Clueless

President Obama gave the commencement speech at West Point yesterday. The speech was a complete embarrassment, yet the graduating cadets remained as professional and respectful as ever.

I’m not sure I would have been able to be so classy.

CNN’s Jim Clancy described the President’s reception at West Point as “icy”. Charles Krauthammer called his speech “literally pointless”. Even the Washington Post reported that his speech reeked of a “takedown of Rand Paul”.

In short, the President picked the most inappropriate time and place possible to pontificate about his foreign policy.

Rather than laud the success of the cadets, rather than applaud their achievements in difficult times, rather than send an inspiring message about their futures as officers in the US Army, President Obama stumped about himself. He defended his beliefs (and so in a very broken, hard-to-follow fashion). This is what happens when we have a President who has no military experience or understanding of foreign policy: we get a guy who will use a revered tradition to tell his detractors to piss off.

It was like watching a train wreck, to be quite honest. After making a remark about the class of 2014 being the first to be less likely to go into combat since 9/11, he turned his commencement speech into a rant. He started chastising those who don’t believe that America is at her strongest, saying that we are engaging in partisan politics. He pitifully whittled the war debate down to those who want war and those who want diplomacy. Yet again, he compared himself to his predecessor – George W. Bush – in a thinly-veiled swipe at the man. Then, after saying in his first year in office that he didn’t believe in American exceptionalism, he suddenly changed tack and said he believed in it “with every fiber of my being.”

He also said in no uncertain terms that we really don’t need the military. He said we had the greatest military in the world, then said, “but just because we have the biggest hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Huh? So his message is, “good job on graduating, but we don’t really need you”?

President Obama is as classless as he his clueless.

The First Lady is just as bad. She famously posed with a sign that bore the hashtag “bringbackourgirls”, making a cheap statement on Twitter about the Boko Haram terrorist group that kidnapped more than two hundred school girls and threatened to sell them into sexual slavery if the Nigerian government refused to release several imprisoned terrorists. I have to ask, what on Earth makes anyone think that a terrorist organization (one that our esteemed former Secretary of State vociferously defended) is going to respond to a social media campaign? The attempt to shame them into submission is incredibly juvenile and proves just how little President and First Lady Obama understand about foreign policy issues. I mean…Twitter? Really? Is this the new face of liberal politics?

Mrs. Obama’s school lunch program has also come under fire. Students who found lunches based on her new guidelines inedible started posting pictures of their new lunches on social media. Schools started losing money because students weren’t buying lunch. Why would they buy something that smells and tastes awful? My foster daughter tells me that her school lunches are so bad that even though she gets them for free, she won’t touch them – she says a kind of barbecue sandwich with no meat in it, imitation steak sandwiches and overcooked tater tots are the usual fare, and the salad bar is no better.

Congressional Republicans have been trying to pass a bill that would make it easier for schools to give the choice to parents and students on whether to follow the guidelines that limit the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar that kids are eating. The First Lady’s response? A temper tantrum. While her daughters attend an elite private school and get the best food money can buy, public school kids are turning to Chee-tos and candy bars to replace the disgusting alternatives now offered in their schools – and Mrs. Obama is pushing the fact that, as a mom, she cares. She openly attacked the attempt, ignoring the fact that even the School Nutrition Association thinks the guidelines are too strict and expensive, as “unacceptable.”

I’m sorry. I was unaware that she had been elected to any office.

I feel like we’re hearing Marie Antoinette ignorantly pan, “let them eat cake!” The First Family wants for nothing, and they have no idea how much it costs to eat the way they do. They are not interested in how this sort of thing affects the middle class or even the poor. I swear, the next thing we hear from her is going to be, “well, if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it!” The day she goes to my girl’s high school and eats what the students are expected to eat – and DOESN’T gag – I’ll believe she gives a damn.

The Magical Minimum Wage

Over the hubbub of the minimum wage hike racket, I’ve heard a lot of people shouting about different sides of the debate. Yesterday, someone shared this picture on Facebook:

minimum.wage.1

I’m getting tired of hearing the debate. Here’s the real facts.

Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour will be disastrous. You want inflation? Double the minimum wage then stand back and watch the fallout. I can’t believe nobody is wondering why gas prices more than doubled after Obama took office. I will tell you why: federal minimum wage was kicked up from $4.75 an hour to $7.25 an hour. Businesses do not eat those losses; they pass them on to the consumer. When a business that pays minimum wage for new workers suddenly has to pay twice what they were paying, they’re not going to sit there and say, “oh, well – we’re not gonna make as much money!” No. They’re going to raise the price of everything they sell. Everything is going to cost more, from a loaf of bread to a gallon of gasoline to a crappy McDonald’s hamburger. It’s going to go way up in cost, so it’ll go way up in price.

The more a business has to pay to make a product, the more it costs for the consumer to enjoy it. My girlfriend’s 22-inch tube TV cost about $100 when she bought it. My 55-inch flat-screen cost about $600 when my dad got it for me for Christmas a year ago. The technology of both of these items is very different; a tube TV (which they no longer make) is simple to build and the parts are cheap. A large flat-screen requires more expensive parts, more time, and more labor to build. Compare two different restaurants: McDonald’s and Smashburger. A quarter pounder at McDonald’s costs about $4 (depending on where in the country you are). A “small” hamburger at Smashburger costs about $6. Why? Because Smashburger pays more for better ingredients and they pay their employees slightly more than minimum wage.

The concept is the same for workers. The more a business pays its workers, the more the consumer will pay for the products being assembled and sold by those workers. My iPhone cost me about $200 (I had to sign a new contract with my cell carrier to get it that low, but hey…). My iPhone was also assembled at a factory in China. Had my phone been assembled at a plant in the US, it would have been exorbitantly expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Why? Because workers in the US cost that much more.

The principle will not change if minimum wage is doubled. These people keep thinking, “oh, if I only made more money…” Yet they refuse to face the fact that if they make the government force their employer to pay them more, things are going to go downhill fast. Their employer will raise the price of the food they’re making, driving some consumers away. The poor people who tend to eat at places like McDonald’s won’t be able to afford it anymore. The cost of basic necessities will shoot up. Suddenly, making more money means nothing because the problems just followed them right into their new predicament. These people don’t think about the consequences of their demands.

What I’m going to say next is going to really piss off a few people, but it needs to be said.

If you want a better life, you have to make it yourself.

I used to work for JP Morgan Chase. After that, I worked for American Express. I hated working in an office setting and having to kiss ass everywhere I went. I really, truly, genuinely hated my job. I made a lot of money, but I hated where I was and felt like I was in a dead end profession. I would prove my abilities beyond everyone else, but would always lose out on promotions to new departments because my boss needed me where I was. I was tired of it. So, I took a pay cut to go work as an EMT full-time. I’m actually making more money now because I love my job and I’m willing to work a lot of overtime. I can take my EMT certification back to my home state and make even more money there. Emergency medical and rescue are always in demand, and since I am capable of dealing with people who are bleeding and throwing up, it works for me. I wanted to make a change in my life and be happy, so I went out and found something that would facilitate that for me.

If you are going to screw around in high school, refuse to attend college, and spend all your time and money trying to have fun, then the consequence is that you’ll never be worth more than minimum wage. You’ll never have marketable skills. Thus you will never have a better job.

Oh, and this whole thing about having kids and working minimum wage? Oh, please. If you hadn’t hopped in bed, you wouldn’t have a kid. If you couldn’t afford a kid, you should have thought about that before jumping in the backseat of that car. Yay, you had sex! I’m glad it was fun! Now, here’s the consequence – a responsibility to take care of a tiny little person who will be completely dependent on you for the next eighteen years (likely longer, considering how poorly you’ll teach basic principles of responsibility). Just like you’re not thinking now about how your demand for more money will affect the future, you didn’t think about how that twenty minutes of fun might affect your personal future. Whose fault is that? I didn’t benefit from you having sex. Why should I have to pay for it?

Cry me a damn river.

Find a trade school – yeah, the ones that your beloved President makes fun of when he tells you to go get an education – and learn an in-demand skill. Learn how to weld. Learn how to fix a car. Learn to be a plumber, an electrician, or a licensed contractor. Go learn medical coding and billing. All of those professions make a lot more money than fast food does (and don’t require mopping up after a patient who misses the emesis bag). And, bonus, you won’t have other minimum-wage earners yelling at you for screwing up their orders and throwing food at you.

