September 5, 2017

Yet another-nother-nother test, hopefully the last...

Hatched by Dafydd

Alas, I have no intention of restarting Big Lizards. The only reason we're working on this at all is that my better half still uses her own version -- written in Japanese -- for J-blogging... and once in a blue lagoon, she blogs in English. Sorry to get people's hopes up!

I could never make any money on BL years ago, and it surely isn't any more popular now than then. I strictly follow the rule of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 5, 2017, at the time of 4:22 PM | Comments (1)

June 26, 2017

Who Radicalized the British Right?

Hatched by Sachi

Huffington Post UK's columnist Sabby Dhalu is furious that conservative Tommy Robinson was invited to speak on Good Morning Britain, on June 20th, hosted by our "dear friend," Piers Morgan. Ms. Dhalu depicts Robinson as a hateful, racist Nazi, who was given a platform to speak a mere 24 hours after Englishman Darren Osborn ran over several Moslem worshippers in Finsbury Park.

As Paul Harvey would say, "now, the rest of the story..."

Back on May 22nd, Salman Ramadan Abedi, a British citizen in Manchester blew himself and 22 innocents into "paradise." In response, on June 11th, Tommy Robinson organized a march against the suicide bombing.

Moslem supporters naturally portrayed Robinson's march as mere "Islamaphobia," calling it a violent demonstration. Dahlu is still fuming about that march:

Pigs heads - in order to offend and provoke Muslims - and glass bottles were thrown at anti-fascist demonstrators opposing Robinson’s thugs. Earlier that day [English Defense League] supporters attacked a Mosque in Manchester and intimidated worshippers. This was a cynical attempt to exploit the Manchester attack in order to build support for a racist and Islamophobic hate movement in Britain.

I don't know about pig heads, but if glass bottles were thrown, I am sure it was not by the marchers. More likely the missile weapons came from the "antifa" (i.e., the Fascists), or the marchers' response to the Fascists' attack.

Before the June march, Robinson alerted the police and requested police presence for about 5000. If Robinson meant to cause trouble, why would they call for police protection in advance? Robinson and the police are not on friendly terms.

Dahlu "explains" her rancor:

In this context, the Robinson interview illustrates the double standards in the response to Isis-type terrorist attacks versus far right/fascist terrorist attacks. Good Morning Britain would rightly not dream of inviting someone claiming to be an Isis supporter a day after the London Bridge, Manchester or Westminster terrorist attacks. Unfortunately the equivalent was deemed appropriate after the attack in Finsbury Park.

This is ridiculous. If any double standard exists, it is completely lopsided in favor of Moslems. The major media may not invite official ISIS spokesman, but they invite so-called "moderate Moslems" who spew out justifications for terrorism. These "moderates" claim every attack is a "lone wolf," thus nothing to do with Islam, the so-called religion of peace. (Note: "Islam" does not translate into "peace," but rather into "submission." That's quite a difference.)

Ms. Dahlu claims that Moslem discrimination leads to poverty, thus to extremism; that British bombings in Syria are entirely Britain's fault; and of course, that all Moslems are victims of "backlash." She will tell you that Robinson is a hate monger who does not deserve a platform. She denies that the Qu'ran is filled with verses inciting violence and murder against infidels.

Robinson has been harassed and subjugated to "investigation" for years. Yet the British government has never been able to connect him with any kind of violence or terrorist conspiracy. No matter, they'll get Tommy on a charge of "thought-crime."

Dahlu insists that it is more important to find out what led to Darren Osborn's attack than to bother with the three murderous attacks by radicalized Islamists in the United Kingdom:

When Isis-type terrorist attacks occur, commentators rightly ask what radicalised the monsters that committed these awful terrorist atrocities. The same question must be asked in relation to the Finsbury Park terrorist attack. What made Darren Osborne allegedly commit this heinous crime and say he wanted to kill all Muslims?

Counter-terrorism police must investigate all far right and fascist organisations. But examining far-right and fascist groups is not enough. These groups and prominent individuals in them, did not emerge out of a vacuum. They exist in a political climate where hostility towards Muslims has increased substantially.

Actually, I agree with Mistress Dhalu: We must understand why this has happened. But if we are to do so, let's be honest about it, starting with the magnitude of Moslem murder, which widley outpaces Osborn's single attack.

