Friday, May 12, 2017

America's shadow bureaucracy

Daniel J. Mitchell

As Ronald Reagan pointed out many years ago, Washington is a company town. But rather than being home to a firm or industry that earns money by providing value to willing consumers, the “company” is a federal government that uses a coercive tax system to provide unearned wealth to various interest groups.

And the beneficiaries of that redistribution zealously guard their privileges and pay very close attention to any developments that might threaten their access to the public trough.

Government Looking out for Itself

Federal bureaucrats are particularly concerned whenever there is talk about spending restraint.

They get lavishly compensated compared to folks in the private sector, so they definitely fret whenever something might happen to derail their gravy train.

A recent segment on a local station in Washington, DC, focused on their angst, and I provided a contrary point of view.

The Bureaucracy Keeps Growing

Needless to say, my friends who work for the federal government generally don’t agree with my assessment. Some of them even sent me an article from the Washington Post that claims the number of bureaucrats hasn’t changed since the late 1960s.

They claim this is evidence that the bureaucracy has become more efficient.

But they’re wrong. The official federal workforce may not have changed, but research from the Brooking Institution reveals that this statistic is illusory because of a giant shadow bureaucracy.

George Will’s latest column is about this metastasizing hidden bureaucracy, referencing author John J. DiIulio Jr. and his study on government growth:

…government has prudently become stealthy about how it becomes ever bigger. In a new Brookings paper …government expands by indirection, using three kinds of “administrative proxies” — state and local government, for-profit businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Since 1960, the number of state and local government employees has tripled to more than 18 million, a growth driven by federal money: Between the early 1960s and early 2010s, the inflation-adjusted value of federal grants for the states increased more than tenfold …“By conservative estimates,” DiIulio writes, “there are about 3 million state and local government workers” — about 50 percent more than the number of federal workers — “funded via federal grants and contracts.” Then there are for-profit contractors, used, DiIulio says, “by every federal department, bureau and agency.” For almost a decade, the Defense Department’s full-time equivalent of 700,000 to 800,000 civilian workers have been supplemented by the full-time equivalent of 620,000 to 770,000 for-profit contract employees …the government spends more (about $350 billion) on defense contractors than on all official federal bureaucrats ($250 billion). Finally, “employment in the tax-exempt or independent sector more than doubled between 1977 and 2012 to more than 11 million.” Approximately a third of the revenues to nonprofits (e.g., Planned Parenthood) flow in one way or another from government. When you add it all together, the numbers are shocking.

“If,” DiIulio calculates, “only one-fifth of the 11 million nonprofit sector employees owe their jobs to federal or intergovernmental grant, contract or fee funding, that’s 2.2 million workers” — slightly more than the official federal workforce. To which add the estimated 7.5 million for-profit contractors. Plus the conservative estimate of 3 million federally funded employees of state and local governments. To this total of more than 12 million add the approximately 2 million federal employees. This 14 million is about 10 million more than the estimated 4 million federal employees and contractors during the Eisenhower administration.
Eliminate the Waste

In other words, the federal budget has expanded and so have the number of people with taxpayer-financed jobs.

By the way, there’s nothing theoretically wrong with a government bureaucracy using non-profits or contractors. And that was the point I tried to make in the interview.

I don’t care whether the Department of Agriculture or Department of Education is filled with official bureaucrats or shadow bureaucrats. What I do care about, however, is that they are part of an agency that should not exist.

And the same is true for the Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Housing and Urban Development.



At long last, Hillary Clinton got what she wanted — FBI Director James Comey, fired!

Another proof that Leftists have no principles or even any  consistency

At long last, Hillary Clinton and her Democrat legions got what they pleaded for last year — FBI Director James Comey, fired!

Remember when they wanted Comey out — before they didn't...

Just prior to the 2016 election, Senate Minority Leader-in-waiting Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared, "I do not have confidence in him any longer," and he labeled Comey's letter about Hillary Clinton to Congress "appalling." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared, "Maybe he's not in the right job."

Recall after Clinton lost, then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) protested, "This is not fake news. Intelligence officials are hiding connections to the Russian government. There is no question. Comey knew and deliberately kept this info a secret."

Most of the Demo rank-and-file followed in lock step. "The FBI director has no credibility," insisted Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) lamented, "My confidence in the FBI director's ability to lead this agency has been shaken."

Fact is, it was Clinton who, by proxy, finally fired Comey. Here's how:

Firing Comey has certainly been in the works since Donald Trump was elected. However, once the Democrats launched their post-election tin-hat diversionary assertions that Trump and Vladimir Putin conspired to steal the election from Clinton, and their mainstream media public relations outlets propagated that mind-numbing nonsense, if Trump had asked for Comey's resignation in January, that would have affirmed the Trump-Putin connection in the small Demo-constituency minds.

Of course, there is not even a puff of smoke regarding the "Trump-Putin connection" in the alleged Russian interference with the 2016 election — unless by "interference" they mean that Russian operatives may have hacked Clinton's illegal and insecure email server, where she was unlawfully maintaining official and classified communications to hide them from the public record — and they made some of those emails part of the public record...

For the record, if the Russians hacked Clinton's insecure communications, and those of the Democrat National Committee, it would have been with the objective of giving a hand up to her Socialist opponent Bernie Sanders, their preferred candidate. The fact that those communications were exposed would be retribution for the Clinton and DNC hacking and bushwacking of Sander's campaign.

But two things happened last week that opened Comey's exit door.

First would be Hillary Clinton's very public remarks, once again blaming Comey for her election loss: "If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president. It wasn't a perfect campaign, but I was on the way to winning until a combination of Comey's letter and Russian WikiLeaks. The reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days."

Second would be that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to whom Comey directly reported, was just installed at the Department of Justice.

Tuesday, bolstered by Clinton's blame game, Attorney General Jeff Sessions endorsed a memorandum from Rosenstein that Comey should be fired based on his handling of the Clinton investigation last July and then again just before the election.

According to Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and longtime friend of Jim Comey, "The memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to explain Comey's dismissal Tuesday is well crafted and will make it very difficult for Democrats to attack President Trump's decision. Rosenstein bases the decision not merely on Comey's much discussed missteps in the Clinton e-mails investigation — viz., usurping the authority of the attorney general to close the case without prosecution; failing to avail himself of the normal procedures for raising concerns about Attorney General Lynch's conflict of interest. He goes on specifically to rebuke Comey's 'gratuitous' release of 'derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal prosecution.' That 'subject,' of course, would be Mrs. Clinton."

McCarthy notes, "This is exactly the line of attack Democrats have adopted since Clinton lost the election: Conveniently forget how ecstatic they were over Comey's confident public assessment that the case was not worth charging, and remember only his scathing public description of the evidence — even though both were improper. Significantly, Rosenstein avoids any suggestion that Comey was wrong in concluding Clinton should not be indicted; nor does he in any way imply that Comey's errors made it impossible to bring a wrongdoer to justice. ... Instead, Clinton is portrayed as a victim. This will appeal to Democrats — especially since it will keep alive the fiction that Comey, rather than Clinton herself, is responsible for the Democrats' stunning electoral defeat."

