Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

What happens to societies that embrace a right to die?

Holland has been on the bleeding edge of the “right to die” movement, a movement employing Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). Most people supporting this supposed right have never actually thought through the long term consequences on a grand scale, and that is true of such supporters in the U.S. as well as Europe.

Just last month the DailyMail reported a Dutch doctor killed an elderly patient, a woman over the age of 80. The patient at some earlier time expressed a wish to be euthanized, but later (several times) expressed her desire to live. When the doctor decided it was the “right time” to perform the medicalized killing she drugged the patient without the woman’s knowledge. But the patient unexpectedly awoke during the lethal injection and struggled and resisted so much the doctor asked the family to hold her down. The patient’s right to change her mind seems to have been entirely ignored. Or does the patient even have such a right?

During the court proceedings, the panel charged with handling the matter wanted the case to go to court not to prosecute the doctor, but to have “greater clarity” on the rights of the physician who engages in medicalized killing. Read the full article to see the horrific reasoning used to justify the situation. Those of you who didn’t have your head buried in the sand during the Obamacare debates may remember warnings of “death panels” and other dangers that corrupt health care by allowing elitist government bureaucrats to interfere. Keep in mind, the right to die movement is already here in the U.S. and is growing with the help of various left wing groups.

This is by no means the first incident of PAS where the patient was euthanized against their wishes. But when a society embraces the right to die, with not only the approval but also with the assistance of the state, any person capable of thinking past their own nose should see the obvious problems that will arise. In the name of a persons’s “choice” to die we are seeing government endorsement of medicalized killing without the patient’s consent.

How does government-endorsed medicalized killing go so wrong? Ryan T. Anderson examines this important question in his report Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality from March, 2015. It’s a lengthy report but touches on very important issues such as:

  • changing how society deals with the marginalized
  • fundamentally altering the doctor-patient relationship
  • compromising the nature of the family
  • damaging the essential premise of human dignity

It might be funny if this weren’t so serious hearing people pretend to be well informed on this issue while they insulate themselves from the anti-euthanasia side of the debate. When “thinking for yourself” involves intentionally avoiding a view you disagree with (which implies you may not actually know what you disagree with) it becomes a euphemism for not thinking at all. If you claim to care about people you should read the full report. And while you do, think about how compassionate a health care system is when the state is run by enlightened people who think overpopulation is one of the greatest dangers the world faces.

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New level of anti-diversity programming at college

original article: Stepford School: Princeton students forced to abandon individuality, freshman says
February 13, 2017 by JENNIFER KABBANY

Carrie Pritt, a freshman at Princeton University studying computer science, has penned a powerful piece illustrating the stranglehold political correctness has on her Ivy League institution.

Dysfunctional. Dystopian. Oppressive. Writing in Quillette, the picture she paints of her campus is chilling and creepy — think a Stepford School — with militant students and scholars creating an environment that ensures people say the right things, conform, avoid insulting others at all costs:

Like many other schools, Princeton has become disturbingly homogeneous because of this phenomenon. Not only that, but the pressure to respect other groups on and off campus is pushing my generation into left-wing uniformity. We are encouraged to mind our own business by mimicking politically correct values without ever thinking them through on our own. No one questioned the students and faculty members who disrespectfully walked out of Charles Murray’s lecture hall after he was invited to speak on campus this winter.

My teachers and classmates openly referred to Trump’s voters as uneducated bigots throughout the election season, while taking any criticism of Clinton as an attack against women. Anyone who dares to voice a religious opinion is regarded as unintelligent. The fear of being called racist draws our attention to a black woman’s skin instead of her character, and the fear of being called homophobic emphasizes a gay man’s sexuality over his personality. We have been trained to tiptoe around each other and distribute trigger warnings with generosity.

Where did this training start? Try mandatory freshman orientation. Pritt writes:

“Stand up if you identify as Caucasian.”

The minister’s voice was solemn. I paused so that I wouldn’t be the first one standing, and then slowly rose to my feet. “Look at your community,” he said. I glanced around the auditorium obediently. The other students looked as uncomfortable as I felt, and as white. ¨Thank you,” the minister said finally. After we sat down, he went on to repeat the exercise for over an hour with different adjectives in place of “Caucasian”: black, wealthy, first-generation, socially conservative. Each time he introduced a new label, he paused so that a new group of students could stand and take note of one another. By the time he was finished, every member of Princeton University’s freshman class had been branded with a demographic.

This doesn’t sound like a university — more like a re-education camp.

Writing about “Princeton’s Surreal ‘Diversity Training’ for Students,” Amelia Hamilton in Acculturated points out: “Academia is openly intolerant of diversity of thought, but exercises like the one Pritt experienced at Princeton are even worse. They strip students of one of the most important things for creating genuine diversity and intellectual rigor: individuality.”

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The serial killer the media won’t talk about

original article: The American Serial Killer The Media Won’t Talk About: Kermit Gosnell
January 27, 2017 By The Federalist Staff

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murdering four people, including three babies, and it is suspected that he also killed hundreds, if not thousands of others in his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic. Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer join the Federalist Radio Hour to discuss their book, “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer” and the upcoming film adaptation.

“He’d give the women drugs to make them give birth… the babies were born alive and then he would kill them by stabbing them with scissors,” McAleer said. “He’s in prison because he committed murder… his death toll goes back decades.”

McAleer and McElhinney have made a dramatic film telling the story and drama of Gosnell. “I think we felt a documentary wouldn’t have the same penetration in terms of story, and because the story was ignored by the media, people just don’t know about it,” McElhinney said.

click here to listen to the interview

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Doctor who forcibly euthanized elderly woman ‘acted in good faith’

original article: Dutch gov’t panel: Doctor who forcibly euthanized elderly woman ‘acted in good faith’
January 31, 2017 by Claire Chretien

NETHERLANDS, January 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Dutch doctor who forcibly euthanized an elderly woman without her consent “acted in good faith,” a euthanasia oversight panel decided when it cleared her of wrongdoing. The chairman of that panel has expressed hope that the case will go to court – not so the doctor can be prosecuted, but so a court can set a precedent on how far doctors may go in such cases.

