Monday, November 30, 2009

The Triumph of Hope n Change Over Reason

Dean's article about faith based science sent me on this little rant.

The head of GM is a former telecomms guy who admitted knowing nothing about cars.

The Obama climate czar, Carol Browner, has zero scientific background (degrees in English and Law).

Math curriculum development teams have no actual mathematicians on them.

And it turns out that the scientists, like Phil Jones of the CRU, advising the UN on climate change, have written some emails that reveal them to be more like this guy below than you might have thought.

Say goodbye to the Age of Reason; welcome to the Age of Politics.

Health Care Cost Benefit Update

In yesterday's post, I asked for help with graphics showing why the Senate health care bill doesn't "appear" to be a budget buster. Dean obliged and rescued the blog with the following graphic from the Weekly Standard: (click to view larger image)

Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats claim that the cost of the Senate's health care bill is $849 billion over the first ten years. But, as Jeffrey Anderson pointed out in the New York Post on Friday, they get this figure by using "the same accounting trick as past versions: 99 percent of the costs don't kick in until the fifth year of that "10-year" period. The true 10-year costs are well over twice what Reid's advertising: $1.8 trillion."

Taxes now, benefits later. Maybe Peggy Noonan is right, and Obama better hope this bill doesn't pass, or he will definitely be a one term President with a Republican Congress for the second half of his term. No way will the public, seeing their employers or themselves saddled with a huge new tax burden without a benefit to show for it, accept this abomination. I predict massive Democrat losses in 2010 if health care "reform" passes in this form.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Random Thoughts

The real crime in the East Anglia climategate scandal, (BwD coverage here, Scratching Post here) is that now we may never know the truth. The raw data for 150 years has been DELETED. I continue to believe that global warming is man made, but there is no way anyone can be sure because the scientists paid with taxpayer money had a political agenda and appear to have deliberately distorted the data and even the computer code used for predictions. Further, and more importantly, we can not have a reasoned debate over the impact of global warming. The impact debate is a more important debate, in my view, because global warming is likely something we can live with and doesn't require drastic changes to our economy. I hope some of the researchers face legal trouble for their shenanigans.

Dean also points out the hypocrisy of the New York Times not publishing the email excerpts because they were obtained illegally. The NYT has standards you know, they only publish illegally obtained documents that will damage national security.

Why are the Dem's boasting that their health care reform won't increase the deficit? This headline provides a clue:

Health care bills would raise taxes well before changes roll out

Americans could pay billions of dollars more in new taxes for a few years before they're likely to see significant change in the nation's health care system under legislation that Congress is considering.
I can't find a graph showing taxes vs revenues under the Senate bill, so any reader link would be appreciated. But another way of looking at health care reform is that it is just a tax increase with an IOU on benefits down the road.

As linked in HotAir, the person of interest in the Washington police shooting, had his sentence commuted by Mike Huckabee when he was governor of Arkansas. I remember commenting during the 2008 campaign that his pardons and commutations as governor showed a serious lack of judgment that disqualified him for President. This may be too much for Huckabee's presidential ambitions.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Light blogging recently as we prepare for guests at the B-Daddy household for Thanksgiving. We will miss our missionary in-laws in Lithuania, God's blessing on their work with orphans there.

I give thanks to God for personal good fortune in marrying the best wife I could ever imagine, having the love of a good family and knowing how God loves us as proved by sending his son Jesus.

I am also thankful for living in a great country, not a perfect one. I am confident that our current economic troubles will be overcome, sooner we pray, but later if necessary to correct flaws in our thinking. The people of the country have a tendency to correct the excesses of previous eras and continue to build a more perfect union of our states.

No matter our current troubles, we should remember that the modern obasevance of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November dates to a proclamation that was made in the midst of a bitter Civil War where brother fought against brother and friend against friend. The war destroyed a good portion of the agricultural base of the nation and killed a larger percentage of the population of any war before or since. In spite of that ongoing tragedy or perhaps because of it, Abraham Lincoln saw fit to proclaim a day of thanksgiving. Here is the original proclamation (authored by William Seward):

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Latest Sarah Palin Lies

I subscribe to a Democrat email newsletter from Yesterday Mitch Stewart alerted me to the "dangerous" activities of Sarah Palin. He also said this:

On Tuesday, Palin went on Rush Limbaugh's radio show where she outrageously -- and falsely -- suggested that Americans could "face jail time as punishment" if they don't buy insurance.

