Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Taste and Tasteless

The entertainment industry has come a long way from its early origins during the Pleistocene Epoch, when troops of Neanderthals wandered from cave to cavern entertaining the residents with the crude humor of the day – generally involving skits showing the foibles of everyday life like getting eaten by a large cat (an age before litter boxes), or crushed by a woolly mammoth.

That style of humor was transitioned into the modern era by the comedic genius of Moe Howard.  Moe, his friend Larry Fine, and a string of brothers, or brother look-alikes, entertained at least two generations of families and inspired millions of children to learn the art of the eye poke and the (then) recently developed eye poke block.

Today the humorist styling of the Neanderthals and the Three Stooges is carried forward, politically refreshed, and feminized, by the likes of Kathy Griffin, a second or third-tier personality who in an effort to amuse her fans has taken to the new social media to poke fun at display her slicing wit and offer the same social comedy as previous generations of mean spirited comics. I am not sure the Neanderthals would have approved of the mean spirit.  After all, their art was done for fun and they had to live with their audiences after the show was over.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rambling Thoughts on a Tuesday.

John Lennon’s song, “Imagine” has become an anthem for many; talking about the abandonment of a belief in God, and the harmony of mankind.  I’m afraid I am not a fan of this song, for a couple of reasons.  First, and foremost, it assumes in mankind a nature that does not exist; if we were just to choose so we could live in harmony.  Secondly, it dismisses principles of faith held by a majority of the world’s population.  These principles are the bedrock upon which societies exist, so if you destroy that foundation you eliminate even the potential for human harmony.
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...
But let’s talk about what Lennon’s society would look like if it were to come into being.  As John suggests we abandon faith in a higher power, and we live only for today.  Well, depending on your view of the length of “today” we could save a lot of time and effort on seeking cures for illness, climate change, and extension of life.  We most certainly would move further into a ME society where we have no concern for the betterment of mankind, or the preservation of life.  It would be an easy-come, easy-go kind of world.  Of course, people would grieve for the unfortunate deaths of those they love (if the concept of love were to remain), but since there would be no hope of a future for them, we would soon learn to cast them aside and move on.  Death would be just another unfortunate event for society, life would lose value as we move from day to day in pursuit of our self-interest. 
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...
Elimination of the modern form of global political structure has long been an ideal of some.  We have evolved from simple family groups, to tribes and clans, to cities, city-states, to nations, always with the promise of greater security and peace.  At the end of the day have we achieved either?  What we have achieved is centralization and control by the political elites who gain power, prestige and wealth from this process. I believe John takes it a step further suggesting we abandon that whole construct and live in harmony as individuals.  The assumption must rest on a belief man can be selfless and caring, but what in our history has shown this is fundamental in our nature?  He carries this idea forward as we see in the next verse. 
 Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...
Imagine a world where we have no desire for possessions, and we have eliminated that human quality called greed.  What motivates those who must toil to create the things that life consumes, or eliminate the bi-products of life?  It is certainly easy to imagine we will automate the entire support infrastructure so that we have something like food replicators and waste management is all automated but how will that brotherhood of man thing work out when everyone is in such harmony that there is no desire to lead, or follow? Since we are “living only for today” why would we worry about preserving all the world?  According to John that isn’t really necessary, is it?  We share until It’s all used up and we go away…
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And see the world as one
I am sorry, but it boggles my mind that so many think the world, as painted by John Lennon, is the ideal we should strive for.  How easy it is to dismiss the very fabric of man and paint a picture of a world where the inherent strengths and weaknesses of our species are just discounted for a utopian promise.  The chorus though captures the essence of what we see today, where those who’ve joined in this vision fail to remember the verses.  From those who see the one vision of the world we find intolerance for competing views.  While I might have expected that from those who've not reached such enlightenment as Lennon suggests, it seems remarkable coming from those who find such inspiration in the song.  Such, unfortunately, is the true nature of mankind.  Funny John didn't mention that.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sitting on a Bench

It was a warm afternoon, but the bench was in the shade.  I found it a nice place to rest, while my wife shopped for whatever Belks had for her.  Time passed, I crossed over to Panera for a lemonade.  When I returned, another had taken my seat, but there was room for two, so I joined him.