This particular case was sent to the Regional Review Committee, which oversees the country’s liberal euthanasia regime.

The woman, who was over 80, had dementia. She had allegedly earlier requested to be euthanized when “the time was right” but in her last days expressed her desire to continue living.

Nevertheless, her doctor put a sedative in the patient’s coffee. The doctor then enlisted the help of family members to hold the struggling, objecting patient down so that she could administer the lethal injection.

“I am convinced that the doctor acted in good faith, and we would like to see more clarity on how such cases are handled in the future,” Committee Chairman Jacob Kohnstamm said. Taking the case to court would be “not to punish the doctor, who acted in good faith and did what she had to do, but to get judicial clarity over what powers a doctor has when it comes to the euthanasia of patients suffering from severe dementia.”

Society has “flipped everything completely upside down,” Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. “This is a prime example of another upside down attitude in the culture.”

“Doesn’t someone have a right to change their mind?” he asked. “They sell it as choice and autonomy, but here’s a woman who’s saying, ‘no, I don’t want it,’ and they stick it in her coffee, they hold her down and lethally inject her.”

“It’s false compassion,” Schadenberg continued. “It’s killing people basically out of a false ideology” that treats euthanasia as somehow good when “it’s the exact opposite of what it actually is.”

“All signs say she didn’t want to die,” he said. “Canadians should take notice of this because this is exactly what we’re debating in Canada.”

A current debate in Canada is, “should they expand euthanasia to people who ask for it in their power of attorney…so if they’re incompetent, they can have euthanasia anyway,” Schadenberg explained.

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If Black Genocide were shown on BET, Black Lives Matter would be attacking abortion clinics

original article: One of Margaret Sanger’s Pals Ran a Concentration Camp That Killed Black People
October 14, 2016 by JASON JONES & JOHN ZMIRAK

It’s a pro-life commonplace that The American Birth Control League, founded by Margaret Sanger 100 years ago and later rechristened Planned Parenthood, had ties to eugenicists and racists. This is not quite right. It’s like saying that the NBA has ties to professional sports. The birth control movement and the eugenics movement were the same movement — to the point where Margaret Sanger twice tried to merge her organization with major eugenics groups.

One eugenics expert, Eugen Fischer, whom Sanger featured as a speaker at a population conference she organized, had already run a concentration camp — in German-ruled Southwest Africa, before World War I, where he murdered, starved and experimented on helpless native Africans. It was Fischer’s book on eugenics, which Hitler had read in prison, that convinced Hitler of its central importance. Another longtime official of Planned Parenthood, Garrett Hardin, had a decades-long track record of serving in eugenics organizations, and as late as the 1980s was calling for mass forced sterilization of Americans as a necessary solution to the “population problem.”

The same people served on the boards of the American Eugenics Society and Sanger’s organizations for decades, and they worked closely together on countless projects — ranging from researching the birth control pill as a means of diminishing the African-American birth rate (they tested the early, hazardous versions of the Pill on impoverished rural women in Puerto Rico), to passing forced sterilization or castration laws in more than a dozen states that targeted blacks and other poor people accused of “feeble mindedness” or “shiftlessness” and diagnosed as “unfit” parents. Today, Planned Parenthood sets up its centers in America’s poorest neighborhoods, and continues to target the same populations via abortion.

Maafa 21: Black Genocide

That’s the appalling truth uncovered in a neglected 2014 documentary which we feature here at The Stream as part of our #100forLife campaign. Maafa 21: Black Genocide gets its odd title from the Swahili word for slavery, and it is this film’s contention that the eugenics movement in America began in the panic which white racists felt at the end of slavery over what should be done to solve what some called the “Negro problem.” It’s a long, harrowing film, which you should watch in small doses — treating it as a miniseries. And keep a box of Kleenex handy, because you will weep.

Produced by the pro-life apostolate Life Dynamics with a mostly black cast of narrators and commentators, this film claims that Planned Parenthood and other organizations and government programs that target the poor and try to block their reproduction are the 21st century’s answer to the Ku Klux Klan — which was founded by white Southern elites to keep down the “unruly” ranks of freed black slaves.

It’s a shocking assertion, but one that the filmmakers prove beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt, citing name after name, giving racist quote after racist quote, showing that Sanger personally approved the publication of outrageous and cruel claims of the genetic inferiority of millions of Americans, especially blacks, and calling for their forced sterilization, and the cut-off of welfare benefits and even private charity, to stop the “unfit” from reproducing themselves. Then she took part in promoting policies that turned this evil, utopian program of social engineering into binding American laws. One of the leading advocates for the legalization of abortion in the 1960s and 70s was Planned Parenthood, run by her appointees and later by her grandson, Alexander Sanger.

Margaret Sanger Worked with White Supremacists for Decades

The board of Margaret Sanger’s organization and others where she served as an officer, the authors she published in The Birth Control Review, the conferences she sponsored, and the people to whom Planned Parenthood gave awards well into the 1960s and 70s, are a Who’s Who of the ugliest, most paranoid misanthropic elitists and white racists of the 20th century — apart from those who were thankfully hanged at Nuremburg. After those trials, when “eugenics” had acquired a well-deserved taint, these same American elitists used the exaggerated threat of “overpopulation” to peddle the desperate need to control other people’s fertility, if need be by forced sterilization — a policy which Sanger had advocated since 1934.