For years, radical mosques have begotten radicalized Moslems, like the Manchester bomber; well, radicalization works both ways. Is it surprising that after three horrific Moslem massacres, one anti-Moslem might pop up?

What is the commonality between the five radical Islamists and the single anti-Moslem? Radical extremism and the routine use of violence to make "political" points. In all of these incidents, the police seem helpless, hapless, and befuddled what to do; so they do nothing, other than make an arrest. The U.K. is still thinking "crime;" they should be thinking "war."

Did authorities conducted predawn search-and-seizure of these terrorist hot beds? Or was it easier and less scary to arrest Tommy Robinson? Again? If "[Darren Osborne] did not emerge out of vacuum," did Salman Abedi? When British citizens feel that the government is doing nothing to protect them, is it so inexplicable that Darren Osbornes start poping up?

Anyone could have seen this coming. Tommy Robinson had been pointing it out for years!

But Ms. Dhalu thinks this attack was the direct result of right wing, anti Moslem comments, and tabloid headlines. She thinks Osborne was radicalized exclusively by Robinson; just lock up Tommy, throw away the key, and all Moslems will magically conform to Western mores.

I was listening to Douglas Murray's speech today. He said that before dismissing Robinson, ask why people like him exist. Murray himself is no fan of Robinson, but Robinson is not the core problem. The real problem is undue deference and bias favoring Moslems, and to a lesser extent other non-Western cultures. For too long, the British authorities have treated Moslems as if they were the Master Race and could do no wrong, while Westerners are bullied and can do no right.

Radicalized Moslems rape, assault, murder, blow up venues, and burn down cities. They're attempting -- successfully -- to replace Western culture with the cultures of Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and other mostly-Moslem countries.

What is the British authority's response? The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave citizens the bad news:

Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things [i.e., attacks by radical Islamists], you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job. We must never accept terrorists being successful, we must never accept that terrorists can destroy our life or destroy the way we lead our lives.

Flowery speech, but what are the authorities doing about it? Given there track record, nothing.

Former Prime Minister, now Conservative Party Leader Theresa May likewise encouraged people to just get on with their everyday, "part and parcel" lives. Nothing to see here, move on!

It is in these actions -- millions of acts of normality -- that we find the best response to terrorism.

Poppycock. The best response isn't to keep a stiff upper lip, but to stop terrorism it in its tracks, by arresting or killing the butchers, infiltrating radical mosques, and treating terrorism as what it is: a war against modernity itself.

Even after the Westminster attack (5 dead, 50 wounded, not counting the murderer), the Manchester bombing (22 dead, 119 wounded, not counting the murderer), and the London Bridge attack (8 dead, 48 wounded, not counting the murderers) -- and all within three months! -- people are still not allowed to speak the truth about the savagery of radical Islam, for fear of being accused of "Islamaphobia." For in today's United Kingdom, freedom of speech itself is a crime, leading to a "gaol" sentence. Just ask Tommy Robinson.

(Whiny college brats in America chant "free speech is hate speech!" Does that mean that Fascist speech is rightous speech? Maybe we should just stick to "four legs good, two legs bad!")

Darren Osborn did not need to be told by Tommy Robinson or any other "right wing extremist" to know that radical Islamism is deadly. If anyone is responsible for his radicalization, it's the British government's failure to protect its own citizens against Moslem terrorism. Britain and Europe are engulfed in the same existential war, all stemming from one imperative: Islam's drive to rule the world, hurling it back in time to the 7th century.

Choose wisely.

The following is the Rebel's account of Robinson led "march against hate." Tommy Robison works for the Rebel UK.

Slither on, o Wise, for "Who Radicalized the British Right?" doth continue...

Hatched by Sachi on this day, June 26, 2017, at the time of 5:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2014

Abuse Misuse

Hatched by Sachi

Once again, former Arizona representative and gun violence victim, Gabrielle Giffords, was on Capitol Hill promoting her proposed new gun control bill. Her new scheme would bar gun possession for even a temporary domestic violence restraining order, even when the order is issued prior to any actual investigation.

"Women's lives are at stake," says Gabby Giffords (should that be Grabby Giffords?).

"'It’s just common sense that someone who is the subject of a temporary restraining order shouldn’t be able to buy a gun,' said [Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT, not yet rated), one of Giffords' allies]."

Who can argue with taking a gun away from a man who abuses a woman? Why, it's just common sense!