So here is what does Nancy Pelosi say about the matter, certainly she is rebutting this outrageous lie. Judge for yourself:

Also, from an ABC News article:

Under the House bill those who can afford to buy insurance and don’t’ pay a fine. If they refuse to pay that fine there’s a threat – as with a lot of tax fines – of jail time. The Senate removed that provision in the Senate Finance Committee.
And from the House bill itself:

(1) IN GENERAL. If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) for 1 or more months during any calendar year beginning after 2013, then, except as provided in subsection (d), there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual in the amount determined under subsection (c). (2) INCLUSION WITH RETURN. Any penalty imposed by this section with respect to any month shall be included with a taxpayers return under chapter 1 for the taxable year which includes such month.
Note the that the penalty is imposed as part of the individual's tax return, and guess what happens if you don't pay your income taxes?

Actor Wesley Snipes, center, leaves the federal courthouse in Ocala after posting a $1 million bond Dec. 8 in his federal tax fraud case.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hope and Change We Really Need

The hope and change slogan always annoyed me, but I never took the time to figure out why. Now I have. Instead of the hope of changing America, which is a great country not in need of great change, but rather small incremental improvement, I would like to see a candidate of hope and change with a statement like this:
"I hope to faithfully respect the freedom and best interests of our nation and I pledge to change the culture of corruption in Washington DC by reducing the role of the federal government as dispenser of goodies to favored interests."

The belief that the federal government will solve every problem and allay every risk is bleeding the country dry. Further, because goodies are dispensed to the most successful lobbyists, we have provided incentive for corrupting behaviors, whether or not they are actually illegal. The Republicans could easily reinvent themselves and clobber the Democrats by making themselves the party of small government and reform, which go hand in glove. Unfortunately their track record is abysmal and they are not reaping the rewards of the Democrats obvious bad behavior.

Ultimately, voters are rational. Given the choice between an avowedly left wing socialist party and an incompetent right wing socialist party, they will go with the competence. Time for Republicans to end the earmarks, the porkulus, the special favors that they have been as guilty of as Democrats, and they will be able to win big in 2010 and beyond.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Does the IG Scandal Have Legs?

Dean has been all over the firing of Gerald Walpin from his post as Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service. If you missed the whole back story, you can read the whole history at BwD. Boiled to its essentials, Gerald Walpin was fired for either being a doddering incompetent or investigating a close friend of the President too closely (Kevin Johnson, former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento). You would have thought with the dismissal, the story would have disappeared, but it hasn't.

The most recent update comes the The Hill, in an article titled Obama accused of doing favors for ally. Some highlights:

The investigation also found evidence that D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee handled “damage control” after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct against Johnson, her now-fiancé.
And further:

In one particularly incendiary passage in the report, one of the girls who had accused Johnson of inappropriately touching her said she told federal agents that he offered to pay her $1,000 a month to keep quiet.
Now, I will be the first to admit that this is not proved. However, it looks and smells bad if the President relieved the IG of his duties when he was investigating serious charges. But everything is now transparent at the new Obama White House, so I must be crazy.

Weekend Music Chill

Somebody called me out for abandoning the musical roots of my childhood with my weekend music and favoring the "Boy George" sound. Although I mildly disagree, dang that hurts, I wanted to put things right. So here is a little tune for the road warrior in the family.

I've Been Every Where- Johnny Cash - Funny blooper videos are here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Case There Was Ever Any Doubt...

...that the health care legislation is designed to transfer wealth, the House version includes an income surtax on the "wealthy." Harry Reid's version calls for an increase in the Medicare payroll tax for those making over $250,000 per year. Either plan is clearly an attempt to transfer wealth. Increasing the payroll tax will of course cause employers to shift compensation to high income earners to stock options, so don't expect that to raise the revenue expected, as employees and employers alike work hard to dodge this new tax.

