New Picture Gallery
I don't put up a lot of pictures on my blogs -- except for Greenie Watch. It has lots of graphs. But I think that some of the pictures I do put up are worth a second look. So when I get time I gather such pictures together in a "gallery". I have just put up the gallery for the first half of this year. You can access it here
Weird Healthcare Regulation of the Day: No Coverage for Men With Breast Cancer
“Disease does not discriminate, but apparently Medicaid coverage does. A 26-year-old South Carolina tile-layer has found himself with breast cancer and out of luck for one reason: He is a man.
While breast cancer affects an estimated 2,000 men annually, Medicaid does not cover treatment of the disease in men,” reports the Daily Caller. “The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said that the discriminatory policy lies with the federal government. ‘We are again urging CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services] to reconsider,’ the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. ‘It’s a very clear example of how overly rigid federal regulations don’t serve the interests of the people we’re supposed to be helping.’”
The man with cancer, Raymond Johnson, is hardly an anomaly. There have been high-profile cases of men with breast cancer, like former Senator Ed Brooke (R-Mass.), the first popularly-elected black U.S. Senator. But the federal geniuses who are taking over our healthcare system don’t seem to read the paper.
The government justifies its actions by citing a regulation that bars covering men. But the regulation itself is unconstitutional. The government cannot engage in sex discrimination or sex-based classifications unless it has an “exceeding persuasive justification” that goes beyond mere administrative convenience or gender-based generalizations; it must show that any gender classification substantially advances important state interests; and the burden of showing the need for such discrimination is on the government, which must satisfy a “demanding” showing.
See the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Virginia (1995), which struck down VMI’s men-only policy, and cases like Craig v. Boren (1976), and Michigan Road Builders v. Milliken (1987), which applied similar principles to strike down gender classifications that harmed men.
What is "debt forgiveness"
While it is easy to come up with a standard definition, standard definitions seldom apply when a term enters the realm of politics and policy.
A recent article in the Washington Post cited economists who argue that slow economic growth is in our foreseeable future because we have run up so much mortgage debt. It will take years to de-leverage it. But economist Carmen Reinhart argued that there was a policy that could help:
Reinhart focuses on the housing market, where much of the debt is concentrated. “I ultimately think we have to wind up with some form of debt forgiveness,” she says.
Debt forgiveness sure sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s remember, though, that it was melodious but deceptive rhetoric like “affordable housing” and “community reinvestment” that got us into this mess in the first place. Thus, it’s a good idea to look at what debt forgiveness will really mean.
First, who will be forgiven and who will do the forgiving? Presumably it will be banks that have to forgive those who have taken on a larger mortgage than they could afford. Yet if banks have to take a loss on those mortgages, they may try to make it up with higher interest rates on other mortgages, higher interest rates on credit cards, or more fees on checking accounts. That means that many people who have acted responsibly with their money will also be doing the forgiving.
Next, what if banks decide that they don’t want to forgive debt? Well, it’s generally not in the nature of politicians and other policymakers to let the private sector back out of a “good idea.” Likelier, it will be the type of “forgiving” that Chrysler’s secured bondholders got to do. In that case, “forgiveness” isn’t the right term since it implies an action that is voluntary.
The current mess was caused by people making bad choices because at the end of the day they could expect the government to rescue them. “Debt forgiveness” might only encourage more such behavior.
Nevertheless, it is nice-sounding rhetoric, so expect politicians to use it to gin up votes. Just be sure that when you hear them use that phrase, you know what they really mean is “using government to force banks and responsible borrowers to bail out irresponsible borrowers.”
An old controversy
I am no peacenik but I have always been disturbed and skeptical over the A-bombing of Japan by a Democrat President. Japan was already crushed by that time
According to most high-school history texts, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrible but necessary tragedies. They "ended the war," and while they resulted in the deaths of as many as 250,000, they saved many thousands more. Of course a close examination of the facts reveals that none of this is true: Even the estimate for a full-scale invasion of Japan put the American death toll at only 46,000 (all combatant deaths, not civilians). Moreover, the Japanese government had been trying to surrender – balking only at the unconditionality the US side demanded, as they did not want to see their emperor dethroned and executed. Following the Japanese surrender however, the US government happily allowed the emperor to continue serving as a figurehead.
Even the United States Strategic Bombing Survey declared that,"… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." Indeed, the devastation the US forces had wreaked upon Japan through conventional warfare (the infamous firebombing campaigns left as many as half a million dead) had already helped seal Japan’s defeat. The most generous interpretation possible of the motives for dropping the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that they served as a demonstration to the Soviet Union of US military might.
Barbarism Comes from the Left
Barbarism comes from the Left. Socialism always leads to death and destruction – every time it is forced upon a society.
Socialist created barbarism is again rearing its evil head on the streets of Great Britain. The rioters are attacking and destroying symbols of Capitalism -- the products of personal hard work, including small businesses and family homes.
Socialism teaches that what others have earned is rightfully owed to those who do not care to exert the necessary effort to earn it by their own hard labors. The looters are stealing from private business and destroying what they cannot carry. Fire is a favorite destructive tool of those who are attacking and destroying that which is not theirs.
Arson, as recently as 1970, was confirmed to still be a capital offense in Great Britain. Arsonists were eligible for hanging. It seems British law no longer has a stomach for defending private property and innocent people. The discussions have descended to the level of whether or not to even use plastic bullets and water cannons.
