The Left Hates the Military, Repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 31st, 2010

The Effete Left Retaliates for all those Wedgies

The liberal left hates the military.  Always have.  Always will.  It’s the manliness of the soldier these effeminate men hate.  Being weak on testosterone, the effete male tucks his tail between his legs and scurries away in the presence of the alpha male.  When they were in grade school getting wedgies.   When girls rejected them in high school.  Or when a woman’s husband caught them in an adulterous act.  They ran away.  They didn’t fight.  Which is why they hate the military.  Because they will fight to protect themselves.  Their fellow soldiers.  Their family.  God.  And country.

The Left has always had the military in their crosshairs.  To defund it as much as possible.  To boot ROTC off college campuses.  To protect the rights of a Muslim extremist in the U.S. Army that went on a murdering rampage on an Army post.  Anything to destroy the military.  They just don’t like it.  So when they fought to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, they didn’t do it to help gays who want to serve in the military.  They did it to further damage the military.  At least, that is their hope.

They hate gay soldiers as much as they hate straight soldiers.  Because a gay soldier is still an alpha male.  A tough guy.  Willing to fight to protect himself, his fellow soldiers, his family, God and country.  Everything that the effete left hates.  They see a gay soldier as just another tough guy that probably kicked their ass back in high school.  No, they pushed for this because a lot in the military were against it.  Not because they’re all homophobes.  But because it will radically change the military.

War is Hell and not for the Effete

To take boys and make them into soldiers in a short time requires a little shock and awe.  Training is hard.  And horrible.  The more horrible it is the less horrible actual combat will be.  That’s how you make boys into men.  Desensitize them.  How you keep them from panicking while chaos reigns all around them.  It’s how you keep soldiers alive in combat. 

Marine basic training was pretty harsh during the Vietnam War.  They’ve since lightened up a little since that time portrayed by R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.  Ermey was in fact a drill instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps.  And he served in Vietnam.  Much of his lines in that movie were ad lib.  Drawn from his personal experience.  He was a real bastard in the movie.  But a great drill instructor.  I met Ermey at an air show one summer.  While I waited in line to get his autograph, there were Marines ahead of me past and present.  What did they want?  They wanted Ermey to tell them to drop and give him 20.  And he did.  It was a high honor indeed for these Marines.  He’s a god to them.  Because he made tough Marines.  Ermey’s the real deal.  And, though retired, he still serves his beloved Corps.  Once a Marine, always a Marine.

So what did these men go through in basic training?  Something like this (WARNING: The following video contains explicit language and adult content):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLDaZvTfU9k

Now, imagine Sergeant Hartman dressing down an openly gay man in that scene.  And how fast the ACLU would file suit.

You can say that much of what he said and done was inappropriate.  But when you’re training killers, you emphasize the chest thumping, testosterone teeming, alpha-male manly stuff.  So you call recruits ladies.  And homosexuals.  Until they prove themselves lean, mean and tough as mother [deleted expletive] who want to cut out the enemy’s living guts and use them to grease the treads of their tanks.  That last was borrowed from the movie Patton.  And that classic George C. Scott scene can be seen here:

War is hell.  And a manly thing.  It is not for the faint of heart.  As William Tecumseh Sherman said, the more horrible it is, the quicker it will be over.  And the less lives lost.  An effete liberal male, on the other hand, disdains such brutality.  They’d prefer to sit down with our enemies and resolve our differences through diplomacy.  Like the Allies did with Hitler.  Who lied.  We gave him the Sudetenland.  And he took the rest of Czechoslovakia.  Then Poland, launching World War II.  After we got his word that he wouldn’t.

The Ivy League Hates the Military and ROTC

There are some tough gay mother [deleted expletive] serving in the military.  But they’ve been hiding their sexuality.  Which for the above reasons is a good thing.  Now they’ve repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.  So now when a drill instructor slips and calls a recruit a lady or a homosexual, it’ll be a problem.   The Left will slip someone into basic training for just that reason.  So they can sue the military.  Because they hate the military.  It’s all that pent up frustration from all those wedgies.

The Ivy League hates the military.  They’ve kept ROTC off their campuses.  Because, they said, the military discriminates against gays.  Now that Obama has repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, will they welcome ROTC onto their campuses?  No.  Because they hate the military (see ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been repealed. ROTC still shouldn’t be on campus. by Colman McCarthy posted 12/30/2010 on The Washington Post).

To oppose ROTC, as I have since my college days in the 1960s, when my school enticed too many of my classmates into joining, is not to be anti-soldier. I admire those who join armies, whether America’s or the Taliban’s: for their discipline, for their loyalty to their buddies and to their principles, for their sacrifices to be away from home. In recent years, I’ve had several Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans in my college classes. If only the peace movement were as populated by people of such resolve and daring.

Bull [deleted expletive].  He may admire a Taliban soldier, for they are killing American soldiers, but he hates American soldiers.  Who was it spitting on U.S. troops returning from Vietnam and calling them ‘baby killers’?  He and his fellow college students.  That’s who.

ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school, if by purity we mean trying to rise above the foul idea that nations can kill and destroy their way to peace. If a school such as Harvard does sell out to the military, let it at least be honest and add a sign at its Cambridge front portal: Harvard, a Pentagon Annex.

Taint the intellectual purity of a school?  Give me a break.  The pompous and condescending Ivy League has tainted the intellectual and moral purity of a nation.  These people haven’t done a damn thing to make America great.  It’s the soldiers that have done that.  As Charles Province says so well:

It Is The Soldier

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Charles Michael Province, U.S. Army 

The Left Hopes Gays will Hurt the Military

God bless the soldiers.  The Marines.  The sailors.  The airmen.  And all who serve.

If you hate the military you hate the people in the military.  No matter how you try to spin it.  Do you think a liberal would let his daughter marry a soldier?  Would Colman McCarthy welcome a soldier into his family?  Or would he sneer with contempt?  I’m guessing the contempt thing.  So they don’t like the military.  Or the people serving.  And if you do, everything you do is against the military. 

And so it is with their fight to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.  They’re probably laughing and making gay jokes just waiting for all the trouble to start.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LESSONS LEARNED #46: “Liberals say ‘do as I say not as I do’ because they can’t point to anything worthwhile they’ve done.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2010

The High Compliance Costs of The American with Disabilities Act of 1990

I have a friend who worked at a company that was renovating one of their buildings.  He was in a foul mood one day.  The renovation included a high-end sales and marketing center.  Some place to impress clients.  Included in the renovation was a media room for multimedia presentations.  It was a competitive business; they were looking to woo some clients away from their competitors.  And to keep their current client base from straying to the competition.

It was an existing building.  Space was tight.  They were trying to do a lot in a small footprint.  And they did.  I saw it one day before the work was completed.  Wow.  It was gorgeous.  Especially the media room.  It looked like something you saw in a 5-star hotel.  They built the control room for the media room on a raised platform.  Equipment racks would sit on the floor.  And the cabling would leave the racks through the raised floor and out into a floor duct wiring system.  The walls and ceiling were some nice architectural finishes.  There was no drop ceiling.  No place to conceal wiring but in the walls.  And in the floor.

Well, there was a problem.  The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was relatively new.  This architectural firm complied with the new law in almost every place.  Drinking fountains were wheelchair accessible.  There were ramps to get up the curb so wheelchairs could enter the building.  And various other compliances.  The building complied.  Everywhere.  Everywhere, that is, but one area.  The control booth for the media room.  On the raised floor.  There was a step to enter this room.  And no space to add a ramp.  They fought the building inspectors.  The various authorities having jurisdiction.  But to no avail.  The spiffy new sales and marketing center would not be as designed.  They had to redesign it.  Rebuild it.  And delay the scheduled completion date.  Hence my friend’s foul mood.

