FT216: “Liberals are about as open-minded and tolerant as Nazis and communists were.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 4th, 2014

Fundamental Truth

The CEO of Mozilla resigned for Thinking ‘Incorrectly’

In 2008, Brendan Eich donated $1,000 to support California Proposition 8.  A proposal to keep marriage in California between only a man and a woman.  Proposition 8 passed as most Californians agreed with Brendan Eich.  They did not want to change law, tradition and custom.  The left has determined that the people of California are hate-filled people.  And liberal judges have since overruled the will of the people of California.

So who is Brendan Eich?  Until recently he was the CEO of Mozilla.  The company that puts out the internet browser Firefox.  He rose to CEO this year.  He cofounded Mozilla Foundation in 1998.  So he’s been there for awhile.  And did good work.  To rise to CEO you have to be pretty darn good.  And you can’t be a monster.  For if you are a monster the odds are slim of becoming CEO.  For it tends to garner bad press.

Well, as it turns out, exercising your free speech can make you a monster.   A hate-filled individual.  Which the left said he was.  Because of this $1,000 donation.  Just because he thought like the majority of all Californians.  That marriage should be between a man and a woman.  And because he did the left demanded his resignation for daring not to think ‘correctly’ like them.  So he did.  He resigned for thinking ‘incorrectly’.

Conservatives were not Welcomed at a Feminist Conference on Inclusivity

This is not the only ‘thought crime’ the left has leveled at someone.  For anyone that dares to think differently from them they call a thought criminal.  And do everything in their power to silence them.  For the ‘tolerant’ left is very intolerant of anyone that thinks differently from them.  Because the left hates dissenting views.  Especially those of conservatives.  As there are about two conservatives for every liberal they face a lot of dissenting views.  So they have a lot of ‘thought crime’ to police.

Universities are mostly liberal these days.  And whenever a conservative is invited to speak the thought police come out.  They protest.  They heckle.  They throw pies.  Just ask Ann Coulter.  Even when conservatives are invited back to their alma maters to give a commencement speech the thought police turn out to keep them from speaking.  Just ask Dr. Ben Carson.  Or Condoleezza Rice.

Feminists on university campuses are particularly intolerant to other points of view.  Even at a feminist conference about inclusivity.  Everyone was welcomed.  Except conservative women.  In fact, the feminists at this conference identified a woman as being a conservative.  Telling the students gathering there that they shouldn’t talk to her.  Because conservatives were not welcomed at this conference on inclusivity.  Just ask Katherine Timpf.

It’s hard to Pass your Agenda when you’re Outnumbered Two to One

Liberals have long wanted to revive the fairness doctrine.  For the one area they can’t control is talk radio.  And they don’t like what they’re saying on talk radio.  So they want to shut them up.  To balance the content broadcasted over the public airwaves.  As determined by the Federal Communications Commission.  Which could, of course, find that 3 hours of Rush Limbaugh a day is not balanced.  And require that he give up an hour or two of his time for an opposing viewpoint.  Hence the moniker the ‘Hush Rush Bill‘.

The left has been warning us about the calamity of global warming for the last three decades or so.  Telling us if we don’t act now the world will end within the decade.  But the people aren’t quaking with fear.  Some are even debunking their ‘science’.  With real science.  Something the left does not like.  And they want to do something about.  They want to shut them up.  Some even want to jail them.

Conservatives don’t do this.  They don’t call for boycotts or resignations when people exercise their right to free speech.  They don’t throw pies at people.  They don’t pressure universities to shut down debate by preventing someone from speaking that disagrees with them.  They don’t warn young women that someone ‘thinks wrong’.  That they shouldn’t talk to ‘wrong thinkers’.  They don’t try to balance the content in the liberal-dominated media.  And they don’t put politics over science.  Liberals do.  But conservatives don’t.

There have been some in history that put politics above everything else.  Just like liberals do.  People who punished those who said the wrong things.  And punished those for thinking wrong.  They had state censorship.  Propaganda.  And jail for those who weren’t like them.  Or worse.  Things the left would love to do to stifle all debate.  Because it’s hard to pass your agenda when you’re outnumbered two to one.  So who are these people from history?  Nazis.  And communists.  Yes, liberals are about as open-minded and tolerant as Nazis and communists were.

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The Muslim Brotherhood is out in Egypt for Ruling against the Will of the People

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 4th, 2013

Politics 101

The Muslim Brotherhood did not like Hosni Mubarak or Peace in the Middle East

President Mohammed Morsi is no longer president of Egypt.  Thanks to a bloodless military coup.  Why did the military do this?  Is there some power-hungry general that wanted to become dictator?  No.  The army stepped in to prevent the country from degenerating into civil war.  As the people were unhappy.  And angry.  Filling Tahrir Square.  Protesting the rule of President Morsi.  Just as they protested the rule of Hosni Mubarak.  Back during the Arab Spring.  When democracy was flowering all over the Arab world.

The people were unhappy with Hosni Mubarak because of soaring unemployment.  And his oppressive police state.  To name two things.  The people wanted jobs.  And liberty.  So they demanded democracy.  And got it.  They had free elections.  And the people chose their new leader.  Mohammed Morsi.  Who since becoming president did nothing to improve the employment picture.  And seemed more interested in imposing Sharia law on the Egyptian people than liberty.  In fact, he seemed more interested in restricting liberty.  Especially for Coptic Christians.  And women.

Mubarak’s police state did a lot to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood.  President Morsi’s party.  The Muslim Brotherhood also wanted to impose Sharia law on the Egyptian people.  And did not like Hosni Mubarak for making peace with Israel.  Being secular.  Making it harder to smuggle arms into the Gaza Strip to their friend.  The terrorist group Hamas.  A militant Palestinian Islamic movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel.  And member of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.  So the Brotherhood was no friend of peace in the Middle East.  Or secularism.  Which is why Mubarak brutally suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood.  But now the Brotherhood was in power.  And they would have their revenge.  As they put Egypt on the road to Sharia law.

Both the Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood lied to Rise to Power

Hosni Mubarak was a friend to America.  Israel.  And Middle East peace.  He had his faults.  But he was so critical to peace and stability in the region the United States and their friends and allies should have tried to help Mubarak reform Egypt.  Instead of throwing him under the bus.  Like President Obama did.  Who spent his political career bashing George W. Bush for trying to bring democracy to the Middle East.  And here he was.  President Obama.  Trying to bring democracy to Egypt.  Telling our friend and ally, Hosni Mubarak, he had to go.  When the only opposition party in Egypt was the friend of Hamas and Iran.  The Muslim Brotherhood.

The conservatives warned President Obama about letting the Muslim Brotherhood rise to power.  That it was not in America’s best interests.  Israel’s.  Or the Middle East’s.  And the Brotherhood knew the Americans and Israelis and the West in general were uncomfortable with them in power.  So to appease everyone they said not to worry.  They weren’t interested in rising to power.  And they wouldn’t run for the presidency.  They just wanted to help the nation they loved, Egypt, to be free.  That’s all.  But then one thing led to another.  And the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power.  With one of their own becoming president.  Just like conservatives warned would happen.  And the Brotherhood promised wouldn’t happen.  So what happened?

The Muslim Brotherhood, of course, lied.  That’s how you rise to power when you want to change the country against the will of the people.  Adolf Hitler didn’t rise to power through a military coup.  The Nazis won elections.  They didn’t campaign on the truth.  They didn’t tell the people that they were going to invade Poland, Norway, North Africa, the Low Countries, France, Greece, the Soviet Union, etc.  That they were going to build death camps.  Or use a brutal secret police (the Gestapo) to terrorize their own people.  For these aren’t the kinds of things people vote for.  So you lie to the people.  And say you want to do other things.  Not the things people warned would happen if the Nazis rose to power.  Especially those who read Mein Kampf.  Where Hitler himself told the world what he planned on doing.  It was all there.  All you had to do was read his book.