There we were, two strangers sitting with one shared experience.  Both our wives were in the store helping the economy.  We struck up a conversation and found although we were strangers there was a commonality.  He was from Indiana, vacationing here on the Emerald Coast.  He and his wife had arrived the day before and we talked about the traffic, the weather, how are children were, and the joy of shopping.  Soon, as is often the case these days, the conversation shifted to the state of politics in the nation. 

This stranger shared he was from “flyover country” and became a Trump supporter when Ms. Clinton and the DNC chose to condemn those between the coasts as “deplorable.”  I was a bit surprised when he said he would never vote for another Democrat regardless of who they were or who was running against them, but it was obvious he felt strongly about this. 

It is also obvious, at least to us, how little the DNC recognizes, or cares about, the men and women from the part of our nation known as our bread basket.  This is shown in the decisions they have made in selecting their leadership, and the language they now use to rally their activists.

He asked if I had heard who won the election in Montana for the representative at large position.  I said the Republican, despite his assault of a reporter, and noted the democrats were claiming this as a victory because they lost by less than experts had predicted.  Somehow in the twisted world of partisan politics a loss can be a win if you choose to view it as such.

In 18-months we will again go to the polls to return our representatives and one third of our senators to Congress.  The DNC and their propagandists in the mainstream media, are sure there will be a reckoning for the current crop of republican politicians.  Neither my new acquaintance nor I are convinced that will happen.  What we are sure of is the division between the urban elite and poor, and the rural citizens who make up the backbone of the nation will continue to grow.

Too soon his wife emerged and took him home, and I was left to snooze in the shade.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Same Old Voices

There is an interesting dynamic right now.  Not a pleasant one, just interesting.  I saw an article from President Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor condemning and belittling President Trump’s current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for comments Mr. Carson made regarding poverty and the individual's state of mind.

For those who are not familiar with Dr. Carson, he is a black neurosurgeon who rose to prominence for his work in separating conjoined twins.  Incidentally, he grew up in a single parent home, in Chicago, where his illiterate mother took away the TV, and forced the two children to read.   

So today the liberal media is all a flutter with how “out of touch” Dr. Carson is with his thinking.  They are sure poverty is not a state of mind or an individual choice.  Those living in poverty are victims trapped by an oppressive system.  Funny how the progressive-liberal community is able to corrupt the American dream so that only privileged white folks can share it.  If we are going to talk about white privilege, I think we see a prime example of it in the words or Robert Reich, and the authors (both white and black) who condemn Carson as out of touch when he advocates for change as a personal choice.

When I was a boy we were taught that our future was in our hands.  It didn’t matter if you were black or white, rich or poor, the future of America was what you chose to make of it. To support this ideal, we were taught about Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt.  Born into poverty on Staten Island, he began with a row boat ferry and by the time of his death was probably the richest man in America. Today, the DNC and the left clearly believe the political elite need to care for the poor as a parent cares for a child.

A friend recently pointed out the failures of our “war on poverty” on-going since the mid-1960s.  As we began the war there were 10 million Americans living below the artificially chosen line we call the poverty level.  Now roughly 50 years later, despite spending trillions on various anti-poverty campaigns we have 46 million (about 14.5%) living below the poverty level.  According to Newsmax, the number of American’s living in poverty reached a high of 50 million under the Obama administration.

The Pew Research center talks about poverty in its January 13, 2014 paper, Who’s poor in America? 50 years into the ‘War on Poverty,’ a data portrait and finds some interesting facts in the data.  In the 50 years the poverty rate has fallen only slightly from 19% in the mid-1960s to 15% in 2012.  But the demographics have changed significantly.  There are far fewer elderly poor, and there has been a breakdown in the family structure with single mother households making up almost 51% of the impoverished.  Poverty rates have dropped for the blacks, but increased for the Hispanics.  From a lay standpoint, it does not appear the trillions of dollars spent fighting this war has resulted in a winning campaign.

Apparently, the ideas of a man who succeeded in life, despite his impoverished beginning, is “out of touch with reality,” and not as important as repeating the same old programs that have failed to work for 50 years.  The cliché definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.  This seems to be the mantra of the left. Why inspire the young to strive to reach their potential when we can appear empathetic, while we hold them hostage to the welfare state and dole out a subsistence living?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Empathy, In the Face of Reality.

