Friday, August 28, 2009
Our publicly funded education option is not working well. A realistic assessment of it would declare it a failure. Evidence of failure is objective and unequivocal: over half our high school graduates require remedial courses in math and English when they go on to college. And the percentage of graduates without satisfactory math and English skills that don’t go to college is probably in the range of eighty to ninety percent.
Taxpayers are given bitter choices to educate their children. They can send them to public schools, accepting inadequate education outcomes. They can move into expensive housing areas which have high-performing public schools. Or they can scrape and save to send their children to private schools. No matter the choice, the taxpayer funded education monopoly produces an unsatisfactory product.
The Liberals who preach that a government funded healthcare system will drive down costs through competition want nothing to do with competition from private schools. The Liberals say such competition would take money out of the public schools system, making even worse. Yet our public education costs are very high, and unlike our expensive private healthcare system, our public education system is failing us at the worse time, when education weaknesses threaten our global competitiveness.
At least our healthcare system is the most responsive to patient need in the world – as measured by the World Health Organization – and produces bestter outcomes for treating serious health problems.
Our education system is among the worst.
The former premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, once said that capitalists would sell the Soviets the rope to hang us.
That’s not true. We’re hanging ourselves.
Invest a large one in biofuels.
Biofuels only make sense marginally because of large government subsidies and mandated use. At best they only make a small dent in demand. If all the vegetable oil and animal fats were thrown into biofuel production, it would satisfy less than ten percent of demand. At worst biofuels drive up the cost of food and fertilizers, increase water scarcity, and cause huge tracts of forests and marginal farm lands to be put into crop production.
Although they studiously ignore biofuels enormous negatives, all the problems created by biofuel production – scarcity and rising food costs, wasting water, vast additions of CO2 to the atmosphere from clearing land – are the things that environmentalists have pledged to prevent.
“They have met the enemy, and it is them.”
The Achilles heel of biofuels won’t go away. Whenever the subsidies end, or the price of oil reflects its abundant global supply versus sluggish demand growth, biofuels are a horrible investment. Biofuels are not like oil. Oil is already there. You find it, extract it, process it, and use in a mature infrastructure. Oil production is not labor intensive.
Biofuels don’t exist until they are planted, grown, and harvested, all at great expense and consumption of resources – labor, water, land, fuel – and then are processed in enormous physical plants. When oil prices are at their normal levels, all biofuel production is uneconomical: each gallon is produced at a loss. If taxpayers absorb that loss, the plant stays in production. If not, its investors get their just desserts.
Fools and their monies are soon parted.
Dr. Emanuel says that health reform will not be pain free, and that the usual recommendations for cutting medical spending (often urged by the president) are mere window dressing. As he wrote in the Feb. 27, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): "Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality of care are merely 'lipstick' cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change."
Dr. Emanuel just described the Democrat healthcare reform plan.
In other words, the Obama plan for financing healthcare reform is worthless, from the mouth of one of his closest advisers.
And this was all known over a year ago.
More recently, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod emailed that, "It's a myth that health insurance reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits." This was sent out the day before Mr. Obama told a Montana town hall that he'd pay for health-care reform by "eliminating . . . about $177 billion over 10 years" for "what's called Medicare Advantage." And it was two days before Mr. Obama told a Colorado town hall he'd cover "two-thirds" of the "roughly $900 billion" of his plan's cost by "eliminating waste," again citing Medicare Advantage.
So who's right? Obama says one thing, his advisers say another. And then Obama tells the American public that his changes won't make anyone give up their current healthcare.
Tell that to the millions in Medicare Advantage. There is no way their current coverage can be continued if Obama makes the cuts in Medicare Advantage he proposes.
If he listens to his advisers, he knows that. He's either as dumb as Ted Kennedy, or as dishonest. Either way America loses.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It’s wonderful to hear such words from a Democrat speaking about other Democrats. It goes with out saying that you think the voters who elected the Blue Dog Democrats are brain dead too.
Pete, whatever you do, please don’t stop talking.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It’s nice to finally be envied for the fruits of military service. Few envied me while I served, 1962 to 1984. In over 21 years the Air Force gave me thirteen permanent assignments, and only once was I stationed at a base where I could afford to buy a house. For eight years the Air Force told me my next assignment was Viet Nam – then sent me somewhere else each time. If things get really nasty I can still be involuntarily recalled to active duty - I placed myself on a voluntary recall roster for Gulf War I, but the Air Force didn't need me then.
I’ve drawn Social Security for just over a decade, after paying into it since 1960, and Alice and I pay income taxes on 85% of what we receive. I used to propose that Social Security return my contributions, and in exchange I would foreswear its benefits. Social Security ignored my generous offer.
Concerning the writer’s assumption about giving up Medicare, Alice and I were financially better off before the government forced us to take Medicare. Medicare costs us $8,564 more per year for less coverage than my military health care provided. Importantly for Alice and me, Medicare does not cover us on our frequent travels overseas, and according to the news, local Medicare patients have been severely impacted by government grant reductions.