Candidates who Promise Everything typically want to Change the Country Against the Will of the People

Iranian students protested the Shah of Iran.  Just like the Egyptians protested Hosni Mubarak.  Men and women.  Including a lot of college graduates who could not find any work with their new degrees.  They blamed the Shah.  Another friend and ally of the United States.  They demanded jobs.  And liberty.  A democracy of the people.  And that’s exactly what they got.  Then they voted for an Islamic republic.  And those people who protested to overthrow the Shah lost everything they wanted.  Especially the women.  Who had fewer liberties after the Iranian Revolution than they had under the Shah of Iran.  During the elections the Islamists didn’t say they were going to do this.  For people demanding liberty and jobs are not going to vote for someone promising to take away even more of their liberties.  So they lied.  Allowing them to rise to power.  To change the country against the will of the people.

Removing the Muslim Brotherhood from power is good for the United States.  For Israel.  And for peace in the Middle East.  Because with the Muslim Brotherhood in power Iran had a good friend in Egypt.  To help expand their hegemony in the region.  Shiite rule in a predominantly Sunni area.  And what was once a more secular area.  Before the Arab Spring.  Some expressed concern about the military removing a democratically elected president.  Of course they must express this publically.  Especially when they’re trying to spread democracy.  But there is a difference between good democracy and bad democracy.  Bad democracy is the kind that is only transitory.  A tool.  A means to an end.  When you want to change a country against the will of the people.  And once you achieve the end you can dispose of that ridiculous thing called democracy.  Like the Nazis did.  Like the Iranians did.  And like the Muslim Brotherhood was well along the way in doing.

This is something people need to learn.  Not to trust those running for office.  Especially those who promise everything the people want.  You see, there is a reason why the people don’t have everything they want.  It’s just not possible.  It’s too costly.  And you just can’t please everyone.  So no matter how much you give the people there will still be some who want something else.  Always.  Which is good for people running for office.  As they always have something to lie about.  That is, to make a promise they can’t keep.  Or simply have no intention of keeping.  Because they want to change the country against the will of the people.

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The Eurozone Debt Crisis gets Ugly as the Greeks call their German Benefactors Nazis

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 18th, 2012

Week in Review

Germany is the strongest nation in the Eurozone.  While they retain their triple-A credit rating other countries face credit rating downgrades.  Or warnings about future downgrades.  Which puts the Germans in the Euro driver seat.  Because they’re shouldering the biggest share of this Eurozone financial burden.  One would almost say they are doing the other Eurozone members a favor.  But the Greeks sure don’t feel this way (see Greeks brand Germans ‘Nazis’ for driving through painful cuts and ‘taking control of their economy’ posted 2/15/2012 on the Daily Mail).

Greek anger with the way they believe Germany has taken over their economy is boiling over on the country’s streets.

In recent days, protesters have burned German flags and defaced the Bank of Greece’s headquarters to make it look like the Bank of Berlin.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has also been depicted in Nazi uniform on the front page of right-wing newspaper Democracy above a headline alluding to Auschwitz.

Granted, Hitler did conquer Greece.  And he did so ruthlessly.  But not because he wanted to.  Mussolini attacked Greece.  And was humiliated.  This blunder threatened Barbarossa.  The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.  Hitler had to save Mussolini to keep the British (in and around the Mediterranean) off their southern flank.  While preparing the Greek invasion Yugoslavia threw a wrench into the plans with a military coup.  Shut down his free passage through Yugoslavia.  Threw Hitler in a rage.  So he was going to teach them a lesson.  And did.  He ruthlessly attacked Yugoslavia.  And kept his army rolling all the way through Greece.  But to do this he had to delay Barbarossa by about a month.  Which stalled his armies in the god-awful Russian winter at the gates of Moscow.  The same god-awful winter that destroyed Napoleon’s Grande Armée.  And sent the Nazis in retreat.  For the very first time.  Had it not been for the Greece ‘problem’ Hitler may have conquered the Soviet Union.  And won World War II.  So Hitler had little love for Greece.  Which may have made the Greece occupation a cruel one.

High levels of government spending in Greece to support a very comfortable and growing public sector created large deficits.  They had to finance these growing deficits with growing government debt.  Soon their debt grew so large they could no longer sell new debt to retire old debt.  Because few believed that they would be able to repay this new debt.  Which brought them to this crisis where they needed help from others to finance their debt.  Because they could no longer take care of themselves.

So there’s a bit of difference between the current debt crisis and 1941 Greece.  In 1941 the Greeks were victims of Nazi oppression.  In the current debt crisis Greece’s troubles are self-inflicted.  So comparing Merkel’s Germany to Nazi Germany is a bit unfair to say the least.  And unjust. 

The Eurozone was an ill-conceived plan to begin with.  A currency unity with no political unity?  What did they expect?  No nation wants to take orders from another nation.  Any who tries may be called, well, a Nazi.  And this is why the Eurozone was ill-conceived.  Because no nation wants to take orders from another nation.  They just want to keep on doing their own thing.  Like the Greeks did.  And now Greece’s problem is everyone’s problem in the Eurozone.  Because of that common currency.

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LESSONS LEARNED #71: “For socialism to be successful no one can be allowed to escape it.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2011

Socialism Oppresses and Kills tens of millions of People

It’s easy to point at Cuba as an example of socialism’s failure.  You don’t even have to go to the island.  You don’t have to study their institutions.  All you have to do is to look at the risks people will take to escape Cuba.  And they take some crazy risks to escape.  They will board some barely-seaworthy water crafts and paddle out into the ocean.  Away from Cuba.  And towards Florida.  Away from socialism.  And towards capitalism.  Away from a wretched life of despair and deprivation.  And towards a life of plenty and opportunity.  As they paddle their way to America, how many people do you think they pass who are paddling their way to Cuba?  How about zero?  Because when it comes to refugees, the direction is always towards America.  It’s never the other way.

And it’s easy to point to Mao in China.  His Great Leap Forward killed a lot of his own people.  And by ‘a lot’ I mean in the tens of millions.  Depending on the numbers you use.  It could have been anywhere between 15 and 50 million people.  The Chinese communists were not the record keepers the Nazis were.  Though the actual number may be in doubt the magnitude isn’t.  In the spirit of brotherly love that is the hallmark of socialism, millions were beaten, tortured and killed to ‘encourage’ acceptance of the forced collectivization of farming.  And the funny thing is (not ha ha funny but funny as in sad and ironic) that after beating, torturing and killing so many people to collectivize farming, the agriculture output plummeted.  Partly because of bad planning.  And partly due to nature.  But local party officials reported record harvests to avoid beatings, torture and killings by party superiors.  So China exported much of these record harvests.  Leaving nothing for the peasants to eat.  Resulting in famine.  Again, the record keeping is sparse.  As they often are when your policies end up killing your own people.  But deaths were in the tens of millions.  The Great Leap Forward was a big push to modernize China.  To industrialize it.  For there was little infrastructure in China.  Most of it was rural.  Dotted with peasant farms.  Stretching across vast lands.  With little ways to move around.  Where you probably died less than a day’s walk from where you were born.  Which made it difficult to escape the Great Leap Forward.  Or Mao’s ruthless communist rule.

And it’s easy to point to the former Soviet Union.  Where it all started.  CommunismJoseph Stalin gave Mao Tse-tung a run for his money in the greatest mass murderer of all time contest.  Again, the record keeping was a little sparse.  But the Soviets took socialism to a grand scale.  The government controlled the economy.  And your life.  If you grew up in the Soviet Union, you learned how much better it was there than in the decadent West.  Especially the USA.  Of course, when some Soviets were lucky enough to travel outside the country, they learned that their Soviet teachers were liars.  The West was awesome.  Never before did they see such a wonderful world of plenty.  And some Soviets defected to that better life.  Which was a crime.  And a huge embarrassment for the Soviet Union.  Even Joseph Stalin’s daughter (Svetlana Alliluyeva) defected.  Others included Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alexander Godunov, Sergei Fedorov, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl and Nadia Comăneci, to name a few (both from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc).  Some got preferential treatment to keep them from defecting like Katarina Witt.  Or they held family members as ‘hostages’ when some traveled out of the country.  It was a real problem for the KGB.  Who had agents living undercover in the West.  And a lot of them didn’t want to come home.  Of course, there was no such problem with people defecting from the West into the Soviet Union.  There were a few.  Like Lee Harvey Oswald.  But he wasn’t playing with a full deck.  And he did return to the United States.  Because even he found it was better in America.  And he hated America.

