Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A true conservative

A seething discontent with the world you live in is what makes you a Leftist.  And because of that, Leftists want to "fundamentally transform" the world around them.  Rather than adapt themselves to the world around them, they want to adapt the world to them.  WHY the Leftist is discontented can and does vary but it is discontent that defines him.

Conservatives, on the other hand tend to be contented people.  They can see a lot that they would change if they could but they don't make a crusade out of it.  They mostly just get on with their own life.

And the Leftist hostility is directed at their fellow-man.  Changing the geography or topography of your country won't butter any parsnips.  It is people you have to change,  usually by force and coercion.  Leftists actually hate their fellow citizens.  So their outbursts of fury at anyone who obstructs what they want are  understandable.

I contrast that with "Supermac", the very aristocratic Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963. He was from the Conservative party.  Some time after his service as Prime Minister, he was elevated to the House of Lords.  In his first speech there, in 1984, he said:

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on."

So the strikers that were causing so many problems and who would never vote for his party  were abused and excoriated as a Leftist would do?  Not at all.  He saw quality in them:  "strike of the best men in the world".  He was not at war with his fellow man.  He admired them.  Such a different attitude from the whiners and abusers of the Left.  Conservatives are the gentlemen.  Leftists are the thugs


Public-sector pensions are eating taxpayers alive

by Jeff Jacoby

SOME OF my best friends, to coin a phrase, are lifetime government employees. When they stop working, their pensions will put them among the highest-earning retirees in the country. On a personal level, I'm glad my friends' retirement will be so comfortable. But as a taxpayer, I know that their good fortune, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of government workers like them, will only worsen a swelling political and fiscal crisis.

Around the country governments are facing a tidal wave of pension obligations that they haven't figured out how to pay for. By some estimates, the states' long-term unfunded pension liabilities add up to more than $4 trillion. There is no way to meet such a staggering financial burden without sacrificing more and more of the basic services - public safety, education, roads and infrastructure - that governments are formed to provide. Already some cities - from Vallejo, Calif., to Detroit, Mich., to Central Falls, R.I. - have been driven into bankruptcy by the unaffordable retirement benefits they have promised public-sector workers. And there has been talk in Congress of crafting a bankruptcy option for states, a proposal that no longer seems as outlandish as it once did.

Everywhere, the writing is on the wall. In San Jose, reports The Washington Post, "the roads are pocked with potholes, the libraries are closed three days a week, and a slew of city recreation centers have been handed over to nonprofit groups." Taxes have been raised, public services cut, and the number of city employees drastically reduced. Yet annual retirement payouts for -public-sector workers continue to climb, thanks to lavish pensions that enrich municipal retirees with as much as 90 percent of their former salaries - and court decisions barring pension benefits for public-sector employees from being rolled back.

The result, in San Jose and across the country, is the "startling injustice" of poor and working-class taxpayers forced to make do with less and less so that the gold-plated pensions of public-sector retirees, which already gobble an outsize share of government budgets, can keep devouring more and more.

Dismay at that injustice is increasingly bipartisan, as it becomes clear that liberal priorities will die on the vine without pension reform. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who is pushing a state constitutional amendment that would empower governments or voters to stem out-of-control retirement costs, is a Democrat. So is Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, who says his city is teetering "on the brink of a fiscal cliff because of our pension liabilities." So is New Bedford's former mayor Scott Lang, who was warning back in 2009 that public pensions and health benefits were strangling government's ability to provide basic services. "It's absolute insanity," he told the Boston Globe. "They're unsustainable."

Now a new study from the American Enterprise Institute strengthens the case for public-pension reform - especially for progressives troubled by income inequality and a growing societal wealth gap.

Andrew G. Biggs, a former deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration, explodes the claim routinely made by government labor unions that public pension benefits are actually quite modest. It's easy to give the impression that average retirement benefits for government workers are unremarkable, he writes, by including payments to elderly beneficiaries who left government long ago, or short-term workers who receive only a minuscule pension for their time in government.

But focus on pension payments made to lifetime government employees retiring now, and it's clear that public-sector workers, even in retirement, tend to be quite well paid indeed.

In the average state, an average career government employee receives combined pension and Social Security income higher than 72 percent of that state's full-time working employees, Biggs calculates. The figure is lower in some states, including Massachusetts (45 percent); in others, such as Pennsylvania (87 percent) or Oregon (90 percent), it's much higher. Bear in mind that these sums don't include health-care benefits, which typically boost retirees' income by thousands of dollars.

And how much is a full-career public employee pension worth in dollars and cents? In the average state, those lifetime retirement benefits - again, not including health coverage - have a present value worth $768,940. In many states, they're worth even more - $848,735 in Massachusetts, for example, and more than $1.3 million in Nevada.

For the average career government employee retiring today, pension benefits will equal 87 percent of their final salary. Those benefits are eating taxpayers alive, as the pension bomb ticks ever louder.



Yet Another Report on Obamacare Increasing Price of Health Care

If you follow the news, you're familiar with the fact that many projections are showing that Americans will face much higher health premiums next year due to Obamacare. A new report from Avalere Health confirms this:

    Avalere Health, a market research and consulting firm, estimates some consumers will pay half the cost of their specialty drugs under health overhaul-related plans, while customers in the private market typically pay no more than a third. Patient advocates worry that insurers may be trying to discourage chronically ill patients from enrolling by putting high cost drugs onto specialty tiers.