The eugenicists, self-appointed experts on human quality of life, had peddled their theories not just in Britain and America but in Germany, where they helped to directly inspire Nazi sterilization and extermination programs aimed at the handicapped, Jews, and the small population of black or mixed race Germans — children of French colonial troops whom Hitler considered a grave menace to “Aryan” racial “hygiene.” One of Sanger’s regular authors in The Birth Control Review wrote in a U.S. newspaper in the 1930s defending the forced sterilization of such mixed-race children, for the sake of Germany’s “health.”

Hitler’s Bible, by Sanger’s Friend

Friends and associates of Sanger (such as Harry Laughlin) accepted awards from Nazi-controlled universities, visited with Hitler and Himmler, and boasted that the forced sterilization programs which they had instituted in America were used as models by the Germans. One author who served on Sanger’s board and published regularly in The Birth Control Review was Lothrop Stoddard, a high official of the Massachusetts Ku Klux Klan, whose book The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, Adolf Hitler cited in Mein Kampf as “my bible.”

Ota_Benga_at_Bronx_Zoo

Nor were the eugenicists isolated cranks. Their ranks include Harvard professors, mainline Protestant clergymen, prominent conservationists for whom entire animal species are named, and Gilded Age plutocrats. Much of the funding for eugenics organizations came from the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing his opinion that the forced sterilization of a supposedly “feeble-minded” woman in Virginia was constitutional, infamously said that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” His views were echoed by President Teddy Roosevelt, as the film proves with quotations. It also recounts how a Sanger ally Madison Grant, a prominent Darwin apostle and eugenicist, helped to exhibit Ota Benga, an African pygmy, in a cage with an orangutan for ten days at New York City’s Bronx Zoo, to “illustrate evolution.” Mr. Benga took his own life ten years later.

The eugenicists’ arrogant certainty that, because they had inherited money and power, they were genetically superior to the rest of the human race, found in Charles Darwin’s theories an ideal pretext and a program: to take the survival of the fittest and make it happen faster, by stopping the “unfit” from breeding. The goal, in Margaret Sanger’s own words, was “More Children from the Fit, Fewer from the Unfit.” Instead of seeing the poor as victims of injustice or targets for Christian charity, the materialism these elitists took from Darwin assured them that the poor were themselves the problem — that they were inferior, deficient and dangerous down to the marrow of their bones.

“Feeble-Minded” and “Shiftless” Blacks

The targets of this campaign in America were poor people, the unemployed, non-English-speaking immigrants, but most of all African-Americans. This vulnerable population, composed largely of ex-slaves and their children, was identified in the 1880s as a “threat” to the “racial health” and progress of the United States, by followers of Francis Galton — first cousin of Charles Darwin, heir to a slave-trading fortune, and inventor of the “science” of eugenics. These people had been exploited for centuries as free labor, denied education for fear of fomenting rebellion, and excluded from most of the economy. Now the eugenicists blamed the victims, black Americans, for their desperate social conditions, claiming that they were the natural result of blacks’ “defective germ plasm,” which posed a threat to America akin to a deadly virus.

The forced sterilization laws which Sanger and her allies passed were used to sterilize at least 60,000 Americans, but perhaps as many as 200,000, on the pretext that young women who became pregnant out of wedlock were “feeble-minded,” “immoral” or “socially useless” parasites — all rhetoric that Sanger personally used in her books, articles, and at least one speech before a Ku Klux Klan rally, as she recounts in her memoir.

tony-riddick-150x150

Maafa 21 interviews Elaine Riddick, who was raped at age 13 and became pregnant. As she lay in the hospital waiting to deliver the baby, welfare officials from the state of North Carolina warned her illiterate grandparents that if they didn’t sign the consent form to have her irreversibly sterilized, the state would cut off their welfare benefits. They scrawled an “X” on the government form, and Elaine was sterilized without her knowledge. She only learned what had been done to her five years later, when welfare officials explained that she was too “feeble-minded” to care for a child “or even tie my own shoes,” as she recounts. Elaine was sterilized in 1968. The last such “eugenic” forced sterilization in the U.S. took place in 1983.

While Elaine never went to high school, she went on and finished college, and the one child which the United States government had permitted her to have — Tony Riddick, a child of rape — now runs his own successful company. Harry Laughlin, the eugenicist who helped pass the law that sterilized Elaine, died without any children.

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Democrats demand the status quo in education

original article: Public School Is Often The Most Destructive Institution In American Life
January 18, 2017 by David Harsanyi

There’s something perverse about an ideology that views the disposing of a child in the third trimester of pregnancy as an indisputable right but the desire of parents to choose a school for their kids as “zealotry.”  Watching Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, answer an array of frivolous questions was just another reminder of this warped worldview.

Many liberals, for instance, tell us that racism is one of the most pressing problems in America. And yet few things have hurt African Americans more over the past 40 years than the inner-city public school system. If President Obama is correct, and educational attainment is the key to breaking out of a lower economic strata, then no institution is driving inequality quite as effectively as public schools.

Actually, teachers unions are the only organizations in America that openly support segregated schools. In districts across the country — even ones in cities with some form of limited movement for kids — poor parents, most typically black or Hispanic, are forced to enroll their kids in underperforming schools when there are good ones nearby, sometimes just blocks away.

The National Education Association spent $23 million last cycle alone working to elect politicians to keep low-income Americans right where they are. Public service unions use tax dollars to fund politicians who then turn around and vote for more funding. The worse the schools perform, the more money they demand. In the real world we call this racketeering.

Yet according to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, it is people like DeVos who are “a grave threat” to the public schools “that made America great.”

Well, for starters, studies consistently show that minority groups in America’s largest cities are lagging in proficiency in reading and math. Most of them are at the bottom 5 percent of schools in their own state. There is only so much an education secretary can accomplish, but being accused of being a “grave threat” to this system is a magnificent endorsement.

