Back on line!

Greetings All! Welcome back!

I have been busy the past couple months, addressing personal issues and overhauling the website. I still have more "deep-dive" articles to write and I wanted to wait until they were completed. However, the recent events in the news has prompted me to reactivate early because what I have to say won't fit into my Facebook page.

The major changes include the rotating banner, a rotating section for the various major "deep dive" categories, a "Contact Me" form (to the Right, of course --->) and comments on posts.

Please Like and Share my FB page, you can now also comment on posts. As long as you aren't a spammer, your respectful comments will be posted. Fair warning, you want to go Godwin's Law on me, the Ban Hammer comes down.

Comment rules:

1. All comments are reviewed before publishing.

2. I will happily and passionately discuss the issues of the post. You want to attack me (or another poster) personally, see #1.

2a. Example: "Your idea/position is stupid and irrational" ==OK. "You are stupid and irrational" == Banned.

3. I will admit when I'm wrong. Show me with non-distorted and/or non-parsed facts and I might even change my mind.

Mixing politics and business

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Businesses have one purpose: to generate a profit. Not to "make jobs," not to "help people" or anything like that. They offer a good or service to fill a demand in the market place, making more money for the owners/shareholders than they spend providing their good/service. Delta Airlines, for example, offers a service to transport you long distances faster than you could walk, run, swim or drive there.

Advertising is a way to increase awareness of your good or service. Television shows, radio shows, newspapers, podcasts and websites (I will collectively call them sites) sell advertising space to these companies because that site can show a certain number of people engage with the site every day. The more engagements, the more the sites can charge the advertisers. The rates and metrics are not important. Leave it at Rush Limbaugh can charge way more for ad space on his website than I could here, if I chose to, which I don't. Business can also partner with other businesses and organizations to offer discounts on their goods and services to the members of the organization, employees of the company and so on.

All that being said, advertising and discounts should be neutral and politics-free. The politics of the site or the advertiser should never be an issue in the decision on whether to advertise there or not. Advertisers wisely analyze the number of visitors and the demographic makeup of those visitors to a site and determine if they want to reach that group of people or not.

As consumers, we want to choose the goods and services we consume in such a way as to maximize value and minimize cost. I really do not care one way or the other about the views on marriage the CEO of Starbucks has, as long as the hot flavored liquid that company sells is what I'm looking for at a price I'm willing to pay, unless they start actively crusading for something I don't believe in, whatever that my be.

In the wake of the Parkland School Shooting, multiple businesses have decided to cut their business relationships with the National Rifle Association because a couple dozen people, appearing to be tens of thousands have deluged these companies, sweating "never to do business with you again!" unless the business acquiesces to their demands, and drop any relationship with the NRA.

There are a couple of problems with this model. First, the hatred and anger constantly demonstrated by Liberals burns white hot, but it burns out quickly. Next week their anger will be directed at something else. They have to constantly switch targets to keep the anger up. If they focus on one task too long, the anger fades. The rest of the country does slow burns. Not very hot, but we burn for a very, very long time.

If Liberals had wailed against the NFL and stopped watching over the kneeling during the National Anthem issue, most of them would have been back watching their teams play well before the end of the season. Us regular folk stopped watching football and never went back. The result is NFL viewership is off by significant numbers, bad enough that the networks had to do "paybacks." When a site promises a certain number of visits, and the visitor logs show that the stipulated number has not been reached, the advertiser gets credit or cash back to reflect the difference between anticipated and actual numbers. Since the whole kneeling kerfuffle started, NFL viewership is down over 20%.

When Delta and the other companies ended their relationship with the NRA because their politics interfered with their business sense, these companies pissed off 5,000,000 NRA members. Five million people who have a very long collective memory when it comes to who helped them and who abandoned them. As an unintended consequence of Delta's decision, the State Legislature voted to end Delta's exemption for a state sales tax on jet fuel in Georgia (the location of their hub). That means their expenses are going to go up and their pool of customers will likely experience a decline. In contrast, Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, told these Liberals to go pound sand and would not cut ties with the NRA.

A business should never be active in politics, as in granting or denying discounts to groups based on their political ideology. The only question should be, "Can we increase our profits if we offer discounts or special services to a particular group of people?" If the answer is "Yes," then the business should. If "No," then not. Any other criteria will alienate current and potential customers of all groups.

Just in case you didn't know, the political power of the NRA does not come from making campaign contributions and lobbying to politicians. According to Open Secrets, The NRA in the 2016 elections cycle spent just a bit over $1 Million in campaign donations, which is #489 on Open Secret's list. #1 on that list is Fahr, LLC., an organization dedicated to stopping global climate change. That organization donated over $90 Million, exclusively to Democrats. The political power of the NRA comes from its 5 Million members. When properly (or even improperly) pissed off, NRA members can change elections. That block of voters in a district can swing an election either way. They can elect a pro-RKBA Democrat over an anti-RKBA RINO (Republican In Name Only) or make sure that anti-RKBA Democrat never has a chance in getting elected.

I personally would prefer "buycotts" as opposed to "boycotts" because that's where you preferentially engage with businesses (like FedEx) who keep their political nose out of their business, even if they may be a little more expensive than the politically active businesses.

Quite frankly, that political power just jumped with both feet into the economic area with this "pissing off." Watch for these companies to have a noticeable decline in sales over the next year:

  • First National Bank of Omaha 
  • Enterprise/Alamo/National Rent-A-Car
  • Hertz Rent-A-Car
  • Symantec
  • Simplisafe
  • Avis/Budget Rent-A-Car
  • Allied/North American Moving
  • Truecar
  • Delta Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Paramount RX
  • Starkey

The best way to hurt a business is not to purchase its goods or services. So, I plan for a very long time to not use any of these companies unless they are the absolute and unavoidable last resort. I thought about sending them a nice email letting them know I will no longer do business with them, however my (and my wallets') absence will be way more effective in communicating my displeasure than any email.

Write comment (0 Comments)

The AWB of 2018

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I think Trump is playing the Democrats again. I am waiting to see how this plays out. The last time Trump did this was with the DREAMers. He offered the Democrats everything they wanted and more, and they walked away. He offered again with gun control, and the Democrats are now going whole hog on this. Here are the current House Bill (hr5087) and Senate Bill (s2095) about the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.

