A Mixed Metaphor

For the last 95 years, Progressives have waged war on liberty, logic, reality, common sense, and basic math.  They have won every battle in this war (save a brief skirmish known as the 1980s).

I sincerely hope that what I saw last night was the opening salvo of a century-long counteroffensive.  The problem is going to be one of education; the average American doesn’t have the fundamental information to make wise choices; they’ve been lied to by a Progressive media and education system for so long.  With the exception of the tea-party enthusiast who has devoured research in the last two years due to heightened personal interest, they kinda stumbled into the one they made last night.  The average American stills thinks that “Conservative” means “Palin” and that “Progressives” sell car insurance cheaper than that cute little lizard.  They don’t know the tenets of Marxism (or why they have a 100% failure rate), but they’re pretty sure their favorite politician isn’t a Marxist (even when he says he is, as in the case of Chris Coons).

To the GOP: “no compromise on principles,” but not “no compromise on methods,” as the Dems did 2008-2010 (and look what it got them).  I’m not calling for the GOP to go all squishy and moderate, but the uneducated masses (uneducated in economics and the finer points of history) need to see solutions with Republican names on them which will be tied to our economic recovery.  If they can get some good-but-imperfect (they still need to be good) things in place to get unemployment going down every month after they’ve been sworn in, they will be off to a roaring start in American public opinion.

At this point, it doesn’t matter that the recovery could have been faster if the top taxes cut permanently (I predict they will be temporarily with the other cuts made permanent) or the stimulus or obamacare completely repealed.  Those things will take a lot of convincing on our part.  People don’t understand them, they don’t understand the economic role they play, and therefore there is no way they will understand the connection between the two without some education.  Make no mistake, however, it’s convincing and repealing that we DO have to do, but the lesson to take away from the Democrat defeat is that it is counterproductive to try to force people down a blind alley before you’ve thoroughly convinced them it’s the right one.

Yes, we (conservatives) need to do those things (and many more), but we also need to show that we are effective and that our ideas work.  MERELY making Obama veto a repeal of obamacare isn’t enough.  If unemployment is still in this neighborhood two years down the road the GOP will be on the outs just as bad as the Dems were in this round.  Joe the Plumber may ask himself, “Hey, if I’m going to be on welfare after all, I guess I should vote for the guys who promise to give it to me.”  Never underestimate the stupid things people do when desperate.

I do think that most Americans are conservatives at heart, they just don’t know it yet.  It’s been turned into such a dirty word by the lying media and biased education system, can you really blame them?

It took 95 years for the Progressives to push the envelope too far, but now four generations of Americans (everyone alive) has lived in a Progressive world in which they knew no other reality.

If I may be permitted to change metaphors: the time has come, Galucon, to lead them out of the cave…

Published in: on 3 November 2010 at 10:26  Comments (1)  

the first step in a century long struggle to erase Progressivism

Published in: on 1 November 2010 at 19:07  Leave a Comment  

Some Moderation…

First, let me begin by apologizing for the lack of posts in the last few months.  I am completing a second MA and working on my thesis.  In conversation recently, I’ve had occasion to formulate some thoughts on the ever-widening division of stance between the right and the left when it comes to health insurance reform.  As I’ve been sharply critical of those on the left for being unable to step out of their own shoes and try to see things from a different perspective (and question their fundamental assumptions…heck, who am I kidding…recognize their fundamental assumptions), I’ve decided to take the opportunity to do just that, and try to see the deadlock as an outsider.

I think the issue that feeds the rancor, and prevents any kind of progress being made is that we have begun to disagree about the fundamental principles governing our attempt to solve the problem.  At no point has the government seriously stopped to ask (no, not even yesterday) “What exactly is the problem we need to solve?” The end result is that (like the stimulus and the Iraq war) the objectives have shifted several times, and while people may have been largely in agreement with the first set, as the definition of the problem itself has drifted into new territory it garners less and less support and more and more concern that it will continue to mutate into the future to become an excuse for the government doing anything it wants.

So what is it both sides actually agree on?  That the cost of health care services (including drugs) is so high that most in the middle class must have health insurance in order to be able to pay for it, but the cost of health insurance is so high that most cannot afford more than the most basic plans unless the cost is shared by their employers.

Both sides actually agree, at least in theory, that the solution to this is “choice and competition” (at least that’s what they keep saying).

