Archive for Obamacare
A few weeks ago, I was listening to Trump give a speech at one of his rallies, and I was laughing. I wasn’t laughing at him, necessarily, although that accounted for part of my mirth. For some reason, I just found whole scenario–the things he was saying, the cadence of his words, the enthusiasm of his supporters, the fact that he was the GOP nominee, the possibility that Hillary might lose the election–amusing, even joyful. I don’t remember what he said–his usual shtick, probably: “build the Messican wall, throw Hillary over it, have her toss our jobs back to us”…
My mother called me the morning of the election, and asked what I thought. I said I wasn’t sure, but it certainly looked like Hillary would win, based on the polling, and that the Democrats would win the Senate, but that the Republicans would retain control of the House of Representatives. Divided government, and then in 2018, the GOP would win back control of the Senate, for sure. All the conventional things people interested in politics “knew” that morning.
I voted for the Darrell Castle/Scott Bradley Constitution Party ticket. Since no Constitution Party candidates were listed for the other offices, I voted Libertarian Party for everything else. I’m done with the GOP. That’s right: I live on the edge.
At 21:00 Tuesday night, while switching back and forth between Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the Blaze Network, I gathered that Hillary would win the Presidency with somewhere north of 300 electoral votes, that the GOP would keep the House, as expected, and that the GOP just might possibly also keep the Senate. It was good enough for me, so to bed I went. At 01:00, I awoke, and checked the phonernet. Real Clear Politics said Trump had won with 274 Electoral votes. Suspicious, I returned to watching the four networks. None of them had Trump as the winner, but all of them had Trump ahead with (depending on the station) 244 or 254 Electoral votes. I did not get back to sleep. By the next day, it turned out that the election returns were just as predicted, except that Trump won.
Everyone “knows” now why Donald Trump won. He touched that place in people’s hearts that politicians so want to touch: the place that activates their unreasoning and unassailable loyalty. He made ridiculous promises and gave only the vaguest explanation of how he would fulfill those promises, but it didn’t matter to his supporters. “Trust Me.” “Believe Me.” He talked about bringing jobs back from Mexico and China that had actually gone to robots in Alabama. He said that he would build a wall between the border of the U.S. and Mexico, and that Mexico would pay for it. He promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). He did not give his plans on how he would do these things. “Trust Me.” “Believe Me.” Trump supporters did what he said.
Of course, not all Trump voters believe him; a lot of people were voting against Hillary, and so helped push Trump to victory, but consider him with the same enthusiasm as one would a snake poking its head out of the toilet. This is why it is incorrect to label everyone who voted for Trump as a hateful bigot who hates the hated. But, why would they vote for someone so detestable if they didn’t in some way approve of him? Because they honestly thought Hillary was worse. If you don’t already understand why someone would think this, it’s not likely you can understand it. This is one of the hazards of making every election a binary choice–people have different personal beliefs on what constitutes a “greater evil”. But what about the awful things people accused Trump of doing? “They’re just accusations. Innocent until proven guilty, ha, ha. Hillary’s worse.” ~Trump Voter, not Supporter.
What about the things that Trump said to Billy Bush?
I can’t speak for the non-supporter Trump voter (NSTV), but I do have a thought about this. I didn’t hear the entire conversation, but I agree that it sounded pretty bad. It was even worse that Billy Bush kept pressuring his female co-host to give Trump hugs and such. I also agree, in part, that it wasn’t “locker-room talk”. Locker room talk involves mainly one-upmanship about one’s “manliness” (by using a plethora of metaphors and similes), not discussions about assaulting women. There is another sort of darker humor, though, best exemplified by the joke known as “The Aristocrats”. I will allow the reader the opportunity to research this “joke” himself, but I will explain that the point of the joke is not to be funny through cleverness (it has a rather obvious and dull punchline), but by being as explicitly offensive and profane as possible while telling it. The humor lies in how uncomfortable the joke teller can make his audience feel. (“I can’t believe he went there! Tee-hee!”) Howard Stern does something like this, and quite well, if you are into that sort of humor. I think that, based on the portion of video I saw of Trump and Billy Bush, this was what Trump was attempting to do. He was trying to be as outlandishly offensive as possible, as an attempt at humor. I say this with the understanding that I was not there, did not hear the whole conversation, and am not personally acquainted with Trump and so cannot judge his character as to whether he would actually assault women in the manner he described. Several women came afterward and accused him of assaulting him in the manner he described, so my theory may not be correct.