You want more money? Go find a way to earn it honestly rather than twisting people’s arms with some emotional appeal that will only make things worse. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop expecting everyone else to pay your way for you, and make your own life better. Nobody is responsible for you and your spawn except YOU. Forcing the minimum wage up with not magically solve your problems, nor will yelling at me that you slaved over a hot stove for that cheap chicken sandwich that I just bought to get my blood sugar back up again. I tell you what…do that for 24 hours at a stretch and I’ll be impressed.

MYOB

As a direct descendent of one of our founding fathers, a Tea Party original, and a “conservatarian” (my dad’s description of me), I believe strongly in limited government. While they disagreed on quite a few things, nearly all of the founders agreed that any central government had to be limited in size, scope, and power. A system of checks and balances was put into place. After the Declaration of Independence, both the Constitution and the Articles of Amendment were written. These documents were written in such a way that if you take out one, the rest will fall.

I believe in everyone minding their own business. You have a right to your religious beliefs. If you believe that I’m living in sin for acknowledging and embracing the fact that I am a lesbian, that is your right. If you want to say so publicly, that is your right. I would fight to the death for your rights because I would expect my rights to be protected just as fiercely.

You do NOT have the right to enact laws that single out one group that you don’t happen to like based on your religious beliefs.

I’ve said that before, but it seems nobody is really getting the message. Let me say it again: you do not have the right to enact laws that single out one group that you don’t happen to like based on your religious beliefs.

Nearly every challenge to state gay marriage bans has won, ending with such laws being stricken down in Kentucky, Utah, and today, Virginia. In response Ted Cruz (who I normally like) introduced a bill co-sponsored by Mike Lee that would essentially bring back DOMA, albeit in a slightly different form. DOMA barred the federal government from recognizing gay marriages even in states that had decided that gay marriage was legal. The so-called State Marriage Defense Act would do an end-run around the Constitution and “protect” states from intrusion by federal courts if the voters in those states agree to make gay marriage illegal.

Here’s the big problem: the Tenth Amendment already addresses that sort of thing. The language literally says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, if the Constitution doesn’t give the feds the right to have power over something, that power belongs to the States. Reading all of the recent judicial commentary on rulings that strike down gay marriage bans all pretty much points to the same thing…the Fourteenth Amendment. The end of Section One reads, “…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

So we’ve established that the First Amendment gives everyone the right to agree or disagree (peacefully) with gay marriage and to speak about said disagreement openly, but that it does not give anyone the right to write laws based on one religious belief. Now we’ve also established that the federal government is not allowed to take any power that the Constitution doesn’t give it. Add to that the fact that the government, whether local, state, or federal, cannot discriminate against one group or another for ANY reason in how it applies laws and rights. I think it’s pretty clear that gay marriage is a fight that social conservatives should give up now.

I don’t agree with liberalism because I see what it is doing to my country. I am talking to people every day who actually believed that Obamacare was supposed to make their healthcare free and eliminate the wait to see a doctor – and they don’t understand why the opposite is happening. I am called a racist because I don’t like President Obama and think he’s worse than Jimmy Carter. I am called heartless because I believe that there should be limits to the amount of money the government spends, particularly on welfare, and I believe that welfare should be something that one has to prove they genuinely need (and are trying to get off of). I am called a traitor because I’m a lesbian who isn’t liberal and told that I should just kill myself so I can’t do any more damage to the cause of gay rights.

I’m watching the press, who is ardently protected, take advantage of their protections and make a concerted effort to defend an indefensible man holding the highest office in America. I’m watching my friends and family come home from foreign countries drastically changed because their country asked them to go to war and then refused to back them up when they needed it. I feel like I’m watching my beloved country disintegrate because the people refuse to educate themselves and want nothing more than to know how to get their free stuff.

