Monday, December 23, 2013

Lawless Administration: PT ???

I've seen this story[] in various places (that link is AoSHQ) and I think most are missing something.  Burying the lede, if you will.  Everything I've seen has focused on the fecklessness of the President, or on the "purely symbolic" gesture or whatever.

I want to focus on something else here:

"WH: Pres Obama's staff signed him up in person thru DC exchange. POTUS wasn't present, but involved"

That, right there, is an admission of insurance fraud.  When you purchase an insurance policy, YOU must purchase the policy.  Some "staff" can't purchase it for you, any more than a secretary could sign a contract for her boss.  If "Obama's staff signed him up" they had to positively identify themselves as him.  They would have been challenged on this and asked, "Are you the person applying for insurance" (well, they would except for the part where they're members of the Mob Presidency).

Now, I don't know about you, but if I admitted to insurance fraud, I'd go to jail.  Of course, I'd also go to jail for a host of other things SCOAMT has done- there's a reason we call it the Lawless Administration.

So when you hear people "ooh" and "aah" over the fact that King Barackenhenan I lowered himself like a serf and "signed up for ObamaCare," make sure you point out that he is guilty of a crime that would send them to jail.

By his own admission.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Monarchy Moment

When is the moment that men looked up and realized they had a king?  At what point did tribes- until then living freely (if, in many places, violently) suddenly realize that one man literally had the power to decree their deaths?  Because America is getting close to that moment.

Barackahanen I has been acting especially Imperial over the last several weeks, and no one with power to do so is saying "boo" about it.  It seems he modifies the written law of ObamaCare on a near-daily basis, fitting whatever whim he has that day.  Now he is "encouraging" Insurance Providers to allow people who get insurance through the exchanges to carry their insurance until sometime in January without payment.  That is, that they would have insurance coverage starting Jan 1, but would not pay for siad coverage until sometime later in January.

And the King hath spoken.

How does the King respond to those who question his policies?  By using the power of the State to intimidate them into silence.

This is an incredibly dangerous moment for America.  Either someone with some amount of power will oppose Barackahanen I, or we will all become serfs answering to the King and his Vassals.  If the President can merely decree law, and if he can modify private contracts, and if he can use the State to silence anyone who would criticize him, then we no longer live in a Republic, but we are ruled by a Despot.

h/t. Ace of Spades

Ben, it's because they DO think it's good policy.

Oh, and they DO think we're idiots.

Several days ago (by the time you're reading this) Ben Domenech went on a Twitter rant slamming GOP Leadership (especially Speaker Boehner) for "lying" to Conservatives.  That is, Ben's position is that the budget deal is good politics but bad policy, the leadership knows this (and agrees), and that the GOP reaction to Conservatives (who know that it's bad policy, and are dubious about the politics part) should have been to "tell the truth," and say, "Yes, we know it's bad policy, we're totally doing it for the politics.  Don't call us sell-outs and we won't call you idiots."

Let me, by way of rebuttal, provide a re-phrasing of Occam's Razor.  Put simply- the answer which assumes the fewest things not already in evidence is usually the correct one.  The let me suggest an answer- they do think we're idiots and they think this plan is good policy.

Now, let's judge them both against Occam's Razor.

Ben's answer assumes the following-

  • the deal is bad policy
  • the deal is good politically
  • the Republicans know both of the above
  • the Republicans are simply "lashing out" at Conservatives in response (pre-sponse?) to being called "sell-outs."

Of those, only one fact is actually in evidence- that the deal is bad policy.  Everything else is asserted but not proven.

My answer assumes the following-

  • the deal is bad policy
  • Republicans think it is good policy
  • Republicans think Conservatives are idiots.

All of my assertions have proof to back them up.  They are all in evidence.  The first is evident by the fact it increases both spending and taxes.  The second two are evident by the words that GOP Leadership are using.

So which is more likely?

It is no secret that a large number of Republicans in Washington both resent and fear the Conservative Grassroots.  Mitch McConnell uses harsher language against the Senate Conservatives Fund than he ever has against the President.  Ted Cruz has been pilloried as much by Republicans as by Democrats.  One miserable old troll in the Senate even called the TEA Parties "hobbits" (though- I'll take that one.  The Hobbits won in the end).

It is similarly no secret that the GOP Leadership loves them some spending.  None of them complained when Medicare D was passed.  They have never once asked for actual cuts to any government program.  Whenever Conservative Grassroots ask for something to be cut, they're among the first to tell us we're crazy, it can never happen, etc., etc.

Now, Occam's Razor only says that the answer which assumes the fewest facts not in evidence is the most likely answer- it doesn't make any guarantees.  So it's possible that Ben is right and I am wrong.  The fact is that it doesn't matter.  Leadership that detests- or even pretends to detest- its base is not "leadership" at all and should be replaced.

But... but... Shut Down!!!!

Oh.  My.  Lord.

Not this again.  Apparently the reason Republicans are caving on the budget talks is they're afraid the Government will shut down again.  Well, guess what geniuses, it might.  Guess what else?  Too bad.

First off, despite what the MFM and inside-the-Beltway types believe, the shutdown earlier this year did not actually hurt Republicans.  Here in Middle America, most people were for it.  Secondly, there's no reason you can't parley this into being the Democrats fault.  Yes, it might be hard, but so what?  You can even do it by sounding more reasonable than they do.

Now, for those who don't know, the issue is (once again) the debt ceiling.  OMG, if we don't raise the debt ceiling we can't pay our bills!!

Let's not discuss the absurdity of that statement.  Maybe I'll get to it in a future post.  Let's just look at just one possible Republican tactic.  I call it "raising the debt ceiling."

Look, I'm as fire-breathing as the next Ultra-Con, and I don't like raising the debt ceiling.  However, as a practical matter, ObamaCare is going down in flames, and we really don't want anything to give the President cover on that.  We don't want him to be able to distract the public from the train-wreck that is ObamaCare.

So, we say this:  "Alright, we'll raise the debt ceiling by 2 Trillion dollars.  That should last us at least one more full year."  And that's it.  No discussing budgetary matters ("that's settled law") no fee increases, nothing.  Republicans should simply say, "You're right, it would be irresponsible not to pay our debts, we'll agree to increase the debt ceiling by 2 Trillion dollars."

Then, when Chrissy Matthews spews the Democrat talking points of "you want to shut down government!" a simple rejoinder of, "Chris, we've agreed to raise the debt limit with no other preconditions.  So how is that wanting to shut down the government?"  What, really, can the Democrats say?  "But we want to increase spending?"  "But Democrats won't vote for that?"  It will become quite clear to everyone that it is the Democrats agitating for a shutdown because they don't like sequester- not Republicans.

Okay, fine, we can't ask for more budget cuts.  I don't like that, but I can accept it.  That doesn't mean we have to agree to budget increases.  The budget is set for FY2014 and FY2015- by sequester.  So the only reason to "shut down" the government is over the debt limit.  So let's take that off the table.  At the very least we can turn it around so that anyone with half a brain (I know this excepts most Democrats, but they weren't going to be on our side anyway) will understand that it is the Democrats "shutting down" the government, not Republicans, which would take away most, if not all, of any "cover" they would hope to gain.

Wait. "Compromise" IS a Bad Word

Compromise: a change that makes something worse and that is not done for a good reason

So, Paul Ryan has agreed to sell out Conservatives because Democrats might say mean things about Republicans.  Again.  The "compromise" bill to which Mr. Ryan agreed will increase discressionary spending for FY 2014 from the ~970 Billion that was written into the 2011 Budget Act by about 300 Billion dollars (to approximately 1,025 Billion).  FY 2015 spending would go up from there.

We are told that this is a "compromise" between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.  See, Democrats wanted to spend All The Money, so anything less than that is a win, right?  Wrong.  Even after the sequester cuts (which could have been avoided by Democrats negotiating in good faith), our debt has still grown.  When your out-go is higher than your income you have a problem, and the politicians in Washington, DC refuse to address the problem.

As pointed out on the PowerLine blog, the sequester itself was a "compromise."  So why must it now be the Republican's starting position?  Shouldn't Republicans honestly contend for what their constituents want- a balanced budget?  Had Mr. Ryan started from that position, we might have had a "compromise" that was an actual "meeting in the middle."  Had Mr. Ryan, or any Republican, really, been able to articulate why even sequester level spending is still too high, perhaps the new "compromise" would have been to lower spending again.

Instead, by using sequester as the starting point, the new plan increases spending and taxes.

But that, perhaps, is the worst part.  You see, the plan not only increases taxes, but it hides them.  No politician in his right mind would vote to increase the income tax rate.  Despite what the MFM would have you believe, we're still muddling along in a financial quagmire.  We might not meet the technical definition of a Recession, but for many families, a Recession is still their reality.

