Monday, March 27, 2017

On The Failure of Obamacare Light

                                                                   

I have mixed feelings about House Speaker Paul Ryan's withdrawal of American Healthcare Act legislation on Friday.  On the one hand the legislation would have ended Obama's mandate forever.  And it did include a requirement that healthy adults must work to receive it.  However, in an effort to win passage, Ryan had made so many promises, added so much pork, that it was little different than Obamacare itself.

First let's look at the first iteration of the bill when first drafted.  That first draft peeled back a lot of the wasted government gravy, resulting in a savings of $340 billion dollars over ten years.  Then some pork was added to satisfy the RINO's...and the savings dwindled to $140 billion.  Then more pork was added last week...another $85 billion, which would have resulted in a net savings of just $55 billion over ten years.  While that's nothing to sneeze at, it simply wasn't a true conservative approach to solving our nation's health care problems.

And of course Obamacare Light did not have a mandate to market health insurance across state lines....the only real answer to getting our healthcare premiums down.  And it did not have tort reform.  I can accept Ryan's explanation that cross-state marketing would not pass the Sequestration Criteria, and I accepted Ryan's promise that it would be introduced as a separate piece of legislation, but I simply can't understand why tort reform wasn't included in this bill.  (Were the K-Street lobbyists at work here?)

No one knows how all this will turn out.  But it certainly doesn't look good for Republicans...or Trump.  I was disappointed at Trump saying on Friday that he's amenable to just dropping the legislation entirely and allowing Obamacare to continue.  That's no way to lobby for legislation.

As we now know it was about 40 Republicans who opposed the bill, 18 RINO's who wanted even more generous benefits, and 22 from the conservative Freedom Caucus who insisted on legislation that would have pared the  millions of freeloaders who can afford big screen TV's, iPhones and gaming systems...but are not willing to pay their own health insurance.  There was just no way for this bill to audit out the "gamers".

What we saw on Friday was not simply the failure of passing a healthcare bill.  What we saw is how hard it is to take away government gravy after Obama had already set the gravy bowl on the table.  We have never seen a government benefit taken away once it has been given....and Friday proved we never will.

Friday, March 24, 2017

California's Robin Hood State House

                                                                   

In 2004 the Democrat-controlled California statehouse managed to push a proposition through that levied a 1% surtax on the state's wealthy.  The additional $2 billion of revenue was targeted to pay free in-state tuition for illegal Mexicans.    At that time the top 1% of wage earners were already paying 52% of all taxes collected in the state.  "Not enough", cried the Dems.

Well, that 1% tax resulted in two things....an additional horde of illegals crossing the border, and soaring college tuition rates for children of middle class students trying to get an education.

Well, Democrats loved that so well, this week they decided to introduce AB1356, legislation that will levy another 1% on the fat cats.  But this time the "Dims" want the projected $2 billion in revenue to go toward paying the pizza and beer tabs for students who can't afford to buy their own booze and bread.  And, if there's any moola left over they want to pay off any student loans our Mexican friends might have accrued during their stay here.  (Google it yourself folks...I'm not lying to ya)

Assemblywoman Susan Talamontes Engman says free tuition for  the poor just ain't enough.  AB1356 money will be handed out for "non-tuition" related expenses like some decent threads, coffee at Starbucks, and pizza and beer so that co-eds can sit down and bargain over the state's new "sex consent" mandate that proscribes both parties sign a mutual agreement before they make "the beast with two backs"...otherwise it's "rape".  (Remember that one?)

Anyway, back to AB1356.   Sacramento lawmakers are confident the legislation will pass.  It will since Dems control the statehouse, and have for the last forty years.

So what can we expect from this new legislation?  Since California is already pricing tuition out of the hands of the middle class in that state, this ought to drive up the price of beer and pizza....and send the stock of U-Haul soaring as more of the working class flee the state.

Sad.  Damned Sad.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Neighborhood Watch"

                                                                       
Our senior community here in Sun City sends out community bulletins via email.  They are often full of cautionary warnings; alerting us to telephone or door to door scams...ravages of those who prey on the elderly.

