Who Is Paying?

My mother has peripheral neuropathy. It has left her bound to a wheelchair and unable to use her hands for much more than holding a spill-proof mug (and even those get dropped pretty frequently). She is still very independent, but she can’t work anymore (she can’t type or write) and was approved for disability benefits after months of haggling with the government. Something that was so easy for a certain meth addict I know was a nightmare for my mother, who genuinely needs disability.

Until she was approved for disability, she was getting social security benefits – with that money came enrollment in Medicaid. It paid for base-level treatment (treatment – not physical therapy) and prescriptions (as long as they were generic). Guess what happened when the SSI stopped and the disability kicked in? She was kicked off of Medicaid. While trying to re-apply for it, she discovered something unbelievably ridiculous…

Disability pays her $100 a month over the official threshold. She doesn’t qualify for Medicaid because she is only 130% of the federal poverty level. You have to be at 140%. Our state healthcare system uses the same standard and she won’t qualify for that, either.

What does that leave, boys and girls? Obamacare! Guess what she qualifies for there? Nothing she can afford. Even if she paid the bare minimum of $80 a month, she would still have a deductible and copays. That bronze plan doesn’t cover much, either. Oh, and food stamps? Thanks to her slightly increased payments through disability she only gets about $15 a month.

Nobody in my family is wealthy. My sister paid her bills for months while we waited for disability to be approved. Mom was afraid at one point that she might lose her wheelchair because it was being rented through Medicare. Before the advent of Obamacare, it wouldn’t have been nearly as difficult for my mother to get the coverage she needs. She has to pay for rent, utilities, and groceries on an extremely limited income. Now the government is telling her to buy coverage or pay a “shared responsibility fee”.

Who is paying for Obamacare? People like my mother, who struggles just to maintain even with help. She makes what amounts to chump change above the limit that the government has put on who they’ll help take care of and she can’t get anyone to give a damn. She is mortified that she needs this kind of help. The fact that she is a military mom means nothing – the government does not give a damn. Hell, we can’t even get the liberal-led Senate to care more about our troops than they do about illegal immigrants who are leeching billions of dollars off of our system. Why should they care about the mother of a distinguished soldier?

The more I see coming from our government, the more anger I feel. I had a liberal tell me a couple of weeks ago, “oh, the government isn’t making anybody buy anything!” Oh, really? What do you call Obamacare? “Well, that’s just responsible!” Okay…who gets to determine what is responsible? If that’s the measuring stick you’re going to use, it’s responsible to stop smoking. Are you going to force people to stop smoking? It’s responsible to limit alcohol consumption. Are you going to bring back prohibition? It’s responsible to avoid sleeping around. Are you going to start teaching abstinence? It’s responsible to allow a person to live with the consequences of their actions so they can learn from them. Are you going to stop trying to save people from their stupidity, too?

Until and unless you are willing to get into that kind of debate, don’t preach to me about responsibility. Things like disability and Medicaid were put in place so that people like my mother could benefit when they needed them after years of being productive members of society. Instead, we have entire generations being taught to leech off of the truly responsible ones to avoid having to do anything that resembles work. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves.

Whatever

It continually amazes me just how many people are willing to keep defending Obamacare and all of the problems it is causing.

President Obama promised us before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law that “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan. I guarantee it.” We are rapidly finding, however, that many of us can’t keep our health insurance plans. An insurance plan can’t simply change; if the cost or the benefits go over a certain threshold (and that threshold is not very high), the plan is cancelled and a new one is rolled out in its place. Thanks to Obamacare, a lot of people who had only bought enough insurance to cover catastrophic injuries or illnesses have lost their plans. It is now estimated that over two million Americans have lost the insurance plans that they liked – all because Obamacare required that insurance cover everything and the kitchen sink. I have friends who deliberately bought that kind of insurance. They had enough money to pay for basic doctor visits and they intended to use their insurance for exactly what it was meant to cover: high-cost emergencies. They liked their plans, and Obamacare is the sole reason they’re unable to keep their plans.

Don’t tell the Democrats, though. They don’t care. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Mr. “I will not yield to this monkey court”, went on Megyn Kelly’s show and claimed that the policies are being cancelled because the insurance companies are somehow seeing the light. He said, “the bottom line is, if you’re selling a lousy policy at a price that’s too high, nobody’s going to buy it. And so they’re cancelling these policies because they know people won’t buy them.” Megyn pointed out that people WERE buying them and they were happy with them. Pallone replied, “they’re not going to buy them anymore when they have a better alternative!” (Really? You call shotgunning someone into buying a policy that has to cover everything “willingly buying a better alternative”?) Incredibly, when Megyn asked, “why do you get to decide what’s lousy?” Pallone responded, “it’s capitalism!”

Quite literally all Pallone could say was that nobody is going to buy “lousy” plans when there’s a better alternative. What he’s willfully ignored is the fact that there has ALWAYS been a better alternative, and people still opted to buy these supposedly lousy plans because they liked them. The ACA had nothing to do with “providing a better alternative.” Even the Democrats who are admitting that plans are being cancelled because of Obamacare requirements are being completely flippant about the situation – all the way up to the President.

President Obama, rather than answer for his lie, had the audacity to tell people yesterday at Boston’s Faneuil Hall to shop for a better plan. He said, “if you’re getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace. That’s what it’s for. Because of the tax credits that we are offering, and the competition between insurers, most people are going to be able to get better, comprehensive healthcare plans for the same price or even cheaper than projected.”