But I digress.
Post-Election Wednesday, the Trump True Believers Squad was ecstatic. The Hillary Booster Club members were devastated–some of them are still protesting/rioting, as of Saturday night (11/12). The #NeverTrumpers were split, with some sort of happy, and some soaking their hankies. I felt…well, I felt relief. I did not want Hillary to be President, at all. I don’t like Progressivism; I don’t like Statism; I don’t like bullies who use the government to punish people who disagree with them. So, naturally, I also did/do not want Trump to be President. People claim he’s a brilliant businessman, but at best he’s a crony capitalist, and so is a poor representative for the Free Market. People look at him and denounce Capitalism almost reflexively. There is a popular saying among the Trump True Believers that he will “run the government like a business”, which, considering Trump’s track record, is terrifying; but even were he as brilliant in (real, free-marketplace style) business as people claim, we should not want the government “run like a business” for the simple fact that a business seeks always to increase its market share, and that’s the last thing we should want the government to do. Believe Me.
As an aside, Trump has a significant portion of his base a group calling themselves the “Alt-Right”. These are not libertarian free-marketeers, but rather a group who thinks that using the government to oppress people is wrong unless they are the ones in control of it–in which case they want the government to be all-powerful. Think of them as sort of the mirror-image of Progressives. It is this group that gives the Trump movement its stigma of racism and anti-Semitism. They’re the ones who are sending mean tweets and calling people names. They think that the recent Trump electoral victory gives their movement validity, and so are now “feeling their oats”, to use a pre-coined phrase. I think the Alt-right is too small a movement to fear–at present–but it is one we should probably monitor with some vigilance. Berlin wasn’t built in a day, and all that jazz.
But, as I say, I felt relief at the election results. I attribute this to my ingrained sense of partisanship, which I must work to eliminate, because the GOP has exposed itself as being every bit as anti-conservative, anti-liberty, anti-limited government as the Democratic Party. Still, I enjoy watching videos of leftists having breakdowns; I enjoy reading stories of progressives shocked into incoherence. I enjoy the victory marches of the Trump crowd, as they make people (including myself) eat a heaping plate of cold-pressed crow.
I don’t enjoy the uncertainty and despair of my friends, though. I have friends and acquaintances whom I would describe as “very liberal”, politically, and for whom I would willingly jump into the fire to save. When I say “jump into the fire”, I mean that I would push them to safety, and then die, screaming in agony, and be caught on video waving my arms in a silly manner, which video would then become an internationally famous Internet meme that mean people would use to mock my pain. I would willingly go through all that because I love my friends, and am loyal, even though we vociferously disagree on politics. Some things are more important than winning elections or having the “right policy” in place.
I wish it wasn’t like this. I wish that a Presidential election didn’t result in people feeling despair. Disappointment, sure; that’s natural. But it should have little more significance that Bob Muckenfutch defeated Molly Simperwingding than that the Cubs defeated the Indians. Okay, maybe a bit more significance; but, after all, as our Founding Fathers set it up, the Executive Branch is supposed to execute the laws passed by the Legislative Branch. We shouldn’t be describing the President as the “Leader of the Free World™”; at best–Constitutionally speaking–he is Congress’ errand runner. Even as “Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces”, he should not be sending troops anywhere without Congress’ approval. If there is a “Leader of the Free World™”, then it is the Speaker of the House. The qualifications for President should hinge on how effective an administrator the candidate is, not the vision he (or she) has for the future, or how hard she (or he) can whack our political opponents. Ironically, from what I have read and heard, Hillary Clinton by this measure would be vastly preferable to Trump, even for far-right conservatives. She is intelligent and well informed and extremely hard-working. Unfortunately, as it stands today, a President Clinton would not be a mere administrator of the nation’s laws, but would attempt to create a utopia. President-elect Trump also wants to create a utopia, of course. Every President wants to create utopia. It’s up to us to stop them; stop them all, I say.