This week's bulletin said "be sure and update your Neighborhood Watch list!  So I go hunting for it.  I find mine is three years old.  As I read through that now aging list I find it looks like a casualty report.   In three short years my neighbors have been falling like flies.  Walter and wife...now buried back there in the family plot in Minnesota.  Fred gone, after a long bout with Alzheimers...his last years foggy and foreboding.  Then, last year, Joann and Alan, from across the street and two houses up.

When I moved here thirteen years ago I was a spritely 55, just barely making the minimum age for living in Sun City.  On the day I moved in,  Joann, a sassy 65 year old, had walked across the street, caught me in mid-trip as I hauled a desk from the U-Haul into the house, offered a greeting of welcome.  Thinking I was single, she began rustling through the rolodex up there in her brain...searching for "autumn chicken", or recent widows for me.   I discouraged her from that notion but thanked her for her neighborly interest.

After that initial meet and greet I saw Joann regularly about the neighborhood...waves exchanged when one or another of us was pulling out from the driveway, headed out to run errands.  Or longer exchanges when we passed each other on our early morning walks.  Joann walked alone, Alan out on the course bright and early, leaving Joann in "golf widowhood".  My exchanges with Alan were just as brief, usually just a casual wave as he tooled by on his golf cart.

About five years ago Joann had a stroke.  Fortunately, she survived it, but the sight of her rehabilitating with that sidewalk walker was a bit sad...a reminder that, at our ages we are one banana peel away from a wheelchair...or worse.

Joann did recover.  However, a couple of years ago Alan left for that big golf course in the sky.  Then, last year, perhaps lonely, Joann joined him up there too.  

Saying goodbye to neighbors is a difficult thing here in my community.  Folks here aren't leaving because "Jack got a promotion and they're relocating him to Denver".  Usually when folks leave here it's to a mortuary and serene rest beneath green meadows, or to have their ashes spread in some beloved place.

Having served 22 years in the military, you get used to saying goodbye to your friends and neighbors.    But it's different now.  When one bids goodbye to a friend in the military you know he or she is just moving on to another assignment.  When you're in your 20's and 30's, unless you're bound for a war zone, there's always hope that you'll meet up again in some far reaches of the world.

Not so here.  Here the goodbyes are sudden...and final, the last vestiges of old friends being an "Estate Sale" sign, soon followed by "House For Sale"

Ah, the sadness that emanates from just poring over an outdated "Neighborhood Watch" list.  And a grisly reminder that someday "it tolls for thee".






Monday, March 20, 2017

On Trump's "Cruel" Budget Cuts

                                                                     

Last week President Trump released what was meant to be part of a budget road map as Congress works on next year's budget.  Not unexpectedly the liberal media and the Democratic party attacked Trump's proposed budget cuts with a vengeance.  And some of Trump's proposed cuts had much of the Republican party in turmoil about program cuts in their districts.

In the coming weeks and months I'll write about my take on whatever budget cuts actually make it out of Congress but, for today, let me just address a couple of Trump's "cruel cuts".

First, Trump proposes that we stop giving National Public Radio and PBS a $485 million dollar government check each year.  Trump's argument is that, since PBS already airs two minutes of commercials at the beginning of each program, and since they run several broadcast fundraisers throughout the year, we ought not be giving them half a billion in taxpayer money.

I agree, and for more than one reason.  Yes, PBS (and their NPR subsidiary) do rake in billions during their fundraisers.  And yes, they do pull in money from their program sponsors.  And, as you know if you watch PBS, many of their programs lead off with an offer of thanks for a score of dead billionaires whose foundations give generous donations to PBS.  (Remember McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc's multi-billion dollar donation to PBS?  It is said she left enough to fund PBS and NPR for 25 years!)

So PBS doesn't need our money.  The additional lucre they've taken in during the last few years have allowed them to hire small armies of liberal journalists who promote the liberal agenda with gusto.  For example, I dare you to check a day of PBS programming, then tell me if that programming reflects American life in any fashion.  On any given day you'll see sob stories about the plight of illegal aliens, or the misery of Black neighborhoods who aren't given enough government money.  Or they will cherry-pick a model Muslim family, then report how miserable they are being force to live in a secular America.

