Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unconstitutional Health Care: Government is the Problem

Keeping a campaign promise that faced only vague opposition (because Republicans and Democrats are equally guilty of violating the U.S. Constitution) President Obama last week set up the executive office for health care reform, stating that because the American system “suffers from serious and pervasive problems,” the new White House Office of Health Reform will steer "the federal government's comprehensive effort to improve access to health care, the quality of such care, and the sustainability of the health care system."

Facing no principled opposition, except perhaps from the lonely voice of Ron Paul, Obama is merely doing what John McCain would have done, and what George W. Bush actually did – brazenly violate the Constitution by sticking the corrupted nose of government in a place where it holds no jurisdiction or authority.

As is usually the case when the long intrusive arm of the federal government insinuates itself where it doesn’t belong, the interference can be attacked on two grounds – constitutional and pragmatic. The constitutional argument is the easy one to make, notwithstanding that no one bothers to read the document. I would direct those I so accuse to Article 1, Section 8, which explicitly states what the national government can do. (Hint: health care isn’t there).

As to the practical argument, Americans have been so successfully brainwashed into thinking that government can or should solve all their ills, that they readily look to government to remedy problems which government caused in the first place. Brezhnev once said socialism was irreversible, and to a large extent he was right. Once weaned on the public dole, Americans reflexively look to government on matters where it has no constitutional or even practical role. The great paradox is that when Americans are asked — in a purely general and philosophical way — if more government involvement is good or bad, they overwhelmingly impart an anti-government view. But when a specific problem arises in the morning affecting their lives, they invariably turn to... government.

Health care is the perfect example of a monstrosity whose problems were caused almost exclusively by government meddling.
Pointing to its myriad problems, politicians then claim that only more government intervention can solve them. As the late Harry Browne once said, “The federal government knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and then say, ‘If it weren’t for government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’”

Republicans pride themselves on having stopped Hillary Clinton’s universal takeover of the health care system in the early ‘90’s and purport to be on the vanguard of its privatization, but by and large the Republicans have acquiesced, or at least accepted the premise that government ought to have a role in health care. President George W. Bush talked more about prescription drugs than did his local pharmacist.

Right now, government spends half of every health care dollar in America — more than insurance companies, employers and individuals. Health care costs are through the roof. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) are now so powerful that politicians are fighting over whose “Patients’ Bill of Rights” is more effective in protecting people from HMOs. Of course, it was government that made HMOs so powerful in the first place.

In fact, it is really no mystery how America’s health care system, once so efficient and affordable, became such a nightmare. Politicians glory in the current health care mess and have presented themselves as the potential saviors of the system. In reality, the best thing government can do is get out of the health care business altogether. Starting today.

Before the federal government intruded into health care in the 1960’s, health insurance was affordable to virtually everyone.

Hospital stays did not cost prohibitive amounts, and doctors made house calls. Removing government can restore those days, and with modern technology, health care can once again be efficient, easily accessible and affordable.

How health care arrived at its current state is directly related to original government intrusion. Subsidies pushed up the demand for medical services, while massive regulation placed suppliers out of the market. Moreover, government affects health care costs through the federal income tax code, which allows employers to deduct employee health costs from the employers’ taxable income, but does not permit employees or self-employed persons to deduct much of their medical costs. Government has also enacted laws forcing health insurance companies to cover various treatments. And general regulations have been imposed on doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers. All of these actions have caused costs to skyrocket, while doing nothing to improve care.

Government caused all these problems, then steps in to try and save the system it already so thoroughly corrupted.

There is indeed a health care crisis in America, but it is a crisis of government.

Despite the clear evidence, socialist legislators (Republicans and Democrats) want to blame the free market and create a system in the image of the disastrous European and Canadian models, where care is rationed and people wait five years for heart surgery.

Today, insurance companies have been forced to charge more than most people can afford. Before government intrusion, the poor were not wanting for medical care. There were always doctors and hospitals that could provide low-cost care. Then government invented Medicare (for seniors) and Medicaid (for the poor) and those very people are now disproportionately dependent on those services, which have proven to be bastions of waste and corruption.

When insurance companies were forced to cover every small service, instead of the extraordinary emergencies they were originally intended to cover, the prices ran up for everyone.

Just as automobile insurance is not used for oil changes, gasoline and basic repairs, health insurance was not intended to cover every
conceivable medical service.

By forcing this on companies, government drove up demand. When people realize that everything is covered, they are inclined to take full advantage. This has proven to be a financial catastrophe. Government, after creating this situation, insists on intruding further to make things even worse.

It is the height of government irresponsibility that so many senior citizens are locked into Medicare. The skyrocketing of medical costs has its genesis with the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. As even the most novice economic mind can deduce, when all sorts of additional non-emergency services are offered as part of a medical plan, with no out-of-pocket expense for the client, the demand increases, while the supply is limited by regulation. This natural inertia will result in higher prices.

The rules, guidelines and instructions for Medicare are all compiled in a tiny little package of 111,000 pages. And when President Obama and Congress promise to reform the system and make it easier to understand, to eliminate waste and corruption, and to provide more choice, Americans can bet their hospital gurneys that the true result will be a Medicare system even more complicated.

Medicare has bombarded doctors with regulations, forced them to undercharge and actually driven many out of the medical profession entirely. Some have resigned from the Medicare and Medicaid systems and refused to perform any service paid for by Medicare or Medicaid. By doing this they have been able to reduce their fees by half or more. So Medicare has run up the cost of health care — even for people who are not part of it.