Whatever happened to live ammunition? Shooting looters and arsonists on sight is how civilized societies once kept the wanton barbarism of the undisciplined in check.
A depraved and degenerate society gives the benefit of the doubt to criminals and punishes those who would dare to defend themselves. The British people have long since been disarmed by their nanny state government and would probably be jailed if they were to harm a rioting hooligan in self-defense.
The Left creates dependency which leads to anger and despair. The Left establishes an entitlement mentality in society, which leads to the resentment and hatred of those who dare to work hard and to achieve. The nanny government uses legalized theft to take the money and personal property of those who have the gumption to work and to use it to provide goods and services to able-bodied people who are too lazy to provide for themselves.
We see similar eruptions of barbarism in the United States. J. Christian Adams wrote:
"Consider the Wisconsin State Fair last week. The 911 tapes reveal a nightmare. “We’re outside the Wisconsin State Fair and there’s a white guy being beaten up by about 100 black people,” the panicked caller cries. “They’re jumping on our cars. . . . My mom just got attacked by a black mob.” Multiple eyewitnesses describe white fairgoers being pulled from cars and beaten by the Mob, all black. The evidence establishes a strong presumption that race was a motivating factor in the attacks. This is America?"
The Left stokes the fires of greed, hatred, and resentment by forcibly removing societal religious foundations. Without the fixed moral compass of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, people descend into barbarism.
In Lieu of Well-Reasoned Arguments, the Left Relies on Intimidation
Because the radical demands of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union run counter to common sense and the tenets of Western Civilization, they and their leftist allies and colleagues use fear, intimidation, and disinformation to accomplish their ends which generally mean a loss of liberty for everyone else. We see this in the way they rely on shame tactics, the court system, and behavior controls, like speech codes and “anti-bullying” regulations, to implement and protect their agenda.
Just think of how many times you’ve heard someone mention they wanted to say something about the blatant lawlessness and immorality in our culture, but they hesitated because they didn’t want to rock the boat—they didn’t want to disturb the status quo. All too often, this is because the totalitarians on the left have successfully levered sufficient shame to intimidate decent people into silence.
In other words, groups like NARAL and their media allies use shame to bring a strong man low enough to allow a weaker man to control him: shame takes the fight out of the dog.
For example, the left’s use of the court system is ubiquitous, and perhaps best exemplified through Roe v. Wade (1973), the case which made most state laws against abortion unenforceable.
Even now, the leftist American Atheists is suing to have a cross – a cross not made by human effort –removed from the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State are suing to shut down a proposed school voucher system in D.C.: a system aimed at delivering some of the students from the cycle of poverty and ignorance by allowing them to attend private schools where both the curriculum and environment are better. Because the vouchers could be used to attend private, Christian schools, Americans United for Separation for Church and State complains, “Vouchers…compel taxpayers to subsidize religion.” (As if they don’t know that the other option is to have government compel taxpayers to subsidize the anti-Christian/Jewish curriculum now rampant in government schools.)
The great irony here is that many of the aforementioned groups are among those who claim to do everything in the name of the people, yet it is they who frequently use the court system to bypass the people – and even sue to prevent elections – because they know their ideas lack popular support when put to the test.
And for those who dare brush aside the shame tactics or fight fire with fire in the courtroom, the left has enacted speech and anti-bullying codes that serve as more stringent forms of behavior control. Promoted by those like GLSEN and the ACLU, the speech codes are prevalent on high school and university campuses where even certain student-sponsored statements and phrases are disallowed unless uttered in a designated “free speech” area. And on the same campuses, diversity campaigns, and the “anti-bullying” campaigns that usually accompany them, result in the implementation of policies that actually create a caste system for those whose sensitivities are not protected from insult and discrimination, and that usually means a Christian ministry that wants to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One last point: these methods of intimidation are bolstered by the left’s use of cripplingly costly lawsuits, which go above and beyond their “normal” use of the court system to rid our landscape of crosses, references to Scripture, “In God We Trust” inscriptions, etc.
Frivolous lawsuit after lawsuit is filed against things like Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s call to voluntary prayer or any public mention of one’s faith by a political figure with the hope not simply of ending a day of prayer but of scaring small municipalities into scrubbing their speech free of any religious reference—or else. (For example, groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation maintain an Internet link which exists solely for the purpose of reporting any “violators.”)
Reality is thus twisted and turned upon its head in a world where the left ignores the metaphysical while waging war on logic and tradition. In the end, they have to intimidate people into playing along or being silent because they lack arguments sufficient to convince us that their way is better.
The war on lemonade: "America is a country founded on entrepreneurship and free enterprise. That’s why one of its most enduring childhood traditions is the lemonade stand. It teaches children initiative, about the value of money and how to earn it. Recently, however, children have been learning entirely different lessons -- that bureaucrats are in charge and you cross them at your peril. Bureaucrats have the power to pick winners and losers -- a power many are happy to exploit."
The Democratic Party and the language of bankruptcy: "What does a political regime do when its philosophy doesn’t work and is leading to ruin? It can’t scrap the philosophy, which is its raison d'etre and the basis of its power. Were it to chuck the philosophy, its core constituencies would abandon it. So instead it blames those who have most cogently pointed out the defects of the philosophy. It calls them liars and haters."
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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)