Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

As my scripture blog shows, the version of Christianity that has always impressed me most is the one I find in the New Testament. I have always been vaguely offended by the pagan accretions that have been tacked onto the original gospel: The Doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the immortal soul, the cross, Sun-day worship, Christmas, Easter etc.

But I think I was wrong. With the exception of the Trinity, those pagan accretions were deliberately adopted because they already had a power over the hearts of men. So they strengthened the religion and helped it to survive as a vehicle for the original teachings. Perhaps without those pagan accretions the original Gospel might have been lost. As it is the original first century documents (of the New Testament) have survived and are still there for us to read and accept or not as our hearts and minds guide us.

So the grand buildings, the splendid vestments, the ecclesiastical processions, the "bells and smells" of Catholicism and Anglicanism are probably something to be thankful for, far away though they be from the original Christian congegations of the apostolic era.


Who Won World War II?

Jacob G. Hornberger speaks some awkward truths

I’m always intrigued by those in the pro-interventionist crowd who trot out World War II to justify U.S. imperialist interventionism in the Middle East and the rest of the world. They always act as if the United States won World War II and also saved the Jews from the Holocaust. Nothing could be so ridiculous.

With respect to the European Jews, virtually all of them were dead by the end of the war. World War II did not save them from the Holocaust.

Equally important, the United States did not enter the war to save the Jews from the Holocaust. It entered the war because Germany declared war on the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

If the Japanese had not attacked and had Germany not declared war on the United States, it’s not at all clear that the United States would have ever entered the war. Recognizing that World War I had entailed a total waste of American lives and resources, most Americans were steadfastly opposed to entering another foreign war in Europe.

They ostensibly included Franklin Roosevelt, who told Americans during his 1940 presidential campaign, “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."

Of course, most people now concede that Roosevelt was lying and, in fact, was doing everything he could to thwart the will of the American people by provoking both the Germans and the Japanese into attacking first, thereby trapping Americans into entering the war.

We also shouldn’t forget about the U.S. government’s attitude toward Jews, including those living in Germany and Poland. Roosevelt’s government didn’t like them any more than the Hitler regime did. Indeed, when Hitler offered to let the Jews leave Germany alive, Roosevelt wouldn’t let them come to the United States. Immigration quotas was the excuse he used.

For that matter, don’t forget how Roosevelt’s government treated German Jews in the infamous “Voyage of the Damned,” when U.S. officials refused to permit Jewish refugees from Germany to disembark at Miami Harbor, knowing that the German ship captain would likely be relegated to returning them to Nazi Germany.

No, the sad truth is that U.S. entry into World War II did not save the Jews from the Holocaust, nor was that ever a goal of the U.S. government.

“But, Jacob, we beat the Nazis. Doesn’t that mean that we won World War II?”

Not exactly. You see, it turns on the meaning of the pronoun “we.” By “we” the interventionists mean “Great Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union.”

But if you break down that pronoun into its individual parts, you immediately notice a problem. Great Britain, France, and the United States didn’t win the war. The Soviet Union did.

Let’s think back to who declared war on whom. When Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, not the other way around. Why did they do that? Their announced goal was to free the Polish people from Nazi tyranny.

Why didn’t they also declare war on the Soviet Union, given that it too had invaded Poland? Good question! The interventionists never have an answer to that one.

So, what was the result at the end of World War II? Were the Polish people freed from Nazi tyranny? Well, yes, and interventionists love to point that out. But there is a problem here. While “we” celebrated our victory over the Nazis for the next several decades, the Poles didn’t.

Why not? Because they remained under the control of the Soviet Union for the next several decades! Remember: the Soviet Union is part of the “we” when interventionists exclaim that “we” won the war.

What’s wrong with remaining under the control of the Soviet Union? you ask. Well, the Soviet Union was governed by a communist regime, one that was as brutal as the Nazi regime. Thus, while U.S. interventionists convinced themselves that communist domination was somehow better than Nazi domination, the Poles knew that there wasn’t any difference at all.