But rather than decrease spending, Washington Politicians want to increase spending.  Mr. Ryan, having run as a Budget Hawk, can't do that without somehow being able to say he's "decreasing the deficit" and obvious tax increases are off the table, so what can he do?  Hike "fees."  There is also some talk of decreasing Federal Employee pensions but a) I'll believe that when I see it and b) the numbers talked about there are inconsequential in relation to the size of the budget.

Some will claim that by raising "fees" Mssrs. Ryan and Murray are giving people a way to avoid taxes.  Aren't fees a "usage tax?"  Well yes, and then again no.  For one thing, Mssrs. Ryan and Murray don't want you to forego the activities they will now be taxing a higher rate.  They want you to do more of those things (which is counter-intuitive and, frankly, stupid, but whatever).  For another, the things they've chosen are activities it is hard to avoid.

Certainly I can choose to drive on vacation instead of fly, but what about a business traveler?  I have known and worked with a fair number of people who lived and worked 3 weeks out of every 4 in Illinois, and the other week in Texas.  If they had to drive instead of fly, that would be a huge cost to them and the company.  So they'll suck up the extra fee.  So will many families on vacation (who really wants to spend 4 days of a 7 day vacation in a car?).

Indeed this is a "compromise," but not in the way Mr. Ryan would have you believe.  This is a cave, a capitulation.  It is a complete forfeiture of Fiscally Conservative principle.  Spending does not need to increase faster (remember, even the sequester was a cut in the rate of growth, not a "cut" as you and I understand it).  Spending needs to decrease.  Failing that, it certainly needs to increase yet slower than it is.

But the Republicans are afraid Democrats and the Media (BIRM) will say mean things about them.  So of course their first and only option is to sell out Conservatives.  Again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adverse Selection v Moral Hazard

Winner: Moral Hazard.

What the heck am I talking about?  ObamaCare.  Specifically, we're discussing the fact that ObamaCare requires that the young and healthy make up a significant portion of enrollees.  For ObamaCare to "succeed" in any sense of the word (right now, it's failing in every sense of the word), young, healthy people must sign up in droves, paying much higher premiums for much worse coverage than they could have gotten just a year ago.  Those who already had insurance will often look at the new numbers and say, "never mind."  Those who didn't already have coverage are not suddenly going to think it's a great idea to pay yet more than they'd already rejected.

The choice to do something against your own good is called "Adverse Selection."  ObamaCare relies heavily on Adverse Selection by Millennials.

On the other hand, we have "Moral Hazard."  Moral Hazard is a situation in which one makes different decisions based on the "rules" in order to gain the maximum benefit at the minimum cost.  In the world of D&D we call this "min-maxing."  With ObamaCare the idea looks like this- insurance companies cannot reject me because of any health reason, and preexisting conditions must be covered.  Given the high premiums for substandard benefits compared to the low level of "punishment" that is the Penalty (or Tax, if you're CJ John Roberts) for non-compliance with the individual mandate, it makes far more sense to go without insurance and the penalty.  If you *do* happen to get sick (in a way that costs more than your premium and deductible combined) then you can sign up for insurance at that time and, poof, you're covered.

This is a no brainer.  Why would a healthy Millennial buy insurance through the exchanges?  Pay higher prices for less coverage just so some geriatric patient in Walla Walla can afford their meds?  Obviously the people who wrote this law don't understand human nature (except they do- more on that in a minute).  Oh, certainly some will buy.  Some will think it's a "hedge against disaster" (but, by the current rules, it's not).  Some will think it's "the moral thing to do" (really?  I'm morally obligated to buy insurance so some other guy's insurance will be cheaper?  Wouldn't it be cheaper for me just to send him 50 bucks a month?)  But the vast majority will look at their ever-diminishing buying-power (thanks ObamaNomics!) and make the practical decision to forego insurance.

If this were a boxing match, Moral Hazard would win in 1.2 seconds.  Or would be ejected for hitting below the belt.  One or the other.

Now, previously I stated that the people who wrote ObamaCare don't understand human nature.  That was what we call "dramatic license" or "a lie."  Of course they understand human nature.  In fact, they're counting on it.  Remember what Obama himself said- ObamaCare would be "a first step" to single payer.

Never forget that is their end goal.  They PLAN for ObamaCare to fail.  They want Medicaid overloaded so that the states can't cope.  They want private companies that sell through the exchanges to go under.  They want everything to collapse so that the American People will yell "Save Us!!!!" and then they can implement single payer.

In response, we have two options.  The first is to try to overcome human nature and go all-in on ObamaCare.  Make it work despite itself.  The problems with that plan don't even bear investigating, but let's just say they're myriad.

The second option is to make sure everyone knows that A) ObamaCare is a complete failure, B) Democrats own it completely, and C) that it is those same Democrats who will come in with "single payer" to make it all better.  That is, we have to expose the ploy now, not wait until Democrats are already calling for single payer.  Just as we called out all of the flaws in ObamaCare starting 3 years ago, now we ALSO have to call out their next move.

Conservatives (and coincidentally Republicans) have a lot of credibility on this right now.  Everyone knows Conservatives were saying exactly what has happened would happen.  Even the MFM has to admit it- albeit in terms of "they sabotaged the law!!!!"- so when Conservatives are challenged about single payer being the next step, it should be fairly easy to rejoin, "Just like we were wrong about you not being able to keep your plan or your doctor?  Just like we were wrong about premiums going up and benefits going down?"

If we don't use that credibility now- if we don't establish it as firm fact- then the Democrats will win on the issue.  Single Payer- and all its nightmarish horror- will become law in the United States of America.  Possibly in my lifetime.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why "Income Inequality" Is Important

I know that the SCOAMT would like to change the subject from ObamaCare to "the minimum wage."  He thinks that's a better option for him.  Heck, maybe it is.  But I find myself drawn to point out something that might be obvious to some, but certainly isn't to others: they're the same discussion.

Remember, the putative "point" of ObamaCare was to "bend the cost curve down" and "make health care more affordable."  Indeed, the very name of the actual bill says so: "The Affordable Care Act."  And what, exactly, is the point of that if not to address that great bogeyman of the Left- Income Inequality?

Which means that any discussion of the minimum wage by Democrats is based on the same foundation as their discussions about "universal health care," or "welfare," or any number of other things.  And they're all based on a faulty understanding of money.

For some reason- perhaps laziness, perhaps malfeasance, perhaps true ignorance- Democrats continue to insist that all of these things are the same: money and currency, and cost and value.  This is hogwash.

Money is not the same as currency- else the exchange of currency would be a static thing.  If money were the same as currency, a British Pound would always be worth exactly 1.2 US Dollars (or whatever exchange rate).  Instead, we find that currency exchanges fluctuate, now 1 pound is worth 1.2 dollars, now it's worth 1.3, now it's worth 1.1.  Obviously there is something other than the currency which is actually being exchanged here.

Cost is not the same as value.  If it were, the economy could not grow at all.  All exchanges would be either detrimental to one party or, at best, they would be neutral.  If cost were the same as value, then either I (as the seller of some thing) must over-charge to see a profit, or I must under-charge (thus incurring a loss), or I must charge exactly my cost (thus seeing no benefit from the sale).

It is important to note that most liberals know all of this.  Just listen to them discussing the economy.  At one moment they'll tell you "the economy is not a zero sum game" and the very next they'll say, "but it acts like it."  They'll say, "such-and-such adds value to what-have-you" and then they'll decry "profiteering" (as though selling things for profit were akin to being a pirate).

Yet, they act as though they believe these things they obviously know not to be true.  Raising the minimum wage only makes sense if money and currency are the same thing.  Price controls (which are what ObamaCare amounts to) only work if cost is the same thing as value.  "Income Inequality" is only a bad thing if money is the same thing as currency and cost is the same as value.

Since neither of those things is true, then "Income Inequality" cannot be a bad thing.  Indeed, it is a good thing.  That "Income Inequality" is one of the major drivers of any market economy- even one as fettered by regulation and red-tape as ours.  People on the bottom seek to rise to the top.  Thus (if they know the truth that money != currency and cost != value), they seek to become more valuable to their employer (or their customers) while also obtaining more capital (that is: money).  Those who succeed are made "richer" those who fail are made "poorer."

I am not going to engage in a defense of capitalism's record on charity.  Such defenses have already been made, and only the willfully ignorant believe that capitalism does not care for the poor better than socialism.

However, I will point out that the fact that those who fail to become more valuable are made poorer is a driver in the economy.

