Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Partisanship Shifts: A Brief History

I want to use the following excerpts from a Statfor.com article to provide a history of how we have become such "partisan" country.  

The entire article,  The Roots of the Government Shutdown is from Stratfor's Geopolitical Weekly, Tuesday October 8th, 2013.

The History Lesson:

"...there was a massive shift in the 1970s in how the American political system operates. Prior to then, candidate selection was based on delegates to national conventions, and the delegates to conventions were selected through a combination of state conventions and some primaries. Political bosses controlled the selection of state convention delegates, and therefore the bosses controlled the delegates to the national convention -- and that meant that these bosses controlled the national conventions.
There was ample opportunity for corruption in this system, of course. The state party bosses were interested in enhancing their own security and power, and that was achieved by patronage, but they were not particularly ideological. By backing someone likely to be elected, they would get to appoint postmasters and judges and maybe even Cabinet secretaries. They used the carrot of patronage and the stick of reprisals for those who didn't follow the bosses' line. And they certainly were interested in money in exchange for championing business interests. They were ideological to the extent to which their broad constituencies were, and were prepared to change with them. But their eyes were on the mood of the main constituencies, not smaller ones. These were not men given to principled passion, and the dissident movements of the 1960's accordingly held men like Chicago's Richard J. Daley responsible for repressing their movements.
The reformers wanted to break the hold of the party bosses over the system and open it to dissent, something party bosses disliked. The reformers did so by widely replacing state conventions with primary systems. This severely limited the power of state and county chairmen, who could no longer handpick candidates. These people no longer controlled their parties as much as presided over them.
Political parties ceased being built around patronage systems, but rather around the ability to raise money. Money, not the bosses' power, became the center of gravity of the political system, and those who could raise money became the power brokers. More important, those who were willing to donate became candidates' main constituency. The paradox of the reforms was that in breaking the power of the bosses, money became more rather than less important in the selection of candidates. Money has always been central to American politics. There has never been a time when it didn't matter. But with the decline of political bosses, factors other than money were eliminated.
Through the next decade, reformers tried to get control over money. Though they had gotten rid of the bosses, getting money out of politics proved daunting. This put power in the hands of business, which by hook or crook, Citizens United or not, was going to pursue its interests through the political system. But in general its interests were fairly narrow and were not particularly ideological. Where before business gave to party bosses, it now donated to candidates and political action committees. Of course, if this route were closed down, still another route would be found. The candidates need money, businesses need to protect their political interests. Fortunately, most businessmen's imagination stops at money, limiting the damage they can do.
Being an ideologue myself, this next part is particularly disturbing to me.  Given that politics in one way or another effects nearly everything and everyone I wrestle with the idea that there are a lot of people who simply don't care enough to educate themselves and vote.

There was, however, an unexpected consequence. The reformers' vision was that the fall of the bosses would open the door to broad democratic participation. But the fact was that the American people did not care nearly as much about politics as the reformers thought they ought to. Participation in presidential primaries was frequently well below 50 percent, and in state and local elections, it was far lower. 
For most Americans, private life is more important than public life. There is only so much time and energy available, the issues are arcane and rarely involve things that will change ordinary citizens' lives much, and there is little broad-based ideological passion. Citizens frequently don't know or care who their congressman is, let alone who their state senator is. They care about schools and roads and taxes, and so long as those are functioning reasonably well, they are content.
This greatly frustrated the reformers. They cared deeply about politics, and believed that everyone should, too. But in the country our founders bequeathed us, it was expected that most people would concern themselves with private things. And in fact they do: They do not vote in primaries or even in general elections.
The primaries were left to the minority who cared. At the beginning, these were people who felt strongly about particular issues: corporate greed, the environment, war, abortion, taxes, and so on. Over time, these particular issues congealed into ideology. An ideology differs from issue-oriented matters in that ideology is a package of issues. On the right, low taxes and hostility to abortion frequently are linked. On the left, corporate greed and war are frequently linked. Eventually, a bond is created showing that apparently disparate issues are in fact part of the same package.
Particular issues meld to form ideological factions. The ideological factions take common positions on a wide range of issues. The factions are relatively small minorities, but their power is vastly magnified by the primary system. Ideologues care because ideologies contain an apocalyptic element: If something is not done soon, the argument goes, catastrophe will ensue. The majority might well feel some unease regarding particular topics, and some may feel disaster is afoot, but they do not share the ideologue's belief that redemption can come from the political process.
This in part might be because of a sense of helplessness, and in part it might reflect a deeper sophistication about how the world really works, but either way, this type of person doesn't vote in primaries. But ideologues do. Perhaps not all do, and not everyone who votes is an ideologue, but it is ideology that generates a great deal of the energy that contributes to our political process. And it is ideology that, for example, links the deep and genuine passion over abortion to other issues.
A candidate in either party does not need the votes of the majority of registered voters. He needs the votes of the majority of voters who will show up. In the past model, voters showed up because, say, they got their job on the highway crew from the county boss, and they had to appear at the polls if they wanted to keep it. Those days are gone. Now, people show up because of their passionate belief in a particular ideology, and money is spent convincing them that a candidate shares their passionate commitment.
After raising the funds by convincing primary voters of their ideological commitment, the general election can turn into a race between two ideological packages. The winner will only be re-elected if primary voters see him as having been sufficiently loyal to their ideology while in office.
            {Note: All emphasis mine.}