It’s easy to point at the big socialist failures.  But just about every story of socialism is a story of failure.  And as different as some of the stories are, they all have much in common.  In particular, the exploitation of the people to serve the state.

In Socialism, Slavery is Freedom

In George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four, we see a frightening look at totalitarian socialism.  Big Brother is the leader of an oppressive regime.  Where the government plays with language to control the people.  War is peace.  Ignorance is strength.  And freedom is slavery.  War unites a people against a common enemy.  Who then beg for the government to protect them from this enemy.  And they will suffer through any hardship required to defeat this enemy.  Which makes continued war a handy way to control the people.  And to keep the peace among an unhappy and suffering citizenry that might otherwise rise up and complain.  Or riot.  Or attempt to overthrow the government.

Ignorance is strength.  If you don’t know how rotten your existence is you have no reason to be unhappy.  If you don’t know about that better life on the other side of your border, you have no reason to cross that border.  You’ll stay where you are.  And be a good citizen.  You’ll toe the party line.  Work hard.  Sing party songs.  And be happy.  More importantly, you’ll be subdued.  Easier to control.  And easier to lie to.  There’s a reason revolutionaries rounded up intellectuals and people with glasses (people with glasses can read and may be intellectuals) for ‘reeducation’ during revolutions.  Thinkers are trouble makers.  So it behooves them to keep the people ignorant.  So they don’t get distracted from their patriotic duties.  So they can continue to sacrifice to build a stronger nation.

Slavery is Freedom.  Because slaves never have to make a decision.  Or provide for themselves.  What a joyous and simple life.  Someone provides everything you need.  Your job.  Your clothes.  Your food.  Your home.  Your health care.  And your funeral.  And all you have to do is give yourself to the state.  Give up all your freedoms.  Give up all hope.  All your dreams.  And all of your comforts.  You have no bills to pay.  Because you don’t have anything.  You get up, work, eat and sleep.  Simple.  Easy.  And carefree.  True freedom.  Lucky slaves.

Adolf Hitler was a Socialist

Of course, if you talk to some slaves you’ll probably hear a different story.  Real slaves.  Like 19th century American slaves.  Those working the plantations.  They didn’t all buy that ‘slavery is freedom’ line.  If any did.  Because a lot of them did try to escape.  Just like those who tried to escape from Soviet socialism.  Interestingly, there are similarities between the two.  Because if you take socialism to its logical end you do arrive at slavery.  Friedrich August von Hayek wrote a book about this.  The Road to Serfdom.  Even said that if socialism grew unchecked in a state some guy named Adolf Hitler may come along and create an oppressive state dictatorship.  He didn’t quite say it like that.  But a guy named Adolf Hitler did come along and created an oppressive state dictatorship called National Socialism.  Or Nazism.  Anyway, suffice it to say that Hayek was right.  As proven by people everywhere who have tried to escape their socialist utopias.

Despite popular belief, everyone was not equal in these socialist utopias.  The inner party people lived well.  And their apparatchik.  But little changed for the masses.  In fact, life often got worse for them.  They were hungry, living in crowded quarters, with poor sanitation, some without running water, living in fear of state punishment for breaking a rule or not making quota, days of endless labor, no say in your future, no liberty and little hope for a better tomorrow.  Very similar to a 19th century American slave.

The American plantation is a microcosm of socialism.  The few at the top did very well (the glorious leaders).  Those close to them that ran the plantation (the party apparatchik) did not do as well but did much better than most.  And then there were the slaves at the bottom.  Who were all equal.  Equally miserable.  And without any hope.  Living in fear of abuse for breaking a rule or not making quota.  And working days of endless labor.  This is socialism taken to its logical end.  Which is why people risked death to escape places like the Soviet Union.  East GermanyCzechoslovakiaRomania.  Cuba.  To escape servitude.  Because the state could do anything they wanted to you.  And often did.  Just like a plantation overseer.

Slaves of the Social Democracies Riot

Of course, the critics will say that this isn’t true socialism.  That these are just mad dictators who corrupted socialism in their quest for absolute power.  And I’ll say, well, of course.  You’re right.  But they all used socialism in their rise to power.  Not a one of them said anything about cutting taxes or reducing stifling government regulations in their climb to power.  Quite the contrary.  They used every facet of socialism (egalitarianism, redistribution of wealth, taxing the rich, nationalization of private companies, etc.) in their climb to power.  In fact, one could say that without these tenets of socialism to unwittingly rally the people behind them they could never have risen to power.  Which is why socialism is not just a Road to Serfdom.  It’s a blueprint as well.

Some will roll their eyes at this.  And say Europe is full if social democracies that treat their people pretty damn well.  Let’s call it socialism-light.  These socialist countries have large and generous social welfare programs for their people.  Generous unemployment benefits.  Generous vacations.  Generous health care benefits.  Generous pensions when they retire.  Some at the ripe old age of 50.  A large and generously paid public sector.  Clearly these people aren’t oppressed.  And I’ll agree.  The people receiving these benefits are not oppressed.  But it places an incredible tax burden on those who work.  Who must make continuous sacrifices as their taxes continuously rise.  Let’s call these people slaves-light.  Because they are not allowed to enjoy the full fruits of their labor.  So, yes, the people in these social democracies in general are free.  And happy.  When they’re not rioting, that is.  Like in Greece.  Again.  Where the nation is broke.  And had to borrow money to pay its bills.  Which they have.  But one of the conditions for getting these loans was to cut back on those generous benefits.  Which hasn’t gone over well with the people receiving those benefits.  So they rioted.

Of course they rioted because they had become slaves of the welfare state.  Politicians promised them everything they wanted for their vote.  And delivered.  Until they could deliver no more.  Having become so dependent on the state the thought of taking care of themselves frightened them so that they ran into the streets and started burning things in protest.  The state had no problem keeping these people from escaping their country.  Unable to take care of themselves they were afraid to leave.  But the people with the jobs, and those who created the jobs, that’s a different story.  They could leave.  And a lot did.  So the state made it as difficult as possible for their money to follow them.

You may be able to Escape the Socialist Welfare State, but your Money may Not

New York City is the financial capital of the world.  For now, at least.  It costs a lot to live in the city.  Cost of living is high.  And the taxes are higher.  Way higher.  Which was never a problem for rich people.  Or rich companies.  Rush Limbaugh did his radio program out of New York City for awhile.  But he left because of the excessive taxation.  Went to Florida.  Where there is no income tax.  But every time he traveled to New York City he was required to pay income tax on his earnings for those days in the city.  The New York tax authorities put him through incredible hurdles to prove when he was out of the city.  Showing in multiple ways that he was, in fact, living in Florida.   With receipts.  Phone bills.  Etc.  They put the onus on him.  Said he owed the tax unless he could prove otherwise.

Then came the subprime mortgage crisis that gave us the worst recession since the Great DepressionWall Street income fell.  As did New York City and New York state tax receipts.  People moved out of the city.  Out of the state.  Worked out of their homes.  Some did no work in the state but still kept a vacation home on Long Island.  Desperate for money and unable to keep these people from escaping the state, the taxing authority went after their income.  Said if they spent any time in the state they owed income taxes for the entire year.  Even if you only vacationed for two weeks on Long Island.  While paying the taxes in the state you actually live and work in.  This was worse than taxation without representation.  It was double taxation.  In addition to taxation without representation.

New York City is generous with their social benefits.  Call it socialism-light.  It’s not all out socialism.  But it still suffers from the same fatal flaw.  It doesn’t work well if the people can escape this socialist utopia.  Especially the ones paying the taxes.  As is happening in the social democracies in Europe.  And anywhere where there is high taxation without a secured border.  To prevent the taxpayers (i.e., best and brightest) from escaping.  Like the Soviets did to keep their best and brightest from escaping.  As did the East Germans.  The Czechoslovakians.  The Romanians.  And the Cubans.

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Daddy Issues and Foreign Policy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 18th, 2011

Breaking the Law like Dad Did

It’s good to be king.  And sometimes president (see Obama rejects top lawyers’ legal views on Libya by Glenn Greenwald posted 6/18/2011 on Salon).