Our taxation system, because it is dependent on taxing the wealthy (the top 20% of tax filers pay over 90% of personal income taxes, the bottom 50% pay 3%), implodes with every downturn. Our government’s solution is to tax the wealthy more. “If what you do doesn’t work, do more of it!”
Now in death the Democrats are trying to get a health-care bill passed that had no hope while Teddy was alive. As is always the case with Democrats, the facts didn't change, but emotions rule. However, here are the facts.
What they don’t have to pay for, people always want in abundance. Lost in the universal healthcare discussion is that our existing public options, Medicare and Medicaid, are already bankrupt (And Social Security is operating in the red). Not only bankrupt, but without drastic changes their unfunded liabilities (equal to the World’s GDP) will bankrupt future generations of Americans.
Over 70 percent of Americans like their health insurance, and with good reasons. The World Health Organization rates our health system the most responsive to medical needs in the world. Compared by outcomes, we have the highest survival rates for cancers and other life threatening illnesses. That’s the essence of what you want in a healthcare system: fast, effective service. Although the Canadian system is the darling of our Left, Cleveland, Ohio is known as the “hip replacement center of Canada.”
Unlike Democrats, Republicans have sound ideas for gaining Universal Healthcare. First, end the tax subsidy for employer provided healthcare, then give tax credits (vouchers for the poor) for purchasing health insurance. Health insurance then would be available and portable – you could change jobs without losing it.
Important Republican health insurance reforms are fought by Democrats, since Democrats are owned by the trial lawyers and the teacher and public employees unions. Republicans would dump the lawyers and let medical experts examine damage claims and award compensation. Malpractice insurance adds enormous costs and invites lawsuits, but even worse, threats of lawsuits make doctors examine and prescribe defensively and wastes billion of dollars.
Besides trial lawyers, unions are the other special interest group Democrats pander to, and they will fight to hang on to an accident of World War II, tax-subsidized health insurance, that never should have been allowed in the first place.
Democrats want special interests out of healthcare unless they contribute to Democrats.
Several friends and neighbors asked me - begged me - to attend and ask Ms. Woolsey questions. Unfortunately, I was the parking czar for our annual Art in the Redwoods and had committed myself to running the parking the same afternoon as Ms. Woolsey's visit.
So I read the report of her visit, then sent the Independent Coast Observer editor the following commentary and questions I would have presented had I been able to attend:
I’m sorry I missed Lynn Woolsey’s love fest at The Sea Ranch and her message to everyone that they have rights to unlimited health care and to have someone else pay for it. Of course I had several questions I wanted to ask. The first and most important: “Ms. Woolsey, since Medicare and Medicaid are already bankrupt failures, why do you want everyone in them?”
Then, “Thank you for avoiding the question, Ms. Woolsey. You know Mr. Obama says he will fund universal health care by eliminating the thirty percent of Medicare and Medicaid costs that are due to fraud, waste, and abuse. Despite the fact that all politicians say they will do that, it never gets done – it just gets worse. Why isn’t Mr. Obama already eliminating the fraud, waste, and abuse to demonstrate that he can do it?”
“Thanks for ducking that question too. Ms. Woolsey, you, Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Obama, and other Democrat leaders say that opposition to health care reform is an “Astroturf” rather than “grass-roots” movement. However, John Sweeney, president of the National AFL-CIO, said that 250,000 union workers nationwide are being trained to advocate for health care reform. Is 250,000 paid and trained union thugs your idea of a Democrat grass-roots movement?”
“Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Obama now admits the deficit will be two trillion dollars larger in the next ten years than his previous estimate - nine trillion instead of seven trillion dollars - an almost thirty percent increase. With Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid now running deficits, tax revenues decreasing steadily, and China and other lenders worried about our falling credit worthiness, what sense is there in spending us into a deeper hole?”
“Ms. Woolsey, thank you and Democrats for demonstrating total lack of knowledge of economics.”
Friday, August 07, 2009
(For those who are abysmally ignorant of history, also known as “Democrats” for short, Nazi is short for National Socialist, and no clear-headed thinker has ever concluded that Republicans are socialists. Or that the party of freedom, responsibility, and individualism would ever put itself in the hands of a power-mad demagogue. Republicans leave all those sorts of things to Democrats.)
Democrats use of Nazi imagery also reared its ugly head in Washington state, where Congressman Brian Baird, D-Vancouver said of anti-government healthcare demonstrators, "What we're seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics."
Perhaps Congressman Baird was confused about which were the Republicans and which the Democrats in a video of union thugs forcing demonstrators from a Democrat Townhall meeting in Tampa.
I had hoped that the Democrats would stop smearing Nazi imagery on Republicans after President Bush (“Bush-Hitler”) completed his presidency, but Democrats are still falling back on it at any sign of opposition. (Here’s a very large gallery of Democrats invoking Nazi imagery about President Bush)
Democrats are enormous hypocrites. They're whining about a poster of Obama as The Joker, but no one was upset when Vanity Fair ran a picture of President Bush as The Joker.
Democrat hypocrites are a coalition of special interest groups, and for many years for almost any occasion they have made very vocal appearances carrying mass produced signs – their unions in particular perform as “Rent a Mob” agencies.