First of all, you have done nothing to create competition between insurers. You have mandated that everyone buy insurance, so the companies know that they have a guaranteed customer base. Second, your tax credits aren’t going to come close to covering the out-of-pocket increases that I’m now paying. Third, my employer only offers insurance from one company; if I buy my own, including in the government marketplace, it’s going to cost exponentially more. None of this nonsense has made anything more affordable for me. Originally, the claim was that the ACA was supposed to eliminate the people who use the ER as their primary source of health care. Instead, it has only subsidized those people to continue doing that by forcing people like me to pay more up front. I’m not impressed.

It is not up to you to determine what is good enough for my coverage. It’s not up to you to tell me that I don’t have enough coverage or that my plan is “lousy”. It’s none of your business whether I’m insured and you have no right to tell me that I have to have coverage and that the coverage I have is required to cover maternity care, birth control, and OB/GYN. You are not here to rule me and you are not here to decide what is best for me. If you are capable of taking on the power to tell me what’s good for me, then you are one short step away from taking on the power to determine whether I’m worth spending healthcare resources on, and I have a very serious problem with that.

Kathleen Sibelius made an embarrassingly poor appearance before Congress yesterday. After taking full responsibility for the utter failure that is Healthcare.gov, Representatives grilled her on several aspects of the ACA. When asked if she would sign up for Obamacare, Sibelius first tried to skirt the question by claiming it was somehow “illegal” for her to sign up for it. Then, when pressed on whether she would if she were able, she refused to answer. During that testimony she was caught on a hot mic saying, “don’t do this to me!” As if that wasn’t bad enough, when asked whether President Obama bore any responsibility for this incredible failure, Sibelius only said, “you clearly…whatever.” Of course, we all know that Sibelius likely wasn’t the person responsible for deciding who would build and run the website, so one must ask what she’s going to get for falling on her sword in front of Congress over this behemoth of a Greek tragedy.

For the $634 million the Obama administration has poured into the mockery of a website that hasn’t worked for more than twenty people this month, they could have set up a $1 million account for every man, woman, and child in America and earmarked it specifically for their healthcare, and they would have had more than $300 million to spare. They wouldn’t have even needed a crappy website to keep track of it all.

The license being taken by this administration is breathtaking. How are they combating their poor image? They do an end run around those of us who aren’t willing to live with the imposition of these decrees by labeling us as extremists, terrorists, and racists. The media that is supposed to keep us informed is, instead, complicit. Pay no attention to that Tea Party behind the curtain, though. They’re irrelevant.

Whatever.

It’s The Economy, Stupid! (Part I)

We all remember when Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign came out with that ridiculous line, but liberals are having some serious issues grasping rudimentary economic principles these days. Economics can grow into a complex subject, for sure, but there are some rules that remain very simple. The simplest of them all:

People go into business to turn a good profit.

I’m not talking pennies-on-the-dollar kind of profit. The type of person who goes into business for themselves spends a lot of time, money and effort on their education. They put substantial investments into their companies. Every entrepreneur takes a huge risk by starting a business, because they stand to lose quite a bit in the process. Most business owners do experience some failure before they become successful. Some owners lose everything and never find success. Those who do create jobs and pump money into the economy.

With that in mind, I’m struggling to understand how liberals are coming to the conclusion that major restaurant chains are cutting employee hours and other big businesses are starting mass layoffs solely to get revenge on Barack Obama.

I’m reading so many opinions about this thing that I’ve gotten lost in the madness. There are a wide range of expressions, ranging from the well-intentioned (“I can’t spend money with a company that would cut back on employee hours to avoid paying more”) to the breathtakingly stupid (“he’d only have to pay 14 cents per employee for their health insurance!”). I’m afraid I’m all out of patience for the misinformed.

What on Earth did any of you expect? You just had to pass that healthcare monstrosity. It was the most important thing in the world to you. Did you stop to think before pushing and then passing that legislation that there may be consequences? Did you not think that by forcing businesses to provide health insurance to all employees working 30 hours or more per week you might be increasing their cost of operating and, in turn, force them to find savings somewhere? It really is a simple concept, and you not only miss it, you assign blame to the most whimsical thing you can come up with.

I have the exact same health policy that I had in 2005. It’s the best policy my employer offers. In 2005, though, it literally cost me less than half what it costs now. As much as it costs me, my employer pays three times what I do for the policy – that’s on top of my salary. I used to pay $19 a paycheck. NOW I pay $52 a paycheck after three years of steep hikes. The health insurance bill you insisted must be foisted upon all of us is the reason.

Liberals had decided that health care costs were out of control and that something had to be done. Their brilliant idea was to force everyone to get health insurance, force insurers to cover all kinds of things that weren’t required before, eliminate annual spending caps and offer the Jersey salute to anyone even breathing the words “tort reform”. How is this supposed to help us? I still haven’t figured it out.

You said it was unfair for insurers to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, so now the law bars all of them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. The college kids who studied underwater basket weaving and couldn’t find decent jobs, along with the ones who didn’t go to college at all (particularly those who didn’t even finish high school), wanted to be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until at least age 26. Now the law requires that all insurers offer coverage to “dependents” up to that age, even if they don’t live with their parents. The hippies wanted their insurance to cover alternative therapies, including spiritual healing and acupuncture – things we’ve paid for out of our own pocket for eons. The feminists wanted their birth control for free because they forget to take the pill half the time, so they insisted on forcing coverage for much riskier forms of birth control (ever hear of pulmonary embolism?). And just to make sure we’re all being responsible citizens, you’ve banned insurers from charging co-pays for services that fall under the “preventive care” category.

You weren’t willing to enact tort reform to dramatically scale back the constant abuses on medical malpractice suits, but you just had to have all this other crap in the bill. The federal government is supposed to subsidize some 30-odd million people getting health insurance now, too – and it’s supposed to be paid for by massive cuts to medicare (that aren’t supposed to exist) and higher taxes on the very same business owners we’re forcing new costs on in the first place.