The Government Exempts themselves from the High Compliance Costs of their own Legislation

You’d think the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) would have given a waiver.  But they didn’t.  It was a big office building.  And a small control room.  Less than 1% of the company’s total employees would ever enter that room.  Didn’t matter.  Some of the AHJ enjoyed their power.  Others were simply afraid someone would sue them down the road.  So they delayed the project. 

Unfortunately, they had already begun to relocate operations from the old to the new.  They suspended all presentations for a month at this facility so the old conference room could be demolished and rebuilt into something else.  And it was.  Demolished.  Now they had no place to wow their customers.  For another month or two.  That’s a whole quarter they had to reschedule around.  It did not impress their clients.  And may have cost them one or two.  All because of the silly inflexibility of the AHJ.

This is a good example of the unintended consequences of liberals’ best intentions.  It’s a microcosm of the ADA’s affect on business everywhere.  Sure, they had a noble goal.  To make a barrier-free world for all.  But the compliance costs to fully meet the letter of the law were brutal to small and medium sized businesses.  But Congress didn’t care.  It’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  Literally.  You see, Congress exempted themselves from the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Why?  Wait for it.  Because they said it would be too costly for them to comply.  And they said this publicly to justify their exemption from the act.  Unbelievable.  The height of arrogance and condescension.

The High Compliance Costs of OSHA

Well, Congress was dragged kicking and screaming into the real world.  Thanks to Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution of the 1994 midterm elections.  That Congress authored the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.  Congress would no longer be above the law.  Now they, too, had to comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  To name a few.

I have a friend who works in construction in a metropolitan area.  He’s a project manager for a construction manager.  And you should hear some of the things he tells me.  Big construction projects often have federal money involved.  And when they do, there are some pretty restrictive rules.  Especially on the big projects.  Why?  Because big projects have deep pockets.

You would not believe some of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requirements on a construction project.  Well, on big projects, because no small contractor could afford the compliance costs.  Or the owner, for that matter.  A couple come to mind.  He said that a worker had to tie himself off when working on a ladder more than 6 feet off the ground (a nylon safety line tied to a body harness attached to something fixed and immovable).   Contractors had to conduct daily safety meetings with their field employees.  They had a safety trailer on site with a couple of safety officers to walk the site and police safety.  They had to get ‘hot work permits’ anytime they used a welding torch or other open flame.  You get the idea.  Workers couldn’t do anything dangerous without an inordinate investment in time and money on part of the contractor.  And yet workers still did stupid things.  Like refuse to wear a hardhat on a hot day.  Of course, when they did and OSHA happened to be on site, they’d write a pretty big fine.  And guess who had to pay it?  Not the employee.  But the employee’s boss.

But when Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, they exempted themselves.  Because it would have cost them too much to comply.

The High Compliance Costs of Affirmative Action

But there’s more.  When federal money is involved, there are other hoops to jump through.  You see, the metropolitan area had a large minority population.  And the federal government wanted minority owned businesses to share in some of that construction money.  It was affirmative action.  To help minority owned businesses.  A certain percentage of the work was set aside for these businesses.  The problem was big projects have tight schedules and high-tech building processes.  The kind of work that big and established contractors do all of the time.  And the kind that little contractors starting out who need help (the kind of contractor the government wanted to help) had little to no experience doing.  The idea was for the big guy to mentor the little guy.  Which is not easy to do when competitively bidding work.  Helping these contractors earns no revenue.  It just adds cost.  So you either include the cost up front (and not get the job because you’re not the low bidder).  Or you leave it out and try and recoup it on the back end (I believe the technical term is raping and pillaging on change orders).

Well, there are rules.  And it starts at bid time.  Your bid form asks for the percentage of these minority businesses you’ll be using.  There’s a minimum required.  But you can use more.  And the government weighted things differently.  You counted contractors at their full contract value.  But material suppliers were discounted (I don’t remember, but it might have been 50%).  Suppliers are safer to use because you can use your own highly skilled work force.  So you max these out.  Then you use some small minority contractors on some easier work you can peel off from the rest.  It’s nothing against these guys.  They do well on some of the less exotic stuff.  But some of the other stuff is just over their skill level.  Because they’re new and inexperienced.

Now, because they can use suppliers, there are minority ‘suppliers’ out there looking to exploit this set aside.  They’re not really a supplier, though.  They’re a ‘pass-through’ company.  What they do is offer their services to basically buy from a contractor’s preferred supplier and then resell to the contractor for a small markup.  This basically defeats the whole point of helping minorities, but it helps you stay on schedule.  Construction today uses just-in-time deliveries.  Especially on construction site with no storage area available for material.  And they need their well established working relationships to feed their supply pipeline.  It usual works.  But sometime a contractor’s audit will disallow a previously approved ‘pass-through’ supplier.  And when they do, look out.  If you don’t meet the percentage you included on your bid form you’re looking at some serious fines.  My friend told me the government wrote this one poor contractor of his a fine greater than the value of his contract.

Liberal Legislation:  Compliance Costs, Avoidance Costs and Unintended Consequences

The federal government has no business experience.  At least, the liberal left.  But they’re always trying to make business better.  And fairer.  This results in huge compliance costs.  And avoidance costs.  The federal government has little sympathy for the swath of destruction their legislation causes.  Especially when they were exempting themselves from much of that legislation. 

But it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  Because they feel they’re above the law.  Or, at least, should be.  So they continue to tinker.  Failing more times than not.  And causing a slew of unintended consequences.  Despite their best intentions.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Partnering with the Grim Reaper: Saving Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2010

Taxing the Young to Save Medicare for the Old

Medicare and Social Security make up the lion’s share of the federal budget.  The government is setting records for both deficits and debt.  And everyone is projecting both of these programs to go bankrupt.  A dim picture for anyone hoping to rely on either for their retirement.  And they’re worried (see AP-GfK Poll: Baby boomers fear outliving Medicare by Jennifer Agiesta and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar posted 12/29/2010 on the Associated Press).

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that baby boomers believe by a ratio of 2-to-1 they won’t be able to rely on the giant health insurance plan throughout their retirement.

The boomers took a running dive into adolescence and went on to redefine work and family, but getting old is making them nervous.

Now, forty-three percent say they don’t expect to be able to depend on Medicare forever, while only 20 percent think their Medicare is secure. The rest have mixed feelings.

The problem with both Medicare and Social Security is that they are both Ponzi schemes.  Scams by the government to make generations dependent on government.  And to funnel a lot of cash to Washington.  But the Baby Boomers mucked up the works.  Their free love in the 60s and use of birth control and abortion left their family tree a barren one.  The boomer generation of families with maybe 2-3 kids will support in retirement their parent’s generation of families with 10+kids.  There’ll be more people entering retirement than entering the workforce to pay for those retirees.

Here’s the math: when the last of the boomers reaches age 65 in about two decades, Medicare will be covering more than 80 million people. At the same time, the ratio of workers paying taxes to support the program will have plunged from 3.5 for each person receiving benefits currently, to 2.3.

And the numbers are worse.  Because Social Security will be covering those same people.  We’re approaching one working person supporting one person in retirement (Medicare and Social Security benefits combined).  Even Bernie Madoff’s great Ponzi scheme had a better ratio when his pyramid imploded.  It just isn’t sustainable anymore.  Something’s gotta give.  And by something I mean benefits paid out to people.

The government can’t balance its books without dealing with health care costs, and Medicare is in the middle. Some leading Republicans and a few Democrats have called for phasing out the program and instead giving each retiree a fixed payment — or voucher —to help them buy private medical insurance of their choice. The poll found doubts about the idea, and a generational debate.