Further, this will open the door to using the payroll taxes for any darn purpose the legislature decides, there will be no end to the tax increases if this passes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It was all such a lovely and groovy experience

The Associated Press is spinning so feverishly on behalf of KSM’s civilian trial, we’re afraid they might hurt themselves.

Zacarias Moussaoui (pictured) was a clown who could not keep his mouth shut, according to his old al-Qaida boss, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. But Moussaoui was surprisingly tame when tried for the 9/11 attacks - never turning the courtroom into the circus of anti-U.S. tirades that some fear Mohammed will create at his trial in New York.

And that wasn't the only surprise during Moussaoui's six-week 2006 sentencing trial here - a proceeding that might foreshadow how the upcoming 9/11 trial in New York will go.

Skeptics who feared prosecutors would be hamstrung by how much evidence was secret were stunned at the enormous amount of classified data that was scrubbed, under pressure from the judge, into a public version acceptable to both sides.

Prosecutors were surprised when they failed to get the death penalty - by the vote of one juror.

No one was more surprised than Moussaoui himself: At the end he concluded an al-Qaida member like him could get a fair trial in a U.S. court.

"I had thought that I would be sentenced to death based on the emotions and anger toward me for the deaths on Sept. 11," Moussaoui said in an appeal deposition taken after he was sentenced to life in prison. "(B)ut after reviewing the jury verdict and reading how the jurors set aside their emotions and disgust for me and focused on the law and the evidence ... I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial."

(italics, ours)

And isn’t that really the goal of the war on terror? That Islamo-jihadist terrorists become convinced that we’re not the blood-thirsty, bent-on-revenge, running dog infidels we’ve been portrayed as in those circles? And that because of our exceeding compassion there may be hope that Moussaoui and others of his ilk may be set free to kill again?

Unfortunately, the AP’s sunny disposition doesn’t quite square with the recollection of the man who prosecuted him. The following from Andy McCarthey (via the Corner):

AG Holder's testimony has resumed, and Senator Durbin claims that no one complained about the Moussaoui trial being in a civilian court. In fact, many of us complained — I pointed out several times that Moussaoui was the "poster child" for commissions.

More importantly, though, Senator Durbin and the attorney general fail to point out that the Moussaoui trial was a three-ring circus, that the district judge actually tried to dismiss the indictment, and that we don't know what would have happened had Moussaoui not surprised everyone by pleading guilty. When the Court of Appeals reinstated the Moussaoui indictment, it also said it was sensitive to the trial judge's concerns and would look very carefully to ensure that the government made available to Moussaoui all the information he needed to present his defense. What would have happened if Moussaoui had continued to press his demand for access to classified information and testimony from al-Qaeda captives like KSM? We don't know.

If Moussaoui is their shining example of how well the civilian courts handle international terrorism cases during wartime, they're in trouble.

An even greater three-ring circus avoided because Moussaoui pled guilty. Think we'll be as lucky with KSM? Again, the potential downside of this whole thing so overshadows the upside, we remain baffled.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Come to This

Chinese communist chief banking regulator, Liu Mingkang, warned that U.S. monetary policy was inflating asset bubbles around the world. You think? It's pretty bad when the U.S. is getting lectured by the communists on how to run capitalist monetary and fiscal policy. Even worse, Liu is correct. From the WSJ:

Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said that a weak U.S. dollar and low U.S. interest rates had led to "massive speculation" that was inflating asset bubbles around the world. It has created "unavoidable risks for the recovery of the global economy, especially emerging economies," Mr. Liu said. The situation is "seriously impacting global asset prices and encouraging speculation in stock and property markets."
Meanwhile the jobless rate is at 10.2%, supposedly psychologically significant, but no matter, there are a lot of unemployed and underemployed people out there. But shouldn't things be looking up? After all the stock market is up. Maybe things aren't so rosy, to recycle a quote:
"A jobless recovery is nothing more than a euphemism for a monetary asset bubble..." Jesse of Jesse's Café Américain. H/T W.C. Varone's blog.
The real conundrum for U.S. policy is the need to get the ballooning deficit under control. This will require spending cuts, which Obama and the Dems are in no mood for. So look for the return of stagflation and hopefully another one term Democrat President.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Obama was in Asia this week. Here is a picture of him with the Emperor of Japan:

Later, he was asked about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and whether he thought those bombings were the right decision. View his answer here.