             "The Roots of the Government Shutdown is republished with permission of Stratfor.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Extortion propagated by the government of the United States of America

This is what our forefathers knew would happen eventually....  This is why they gave us the power of free speech via the 1st Amendment.....

Regardless of party affiliation you should be incensed that this is happening, especially the part about the Department of Justice.  The Obama regime will go down as the most crocked  




Friday, October 25, 2013

Insight from an actual Doctor....

So, I recently had my annual eye exam.  I asked the eye doctor what he thought about Obamacare.  Here are some anecdotes from our conversation:
  • My Doctor said he believes the goal is to create an assembly line approach to his type of practice where there would be building complexes of eye doctors.  Each doctor would have about 5 minutes per patient to do the exam and then on to the next (my appointment took and hour.  I checked out fine, in case you were wondering).
  • My Doctor told me that last week a man came into his office and said he wanted his free glasses.  When my Doctor asked the guy what he meant, the guy said he's got his Obama-phone and food stamps, now that healthcare is free, he wants his free glasses.  I specifically asked my Doctor if he thought the guy was serious and he said it was all perfectly serious.  The guy expected free glasses.
  • Then my Doctor went on to explain that he keeps getting notices from Medicare seeking his "group number" in order to be reimbursed.  Since is is a sole practitioner he does have a "group number".  So every time he gets one of these notices he has to spend about an hour on the phone calling Medicare to get it straightened out.  Every time, when he finally reaches the right person they'll say, "Oh, you're right, you don't need a group number because you're a sole practitioner."  To which he'll ask, "Is there a way you can fix it in your system so I don't keep getting asked for my group number?"  And they'll say, "No, that is handled by another department."  
  • Until last year, he had to send in his Medicare Claims via a dial-up service.  Yes.  Dial-up.  Some of you my be too young to remember the good old days of 56kps dial-up service with AOL or Earthlink, be I'm serious.  He had to unplug his fax line and use a telephone line to transmit Medicare files until January of this year.  
  • But wait!  It gets better!  Not only did they have to use the dial-up service until last year, they had to store their back-ups on 3.5 floppy discs.  YES, THEY DID!  The past few times he upgraded his computer systems he had to purchase stand alone 3.5 floppy drives in order to be compliant.
So this on top of the healthcare.gov website debacle should make you're head spin.  What were they thinking?  One of the biggest reason's Obamacare is failing is because it was too big to begin with....

Healthcare in the U.S. represents 1/6th of the GDP of our country.  This is roughly equivalent to the size of the ENTIRE French economy.  How can this be allowed, much less be constitutional?

Next, I'll be taking a look at the new HIPAA Privacy Practices document I had to sign.  It is even more disturbing....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Millionaires vs "The Poor"

This could have been recorded today.  Even the statistics he sights are almost the same....

I see were he gets it from....

I heard about this after it happened and have not had time to watch until today.  Everyone should watch and learn.