And what were Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee most concerned with? Preserving the status quo. Sen. Elizabeth Warren forced DeVos to admit that she has never led an organization quite like the Education Department (with its nearly $70 billion budget, who has?). For some reason, Warren also made DeVos, a billionaire, admit that she’d never filled out financial aid forms. The Daily Caller News Foundation found that six of the 10 Democrats on the committee had attended private or parochial schools, or have children and grandchildren who do. So what?

Sen. Patty Murray, who has absolutely no understanding or regard for the constitutional limitation on the education department, pushed DeVos to promise that she would not personally defund public schools. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a tireless adversary of the first five amendments of the Constitution (at least), asked DeVos if she thought firearms had any place in or around schools. “I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide,” she replied, before offering a specific concern of a local rural district that Sen. Mike Enzi had moments ago mentioned. Cue: mocking left punditry.

In case you were unaware, Democrats on the committee stressed that DeVos was a Republican appointed by a Republican president who had given money to Republican organizations. They further pointed out that DeVos was a Christian who had given money to Christian organizations (often referred to as “antigay groups”) that didn’t meet with their moral approval.

Mostly though, the liberals on the committee attacked DeVos because she has a history of contributing her own money to help private and Christian schools expand their reach. She also supported school vouchers proponents and public charter schools that open doors to poor kids. Those dollars have likely done more to help minority students than all the committee members’ efforts combined.

As many Americans surely know, rich and middle-class Americans already have school choice. In most places, the whiter the neighborhood the better the school system, and the better the school system the higher the prices of homes, making it impossible for those who aren’t wealthy to escape substandard schools (rural school also often suffer.) This is the status quo Warren, Murphy, and Murray hope to preserve.

Yes, school reform is complicated and challenges vary from place to place. Many have shown improvement. But teachers unions and their allies opposed magnets, charters, home schooling, religious schooling, and virtual schools long before data about the effectiveness of these choices was in, and now long after quality research is indicating their improvement on the union-preferred system.

You can visit heavily Hispanic areas in Denver and watch mothers cry when their kids’ numbers don’t come up in a charter-school lottery. Or you can listen to technocrats in editorial board meetings, whose kids live in prosperous districts or attend private schools, telling you why too many of those parents have a choice.

By the parameters we often judge these sort of things, public schools are racist institutions — even if that’s unintentional. They have an even more destructive effect on communities than all the dumb words and racist (real and imagined) comments that upset the public on a regular basis. It’s not surprising that poll after poll shows minority parents support educational choice. Unfortunately, partisanship allows Democrats to take voters for granted and ignore the issue.

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My 96-percent increase in premiums is a useful, unvarnished look at Obamacare’s effects

original article: My Defective Obamacare Health Insurance Product Just Blew Up
October 27, 2016 by Mary Katharine Ham

Like many other Americans, I got a letter last week. This letter is becoming an annual tradition, arriving on my doorstep in October to inform me of my Obamacare insurance premium hike.

Last year, the letter said my Bronze plan, purchased on the marketplace formed by the, ahem, Affordable Care Act, would increase by almost 60 percent.

This year, my premium is going up 96 percent. Ninety-six percent. My monthly payment, which was the amount of a decent car payment, is now the size of a moderate mortgage. The president refers to these for thousands of citizens as “a few bugs” when to us it feels like a flameout.

For this astronomical payment, I get a plan with an astronomical deductible that my healthy family of three will likely never hit except in the most catastrophic of circumstances.

Let’s rewind to my pre-Obamacare health care situation. Throughout my life and career, I have had both employer-based coverage and significant periods during which I bought private insurance with high deductibles and low premiums. During the run-up to Obamacare, President Obama referred to these plans as “junk” plans, but my family and I received perfectly good care and service through them. We were responsible, healthy citizens consuming a small amount of health care, paying out of pocket for most of it, and making sure we weren’t deadbeats should something catastrophic come to pass. Our health insurance was a rational and responsible purchase.

The President’s Huge, Broken Promises

When President Obama sold Obamacare to the American people, he promised three things. 1) That we could keep our plans if we liked them. 2) That the new system would offer competition between great options through an Obamacare marketplace, and 3) That our premiums would go down. Not “go up slower” or “go up but eventually go down,” but go down— $2,500 was the figure.

The letter I got last week is a betrayal of every one of those promises. I did not get to keep the plan I liked. The new system does not offer competition between great options through an Obamacare marketplace. And my premiums have gone up more than 150 percent in two years.

This was all predictable and predicted, by many (including me!).

Hillary Clinton conceded this reality at the second debate in response to an audience question about the Affordable Care Act. She said, in effect, “It’s not affordable, but it does other stuff.”

“Well, I think Donald was about to say he’s going to solve it by repealing it and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. And I’m going to fix it, because I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and I’ve laid out a series of actions that we can take to try to get those costs down.”

As most apologists for the law do, she listed the handful of things people like the sound of— more people insured, no pre-existing conditions, lifetime limits on out-of-pocket costs, stay on your parents’ insurance until you’re 26!

But those benefits came with added costs, mandates, and overhead, and we’re now seeing the fruits of the whole law in a 25-percent average rate increase. When congressional Democrats were constructing the worst legislative Jenga tower of all time, they called critics’ predictions “lies.”

But here we are with lower-than-expected participation in exchanges, extremely low numbers of healthy young people in the risk pools, and insurance companies jacking up rates or exiting the exchange entirely in an attempt to remain solvent under the weight of increasing benefits for increasingly older, sicker customers.

This in turn leads to less competition on the exchanges, which leads to fewer young and healthy people buying into these terrible and terribly expensive products. The Department of Health and Human Services determined one of every five people shopping on Obamacare’s exchange has only one insurer to choose. This is what the death spiral you may vaguely recall the president dismissing in 2009 looks like.