Not so fast; when a liberal says We must protect [fill-in-the-blank victim], it's time you reach for your ten-gallon bottle of grains of salt. There are a lot of flaws -- or cynical hidden agendas -- in this proposed bill, as Brian Anderson points out in his column linked above on Downtrend:

  1. "Under this law, someone who is accused, but not convicted, loses their 2nd Amendment rights."

    If a vindictive partner decides to accuse her partner of domestic violence, that alone can trigger taking his guns away, whether he's guilty or innocent.

  2. "[W]hen police confiscate firearms, they tend not to want to give them back. Even after someone has cleared their name, they run into roadblocks in trying to regain their lawfully owned guns."

    Evidently, the "solution" to a temporary restraining order -- is permanent firearms confiscation!

  3. "When cops confiscate firearms, they don’t take very good care of them."

    A person with a very expensive gun collection can lose thousands of dollars due to ruined guns and lost accessories; and police have no obligation to compensate the innocent victims of wanton gun seizures.

But there is a far more sinister aspect to Giffords' proposal, one that she is careful never to mention: Who exactly does Mrs. Gifford really target when grabbing guns?

She sure as shootin' doesn't want to restrict confiscations just to convicted felons, because that's already on the books. Nor does she target only violent abusers who are placed under a permanant restraining order, because that too is already the law of the land.

As we shall see, Gabby Giffords has a slightly more expansive target of who should lose gun rights...

On Giffords' own organization's website, the Orwellian sounding Americans for Responsible Solutions, we can read her deep thoughts on guns:

The majority of mass shootings in the United States involve instances of domestic violence. Women in the United States who are targets of domestic abuse and stalking are at an increased risk of gun attacks, and are more than three-and-a-half times as likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner. A gun in a household with a history of domestic violence also increases the risk that a woman will be killed there by 20 times compared to households without guns. And compared to women in other high-income countries, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun.

Where do these statistics come from? From the clear, blue sky, evidently.

But leave that aside; consider the innocuous sounding word "household": Why did she focus on a "household" with a domestic violence history, rather than hold the individual abuser responsible for his or her own actions? She could have said, "when a domestic abuser has a gun, it increases the risk that a woman will be killed by that gun more than 20 times" or something like that (if such statistics actually existed).

Clearly, if you remove all the guns from the household, that necessarily includes removing the victim's gun along with the perpetrator's. That leaves a now disarmed woman trapped with a much larger, stronger, and more violent man, who is now enraged by having his guns seized. I'm sure Giffords knows full well that a stronger perpetrator can assault or kill a victim with other weapons or even his bare hands. The former congresswoman seems content with this outcome.

Shall we make it more explicit? Here is another section from the aptly named ARS's manifesto:

Americans for Responsible Solutions supports a range of policies that would protect women from gun violence, including:

Expanding background checks to cover gun show, internet, and other private sales;

Adding misdemeanor crimes of stalking, harassment or sexual assault to the list of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm;

Prohibiting all domestic abusers from access to guns, including dating and former dating partners; and,

Prohibiting the sale of firearms to domestic violence abusers who are under restraining orders by encouraging faster record reporting into NICS, leading to better enforcement.

"Prohibiting all domestic abusers from access to guns, including dating and former dating partners?" Wouldn't that include confiscating guns from the victim's home, even if she no longer lived with the abuser, so long as he still has a key? She would then be a "former dating partner" from whom the abuser could have "access to guns."

So unless the victim calls a locksmith to put new locks on all her doors and windows, she herself can be disarmed by the state, on the pretext of saving her from herself.

Disarming women in their own homes; that'll protect women for sure!

Never be fooled by what anti-gun zealots say; loook instead to their actions. This proposed bill was never about protecting women, else they would encourage, or at least allow, women to keep their own firearms to protect against the abuser returning with a knife, baseball bat, or a garrote. It is instead just another back door for taking guns away from law abiding citizens.

Allowing criminals to roam the streets committing crimes, with or without guns, does not threaten Democrat power; they love criminals, because they can always use them to demand more, stronger, and more intrusive government (and use 'em again to cast fraudulent votes for Democrats). But armed citizens are a terrific threat... because Democrat power depends upon making ordinary people helpless; they must beg for help from big, bigger, biggest government.