They are a driver in that the poor still need things.  Thus capitalists seek ways to serve those needs- providing low-cost alternatives to higher-cost goods.  Since the rich didn't get that way by wasting money, they often *also* seize on these lower-cost alternatives, further enriching society in general.

They are a driver in that, absent some perverse incentive, the poor are encouraged by their very "poor-ness" (virtually no one in the USA is "in poverty") to become more valuable.  As they strive to become more valuable, more value is added to the economy, and everyone (including the "poor") benefit.

They are a driver in that, being currently less valuable than others, they can provide low-cost services.  A fry-guy job at QuickyBurger for $7.50/hr is better than no job for $0.00/hr.  By providing those low cost services, the "poor" make services cheaper than they otherwise would be AND make themselves more valuable.

Considered another way- what if there were no "income inequality?"  What if, as the Democrats claim to dream, suddenly the fry-guy at QuickyBurger is making the same as a Personal Banker at MegaBank Corp, who is making the same as a software developer for MegaSoft Industries.

Well then, what personal value is it for someone to put forth the effort to become a banker or a software developer?  Being a fry-guy isn't the most rewarding career, but it's certainly much easier with far less stress (in general) than being a banker or a software developer.  Why pay for certifications or go to school for 4+ years when doing so will have no benefit?  I mean, I can pay several hundred to a couple thousand dollars for classes and certification (to tens of thousands of dollars for a college degree), but then I'm making the same amount as the fry-guy.  What's the point?

For there to be software developers and bankers and electricians and so forth to have any incentive to learn those trades, there must be some value to them.  That is, there must be the promise of more income than they'd get as the fry-guy.  In short, the "challenge" to "remove income inequality" is the quest to destroy an economy- to make an "economy" full of fry-guys and empty of bankers, software developers, and electricians.

Friday, December 6, 2013

This? Again?

So Liberals, fresh off the stunning success of ObamaCare, are now agitating for an increase in the minimum wage to "fix" the economy.

Any Conservative can spout off the talking points:

  • The REAL Minimum Wage is Zero!
  • Raising the Minimum Wage increases unemployment!
  • Raising the Minimum Wage leads to inflation!

And so forth.

But let's get past the talking points for a moment, and actually think about *why* raising the minimum wage is a bad idea.  Sure, the real minimum wage really is zero.  Sure, it really does increas unemployment (or, at least, slows hiring).  Sure, it really does lead to inflation (through increased costs, rather than through increased money supply).

But one of those is a tautology, and the other two are effects.  Instead, let's consider some foundational ideas.  Those things are true, but so (at least on the surface) are the liberal's talking points.  So let's look at the real world.

That is, let's look again at what "money" and "wages" really are.

First off- money.  I've pointed out before that those ones and zeros in your bank account are not money.  Neither are those dollars or coins in your pocket.  The latter is "currency" which is merely an abstraction of money.  The former is an abstraction even of currency.

Money, at its base, is the representation of the value of capital.  Sometimes that capital is "real" (that is- stuff or land), sometimes it is "labor" (that is- a person actually doing something).  Nevertheless, "money" is essentially an abstraction of "I'd like to trade this half-pound of apples for that loaf of bread."

Wages, then, is money- that abstraction- given in exchange for labor.  That means- however much currency is exchanged, you are only giving someone the value of their labor.  Now, market distortions (such as a "minimum wage") can mess with that to some extent and for a time.  Ultimately, however, money is like water- it will find its level.

So let's consider what "raising the minimum wage" really does.  It states, arbitrarily, that the currency representation of the value of the labor of the fry-guy at QuickyBurger is now $10.00/hr.  Will that make the fry-guy at QuickyBurger able to buy more stuff?  Over the short-term, it will.  Over the long term, the value of a fry-guy is the value of a fry-guy, and that value is not enough to be a bread-winning career.  So the Economy (that gigantic, chaotic abstraction) will eventually find it's equilibrium, and the fry-guy at QuickyBurger will be in the same place he was before.  Sure, gas will cost $15/gal, and the "value menu" will be the "$5.00 value menu," but ultimately he'll be where he was before- needing roommates to have an apartment and not being able to afford most of the "finer things" in life.

Now, how do I know this to be true?  Because I've lived it.  Most of us have.  When I was a kid, minimum wage was $5.15/hr.  Someone working a minimum wage job could just about afford a cheap car payment, gas, and some minor bills (say, a credit card).  That was about it.  Today, someone making $7.50/hr can afford... a cheap car payment, gas, and some minor bills.  That's about it.  So if we raise the minimum wage to $10.00/hr, then in a couple of years, someone making $10.00/hr will be able to afford a cheap car payment, gas, and some minor bills.

On the other hand, when I was a kid, someone making $7.50 an hour could afford a cheap car payment, gas, some minor bills, and could go in with one or two other people and afford a decent apartment.  Now, someone making $10.00/hr can afford a cheap car payment, gas, some minor bills, and can go in with one or two other people and afford a decent apartment.

Now, even cold-hearted capitalists like me will admit that someone making minimum wage can't support themselves, let alone a family.  The difference is that capitalists (cold-hearted or otherwise) also recognize that the kind of work for which you get paid minimum wage is not the kind of work you should be doing for a career.  It doesn't have the value of a job that you could have for a career.

My first job was a minimum wage, part-time job at a pizza joint while I was in high school.  My second job (starting right as I got out of high school) paid slightly better (about $6.50/hr, IIRC) as a bank teller.  Obviously, "bank teller" provided more value than "pizza joint bus boy."  My next job was making $10.00/hr.  And, with a few exceptions due to Life Happening, that has been my progression.  Now as a 30-something with a wife, two kids, two cars, two dogs, and a mortgage, I'm making enough money that my wife works only because she wants to (and part-time, at that).  It took effort, it took hustle, and it took gumption, but I did it.

I couldn't have done it without those early jobs.  They taught me things- from showing up on time (and even early), to how to deal with coworkers I didn't like, to how to argue with a boss and win.

So rather than focusing on the wage which won't change however we represent it in currency, let's focus on the actual problem- people holding entry-level jobs who are trying to make them be careers.  That is something we can fix, and we don't need legislation to do it.  All that we need to fix that is education, and I'm not even talking about public schools here.

But, of course, that won't happen.  It won't happen because the Democrats can't let it.  One of the biggest weapons in their arsenal is that they supposedly care for "the poor" more than Republicans.  If they admitted that Republicans have been right this entire time and that raising the minimum wage doesn't actually help (and really harms) lower income workers, they'd lose that weapon.  And Democrats don't care about the poor.  The only care about how the poor vote.

Consider it this way- if you really cared for the poor, wouldn't you do everything you could to raise them up and make them better- so that they could support themselves without your help?  So what do you call it when you're doing everything you can to make them believe that they're incapable of taking care of themselves and that you're the only one who can protect them?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Guilty Party

As we continue digesting the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, many of those who yelled “Justice for Trayvon!” continue to complain that the “murderer” got away.  We’ve already discussed in this space why George Zimmerman is not a murderer.  Indeed, George Zimmerman is not at all responsible for what happened that night in Sanford, FL.

As for the proximate actors, the guilty party was Trayvon Martin.  If nothing else, the “lesson” of the Zimmerman case is this: don’t attack strangers in Concealed Carry states.

But there is some truth to the claim that the person (or persons) responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death have not been punished.  But, you see, they never will be.  They never will be because to punish them would require those same people who are currently threatening George Zimmerman (and his parents) with assassination to realize an uncomfortable fact.  They are the ones responsible; them and the culture they represent.

You see, Trayvon Martin came from an habitually violent culture.  It is a culture which still believes manhood is attained through acts of violence and domination.  You can hear it in their music and speech.  You can see it in their dress and their dance.  A male is not a “man” until he has somehow proven it.  A female is not a woman but a “ho,” a piece of property to belong to some thug.

Now, many will call me racist (excuse me: “raaaaacist”) for saying these things, but they are simply true.  Moreover, there is no racial element here.  The thug culture is not limited to Blacks.  It is not even limited to “minorities.”  Last time I looked, Marshall Mathers was White.  These cultural markers exist for white thugs as much as they do for black, brown, yellow, or green. 

We now know that Trayvon Martin was a violence happy thug.  Indeed, in at least one instance he complained that someone he fought had not bled enough.  This is a cultural issue, not a racial one.

And that it is not a racial issue is important.  You cannot choose your race.  Trayvon Martin was Black.  George Zimmerman is most properly a “mutt” or “mongrel” (as is the author of this post).  But George Zimmerman’s culture was superior to Trayvon Martin’s culture.

George Zimmerman’s culture produced a man who cared about his neighborhood enough to volunteer with the neighborhood watch.  His culture produced a man who attempted to help those less fortunate than himself.  It produced a man who fought injustice when the white son of a police officer beat up a homeless black man.  It produced a man who was, and I presume still is, aspirational.