Is Obamacare Racist?

So, do you suppose the Supreme court will uphold legislative racism this time?

Obamacare seeks to segregate patients, doctors by race

2:20 PM 10/20/2013

Katie McHugh

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor under Obamacare — if you both belong to the same race.
Obamacare’s spectacular flop of a rollout distracts from its crude calculus that encourages the allocation of healthcare resources along racial lines and a doctor-patient system splintered into ethnicities.
While the 2010 Patient Protecion [sic] and Affordable Care Act’s language on diversity sounds innocuous, a review of the frankly separatist thinking of the law’s ardent supporters indicates Obamacare is aiming for a health care system that puts political correctness above the struggle against illness and death.
A 2009 report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) examining the House and Senate bill eventually signed by President Barack Obama advocates pairing patients and doctors of the same race, a goal toward which the law channels taxpayer dollars. 
“Research suggests that health care providers’ diagnostic and treatment decisions, as well as their feelings about patients, are influenced by patients’ race or ethnicity,” the CAP report reads. “Several studies have shown that racial concordance is substantially and positively related to patient satisfaction.”
The key phrase is “race concordance” — a word which means “a state in which things agree and do not conflict with one another.”
“There is… evidence that race concordance — defined as shared racial or ethnic identities between clinicians and patients — is related to patient reports of satisfaction, participatory decision making, timeliness of treatment, and trust in the health system,” the report reads. In other words, fixing the broken U.S. healthcare system means assigning Hispanic doctors to Hispanic patients, African American doctors to African American patients, Creole doctors to Creole patients, and so on.
To accomplish this, the CAP report explains, Obamacare pours taxpayer dollars into affirmative-action candidates whose judgment will lead them to make life-or-death decisions. Ultimately, these taxpayer-funded grants would provide scholarships and loan forgiveness for minorities so they could provide healthcare services exclusively to their own race or ethnicity.  Obamacare, the report reads, “provides scholarships and loan repayment support for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds serving in the health professions, and it grants funding for the Health Careers Opportunities Program, which supports schools that recruit and train individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to work in the health professions. The bill also establishes a grant program at HRSA to promote health care professionals’ cultural and linguistic competence.”
A 2010 report [pdf] from Families USA’s Minority Health Initiatives offers similar language. The report applauds the Affordable Care Act for providing health care materials that are “culturally and linguistically appropriate.” Families USA adds, “The legislation also provides grants for training health care providers in culturally appropriate care and services.”
Grants are indeed handed out on a racial or ethnic basis. For example, Subtitle D, Sec. 756 of the Affordable Care Act lists eligibility requirements for mental health grants that demand universities and colleges recruit and “understand the concerns” of minority students, that programs offered to those students must emphasize “cultural or linguistic competency” — and the institutions must provide the HHS Secretary racial data on its student body, under threat of not only losing its grants, but being forced to repay them to the government.
Obamacare also re-authorizes The Office of Minority Health,  whose secretary will hand out grants, government contracts and other taxpayer-funded favors to “eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.”
[all emphasis mine]

Washington's Corrupt Open Secret

This is a well done piece on the corruption of Washington DC politicians.

I caution you to keep in mind that one of their main sources is CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington).  Crew is run by Melanie Sloan.  Here is an excerpt from her bio:
Ms. Sloan served as Minority Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, working on criminal justice issues for Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI). Ms. Sloan also served as Counsel to the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by then-Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY).  In 1993, Ms. Sloan served as Nominations Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE).
Having said that, they do also use Peter Schweizer from the Hoover Institute who may/may not be partisan as well.

The bottom line is they are all corrupt....  ALL....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Excellently written piece on the debt crisis.

My take-aways:

  1. "The founders' fear was simple: Humans are by nature self-serving and prone to corruption."
  2. Hence, "They also wanted virtuous rulers."
  3. "The founders wanted reluctant rulers."
  4. "The Founding Father who best reflects these values is, of course, George Washington." (i.e., his take on debt and the example of servant leadership - leaving  office voluntarily after 2 terms)
  5. "From the founders' perspective, debt was not simply a technical issue; it was a moral     issue."
  6.  "The concept of limited government, of the distinction between public and private life,  of obligation and rights, all flow from the founders."
  7. And finally, the final paragraph: "The three branches of government, the great hopes of the preamble and the moral character needed to navigate the course continue to define us. The moral character was always problematic from the beginning. Washington was unique, but America's early political parties fought viciously -- with Aaron Burr even shooting Alexander Hamilton. The republic of the mind was always greater than the republic itself. Still, when we come to moments such as these, it is useful to contemplate what the founders had in mind and measure ourselves against that."