That's how the State metastasizes, like a cancer, into every last nook and cranny of what used to be the Land of Liberty.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, May 11, 2014, at the time of 12:15 AM | Comments (5)

May 1, 2014

Kindling Some Hot Fun, or How to Spark a Revolution

Hatched by Dafydd

By now, nearly everybody has played around with "e-paper," electronic paper, as in book readers like Amazon's Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook. Without getting into the electronic weeds, very, very, very tiny charged beads, bubbles, or flakes -- black on one side and white on the other -- can be electromagnetically flipped or moved. Using this technique, these flips or moves can create a pattern, similar to the pixels you're looking at right now. (Only it looks a lot more like a printed book or magazine and less like a back-lit computer screen.)

The resolution isn't great, and I haven't seen any good color e-paper readers; but I'm sure high-resolution, full-color versions will be available in a few years.

Bear in mind, e-paper isn't really paper; it's just a clear material used to hold the microscopic beads in place, while still allowing you to see them. The material can be flexible and durable. At the moment, existing systems cannot change pixels as rapidly as can LEDs and other back-lit displays; but that's just an engineering detail. Fairly soon, I'm sure that ultra-fast, high-res, billion-color e-paper displays will be embedded into all kinds of products.

When that happens, I predict that manufacturers will swiftly realize the staggering potential: No longer will they have to make products (phones, toothbrushes, vases) in several different colors; customers will be able to program whatever color and pattern they choose. They can take over the creative task of "skinning," or coloring the outside, of virtually any product.

The buyer will pick up a "vanilla" phone (cell or home), for example, then program it to be Shockingly Pinko. Or Hi-Ho Silver. Or Tiger-Tiger In the Night. Easily bored or wishy-washy consumers could program their phones to change at an alarming rate, like a screensaver. It's all just electromagnetic pixels anyway! (And by that time, I'm sure the colors and images will be as vivid and smooth as the best magazine-quality ink-jets.

But wait, there's more: Why not skin a whole car? Get your Porsche SUV in any external variety you desire -- from standard colors like red or blue, to Psychedelic Joplin, to Naughty Nudies dancing across the side panels.

Cars could sport adverts, and maybe even get sponsored for a small fee. (Enough to pay for gasoline?)

But oh dear... what about the future of law enforcement? Imagine the coppers trying to track a fleeing suspect who can change his entire color scheme a hundred times a second. Ouch!

Would the police have to develop other methods of tracking a vehicle? It's likely that in the very near future, consumer products will be "tagged" by microscopic strands of DNA, making it very easy to prove who actually owns some item (and virtually impossible to crack, given the staggering number of potential DNA "codes"). Could the cops develop a method of reading such DNA tags from a distance? If so, they could track a car no matter what barrage of colors and patterns the crook uses in his getaway.

But if the police can track a criminal's car or a stolen car, what would stop them from tracking undesirables, dissidents, or critics of the government? In the technology war between tyranny and freedom, one side (aggressor or defender) is generally "up", while the other is comparatively "down." But in this case, it looks almost like a Bundy standoff.

Tim Leary once said, the only way to prevent government from discovering your secrets -- is to have no secrets. Whatever you believe, say, or do, do it upfront and unafraid, pledging your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor.

But be prepared to stand your ground and defend your principles; nobody rides for free.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 1, 2014, at the time of 11:20 PM | Comments (3)

April 26, 2014

A Tale of Two Rants

Hatched by Dafydd

Here is Cliven Bundy, that desert rat who proffered this allegedly "racist" screed (this is the transcript that was not luridly edited by race-baiters):

...[A]nd so what I've testified to you -- I was in the Watts riot, I seen the beginning fire and I seen that last fire. What I seen is civil disturbance. People are not happy, people are thinking they don't have their freedoms, they didn't have these things, and they didn't have them.

We've progressed quite a bit from that day until now, and we sure don't want to go back. We sure don't want the colored people to go back to that point. We sure don't want these Mexican people to go back to that point. And we can make a difference right now by taking care of some of these bureaucracies, and do it in a peaceful way....

Let me tell, talk to you about the Mexicans, and these are just things I know about the negroes. I want to tell you one more thing I know about the negro. When I go, went, go to Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and I would see these little government houses, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids -- and there's always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch. They didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

And because they were basically on government subsidy -- so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never, they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered are they were better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things? Or are they better off under government subsidy?