Trayvon Martin’s culture produced a man who was a thug.  His culture produced a man who had been suspended three times that school year alone.  It produced a man who saw his worth in physical violence.  It produced a man who, when given the option of shrugging off a perceived slight instead chose to confront a stranger, in that stranger’s neighborhood.

So it is no surprise that that culture is now seeking revenge.  And revenge is what it seeks, not justice.  Because for it to seek justice would require it to cease to exist.  It- the Thug Culture- is responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death far more than the poor man who was forced to take a life in order to preserve his own.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Miscarriage of Justice

A 17 year old young man is dead.  His family are emotionally wounded, perhaps shattered.  The man who killed him walks free; his conscience is the only punishment (outside of punishment of standing trial) he will receive- provided someone seeking vigilante justice does not kill him.

And none of that is a miscarriage of justice.  The miscarriage of justice is that he was tried in the first place.  The miscarriage of justice is that the young man's family was told their son was murdered, and that the murderer would be jailed.  The miscarriage of justice is that people today want the gunman dead.

I speak, of course, of the case of Florida v Zimmerman, in which George Zimmerman was prosecuted for acting in self defense.  A case in which the special prosecutor did not maintain the properly- even necessary- distance from the case and instead promised young Trayvon Martin's family "Justice for Trayvon."  A case in which a family court judge ran a criminal court in the manner of family court.  A case which should have ended with the Prosecution failed even to prove there was a crime, let alone that Zimmerman was guilty of it.

On that rainy night, George Zimmerman called the police.  His story- a story which has not changed materially since the night of the shooting- is that he exited his vehicle to check the street name and street numbers to better guide police to the correct location.  I do not believe it incredible that he also attempted to locate young Mr. Martin, but there is no proof of that. 

Zimmerman's story continues: after hanging up with police and realizing he had no sight of Martin, he moved to return to his vehicle.  At this point, he was confronted my Mr. Martin.  This was no 12 year old cherub, as the media would have you believe.  He was a 17 year old football player, nearing the prime of his physical life.  He was a thug who liked fighting, and in a series of texts would lament that an opponent had not bled enough.

We do not know the specifics of that conversation.  We do know it was brief.  We also know that it was brief because of how quickly it became physical.  Zimmerman maintains that Martin attacked him, punching him in the nose, and that he (Zimmerman) was too stunned to defend himself until he was on the ground being straddled by Martin.  Zimmerman claims it was at this point he cried for help, and continued to do so until Martin discovered Zimmerman's concealed weapon, whereupon Martin (says Zimmerman) said "You're going to die tonight."

Zimmerman grabbed his gun and fired one shot.  That shot was fatal.  Martin would have lost consciousness within seconds.  He would have been dead within a number of minutes which does not require two digits to count.

All of this is Zimmerman's story.  On the record.  Repeatedly.  Never once has any material claim he made changed.

But what did the evidence say?  What did officers believe?  Evidence showed that Zimmerman had a damaged face, and abrasions on the back of his head.  Evidence showed no outward signs of physical trauma to Martin except scraped knuckles (as may have occured when punching someone in the face), and the single gunshot wound.  When they interviewed him, officers believed Zimmerman was telling the truth.  He was arrested and interrogated that night; he submitted to both without counsel.  The next day, he walked the investigators through his version of events- on camera.

The police decided all the evidence pointed to self defense.  The DA decided all the evidence pointed to self defense.  Mr. Zimmerman was released.

That should have been the end of it.  As tragic as that tale was, it should have ended there.  But it was not to be.  For a variety of reasons- I personally believe because Barack Obama was flagging in the polls- the Media picked up the story.  They decided that the Hispanic Zimmerman must be a white guy.  They decided that Zimmerman must have racially profiled Martin, and edited the 911 call to prove their point.

Because of Rick Scott's cowardice, special prosecutor Angela Corey was assigned to the case.  Using deceptive, even criminal, prosecutorial practices, she indicted Mr. Zimmerman on a charge of 2nd Degree Murder- a charge which requires more than mere rage, it requires a "depraved state of mind."  Ms. Corey promised "Justice for Trayvon."

Now, the trial is over.  For those of us who followed the trial closely, it was a bizarre, frightening thing.  The prosecution seemed to believe it merely needed to provide reasonable doubt that Zimmerman's account was accurate, rather than proving the charge "beyond a reasonable doubt."  The judge made strange decisions- somehow Mr. Zimmerman's past was relevant, but texts from Mr. Martin's phone (showing above mentioned history of violence) were not.  Defense motions were denied almost out of hand.  The Defense methodically destroyed every assertion made by the prosecution.  State's witness after State's witness provided testimony which not only did not contradict Mr. Zimmerman's account, but bolstered it.

Zimmerman was, thankfully, acquitted.  He should never have been tried, but he was.  And now he should be free.  The story should end there.  But it doesn't.

The Media and so-called "intelligencia" would *still* have you believe that Zimmerman was "morally, if not criminally" responsible for the death of Mr. Martin.  And that's the kindest version.  Many believe he literally got away with murder.  The New Black Panther Party wants him dead.  NFL Players wished him dead.  Many are clamoring for Federal Charges.

Zimmerman may have been acquitted, but he will never be free.  He must live now in fear for his life, for the lives of his family and loved ones.  All because of a miscarriage of justice.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Only the Business Mandate?

With due respect to Ace, I think he’s burying the lead hereOh, and here, too.

See, while it is important that Barack Obama (who is a stuttering CF of a malignant traitor) is assuming authority not granted, that’s hardly news anymore.  And, in this case, if he “asked” Congress for it, he’d get it- Republicans would sign on in a heartbeat, as would most Democrats.  So, it’s bad, but it’s not the worst part of this, in my opinion.

See what is specifically not mentioned is the Individual Mandate. 

So Barack Obama is siding with “Wall Street” and “Big Corporate” interests over “Main Street” and “Just Folks.”  The people on Main Street would like their own Mandate- the individual mandate- to be delayed, but that’s not being done.  It’s only the “Corporate Fat Cats” (who, by-the-by, are largely Democrat donors) who receive this unexpected break.

So, while Obama’s corporate buddies get to protect their bottom line for one more year, individuals- many of whom were counting on group coverage from their employer- will still be on the hook for very expensive Individual Policies.

Just to see how expensive, I used HealthCompare to see what coverage would cost for my family- 2 adults and 2 children.  The cheapest I found, via BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, for a $10,000 deductible, and then a further $3,000 coinsurance maximum (for total out-of-pocket of $13,000 + copays + prescriptions) would cost me $312.00 per month.  If I could get it at that price.  And that’s starting next month, rather than next year (when prices will inevitably have increased)

Now, some individuals were expecting that.  They’re self-employed, or they work at a company with fewer than 50 employees.  But many people were expecting to have access to group coverage- coverage that would almost certainly be less expensive per month AND would have the benefit of coming from pre-tax dollars.  And now those people will not be getting that coverage- throwing them into the Individual Insurance market.

So, with due respect Ace, I think the point of this story is this: Obama promised he was doing this for “normal folks.”  Yet it seems he’s in it for his donors, instead.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Listen to the Difference

This video comes to me via commenter “Lauren” at the Ace of Spades HQ.  Lauren an a host of others went to Austin, TX this morning to help counteract the (largely astro-turfed) pro-baby-murder (wait, I’m supposed to call them “Pro Choice”) crowd.  You know, the ones who stood with Wendy Davis who, if her mother believed as she obviously does, would never have been born.

Hear that singing? It's "Amazing Grace." That's the pro-life group. Here that angry chanting? (I think it's supposed to be "choice! now!") That's the pro-baby-murder group.

Now, that would be bad enough.  I mean, really, “Choice! Now!” as though there is no “choice” in Texas at the moment?  Let’s look at this bill they’re “protesting.”

First, it would prohibit abortions after the 20th week.  Specifically it would prohibit “elective” abortions after the 20th week.  For the record, here are a bunch of ultrasounds of human babies at 16 weeks (4 weeks prior to that deadline).  I’m sorry, but at 20 weeks (well into the 2nd trimester) we’re no longer talking about a “choice.” 

Second, it would hold abortion clinics to the same health and inspection standards as Ambulatory Surgery centers.  Considering the risks involved (see the “complications” section of that second list) involved with D&C or D&E procedures, I would think women would want that level of sanitation.  Wasn’t the whole point of “safe, legal, and rare” that women were getting these abortions in “back alleys” and that’s bad because back alleys are, well, dirty?

Third, it would impose some limitations on doctors performing the butchery (sorry, “procedure”).  They would have to have admitting privileges to an actual hospital, among other things.