We wanted the government out of our bedrooms. We got that. Now we want the government out of everything else in our lives, but we are somehow willing to give them complete control? How does this work? I just want you all, from Ted Cruz to Barack Obama, to mind your own business. Get out of my life. Get out of my healthcare, my gun safe, my workplace, my bedroom, my TV, my computer, my cell phone – get the hell out. You don’t have the right to tell me that I can’t defend myself and my family if someone decides to try to harm us. You don’t have the right to tell me that I have to turn over all of my personal information to make sure I’m a terrorist. You damn sure don’t have the right to tell me that because you believe a certain way, I cannot love another woman and commit myself to her for the rest of my life. When you social conservatives do something about the astronomical divorce rates and clean up your own act, then and only then will you be allowed to wag a finger at me and accuse me of trying to destroy that supposedly sacred institution.

You cannot claim to want limited government while you’re championing the fight to give the government more power. It doesn’t work that way. I believe in remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy. That does not mean that I believe I should have a law written that forces all businesses to close on Saturdays to accommodate my belief.

Liberty or Death

“Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third…may he profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it!” -Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry is my fifth or sixth great-grandfather.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I take his words, “give me liberty or give me death” very seriously. Thanks to the guys at Ranger Up, I now have several articles of clothing with the “liberty or death” mantra emblazoned on them. Soon I will have several of his infamous quotes tattooed on my body as a testament to my belief that I, as a free American, should be ready to give all to defend our freedom. What leaves me dismayed is that far too many people in today’s society have come to see such displays as a form of extremism.

It’s the Tea Party affiliation, you see. What they fail to understand is that their despising of my beliefs is no more serious than it was in Patrick Henry’s day. When my famous ancestor hoisted the Gadsden flag above his home, it was just as controversial then as it is now for me to put on a baseball cap with the same logo on it. There were people in 1773 who were just as vehemently against his talk of revolution as there are now who label me an extremist. I, like him, have also been branded a traitor for saying that my rulers have seriously overstepped their bounds.

He was a member of the Sons of Liberty, an organization of patriots who fought for the independence of the Colonies when their status as loyal citizens of the British Crown was repeatedly assailed and their freedom threatened. It is unknown if he was there, but it is believed that he stood alongside his friend and fellow patriot Samuel Adams when the Sons dressed as Indians and invaded the ships in Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773 to dump taxed tea into the ocean. He was an elected member of the First Continental Congress. He spoke and wrote ferociously against the British incursions into the Colonies to restrict speech and confiscate weapons. On March 23, 1775, he spoke before the Virginia House of Burgesses in an effort to convince them to raise a militia to defend against escalating encroachment from the British. It was during this speech that he said, “is life so dear, or peace so sweet, to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me – give me liberty or give me death!”

He served as a colonel in the 1st Virginia Regiment during the Revolutionary War, often defending stores of weapons and gunpowder. He first refused to support the ratification of the Constitution because it gave the federal government too much power; he also worried that the office of the President could devolve into a de facto monarchy. As he watched the horror of the French Revolution unfold, he also worried that too little power in the hands of government could be just as bad. He knew that a balance needed to be struck and, in the end, he joined the Federalists with Washington.

My concern today is just as real as his was during the founding of this country. Too little power could reduce the people to a rabble. Too much power, however, has turned the Presidency into the beginnings of a dictatorship. So-called Representatives pass laws that apply only to the citizenry, carving niches for themselves in the balance of power. Crony capitalism has flourished, leaving special interests on both sides of Congress capable of buying new laws, more funding, and higher taxes. What’s more, the people have realized that they can vote themselves money – and citizenship is no longer seen as a privilege that must be earned by either birth or work and respect. The America that my spitfire of a Scottish fifth great-grandfather fought to free and struggled to help grow is going down the very path that he and his compatriots feared.

Just like him, I have been dumped by liberals into the category of an extremist – by the angriest, I have been called a traitor. For agreeing with both Henry’s and Jefferson’s assertions that revolution is sometimes a necessary evil to protect our freedoms, I have been called dangerous. Like him, though, I don’t want to fight. I merely recognize that I may have to only as a last resort, and that is was sets us apart. Liberals think everything needs to be a fight, including their fight to end our rights to arm ourselves.