NPR is worse.  Though they do cover the news in greater depth than a typical news channel, that news is almost always trumpeting the liberal agenda.

So, I agree.  No taxpayer money for PBS and NPR.  They have enough...and they do not represent me in most of their programming.

Now let's get to some real liberal "red meat".  Trump is cutting out federal money for Meals On Wheels...that program that brings meals to home bound seniors!  Terrible isn't it?  If Trump's not pushing old people off the cliff, he's at least starving them to death, right?

Wrong.  Let's look at the hard numbers on the Meals On Wheels Program.  The federal government currently contributes about 20% of the program...the rest funded by the individual states.  Although Trump's cuts is really bad, publicity wise, the effect on the program is minimal.

But I dug deeper in the MOW program.  I decided to check out the MOW program right here in Sun City, Arizona...the "queen pioneer" of America's half century of senior living.  When I ventured over to their page I found that it would cost me over $20 bucks a day if I wished to subscribe to their two meal a day meal delivery schedule!  

So my first question is "who the hell can afford that?" and "if MOW is getting both state and federal money, and solicit public donations, and the meals are delivered by volunteers, why the hell does it cost a senior $20 bucks a day for some fairly unimpressive meals?  

I can only surmise that the MOW program is chock full of highly paid administrators....that seems to be the only answer for an organization to charge gourmet restaurant prices for broccoli and a chicken leg or meatloaf and mashed.  

So is Trump mean for suggesting these "cruel cuts?"  Well, if you read the headlines if would seem that way.  However if you look at how America funds inefficiency, rewards bureaucracy, and pays to be told how bad they are on public television, maybe not so cruel as the headlines imply.

What is the cost?
  • Benevilla Meal – soup or salad, entree (protein, vegetable and starch), bread, dessert and a beverage for $9.00
  • Heart Healthy Meal – soup or salad, entree (protein, 2 vegetable servings), sugar-free dessert or fruit, and a beverage for $9.75
  • Hearty Meal – soup or salad, entree (2 protein servings, vegetable and starch), bread, dessert and a beverage for $11.25

Friday, March 17, 2017

"Words"

                                                                     

"Action speaks louder than words".  While that's true, we should not discount entirely the power of words.  Words, the good ones, are those rainbows out on the far horizon, just waiting to touch someone's soul.  Words, when they aspire for greatness, reflect the best the soul can offer.  They don't even have to always be true....sometimes those words are just the "hope" that lies within the human heart.

I am long past being able to count the number of books I have read.  The best ones, the ones which swept me into other worlds, where I met other people...the ones that resonated in my heart, seem almost divinely inspired.  You turn to that last page in the book, and you sit there, mouth agape, and you wonder how the hell the writer assembled the alphabet in such a way that tears ran down your cheeks, or you roared with laughter, or you sat on the edge of your chair and wondered how the mystery would turn out.

You sit at the counter of a diner, or you stand with a group of men around a craps game, or you softly whisper to a friend "I'd give my right arm...for such and such".  We don't really mean we'd be willing to sever an arm for some supreme reward....we just use the cliche to define our degree of want.

While I'm not ready to surrender a limb, I'd give an awful lot to write like Steinbeck, or Hemingway.  Hell, I'd even settle for the pedestrian art of a Raymond Chandler.

You see, words, for me, are mighty things indeed.  They afford me an expression of my longing, of my aspirations to be a better person, for the strength to wield my sword at windmills, and "Don Quixote" my way through my remaining years.   When I "wordsmith" I am able to release frustrations, vent sorrows, and present my dreams to the world in a fashion not amenable, or available with the tongue.

And expressing ourselves in words reveals something about ourselves....when they are good, our better selves.  And, for those who read, or hear our words, are listening clearly, they will be hearing the better spirits of our angels.