I am an idealist; I believe that the world as it is could be made better. I think we need to go back to the idea that government can’t save us all; it can’t feed us all; it can’t make us all enjoy warm fuzzy feelings in our souls. We give up some of our humanity, I think, by using government to assist the poor and oppressed. I could be wrong; I’m willing to discuss the matter. I think that an armed populace is more important to national defense than a (practically speaking) standing army that one man can send into foreign countries on a whim. I could be wrong; I’m willing to discuss it. I think that it’s more important to protect private property rights than it is to protect people’s feelings. I could be wrong; I’m willing to discuss it.
The President, in my opinion, has too much power. The entire Federal Government has too much power. It should not be intervening in our lives at the level that it does. It should not be our proxy for dealing with each other. Elected officials should not be thought of as our superiors. In fact, all government officials should be considered to be our agents, not our leaders. It’s called “The House of Representatives”, after all, not “The House of Overlords”. A representative is someone you hire to act in your interest, at your direction, so that you can attend to more important things. A representative ain’t the boss of you. He is given his authority by you (and all the other voters in your district, of course). If he misbehaves, or breaks the laws, then the voters can switch him out for someone they think will do a better job. We do have the responsibility to monitor our employees, as any good boss does, and that includes Presidents that we hire to enforce our laws that were passed by the Representatives that we hired. This is how we all can build hope in these dark days: by knowing that, with proper coaching, we can ensure that even a President Trump could prove to be an exemplary employee. We can disagree about the proper methods, but we can do so civilly. But success will depend on us working together. Believe me.
Finally, if there is anyone still reading this, I want to make what I consider the most important point: none of this matters, in the long run. Not the free market, not democracy, not baseball, not defeating terrorism, not anything. The only thing that matters is the Kingdom of God. The whole world is not enough to compensate for lost souls. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ for salvation, I beg you to do so. He makes all the arrangements; He already assumed all the necessary costs. Trust that He did this for you. Tell Him that you trust Him. Tell others that you trust Him. From St. Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
American Evangelical Christians participated–were, indeed, one of the key factors–in winning an astonishing victory against seemingly impossible odds. From a purely political point of view, it was fantastic. My advice is to not gloat. Don’t “Christsplain” how God “chose” Donald Trump at this Historic Time of Historical History to Keep Us from Baking Gay Cakes, or whatever. Maybe God chose Trump to destroy the U.S.A. Who can say, at this point? Live the Gospel. Don’t listen to people who say you’ve lost your witness because you supported literal Demogorgon. Don’t tell your siblings in Christ who occupy the other side that they’ve lost their witness for supporting literal Orcus. When we get to heaven, we will have enough about which to be ashamed–standing in front of the throne with our heads bowed and our feet shuffling–without the added shame of disregarding Christ’s command to us to love each other.
Read the article here.
The author is basically relabelling the “Yokeltarian/Cosmotarian” argument that is being perpetually debated over at reason.com (Hit and Run). The argument goes something like this: there is a group of people (“Yokeltarians”, or, according to this author, “Calhounians”, after the former US Vice-President John C. Calhoun) who are culturally Southern and rural; they distrust the Federal Government because of the Civil War, and so are motivated to limit central government. The worldview of such folk is generally Christian and traditional; they tend to study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, oppose “social rights” like legal abortion and “same-sex marriage”, and are generally recognized by those living outside their inbred society as neo-luddite morons.