I have hope for my country. I have hope that the liberals who seek to destroy our rights and the social conservatives who seek to turn us into a theocracy will eventually cancel each other out, but I know that isn’t likely. I hope that I’ll never have to fight against my government, but they increasingly leave me little choice. I hope that we’ll be able to coexist, but I realize that more and more I’m one of few that really cares about actually living in peace and tolerating those who disagree.

I am a natural born citizen of the United States. I am a free woman, descended from one of the men who fought for our rights. I will not give up my freedom for anything – not even peace. I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. Liberty or death. I will not live as a victim, a serf, or a slave.

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.

Disparity

Did you know that there’s now an ongoing debate in the emergency medical community about c-spine? C-spine is the method we use to immobilize your spine after a car wreck or when you fall – it can be pretty uncomfortable no matter what we do. It involves putting a stabilization collar on and strapping you to a backboard. Recent research has shown that backboards may actually do more harm than good, so our new protocols (at least in most areas) is to try to determine whether c-spine is really necessary. In some cases, however, mechanism of injury still dictates whether we take that precaution.

Most of my readers have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s not because you’re uneducated, you’re just not trained to do what I do. The people who are far less likely to understand what I’m talking about? The fast food workers currently striking in 100 cities to demand that the federal minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

I don’t mean that as an insult. I’m making a point.

I went to college to learn emergency medical technology and emergency services management. To get my EMT certification I had to pass the classes before passing a gauntlet of skills stations. I had to prove my knowledge in c-spine, oropharyngeal/nasopharyngeal airways, bag-valve masks, CPR, trauma assessment, medical assessment (yes, there is a difference), mass casualties, and AED. Then I still had to take the 500-question national registry exam to get the card that said I had satisfied the basic requirements to become an EMT.

Every two years I have to take the skills stations and the written test all over again; in those two years there can be any number of changes in our protocols. In one system I’m allowed to use CCR rather than CPR (one uses rescue breathing while stopping compressions, the other doesn’t). In the other system I have to use CPR. If I work in a neighboring county (which I occasionally do), I have to be up-to-date on my phlebotomy skills. Where I normally work I can spike bags and set up blood tubing, but I’m not allowed to start IV’s.

There is always new research coming out. I have to constantly pay attention to new rules about what we can and cannot do in traffic. I am much more likely to get into a wreck in my ambulance than in my personal vehicle, no matter that I’m a highly-trained driver who religiously pays attention to everyone around me. I often work 24 or 48 hours at a stretch and frequently have to wake from a dead sleep to answer 911 calls for anything ranging from abdominal pain to a gunshot wound.

I absolutely love what I do. I hated working in an office setting. What I do is worth about $11 an hour. Some of my brothers and sisters make less. The pay will never stop me from working my butt off because I love it.

I fail to understand how flipping burgers is somehow worth more than all of the time, money, and hard work I’ve put into what I do.

I don’t do what I do for recognition. That’s not what I’m after here. I am hoping someone will explain to me why so many are so willing to raise hell about the wages of people who are uneducated and otherwise unskilled. Fast food is not a career. You don’t attend college to learn to work a fryer or clean a grill. That line of work was meant for high school students and college kids working their way through school, not parents supporting multiple kids.

The argument being made is that wages are tied to a person’s dignity. It is undignified to now work for $7.25 an hour – when I worked fast food in high school, I only made $4.25 an hour. I’m wondering now if I should sue for back wages for my dignity’s sake.

The other argument being made is that these corporations make more than enough to pay that kind of money. What these people don’t realize is that when the government raises minimum wage so drastically, it causes sudden and severe inflation. The dollar is devalued and everything costs more, but the standard of living doesn’t go up with it. The argument that a higher wage is needed to make life easier to afford is self-defeating; instead of closing the gap between so-called classes, it creates a genuine disparity. Redistribution of wealth always has that effect.

There are a number of issues to be considered, both big and small. Like most liberals, however, these folks don’t want to consider the big picture. All they know is what affects their tiny little world. If they get what they want they won’t be able to understand why the price of basic items has skyrocketed.

And when fast food workers can work a stand-up 24 where they get assaulted, thrown up on, and have to press padded trauma dressing into a sucking chest wound that’s spitting blood all over you, then I’ll hear complaints about not making enough money.

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.

Fight Racism With…Racism?