The U.S. Debt Crisis from the Founders' Perspective

By George Friedman
The U.S. government is paralyzed, and we now face the possibility that the United States will default on its debt. Congress is unable to resolve the issue, and President Obama is as obstinate as the legislators who oppose him. To some extent, our political system is functioning as intended -- the Founding Fathers meant for it to be cumbersome. But as they set out to form a more perfect union, they probably did not anticipate the extent to which we have been able to cripple ourselves.
Striving for ineffectiveness seems counterintuitive. But there was a method to the founders' madness, and we first need to consider their rationale before we apply it to the current dilemma afflicting Washington.
Fear and Moderation
The founders did not want an efficient government. They feared tyranny and created a regime that made governance difficult. Power was diffused among local, state and federal governments, each with their own rights and privileges. Even the legislative branch was divided into two houses. It was a government created to do little, and what little it could do was meant to be done slowly.
The founders' fear was simple: Humans are by nature self-serving and prone to corruption. Thus the first purpose of the regime was to pit those who wished to govern against one other in order to thwart their designs. Except for times of emergency or of overwhelming consensus, the founders liked what we today call gridlock.
At the same time, the founders believed in government. The U.S. Constitution is a framework for inefficiency, but its preamble denotes an extraordinary agenda: unity, justice, domestic tranquility, defense, general welfare and liberty. So while they feared government, they saw government as a means to staggeringly ambitious ends -- even if those ends were never fully defined.
Indeed, the founders knew how ambiguous their goals were, and this ambiguity conferred on them a sense of moderation. They were revolutionaries, yet they were inherently reasonable men. They sought a Novus Ordo Seclorum, a "New Order of the Ages," a term that was later put on the Great Seal of the United States, yet they were not fanatical. The murders and purges that would occur under Robespierre or Lenin were foreign to their nature.
The founders' moderation left many things unanswered. For example, they did not agree on what justice was, as can be seen in their divided stance on slavery. (Notably, they were prepared to compromise even on something as terrible as slavery so long as the Constitution and regime could be created.) But if the purpose of the Constitution was to secure the "general welfare," what was the government's role in creating the circumstances that would help individuals pursue their own interests?
There is little in the Constitution that answered such questions, despite how meticulously it was crafted, and the founders knew it. It was not that they couldn't agree on what "general welfare" meant. Instead, they understood, I think, that general welfare would vary over time, much as "common defense" would vary. They laid down a principle to be pursued but left it to their heirs to pursue it as their wisdom dictated.
In a sense, they left an enigma for the public to quarrel over. This was partly intentional. Subsequent arguments would involve the meaning of the Constitution rather than the possibility of creating a new one, so while we would disagree on fundamental issues, we would not constantly try to re-establish the regime. It may not have been a coincidence that Thomas Jefferson, who hinted at continual revolution, did not participate in the Constitutional Convention.
The founders needed to bridge the gaps between the need to govern, the fear of tyranny and the uncertainty of the future. Their solution was not in law but in personal virtue. The founders were fascinated by Rome and its notion of governance. Their Senate was both a Roman name and venue for the Roman vision of the statesman, particularly Cincinnatus, who left his farm to serve (not rule) and then returned to it when his service was over. The Romans, at least in the eyes of the founders if not always in reality, did not see government as a profession but rather as a burden and obligation. The founders wanted reluctant rulers.