Then, there is another group of people (“Cosmotarians”, or, per the author, “Heinleinians”, after Robert Heinlein, an engineer and science fiction writer), who tend to be culturally urban and sophisticated, not to mention astonishingly intelligent and good-looking, who recognize that people need the “freedom” to murder children in the womb and invent new meanings for words like “marriage”. These people tend to study Science!, see the future, and are working on using science and technology to create utopia on earth, where there will be no disease or scarcity, and where “mother earth” will be cared for as she ought to be, and where death itself will someday be conquered.
The author (he calles himself “Hamilton”), makes some interesting assertions. For example, he describes President Obama as “sort of, kind of” libertarian, because he doesn’t seem to want to regulate the activities of the tech-savvy cosmotarians. He wonders how Christians can square what’s in the Bible with “what’s going on in Silicon Valley”. He asserts that technology, via the atomic bomb, “saved millions of American lives” (and thus shows a need for a strong central government that can arrange the creation and construction of atomic bombs). He is critical of Romney for scorning Newt Gingrich’s plan to colonize the moon. He points out that there is a reason why “gay marriage and free trade are always advancing”.
Well, President Obama isn’t regulating cosmotarian technology–yet. Just give him time.
What’s going on in Silicon Valley that I would need to “square” with the Bible? He mentions a proposal to fuse human consciousness with computers (my paraphrase). Well, it’s a proposal, not a reality, and I seriously doubt it could ever become a reality because, despite the adamant assertions of the Delusional Darwinoids, we humans are not just a mass of chemicals that exist due to a cosmic accident. Life has never been shown to come from non-living materials through natural processes. A better hypothesis is that life was created, by a Creator. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that human consciousness will never be stored in a computer.
As for the atom bomb, I doubt that it really saved “millions of American lives”. Japan had already been trying to surrender for about a year; Douglas MacArthur, the commander in the Pacific, opposed the use of atomic bombs to “get Japan to surrender”. In reality, the atomic bombs were to show Russia that 1.) we had them, 2.) we weren’t afraid to use them, and 3.) Russia better be satisfied with the portion of Europe it had already grabbed. I guess, in a sense, one could argue that the atomic bomb *did* save millions of American lives, by preventing a war with the Soviet Union, but such an argument would be, in the end, merely speculation.
Newt Gingrich also said that the people on the moon would vote to make the moon the 51st state. I recall a “Simpsons” cartoon where the children in Lisa’s class were shown a 1950-era film in which the claim was made that the moon “belongs to America.” Life imitates “The Simpsons”! In reality, Romney was quite right to criticize Newt’s idea: it was a stupid idea.
And the bit about “gay marriage advancing”? Well, while three states have had “same-sex marriage” approved by popular vote, the rest of the states that have legalized “same-sex marriage” have done so through legislatures or the courts. 29 states still have “bans” on the practice instilled in their state constituitons (though I doubt that a same-sex couple in Tennessee that decides to go ahead and “get married” without a state license will be going to jail).
About Free Trade, we don’t have it, except perhaps among the various states. All “free trade agreements” are actually government-managed trade treaties, so it’s a bit naive to think that Free Trade is “advancing”, even though that would be awesome. Also, trade is the one activity that almost all economists of varying political philosophies agree is unequivocably beneficial to all parties involved. It’s not a “left-right” issue, in other words.
He posits four “problems” with Calhounism. 1. The threat of foreign invaders necessitates a strong central government. 2. You can’t have the internet without a strong central government. 3. Calhounians are luddites. 4. Calhounians are ignorant luddites.
The challenge for Heinleinians is: 1. That they’re so darned smart. I’m talking wicked smart. These guys are going to figure out how to become immortal, for crying out loud. Also, they’re going to mine asteroids in space. 2. They’re so freaking rich, that, even when they inevitably discover the technological secret to immortality, they will be the only ones able to enjoy it, which will be a problem. 3. They sort of, kind of, like Progressivism, and would call themselves Progressives. 4. They just might turn into real-life versions of James Bond villains, which would make some people uncomfortable.