I hate to quote Nancy Pelosi and admit she's right, but "they have to pass the bill to see what's in it." If you know anything about Parliamentary procedure (I keep a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Edition on my desk). A Congressman can stand up and say, "Mr. Speaker, I move that concerning hr5087, the lines starting at page 18, line 7 and proceeding to page 19, line 4, inclusive, be stricken from the bill." If that motion is seconded and voted on in the majority, then the exemption for federal, state and local government entities to purchase any of the weapons in the ban is removed. That might change things a bit. It would be simple, would it be easy? Of course not. However this is the method one party puts "poison pill" riders in a major bill from the other side of the aisle to make the bill fail.

Like the Affordable Care Act, I cannot see a single Republican changing the bill or voting for it. They want the Democrats to vote for this, in unanimity because that will show the American People how the Democrats regard the citizens of this country. These bills have less than a 5% chance of reaching Trump and I am sure he would never sign the bill, because he knows his approval rating and his base would dwindle to almost zero within minutes of the ink being dry. What it has done is clearly shown that every sponsor and co-sponsor of these bills and everyone who votes for them, unless they are in the super-blue districts or states, are going to have a very tough time retaining their seat in the midterm elections in November, regardless of party.

If this issue is properly played by Trump and the Republicans, the midterms should be beyond devastating to the Democrat party.

Write comment (0 Comments)

The 'why' of the Second Amendment, part 2

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

In the last post, I plainly explained why you must have the freedom to acquire tools you deem necessary to protect yourself, because the police can’t, won’t and don’t protect you. Here I will reinforce that with current events.

First of all, I am not taking a position on either side of the arguments for these two examples. I am not saying who is right and who is wrong, either last week or 300 years ago. This situation just is. Back in 2000, the government of Zimbabwe confiscated White-owned farms and gave the land to Blacks that did not own land. There was one small problem, the Blacks who now owned the land did not know how to farm, so the country known then as “the breadbasket of Africa” today cannot feed itself. Twenty-five percent of their population is fed by foreign aid.

The point here is, the government let by Robert Mugabe didn’t like Whites owning land, so the law was changed and these farmers were rounded up and forced off their land. If white settlers just took the land from us without paying for it,” Mugabe said, “we can, in a similar way, just take it from them without paying for it.”

Today, right now, the same thing is happening in South Africa. Jacob Zuma calls for confiscation of white land without compensation. The situation same exact situation that happened in Zimbabwe 18 years ago is repeating itself right now in South Africa. The government “just decided” that this was going to happen, so the laws were/are being changed to let it happen. The military and police will carry the confiscation out and there isn’t a damn thing the Whites can do about it.

And just in case you don’t think that’s serious, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema is quoted as saying,

“We are not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now. The rightful owners of the land are black people. No white person is a rightful owner of the land here in SA and the whole of the African continent." [emphasis mine]

What does that have to do with the US? Very simply. If the government, any government wants something, they can make a law and take it, without your consent. What stops them? Nothing but every armed citizen. Let’s give you some perspective. There are a total of 1.3 million men and women currently serving in the US military. Realistically, there about 250,000 men who are capable of squad-level combat between the Army and Marines. The rest are either other forces not trained for insurgent warfare (Like the Navy. The Navy’s only ground combat forces are the Marines) or are support personnel. A good part of the Army are support personnel. You can expect a supply clerk to be reasonably proficient in how to use an M-4, however he probably hasn't practiced infantry maneuvers since Basic Training.

The other side of the equation is the citizens of the US. On the opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania alone, over 1 million men and women are in the field with a rifle. They are versed in fieldcraft (hiding in the woods) and are able to consistently put a bullet into a dinner plate-sized target at 100 yards. Think about that. One State can field a pool of armed citizens four times the military’s entire combat ready troop force. And there’s 48 more states behind them (I’m not counting Hawaii because it’s a gun-controller’s wet dream). I am not expecting Joe Suburban to be a Rambo and mow down companies of troops. If every armed citizen takes out one trooper, he's done his job. The citizens may rarely win, if at all for any stand-up fights. However we can make the effort so difficult and unpalatable that the government gives up. After all, it’s how we won against George III.

The Jewish people who survived the Holocaust had two words to say about it: "NEVER AGAIN." I believe with all of my heart that if each Jewish family had armed themselves and killed one SS trooper when they were rounded up, the Holocaust would have been far less than the devastating six million dead.

So the lesson is this: If you have the means to protect yourself from criminals or government (or even the criminals in the government), then you can resist their demands. If you have been disarmed, no significant resistance is possible. When we surrender part of a right (a type of weapon, a certain size of magazine, etc.) it just makes it easier for those who took that away from us to come back next week and ask for more. This is why pro-Second Amendment people refuse to compromise. Once we start down that road, it becomes increasingly difficult to do a U-turn and get back to where we were.

Write comment (0 Comments)

The 'why' of the Second Amendment, part 1

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I am going to say something you won’t believe, yet is 100% factual. I am also almost sure it will piss you off.

Concerning the shooting at the Parkland School shooting on February 14th, the Broward County Deputies did everything they were legally required to do.

I can see your brow furrow and the confusion run rampant across your face. “How can you say that? They stood outside while people were being killed!!!”

Before I address that, I need to ask you, what is the root term to describe police officers, sheriff’s deputies and so on? Law Enforcement Officers. What do LEO’s do by their very job description? (Hint: it’s in the term we just used) They enforce the law. Upon the complaint of a citizen or their own observation that a crime has been committed, they investigate the event, gather evidence, arrest those they believe committed the act and present the suspect and the evidence to the prosecutors. That is the legal limits of their job.

So when someone called in, “There’s a man with a gun at Parkland High School, he’s shooting everybody! HELP!!” The police/deputies arrive at the scene and found that a person who was not authorized to have a weapon on the school campus had gotten onto the campus with a firearm. That person then repeatedly discharged said weapon which resulted in the death of 27 people and the wounding of 15 more. The LEO’s then conducted an investigation, gathered evidence, then conducted a search which resulted in the capture of the suspect. That person is now in confinement awaiting the conclusion of the investigation and the preferment of criminal charges.

In other words, when they were told someone broke the law, determined that the law had indeed been broken, gathered evidence to determine who that person is and what exactly they had done, and lastly they found the person and brought him to justice.

“But they stood outside while people were being killed!!!” And.......? As I have repeatedly stated, the job of the police is not to protect individual people, it is to enforce the law. You and you alone are responsible for your personal safety. I fully expect for you not to believe me, so here is the SCOTUS ruling: South V. Maryland (1856). The sad news will come hard to any family who attempts to sue the Broward County Sheriff’s Office for failure to engage the shooter. Every lawyer will sadly inform them they don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Now that I have described the legal extent of their duties, what is the extent of their moral, ethical and human duties to those in the school? Undoubtedly to rush in, singly or as a team, find, engage and stop the shooter, even at the expense of their own lives. Those duties apply to LEO and legally armed citizen alike.