Overall, a narrow majority (51 percent) of Americans opposed the voucher plan. But those born after 1980 favored it by 47 percent to 41 percent, while seniors opposed it 4-to-1. A majority of boomers were also opposed, with 43 percent strongly objecting.

And here’s the problem.  Those who don’t pay payroll taxes anymore (retirees) are all for raising taxes to pay for their current level of benefits.  No matter how much it bankrupts future generations.  And these people vote.  More than anyone else.  So for good reason they call Social Security the third rail of politics.  You touch it at your own peril.  Those with a lifetime of paying taxes ahead of them, on the other hand, would rather raise a family than support an individual in retirement.  Not only do they want to touch the third rail, they want to short it out.  But they don’t have the numbers.  Yet.

States to Make Steep Cuts in Medicaid to Stave off Bankruptcy

And we even haven’t talked about Medicaid yet.  This program is bankrupting the states.  It’s their biggest budget item.  And they can’t sustain it any longer (see Medicaid Pushes U.S. States Off ‘Cliff’ as Governors Seek Cuts by Christopher Palmeri and Pat Wechsler posted 12/22/2010 on Bloomberg).

Governors nationwide are taking a scalpel to Medicaid, the jointly run state and federal health-care program for 48 million poor Americans, half of whom are children. The single biggest expense for states, Medicaid consumes about 22 percent of their total $1.6 trillion in expenditures, more than what is allocated to elementary and secondary education, according to a National Governors Association report.

Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.  You know that states aren’t going to cut education.  The unions won’t let them.  So they have to address the 800 pound gorilla in the room.  And cut Medicaid.

Governors are slashing Medicaid to close as much as $140 billion in budget deficits for the 12 months starting in July 2012, after eliminating $130 billion in gaps this year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington-based research group. Spending is being cut even though state revenues rose for the three quarters ended Sept. 30, as the U.S. recovered from the longest recession since the Great Depression, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, New York, said in a Nov. 30 report.

“I don’t think most states want to sentence people to death,” said Judy Solomon, co-director of health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy. “But what we see is a pretty bleak picture of tough cuts made this year, and next year’s numbers look worse.”

The sad truth is that sick people are costly.  Dead people aren’t.  So you can see where this is going.  Rationing.

Spending on Medicaid nationwide rose 8.8 percent last year, the most since 2002, according to Kaiser. Nearly every state issued at least one new policy to cut program costs in the past two years, including benefit reductions, increased copays and lower reimbursements to health-care providers.

Cost cutting and reductions in benefits.  Rationing.  And you know where that will lead to.  More dead people.  Which is the only thing that will save Medicaid.  That, or federal contributions.

Every state has a unique formula for calculating the federal contribution for Medicaid. The 12 with the highest personal income, including California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Colorado, typically depend on the U.S. government for about half their expenditures.

Lucky for the states that the federal government has money to spare.  Wait a tic, they don’t.  They’re setting record deficits and debt.  They don’t have the money.  Especially now that they’ve thrown Obamacare into the mix.  And the cost for this behemoth will dwarf Medicare and Medicaid.

States face the prospect of enrolling 16 million more people in Medicaid beginning in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health-care law Obama signed in March. It expands coverage to include certain childless adults under 65, according to Foley & Lardner LLP, a law firm in Milwaukee. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the increased expense for the first three years.

Well, perhaps not.  They’ll be sticking the states with some of those costs.  Poor states.  These unfunded federal mandates are killing them.  But they won’t be the only ones dying.  In three years time, when those federal subsidies expire, some of the current Medicaid patients may lose their heath care benefits.  And die.

Death Panels to Decide Life and Death

The problem with healthcare is that the raison d’être of healthcare is the very thing bankrupting it.  Providing healthcare to sick and dying people.  If the sick and dying would just hurry up and die these healthcare programs (Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare) would be just fine.  If only there was some mechanism to encourage people to take a pill to manage pain instead of consuming expensive healthcare services.  I mean, they are only delaying the inevitable.  They should just suck it up.  And do the right thing.  After receiving something like, oh, I don’t know, let’s call it end of life counseling (see WSJ Opinion Death Panels Revisited posted 12/29/2010 on The Wall Street Journal).

On Sunday, Robert Pear reported in the New York Times that Medicare will now pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling as part of seniors’ annual physicals. A similar provision was originally included in ObamaCare, but Democrats stripped it out amid the death panel furor. Now Medicare will enact the same policy through regulation.

We hadn’t heard about this development until Mr. Pear’s story, but evidently Medicare tried to prevent the change from becoming public knowledge. The provision is buried in thousands of Federal Register pages setting Medicare’s hospital and physician price controls for 2011 and concludes that such consultations count as a form of preventative care.

No wonder they hid it.  Encouraging people to hurry up and die.  That’s something that doesn’t win you points at the PTA.  The law as written isn’t all that bad, though.  The panels are voluntary.  So far.  But everything Big Government has done started small.  They are, after all, the master of incrementalism.  And with out of control healthcare spending bankrupting Medicare and Medicaid, what do you think these panels will evolve into?

The regulatory process isn’t supposed to be a black-ops exercise, but expect many more such nontransparent improvisations under the vast powers ObamaCare handed the executive branch. In July, the White House bypassed the Senate to recess appoint Dr. Berwick, who has since testified before Congress for all of two hours, and now he promulgates by fiat a reimbursement policy that Congress explicitly rejected, all while scheming with his political patrons to duck any public scrutiny.

If there was nothing to hide they wouldn’t have hidden this provision so deep in the federal register.  But when you hide things, there are reasons you hide them.  So much for transparency.  And the most ethical Congress ever (of course an ethical Congress is a moot point when the executive rules by fiat).

Under highly centralized national health care, the government inevitably makes cost-minded judgments about what types of care are “best” for society at large, and the standardized treatments it prescribes inevitably steal life-saving options from individual patients. This is precisely why many liberals like former White House budget director Peter Orszag support government-run health care to control costs: Technocrats in government can then decide who gets Avastin for cancer, say, and who doesn’t.

When a government bureaucrat decides who gets life-saving medication and who doesn’t, that sounds like a death panel to me.  Because that decision has the power of life and death.  They can be as nontransparent as they want but the truth is pretty clear.  To control the out of control spending of Medicare and Medicaid (and, in time, Obamacare), they will be partnering with the Grim Reaper.  Because dead people don’t consume health care benefits.  And that is their biggest problem.  Consumers of benefits.

The Swedish National Health Care System Rations Care

So what about the social utopias of European Socialism?  Those advanced nations that have national healthcare?  Are they having these problems?  Of course they are.  In fact, their future is ours.  Here’s a small sampling of what to expect (see Man’s penis amputated following misdiagnosis posted 12/29/2010 in Science and Technology on The Local).

A Swedish man was forced to have his penis amputated after waiting more than a year to learn he had cancer.

The man, who is in his sixties, first visited a local clinic in Blekinge in southern Sweden in September 2009 for treatment of a urinary tract infection, the local Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT) reported.

When he returned in March 2010 complaining of foreskin irritation, the doctor on duty at the time diagnosed the problem as a simple case of inflammation.

After three weeks passed without the prescribed treatment alleviating the man’s condition, he was instructed to seek further treatment at Blekinge Hospital.

But it took five months before he was able to schedule an appointment at the hospital.

When he finally met with doctors at the hospital, the man was informed he had cancer and his penis would have to be removed.

It remains unclear if the man would have been able to keep his penis had the cancer been detected sooner.

