Days of Change

Day 1243 – No Time for a Flowchart

March 31, 2012

Looking at Obamacare in the Supreme Court, many liberals are now trying to argue issues of process. In short, the Supreme Court should only restrict people’s rights, such as in Citizens’ United, where they argue that the wealthy shouldn’t have the right to spend their wealth on political issues. It should not, however, restrict stuff. If the government is “giving” people health care, then it’s Constitutional. Then again, it’s just providing customers to insurance companies.

Schoolhouse Rock is pretty accurate. A bill is proposed by the Congress or the President and each house votes. If the bill is changed in either house, it goes to a joint committee to rewrite it for both houses. Then each house votes for the compromise bill and the president can sign it or veto it.

But wait, there’s more! In the case of Obamacare, the Senate wrote a bill full of Senate pork with insurance company give aways and the House filled a bill with pork and tried to put in more socialism. Before a compromise could be hammered out, Scott Brown changed the balance of the Senate. Instead of writing a new bill, Democrats decided that the Senate bill was already passed and the House could pass it if they made no changes. So, by a slim majority, they passed the Senate bill and the president signed it.

Remember, there are three branches of government. Even though the Congress and the President should know better, they sometimes pass laws that are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court can eventually decide if a law is Constitutional if it passes through other federal courts. If it does not find the bill Constitutional, Congress has two choices. They can either write a different bill and pass it, or they can try to override the Court by making the law into an amendment to the Constitution. Once an Amendment is passed, it is the Constitution.

Of course, this will never happen. Had the Senate not passed Obamacare before Kennedy died, there would have been no way it would have gotten to the president. Since last year, the House would not pass such a bill either. In just two years, this bill went from passing by one vote as a temporary measure to little support by the public, no chance in Congress and up for judicial review.

Every Democratic Senate member up for election this year voted for Obamacare and they are in much danger in the polls because of it. Some were bullied into it and the Court is being bullied into keeping it. Someone has to stand up for the people and a process put in place to keep a few from dictating to the many. I know one group who did.

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Day 1242 – Lack of Ratings

March 30, 2012

Famous virtually unknown Youtube personality Cenk Uygur issued a challenge to Rush Limbaugh to produce information about the actual numbers of listeners to his program, citing the flawed Arbitron system that could give him 20 million listeners. The truth is that Rush doesn’t need to have this data at all. His affiliates pick up his show to sell local ad time. Rush makes his money from national advertisers and the ones who were smart enough to stay seem to be happy. I suspect Uygur has time to add up all the Arbitron books for 600 stations because his Current TV show probably has the audience of one Rush Limbaugh affiliate.

Oh, and by the way, it happened again. Current TV learned the lesson that MSNBC was taught twice. You will eventually fire Keith Olbermann. They didn’t learn from CNN, though, and put in Elliot Spitzer to take his place. Can Kathleen Parker be far behind? Luckily, Current TV fires for annoyance, not low ratings. Otherwise, Cenk’s show would be out of the network.

As for Rush, the liberal thrill is gone. The advertisers who quietly walked away a month ago are slinking back. The ones who made a public break and not welcome back and are getting creamed, according to Limbaugh. Unsurprisingly, his ratings are up. He and others should raise a glass to Andrew Breitbart for that. When Media Matters coordinated this AstroTurf boycott shakedown of advertisers, their involvement was identified immediately and the narrative of a groundswell of support never took hold.

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Day 1241 – A Drain On the System

March 29, 2012

The main Obamacare argument for the mandate is that people will continue to use emergency rooms for medical care without insurance and generally cost more money. This is an aspect of laws that prohibit hospitals with public funds to refuse necessary medical treatment. Those laws have ironically been used by Republicans to argue against the expansion of the insurance industry as a mandated expense.

This actually puts the lie to Democrats’ position that there is so much money to be gained by preventative care. Preventative care is a smart idea, but it costs money. Doctors recommend regular checkups and multiple tests because they believe in medicine. Even if it’s “covered,” there are still co-pays. Plus, doctors have a tendency to find something wrong if given the chance.

