Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This year’s election can help change the direction of our country

Next week’s election provides an opportunity to take a big step toward correcting the numerous wrongs afflicting America.

The federal government is too big, too expensive, too oppressive, and too intrusive. Some of those who work for us in Washington and elsewhere misbehave: they lie, cheat and steal, put politics ahead of service and pay no penalty for it. Sometimes, they are rewarded for their treachery.

They believe it is their job to decide what we should eat, what kind of toilet to buy, what kind of light bulbs to use, what we can and cannot say, what health insurance we must buy, which industries should be shut down, how our electricity should be produced, how we may utilize our own private property, the minimum amount employers must pay the least experienced and least knowledgeable workers, who we can do business with. They want to know who we talk to and what we think, and think they can tell religious organizations they must violate their principles or face penalties, and they waste our money on frivolous projects that often fund their friends.

What ever happened to being able to like or dislike anything at any time for any reason, or for no reason? What happened to “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?” People invest their money, mortgage their home to fund a business, only to find they are not actually in charge of it; they must follow sometimes-foolish government rules, or suffer the consequences.

The excesses, corruption and wrongdoings of the federal government are much worse than those of state governments, which in turn are much worse than those of county and municipal governments. Why? Because the smaller and closer government is to the people it serves, the more responsive to and respectful of those people it is.

It has not helped that our federal government is staffed by career bureaucrats who often take on a sense of power and privilege beyond their limited authority, and it is run by career politicians, many, perhaps most, of whom at some point shift their focus from good and faithful service to being re-elected.

Flipping channels the other night I came upon a replay of the Communist Party USA convention in Chicago last June on C-SPAN3.

Party Chairman Sam Webb was speaking: “Here are my two cents. What is needed is nothing less than the restructuring of the economy and the consistently and deeply anti-corporate and eventually socialist direction.”

Among the things Mr. Webb favors are “a guaranteed livable income for all and the reduction of the workweek with no cut in pay” … “and major expansion of every aspect of the public sector to education, housing, retirement security, health care, elder care, and so forth.” He supports raising the minimum wage, and the idea that everyone who isn’t doing well – the underpaid, underemployed, unemployed, the discriminated against, struggling families, students, the underwater homeowner, the bankrupt city” – are victims of capitalism.

He favors moving “government priorities away from military spending.” And he wants the wealth amassed by the evil 1 percent to be transferred into “public hands, our hands.”

He sounded just like big government American liberals, who prefer to call themselves “progressives,” presumably to describe their drive toward socialism/communism.

Mr. Webb might have listed the countries that have thrived after implementing these ideas, but he didn’t, because there aren’t any. Though heaven knows many have tried: Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Laos, et al. They exist as repressive nations forcing their ideology on their citizens and killing or imprisoning those who disagree, and usually have to adopt some capitalist market characteristics to survive.

Under our Constitution, which designed the government that led the United States to levels of greatness and a degree of individual freedom never before imagined, the federal government was never supposed to be what it has become: an obese and controlling machine that is blind to or unconcerned with its harmful effects on the people it is designed to serve.

Much authority was deliberately left to the states and to the people, as so stated in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

From 1955 until 1980 Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, also from 1987 to 1995, and again from 2007 to 2011. Since 1955 Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for only 10 years, during the period 1995 to 2007, while Democrats were in control for 50 years. During this period of Democrat dominance, government has grown into a gargantuan monstrosity that threatens our freedom, and indeed our very survival today.

Capitalism and limited government got us where we were when the United States was on top. Liberal Democrats took us from there to the low point where we are now. The devolution will continue unless we put a stop to it. The Republican Party is the only viable mechanism to slow or stop the headlong slide toward socialism/communism we have witnessed over the last few decades.

Vote Republican in this election.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So, the Republicans decreased funding for the CDC’s Ebola research

An ad produced and being run by the Agenda Project Action Fund says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding has been cut by $585 million since 2010 and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saw its budget cut by $446 million. Interspersed along the way are brief visuals of various Republicans who at some time in their public life uttered the word “cut,” and have had that split-second of their life included in this ad: “cut,” “cut,” “cut,” “cut.”

And then the CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, is shown saying that there are disease outbreaks that his agency is not able to act against “as effectively as we should be able to.” And finally disturbing images of Ebola sufferers appear, followed by the words “Republican cuts kill” just prior to advising people to “Vote.”

We can forgive Dr. Frieden for ending a sentence with a preposition, which is at worst a minor slip-up, but we cannot forgive the Agenda Project for flagrantly lying that Republicans – or anyone – cut funding for the CDC and the NIH, preventing them from developing a vaccine for Ebola.

For verification of that assertion we look to one of the most liberal of voices, The Washington Post. It gave the ad its gold seal: Four Pinocchios, which the Post categorizes as “Whoppers.”