    Under the law, insurers can't charge an individual more than $6,350 in out-of pocket costs a year and no more than $12,700 for a family policy. But patients advocates warn those with serious illnesses could pay their entire out-of-pocket cap before their insurance kicks in any money.

    Insurers say prescription drugs are one of the main reasons health care costs are rising.

One of the goals of health care reform should be to "bend the cost curve." One of the ways that Obamacare is trying to achieve that is to force consumers to pay more for prescription drugs.

This comes on the heels of a separate Avalere report this month that, aside from prescription drugs, premiums overall will skyrocket.



Ukraine Illustrates Hard Truths Liberals Won't Face

It's a safe bet that the next smug liberal dork you hear repeating the cheesy cliche about how "Reality has a liberal bias" doesn't live in Ukraine.

The key to understanding liberals is realizing that they are immune to argument. The concept underlying the idea of a debate is that facts and reasoning can lead one to change his previous conclusions. But liberals begin with their conclusions; facts and reasoning that may undermine the preexisting conclusion must be at least ignored, if not actively attacked. This is why you see liberals shouting about jailing global warming deniers as blizzards rage outside.

The problem liberals always face is that the world refuses to honor their preconceived notions. Sometimes we get lucky and the liberal wises up, at least a little. For instance, Jimmy Carter woke up to the fact that the Soviet Union was composed of genuine bastards when they invaded Afghanistan, and in fits and starts he took action. This shocking burst of foreign policy competence is almost single-handedly responsible for raising Carter's ranking on the list of America's greatest presidents all the way up to 39th. Zombie Millard Fillmore was totally bummed.

Now we are in the almost unimaginable position of looking back at Jimmy Carter as an example of comparatively sure, savvy leadership. The Russians invaded Afghanistan and Carter armed the rebels. The Russians invaded Crimea and Barack Obama went on Ellen to hear the hostess gush about how much America loves Obamacare.

It's no surprise that both Carter and Obama were stunned to find that their counterparts out there on the Eurasian steppes were evil, violent thugs determined to maximize their own power by whatever means necessary. After all, in the liberal universe there are no bad people, except for conservatives and male college students who fail to obtain a notarized statement from their drunken dates authorizing them to advance to second base.

After all, human nature is just a construct. At heart, everyone is just a metrosexual college student sitting in a gender studies class, eager to work together with a diverse group of other like-minded individuals to forge a better tomorrow.

That a guy like Putin might act like a guy like Putin never occurred to them. But it occurred to conservatives. We understand that human nature is not a mere construct, that evil is real, and that the uniquely American understanding of the natural rights of man is the one true hope for humanity.

Liberals don't want to face the truth that sometimes you can't talk it out, or make a deal. They don't want to face the fact that they must sometimes put away childish things - like the ridiculous climate change scam they push to enhance their own power - and deal with the world not as they wish it to be but as it is.

They are desperate to change the subject from the invasion of Ukraine back to their own agenda. The people of Ukraine? Collateral damage in the cause of pushing the progressive program.

You would think that the invasion of a major European state might alarm or upset the Western Europeans. And it does. They are angry that they are expected to rise out of their welfare state stupor and act. They won't. The Ukrainian people's cries for help get treated like Kitty Genovese's (at least in the New York Times's false telling). The West just doesn't want to get involved.

Years ago, the Europeans made a conscious decision to inhabit an imaginary world where everyone is just as emasculated and effete as they, where everyone wants to anesthetize themselves from the pain of responsibility with social spending and moral posturing. But most of the world didn't get the memo that weak is the new strong.

While Europe slashed its military budgets to pump up subsidies for vast populations of unemployed, childless university grads and middle-aged pensioners, the rest of the world stuck with the tried and true methodology of might making right. China is increasing its military budget by double digits. Iran is cooking up a hot rock. And Assad's gleeful slaughter of his own people continues, with thousands figuratively strung up with surplus red line.

America, sadly, is following the Europeans' path to helplessness. The richest country in the world is gutting its military just as its enemies - unlike liberals, conservatives understand that we have enemies - are building their strength and flexing their muscles. It's not that we are short of the money we need to fund an adequate military. It's that we instead choose to spend the money on deadbeats, crony capitalists and farcical liberal fads du jour.

It's shameful. Our warriors shouldn't get the scraps left over after the pigs finish feeding at the trough. How about we make the supreme sacrifice of ending such imperatives as cowboy poetry slams in order to make sure we have a United States Marine Corps that won't fit comfortably inside a banquet room at the Rancho Cucamonga Holiday Inn?

If our leaders could accept facts, they would have responded to Putin by reversing the decimation of the greatest military - and greatest force for human freedom - in all of history. But they didn't.

If our leaders could accept facts, they would forget their climate change foolishness. Europe outsourced its natural gas supply to Russia, letting those Slavs far away do all that dirty drilling and refining. Our leaders should have eviscerated Putin's economy by cutting the regulations that prevent the United States from ramping up its natural gas exports and replacing Russia as Europe's gas station. But they didn't.

They heard the trumpet sound, and they turned up their Mumford & Sons MP3 to drown it out.

This isn't just about Putin. This is about every neo-fascist left-wing dictatorship out there smelling weakness, and what weakness smells like is blood. This isn't going to just stop. This is only going to get worse until we stop it.

Liberals won't face that truth, but we conservatives understand that reality has a conservative bias. And the most important reality right now is that if you won't stand up with a rifle and a fixed bayonet and hold your ground, sooner or later you will be someone's slave.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


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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