The matter has now been reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) under Sweden’s Lex Maria laws, the informal name used to refer to regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

Misdiagnosis.  And long waits.  National healthcare.  Where government bureaucrats cut costs and make doctors work long hours.  Not a very attractive offer for all those years of medical school.  So there’s a doctor shortage.  And, consequently, long waits.  In this case, 6 months to be advised he needed to go someplace else.  Then another 5 to get an appointment someplace else.  In the mean time the cancer spread.  This is what happens when you ration health care.

Is this the future you want?  It’s not the future I want.

The Third Rail of Politics is a Generational Thing

It’s a generational battle.  The young want to cut taxes (and benefits).  Because they’re paying those taxes.  And not consuming the benefits.  The old want to raise taxes and maintain benefits.  Because they’re not paying those taxes.  But are consuming the benefits.  Right now there are more old than young.  So you can guess who will win this struggle.  Bankrupting the future will help the politicians stay in office today.  So the old will win.

But there is a little irony in all of this.  To save these programs (Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare), they need old people to die.  But once they do, the politicians will lose their political support.  The younger generation (whose future the politicians mortgaged) will then broom them out of office.  And they will be all too glad to short out that third rail once and for all.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #46: “Liberals say ‘do as I say not as I do’ because they can’t point to anything worthwhile they’ve done.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2010

The Professors Teaching our Kids are Long-Haired, Maggot-Infested, Flower-Child Hippies who Hate Capitalism

Liberals are know-it-all smarty-pants that want to fix everything.  Even the things that aren’t broken.  Because they are so full of themselves that they just know how to do everything better than anyone else.  Even though they have jack squat experience in the things they’re fixing.  And this is why liberals are destroying this country.

Liberals hate capitalism.  Because no one is in charge.  No one to make things work better.  Or more efficiently.  So they butt in.  Even though few of them have ever run a business.  Or had a real job.  They know absolutely nothing about business or commerce.  But they went to college.  Where they learned nothing useful.  Got a degree in one of the social sciences.  And then set out to make the world a ‘better place’.  All based on what some old, long-haired, maggot-infested, flower-child hippy from the 1960s told them in those useless social science classes.  And those hippies hate capitalism.  When they were young, all they wanted was for Dad to pay their tuition so they could stay stoned and screw their way through college.  They loved it so much they never left college.  They became ‘professors’.  In some useless social science program.

And they’re teaching our kids today.  Keeping the spirit of the 1960s alive.  Kids graduate without a clue of what capitalism is or what it has done for Western Civilization.  But their professors told them capitalism is bad.  That it isn’t fair.  That they should hate it.  And the only way to make capitalism fair and efficient is to get as much government as possible into it.  These students then do as their told.  And become good liberals.

Liberals are like Addicts in Need of a Fix

So these kids graduate from college programmed to disdain capitalism.  And they do.  They see market forces working freely without government intervention and they get that craving.  Like an addict in need of a fix.  Or a smoker stuck in a smoke-free building craving a cigarette.  And there’s only one way they can calm themselves.  By intervening.

Once upon a time, a long way from here, I worked in a small business.  There was the boss.  He sold and ran operations.  There was his wife who helped out part time when the kids were in school.  And there was me who did everything else in the office.  Sales were increasing.  The business was growing.  We were getting busy.  And I was working late.  Work piled up on my desk.  And it bothered the boss.  He thought it was me.  I was just not working fast enough.  So he went to some business seminar at a local bookstore and bumped into a consultant.  And he hired him.

The consultant was married to a CFO at some big company.  He stayed at home to raise their son.  And consulted.  He used to run the family business (he took over after his dad died).  But after he bankrupted that, he went back to school to get his MBA.  Got a perfect grade point average.  Smart guy.  But he was only good at going to school.  Well, that, and bankrupting businesses. 

Those who Can, Do.  Those who Can’t, Consult.

He started by timing me doing some tasks.  He actually sat beside me with a stopwatch.  Confirmed that I was working too slow.  Came up with some new procedures.  They might have worked in the corporate world they talk about in those MBA courses.  But small business is a different beast.  There’s a lot of ‘seat of your pants’ stuff.  Thinking on the fly.  Sort of like being a Marine.  You have to adapt, innovate and overcome.  Throughout the day.  You just can’t sit on your ass and come up with one-size-fits-all procedures.

But that’s what he did.  And the boss implemented them.  And I worked later into the night.  Some of the tasks worked well with the new procedures.  A lot didn’t.  And to make those tasks fit the new procedures took an inordinate amount of time.  I lost a lot of time elsewhere, too.  He created an Excel spreadsheet for the boss to use for sales forecasting.  The hours he had in developing this spreadsheet totaled $5,000.  And it didn’t work.  I actually debugged it (when you crunch numbers in a small business, a good spreadsheet program becomes your best friend).  Then, when it was working, the boss didn’t use it.  It was too complicated.  The boss was a successful entrepreneur, but he barely graduated high school.  And he never used that spreadsheet.

This consultant’s father was a successful entrepreneur.  He built a successful business.  He was good.  His son was not.  He enjoyed growing up with money.  He never learned a good work ethic.  He never learned the business.  And he destroyed everything his father built.  Sadly, not that uncommon when children take over the family business.  So what does a failed business owner do?  Why, consult, of course.

Good Intentions and Unintended Consequences

This guy was a liberal.  When he found out I was a conservative he had to discuss politics.  To flaunt his brilliance (that perfect GPA).  And condescend to me.  Because I was a conservative.  And he was an elitist.  Who married a rich woman (before he bankrupted the family business).  And lived in one of the most exclusive and affluent neighborhoods.  He never had a real job.  And the only business he tried failed.  He never had to work in his life (first a rich dad then a rich wife).  He had no business experience (at least, none of the good kind).  This guy had no business telling people how to run their businesses.  But he did.

What’s the difference between him and the liberals in Congress?  Not a whole hell of a lot.  They’re both liberal know-it-all smarty-pants.  With no experience in what they’re consulting/legislating.  And they both leave a swath of destruction in their wake.  They both put on their pants the same way.  The only real difference is that when the consultant puts on his pants he bankrupts companies.  When politicians put theirs on they bankrupt the nation.

Business people know how to run businesses.  Politicians don’t.  At least most on the left don’t.  But that doesn’t stop them.  They just have to step in and try to fix things.  To flex those egos.  They can’t help it.  It’s who they are.  They’re just so full of themselves.  Liberals.  They always start with the best of intentions.  But end up crapping unintended consequences all over the place.      

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Decriminalizing Drugs and Criminalizing McDonald’s Happy Meals and Parents

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 27th, 2010

The Left Pushes to Criminalize and Tax Unhealthy Food and Lifestyles

San Francisco passed legislation banning toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals.  Because they encourage an unhealthy lifestyle.  And if there’s one thing liberal busy bodies want is for us to live a healthy lifestyle.  So they’re not food Nazis.  They just care.  They want what’s best for us.  And whether we want it or not, we should listen to them.  Because it’s for our own good.

And speaking of food Nazis, Michelle Obama isn’t one.  She just wants to step in between our kids and their parents.  Because she knows best what our kids should eat.  And to stop what is a coordinated marketing/policy assault against these kids.  Keeping them from enjoying the healthy diet they could.  If only we could broom their parents aside.

Locked in their crosshairs are sugary drinks.  And as they propose to solve every problem, they propose to solve this problem with a tax (see Sarah Palin’s nightmare: What Michelle Obama dares not propose by Stephen Stromberg posted 12/27/2010 on The Washington Post).