The young stake great claim on the idea they are empathetic to the plight of the poor, the down trodden, the racial minority, the persecuted, or the sexually different. If they don’t appear to be empathetic they are ridiculed and bullied into either acceptance or subjugation.  The liberal political movement carries on with that message and employs the same tactics as the young.  They will belittle, shame, or bully until they seem to get their way.  It is my opinion, those who cry out the loudest demanding empathy and acceptance usually have a personal and political agenda they are pushing as they attempt to gain a position of strength.

This brings me to the terror attack on the music concert in Manchester, England.

Over the next several days and weeks we will see social media plastered with signs of condolences, empathy, and concern.  You will probably see FB add the UK flag as an optional background to your profile picture, you will see “I stand with Manchester,” or perhaps, “Cry for the Children.”  Many will come from the same voices who demand the government take no to action stop the movement of terrorists until such an event as Manchester occurs.  In a month or so, the voices of support will die down and the chants supporting those who inflict these random massacres will resume, until the next event.

How easy it is to seem empathetic when it costs you nothing.  How hard it is to actually see the different course ahead, especially when it comes at the need to assess or reassess your personal position and morality.  Terror and terror attacks affect a minuscule percentage of a population, but by their nature they receive far more publicity than almost anything else.  That is precisely what the leadership of a terror group seeks.  Their whole agenda is to weaken the established order and the government, which controls the order.

It doesn’t matter if it is ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Red Brigades, the PLF/PLO, the IRA, Colombian drug cartels and the Marxist groups they fund, BLM, or the Ku Klux Klan, they survive, function, and grow through intimidation and the weakening of the establishment in the eyes of a disenchanted population (usually a growing minority).  The misplaced empathy from those who “feel” their pain only serves to give them the support, both financially and politically, they need to continue to inflict death and suffering on random groups.

While I grieve for the loss of life, I cannot yet commemorate them, for this is not an end, or even the beginning of the end, they are just victims of a war that half the world refuses to win.  Memorials are for the ends of wars, not for those who are still engaged.

So, as you return to your protests of this administration, save me your false empathy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmmmm.

We’ve just returned from a quick weekend trip to Tampa, and we anticipate a stormy week here in the Florida Panhandle.  We, my wife and I, purposely did not look at news for the last few days so this morning I am catching up on reading and stuff.  Along the way, I’ve found several things that give me pause.
But first, a random thought from a small book I just glanced at.  Nobody understands the psyche of a man quite as well as a feminist.  Just ask them.   Hmmmm.
The conservative blogosphere is alive with stories of Representative Pelosi (D-CA) enjoying the moment, as the California democrats chant about fornicating with President Trump and showing him the respect you would get from a NYC cabbie you just cut off.  So much for “when they go low, we go high.”  Clearly, I misunderstood the intent of that early Democratic Party meme.  Hmmmmm.
President Trump gave a speech in Saudi Arabia.  I’ve read the transcript of that speech and must say it is a radical departure from the message of the previous administration.  He confronts, head on, the reality that if we are to defeat radical Islamic terror, only the Muslim world can do it.  In his speech he condemns Iran, but his audience doesn’t like Iran much more than we do so that was a pretty safe move.  Of course, the reporting of it by the media carries the now familiar story lines.  The NYT points out how he is supporting the Sunni verse Shi’a segments.  Bob Shieffer, talking on CNN, notes he sounded “Presidential” but then explains he normally sounds like the drunk at the end of the bar when he tweets.  The more conservative pundits find it a powerful message, the liberal pundits are busy with condemnation and embarrassment.   Unbiased analysis of this event is impossible to find, leaving the individual to pick and choose from their favorite side of the Trump debate.  Hmmmmmmmm.
The media goes to John Podesta for his opinion on President Trump and his statements. Why?  Do we expect some great new insight from the Clinton confidant and campaign manager?  He blames FBI Director Comey for Clinton’s loss, and is amused with the idea the president fired him for the handling of the Clinton investigation.  Hell, I think any reasonable person finds that reason laughable, but does that make it news?  It seems the opinion of someone completely separate from the decision is somehow “news worthy,” especially in light of his own Russian connections.  We don’t have REAL news, just opinions masquerading and claiming to not be fake news.  Hmmmmm.
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, USA (Ret), will claim protection under the US Constitution’s fifth amendment.  I am anticipating a rising chorus of criticism on this, but if anyone on the left is upset, what was your position when Lois Lerner, Jeffery Neely, Patrick Cunningham, Greg Roseman, and a host of others chose that path during the past administration.  The fifth is oft times abused, but so what?  Think of how Benedict Arnold would have been better off if he had that option.  Flynn will join a long list of people who’ve gotten caught doing questionable stuff and hide behind the protections.  Just a little hmmm on this one.
And finally, The Sacramento Bee has this article on the cost of universal health care in California alone.  The cost for California is $400 billion/year and I dare anyone to show me how government funding will reduce the charges the providers attempt to recover from the insurance provider.  Since no one is volunteering to pay higher taxes, but are happy to say someone else should we will maintain the status quo.  Therefore, what I never hear in these calls for a single payer system is what do you want the government to stop doing to pay for the health-care system?  Should we stop funding roads and infrastructure?  How about space?  Should we close NASA?  Maybe TSA or the Coast Guard?  Heck, why not the Department of State or Defense.  I bet we break even if we close all the national parks.  Okay people, who has the solution to paying for this newly found inalienable right?  If you're expecting your Democratic representatives to come up with the answer it will be more taxes on the middle class since the 1% pay their campaign costs.  If you're waiting for the Republicans you vilify, well good luck with that.  Hmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I've Been Wondering

