Where was the Cliff’s Notes version?

Jonathan Gruber, an MIT Professor, and Kathleen Sebelius, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, were both involved in the creation of the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” AKA “Obamacare.” That act was forced on America like a size 12 foot into a size 9 shoe. It was huge — thousands of pages long — and complex. So long and complicated that legislators had inadequate time to review it before it was “deemed passed.” Gruber and Sebelius have both expressed the view that the American public was too “stupid” or “insurance illiterate” to understand a law like that.

Ouch! Stupid? Really? We weren’t even allowed the five days for public comment that the President had promised for just such cases. I tried ambitiously to read it shortly after it was “passed” (without any Republican votes) and immediately found myself being referred by section and paragraph number to equally involved provisions of Social Security law. I quickly realized that it was a job for lawyers who had a lot more background and time on their hands.

Gruber stated that Obamacare was not transparent and that lack of transparency was a political advantage. Advantage for whom? Certainly not for those of us who had the greatest need to understand it. Gruber just couldn’t resist bragging about how cleverly the whole thing was put together. (I’m more deceptive than you are… nah nah, na, nah nah.)

It seems to me that someone who ostensibly was working on behalf of the American people (Sebelius) and someone who received about $400,000 of our money to help craft the bill (Gruber), should have been trying to make it as transparent and easy to understand as possible. Holding the views they’ve expressed about the (poor dumb ignorant) public, they should have been trying to guarantee that the people most affected by the law could understand it. Where was the Cliff’s Notes version?

The President Shall Take Care…

This is a replay of an earlier post. Still relevant…

Cartoon to UploadU. S. Constitution – Article II, Section 3.

Compromise, compromise…

Compromise, compromise… We keep hearing that Congress and the White House should compromise. Democrats and Republicans in Congress should compromise. They should all compromise, we are told, so that they can “get something done” for the American people. Well, wait a minute.

It’s quite a stretch to maintain that the American people just want congress to “get something done.” The reason the government is divided is largely because the people themselves are divided. Some people apparently want the country to move “forward” to install, implement, and institutionalize a collectivist “progressive” agenda. Other people want to revitalize adherence to the Constitution and to the principles set forth by the country’s founders. The repeated calls for compromise suggest that some people want us to believe that we can have it both ways. We can’t. Not as long as we seek fundamentally different goals.

If we consider the concept of compromise, it’s clear that Compromise A is not the same as Compromise B. Let’s imagine that Party A thinks we should drive from NYC to Boston and Party B wants to drive to Baltimore instead. How do they compromise? Can they agree to go to Syracuse or Buffalo instead? It’s roughly the same distance, would take about the same amount of fuel and time. But what good would it do? No one gets appreciably closer to either Boston or Baltimore. Of course, they could create the illusion of progress by negotiating about what time of day they should hit the road, what type of vehicle they should use, and how fast they should drive, but that would merely forestall a decision on the ultimate destination.

Party A might think it acceptable to agree to drive to New Haven, CT, i.e. part way in the direction of Boston. Conversely, Party B might accept an agreement to drive from NYC to Philadelphia. All of these could be described as compromises, but none settles the fundamental issue. Those who compromise on the final destination may find themselves, at last, in East Podunk, Nowhere or, more likely, right back where they started. Those who negotiate an agreement on how fast to drive are “getting something done,” but nothing useful.

If you want to drive from NYC to Boston, you don’t go by way of Philadelphia. if you want to restore respect for the Rule of Law, you don’t do it by nodding and winking at illegalities. When we hear calls for compromise, realize that compromise for its own sake is not a virtue.

Dwight Boud

Phony “Communities”

As a “loner,” I might be criticized for my suspicion of the word “community.” It comes from Latin and provides the root for numerous other common words. Cómmune as a noun means a group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities. As a verb, commúne can mean to relate to someone or something on a spiritual level as in commune with God or commune with nature. Most, if not all, of us belong to one community or another. Unless we are homesteaders or squatters living alone in the far reaches of a wilderness, we have hometowns that are governed by elected representatives. In ages past, such communities were formed to provide mutual protection from the rogues among us. Since then, our being part of a community makes us “insiders.” It gives us that warm, cozy feeling that comes with belonging. As such I cannot argue that community is not a good thing.

What, then, is my beef with the word community? The word is meant to be a limiter. It limits the members of a group to a feature or set of features that they all hold in common. They all live in the same place, or do the same thing for a living, or pray to the same God, or wear the same clothing (or uniforms), enjoy the same movies, root for the same team, etc. Unfortunately, in modern political discourse, the word has been stretched beyond its legitimate use, and we hear reference to groups that are so diverse that the word community doesn’t fit. Why is that so? Because it’s a way for someone to create an illusion that he/she finds politically advantageous. Its use is designed to suggest that members of a given group form a “community” of people with common interests. Like all illusions, though, it is misleading, an attempt to make it appear that there is a community where one does not exist.