The growing controversy over President Obama’s illegal waging of war in Libya got much bigger last night with Charlie Savage’s New York Times scoop.  He reveals that top administration lawyers —  Attorney General Eric Holder, OLC Chief Caroline Krass, and DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson — all told Obama that his latest, widely panned excuse for waging war without Congressional approval (that it does not rise to the level of “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution (WPR)) was invalid and that such authorization was legally required after 60 days: itself a generous intepretation of the President’s war powers.  But Obama rejected those views and (with the support of administration lawyers in lesser positions:  his White House counsel and long-time political operative Robert Bauer and State Department “legal adviser” Harold Koh) publicly claimed that the WPR does not apply to Libya.

As Savage notes, it is, in particular, “extraordinarily rare” for a President “to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice…”

Kind of reminds me of someone.  Someone else who acted against the advice of their own attorney general.  Who was that?  Hmmm.  Let me think.  It’s on the tip of my tongue.  Not a popular guy.  Oh yes.  Now I remember.

[James] Comey explained that, in 2004, shortly after he became Deputy AG, he reviewed the NSA eavesdropping program Bush had ordered back in 2001 and concluded it was illegal.  Other top administration lawyers — including Attorney General John Ashcroft and OLC Chief Jack Goldsmith — agreed with Comey, and told the White House they would no longer certify the program’s legality.

That’s right.  It was George W. Bush.  Gee, President Obama is getting more and more like Bush every day.  He must hold Bush up as a mentor figure.  Even a father figure.  For it sure looks like he’s trying to impress him.  By being like him.  Like every son wants to be like their dad.  What’s that line from that great father/son song?  “He’d say “I’m gonna be like you Dad.  You know I’m gonna be like you.””  From Cats in the Cradle.  And Obama is trying to be like his surrogate dad.  To do as good a job as Dad did.  Military tribunalsGitmo.  Friends to business (albeit only the ones big enough to buy favors).  Attacked some Muslim countries.  Even breaking the law like Dad did.  Looking for his approval.  His love.  And yearning for that ever elusive hug.  From Poppa.

An Afternoon Tea Party in Libya

But the Libyan War is no big deal.  We don’t have combat brigades there.  Granted we blew the snot out of a lot of things.  And killed a lot of people.  But this isn’t a war with hostilities.  It’s an afternoon tea party.  And it’ll be over before we know it.  Even Harry ‘This War is LostReid isn’t bitching about Libya like he bitched about Iraq.  That other ‘illegal’ war (see Harry Reid On Libya: “This Thing Will Be Over Before We Know It” posted 6/17/2011 on Real Clear Politics).

JIM LEHRER:  Senator, welcome.

SENATOR HARRY REID (D-NV):  Thank you very much for allowing me to be on the show.

MR. LEHRER:  Well, first on the Libya military operation, do you believe the War Powers Act requires authorization of further action?

SEN. REID:  The War Powers Act has no application to what’s going on in Libya.

MR. LEHRER:  None?

SEN. REID:  I don’t believe so.  You know, we did an authorization for Afghanistan.  We did one for Iraq.  But we have no troops on the ground there, and this thing’s going to be over before you know it anyway, so I think it’s not necessary.

So, you see, there’s nothing to get your shorts into a bunch about.  These guys know what they’re doing.  And they know foreign policy.  Geopolitics.  And protecting American security interests.  Like in Libya.  We don’t know what those interests are yet.  But the naysayers will learn in time.  And we’ll see that our non-war in Libya was important.  And necessary.  Just like our Egyptian policy will prove one day to be important and necessary in protecting American security interests.  By demanding that our friend and ally, a bulwark against radical Islamism, maintainer of peace and stability in a Middle East with the Jewish state of Israel, had to step down from power.  Sure, he was corrupt and somewhat oppressive.  But all rulers are in the Middle East.  Life was far better in Egypt than in a lot of other Middle East nations.  Especially for women.  Christians.  And Jews.

But the Obama administration said he had to go.  It made no sense.  And it doesn’t now.  Yet.  But I’m sure it will.  For they must know something that the rest of us don’t.  And that post-Mubarak Egypt will even be better.  For women.  Christians.  And Jews.

Hail the Arab Spring

Hey, look.  They’re already forming another political party.  Yeah for democracy (see After fall of Mubarak, group announces intent to form Nazi party posted 6/18/2011 on Al-Masry Al-Youm).

A group of Egyptians have announced their intent to establish a Nazi party with “a contemporary frame of reference,” an independent Egyptian news website said on Wednesday.

Al-Badeel, a leftist news portal, quoted founding member Emad Abdel Sattar as saying the party would bring together prominent figures from the Egyptian society. The party’s founding deputy is a former military official.

The party believes in vesting all powers in the president after selecting him or her carefully, Abdel Sattar said, adding that preparations are underway to choose the most competent person to represent the party.

Oh dear.  Nazis.  This can’t be good.  Is this for real?

Although Al-Masry Al-Youm could not verify the news reported by Al-Badeel, two Facebook pages have appeared recently under the title of “the Egyptian Nazi Party”.

The two pages attracted around 70 followers, who mostly posted questions about the party’s ideas and policies and requested details on how to join.

Hopefully not.  Perhaps it’s just a fringe group.  Like Hitler’s Nazis were in Germany.  Until they started winning seats in the Reichstag.  And Hindenburg had to reluctantly share power with them in a coalition government.  Even appointed Hitler chancellor.  Then Hindenburg died and Hitler became Führer und Reichskanzler.  Increased his powers.  Eventually making Germany a dictatorship.  The rest is history.  And not a good one.

The party has a one-year plan to develop Egypt, unlike the “marginalized liberal parties, which are like dead bodies,” he said.

A source from the proposed party told Al-Badeel the idea to start it came after some fundamentalist religious waves emerged, which, according to the source, created a state of chaos and led to the burning of churches, the destruction of shrines and assaults on unarmed civilians.

It was the radical Islamist elements of the Arab Spring that created the state of chaos.  Not aspiring Nazis.  They’re just looking to exploit the chaos.  Perhaps this fringe group will just pass on into the dustbin of history.  Sure, they share the anti-Semitic views of the big political party.  The Muslim Brotherhood.  And there are Middle East and Nazi Germany ties.  Even Haj Amin al-Husseini met with Adolf Hitler.  And discussed post-war Nazi ambitions outside the Nazi sphere (such as in the Middle East beyond the Caucasus).  The only Nazi interference in Arab politics would be the continued genocide against the Jews.  Which meshed well with al-Husseini’s vision of a Jewish-free Palestine.  Despite this deep Nazi-Islamic history, I’m sure there is no danger with the rise of a fringe Nazi political party in Egypt.  Because post-Mubarak Egypt has to be even better than Mubarak-Egypt.  Otherwise, why would the Obama administration force Mubarak out?

Does the President need a Hug?

American foreign policy is confused at best.  Intervention where there is no U.S. security interest.  Undermining a friend and ally.  While our enemies grow stronger.  And a past evil is coming back to life.  It begs the question is this on purpose?  Is it incompetence?  Or just a desperate cry for a hug from Poppa?  George W. Bush?

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Europeans Wonder why Americans Don’t Love Obama as Much as They Do

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 29th, 2010

Obama falls from grace because the American people have learned what the mainstream media wouldn’t tell them; the truth.

America, Europe, the Middle East, hell, the whole world had a love affair with Barrack Obama.  A man who did nothing but serve a partial term as a U.S. senator.  Before that?  Community organizer.  His resume had a lot of white space on it.  He is the most inexperienced person to ever become president.  Even Sarah Palin, who the Left disparages as stupid and experienced, has executive experience.  She was more qualified than Obama to be president.  Based on their experience.  Place their resumes side by side and no one can dispute this.  Yet Palin is stupid and inexperienced.  And Obama is the second coming of Christ.  And when the results of Obama’s policies reflect his experience, those infatuated express shock and disbelief (see Europe ‘dismayed’ as midterms highlight Obama’s struggles by Marian Smith, msnbc.com).