The Post story explains “For NIH, since 2006, there has been relatively little change in the size of the budget, going from about $28.5 billion in 2006 to $30.14 billion in 2014. … (The agency also received a $10 billion windfall in 2009 from the stimulus law.)”

“As for the CDC,” the Post continues, “you will see a similar pattern. The numbers have bounced around $6.5 billion in recent years. (CDC receives both an appropriation from Congress and, since 2010, hundreds of millions of dollars from the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the Affordable Care Act.) Before 2008, the agency received less than $6 billion a year. In fiscal year 2013, the White House proposed a cut in CDC’s funding, but Congress added about $700 million. In 2014, the administration again proposed reducing the budget, but Congress boosted it to $6.9 billion.” In case you aren’t aware, the House of Representatives is under control of Republicans, and has been since 2010.

However, even if the CDC and NIH budgets had been cut, every manager in the public sector is obligated to spend the available funds in the smartest and most beneficial way; put whatever funds you have where they are most needed, and if necessary seek authorization to do so.

How well did the managers of these agencies do with the billions of taxpayer dollars they have at their disposal? The NIH thought that studying the sex life of fruit flies at a cost of $1 million took precedence over Ebola. Likewise, spending $1.5 million studying why lesbians have a tendency to be overweight, while gay men don’t was more important than an Ebola vaccine. As was spending $688,000 to determine why people watch “Seinfeld” reruns and $355,000 on a study of how quickly husbands and wives calm down after an argument.

For its part, the CDC’s mission statement says in part, “Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.” In support of that lofty goal, the CDC used some of its billions studying seat-belt use and infant car seats, built a second finely appointed visitor center in Atlanta to the tune of $106 million, spent $10 million more on furniture for the new building, and helped Hollywood devise medical plots to the tune of $1.7 million. And of the more than $3 billion CDC received from the Affordable Care Act to research dangerous diseases, it has spent only $180 million on that project, but not on Ebola.

And after asking Congress for extra funding in 1999 for a syphilis project, and receiving double the amount of funding it requested, the CDC responded by hiring porn stars and strippers to speak at public events, all the while the number of reported syphilis cases had doubled by 2005. Oh, and the CDC spent $25 million of our money on bonuses for employees over recent years.

Both agencies spent millions to study that mysterious bacterial infection, “gun violence.”

If you want to know why the CDC doesn’t have a vaccine for Ebola and why it hasn’t prepared the nation’s hospitals to handle people infected with the Ebola virus, you probably ought to look to the party whose backside the Agenda Project is trying so desperately to cover, the one that was elected to run the government efficiently. Incidentally, Republicans are not in charge of the CDC or the NIH.

With an important mid-term election two weeks away, the message at the end of this sleazy ad to vote should be heeded. However, voters should remember dishonest ads like this one that attempt to cover up the gross incompetence in administrative agencies, along with the other scandals that still exist, but that the mainstream media has kept below the radar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ebola infected West Africa – Will it now infect the United States?

President Barack Obama said the following on September 16 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta: “First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.”

Four days later the “unlikely” occurred: the first person infected with Ebola arrived in the U.S. from Liberia, where he had assisted an infected woman, become contaminated, but did not tell anyone about it in order to get on a plane and travel to Dallas, Texas. It took three different flights for him to get here and no one along the way apparently knew he had been in Liberia, or was able to determine that he had been infected, since he was asymptomatic until after he got here.

After developing a fever, he visited Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, was treated and sent home, despite having recently been in Liberia. He was staying with relatives in Dallas and as the disease progressed he got sicker and became contagious, and after that he returned to the hospital and was diagnosed with Ebola. Several days later, he passed away.

His relatives were exposed to Ebola, and the residence and outside areas were contaminated. Who knows how many others were exposed to the virus?

Mr. Obama said we can handle this, should the need arise. But the need arose, and a well-respected hospital didn’t handle the first infected person very well at all.

The first airport screenings began Saturday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Other airports were to begin screenings this week. Screenings at African airports and another screening at U.S. airports, the president said, would make it unlikely that someone infected with Ebola will get to the U.S.

Given the botched handling of the first Ebola patient in our country, can we believe Mr. Obama? “No matter how many of these procedures are put into place, we can’t get the risk to zero,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Martin Cetron, director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. He told a news conference that these new measures wouldn’t necessarily have detected Ebola in the patient who traveled to Dallas.

Complicating an already unnerving situation, a second case of Ebola at the Dallas hospital has now been confirmed. A female nurse who had cared for the Ebola patient prior to his death was assessed on Friday, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, and on Sunday it was confirmed that the nurse has Ebola.

The nurse’s infection is blamed on a breech of protocol. One report said that when removing the protective clothing she was wearing, the nurse inadvertently touched her cheek with her gloved hand, a glove that was contaminated with the virus. And now she has Ebola. And now, the disease has a small, but troubling presence in America.

This second error at this hospital has put other hospital personnel at risk, and may have infected one or more of them. Raise your hand if you believe the U.S. healthcare system really is prepared to deal with Ebola patients.