I haven’t commented on the whole “Redskins” debate because, in my mind, it’s a tempest in a teacup. The term redskin was used more by those who actually traded peacefully with the indians – “savage” was more of a slur, one that has fallen out of usage. I have no idea if my Cherokee and Navajo friends find it offensive, but the Washington Redskins have had this name for 81 years and only now is it coming into focus.

What I will comment on, however, is The Onion’s outrageous attempt at sarcasm. Calling it outrageous is an understatement. The headline read, “Redskins’ Kike Owner Refuses to Change Team Name.” The short article went on to call Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder a “hook-nosed kike” and a “shifty-eyed hebe.”

They didn’t just cross the line with this. They dove over it headfirst and did a touchdown dance.

I really don’t care what the point is. You would never see any writer for The Onion using the N-word; if they did so, even for the purpose of making a satirical point, there would be no end to the hell raised by black Americans and all of their friends. They would be right to raise hell about it – it’s an absolutely despicable word, so much so that I can’t even tolerate rap because of the heavy usage of it. How is it, then, that some of the most despicable anti-Jewish epithets are suddenly fair game? When did it become acceptable to take a page from the Stormfront neo-Nazi book?

I am not an angry or violent person, but I will tell you now, if anyone ever dared to utter those slurs to my face, I would not respond with words. I would break my rule about never starting fights and happily face jail time for it. The writer of this ill-thought article never would have dared say that to me in person. What makes him think it’s okay to say it in print?

I don’t give a damn what your point is. It is never okay to hurl disgusting invectives at anyone, particularly when they come from a line of people who have been openly hated and killed in mass numbers simply for being Jewish for many centuries. I will never give another second of traffic to The Onion – not even if they apologize. Anyone who dares defend their usage of these hateful terms will find themselves drop-kicked out of my life. There is no excuse.

Sure, they have the freedom to post what they want. We have the same freedom to stop using their services because they don’t know how to be civil.

If You Train Them…Trust Them

I’ll never forget my tactical training – particularly my live-fire course. For five minutes, I had to wend my way through a mockup of a detention facility, making split-second decisions on which pop-up targets to shoot (and firing with high accuracy). Is it an armed suspect? A civilian? An officer? That five minutes felt like an eternity. It was for a worst-case scenario that was extremely unlikely, but the training was important.

I had a rifle and a pistol and I was sweating bullets the whole time. That five minutes felt like it would never end. I cannot imagine being unarmed and trapped by a maniac with guns who is shooting at everything that moves. That must be a hellish experience, one I pray no other human being ever has to face. After the Ft. Hood shooting, a friend who was much younger than I asked how a psychologist could attack a room full of soldiers and be the only one holding a gun.

My response confused the hell out of her at first:

Bill Clinton.

One of the very first acts that Bill Clinton made after being elected to the Presidency was to declare military installations “gun-free zones”. He immediately issued an order making it illegal for soldiers to carry personal firearms on base. More than that, though, he also made it close to impossible for XO’s (executive officers) to issue firearms to their troops to carry on base for protection. Since March of 1993, our troops – highly trained individuals who spend weeks learning everything about their rifles and pistols – have been disarmed on their own bases. It is because of President Clinton, an outrageously liberal and breathtakingly arrogant man, that our troops were disarmed and vulnerable at Ft. Hood and, tragically, yesterday at NAVSEA.

I can certainly appreciate the desire to make people safer. For many who have never been victims and have never had anything resembling law enforcement or tactical training, it seems to be logical to want to make all guns illegal. The problem comes in when they refuse to let go of that belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence that proves banning guns only makes things worse.

One of the biggest factors that determines how many deaths there are during a mass shooting is the amount of time it takes for an armed good guy to show up. In almost all of the recent mass shootings, the longer it took for police to arrive and return fire, the more deaths and injuries resulted. The only exception is the Tucson shooting – Loughner’s extended clip (as many of them are wont to do) failed to load a round properly, causing a jam that he hadn’t trained to clear quickly. Folks who want to ban extended clips ignore this fact; the springs in those clips have to do more work and they’re no more sturdy than the springs in standard clips, causing loading issues after the first few rounds.