So, with the exception of the week limit, these are all for women’s health.  These changes make it more likely that women will even survive the procedure.  Taken as a whole, they will help prevent (or at least punish after the fact) any further Kermit Gosnells.

And, somehow, that’s a bridge too far for the pro-baby-murder crowd.

But they didn’t stop there.  Lauren also chimed in with this:

My Source* is a huge pro-abortion activist. So great, in fact, that she had knowledge of and and invitation to, the OWS tactics meeting that was held yesterday.  Basically, she went and was really disgusted by their tactics because she recognized them as the ones that were used against her when she was a precinct chair for Hillary 4 Texas. Obama's minions used these tactics way back then.

She says that she just got back from the tactics meeting, and instead of the "how to not get arrested" meeting that it was billed as it was actually a "how to cause as much disruption as possible without getting your hands dirty."

Basically and OWSer marks a random person as a target. This is usually someone in a position of power on the opposite side. The OWSer calls over the police and tells them that the target has been harassing them and demands an on the spot investigation.

The police oblige, and spend the next 30-45 minutes interviewing the target. Obviously this disrupts the opposition's protest and also, more importantly, it pulls police away from their duties which gives the OWSers room to do whatever nefarious deed they have planned.

*- Source was identified to me, but Lauren asked that I withhold the identification.  Also, this is an edited version of a lengthy email, I believe I have represented it in all material ways correctly.

So it’s not enough to attempt a “public’s veto” of a duly passed bill.  It’s not enough to claim that baby-murder (sorry: “choice”) is so important that we must not have the least amount of regulation and oversight of the facilities in which this butchery (sorry: procedure) will be done.  No, we also have to attempt to have the authorities interfere with the opposition, lest anyone hear their side of it.

Well, murder-bots?  Now our side is being heard.  Whether you like it not.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

An Open Letter to Rick Perry

Honorable Governor,
I have written to you before on diverse subjects, though all linked by one theme: Liberty.  Thus it is not particularly surprising that I find myself writing again on the same subject.  Thomas Jefferson once said that "the Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."  I hope that he was mistaken.  I hope that the Tree of Liberty, once firmly rooted in good soil, will thrive without such a watering.
But even if I am correct, and Mr. Jefferson wrong, it requires good soil.
Governor, the soil around the Tree of Liberty is dying.  I, and those like me, have no power to correct this.  You, and those like you, do.  When people like me decide to revive Liberty's tree, we have only one option.  My mind shudders from that idea so violently that I dare not even name it.  Politicians however, especially Governors, have much more power.  With greater power comes greater finesse with which it can be wielded.
You may be wondering at this preamble.  Why would I take such a serious, even desperate tone?  It is to impart upon you the weight of my feeling.  And not just mine.  Uncounted, and perhaps uncountable, numbers of Texans see what is going on in the United States, and we want it stopped. 
You and the other governors have the ability to stand against this rogue regime which calls itself the Barack Obama administration and protect the American people.  Perhaps you even have the power to refresh the Tree of Liberty without blood. 
The offenses of this administration against Liberty are almost innumerable.  They began almost from the day Mr. Obama was sworn in in 2009, starting with the GM Bailout which subverted established law and stole rightful remuneration from secured bond holders, while giving power over a private US company to the union which destroyed it, and to the federal government.
The so-called "stimulus" bill was simply a way to steal money from taxpayers and funnel it to the President's allies and pet causes.  The Orwellian named "Affordable Care Act" threatens our very lives, placing them in the hands of unnamed, unaccountable bureaucrats.  The IRS and EPA leak sensitive data on disfavored parties.  The government suppresses speech it does not like- holding up applications for 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 status- making it harder for groups to raise funds.  If that is not enough, they then also target the President's enemies for audits and other harassment.  Anecdotal evidence suggests all federal agencies are in on this as well, from the FBI to HHS to OSHA.
Now, we learn that the federal government has retrieved, by warrant, the phone records of every domestic phone call on the big carriers.  It is true that the Patriot Act allows for some domestic spying under very strict circumstances and very specific cases.  That is fine for true national security needs.  However, the NSA spying via PRISM and the Telecom warrants would be massive violations of all Americans' rights, even if the warrants did not make all the data so gleaned admissible in criminal trials.
I am sure I do not need to tell you, but as this is an open letter, I feel the need to inform others who may read this.  A warrant is a legal document which, in essence, proclaims that the government believes a particular person to be guilty of a particular crime.  That is why, as the 4th Amendment to our US Constitution declares, "and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
This should make it clear that the warrants for all calls made on the Verizon, or AT&T, or Sprint networks are nothing less than the most massive fishing expedition in US jurisprudence history.  Whatever judge signed such warrant should be immediately impeached- though that is an issue for our US Representatives and Senators.
Combined with the above abuses, how can anyone call the current administration legitimate?  It is a tyrannical regime which seeks to silence opposition while raining favors on its cronies.  It is no longer a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Governor, I beseech you- you, and your fellow governors who love liberty, protect us from this tyrant, this despot.
It is within the power of the State of Texas to provide legal safety for her People.  It is within her power to reject those laws and decrees from the federal government which are not in line with the constitution.  It is within her power shelter our Liberty.
There are 30 States with Republican Governors.  There are 33 States which are refusing to implement the Exchanges required by The Affordable Care Act.  I beg you meet with the governors of those states, along with our own Senators and Representatives to the US Congress- Re-assert the powers of the States.  Re-assert the powers of the People.  Destroy this tyrant state which has been built since the days of Franklin Roosevelt.  Burn it down.  Scatter its stones.  Salt the earth where it stood.
May God bless you, Governor.  May He bless you, the People of this State and this nation, and may God bless Texas.
In humble sincerity,
Allen Goodner
Arlington, TX

Friday, May 3, 2013

Another Round of "Spot the Media Bias"

Today's Guest is a post from NBC's "First Read."  "Obama vows to keep at gun control"

We'll take a look at two pull quotes, and see what we can see.

First up:
Speaking following a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose country has been ravaged by gang violence supported in part by gun trafficking into Mexico, Obama vowed to return to the issue of gun control in the United States.

Okay, what does this paragraph want to tell us?  Oh, yes, there it is: Mexico has been ravaged by gang violence supported by gun trafficking.  So guns are bad.  What doesn't it want to tell us?  Two things pop up off the top of my head:

1) Guns are already illegal in Mexico.  Not only are guns illegal, even owning a bullet is illegal.  So tighter gun control is obviously not being particularly helpful there.

2) The man giving that speech was the one responsible for much of the "gun trafficking in Mexico."  Readers of this blog, and other Conservative blogs, have heard of Operation Fast and Furious- the scheme whereby Mexican drug games were given guns by our own government with no method of tracking.  Those same guns were used to murder over 300 Mexican citizens, and at least two American citizens.  The man in charge of that operation- or at least who should have been in charge and should be fired for incompetence if he didn't know about it- is Eric Holder.  His boss is Barack Obama.

Okay.  Second pull quote:
And in an article published Wednesday, the proposal’s Republican author, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, suggested that politics were afoot in many GOP senators’ decision to oppose the package.
“There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it," Toomey told local newspaper editors.

What does this quote want to tell us?

Oh, GOP "political" obstruction.  Got it.

What doesn't it want to tell us?  Again, I've got two off the top of my head, feel free to add more in the comments.

1) While some GOP Senators may have opposed it simply because SCOAMT wanted it, a) that's actually a pretty good starting position, and b) that doesn't include all of those who were told in no uncertain terms that anything less than strong opposition would get them de-elected.

2) That there is any possibility that there could be actual policy objections to the law.  By casting GOP opposition to the law as "political," the reporter is able to ignore the possibility that there are any substantive objections to the law.

Once again, simply checking for bias shows the one-sided coverage rampant in the Media Complex.  These are all points which are germane to the debate, and they didn't take me any thought at all to remember.  An unbiased media, or a media who at least attempted to address their bias, would have included the points, at least as "by-the-ways."  NBC would rather you forget about them all together.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NBC - "Charity is Bad"

Apparently, to the intellectual vapor-weights at NBC, Government Welfare is good, but private charity is bad.  That is the only take-away I can get from this piece about the West, TX fertilizer plant explosion.  You see, since Texas is a low tax, low spending, low regulation state, most of the victims of the blast are having to *gasp* rely on relatives, friends, and their community to get back on their feet.

Some of them -prepare yourselves, this is shocking- may even receive charitable (that is: "free") health care.

If only there were some way that taxpayers could involuntarily be put on the hook for... these things... that... they're already getting?