The factual truth that has emerged about Medicare is that it turns down roughly 20 percent of all the care doctors deem necessary. If Medicare denies a claim, it can take a year for the patient’s appeal to be processed. If Medicare refuses a particular treatment or medical test, the patient cannot pay the doctor directly for it because if the doctor accepts the money, he would be expelled from Medicare and lose all his other Medicare patients for two years.

Moreover, because Medicare regulations are so cumbersome, ignorance of the law can land a doctor in legal trouble for an honest technical violation. The cruel fact is that senior citizens pay at least twice as much for health care than seniors paid before the creation of Medicare — even after allowing for Medicare’s contribution and adjusting for inflation.

The “Medicare + Choice” bill included demands that managed-care providers add more services without being compensated for them. So many providers were facing dreadful losses that over 100 chose to leave the Medicare system entirely, forcing over 100,000 senior citizens to find new plans.

Medicaid is a federally-sponsored program which provides health care to low income people and to nursing homes for the elderly. Though it is run by the states, 50 to 75 percent of the money comes from the federal government. Already, this is a recipe for disaster. In order to make up the difference for what the feds don’t provide, states generally raise taxes while upward price pressures generate. The states frequently exceed their budgets. Oregon instituted strict rationing of health care to bring medical costs under control. The Republican governor of Tennessee was forced to break a campaign promise and propose the first income tax in state history, citing out-of-control Medicaid costs as his reasoning.

Before 1965, the poor had access to charity hospitals, free clinics and low prices for health care.
Most people think that their own cost in Medicare and Medicaid is limited to what they pay in taxes. But the fact is that doctors, clinics and hospitals must make up for what government won’t pay by charging the customers.

In 1973, Congress passed the HMO Act which subsidized HMOs and forced any company providing employee health insurance to offer an HMO as an option. This requirement was repealed in 1995, but the special advantages acquired by HMOs became so entrenched that politicians began offering various “Patients’ Bill of Rights” plans to offset the problem they created in the first place.

Depending on the state, insurance companies may be forced to allow for various treatments that the average person will never utilize. This unfairly makes the price of coverage soar. Psychiatric treatment, chiropractors, drug abuse, alcoholism, cosmetic surgery, treatments to stop smoking, treatment for obesity, Christian Science practitioners and many other types of care are forced into policies. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these treatments. But a person should not have to pay for coverage that they may never use.

Since every medical interest group lobbies politicians tirelessly to force its treatment to be covered by insurers, health insurance becomes more expensive. People in their 20’s and 30’s cannot afford it and make the choice of risking going without coverage. Then the same politicians who created this predicament bemoan the fact that millions of Americans are going without health coverage. So, they posture, the government must step in. And the cycle repeats itself endlessly.

Government involvement in health care, whether the form advocated by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or John McCain, needs desperately to be euthanized — put to sleep forever, never to be heard from again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More on Women, Guns, and Self-Defense

Since the Kirsten Gillibrand-Carolyn McCarthy potential Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate revolves around Gillibrand's pro-gun record and McCarthy's fanatical support of gun control, and since both are women, a still closer examination of the phenomenon of women and guns is appropriate. I continue to worry about Gillibrand caving in on the issue, especially when she visited a New York City school (mourning the gun-related death of a student) with a bunch of anti-gunners, but right now her record remains solid.

Traditionally in American culture, guns have been the province of men. So it is fascinating that this high powered battle over the gun issue involves two accomplished and powerful women. Which brings me back to some more detail on the infamous and ludicrous "Million Mom March."

John O’Sullivan, the British-born editor of the conservative National Review magazine in the early 1990’s, put forward a doctrine which he christened “O’Sullivan’s Law.” The tenet of “O’Sullivan’s Law” was that any foundation — any organization funded through grants which ostensibly functioned as part-activist, part-think tank — which was not overtly right-wing, would inevitably become left-wing.

O’Sullivan’s point was that even foundations that were not originally conceived as left-wing, but rather were neutral in ideological impetus, would by natural inertia become left-wing because liberal activists are naturally drawn to that which spends other people’s money. Furthermore, O’Sullivan asserted, as long as a foundation did not espouse a specific right-wing cause, that given organization was more easily co-opted by liberals. Therefore, an ideologically benign foundation designed simply to “promote literacy” or further “cultural awareness” would eventually fall into the hands of the left. “O’Sullivan’s Law” has proven to be true in much more than foundations.

The “Million Mom March,” which burst onto the national scene in 2000, purports to be a grassroots galvanization of “concerned mothers” across America who marched on Washington, D.C. on Mother’s Day in response to the media-hyped school shootings in the past year. It is politically treacherous grounds to be seen to be criticizing “mom and apple pie,” especially when the cause they’re marching for seems so sensible and agreeable. But the name itself, derived from Louis Farrakhan’s “Million Man March,” is an indicator of the politics of this laughable display of hysterical left-wing activism. At least Farrakhan was honest about his intentions.

The “Million Mom March” cloaks its zaniness in some soft language, but the hard left component of its core is ever so slightly beneath the surface. As “O’Sullivan’s Law” points out, the “Million Mom March,” even if it was not originally conceived by the left — and there is ample enough evidence that it was — has fallen into its decrepit hands.