Thanks to all the readers who stop by here three times a week...and read the modest scribblings of one who so appreciates the written word.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Implosion of The Nuclear Family

                                                                   

"The Implosion of The Nuclear Family"

Linda Gordon is a feminist historian. For half a century now she has roamed the halls of academia, teaching America's youth that the nuclear family was the most destructive societal element ever conceived by man.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Here's Why The Republicans Healthcare Plan Is 'Obamacare Lite'

                                                                       

In 2010, when Obamacare went into force, I argued that it would never go away.  That's because, once you establish an entitlement, it becomes impossible to take it away.

The Republicans spanking new "Revoke and Replace" plan proves what I said is true.  After promising to repeal Obamacare for six long years the Republicans have simply dressed it up in different robes, called it the American Health Care Act, and left everything that's wrong with Obamacare in place.

Under the Republicans new plan folks making less than $75,000 a year will be getting up to $24,000 dollars a year in either grants or tax credits...the government depending on the individual to use that money for health care.  And under the plan the amount of government money is dependent on how many kids one can breed....even if bred without the benefit of a bonafide father.  So think about that; in addition to handing out enormous outlays for welfare, food stamps, WIC benefits, free pre-school, free school breakfast and lunches, and, at tax time those thousands in Child Tax Credits, with generous tax exemptions added on, our Republicans are going to hand out up to $24,000 dollars a year so that folks can pay for their obesity problems, their diabetes brought on by that obesity, are allowed to smoke as much as they wish, can scarf down those Carl Jr. burger monsters, and suffer no financial consequences for their poor health choices....in fact are rewarded for them!

And do you remember when the Republicans promised marketing of health care plans across state lines?  That ain't in the their bill either....they claim they can't get that little item by the army of K-Street healthcare company lobbyists!  Nor could they inject any kind of tort reform in the bill that might have prevented those $20,000 dollar judgements against McDonalds for serving hot coffee!

While they did delete government mandates I find it hard to see how that helps.  Could be worse!  How do the Repubs expect to fund health care for the older folks if they don't have the healthy younger folks in the patient pools?

Admittedly, there are a few staunch conservatives who are objecting to those $24,000 dollar annual payouts to "sex breeders"...but not nearly enough.  They'll eventually be forced to cave in on what is a bad health care bill....another huge entitlement that will never go away.

Contrary to the liberal gruel, healthcare is not a "right".  It should never have been a cradle to grave benefit, paid for by others.  Non smokers should never have to pay for smokers.  Healthy minded people who eat well should not be punished for those who live on fast food.  There should be an aspect of individual responsibility in any health care plan.  Sadly, the Republicans chose the easy route...not wanting to risk voter wrath for taking away something that should never have been theirs for free in the first place.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Philadelphia's Soda Tax Fizzes

                                                                   

On 1 January, 2017 the City Masters of Philadelphia imposed an egregious soda tax on their municipal subjects.  In doing so they demonstrated the real and serious degree of control that government has over an individual's life and and personal choices.  Our founding fathers, with Thomas Jefferson in the lead, have to be spinning in their graves as they witness the unwinding of personal freedom in America.

And, let's give Philadelphia some serious street cred....they didn't pussy foot around...the soda tax itself exceeding the cost of a soda.  Buy a two-liter bottle of Pepsi in Philly and you pay $1.79 for the bottle of soda...and $2.04 in tax, bringing the costs of that soda to $3.83!  Sweet, huh?

So how's that all working out?  Well, Coke and Pepsi alone has laid off hundreds of bottling and distributing and beverage delivery drivers.  The Soda workers are now without a salary, without healthcare, and without the ability to pay taxes to our government masters...and will now climb on the government dole and file for unemployment and food stamps.

And has the soda tax improved the health of the denizens of the great socialist city of Philadelphia?  Nope....soda drinkers simply drove out to the suburbs and bought their Pepsi and Coke where it wasn't being taxed!

As a result of Philadelphia's soda tax the city's geniuses are finding that tax revenues are plunging.  They are now scrambling to come up with a way to make up for lost revenue.  One of their brilliant municipal planners has come up with the idea to tax meat sold in supermarkets...the argument for doing that being that lamb and beef and chickens contribute to global warming...and we'd all be better off for eating less of it.