“They’re very confused as to how [Americans] could vote for Obama and then two years later turn around and vote for a completely different set of policies,” Sarah Oates, professor of political communication the University of Glasgow, told msnbc.com.

There’s a simple reason for this confusion.  The mainstream media was also infatuated with Obama.  They endorsed his candidacy.  But they never vetted him.  No one knew anything about Obama during the campaign.  They ignored his far-left associations with Reverend Wright and Bill Aires.  They didn’t discuss his criticism of the U.S. Constitution (it didn’t empower government enough).  Or his policy guide: Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.  The mainstream media’s gross journalistic malfeasance hid the real man from the American voter.  The real Obama is not the Obama the American people voted for.  Hence his fall from grace.

Jimmy Carter handed off a worse economy than Bush.  But things got better when Ronald Reagan cut taxes.

Obama has told us ad nauseam that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.  Some would argue that the numbers were pretty bad when Ronald Reagan took office.  But he followed Democrat Jimmy Carter.  So they don’t like to bring up his atrocious economy.  Because the economy he handed down to Ronald Reagan was pretty atrocious.  I mean, they didn’t use words like ‘malaise’, ‘stagflation’ or ‘misery index’ during the Bush economy.  And they’re not using them during the Obama economy.  But you repeat the lie enough, people just accept it as fact.

However, Obama remains broadly well-liked and many Europeans think the disenchantment that many American voters have been expressing is unfair.

“What he inherited was so enormous that no American president could have fixed it,” Manfred Gortemaker, professor of modern history at Germany’s University of Potsdam, told msnbc.com.

The bad economy Obama inherited was a long time in the making.  Because the Democrats were in power for a long time.  And it was their passion that caused it.  Affordable housing.  Putting people into houses who couldn’t afford houses.  Ask anyone which party you think of when it comes to affordable housing and they’re not going to say Republican.  The American disenchantment is with Democrat Big Government.  And Obama believes in Big Government.  The bigger the better.  America just can’t afford it anymore.  There isn’t enough money left in the private sector to steal to pay for it.  And Obama just wants to spend more.  But spending doesn’t work.  It didn’t help Carter.  That’s why he lost to Reagan.  Reagan cut taxes.  And, you know what?  That worked.  The electorate wants more Reagan.  Less Obama.

It’s good t be king.  As long it’s not 1790 France.  Or 2010 America where the Tea Party is spoiling a good time for the ruling elite.

The French can’t figure out the Tea Party movement.

“In all the French newspapers and magazines, people are writing, trying to figure it out,” Bacharan said.

Michelle Obama stayed at a 5-star Spanish resort while Americans were suffering near 10% unemployment and seeing banks foreclose on their homes.  There have been other vacations at very expensive and exclusive resorts.  And a lot of golf outings.  Obama has played more golf in 2 years than George W. Bush has in his 8 years.  Then there’s the latest presidential vacation.  They’re going to India.  They’ll be taking 40 airplanes.  Three helicopters.  A bunch of armored cars.  And they’ll be staying at the 5-star Taj Mahal hotel.  And only them.  The Obama party has booked the whole place.  It’s good to be king.

Now, I’m poking a little fun at my French friends.  That ‘good to be king’ line comes from Mel Brooks History of the World Part One.  But it’s something the French should understand.  While the masses are suffering, the Obamas are living like royalty.  They are detached from ordinary America.  Cold and detached.  Sort of like King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette.  We’re just waiting for Michelle Obama to say, “Let them eat cake.”  Of course, we have the right to vote.  Unlike the people did in 1790 France with their ruling elite.  And it’s that right that the Tea Party is exercising.  Because they feel the way the French felt in 1790.  (Without the famine, of course.)

The Tea Party are not Nazis; Obama is not Hitler.  But the Nazis were Big Government liberals

The mainstream media has been falsely reporting a ‘Nazi’ element within the Tea Party.  They repeat the lie so often that many accept it as fact.  Even the Germans, no doubt sensitive to anything Nazi, are writing about it.

“The Holocaust was the result of murderous ideological fanaticism of the kind not to be found in leaders forced to face re-election every four years,” [a Der Spiegel newspaper] editorial said. “It is hard to imagine even the most hard-bitten Tea Party activist sincerely believing that President Barack Obama wants to systematically murder over 6 million people like Adolf Hitler did. And that is necessarily the implication.”

The German people elected Adolf Hitler to office in free elections.  He did not campaign on the Holocaust, though.  He did adopt what would eventually be Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.  He identified, isolated and attacked his enemies.  The Jews.  Obama has identified, isolated and attacked his enemies.  The Tea Party.  George W. Bush.  And Republicans in general.  Hitler was an environmentalist.  Obama is an environmentalist.  Hitler expanded state power.  Obama wants to expand state power.  Hitler controlled state media.  Obama has a willing and complicit mainstream media.  Hitler nationalized industries.  Obama nationalized industries.  Take away the crazy, the Holocaust and the militarism, and Hitler was just another Big Government liberal.  Like Mussolini.  Like Stalin.  And FDR.  And as Big Government liberals, they lied to their electorate to get elected (well, except for Stalin).  Then people learned the truth.

That said, Obama is no Hitler.  He is not a Nazi.  Sure, some kooks on the fringe say stupid things.  Just like some on the Left said George W. Bush was another Hitler.  Called him a Nazi.  But we need to stop the crazy. On both sides.  Obama got a pass by the mainstream media during the campaign.  They worshipped and adored him.  Got the people to vote for him.  And now people have learned the truth.  And here’s why Obama is NOT Adolf Hitler.  We can fix our mistake in the voting booth. 

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #31: “Islam and guns are a lot alike. And yet when something bad happens, we try to ban one and forgive the other.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 14th, 2010

INSTRUMENTS OF PEACE

Yes, people with guns do kill people.  And, yes, extreme Islamic fundamentalist fanatics do kill people.  But guns keep the peace.  As does less fanatical Islam.

Societies have formed militias (armed with guns) to protect themselves from aggressors who did not wish to cohabitate in peace.   Thomas Jefferson used guns to stop the piracy along the Barbary Coast.  The Allies used guns to stop Adolf Hitler.  The NATO nations used guns to balance the Soviet threat in Eastern Europe.  An American led coalition used guns to first prevent Saddam Hussein from invading Saudi Arabia.  They then used guns to force him out of Kuwait.

Islam, and religion in general, provides a code of morality.  Religion can unite an otherwise diverse people.  It is this common faith that lets a diverse people to live together in peace and harmony.

GUNS DON’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

Guns don’t kill people.  And it’s not the bullets, either.  You can place a loaded handgun on a table with the safety off and it won’t do anything.  You can call it a name, sleep with its wife or impregnate its daughter (figuratively, of course) and it will just lay there.  For that gun to do something, a person has to pick it up.  Place their finger on the trigger.  Aim.  And shoot.  Until a person does, a gun will never harm a soul.

ISLAM DOESN’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

You can read about Islam in a book.  You can put that book on a table and it won’t do anything.  You can insult it, profane it and denounce it and it will just lay there.  For this religion to do something, someone has to read the book.  If they cannot read, a person who has read the book has to explain it to the illiterate one.  And then act.  Only when a person makes a conscious choice to commit some action can a religion harm anyone.  And if these people choose peace there will be peace.  If they choose violence there will be violence. 

ZYKLON B DOESN’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

The Nazis used to shoot undesirables (Jews, gypsies, Slavs, etc.).  They’d make a mother hold a child so one bullet could kill two.  But as the killing increased, bullets just proved to be inefficient.  And costly.  So they developed the extermination camps.  The death chamber.  And Zyklon B.  This poison could be stored and handled safely.  When it was time, a person would open a canister and pour the chemical into the gas chamber.  If left undisturbed in the canisters, Zyklon B never would have harmed a soul.  It only killed when a person placed it in into an environment where it could.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION DON’T KILL; PEOPLE DO

The Kurds are a lot like the Palestinians, only without Jewish neighbors.  After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, everyone in Mesopotamia got a nation-state except the Kurds.  With the new national borders, the nomadic Kurds could no longer move freely through the lands they once did.   And, well, this caused problems.  Conflicts.  And bitter feelings.  The Kurds supported the Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war.  Saddam Hussein was not amused.  The Iraqis had stockpiles of chemical weapons.  Hussein decided to use them.  On the Kurdish town of Halabja.  He killed some 5,000 Kurds.  Injured about 10,000 more.  Mostly civilians.  If these weapons were not loaded on aircraft, then flown over and dropped on Halabja, they would not have harmed a soul.  But when orders were given, and carried out, by people, they did.