Organizers of the March state that its purpose is “dedicated to the mission of educating our children and our country about the life-threatening danger of guns.” How original. Until now, no one knew that guns were potentially life-threatening. So do the mothers want better safety training and responsible instruction for children? Not on your life. What do they want? More gun control, of course. Now that’s really original.

The agenda of the “Million Mom March” reads like a laundry list of some of the nuttiest and irresponsible ideas — pulled out of the microwave — that have come down the Washington Beltway. These tired demands have already so miserably failed everywhere they’ve been tried that it’s remarkable that the March has gotten the attention it has. But that is probably why it has gotten the attention. Liberals never recognize their own failures.

The Marchers want to trash the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Let’s stop these killings by cracking down on the law-abiding citizens!

Nowhere do the mothers demand the death penalty, an end to parole, a limit to procedural extensions of criminals’ rights, armed guards in schools, rights of principals to expel hoodlum students or any serious anti-crime measure. Only gun control.

They want “cooling off periods and extensive background checks” for gun purchasers. (Never mind that all the perpetrators in these school shootings were or would have been totally unaffected by such nonsensical laws.) They also want “licensing and registration” of all handguns. (Here comes confiscation.) And “safety locks” for all handguns. (The new pet panacea of hysterical gun controllers.) They also want “no-nonsense enforcement of existing gun laws.” (In
other words, keep trying to enforce the 20,000-plus gun control laws that still haven’t stopped crime. Presumably this demand is intended to counter “nonsense enforcement of existing gun laws.”) The Marchers round out their demands with the tried-and-true “one handgun per month” limit on purchases which hardened criminals are sure to obey.

And just who endorsed the “Million Mom March”? The list is a virtual “Who’s Who” of every freakhouse liberal organization in America. The NAACP; the National Organization for Women (New York); Bilingual Foundation of the Arts; National Education Association; Handgun Control, Inc.; the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence; National Council of Churches; 100 Blacks Police Officers Against Violence; National League of Women Voters; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Mothers Against Violence in America; American Jewish Congress; National PTA; and on and on and on. The list now topped 100 and every name on it reeks of left-wing fanaticism.

Mother’s Day is one of the most important days of the year. Hopefully, it won’t be totally desecrated by this march of a million nuts.

McCarthy, Gillibrand, and True Feminine Protection

Within hours after Carolyn McCarthy announced a likely primary run against fellow Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, it was reported that McCarthy had donated to Gillibrand's campaigns. She now claims to not have known Gillibrand's position on guns and the NRA.

Nevertheless, McCarthy should ask women in America about true feminine protection. She should ask, "Would you shoot a rapist before he slits your throat?"

Along with her advocacy of destroying citizens' Second Amendment rights, McCarthy (photo left) has also supported the so-called "Million Mom March" in Washington, D.C., which originally took place on Mother's Day 2000. If McCarthy and the zany women who have participated in past marches have their way, women won’t even have the chance to shoot that rapist. Mother’s Day has now been tainted by that bizarre concoction, a gathering of “concerned” mothers whose function is to call for yet more gun control laws as a way of stopping violence.

This peculiar phenomenon, ostensibly in response to high-profile shooting incidents, has fallen, thankfully, flat on its face. The entire gun control movement was a disaster for its proponents in the 2000 and 2004 elections, with even anti-gun luminaries like Senators Bob Torricelli and Chuck Schumer backing off. Even in 2008, Barack Obama was wisely coy on his anti-gun stance. But stark reality and a rational look at the facts have never been much of a motivator for the leftist organizers of the Million Nut March. They are, in fact, marching straight to their own murders and rapes if their totalitarian philosophy prevails.
Right now, the staunchest supporters of the anti-gun, anti-self-defense agenda of the Million Nut March are the assorted muggers, rapists and predators in American society. Organizers of the March are still oblivious to the sight of hardened street criminals cheering them on. The ignorance of the organizers is quite profound indeed.
Violence against women in America is frighteningly commonplace. A Department of Justice survey found that roughly 40 percent of prisoners had a “criminal justice status” (on probation, parole or under a restraining order) at the time of their most recent crime against their wives or girlfriends. Almost 1.5 million women are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year in the United States. The survey also found that 52 percent of women at some time had been the victim of an assault. These are astounding numbers.

So what is it that can provide true feminine protection? If the trends are any indication, it is the fact that 17 million women in America now own guns, and the number is climbing.

Contrary to liberal reportage, there are many feminine voices of common sense which are countering the bombast of the Million Nuts. Second Amendment Sisters, a pro-gun women’s organization, has organized rallies in several states as a means of advocating the right of self-defense, not the right to be defenseless. They state, “A restraining order waved at an enraged ‘ex’ has not been proven an effective means of self-defense; neither has a telephone receiver in one hand... If you are a woman who owns a gun, you have an equalizer. Since most assailants will be bigger and stronger than you, and almost 90 percent of those assailants will not have a weapon of their own, you stand a much better chance of getting away unscathed if you are armed. Isn’t that your right?”

Liz Michael wrote, “The so-called ‘Million Mom March’ represents a clear and present danger to every woman in this nation, especially every teenage girl in this nation. Every woman participating in this march is participating in an act that may very well lead to her own death, assault, or rape, as well as the death, assault or rape of any woman or young girl in her family. Every individual participating in this march or financing this march is effectively sponsoring a future criminal assault on me and people I love, and I hold them as responsible as the criminal himself.”