I have read a lot of commentary, but have little to add, this stuff just speaks for itself. I note however, that the TOTUS isn't available during press conferences.

Weekend Music Chill

Dean declared Freedom Week over at BwD, so I thought I'd close out the week with this music video:

I would also like to express our gratitude to the veteran's of World War II, who defeated perhaps the greatest political threat to freedom in the history of the world, the ideology of Nazism. People forget how attractive that ideology seemed in the 1930s during a world wide depression. Hitler and Mussolini were seen as men who got their countries "moving again." But their dictatorial aspirations were met head on by the aspirations of free peoples and the rest as they say, is history.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update on Political Correctness Killing 13 Americans

H/T Hotair. I feel vindicated in my assessment about political correctness being at least partially responsible for the 13 dead at Fort Hood. Army Major Shawn Keller writes in today's RealClearPolitics:

But as angry as I am at what happened, I'm even angrier that it was allowed to happen. Apparently, there was no shortage of warning signs that Hasan identified more with Islamic Jihadists than he did with the US Army. From speeches, writings, conversations, affiliations and postings on Jihadist websites, there were more than enough dots to connect that should have exposed Hasan as someone inclined to attack innocent people in the furtherance of a political, religious and ideological agenda. There were more than enough red flags raised that, at a minimum, should have gotten Hasan kicked out of the Army.
My point exactly. The good major confirms my other suspicion:
The Army as an institution has been neutered by decades of political correctness and the leaders in Hasan's chain-of-command failed to act accordingly out of fear of being labeled anti-Muslim and receiving a negative evaluation report.
I feel bad for the major, because he can probably bend over and kiss his career good bye. We'll see how the Army responds to this kind of truth telling.

P.S. I have to quote the major's closing remarks:

Hasan's radical ideology grew to the point that he committed mass murder because too many leaders were too afraid to lead out of fear of harming their career or the image of the Army. If those leaders don't have the intestinal fortitude, moral conviction or personal courage to stand up, speak up and protect soldiers, then retire, resign or get out of the way and let somebody else do it for you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom Blogging - What Are We Fighting For?

On Veteran's Day, I thought it would be worthwhile to remember not only the veterans but what the veterans have prepared and fought for. Early in the formation of the nation, our founding fathers had the wisdom to insist that the oath taken by our armed forces be a pledge of allegiance not to a man or even the nation, but to the constitution of the United States. Commissioned Officer's oath:

I, (state your name), having been appointed a (rank) in the United States (branch of service), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foriegn and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Enlisted member's oath:

I, (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

These are very political oaths, but not in the sense that we think of politics today. The oath to the constitution is to a very specific form of government, that of a republic, whose powers are limited to those enumerated and further constrained by a bill of rights. Further, the members of the military have forsworn any attempt at a coup or other subversion of democratic principles. Finally, the members of the military are swearing that they will obey the lawful order of the President, the elected leader of the nation. We sometimes take all of this for granted.

In the great sweep of history over the last 230 plus years we have seen our form of government become the accepted standard against which all others are judged. By force of arms our veterans have defeated:
  • Monarchism - Defeating the British in the Revolutionary War and then preventing any reconquest of the Americas through the Monroe doctrine. Again in World War I we fought and prevailed against countries ruled by monarchs.
  • Slavery - In the civil war.
  • Fascism and Nazism - In World War II.
  • Communism - By fighting in Korea and Vietnam (even if a loss) and by the great persevering struggle of the Cold War.

Today, we are faced with another threat, not nearly as great as previous threats, in the ideology of islamic theocracy (islamofascism). We are fighting right now in Afghanistan and Iraq, but like many ideologies we have faced in the past, victory may take a while and come in fits and starts.

To those veterans who paid with their lives we offer our gratitude and we honor their memory by remembering the cause for which they gave their lives, the cause of freedom.

After we win this conflict, let us remember the words of Abraham Lincoln from his second inaugural address:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

American soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge defeat the Nazi counterattack.

Happy 234th Birthday to the USMC

A one day late happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps. Fighting on the land and on the sea since 1775. They are truly America's 911 force, which I know from personal experience. So how about a little mid-week music to honor the Corps?

