothing could be further from the truth. And yet it seems no Republican since Ronald Reagan has been able to effectively expose and combat this leftist myth with the positive message of Liberty lifting all boats.
Now Republicans in the Senate are waffling again over the fallacy of health care being a “right.” One would have to be blind not to see that ObamaCare is collapsing and untenable. It is costing taxpayers trillions all while increasing health care costs for families. Democrats scream about how Republicans “will kill people” if they repeal the “Affordable” Care Act. Republicans need to respond with the fact that ObamaCare is the government stealing money and Liberty from the American people. Republicans need work toward restoring the Liberty Barack Obama and his Democrats stole. This is what the GOP message should be; this is what their mission should be about — not acquiescence to Democrats’ leftist conflation of government-provided welfare being a human right. Republicans need to stop being scared of their own shadows, and do the right thing.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Everyone did that which was right in their own eyes...

It is impossible to have a civilized society without a clear expectation of what is right and wrong in that society. Laws memorialize what the society believes is right and wrong. Laws must be written so that people can reasonably understand whether they are violating them. We cannot have interaction, particularly interaction between people elected or appointed with governing authority, without these clear expectations. Of all people with power, it would seem that judges are in the position most prone to violate this principle, and Neil Gorsuch made this point well in his Senate hearings:

“If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk. And those who came to court would live in fear, never sure exactly what governs them except the judges' will."

Erick Erickson, with whom I do not always or entirely agree, also makes some good points in his column below.  
"Our great national experiment in democracy continues to crumble, eroded by the supposed good intentions of too many bad actors."
No civilization can abide lawlessness and remain civilized.

A Nation of Men, Not Laws

James Comey, Donald Trump and Reality Winner all did what they thought was right, not what the law required.
Erick EricksonJames Comey testified this past week before the Senate. There are things the media will downplay that should not be downplayed. The media agenda, however, is to cast as much doubt on the president as possible. They do this not just because of a liberal bias, but because discord and doubt are a ratings bonanza.
Comey testified that the president did ask him to stop the investigation into Mike Flynn, but Comey refused. He also said the president was not under investigation. The president grew angry when Comey refused to say this publicly.
This does not appear to be an issue of obstruction of justice. Justice was not obstructed. But the president should not have done it and it is a self-inflicted wound. There are, however, larger points the media will choose to ignore.
Mr. Comey testified that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to minimize his statements on the Clinton investigation. The former Attorney General asked Comey to call it a “matter” instead of an “investigation.” Comey also testified that Lynch meeting with President Clinton was the catalyst to stop his pursuit of Hillary Clinton. If the fix was in, why bother.
Contrast that testimony to Mr. Comey admitting he leaked his own memo about President Trump asking him to suspend the Flynn investigation. He said he leaked it because he wanted a special prosecutor. Why was Comey willing to leak that, but not the Lynch matter? The most obvious answer is that Comey thought the one a bigger deal than the other. But then James Comey refused to stop the Flynn investigation and he did actually stop the Clinton investigation. That should trouble everyone who is troubled by President Trump’s actions.
James Comey should not have stopped the Clinton investigation because of Loretta Lynch’s conduct, just as he should have not stopped the Flynn investigation. That he did so suggests Comey was willing to do what he thought was proper and not what the law demanded. It also suggests a latent partisanship on Comey’s behalf. Surely now it appears more likely he sent out the famous memo about Hillary Clinton shortly before the election not to help Trump, but because he assumed Clinton could not be stopped. He was covering himself, not doing his job.
The president of the United States does not come out of this looking well. He looks like he did try to bully the director of the FBI. He looks like he did try to use his influence to help friends. Donald Trump is a very loyal person. He demands loyalty and he gives it. Flynn gave him loyalty and the president tried to protect him. Comey would not give him loyalty and Comey got fired. The president has the power to fire the FBI director and did. But it does not mean he should have. [Do not miss the difference between the actions of Trump, Comey and Winner: Trump's action is unwise, but not unlawful.]
Compare Comey to 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner of Augusta, GA. Ms. Winner, a self-entitled millennial who possibly put our national security in jeopardy, allegedly decided to abuse her position as a national security contractor. Having now been arrested, Ms. Winner is accused of leaking classified information hoping to harm the president. On Twitter, she tweeted that she would stand with the Iranians against President Trump. She decided to do what she thought was right, not what the law required or demanded.
James Comey, Donald Trump and Reality Winner all did that. They did what they thought was right, not what the law required. President Trump decided he could do what he did because he was president. Comey decided he was the FBI director and no one could question him. Winner did what she did thinking she could undermine the president.
In all three cases, these individuals made it about themselves, not the law. As a result, they have all weakened institutions of public trust. They have made us more a nation of men and not laws. And all of them, and their supporters, think they did nothing wrong. It was the other guy’s fault. Our great national experiment in democracy continues to crumble, eroded by the supposed good intentions of too many bad actors.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

At NYT, It Depends on Whose Ideology Is Advancing

Eliminate the filibuster? The New York Times applauded the move under an editorial titled "Democracy Returns to the Senate." But...that was in 2013 when Harry Reid changed the rules on judicial nominees to prevent the Republican minority in the Senate from blocking votes on Obama's court-packing project.
Fast forward to the Gorsuch nomination, when a nominee less likely to advance the Times' agenda is the subject of the first-ever purely partisan filibuster. Is the NYT consistent? 
Of course not. The Times accuses McConnell of abusing his Senate power with an editorial under the headline, "The Supreme Court as Partisan Tool"!
Let me get this one more note off my chest. Republicans not giving Garland a vote and Democrats filibustering Gorsuch are not equivalent. In the earlier case, we had a majority-elected President being blocked (asked for a more conservative nominee) by the majority party in the Senate; the very definition of check and balance. The voters didn't trust one party with both branches. In the latter case, the voters have entrusted both the Presidency and the Senate to the same party, to fill the SCOTUS vacancy. Seems like the perfect example of democracy--actually, a constitutional republic--at work.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Buying without Paying. Legally.