McCarthy is correct in his assessment of why Comey should have been fired — and indeed, by his then-boss Barack Obama, though that would have appeared like Obama was covering for Clinton (not that the mainstream media would have noticed). But the Demo/MSM alliance will have a field day insisting the firing was to subvert investigations into the alleged Trump-Putin connection.

Notably, in Trump's letter of dismissal to Comey, he wrote: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau. It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."

Despite tying Comey's dismissal to Clinton's claims, the DemoDrama "Nixonian memo" protests were instant.

"This is Nixonian!” protested Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) declared that Trump fired Comey "in the midst of one of the most critical national security investigations in the history of our country — one that implicates senior officials in the Trump campaign and administration. This is nothing less than Nixonian."

Oh the horrors!

Thus begins a massive spin cycle to try and keep the Russian narrative alive.

But any Democrat or MSM talkinghead who mentions Trump and Russia in the same sentence is nothing more than a pandering dezinformatsiya propagandist. Clearly and demonstrably, while their socialist icon Barack Obama had a long history of ties to radical communist mentors and Marxist benefactors, Trump does not.

And a final note: There have been 11 FBI directors in its history. Only one other was fired — its fourth director, former federal judge William Sessions. He was fired by Bill Clinton in 1993, and it is no small irony that Comey's firing now is in part directly related to Bill Clinton's nefarious meeting with Obama's former AG, Loretta Lynch at the height of the Department of Justice investigation into Hillary Clinton.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Federal Judge Declares Constitution Void, Threatens Civil Defendant With Death

Most Americans believe that we have a reasonably fair justice system with scholarly judges at the helm. Well, how about a federal judge who suspends the Constitution, confiscates all of a litigant’s assets, orders him not to hire defense counsel, and pronounces his orders enforceable by death?

That’s exactly what federal Judge Royal Furgeson did to Internet pioneer Jeff Baron, in a case that, New York lawyer David Relkin says is “the most outrageous denial of a person’s basic constitutional and human rights in this Country since the abolition of slavery.”

In the Texas case, Judge Furgeson “sentenced” Baron to an unprecedented “human receivership” to enable the judge’s lawyers to loot Baron’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Trust.

His offense? Baron was accused of not paying his lawyers enough money — “charges” that were later proven to be completely fabricated.

The decision is historic: a human being has not been placed in a receivership since slavery ended in 1865. During one of the hearings, and prior to an appellate court ruling that Judge Furgeson “abused his discretion,” Furgeson reminded Baron of his power:

“I have the full force of the Navy, Army [and] Marines behind me.”. . . You are a fool, a fool, a fool to screw with a federal judge, and if you don’t understand that, I can make you understand it.”


Baron is an Internet pioneer who, on a shoestring budget invented technology competitive with Google during the early days of the Internet, according to The Daily Caller. He became incredibly successful and had web sites with over 1 million visitors per day and monthly traffic of 50 million. Baron earmarked nearly all of his earned wealth to finding a cure for juvenile (type 1) diabetes —  a disease afflicting Baron since early childhood.

His success attracted attention, and he was soon enticed by another investor who promised to develop a search engine that would eclipse Google if Baron would partner with him.

That relationship soured fast when the investor embezzled $8 million, prompting Baron to sue for recovery. After this, the partner employed an army of lawyers with Baron’s stolen wealth and sued Baron six times, attempting to take the rest of the company’s assets. The partner lost all six times, according to World Net Daily.

When the partner sued a seventh time, Furgeson became the judge in charge. Furgeson forced Baron to settle the case on unfavorable terms. After the settlement was completed, Furgeson held a private, off-record meeting with Baron’s adversaries where the judge inexplicably put Baron into a human receivership, seizing everything Baron owned — from his home to his cell phone. Furgeson also indefinitely suspended most of Baron’s civil liberties.

“Apparently, there is a lot of money to be had here,” Furgeson said.  “Whether it's a receiver, judgment or whatever, he's going to be accountable unless he wants to live on a desert island somewhere and escape the clutches of the U.S. Army and the Navy and the Marines and the Air Force and the U.S. Marshals.”

At another hearing where Furgeson thought that Baron might appeal his rulings, he responded with a tirade:

“You want to challenge the court order, I have the marshals behind me. I can come to your house, pick you up, put you in jail. I can seize your property, do anything I need to do to enforce my orders . . .  So any failure to comply with that order is contempt, punishable with lots of dollars, punishable by possible jail, death.”

Relkin, an accomplished New York federal attorney says, “The only accurate analogy to Baron’s situation while under the Receiver’s control is that he became an inmate at Guantanamo Bay.”

According to the appellate court, the judge’s orders were so draconian that all of Baron’s property was seized and his personal mail was diverted. Baron, a type 1 diabetic, had to obtain approval from the court before seeking medical treatment.

The result was that Furgeson illegally forced Baron to unpaid labor for years, under the cloak of absolute immunity which all federal judges enjoy.  Furgeson thundered:

“This [proceeding] is going on and on and on until Mr. Baron has nothing. I mean actually everything is depleted. I gather that Mr. Baron is worth a lot of money.  But it may be that we sell all the domain names. We may sell all of his stock. We may cash in all of his CDs, and we may seize all of his bank accounts,”
Professor Ben Stein recently commented to Fox News that Americans are becoming powerless against abuse of power by Stalinist, liberal judges who are “dictators in black robes.”

"The judiciary is out of control, not bound by anything except themselves.” said Stein. “Judges don’t have to be bound by the Constitution or the law.”

While sounding fantastic and-far fetched, Baron’s situation is becoming more commonplace, as California lawyer Conrad Herring explains: “What happened to Baron, can happen to anyone. The system is obviously broken.”

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, an authority on judicial corruption himself, called for Judge Furgeson’s impeachment, explaining:

“I’ve found case after case after case where our judiciary is being used and misused, whether it be politicians misusing the courts to stop people from giving money to campaigns, or this [Jeff Baron’s] situation where the federal government, through the federal judiciary, has illegally confiscated someone’s property and destroyed their lives because they have a vendetta against them.”

The scene of judges in Hawaii and the California 9th Circuit usurping President Trump’s power in the area of national security serves as a reminder of a much broader and increasingly growing problem.

While the president has an army of lawyers at his disposal to keep rogue and activist judges in check, most Americans are far more at risk and powerless to defend themselves when they become? targets personally.

An average American finds himself at the mercy of a radical or corrupt judge bent on inflicting harm and is stuck with the judge’s tyrannical commandments without recourse.

