Days of Change

Maybe It Should Be Replace and Repeal

March 26, 2017
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I think the AHCA vote is a good example of this new administration. Donald Trump promised much and has delivered little. His priorities are more toward monetary policy than domestic policy. It also seems that the White House and the Tea Party that created the Freedom Caucus are not in sync.

To avoid sounding like a RINO, some of the Trump supporters on the right have been using conservative talking points that are ineffective to a general audience. When they say voting down taxes and insurance coverage requirements will create choice and competition and lower costs, it’s pretty easy for the media to translate that as cutting taxes for the rich and taking away health care.

Repeal on Day 1 was going to be impossible with 52 Republican Senators. Replacement is less likely. Now, the GOP has decided that “Let Obamacare Die” is the new slogan, which is dangerously close to Alan Grayson’s suggestion of the GOP wanting people to die quickly. What needs to be done is tort reform and that can happen at the state level. When damages are reduced, malpractice insurance goes down, defensive medicine is reduced and health care becomes less expensive.

It looks like Obamacare will have to be replaced from the outside until repealing it will merely be a formality. Maybe we can build a wall around it.

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Mis-Info Wars

March 25, 2017
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Alex Jones, who mostly weaves unlikely anecdotes and news items into conspiracy theories, chose to step back from Pizzagate. This is a story where some e-mails from John Podesta were inflated into a child sex ring being run out of a Pizzaria in Washington, D.C. Apparently, this was so provably false that Jones removed all references and posted this apology.

It’s a nice try from the owner of the Cosmic Pizza to get some satisfaction, but it probably won’t work. For the Info-warriors it merely means that the conspiracy is so deep and powerful that they were able to “get to” Alex Jones himself. And while Jones is done with the legal mess, thousands of people on the internet now firmly believe the Democrats are in a secret cabal of child slavery.

 

 


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Judge Gorsuch and the Case of the Frozen Freight

March 22, 2017
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For whatever reason, I have been fascinated by the Democrats using Judge Neil Gorsuch’s dissent in an appeals case to promote the “Republicans are heartless and cruel” trope in confirmation hearings. It actually says a lot about the law and how politics ruins it.

In short, Alphonse Maddin was a truck driver who missed a fuel stop and pulled over to find it. Upon restating his vehicle, he found that the brakes were locked in place and he called the company for a repair truck. While waiting, he discovered that the heater wasn’t working and felt he was slowly freezing. He contacted the company and told them he was un-hitching his rig, driving somewhere to get warm and that he would go back to the trailer when the repair truck arrived, which was apparently 15 minutes later. He was eventually terminated.

Let’s skip ahead to the politics of this. Democrats are using this case because truck drivers are a conservative audience, but an opinion allowing the firing to stand supports cruel businesses. Plus, we’ve all been let go for unfair reasons.

The problem is that no one but Democrats want to mix their economic populism with the Islam-loving, bathroom sharing liberalism of that part. Gorsuch was not asked to rule on working conditions, but a case cobbled together where Maddin’s lawyer argued that the company fired him for whistle-blowing on telling him to operate an unsafe vehicle. For one thing, he didn’t blow the whistle. For another, he didn’t operate the vehicle, unless sitting in the vehicle while it was really cold is considered an unsafe condition.

What was going on was a minor case of judicial activism. I have no idea if the company or Maddin was responsible for checking the heat and the brakes on a truck before he left, but breakdowns are not covered under OSHA. This case was literally about a lawyer arguing the company was mean to an employee, so use this excuse to make them hire the guy back. Every damn one of the judges went along with this except for Gorsuch. Gorsuch saw it as a matter of law. Sometimes the law doesn’t kiss your boo-boo.

I can see why Trump liked him.


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The Female Donald Trump

March 18, 2017
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The term “political donor” is an oxymoron. Depending on the donation, a politician has to either listen to the donor, take their advice or face the wrath of going against them. Donors themselves can either hand over money because they agree with the candidate or because they are impressed with them after a meeting.

Quick quiz? Who has 4 kids, is the child of a wealthy businessman and has been financing conservatives for a decade? No, Donald Trump was donating to Hillary Clinton since fairly recently. I write of the elusive Rebekah Mercer.

I’ll take the Huffington Post article with a grain of salt, but the elements of it aren’t very controversial. While Donald Trump probably had the money to entirely self-finance his presidential bid, he chose to take money from willing donors like Sheldon Adelson. The Mercers originally donated to Ted Cruz while suggesting his campaign pay for a campaign data firm with little or no results.