By limiting the attempts at reform (at least at this stage) to that in which we are in agreement, meaningful reform could be implemented rather quickly.

Both sides disagree about how to fix that, but that is what the debate should be about.  Personally, I favor starting with repeal of the McCarran-Fergueson Act (and any other impediments to interstate trade of plans), which would have the effect of giving everyone in the country access to almost two thousand choices without costing anything for the taxpayer. That kind of meaningful competition would drive down costs the most effective of any solutions hitherto proposed. I mean, if we’re in agreement about “choice and competition,” why not begin with the simplest, no-cost solution that achieves the agreed-upon ends (stimulating competition and offering more choices) to the greatest degree (two thousand more choices instead of one more).

From there we can bolster gains in the cost reduction department, identify the underlying principles behind other problems (and there are other problems) and develop solutions.

There are also things we do not agree on, and that is why meaningful debate is necessary. For instance, are those who choose to remain uninsured a drain on the system? Proponents say yes; opponents say no (if you are not insured; you are billed. If you had been choosing to remain uninsured, a calculated risk on your part, you have assets that could be seized if you default on your bill). Are doctors prescribing needless tests because they are milking the insurance system, or is it because they are covering their asses due to the ease of filing malpractice suits? Are prescriptions so expensive because pharmaceutical companies are greedy, or because the FDA regulations are so onerous that the cost is driven up sharply? Are those too poor to afford their own health insurance (and without it from their employer) left to die, or do they already qualify for free services and government assistance? What other issues may exist there? How can those issues be solved in a sensible way? etc, etc

That is what it means to debate the issues, and that debate was never allowed to occur either in our legislative chambers or in the media (if you think it was, then you are completely in the dark about the “opposition’s” ideas and principles).

Published in: on 26 February 2010 at 18:46  Comments (2)  
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The Progressive, Statist, Globalist Agenda

Throughout the 20th century, there have been many attempts by Progressives to increase the power of the Federal Government, to mitigate the United States’ power and influence on the world stage, and to create domestic systems by which the government creates new “rights” by assuming the responsibility for taking over aspects of the private sector and making decisions *for* the citizens.

Domestically, the social programs they create (an abject failure, every one) represent a sort of war on the middle class, where those who can least afford to are compelled to pay for an increasing dependent class in the name of social “justice” which is anything but.  The larger the group dependent on the government, the more secure they believe their power to be.

The Progressive agenda has become almost a religion to the Left,  replete with the promise of an unattainable utopia, a holy mission (social “justice” and climate change), prophets (like Marx), saints (like FDR, JFK, LBJ, Gore), martyrs (the Rosenbergs, anyone on McCarthy’s list, etc), scripture (the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, NPR), original sin (our past prosperity and exceptionalism), a messiah (Obama) and a self-righteous worldview that discounts from consideration all counter theories and reviles those who question the complete moral authority of their ecclesiastical body (the Democratic Party)…and that’s just the denomination that operates in the United States…the most delusional of the “ultra-orthodox” zealots have been in control of Western Europe since the 60s and Eastern Europe since 1917.

In the end, their goals are antithetical not only to our prosperity and ideals, but the continued existence of the Republic as a whole.  There’s a part of me that questions whether or not they are purposely attempting to destroy the dollar to cut the US down to size and force more steps along the road to world government.  This staggers me, because as recently as two years ago I would have thought such a suggestion was crazy.  This past year in particular has me singing a different tune.  I urge you to keep an eye on the irresponsible spending of money, and watch out for any moves to “monetize the debt” or future moves by the government to fix prices…they are sure signs of deliberate attempts to destroy our currency as well as the US itself.

Also watch whether or not President Obama signs the Copenhagen treaty and the Democrats try to browbeat the American people into supporting ratification of it.

If any or all of those events come to pass, there will then be no question in my mind that the Democratic Party has committed itself to our destruction in the name of some globalist, statist Hell-on-Earth that will represent a new dark age for humanity and an end to Western Civilization.

