Thursday, August 05, 2010

Has Gramsci's long march now reached the U.S. navy?

Leftists have taken over education and the bureaucracy. They will never take over the ordinary mnen and women of the armed forces but if you can take over the high command of the armed forces, your task is done. The "long march through the institutions" foreseen by Antonio Gramsci is just about complete. Only a few independent media outlets then stand across your road to complete control

The Navy wants to judge sailors by the color of their skin, not the content of their seamanship.

The latest national security leak is a shocking e-mail from a Navy admiral on "Diversity Accountability." The message, sent to a list of other flag officers, notes that "a change in focus of this year's diversity brief is the desire to identify our key performers (by name) and provide insight on each of them." Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who apparently originated this order, "is interested in who are the diverse officers with high potential and what is the plan for their career progression. He may ask what is being done within to ensure they are considered for key follow on billets within the Navy."

The message specifies, "This list must be held very closely but will provide ready reference to ensure we are carefully monitoring and supporting the careers of the best and the brightest the Navy has to offer." That is, the best and the brightest provided a sailor is one of the euphemistically "diverse." If you are a white male, it might be time to set sail and seek opportunities elsewhere.

In practice, the Navy will be creating a list of privileged "diverse" officers who will enjoy special benefits and career mentoring not available to people of the wrong race, as well as a virtual guarantee of fast-track access to the highest reaches of command. Fifty-six years after the Supreme Court struck down the concept of "separate but equal" treatment of races, the U.S. Navy is erecting a wall of segregation between what will amount to two parallel promotion systems: one for the "diverse" and another for the monotone. If this isn't illegal, it should be.

How this dual-track system will be implemented is difficult to discern. Will officers doing fitness reports on those on the list be made aware of their subordinates' privileged status? Will the people on the list have knowledge that the system is looking out for them? If they get a poor fitness report, will they have special means of getting a second look? Will there be repercussions for reviewing officers who did not know they were supposed to just keep the list members on the fast track no matter what? The devil will be lurking in these details.

This type of backward, 20th-century, overtly racial thinking has no place in 21st-century post-racial America. The Navy leadership apparently believes the way to promote racial harmony is by engaging in blatant, invidious discrimination. In practice, however, this system will, in fact, relegate "diverse" sailors to a form of second-class status. Any nonwhite male sailor who - through intelligence, initiative and drive - builds a stellar career will simply be seen as just another special case, just one of "the Listers." Those sailors may achieve rank, but they will have to work twice as hard to command respect.

In the contemporary naval bureaucracy, this type of politically correct nonsense has run out of control like a loose cannon on deck. The Naval Academy lists racial diversity as the "highest personnel priority," apparently even over the mission of educating future Navy leaders for warfare on the high seas. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made achieving diversity a "strategic imperative" when he was chief of naval operations. Call us old-fashioned seadogs, but we'd prefer that the Navy's top priority be fighting and winning our nation's wars rather than engaging in social experimentation.

The suggested list of privileged officers is due Monday. The message states that the reporting requirement will not be put into the secretary of the Navy's TV4 Taskers tracking system "due to the sensitive nature of the by name list." No doubt, once the secret list leaks, as it surely will, there will be as much discomfort for the people on the list as for those not on it, especially those unfortunates who met the diversity requirement but for some reason did not make the cut. Maybe they can sue, charging discrimination. Either way, the Navy Department has run aground.

SOURCE. NPR reports another absurdity from the U.S. navy here. Apparently the four best sailors of the year were all women and only one was a non-Hispanic white.


British government moves to cut dramatically public funding for the arts

I wholly approve of this. I have never seen any reason why taxpayer Joe should fund the entertainment of the elite. I myself listen to Bach and Mozart rather than pop and have been known to recite Chaucer in the original Middle English -- and you will even see that I have unsplit an infinitive if you compare my heading above with the original. But the government didn't make me that way nor do I need government help to put a CD in my music system. And the idea that the "Arts" somehow "improve" people is a laugh. Most arty types are on the miserable and destructive side of politics -- the Left. Hitler was an artist, after all

Cash-strapped and desperate to slash the largest budget deficit in Europe, the new ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is moving to close the curtain on an era of what they describe as excessive government patronage.