She continued, “The ‘Million Mugger-enabling Meddlers’... aren’t trying to make it safe for my kid to walk the street. They’re actually setting up situations where my family might be rendered defenseless against these same thugs.”

Therein lies the most important point about the Million Nuts. They are not merely stupid; they are enablers. And it is perfect common sense that rapists would be cheering on their actions. But as the trends show, the Million Nuts are losing ground, not gaining. Women are arming themselves at record rates. Not only are groups like Second Amendment Sisters forming, but there are now magazines catering to women and self-defense — self-defense with firearms, not restraining orders.

Diane Alden wrote, “Moms with guns are a lot better off than moms who wait for 911. What are you going to do when someone breaks into your home? A. Call Rosie O’Donnell and tell her to come over and nag the crooks to death. B. Wait 30 minutes for the police to show up while your ex-husband is breaking through the door screaming, ‘If I can’t have you, no one will.’ C. Tell the bad guys that they are breaking 28,000 gun laws, then show them chapter and verse. D. Write down the bad guy’s life story for a Barbara Walters special while commiserating with him on his miserable childhood.”

It is heartening that the American Constitution, particularly the Second Amendment, is taken so seriously by sober-minded women. If the Million Nuts want disarmament, make it unilateral and allow right-thinking women the opportunity to stay alive.
Whether Kirsten Gillibrand caves on this issue remains to be seen. But right now, she is the one advocating for female safety. Carolyn McCarthy is advocating surrender.

Gun Buyback Program a Sham

It's always great fun for pro-gun advocates to point out the folly of fanatical gun controllers. In the past three presidential elections, Democrats have wisely avoided the issue. But the Kirsten Gillibrand appointment to the U.S. Senate and the potential primary challenge of Carolyn McCarthy have brought the issue to the fore. One of the best anti-gun panaceas to poke fun at is the ridiculous "gun buyback" program.

The capacity on the part of liberals to devise outlandish policies intended to combat crime is rivaled in stupidity only by their propensity to avoid true solutions. Gun control has always been the pet panacea of those who possess neither the desire nor the backbone to confront the true and obvious cause of gun violence: criminals and a lenient justice system. Rather than confront this bane head on, gun controllers have striven to crack down on their favorite whipping boys, the guns themselves.

Every time another maniac opens fire, the calls goes out for stricter gun control. Gun controllers, however, never quite get around to explaining how the previous 20,000 gun control laws they enthusiastically enacted failed to stop the most recent tragedies. The shootings in the Los Angeles Jewish center several years ago and the Texas shooting in a Christian church would not — and could not — have been prevented by existing gun control laws. Nevertheless, the reaction has been typical and predictable.

In the short time in between those shootings, President Clinton latched onto and actually expanded what is probably the nuttiest (although not the most harmful) policy that is aimed at guns rather than criminals. In what is generally referred to as “gun buyback” programs, the president took a page from local communities around the country and announced a $15 million federal plan which was to assist local authorities in purchasing firearms in and around public housing projects.

In the past, gun buyback programs work like this: police in a local neighborhood or precinct, often with the assistance of misguided community organizations, announce that they want people to turn in their illegal (or legal) guns. A period of amnesty is offered, whereby anyone who owns a weapon illegally will not be punished or prosecuted if they hand in the gun within the allotted time frame. No questions asked. Sometimes, the buyback program operates under the condition of anonymity of the illegal gun owner. (There is no amnesty for crimes committed with guns.)

In exchange for turning in their guns, people will receive a determined amount of cash. Sometimes, they are offered basketball tickets or some other desirable item. Amidst great hoopla, the program is announced under the guise of an “anti-gun” program. Since people will be turning in their guns, and guns cause crime, ipso facto, crime will be reduced.

The only effect that these ridiculous programs have on criminals is that certain robberies may be delayed while the muggers try to stop laughing. The entire program is predicated on the nonsensical notion that criminals are the ones that turn in their guns.

That an IQ above 10 could actually take such logic seriously is one of the great mysteries of life. But, alas, some people actually purport to believe it.

The Clinton program was aimed at reducing gun violence in some of the most notoriously dangerous locations in America. It gave local police departments up to $500,000 each to purchase guns for a “suggested price” of $50. “Every gun turned in through a buyback program means potentially one less tragedy,” Clinton profoundly exclaimed.

Clinton, who certainly inspired confidence when he asserted that the guns were to be destroyed upon receipt by the police, calculateed that the new program would bring in roughly 300,000 guns. The federal money would go to individual public housing authorities which would coordinate plans with local police. The Clinton administration came up with the novel idea that gift certificates for goods or services be handed out instead of cash. Very appealing to the neighborhood mugger.

Naturally, when reality actually manages to break through the clouds of deception, the facts reveal that there is no evidence whatsoever that crime has been reduced in locales where gun buyback programs have been enacted. This is in line with the fact that crime does not go down in areas which establish more gun control laws. In fact, the only places where crime decreases are where right-to-carry laws are passed — laws which make it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons for self-protection.

The Associated Press reported that the thousands of weapons turned in through buyback programs over the years hardly made a dent in the 220 million to 250 million guns in circulation. The people who turn in the guns are undoubtedly comprised of those not committing crimes and people who simply want to get rid of their guns anyway. Obviously, criminals who make their living breaking laws with guns are not interested in surrendering the tools of the trade for a gift certificate.

But public policy is rarely based on logic and common sense.

Gillibrand vs. McCarthy: Will it be Washington, D.C. or Kennesaw?