As I write this, the fact has been released that over 60 tips were given to the FBI and local law enforcement agencies that, “This guy is going to shoot up a school, and soon.” Frankly, it doesn’t matter if the police had received 600 or even 6,000 tips, they all would have ended the same: The police will say, “He didn’t break a law, there is nothing we can do until he does.”

Bob can tell Joe, “I’m going to be the next school shooter.” Joe tells the police what Bob said. This is called hearsay and is not admissible in court. Joe can’t go into court, and testify that’s what Bob said. If the police go to Bob and say, “I heard Joe said you told him you are going to be the next school shooter” and Bob agrees to that statement, then the police can arrest him for something like “making terrorist threats.” If Bob posted a video of him saying that or wrote about it online, the police can see it and use that to arrest Bob. If Bob says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about” or doesn’t answer at all, the police can do nothing.

You really, really, really want this system in place. Because if the police can take away Bob’s firearms, put him in jail or a mental institution indefinitely “for evaluation” just because Joe told the police Bob said that without other evidence, guess what you have? That’s right! A POLICE STATE. In the former Soviet Union, dissidents (anyone who spoke out against Communism or the government) were declared to be mentally ill (by the law and doctors employed by the government) and ended up in mental hospitals or “reeducation camps” for however long as the government wanted to hold them. After all, the Soviet Union was paradise on Earth! You must be crazy to not want to live there, right?

This is why you don’t want any agency of the government to summarily confiscate you or your possessions without first going through an extended and well-documented process involving neutral third parties (i.e., Judges). If you allow the police on scene to immediately take your guns (or anything else) because of whatever conditions or reasons, no matter how strict that list is, it won’t be long before those conditions will be relaxed and/or expanded until they can do it anytime, anywhere.

You do not want that, trust me.

Write comment (0 Comments)

The battlefield of words

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

When you engage in armed conflict, where you fight is just as important as what you fight with. Use or denial of terrain is an important component of any battle plan. A successful commander picks where he will engage the enemy, so that the terrain and conditions favor him more than his opponent. At the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V positioned his forces so the French had to cross open, muddy terrain to reach the English forces. When the French advanced, they became mired in the mud, which in turn destroyed their maneuverability and the advantages of their cavalry. This allowed the English archers (armed with that famous English Longbow) to obliterate the French forces. The French could not hide, could not evade and could not retreat. That day, for every Englishman who died, the French lost over 10. No wonder Shakespeare immortalized this battle in his play Henry V ("Once more into the breech, my friends, once more;").

Engagements in the battle of ideas are no different. We do not fight physically (okay, in other places like the Japanese Diet they do) but there needs to be a common language and set of terms used in this debate. I can best relate this in a video I remember but can't find, the guy brings flowers home to his wife as a gesture of his love and devotion to her. She is mad because she doesn't like flowers and ignores the fact that he tried to do something nice for her. It's sad that they are arguing with each other about two completely different subjects. He is asking for recognition of his expression of love despite the miscue, while she is arguing that he doesn't love her because he doesn't present her with what she wants. This is why when we discuss controversial subjects, we need to use the same words and terms, and those words and terms mean the same thing to both sides. If we don't agree on the battlefield (words, terms and their meanings) then we are just yelling at each other in different languages for different reasons and nothing gets resolved.

How are the two preceding paragraphs related? If one side was to let the other define the terms and the scope of the discussion, the side that defines the terms and scope is Henry V and the English, while the poor sap that has to charge across that open quagmire is Charles d'Albret and the French.

Case in point: This young man is debating his very Liberal Indoctrination Facilitator Teacher and she puts forth the silly notion that the Las Vegas shooter was a terrorist. I have queued the video to the appropriate part, but you should watch the entire video.

The student gives the correct definition of the word terrorist, namely someone who engages in terrorism, which is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. Did the LV shooter's actions cause terror? Of course, I don't doubt that for a second. If I had been on that killing field, I would have been terrified. Did he have a reason to kill all those people, such as to "punish Trump supporters," or "to coerce people to convert to Islam or die" (both of those are political reasons, BTW)? If he did, he was stupid enough to not tell anyone his reasons before his heinous act and subsequent death, thus squandering the opportunity.

To be frank, any act of violence usually causes terror in the receivers of that violence. By a simple extrapolation of her definition, every person who commits a violent act is a terrorist. So, if every violent criminal is a terrorist, it dilutes the term to uselessness by the time a real terrorist (Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden to name a few) arrives on the scene. And by a small leap of logic ("Liberal logic" is the worst oxymoron I can think of) every White person is a racist, every male is a sexist, every straight person is homophobic and right on down the line of identity politics.

Are those prior suppositions true? I am sure zero of the above suppositions are no where near the truth. Why? For two simple reasons. First, you can't say "all" in any of these cases. I'm sure I could find one White person who is not a racist, simply because they love and/or married a person of another race. I would call that pretty extensive evidence contradictory to the original claim. Second, none of those suppositions follow the definition as written in the dictionary.

Just for discussion's sake, let's suppose that this young man accepted his "teacher's" incorrect and distorted definition of terrorist. Do you think he could have held his ideological ground in that discussion as well as he did? Not really, he would have been fighting an uphill battle. Do you think she would have had a great advantage in the discussion? Yes, for the very reason I explained in the opening paragraph of this article. By letting the terms and boundaries of the discussion to be set by distorted definitions, he would have seceded the selection of the battlefield to her and would have consequently been mired down in her twisted definitions and cut to pieces by her "Liberal logic" (that term leaves a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about saying those words!). Also, if you accept a different definition of a word or term at the start of a discussion, you leave the door open for a re-definition in the middle of the discussion, putting you at a further disadvantage because there is now a third definition in play. Of course, if during the discussion one of the other definitions is more advantageous to the Liberal's argument, they will switch to that and not tell you. Think of it as a "Verbal Calvinball."

This is why when words are used, everyone needs to agree to what they mean, and the dictionary is the neutral ground. "Sociological Context" is merely the Political Correctness of the 21st century.

Write comment (0 Comments)

As effective as a restraining order

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

So the other day I stumbled across this website, the Convention of States. It is a grassroots effort to activate Article V of the Constitution, which is a way for the States to make Amendments to the Constitution outside of the federal governments control. To this point, all twenty-seven Amendments have been by Congress proposal (by a 2/3rds super majority) and ratified by 3/4ths of the states. This website proposes the other method, where 38 states (3/4ths of the States) propose and agree on amendments all by themselves.