It’s no wonder our costs have gone up. Ostensibly, this was dreamed up for two reasons: first, making sure health care coverage is affordable. Because you insisted on forcing insurers to cover everything but a trip to the moon, fat chance of it ever being affordable again. Second, you wanted to control the price of healthcare due to those who are uninsured. The uninsured go to the ER for everything under the sun, from hangnails to the sniffles (thereby negating the purpose of an EMERGENCY Room), and when they stiff the hospital on the bill the costs supposedly get passed on to patients who ARE insured, right? So this new bill is supposed to cure that – the problem is that it drives up the cost of my premiums and gives more incentive for my employer to tweak my plan to include deductibles (meaning I pay more out-of-pocket – I didn’t have a deductible back in 2005). I’m now paying a lot more than I was paying before.

Anyone who really thought this would not be the end result of enacting the steaming pile of excrement that is the health insurance bill was either lied to or willfully ignorant. The worst part about the whole thing is that they did it “because it’s the right thing to do”, implying a moral need – the very same thing they castigate conservatives for.

Next, in Part II – how it all affects businesses

Contraceptives: The New Age Of Bra Burning

Liberals love to mislead people. They have made it into an art form. When Sandra Fluke went before Nancy Pelosi’s “mock committee” to “testify” about the need for insurance coverage for contraceptives, the deception was on full display, and not one member of the media has vetted this woman or her claims.

Why would they? She’s the perfect proof of their claim that conservatives hate women.

I would beg to differ. I’m a gold star lesbian – that means I have never slept with a man. I am actually kinda proud of that status. I am also politically conservative. I have not met a single conservative who seriously wanted to do harm to women. In fact, I know conservatives who have fought hard for the rights of women in Sharia nations – places in the world where women are required to remain covered from head to foot, not go anywhere without a male relative to escort them, and are barred from getting an education. Where were the liberals when this kind of thing was rampant in Afghanistan?

The entire debate revolves around contraceptives. The new federal law requires all employers to offer health insurance to employees and imposes a stiff tax penalty on individuals who do not carry health insurance. That same law requires ALL insurers to cover quite a bit. One of the requirements is that all insurance plans cover OB/GYN services and contraceptives for women.

There’s one problem with that: the Catholic church teaches that contraceptives of any kind, including condoms, are a sin according to scripture. I disagree with the Catholic church on this point, but that’s beside the point. According to the First Amendment the Catholic church has a right to their belief; since that belief does not cause deliberate physical harm to congregants nor victimize those who are not congregants, that belief cannot be abridged by any law. Here’s where it gets complicated…the Catholic church also runs hospitals and other non-profit organizations. They have more than a few employees. They don’t always require those employees to be in good standing with the church, but they don’t allow insurance that covers contraceptive medication, either.

Enter Sandra Fluke.

Denied entry to the actual committee hearings on the contraceptive mandate, she gave a planned speech riddled with errors and unverifiable claims. One of the first things that she says is that, during law school, contraceptives can cost around $3,000. That statement in itself is misleading; she failed to clarify (I believe she did it deliberately) what that means. There is no way it would cost that much per year. She likely meant throughout the course of law school, which typically runs for around three years. She also said it can cost that much – meaning it’s a possibility. In other words, she’s saying that if someone goes all-out they could spend $1,000 a year on contraceptives not covered by insurance.

Here’s where this gets a little fuzzy for me. According to Planned Parenthood, oral contraceptives can potentially cost anywhere from $15-$50 a month. Wal-Mart carries the generic brands for $4-$7 a month, but we’ll go with the low end of PP’s information. Let’s say it costs $15 a month for oral contraceptives. If you’re on these drugs throughout all of law school, that comes to a total of $540 for three years.

Let’s take a look at some of Fluke’s other claims. She talks about a lesbian friend who was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and obtained a prescription for oral contraceptives. The claim she makes here is that her friend was plunking down more than $100 a month for these drugs because the school refused to cover them. Let’s do the math on this one. If someone is paying $100 a month for drugs, full-time at the end of law school that comes out to right around $3600. So, by that math, sure – it could cost three grand. Where I get lost is why it cost that much and why birth control pills were the only treatment a doctor was able to come up with.

First of all, the most expensive name-brand oral birth control pill currently on the market costs $90 without insurance. Generics that are just as effective when they’re really only being used to treat medical conditions like PCOS are available for free at federal Title X clinics and on the cheap at big-box stores I’ve already listed. I’m wondering how this woman ended up paying over $100 a month for birth control pills. Fluke goes on to say that her friend ended up in the ER with a cyst the size of a tennis ball and had to have her ovary removed and later lamented that she’d never, even if she wanted to, give her mother grandchildren – wait, where was mom when she needed top-of-the-line birth control pills as opposed to generic medication? Doesn’t the Obama healthcare mandate also require insurance companies cover adult children up to age 26 as dependents now if the employee wants? Why couldn’t she go with mom’s insurance for that free birth control that she couldn’t be troubled to go to Title X for?

Then she tells a story that actually makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. She says that a friend was raped, but because she knew Georgetown didn’t cover contraceptives the woman supposedly assumed that was how they treated all of women’s health issues – so, supposedly, the woman never went to the doctor or got tested for STD’s.

When you are raped, whether you are male or female you should go nowhere until you have made contact with the police. Here’s how this works: you file a police report. Regardless of how much time has passed, the police will immediately take you to be examined by what’s known as a SANE nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). The nurse is highly trained and SANE’s are the only people qualified to collect forensic evidence after a sexual assault. After the exam, the nurse will discuss STD’s and give you prescriptions for three medications – one of which is for a morning-after pill that can be obtained for ten bucks and, in most states, will be reimbursed by victim assistance.

