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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obamacare

In typically American fashion, we will be getting the worst of public and private medicine. The progressives are not getting their cherished socialized health care; they are getting socialized health insurance. There is nothing for any principled person of whatever ideological persuasion to support in our government's latest Great Leap Forward.

Bill Sardi at LewRockwell.com puts 'health insurance' (there's actually no such thing) in perspective.

1. All health insurance plans promote irresponsibility. People just run to the doctor and believe their doctor is responsible for keeping them healthy, not themselves.

2. Health insurance is a ponzi scheme, with the young and healthy paying for the old and chronically ill and those with poor health habits, though I should add that smokers actually cost insurance plans less money over the long haul since they die sooner.

3. With a large pool of money available, the insurance pot gets raided and doctors and hospitals overcharge since there is no market control. There is nothing the plan won't pay for, no matter how expensive, because the desperate public will demand it. You learn your mother has breast cancer. You will stop at nothing to see she gets the most advanced care, and the more her disease progresses, the more you will demand something be done, even unproven treatment.

4. High-tech care caused Americans to falsely believe their healthcare system is the best in the world, and they want more of it. Fancy imaging technology (cat scans, MRIs), unproven but less invasive particle beam radiation treatment, robotic surgery – all are in huge public demand. A Rand Corporation study showed high-technology is the main driver in the high cost of health care.

We are living a fantasy to believe American government can provide all the high-tech medical care that is available (example: latest New York Times article suggests $5000 disease gene testing for all).

5. About 85% of Americans have health insurance. To provide insurance to the remaining population, largely illegal immigrants, places financial and manpower strains on the delivery of health care that the industry is not prepared for. It was Winston Churchill who said: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."

6. Because other countries provide universal health insurance is only to say the bills are paid. This represents provision (welfare) for doctors and hospitals. The system rewards treatment, not cure. Modern medicine has substituted markers of poor health, such as cholesterol, PSA, blood pressure, rather than true end points, such as survival or being drug free.

While many Americans envy countries that offer universal health care, most universal health care plans will soon fail. The National Health Service in Britain is about to implode.

The day is fast coming when health insurance schemes collapse and self care becomes the order of the day. But many Americans aren’t ready for this.

Certainly many Americans are angry at the passage of Obamacare. But a man I met at a Postal Annex store said he needed the insurance coverage and welcomed it, as he has problems with his joints and diabetes. He wanted the medicines that only the insured can afford.

However, Obamacare, or even the pre-existing healthcare system, would not make him any healthier. But this man, along with many other Americans, has no perception of this.

Drugs will be prescribed for him that calm symptoms but never restore health and in fact may create new diseases. Some drugs cause the very disease they are intended to treat.

Obamacare pays more doctor and hospital bills, but it will also increase utilization and overall costs and it burdens the economy with higher health insurance premiums. AT&T reports Obamacare will cost them an extra $1 billion a year. For the 85% of Americans who were already covered by health insurance, Obamacare is a step down in availability of care. But recognize, the system is collapsing and unaffordable regardless of the insurance scheme in place.


Continued at link.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hipster libertarianism

In a recent essay, occasional LRC columnist C.J. Maloney praises the AK-47 as the Automatic For The People. Yeah, baby!
So next May Day, assuming you remember it at all, take a moment to honor the memory of the millions slaughtered over the lethally stupid idea of communism, but give a nod to God’s great mercy, to His mysterious way that willed that very same idea to birth the AK-47. It gave to the working masses the ability to defend themselves from the more virulent strain of politicians; it is the sword of the common man. Of all the firearms yet dreamed up by mankind, it is the automatic for the people.


But don't go calling Homeland Security, folks. This denizen of New York City, the most highly taxed, highly regulated municipality in the country assures us today that Americans are way too feeble and stupefied to engage in armed rebellion.

Today, give me liberty or give me death no longer rings true, the typical American is content to put up with any outrage because he’s so ideologically stripped as to no longer have any idea he should be outraged. Harboring a completely materialistic view of politics that equates material comfort with freedom, he’ll bear any assault on liberty with timid submission so long as the hi-def cable stays on. The intellectuals fare no better in this regard, as they are the very ones who spread the ideas that made hi-def cable more important to us than trial by jury.

In the event of rebellion, the American people would lack any leadership with the ability, or even the urge, to guide them back to liberty. Even if the occasional outrage morphs into a tea party, the vast majority of Americans, lead by the intellectuals, take most assaults with quiet approval, and for now I thank God for it. To go to war is something even the most ignorant savage does with relish; but to start a revolution requires the ability for calm, rational thought and a manly courage to risk it all that does not currently exist in this country. Where once our forefathers shot at government troops marching through the Massachusetts countryside towards Lexington and Concord, today we are a frightened little flock that goes to pieces at the thought of Goldman Sachs suffering a well-deserved bankruptcy. 2010 America does not possess what successful revolutions are made of.