PEOPLE DON’T KILL; IDEOLOGY DOES

Yeah, so it’s pretty clear that guns, religion and chemicals are pretty benign when left alone.  Unless a person gets involved, these things just won’t hurt anyone.  It’s the people.  They’re the problem.

There are a lot of gun owners in the United States.  Few use their guns to hurt others, though.  And Muslims tell us their religion is a religion of peace.  Only a small minority perverts it to harm others.  And there’re many national leaders.  Few have committed chemical genocide.  So it’s not all people.  Just some.  That are the problem.

So what, then, makes some people do these things while others do not?  Ideology.  Some people are passionate about their ideology.  And some are so passionate that they do not permit an alternative ideology.  This is when things get dangerous.  Because they kill for their ideology.

WE KEEP GUNS OFF OF AIRPLANES AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED

The Left wants to take away our guns.  They point to gun violence and say, “See?”  But law-abiding gun owners don’t commit these crimes.  Criminals commit these crimes.  Using guns obtained on the black market.  And denying law-abiding citizens from owning guns won’t shut down the black market.  Just as illegalizing drugs hasn’t made drugs unavailable.  Make something illegal and a thriving black market will develop.  Which will be lucrative for criminals.  So much so that they will use extreme violence to maintain their market share.

Let’s imagine a fictional world where we ban all guns.  Would it be a better, more peaceful world?

On September 11, 2001, Islamic fundamentalists armed with box cutters hijacked 4 commercial jetliners.  Two of these planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  One crashed into the Pentagon.  The passengers on one plane fought back with what weapons they could find.  The plane crashed.  They died.  But they prevented the terrorists from successfully completing their mission.

Since 9/11, some people carry guns on airplanes.  You know why?  Because a gun can stop a passionate ideologue with a box cutter.

DON’T IMPOSE YOUR VALUES ON ME

Ideology is far more dangerous than guns.  And yet, when something bad happens with a gun the Left wants to enact another level of gun control.  But when a militant Islamic fundamentalist kills Americans, the Left cautions us not to rush to judgment.  Because we may anger the Muslim world.  Who appear only to get angrier however we may try to appease them.  And yet we continue to try.  Even if it compromises our national security.  There comes a point where you have to ask yourself, why?  Why do we adhere to a lose-lose policy?

They don’t like us.  They never will like us.  Trying to make them like us only portrays us as weak.  Which makes them feel more contempt for us.  And emboldens them.  For they respect strength.  And only strength.  Which is something the Left does not understand.  Nor will they ever.  For they think that if you just apologize enough people will like you.

Of course, the Left has no compunction about attacking Christianity.  They have no problem with pornographic films with priests and nuns.  A movie where Jesus Christ has an affair with Mary Magdalene.  Or placing a crucifix in a jar of urine and calling it art.  But they would never, ever, show such disrespect to Islam.  Why?

The Left does not like the Christian Right imposing their values on them.  So they attack Christianity.  And support Islam.  In the name of religious freedom.  Christianity must accommodate Islam.  And we must forgive every transgression of Islam.  Anyone who disagrees is a right-wing extremist.  Intolerant.  And un-American.  The Left couldn’t ask for a better group of people to exploit.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #22: “The only problem with health care these days is that it’s approached from a cost basis more than a medical basis.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 13th, 2010

THE PROBLEM WITH cost cutters is their vision.  They see costs.  Not the big picture.  Rockefeller was a notorious cost cutter.  Even determined he could save money by using a few less welds on his oil barrels.  But he saw the big picture, too.  He grew sales.  Something that cost cutters have trouble doing.  He didn’t.  In fact, he was so good that it took the government to stop his sales growth.

Roger Smith was a numbers man.  He managed costs.  Starting in the accounting department of GM, he reorganized GM to make better sense.  On paper.  To make nice, neat, bookkeeping-like ordered sense.  Things tend to work better on paper, though, than in reality.  Suffice it to say that few laud Smith as the greatest CEO of GM.

Robert McNamara was also a numbers man.  And he ran the Vietnam War by the numbers.  He carefully determined what U.S. forces could NOT attack.  (Any place outside South Vietnam was basically a sanctuary for the enemy.)  And he introduced the body count.  There was no strategy to win.  Just a policy to verify you were killing more of theirs than they were killing of yours.  Wars of attrition, though, take years.  And lives.  On both sides.  Americans don’t like sitting back and waiting for enough of their sons to die to declare victory.  McNamara failed to see the big picture.  Strategy.  He just tried to make the combat efficient.  Which did little to inhibit the enemy from making war. 

Managing costs is important.  It can improve profits.  But it can’t grow sales.  And if you can grow sales, you’ll be able to pay your costs.  Even if they are high and inefficient.  Few companies fail because they have a cost problem.  They file because they have a revenue problem.  They lack sales.  Cost cutting cannot fix this problem.  It can temporarily help reduce operating losses.  But if you don’t increase sales, you’ll probably fail in the long run.

There are detail people.  And people with vision.  Rarely are people both.  Rockefeller was.  Smith and McNamara were detail men.  They could not see the forest for the trees.  And this is the problem in health care.  We’re not looking at the big picture of medical care.  We’re looking at the details of cost. 

YOU WOULD THINK that doctors would oppose the government taking over health care.  Because when governments do, they tend to put salary caps on doctors.  Kinda diminishes the return on all that costly medical training.  I talked to two recently who favor a national solution.  Why?  Because of costs.  They like Medicare.  Because it’s simple.  Most of their patients are seniors.  So the bulk of their billings are uniform.  Medicare reimbursements.  They like anything that simplifies their overhead costs.  Private insurance companies don’t do this.  They’re not all the same.  Different people to call.  Different procedures.  Different approved tests.  Different paperwork.  And more of it.  And a bigger staff to handle it.

Doctors hate paperwork.  No doctor ever went through medical school because they wanted to shuffle paper.  Or because they wanted to fend off malpractice lawsuits.  Doctors are under a bureaucratic assault.  They spend more time with paperwork than with patients.  And paperwork does have a cost.  As do frivolous lawsuits.  A government takeover would standardize the one.  And, hopefully, eliminate the other.

I understand these doctors’ concern.  But they can’t see the forest for the trees.  Government is not going to approach health care from a medical basis.  They’ll approach it from a cost basis.  They’ll use statistical analysis.  They will manage care to maximize cost efficiency.  They will approach health care like Smith did in GM and McNamara did in Vietnam.  They’ll crunch the numbers.  Then determine what health care is cost effective.

THEY PROBABLY NEED no introduction.  Most people are family with the British comedy troupe called Monty Python.  Funny, a bit naughty and rather bookish, they’ve appealed to the masses across generations.  They spent a lot of time researching before making some of their movies.  Reading books.  The realism it adds made some of the funniest scenes.  A Roman centurion gives a Jewish terrorist a Latin lesson at the point of a sword (Life of Brian).  Dennis the constitutional peasant arguing with King Arthur (Monty Python and the Holy Grail).  And this scene from The Meaning of Life during a live birth lampooning the British National Health Service:

Nurse:  The administrator’s here, doctor.

First Doctor:  Switch everything on!

[They scramble to do so.  Machines turn on with flashes and sounds.  The administrator enters.]

Administrator:  Morning, gentlemen.

First and Second Doctors:  Morning Mr. Pycroft.

Administrator:  Very impressive. Very impressive.  And what are you doing this morning?

First Doctor:  It’s a birth.

Administrator:  Ah, what sort of thing is that?

Second Doctor:  Well, that’s when we take a new baby out of a lady’s tummy.