You know they didn’t get more freedom, they got less freedom -- they got less family life, and their happiness -- you could see it in their faces -- they wasn't happy sitting on that concrete sidewalk. Down there they was probably growing their turnips -- so that’s all government, that’s not freedom....

Now, let me talk about the Spanish people. You know, I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders. But they’re here and they’re people -- and I’ve worked side by side a lot of them.

Don’t tell me they don’t work, and don’t tell me they don’t pay taxes. And don’t tell me they don’t have better family structures than most of us white people. When you see those Mexican families, they’re together, they picnic together, they’re spending their time together, and I’ll tell you in my way of thinking they’re awful nice people. And we need to have those people join us and be with us not, not come to our party.

And here, submitted for your comparison, is the raging anger of Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers basketball team, berating his girlfriend for embarassing him by... well, take a read:

It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?...

You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games....

I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people....

...Don't put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games.



"One of these things is not like the other..."

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 26, 2014, at the time of 1:29 PM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2014

Bundy Jumpers

Hatched by Dafydd

In this Washington Post after-action report, you must scroll all the way to the bottom of the story to uncover the original "dangerous," "extreme," "hateful," "unhinged," "appalling," "racist" remarks, which allegedly lie at the heart of Cliven Bundy's supposed racism. But I'll put them right up top, so we can read his actual words before we form an opinion based solely upon previous opinions.

In a New York Times interview (as quoted by the Post), he said:

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids -- and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch -- they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

"And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" he asked. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom."

On a subsequent radio show, Bundy added:

On Peter Schiff's talk radio show, however, he stood by his remarks. "Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves, and they was able to have their family structure together, and the chickens and garden, and the people had something to do? And so, in my mind I’m wondering, are they better off being slaves, in that sense, or better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies. I’m wondering. That’s what. And the statement was right. I am wondering."

Cliven Bundy may be a racist; I don't know the man. But you couldn't prove it by these remarks.

Let's start with the obvious: Racism is the claim or belief that skin color is destiny. Its definition is not "rejecting affirmative action," as many on the Left clearly believe.

At the very least, racism must ascribe bad behavior primarily to a person's color. Racism is pernicious (destructive, ruinous) and perverse (wicked, contrary, the polar opposite of rightness), because -- Michael Jackson to the contrary notwithstanding -- a person cannot change his skin color; it is immutable, at least at this time. Racism thus imputes immutable characteristics to one's color: Folks with the "wrong" color skin are inferior and always will be.

Such belief by the so-called "superior" race leads to tyranny; such belief by the presumed "inferior" race leads to despair and random acts of violence.

But Cliven Bundy did not say that the problems he enumerated were caused by skin color; he ascribed the problems to social-welfare programs: "And because they were basically on government subsidy..."

But if you allow that some mutable characteristic is more important to one's destiny than skin color -- including culture, upbringing, education, religion, philosophy, entertainment, or one's own will -- then you are not a racist.

Bundy did not say color is destiny; if anything, he said a tyrannical government is to blame, with its government subsidies, government preferential treatment, government housing projects, government labor manipulation, and the destruction of an organic black culture.

Hard to disagree. I seem to remember a fellow named Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) using words of like effect.

Hard to disagree with, but easy to caricature and demagogue. Bundy is not an effective speaker, at least not on the nation's "plantation media," as I call them. He's no Phil Robertson!

Bundy garbles his terms, fails to relate his conclusions to any core principle, uses out-of-fashion words that allow the Left to seize control of his narrative, and terrifies the large portion of the country that believes guns, not people, cause murders. This doesn't mean his thoughts are wrong-headed, just that he doesn't articulate them well... like about 99% of the rest of the populace, on any side of every issue.

He likely is ill-educated in history, as when he postulates that black slaves had a stable family life, when in fact slavers could sell a husband away from his wife whenever it seemed profitable, and children could be auctioned on the block. Not every slaveholder was so callous or cruel, but the threat was omnipresent.

But instead of looking back to the nineteenth century, what if we look back to the organic black culture, black businesses, and largely intact black families of the early twentieth century, even under the Democrat leash of Jim Crow: Black culture before Lyndon Johnson's grandiose and gargantuan "Great Society" program was more robust, just, and prosperous -- and less perverse, violent, and fearful -- than today's horrors in Detroit, Chicago, Compton, Harlem, and even the nation's capital. (Score one for Moynihan.)