The likely primary for United States Senate between incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand and challenger Carolyn McCarthy may be a referendum on whether America will be another Washington, D.C. or another Kennesaw, Georgia.

Kennesaw, Georgia, USA deserves to be the capital of the United States. The southern city historically best-known for producing the legendary judge and baseball commissioner “Kennesaw Mountain” Landis, has reached a milestone that has liberal gun control advocates shaking their heads in passive aggressive denial. What has been revealed of Kennesaw is certainly not news that’s “fit to print.” On second thought, perhaps Kennesaw is a rather poor choice for the nation’s capital. Crime in that proud polity is, antithetically to Washington, D.C., so distressingly low.

It is axiomatic to all Americans of the most minimal common sense that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is the greatest deterrent to street crime. The trend is an absolute. In locales where citizens freely carry guns, crime is lowest. In metropolises with tight gun control, violent crime is rampant. The reasons for this are so self-evident they hardly need explaining. Why would a criminal want to mug someone who has a gun? In fact, why would a street thug want to attack anyone in a city where people are, by law, permitted to carry firearms? The potential prey might have a gun. To a well-thinking criminal, the most bountiful terrain for a life of crime is a city with strong gun control laws, where the predator knows people are unarmed.

This, of course, is all so much basic logic. But not to gun control fanatics, who simultaneously deny the obvious and ignore all relevant statistics on such matters. Moreover, in addition to their troubling ignorance, gun controllers are among the most shameless liars. Still further, gun controllers actually maintain, with a straight face, the notion that gun control is an anti-crime measure. This is on the order of death penalty abolitionists claiming that capital punishment is not only not a deterrent, but actually encourages murder.

Kennesaw, and the news it made less than three decades ago, now presents gun control enthusiasts with an unbearable and embarrassing situation because the city takes the extraordinary step of not only allowing law-abiding persons to possess a gun, but requiring it.

On March 25, 1982, Kennesaw enacted an ordinance requiring law-abiding heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their homes. Subsequent to that law, which is now celebrating its 27th anniversary, the population of Kennesaw rose from somewhat over 5,000 to about 15,000. But the most stunning numbers (to gun controllers, not to sensible people) are the plummeting crime statistics in response to the law. In the very first year of its enactment, violent crimes dropped 74 percent. They fell another 45 percent in the second year. Even with the rising population, the crime numbers have stayed unbelievably low.

The homicide rate is now non-existent. There have been exactly three murders in 27 years — two with knives and one with a gun. Yes, all those legally accessible guns haven’t exactly spurred honest people to mayhem, as gun controllers would claim. (Maybe the two knife murders will have them calling for knife control, since the knife-murder rate is double the gun-murder rate!)

Other crimes of violence have also virtually disappeared from the radar screen in Kennesaw. The average number of armed robberies is 1.69 per year; rapes average two per year. Burglaries into people’s homes are basically suicide missions for criminals. And what is significant is that it appears that the mere presence of firearms or, more importantly, the advance knowledge that Kennesaw citizens are armed, has prevented criminals from even trying.

Now, it would seem in a country with a free press, especially one that is prone to publicize occurrences that it considers staggering, that the news out of Kennesaw would be front-page and network-leading. Don’t bet on it. Major media are so married to the gun control philosophy that their transparent bias will not permit the same kind of attention given to schoolyard killings that invariably result in worried editorials calling for more gun control.

So, with the results coming out of Kennesaw mirroring what has occurred in every other part of the country where guns reside in the hands of honest people, why haven’t national politicians pointed to the facts as an excuse for abolishing America’s 20,000 worthless gun control laws? Interestingly, gun control proved such a losing issue in 2000 and 2004 for liberals that its usual proponents, like Senator Chuck Schumer, were conspicuously silent after the Santee school shooting. In fact, Schumer was not exactly silent — he issued a statement saying he would not use the incident as a reason for introducing more gun control legislation. Progress, progress.

It is said in certain circles that if so-called civil libertarians were as passionate about defending the Second Amendment as they are about the First, college professors would be making speeches insisting the Second Amendment requires mandatory gun ownership. Kennesaw, Georgia is ahead of its time.

Put McGruff to Sleep

Now that the election is safely over, President Obama has announced that he intends to bring back the "assault weapons" ban that expired in 2004. Obama wouldn't know an "assault weapon" from a pin cushion because there is no one definition that everyone agrees on. To gun controllers, an assault weapon is pretty much any rifle that looks mean.

More importantly, the pragmatic effects of the ban will be what they always are: depriving law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights, while doing nothing to fight crime. Obama, like Kirsten Gillibrand's likely primary opponent Carolyn McCarthy, wants to get tough on inanimate objects instead of street criminals.

Now it is unclear whether or not either one of them has ever been photographed with the mascot of the gun control movement, but both should be. McGruff, the alleged crime-fighting canine famous for his Columbo-style raincoat and the slogan, “Take a bite out of crime,” first made his bones as the mascot for the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). As he became more famous, McGruff began appearing live at the various “Night Out Against Crime” festivals and, taking a break from his Santa Claus suit, would be photographed with every smiling politician.

But this dog, despite his reputation, is clearly not “man’s best friend.” In fact, as the barking advocate against the right to bear arms and the howling shill for removing legally owned firearms from the homes of honest citizens, McGruff can more accurately be called the “criminal’s best friend.” It is time to put McGruff to sleep.