Administrator:  Wonderful what we can do nowadays.  [A machine makes a ‘ping’ sound.]  Ah!  I see you have the machine that goes ‘ping’.  This is my favorite.  You see we leased this back from the company we sold it to.  That way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account.  [They all applaud.]  Thank you, thank you.  We try to do our best.  Well, do carry on.

This is funny.  Because it’s true.  When we approach health care on a cost basis.  You must show you need and use every piece of expensive equipment you have so it stays in the budget.  And the administrators administrating health care don’t understand health care.  They understand and make their decisions based on numbers in columns.  And speaking of numbers in columns.

 ONE THING STANDS out more than everything else when looking at numbers in columns.  In one cost column in particular.  Of all the costs in columns, one dwarfs all others.  The costs in treating very sick and very old people.  You can cut and trim the budget everywhere else but you won’t make a dent in overall costs.  Unless you cut and trim this one column.  Manage these costs.  Do some statistical analysis on these costs.  For if you cut THESE costs, it will make a difference.  It could even stave off bankruptcy without having to further raise taxes.  Yes, we can make the system more financially sound if we just stop treating so many sick and old people.

But it’s a body count mentality.  You have to willingly accept a defined number of additional deaths.  The Soviets were willing to trade 10 lives for one against the Nazis.   A steep price to pay.  But it did wear the Nazis down and lead to victory.  There was a similar ratio in Vietnam with America on the better side of that ratio.  But it was still too high a price for Americans.  It goes against our nature to think in terms of ‘acceptable’ losses.

But there will have to be a line that health care will approach but does not cross.  Where there are ‘acceptable’ losses.  Statistical analysis will take into account probable remaining years of life in a potential patient.  If few, the system will assign an appropriate value of care to match the health care expenditure with the expected return on the medical treatment.  People with more probable years of life left will receive more health care treatment.  People with fewer years left will receive less.  We’ll help manage their pain until they no longer feel that pain.  For it would be inefficient to spend a lot of money on someone who is going to die ‘soon’.

Perhaps I can best summarize this in song.

When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(you know you did, you know you did you know you did)
But in this ever changing world in which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die
Live and let die
Live and let die
Live and let die

(Live and Let Die, Paul McCarthy)

And that’s what bureaucrats will use all that statistical analysis for.  To determine who to let die.  You can sugarcoat it anyway you’d like, but it comes down to this.  A bureaucrat, not a doctor, will have the power of life and death as they decide what health care is appropriate and prudent.  As it must be under a system where bureaucrats distribute limited resources on a cost basis.  They will have no choice but to deny care that is not in the budget.

ONE PUZZLING THING about health care is that it is perfectly acceptable to approach it from a cost basis but not on a revenue basis.  For it is immoral to profit on health care.  Pity, because introducing market forces is one sure way to bring down costs.  People are willing to pay for medical services.  They pay for abortions.  And abortion clinics are readily available.  The free market laws of supply and demand work for abortions.  And so they would for other outpatient medical services. 

Instead of running a battery of tests because an insurance company requires this incremental approach of the cheap stuff first, you could go to an MRI (or some other expensive procedure) clinic and pay out of pocket.  Because they do nothing but MRIs, they achieve economies of scale.  The clinic makes money by offering low cost, high quality MRI scans that result in a high sales volume.  You benefit because you miss less work.  The doctor benefits because he gets your MRI scan results without additional paperwork to process.  I’m sure a market is there just waiting for an entrepreneur to come along.  I mean, if you can make money by performing abortions, you should be able to make money with some non-invasive, high-tech machines.

HEALTH CARE SERVICES will not become more affordable and more readily available by cutting costs.  If the bean counters try, they’ll damage the quality of health care.  Because the bean counters rarely look at the big picture.  You need someone with vision.  Because no cost cutter ever saved a business.  Or made the world better.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #18: “Man-given rights are only privileges allowed by the privileged elite.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 15th, 2010

JESUS CHRIST!  You’ll hear that in a foxhole.  When hunkered down as bullets and shrapnel fly thick overhead.  By theist and atheist alike.  Of course, one is most probably in prayer while the other in vain.  Considering the circumstances, though, the Lord would probably forgive the latter. As long as you’re fighting on the side of good, that is.

When emotions are running high, people tend to say things.  Sometimes bad things.  Sometimes, even philosophically inconsistent things.  What’s that joke?  At the height of confusion someone shouts out, “Thank God I’m an atheist!”

People tend to get more intimate with God when they are about to personally find out the answer to that age-old question – is there an afterlife?  Can’t blame them.  Your own mortality can be a scary thing.  And no one wants to rush that.  That’s why, in the age of the Enlightenment, people thought of government not as a force of coercion, but as protection from coercion.  People wanted to live as long as they could.  And as free as they could.  So people made governments that would function within the Rule of Law.  To better their lives.

England made great strides in protecting its citizens from the arbitrary use of force.  After some un-English-like treatment in the New World, the British America colonies broke from the mother country.  But they would build on the English ideals.  The Declaration of Independence stated:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….

The key here is that rights are God-given.  That meant kings could be wrong.  As well as Parliament.  Even the Church.  Kings, aristocracies, bishops, etc., are positions created and held by men.  Nature/God did not grant them this power.  They granted it to themselves.  And once some have power, it’s not long before some use it to oppress those who don’t.

So when it comes to determining the origin of rights, the atheists should thank God he or she is an atheist.  For if God gives them that right (to be an atheist), no man can take it away.  But if rights are not God-given, then they must be man-given.  And whatever man giveth, he can taketh away.  Especially if you piss off the powers that be.

DRUNKEN FARMER JONES was oppressing the animals on Manor Farm.  Having had enough, the animals rose up and seized power.  They renamed the farm Animal Farm.  The pigs Snowball and Napoleon were the leaders of the revolution.  They created a new political doctrine called Animalism.  It rested on the following 7 commandments painted on the side of the barn:

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
  2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
  3. No animal shall wear clothes.
  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
  7. All animals are equal.

Snowball wanted to do good.  The new farm started out as an anarcho-syndicalist commune.  Sort of.  Then Napoleon seized power.  He and his pigs became the ruling elite for the benefit of animal kind on Animal Farm.  And life was good.  For the pigs.

Napoleon fabricated lies about Snowball.  With the animals turned against him as planned, Napoleon had his dogs chase him off of Animal Farm. 

The animals worked harder.  But there were setbacks.  And at every setback, Boxer, the old workhorse, lamented that he would have to work harder.  And he did.  Until his strength failed him and he collapsed while working.   The pigs then sent him to the vet.  Only the side of the vet’s wagon said ‘Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler’.  Most of the animals couldn’t read.  Benjamin could.  He told them what the van said.  But it was too late. 

Benjamin, Boxer’s friend, was an old donkey.  And wise.  He saw a lot in his long life.  Little good, though.  Life was no different under the pigs than it was under the humans.  But he wasn’t surprised.  For that was life.  “Life will go on as it has always gone on—that is, badly.”

The pigs started to act more humanlike.  They started to walk on two legs so they could carry riding crops.  They began wearing clothes.  Slept in beds.  Drank alcohol.  And sent off Boxer to his death for some whiskey money.  The pigs slowly revised the 7 Commandments to agree with their new behavior.  Until, one day, there was but a single commandment remaining.  “All animals are equal.  But some animals are more equal than others.”  And life was good.  For the pigs.

GEORGE ORWELL WAS a socialist who volunteered to fight for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War.  He got shot in the throat and was declared medically unfit for further duty.  While healing, the political climate was deteriorating.  His socialist group, the Workers’ Party of Marxists Unification (or, in Spanish, Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM)) fell out of favor with the pro-Soviet Communists.  They accused the POUM of being affiliated with Joseph Stalin’s archenemy, Leon Trotsky.  So the Communists outlawed the POUM.  It’s complicated.  Suffice it to say that Orwell made it back to England.  And had no love for Stalin or Soviet Communism.

Then, of course, came World War II.  And the Hitler-Stalin Pact of Nonaggression, further increasing the love between Orwell and Stalin.  And by love I mean hate.  For Orwell hated totalitarianism.  And for all the Utopian talk, Communism had devolved into nothing more than an oppressive totalitarian regime. 