So, if you want to visit Philadelphia, and their 21% hotel tax has put a crimp in your travel budget, and you want to economize by choosing a fast food meal, you might have to rent a car and drive to the suburbs to eat.  But if you have to rent a car to drive there, you might not be surprised that Philly has a big tax on that rental car as well.

Your brilliant government masters at work!  And they're busy all over the American map, people.  Old Tommy Jefferson is spinning in turbo mode down there in Virginia.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

California's Hundred Billion Dollar Campaign To Legislate "Fairness"

                                                                   

Okay, I thought I was immune from being shocked.  But then this past week I read an investigative report from one of those Howard Jarvis type organizations that laid out the hard numbers on how much the Democrats in Sacramento spend on "fairness initiatives".  In the last two years you Californians have spent $100 billion (yes, billion) on fairness initiatives.

First came the "babysitter law"....the mandate that Mom and Dad have to provide a permanent baby sitter with pension benefits and so many hours of "paid vacation time" per hours worked.

Then, surely you read that California banned the use of flat bottom sheets in all hotels in the states.  This law came as a result of Mexican hotel maids complaining to their union bosses that not being able to use those fitted bottom sheets put a strain on their back as they made the bed with "non-fitted" sheets.  Hotels complained, saying that those fitted sheets would not process through their laundry machines....even threatened to leave the state, then eventually succumbed and spent tens of millions on sheet launderers that might accommodate fitted sheets.

And, just this past week, as the Oroville Dam threatened to collapse, I learned that California has over 3,600 Cal Trans employees who do little more than mail in a time card every week.  California, not having the funds to fix their roads and bridges, keeps those thousands of workers on the payroll....just in case they ever have the money to fix something.  When queried, the state Department of Transportation said "it wouldn't be fair" to lay off state employees simply because funds aren't available to fix anything.    At more than $100,000 dollars a year in pay and benefits those 3,600 engineers and road graders are costing the taxpayers hundreds of millions a year.....while they sit home and watch "The View".

And this isn't new, folks.  According to a report by Howard Jarvis.Org, California's been subsidizing these Cal Trans folks for years!

But let's go on to more of these "fairness" outlays.  There's the huge costs California incurred when they implemented a spanking new Department of Motor Vehicle software program so they could sign up millions of illegal Mexicans for driver licenses (and automatically put their names on the voter rolls).

Or how about the $500 million dollars in fraudulent claims that the Employment Development Department (EDD) identified?  Alas, the state decided it would not be fair to retroactively pursue those folks and force them to pay back the money they were given.

Or how about the $500,000 a year that California pays their chancellors at each state university, or the hundreds of thousands they spend to maintain "campus mansions" for each....because it wouldn't be "fair" for those "gods of higher learning" to live in more modest abodes.  And would it be fair if the state did not spend $530,000 dollars for alcohol and university functions?

But let's not blame all that crazy spending on the state.  In 2014 the city of Los Angeles paid out $27 million dollars to settle a suit by the municipal garbage workers who were offended because the city said they couldn't take naps in their trucks!

Need I go on?  If you'd like to read hundreds of other examples, just google "Howard Jarvis. Org."  You California taxpayers will just love how "fair" your state masters are.

Sigh.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Liberal Hypocrits

                                                                   

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking heat for meeting twice with the Russian Ambassador last year.  Democrats are demanding he resign from his post.  I find two things hilarious about this:  1) After years and years of a Democrat poo-pooing about anything Russia did, liberals are now taking a hawkish stance on Russia.  2) Over the years the Democrats kept mum when their own kind were up to their asses in Russian ass-kissing.

Remember the accidental live mike in 2012 when Obama was caught telling his Russian envoy pal that he could be more "accommodating" to Russia once the election was over?

                                         

And who could ever forget Hillary's famous "Russian Re-Set Button" when she did some serious ass kissing, allowing Russia to buy American uranium, and only coincidently getting Russia to funnel millions into the Clinton Foundation

I could go on and on but perhaps the worse breech of national security is when Obama stood by and allowed the Russians to march into Ukraine...and didn't do squat to punish them.