Take, for example, the “Black Community.” This label is used by those who want to create the illusion that all black people share the same goals as, say, Al Sharpton; that somehow Thomas Sowell, Ben Carson, and Condoleeza Rice all have much in common with Trayvon Martin, Tawana Brawley, and Jeremiah Wright. “Hispanic Community” suggests that the Latin Kings are part of the same “community” as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Linda Chavez. And consider one of the most ludicrous constructs ever produced by the mind of man, the “World Community.” Vladimir Putin’s activities in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine, we are told, will cause him to be isolated by the “World Community.” Are we to believe that such a thing actually exists; that China, Cuba, Syria, Israel, Iran, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Belize, Bhutan, Germany, and Brazil will unite in condemnation of Putin’s machinations? Please. Let’s enjoy those legitimate communities to which we belong but not get taken in by those that are fabricated by propagandists or wishful thinkers.

Dwight Boud © 2014

“Progressives” or “Coercives”?

A lot of Democrats like to call themselves Progressives. As in any such group, significant differences exist between individual members. Yet, as in any group, members share certain commonalities. Otherwise no “group.” So, at the risk of over generalizing, I offer these observations.

The label Progressive suggests that there is some destination toward which our nation is aimed and Progressives not only know what the destination is but are dedicated to the task of moving us toward that destination. The problem is that countries go on and on endlessly influenced by unforeseeable circumstances. President Obama’s policies, for example, while aimed at predetermined domestic political goals, are constantly beset by unwelcome and unforeseen foreign affairs challenges. These are obviously annoying to him and sometimes go unattended.

While “Progressives” claim prescience (their chosen name tells us so) the rest of us, apparently, are benighted. We muddle along pursuing our individual goals unaware of the destiny toward which our country must “inevitably” be moved. This limitation is thought to be true of educated and informed Non-Progressives, not to mention the numerous “uninformed voters” that we see in man-on-the-street TV interviews.

Regardless of the advanced educations of numerous Non-Progressives, they are generally portrayed as lightweights who don’t possess the wisdom to see the way forward that “Progressives” see. In fact, Non-Progressives have the audacity to resist and to fight against the enlightened programs put forth by “Progressive” leaders. But that, we are to believe, is only because of their ignorance of what is truly in their own best interests. This resistance, of course, must be overcome because it impedes national progress. To many “Progressives” the end justifies the means. That makes it ok, in fact laudable, to lie and mislead to achieve “progress.” (Saul Alinsky must be proud.)

When resistance is strong and a means can be found to force “progress” on the ignorant masses, it is used. President Obama’s idiosyncratic use of Executive Orders to foster major governmental changes are examples. Generally, central government control by “Progressives” is seen as a good thing by them because it allows the smart people of the world to determine what is best for the not so bright citizenry and put it into effect. Unfortunately, because it gets messy and slows things down (Obama won’t wait for Congress), such resistance must often be overcome by force. Little is achieved by “Progressives” that does not involve force, fraud, or bribery. Consider, for example the manner in which the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was shoved down the nation’s throat. “Progressives” now direct the bulk of Federal Government agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, EPA, Health and Human Services to name just three in which similar high handed methods are evident. For that reason, and for the sake of accuracy, the so-called progressives of the world deserve to be called “Coercives,” a name that should be used wherever it fits.

Investigate the Benghazi Crimes Themselves

Whenever a heinous crime is committed, it has become common to hear politicians and pundits say something like, “The first thing we have to do is make sure something like this never happens again.” While that remark may reflect an important goal, it’s a long term goal and not “the first thing” that should be done. If your house were burglarized, would you be happy to hear the police say that, or would you rather have them focus first on finding, arresting, and prosecuting the burglar.

So what’s the story with the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods? It seems as though some people want to leave the Benghazi murders behind as long as we’ve taken steps to prevent another such attack. About four months after the murders, Hillary Clinton famously asked “What difference does it make?” suggesting that it was ancient history and not worthy of further investigation. How would you like to hear those words from the police investigating your house burglary?

In that hypothetical burglary, if your neighbors had been in a position to witness the break-in, wouldn’t you want the police to question them? In Benghazi, there were more than four people present. There are survivors, yet for some reason, the survivors have not been interviewed. This fact appears to be part of what many see as an administration cover-up.

As important as it is to unravel a cover-up, it’s at least as important to understand the attack itself. The attackers need to be apprehended, preferably alive, and grilled on how and why they did what they did. Many questions remain to be answered: Why wasn’t there better security? Why has there been so little progress toward apprehending the killers? Why hasn’t “the most transparent administration ever” been more forthcoming in response to congressional requests for information? Why weren’t military assets mobilized to aid the defenders? Where was the commander-in-chief while the attack was underway? and so on. There remain ample reasons to convene a special committee with subpoena power to uncover the whole story of what happened and why.

Tell Vladimir I Can Be More Flexible After the Election.

More flexible?

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