Seriously, I don't get what NBC (or the "experts" they sought out) thinks is wrong here.  Why should people in Beaumont or Amarillo be on the hook (involuntarily) for a fertilizer plant explosion in West?  Charitable contributions are pouring in.  Even NBC acknowledges that.  No one is going to the State with their hand out and being turned away- no one is going to the State with their hand out.  By way of example:
“I haven’t had any calls requesting assistance,” said Eva Cruz Hamby, who heads health services for McLennan County.

No.  Calls. For.  Assistance.

And somehow this is bad?

Of course it is.  If the nation heard about this in a positive light- a community, state, and nation coming together without any appreciable government assistance, people might get the idea that the Government shouldn't be in the charity business.  We can't let the Knights of Columbus and the Red Cross take care of everything; people might decide that those taxes that are going to various offices of emergency management, or paying for FEMA might be being wasted or something.  Heaven forbid that the American people be self-reliant and able to take care of their own affairs without Government intervention.

In its breathless reporting that nearly 1/4 of Texans don't have health insurance, it simply glosses over the fact that 100% of them have access to health care.  Every county has a county hospital which will provide care regardless of ability to pay.  Even most private hospitals (not-for-profit or otherwise) will do the same.  For the times when that isn't enough, other charities pay for people, neighbors help neighbors.

But to the idiots at NBC, this is a bad thing.  Because it proves the lie that the Government must be responsible for taking care of you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The God Who Weeps

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord” they replied
Jesus wept.
-John 11:33-35

This has been a tough week.  From the explosion at the Boston Marathon on Monday to the explosion in West, TX last night, it has been reminder after reminder that life sucks.  From the marathon, families are mourning.  As far as I know there are none missing.  From West, as of the last information I have, there are still people missing- and probably dead.  The nation stands in shock and mourning.

It is at times like this that people search for answers.  They want to know “why?”  And while they focus on the worldly “why” - “Why would someone bomb the Boston Marathon?”  “How did the fire start at the fertilizer plant?” – most people really want to know the cosmic “why?”  Why is the universe so fundamentally unfair?  Among those dead in Boston are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and an 8 year old boy.  Among those dead in West are (almost certainly- see also: some not accounted for) some of the emergency responders who were trying to combat the blaze in the first place.  None of these people deserved to die.

Now, part of me says, as Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven so famously did: “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”  That’s a cold and clinical part.  Maybe it’s because I’m a guy.  Maybe it’s because I’m not “all there” emotionally.  Whatever the reason, I understand that bad things happen to good people, and we just have to deal with it.  The only answer is an early exit- and that’s no answer at all.

But part of me says, “God, why?” 

And God answers, “Because the world is fallen.  Because you have chosen Sin over Righteousness.  Because the Prince of the World is defeated, but not powerless.”

And when I hear that answer, it is no comfort.  But then I remember something, something that makes that answer bring comfort.  I remember a man- middle aged for his day, a young man by today’s standards, standing on a road in Bethany- just over two miles from where he would die- crying like a baby because one of his best friends was dead.  Jesus would raise Lazarus in just a little bit- probably about an hour, when all was said and done- yet “Jesus wept.”

I have a God who weeps.  I have a God who knows “it’s not fair.”  I have a God whose Mercy cries out to just make all the bad go away- but holds itself in check so that just a few more might be Saved and live with Him forever.  I have a God who I can cling to and cry like a baby when the world is too much.

And that brings me comfort.  I hope it brings you some, too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This is Capitalism

And Corporations hate Capitalism

Some time ago, I cut my cable (well, for TV) and started using a service called "PlayOn" which allows me to watch internet TV.  It serves all my needs (I only watch OTA broadcasts for sports anyway) quite well.  However, many people do not like such services (PlayOn is not the only one), because they do not provide live TV.  If you want live TV, you're limited to what's available with your antenna, or you have to keep cable (or satellite, or whatever).

Or, rather, you did.

Let me introduce you to a cool company of which few (if any) of you have heard: Aero.  It seems the minds behind Aero were also rather distressed at the idea live sports were only available if you had cable, satellite, or if they were OTA in your area.  So they did something about it.  They capture the OTA signal, digitize it (well, it's already digital now- maybe I'll get into the irony of that later), and pipe it through the internet into your home.

Now, right-thinking, entrepreneurial types look at that idea and say, "Why didn't I think of that?"  The big Media Corporations look at it, and say "No!  Thou shalt not!"

At the root of their argument is the idea that they, and only they, should be allowed to transmit their content outside a given viewing area.  Their argument fails, unless they want to take PlayOn, AppleTV, GoogleTV, Hulu, and a host of other groups to court.  See, these other groups have been doing exactly what Aero will be doing, with the exception of sporting events and with the exception of "live," for quite some time.

Now, I don't want to get too far into the weeds about the legal argument here, but it is important background information.  In fact, the Media Corporations have made exactly this argument, and so far no court has agreed with them.  They don't have to broadcast OTA.  Given that they broadcast OTA, that content is "free."  The media company's only option (currently) is to stop broadcasting over the air.  They could move to a subscription only model.

However, Big Corporations are actually anti-capitalist.  Well, many Big Corps are.  Using Government interference, they force competitors out of business.  It's true all the time.  If you ever hear of GE or P&G or Exxon or whoever "supporting" new regulation, the reason is that regulation will be difficult for them to follow, but it will be impossible (or near enough so) for smaller competitors to follow.

And the same is true here.  News Corp is threatening to take all their content to subscription only.  That would be dumb, but it's their right (I like Bones; I don't like it enough to subscribe to cable for it.  I like NFL football; I don't like it enough to subscribe to cable for it.)  Most other companies, however, are threatening something much more ominous:
“If Aereo’s model is ultimately upheld,” Stifel Nicolaus analysts Christopher King and David Kaut wrote in a recent note, it could force “the broadcast/content companies to seek Congressional relief.”

Yes, you read that correctly: rather than compete with new services, rather than find some way to offer the same service at a price people are willing to pay, the media companies will "seek Congressional relief."  That is, they will seek to change the law in a way that benefits them and hurts its competition- not to mention consumers.

As of now, there is no legislation that I know of about this.  But it's something to keep an eye on.  Competition is good for consumers.  Big Corporations are not.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nature Takes Its Course- CNN Money Astonished

CNN Money has an article today (probably "yesterday" by the time you read this) about Doctors increasingly seeking the dubious protection of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  Most of the piece is largely fluff- all emotion and "analysis" without ever really touching on the subject.  I will leave the speculation of why that's so to others, but I think I have some hints.

Here's the first one:
Five years ago, Plantation, Fla.-based bankruptcy attorney David Langley didn't have a single doctor as a client. Since then he's handled at least six bankruptcy cases involving doctors. Two current clients -- an orthopedic surgeon and an OB/GYN -- also are in bankruptcy. 

Hmmm... What could possibly have happened between 5 years ago and today?  I got nothin'.

Now, don't pay attention to this, as it's a Red Herring:
The weak economy has taken a toll on doctors' revenue, as consumers cut back on office visits and lucrative elective procedures, said Guy, a bankruptcy attorney in Nashville with Frost Brown Todd LLC. 

Why do I say it's a Red Herring?  Because all of the actual doctors cited in the article are doctors not known for their "lucrative elective procedures."  Mentioned are: an orthopedic sugeon, an OB/GYN, an Oncologist, and "Primary doctors."  Not listed?  Cosmetic/Bariatric sugeons.  If "cut[ting] back on... lucrative elective procedures" had anything to do with it, don't you think people who specialize in "lucrative elective procedures" would be at the forefront of bankruptcy filings?

So, back to finding hints about why CNN Money might have written a piece which was largely "human interest" and very light on actual facts.

Hint number 2 is here:
Doctors also blame shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, and the rising costs of malpractice insurance, drugs and other business necessities for making it harder to keep their practices afloat. 

I should note that in the linked article, those words "insurance reimbursements" (meant to make you think BlueCross, Aetna, and United are paying your doctor less) are a hyperlink to an article titled: "Medicare doctors' pay to be cut."  That article blames the (by then already) largely averted Sequester.  In reality, you can blame lower Medicare reimbursements on ObamaCare.

Wait, I said I wasn't going to speculate.  Whoops.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Beware the Trojan Horse

 Or... "Those aren't spending cuts, Jim."

Jim Kunhenn with the AP doesn't even realize his own bias.  Most people don't, but the AP would have you believe the are not biased, so it is important to realize they are.  It is also important to spot the bias before you fully read an article, so that you can know the author's starting position.

For instance, Jim gets this part right:
"President Barack Obama's proposed budget will call for reductions in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs while still insisting on more taxes from the wealthy..."  
President SCOAMT's current plan does call for "reductions in growth."