Conrad Herring observes:

“The judicial system is prohibitively expensive for most citizens. When a judge acts beyond his or her authority, and sometimes abuses that authority as in the case of Jeff Baron, there is often little recourse unless a lawyer is willing to work pro bono to defend and protect the citizen’s rights. The abuse in the Baron receivership case was doubly egregious because it was initiated by unethical lawyers. Rather than hold these lawyers accountable, the judge in the case allowed them to thoroughly corrupt the legal process. Baron was stripped of most of his constitutional rights without due process, and then stripped of his assets. Although Baron was successful in his appeal of the unlawful receivership order, he is still today, five years later, fighting to recover the assets that were illegally taken from him.”

With a new day dawning in America, Baron is turning his efforts toward making America Great Again. His new Internet Freedom Project (IFP) is leading the drive to restore America’s stewardship of the Internet.



Texas Takes Strong and Needed Action on Sanctuary Cities

Do you think more states should stand up to unlawful and dangerous sanctuary city policies? Let us know in the comments. – Ed.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acted to protect the citizens of Texas on Sunday when he signed into law SB 4, a bill to punish (and deter) local cities and counties like Austin from implementing sanctuary policies.

Abbott and the legislators who sponsored this bill are trying to stop the Lone Star State from being a sanctuary for criminal aliens. They want to make sure that criminals are removed from the state and deported from the country, rather than remaining in Texas so they can victimize even more citizens of the state.

SB 4 requires local governments in the state to comply with federal immigration law. That includes 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which forbids state and local governments from preventing their officials from exchanging information with the federal government on the citizenship status of any individual.

Under the new Texas law, local governments can’t prevent their law enforcement officials from sending information to the feds on criminals they have arrested or detained.

City and county officials also can’t prevent federal immigration officers from enforcing immigration laws in local jails, and are charged with “assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary” to provide “enforcement assistance.”

Further, Texas law enforcement agencies are directed to “comply with, honor, and fulfill any request made in the detainer request provided by the federal government.”

This means that local jurisdictions that fail to honor federal detainer warrants—which are requests issued by federal immigration authorities to hold illegal aliens for pickup—will also be in violation of state law.

SB 4 imposes a civil penalty on sanctuary cities of up to $25,500 for each day of intentionally violating this law. In a fitting sense of justice, the civil penalties collected will be deposited in a special victim’s crime fund set up by the state.

This means that those who have been victimized by criminal illegal aliens will be able to seek compensation from this fund. Local law enforcement officials, such as sheriffs and chiefs of police, can also be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for failing to comply with federal detainer warrants.

Finally, local officials who refuse to comply with SB 4 and who implement sanctuary policies or ordinances can be removed from office. Petitions for their removal are filed by the attorney general of Texas, and such petitions will get the same precedence as election contests under Texas law.

This ensures that such petitions will not languish in court behind other cases. And Texas courts are directed to remove that official if he or she is found guilty—judges have no discretion to keep the official in office.

Abbott said he signed this bill because public safety is his top priority: “This bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets.”

Abbott added that it is “inexcusable to release individuals from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes like sexual assault against minors, domestic violence, and robbery.”

He said that such behavior by local officials would no longer be “tolerated,” and that SB 4 was “doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who also supports the new law, pointed out that “in the past six years, criminal aliens have been charged with more than 566,000 crimes in Texas including kidnapping, homicide, burglary and much more.”

As he said, “there is no excuse for endangering our communities by allowing criminal aliens who have committed a crime to go free.”

Given the large number of crimes committed by recidivist criminal aliens, the claim by some in Texas that this bill will make “our communities more dangerous” defies common sense.

This is particularly true because the new law exempts an illegal alien who “is a victim of or witness to a criminal offense,” or “is reporting a criminal offense.” Thus, it will not deter the reporting of crimes.

As I have pointed out before, sanctuary policies endanger the residents of the very cities they are claimed to “help.” Criminal aliens who would otherwise be detained and removed from sanctuary cities are instead released back into the community, where they can commit more crimes.

One Government Accountability Office study of the criminal histories of 55,322 illegal aliens showed that they had been arrested 459,614 times and committed almost 700,000 offenses.

The vast majority of these crimes would never have been committed if we had a secure border that prevented these criminal aliens from entering the country in the first place, or if we had an effective policy of removing them once they did make it here, or after being detained or arrested for committing a crime.

The Texas governor and legislators are trying to protect their state’s residents from the reckless and irresponsible decisions being made by local jurisdictions to release criminal aliens and to obstruct enforcement of federal immigration law.

This is a good start and the right thing for them to do.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Deceptive language about Health-Care Provision

The House of Representatives has just passed a statute it represents as “repealing and replacing Obamacare.” This legislation, now awaiting what promises to be major challenges in gaining the Senate’s approval, does amend certain aspects of the Obamacare setup, but all in all the changes are less than earth-shaking, and the previous system will continue in important regards even if the House version should gain approval in the Senate.

One critical aspect of the continuity is the requirement that, absent certain state-level options that might but need not be implemented, health-care insurers will still be forbidden to deny coverage to anyone because of a preexisting condition.

Under Obamacare, insurers had to charge people the same amount, regardless of their health status. The AHCA [American Health Care Act] would change that, allowing states to apply for waivers to charge sicker people more if those people had a gap in their insurance coverage. Those states would then get $138 billion over 10 years to help defray costs for sick people by creating high-risk pools, among other things.

The idea behind this provision is that it would make health insurance cheaper for people who are relatively healthy, while sick people would be in their own, subsidized risk pool. As they debated on the House floor Thursday, Republican members consistently assured their audience that their bill would still protect preexisting conditions.

As many knowledgeable commentators have noted over the years, forbidding insurers to discriminate among people according to their health condition (e.g., according to what types of illnesses, injuries, and risk factors they have had in the past or have currently) flies in the face of the insurance principle. Insurance is a means of pooling risks. Subscribers of an insurance policy all pay a regular premium for coverage. In the event that a subscriber happens to fall victim to a covered contingency—for example, someone develops lung cancer—that person will be eligible to make a benefit claim against the insurance to pay for care of the cancer. Such coverage can be actuarially sound because even though any one person’s coming down with lung cancer is unpredictable, the probability of someone’s coming down with this disease in a large population can be determined with a high degree of accuracy, and premiums can be set so that for the group as a whole, the premiums will suffice to cover the plan’s promised pay-outs and leave enough for the insurer to cover its costs and earn a normal return on its investment in the insurance business.

If, however, people who had not been insured could, upon being diagnosed with a particular disease, then apply for insurance covering treatment of this condition, the insurance principle would be cast into the trash bin. This feature would be similar to letting people on their death bed purchase life insurance at the same rate as healthy people, or letting people whose houses had just caught fire purchase homeowner’s insurance at the same rate as people whose houses are in sound condition. In short, requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions at the same premium paid by covered subscribers who do not have those conditions transforms insurance into an arrangement for making healthy people pay too much for coverage in order to subsidize people who pay too little—because the law forbids insurers to charge them according to the risk of the covered contingency they actually present.