Buying Really Expensive Junk

I have many blessings, two of which are the means to pay for health insurance and the good fortune not to need much of it. As a result, in the post-Obamacare world, I am a prime gouging target. I’m seeing a 96 percent increase because I am healthy, unsubsidized, and getting fewer and fewer choices. My health care companyabandoned the lowest-tier Bronze option entirely in its attempt to stay solvent, funneling me into a Silver plan with higher levels of care I don’t need at a higher price I don’t want.

My individual deductible is more than two times the high deductible on my old “junk” plan. My family’s deductible is ten times what the IRS defines as a high deductible. I now pay a high premium for a high-deductible plan, while also paying co-pays and out-of-pocket costs, meaning my plan is both junkier and more expensive.

Two points follow from this, neither of which has anything to do with feeling bad for me. But my 96-percent increase in premiums is a useful, unvarnished look at Obamacare’s effects. One, if this is a hardship for me—if I’m sitting around thinking about all the lost opportunity and savings in that giant monthly sum— so are many others who have far less than I do. Even with subsidized premiums, many are finding they can’t afford their deductibles, making their “affordable” health insurance useless.

Mr. Fanning, the North Texan, said he and his wife had a policy with a monthly premium of about $500 and an annual deductible of about $10,000 after taking account of financial assistance. Their income is about $32,000 a year.

The Fannings dropped the policy in July after he had a one-night hospital stay and she had tests for kidney problems, and the bills started to roll in.

Josie Gibb of Albuquerque pays about $400 a month in premiums, after subsidies, for a silver-level insurance plan with a deductible of $6,000. ‘The deductible,’ she said, ‘is so high that I have to pay for everything all year — visits with a gynecologist, a dermatologist, all blood work, all tests. It’s really just a catastrophic policy.’

Further, the system simply funnels customers into far more expensive plans every year unless they go to the semi-functional exchange during November and December to look around for something else. How many miss the letter and open enrollment thanks to living their lives between Thanksgiving and Christmas and end up with a New Year’s present in the form of a new bill they can’t afford?

Punished For Rejecting Expensive Junk

Two, is it any wonder exchange enrollment isn’t what the Obama administration hoped and needed it to be? Putting aside the embarrassing launch debacle (also predictable and predicted by me!), the law has created products that aren’t worth buying. I’m a responsible citizen and single parent of two young children. Let’s think about the incentives this system presents.

It would make far more economic sense to pay the tax penalty for not having insurance, save the monthly payment, and squirrel it away for a catastrophic event that may never occur. Should a catastrophic event occur, work out a payment plan with doctors and hospitals, for which you’d use the squirreled away premiums until the next open enrollment period, at which point you just jump right back into a plan again because they can’t keep you out for preexisting conditions. Should a catastrophic event never occur, you’ve got no small part of a college education put away. My health insurance used to be a rational and responsible purchase. It’s beginning to feel like neither.

There are plenty of young, healthy people the system needs who are finding the same.As the New York Times reported last year at this time:

Alexis C. Phillips, 29, of Houston, is the kind of consumer federal officials would like to enroll this fall. But after reviewing the available plans, she said, she concluded: ‘The deductibles are ridiculously high. I will never be able to go over the deductible unless something catastrophic happened to me. I’m better off not purchasing that insurance and saving the money in case something bad happens.’

Those who support the law during its meltdown suggest jacking up the cost of rejecting this terrible product to make it more painful than the cost of the terrible product. To them, we are but Westley in the Pit of Despair and they are the technocratic torturer at the switch puzzling just how much pain they can inflict without going full Humperdinck and killing the strapping, young patient.

That’s how the Affordable Care Act became neither affordable nor care. It’s almost as if you could have predicted it. Inconceivable!

bureaucracy, economy, government, health care, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy, unintended consequences

Filed under: bureaucracy, economy, government, health care, politics, public policy, reform, tragedy, unintended consequences

5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime But Won’t

original article: 5 Things President Obama Needs To Say About Black Crime But Won’t
July 20, 2016 by John Gibbs

President Obama held a nationally televised town hall last week to address heightened tensions and divisions in our society due to recent shootings of black criminals by police, and the recent shootings of police officers in Dallas. Just days after the event,three police officers in Baton Rouge were assassinated, further highlighting the high stakes for how the president handles this issue.

I was invited to attend last week’s town hall and ask the president a question, but ultimately could not make it. But I did watch it at home, and would like to highlight some key points President Obama did not to make, which could have begun the process of healing and reconciliation.

Indeed, Sunday’s execution of three police officers in Baton Rouge shows what can happen when the president creates an atmosphere of racial victimization and blames police. So it is critical that Obama develops a new message that takes us in the right direction before things get worse and there’s another incident.

With that in mind, here are the statements President Obama should have included in his remarks last week.

1. ‘We Must, Must, Must Reduce the Black Crime Rate’

The black crime rate is significantly higher than that of other races. Yes, some would claim this is due to institutionalized racism or a lack of job opportunities. However, black crime was much lower in past eras when discrimination against black people was much higher, and the economic position of black people was much worse, than today. So that can be no excuse.

President Obama should have talked about how the overall crime rate for black people is three times higher than the national average. He should have noted how blacks commit homicide at a rate eight times higher than whites do, according to Department of Justice data. Even though blacks and Hispanics combined make up only 30 percent of the population, they make up more than 80 percent of all gang members in the United States. He should also have talked how even though black folks are only 13 percent of the population, we commit about 62 percent of all robberies and 56 percent of all carjackings. Obama should have then asked: “Is this really what Dr. King died for?”

2. ‘We Must Put the Black Family Back Together’

Even though the studies clearly show that children born into single-parent homes have worse outcomes in nearly every area, sadly, today about 72 percent of black kids are born to unwed mothers. This has created a whole new generation of troubled young men who have an increased likelihood of entering a life of crime and getting themselves into altercations with the police that create these divisive incidents we see on the news.