The NCPC is a taxpayer-funded federal agency, which, under the guise of an advisory council and public interest advocacy body, actually functions as a mouthpiece for the most notorious anti-gun organizations in America. So McGruff, in reality, has evolved into a quasi-employee for the very groups that are most helpful to America’s criminal element. This is on the order of Smokey the Bear making public service announcements for the advancement of pyromania.

The brochure put out by the NCPC, “Dealing With Gun Violence,” is nothing more than a propaganda sheet for gun-banning fanatics. In it, McGruff steals the message of Eddie Eagle, the mascot of the National Rifle Association’s child gun safety program — “Stop, Don’t Touch, Get Away, Tell a Grown-Up You Trust” — which is the only sensible point in the pamphlet, since imitation is the highest form of flattery. But McGruff, of course, goes further, advocating the complete removal of guns from homes with children.

This mixed up mutt also advises, “Ask local officials to advocate a variety of ways to prevent handgun violence, such as increasing local regulation of those with Federal Firearms Licenses, consumer protection regulations governing manufacture, taxes on ammunition, bans on so-called ‘assault weapons,’ gun turn-in days and liability legislation.”

Whew! That’ll do the trick! Crack down on law-abiding people and inanimate objects. Rumor has it that Chuck Schumer has been spotted running into a phone booth just before McGruff appears on the scene. (In fact, the “gun turn-in” charade is actually one of the more hilarious inventions of the anti-gun movement. The basic idea is that, given some public-spirited incentive such as free Yankee tickets or an autographed picture of Cindy Crawford, hardened criminals will surrender with amnesty the very weapons they were about to use to rob a bank. The program even embarrasses most gun banners.)

The brochure also lists three “organizations” to contact for more information: The Center for Handgun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the National School Safety Center. All of these groups are staunch proponents of eliminating the right to bear arms and of cracking down on the gun-availability to law-abiding citizens. Nowhere in their literature do they distinguish the honest firearm owner from the gun-toting mugger. And nowhere in the brochure does McGruff propose that criminal perpetrators be locked up and given strict prison sentences.

This grotesque misuse of the American tax dollar is part of the larger abominable and tyrannical trend to conduct a regulatory war on the Second Amendment. Using government agencies, rather than the legislative process, to snatch away freedoms is the new and very efficient method of accomplishing the anti-gun agenda without having to face the will of the voters.

The awesome power of an unrestrained federal government is the certain road to totalitarianism. This back door method of abolishing freedoms has manifested itself not only through the NCPC, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), which has dramatically cut the lawful availability of all firearms by strangling commerce. BATF simply will not license honest dealers, decreasing their number by close to half since 1993.

Bill Clinton gave broad power to ban ammunition to the Treasury Department, which can potentially result in the ban of rifles used for hunting, target shooting and personal protection. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has pressed for a ban on firearm advertising. Ignoring that guns are used successfully for self- defense more than two million times per year, the FTC has labeled firearm ads “false and misleading” on the topic of personal defense.

The Clinton (and presumably Obama) White House has also used the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of the Interior and even international agencies such as the United Nations and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) to issue myriads of rulings and regulations designed to obstruct, interfere, and eventually prohibit the private ownership of firearms.

Even the Center for Disease Control, which views firearms as a “germ” that must be eradicated, is being used as a propaganda machine for the anti-gun movement. Before these monstrosities metastasize further, McGruff ought to be neutered or, even better, put out of his misery, as a fair warning.

Gillibrand, McCarthy, and the NRA

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy has come out forcefully against New York Governor David Paterson's pick of Kirsten Gillebrand (photo right) to fill the vacancy of Hillary Clinton as United States senator. Since all of these people are Democrats, what's going on here? For the uninitiated, this has to do with the Long Island Railroad massacre, guns, and the NRA -- specifically Gillibrand's support of (and support from) the pro-gun organization.

In 1993, mad gunman Colin Ferguson went on a shooting rampage on the Long Island Railroad, killing six, including McCarthy's husband. To that point, McCarthy was an unknown Long Island housewife. She used her husband's murder as a springboard to fame, to fanatical support of gun control (and opposition to the NRA) and ultimately to election to the U.S. Congress.

What has compounded the tragedy is that McCarthy has now dedicated her life to taking away the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans. Usually, Democrats don't oppose each other in primaries because of disagreement on an issue. (In fact, Gillibrand's top booster was NRA-hater Senator Chuck Schumer). But in this case, so committed is McCarthy to dislodging the Second Amendment that she has taken the extraordinary step of announcing a likely primary run against Gillibrand.

McCarthy's fanaticism may bear fruit with voters in New York City, but the gun control issue has been, and will continue to be, a sure loser for Democrats. Has McCarthy ever wondered what might have happened if a law-abiding citizen had possessed a handgun that day on the train? The killer might have been stopped after only one death. But the passengers, defenseless, had to gang up on Ferguson only after he killed six and had to stop to reload.

Gun control surely abetted Colin Ferguson.

Several years later in Queens came the unspeakable execution-style murders at Wendy’s, about which gun control advocates must have been very satisfied with themselves. They must have been very pleased indeed.

The seven victims, tied up with duct tape, plastic bags placed around their heads, their faces pressed against the cold cellar floor, were vanquished in cold blood, their brains blown out by an illegal .380-caliber semiautomatic. If only we had had strict gun control.

But wait! What’s that? We did have tight gun control? And still these people were killed? How the hell did that happen?