Clearly, that is what Bundy was getting at; and he's got a good point, despite his easily ridiculed analogy to slavery. Which raises the question: Those former supporters now "backing away" from Bundy's words... are they also backing down on their critique of government-wrought destruction and debasement of large swaths of American culture?

This is what Bundy decries, as do many other advocates, far more thoughtful, learned, compassionate, and articulate than he. Lovers of liberty cannot reject the well-sourced argument that the world-devouring federal hydra, and the rent-seeking state hyenas, are racing pell-mell to transform the United States of America into a jaded, debauched, decadent, liberal fascism in which "everything not compulsory is forbidden, and everything not forbidden is compulsory."

We cannot pretend that it isn't already happening, unevenly but relentlessly, in many parts of what used to be the land of the free. We cannot wish away the vanguard of this transformation, the leftist elites and their revolutionary foot soldiers, the "federally protected minorities" who have accepted a Faustian bargain, trading their souls for a scrap of power, and false power at that.

We can't back away from Bundy's exegesis, no matter how badly he managed to put it. For if we surrender that argument, we may as well summon up the Devil ourselves.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 25, 2014, at the time of 1:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2014

The Big Mouth vs. the Stiff Upper Lip

Hatched by Dafydd

Patterico has an interesting pair of responses (part 1, part deux) to a recent pair of Thomas Sowell columns. In Sowell's first column, he lambastes Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX, not yet ACU rated) recent antics: the anti-Obamacare filibuster and the pro-debt ceiling quasi-filibuster. But he subsequently drops the hammer on the GOP establishment as well.

Patterico, however, wholeheartedly supports Cruz against the leadership; and he takes Sowell to task for not doing the same.

At the end of Patterico's second post, he writes, "We need people like Ted Cruz." But I just can't hoist myself onto that particular bandwagon... and I may understand Sowell better than does Patterico, at least in this one particular.

What the Sowell Man seems to be saying is that Ted Cruz himself is not one of those people like Ted Cruz. Cruz, man and senator, is a grandstander, an oxygen hoarder who cares far less about the future of America and far more about the future of Ted Cruz.

I believe Sowell is saying that we need someone who is as gutsy as Cruz, but not so self-serving as Cruz... because, as Patterico, Sowell, and Big Lizards agree, the doddering, sclerotic GOP "establishment," like all establishments, is more afraid of changing (or even reexamining!) any policy that has become "precedent" than it is of losing elections. It would rather hang onto what power it has by catering to its familiar constituents than take a chance on positive change and have to accept accountability.

Note that this GOP addiction to changelessness applies even to Democrat policies like Obamacare, limitless borrowing, starving the military to gorge the welfare state, stifling inconvenient speech, capping energy production for fear of some ill-defined "climate change," and a fantasyland foreign policy that presupposes "Everybody thinks just like us!"

If we are ever to overcome the Republican bias in favor of changing only at "an orderly rate" -- that is, at glacial speeds and frequently lurching backwards in dismay -- we must have an avatar who is neither afraid of change nor addicted to change for change's sake; who is futuristic yet credible; who can inspire without becoming a demagogue.

Alas, Ted Cruz is not that avatar.

Thus, Thomas Sowell casts a plague on both their poles, the ossified establishmentarians and the narcissistic and fumble-footed radical Tea Partiers. He begs, can't we find a better savior? One who might actually get, not just headlines, but results.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 20, 2014, at the time of 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 6, 2014

Let's Do the Time Warp Again...

Hatched by Dafydd

This bizarre whopper from goes far, far beyond a simple tyop or misunderstaking:

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus remain disappointed with President Barack Obama over his lack of assertiveness in promoting minority judicial candidates, The Hill reported....

There are those in the 43-member group who continue to believe the president has not pushed back hard enough against the Republican-controlled Senate where nominees must be confirmed.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he and like-minded CBC members would not allow Obama nominees waiting for Senate confirmation "to languish in some kind of a neo-conservative purgatory" without speaking out.

Exsqueeze me? When did we capture the Senate? Somehow I missed that.

In addition to the Senate still languishing under the micro-mismanagement of Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid ( R   D-NV, 90%), I thought Democrats had finally pulled the trigger last year on the so-called "nuclear option" to ban filibusters of Obama nominees, including federal judges. Or did I just dream that? No, for here's the last sentence in this piece:

Democrats in November voted to curb filibusters against Obama nominees.