But everyone should favor eliminating sugar subsidies. And corn subsidies, since high-fructose corn syrup is a ready substitute for sugar. They’re expensive for taxpayers, they encourage unhealthy eating, and the benefits generally go to wealthy agribusinesses that don’t need them. A model of obviously terrible federal policy. And, given how much sugary drinks contribute to obesity and, therefore, impose costs on society that their prices don’t reflect, modest soda taxes aren’t a bad idea, either. Something like a cent and ounce, which a group of doctors, researchers and policy advocates proposed last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

And it’ll be a windfall for the federal government.  Just like those sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol.  I mean, golly, if they outlawed tobacco and alcohol, the government would take a huge pay cut.  And when was the last time you heard about government getting by on less?  Try never.  So sugary drinks will stay.  Fear not.  They just want to tax the bejesus out of them.

But it’ll be for our own good.  Because they do care for us, don’t they?

You may not feel it, but if you pay taxes, you’re subsidizing others’ unhealthy lifestyles every day, either through direct subsidy of their ingredients or through higher medical bills, the costs of which are often socialized. These policies aren’t about making bad-for-you foods unnaturally expensive. Sugary drink taxes and other such things are about not making pancreas-busting foods deceptively cheap.

Gosh, they care.  It gives you a warm fuzzy to know how much they care for our good health.

The Left Pushes to Decriminalize Drugs and Subsidize Addiction

Meanwhile, the same people who want to take toys out of Happy Meals want to help put heroin in people’s veins.  The Left is all about a managed economy but believes in an ‘anything-goes’ social policy.  Grass, smack, crank, whatever.  If you want to get high, go for it.  The Left is always floating trial balloons for decriminalizing drugs.  They’ve done it in Portugal.  And some U.S. Officials are looking to do likewise (see On the Ground: When drugs are decriminalized by Barry Hatton, AP Lisbon, posted 12/27/2010 on Facebook).  Here’s what it’s like in Portugal.

On a recent fall day Americo Nave, a 39-year-old psychologist, and two other health workers drove their white van along the main cobbled street of Casal Ventoso, a neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, that once was synonymous with drug delinquency and a no-go area for the authorities.

So how did they clean up this drug-infested neighborhood?

About a dozen addicts, mostly unkempt men aged 20 to 40, ambled up. They were orderly and respectful. They looked frail, more in need of a hospital bed than a prison cell.

To receive fresh needles, the addicts must first drop used ones into a plastic container on the ground. In return they get a bag containing needles, swabs, little dishes to cook up the injectable mixture, disinfectant, and a condom, all paid for by charities and taxpayers.

And how has it been working?  Well, according to one homeless skeletal heroin addict.

A 37-year-old man who gave his name only as Joao said he had been consuming heroin for the past 22 years. He recalled living rough in Casal Ventoso and picking up used, bloody needles from the sidewalk to inject himself. He contracted Hepatitis C. Now he comes regularly to the needle exchange and also gets help with food and health care.

“These teams … have helped a lot of people,” he said, struggling to concentrate as he drew deeply on a cigarette.

Yes, they’re helping people.  There’s nothing like a good heroin addiction subsidized by the state to make one feel loved.

Taxing Sugary Drinks, Fast Food and Heroin – What the Left Wants

Not everyone who eats at McDonald’s gets obese.  But most people who try heroin become addicts.  An obese person may live a normal life well into their 40s or 50s.  A heroin addict has no life.  Once addicted it’s just a slow death as the body’s organs slowly fail.  And yet the Left deems that Happy Meals are bad and want to criminalize them.  While at the same time they want to decriminalize heroin.  And subsidize addiction.

You know why they want to decriminalize drugs?  For the same reasons they tax tobacco and alcohol.  And want to tax sugary drinks.  They want the tax revenue.  To try and satiate their insatiable appetite to tax and spend.  And to micromanage our lives.  Not to keep us healthy.  If they wanted that they wouldn’t have rationed our healthcare by passing Obamacare.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Global Warming Responsible for Record Cold and Snow?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 26th, 2010

The Little Ice Age During Valley Forge Ended by Global Warming

Ice ages are cyclical.  The earth gets cold and glaciers move towards the equator.  Temperatures drop.  Growing seasons get shorter.  Wetter.  Winters are longer.  Colder.  And this happens a long time before the glaciers advance to cover habitable areas.

Sometimes an ice age teases us.  Sends out a little ice age some 10 thousand years or so before the real deal.  They fought the American Revolutionary War during one of these little ice ages.  The winter at Valley Forge?  It was so cold because of a little ice age.  All the winters during the Founding were pretty bitter and cold.

Of course, that little ice age ended.  It got warmer.  Without the aid of any manmade carbon.  Ditto for the full blown ice ages.  All of them.  They all ended.  Because it got warmer.  Without the help of manmade carbon in the air.

Global Cooling is Caused by Global Warming?

Now climatologists are saying up is down.  And black is white.  That circles are squares.  And that global warming caused that bitter cold winter at Valley Forge.

The Left will grasp at whatever straws they can grasp to maintain their assault on capitalism.  And that’s what their global warming activism is.  Anti-capitalism.  They’re all a bunch of people that couldn’t hack it in the real world and depend on government grants for their subsistence.  To pay for their pseudoscience.  And if there ain’t no global warming, then all their grant money dries up.  Which means they would have to get a job.  A real job.  Not some phony baloney job hidden from the real world at some university with a bunch of pretty young coeds.

So they’re getting a little creative with their explaining.  They acknowledge that it’s getting colder.  But it’s getting colder because it’s getting warmer (see Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming by Judah Cohen posted 10/25/2010 on The New York Times). 

THE earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside. Over the past few weeks, subzero temperatures in Poland claimed 66 lives; snow arrived in Seattle well before the winter solstice, and fell heavily enough in Minneapolis to make the roof of the Metrodome collapse; and last week blizzards closed Europe’s busiest airports in London and Frankfurt for days, stranding holiday travelers. The snow and record cold have invaded the Eastern United States, with more bad weather predicted.

All of this cold was met with perfect comic timing by the release of a World Meteorological Organization report showing that 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record.

Yes.  It’s getting colder because it’s getting warmer.  Hard to argue with that logic.  Unless it gets warmer.  Because if it gets warmer, then it must be getting cooler.  Because global warming doesn’t make it warm.  It makes it cooler.  Why?  Because they just said so.  So, if it keeps getting colder, we have a global warming problem.  If it gets warmer, I guess we can breathe a sigh of relief because there is no global warming.

I get it now.

Wishing Thinking and Fear Keep Global Warming Money Flowing

I’m just funning with you.  That’s an asinine explanation.  And so is this.

As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased.

They’ve been predicting that the coastlines would disappear as the ocean levels rise and reclaim coastal areas.  But they haven’t.  Seaside resorts have been where they have been for a couple of centuries.  Or more.  Key West is still not under water.  Neither is Martha’s Vineyard.  Or Malibu.  Al Gore himself bought a coastal mansion in a place with very high real estate values.  They’re real high because that area has been around for long enough to become exclusive and difficult to move into.  And Al Gore appears to be betting on it being there for the indefinite future.

The only way for there to be more water available in the ocean to fall as snow is for the ocean surface area to grow.  Because it is only the surface water that evaporates.  And unless the surface gets bigger, there isn’t more water evaporating.  And rich environmentalists can still live in their seaside resorts.

The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. When snow cover is more abundant in Siberia, it creates an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains, and this amplifies the standing waves in the atmosphere, just as a bigger rock in a stream increases the size of the waves of water flowing by.

Well, it was cold when glaciers covered much of the earth.  And glaciers are white.  So maybe that’s why the ice ages came.  Because the earth was covered by glaciers.  Which reflected the sun’s energy back into space.  Making it cold.  Of course, that’s silly.  Explaining that ice ages were caused by glaciers cooling the earth.  Because the earth had to cool first before the glaciers advanced.