But then he gets this part wrong:
"Obama has also called for limits on tax deductions by the wealthy, a proposal that could generate about $580 billion in revenue over 10 years."  
First off, the limits he's calling for (last time I heard, maybe the new proposal is different), are not "on the wealthy," but rather are on deductions that SCOAMT would you to to believe only the wealthy take.  I have discussed before that this is simply not accurate.  There is no deduction that only kicks in when you're a millionaire.  Rather, there are deductions that people who run their own businesses can take, and (on paper at least) many of the "wealthy" do run their own businesses.  The "Corporate Jet Deduction" is exactly the same deduction that small businesses get to take for their commercial trucks or vans.  It's the same deduction that an IT business gets to take for the computers it buys.

The first part is said because it sounds good for SCOAMT- that is, it makes him sound "reasonable"- and therefore attempts to paint any opposition to the President's proposal as "unreasonable."  The second part was said because it also sounds good for the President, it makes him sound like he out "for the little guy," and therefore any opposition must be out "for the rich."

So, now that we have the issue of his unacknowledged bias out of the way, we can proceed with the rest of the article.  Click over and read it, but here is the main highlight:

A key feature of the plan Obama now is submitting for the federal budget year beginning Oct. 1 is a revised inflation adjustment called "chained CPI." This new formula would effectively curb annual increases in a broad swath of government programs, but would have its biggest impact on Social Security. By encompassing Obama's offer to Boehner, R-Ohio, the plan will also include reductions in Medicare spending, much of it by targeting payments to health care providers and drug companies.

By changing Chained CPI, the President a) gets to monkey (yet again) with the inflation numbers to hide actual inflation, and b) hurt Social Security recipients (the blame for which he would then lay at the feet of Republicans).  The sensible, reasonable way to "fix" Social Security is to cut the bureaucracy, and ruthlessly cut out anyone on SSDI who is capable of any work whatsoever.  I was laid up with back-pain so bad it made me immobile for most of a month recently- I still worked.  Not everyone can do that, but most people who are "disabled" aren't really- they could do work, they just couldn't work that construction job they've had their entire working lives.  It sucks, but that's not really the Government's job to fix.  Don't even get me started on people who are "disabled" because of depression.

Then note the changes to medicare- all in benefits (that is: payments to doctors and pharmacies).  Not even lip-service toward "waste, fraud, and abuse." 

This budget is designed to be a poison pill.  For the SCOAMT, it is a win-win-win.  If the Republicans uniformly (or nearly uniformly) oppose it, then he can blame the "obstructionist Republicans," for four more years.  If some Republicans oppose it, and others support it, he gets to further deepen the divide between the Conservative and Moderate factions of the Republican Party.  If Republicans agree, he gets to hasten the destruction of the political party he views as his enemy, and deepen the mistrust between Republican officials and grass-roots conservatives.

The only way Republicans have any chance of "winning" is not to play.  Remind people that Obama campaigned on 3:1 cuts to taxes, then moved the goal-posts to 2:1 cuts to taxes, and then moved them again to 1:1 cuts to taxes.  Tell people this is unacceptable; that the first might have been agreeable, but that you cannot negotiate with someone who refuses to negotiate in good faith.  Then point out- relentlessly- every chance you get that SCOAMT's cuts are all in services, he never once proposes to cut Government.

The rules of the current game are rigged.  Play a new game.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Refreshing Honesty

Here, go read this.  No, really, go read it.  I'll wait.


Nope, I'm still here.  You finish it.


Okay, back?  Good.

Now, I could go on all day about "well of course insurers are finding ways to avoid the costly increases in Obamacare."  I could even point out that that was the point of Obamacare (as it was advertised)- to make insurers do things to keep costs down.  It's just that in this case what they're "doing to keep costs down" is engaging in a little creative problem solving and avoiding the very law that was supposed to make things so super-duper inexpensive (but which is really making insurance rates explode).

But I won't.

I wanted to point out these little nuggets:
That may offer a short-term benefit for certain consumers and shield some of those individual policyholders from potentially steep rate increases. But critics say this maneuver could undermine government efforts to remake the insurance market next year and keep premiums affordable overall.

Wait... what?  I thought we were told that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan."  "Government efforts to remake the insurance market" sure doesn't sound like "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," to me.  Well, maybe I'm missing something.  Let's keep looking.

Some policy experts are expressing concern about this practice for fear that insurers will focus on renewing younger and healthier policyholders and hold them out of the broader insurance pool next year. Their absence could leave a sicker and older population in new government insurance exchanges, driving up medical costs and premiums there.

Wait... what?  I thought the people who couldn't afford insurance coverage were the "younger" crowd.  Isn't that why my insurance now has to offer coverage to my "dependents" until they're 26?  Because somehow this "younger and healthier" set couldn't get insurance.  I was told that they wouldn't really be subsidizing the sick and elderly, because the sick would go on exchanges, and the elderly were going to get Medicare anyway.  You mean that isn't happening?

"This could undermine the Affordable Care Act, and it opens the door for exacerbating potential rate shock in the exchanges," said Christine Monahan, a senior analyst at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "The health insurers can cherry-pick some healthy people and it raises prices for everyone else."

You mean those exchanges that don't exist?  Yeah, I can see this being terrible for them.  Moreover, "cherry-pick[ing] some healthy people" does not "[raise] prices for everyone else."  Healthy people do not cause insurance rates to rise.  Sick ones do.

Beyond that, why should we be concerned about "undermining" any Federal Law?  Isn't the Federal Government supposed to serve us?  Shouldn't they be more concerned about undermining our Liberty?  It seems not.

Now, I could go on, but the real "problem" that's being danced around here is this one:
"We want to get as many people as possible into the exchange," Savage said. "I think having renewals go deep into 2014 is counterproductive to the goals of the federal healthcare law."

That's some refreshing honesty right there.  They want to destroy private insurance.  They want Government to run insurance   And once Government decides what care you can receive- far more pervasively than any private insurer could- Government owns you.

I don't feel like being owned.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pioneer Project: Producing Projectiles Why Me?

You could take that question one of two ways.

If I'm asking it (that is, I'm saying, "Why me?" or you're saying, "Why you?") the answer is fairly simple- someone had to take this thing from a "plan to have a plan" stage to a "plan that we're trying to implement" stage.  And I volunteered.

If you're asking it (that is, You're saying "Why me?"), the answer is a little more difficult.  Why should you trust me, Some Internet Guy, with your hard-earned money?  Why should you care about this endeavor?

And I could answer "you have to trust someone," but a) that's not very helpful and b) it's not true.

So let's see if I can provide and answer that is both more helpful and true.

Either you believe that we're in dire straights in this country, or you don't.  If you don't, then read no further- there is no reason (beyond any generosity you may be feeling) to help us with the Pioneer Project.  If you do, however, then you have to ask yourself what you are going to do about it.

The sad fact is that "our" politicians do not listen to us because they are not "our" politicians.  They work for themselves and their own power (which is hardly surprising, however disappointing it may be).  Their power and privilege are best served by serving a variety of paymasters, none of whom are you and me.  This is even true of our political leaders who aren't supposed to be politicans (*ahem*SCOTUS*ahem*).

A further fact is that a reckoning is coming.  I don't know whether it's coming next week, next month, next year, or next decade.  I do know it's coming.  I further know that it isn't getting any further away.  It will never be longer until the reckoning occurs than it is today.

And that scares me.

So I and others on the Ace of Spades site proposed this project- a combining of efforts to see like-minded people through the hard times when that reckoning occurs.  But that project requires certain things- among them resources (particularly monetary and material).  Now, there are various ways we could get those resources, but we like the "self-reliance" model.

That is, we plan to provide a product that people want and sell it for a price they will pay.  Yes, this hand-loading endeavor will be "mine."  I (exclusively) will operate it at least in the early days.  Hopefully it will expand.  But a fair portion of the profits from that endeavor will be channeled back into the Pioneer Project to fund other people's projects.

Maybe you want to start a farm-to-market truck in a rural or semi-rural area.  The more resources we have, the better we can help you do that.

So I'm not asking you to give me money.  I'm asking you to invest in your future, and that of your family. 

Think it over.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Case Against Background Checks

So Democrats keep pursuing "Universal Background Checks" for "common sense gun control."  Their primary "Fact" (which happens to be wrong, color me stunned) is that "40% of gun purchases happen without a background check."

Before I point out why background checks are a bad idea, let's go ahead and dispense with this argument.

First, as I pointed out, it's wrong.  Roughly 60% of guns are purchased directly from stores or dealers and require full background checks.  Roughly 30% of guns are obtained via gift or inheritance.  There's already laws against knowingly giving a gun to someone who isn't supposed to have one, so any additional "background check" rules are not going to do squat about that.