What’s even more galling is her final statement, after talking about how she was told she should have gone to school somewhere else: “And even if that meant going to a less prestigious university, we refuse to pick between a quality education and our health. And we resent that in the 21st century, anyone think it’s acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women.” She speaks as if going to a school more prestigious than a state university – say, the University of Texas (Hook ’em) – is a right. Elitism at its finest.

The claim she is making is that Georgetown’s policies are so oppressive for women that it’s an untenable situation, and it’s a bald-faced lie. As a woman and a lesbian, I don’t want Sandra Fluke trying to speak for me. I would never want someone who so blatantly twists the truth to represent me for anything – certainly not my health.

Whose Morality?

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz came out swinging today in an interview on Megyn Kelly’s show on Fox News (H/T to Doug Powers for the link). While talking about the Obamacare mandate that all health insurance for women cover birth control, DWS claimed that “there needs to be a balance” between religious employers who object to the use of contraceptives and the employees who don’t agree. Apparently the Democrats believe it is up to them what employers are willing to cover, religious affiliation be damned.

The First Amendment holds no sway any longer.

The argument has been over the healthcare mandate and the requirement that any insurance that covers women also cover contraceptives, regardless of whether that woman is a lesbian not planning to have children or a woman who has had a hysterectomy and is physically incapable of having children. It also does not take religious beliefs into account. Catholics have always considered contraceptives of any kind a sin. The Catholic Church also runs many hospitals and assisted-living facilities all over the country and have never offered health insurance that covers contraceptives. It has never been an issue until now – now that the Democrats have required every single health insurance policy covering women to cover contraceptives. Democrats are refusing to back down.

The most incredible quote from DWS of all, though, is this: “The flip side of this is that religious institutions shouldn’t be imposing their values, necessarily, on their employees who don’t necessarily subscribe to those values.”

Basically, in saying this for the DNC, she’s saying that it’s perfectly okay for them to impose their values on the entire country, but it’s completely unacceptable for anyone else to do that.

It seems we are locked in a never-ending battle between conservatives and liberals. Both sides believe they are correct in their worldview. Both sides have been angry and defensive at some point or another. Although I have experienced a great deal more vitriol from liberals, I’ve certainly heard of vitriol coming from the right (usually from those as closed-minded and uneducated as those on the far left; of course, I’ve never met a person who came to any extreme beliefs through being educated and keeping an open mind, nor have I met an extremist who admitted to being extreme).

The thing that makes me scratch my head is that both sides think they’re right for the same reasons – yet neither has stopped to ponder the reasons. Those reasons are morality and conscience.

One does not need to be religious to recognize some sort of morality; religion has no corner on the moral market. If you have ever said “that was wrong,” or “this is the right thing to do,” you are speaking from your own moral center, whatever that may be. When you claim that moral center, however, and you fail to live by it, you make yourself an absolute hypocrite – religion holds no monopoly on that, either.

I find it interesting when liberals attack me and my friends (interesting in that “I’d like to psychoanalyze you” kind of way). Liberals always, without fail, attack along the same lines: you’re supporting the people who hate us, you’re a traitor, they’re intolerant, they will never respect you, how can you do this to us, you must hate yourself, you’re a self-loathing closet case, you (insert string of profanities here)!

Gay liberals will point to so-called Christians who uniformly quote a handful of out-of-context scriptures and call homosexuality sick, twisted and sinful – then either call them hypocrites or, without knowing anything about Christian scriptures, try to point out what they see as absurdities in those scriptures. They love to point out that these folks are hypocrites by saying, “that’s not very Christ-like!”

At the same time, they demand the very tolerance that they refuse to give. They say that Christians who harp on homosexuality as the ultimate sin create an atmosphere of hostility toward gay people, then turn around and create an atmosphere of hostility toward any person who doesn’t follow their line of thinking. In so doing, they become the very same monster they have made Christians out to be – tragically, for the same reasons.

You see, gay liberals will explain their behavior away by saying, “I don’t have to tolerate people who are intolerant.” I have to ask, though, who decides who is truly intolerant? Since you’re saying that they are definitely wrong, that means you have some sort of moral center. How did you decide that they were wrong? Your own conscience? If so, what is your conscience measured by? Who or what provided your moral compass – was it faith, reason, or emotional convenience?

If it is faith, then I have to know which god would give us the right to commit the very same sin which we condemn in others. If reason, I must know which school of thought confuses a closed mind with an open one. The only thing that makes sense to me is emotional convenience – I’m right, everyone else is wrong, and my best argument is going to be a slew of personal attacks, but that is acceptable for me because I feel that I have the moral high ground.

How is that any different from people who interpret the Bible to say that gay people should be put to death? On a different level, how is saying that you pity me and my conservative values very far removed from Christians who say that they pity us because we’re sick and need to be delivered from homosexuality?

It all boils down to a single question: how do you know that your morality is more right than another person’s?

If your answer is anything other than, “it’s what I believe, and I don’t think anyone should be forced to see it my way,” you are the very animal you accuse them of being.

How Do You Spell “Union”?

G-R-E-E-D.

Just a week ago, Mark wrote quite eloquently on the subject of the public worker strikes in Wisconsin:

Today, most labor unions are very similar to the “evil corporations” they so frequently rail against. They claim big business doesn’t care about its workers, only profit. But are unions any different? They need members to pay dues, or they cease to exist. Clearly they are also profit-driven. They believe industry has too much influence compared with the working class. But unions have far more influence than their numbers would suggest, given that only 8% of Americans are in unions. And what do many of these labor organizations do with the hard-earned dollars they take from their members in the form of dues? They give them to politicians running for office – almost exclusively in the Democratic Party – whether their members support them or not.