These crimes were committed in New York City by residents of New York City, a place more than synonymous with gun control. Relative to the rest of the country, New York’s gun control laws border on prohibition. Only Washington, D.C. — affectionately known as the murder capital of America — had stricter gun control than New York (before, of course, the recent Supreme Court decision weakening the D.C. gun ban).

Americans frequently hear about battles over gun waiting periods. Should they be three days? Five days? Seven days? Different states have varying waiting periods, a pet panacea of gun control fanatics. California gun controllers boast about their 15 day waiting period. In New York City, there is a six to eight month waiting period. In New York, it is practically a crime to even look at a gun.

Gun controllers are undoubtedly shocked that their precious gun control laws didn’t work on the LIRR or at Wendy’s. They are shocked because they are fools. Gun control never works. The prohibitionists are dumbfounded that the Wendy’s murderers, John Taylor and Craig Godineaux, were not deterred by New York’s gun control laws. These two misfit career criminals, who specialized in the armed robberies of fast food restaurants, did not purchase their weapon from a licensed dealer (a favorite target of gun controllers.) They did not submit to a background check. No waiting period for John Taylor.

Gun control, however, did play a part in the Wendy’s massacre. It played a very crucial part indeed. Thanks to New York’s gun control laws, Wendy’s manager Jean Auguste was forced to tie up his workers. Entrusted with their lives, this poor man never had the option of self-defense. At gunpoint, he bound his employees with duct tape before having his own brains blown out. If only he had had his own equalizer.

Ramon Nazario and Anita Smith (what in God’s name could have been going through their minds?) also felt the naked brutal reality of defenselessness moments before their deaths. John Taylor and Craig Godineaux, if they have any sense whatsoever, certainly must be eternally grateful for the gun control laws that allowed them free rein, without a threat to their actions.

It is axiomatic that career criminals are the strongest supporters of tight control.
Hardened street hoodlums simply do not want to carry out their trade in locales where honest people are armed. This is not only common sense, it has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, despite the hysterical and unbearably shrill whines of rubber-headed gun controllers.

The late great Charlton Heston, former president of the NRA, has explained his conversion from Hollywood liberal to sober-minded thinker by describing the mentality he frequently encountered from the lefties in his business. Liberals, he explained, would always justify their political positions with emotion-based rationale, never common sense or a cold look at facts. Nuclear arms control, like gun control, was defended by his colleagues as a “gut issue.” Don’t bother us with the facts. It feels good, so let’s do it.

Douglas Montero, a liberal columnist with the New York Post, actually went to the trouble of speaking to store owners in the same neighborhood as Wendy’s. Montero thoughtfully imparted the stories of shopkeepers whose lives were saved in the midst of robberies by the presence of their own firearms. Garfield Hart, proprietor of an electronics store, pumped a bullet into the chest of an armed bandit with his life-saving equalizer. No plastic bag over Garfield Hart’s head. He’s alive.

Lilly Fu, 27 years old, fired a shot into the neck of a career hoodlum, shooting him dead outside her boyfriend’s cell phone business in Flushing, Queens. Montero wrote, “Fu and Hart could have conceivably been registered as statistics, like the victims at Wendy’s who were led to a basement freezer, bound with duct tape and killed like dogs.” Instead, thanks to guns in the hands of honest people, the real dogs are dead, snuffed out like the vermin they are.

Throughout America, hundreds of thousands of lives are saved and crimes prevented each year because of the presence of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Over the past two decades, “right to carry” laws enacted in many states have enabled citizens to carry concealed weapons — all to the horror of street predators. Crime in those locales has plummeted.

But never mind. Gun controllers will continue to ignore reality and scream for more gun control, while ignoring the screams of the Wendy’s victims, where a gun in the hands of one of them would have saved their lives.

Indeed, it is tragic that McCarthy cannot see that Gillibrand's position on guns might have saved her husband's life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Deal and Stimulus: Impractical and Unconstitutional

In perusing for the argument intended to demonstrate that Roosevelt’s New Deal was ineffective and in fact had the opposite effects of what is historically claimed by its proponents, the best and most cogent case was probably put forth by Jim Powell of the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank.
There are just as many arguments supporting Roosevelt and the current Obama stimulus plan of massive government spending which purports to mirror the New Deal.
Powell’s arguments, in summary, essentially amount to a few key points:

1. The New Deal actually imposed mostly on the very people it was designed to help. “The most important source of New Deal revenue were excise taxes levied on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, matches, candy, chewing gum, margarine, fruit juice, soft drinks, cars, tires (including tires on wheelchairs), telephone calls, movie tickets, playing cards, electricity, radios -- these and many other everyday things were subject to New Deal excise taxes, which meant that the New Deal was substantially financed by the middle class and poor people.”

2. Higher taxes actually destroyed jobs. “New Deal taxes were major job destroyers during the 1930s, prolonging unemployment that averaged 17%. Higher business taxes meant that employers had less money for growth and jobs. Social Security excise taxes on payrolls made it more expensive for employers to hire people, which discouraged hiring.”

3. New Deal programs didn’t increase the number of jobs. “These didn't increase the number of jobs in the economy, because the money spent on New Deal projects came from taxpayers who consequently had less money to spend on food, coats, cars, books and other things that would have stimulated the economy. This is a classic case of the seen versus the unseen -- we can see the jobs created by New Deal spending, but we cannot see jobs destroyed by New Deal taxing.”
Since my own politics are libertarian and I’m horrified by anything resembling the New Deal, my sympathies obviously reside with the case Powell makes. But rather than debate the practical economic consequences of the Roosevelt and Obama philosophies, it is actually more instructive to examine the constitutionality of these plans.