Either somebody is stuck in the October past -- or else he's DeLoreaned himself back to the future of January, 2015!

What's even odder is that if you correct the party in charge of the Senate, then the entire article makes no sense at all; since the Senate Republicans have no veto whatsoever on confirming Obamic appointees, the fight is actually between Democrat senators -- and the Democrat president. So what's the point?

Were I the editor, I think I would just send the whole mess back to Mr. Jager with a curt note that friends don't let friends write drunk.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 6, 2014, at the time of 1:42 PM | Comments (1)

January 5, 2014

Broken Clock

Hatched by Dafydd

Barack "You can keep it" Obama is well along the path to utterly demolishing the American health-insurance system. He bulldozed a series of grotesque "reforms" through a supine Congress, market distortions that will swiftly kill all the old insurance plans Americans have used for years. He schemes to replace them with Obamacare exchanges and ultimately single-payer, government-controlled medical care. Far from ensuring against medical catastrophe, these monetary black holes will instead "spread the wealth around"... that is, suction it from the middle class and redistribute it to politicians, Progressivists, and rent-seekers.

Yet Obama has inadvertently done us a huge favor: The destruction of the American health "insurance" monstrosity will in fact usher in a new medical paradigm that is rational, workable, and fair, and a tremendous improvement over what we used to have.

Many have pointed out that what we call health "insurance" is anything but. Real insurance is like what you have on your house, a policy that pays for unexpected catastrophes: If your house catches fire, for example, the insurer pays a very substantial portion of the cost to repair or replace it.

But it doesn't pay the homeowner to repaint the house, exterminate termites, fix leaky faucets, or replace burnt-out lightbulbs. Those problems are not "damage" but maintenance or ordinary living expenses.

Similarly, your auto comprehensive and collison insurance pays for unexpected damage to your car due to an accident; but it won't give you a dime towards changing the oil, fixing the valves, or tanking up with gasoline. Again, those are considered maintenance or ordinary operation of the vehicle.

But so-called health insurance -- pre-Obamacare -- paid for many things that should have been considered either maintenance (the annual checkup) or ordinary health-care expenses (prescription drugs). Insurance is intended to be a gamble: The company bets that you will never have a catastrophic health problem, while you bet that you will, by gum. But expecting a payoff from the insurer every time you refill your prescription for Nexium or Lipitor is no gamble -- it's a regular expense.

When the health insurer must pay for regular expenses, "insurance" has instead become a pre-paid health-care plan. And naturally, the premium reflects that distinction, causing the rapid rise in health-care premiums and higher deductables: An insurance company that doesn't raise rates when consumers increase their service demands will quickly find itself out of business.

But now, with falsely so-called health insurance falling into a death spiral, due to Obamacare, the One has inadvertently brought some real light; Obama has swept away the dreck of our former health-care Ponzi scheme and cleared the decks for what we really need to replace both the old third-party system and the looming enormity of government monopoly: a doctor-patient private subscription plan.

A number of doctors, revolting against Obamacare's intent to turn doctors into government employees (as with horrific Britain's National Health Service) have already begun the transformation. Here's how it could work:

  • Doctors form coalitions with other doctors and specialists, hospitals, and alternative health-care facilities such as nursing homes and outpatient care.
  • A consumer then buys a subscription to the coalition of his choice. He would make his choice on the basis of a particular doctor he likes, or on the facilities available, or the types of services the coalition offers. The subscription is a monthly payment the consumer makes to the coalition -- superficially resembling an insurance premium, but without the third-party middleman, the insurance company: The consumer deals directly with the coalition run by doctors.

    The subscription entitles you to some treatments or consultations that require no extra fee; and for more expensive services (surgery, long-term care, access to a specialist, etc), the subscription gives the consumer substantial discounts.

    Coalitions will offer many different subscriber plans, just as your cable or satellite TV over various tiers of service: The more you pay per month, the more services you get for "free" (fully covered by the subscription) and the greater the discount for services that require further payment.

  • Finally, the subscriber should also buy a very low cost catastrophic care policy. This would be real, honest to goodness insurance, where the insurer only pays for serious and unexpected events, like a heart attack, cancer, or severe injury, where the medical costs are bankruptcy-threatening.

