SOCIALIZED MEDICINE EXTRAVAGANZA
While the battle to get Obamacare through Congress was going on, I ran a blog called SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. It was largely devoted to stories showing by example how bad socialized medicine tends to be. Once the law was enacted, however, I suspended the blog.
I did not however let the matter drop totally. I still posted horror stories about life under government medicine on my AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and EYE ON BRITAIN blogs.
Stories about negligence and disastrously low levels of care never cease to come out of Britain so EVERY DAY I led the postings on EYE ON BRITAIN with one or two stories of that ilk. I did however place a limit on such stories of two a day. Adding more stories of that kind would in my view have made the blog too repetitious and boring.
One result of that is that after putting up today's quota of bad medical news on the blog, I found I still had SEVEN recent stories that I had not yet given an airing. To cope with that I have revived my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog for one day and posted there the seven extra stories. They should give Americans an idea of what is headed down the pike towards them.
History gives U.S. survival no guarantees
By THOMAS SOWELL
America’s founders were keenly aware that they were making a radical departure in the kinds of governments under which people had lived for centuries.
The media has recently been so preoccupied with a congressman's photograph of himself in his underwear that there has been scant attention paid to the fact that Iran continues advancing toward creating a nuclear bomb, and nobody is doing anything that is likely to stop them.
Nuclear weapons in the hands of the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism might seem to be something that would sober up even the most giddy members of the chattering class. But that chilling prospect cannot seem to compete for attention with cheap behavior by an immature congressman, infatuated with himself.
A society that cannot or will not focus on matters of life and death is a society whose survival as a free nation is at least questionable. Hard as it may be to conceive how the kind of world that one has been used to, and taken for granted, can come to an end, it can happen in the lifetime of today's generation.
Those who founded the United States of America were keenly aware that they were making a radical departure in the kinds of governments under which human beings had lived over the centuries, and that its success was by no means guaranteed. Monarchies in Europe had lasted for centuries and the Chinese dynasties for thousands of years. But a democratic republic was something else.
While the convention that was writing the Constitution of the United States was still in session, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin what the delegation was creating. "A republic, madam," he said, "if you can keep it."
In the middle of the next century, Abraham Lincoln still posed it as a question whether "government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth." Years earlier, Lincoln had warned of the dangers to a free society from its own designing power-seekers – and how only the vigilance, wisdom and dedication of the public could preserve their freedom.
But today, few people seem to see such dangers, either internally or internationally.
A recent poll showed that nearly half the American public believes that the government should redistribute wealth. That so many people are so willing to blithely put such an enormous and dangerous arbitrary power in the hands of politicians – risking their own freedom, in hopes of getting what someone else has – is a painful sign of how far many citizens and voters fall short of what is needed to preserve a democratic republic.
The ease with which people with wealth can ship it overseas electronically, or put it in tax shelters at home, means that raising the tax rate on wealthy people is not going to bring in the kind of tax revenue that would enable wealth redistribution to provide the bonanza that some people are expecting.
In other words, people who are willing to give government more arbitrary power can give up their birthright of freedom without even getting the mess of pottage. Worse yet, they can give up their children's and their grandchildren's birthright of freedom.
Free and democratic societies have existed for a relatively short time, as history is measured – and their staying power has always been open to question. So much depends on the wisdom of the voters that the franchise was always limited, in one way or another, so that voting would be confined to those with a stake in the viability and progress of the country, and the knowledge to cast their vote intelligently.
In our own times, however, voting has been seen as just one of the many "rights" to which everyone is supposed to be entitled. The emphasis has been on the voter, rather than on the momentous consequences of elections for the nation today and for generations yet unborn.
To those who see voting as more or less just a matter of self-expression, almost a recreational activity, there is no need to inform themselves on both sides of the issues before voting, much less sit down and think beyond the rhetoric to the realities that the rhetoric conceals.
Careless voters may be easily swayed by charisma and rhetoric, oblivious to the monumental disasters created around the world by 20th century leaders with charisma and rhetoric, such as Hitler.
Voters like this represent a danger of terminal frivolity for freedom and democracy.
Sarah Palin recognizes Hollywood Stars as 'Full of Hate'
Sarah Palin stared a bit uncomfortably at a movie screen Tuesday night watching a montage of Matt Damon, David Letterman, Madonna, Howard Stern, Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and other celebrities malign her, then asked The Hollywood Reporter: "What would make someone be so full of hate?"
Palin was in Pella, Iowa, at the premiere of a documentary about her called The Undefeated, which opens with several minutes of Hollywood entertainers using some of the most vulgar language imaginable to express their displeasure with the former vice presidential candidate. Some appear genuinely angry, and director Steve Bannon cuts to news footage twice in the film of Palin being hung in effigy.
After the movie, as throngs of supporters and reporters clamored for attention, THR asked her: "In the first 10 minutes where all the celebrities are trashing you, how do you respond to something like that?"
Palin said she hadn't seen or heard much of the TV and radio footage before seeing it in the movie, which bleeped some of the dirtier language, though it was easy to determine what the entertainers were saying, including lots of profane references to the female anatomy.
"This is the first that I've seen much of that. It kind of takes you back," she told THR. "It makes you want to reach out to some of these folks and say, What's your problem? And what was the problem? And what is the problem?
"What would make a celebrity, like you saw on screen, so hate someone that they'd seek their destruction, their death, the death of their children? What would make someone be so full of hate and, I guess, a sense of being threatened that they would want to see that person destroyed?"