The bill being bandied about in Wisconsin, AB-11, would end collective bargaining rights for state employees (excluding public safety workers), require that state employees pay more than the paisley 5% they’ve been paying for health insurance and the ridiculous 2% they’ve been paying for their pensions, and would cut medical services to the poor and uninsured. During all the brouhaha going on at the state capitol, this woman was filmed to make a statement:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2hgu_2NWpo&feature=player_embedded]

Don’t worry, dear damsel! Obamacare will save you!

First of all, we all need to understand something: corporations can simply go out of business if a union or special group continues to push for what they cannot afford. Government bodies – local, state or federal – cannot go out of business. They are unfortunately necessary to survival in our country. While corporations will do nearly everything to save face all the way to the bankruptcy line, governments that need to save money start cutting things from the budget. What does that mean? It means that in governments such as those in Europe, which have multitudes of entitlement programs to include socialized healthcare systems, they simply start cutting out things they can’t afford. It usually starts with healthcare; what Sarah Palin dubbed “death panels” are bureaucratic panels that convene to determine what they can change and how they can shuffle things in an effort to cut costs. Since healthcare workers are already paid peanuts, they start with services. Are you too old to benefit from a transplant or chemotherapy? Sorry, the state can’t afford it, especially since you probably won’t go back to work when you recover, anyway. We’d rather spend that money on a teenager who will benefit us more. Is your prognosis too grim? Sorry, we’re not going to pay for any treatment at all because you’ll die anyway and it would be a waste. Do you have a minor illness? Well, you’ll wait a while to be seen, we only have doctors available during certain hours and they have to triage their patients. Once you have pneumonia give us a call.

How does this not make sense to people? We already have entitlements for welfare, unemployment, healthcare for the uninsured and all kinds of grants for college, the arts, and home buying. Our tax dollars are stretching thinner and thinner with every passing year, yet here we have left-wing moonbats still demanding that the government give us what they literally cannot afford. If we keep going down this road, we will one day find ourselves watching the US dollar collapse and the Democrats will still try to blame the right wing.

Greed is not solely a label for the wealthy. Every human being is greedy to some degree…it’s in our very nature to want to look out for number one. Even the Founding Fathers tried to remind us long ago that our rights end when they infringe on the rights of another – that means that when we demand we be recognized for the right to have what we want at the expense of the government and the government can’t afford it, the rights of the majority who ARE paying for it trump yours.

“Life Must Go On As Usual”

It’s hard to admit making a mistake, but I owe the regular visitors of this website; along with my fellow contributors here, an apology.

The same day Congresswoman Giffords was shot, I reacted badly to the first article written by the AP on the story.  The article, which I linked to on my post where I specifically blamed the left, was written about 30 minutes after the tragedy.  This early on they were already linking Sarah Palin and the tea party to it.  In all honesty, my post was a reaction to that. (Along with a Facebook page I had found that has since been deleted portraying Loughner as a liberal).

As much as I disagree with liberals on pretty much everything, it was wrong for me to link the violent behavior of one idiot to an entire political party.  What I did was no better than what liberals (some of them) were doing to Sarah Palin.  As such, I shall remember that not everyone on the left is clinically insane and I apologize to Mel, Mark, Chris, and Philip (along with our regular visitors) who have to “share” this space with me.

That being said, I’d like to move forward with another aspect of how our country is prematurely responding to this tragedy. 

Aside from Sheriff Dumbnik’s running around and blaming everyone on the right; taking the attention away from him and the Police Department there in Tucson who had been getting warnings about Jared Loughner for the past three years, I have a huge problem with shutting down Congress over this.

It sends the wrong message.

On October 12, 1984, Margaret Thatcher was headlining the annual conservative conference in Brighton.  While the workaholic Iron Lady was preparing documents at 2 a.m. for business at the conference the next day, a bomb went off in the hotel.  Luckily, Margaret Thatcher and her husband had been moved to another room earlier in the day.  Nevertheless, many were killed and injured.  Mrs. Thatcher was immediately treated and examined for light injuries sustained and went to the police station. 

Almost immediately, the media and others speculated whether or not the conference would remain scheduled.  Upon exiting the police station, Lady Thatcher made her first statement to the media:

You hear about these atrocities, these bombs, you never expect them to happen to you.  But life must go on, as usual.

She also added that her conference would not be cancelled and would continue to go on “as usual” she said sternly.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXTJ6g3no5M&feature=related]

The next day with very little sleep, Mrs. Thatcher kept her committment and arrived to the conference.  She not only defied the wishes of the bomber, she also showed up on time and said:

The fact that we are gathered here today, shocked but composed and determined, is a sign not only that this attack has failed but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.

Lady Thatcher wasn’t showing cruelty to the victims who lost their lives.  As a leader of a nation, she had to resume business as usual to let the enemies of civilization and freedom know that she and her people in majority were in control and their rights to freedom and political process would not end. 

Similarly, as a political leader, John Boehner made a very decent and honorable statement in honor of Congresswoman Giffords.  Now, members of the media at the Washington Post are questioning his sincerity because he did not cry when he made the statement and also thought it was wrong for him to point out the fact that public servants of all levels were and always will be at some risk, but it was no reason to be deterred from doing their jobs.

Perhaps someone should tell the writer, Courtland Milloy, that we are supposed to learning a lesson about political rhetoric from this.

To reassure you, the shooting made us all sad, Mr. Milloy.  But on Saturday, I had to stay at my office anyway.  I had to get our income tax software ready for our filing season.  I had to make sure my files were cleaned out ready to be filled with new paperwork.  I had to organize my desk and clean out my drawers.  Then on Sunday, I had to go back.  Monday, I had to work and meet with clients.  Today, I had to go to a tax seminar to further prepare for my work that is vastly approaching.