                                             
So the other day, Hillary pal and ultra liberal Claire McCaskill tweeted that, in then years in the Senate, she'd never met with the Russian ambassador.  Then, not surprisingly, some ambitious critic found a McCaskill Tweet on her own Tweeter feed showing a pic of she and the Russkies meeting head to head.


All this should tell you all you need to know about this "scandal" ginned up by the Democrats and their liberal mainstream press lackeys.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Trump Caves

                                                                   

Last November I gritted my teeth and voted for Trump.  The twin (and only) pillars of my support was seeing a conservative nominated to the Supreme Court and Trump's promise to deport illegal immigrants.

Last night one of those pillars collapsed.  Trump caved on illegal immigration.  Like all the rest of those willowy Republicans who stood on the debate stage, except for Ted Cruz, Trump is now willing to reward those who flaunt our immigration laws.  Not acceptable.  

One need not even build the damned wall now.  Two thirds of illegal immigration comes from overstaying work or tourist visas.  And as long as the invaders see another amnesty in the future, they'll keep coming, and they'll keep staying.  

There are very few in politics who have the balls to say "no mas" on illegal amnesty.  No one is willing to see the unintended consequences of granting a pass to the invaders.

While I am sympathetic to the DACA folks, those brought here as children, I would still demand that, in order to be granted citizenship, they must serve either two years of a bonafide community service organization, or an equal number of years in military service.

All the rest of them can go to hell....or at least back to where they came from.

Trump got elected on two issues; Obamacare and Illegal Immigration.  So far he's got a "D-" on Obamacare (his promise not to throw anyone off of the public medical dole), and he now gets an "D" on illegal immigration issues.

Trump hasn't left me much to root for.  His budget proposals have never made sense.  His Obamacare reform ideas all revolve around maintaining medical care for 30 million tit suckers who can afford  I-Phones and Gaming Systems and Big Screen televisions, and eat their way into diabetes and heart problems...but are simply not willing to foot their own medical bills.

And now Trump, his psych already suspect, desperately needing to be loved, has decided to kiss illegal ass like most other cowardly politicians have done over the years.  It might win him a few Mexican votes in four years....but he'll not get mine.  He's proved to be the "Emperor With No Clothes" and that's bad for America. Thursday morning on Good Morning America Trump said "they're here illegally, but they shouldn't worry".  "I'm just interested in getting rid of the criminals".

Earth To Trump:  When they crossed the border they were criminal.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A New Pilot For The Titanic

                                                                   




On Saturday the Democratic National Committee said good riddance to Debra "Wasserman Test" Schultz and hello to Obama's former Labor Secretary, Tom Perez. Perez will now serve as Chief of the Democratic National Committee and immediately begin working to elect Democrats in the 2018 off year elections, then begin to lay the groundwork for whomever emerges as a candidate for President in 2020.
Don't we all wish Tommy well?  The congregation on Saturday didn't. They booed and hollered and demanded a recount, unbelievably demanding that someone even more bat shit crazy take the helm. 
You see, these folks were waiting with bated breath for Hillary to win last November. She had promised them that Uncle Sam would pay off their student loans and, thereafter student tuition would be free for any "basket weaving" major that wished to pursue higher learning! And she had promised a liberal Supreme Court judge, and a big bright new "Welcome Mat" to illegal Mexicans, and might even have opted to move the nation's capitol to Sacramento, California where all those wonderful liberal ideas are coming to fruition! 
But let's give Tommy Perez some credit. After all he's the Labor Secretary who sued a beer distributor in support of two Muslim truck drivers who didn't think their religion allowed them to truck beer all over the state of Michigan! 
And can we ever forget when Tommy issued a "cease and desist" order against Boeing Aircraft relocating from liberal Washington state to North Carolina because labor costs were lower there?
Fear not, fellow Republicans! Tommy Perez may not be as bat shit crazy as that Muslim Congressman from Minnesota...but he's crazy enough to insure the HMS Titanic is heading for another iceberg in 2018!
(I've just got to check the latest quarterly report for General Foods....very curious about how Kool Aid sales are doing quarter.)