Insurance companies know that a hundred people getting a full slate of tests costs a lot more than one out of 100 people’s treatment for something not caught early. It’s just a sad fact of life. It would be nice if the most cautious solution were the cheapest one, but it’s not really the case.

The only argument for socialized medicine is socialism. People who are using the system are a drain on it, and they’re the reason health care is expensive. That and other lies are why Obamacare is doomed. People in Emergency Rooms had the frugal sense to not go to a doctor for years sometimes. They may be worse off physically, but it may not be possible financially. Even though ERs must treat the uninsured, they can still stick them with bills far in excess of what any insurance company or Medicare would reimburse.

If we’re all in it together, that’s fine. Let’s start with simple transparency. Everyone should get an itemized bill from their doctor. It should be the same amount that an uninsured person should be charged. Then they can get the “bill” with the insurance company discounts thrown in. While we’re at it, Every employee should get their paycheck with what they pay for insurance, the amount the company pays and the amount subsidized with government tax credits. Let’s see what everyone is really paying. Oh, and if the doctors want to add a line for what they have to pay in malpractice insurance, it’s fine with me.

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Day 1240 – Mandate

March 28, 2012
1 Comment

This must be a difficult aspect for the White House because when I looked for it on Politico, it seems to have been rewritten.

The bad news is that the Congress, the courts and the president all have the ability to create laws. The good news is that sometimes one of them gets it right. We’re not sure what the Supreme Court will do, but we do have an insight into what the White House plans for Obamacare. The actual quote is not missing, but Politico mentions that the administration relies on the insurance mandate to fund the ban on preexisting conditions. IF that’s true it means that the health insurers have made it clear in some kind of secret talks that the mandate is the deal breaker for them. Remove it and they will fight like hell to take down Obamacare, something they have restrained from so far.

The mandate is basically insane. It says that whether you can afford it or not, you are legally obligated to buy health insurance. If you don’t, those refunds you get from the IRS for being poor will become tax bills going to the insurance companies. Ironically, the administration has argued that without the mandate, people will just buy insurance when they are sick, since preexisting conditions can’t be considered. Since insurance for an individual can run into thousands of dollars a year, a $1500 mandate fine might be a cheap option as well.

I happen to think the Democrats are pulling a fast one on the insurance companies, but they may think they have enough clout to change things if it stops going their way. If the mandate is struck down and the regulations remain, things will go against them very quickly. Don’t make a deal with the devil, he’s been soing it since the beginning of time. It’s up to you to figure out which one that is.

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Day 1239 – Liberty on Trial

March 27, 2012

The Supreme Court will not answer any questions about Obamacare this week. This is only the beginning. This may only be a hurdle in changing the health care system, or a massive road block. One aspect that looks likely to be ruled against is the individual mandate. It’s a law that requires the purchase of insurance as an aspect of being a citizen. A state can do this, since states were given larger authority under the Constitution, but the federal government has never had this power. The administration has used the rhetorical argument that we are all in the health care system together. Actually, that’s just socialism.

We may or may not need medical intervention in our lifetimes, but that is no reason to require health insurance. In the past, people simply paid for medical treatment. Insurance started as a way to pay catastrophic and unforeseen medical expenses. Where we have a problem is not coverage, but cost. Current medical costs make every treatment financially catastrophic and only the bulk buying power of insurance companies are doing anything to reduce that.

The United States is the engine of medical science. That has a lot to do with the fact that we are the only major country left that has a free market in health care. As a consequence, we pay more for drugs and technology. We essentially subsidize the world’s socialized medicine. If we went to a universal health care model, we’d take the world down with us. Many countries have had to add more free market forces to their health care systems, since doctors are getting scarce and costs are getting too high.