They also wanted virtuous rulers. Specifically they lauded Roman virtue. It is the virtue that most reasonable men would see as praiseworthy: courage, prudence, kindness to the weak, honoring friendship, resolution with enemies. These were not virtues that were greatly respected by intellectuals, since they knew that life was more complicated than this. But the founders knew that the virtues of common sense ought not be analyzed until they lose their vigor and die. They did not want philosopher-kings; they wanted citizens of simple, clear virtues, who served reluctantly and left gladly, pursued their passions but were blocked by the system from imposing their idiosyncratic vision, pursued the ends of the preamble, and were contained in their occasional bitterness by the checks and balances that would frustrate the personal and ideological ambitions of others.
The Founding Father who best reflects these values is, of course, George Washington. Among the founders, it is he whom we should heed as we ponder the paralysis-by-design of the founders' system and the current conundrum threatening an American debt default. He understood that the public would be reluctant to repay debt and that the federal government would lack the will to tax the public to pay debt on its behalf. He stressed the importance of redeeming and discharging public debt. He discouraged accruing additional debt and warned against overusing debt.
However, Washington understood there would be instances in which debt had to be incurred. He saw public credit as vital and therefore something that ought to be used sparingly -- particularly in the event of war -- and then aggressively repaid. This is not a technical argument for those who see debt as a way to manage the economy. It is a moral argument built around the virtue of prudence.
Of course, he made this argument at a time when the American dollar was not the world's reserve currency, and when there was no Federal Reserve Bank able to issue money at will. It was a time when the United States borrowed in gold and silver and had to repay in the same. Therefore in a technical sense, both the meaning and uses of debt have changed. From a purely economic standpoint, a good argument can be made that Washington's views no longer apply.
But Washington was making a moral argument, not an argument for economists. From the founders' perspective, debt was not simply a technical issue; it was a moral issue. What was borrowed had to be repaid. Easing debt may power the economy, but the founders would have argued that the well-being of the polity does not make economic growth the sole consideration. The moral consequences are there, too.
The Republic of the Mind
Consequently, I think the founders would have questioned the prudence of our current debt. They would ask if it were necessary to incur, and how and whether it would be paid back. They would also question whether economic growth driven by debt actually strengthens the nation. In any case, I think there is little doubt they would be appalled by our debt levels, not necessarily because of what it might do to the economy, but because of what it does to the national character. However, because they were moderate men they would not demand an immediate solution. Nor would they ask for a solution that undermines national power.
As for federally mandated health care, I think they would be wary of entrusting such an important service to an entity they feared viscerally. But they wouldn't have been fanatical in their resistance to it. As much as federally mandated health care would frighten them, I believe fanaticism would have frightened them even more.
The question of a default would have been simple. They would have been disgusted by any failure to pay a debt unless it was simply impossible to do so. They would have regarded self-inflicted default -- regardless of the imprudence of the debt, or health care reform or any such subject -- as something moderate people do not contemplate, let alone do.
There is a perfectly valid argument that says nothing the founders believe really affects the current situation. This is a discussion reasonable and thoughtful people ought to have without raised voices or suspicion that their opponent is vile. But in my opinion, we have to remember that our political and even private life has been framed by our regime and therefore by its founders. The concept of limited government, of the distinction between public and private life, of obligation and rights, all flow from the founders.
The three branches of government, the great hopes of the preamble and the moral character needed to navigate the course continue to define us. The moral character was always problematic from the beginning. Washington was unique, but America's early political parties fought viciously -- with Aaron Burr even shooting Alexander Hamilton. The republic of the mind was always greater than the republic itself. Still, when we come to moments such as these, it is useful to contemplate what the founders had in mind and measure ourselves against that.