So putting the family back together so black children are born into stable, two-parent homes will go a long way to fixing many of the problems black people face today, including problems with the police. President Obama should have forcefully illuminated the broken state of black families, then outlined his ideas to put it back together. There are many ways to approach this, but one good place to start is to scale back well-intentioned but ineffective entitlement programs that encourage and enable single-motherhood, many of which the president himself unfortunately supports.

If he couldn’t have stomached this tough but true response, Obama could have at least given the example of how he leads his own family, which is indeed a stable two-parent black family.

3. ‘We Must Fix the Brokenness in Black Culture’

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Data shows that thepopularity of black kids decreases as their GPA increases, a trend not seen for white public school children. This means black kids pay a high social price for pursuing academic excellence. Research from psychologist Angela Neal-Barnett shows that things like taking an Advanced Placement class, taking an honors class, or—gasp—speaking standard English were behaviors many black students saw as “acting white” and thus carried a social cost.

Researchers are still working out the reasons for this unfortunate phenomenon, but I suspect it exists simply because many young black people are rarely challenged by teachers, parents, communities, and the media. That’s because: 1) It’s much easier to just blame racism, and 2) Challenging black veneration of underachievement might be seen as racist.

However, President Obama should have avoided the easy, cowardly approach of blaming racism and instead forcefully illustrated the problem, proclaiming that achieving excellence does not have a race attached to it, and we will have zero tolerance for blacks who ridicule other black folks for pursuing distinction.

There is also a destructive thug culture among some strains of the black community. Black journalist Cynthia Tucker Haynes beautifully states: “Somewhere along the way, a cadre of young black men and women began glorifying violence, misogyny and thuggery, accepting incarceration as inevitable, resigning themselves to lives on the margins of mainstream society. They created a thug culture that has been commodified — celebrated in music and movies, sold to poor adolescents in wretched neighborhoods as well as affluent teenagers in upscale communities.”

What more can be said? President Obama should have uttered these powerful words last night, then ended them with, “Therefore, we must demolish this thug culture that is destroying young black Americans. We will treat it the same as terrorism: pursue it, confront it, and destroy it.” That’s right, I just compared thug culture to terrorism. September 11, 2011 killed about 3,000 Americans, yet about 5,500 black men kill other black men annually. That’s almost two black 9/11s per year! So where’s the War Against Thugs™?

4. ‘The Police Are Not the Main Problem’

Over the past 35 years, a mind-bending 323,820 black people have been killed by other black people in America, far exceeding the number of police officers killed during that same timeframe. The data showsabout 71 blacks are killed by other blacks for every one black person killed by a white police officer. It is clear then, the real problem is black people killing each other.

Yes, cases of police misconduct should be confronted and handled promptly when they occur. Absolutely. But black deaths due to the police account for less than 2 percent of all black murders, so attacking the police must never be the main issue. President Obama should thus have stated forcefully, “Let us stop blaming the police, for they are not the ones killing black folks. Sadly, it is black folks who are killing each other. Therefore, wemust solve the national problem of black murder.”

5. ‘Blaming Police Gets More Police Killed’

Rhetoric that frames police for the deep, systematic problems in the black community puts police lives in danger by riling up hatred and resentment towards them, and encourages the kind of cop killers we’ve seen in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This kind of rhetoric can’t be tolerated.

First, it’s not true. The police are the first line of defense in protecting black Americans from black criminals, who overwhelmingly target black victims. Second, it takes focus away from the real issues at the source of the problem: broken families, thug culture, entitlement programs that disincentivize family formation, and a culture of low achievement.

President Obama should have thus forcefully declared “We will never allow police lives to be put in jeopardy by dangerous rhetoric that blames them for brokenness in minority communities, a brokenness they did not cause and cannot fix.”

Thankfully for the president, I do not charge for this free post-mortem analysis. But for further consultations, we’ll have to talk.

bias, bigotry, culture, hate crime, hypocrisy, ideology, racism, relativism, tragedy

Filed under: bias, bigotry, culture, hate crime, hypocrisy, ideology, racism, relativism, tragedy

Who gets absolute moral authority?

original article: Malkin: Who gets absolute moral authority?
July 20, 2016 by Michelle Malkin

My 12-year-old son couldn’t remember the phrase “take a walk down memory lane” last week, instead describing a stroll through “nostalgia road.” I knew it would come in handy.

Put on your hiking boots and join me for an educational trip down good ol’ nostalgia road.

It seems like yesterday when Champion of Wimmin Maureen Dowd, bemoaning the lack of sympathy for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, declared in The New York Times that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.”

No ifs, ands or other hedging qualifiers. Absolutely absolute.

And it was just a blink of an eye ago that the same New York Times spilled barrels of adulatory ink on the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls. Remember them? The quartet of Democratic women parlayed their post-terror attack plight into powerful roles as Bush-bashing citizen lobbyists.

Their story, the lib narrative-shaping paper of record reported, was a “tale of a political education, and a sisterhood born of grief.”

Moms and widows deserved special consideration in the public square, the argument went a decade ago. Their experience and their testimony warranted respect, deference and the national spotlight.

But then, as now, only a special class of victims is entitled to cash in the Absolute Moral Authority card. Not all parents and spouses who have lost loved ones can join the Club of the Unquestioned and Unassailable.

On Monday night at the Republican National Convention, Pat Smith shared her own tale of a political education born of grief after her diplomat son, Sean Smith, died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton, she passionately insisted, “deserves to be in stripes!”

GQ sports writer Nathaniel Friedman showed his compassion for Smith’s loss and pain by tweeting, “I don’t care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death.”