The movie begins with Sen. John McCain introducing his running mate, then quickly cuts to the Hollywood sign, and the music turns ominous. A TV news anchor says, "Hollywood has a new favorite pastime: taking aim at Sarah Palin."
Then the celebrity montage begins: Damon likens Palin to a "really bad Disney movie" and says she's "really scary"; Letterman attacks her, and the discourse descends in to the filthy from there. Maher insults her on his TV show, Madonna screams obscenities about her while on stage, and comedians use graphic, severely bleeped language to describe Palin and the intensity with which they "hate her."
When the montage is through, the screen goes dark and a Bible verse comes into focus: "By their fruits ye shall know them."
As things got pushy with the media and the rest of the crowd and a security detail got more aggressive in protecting the former governor of Alaska, THR asked if she intended on defending herself against future celebrity barbs.
"I think the movie does that for me. But you know, there's never really a venue that absolutely lets somebody set the record straight. I mean, there are so many false narratives about me, about Todd, about our kids, about my record, about my team that has worked so hard together, that there's never gonna be a way to absolutely set the record straight."
The world's best policeman
by Jeff Jacoby
According to a new Rasmussen poll, only a narrow sliver of US voters -- 11 percent -- want America to be the nation chiefly responsible for policing the planet and trying to maintain international order. An overwhelming 74 percent reject the idea.
These aren't anomalous results. When Rasmussen polled the same question in 2009, the results were virtually identical. Gallup regularly asks how large a role -- leading, major, minor, or none -- the United States should take in solving international problems; only a small minority of respondents ever favors the "leading" role.
America may be the world's "indispensable nation," as Bill Clinton said in his Second Inaugural Address, but most Americans, most of the time, are uncomfortable with the idea of US global hegemony. John Quincy Adams wrote long ago that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." As the polls consistently suggest, that isolationist sentiment still resonates strongly.
When John Quincy Adams wrote that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy," the United States was not a superpower. Today it is the mightiest nation the world has ever known.
But in Adams's day America was not the mightiest, wealthiest, and most influential nation on the face of the earth. Today it is. The United States is the world's only superpower, and if we shirk the role of global policeman, no one else will fill it. By nature Americans are not warmongering empire-builders; their uneasiness about dominating other countries reflects a national modesty that in many ways is admirable -- and that belies the caricature of Uncle Sam as arrogant bully or "great Satan."
Nevertheless, with great power come great responsibilities, and sometimes one of those responsibilities is to destroy monsters: to take down tyrants who victimize the innocent and flout the rules of civilization. If neighborhoods and cities need policing, it stands to reason the world does too. And just as local criminals thrive when cops look the other way, so do criminals on the world stage.
Nazi Germany had conquered half of Europe and Japan was brutalizing much of Asia by the time America finally entered World War II. If America hadn't rescued Kuwait from Saddam Hussein in 1990, no one else would have, either. If America hadn't led NATO in halting Serbia's ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, no one else would have, either. If America hadn't faced down the Soviet Union during the long years of the Cold War, no one else would have, either -- and hundreds of millions of human beings might still be trapped behind the Iron Curtain.
There is no realistic alternative to America as the world's policeman. It clearly isn't a job the United Nations can do. Can an organization that makes no distinction between tyranny and democracy rein in the world's monsters? As the UN's bloody trail of failure from Bosnia to Somalia to Rwanda makes clear, UN "peacekeeping" offers no protection against predators.
None of this is to say that America-as-Globocop is a perfect solution to the world's ills, nor that the United States hasn't made many grievous mistakes in its actions abroad. But as the historian Max Boot argues, "America's occasional missteps should not lead us to abdicate our indispensable role, any more than the NYPD should stop doing its vital work, simply because cops occasionally do the wrong thing. On balance, the NYPD still does far more good than harm, and so does the United States of America."
To say that America must be the world's policeman is not to call for waging endless wars against all the world's bad actors. Police officers carry weapons, but they fire them only infrequently. The cops' main function is not to gun down criminals, but to suppress crime and reduce fear by patrolling the streets and maintaining a visible presence in the community. Similarly, a well-policed world is one with less combat, not more. The purpose of America's nuclear umbrella and its global network of military bases is not to foment war on all fronts, but to prevent it -- by deterring aggression, maintaining the flow of commerce, and upholding human rights.
We don't do it perfectly, not by a long shot. We don't always live up to our own standards, we sometimes confuse police work with social work, and we are often rewarded not with thanks but with resentment. A policeman's lot is not a happy one. It is, however, an essential one. Our world needs a policeman. Whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job.
How to reform Medicare, with faith in market principles: "House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin is proposing major -- and highly controversial –- changes to Medicare. Though the Senate recently rejected his plan, it may play a big part in the 2012 presidential campaign. Mr. Ryan is pitching his reforms as 'premium support.' What is premium support, exactly? Is it a voucher system? Let’s take a closer look at Ryan’s plan and then weigh the pros and cons."
Intercity buses: The forgotten mode: "The debate over President Obama's fantastically expensive high-speed rail program has obscured the resurgence of a directly competing mode of transportation: intercity buses. Entrepreneurial immigrants from China and recently privatized British transportation companies have developed a new model for intercity bus operations that provides travelers with faster service at dramatically reduced fares"
CIA off the hook: "The Justice Department has decided not to file criminal charges in the vast majority of cases involving the CIA's former interrogation, detention and kidnapping program. In a statement to CIA employees on his last day as director, Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that after an examination of more than 100 instances in which the agency allegedly had contact with terrorism detainees, Assistant U.S. Atty. John Durham decided that further investigation was warranted in just two cases. Each of those cases resulted in a death."
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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)