Still doubt me?  Consider how this has developed over the course of the 20th Century, and note the preponderance of one political party in this list:

Federal Reserve Bank, Woodrow Wilson, Democrat

League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson, Democrat (largely Wilson’s baby; fortunately, the US Congress refused to join)

The New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat (a plethora of social programs and government interference in the private sector that prolonged the Great Depression by 10 years)

The United Nations, Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat (he formed the first concrete plan for it under the State Department in 1939, but did not live to see it created in its current form)

The Bretton Woods Accord, Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat (this agreement took most other countries off the gold standard and linked their value to the US Dollar, which was still linked to gold at the time)

Social Security,  Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat

The Great Society and the modern Welfare State, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

Medicare, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

Medicaid, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

New Federal Reserve Notes start to be issued as a “fiat” currency, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

Silver coinage eliminated, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

Federal Reserve Silver Certificates made into “fiat” currency, Lyndon Johnson, Democrat

Creation of Department of Education, Jimmy Carter, Democrat

First Auto Bailouts, Jimmy Carter, Democrat

Community Reinvestment Act, Jimmy Carter, Democrat (this caused the housing bubble that caused our current global recession)

First run at NAFTA treaty, George HW Bush, Republican (with roughly equal support from both Republicans and Democrats in the House, failed to pass the Senate)

Second run at NAFTA treaty, Bill Clinton, Democrat (successful this time)

First attempt at Socialized Medicine, Bill Clinton, Democrat

Expansion of Community Reinvestment Act, Bill Clinton, Democrat (this made the disastrous effects of the CRA even worse)

Patriot Act, George W Bush, Republican (although most associated with Bush, the Act passed both houses with wide margins from BOTH parties.  It was also largely reauthorized in 2006 with fairly wide BIPARTISAN support, including support from Barack Obama)

Global Warming Panic, Al Gore, Democrat (this becomes important later)

Quashing of warnings about the Community Reinvestment Act in 2004, Barney Frank, Democrat

Quashing of warnings about the Community Reinvestment Act in 2006, Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, Democrats

TARP Bailout, George W Bush, Republican (in concert with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress)

$1trillion “stimulus,” Barack Obama, Democrat

Cap and Trade legislation, Democratic Party initiative

Second auto bailout, Barack Obama, Democrat (this time the government maintained an iron fist in their day-to-day operations, essentially a private sector “takeover”)

Second attempt at Socialized Medicine, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Democrats (at the very least this represents an unconstitutional expansion of governmental powers further into health care…but that’s being kind, I’ll call it what it is, a Trojan Horse to fully nationalizing the industry)

Creation of World Government for Climate/Energy in Copenhagen Treaty, Barack Obama (?), Democrat (will he sign?)

Now I ask you, is an intentional undermining of the power of the dollar really that far fetched considering the pack of rodeo clowns that are calling the shots and married to this globalist, statist agenda?

Published in: on 29 October 2009 at 23:35  Comments (3)  
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The GOP Had Better Not Quit

The Republicans know what will actually help with our health care difficulties. They have a good set of ideas: interstate trade of plans, tort reform and reduction of government mandates for plans.

The Democrats want to hear none of it, mind you, because those suggestions will actually fix the problems people have lamented while decreasing the role of government.  They want to debilitate the industry and saddle us with a single-payer health care system down the road.

For them, fewer steps is better than more when traveling to that end, but they will endure as many steps as it takes.  They went from outright universal healthcare (“Hilarycare”) to one involving crippling mandates and a public option (“Obamacare”) to one that just involves the crippling mandates (although they are still toying with the idea of a dormant, “triggerable” public option still).  They will just keep trying until they finally get something that will sufficiently ruin the industry in future years so that we beg the government to take it over.

There will likely be a health insurance reform bill of some kind passed before the 2010 elections.  This bill will also be very likely to contain none of the Republicans’ commonsense ideas.

The Republicans, however, should not give up on the issue in the wake of a bill’s passage.  They need to take this issue away from the Democrats.  The GOP needs to continue fighting for the three things I’ve mentioned above because they are correct and because those reforms are long overdue.

Once they pass a bill, the Democrats will consider healthcare a “done deal,” at least for the term(s) of this administration.  What a surprise to them if they find Republicans clobbering them in 2010 and 2012 with their zeal for the issue and desire to truly fix what’s wrong with the system.

The Republicans are trying to convince the country that they have a better plan than the Democrats and that the Democrats’ solutions will do violence to the American people.  They are correct in both respects, but giving up on the issue after the Democrats get what they want will make both noble points seem like they were just a political play.

