Thursday, December 05, 2013

Why Liberalism Is On The Wrong Side Of History

Liberals dream of one day seeing all Americans permanently locked in the smothering, cradle-to-grave death grip of the nanny state. Nothing excites a liberal more than the idea of controlling where you go to school, regulating your work and play, deciding what type of health care you're going to have and then deciding when you get to retire and how much money you have when you do. Even if you want to choose, you can't. Even if you want to break free, you're stuck. You're not allowed to make different choices because liberals have made it illegal.

What if you're pro-choice on spending your tax dollars on a private school instead of a public school? What if you'd prefer to keep your current health care plan instead of a much more expensive new plan that provides coverage you don't need? What if you'd rather invest your own Social Security money instead of giving it to the government? Sorry, but you don't get a choice. You get the same antiquated 1920s style mentality that prompted Henry Ford to say, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."

It's a kinder, gentler version of George Orwell's horrific "boot stamping on a human face - forever." In the liberal version, it's a boot gently pressing you to the ground, forever, "for your own good" -- as if liberals have the slightest idea of what "your own good" might be. Certainly, they believe they know what's best for you. It's what they were told by their college professors, the New York Times and their friends. There's a whole echo chamber dedicated to telling them exactly what they want to hear about how other people should be living.

The problem with that is not so much liberals living how they want to live; it's that liberals want to force everyone else to live how they want to live. They don't like guns; so no one should have guns. They like gay marriage; so everyone must be forced to like gay marriage. They like PBS; so everyone should be forced to pay for PBS.

Once, when the planet was mostly made up of illiterate people who engaged in subsistence farming and were ruled by noblemen, that sort of thinking made a certain kind of sense. Today, liberalism's hunger to control people is an anachronism that's out of place in the modern world. If California wants to go billions into debt, welcome illegal aliens and have more people on welfare than working, that's its mistake, but the real problem with liberalism is that liberals insist on trying to force it to become EVERYONE'S MISTAKE. It's not enough for California, New York and Illinois to destroy themselves; liberals insist on trying to use the federal government to force citizens in Texas, North Carolina and Utah to embrace the same destructive policies. It's a one-size-fits-all philosophy in a world that's giving consumers more choices every day.

If Justin Bieber is at the top of the pop charts, should EVERYONE be forced to listen to Justin Bieber? If Duck Dynasty is popular, should EVERYONE be forced to watch Duck Dynasty? If the two most popular foods in America turn out to be hotdogs and chocolate ice cream, should EVERYONE have to eat those two foods at every meal? We laugh at this sort of thinking in the marketplace, but that's exactly the philosophy liberals have with government.

Liberals like expensive health care plans that pay for birth control and maternity care; so EVERYONE has to have those plans or be taxed. Liberals love abortion; so they believe EVERY STATE must make abortion legal, even the ones that are pro-life. Liberals want to control how your children are educated; so they refuse to allow parents to choose whether they want to spend their tax dollars on public or private schools. Most people have hundreds of options on TV, on the Internet and in the grocery store; yet liberals want to use the federal government to take all of your choices away when it comes to guns, education, your retirement and your health care.

It's why Congress has an approval rating of 6%. It's why Obamacare is wildly unpopular. It's why D.C. and our court system have devolved into partisan warfare. It's because liberalism is a non-functional, imperious philosophy that is out of step with the modern world and on the wrong side of history.



White House Tells Obamacare Subscribers to Make Sure They're Really Enrolled

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House is "very mindful of making sure that consumers who want coverage starting in January are able to get it." But there's no guarantee.

In fact, Carney said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is "reaching out directly to consumers" who have chosen a health insurance plan, reminding them to pay their first premium -- and asking them to make sure they are really covered:

"So there's a joint effort to reach out to those who have enrolled to make sure that every step is being -- that they know they need to take all the necessary steps to ensure that that coverage kicks in," Carney said on Monday.

The problem involves the transmittal of information from the faulty website to the actual insurers.

According to Carney, "CMS is having daily conversations with issuers to get feedback from them." He said the administration has made "a number of significant fixes to the so-called 834 forms," which send a subscriber's information to the policy issuers. "We expect the info now sent to insurers to be vastly improved. But we're going to continue to work with issuers to make sure that whatever remaining problems exist are addressed and fixed."

Asked if he can assure people who sign up if they will "definitely" have coverage beginning on Jan. 1, Carney responded, "Well, I think what I would say is that CMS is reaching out to those who have enrolled to make sure that they know the steps that they need to take to ensure that coverage kicks in, that if a consumer enrolls in a plan by December 23rd and makes their first payment by the date set by their insurers, they are covered beginning January 1st. And if consumers are not sure if they are enrolled, they should call our customer call center or the insurer of their choice so that they can be sure they're covered by January 1st.

"So we're making -- this is a high priority, making sure that those who are enrolled are aware of the steps that they need to take, including that they need to pay their premiums on time for coverage. We're working with insurers to make sure that those who are enrolled know this information, and we're reaching out -- we're telling consumers that if they're not sure if they're enrolled, they should call the call center or their insurer directly."  ....

"Can you imagine? You think you've signed up. You go to get coverage because you need health care. You go there and you find out that, in fact, you haven't been signed up. That is a huge issue because what does someone do at that point? How do they work their way through the bureaucracy to actually verify they've been signed up? I see this as much of an issue as the access issue on the health care (website). The fact that that has not been fixed is a huge problem."