The list (without specifics) of proposed amendments are:

  • A balanced budget amendment
  • A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)
  • A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines–not all the economic activity of the nation)
  • A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
  • A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
  • Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court
  • Placing an upper limit on federal taxation
  • Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes

You see, this is one of those "sounds good, but is it a good, sound idea?" kind of things. I do not have a large fear that this convention would propose a repeal of one (or more) branches of the federal government, or the repeal of certain Amendments (such as the 2nd Amendment).

My view on this is, it's not the laws that need to change, it's the people who interpret and enact the powers enumerated in the Constitution. This falls under a heated discussion frequently performed by wargamers, known as the "RAW vs. RAI" (Rules as Written/Rules as Interpreted) debate. This argument frequently put forth by rules lawyers boils down to a "The rules don't say I can't, so this must mean I can" argument. Which is how our current overlords see things, instead of the "if it's not in the Constitution we can't do it" outlook, which is the proper way. The intent of the Constitution was to define the structure of the federal government and restrict its ability to narrowly defined parameters.

Now let me Fisk the above list.

Balanced Budget: As I alluded to just above, an unscrupulous politician will find a way around any written law. If they can't find a way to parse the words to mean what they want ("It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is"), they will make shit up. If you try to make a rule that covers all the bases, you'll end up with a document that is about as long as the EU's Constitution. Instead of making a law requiring a balanced budget, how about "If, during a term of Congress (a term is two years, the 115th Congress is the current one) a spending deficit has occurred, no member of that Congress is eligible to run for re-election in any future federal election or serve in any position of the federal government after their term of office." The rule and intent here means, "if a Congress overspends, any amount at any time, the 535 members of Congress, once their individual current term expires, can never serve in the federal government in any capacity again." Elected, appointed or hired. This law then invokes leverage of what Milton Friedman called "a person's enlightened self-interest." It won't matter if you voted for the appropriation that resulted in the deficit or not. If there was one, you're out at the end of your term and you can never return.

General Welfare Clause & Commerce Clause: I fail to see the need to "redefine" these clauses, since they are quite clear and what we need is moral citizens who adhere to the original intent of these clauses. Again, we can define it all day long, however immoral people will find a loophole to subvert it or just ignore it no matter what.

International treaties and law: I am unaware of any law requiring that US judges or legislators consider international law or treaties when writing or applying judgements to our current laws. I have been known to be wrong once or twice. I do know that some Judges have used International law to justify their rulings, however again I am unaware of any requirement they do so. I believe a simple return of the Judiciary as a whole to the "four corners of the law" concept would solve this issue.

Executive Orders and Administrative Law: Executive Orders were originally designed as a tool for the president to direct the agencies under his authority. What needs to be done in this case is to repeal the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946. This allows Executive Branch agencies to draft, enact and enforce administrative regulations that have the force of laws equal to those laws passed by Congress. Now, these agencies are not supposed to make things up out of whole cloth, these regulations are meant to "fill in" broad parts of the laws passed by Congress. Case in point, the Clean Water Act of 1972, which gave the EPA power to regulate discharges into the "Navigable Waters of the United States." Recently, the EPA expanded its definition of "Navigable Waters" to include all waters of the United States.

I have to ask this: Do you think it is a good idea for your local police/sheriff to create laws (with or without "public input"), separate from the local legislature and then enforce them? Say the police start handing out $25 "warning tickets" to motorists who go over 40 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, because "they don't want you going over 45." I'm reasonably sure you would be against that. Then why should the EPA get to create then enforce laws that they, not Congress passed? All we have to do is look at Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution:

All legislative powers (i.e., the ability to make laws) herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States..." [emphasis mine]

I can see how granting executive branch agencies the power to make regulations with the force of law parses these words and subverts the Constitution. Because if Congress can't do it (i.e. make laws in areas not defined by the Constitution), they can give authority to an agency close to that line, then feign shock and outrage when the unaccountable bureaucrats of said agency runs amok with its regulations, going into areas the Congress can't get to Constitutionally.

Taxation (upper limit/sunsetting): Believe it or not, people usually act in their own self-interest. If we make the laws so Congress is ineligible for re-election if they run a deficit, I can assure you any tax measure that will raise enough revenue to prevent a deficit will pass unanimously, even if the lowest tax rate is set to 100% of income. I am 104% against any type of direct democracy. I will make an exception here. Since we have tied a legislators political future to their spending habits, it would not end well for the People to give them control of raising the revenue that they mean to spend.

I would propose here that we enact a "flat tax" system, instead of the regressive "last dollar" tax system we have now. This means if you make certain levels of income, you are taxed at different rates. For example, your first $20,000 of income is taxed at 8%, then income between $20,001 and $40,000 is taxed at 12% and so on. We should pick one tax rate that applies to everybody for all earned income. The kicker is any proposal to raise the tax rate is proposed by a given Congress, then is put on the federal ballot for the next election of Congress. Two-thirds (67%) of the popular vote must vote in favor of any tax increase for it to be ratified. I would also require that the federal tax filing date to be the Friday before a federal election, just so it's fresh in everyone's mind how much they pay for the government they are getting.

My amendment: There is one change I want to see, and that is repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, namely the direct election of Senators. If you study the Federalist Papers and other writings of our Founding Fathers, you will see they quite clearly understood human nature (and that of governments run by humans). It is part of our make up, individually and collectively to acquire and maintain wealth and power. The Constitution was designed to keep those urges in check by dividing power among the several stakeholders, as we call them today. We have a bicameral legislature because Congress is supposed to represent the interests of the People (House) and the State governments (Senate). With this Amendment, the Senate became another "People's House" (a term used to describe the House of Representatives) because the people elect them, just state-wide rather than by district. The State governments no longer have a say in federal affairs.

I titled this article in this way because the Constitution, for all its flowery words, Divinely inspired concepts and lofty intent, is still just a piece of very old parchment. It cannot do anything without people acting in a moral way to follow the rules and intent of this great document. A restraining order (a piece of paper issued by a judge that prevents contact between two or more people) has never stopped that abusive spouse from finding and killing the spouse who fled the abuse. All it can do is detail consequences for its violation after the violators capture by police, but too late to save a life.