This is the story of Animal Farm.  Napoleon is Joseph Stalin.  Animal Farm becomes the police state of Soviet Communism.  At about a hundred pages, it’s the biggest little book you will ever read.  If you haven’t yet, do so.  And then pick up Orwell’s 1984.  It’s a little longer and a little darker but, wow, what a story.

SO THERE’RE TWO revolutions.  The American and the Russian.  Both ended up on ‘top ten’ lists.  One for liberty.  The other for genocide.  Can you guess which? 

As an ideology, Communism has killed more people than any other in history.  It killed more than the Nazis.  More than the Christian Crusades.  More than the Black Death even.  No other ideology (or plague) comes close. 

So why was one revolution so much bloodier than the other?  Well, the Americans were Christian.  The Russians were Orthodox Christians.  But the Soviets were atheists.  There were no God-given rights in the Soviet Union.  Only privileges allowed by the privileged elite.  And fear.  For people could disappear at someone’s slightest whim. 

That’s the down side of atheism.  And secularism.  It removes the fear of God from a people’s rulers.  And if they aren’t worrying about the afterlife, there’s not a whole lot to dissuade them from doing unspeakable things in the here and now.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #11: “Before you condemn capitalism, imagine a world without professional sports, movies, cell phones and tampons.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 27th, 2010

PEOPLE HAVE SOME strong opinions about capitalism.  Both good and bad.  So what is it?  What is capitalism?

Merriman Webster OnLine defines it as:

An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

To explain this let’s start by explaining what it replaced.  In fact, let’s go further back.  A few hundred years when life truly sucked by our standards.  During the Middle Ages, people barely lived.  People worked very hard and had little time off.  When they did they usually spent it sleeping, being sick, dying or being dead.  You grew or killed what you ate.  You built your own house.  You made your own clothes.  You died probably no further than a short walk from where you were born.  And you worked your whole life somewhere in between.

Think of peasant or serf.  That’s what most were.  Tied to the land.  You had no choices.  If you were born on the land you worked the land.  Until you died.  The land owned you and someone owned the land.  You worked the land at the grace of the owner.  You helped produce his food and, in return, he let you have a small parcel of land to grow your food.  There was a bond of loyalty between landlord and tenant.  Land and protection in exchange for backbreaking, never-ending labor.  Doesn’t sound good until you consider the alternative.  Death by famine.  Or death by murder at the hands of roving bands of outlaws.

Improvements in farming led to more food production.  Eventually, there were food surpluses.  This meant not everyone had to farm.  Some could do other things.  And did.  They became specialists.  Artisans.  Craftsmen.  Cities grew in response to commerce.  People went to market to trade for things they wanted.  Then they started using money, which made getting the things they wanted easier (it’s easier to go to the market with a coin purse than with a sack of grain or a side of beef).  Life got better.  People enjoyed some of it.

THUS BEGAN THE rise of a middle class.  Those city folk making things or doing something.  They were good at what they did and people gladly paid for what they did.  These specialists then improved what they did and thought of new things to do.  They created things to make their work easier.  These individual specialists grew into manufacturing shops.  The cost of production only limited their output.  And banking solved that problem.

Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers, was a capitalist.  And he thought big.  Money is nice but what can it get you?  A few things for the home?  Something for the wife?  Maybe some new farm tools.  Good stuff, yes, but nothing big.  Lots of little sums of money all over the place can buy lots of little things.  But when you pool lots of little sums of money you get one big-ass pile of it.  That money is now capital.  And you can do big things with it.

And that’s what banking has given us.  People with ideas, entrepreneurs, could now borrow money to bring their ideas to market.  And this is, in a nutshell, capitalism.  The free flow of ideas and capital to make life better.  Making life better wasn’t necessarily the objective; it’s just the natural consequence of people mutually partaking in a free market.

BUT WHAT ABOUT the Soviet Union?  Didn’t they do big things, too?  They built jetliners.  They had a space program.  They had factories.  They did these and other things without capitalism.  They did these things for the good of the people, not for profits.  Isn’t that better?

Talk to someone who wiped their ass with Soviet-era toilet paper.  Let me save you the trouble.  It didn’t feel good.  Unless you enjoy the feel of sandpaper back there.  And to add insult to injury, you had to wait in line to get that toilet paper.  If it was available.

When you think of the Soviet economy you have to think of stores with empty shelves and warehouses full of stuff no one wants.  This is what a command economy does for you.  Some bureaucrat, not the consumer, determines what to sell.  And one person simply cannot figure out what a hundred million plus want.  To get an idea of how difficult this is, pick a movie that 4 of your friends would love to see.  Pick a couple of guys and a couple of girls.  For diversity.  And remove the possibility of sex completely from the equation.  Now pick.  Not so easy, is it?  Now try to pick a movie a hundred million people would love to see.  Can’t do it, can you?  No one can.  Because people are diverse.  One size doesn’t fit all.

Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev asked Margaret Thatcher how she made sure her people had enough food to eat.  The Soviets were having difficulty feeding theirs.  In fact, they were importing grain from their archenemy.  The United States.  The answer to Gorbachev’s answer was that Thatcher did nothing to feed her people.  The free market fed her people.  Capitalism.

As far as those other big things the Soviets did, they acquired a lot of the knowledge to do those things through an elaborate network of espionage.  They stole technology and copied it.  And they were the first into space because their captured Nazi rocket scientists did it before our captured Nazi rocket scientists did.  (The seed of the space industry was the Nazi V-2 rocket that reigned terror on London and other cities during World War II).

(Lest you think that I’m ripping on the Soviet/Russian people, I’m not.  Just their economic system during the Soviet era.  Their people have suffered.  And persevered.  It was them after all who first threw back Napoleon in Europe.  And it was them who first threw back the Nazis in Europe.  They gave us Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and, of course, Maria Sharapova to name just a few of the greats.  Good people.  Just sometimes bad government.  As in most nations.  Even in the U.S.)

SO WHAT IS the basic difference between capitalism and a command economy like that of the former Soviet Union?  Probably the freedom to take and accept risk.  Bankers take a risk in loaning money.  They analyze the risk.  If the return on the loan is greater than the risk, they’ll make the loan.  It’s their call.  And they’re pretty good.  Their successes are far greater than their failures.

Some loans are riskier than others.  There’s a greater chance of failure.  But it could also be the next, say, Microsoft.  Or Apple.  If so, even though there’s great risk, the potential of reward is so great that people will want to loan money.  They’ll buy junk bonds (high risk/high yield) or an initial public offering of stock.  They’ll risk their money for a greater return on their investment.  If it pays off.  And they don’t always do.  But good ideas with potential typically find financing.  And investors typically make more money than they lose.  It’s a pretty good system.  Capitalism.

WHEN YOU HAVE risk takers who choose to participate in the free flow of ideas and capital, great things happen.  Modern AC electrical power that we take for granted is invented (thank you Nikola Tesla for the genius and George Westinghouse for taking the risk).  You develop modern commercial jet aviation (thank you Boeing for the 707, 727, 737, 747, well, you get the picture).  You transform the world when you add impurities to semiconducting material and sandwich them together (thank you John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William B. Shockley for the transistor).

These great things, along with others, give us professional sports (stadiums, transportation to and from the stadium, jetliners to take teams to other stadiums, oil exploration and refining for jet and car fuel, etc.).  They give us movies (financing, cameras and production equipment, special effects, theaters, popcorn, DVDs for home viewing, etc.).  They give us cell phones (cellular towers, switching networks, compact and long lasting batteries, interactive handheld devices, voicemail, email, texting, etc.).  And they liberated women to do whatever they want wherever they want by making feminine hygiene protection portable and plentiful (mass production, rail and truck transport, retail and vending outlets, etc.) and by providing convenient privacy (public toilet facilities with vending machines and disposal bins). 

Imagine any of these things provided by the same people who renew our driver’s license.  Do you think any of it would be as good?  Or do you think it would be more like Soviet-era life?  There’s so much we take for granted in capitalism because we can.  It’s a system that works on basic human nature.  It doesn’t require sacrifice.  It doesn’t depend on consensus.  It just needs the free flow of ideas and capital.  And great things follow.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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