Global warming doesn’t only happen in the summer.  Temperatures throughout the year are averaged to arrive at a ‘global’ temperature.  If we’re having record cold in winter, then the summers would have to be far hotter than they have been to net out the cold winters and still show warming.  And they haven’t been.  It wasn’t that hot last summer.  Or the summer before it.  I mean, I can remember some real hot summers I suffered as a kid.  Driving on a family vacation in a heat wave without air conditioning in the car.  Feeling my feet burn through my shoes as I walked on a hot asphalt parking lot.  And I grew up where we our winters were full of snow.

The increased wave energy in the air spreads both horizontally, around the Northern Hemisphere, and vertically, up into the stratosphere and down toward the earth’s surface. In response, the jet stream, instead of flowing predominantly west to east as usual, meanders more north and south. In winter, this change in flow sends warm air north from the subtropical oceans into Alaska and Greenland, but it also pushes cold air south from the Arctic on the east side of the Rockies. Meanwhile, across Eurasia, cold air from Siberia spills south into East Asia and even southwestward into Europe.

I like the show Scrubs.  One episode Dr. Cox was belittling J.D. for a complex diagnosis he made while ignoring a much easier and more obvious explanation.  I think he asked J.D. if he heard of Occam’s Razor, the philosophical theory that says the easiest explanation is the best explanation.  He said if you hear running hoofs, don’t think zebras.  Think horseys.  Occam’s Razor applies to weather, too.  If it’s getting colder out, it’s because it’s getting colder.  Not warmer.

That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century. Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters, however, because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier. They have ignored the snow in Siberia.

Forecasters have failed to forecast “extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century.”  There’s a reason for this.  Climate is complex.  And forecasters suck.  Forecasting is nothing more than a ‘best guess’.  Their models are complex guessing machines.  They can’t forecast what’s going to happen.  I mean, it was only a couple of decades ago they were warning us about an impending ice age.  This from the same people that are warning us of global warning today.

Bare Footprints Moved Glaciers Farther than Carbon Footprints

These pseudo-scientists can rationalize all they want but they can’t explain away some basic facts.  Glaciers come and go.  They moved a whole lot farther some 10,000 years ago than they have in the last few centuries.  And back then the only footprint man made was with a bare foot.  Much like many of those at Valley Forge during that little ice age.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Asset Bubbles and Deflationary Spirals in Japan, the United States and China

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 25th, 2010

The Japanese Asset Bubble and their Lost Decade

During the eighties the Japanese government worked with Japanese business.  And the eighties in Japan were booming.  The Japanese went on an American buying spree.  They gobbled up American landmark buildings and business.  It was an economic Pearl Harbor.  Some people wringed their hands in distress, fearing the Japanese ascendancy.  Presidential candidates said we were fools for not following the Japanese model.

Easy money created excess liquidity.  Which created inflationary pressure on prices.  Real estate values soared.  And irrational exuberance bid up prices further, creating an asset bubble.  Times were good while they lasted.  But the bubble popped.  Real estate values tumbled.  And the Japanese suffered a deflationary spiral that would last a decade.  They call their 1990s the ‘lost decade’.  They still haven’t fully recovered.  And this was a direct consequence of government working with business.

The Subprime Mortgage Crisis and the Beginning of our Lost Decade

Totally ignoring the lessons of the Japanese, the Americans went down the same road.  Easy money created excess liquidity.  And like in Japan, this created inflationary pressure on prices.  And like the Japanese, real estate values soared.  Alan Greenspan warned us about our irrational exuberance.  But we didn’t listen.  We bid prices higher still.  Created the mother of all asset bubbles.  Times were good in the 1990s.  But the bubble popped.  As history has shown bubbles to do.  And real estate values tumbled.  But with a twist.

In America, government pressured bankers to approve mortgages for people who couldn’t qualify for a mortgage.  So bankers had to come up with some creative ways to make the unqualified qualified.  The weapon of choice was the subprime mortgage.  And everything worked as plan.  Until interest rates went up.  And then the whole deck of cards came crashing down. 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government sponsored enterprises) guaranteed those risky loans.  Then, to encourage bankers to make more of these risky loans, they bought them from the banks.  They chopped them up and created investment instruments.  We called them derivatives.  High yield (because of the ‘subprime’ in subprime mortgage).  And safe (because of the ‘mortgage’ in subprime mortgage).  So when interest rates rose and the unqualified couldn’t pay their mortgage payments anymore, we got the subprime mortgage crisis that reverberated throughout the world thanks to those derivatives.  All because government worked with business.

The Chinese are Working on an Asset Bubble of their Own

In the 2000s, it’s the Chinese that everyone fears.  Economically speaking.  (For now at least.)  Over the past decade or two, China has become more capitalistic than communist.  It’s not pure capitalism.  It’s more government partnering with business.  Sort of a throwback to mercantilism.  They have tariffs and monetary policies to protect their domestic industries.  And they subsidize their export industries in an export-driven economy.  And it’s been working.  So far.

It worked in Japan for awhile.  But we saw what happened there.  It worked in the United States for awhile.  But we saw what happened there.  Government partnering with business has, historically, been a train wreck.  Now China is trying her hand.  Will history repeat itself there?  Perhaps (see China Raises Interest Rates Again to Cool Inflation by Edward Wong posted 12/25/2010 on The New York Times).

China’s central bank announced on Saturday that it was raising interest rates for the second time in about two months in what appears to be a long-term campaign to suppress inflation as many ordinary Chinese express discontent with rising consumer prices.

Oh my.  Inflationary pressures are raising prices.  And to tamp those prices back down, they raised interest rates.  This is giving me a strange feeling of déjà vu.    

The Chinese economy has been awash in liquidity due to government stimulus money and generous lending by state banks. Chinese officials are now concerned about an overheated economy and the inflationary pressures that come with that.

Awash in liquidity?  Government stimulus money?  Generous state bank lending?  It feels like we went through this before.  Odd.  This feeling of déjà vu.

But investment in large capital-intensive projects has also been fueling the economic engine and driving up prices.

Capital-intensive projects?  That requires financing.  Lots of it.  Lots of bank loans.  Lots of liquidity.  And a lot of liability on bank’s balance sheets.  Shouldn’t be a problem.  As long as those are safe loans.  Backed by safe assets.  Just like in the United States.  Before we started putting people into houses who couldn’t afford to buy a house.

Officials have signaled throughout the month that moves will be taken to better control spending across the country. China announced on Dec. 3 that it would tighten monetary policy next year, shifting it from “relatively loose to prudent.” That was a clear sign that Chinese officials were intensely concerned about inflation.

The Chinese get a little Alan Greenspan.  They’re getting a little nervous about their irrational exuberance.

The property market in China has been booming. Rising property prices, along with the government stimulus money and loose bank lending, have spurred new developments across the country. Even long-term residents on the tropical southern island of Hainan have had to grapple with soaring real estate prices from outsiders coming in to buy up land.

Some analysts say this growth has resulted in a gargantuan bubble in the real estate market, while others argue that the capacity will be put to good use.

And for good reason.  Real estate bubbles aren’t good.  Things can get really ugly when they burst.  If you doubt me, ask the Japanese.  Or the Americans.

Until now, low wages have helped to hold down inflation and keep China’s export industry competitive. But those wages in the context of soaring real estate prices mean that migrant workers from the interior of China are becoming less tolerant of poor work conditions on the coasts, where many of China’s export manufacturing factories are located. Many workers are now choosing to stay closer to home in the interior provinces, and some companies are moving their manufacturing centers inland.