So, World War II gave us Soviet communist control over Eastern Europe and East Germany along with an ever-burgeoning warfare state here at home, and interventionists continue to maintain that “we” won World War II. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the post-war era also brought us to the brink of nuclear annihilation against our old World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, with whom “we” won World War II.

The interventionists say that if the United States hadn’t entered World War II, Germany would have invaded and conquered the United States. Oh? Are they referring to the nation that couldn’t even successfully cross the English Channel to invade and conquer England?

Moreover, there isn’t one iota of evidence that Hitler even desired to cross the ocean to invade and occupy the United States. Hitler’s intentions were always to move east — against the Soviet Union — yes, against the nation that would ultimately turn out to be the Cold War enemy of the United States — after serving as World War II partner and ally.

Moreover, if the United States could survive a world in which the Soviet Union controlled East Germany and Eastern Europe, why couldn’t it have done the same with a world in which Nazi Germany controlled Germany and Eastern Europe?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the U.S. victory over Japan, while succeeding in causing Japanese forces to leave China, also ended up with China in the hands of Mao and the Chinese communists, a situation that remains to this day. I suppose though that U.S. interventionists would say that that’s not necessarily a bad thing given that the Chinese communist regime loaned the U.S. government the money to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who won World War II? The communists did



Pets, vets and regulated healthcare

Libertarians frequently point out that, despite the claims of critics, the U.S. health care system is far from what a free-market health care system might look like. Aside from the obvious large role played by programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, which account for almost 50 percent of health care spending in the United States, various other government interventions have led, largely unintentionally, to the crazy, complex employment-related system we have.

One of the most problematic features of the system is the predominance of third-party payments in which negotiations over prices and services take place between provider and insurance company rather than between provider and patient. When most Americans go to the doctor or hospital, no one tells them how much things are going to cost. Those messy details are between the insurance company (or the government) and the provider. Patients are therefore unable to make informed decisions about whether certain procedures are worth it, nor are they able to shop around to find the necessary services at a better price. Since they pay only a small fraction of the bill, most people don’t much care. This third-party payment very much diminishes the competitiveness of the health care system, driving up costs and alienating patients.

Detailed Cost Estimates

By contrast, consider veterinary medicine. My dog required extensive vet care recently, and in several ways our experience is relevant to the debate over human health care. At both our local vet clinic and an animal hospital in a larger city, we were presented detailed estimates of the services to be provided, including low- and high-end estimates of the total cost. In both cases we were able to discuss what the providers would be doing and why, as well as the costs of other options. Had we been unhappy with what we heard, we could have very easily gone elsewhere. Not surprisingly, the quality of care at both facilities appears to have been excellent. That’s what competition does.

It’s also worth noting that on the supply side of the market, the vet industry is much less hampered by regulations and monopoly than is human medicine. The number of MDs is controlled by the American Medical Association, which keeps the supply low and ensures monopoly profits for doctors. Regulations on what nurses and others can do compared to doctors also prevent competition and keep prices higher than they would be otherwise. Veterinary medicine faces fewer regulations and barriers, which keeps the supply of vets larger and offers pet owners many more options at more competitive prices. In fact the final bill at the animal hospital came in around 10 percent lower than the low-end estimate. I’m not sure the final cost of a human hospital stay in the United States has ever come in below estimate!

Dogs without a Country

As it turns out, the story is even more interesting. The animal hospital in question is in Ottawa, Ontario. For all the contrasts between U.S. and Canadian human health care, vet care is pretty similar. If you’ve ever crossed the border into Canada for health care (the traffic usually runs south) or needed care when abroad, you know how complicated dealing with different government regulations can be. Not if you’re a dog. Our records were transferred by email. Despite the two countries’ different approaches to human health care, the less-regulated vet system works well enough for both to adopt it. (Vet fees are subject to some regulation in Ontario.)

All this goes to show that the artificial political boundaries human beings draw virtually disappear when it comes to nonhuman beings that are not subject to citizenship rules.