Published in: on 18 October 2009 at 14:49  Comments (1)  
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An Open Letter to the European Press

Inspired by reading articles in the Guardian after the time when comments were allowed (yet all I say is true of most of the reports Europeans are being given by their own press):

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To the European news outlets who make the US out to be some third world medical wasteland,

I’m afraid you’ve reported numerous inaccuracies in the way you have portrayed the current US health care issue. This gives your readers a false sense of what the situation is over here. There are 47 million (about 15% of population) without insurance, however:

* approximately 12 million (4%) are illegal immigrants

* approximately 20-25 million (6%-8%) make $50,000+ and choose not to carry health insurance

* approximately 10-15 million (3%-4%) have trouble getting private health insurance due to poverty or health. These people qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and simply haven’t registered for it.

* There is Federal health insurance for the poor (Medicaid) and the elderly (Medicare) already, as there has been for the last two and a half generations.

* No one (not even illegal immigrants) is denied medical care in the US. Free medical care can be had in Emergency Departments (and with about 1/3 the wait Canadians experience) and free clinics throughout the country.

* Those who can afford health insurance but elect not to carry it due to good health are billed for services when they see a doctor or go to the hospital. That is the calculated risk they choose to run by not carrying the health insurance. If they are wise, they instead choose to spend the money they save on a Health Savings Account or other investments (which theoretically gives them even more money to pay out of pocket).

* When I quit teaching full time to work part time and go to school part time, I lost my employer-based health insurance. Consequently, I do not qualify for student discounts (I just went full-time with school last year, so I suppose I qualify for it now) and have paid for private health insurance (with which I’m thrilled) since 2003 on $10-$15,000 per year. True, I could go on Medicaid, but I am very happy with my private insurance ($140 per month) and have no intention of dropping my current insurer until I’m done with this degree and have an employer-based plan once again.

It is important to remember that all but one network or cable news outlet in the US is as invested in “making things work” (in a big-picture sense, anyway) for the current administration as Pravda was invested in its state back in the 1950s. If you’ve compiled your numbers by simply parroting what US news is reporting, then you have been gravely mislead (and in turn mislead your own readers). If you performed some kind of spurious survey of your own, then you have lied. In either case, I exhort you to apply higher standards in the future.

Published in: on 12 October 2009 at 15:13  Comments (7)  
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Why Ireland Can Be A Beacon Of Liberty In Europe

antilisbonAs Ireland gears up for the re-vote on the infamous Lisbon Treaty, I am struck by similarities between what’s going on there and in the US.

For those of you who don’t know, the Lisbon Treaty is an abomination that will effectively create the first incarnation of a United States of Europe. This will render the member nations the equivalent of States in the US in terms of sovereignty – something the EU was NEVER supposed to be able to do.

The only country to put their ratification vote to the people themselves was Ireland. Back in June, the Irish people sensibly voted “no.” Since the treaty requires unanimous ratification, this effectively meant that the treaty was dead in the water until Ireland’s concerns were “addressed” in the form of another piece of European Parliament legislation that supposedly guarantees extra protections. The treaty, however, remains completely unchanged (any changes would require unanimous reapproval, which would not happen) and the extra protections have yet to be unanimously approved (gee, what’s the likelihood that they won’t be, even if the Irish pass the Treaty?).

Basically, the Irish are being told, “you didn’t vote right…now we’re just going to sit here until you finish your vegeta-…I mean, come up with a ‘yes’ vote!” How insulting!

What’s more, the yes/no debate has taken on the general color of the US healthcare debate.  I think it’s a common philosophy of statists and progressives. “Keep voting or recounting until you come up with the answer we like.” The shamelessly fraudulent Franken/Coleman election and blatant rule changing in Massachusetts put the demands for incessant recounts of the Bush/Gore 2000 election in the shade. For those of you who don’t know, it was independently verified three months later that Bush did actually win that election and had the Supreme Court not intervened, and Gore been allowed to keep playing with the cards, the only difference would be that Gore would have lost by a wider margin…not that that got much press…

But Europe is already farther down the road to serfdom than we are, and even nonWestern countries are falling victim to similar attempts by politicians to cast themselves as surrogate parents to their unwilling citizens, “for their own good.”

Anyway, the contempt shown by progressives and statists for the people they aspire to govern is fueled by a zealous, near-religious belief that They Are Right™ and there can be no serious opposition to their idiotic, tyrannical, dystopian vision.