They took our jobs.  But now they don’t want them.  Those people who worked dirt cheap (by our standards, not theirs) have learned from the West.  They want more.  And, in a booming economy, they probably have choices out there.  It could add huge inflationary pressures on wages.  Or force a government crackdown on individual liberty.  Neither will probably be good for the economy.  Or those balance sheets.  At the banks financing those capital-intensive projects.

History Repeats – Ignore her at your Own Risk

One thing history shows us over and over is that free markets work.  Managed markets don’t.  Government partnering with business doesn’t work.  It didn’t work for the Japanese.  And it didn’t work for the United States.  When you intervene into market forces you disrupt market forces.  And often have unintended consequences.  Such as runaway inflation.  Asset bubbles.  And deflationary spirals.

The Japanese lost a decade.  The United States is looking like they will lose a decade.  Will the Chinese be next?  If history repeats, as history has a penchant for doing, they may be the next to lose a decade.  Of course, that could be a bit of a problem for us.  They hold a lot of our debt.  And if they want their money back to save themselves, guess what that will do to us.  Suffice it to say that the historians will then be able to write about the rise and fall of the United States.

History can be such a bitch when we ignore her.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Birthday, Jesus. And Merry Christmas to Everyone Else.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 24th, 2010

Jesus, Mary and Joseph away in a Manger a Long Time Ago

‘Tis the season.  People have their holiday trees up.  They’re wishing their friends and neighbors Season’s Greetings.  Yule tidings.  Or Noel.  Racing all over town for last minute gift buying.  Our halls decked in boughs of holly.  And other things.  Santa Claus.  Rudolph and his red nose.  Snowmen.  All kinds of decorations.  But you won’t see many crèches.  Especially in front of public buildings.  Because Mary, Joseph and Jesus depicted in a manger to commemorate the night Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger with Joseph at her side is not suitable for Christmas.  That time of year when we commemorate the birth of Jesus.  In a manger.  With Joseph at Mary’s side.  Funny.

Some will fight for the right of Muslims to build a Muslim community center near Ground Zero.  With a mosque inside it to boot.  But they tell us not to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or show images of the nativity because it might offend some people.  Unlike the Muslim tradition of building mosques on conquered territory (as those who attacked us see Ground Zero as.  Conquered).  No, these same people don’t find that offensive.  But saying Merry Christmas is.  Funny.

Sure, it’s a double standard.  It always seems to be with Christianity.  And that’s sad.  For this is a Christian nation.  Based on Judeo-Christian values.  The original colonies had established Christian religions.  And some Jews were instrumental in our founding, too (Haym Salomon perhaps being the greatest American no one knows today).  So we should be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  For the words of Christ greatly influenced our Founding Fathers.  You might even say Jesus was present at our Founding.  If in spirit only.

Jesus Christ Could Even Charm an Atheist

Jesus was born a mortal.  And some of His greatest works were done as a man.  The words of Christ that influence millions all over the world today were spoken by a young man of thirty something.  But they were remarkable words.  For they impressed theist and atheist alike.  And greatly impressed the Founding Fathers.  Especially Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson was probably an atheist.  He hated anything that infringed upon a man’s liberty.  Be it government.  Royalty.  Or religion.  Especially religion.  For he saw religion as another way to oppress and exploit the masses.  Being of English stock and not that distant from the English Civil War (where Protestant fought Catholic), it is easy to understand why Jefferson thought like he did.  Many did.  That said, Jefferson was a big Jesus Christ fan.

He thought Christ was the greatest philosopher of all time.  That His message was the best message ever to mankind.  The Sermon on the Mount said it all.  For the atheist to reconcile his aversion to all things religious and his love of Christ, he made his own Bible.  It was basically the New Testament with all the God stuff edited out.  Jefferson would die still opposed to organized religion, but felt that the world would be a better place if it was a Christian world.  And that’s something coming from an atheist.

Jesus Christ is American as Apple Pie

Jesus Christ wasn’t an American.  But America wouldn’t be the same without Him.  He instilled in us a moral compass.  Which made America special.  And we rejoice in our faith.  So celebrate Christmas.  Wish friends and families a Merry Christmas.  And ask the good Lord to look over our service people serving in harm’s way away from home.  May God bless them and help them get home safe.

And now, how about a little birthday music?

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the new born King
Peace on earth and mercy mild ,
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful all ye nations rise.
Join the triumph of the skies
With th’angelic host proclaim
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”

From Hark, The Herald Angels Sing sung by Nat King Cole.

Said the king to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

From Do You Hear What I Hear sung by Johnny Mathis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6llIRhq74w

Here comes Santa Claus
Here comes Santa Claus
Right down
Santa Claus Lane

He’ll come around
When the chimes rings out
That it’s Christmas morn again
Peace on Earth
Will come to all
If we just follow the light
So let’s give thanks
To the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

From Here Comes Santa Claus sung by Gene Autry

So let God and sinners be reconciled.  Let’s pray for peace everywhere.  It shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.  If we all just follow the light.

Merry Christmas.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LESSONS LEARNED #45: “The bluest of cities in the bluest of states have the most activist governments, the deepest recessions and the most abject poverty.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 23rd, 2010

Detroit – The Motor of the World

Detroit.  Do I need say more? 

If you want to see the ultimate destination of liberalism, go to Detroit.  The Motor City.  The birthplace of the assembly line.  Mass production.  The veritable axle of the Industrial Revolution redux.  Detroit put the nation in motion.  In cars.  And in diesel-electric trains.  If it was big and powerful and moved the world, it came from Detroit.  The Arsenal of Democracy.  Detroit could mass produce trucks and tanks and airplanes to win world wars.  And did.  There was nothing Detroit couldn’t do.

Henry Ford.  Thomas Edison.   Albert Kahn.  Some of the greatest names in science and industry called Detroit home.  That place you can point to on your hand.  With pride.  The city grew and became one of the greatest and grandest cities in the nation.

And look at it now. 

Detroit and Government Grow Big

The population of Detroit grew up to and through the 1950s.  That changed in the 1960s.  When Big Government arrived.

Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh started it.  He implemented the city income tax in 1964.  The spirit of government spending was in the air.  The Great Society would follow at the federal level.  Government spending upon government spending.  Translation?  High taxes in the city of Detroit.

Then there was all the social engineering.  Lots of rules and regulations.  Some of it good.  But all of it complex.  And costly to business.  Compliance costs and taxes.  Not things that attract businesses.  Not a big deal when the Big Three rule the automobile world.  But that would change.  In fact, that would change because of the compliance costs and taxes.  The Japanese entered the market.  And they were selling better cars for less.  Add all of this together and you get the 1970s.

The Fall of Detroit

Detroit grew to be business unfriendly.  So business left.  And then the people left, following the jobs out of Detroit.  Then some of the social engineering made others leave the city.  School bussing, for one.  Families choose their houses based on the school district the house is in.  Of course, poor families can’t afford to live in those nice neighborhoods with the nice schools.  And Big Government thinks this is just not fair.    So they bussed the poor kids to the nice schools.  And bussed the kids from the nice schools to the not so nice schools.  Thus encouraging the people from the nice neighborhoods to leave Detroit.

They call it white-flight.  A lot of jobs and affluent people left Detroit.  Leaving behind the less affluent in the not so nice neighborhoods with no jobs.  Not good for any city.  Government services grew to help care for the poor.  The Great Society offered Aid to Dependent Children.  Which, according to noted economist Thomas Sowell, destroyed the black family.  Fathers ran away from their responsibilities.  And the state stepped in to raise their children.