Likewise, requiring insurers to cover a wide range of conditions against which some subscribers do not wish to insure—indeed, against certain contingencies that cannot apply to them in any event (e.g., costs associated with pregnancy for male subscribers)—turns the insurance system into a complex system of overcharges and cross-subsidies, that is, turns the system into a legally prescribed welfare system rather than an insurance system.

The federal government and the state governments have intervened haphazardly in the health-care insurance business so pervasively and for so long that by now the whole setup is nothing but a gigantic mess that flies in the face of the insurance principle and dictates a host of requirements that make no sense except as answers to the prayers of special-interest groups and rent seekers. Once a net benefit has been created, however, each beneficiary group will scream to the heavens if reforms should threaten to remove its privilege, and legislators will be reluctant to buck such organized political insistence on continued subsidies and privileges no matter how irrational these interventionist distortions are as components of an insurance system. This sort of “transitional-gains trap,” which Gordon Tullock analyzed astutely in an article published almost fifty years ago, produces an inertia in the political process that makes it practically impossible to make substantial changes even as the overall system sinks into financial ruin and drags down much of the related economy with it.

A helpful first step toward actually remedying the whole ungodly mess would be to change the language we use to talk about it and to propose reforms. People would be well advised to stop using the word “insurance” to talk about what amounts to prepaid care for one and all, and to stop regarding every special-interest subsidy and privilege as if, having once been blessed by legislators, it has become an eternal “right.” If people cannot forthrightly recognize gifts financed from the public trough as distinct from real insurance payouts, there is little chance that any reforms can ever make economic sense or bring about a viable system for financing health-care expenses.



Are You Ready for Single-payer Healthcare?

America is well down a slippery slope

Chalk up another victory for the elephants and one more defeat for the donkeys. Yep, the Republicans have finally managed to get a healthcare bill through the House, and depending upon who you listen to, the bill is anything from a complete Republican sellout to a major move in the direction of freedom and fiscal responsibility.

That said, let’s take a deep breath and set aside all the B.S. and talking points coming from politicians and the media and look at the healthcare puzzle like rational, grown-up folks. The fact is that we’ve had government-controlled healthcare from the time progressives first convinced a significant percentage of the population that the government had an obligation to provide medical services to all citizens. Today, of course, that belief has evolved to mean “all people living in the United States, citizens or otherwise.”

It sounds nice, but as every halfway intelligent, honest adult understands, healthcare is not a right. Every human being is born with only one natural right: the right to freedom. Specifically, that means the right to do whatever he pleases, so long as his actions do not violate the freedom of any other human being.

The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness contains two redundancies. First, technically speaking, you don’t have a right to life. If you did, you could choose to live forever. Good luck to you on your choice, but the reality is that a higher power decides the outcome of that one for you. You do, however, have a right to do anything you please to try to improve your life, which comes under the heading of freedom (or liberty, which is the word used by the Founding Fathers).

Second, the right to happiness is simply one aspect of freedom. You do not have a right to be happy, but you do have a right to pursue happiness (as in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). The problems start when people come to believe the perverse notion that government (read, “taxpayers”) has an obligation to do whatever it takes to make them happy. Once a society crosses that line, it begins its death spiral, though it can still survive, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, until you “run out of other people’s money.”

Now, back to healthcare. In this day and age of ever-increasing lifespans, healthcare is an issue of life-and-death importance. But it’s important to understand that it has nothing to do with rights. It has to do with compassion.

This may surprise you, but, in theory, I believe in universal, or single-payer, healthcare. That’s right, if I had supernatural powers, I’d see to it that everyone, young and old alike, had access to the best healthcare possible, without having to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor or have an operation.

The reason I qualified my statement with “in theory” is because even though I don’t want to see any human being suffer unnecessarily or die from a lack of medical care, I also don’t want the government to be involved in any way, shape, or form in anything as serious as healthcare.

It baffles me why so many people blind themselves to the truth about government. A government is nothing more than a collection of avaricious, power- and money-hungry men and women whom we refer to as “politicians,” and we already know, through firsthand experience, that they not only are untrustworthy, they’re incompetent.

The theoretical single-payer system I envision would be run by experienced, private-industry executives and overseen by a board of directors that would consist of the most prominent accomplished, civic-minded people among us, men and women whose reputations would be beyond reproach. They would get no compensation other than reimbursement for travel and other direct expenses, so you would never need to worry about them basing their decisions on their financial well-being.

Now, back to reality: Do I believe this will ever happen? No, I don’t. The sad reality is that the United States will get single-payer healthcare in the not-too-distant future, but, unfortunately, it will be run by the same avaricious politicians who have been stealing from us since the inception of our nation.

Based on experience, we already know that everything the government touches costs more and delivers less value. Amtrak has always operated in the red. The Post Office has always operated in the red. And politicians don’t even make a pretense of wanting to adopt a breakeven budget for the United States.

Isn’t it ironic that Medicare and Medicaid are going broke (not to mention the transfer-of-wealth program known as Obamacare), yet the government arrogantly believes it can run healthcare for everyone successfully? Absurd, of course, but nevertheless government-run healthcare is on the horizon.

Obama and the rest of the Dirty Dems were well aware that the only way Obamacare could be pushed through was by telling massive lies to the public. Their strategy was that when the system collapsed, they would then make the case that the only way to save people from suffering and death would be to implement a full-blown, single-payer system run by the government. A deceitful plan, to be sure, but a very clever one.

And it was all moving along right on schedule toward its ultimate goal when Chappaqua’s most famous liar found a way to blow the presidential election and Obama’s third term against an opponent whom her supporters looked upon as nothing more than a bad joke. Whereupon the guy pulling her strings hightailed it out of town to Tahiti and began cashing in on the eight-year scam he had so successfully pulled off.

I’d like to be wrong and see the Republicans come up with a miracle and find a way to make healthcare work, but my guess is that Horrible Hillary’s gift to Republicans will only prolong the inevitable: government-run, single payer healthcare.

The irony is that the most famous government-run healthcare debacle, the VA, has been such a disaster that there’s serious talk of turning it over to the free market. I guess the message is that you have to suffer through years of government incompetency before you’re given the freedom to try and better your situation.

P.S. Allow me to close on an obvious note: Given the insoluble healthcare problems in the United States, I believe immigration (not just illegal, but legal) should be cut as close to zero as possible for at least five years. The fact is that there are simply too many people in this country, which puts a strain on all kinds of services. If we can’t afford healthcare for those already living here, why in the world should we add to the problem by bringing in even more people?

All answers to that question are welcomed.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Dirty Red Secrets of May

American leftists celebrated the venerable Communist holiday of May Day in the traditional fashion. Portland grad students, who have never worked a day in their lives, marked International Workers Day by smashing the windows of local businesses. There's a long proud tradition of the revolutions of the working class being led by rich leftists like Marx, Engels, Lenin and Castro to whom work is an evil mystery that they spent their miserable lives resolving never to become acquainted with.

The New York Times, which has far too many of its own windows to go around smashing those of others, instead offered some sickening nostalgia for the red dead past with a little piece titled, "When Communism Inspired Americans."