My reaction to all this? Meh. “Hamilton” is obviously a Cosmotarian, but he realizes that there aren’t that many Cosmotarians, and that for his movement to succeed, it needs to join with the icky neo-Confederate Sky-Daddy Worshippers. His preferred method would be to persuade the nCSDW crowd to drop the opposition to antepartum infanticide and preposterous notions like
“apple pies” made with peaches “same-sex marriage”. Sorry, but if you want people to join you, it is you who must drop the evulz, Ham.
Oh, boy, does he ever. If one reads this article and still insists on voting for Romney as the “lessor of two evils”, or whatever, then one has the comprehension capacity of a turnip.
“As I have noted in previous columns, the differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are miniscule on virtually every salient issue. They both supported TARP; they both supported Obama’s economic stimulus package; they both supported so-called assault weapons bans and other gun control measures; Obama has an “F” rating from Gun Owners of America, while Romney has a “D-” rating from GOA; neither man supports a balanced budget; neither man opposes foreign aid; they both supported the bailout of the auto industry; they both have a track record of being big spenders; they both fully support the Federal Reserve; they both oppose a full audit of the Fed; they are both supporters of universal health care; both men are showered with campaign contributions from Wall Street; neither of them wants to eliminate the IRS or the direct income tax; both men are on record as saying the TSA is doing a “great job”; they both supported the NDAA, including the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process of law; they both supported the renewal of the Patriot Act; they both believe that the President has “executive power” to assassinate and kill; both support the “free trade” agenda of the global elite; they are both soft on illegal immigration; they both support NAFTA and CAFTA; they both have a history of appointing liberal judges; they both believe the President has the authority to take the nation to war without the approval of Congress; and neither of them has any qualms about running up more public debt to the already gargantuan debt of 16 trillion dollars.”
Reason.com has posed its questionnaire concerning the upcoming election to a variety of folk. Here are my answers:
1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why?
I’m leaning toward Gary Johnson, now, although I was ready to vote for Virgil Goode a couple of weeks ago, because of the antepartum infanticide issue. Well, since millions of “pro-life” Christians are quite willing to vote for Romney, who is effectively pro-choice, then no one can really say anything against a pro-life Christian who is voting for Gary Johnson. I’m unsure how committed he is to non-interventionism, while I’m pretty sure that Goode is solidly opposed to the “War on Terror.” On the other hand, Goode is clearly insane when it comes to that police state-creating initiative popularly known as the “War on Drugs.” I care not one whit for narcotics, and advise anyone who considers using them to “just say no.” But the “War on Drugs” is not about ending drug use. It is, rather, the gov’t’s way to implement the legal and logisitical framework for martial law.
Free Trade is also another major issue where G. Johnson is superior to Goode. The Constitution Party incredibly believes that free trade leads to socialism, and so they oppose it vociferously. This means that Constitution Party candidates are in reality in favor of government control of people’s purchasing decisions. Just like Mitt “I’m a buffoon when it comes to economics” Romney.
2a. Between Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including such things as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes?
It’s really hard to say. Romney has a bit of the rhetoric on his side, but his China-bashing shows he has very little understanding of the free market. Obama is a thorough moron on the subject. If one could trust a candidate’s rhetoric, I’d say that Romney is better, but one must remember that Romney thought that the government forcing people to purchase health insurance (which his Massachussetts health care plan did) was a “free market solution” to the “problem” of people not having health insurace (regardless whether or not they actually needed it.) AND Romney thinks that trade is a zero-sum game. The man’s a buffoon. He’ll get into office, and try the same Keynesian nonsense that George “I had to violate free market principles in order save the free market” Bush did, resulting in more monetary inflation (which will, at some point, turn into price inflation with a vengeance), more regulation, lower production of goods and services, and a lower quality of life for any and everyone who does not work in an industry favored by the FedGov.
