Tuesday, June 27, 2017
If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.
The map is not the territory.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
The big complaint about repealing Obamacare is that it will leave some millions without health insurance. Of course they don’t have health insurance in the first place, because much of Obamacare is not insurance, it’s “universal” health care paid for by a complex system of subsidies; and of course the nation got along for a number of years without it.
My question is, why must I – actually my grandchildren – pay for your healthcare to begin with? I say my grandchildren, because most of Obamacare’s subsidies are paid for with borrowed money, but I do pay current taxes – we all do although only half of us pay income taxes – and the United States is living off borrowed money at a higher rate than usual. But Obamacare says that if you get sick, your health care is my responsibility, not yours; and I am wondering how I came by this responsibility? Was I born with it? No. I’m pretty sure that when I was growing up my folks paid my doctor bills to Doctor Demarco and St. Joseph’s Hospital, and no one else did. Doctor Demarco lived across the street from St. Peter’s Orphanage, and donated some of his time there, and to impoverished patients at St. Joseph’s, and I suppose that if my Dad had ever got fired from WHBQ and I got appendicitis I’d be taken care of somehow, but my father was never under the illusion that the final responsibility was his – well, ours – and no one else’s.
But somehow over the years I have acquired the responsibility to pay your health debts, and those of refugees, and even of illegal migrants who have no intention of assimilating, and I would like to know how I got this obligation, and the state got the right to enforce it with armed men?
Please do not remind me of my moral and religious obligations. The state is still tolerant – sometimes – of religious views, but it has made it clear that it is unconstitutional to impose religious obligations on anyone. That issue is closed. The state doesn’t send armed men to enforce religious edicts. No: religious obligations, and particularly Christian obligations, are right out, not to be enforced.
Yet I am obliged to give you – you are entitled – not only to emergency health care, but to health insurance, no matter how sick you are, or how strange your needs. I am even required to pay part of the cost of your sex change operation, should you want one and find a qualified someone to say you need it for proper mental health. It is not an obligation I asked for or assented to, but it is an entitlement you have; and I want to know the constitutional basis for this. Surely your sex change operation is not necessarily and proper for the health of the republic? It is not interstate commerce within any sane interpretation of the phrase. It is not promoting the general welfare.
You want it. I don’t say you can’t have it, but surely I can say that I don’t want to pay for it? And I don’t have to be totally bereft of the milk of human kindness to say I don’t owe you any health care insurance either.
The Senate is busily proving that Republicans can’t rule; they’re not even a Party. They’re a collection of losers whose jobs were safer when they were in the opposition and they could blame national misrule on someone else. They could say “We don’t control the House”. When they got that, they could say “We don’t have a majority in the Senate.” When that resulted in nothing much about slowing the train to national disaster, they could say “We don’t have the President.” When they nominated and elected a President, they could say “We don’t have enough of the Senate.” Clearly that is fudge, because the rumor is they can’t even muster a majority vote to obliterate Obamacare, a provable national disaster.
What more do they want? But we have had this problem since Lyndon Johnson and even before. Country club Republicans were satisfied to be the loyal opposition. The Democrats slyly gave them perks for being a permanent minority, and many took the bait. The only thing likely to keep these “we can’t quite do it” scoundrels in office is the – admittedly terrifying prospect – of Nanny Pelosi returning as Speaker; they’re willing to do without most of the perks of a “majority party” – which they are not – for permanent jobs on Capitol Hill. And God help us, it works: I sure don’t want to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi ever night – or even every week – on my nightly news. (I don’t want enhanced Obamacare either, or any of the other deficit enhancing free stuff entitlements the Democrats will bring“ in to assure their majority status if they ever take control. So we are obliged to work to keep this bumbling inept crew in charge.
So here we have it: the Democrats hold fewer national and state offices than ever before, but they continue to rule. And bringing them back will make things far worse; and a bloc of country club Republicans really want to become “loyal opposition with benefits” and be rid of the burden of ruling. And a business oriented unsophisticated but very rich President can’t even get confirmation of his own team with a House and Senate majority.
Crocodile Dundee offered to pay the Queen’s carfare on a streetcar if she’d come visit his house during her visit to Australia. Shocking. Uncouth. But he was fighting the alligators, or at least their crocodilian cousins.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the President is in charge of immigration and local courts had no authority to issue injunctions stopping federal public safety measures or to substitute their judgment of the severity if the threat for the political departments – Congress, and particularly the President. At least that’s what we could wish they had done, and two of the justices wrote concurrent opinions – that is they voted for the decision but didn’t think it went far enough – while the court rendered no opinion at all. They did reserve some provisions of the injunctions, apparently, although the reports I have read aren’t explicit as to how. The two dissenters – Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, as you’d suspect – wanted the whole damned thing thrown out and a stern warning issued to the appeals courts that allowed things to get this far. The Court held that the travel ban could not extend to those with a bonafide relationship with a US citizen or institution, such as a student admitted to a US university, which effectively gives the mobs control over immigration dafter all; it’s up to Congress to act on this, which it can. It ought to do so quickly.