Which Americans did Communism inspire? Communists and their fellow travelers. Despite the news stories cheerfully reporting on May Day protesters in the United States waving Soviet flags, there aren't very many Communists in this country. Communism is a demanding mistress. It requires knowing a whole lot, not so much about the real world, but about Communism.

Most leftists are dilettantes. They admired and admire Communism's commitment to murdering millions of people and arguing the esoteric dogmas of the party line. It's this latter that Gornick's New York Times piece bleeds with nostalgia for. She tells us, again and again, that the Communists were wonderfully inspirational because they sat around kitchen tables arguing about ideas.

So did the Nazis. But the New York Times doesn't print fond recollections of debates over whether the Japanese really counted as Aryans and how National Socialism should approach the rights of workers. Nostalgia for the Third Reich is rightly regarded as abominable. And the hobby of those who have a soft spot for its murderous totalitarian ideology.

Curiously, the left never applies this same indictment to its own fondness for Communism. Instead it traffics in nostalgia for Communism's idealism, as if its ideals were any nobler than those of Nazism. But the left believes they were. And how could it not? Communism is just the left taken to its inevitable conclusion. And so the left excuses Communism's excess of enthusiasm for the cause.

Mistakes were made. The mass murder of millions being one of them. Generations of repression being another. Forced abortions, mass starvation, forced labor, slavery, death camps, virulent racism, psychiatric torture, invasion and terrorism being a few others. But their ideals were so idealistic.

Communism didn't inspire Americans, it did inspire the left to try and turn America into a totalitarian state. It still does. This is the dirty little secret that leaks out of the left. When the media runs these evocative nostalgic pieces about Communism, it's the equivalent of a pedophile sharing snapshots of summer camp. It's the disgusting secret of truly vile people leaking out.

And the vile people are the cultural leftist elites claiming to be our moral superiors on account of their commitment to total government control of everything... for the benefit of the people.

Sound familiar?

The double standard is why Nazi historical revisionism is evil, but Communist historical revisionism gets a wink and a nod. It also makes a mockery of the conviction that the mass murder of Jews for the sake of a totalitarian ideology during the 20th century was a bad thing that we ought to deplore.

The Soviet Union began murdering Jews when the Holocaust was just an evil twinkle in a mad Fuhrer's eye. It went on murdering Jews long after he shot himself in the head. Stalin liked Hitler's Holocaust so much that he tried to plan his own version of it. He would have gotten away with it too if he hadn't died, throwing the Soviet Union and his various malicious plans into chaos with it.

The left doesn't believe that Hitler was bad because he killed Jews. Mass murder isn't a crime in the left's eyes. Just ask Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the rest of the gang of monsters whom the left defended in papers just like the New York Times until they had committed the worst of their crimes.

As long as the Hitler-Stalin pact held, leftists vehemently campaigned against war. There were plenty of "Hitler is bad, but" pieces of the sort that they're running about North Korea or Iran. Hitler only became truly irredeemable when he invaded the Soviet Union. And then everyone, except the Trotskyists, decided that Nazi Germany was utterly evil. Leftist fellow travelers went, in the span of days, from protesting "warmongering" and "militarism" to demanding action yesterday.

And that too is another dirty red secret of the left.

It's inconceivable that the New York Times or any paper would run a glowing piece titled, "When Nazis Inspired Americans". No fond recollections from participants in the Madison Square Garden rally. No fond memories of Bund camps. No sugar-coated recollections of how the Thousand Year Reich would create a better world... only to then learn that Hitler wasn't a very nice man.

But "When Communism Inspired Americans".regurgitates the same exact message. And it remains acceptable because the left feels an emotional and intellectual connection with Communists.

That is the ugly truth at the root of our conflict.

Liberalism, the old vintage that actually stood up to Communists, is as dead as the dodo. In its place are smug leftists eager to repeat the same old sins.

Nazis don't get a forum to pour out their romantic nostalgia for attending Hitler rallies. Communists do because the left sympathizes with them. It must offers occasional apologies and disavowals, but the love for a horrifying ideology that was totalitarian all the way down, whose mass murder of millions was not an accident of fate, but was always an integral part of it, tells the truth about the left.

"The party was possessed of a moral authority that lent shape and substance, through its passion for structure and the eloquence of its rhetoric, to an urgent sense of social injustice," Gornick writes.

Gornick begins with individuals and concludes with the ugly collectivist mass of the party. It is always the party in the end. The individuals are disposable. They are, as Stalin said, statistics.

The rest is tiresome. The same recitations of "We knew nothing". As if the crimes of Communism had been some sort of mystery until Khrushchev admitted them.

And what were the Moscow Trials? What were the decades of reports about abuses and atrocities?

Like Pol Pot's crimes, an outraged left denied it all.

After all the mass murders and crimes have been admitted, the left always returns to this nostalgia. To that emotional linkage to the total commitment to a totalitarian state.

To the party.

This is the left. It returns, like a dog to its vomit, to the dream of the true radicalism of a totalitarian leftist state. It occasionally deals with uncomfortable truths. Circles around them. And then it lapses back into an opium dream of Marxists sitting around a kitchen table and debating which windows to smash first and whom to shoot first.



An Unhinged Left Doubles Down

Long used to congratulating themselves for their inclusiveness and tolerance, leftists are revealed as utter frauds.

Despite all the maddening uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump and the GOP, the 2016 election represented one of the most clarifying moments in American history: “Progressives,” the Democrat Party and their Leftmedia allies — long used to congratulating themselves for their inclusiveness, tolerance and fairness — were revealed as utter frauds.

“In the wake of the Trumpocalypse, many in the deepest blue cores have turned on those parts of America that supported the president’s election, developing oikophobia — an irrational fear of their fellow citizens,” writes Daily Beast columnist Joel Kotkin.

Not fear. Loathing. Loathing epitomized by “comedian” Stephen Colbert, who referred to Trump’s mouth as “Putin’s c—k holster” on his late-night TV show.

Loathing so intense, New Republic columnist Kevin Baker wants to separate “We Pay Our Own Damn Way” blue states from “poor” red states he hopes will wallow in misery without their leftist “benefactors.” “We have funded massive infrastructure projects in your rural counties, subsidized your schools and your power plants and your nursing homes, sent you entire industries, and simultaneously absorbed the most destitute, unskilled, and oppressed portions of your populations, white and black alike,” he writes. “All of which, it turns out, only left you more bitter, white, and alt-right than ever.”

More bitter than Baker himself? He and Colbert exemplify the pompous hypocrisy that animates far too many leftists. Leftists who regularly eviscerate conservatives for their “homophobia,” but will hail Colbert for his “edginess.” Leftists like Baker, et al, who tend to forget, despite Kotkin’s reminder, that “the bulk of the food, energy, and manufactured goods consumed in blue America” is supplied by those “bitter clingers” who feed what Kotkin calls the “blue bourgeoisie.” A blue bourgeoisie who “might seek to give the unwashed red masses ‘cake’ in the form of free health care and welfare,” he writes, but nothing more “than a future status as serfs of the cognitive aristocracy.”