I’ve given up on the idea we can actually have an independent and unbiased news and entertainment industry where facts are checked before stories are released, where news, rather than opinion, is reported and polling serves no useful purpose for 98% of the stories.

Everywhere I turn there is some accusation of President Trump's behavior, mental competence, executive orders, or comb over.   There has sprung up a whole industry dedicated to resisting, inciting violence, or advocating for political overthrow of the administration.  In fact, some of the more frantic and extremist of the public figures have actually solicited assassination.  This got me to thinking, which is better for the country, a complacent and complicit media or an openly hostile one? 

The more I consider the two options, I think I prefer a hostile media.  It does serve as a check to the execution of power, although they do so at great risk to their credibility when they move from simple reporting to the full-fledged hysteria we see in so many reports these days.

As we’ve seen in previous administrations, when the media is viewed as little more than a public information arm of the President, the top administrative officials are allowed to target individuals, and exploit the powers of the state, with very little risk, in their attempt to destroy political opposition.

The biggest problem I see is described in Aesop’s fable: The boy who cried wolf.   When the press and entertainment segments choose to identify with only one party, and their reporting reaches hysterical pitch on even the most routine of presidential actions, then when it is really something to get excited about, the average citizen will yawn and turn on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Opium and the Masses

Suddenly, opium is back in the news, well really not opium but its refined version – heroin.  The media and politicians seem to be abuzz with a new outbreak (spike) of opiate deaths in America, as if this was some new disease we must rally and treat.  For the record, what I know about heroin and other opiates wouldn’t fill a thimble, but I do know about addiction; and the impact it has on the life of the addict and those around him or her.  My Senator, Marco Rubio, posted on Facebook he was being briefed by the DEA, and he has met with the Mayor of Pensacola and Sheriff of Escambia County to discuss the opioid crisis here in Florida.  He said there were too many deaths.  I wonder how many is acceptable?

I don’t think I am hard hearted about this, but the dangers of drug use are no secret, even to the youngest potential users.  We don’t hear much about heroin when the threat is to our minorities or inner city young, but let it spread to the ‘burbs and it is “Annie bar the door.”  The reality is most young people believe themselves to be indestructible and immune to the laws of nature, which means most addicts move willingly into that world, either through simple choice or enticement by their peers.  In that aspect, they are not innocent victims, and it is only in retrospect they regret their decision, seek help and recovery, or they die. 