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who had helped make Cindy Sheehan a media star and urged her to run for Congress based on her status as a grieving war mom, fumed that Pat Smith had “ruined” the entire convention with her heartfelt testimony. The smug Democratic political operative turned TV bloviator, who had also elevated the Jersey Girls’ celebrity status with multiple bookings on his show, couldn’t bear to speak Smith’s name:

“I don’t care what that woman up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own, but for the country in choosing a leader, it’s wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chimed in on the same network that he was disgusted with how the GOP convention was using Smith to “exploit a tragedy.”

GOP-bashers heaped similar derision on father Jamiel Shaw Sr. and mothers Sabine Durden and Mary Ann Mendoza, who all spoke at the convention about losing children to criminals who had slipped illegally through open borders and revolving deportation doors. “Progressives” sneered at Shaw as an “Uncle Tom” for pointing out that Latino gangbangers targeted his black son because of his race. The intolerant tolerance mob also accused Durden of being “fooled” and Durden and Mendoza of being “exploited for apocalyptic theater.”

Will these horrified hang-wringers be as outspokenly offended next week when the Democratic National Convention dedicates an entire evening to the so-called Mothers of the Movement?

Among the sainted moms of the Black Lives Matter movement who will speak on Hillary Clinton’s behalf are Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Each of these cases lumped under supposedly unjustified gun violence and systemic racism is complicated and distinct. For starters, Bland hanged herself when her friends and family wouldn’t bail her out of jail after she had kicked a police officer. Two of the “children” involved in police shootings (Brown and Hamilton) had assaulted cops during their fatal encounters.

But drop all questions and doubts. “These mothers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness around the issues that surround their children’s deaths,” the liberal Huffington Post reports.

Because these women endorse race-baiting, gun-grabbing narratives and left-wing candidates, no one working in the mainstream media will ever challenge their parental prerogative to participate in politics on behalf of their loved ones.

Moms who have lost their children to Democratic incompetence, corruption and open-borders treachery are out of luck. The dealers of Absolute Moral Authority play with a loaded deck.

anti-war, bias, campaign, corruption, culture, Democrats, elections, elitism, fraud, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, scandal, tragedy, troops, victimization

Filed under: anti-war, bias, campaign, corruption, culture, Democrats, elections, elitism, fraud, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, scandal, tragedy, troops, victimization

How experts make us dumb

Think for yourself! That’s a common sentiment promoted today especially in western civilization. While I notice the concept is frequently promoted I’m not sure the advice is put into practice much.

On the one hand atheism is said to be on the rise in the United States, and Europe is well known for reaching a post-Christian era. One might interpret this as an indication people actually are thinking for themselves. On the other hand, intellectual laziness is astronomically high and still growing, and so is fear of challenging a politically correct narrative.

Experts promote this tragedy in our society and the rest of us help them do it. Experts often try to make themselves appear sophisticated and smart by using elevated jargon when speaking to people outside their field of expertise. Of course it makes no sense using buzzwords for a highly specialized discipline when speaking to the uninitiated, at least not if the goal is to effectively communicate. But the goal evidently is not to effectively communicate. Instead the goal is often to intimidate or impress, or both.

Emotionally charged controversies are the preferred playground for this intellectual pretense. Experts in economics, the soft social sciences, physics, etc. often tout their credentials and experience in ways intended to discourage disagreement. Experts often see what they want to see and blithely dismiss dissenting views rather than discuss specifics. Granted, even experts are only human, so when they make mistakes they typically don’t want to admit it any more than you or I would. And when the general public treats the expert opinion with skepticism we should not be surprised to be met with some form of expertism: the allegation that because we are not experts in the field we cannot possibly know what we are talking about; so our views don’t count for much.

So we, the uneducated masses, apparently cannot know that one of the most basic things a medical professional ought to do before administering care to read the patient’s chart (failing to do this turns out to be an alarmingly common mistake). And we, being chronically uneducated, cannot know that a nation cannot pull itself out of an economic slump by spending its way into oblivion – since numerous experts insist it can.

So while experts try to bully the people into thinking we cannot know what we are talking about when we disagree with them, we the people often end up reinforcing this myth as well.

In physics, for example, Stephen Hawking, arguably one of the smartest people in the world, asserts the universe created itself out of nothing. Think about that. The cosmic equivalent of spontaneous generation is this expert’s preferred explanation about how the universe got here. And people who don’t understand the math, don’t know what he’s talking about, and most of whom haven’t even read his book The Grand Design blindly accept Hawking’s word for it. There is no empirical evidence of any kind supporting Hawking’s explanation. It isn’t even testable (which means it doesn’t qualify as science) and most people who accept this idea have never heard any criticism of it (from religious and secular people alike, from philosophical and scientific view points). Many people unquestioningly believe it simply because Hawking said it. So much for thinking for oneself. This is blind faith, the unthinking, mindless approach to the world which theists are typically accused of practicing. But because Hawking’s explanation doesn’t need God it automatically gains credibility where, scientifically speaking, it has not earned it.

Additionally, Hawking has pompously and erroneously argued that philosophy is dead. Of course, the unthinking masses willing to believe his theory of the universe are not likely to recognize the flaw in this philosophical argument. Merely saying “think about that statement” is not likely to have the intended effect so I’ll explain it.

The statement “philosophy is dead” is not something that can be scientifically tested. In fact, Hawking’s comment is itself not even a scientific statement, but a philosophical one. So he uses philosophy to claim philosophy is dead, thus proving his own statement false. Hawking, as brilliant a scientist as he is, makes basic, elementary errors in his philosophy. Instead of showing philosophy to be dead, Hawking reveals his own ignorance and bias on things outside the area of his expertise, and raises questions as to the reliability of his expertise as well. We should not be surprised to find Hawking mistakenly believes the premise of his “The Grand Design” is scientific, when in fact it is inherently philosophical. As Einstein said, the man of science makes a poor philosopher. Hawking proves this publicly for all the world to see.