Alice and I went to a Republican rally in Walnut Creek circa 1996 featuring Speaker Of The House Newt Gingrich. As we approached the venue, the Lesher Center for the Arts, well supplied union-employed demonstrators and activists for other causes were waving their professionally printed signs and chanting in unison. Alice and I were early, so we went among the demonstrators and started arguing with them and disrupting their chants by being more energetic and animated than they. At one point we were interviewed and photographed by a crew from Time Magazine, and also by reporters for the Oakland Tribune and other East Bay papers. The demonstrators were visibly upset that the two of us were getting all the attention of the news crews.
We discovered our notoriety when the phone rudely awoke us as we slept in the next day, Sunday morning. Alice answered and after verifying that she was Alice Combs, the caller said:”You’re not nice people,” and hung up. A moment later the phone rang again, only this time it was a Livermore friend asking if we had seen the Sunday Tri-Valley Herald: “Your pictures are on the front page!”
News about the Pope probably bumped us from Time, but pictures of us made the front pages of the Oakland Tribune, Tri-Valley Herald, and Contra Costa Times the following day.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
They’re clueless about healthcare, global warming, or spending within their means. But a couple of raucous town hall meetings have sent them whining for the phones. The “Tele-Townhall” is now their townhall of choice because it gives them total control over their audiences.
There won’t be any more mocking in Arkansas, flaring tempers in South Florida, disruptions in Connecticut, pandemonium in Pennsylvania, or Pelosi accusing protestors of “carrying Swastikas.”
Barbara Boxer complains right-wing protestors are "too-well dressed." (See the video here)
Obama wants supporters to snitch on opponents of Obamacare by emailing "fishy" emails and "evil blog posts" to firstname.lastname@example.org . I immediately got with the program and emailed each and all of my posts on healthcare last night. I invite you to click on my "healthcare" label at the bottom of this post and do the same.
Democrats decided to "demonstrate" back, except after they organized the event and directed how attendees should look - carry signs to demonstrate their support - they forgot that their featured Senator couldn't be there. But they think they can run healthcare?
When Democrat Rep. Doggett was "dogged" at a town hall in Texas, he said "don’t give up or give in to them," just before the Democrats gave up on in-person townhalls.
Last night I found a call recorded on our answering machine from Mike Thompson, Democrat, Representative for my northern California congressional district, to join in a “live” townhall via telephone. Mike caught on quick. That’s the last we’ll see of him.
Thompson is doing the same thing a Democrat does in Washington to control the "communication."
He doesn’t need us for much anyway. He gets more than enough campaign contributions from just two deep feeders at the public trough, the teachers and public employees unions.
Now all he will hear from us is what he wants to hear.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
In the case of the Los Angeles Times (click here for the article), the proof is obvious: Obama's birth certificate.
I admit when I saw Obama's "birth certificate" I was underwhelmed, since it is a modern bare-bones form without any of the things I hoped to see: attending physician, hospital, certificate number, certifying signature and stamp, &etc. In other words it looks exactly like a modern form that anyone could have filled out on a laser printer. With the Certificate No. redacted (the form notes that "ANY ALTERATIONS INVALIDATE THIS CERTIFICATE") it really does not prove anything, and I can understand why the dubious would want more.
A radio host on NPR said that Liberals have proven that Obama was not born in America. According to the host, Liberals say you can't believe anything Ann Coulter says, and Ann says Obama was America-born.
It's not like Conservatives have a monopoly on conspiracy theories, since in number and fantasy the Left is far ahead. The "Truthers" inhabit a realm to which only the truly delusional can go. Since anyone who doesn't agree with them is part of the conspiracy, in their point of view there is no valid rebuttal to their beliefs - sorry, I mean their "facts." But just for the curious, here's one of many excellent debunkers (click here) of the "9/11 Truthers." All part of the conspiracy, don't you know.
The "TANGers" claim to fame is that their leader, Dan Rather, still believes his Texas Air National Guard letters were legitimate.
Before that was the "October Surprise." when soon to be Vice-President George H. W. Bush was flown to Paris in an F-111 supersonic Air Force fighter bomber, arranged to not have the hostages held by Iran released before the Reagan/Carter election, and was whisked back to Washington.
Many people, including some of my best friends, continue to say that Bill Clinton didn't lie when he said that he "never had sex with that woman." Oral sex, you see, is not sex.
Even though it's called sex.
I wish my friends realized that their defense of Clinton's lies eliminates a big part of the sex lives of gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgenders, and even adventurous heterosexuals. It cuts sex in San Francisco by more than half.
Then there are Lefties who avere that Moncia Lowinsky was part of a Republican plot. That would be a dream come true for me - Republican leaders as devious as Democrats. Think of the brilliance and planning it would take to recruit a young Jewish Democrat capable of crossing the nation, procuring an internship, catching the eye of the President, and getting him to drop his pants in the White House and decorate a blue dress.
Hillary believed Bill "didn't have sex with that woman" and blamed it all on a vast right-wing conspiracy.
For ever looney right-wing conspiracy theory the Left has ten even loonier.