2b. Between Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights?
Both of them have openly stated a desire for (and in Obama’s case actually took action to effect) the power to throw American citizens in prison without a trial. What is so astounding to me is so many so-called conservatives aren’t in any way upset about this. If Romney came out and said that he believes that the FedGov has the authority to go into people’s homes without a warrant and confiscate their firearms, I would at least hope that “conservatives” would be up in arms, demanding that Romney retract that position. Well, his support for the NDAA of 2012 is actually worse than such a supposed attack on the 2nd amendment. If the president can throw you in prison without a trial, then he can take your firearms away at a whim; he can, in fact, do any variety of unConstitutional activities with impunity.
As to the social issues, Obama is openly for child-murder, Romney is secretly for it (when he says he supports the right of a woman to get an abortion for “health reasons”, that includes “mental health”, which means basically anything. If a woman feels depressed about having a baby, then she can go to the doctor and get permission to kill the child to “protect her mental health.”) Antepartum infanticide is a clear violation of the “non-aggression principle”, so it’s hypocritical for self-describe libertarians to support the heinous practice. On the other hand, the crime of murder is a state matter; Federal Authorities rarely investigate murders, and it’s better for liberty generally that murder be prosecuted by state and local authorities.
There’s no such thing as “gay marriage”, as marriage, by definition, is a heterosexual union. I don’t care if two men (or two women) want to hold out the preposterous idea that they’re married to each other, what I’m opposed to is them getting the government to use violence to try to force me to say the same thing.
2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)?
As I mentioned before, both loonies are in support of the NDAA of 2012, which should be a deal-breaker for anyone who considers himself a devotee of the Constitution. On the war itself, Obama is clearly Bush’s third term; if he were a Republican, then you would hear no end of praise for him from the likes of Muttonhead Limbaugh and Snotnoggin Hannity with regard to his foreign policy. This is the opposite of the economics question, in which both are approximately equally bad though Romney has better rhetoric. Obama’s 2008 anti-war rhetoric is better than Romney’s insane proposals to continue the puerile, counterproductive, stupid policy of perpetual war, but Obama never even tried to live up to his campaign rhetoric. It’s a bit ironic, but had Obama followed through with his campaign promises, then the economy would be doing quite a bit better than it is currently doing; the wars are destroying the American economy more quickly than even “Obamacare” will when it gets fully implemented.
3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Bush, Bush, and McCain. What a hideous thing to have to live down, too.
4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? There are various state initiatives that seek to legalize marijuana. While I oppose marijuana use, I support state governments trying to thwart the will of the Federalis in every issue that they can.
5. Reason’s libertarian motto is “Free Minds and Free Markets.” In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Well, when the Federal Government eventually collapses under its own weight, then the free market, at least, will become a reality posthaste. Until that time, it will grow in power whether the Republicans or the Democrats are in charge.
This is an idea I derived from an article over at lewrockwell.com. The economy is on the verge of distruction. Obama, doubling down on the economic policies of President Bush, has driven it there. If Romney/Ryan had any sort of a clue at all how the economy works, then getting them into office might result in some benefit. But Romney/Ryan are as absolutely clueless about how the economy works as Obama ever was. How can they not be, when both supported TARP? Both men think that government spending is a necessary element to economic growth. Plus, both Romney and Ryan are warmongers, so expect their administration to continue to waste resources that could be used productively.
The problem is, as the article above argued, that the narrative about these guys is that they are pro-free market, so that when they get into office and follow their pro-gov’t, anti-market policies which will inevitably fail, then the free market will get the blame for big-gov’t-style policies, and the need to “return” to big-gov’t-style policies will be loudly proclaimed.
Remember, a vote for Romney is a vote for Obama, since they have the same policy prescriptions for “fixing” the economy, national security, et al. If you truly want to get back to a limited government, then vote third party.