Similarly, Congress should not be shutting down over this.  The best way to let lunatics like Loughner know that the only thing their potential dangerous violence is going to get them is a one-way ticket to the electric chair is to not allow our daily lives to be changed.  The world keeps on turning and “life must go on as usual.”

Joy Behar and other liberals — obviously ignoring Sheriff Dumbnik’s warning of political rhetoric — responded to Boehner by calling him “Boner” (the same party who created the term “teabagger”) — and somehow turning his promise to the people who elected the new Congress that they would indeed proceed with their promise to begin doing what we sent them there to do into an act of hate.  It makes you wonder who decides what political rhetoric is.  It also makes you wonder what “hate” is.

I have faith in the American people that they understand the bigger picture.  Boehner reserves his tears for moments of triumph.  When we overcome obstacles and tragedies and evils and plow through it in a way that only American exceptionalism can guarantee.

It seems to me that the people blaming Sarah Palin, criticizing Boehner, and everyone else on the right are the ones spreading the hate now.  It also seems to me that they reserve their tears in a sad effort to exploit tragedies to argue for bigger government and more infringements on our freedoms and liberties.

Americans are learning and we won’t forget.  But one thing remains true: “life must go on, as usual!”

Big Government and Short Attention Spans: A Recipe for Disaster

LQQkin4LUV: yo. spot me a $20?
CaliGIRL420z: k
LQQkin4LUV: imma give u $15 back. k?
CaliGIRL420z: hellz no!

Would you take that offer?

Whether or not that chat conversation is real, the federal government does that to us every day. They take our tax dollars, and then return far less to us in the form of funding and services. So why do we let them get away with it? Do we think the government is the only entity that can provide those goods and services, or do we simply not care enough to pay attention? The answer of course is both, and that chat exchange is the most in-depth many of us get when discussing economics.

Most of the issues we deal with as Americans, especially those that involve government, turn into a political war of opposing ideologies. However, some issues have nothing to do with Party affiliation and big government is one of them. Many people hear “big government” and they think a far-right, Glenn Beck, Tea Party lecture is about to follow, but that is not the case here. This is an honest explanation of what “big government” means, and how the more power the federal government has, the less we do. Unfortunately, learning that often means reading and investigating beyond the headlines – something we’re becoming increasingly unfamiliar with as a society.

First, it is important to understand that almost all arguments against big government are directed at the size of the federal government, and not necessarily the states.  Sure, state government can become bloated and inefficient, but that’s the problem of those living in that state – and not necessarily yours or mine. In addition, state government is far more in touch with their own people than the federal government will ever be; an important fact to remember when discussing policies pertaining to taxes, education, energy, health care, and so on. Putting the debate over the actual spending aside for a moment, the real question is whether an issue falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government or the individual states.

If you had a friend that only earns $25,000 per year, but somehow managed to spend $41,250 this year while racking up $175,000 in credit card bills – would you think an intervention is in order? What if your friend already owed his grandparents $1,137,500?

That’s exactly what our federal government did.

Our federal government brought in $2 trillion in revenue, spent $3.3 trillion, and racked up $14 trillion in debt; all while being committed to spending $91 trillion in Social Security and Medicare down the road.

Is there anyone left in America that thinks we’re not in a crisis? We’re going to be paying for this mismanagement for decades, if not more! And if you speak up you are somehow considered to be a racist, anti-poor, right-wing extremist.

Education is one of the biggest areas in which the American people are victims of big government. Yes, I said it – victims. We enjoy a public education system in this country, albeit one that competes very poorly with those in other countries despite much higher funding. In exchange for that public education we pay taxes, a portion of which is directed to various school districts all over our nation in the form of federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Education accounts for roughly 9% of all K-12 education spending in the nation. To put this in perspective, state and local governments in California estimate $112 billion in education spending for 2011, while the federal government will spend roughly $78 billion across all 50 states. So if federal education spending is just a drop in the bucket, why do we need the Department of Education to pay 4,603 employees a total of $1.8 billion to administer it? Couldn’t we just keep that money, along with the $77.8 billion in federal education dollars, in our states? Do we really need the middleman skimming off the top?

This is why many conservatives favor a voucher system in which the government gives the money to parents, to spend at the school of their choice. That, of course, is a threat to the public school system, who until recently have had no reason to concern themselves with efficiency. Education “advocates” continue to demand more money, even though the U.S. already spends more than most countries that rank above us in test scores. They scream bloody murder about education “cuts,” even though they are merely reductions in planned increases, and not actual cuts at all.

The same can be said about health care. In passing health care reform in March 2010, Congress decided NOT to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. So if you live in Texas, you can only purchase policies available in Texas, from companies licensed in Texas. If you live in New York you’d be very upset to hear that the average insurance policy there is $200/month higher than the average policy in Iowa. Too bad you can’t “shop around.” So if we don’t have a national health insurance system, why do we need the federal government to regulate it?

If all personal health insurance purchasing is wholly contained within a state, why can’t the state handle these issues? Massachusetts did when they passed universal health care. And while their system is costing far more than expected, and currently bankrupting the state, people can choose to move elsewhere if they don’t like it. That’s the beauty of living in a country with 50 individual state governments. Unfortunately President Obama and the Democrats don’t agree, and they’d prefer to saddle the entire nation with one giant, expensive, unmanageable health care system, from which there is no escape. Their almost $2 trillion health care bill requires us to send more money to Washington, so a fraction of it can be returned to us in less efficient ways than if we just kept it here to begin with.