"The U.S. Debt Crisis from the Founders' Perspective is republished with permission of Stratfor."

Why Default?

Why is there talk of default?  It's like Obama is trying to create one...  The math is simple:

$250 billion in monthly revenue 
-$22 billion in monthly interest on current debt
-$76 Billion in mandatory spending (S.S., Medicare, etc...)
-$75 Billion/mo in Defense 
=$42 Billion available for "other discretionary" spending

Why would our president allow a "Default" (or even talk about one) given the math?  Could it be that he benefits politically from the "crisis mentality"?  

Yet somehow we (i.e., the U.S. taxpayers) currently borrow $105.83 BILLION dollars per month to run the federal government.  Where does that money go? 

Let's See:
Missing Money
Source: Missing Money

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Government Shutdown Crisis Opinion....

Let's make something perfectly clear:  The reason the government is "shutdown" is the result of a complete lack of leadership in the executive branch.  

The executive branch has been using "extraordinary measures" since roughly May to keep from hitting the debt limit, effectively allowing this to culminate into this "crisis".  Why would they do this, you might ask?  Could it be because we've elected a leader whose leadership style was that of a community agitator and he is managing as if that's still his job.  He needs to create a crisis in order to create a government solution. 

The GOP started this negotiation by asking for complete de-funding of Obamacare.  They have caved on every major issue: Defunding Obamacare; massive tax hikes on medical devices; & the individual mandate requiring individuals, to purchase healthcare insurance - Obama exempted businesses from this mandate for 1 year via executive order.  The GOP is down to the final 3:

  1. The Vitter Amendment which says Obamacare ought to apply to everyone equally (currently the executive branch & all political appointees are exempt; congress gets 75% subsidy - by executive order).
  2. Reinstate the income verification for Obamacare subsidies (also changed by executive order)
  3. GOP wants to extend government funding through Dec 15th to allow time to negotiate a longer term financing deal; Democrats want a deal through the 2014 election cycle which would repeal the 2011 deal which has forced the sequester - saving billions since it started.  This is a BIG sticking point, as this is goal post that was moved by the Democrats at the last minute.  It would effectively allow an ADDITIONAL $1 Trillion deficit in just 2014.    

Given how much the GOP has caved, it does not seem unreasonable for a person who knew anything about leading from the front to hash out these 3 points and put this behind him.  

Unless, he see's some political advantage to maintaining this crisis....? 

O'care is here....

Sheila Jackson Lee, The Democrats Gift to the GOP that just keeps on giving....

NO! Who could believe such a thing..?

I'd have never guessed that a website meant to enroll people into yet another big-government entitlement would ask you to register to vote!  "The hell", you say?   Yes.  Yes I do....

ObamaCare site also includes voter registration option

From the MacIver Institute:

October 14, 2013
[Madison, Wisc...] The Obamacare exchange website is complicated to use and has seen more than a few glitches since it officially opened on October 1st, but the MacIver Institute has found that once you get through the application process, the website asks individuals to register to vote.
The MacIver Institute was trying to use HealthCare.gov to compare rates on the Wisconsin exchange on Thursday and Friday. This requires an individual to fill out an application before the rates can be seen. Unfortunately, the website crashed before premium rates could be compared.
However, prior to the website crashing, which was not the first time during the application process, it was discovered that the Obamacare website actually tries to register individuals to vote.

Who'd a thunk, aye? 

We know all democrats lie, but this one even lies about his own name.....

Texas pol serves seven terms under alias

By   /   October 11, 2013 

HOUSTON — Ferdinand Frank Fischer III would be a great name for a Mexican monarchist trying to reclaim the crown of Emperor Maximilian, but it’s a lousy name for an ambitious American politician from a Latino district of San Antonio.
That’s why Fischer ditched it years ago, trying on a couple of monikers before building a name for himself as Trey Martinez Fischer, politician on the rise.
There’s no mystery why Fischer would want to pretend to be named Martinez. Sixty percent of the voting-age population in his district is Hispanic, and the percentage is even higher among Democrats. Six of the seven Democratic state representatives fromBexar County use Hispanic last names; the other five, as far as we know, have every right to do so. 

What's really rich, is that he (incidentally, I'm sure)  opposes Voter ID Laws, even lying that his mother would be unable to vote if they were passed.  Of course, that was just another in a long line of lies from this charlatan.  He's actually used quite a number of alias'...
There are other documents where he mashes together bits of his real name and stage name – Ferdinand F Trey Fischer, III; Trey Fischer Martinez; Ferdinand Trey M. Fischer, III; Ferdinand Trey Frank Fischer, III – so that it’s always clear who the subject is.
Maybe, he really opposes the voter ID Law because HE would be unable to vote.

So there we have it.  Further proof that the lying liars (aka: democrats) just keep on lying....

Sadly, his low information voter district will likely continue to vote for him in spite of his complete an udder dishonesty and pandering behavior.  I mean really, what's in a name anyhow?