Young, healthy people would buy a minimal subscription with very low monthly payments. Older people and those with chronic problems would buy robust subscriptions with much higher monthly payments, and they would get correspondingly better discounts and more coverage. But the health-care coalitions, entirely privately run, would set the monthly payments such that they would make money either way... thus the system would be self-sustaining and require no government subsidies. The goal, of course, is to get government out of the picture to the maximum extent possible.

But what about people with pre-existing conditions?

It's bad public policy to have a batch of people who cannot get medical care because coalition subscriptions are utterly out of reach; nobody wants to see the deserving poor dying in the streets because they have medical problems. But the problem of people with pre-existing conditions could be handled by an assigned risk system randomly and evenly assigning such patients to coalitions at affordable subscription rates -- much like accident-prone drivers who get assigned to auto-insurance companies. (Though the coalition assigned-risk system is more just, since most assignees did nothing to bring on their own pre-existing conditions.)

The coalitions would be required to sell subscriptions to such patients at a loss, making it up by a small premium on everybody else's subscriptions.

Note that coalitions are not tied to employment, so changing jobs would not affect one's health care. And there would be no restriction on who could buy a subscription from whom, regardless of the state or even country in which the coalition is incorporated.

And because patients are directly paying doctors without any third-party insurer, they will have a great incentive to become prudent consumers of medical care, keeping costs down.

The more Obamacare obliterates the erstwhile health-"insurance" system, the faster will health-care providers create health-care coalitions and begin offering subscriptions. Even a broken Obamacare can have at least one good effect, however serendipitously!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 5, 2014, at the time of 1:22 PM | Comments (5)

December 4, 2013

Just Checked In to See What Condition My Pre-Existing Condition Is In

Hatched by Dafydd

I have had "pre-existing conditions" for as long as I've had my own health insurance, starting in the 1970s. They focus mainly on allergies, some serious enough to provoke anaphylaxis or an asthma attack that can, e.g., send my blood pressure plummeting or prevent me from breathing. I take expensive medicines that keep me asymptomatic, so I can hike and run and work out without worrying about dying from eating the wrong food or inhaling cat dander.

Much of the cost of those medicines is borne by my insurance companies... which they knew going in. Hence the term "pre-existing condition" (PEC).

In every instance where I have had to change insurance, whether a new group plan or buying individual coverage, I have had to go through a special process: For the first few months, my PECs aren't covered by insurance at all; then for a few months, my coverage goes through a "vesting" period, where coverage is phased in month by month. Finally, at the end of that vesting, I'm fully covered.

Note the timeframe -- from decades before Obamacare until now. Somehow, all these non-government insurers managed to cover me, PECs and all, for decades.

So it appears that, on the one issue that everyone was most worried about -- people with PECs who "couldn't get insurance>" -- we already had a model of how to handle that without utterly remaking health insurance. (What Man has done, Man can aspire to do.)

The General PEC Model is two-pronged:

  1. Use some kind of a vesting schedule during which insurance coverage for PECs is gradually increased until the insured has full coverage.

Now, some PECs are much more expensive for the insurance companies than others; consider somebody born with a series of medical problems that lead to many, many surgeries on the heart, liver, lungs, and so forth.

Natually, insurers would rather not cover those people; yet it would be dreadful public policy to tell everyone with a serious PEC that he should just die and reduce the surplus population. (Dickensian death panels, anyone?) Hence the second prong of the General PEC Model:

  1. Include an assigned risk element for the very small number of people whose PECs are serious enough that insurers are guaranteed to lose money on them that no rational premium could compensate. Each insurer must take a certain number of such assigned risks, just as they must in the realm of automobile liability insurance, for the public good.

This way, no one insurer gets hit too hard, and nobody gets to skate with only healthy people on its rolls. That's the model, and we know it works because it was already working for nearly everyone; nobody seriously disputed that the vast majority of uninsured pre-Obamacare comprised young, healthy people who could have afforded health coverage -- but rejected it. The few "uninsurables" could be absorbed by the rest without much cost; that is, after all, the basis of all insurance!

So if anyone, from Progressivist peon to President of the United States, tells you that we needed Obamacare because of the problem of pre-existing conditions... he's lying in his teeth.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 4, 2013, at the time of 1:29 PM | Comments (2)

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