Even without these errors in handling Ebola in Dallas, it simply makes no sense either to bring potential or actual Ebola patients here, or allow people from countries where the disease exists to come here. Why take the chance of exposing Americans, particularly healthcare workers, to this vicious disease?

Columnist Thomas Sowell outlines the situation: “There was a time when an outbreak of a deadly disease overseas would bring virtually unanimous agreement that our top priority should be to keep it overseas. Yet Barack Obama has refused to bar entry to the United States by people from countries where the Ebola epidemic rages, as Britain has done. In other words, the safety of the American people takes second place to the goal of helping people overseas.”

President Obama has a giant blind spot when it comes to protecting the country from illegal entry of who knows who through the southern border, and now that blind spot extends to failing to stop people potentially infected with Ebola from coming into the U.S.

In situations like this one, we need to be smart, not compassionate. We can help the unfortunate West Africans by sending medical supplies and assistance without needlessly putting ourselves at risk. And we must.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The left wants to shut down opposition, rather than debate issues

Not everyone on the left is intolerant of contrary ideas, or afraid of open debate of ideas, or so convinced of their own superiority that they deem civil and informed debate unnecessary, but many of them are.

Back in 2010, thirty liberal organizations, including the Center for Media Justice, the Rainbow Push Coalition, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and Common Cause, among others, supported an effort to have the Federal Communications Commission clamp down on so-called “hate speech” on talk radio, the internet, and the cable television news networks. The imagined “hate speech” resulted from support by those media outlets for Arizona’s illegal immigration bill, which those trying to limit the debate characterized as “one of the harshest pieces of anti-Latino legislation in this country’s history.”

The law, SB 1070, passed in 2010 by the Arizona legislature and signed into law by the governor, created state penalties relating to immigration law enforcement, and included trespassing, harboring and transporting illegal immigrants, alien registration documents, employer sanctions, and human smuggling among the things Arizona declared to be state issues.

Given the negligence of the federal government to provide border security, and the harm to residents of border states like Arizona from drug dealers and other thugs and hoodlums who easily move back and forth across the border, passing laws to protect residents against the harm that often results from illegal immigration might be the right thing to do. 

Unless you are one of the intolerant liberals. They basically said that if you support that law, you are a hater and a racist, and being unwilling or unable to discuss the issue in a civil manner, they resorted to: “we say we are right, and that’s the end of the story.”

And then there is Robert Kennedy, Jr. who wants organizations that disagree with the idea that human activities are responsible for global warming or climate change to lose their business charter.

As Mr. Kennedy wrote for The Huffington Post last October, “corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty. This can be accomplished through an existing legal proceeding known as ‘charter revocation.’ State Attorneys General can invoke this remedy whenever corporations put their profit-making before the ‘public welfare.’"

He wants to intimidate those organizations – which include both corporations and think tanks – to discourage them from acting in their own best interest or advocating policies they think are beneficial, and/or opposing those policies that would harm them or that they believe are harmful. But not all organizations; just the ones that support or oppose the “wrong things.” 

Coal mining companies would be punished for pointing out the fraud committed by global warming activists, like some of the International Panelon Climate Change scientists, and for challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality standards that are so severe that Evian bottled water and apple juice would be ruled unsafe, but organizations that followed the politically correct line would be left alone. 

Mr. Kennedy is one of the many who is willing to punish Americans who disagree with his ideological mania, so long as it helps him further his narrow ideological goals, and nothing must stand in the way. 

He has forgotten, or perhaps never learned, that freedom of speech is guaranteed to enable Americans to say things that may be unpopular with some or many, and specifically to protect political dissent. But disagreement, debate and discussion of political issues, whether by individuals or by organizations like corporations and think tanks, form the path to informing the public, thus yielding a greater possibility for sensible policymaking and better government.

Mr. Kennedy, like many leftists, is more than happy to force his ideas on the rest of us, and it matters not whether the truth is on his side, or whether a majority agrees with him.

It isn’t difficult to picture him regaling himself in the court of some tin-pot dictator, like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, gleefully ordering “off with their heads” for those who have the temerity to indulge in independent thought.

Steven F. Hayward, inaugural scholar in conservative thought and philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says of the left’s tendency to shut down dissent, “These inclinations to rule certain issues out of bounds by denouncing dissenters with moral calumny rather than argument is not a sign of health in liberalism.  It is a sign of ideological senescence.”

Perhaps liberalism is old and tired, which would explain why its adherents gave up that term in favor of “progressivism.” But whatever they call their ideology, the left cannot persuade others to their way of thinking through the power and logic of their ideas, and is why they have to resort to shutting down and shutting up their opponents. 

We see today in America a situation where groups that advocate some idea or action have employed exaggeration, deception and other nefarious means to gain far more influence than their causes warrant. This is wrong on several levels, but more than just wrong, it is a threat to our liberty.