Climate science suffers from much the same problem. Chris Landsea, former chief scientist at the National Hurricane Center, in 2005 resigned from his position with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due to the panel’s willingness to embrace poor science and political corruption of the scientific process. On the other side of the coin, the former chair of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri (who resigned in 2015 due to sexual scandals) declared climate change is his religion. But if you were to suggest climate change has been happening for as long as the planet has existed you can be sure to be labeled a “denier” or “anti-science”. Climate science is riddled with propaganda and corruption, and dissent is punished. Yet we are supposed to think climate science is real science, pure and incorruptible. Look at how many stories we’ve read or seen touting global warming doctrine as if it were infallible, all with the knowledge we are likely to be ridiculed if not worse for challenging that doctrine. What else does it mean to claim “the science is settled” if not to try to stop people from thinking beyond the narrative?

We now have a narrative conflating the latest views of gender with civil rights. Anyone who bothers to question this narrative is instantly labeled a bigot. As with gay activists, transgender activist rely on bully tactics to silence those who dare think for themselves on these issues. The threat of ruination was the hallmark of activism on the gay marriage issue, where any independent thinking would be labeled as unthinking hatred and punished. The what 0.3 percent? of the population that may be transgender gets to force the rest of us to accommodate any number of questionable premises. Never mind if the majority are made uncomfortable; the concerns of 0.3 percent trump everyone else’s concerns. So don’t bother asking thoughtful questions like what happens if straight male pranksters or perverts (falsely claiming to identify as female) see this latest social issue as an opportunity to exploit? Recording video of women in the restroom or shower and posting it online is one of the less egregious problems we are inviting upon ourselves, but such a violation of privacy is no small thing. Yet as long as the rights of the 99.7 percent are ignored while we are misdirected with a questionable narrative, we can pretend everyone is being treated equally by the rash effort to change public policy to accommodate the ever changing feelings of a tiny minority.

Andrea Mitchell (NBC News) shows us another example of experts making people dumb. For months, Hillary Clinton has been playing the gender card to help her presidential campaign. She portrays herself as a defender of women. But because our society tends to blindly accept the dominant narrative of the major news sources (CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, NYT, etc.) most people simply forget what happened even a few weeks ago. For example, during the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton had his panoply of sex scandals (the allegations turned out to be true) Hillary defended her husband by defaming any woman who spoke up about the sexual abuse. We were told absurdities like a “vast rightwing conspiracy” was out to get her husband. Contrast that with her more recent comments about how survivors of sexual assault have the right to be heard and believed. Not only do many forget how Hillary treated survivors of sexual assault in the 1990s, there is one case in particular which receives little attention at all.

Juanita Broaddrick’s story got scant attention. President Clinton denied her allegation that he raped her. He also denied all the other allegations of various forms of sexual harassment and assault. Yet, this denial seems to be enough for Andrea Mitchell to think Broaddrick’s story has been “discredited”. When? How? By whom? Mitchell doesn’t seem to realize that hiding from a story is not the same as discrediting it.

In light of the Bill Cosby sex scandal I challenged some liberals on social media. I pointed out how they are surprisingly concerned with allegations against him, given their profound lack of interest in allegations against Bill Clinton. And this was confirmed, with admissions that they didn’t care about the allegations against the former president. Callous excuses such as “it was just one allegation” were thrown about.

But hold a second. The idea that women would lie about sexual issues like this was unconscionable prior to Bill Clinton’s presidency. For those who don’t recall the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings, HBO is sure to skew your view of history even further with a loaded dramatization of questionable historical accuracy. In point of fact, the Clarence Thomas scandal received exactly the opposite response from liberals. There was little concern for evidence of any allegation. Instead, the concern was over the “seriousness of the charge”. The American people were supposed to believe women don’t lie about this sort of thing, so the allegation should be taken at face value, making Thomas unqualified to take a position on the SCOTUS. For President Clinton, the situation was exactly the opposite. We were told a man’s personal life doesn’t affect his professional life (his sexual abuse somehow does not disqualify him to be POTUS) so the allegations should have no impact on his right to be president, and women apparently lie all the time about sexual abuse. So which narrative is true? Andrea Mitchell, acting as an expert in current events and women’s issues, would have you believe which ever narrative helps Hillary Clinton’s current campaign. So we are to ignore the defense of Anita Hill and ignore Hillary’s recent comments about survivors of sexual assault, and pretend Broaddrick’s allegations have been “discredited” though no one can show me how this was done.

In western civilization experts now enjoy an air of respect traditionally reserved for religious leadership. These experts cultivate a religious veneration for their views, and the rest of us let them. Many will gladly keep themselves uninformed (not bothering to do their own homework) and blindly accept what they are told by these experts, whether they be scientific, economic, social, or political experts. And we have to contend with fear and retaliation for not blindly following the predominant narrative of the day. The combination of willful ignorance and unquestioning acceptance of certain points of view makes people dumb. And it happens everyday in our politically correct culture.

Many people keep acting as if they are intelligent and well informed by blindly following the experts. The rest of us commoners with a mere public education are frequently and smugly treated as nincompoops for daring to raise inconvenient questions, all while the virtues of public education are continually sung from the rafters by those same sheep who keep buying what education experts are selling.

Given the frequent disagreement among experts, even among those in the same field, perhaps blindly following them is not such an intelligent decision after all. It is stupid to say people who are thinking for themselves are not thinking, and stupid to say people who are blindly following the crowd are thinking for themselves. But what else should we expect from dumb people?

Please don’t be like that. Don’t be dumb.

corruption, culture, elitism, ideology, indoctrination, opinion, pandering, propaganda, tragedy

Filed under: corruption, culture, elitism, ideology, indoctrination, opinion, pandering, propaganda, tragedy

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