Teach Your Daughter To Shoot

Let me end this with these words from John Adams and I implore you to deeply Grok them: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Write comment (0 Comments)

Trust issues

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The other day, Bowe Bergdahl received his sentence for his crime, a Bad Conduct Discharge and time served. I have spent the days since the publication of his fate searching for best how to describe why the name Bergdahl will be held in contempt, derision and revilement for as long as the United States has a military force.

Before I begin, I need you to review the story of Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter in my post, Six seconds to live. WARNING: Keep tissues handy while reading.

When you are tasked with standing a watch, a great responsibility is placed on your shoulders. Not only for the protection of "all government property in my view," but for the very lives of the battle brothers and sisters under your protection.

Veterans will generally back other veterans to the hilt in any situation, simply because of the fact that in battle, your life and the lives of all around you depend on you doing what needs to be done. This is why the trust runs so deep. One sailor on a ship in a moment of inattentiveness can sink that ship as shown in this Navy training film, Seven Sailors. One soldier or Marine likewise failing to properly attend their duties can lead to the loss of a platoon, a company, a division. We do not go into battle because we hate who stands against us. We go into battle to protect those we left behind and those who stand with us. The trust we have in each other gives us the courage to go on.

When Bergdahl walked off his post, he broke that trust. His reasons were noble, however by abandoning his post in a war zone, he placed the lives of every man and woman on that base in extremely grave jeopardy. Enemies could have breached the base perimeter and Bergdahl would not have been there to sound the alarm. Or any of a hundred more disasters could have happened and Bergdahl was not there to sound the alarm in time. Trust broken like that can never be regained.

Bergdahl will be paying a heavy price for the rest of his life. He will receive no benefits from the VA or other governmental related veteran agencies, he will not be able to get a job of any great importance. If he does, it will be to exploit his situation and condition to advance the agenda of others. He is also one of the thousands of "walking wounded" with emotional issues from serving in a combat zone and his captivity. No government agency will help him. His former brothers-in-arms will reject and shun him at best.

His punishment was deserved, and I think worse than life imprisonment, because he has to face his community and he will run into veterans. He has a life sentence of being ostracized and suffering contempt and derision from the community. He will stand as an example on how decisions can have serious life-long consequences.

Write comment (0 Comments)

It's a math thing

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

For all y’all who want to see a $15/hour “working” minimum wage, let me make this clear. It’s a math issue, like I’ve alluded to all along. The government cannot force an increase in payroll costs and not expect a business to either lower the product quality, number of employees or their hours, and/or prices to rise. It all boils down to the math of the numbers in a business’s Profit/Loss sheet.


And yes, I am aware of and have read Card and Krueger’s paper on minimum wage in NJ and PA.

Bloomberg distills “the math thing” down to the essentials in this article, Seattle's Painful Lesson on the Road to a $15 Minimum Wage:

… If you make $9 an hour, but generate $10.50 in revenue for your boss, a law that raises the wage to $10.45 may cause her to shrug and decide it’s easier to keep you on as long as she’s making something. But a wage that forces her to pay you far more than you bring in…. Continuing to employ you would just be bad business.

So let’s set the stage to open this discussion.

In April 2015, Seattle raised the hourly minimum wage from the Washington State mandated $9.47 to $10 or $11, depending on several factors, on its way to $15 in 2021.

In July 2016, the University of Wisconsin released a paper, Report on the Impact of Seattle's Minimum Wage Ordinance on Wages, Workers, Jobs and Establishments Through 2015 on the first step. The results were there, although unremarkable. Wages up with no significant negative impact across the board. Likewise in June 2017, the University of Berkeley released a Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics report Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experience 2015-16. This one focused on fast-food restaurants. It also described no significant negative impact as a result of the wage increase.

So, let’s recap. The first step raised the minimum wage 5-16% and showed no significant ill effects on the Seattle economy. So far, so good.

Then on January 1, 2016 Seattle again boosted the minimum wage to anywhere from $10.50 to $13, depending on several factors. The second step raised (from the original $9.47) the minimum wage by 10-27%. According to The National Bureau of Economic Research (paywall, sorry), things started happening. When that second step hit, pay overall increased by 3%. That’s the good news. The bad news is the number of hours worked decreased by 9%, leading to these workers on average losing $125 a month in pay. This is where that math thing comes into play.

So if it’s a math thing, why didn’t the number of hours worked decrease by 3% and make it balance out? Administrative costs went up because with the increased minimum wage also came new regulations, increasing the administrative workload (and thus overhead) on the business.

To illustrate this, here is an article from CNN Money, New study casts doubt on the benefit of Seattle's $15 minimum wage:

Things have been harder on Joe Fugere, the owner and founder of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria. He runs five restaurants -- three are within city limits -- and also manages 200 employees.

Fugere says he's always supported a $15 minimum wage, and still does. But an array of new regulations have collectively been tough on his business.

One example, he said, is a scheduling ordinance set to go into effect in July. It mandates that bosses must give workers their schedules two weeks in advance -- and requires them pay up if hours change.

"One piece of legislation after another, in a very progressive city, can add up," Fugere said.

He loves his city, but said he's hesitant to expand his operation there.

"If I were to open another restaurant today, I would not open it in Seattle," Fugere said. "In fact, I'm looking elsewhere." (emphasis mine)

So here you have Mr. Fugere saying he will expand his business, just not in Seattle because he can’t afford it there.

How can you say with a straight face that “raising the minimum wage helps the workers”??? Because when that worker’s wage went from $10.20 to $10.50, their pay (assuming a 40 hour week) went from $408 to $420, however that workers hours dropped to 36 hours a week (assuming that 9% reduction in hours). This means they only made $378 that week, which is a $30 pay cut from what it was before the pay raise.

In conclusion, what does this show? That Economics is a very complex science, made harder by the randomness of human beings. The laws of physics are pretty much universal (if you excuse the pun) across the universe. Economics will get a close but not exact result from a repeated given action. You could try the same experiment twice with the same set of people and not get the exact same result. The same experiment in another culture would also produce a similar, but not exact replication of the result.

Economics also shows some elasticity in it. In the example above, the first small rise in the minimum wage did not produce an appreciable negative result. However a second rise outside of an unknown trigger level  produced a significant negative change in the result. If that second change had happened a year later, the result would probably have been similar to the first, i.e. negligible since the market had time to absorb the first change and stabilize to "the new normal" from it.

I am still doing research on the nature and demographics of minimum wage workers, you should see that soon.