Now, you would think this ball-busting, revolutionary giant of a man would go on to describe what short work he would make of the government. But not to fear, for Maloney pulls himself back from the brink:

So, thank you all who sent me a kind invitation to share a mess kit and a fight, but when you Thomas Jefferson wannabes grab your AK-47s, pull on your surplus camouflage uniforms, and go rushing off into the mountains please count me out and don’t wait up. I’ll be watching the slaughter from afar, Barcelona perhaps, Amsterdam more likely, and doubtless I’ll wish good luck and God speed to you all.

As of right now this country is simply not prepared for secession, civic disobedience, or rebellion; and under the current regime they all would be considered the same in the eyes of the ruling elite. Any move in that direction would be setting you up for a hopeless task; to free a people that neither wish for liberty or could handle it if won.

Read the op-ed pages and editorials of any newspaper, glance at the comments section to any Internet news site, and listen to the interviewed "man on the street," read our intellectuals’ monthly journals and agree; modern America is too uncivilized and savage for freedom.

If you wish for a change back to liberty, forget your rifle – grab your pen.


Apparently the plan now is to give the bureaucrats the mother of all ink stains. This is the sort of stuff that convinces me most libertarians are useless as agents of change. For the most part, they are cossetted individuals far more concerned with maintaining their hipster lifestyle than the dirty work of abolishing the State. And when I say 'dirty work,' I mean shouldering a firearm and presenting as credible a threat to parasitic government as it presents to us.

Now, I should acknowledge that many of us like Maloney and other Gothamites not privy to fully vested trust funds would take quite a hit if one day the people decide that they Have Had Enough. I don't see lawyers such as myself, for example, having much marketability in organic society. Fortunately for him, as Maloney himself tells us, he will have long since turned tail and run to high-tax, high-regulation, high-subsidized, politically-correct Amsterdam or Barcelona. Solidarnosc, brother.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to run an NFL team

Falcons welcome Robinson, ship Houston to Lions
... "This is something I've always dreamed about growing up in Athens, Ga.," Robinson said. "This was the first professional team that I wanted to play for. I'm home. This is where I need to be. Here is where I'm most comfortable."

Blank, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith (FSY) courted Turner in similar fashion before he signed a six-year, $34.5 million deal with $15 million guaranteed in early March 2009.

"We want to create an environment where a player really wants to be here, not because of the contract, but because ... of our culture, our coaching staff and the resources we make available," Blank said. "It's a credit to our organization that whom we would argue was the top cornerback available this year in free agency made only one stop."


Several years ago, I heard a Falcons player interviewed on local sports-talk. The hosts were asking in goggle-eyed, frat-boy amazement why he had a home way out in the suburbs instead of in town with the clubs, the scene, a posse, etc. His response was he didn't need the temptation because, "Mr. Blank doesn't put up with it."

Rebuke from Fr. Touma

From Notes on Arab Orthodoxy

Archimandrite Touma (Bitar) on Nationalism and Orthodoxy

... Likewise it shames us that the Church in America becomes a group of branches for the national churches in the Old World. The national Orthodox churches have become in some American cities something closer to ecclesial or even political embassies for their mother churches or for the countries that they are in! Do you not see that it is not true Orthodoxy that gathers us together in America, but rather egoistic nationalisms within pagan tribes?! We understand that in some churches services are held in national languages for recent immigrants, but what about those who have been in America for fifty or more years?! Do we not see that hearts are not united and hands are not joined together in the service of God and that goals are not coordinated in order to witness to Orthodoxy and that no one pays attention to proper Orthodox churchliness? Every man for himself! Do we not see the churches being exploited for tribal or political or economic ends?! Why is there one church for the Antiochians (that is, Lebanese and Syrians and Palestinians), and another for the Greeks and another for the Russians and another for the Romanians, all only a few minutes away from each other?! Why can we not join together in worship and love and frequent teaching, since we are all within one Orthodoxy and one earth and one language?! Why can we not cooperate to preach Orthodoxy within a milieu that is hungry for it?! Why this fragmentation? Why this distance between hearts?! Is it too much to ask for Orthodoxy to be our sole umbrella, rather than nationalisms and tribalisms?! Vain, ingrained nationalisms in the American churches are not from God—they are against God! They are the causes of schism and weakness and despair and scandal for the Church of Christ, especially for the youth, the newly-illumined, and those being guided to Orthodoxy! Nationalisms, in all their forms, must be combated in every possible way in America so that the Church remains the bride of Christ alone! Orthodoxy of Spirit and Truth never aligns itself with nationalism! Either we lead every thought towards obedience to Christ or Orthodox nationalisms will entrench the worldly church in this world and we will cease to exist as a Universal Church!


The forces in American Orthodoxy are increasingly centrifugal, a horrible witness, and in the face of a crumbling Protestantism. Truly, "the laborers are few."

This Lebanese abbot has spoken on the American situation before, and on the Antiochian archdiocese in particular. It would be interesting if he succeeded to the Patriarchate, if God wills it.