The coalition is preparing to cut arts funding so dramatically that it could sharply reduce or sever the financial lifelines for hundreds of cultural institutions from the National Theatre to the British Museum.

The cuts would be more than a temporary fix. Officials are calling for a permanent shift toward the U.S. model of private philanthropy as the main benefactor of the arts, upending a tradition of government sponsorship that helped produce the likes of Academy Award-winning directors Sam Mendes and Danny Boyle and playwrights including Lee Hall, who was nominated for an Oscar for "Billy Elliot."

The move underscores the profound changes in the role of government that are taking place from Greece to Spain to Britain. It happens as European nations scramble to rein in runaway spending, in part by slashing public funds to sectors that came to survive -- even thrive -- because of them.

Now, the budget cuts to the arts are a small part of a broader push by the coalition government to slash spending and right Britain's finances over the next four years. Although some areas, such as national health care, are being largely protected, virtually all sectors from education to defense are bracing for steep cuts.

Panicked curators, artistic directors and art critics are warning of London's potential fall from the vanguard of the global arts scene [How sad! For them maybe but who else cares?]. In danger, for instance, are the same government-funded institutions that helped produce such films as "The Last King of Scotland" and "The Constant Gardener" as well as Broadway- and Hollywood-bound stage works such as "Jerusalem" and "War Horse." The Royal Shakespeare Company has warned that it might be forced to scale back or do away with international productions altogether.



Will Obamacare kill Indiana's promising experiment in health-care reform?

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney struck a deal with Democrats in the state legislature to expand health insurance to the relatively small fraction of residents who didn't have it (about 10 percent, compared with 15 percent nationally). Today, hundreds of thousands more Bay State residents have insurance, but costs are rising at dizzying rates, and state insurance regulators and current governor Deval Patrick are locked in a bitter fight with insurers over price controls in the small-group and individual-insurance markets. Leaked e-mails from the state's insurance department suggest that state-imposed caps on insurance premiums could force some insurers into bankruptcy. The state may not be far behind: experts at the RAND Corporation believe that without far-reaching reforms, health-care costs may reach unsustainable levels--growing 8 percent faster than state GDP and doubling to $123 billion by 2020. In taking the same gamble that Massachusetts did, President Obama has exposed the whole country to the risk of fiscal meltdown.

Obama's embrace of a fundamentally flawed reform model may also kill off the nation's first consumer-driven effort to cover the low-income uninsured. In 2007, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels built bipartisan support for extending coverage to over 100,000 uninsured Hoosiers who made too much money to qualify for the state's Medicaid program. Daniels and Mitch Roob, then the secretary of Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration, knew that the state was spending millions through its Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program, which subsidized treatment for uninsured Hoosiers who showed up in emergency rooms or wound up hospitalized for preventable illnesses. Roob says that the governor decided that it would be more efficient to purchase insurance for the uninsured than to buy their health care directly from the hospitals. Daniels figured that private insurance would also "enfranchise the individual, not the institution," says Roob.

Working with state senator Patricia Miller, a Republican, and state representative Charlie Brown, a Democrat, Daniels and his team developed a fiscally sustainable plan that would attract bipartisan support. The discussions were anything but easy, Roob recalls: "We went through four or five complete iterations of program proposals until we hit on what became the Healthy Indiana Plan," or HIP. The plan had three core principles. One of these, again, was individual control of health-care spending. A second was protection for taxpayers; the program was designed so that enrollment couldn't grow faster than the available funding. (The program is funded partly by diverting current Medicaid DSH funding--which required a waiver from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the Medicaid program's overseer--and partly by a cigarette-tax increase.) The third was disease prevention: Daniels, who exercises and watches his own diet, was adamant that HIP focus on wellness instead of just paying bills.