Serfs dismissed as beneath contempt by self-serving progressives.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson aptly illuminates how that poisonous mindset affects his home state of California, where progressive coastal elites “virtue-signal from the world’s most exclusive and beautiful enclaves,” while ordinary Californians endure “another perfect storm of increased crime, decreased incarceration, still ongoing illegal immigration, and record poverty.”

Columnist Aaron M. Renn sees a bigger and far more troubling picture. “Those who are succeeding in America no longer need the overall prosperity of the country in order to personally do well,” he explains. “They can become enriched as a small, albeit sizable, minority.”

It is a minority scrupulously protected and reverently promoted by the Leftmedia. A Leftmedia that “really does work in a bubble, something that wasn’t true as recently as 2008,” Politico columnists Jack Shafer and Tucker Doherty reveal. “And the bubble is growing more extreme. Concentrated heavily along the coasts, the bubble is both geographic and political. If you’re a working journalist, odds aren’t just that you work in a pro-Clinton county — odds are that you reside in one of the nation’s most pro-Clinton counties.”

Leftists apparently need their media-manufactured bubble. That became evident when the New York Times published a column by newly hired conservative (and virulent NeverTrumper) Bret Stephens questioning the legitimacy of the progressive global warming agenda. After it was published, the paper was flooded with threats of cancellations by furious readers. Leftists also slammed Stephens himself via Twitter, and nearly 30,000 signed a petition demanding the Times fire him.

From whom do such “tolerant” people take their cue? President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan “don’t give a s— about people,” newly elected DNC chairman Tom Perez has stated — on more than one occasion. On Monday Perez upped the ante on his mindlessness, insisting, “[N]o human being is illegal” during one of the many Communist Party-supported May Day protests across the nation. One suspects the families of victims murdered by MS-13 gang-bangers on Long Island — 92% of whom are here illegally — might disagree.

Perez is the tip of the iceberg. “Democrats are completely focused on placating their frothing, left-wing, anti-Trump base — and the American heartland thinks these people are insane,” writes Marc Thiessen. “They see women marching in anti-Trump rallies wearing ‘pussy’ hats. They see left-wing mobs attacking Charles Murray at Middlebury College and trying to stop Ann Coulter from speaking at the UC Berkeley. They see ‘Bill Nye the Liberal Guy’ … asking whether people should be punished for having ‘extra kids.’”

Day after day, a demonstrably unhinged army of progressive rabble-rousers reminds America they have made anger, hatred and violence their political platform.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, May 08, 2017

Neither Hillary or the Left blame themselves for their defeat at the hands of The Donald

And the reason why they keep having to find scapegoats is clear.  Russia, the FBI, any excuse will do.  Leftist beliefs are built on sand so it needs a huge psychological investment to defend them. You have to build your mental world on fantasies not facts. So anything that undermines Leftist fantasies is very threatening to Leftists.  It calls the whole self-worth of the Leftist into question.  They need a feeling of superiority for their self-esteem and their addled beliefs feed that feeling.  So they cannot admit that they got it wrong in any way.  Setbacks are always somebody else's fault

In an interview on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton said she takes ‘absolute personal responsibility’ for losing the presidential election. She then pinned the blame for her loss on FBI director James Comey, Wikileaks and misogyny. ‘If the election had been on 27 October, I would be your president’, she said — that was the day before Comey sent his letter to Congress saying the FBI would reopen its investigation into Hillary’s emails. In other words, she doesn’t really believe she is responsible.

This is delusional. There is no evidence that these were decisive factors. Swing voters of the Rustbelt states were much more concerned with jobs than Hillary’s email server, and they could not care less about leaked emails from John Podesta (who?) and the Democratic National Committee.

As for misogyny, how do you explain that a majority of white women voted for Trump? As it happens, America was perfectly ready for a woman president – just not ready for Hillary.

Let’s be clear: Comey didn’t tell Hillary to put in a lame campaign effort in Michigan and Pennsylvania, nor did he tell her to avoid Wisconsin entirely. Vladimir Putin and Wikileaks didn’t instruct her to insult the millions of people she labelled ‘deplorable’ and ‘irredeemable’.

And neither Comey nor Putin were to blame for Clinton’s lack of message or purpose. Slogans like ‘I’m with her’ and ‘It’s her turn’ summed up the emptiness at the core of her campaign. As Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes write in Shattered, their brutal look at the Clinton campaign, ‘Hillary had been running for president for almost a decade and still didn’t really have a rationale’.

In Donald Trump, Hillary faced one of the most unpopular individuals ever to run for president. He was also one of the least informed candidates. A joke. And yet she lost to him. That’s how flawed a candidate she was.

In one sense, Clinton’s desire to blame Comey and Wikileaks is not a big surprise, given that Democrats have been pointing the finger at them for months. But hearing these excuses coming from Clinton herself was another thing. It was a grotesque display of self-pity, an attempt to drum up sympathy for herself.

Hillary’s campaign was really a bigger problem than the candidate herself. Her hollow message reflected the Democrats’ lack of purpose and vision generally. Her arrogance and sense of entitlement was indicative of an aloof political establishment and machine politics. In writing off millions as ‘deplorable’, she was only expressing a commonly held view among the elite. And now, in shifting the blame, Hillary joins many other liberals in avoiding to face up to reality, and trying to understand what is lacking in their politics.

Clinton’s remarks proved to be just another example of a truism – the Democrats’ reaction to Trump’s election shows why Trump won. Her interview was a reminder of why she deserved to lose.



Hillary’s Defeat Tour Will Never End

It’s the fault of the FBI, cell phones, Colin Powell and misogyny

It’s May. The flowers are blooming. Young couples stroll through the park holding hands. And Hillary Clinton continues to tour the country explaining that she would have won if only it hadn’t been for the vast FBI-Russian-Misogynist conspiracy that shamelessly robbed her of an inevitable victory.

It’s not a campaign. It’s an anti-campaign. In our political tradition, losers go away. But the Clintons are the cockroaches of American politics. Getting nuked 306 to 232 won’t get rid of them. Instead they crawl out of the rubble, greedy antennas twitching, to cash in on their latest disaster.

Wearing one of Elton John’s used leather pantsuits, her latest act of fashion revenge on the nation that had spurned her, Hillary showed up at 583 Park Avenue in the sixth month leg of her Defeat Tour.

"If you drive around in some of the places that beat the heck out of me, you cannot get cell coverage for miles," she told a horrified Manhattan audience that included Meryl Streep and Donna Karan who can no more imagine going out without cell phone coverage than without their personal assistants.

And people without cell phone coverage, unlike Los Angeles and New York, which accounted for her "popular vote" that Hillary always brings up, don’t matter. Except around election time when even people without cell phone coverage, personal assistants and Netflix accounts are still allowed to vote.