The Mercers had already put money into Breitbart News just after Steve Bannon took over. When it was likely that Trump would beat Cruz, Breitbart News fully got on board the Trump Train and Bannon helped connect Rebekah Mercer and her money with Donald Trump. What may have been more important, however, was her suggestion that Bannon be in charge of the campaign alone with pollster Kellyanne Conway.

Speculation is in the article’s conclusions that Mercer wanted Jeff Sessions in the cabinet (a win) and John Bolton (a loss) and is becoming disillusioned with Trump’s less than libertarian populism.

More interesting was that pollster Pat Caddell discovered in 2013 that there was a desire by Americans for an outsider, regardless of their party designation. To an extent, it’s what Obama ran on in 2008, even if he never meant it. Donald Trump is likely the president today because of what he’s not rather than who he is.

 


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2017
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This is my four leaf clover


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Libertarian Snare

March 8, 2017
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When we talk about health care in America, there is one figure that is more important than any other.

$7,000

That is the cost of all health care in the US divided by all the people in the US. Obamacare attempted to funnel that much money to health insurance companies with subsidies or Medicare. Instead, people on the exchanges paid $7,500 with up to $7,500 in deductibles. Obamacare sucks, but a “replacement” plan is going to fix this. A strategy is required, something that is hard to come by for Republicans.

Redstate has a piece about the lack of defining principles that is making it impossible for the party to pass a repeal or replacement. The problem with repealing Obamacare is that it requires the same 60 votes it did to pass Obamacare (in the Senate) back in 2009. What can happen is a budget reconciliation bill that requires only 51 votes. That would de-fund Obamacare. Ted Cruz helped kill Obamacare years ago by ending the slush fund the Democrats were using to bribe insurance companies into staying in exchanges even though the math wasn’t working.

This idea we can burn down the government and start over is popular in the Trump era, but it started with Libertarians. They want to blow shit up because the “free market” will solve everything. Many supported Trump because they didn’t want someone to govern, they wanted someone to un-govern.

The Libertarian non-plan for health care goes like this. Everyone pays their medical bill in cash or credit. If they can’t pay, it’s the same as if they won’t pay and they don’t get any care. People may die, but doctors will also go out of business. Eventually, the health care industry will need to lower their prices and more people can go to a doctor. That is why Gary Johnson isn’t president. That, and agreeing with Bernie Sanders.

The key is to lower that $7,000 figure down to less than $5,000. Then it would be 10% of the median income. One thing we could do is cap lawsuits, but start imposing other punishments, like taking licenses from bad doctors. It would also help to get away from insurance. Insurance is a gamble where everyone pays more to the company than it pays out because of overhead costs. This is why conservatives talk about health savings accounts. It’s a way to pay insurance premiums and keep all the money.

Regardless of the plan, there are people who won’t like it. In fact, a lot of people won’t. That’s too bad. Republicans, more than anything else, need to relearn that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Also, Donald Trump isn’t perfect.


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The Real Fake News

March 2, 2017
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Hillary Clinton really knows how to create winning ideas.

Both “fake news” and “deplorables” came from the Clinton campaign before they were taken up by Donald Trump. Also of interest is that Obamacare started as Obama’s attempt to offer a similar plan to Clinton’s in debates.

The original fake news was a willful attempt by bloggers to spread stories predicated on their chances to hurt a candidate rather than add new information. When they get picked up by the mainstream media, the fake newser has won. In my opinion, the standard for fake news has to be a series of documents given to CBS by Bill Burkett containing serious accusations from George W. Bush’s National Guard commander. The documents were found to be suspicious, then forged and briefly defended anyway.

When this fake news story was released, Bush smartly issued a short denial and left it alone. John Kerry was already being swift boated at the time and attempts to defend it were just putting a spotlight of his denigration of fellow soldiers in Vietnam while men like John McCain were still POWs. Twitter was not around and Facebook was still competing with Myspace. However, bloggers started passing around the screen captures (not yet in hi-def) and eventually the pdfs that CBS agreed to release. The segment aired less than two months before election day. In 2 weeks, it vindicated Bush as the potential victim of a media conspiracy.

Conservatives have to watch for bias in every story. Media outlets will leave out facts or misrepresents statements. It is not fake news. It is bias. The Bowling Green Massacre is a terror plot, not a terror attack. When negative stories about you are dismissed as “fake news” and glowing puff pieces are “good stories,” it negates the very idea of a fair and impartial press. Some Trump supporter may think this will kill the bad media outlets and moderate the others. However, discrediting the press is also a favorite strategy of dictators who don’t want dissenting views.

Calling real news with bias fake diminishes the real news being created from lies. Today is the fifth anniversary of Andrew Breitbart’s untimely death. The following video is real even if it isn’t good for Donald Trump.


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