This drug crisis in America seems to be a routine occurrence, about every three years or so, or when the news media, or the politicians need to divert attention from something.  In this case, it would seem to be the conservative press and politicians who are raising this threat as a national crisis, because ABCNNBCBS has better stuff to amuse the public with (i.e. the sins of Trump).

Someone pointed out a few days back that our engagement in Afghanistan is now our longest running war.  Sorry, but I have to disagree.  Our “war on drugs,” has run far longer, and yet with remarkably similar success.  The war on "Terror," and the war on "Drugs" share a couple of similarities that lead to similar outcomes.

Both terrorist cells and drug cartels target the weakest and most vulnerable, and because of their ubiquitous nature the government is ill equipped to stop them outright.  It is akin to playing a “whack a mole” game.  When a head pops up you hit it, but there are always another dozen waiting to take its place.

There is no shortage of opinions on how we should target the enemy and solve the problem.  Each new campaign meets with initial success the leadership can feel good about, but as the enemy adapts or the political interest wains the campaign slowly draws to a close.

Finally, in both cases, as long as there is a population willing to tolerate the existence of the group, and not raise up at the grassroots level, the drug cartels and terrorists will continue to exploit society and kill our citizens.  

The best advice on drugs comes from a blues classic.  “Mothers, tell your children not to do what I have done.”  Unfortunately, too few children listen to this advice.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Greatest Generation

Before Tom Brokaw bestowed the title of The Greatest Generation on them, they were just our parents.  They had grown up in a period of great adversity when depression and unemployment was wide spread, and there was no government safety net for the poor.  It was a time where our agriculture had turned the land into a barren waste that blocked out the sun in Washington DC when the wind blew the dust of Oklahoma through it.  Their heritage stands in sharp contrast to the generation known as the millennials.  For our parents, racism was far more extreme and public with organizations like the Ku Klux Klan reaching national prominence and a power in the politics of the democratic party where its membership grew to almost 4 million.  As they turned 18 they faced a global conflict, which had almost brought the democracies of the world to their knees, and saw (at its height) over 12 million men and women in uniform.  Finally, they saw the dawn of the nuclear age, where the threat of global destruction from nuclear war was an everyday possibility, and communism was the enemy of the day.

Today, we have the luxury to talk about appropriation of culture, the choice of gender, or the equality of the sexes because our parents and grandparents not only survived the dark days of global depression and war, but rebuilt a world from the ruins.

Writing to his wife Abigail, John Adams said, “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have ­liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy.  My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.”

Perhaps it is the inevitable way of the life?  The struggle of today, to create a better tomorrow, keeps the desired utopia always just out of reach, but why have we become a generation so different from our parents and grandparents?  Today we don’t have a grand vision of a better world as the survivors of the world war had, and we cannot agree on even a simple definition of progress.  Is it because we are studying the esoteric too much, and the reality of politics and conflict not enough?

John Adams lived in the time of enlightenment where the educated came from colleges and universities founded to educate the ministers of the church.  They studied far more than politics and war, and the idea that government was the problem, not the solution, was far more likely to be the political leaning.

Today our most prestigious institutions remove God from the discussion, and seem to focus so narrowly on social problems and solutions that we don’t allow the young to see beyond a single answer. 

For those who don’t go to college, and like it or not that is the majority, they increasingly see the government not as an enabler of a better life, but as the force that restrains them to their role with little hope beyond survival.  It seems our politicians have taken the lessons of Marie Antoinette to heart. “If there is no bread, let them eat cake.”

Friday, May 12, 2017

How Do You Define Insanity? (with apologies to those who are)

The nice thing about opinions is everyone has one.  The bad thing about opinions is some think theirs are so important they get paid to spout them, or they fire them off without questioning their own wisdom.
One writer’s opinion (Scott Adams of Dilbert fame), is President Trump is a genius at persuasion and his whole approach is a rather purposeful plan to achieve a goal, which we may not fully understand.
Meanwhile, most of the public media of ABCNNBCBS, NPR, MSNBC, and the print media of most major metropolitan areas believe the man is just insane, and they color every snippet of news involving the president with that view.
Some, who defend the President, cite the fact he is famously rich; as if this is some defense against insanity.
Others, who despise him, cite the fact he is famously rich; as if this is some proof he has become insane.
If arrogance, and a belief you are always right, is insanity then almost every politician I know would be classified as insane.  But still we elect and reelect them, and expect they will do great things.  So, who are really the insane ones in our political system?
Consider this hypothetical:  You know the media and a vocal minority will be outraged at every single thing you do, but your predecessors have shown you can do almost anything without the fear of impeachment if your party controls at least one house of the Congress.  Why should you act like everyone thinks you should?  What is the incentive?
How about a line from a Mel Brooks movie, The History of the World, Part 1, “It’s good to be the king.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

But It's Heritage, Isn't It?