And a more contemporary version for the youngsters:

The Marines Hymn (as You've Never Heard It Before) - Click here for the funniest movie of the week

Monday, November 9, 2009

Political Correctness Runs Amok - 13 Dead

I have held back on commenting on the Fort Hood massacre until I could ascertain a few facts, but I had my suspicions as soon as I heard the news. Political correctness is running amok in the United States military and now 13 people are dead. And if anyone wants to argue about how we should be sensitive, take that up with the families of the dead.

From ABC News via HotAir:

A fellow Army doctor who studied with Hasan, Val Finell, told ABC News, “We would frequently say he was a Muslim first and an American second. And that came out in just about everything he did at the University.

Finell said he and other Army doctors complained to superiors about Hasan’s statements.

“And we questioned how somebody could take an oath of office…be an officer in the military and swear allegiance to the constitution and to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and have that type of conflict,” Finell told ABC News.

From my experience as a veteran officer of 22 years, I know that problems like this are frequently tougher for commander's to deal with than the life or death decisions of war fighting. That is because making the wrong move can wreck your career in a case like this. Tough. Everyday you come to work, your career could be wrecked, it comes with the territory, do the right thing.

Think this is an isolated case? Consider what has happened at the Naval Academy, where we are training future officers like the one's who ignored Hasan's indefensible positions.

From CDR Salamander's blog:

On 29 OCT, the USNA Color Guard made an appearance at the World Series. The day prior to their appearance, two Midshipmen were removed from the Color Guard by senior Commissioned Officers in leadership positions at Annapolis for one simple reason; they were white males. That isn't a guess on their part - that is what they were told.

Before I go further, I want to detail a couple of things. I didn't think about running this story after the first notification I received. However, I soon started to receive multiple tips from multiple contacts associated with Annapolis, alumni, and parents.

Over the last few days, working with over a half-dozen very reliable sources, the following story started to flesh itself out.

The day before their appearance, the two MIDN were notified that USNA senior leadership did not like the fact that the Color Guard was not diverse enough. As a result, they were to be removed and replaced with someone with a higher melanin content in their skin, and a female. Boom - there you go.
The good commander follows up on Monday, November 9, with even more damning evidence, including evidence as to why the media won't follow up. (Can't get the permalink to work for the second story, you have to scroll down to "The Mask Slips at Annapolis.")

The tragedy is that the Hasan case didn't have to be viewed through such PC lenses. The man stated that he didn't believe his oath of office, a simple interview asking him about his beliefs followed by a discharge for the good of the service would have sufficed to save lives.

By the way, I refuse to post a picture of the terrorist shooter. I hope that justice is done, as I understand he lived. Here is a picture of the brave officer who brought the shooter down, despite being wounded herself.

Kimberly Munley pictured with country music singer Dierks Bentley.

Small Favors

H/T to Legal Insurrection via KT. Leftist rage over the exclusion of funding of abortions from the House health care bill is a sight to behold. Recommend you follow the links. I can't help my schadenfreude, because they kill the likes of those pictured at left. Also, for you RINO's who think being pro-life is a loser, ask yourself why 64 Democrats would vote for the Stupak Amendment that would limit abortion funding but not a single Republican voted against. The trend line in public opinion is definitely moving against abortion as more and more people realize what a crime against humanity this procedure really is.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Free Market Health Care Reform

In the spirit of reaching out to the left, I thought I would explain how free markets and minimal government intervention can achieve the same results as the overly complex and costly health care legislation passed by the House.

From his own web site, the President's stated goals for health care reform can be summarized as follows.
  • Reduce the cost of health care.
  • Increase the number of insured.
  • Ensure those with pre-existing conditions are covered.
  • Protect Medicare.
  • Create a more competition through and insurance exchange and "public option."
  • Do not increase the deficit.
With respect to reducing the costs of health care, I hope we can all agree that such reduction is only desirable if the value of the health care delivered is not increasing. There are actually two costs that get conflated in this argument. One is the cost of care, the other the cost of insurance. To reduce the cost of insurance, we need more competition, less regulation. The Congress, acting under the interstate commerce clause, could pass legislation that allows any insurance company licensed by any state to be allowed to sell insurance in all the fifty states.