Isn’t it time, after nearly a century of their failed programs, contempt and nonsense, that the US and Western Europe saw these tyrants for who they really are and sent them packing? When will the West’s failing experiment in progressivism finally be tossed where it belongs…on the trash heap of history’s mistakes along with fascism, totalitarianism, flower power, and slavery?

Published in: on 28 September 2009 at 22:25  Comments (1)  
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Myths of the Political Spectrum

It is important to remember that the terms we apply to those on the political spectrum are fluid. For instance, conservatives in Europe get their name from trying to maintain the status quo, including all the liberal programs that have already been instituted. Conservatives in America get their name from trying to conserve our First Principles (which would necessitate removing the big, liberal programs). When they introduced their ideas, the Founding Fathers were liberals, today adhering to their philosophy makes one a conservative. In the 1860s, the abolitionist Republicans were the liberals, in the 1960s the Democrats were the liberals, but being a Democrat with a 1960s philosophy today will get you branded a conservative member of the party.

And so the terms “conservative” and “liberal” find meaning only in relation to each other on specific issues. It may be more helpful, however, to utilize the terms Left and Right.

It has become, however, some kind of “common wisdom” that communism represents the extreme Left of the political spectrum and fascism (and fundamentalist Christians) represents the extreme Right. In analysis, however, such thinking make little sense.

Americans seem to be in little agreement these days about fundamental principles. All sides use the same vocabulary, but the words mean different things to each of them. In order to have a meaningful discussion, we need to reestablish a principle of what precisely constitutes a “Left” idea and what precisely constitutes a “Right” idea.

I think there is little disagreement that Progressives, FDR’s New Deal, Johnson’s Great Society and Socialized Medicine all represent ideas of the Left. Supply-Side Economics, repeal of social programs and the primacy of individual liberty above all represents ideas of the Right.

It should not be too much of a stretch to state that government intervention and programs as solutions to problems (social, economic, etc) finds itself on the Left, and individual actions and free market solutions find themselves on the Right.

COMMUNISM
This is why both sides seem to agree that the logical extension of positive government intervention into economy is communism. In communism, the state owns all industry and means of production. In short, the state micromanages the economy.

THEOCRACY
But what happens when a different issue is selected? What about social concerns like morality? It doesn’t make any sense that the logical opposite of government control of the economy is government control of morality. The opposite of complete government control of the economy is no government control of the economy. In a theocracy, such as we find in Iran, the government (violently) controls all aspects of public morality, just as it controls the economy in communism. The degree and general philosophy behind the state domination is the same in both cases. Because of this, state control of morality must be placed to the left of the center mark. Thus, we can see that the fundamentalist Christian “right”…those usually termed “social conservatives” are actually part of the big government Left (remember, “conservative” is a relative term, but “Left” is not).

If you’re still hesitant about this, consider the following, the government telling you what car you can drive is an initiative of the Left; the government telling you how much money you must give to other citizens in the form of social programs is an initiative of the Left; the government telling you what words you can use (political correctness, a form of legislated morality itself) is an initiative of the Left. So why should people who advocate allowing the government to dictate whom one can marry be associated with the individual-liberty-loving Right? Well, there is a reason (an oversimplified, invalid one), which I will get to in a bit. In short, whether the government is endorsing with force of law the morality of homosexual acceptance or the morality of heterosexual supremacy doesn’t matter. In both cases, the government is intruding into the bedroom and defining what is “acceptable.” Government intervention = Left. Therefore, “social conservatives” are actually of the Left.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What about abortion? The anti-abortion crowd wants to limit a right and define a morality!” If you said that, however, you would be half right. Even those Right of center (although not the “extreme” Right) do define some kind of morality, but that is (as I’ve said) the “good” of individual liberty and Constitutional protection of rights. The anti-abortion argument is standing up for the rights (the real, Constitutionally guaranteed ones) the unborn child has vs the “right” of reproductive freedom (not anywhere in the Constitution) so closely guarded by the pro-abortion crowd. What has happened here is a difference in terminology. The anti-abortion crowd believes the unborn child is just that (a person), whereas the pro-abortion crowd does not (and therefore it has no rights). Until consensus can be reached on that matter, no headway will be made in resolving the dispute between both camps.