That leaves roughly 10% of gun purchases which do not require a background check.  Heck, let's be generous and remove the gift/inheritance demographic completely.  That means (back of napkin math) that our pool goes down to 70% of it's original.  If we assume 100 guns as the original number(this math should scale up, since we're talking real percentages), now we're down to 70 that were purchased at all.  Of those, 60 have background checks, and 10 do not.  Ten is approximately 14.29% of 70, which is far short of 40%.

But 40% sounds scarier, so that's what they're running with.

Now, lets take a look at what this argument is really saying.  It has two false premises.

False premise number one: A new law can stop people from breaking the law. 

As already mentioned, it's already illegal to give a gun to someone who is legally prohibited from having one.  If I give a gun to a known felon, I've broken the law.  Are you suggesting I'm going to be more concerned about breaking the law after your super-double-serious law about background checks passes?

False premise number two: The American people are not trustworthy.
The only reason background checks make sense for purchases at all is that we don't want "crazy people or felons" to have weapons.  That's fine as far as it goes.  However- as proven with the Newton, CT shooting, crazy people can still get guns (see point one about criminals not obeying the law).  The same is true of felons.  So the only reason that 40% number is scary at all is if you believe that a) the only reason someone would purchase in a way that didn't require a background check was to obtain an illegal weapon and b) that if that purchase now required a background check they wouldn't find some other way to obtain a weapon.

If you don't believe both of those things, then it shouldn't matter if that number is 10%, 14%, 40%, or 90%.

Now that we've shown the Liberals don't really have a case for universal background checks, let's consider the case against them.

It comes down to one thing: background checks are de facto gun registration.  Even if I don't mention the specific model of the handgun being sold, the background check alerts the government that Citizen Y has purchased a handgun.  Now the government knows that Citizen Y has a handgun.

Registration is the necessary first step in confiscation.  Not that confiscation will necessarily result (though we know that's their end-game), but that without registration confiscation is completely impossible.

Now, since we know their end-game is complete confiscation- they've said as much in hundreds of ways- then it stands to reason they also know that 100% registration is the only way to get to confiscation.  Since I don't particularly want my guns confiscated, you'll excuse me if I reject the idea of Universal Background Checks.

I trust the majority of my fellow citizens.  In fact, until a specific individual gives me a reason they cannot be trusted, I trust all of them.  It does not bother me one whit if you get a gun without a background check.  Why should my doing the same bother you?

Pioneer Project: Producing Projectiles

The first Project of the Pioneer Project has been decided upon: reloading.  Short version: see that pay-pal link over at the side?  Send it some cash.

Long version:
I will be getting the operation off the ground (if off the ground it can be gotten).  But there are lots of things that need to happen to make it legit (and not just a way for you to fund a fun new hobby of mine). 

First, there's an LLC.  If this is going to be for the Project, then it needs to be a seperate entity from any specific person in The Pioneer Project. 

Second, there's an FFL.  Well, really it's a quasi-FFL.  You don't need the full FFL just to sell ammunition, but you do need a Federal Permit which is quite like an FFL.

That paperwork costs money. 

Then you actually get into the practicum of re/loading ammunition.  Since I'm new at this, we'll be starting small.  I figure if I can produce 500 rounds per week pretty quickly, I'll be doing pretty good.  But there's equipment to be purchased- both durable equipment (like the press, dies, and so forth) and consumables (like brass, bullets, and powder).

Once I'm up and running, I'll expand.  Then I'll sell re/loaded ammunition to, well to anyone, but Pioneer Project members get first dibs.

So click that pay-pal "donate" link, and toss some coin our way.  It might well be a better investment than your stocks and bonds.

I've received at least one request for a detailed breakdown on what your money gets you.

Below is a list of approximate costs.  The Pioneer Project will be getting an LLC as soon as possible.  Assuming the rest of the money comes together, we already have someone willing to donate both the legal time and the filing fee.

Manual Press150.00
Die Sets120.00
Case Trimmer100.00
Case Tumbler60.00

In addition, there will be consumable materials- brass, primers, bullets, etc. I'm either going to start with .38/.357 or .45 Colt as I've been told it's better to start with revolver rounds until one is more comfortable with the process and getting precise length completed cartridges.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Heart Texas

In these days of Federal Tyranny and general gloominess for Conservatives, sometimes you read a story that just makes you smile.  Oddly, this one comes from the New York Times.

I really don't have anything to say about it except that I'm really proud of my State.  A well armed populace is a safer populace, and even our most liberal city has figured that out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More, Please Part 2

Take a look at this article (I know, it's Rachel Maddow- think of it as opposition research).  Now, tell me the unnoticed bias which is just completely wrong.

Here, I'll highlight the specific paragraph:
Congress passes hundreds of resolutions, meant to commemorate everything from a special awareness week or Little League champions. The resolutions lack any real power of law and are predominantly ceremonial. For example, earlier this month the Senate passed resolutions to mark "World Plumbing Day" and commemorating the three-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.

Found it?  Why is US Congress "commemorating" anything?  What business are "special awareness week(s)" or "Little League champions" of the Federal government?  If they so "clutter the floor," maybe we should just do without them?  If they're so much ceremonial fluff, why have them at all?

No, I appreciate this move by Ted Cruz.  More, please.  This is just more reinforcement to the idea that the Federal Government should be involved in our day-to-day lives.  I reject that premise completely.  It is not even partly true.  In a perfect world, I would never have to consider the Federal Government.  I could focus on my State and Local governments (places where a) my voice can really be heard and b) I can at least sort of pay attention to everything that is going on), and let the Federal Government get on with doing it's job.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government has decided that I cannot do that.  Or, rather, that I cannot do that if I don't want more and more of my liberty stolen.  So I have to pay attention to this kind of crap.  Well, if I have to pay attention to it, then you'd better treat it seriously.  If it's not important enough to treat seriously, then don't do it.  Period.

I should also mention that I'm glad Ted Cruz does not seem to believe he is there to make best buddies with Harry Reid or (even) John McCain.  Rather he is there to represent the State of Texas and see to it that the Federal Government begins adhering to its actual Constitutionally granted authority.

An authority, I'll note, that includes not one word about "commemorating Multiple-Sclerosis Awareness Week" or anything similar.

The Tenther "War On Drugs."

Kurt Schlichter has a piece over at about building a "bite me" coalition.  I recommend you go read it.

But it got me thinking: what he's really talking about is a Tenther coalition.  Shrink the Federal Government.  Let the States decide for themselves.  Let the People decide for themselves.  It's a highly Libertarian Tenther coalition, to be sure, since it's focusing on even shrinking State and Local governments, but I could get behind that.

However, whenever we start talking Libertarian policies, we inevitably talk about "the war on drugs."  And, inevitably, someone suggests "just letting the States decide."

As a Dedicated Tenther, I think I need to address some points here- and they're applicable across the Tenther movement.

1) There is a role for the Federal Government.
Advocating for small and limited Federal Government is not the same as advocating for no Federal Government.  The Articles of Confederation were scrapped for a reason.  The EU, which is built on an even shakier confederation, is reeling from one crisis to the next.  A strong Federal Government is necessary for many things.

2) The States' powers and privileges are not sacrosanct.
This is a corollary to number 1.  Wherever the State's powers and privileges conflict with the Federal Government's, the States must take second place.  If they don't, we're back to that whole "Articles of Confederation" thing.  That didn't work out so well.

3) The Default must be Personal Rights
It's easy to get caught up in the Tenth Amendment as being empowering to the States, but the 9th and 10th amendments were designed to be empowering to The People.  The People were supposed to have more control over their specific states, so granting greater rights to the State was supposed to be safer.  I point to Colorado and New York for how that's going.  We must remember that the Power rests with the People; it is delegated to the States and then to the Federal Government.

With those in mind, along with the common knowledge of the 10th Amendment, I propose a Tenther's view of drug policy.

1) Federal drug policy should be as permissive as possible.  Allow it to be imported, place an import duty on it, require it to meet certain standards, etc.  It's getting in anyway, and this would lessen the strength of the black market (though not the strength of the drug growers).

2) State drug policy can be as restrictive as that State wants.  Full legalization for California?  Go for it.  Completely illegal to posses, transport, or sell in Oklahoma?  Sure. 

3) Personal responsibility must be paramount.  If you can't get a job because you're a drug addict, that's not my problem.  Not one dime from the public treasury should be spent on you.  Got high and killed someone in a car wreck?  I'm sorry, "being high" is no longer a mitigating circumstance, it will now (by law, if I had my way) be an exacerbating one.  Sharing needles so you caught some horrible disease?  Sucks to be you, my friend. (For the record, this is how I feel about alcohol and tobacco as well)