As the world of manic reaction sweeps through the nation I am amused at the outrage we generate on behalf of a few.  The latest adventure in political correctness is beginning the removal of all vestiges of the confederacy, so in a few years the history books will reflect the Union had a war, but we don’t know who the combatants were, or why they fought.  I can only assume given enough time and support, this movement will accomplish what Hurricane Katrina could not, the destruction of Jefferson Davis’ home and library, Beauvoir, located in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Don’t mistake these thoughts as support for the Confederacy, or the institutions it attempted to defend.  I grew up in the North, where separate but equal was never mentioned, and we did not have to forcefully integrate our schools as they did in the South.  I am not a proponent of flying the Confederate battle flag and calling it heritage as so many do, because a simple search into when the flag became so important to the South will show it was a white political response to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
I suppose you could say the statues, monuments, places of interest, and schools recognizing or named after leaders like Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, or Robert E. Lee are the same thing, but let’s consider this for a bit.
Does renaming Lake Calhoun in Minnesota to “Bde Maka Ska” change history, or just eliminate the possibility people will ever wonder who John C. Calhoun was and his role in the political reality of mid-19th century America?
Does the removal of statues and other historical relics reflect that we have moved beyond racism, or does it just change the flavor of the racist rhetoric?
If we are to purge all reminders of our distasteful past then shouldn’t all the places like Fort McHenry,  Fort Monroe, and Fort Sumter be torn down?  These garrisons all benefited from the labors of slaves and stand as reminders of our ugly past.
How about destroying all the western forts, where we waged an unjust war against the natives so we could take their land? 

Speaking of the west, clearly Mount Rushmore needs to go.  Of the four faces carved so beautifully into the South Dakota landscape, there is nothing to love there.  Two were slave owners and two were Republicans.  How can we let that scar on the face of the earth remain?  While we are destroying the landscape, I understand there is already a movement to level Stone Mountain, Georgia.  Maybe when they are done with that -- the experienced team could just move on to Rushmore?
If you hate America, for all the sins of the past and present, then why celebrate any heritage?  Let’s just wipe it all off the face of the earth, from Alcatraz to Washington DC with all its monuments to racism and manifest destiny.  If you take down some, why not take down all?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

We’ve Come a Long Way (Linguistically Speaking)

The blog, Legal Insurrection asks the question, "Is profanity the 'soaring rhetoric' of today's progressives?" It reflects statements I’ve made on this blog  here.  We’ve come a long way since Franklin’s fireside chats, Dwight’s quiet statements, John’s inspirational addresses, and Ron’s humor.   Clearly, Harry was a man ahead of his time.
It gives me pause.  Consider the outrage over the current President’s language just a few short months ago.  The whole, “locker room” talk thing.  The idea that he would discuss, in semi-private, the objectification of women with such vulgar terms has fueled a whole cottage industry.  Yet we now see the democratic politicians being “edgy” with the use of profanity in their public speaking.  How long before they move full tilt to the language used by Mr. Trump, or the comic/commenters of late night TV?
Perhaps I’m wrong, maybe it’s just a phase, but are we are setting down a path from which there is no return?  Or is it a case of the old guard trying to be relevant with a youth culture that grew up with profanity, vulgarity, and talk of sexual assault as part of their music and lives, and it is now an everyday expectation?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Inevitable Change

Before the United States Government became involved in providing a social safety net for its citizens we had affordable healthcare, just not too much of it, and its quality was somewhat spotty.  Those who could afford it got the best doctors and medical care of the day.  Those who couldn’t; got whatever was left over.