And if you still doubt me, consider that until abortion (and now gay marriage) became issues, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians leaned Democrat (and even for a while afterward, see their support for Carter in 1980). No particular end of the spectrum (Left or Right) has a monopoly on “social justice” (a core Christian concept), but when it is desired that the government should mandate and administer said “social justice,” that is a step in the direction of both Communism (greater economic control) and theocracy (greater moral control). When the government tells you how you must think and feel (like in a theocracy), that is of the Left…and the Left *does* hold the monopoly on that (political correctness, multiculturalism, diversity, eco-sensitivity, affirmative action…the list goes on and on).

FASCISM
And now we come to fascism. This is not necessarily Nazism per se, but even that still falls on the Left. Eugenics and state population planning were core tenets of the Progressive movement (from which modern liberalism springs). Fascism makes use of government control (but not ownership) of the private sector (remember, the Nazis were the “National SOCIALISTS”). Perhaps “control” is too strong a word. “Influence?” Hm…not strong enough. How about “government *bullying* of private industry and the means of production?” Yes, that is far more accurate. Anyone who knows how fascists run things knows that it’s all about invasive state control. Economically, it’s just this side of communism. Ideologically, it’s just this side of theocracy (either there is a state religion, as in Reformation-era England, or the advocacy of a “religion of the state” as in Nazi Germany). The difference between the ideological aspects of fascism and theocracy is that in a theocracy the religion controls the state, in fascism the state controls the religion and utilizes it to maintain control and loyalty. Both are about government control. Both are Left.

SOCIALISM, PROGRESSIVISM AND MODERN LIBERALISM
Continuing Rightward on the spectrum, we run into various forms of socialism and Progressivism. All advocate different degrees of government control. Whereas socialism tends to limit itself to economic matters, Progressivism contains elements of both economic as well as social engineering. To help you understand the differences (as there is much overlap), I’ve prepared the following list:
Laws favoring trade unions: socialism.
Public education: Progressivism.
Bank and industry bailouts: socialism.
Government healthcare (in whole or in part): Progressivism.
Progressive income tax: socialism.
Population control/engineering: Progressivism.
Government mandated eco-sensitivity: Progressivism

In many ways, the Republicans are where the Democrats were thirty years ago, but they still find themselves “Right of Center.” They advocate government control in some areas (for instance, they would probably not disassemble the Federal Reserve Bank), but tend to eschew social engineering and welfare-state social programs on the whole (even though they would not likely repeal Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare at this point, they would not have come up with them on their own). They are somewhat to the Left of the original philosophy of the Founding Fathers

LIBERTARIANS
Somewhat to the Right of the Founding Fathers we find libertarians, “tenth-ers,” and most of those who attend the Tea Parties. Most of these groups would probably do away with Social Security and the whole Great Society tomorrow if they could. A good number argue against the Federal Reserve, US membership in the UN and the existence of a (Federal) Department of Education (which has only been around since Carter).

These are people who value individual liberty above all else. They realize that the American concept of rights is founded on individual property rights and would not likely stray left of Reagan on many issues.

A central tenet of their belief structure is that government, instead of being a solid answer to a particular problem, is usually found to be the cause of any problem one can define. By and large, they would like to see the power of the Federal government limited to national defense, interstate disputes and commerce regulations (when needed), and maintaining interstate infrastructure. Most of the people who put themselves in the categories mentioned in this section believe in laws, but laws to protect individual liberty not to mandate belief or restrict action (beyond what is necessary to keep order in the streets). These are the folks you are likely to find quoting the Constitution and holding it as the final arbiter of Federal authority (with a very strict interpretation of it).

This is a wide niche, however, and there are those who are not very enamored with “law” and only marginally more enamored with “order.” This is NOT your average tea partier, but rather your Montana Militiamen and Unabomber – people who still believe in SOMETHING, but tend to put that in the context of extreme individual liberty.

ANARCHISTS
And so now we approach the extreme Right of the spectrum. If we place increased government control (communism) on the Left, we then know it’s logical extension on the Right is not Fascism (which still requires phenomenal amounts of state control – “statism” as has recently become popular), but the complete absence of ALL government control and laws. These are the Anarchists, and they represent a complete dedication to individual liberty without any other guiding principle or societal structure.

political spectrum

Published in: on 21 September 2009 at 13:21  Comments (4)  
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Healthcare: Myths and Misleading Factoids from the Left.

Myth #1: Because the World Health Organization ranked us 37th in their worldwide study, it means the US system trails the industrialized world in health care quality. Because the countries that “beat” us have socialized systems, socialized systems must be better.