That’s beside the point, though. All anyone who wants to ban certain cosmetic features can see is that it “looks more dangerous”. Never mind the fact that the term “assault weapon” is nauseatingly redundant.

At NAVSEA yesterday, it took seven minutes for the first armed police officers to arrive and begin an actual response. Seven minutes of terror for those innocent people. Seven minutes where any of the military members in the building could have pulled a weapon and taken Alexis out before he could kill twelve people. For those that were hiding, it was actually closer to an hour or two before police were able to locate them and lead them out of the building. In all of that time, not one of the highly-trained sailors or Marines in that facility was able to do what they were trained to do: take the fight to the bad guy.

It is a sin and a shame that we train these men and women and then tell them we don’t trust them with the very tools we trained them on. It is unforgivable that they are almost safer in a war zone than they are on their own soil. The history of mass shootings the statistics that come out of them tell us that they always target gun-free zones and they are deadlier with every second that ticks by without a good guy with a gun responding.

Aaron Alexis should have been prosecuted on felony charges in 2004, when he first walked out of his grandmother’s home and deliberately fired several rounds at a car. We don’t even need to have a discussion about his obvious mental illness – his actions nine years ago should have been enough to make him a prohibited person. The whole point of current gun laws is to identify those who will be dangerous with guns, prosecute them, and shut down their ability to legally purchase a gun. The system failed twice. He was able to carry out this shooting for two reasons: because police and prosecutors failed to do their jobs and because innocent people were disarmed and unable to defend themselves.

Side note: it’s hilarious to me that with all of the problems going on in The District, lawmakers there are focusing on the evils of body art. They’re trying to pass a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period for getting tattoos or piercings.

Dear Senator McCain

Mr. McCain:

I voted for you. I convinced my father and my stepmother to vote for you. I tried to tell everyone I knew that they needed to vote for you. I come from a family with a long military history; in my immediate family, my father served in the Navy. My brother serves now in the Army. I would have served, but I turn 35 in less than a month and wouldn’t be able to ship out that fast – the end of DADT didn’t come quickly enough for me.

Imagine my irritation upon hearing that you support military intervention in Syria.

Now imagine my absolute horror upon hearing that you had the temerity to call General Martin Dempsey “disingenuous” because he’s trying to warn you against said military intervention.

I am absolutely flabbergasted that you would support a strike against a strong ally of both Iran and Russia. Even more than that, I am appalled that you would support aiding the Al Qaeda-aligned rebels who would benefit from this. None of this is to mention the fact that Assad has promised that if America strikes, Syria will start firing missiles at Israel. General Dempsey was right – you haven’t thought this through.

How would we feel if Mexico decided to invade the Southwestern US to stop the death penalty from being carried out because they determined that it was a “crime against humanity”? I understand that the details may be different – Syrian WMDs are killing children. The principal, however, is the same. We are about to target a sovereign nation that is embroiled in a civil war. Not you nor anyone else can promise that civilians won’t become collateral damage if we do strike. If any other nation determined that anything we did was a crime against humanity and invaded OUR soil, even if just with airstrikes, you would (righteously) be beside yourself. You would insist that we and all of our allies hit back with such force that they’d never consider it again.

We cannot win this. Neither the Assad regime nor the terrorist-backed-and-funded rebellion can ever be trusted, and we damn sure cannot afford war with either Iran or Russia. I really don’t want to hear that we would only be carrying out “limited stand-off strikes” – once we get involved, we’ll end up being dragged straight to hell. You say now that it would only be limited, but history tells us a different story. You fought in Vietnam. You should know better.

I appreciate your military service, but as a senator, you’re arrogant, lazy, and outrageously disrespectful. I have never in my life been more embarrassed of any of my representatives as I am of you now. General Dempsey has DECADES of education, training, and experience. He has more understanding of the situation in his little finger than you have in your entire life.

I do hope you’re not planning to run again. If I have to run against you myself, I will see to it that you are replaced in the next election. I am ashamed of you and your behavior of late.

Sincerely,

Mel

PS: if I can sit for 10 hours a day answering the most boring phone calls in creation, I’m pretty sure you can put your damned phone down and pay attention to a three-hour hearing about the possibility of my family going to war. Grow up.