The Healthy Indiana Plan covers Indiana residents who make too much money to qualify for the state's traditional Medicaid program--those who earn from 19 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty level for families and childless adults. Part of HIP is a health savings account (HSA), which Indiana calls a Personal Wellness and Responsibility (Power) account. If he's able to do so, each enrollee must make a monthly payment into his Power account that is no more than 5 percent of his gross family income. The state government also pays into the Power accounts, and it adds catastrophic insurance coverage, in case of medical emergencies too expensive for the accounts to handle. The program includes first-dollar, or zero-deductible, coverage for preventive services like mammograms and PSA tests--up to $500 annually. HIP members who can pay but don't make the minimal payments are removed from the plan for a year; Daniels felt that this incentive would give them a sense of ownership in the program and help them take responsibility for their own health. So far, the design has been successful: HIP has a 1.86 percent rate of nonpayment, and its members are likelier to stick with their plan than Medicaid recipients are.

When it took effect in early 2008, HIP was swamped with applicants. Today, about 45,000 low-income Hoosiers enroll in the program, with another 49,000 on a waiting list (HIP is capped by the federal government's current share of Medicaid spending, which limits enrollment). Recent data show that Daniels's planning has paid off: about 76 percent of HIP's population have used preventive services, and that population is less likely to use emergency rooms than are Medicaid recipients in Indiana. In fact, for HIP members required to make contributions to their Power accounts, emergency-room use declined by 15 percent over the first six months of enrollment; even those not required to make contributions showed a 5 percent decrease. Generic drugs are very popular--they constitute 84 percent of drugs used in HIP. Patient satisfaction is high: 94 percent of HIP clients claimed satisfaction with the program, and 99 percent indicated they would re-enroll.

Daniels has become a vocal critic of the president's health-care reforms, citing a state-sponsored study by the accounting firm Milliman that found that Indiana would incur between $2.9 and $3.6 billion in new costs under Obamacare. The governor also warns that the new law could do in HIP by requiring many recipients to enroll in the state's traditional Medicaid program. It happens that Daniels broadly agrees with the president's analysis of America's health-care problems. What he takes issue with is the 2,400-page bill forced on the states, which he sees as too expensive, too bureaucratic, and too Washington-centered. In the long term, Daniels believes that moving toward a consumer-driven system--modeled on HSAs and catastrophic insurance--is the way to go. "We've got to trust people to take charge of their own health-care decisions," he says, "and make insurance more like car insurance," which covers major costs, not routine ones.




A dysfunctional Disabilities Act: "As with most good intentions, the American’s With Disabilities Act has grown into something which in some cases obviously violates that initial intent. Designed to provide equal access to Americans with both physical and mental disabilities, the common sense side of such an endeavor has begun to fall to the more absurd and, frankly, selfish interpretations of the law. The benign intent — equal access — has become a more authoritarian application and is resulting in penalizing the able.”

Will increasing taxes bring economic recovery?: "I often read economic commentary in the New York Times, not because I believe it is sensible, but rather because I want to know what America’s ruling-class spokespersons have to say about economic matters. It has been a long time since I read sound, intelligent economic commentary in the ‘Newspaper of Record,’ and its recent editorial on the economy kept that streak intact. In its August 1 edition the editors of the Gray Lady published a lengthy editorial that claimed our economy is in trouble because tax rates are too low.”

Severe governmental dysfunction continues South of the Rio Grande: "Ricardo Martinelli’s May 2009 election as president of Panama seemed to bode well for the country’s development prospects. During his campaign, he promised to implement bold market-oriented reforms, such as a flat tax (which would have been the first of its kind in the Americas), freer trade, an end to some government subsidies, and less bureaucratic red tape. Unfortunately, not only have those promises gone unfulfilled, but Martinelli’s presidency has been marked by interventionist economic measures, cronyism, the erosion of democratic checks and balances, and even harassment of independent media.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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