This is an instance where the numbers don’t tell the whole story. We lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to diseases related to our lifestyle. In that department, Americans are in serious trouble, but it’s because our food and lifestyle choices are terrible, and this impacts our life expectancy overall.

But, when it comes to the survival rates of most serious diseases not related to fast food and a sedentary lifestyle (where quality and availability of care would be the sole determining factor), including the five most common forms of cancer, we LEAD the world (Lancet Oncology Journal).

In fact, we lead the world in prostate-cancer survival with 5-year survival rates of 98% (vs 74% in England).

All the “US vs World” statistics seem to lack this background info as they are put together specifically to give a misleading impression. It is telling that the “rank of 37″ was from 2000, and the WHO no longer produces those rankings due to the difficulties of getting anything meaningful out of such broad numbers. In an August 23, 2007 article for the New York Sun, John Stossel observed,

“The WHO judged a country’s quality of health on life expectancy. But that’s a lousy measure of a health care system. Many things that cause premature death have nothing do with medical care. We have far more fatal transportation accidents than other countries. That’s not a health-care problem.

“Similarly, our homicide rate is 10 times higher than in Britain, eight times higher than in France, and five times greater than in Canada.

“When you adjust for these “fatal injury” rates, U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation.”

Consider the disproportionate number of teenagers slaughtered in gang warfare in cities like LA, Detroit and Camden, and it’s not hard to see how the numbers are so easily skewed – that is, once the number of gang-related deaths in the US is compared to many of the countries that outranked us.

Myth #2: because the US has higher infant mortality figures, obviously something is wrong with their health care system.

A big part of that disparity in the infant mortality figures is that we don’t have the same rules when it comes to evaluating births. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,

“Some of the international variation in infant and neonatal mortality rates may be due to variations among countries in registering practices of premature infants (whether they are reported as live births or fetal deaths). In several countries, such as in the United States, Canada and the Nordic countries, very premature babies with relatively low odds of survival are registered as live births, which increases mortality rates compared with other countries that do not register them as live births.”

So, when the riskiest cases are counted as stillborn in one place, but alive in another, it is natural that the places that don’t even try to save the children will come up with “better” infant mortality figures. It is true that this alone does not explain the entire gap, but when a greater prevalence in the US for drug abuse, tobacco use and alcoholism while pregnant among the lower classes is compared to the rate of abuse in the lower classes in the countries that outranked us, and one has then created a “bubble” in which a greater ratio of at-risk births occur in a system that recognizes a greater ratio of at-risk births as born alive, and, well, then one finds the kind of numbers reported by the WHO – none of which have anything to do with quality or much to do with access.

In short, the WHO study compares apple to oranges and then ranks all the fruit.

Statistics like those from the WHO, without uniformity of criteria between countries and background info on what the numbers truly mean (a disparity does not have to solely or even primarily imply a substandard health care system), are meaningless.

That is not to say we don’t have problems or that our system should be left as it is…it does need fixing in some major ways, because it is very expensive to pay out of pocket.

competition – the supposed aim of the single, massive, undercutting “public option.” Far better to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act (1945) and let the companies compete nationally. If every plan offered is available in every state (instead of only one) you won’t have states with only one or two (or six) choices. True competition will cause prices to become as low as they can (try to lower it more, like Germany, and that’s when major problems begin)

mandates – reduce or eliminate the gov’t mandates (the new plan wants to add more) so people can buy plans that only cover what they want covered, further driving down the cost of plans.

tort reform – the President said he was going to look into this, so we’ll see what comes of it.

We should be starting with those three. They may very well solve virtually the whole problem of high cost of out-of-pocket care as well as high cost of individually purchased insurance.

Other links:

making use of The Lancet (they charge for their site, but this digest is available to all)

and

The International Journal of Epidemiology

and…

the National Center for Heath Statistics at the CDC

Published in: on 15 September 2009 at 10:52  Leave a Comment  
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The Democrats, Big Labor, and the Future of Prosperity in the United States

unionI was going to post on this subject for Labor Day, but as I spent the weekend out of state, and all my germane points were already hit last week, I will allow this link to suffice for this week’s entry.

Now that summer vacation season is over, I hope there will be no more interruptions in my regular posting.

Published in: on 7 September 2009 at 17:13  Leave a Comment  
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