Health may end up being the ultimate luxury. Long ago, people used to be either alive or dead. Whatever didn’t kill you made you stronger. Then we found miraculous ways of treating illness and helping people. Then people started abusing their health and were kept healthy by modern medicine. It may not be possible to put a value on life, but there are plenty of people who’ve been able to determine the cost. Now we just have to figure out what the price of freedom is.

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Day 1238 – Excellent

March 26, 2012

If Trevon Martin had a radio show, he would probably be the subject of a boycott.

The Daily Caller released a stockpile of Martin’s tweets from a Twitter handle I don’t feel comfortable writing here. The previously locked account was suddenly unlocked, in a replay of an Obama video suddenly being released by a former Politico contributor just before Big Government did. Besides copious misogyny, (Dave Weigel referred to it as “horndog bragging”) and homages to the gangsta lifestyle, there is the unrelenting use of a certain n-word that is an indicator of hatred toward African-Americans.

Those who took up the cause of justice (aka vengeance) for Trevon are livid at the revelations that were in reality facts that were already available. Trevon was a 17-year-old who was taller than George Zimmerman, not the 13-year-old in all the pictures released by the family. He sported a gold tooth and was suspended for possession of an empty bag of pot. While some tried to justify Martin “taking a swing” at Zimmerman, there is some evidence to show that Martin may have been punching and smashing Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk.

This is not to say Trevon Martin was in the wrong and deserved to be shot. It does indicate that George Zimmerman could have been an overzealous neighbor who followed Martin around and was sucker punched by Martin as he returned to his truck. This is why we have a criminal justice system instead of vigilante courts.

If I were more cynical, I’d be rubbing my hands and saying “excellent.” The two things any president should have said last week was to keep calm and not jump to conclusions. Obama said neither. He empathized with the family of the victim, but did avoid calling the cops dumb again. One thing that Democrats tend to do is let the liberal wing go too far. This happened during the infamous Wellstone memorial and among certain celebrities during the Kerry campaign. Obama achieved some amount of media control in 2008 and faced an opponent who never pushed back. John McCain truly is the anti-Breitbart.

Now there’s pushback. For every Rush Limbaugh, there are 10 dirtbag liberals using worse slang. Instead of a Sistah Soljah moment, Obama decides to take the side he was expected to take. If George Zimmerman is found not guilty, will it be justice? If it’s not, then we have a powder keg on our hands. I don’t have to hope Obama fails. I just hope this doesn’t get someone killed.

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Day 1237 – Obamascare

March 25, 2012

One of the most disturbing things about Obamacare is that no one knew what it was when they signed it, no one knows what it is now and by the time people decide they don’t like it, a lot of damage will be done. Fans of socialized medicine fear it will give insurance companies more power. Smart people like me know that it’s a kind of creeping government intervention where insurance companies will be priced out of the market and the government will subsidize, then ration health care.

One stupid argument coming to the Supreme Court is that health insurance is necessary for human existence. Leaving aside people who use very little in the way of medical services, it should be possible to pay a doctor or a hospital for services rendered without getting insurance. Insurance is designed as a catastrophic protection, money in the case of a massive expense. Instead, medical costs are so sky-high it is nearly impossible to pay for them without an insurance company to negotiate the price lower. Penn Jillette once referred to health insurance as “prepaid health care.” Most of what we pay into insurance comes out as medical bill payments. Insurance companies cut costs and Medicare puts the burden onto the next generation.

As bad as Romneycare is, and it is bad, insurance companies are not forced to cover unlimited amounts. People who don’t like Romneycare can leave it without getting a passport. It could be Mitt Romney’s strength if he would just admit his plan was a well-meaning but flawed template for national health insurance. The way to fix costs is to add more free market into it, not less. I hope he’ll do it once the people with no chance of winning get out of the race.

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Day 1236 – Power and Money

March 24, 2012

I think this is an appropriate topic since I’m doing my taxes tonight.

One of the interesting things about the new movie “Hunger Games” is that people seem to see the future in that world as either ruled by an oppressive government or an oligarchy of the wealthy. Stop, you’re both right. Conservatives like to blame the overreach of government and liberals blame the undue influence of the rich. The real trouble is when both groups team up. This happens constantly.