Write comment (0 Comments)

What I read

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I have been accused of existing in a "Conservative echo chamber" and I only pay attention to Right-Wing content. Just to make it clear, I go through the articles I link to in detail to acquire the facts salient to my point. For every link I do post, there are between 5-10 I read through and don't use, or use to fact check the ones that do end up in my postings. I have gone back through the past 25 non-personal posts I have made and counted the links I have referenced. I then put them up against the website Media Bias Fact Check and this is what I found:

Left Bias, such as The Huffington Post: 3.

Left Center Bias, such as the New York Times: 11.

Least Biased Xinhuanet (Chinese news), 1.

Right Center Bias, such as the Wall Street Journal, 4.

Right Bias, such as National Review, 3.

The Website IFL Science is listed on MBFC as Pro-Science.

I did have two news links that weren't on the MBFC list, and

The rest of the links are reference sites, like,, and others.

So while I pull from the entire political spectrum, I actually quote more Liberal sources than I do Conservative. I don't see this as "living in a Conservative echo chamber."

Write comment (0 Comments)

What are we?

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I ask that question in all seriousness. Are we a nation of laws, or are we a Banana Republic where the government can do whatever it wants?

In a Banana Republic, if El Presidente doesn't like you, he makes up a law like "Felonious Mopery on the High Seas", makes the penalty death upon conviction, then has you arrested and charged with said crime. You are tried the next morning, found guilty before lunch and executed that afternoon.

In a nation of laws, the police have to wait for a complaint. This means Joe Blow goes down to the local precinct and makes an official statement on the order of Paul Somesuch stole my car (or whatever)." The police would then look up the laws for Tennessee and find that § 39-14-103 defines theft of property. § 39-14-105 breaks out what class of crime it is. Considering Paul stole Joe's $30,000 Lexus, Paul will likely be getting charged with a Class C Felony upon his capture. The police can also witness a crime, or find evidence of a crime (e.g., a human body).

In these cases, the police start with the indication that a crime has been committed. During the investigation the confirm what crime has been committed, then locate the person who their evidence convinces them committed the crime. An arrest is made and the perpetrator and the evidence are turned over to the District Attorneys who then evaluate if they can convict the accused, and on and on. Just watch Law and Order for the whole process.

What we have whenever there is a Special Investigator appointed to look into a high profile, politically charged situation, we start out with investigating a person to see what crimes they have committed, then charging them with those crimes. I didn't like the Starr investigations into the Whitewater case in the 90's and I don't like Mueller's investigation into the "Trump-Russia collusion" today. Both of these were legal hunting licenses. "Get these people and anyone near them for anything and everything you can."

This past Monday, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were charged by Mueller. Let's look at these.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to "lying to investigators." His lie? At one point in time he was trying to set up a meeting with an overseas professor who "had substantial connections with Russian officials." He stated that he tried doing this before becoming a part of the Trump Campaign. He stated later that he tried to set this meeting up AFTER he became a part of the Trump Campaign.

You can be caught for "making false statements" just by rewording an answer to a question asked multiple times. Because when you reword an answer, you 99% of the time leave out a small tidbit of information, or add said small tidbit that you didn't include before. You could also change an answer because you remembered something you didn't before, you are nervous or a dozen more reasons. That change in an answer, not matter how small is all they need to get you.

Manafort and Gates were charged with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, making false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts. From all accounts, these offenses predate their involvement in the Trump Campaign by months or years.

I'm not a lawyer and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I cannot speak on the viability of these charges against Manafort and Gates. I will say something on their first charge. Conspiracy against the United States (Title 18, Chapter 19, Section 371 of the US Code) is like Section 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is a "We can't find another law to convict you with, so we'll get you with this one." It can be used against a group who "commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose". If the government feels at any time that two (or more) people worked together do deprive the US government of money or property it deems to be theirs, they can get you on this charge. It is so broad you could drive a fleet or tractor-trailers through it.

Again, are we a nation of laws where you investigate a crime and find the person who committed it, or are we a Banana Republic where we investigate the person until we find a crime they committed?

Write comment (0 Comments)

To disavow or not to disavow, that is the question

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

So the other day, a week before the November 7th election day for the Virginia Gubernatorial race, we see this ad from the Latino Victory Fund. I just visited their FB page, which is as scrubbed clean as you can get. Mind you, the ad itself is only the first minute.

The Latino Victory Fund group seem to be supporting the current Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, against Ed Gillespie. My polite words fall short of how racist and stereotypical this video is. To not even imply, but to clearly state that Gillespie supporters would run down children (the Gadsden flag for the front license plate is an ironic twist) is an attack on every person who supports Gillespie.

You would think that Mr. Northam would speak out publicly against such a horrible attack ad. I'm sure if he is a man with redeeming qualities, he would. Here's his words from "Good Morning Virginia" on November 1st:

ANCHOR: “There was an ad put out, I understand not by your campaign but by a group that is supporting you, and if we can just show a little bit of it. It does show a man driving in a pickup truck with a Confederate flag, essentially chasing down a child down the street. Your thoughts on this? Is this helping when it comes to mending the fences that have been broken within the Commonwealth?”

NORTHAM: … “This group that put out this ad – it was not from our campaign – I wouldn’t have put that ad out, but the ads that Mr. Gillespie has put out have provoked this hate and fear mongering, and so these individuals have responded, and they did it in a way that perhaps wasn’t what I would do, but it certainly provoked fear in them.”

It must be me, but I don't hear any condemning or criticism beyond "That's not how I would have made that ad."

Just to show the other side, here's the ad run by Gillespie alluded to by the talking heads in the first video:

Just to give you an idea of who MS-13 is you might want to read this Time article on them. Now, did the ad say or imply "ALL Latinos"? No. Did Gillespie's ad say or imply that MS-13 only preys on Whites? I didn't hear it, I got the message that MS-13 is a threat to all Virginians. The ad also clearly says "Northam's POLICIES" are making that threat greater by fostering conditions (sanctuary cities) that add to the power of MS-13.

The reason why I bring this up is specifically for the lack of Northam's disavowing of such an ad.

Because the MSM has a problem with letting the fact that Trump disavowed David Duke, the KKK and other hate groups multiple times for and for years. The MSM will spout repeatedly all day long about Duke's endorsement, but refuses to air more than once (if at all) Trumps clear disavowment of all hate groups.

Of course, if Trump doesn't say the disavowment the way the MSM wants it said, they will repeat ad nausiam about how "his words weren't strong enough."

Just more reasons on why the extreme Left are despicable and without honor or integrity.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Being sensible and reasonable

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

For all of the people who wonder why some people are so adamant about being able to own weapons for self-protection, I can describe why in two words: bee stings.