We would realize this, if we were paying attention! But we’re clearly not.

There are no easy solutions to this problem, especially since many Americans simply don’t care enough to take an active role in keeping our government in check. We’ve also created a society so dependent on the government that no one wants to risk losing their hand-outs. The Tea Party movement addressed some of these issues, but was then demonized as a group of whack jobs by those who felt threatened by their demands for smaller government. But is trying to save our children and grandchildren from mountains of debt an extremist view? Is giving up local control, to a national system that treats us like numbers, a partisan issue?

Our inattentiveness has led to a runaway federal government that reaches so deep into our lives that we don’t dare confront it.

We may each have different views on how to address these issues, but that’s no excuse for remaining complacent. Whatever the solution is, it’s time for all Americans to get involved and demand better from our government and our elected officials.

If we don’t, we may have no country left to fix.

Death Panels and Brewers and Nazis, Oh My!

I have some of the most interesting conversations with liberals. Sometimes, like tonight, I’m both amused and think I should beat my head against the wall for all the good I’m doing. I thought you might like to hear about this one.

Remember during the big debate over nationalized health care, when Sarah Palin started talking about death panels? We all remember what happened. The Keith Olbermanns and Rachel Maddows of the left-wing press laughed until they cried, accusing her of using fear-mongering tactics to scare conservatives into being against universal health care. Well, things sure have changed since then. Jan Brewer, governor of my current home state of Arizona (yes, I still consider myself a Texan – AZ is my second home), has been forced to make cuts across the board to try to balance the state budget. Among those cuts are major cuts to AHCCCS, the state-funded health care system for the poor and uninsured. Democrats around the country have decried Brewer and ordered that she stop her DEATH PANELS and undo the cuts she signed for.

Don’t hold your breath, folks…the fact that liberals are now using the term themselves is about as close as we’re ever going to get to an apology. We’ll never see them give that sheepish look and hear them say, “okay, so…they do exist!” It ain’t gonna happen. Suggest, however, that they stop being as hysterical as they’ve accused us of being, and they go monkeynuts. Take a look:

Mel Maguire: Here and I thought death panels didn’t exist.

Dorothy Wellington: It is my prayer that Arizona will not become a “Hitler State.” Yourself and many others are on the right path and God’s will, will be accomplished.

Barbara Friedkin: She is a irrational woman cruel B—- Karen…Watch this!!! She is one sick blood thirsty! Bitch! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5muf5oBSppA

(Note, the video she linked had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation.)

MM: Please, Dorothy, do not demean the realities of Hitler’s Germany by claiming that we’re on the path to becoming a “Hitler state”. It isn’t just childish, it is disrespectful to those who survived the horrors that Hitler visited upon the world.

BF: I am a child from a polish survivor family. This is just how it began there!

MM: Really, Barbara? Seriously? It began with the government making cuts to health care? You are delusional. Nazism took hold because the government was broke and the people were so desperately demoralized after they were forced to abide by the Treaty of Versailles after WWI that they welcomed a charismatic individual who promised to give them their pride back.

BF: Really Mel It sounds like Sarah Palin to me! I am a student of the Holocaust. There were many reasons for it. First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

MM: Barbara, as I recall Sarah Palin was the first to bring up the notion of death panels – and liberals verbally flayed her for suggesting it was a possibility. Olbermann and Maddow laughed her off as a loon, saying she was being hysterical a…nd there would be no death panels in universal healthcare in the US. Now, as we can see, even when the government isn’t in control of all health care, those death panels DO exist. I haven’t heard a single liberal admit their mistake.

If you’re a student of that barbaric time in recent history, you’d know that the Jews call it Shoah, not the Holocaust (calling it that is an insult to Judaism as it refers to a burnt offering in Greek). While the quote is a powerful one, quoting Niemoller doesn’t justify you calling what’s going on now the next step toward a second Shoah. That is a hysteria that most conservatives point to when they try to prove that all liberals are insane.

BF: Mel it is waste of my time to even go there but the death panels she spoke of were end of life wishes that everyone should have in place and are MANDATORY UNDER ALASKA LAW! SARAH SIGNED THE BILL IN ALASKA AND HAD A DAY TO CELEBRATE IT! Go get an education but I sure you are against that too. http://pubrecord.org/politics/3560/palin-backed-end-of-life-counseling/

(Stop and read that last comment one last time. She is referring to a law that Palin signed that required that the elderly and terminally ill be counseled on advance directives by their medical care providers.)

MM: Unlike you, I have an education, hon. The death panels she was talking about were bureaucratic groups that exist in every government health care organization who convene to determine what they are capable and/or willing to pay for. Pay attention, sweetie. End-of-life counseling is a far cry from the death panels she talked about and what’s going on now. You didn’t even read three lines into that article you linked.

BF: Mel we got it you are a selfish self serving individual who has no interest in his community. We got it. You can’t handle the truth! It was the end of life counseling that she referred to as Death panels.

MM: An “advance directive” is what we in the health care field use to determine what a person’s legal wishes are. Yes, some people need counseling on the legal issues. I went on a call once for a man who died peacefully, surrounded by his fam…ily, after a long illness. According to his family, it was his wish that he die at home exactly as he did – however, because he didn’t understand what the law says about that sort of thing, the police had to round up the family, keep ’em in one place, question them all (and there were quite a few of them – including children) and investigate the man’s death.

Advance directives for those who are nearing the end of life due to either age or illness are important, believe it or not. Legal counseling on those issues is a good thing.

BF: Did they see your picture before they let you in their house. What are you afraid of Mel?