Add all this together and you get a lot of people with no money and a lot of idle time on their hands living in rundown neighborhoods wanting for the basic necessities of life.  And that’s never good.  Detroit became infamous.  Crime and drug problems.  Devil’s night arson.  Street gangs.  Murder capital of America.  Crime and drug infested public housing.  Decrepit schools.  Truancy.  Low graduation rates.  And to solve these problems caused by Big Government, one man turned to Big Government.

Culture of Corruption

Coleman A. Young was mayor forever.  From 1974 to 1993.  And he was a Big Government guy.  He took the city from bad to worse.  And he fixed the racism problem.  By implementing racist policies.  After the white-flight, the city was predominately black.  And so would their police, fire department, public sector employees, etc.  They based hiring on color.  Not merit.  This accelerated the white-flight.  And set up a culture of corruption.  Which usually happens when you hire people based on who they know or who they are rather than on merit.

Young was hostile to the suburbs surrounding the city.  He called them hostile suburbs.  Why?  Well, that’s the problem you have with socialism (Young was an admitted socialist).  It just doesn’t work in an open society.  If the tax and compliance costs are too great in Detroit, people can move out of Detroit.  And they did.  Even the city cops didn’t want to live in the city.  They moved out if they could (by concealing their actual residency).  Or they lived clustered together in the city.  The real estate community called one such cluster Copper Alley.  It was near one of those hostile suburbs.  And it was one of the good areas in Detroit to live in.  Young hated this.  And the suburbs that offered safe sanctuary from oppressive, socialist policies.

Detroit was one of the most corrupt cities during Mayor Young’s tenure.  It was crony capitalism at its worst.  Everyone was corrupt.  Even the authorities were forever investigating the mayor.  (A later mayor was doing a lot of the same.  And he went to jail.)  It was during the Young administration that a couple of humorous slogans started to appear on T-shirts.  “Welcome to Detroit.  Now get the hell out.”  And “Detroit.  Where the weak are killed and eaten.”  High praise indeed for the Murder Capital of America.

Detroit’s Future – Returning to the Plow

So what happens after a city suffers at the hands of Big Government for a few decades?  Well, the population declines.  Because no one wants to live in the city.  About a million people have left Detroit since its peak in the 1950s.  And if that ain’t a repudiation of Big Government, I don’t know what is.

So what is the current mayor doing?  Well, the city is broke.  City services are in shambles.  So they’re going to move people out of sparsely populated neighborhoods.  Pack them closer together.   And abandon large tracts of land.  Just let the land return to nature.  Or plow it into farmland.  If anyone wants to buy it.

Ironic, really.  The city that made the world move forward is moving backward.  A sad ending indeed for the Motor City.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obamacare: A Bridge Too Far

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 22nd, 2010

This part of the road…it’s the wide part

In the movie A Bridge Too Far, there is a humorous line following a bloody World War II battle.  This movie was about Operation Market Garden.  The plan was to use airborne troops to seize vital bridges over rivers that would take the Allies into Germany.  Once they secured the bridges, British 30 Corps was to advance up a narrow road to link up with the airborne troops.  Then, Bob’s your uncle, war is over.  And the good guys win.

But it wasn’t a very good plan.  And it was an extremely bold plan.  That required speed.  Two things not in Bernard Montgomery’s (British general who came up with the plan) repertoire.  His troops loved him.  Because he was very cautious.  Took his time.  And he liked to fall back and regroup.  Again, all the wrong attributes for such a bold plan.

The big problem with this plan was 30 Corps.  The airborne troops reached their objectives.  But 30 Corps just couldn’t link up fast enough.  In the movie, shortly after Michael Caine jumps off with 30 Corps, they run into a hail of German fire.  Being on a narrow road, there was little room for the British to maneuver their armor.  And armor that can’t maneuver has another name.  Targets.  They won this battle.  After taking some losses.  A subordinate vented to Lieutenant Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur (Michael Caine), saying their superiors were asking the impossible of them, advancing up such a narrow road.  And Michael Caine replies, “This part of the road…it’s the wide part.”

Going Home from the Hospital

My father spent about a month in the hospital after suffering a bad heart attack.  He’s 86 and the damage done is irreversible.  Heart is only pumping at 15-20%.  His lungs suffered some damage.  Kidneys, too.  He’s pretty weak.  Has no stamina.  Can’t sit up for more than 10 minutes without hitting the wall and collapsing.  But he was in rehab the last two weeks.  Bitched and moaned more than he did rehab.  But he did enough.  Because they said he was good to go home.

We met with a social worker to discuss life after the hospital.  Well, that was the plan.  It was more of a dog and pony show to see what my father could do.  He came a long way, too.  He was cursing and bitching like his old self.  Calling his rehab torture.  Which it was to him.

The social worker made some small talk.  About different things we could do with dear old Dad.  Nursing home.  Go home with some in-home care.  Go home without the in-home care.  I guess I must have been napping during this part when we were standing in the corridor, because that wasn’t small talk.  That was our intensive discharge family interview.  And, according to the discharge nurse some 5 days later, we signed forms saying that we refused all in-home care.  I don’t remember discussing it.  But, like I said, I could have been napping while I was standing there.

With that ‘interview’ having been a week before his discharge, I had no idea what we would have to do for him at home.  Did he need a wheelchair?  Walker?  Bed commode?  Bed pan?  Home oxygen?  Respiratory equipment?  The day before the discharge we talked to a social worker who got a little snippety with me (it was documented that you had your interview).  A nurse and a therapist came in to talk to me eventually.  In about 45 minutes, they answered pretty much all of my questions.  These two gave a damn.

I asked again about home oxygen.  They tested his blood oxygen levels lying down, sitting up, standing and walking.  They said he didn’t need home oxygen.  Even though he was gasping for dear life during this testing.  So we talked with the nurse one last time.  Agreed to meet with him at 3 PM the following day.

The following day we got there about 2:45 PM.  Went through the medications.  Talked with his therapist again (a great lady).  About an hour or so later, we were ready.  We just needed to wait until his cardiologist could see him one last time.  Dad had to use the bathroom while waiting.  The doctor showed up about 10 minutes after he used the bathroom.  And heard him gasping for dear life.

So he checked him out a little and talked to the lung doctor.  They did a series of blood oxygen level tests.  All the while my father was cursing them for the torture they were putting him through.  This doctor spent the next 2 hours or so reversing the previous decision not to put him on home oxygen.  Then we waited another 2 hours for the hospital oxygen service to deliver a portable tank and to follow us home so he could set up a unit in the house.  The whole discharge process lasted about 6 hours (included the home oxygen set up). 

The Punch Line

I guess I was being a bit belligerent.  The frustration and exasperation got to me.  When we finally got Dad home, we got him into bed.  With the ordeal of the last 6 hours, I didn’t want to force him to walk to the bathroom to urinate before going to bed.  The hospital gave us a couple small urinal bottles he could use while in bed.  It was the least I could do for him.

Well, now here’s the funny part, as he handed me the filled bottle, I took a step or two towards the bathroom to pour the contents into the toilet.  And as I did I noticed a spray of urine falling behind me.  The urinal leaked.  Like a sieve.  Worse than a drivel glass.  Over the bed.  On the floor.  Everywhere.

Lesson?  Don’t be belligerent in the hospital when picking up family.

The Good Old Days of Health Care

This was not a pleasant experience.  Going to the hospital rarely is.  All I could think about was that this was the ‘wide part of the road’.  Before Obamacare takes over.  When they replace the touchy-feely kindness of health care workers with cold, disinterested bureaucrats.  As bad as things are today, under Obamacare, we’ll remember these as the good old days of health care.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

« Previous Entries