I am over 55 years old. I have been stung by a bee in my life once, when I was about 8 years old. It hurt, I ran home to my mom who got the stinger out and that was that. In the end, it was no big deal to me.

But what if I was allergic to bee stings? What if I knew I could go into anaphylactic shock and possibly die if I got stung? Would it not be sensible and reasonable for me to carry an epi-pen everywhere I go on the slight off chance I got stung? Even though I have only been stung once and not again in over 20,000 days? Oh, sure, I can hope that a) someone sees me get stung and hears me say I need a paramedic, then b) wait for paramedics to show up to give me that shot and hope I don't die in the meantime. Or, I can attain the knowledge and skills, then carry the necessary implements to solve the problem myself. I have been driving motor vehicles for 40+ years. For the past 35 of them, I have always mounted a fire extinguisher in every vehicle I own or use regularly, such as company-issued vehicles. I have had to use them three times. I consider it to be sensible and reasonable for me to carry a fire extinguisher.

Owning and carrying weapons is exactly the same thing. We possess and carry the appropriate tools to appropriately handle a very-low probability event that has a high chance of a fatal outcome for ourselves or those we are responsible for because we have determined it is a sensible and reasonable thing to do. Who provides the threat (criminal or government) is not important. The fact that a situation could develop, no matter how unlikely, is important. In situations like that, we can't hope that the police are called and they respond in time to save us. BTW, the police have no duty or obligation to protect individual citizens. To Protect and Serve is nothing more than marketing bullshit.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Why there is pain and suffering

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I kid you not, from God Himself on why there is pain and suffering in the world:

This clip has stuck with me since I saw this movie, Oh, God! Book II in 1980. Please, carry this with you throughout your life when you experience bad times, pain and suffering. Without these to compare against, how can our happy times truly be happy?

Write comment (0 Comments)

Curing Healthcare

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I put this in my category of Economics rather the Obamacare because this is more of an economic plan than a plan to repeal/replace the ACA (although that clusterfuck should be taken out into the woods and buried alive).

This is a relatively simple plan, however it will be far from an easy plan to bring to life. There will be pain for many in the short term. But, like resetting a dislocated joint without anesthesia, once the initial great pain is over, the relief will be great and lead to a better quality of life. This is also not the exact or final version. However the overall concept needs to happen this way or it will fail.

I believe every person has the right to choose whom they want for all of the products and services they use every day. I believe they have the right to not necessarily act in their own best interests as well. Mistakes are how we learn and improve ourselves. Government should exercise restraint so it does not interfere with that process.

The free market and its incentive to drive costs down and quality up will be the major lever in every aspect of this plan. Insurance companies, drug companies, medical device providers and healthcare providers will have a constant pressure on them to keep prices and premiums down and services up.

The first step is to get government all the way out of healthcare. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA can be just like (and compete with) the private insurance companies. Every time the government gets involved with a private industry and starts subsidizing this or that aspect, the prices go through the roof because it becomes a third party-payer. There is you, the company that provides the good or service you seek, then the government. When the government pays for you, it does not care about the price or the quality of the good or service rendered to you. When that happens, prices skyrocket and quality tanks.

The second step is to get employers out of healthcare as well. Employers only started offering healthcare as a job benefit when there were wage freezes during WWII. This extra benefit helped companies lure talent to them. So, if the employer no longer has to subsidize the health insurance plan, they can just raise the pay rate of the employees commensurate with what they contribute now, or just pay it to the employees as a line on their paycheck for income.

Step three, healthcare ought to be available nationally. Because right now, if you change jobs or move to another area, your healthcare plan may not service that area.

Before I get into my idea, let’s talk about the present system so you know how things are done now. I worked for UnitedHealthcare for 5 years and was acquaintances with the two people who negotiated the contracts with providers. I also interacted frequently with the admin staff who handled the paperwork.

A healthcare provider (HCP), if they want to accept insurance from one or more insurance companies (IC) has to negotiate a contract with each insurance company. Each IC will charge different rates for the same service. IC A will pay the HCP $100 for a service 1 and $80 for service 2. IC B will pay $92 for service 1 and $98 for service 2. Each IC also has their own paperwork and procedures to submit charges. For medium-to-large HCP’s this requires at least one full-time administrative person per IC to process and track the claims to make sure they are filled out properly, correct any errors and make sure the HCP gets paid. The IC likewise has a veritable army of staff to process the HCP paperwork.

Hospitals in particular have multiple price structures. A few years ago I got to spend 5 days in the ICU and 7 days in a regular room because I choked on my own cooking and the ER doctor almost killed me trying to get it out. The “book” price (i.e. list price) for my stay was just over $125,000. Because I had insurance, $102,000 of that “disappeared” due to negotiated prices with my IC. My IC paid about $21,000 and I paid the balance.

The present system is a purposefully confusing mish-mash of prices, most of which are hidden from the consumer/patient. Even if you pay your HCP cash up front, what you pay is not necessarily what the IC pays.

So here is my idea. It’s so simple it’s actually frightening, mostly for the people who like to overcharge you.

The first step is IC’s tell you plainly and up front when and how much they will pay for services. Think a menu board at McDonald’s. The services are already detailed using the ICD-10 codes currently used to bill goods and services. Prices could be indexed according to the cost of living by zip code.

The second step is the HCP will also have a menu board for how much they charge for services.

First of all, all of this applies to non-emergency care. Emergency care, believe it or not, only accounts for 6% of medical spending. While it would be similar, I haven’t thought through the particulars for that side yet.

The actual execution of this new system goes like this:

1. You discover you have a need for medical services.
2. You select a HCP to perform those services. You consider your choices based on your priorities and criteria, using the variables of cost, quality and accessibility. You shouldn’t have to choose based on if they are “in network” or not.
3. You visit said HCP and have those services performed.
4. At the end of the visit you are handed a bill, detailed by ICD-10 codes.
5. Depending on your financial situation, you can pay it now or later.
6. You send said bill to the IC, who then reimburses you according to the plan you have purchased (deductibles, co-pays, etc.).

That’s it! What are your advantages? You choose your HCP, based on your priorities of price vs. quality, not a bureaucrat of either the IC or governmental kind.

Let’s say you need a regular office visit. The IC will reimburse you $90 for the visit. You have narrowed your options to HCP A or HCP B. A is a mediocre doctor skills-wise, but is very communicative and friendly. He charges $100 for this visit. B is a great doctor in the skills department, however his bedside manner is lacking at best. Your questions are either ignored or answered tersely. You get more information from his nurse than you do from the doctor. He charges $80 for his services.