We are on the verge of returning to that model.  We see it springing up before our very eyes.  Heck, there was even a TV show about it.

As we move towards nationalized medicine, in the form of a single payer system there will be greater incentive for the best doctors to limit their patient load to those who can best afford them.  They are, as we speak, beginning to form concierge type practices where they take no insurance, but charge a monthly enrollment fee for their services.  It makes great financial sense for them.  It reduces their overhead regarding government reporting and oversight, it makes accounting for profit and loss easier, and it gives them greater control over their clientele.  For those who can’t afford these plans; they will get whatever is left over.

Those who favor a single payer system cite places like Canada, the United Kingdom, and countries in Europe as examples of how successful single payer systems are.  They never mention the waiting lines for operations, the limits on Government approved care, or the inevitable choices large systems have to make when the funding runs out.   

By the way, all the famous voices we hear pushing for this universal healthcare system seem to fall within the 1%.  The very people who will have their own private doctors, who will not be forced to use the system they demand for the rest.

As the ACA is allowed to die from lack of funding, and due to the partisan infighting the AHCA fails to replace it, we will see millions of Americans return to rolls of the uninsured.  Some will find a private clinic they can afford, but most will not. 

Keep those vitriolic chants coming, encourage your Senators and Representatives to remain partisan.   Change is inevitable, and you are working hard to make sure it is not affordable or positive.

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Simple Observation on Healthcare Legislation

To those happy with the new legislation, which you haven’t read.  I am glad.  For those outraged by the new legislation, which you also haven’t read.  I am sad.  For those who “memed up” and pointed out this legislation passed the house by the thinnest of margins along party lines I would remind you the ACA passed the house 220 to 215, again along party lines.  The difference then, and it will be the difference now, will be in the Senate.  Then – the Democrats had the necessary super Majority to pass the bill over Republican objections, now – Republicans don’t, unless of course, they employ the Reid option.

So, for all those celebrating, hold your horns and confetti.  For those who are preparing to march and riot, maybe stop in at a fast food place and enjoy the dollar menu for a while.

While you’re all waiting -- consider this.  Before there was such a thing as widespread or government health insurance the cost of medicine was far less than today (even adjusted for inflation), why was that?  Was it far less government regulation?  Perhaps it was far less profit incentive (i.e. greed)?  Maybe it was national demand?  How about far less technology?  Or, just maybe it was far more of a common understanding of the costs and how to manage them on the part of the entire industry.

Since the 1960s, we have created a regulated capitalistic system designed to get the most dollars possible out of the greatest number of places like the government or insurance companies.  The government tells everyone what they will pay, the insurance industry falls in line, and the hospitals charge twice that so they can chalk up a loss on every treatment.  We as consumers NEVER EVER argue over what a treatment or operation should cost.  We don’t question the bills that roll in and hold those responsible to actually account for them line item by line item, as if it were our dollars being used.

If this legislation does become law, for all the claims of the Republican politicians it will be no better than the law it replaces.  It will make some people happy, it will make some mad, but it will not fundamentally change the way we view and treat the healthcare industry, and their accountants will continue to find ways to exploit the regulatory framework to make the most profit, (this includes the non-profits who just find ways to label the excess as not profit).

Why?  Because long ago we surrendered our responsibility to question.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's a Question of Civility in Society.

What is Civility in the Modern World?
I used to think I understood civility, but I no longer believe I do.  I realize I no longer understand the modern definition of civil conversation.  It certainly does not reflect what it used to be, and for that I am sad.
By now I am sure anyone with internet access is aware the face of CBS late night, Stephen Colbert, said President Trump's mouth was only good to serve as Vladimir Putin’s “Cock Holster.”  A few years ago, this kind of talk on national media would have been unthinkable, today it seems to be expected.  Public outrage may require some faux apology, but I expect little else.
Apparently, this could be considered a homophobic slur, and if Colbert does apologize it will probably be for that, rather than the disrespect for the President. 

I am thankful I have lived my years up to yesterday never having heard that expression, or having to understand its intent.  Well those days have passed, and I am the poorer for my new knowledge.  We as a nation are poorer for the fact we have lowered the bar on civil conversation.  Yea us.
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