See also: Obama Admin Admits 126,000 Obamacare Enrollments Might Not Be Real


Blacks and Obama

 Walter E. Williams

In a March 2008 column, I criticized pundits' concerns about whether America was ready for Barack Obama, suggesting that the more important issue was whether black people could afford Obama. I proposed that we look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first Rookie of the Year award. There's no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player, he had to be.

In 1947, black people could not afford an incompetent black baseball player. Today we can. The simple reason is that as a result of the excellence of Robinson — and many others who followed him, such as Satchel Paige, Don Newcombe, Larry Doby and Roy Campanella — today no one in his right mind, watching the incompetence of a particular black player, could say, "Those blacks can't play baseball."

In that March 2008 column, I argued that for the nation — but more importantly, for black people — the first black president should be the caliber of a Jackie Robinson, and Barack Obama is not. Obama has charisma and charm, but in terms of character, values, experience and understanding, he is no Jackie Robinson.

In addition to those deficiencies, Obama became the first person in U.S. history to be elected to the highest office in the land while having a long history of associations with people who hate our nation, such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for 20 years, who preached that blacks should sing not "God bless America" but "God damn America." Then there's Obama's association with William Ayers, formerly a member of the Weather Underground, an anti-U.S. group that bombed the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and other government buildings. Ayers, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack, told a New York Times reporter, "I don't regret setting bombs. ... I feel we didn't do enough."

Obama's electoral success is truly a remarkable commentary on the goodness of the American people. A 2008 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported "that 17 percent were enthusiastic about Obama being the first African American President, 70 percent were comfortable or indifferent, and 13 percent had reservations or were uncomfortable." I'm 77 years old. For almost all of my life, a black's becoming the president of the United States was at best a pipe dream.

Obama's electoral success further confirms what I've often held: The civil rights struggle in America is over, and it's won. At one time, black Americans did not have the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by white Americans; now we do. The fact that the civil rights struggle is over and won does not mean that there are not major problems confronting many members of the black community, but they are not civil rights problems and have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination.

There is every indication to suggest that Obama's presidency will be seen as a failure similar to that of Jimmy Carter's. That's bad news for the nation but especially bad news for black Americans. No white presidential candidate had to live down the disgraced presidency of Carter, but I'm all too fearful that a future black presidential candidate will find himself carrying the heavy baggage of a failed black president.

That's not a problem for white liberals who voted for Obama — they received their one-time guilt-relieving dose from voting for a black man to be president — but it is a problem for future generations of black Americans. But there's one excuse black people can make; we can claim that Obama is not an authentic black person but, as The New York Times might call him, a white black person.



Holding Foreign Visitors to Their Promises

Yesterday’s heckler at Obama’s pro-amnesty speech in San Francisco was Ju Hong, an approved guest of the White House and an illegal alien from South Korea who recently graduated from UC Berkeley. People who still say illegal aliens “live in the shadows” obviously don’t know this guy: He’s on Twitter and LinkedIn, was a member of student government, has lobbied for taxpayer subsidies for illegal-alien students, and has been the subject of so much fawning news coverage he has his own topic page at the Cal student paper.

The salient fact here for immigration policy is that he came with his family on a tourist visa, and never left. Visa overstayers are believed to represent between a third and a half of the 12 million illegal aliens in the United States — and with improvements in border enforcement it’s possible the majority of new illegal aliens are overstayers. That translates to 4 to 6 million liars, people who swore they’d leave when their visit was over but didn’t, something at least as contemptible as sneaking into someone else’s country. Hong came as a child, so he wasn’t doing the lying, but he’s no more entitled to stay than the child of someone who lied on a mortgage application and later lost his home.

There are also more Korean illegal aliens than you might think. For instance, nearly 7,000 South Korean illegal aliens have been amnestied by Obama’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (a.k.a. the administrative Dream Act) through the end of August, making it the No. 5 country after Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The reason we have 4 to 6 million illegal-alien visa overstayers is that we have no effective way of tracking the departure of foreign visitors. This despite the fact that Congress has mandated the development of an exit-tracking system eight separate times, starting in 1996. As Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano dismissed the importance of exit-tracking. At a 2009 hearing, she told Senator Dianne Feinstein the “value of that system to security is dubious.” While the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill passed by the Senate in June made development of such a system a sort-of prerequisite before amnestied former illegal aliens upgrade to full green-card status, the ten-year deadline would mean that exit-tracking wouldn’t be in place until more than a quarter-century after Congress’s original mandate.

Exacerbating this problem with regard to South Korea and other countries is the Visa Waiver Program. As the name suggests, people from the 37 countries on the list don’t have to get visas for short tourist or business trips. Only those countries whose citizens are very unlikely to overstay are supposed to be included in the program. Unfortunately, the main force expanding the list of participating countries has been lobbying pressure from the travel industry and foreign governments. South Korea was added in 2008 and Greece — Greece — in 2010. This has been a significant driver of illegal immigration; the GAO reported earlier this year that, of a very large sample of apparent overstays, nearly half were people who entered under the Visa Waiver Program.

With a proper exit-tracking system, and guaranteed follow-up arrests of all those who overstay more than a couple of weeks, we could afford to make our visa process more flexible. But as it is, we grant visas to people who shouldn’t get them, waive visas for countries that send large number of illegal aliens, don’t have any comprehensive way of knowing whether visitors have left when they were supposed to, and don’t bother even to send a notification postcard to people we do know overstayed. It’s no surprise, then, that there are millions of illegals like Ju Hong. But until we’ve fixed these problems, there can be no justification for amnesty; otherwise, we’ll just have millions more Ju Hongs that the Democrats, and their GOP enablers, will insist have to be amnestied.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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