MM: Barbara…I would try correcting you again, but you are apparently so convinced of what you’re saying that you’re not going to listen or admit that you may have misunderstood the issue. I’m not afraid of anything. I’ve been stabbed, had guns pointed at me, been thrown off the second tier of an inmate housing unit, attacked with bare fists, thrown furniture – I have no fear, particularly not of a liberal who shows up for a battle of wits completely unarmed.

BF: IT IS YOU KIDS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS I HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVIST SINCE I WAS 16! MEL YOU ARE ONE ANGRY KID I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU DO.

There was a courageous gal named Karen also responding, but to cut down on the space, I only brought one part of the conversation over (it is all cut-and-pasted, spelling errors and all). Click here to read the entire exchange.

Healthcare is a Right

We’ve heard Democrats and hard-left liberals all over America repeat the chant: healthcare is a right. You should never, ever deny coverage to a person who needs it. To deny that coverage is sick and wrong. You’re inhumane if you do that. I get very tired of hearing that mantra being repeated.

There’s a few facts that liberals don’t take into consideration. First of all, if you’re not paying much for a good health plan, then yes – you stand a chance of being denied for certain coverage. My full-time job provides options for health insurance that is actually very good, and I have not once been denied coverage for any procedure I have ever needed. A month ago, while working out, I found a lump on my left bicep; lesser insurance plans wouldn’t have covered the ultrasound I needed to determine whether any other tests needed to be done. My insurance covered it without question. I pay more for it and get more out of it. That’s how insurance works. I’ve had friends and relatives denied for the exact same test, but upon further discussion I discover that they’re only covered by cheap companies that won’t shell out money for coverage on anything that isn’t essential.

Requiring that every insurance company and every plan cover everything from alternative therapies to essential services to some cosmetic procedures has sent premiums sky-high, but you won’t hear liberals admit that. Obamacare is important to them so they’ll put their hands over their ears and scream and shout until they can’t hear those of us who speak reason. They claim that “death panels” don’t exist in government healthcare – then they denounce Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, for setting up exactly that on the Arizona government healthcare program, known as AHCCCS. The beef they have with Brewer is that her administration worked to cut funding to some services previously covered by AHCCCS, including some organ transplants. It cracks me up to think about all the vehemence that spewed forth from liberals, particularly from the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, when talking about the Republicans’ use of the term “death panels” to describe the bureaucracy that would result if a single-payer government healthcare system were approved by the Democrat supermajority. Why? Because after Jan Brewer’s number-crunchers decided that the looming health care bill from the feds was going to put an undue hardship on the state, “Arizonans Against Brewercare” sprang up overnight and we had Democrats decrying REPUBLICANS for “death panels.”

Should I feel vindicated? Because in a way, I do.

The latest news out of Pennsylvania angers me almost beyond description. I am infuriated at Democrat governor Ed Rendell right now; multiple mayors of Pennsylvania cities, including Philly mayor Michael Nutter (his name is fitting, I think), supported his decision to veto a bill that would have eased restrictions on worker’s compensation for firefighters and other EMS/rescue workers who are diagnosed with certain types of cancer.

A lot of people don’t know that the last few years have produced a great deal of information on firefighters and cancer. Male firefighters are highly prone to testicular and prostate cancer, while all firefighters are highly prone to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the blood) and multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow). Firefighters and their support crews are exposed to smoke, ash and soot, all of which carry multiple carcinogens (particularly when the burning building they’re trying to put out is made from now-banned building materials). For a long time, in many states, cancer has been one of those conditions that firefighters have had to prove that their cancer is directly related to their job, and with all four of those cancers – as I said, prominent among firefighters – it is very difficult to prove that. The Cancer Presumption Bill, as it has been dubbed, would have put the burden on the fire departments to prove that the cancer actually wasn’t a product of decades of fighting fires and protecting the public. It would have provided much-needed benefits for firefighters whose insurance and other benefits wouldn’t completely cover it.

Why did Rendell veto the bill? He’s bitching that it costs too much. What’s more, he’s apparently a complete idiot about which forms of cancer firefighters are most susceptible to. He only wanted a bill to cover lung cancer, and believe it or not, the others I mentioned are MORE prevalent.

Please, somebody, explain to me right now exactly why liberals were so irritable when Sarah Palin warned of government death panels over the cost of healthcare. Olbermann, Maddow, Pelosi, Reid, and the Big O himself all barked in laughter at the notion that bureaucratic panels would convene to decide what the government would be willing to pay for and what would be too expensive. The aforementioned journalists took it a step further and openly insulted conservatives like us for suggesting such a notion, denying that they existed…nevermind the fact that they do exist in England, Canada, Spain and other nations.

We now have proof positive in two separate forms that government control of healthcare would be a disaster waiting to happen. As an EMT studying to be a paramedic and hopefully to be a firefighter, I don’t want to one day find that my desire to do something worthwhile in this world has resulted in a medical condition that not only can I not pay for, but the public I served refuses to cover because the government they elected isn’t willing to help. This ranks right up there with Robert Gates suggesting that military healthcare benefits from Tricare be more expensive for our veterans, if not done away with entirely.

I have never been the kind of person to attempt to use my status to get anything for free. Those I respect the most don’t think that we deserve special treatment. Part of it is humility. Part of it is giving back. When it comes to the hazards of our job, though, we’d like to have some backup from the governments we work for.

As for the liberals wailing about healthcare reform…you’re all a troupe of liars and thieves who base your entire set of arguments on irrational emotions rather than logic. I’m sure we’ll never hear a single apology about the insults we took over death panels, but you’re making hypocrites out of yourselves and everyone knows it. Illegal immigrants and prison inmates get better care than rank-and-file citizens, better even than soldiers, police officers and firefighters. How about we make those guys work for their own damn healthcare and give all that money to those who are more deserving?