If it’s anyone’s fault that Hillary lost, it’s the "States" part of the United States.

Is it fair that 3 million progressive Hillary voters in New York City and Los Angeles County should be outvoted by a bunch of hicks in flyover country who can’t even get 4G on their iPhone 7S?

As another defeated candidate once said, "This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you." That’s the position that the #Resistance, whose newest member is Hillary herself, embodies.

But as always, she was there to take responsibility. Absolute responsibility. Nothing relative about it.

"I take absolute personal responsibility," Hillary declared. Then she blamed the FBI-Russian conspiracy. Not to mention misogyny.  And lack of cell phone coverage.

Absolute personal responsibility, indeed. At this sad stage in Hillary’s career, students of the English language are forced to ponder whether she’s a liar or just doesn’t understand what words mean.

During the campaign, Hillary had taken "responsibility" for setting up a private email server full of classified emails after weeks of pressure from her people. Before blaming it on aides and Colin Powell.

She also took responsibility for Benghazi, before blaming it on lower staffers, a YouTube video and Congress. Somehow Colin Powell, cell phones and misogyny escaped the blame that time around.

For the Clintons, "I take responsibility" is one of those things you say, but don’t really mean. Like, "I want to hear everything", "Good game" or "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

Instead of taking responsibility, Hillary blames her defeat on her classified emails being found on the laptop of the husband of a close aide being investigated by the FBI for child pornography.

That is a perfectly legitimate reason to lose an election, go to prison and be hounded by dogs across upstate New York. It’s hard to think of a worse scandal than the combination of endangering national security and child pornography. It’s a scandal that would bury any merely human politician.

But Hillary isn’t really taking responsibility. She’s assigning responsibility.

Responsibility is something that Hillary takes only to pass it along to someone else. When Hillary says that she takes responsibility, she means taking on the authority to assign it to someone else.

Like Colin Powell.

"If the election had been on Oct. 27," Hillary insisted, "I would be your president."



Australia: A prolonged outpouring of Leftist hate from an alleged comedian below. America's Stephen Colbert is not alone

By Ben McLeay

If we cut funding for private schools where will Australia get its arseholes from?

Malcolm Turnbull has triggered discord within the Liberal Party and among conservative voters with proposed education funding reform that would see money reduced from 24 private schools and redistributed among government schools. It’s difficult to make a case that private schools should get government funding when non-private schools exist exactly for that purpose, but there’s one thing we really need to consider here: Australia’s arseholes need to come from somewhere.

Look, I understand, your extremely precocious 6-year-old, Bartholomew, is special. He needs an education where a) they will teach him the appropriate way to address a butler and b) he won’t have to be exposed to anyone who knows what the inside of a Centrelink looks like. While government schools certainly get the job done, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that private schools provide, specifically, the ability and inclination to use the phrase ‘je ne sais quoi’ in a sentence.

In a utilitarian sense, Australia might not strictly need people who know how to fence or speak Church Latin, but if we don’t have our private schools, who will be rude to our waiters? Who will leave one-star reviews of restaurants because the tap water tasted like it came out of a tap? Who will park their obscene Porsche four-wheel-drive partially across two parking spaces – one of which is handicapped – just to make sure that no one dings it? Who will complain about homeless people making the neighbourhood look ‘untidy’?

It might seem like all of those examples are awful things that a horrible person would do, but this country is a rich tapestry of human beings that would be far less rich if it weren’t for the sort of people who move next to an iconic music venue and try to have it shut down with noise complaints. And where do these people come from? Private schools.

Private schools aren’t just about removing your child or children from the real world and placing them in a hermetically-sealed bubble of families who all own at least a half-share in a racehorse, they’re also about teaching your child or children that they are, in every way, better than everyone else. Private schools give children the confidence and determination to demand things they are not entitled to and to be outraged at not having things they don’t actually deserve.

There’s a reason that a lot of wealthy and powerful people come from private schools and it’s because they are taught one supremely valuable thing: a complete disregard for the wellbeing and feelings of anyone who has never been to the opera or played polo. Our politicians and titans of industry are empowered to make the sorts of decisions that only benefit the wealthy and are massively detrimental to the poor because private schooling blessed them with a childhood completely free from interacting with the filthy rabble who "needed that money to eat".

An idiot would see the religious right demanding government funding for Catholic schools and the same religious right demanding the government stop funding Safe Schools because it’s "too ideological" as a hypocrisy of titanic proportions, but religious private schools are about more than just making sure children are taught creationism and evolution with equal weight. They’re also integral in raising the next generation of people who will come under fire for posting pictures to Facebook of themselves next to an endangered African animal that they shot with with a bazooka out of a helicopter.

Obviously, arseholes come from all walks of life, and not everyone that comes from a private school is an arsehole, but no other institutions in this country provide as comprehensive an introduction and indoctrination into the arsehole lifestyle as our private schools do (except maybe the university bodies involved in student politics).

As always, we must think long-term. Sure, it’s easy to defund private schools now, but in 20 years’ time, who will try and take away your penalty rates? Who will try and defund Medicare? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to live in an Australia where P-platers in $80,000 cars aren’t empowered to run into your car in the Woollies car park and not leave a note.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Was Trump right in praising the Australian healthcare system?

See the report below.  Trump took a lot of flak for his remarks but because knowledge of the Australian system is minimal in the USA, the subsequent controversy got a lot wrong.  TRUMP WAS RIGHT.  Let me say WHY the Australia system is better.  Broadly, it is better because the care you get is influenced by how much you put into the system.

At the basic level, a visit to your local doctor, the Federal government picks up most or all of the tab. So everybody has good access to a doctor of their choice.

But when the costs get big -- as in hospitalization -- a different system prevails.  Everybody is entitled to free treatment at a government hospital but the care you get there is very poor, with waiting times being very problematical.  One man once had to wait 7 years for an eye operation, during which time  he could barely see.  And even with cancer, which MUST have speedy treatment to give the possibility of recovery, the wait can be long enough to reduce significantly or eliminate survival chances.

And Australians have heard the horror stories and know that you would not wish government medical care on anyone.  As a consequence 40% of Australians have private health insurance -- which gives them access to our many world-class private hospitals, where they get prompt and effective care.  A few years ago, I went to my favourite private hospital with pain from kidney stones,  I was scanned, diagnosed and on the operating table in a matter of hours, and given the latest and greatest treatment for the problem.

So our private hospitals are as good as our public hospitals are bad.  And private health insurance in Australia is not forbiddingly expensive.  People on quite ordinary incomes can and do afford it.  I pay $215 a month for very comprehensive cover and my insurer pays 100% of my private hospital costs. Obviously, many people will have to cut back on other expenditures to afford their subscription but prudent people do just that.

On the other hand, less wise people decide that they will take their chances with the "free" system and spend their money on beer and cigarettes instead.