The Court has no business telling us who can be admitted as a refugee, and it knows that; but Congress was sloppy enough in the refugee act that the act might be construed that way. Of course it is unlikely that this Congress will be able to pass any modifications of the immigration laws including the refugee provisions, so the flow of potential terrorists may continue no matter what DHS tries to do. Someone in Congress ought to be smart enough to see that.
And of course the plaintiff bar, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, rejoices:
Supreme Court travel ban: Flood of lawsuits expected from ruling
So we’re not through with this matter or over the constitutional crisis; we have a summer of propaganda to endure before the USSC hears this over again.
Supreme Court: Trump travel order to go into effect now, full review in the fall
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is letting a limited version of the Trump administration ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.
The court said Monday the ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The justices will hear arguments in the case in October. [snip]
Bureaucracy in action. One non-profit I am sometimes active in reports:
I submitted a claim for the damaged — XXX — books today. There’s a chance the claim will be denied because of late submittal. It seems the USPS claims form I downloaded is out of date. The allowable claims filling period is now 60 days instead of 180 days. Why did I wait so long? Because we had to have proof of actual value, such as a sales invoice or customer receipt. We didn’t have any sales until last week.
I don’t know why the Post Office would keep outdated info on their website. I submitted the claim anyway. I’ll keep you posted. I feel bad about this; Betsey. I’m sorry. So phooey!!
Your tax dollars at work.
For a bizarre experience:
The FBI’s Briefing On GOP Baseball Shooting Couldn’t Be More Bizarre.
And another revelation that makes sense:
Now we learn the real impetus for the persecution of General Flynn.
Did the FBI retaliate against Michael Flynn by launching Russia probe?
WATCH | Secret memos show Trump adviser roiled bureau by intervening in agent’s discrimination case before he was targeted in Russia case.
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews. [snip]
Is all well with our popular secret police? Apparently not among the non-political career agents.
[snip] The bureau employees, who spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said they did not know the reason for McCabe’s displeasure with Flynn, but that it made them uncomfortable as the Russia probe began to unfold and pressure built to investigate Flynn. One employee even consulted a private lawyer.
“As far as the troops in the field, the vast-majority were disgusted with the Russia decision, but that was McCabe driving the result that eventually led [former FBI Director James] Comey to make the decision,” said a senior federal law enforcement official, with direct knowledge of the investigation.
FBI agents’ concerns became more pronounced when a highly-classified piece of evidence — an intercepted conversation between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak — suddenly leaked to the news media and prompted Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s top security adviser.
“The Flynn leaks were nothing short of political,” one FBI employee said, noting the specific contents of the conversation were known by only a handful of government officials when they leaked. “The leaks appeared to be targeted to take Flynn out.”
Eventually the probe on Flynn moved beyond Russia to questions about whether he properly disclosed foreign payments affecting his security clearance. [snip]
Europe has been working to expose Russian meddling for years – MSN News
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
The Russians did interfere with our election, and not just ours — Putin’s puppeteers have invaded elections all over Europe, NATO members and otherwise.
These appear to me to be acts of cold war, but war nonetheless, Doctor. And if anybody from the Trump campaign and subsequent administration did in fact collude with the Russians before the election or between the election and the inauguration, well, I’m not a lawyer, but it would sure look like aid and comfort to me.
Previous and current Administration officials need to be more candid with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees rather than pretending to forget answers, using weasel words and wishy-washy language, or pleading the Fifth Amendment! They need to do the same with the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, and Mr. Mueller’s investigation. Only candor is going to end the controversy over exactly what, if anything, was done illegally in the United States, show the American public the real danger, and get plans reformulated to protect security at all levels of government, state and local election officials, and major party and candidate state and national election committees.
If closed hearings are necessary, they should be held, but to the extent possible hearings should be open. No swamp or anything else can drain well with valves closed or only partially open. Thorough appraisal by the appropriate committees and the Counsel is necessary so that this can be done with and the rest of the nation’s work can be done without stumbling over feet of contention and doubt.
It is reported that *seventeen* different U. S. intelligence agencies claim that Russian interference is a *fact*. I don’t know which seventeen (out of I don’t know how many more existing) agencies — if they’re serving to check against each other for correct information that’s one thing, but if it’s merely bureaucratic overlap, that’s another and it needs to be eliminated insofar as possible without compromising the republic.
Next year in Luna City,
David K. M. Klaus
We know that Hillary Clinton committed serious crimes – they would have been felonies if nearly anyone else had a secret computer server full of classified information, then edited and deleted most of it after a subpoena was served demanding it’s contents – but the investigation went no further than to establish that. No indictments. We do not know of any other indictable crimes. Given the complexity of the law it is extremely probable that sufficient investigation unlimited by costs will find some, but at the moment none are available and no actual specifications of the “charges” have been observed. Charges without specifications used to be defined as smears (google Senator McCarthy) or more popularly witch hunting.
As far as meddling in other country’s affairs, what else is Radio Free Europe or for that matter the Voice of America. We leave out the more covert operations. Of course we meddle in their affairs, even to the extent of dropping the Danube bridges during the Balkan Wars, making the Slavophilic Russians our enemies when they had been more or less neutral when we took the Muslim side in a war in which we had no interests
The Rise of the Machines – Weeding Robot
Here is a Roomba like robot for gardens:
I wonder if it will be in commercial as well as home use in a year or so.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.