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

– Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V).

The rich and powerful are either born into it or achieve it on their own in some way. Democracies are the only way people can gain political influence without being connected and it still happens the other way very often regardless. In dictatorships, most of the rich and powerful were born into it and it is concentrated in those families until the society changes. In corrupt governments, the rich buy their influence in a weak government. In a democracy like the United States, the rich have to buy influence and then leverage that influence into action.

I hear a lot about President Obama wanting to tax the rich, but I haven’t seen him do much about it. The Democrats had all the legislative powers locked up for two years and did not even pass a budget, let alone tax increases. What I did see was nearly a billion dollars go into an Obama campaign and over a trillion dollars go out in kind to donors, be they unions or Solyndra.

Republicans seem to give more lip service to the achievers in the country a the possible expense of the lower classes. In the end, I prefer expanding the power of the wealthy over that of the government. Ultimately, only the government has the power to compel your actions at gunpoint. For that matter, they’re also the ones to take away your guns at gunpoint as well.

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Day 1235 – Too Far

March 23, 2012

I’m not opposed to Rick Santorum as a candidate. He proved he could wait out the flash in the pan nature of the primary race to be the closest contender to Romney. He’s had to put up with being outspent and abused by the press for an essentially fictional sole focus on family values. It’s too bad it’s over.

When Romney does get the nomination, how does Santorum walk back saying that Obama is better than an Etch-a-Sketch candidate? He won’t be the nominee and now has no chance of being the vice presidential candidate either. Many Republicans may not like Romney, but he is far and away better than Obama.

While I’m at it, Ann Coulter needs to shut the hell up.  If she wants to be a fangirl for anti-coal NJ governor Chris Christie, that’s fine. If she wants to support Mitt Romney solely because Christie endorsed him, it’s her business. Does she really have to go one step further and trash Sarah Palin with some of the same media attacks that liberals use? So what if Palin talks about a brokered convention? There’s not going to be one, but a lot of conservatives like the idea. When Romney does get the nomination and Palin endorses him, it will mean that much more because she did not dismiss the base of the party out of hand. If Coulter thinks she needs to drag a candidate over the finish line on the backs of others, she should consider working for the Obama campaign.

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Day 1234 – Stand Your Ground

March 22, 2012
1 Comment

George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. That’s what we know.

This tragedy is quickly turning from a law enforcement issue to the interpretation of motives. Zimmerman was questioned by police and released. The parents of Trayvon Martin were understandably outraged. From 911 calls, it looks like Zimmerman called police about a suspected prowler in the neighborhood and decided to shoot Martin when the police did not arrive in time. Despite his claims to be the head of a community watch, he had no authority to even detain someone and is most likely subject to any number of laws.

In the last few days, the function of a community watch have been discarded for a discussion of Zimmerman’s motives. Did he shoot Martin because he was black? It’s possible that a white teen would be regarded as a lesser threat than a white teen, but it hasn’t stopped there. Many have made the leap that Zimmerman had a hatred for black people and was predisposed to killing Martin because he was black. This kind of “hate” crime would put the federal government into the discussion and Eric Holder is already jumping on the bandwagon.

The search for justice for Trayvon Martin is quickly spinning into a series of liberal interests in the media. One is the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida, which gives citizens legal protections if the choose not to run from a criminal. This law is being argued as an easy way for whites to shoot blacks with no legal repercussions, something that has not been born out by facts. For one thing, Zimmerman is part Hispanic and possibly part black.

The people I would put in the wrong in the surrent climate are the race hustlers like Al Sharpton who are wrong more than they are right. The police could do a better job investigating, but Zimmerman was only released, not cleared of any charges. I would hope that the media attention would lead to answers, not a rush to judgement in finding the man guilty. Black or white, George Zimmerman had no reason to kill Trayvon Martin.

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