The upshot?  People who contribute to their own health insurance get care as good as can be imagined while those who try to parasitize the taxpayer get shithouse medical care.  That seems to me to be entirely fair.

And there is great consensus behind the Australian system.. It has been in place for many years now and neither political party wants to change it:  Very different from the USA

A comment by US President Donald Trump about Australia's healthcare system has caused a political firestorm in the US.

Mr Trump, while sitting beside Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York before their bilateral meeting on Thursday, praised Australia's healthcare system.

"We have a failing healthcare," Mr Trump said.

"I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do."

Earlier in the day the president and his Republican Party scored a victory in the House of Representatives for repealing Obamacare, although it still has to pass the Senate.

During the Republican campaign to replace Obamacare they railed against government-funded universal heath-care systems like Australia's.

US Democratic Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a supporter of universal healthcare, laughed during a US TV interview when he was told about Mr Trump's Australian comment.

"Thank you Mr Trump for admitting that universal health care is the better way to go," Mr Sanders later tweeted.

"I'll be sure to quote you on the floor of the Senate."

Mr Turnbull also drew criticism after he told Mr Trump in front of reporters: "Congratulations on your vote today".

Labor's shadow minister for health and Medicare Catherine King said the prime minister was praising a bill that will could lead to thousands of Americans losing their healthcare and "will take away the requirement for health insurers to cover people with 'pre-existing conditions' - such as diabetes, autism or cancer," Ms King said in a press release.

"It could also impact survivors of rape or domestic violence."

Later on Friday White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a news briefing that Mr Trump was simply "complimenting a foreign leader on the operations of their healthcare system".

"It didn't mean anything more than that."

Ms Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump's remarks did not mean he thought the US should adopt a similar system to Australia's.

"I think he believes that they have a good healthcare system for Australia," she said. "What works in Australia may not work in the United States."



US unemployment lowest in a decade as 211,000 new jobs are added in April

Trump delivers -- only 3 months into his term

HIRING in the United States rebounded in April as employers added a brisk 211,000 jobs, a reassuring sign that the economy’s slump in the first three months of the year will likely prove temporary.

The unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 per cent — its lowest point in a decade — from 4.5 per cent in March, the Labor Department said. The figures suggest that businesses expect consumer demand to rebound after a lacklustre first quarter, when Americans increased spending at the slowest pace in seven years, and will need more employees.



Other Than the Mass Murder, Communism Is Great

The NYT thinks the real victims of this evil ideology are the American communists who were shunned.

Once again proving the human mind’s capacity for willful self-deception, the New York Times recently published an article lamenting the victims of 20th century Communism.

A rational, moral, historically informed person, hearing that description of the article, would assume they were about to read an account of the more than 100 million people murdered and hundreds of millions more who suffered systemic torture, starvation, imprisonment and rape at the hands of brutal dictators like Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, and the like. One would assume that such lamentations focused on Mao’s “Great Cultural Revolution” in which teachers and other intellectuals were beaten and killed by the thousands, or the “Great Purge” under Stalin, which saw the deaths of several million Communist Party members who were declared enemies of the state.

But such an assumption would be wrong.

No, the “victims,” according to Times' writer Vivian Gornick, were the thousands of American communists who “endured social isolation, financial and professional ruin, and even imprisonment” when sane Americans rebuked their murderous ideology for the unadulterated evil that it was and is.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg (whose brilliant and insightful book, “Liberal Fascism,” outlines the history of the American progressive movement’s embrace of socialism and communism), summed it up perfectly: “It seems to me a bit sad and pathetic, that she — and at least to some extent the New York Times — thinks the most important thing to remember from this sad chapter in American life are victims — not of Stalin’s mass murder or of Soviet espionage — but the victims of their own stupidity.”

Strange indeed. Less than three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union under the moral leadership of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II, a growing number of Americans, possibly ignorant of the horrors of Communism, embrace it in principle and in name.

The great irony is this: Only through the blessings of living in a constitutional republic which guarantees their right to hold these views, and of living in a free market economy that not only sustains their basic needs but affords them a level of luxury not even enjoyed by royalty of a half century ago, can they engage in such immoral, historically uninformed indulgence.

Thus we watch in disbelief as an angry, self-proclaimed socialist septuagenarian nearly secures the Democrat presidential nomination, bolstered by throngs of progressive snowflakes who protest and riot in favor of “LGBT rights” and against income inequality and the “evils” of the free market while tweeting from their $800 iPhones, sipping $8 cups of coffee, and sporting Che Guevara t-shirts as a form of virtue signaling.

Yet how many of these socialist/communist sympathizers know their beloved Che was Castro’s enforcer and executioner? He was nicknamed “The Butcher of La Cabana” for his brutal reign over the La Cabana prison, where political dissenters, including artists and musicians like the ones who idolize him today, were tortured and killed.

How many know Chairman Mao slaughtered 10 times more Chinese peasants than the number of Jews killed by Adolf Hitler? How many know that in Stalinist Russia, homosexuality was a crime punishable by imprisonment and hard labor, or that Stalin murdered tens of millions of people?

Why, with mountains of historical evidence documenting the atrocities of these sister ideologies, do we today have millions of Americans who openly embrace them? When faced with a recitation of its evils and failures, a common refrain is that communism/socialism is the ideal form of government; it just hasn’t yet been implemented properly.

To argue that the failures of communism/socialism — nearly 170 years after the publication of Marx’s Communist Manifesto — is a failure of leadership is to argue the movement has been led by crooks or incompetents for nearly two centuries. If so, what does that say about the followers?

Interestingly, it is the clear-eyed proponents of communism/socialism who are the most truthful about what the ideologies are and are not. Friedrich Nietzsche, the nihilist German philosopher who greatly influenced Hitler and his NAZIs (an acronym for the National SOCIALIST German Workers Party), declared, “Socialism is the fantastic younger brother of despotism, which it wants to inherit. Socialism wants to have the fullness of state force which before only existed in despotism.”

It would seem that a large number of the Americans who embrace socialism/communism are utterly ignorant of the misery these ideologies birth. According to a recent YouGov survey, nearly half of Millennials were unfamiliar with Mao and Che (though they still wear t-shirts emblazoned with their images). A third were unfamiliar with Lenin and Marx. Of course, it doesn’t help when the nation’s “newspaper of record” has long been a journalistic fangirl for oppressive regimes.

It is such ignorance that turns out tens of thousands of progressive idealists to rallies for Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed socialist who decries the evils of capitalism despite having recently bought his third home, this one a $600,000 vacation home on the shores of Lake Champlain. One thing is for sure; he is living better in evil, capitalist American than he would in Venezuela, the socialist paradise he says we should emulate — a paradise where millions are starving and have no bread, medicine or toilet paper.

In the meantime, oblivious to the irony, good little progressives march and riot against “fascists” in America (a term they define as “anyone who disagrees with them”), demanding free speech protections even as they beat up political opponents.

We would do well to remember Thomas Jefferson’s words in an 1816 letter to his friend Charles Yancey: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)