Reducing costs of care is more problematic, but again, information and competition are key. In Pennsylvania, the government publishes statistics about hospital outcomes and has found that the most effective hospitals are the least expensive, because the cost of re-admission skew total costs of care. Is this government intervention? Yes, but the least obtrusive kind, providing needed information. I foresee a time when such fact finding could be done privately for insurance companies under a consortium.

Increasing the number of insured is also amenable to free market reform. The health insurance industry is subject to heavy regulation as to what should be covered, what co-pays are allowable and what caps are in place. As with any regulation, this has stymied the innovation that is the cornerstone of increasing efficiency and reducing cost. Further, the current system doesn't give consumers enough incentive to shop around for best value in health care providers. Lifting regulations on what must be covered would be a boon to many. A single male shouldn't have to pay for pregnancy coverage for example. A young married woman shouldn't have to pay for viagra coverage, we hope. Further, high co-pays, with catastrophic caps to prevent disaster for the insured, would go a long way to reducing the cost of insurance. I'm not saying that no regulation is required. Certainly, a legal framework that requires insurers to honor their commitments is needed, even libertarians agree in the basic issue of contract enforcement. But the current amount of regulation hurts the ability of insurers to provide lower cost products.

Pre-existing conditions that prevent some people from getting insurance certainly tug at our heart strings. Our heart goes out to someone who loses their insurance and because of an existing and potentially debilitating illness, would go bankrupt getting treatment. However, this can be solved in a two pronged approach. First, we need to make insurance even more portable than it already is. Individuals should have the right to purchase a level term guarantee, just like they can with life insurance, so that they can take their coverage with them if they lose employment. Secondly, we should change the tax code so that we start to encourage employers to get out of the health insurance business, and have individuals purchase their own plans. If the plan is my own, it doesn't matter who my employer is, I can keep my plan for life.

As far as protecting medicare, I am not sure it can be saved, but certainly cutting payments to Doctors accepting medicare will only hasten it's demise. Doing nothing will do more for medicare than anything produced by this administration.

Increasing competition? See previous paragraphs on reducing regulation and allowing health insurance to be sold nationally.

This is easy under free market reform, no new programs = no new spending.

There, we have the start of a free market plan, time for the Republicans to put it forward.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health Care Update and Summary of Suckiness

How did the Democrats in Congress manage to come up with so many ideas that suck in the bill they just passed? Because the Republicans thought they could distribute pork forever and hold on to their majority without addressing real problems. A little summary of what we get with the Dems in charge of health care legislation, much of this courtesy of Betsy McCaughey in the WSJ.

  • Over $1 trillion in new spending, during exploding deficits.
  • Requirement to enroll in a "Qualified Plan" even though that plan is not defined.
  • One size fits all plan, once it does get defined. Whatever happened to pro-choice Democrats. This will raise the cost of private insurance.
  • Use of the IRS to enforce health care choice. (I like the Orwellian ring to that.)
  • Cuts payments to popular Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Subsidizes abortion.
  • Massive new bureaucracy.
A quick summary of Freedom Coalition ideas to reform health care.

  • Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines to increase competition.
  • Treat privately purchased insurance and employer provided insurance the same in the tax code. That way people will have a better chance to keep their insurance when they change jobs and not be denied for existing conditions.
  • Allow and encourage high deductible policies with catastrophic caps so that consumers have more skin in the game.
  • Tort reform (notice this isn't first, it would help, but is not a panacea.)
  • Require individuals who use emergency rooms to pay for their care, to encourage those who can afford insurance to get some. (See
  • Remove government mandates about what must be covered, so that consumers can choose their best options.
  • Expand Pennsylvania's program that rates hospital quality.
Lying bastards on the left say that the Tea Partyers have no plan, but we do, it just doesn't increase the size of government and still goes a long to solving health care problems.

Time to see what can be done to stop this abomination in the Senate. The relative closeness of the vote in the House (220-215) was the only encouragement I could take from the day's events (other than Navy's defeat of Notre Dame.)