Your choice (and not someone else’s) is which doctor you partake the services from. You can choose a great doctor who treats you as your symptoms, confident that he is methodical in his methods, complete in his diagnosis and treatment regimen, or go with a less-capable doctor who does good (but not outstanding) diagnosis and treatment and treats you as a person rather than your symptoms. This is your choice to either pay an extra $10 with HCP A, or pocket $10 and see HCP B.

But where do the market forces come in? Before you walk in the door.

Because the doctor has one set price for each service, they save on payroll by not having extra staff to deal with the IC’s. This lowers the HCP’s payroll costs and their prices can come down accordingly from less overhead. They also have market forces holding their costs down because no business wants to be on the high end of a price range of standardized services without offering additional services to make the higher price justifiable. If you have three gas stations relatively close to each other (physically and price-wise) and one of them sells gas for 20 cents a gallon less than the other two, which one will you stop at? Probably the cheaper one, unless you know it is a low-quality fuel that gives your vehicle trouble. Of course, if one offers a full-service experience (pumps the fuel for you, wash your windows, check the air in the tires, check the oil, etc.) they could probably charge 20 cents more a gallon than the others and people would pay the higher price for the services.

The same concept will apply to the IC’s and other medical-related industries, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They will have to deal with market forces. If pharmaceutical company decides to overcharge on a product (e.g. the 1,000% price hike of epi-pens), they will suddenly find themselves with a lot less customers, who will seek cheaper alternatives, or use it less often. Our seniors on Medicare are faced with these choices today when they fall into that “donut hole” of coverage. There would also be new companies which would have the incentive to bring a new product to market that is just as effective and a lot cheaper.

These market forces foster competition in providing goods and services with more value and quality for the same or lower price. We see that every day right now. HCP's who are of poor quality, overcharge for their services and all that bad stuff would be quickly run out of business because word gets around quickly today on various referral sites and social media on both good and bad companies.

Here is an example of how the free market delivers better products or services for the same or lower price. My first car was a base 1963 Dodge Dart. It was a “slant-6”-cylinder motor, manual “three on the tree” transmission, hand-crank windows, no A/C, no airbags and lap belts. The base model cost $2,385 back then, which in today’s dollars works out to be $19,136. A base 2016 Dodge Dart costs about $22,190, with a V-6 engine, automatic transmission, electric windows, A/C, three-point seat belts, airbags, and a whole bunch of other features that in 1963 would be considered luxury features, if they were available in any vehicle at all. Not to mention the 2016 Dart is a lot more comfortable. Yes, today’s Dart is more expensive than the older one, but not by a large margin, which is more than offset by improvements in safety, comfort and convenience.

But, you ask, what if the patient doesn’t pay the bill and pockets all the money? Then their physical pain will translate to a legal pain. The amount of medical bills covered by insurance, reimbursed to the patient but not paid to the doctor would be like student loans, not able to be discharged under bankruptcy.

Do I have any evidence that this model will work? I sure do! The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is one of several practices that accept cash only. The Ocean Surgery Center is another. SCO has one facility and performs over 25 surgeries a day, using a "cash, one payment, up front and no insurance accepted" model. Their prices are published on their website, are soup-to-nuts (all pre-operation consulting/testing, the surgery itself, overnight post-op stay and followup care) and their prices are 50% and more off hospital prices for the same services. Time has an article on SCO and "direct primary care" where you pay a monthly fee to your PCP for all your care offered there. Business Insider has separate articles on SCO and Direct Primary Care. I think DPC is a great start, however what do you do when you need services outside your PCP's office? Hence, my idea above.

This will not be an overnight process. In all actions economic, once the change happens there will be a 6-18 month period of “fluctuation” while the market adjusts to the new conditions and everyone sorts out the changes and their ramifications. Prices and components of services will jump and fall in price. But like that dislocated shoulder, once that initial pain and the echoes of resetting the dislocation have passed, the healing can truly begin.

Write comment (0 Comments)

The lynching of the law

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

A lynching is defined as, “to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.”

A mob gathers and conducts a lynching when and because they are incensed over an event. Emmitt Till and Matthew Shepard are two events where young men died horrible and brutal deaths because someone lied about being offended.

In the light of the recent Mandalay Bay Massacre, as with all high-profile events like this, people who are misguided or with ill intentions exploit the events to advance a political agenda. It took only nine hours after the shooting started for Hillary Clinton to Tweet this:

hillary tweet

The process of making laws is supposed to be a cold, calculating, exacting and boringly dull process. Watching paint dry is supposed to be more exciting. It was made to be as hard as possible by our Founding Fathers because they understood human behavior when it wields power. The laws were supposed to be as few and simple as possible as to be easily understood “while running.” Imagine yourself trying to read and understand a complex concept while running down the road wearing one-buckle shoes.

In the current federal government, it takes 218 Representatives, 51 Senators and the President to agree to create a law. If the president doesn't agree and vetoes the bill, it then needs 291 Representatives and 67 Senators to agree. To amend the Constitution, it takes the 291/67 in Congress to propose and then the legislatures of 38 States have to agree.

The Constitution had one foray into codifying a social issue into law, namely the Eighteenth Amendment, which was enforced by the Volstead Act. For those of you who don’t know, this Amendment created Prohibition, which outlawed the production, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. In other words, no alcohol. It went from Congressional proposal to ratified by the States in just over a year, which is bullet-train fast when speaking legislatively.

Of course, this social endeavor into law worked out so well we enacted the Twenty-First Amendment almost 15 years later to repeal it. This effort only showed that the majority of people did not want prohibition and it gave rise to “organized crime” which was all too happy to operate outside the law and provide a good that was in demand by the people.

Of course, the thousands of deaths from gang violence, bad product and all that stuff is inconsequential to protecting the people from themselves because they make bad choices when left without adult supervision, right?

We have our own modern version of legislation that was passed in the heat of the moment after 9/11, and we have had years to regret its passage, namely the PATRIOT Act which has led to the explosion of the surveillance state we have today.

In conclusion, making law immediately after an event such as Las Vegas as a knee-jerk reaction to "do something about the problem" 99% of the time does not solve the problem and often makes the problem worse, plus other aspects of our lives are negatively affected due to the Law of Unintended Consequences. As my High School Drafting Teacher Mr. Scully drilled into me, "Check your work. Check it again. And again. And then, check it one more time."

Write comment (0 Comments)