When you can "buy" a product or service you want but charge it to someone else who you think can afford it, you'll buy more than you would if you paid for it yourself...unless you aren't human. The overall cost of providing those products and services will go up, not down, because more will be purchased than otherwise would. I illustrated this in a "Produce Stand" fable some years ago.

This is the fundamental issue in the health insurance debate. Mandated insurance or government provided "insurance" (i.e. through Medicare or Medicaid) make you think you can buy the medical services while someone else pays the bill for you. Frankly, the more your insurance premiums rise, the more you feel "entitled" to get lots of medical services: you feel even more justified in running to the ER, or getting a second opinion, or getting that extra test, or trying the other medicine. But someone has to pay for all the services you are getting.

As John Stossel put it in a recent column,

Someone else paying changes our behavior. We don’t shop around. We don’t ask, “Do I really need that test?” “Is there a place where it’s cheaper?”
Imagine if you had “grocery insurance.” You’d buy expensive foods; supermarkets would never have sales. Everyone would spend more.
Following is his complete column (with my emphasis added) which I heartily recommend.
Free Market Care
By John Stossel

Apr. 2, 2017

President Trump and Paul Ryan tried to improve Obamacare. They failed.

Trump then tweeted, “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!”

But I do worry.

Trump is right when he says that Obamacare will explode.

The law mandates benefits and offers subsidies to more people. Insurers must cover things like:

—Birth control.

—Alcohol counseling.

—Depression screening.

—Diet counseling.

—Tobacco use screening.

—Breastfeeding counseling.

Some people want those things, but mandating them for everyone drives up costs. It was folly to pretend it wouldn’t.

Insisting that lots of things be paid for by someone else is a recipe for financial explosion.

Medicare works that way, too.

When I first qualified for it, I was amazed to find that no one even mentioned cost. It was just, “Have this test!” “See this doctor!”

I liked it. It’s great not to think about costs. But that’s why Medicare will explode, too. There’s no way that, in its current form, it will be around to fund younger people’s care.

Someone else paying changes our behavior. We don’t shop around. We don’t ask, “Do I really need that test?” “Is there a place where it’s cheaper?”

Hospitals and doctors don’t try very hard to do things cheaply.

Imagine if you had “grocery insurance.” You’d buy expensive foods; supermarkets would never have sales. Everyone would spend more.

Insurance coverage — third-party payment — is revered by the media and socialists (redundant?) but is a terrible way to pay for things.

Today, seven in eight health care dollars are paid by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance companies. Because there’s no real health care market, costs rose 467 percent over the last three decades.

By contrast, prices fell in the few medical areas not covered by insurance, like plastic surgery and LASIK eye care. Patients shop around, forcing health providers to compete.

The National Center for Policy Analysis found that from 1999 to 2011 the price of traditional LASIK eye surgery dropped from over $2,100 to about $1,700.

Obamacare pretended government controls could accomplish the same thing, but they couldn’t.

The sickest people were quickest to sign up. Insurance companies then raised rates to cover their costs. When regulators objected, many insurers just quit Obamacare.

[Last] month Humana announced it’ll leave 11 states.

Voters will probably blame Republicans.

Insurance is meant for catastrophic health events, surprises that cost more than most people can afford. That does not include birth control and diet counseling.

The solution is to reduce, not increase, government’s control. We should buy medical care the way we buy cars and computers — with our own money.

Our employers don’t pay for our food, clothing and shelter; they shouldn’t pay for our health care. They certainly shouldn’t get a tax break for buying insurance while individuals don’t.

Give tax deductions to people who buy their own high-deductible insurance.

Give tax benefits to medical savings accounts. (Obamacare penalizes them.)

Allow insurers to sell across state lines. Current law forbids that, driving up costs and leaving people with fewer choices.

What about the other “solution” — Bernie Sanders' proposal of single-payer health care for all? Sanders claims other countries “provide universal health care … while saving money.”

But that’s not true.

Well, other countries do spend less. But they get less.

What modern health care they do get, they get because they freeload off our innovation. Our free market provides most of the world’s new medical devices and medicines.

Also, “single-payer” care leads to rationing.

Here’s a headline from Britain’s Daily Mail: “Another NHS horror story from Wales: Dying elderly cancer patient left ‘screaming in pain’ … for nine hours.”

Britain’s official goal is to treat people four months after diagnosis. Four months! That’s only the “goal.” They don’t even meet that standard.

Bernie Sanders' plan has been tried, and it’s no cure.

If it were done to meet American expectations, it would be ludicrously expensive. In 2011, clueless progressives in Bernie’s home state of Vermont voted in “universal care.” But they quickly dumped it when they figured out what it would cost. Didn’t Bernie notice?

It’s time to have government do less.