And could someone please mount a primary challenge to Louisiana RINO Anh Cao, the only Republican to vote for the bill?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekend Music Chill

I haven't commented on this week's election results, because I didn't think I had anything particularly insightful to add. I'll let this weekend's music summarize my take on the deeper meaning of it all.

Health Care Reform and Medicare

Dean was visited by someone to the left of us, Joe Markowitz, after Dean posted an article opining that "everyone in and nobody out" was the one of the worst political slogans of all time. Mr. Markowitz also commented on some TLT articles; hooray for readers and commenters. He called us out on an issue to which Republican politicians can't respond well, but to which I can. Here's what he said:

Either you should support the abolition of Medicare AND Medicaid AND the VA, which I do not hear any politicians suggesting, or you should be working constructively with supporters of reform to help fix those programs and put them on a better financial footing. But you can't be against government health care and then at the same time try to scare seniors by saying that reformers want to try to find some cost savings in the program.

As a principled libertarian/conservative I agree. I support the abolition of medicare, medicaid and the VA in their present form. The reason the Republicans can't say this is that Medicare, at least, is a popular program. It is popular with seniors, because they get more from the program than they ever put in to it. And seniors vote in greater percentages than youngsters. But Medicare is not sustainable, and this is well known. Better not to have embarked on an unsustainable program than make promises that will eventually be broken. Further, why do we encourage generational wealth transfer from the relatively poor and young to the relatively richer and older?

With respect to the VA, that system does not work well for the veterans. I am a veteran, and abhor the lengthy waits and red tape to obtain service. I do not use the VA as a result. It would be better if the government gave veterans an opportunity to get treatment in the private sector for their service related injuries through a private insurance plan, and cheaper too.

I work for the Federal government and I know from first hand experience the difficulties of performing one's duties within the spirit and the letter of the law. Not a day goes by that I have to bend rules or not be in full compliance to be able to actually execute the mission I am given. A health care bureaucracy would be run by people like me, dedicated to their mission, but given an impossible task of obeying byzantine rules. But the consequences will be that the costs for such a system will spiral out of control, because all of the rule making is intended to control costs. Because of my first hand knowledge, I dread any increased growth in the scope of government because I know that the competing political pressures of law, mission and leadership always results in less than optimum solutions. Do I think the private sector is perfect? No, but the pressures to bring efficiency and effectiveness are much greater, because politics does not intrude.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Real Californication

The real Schwarzenegger porn awaits his election as governor.

The guvenator, not content to take some hapless saps clothing, is reaching deep into your wallet as well. From the LA Times:

Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners -- holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.

Technically, it's not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers' annual tax bills won't change.

Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.
Except, of course, if the state is technically bankrupt again next year when all us poor saps go to file our taxes. Also, when Jimmy the Nose collects a forced interest free loan from us, we usually call that extortion. Look at what happened last February when the state was broke.

However, you can fight back. In another case of BDaddy taking his own financial advice, I went on my employer's pay website and increased my number of claimed deductions to offset the increased deductions the state is taking. If you want to protect yourself against another bankruptcy in California next year, then you want to owe taxes, not waiting to be stiffed, in all senses of the term. If you're worried about owing too much, pay extra to the feds, so you can file early with them and use the refund check to pay the state.

Fight back California, force these fornicators to reduce spending.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New York 23 Update - Scozzafava endorses Dem

In what amounts to an I told you so moment, Dede Scozzafava, after dropping out of the race has endorsed her Democrat opponent rather than the Conservative who forced her out of the race.

Wall Street Journal commentary on the events hits the mark:

GOP state chairman Joe Mondello, now thankfully retired, and Beltway bigs misjudged public dismay against the Democratic agenda in Washington. Nominating a candidate who "can win" in the Northeast does not have to mean someone whose voting record is more liberal on taxes and unions than that of most Blue Dog Democrats.

Biden Spills Beans

From the Fox News article:

Vice President Joe Biden, during a visit Tuesday to a Delaware automotive assembly plant, unwittingly revealed startup manufacturer Fisker Automotive's undisclosed plans to produce a full line of plug-in hybrid vehicles at the facility.
I think the operative word here is unwittingly; and couldn't we just characterize all of Biden's comments with that adverb?