Finally, it’s worth noting that while my wife and I had to have our passports at the ready to show the border guards in both countries, all we needed for the dog was a certificate of up-to-date rabies shots.

My recent experience with veterinary medicine provides even more evidence that a truly free market in health care can work and work well. When people say the U.S. health care system is going to the dogs, my new response is: I wish.



Once again a moronic Democrat shows he is unable to think in anything but racial terms

Another day, another classless, insubstantive, race-based attack by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

This time, the Nevada Democrat targeted Marco Rubio, questioning the Florida Republican's choice to block Mari Carmen Aponte, President Obama's nominee for ambassador to El Salvador. Apparently, Reid believes Rubio is 'betraying' the Hispanic community by opposing her nomination.

“In Nevada, this woman [Aponte] is seen by the Puerto Rican community, the Hispanic community, as really somebody who is an up-and-rising star. … I just think it’s a mistake for someone who is supposedly representing Hispanic issues to do what [Rubio] has done[.]"

Oh, so now he's Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Hispanics)?

Not according to his office.

BuzzFeed asked Rubio spokesman Alex Conant what he made of the implication that Rubio "is supposedly representing Hispanic issues."

"Senator Rubio represents Florida," he replied.


However, it seems Reid's office has a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease today. When asked for futher comment on the statement, the Senator's spokesman doubled down on failure: 

In an email, Reid spokesman Jose Parra didn't back down: “From supporting Arizona’s law legalizing the racial profiling of Latinos, to opposing the DREAM Act, to attacking Justice Sonia Sotomayor and voting against Ambassador Aponte twice, Sen. Rubio’s record speaks for itself.”

Graceless, shameful, and unbefitting of someone of Reid's "supposed" stature. If statesmanship should die, Harry Reid will have killed it.




NJ: Assembly approves homosexual "marriage" -- Christie will veto: "The New Jersey Assembly passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage on Thursday, sending the bill to Republican Governor Chris Christie, a possible vice-presidential candidate who has promised to veto the measure."

More Leftist hysteria: "Taliban" ultrasounds: "JOY BEHAR: There’s a couple of bills pending in Virginia. One of them is that women will be required to undergo sonograms, ultrasound when they are about to have an abortion and the other one is that if a heartbeat isn’t detected, then they will get a trans-vaginal ultrasound which is basically going into the vagina and very intrusive. Now, there is no — as far as I can tell there is no other Procedure including MRIs and cancer treatments that are mandated. This is- would be a mandated treatment for girls who are pregnant to see the child, the infant, the fetus. It’s like, what are we? What is this, the Taliban now? What are we, in Afghanistan? Where are we exactly in this country?"

AZ: Supreme Court lets Medicaid cuts stand: "The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to review an appeal challenging cuts to the state's Medicaid program, letting stand an enrollment freeze that has locked thousands of poor residents out of government-paid health insurance. An estimated 100,000 childless adults will lose Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System coverage this fiscal year. The state has turned away an untold number since a lower-court judge allowed the cap to take effect in July."

OK: Anti-abortion “personhood” bill clears senate: "Oklahoma lawmakers edged closer toward trying to outlaw abortion on Wednesday by approving 'personhood' legislation that gives individual rights to an embryo from the moment of conception. The Republican-controlled state Senate voted 34-8 to pass the 'Personhood Act' which defines the word person under state law to include unborn children from the moment of conception. The measure now goes to the state House where pro-life Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than a 2-1 margin."

Gaza: Israeli Air Force strikes “terror activity sites”: "Israel's Air Force struck what the military called two 'terror activity sites' in the Gaza Strip. The attacks early Thursday morning were in response to four rockets fired on southern Israel Wednesday night, according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces spokesman. ... The targets were a Hamas training center in eastern Gaza and an Islamic Jihad training center in central Gaza, the Palestinian Ma'an news service reported."



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WWII was about which variety of Socialism would dominate the world.