Plainly, thanks to Democrats AND Republicans, the Constitution is a dead letter. To say that the Congress violates the Constitution (and the oath they take to uphold it) every day of their lives is a gross understatement. Even worse, members are so ignorant of the Constitution that they don’t even know they’re violating it. Liberals have ignored the Constitution for decades and now there is complete and absolute Republican complicity.
Liberals have always been result-oriented, meaning that first they know the result they want, and then they read into the Constitution whatever they need to read into to attain that result.
The perfect example is the death penalty. Liberal justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan always voted to strike down capital punishment simply because they were personally opposed to it – and despite that the Constitution clearly permits it. That’s not the way judges are supposed to behave. Again, result-oriented.
Regarding the New Deal and the Obama plan, an honest reading of the Constitution simply cannot permit any of these programs. The Constitution expressly gives the federal government very few things it can do. Those powers which are not expressly granted to the federal government (see Tenth Amendment) are reserved to the states. It couldn’t be more plain and simple – unless you didn’t care about violating the Constitution.The Tenth Amendment – which even conservative judge Robert Bork states is “unenforceable” – is easy enough to read for anyone who cares about the document. The downfall of conservatism was when power became more important than principle and they sold out to the basic assumptions of big-government liberalism, more commonly known by its true name – Democratic and Republican socialism.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thank God for Obama's "Preoccupation"

The one thing to be grateful for in this economic mess we're in, is that President Obama claims to be preoccupied with it at the expense of virtually everything else. In other words, as he attempts to continue the socialist policies of George Bush he can't do any damage in the other areas he promised to do damage in.
Of course, I'm referring to Obama's affinity for amnesty for illegal aliens. According to California columnist Joe Guzzardi, "The actual death-knell statement made by Obama's operatives included comments to the effect that in order to 'avoid political distractions' and instead to 'focus on reversing the economic slide,' the president would have to 'delay' some of the 'promises' he made during his campaign." ("Economy May Delay Work on Obama's Campaign Pledges." New York Times, January 10, 2009).
Indeed, radical alienist Janet Murguia of the treasonous organization National Council of La Raza ("la raza" means "the race" in Spanish and the group advocates a Mexico takeover of the southwest United States) is oh so disappointed in the president. She said, "President-elect Obama has made clear a campaign commitment to address this issue in his first year, and we know he takes that very seriously. And we plan to hold him accountable."
Uh-oh. Looks like an incestuous rumble is about to take place on the far left. Her anger may be justified and came on the heels of Obama saying on ABC's "This Week," "I want to be realistic here. Not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace we had hoped."
While my side is laughing at leftists being annoyed at Obama, his side is in fits over this. I recall the anger on the right when Bush tried to appoint the Sandra O'Connor clone Harriet Myers to fill the O'Connor vacancy on the Supreme Court. The right wouldn't let him get away with breaking his campaign promise to appoint justices like Scalia and Thomas and was able to get Myers to withdraw. Instead we got the great Sam Alito.
Will the left be able to hold Obama to his promise to give the country away to third world illegal aliens? Let's hope not. Stick to your guns, Mr. President. Stay "preoccupied." Please.
The irony in all this is that Bush and McCain are just as bad as Obama on this issue. Both are fanatical immigration enthusiasts ("enthusiasm" as defined by Peter Brimelow as an irrational fanaticism -- looking at the emotional side of an issue instead of its pragmatic side). Obama instead of McCain is just slightly more of the same -- a little more socialism, a little more selling out the country to the multiculturalists.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Are the Republicans Finished?

Whenever one of the major parties suffers a huge national defeat, there are always howls that the party is "finished" - usually this is not much more than wishful thinking. Now, from liberal media pundits in the wake of the Obamamania and repudiation of Bush come the standard reply that the Republicans are out of ideas, by the wayside, etc.
Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, it was way, way back in 2002 when the Republicans reversed the historical trend of winning Senate seats in an off-year election, bucking the trend that the party of the president always loses seats in those years. Bush himself went around campaigning personally, putting his prestige on the line, and winning Senate seats in unlikely places, including Minnesota - a Democratic stronghold. Norm Coleman defeated former VP and MN legend Walter Mondale after the untimely death of Paul Wellstone. "The Democrats are finished," I kept hearing.
Oh yes, and for all his rampant unpopularity, Bush was actually re-elected way, way, way back in 2004.
In 1994, the Republicans swept the Dems out of power in both houses - the Gingrich Revolution of Contract With America fame - winning over 50 house seats without losing one. Again "the Democrats are finished!"
And in 1984, when Regan won 49 states, two themes emerging from that year were 1) realignment - the Democratic strongholds of voter groups were over - Republicans now constituted the majority; and something called the "Republican electoral lock," which meant that Republicans were so strong in national presidential campaigns that you could not figure out mathematically how Democrats could ever reach the 270 electoral votes needed.
Oh yeah, that lasted exactly one more election cycle.
So what is my point? Seemingly, it is that all these defining moments are indeed the result of the hoopla of the moment and that these things are cyclical by nature. One party takes power, does a lousy job, and the other party takes over. So the axioms of today become tomorrow's forgotten words. What happened to realignment? The Republican electoral lock? And if Obama screws up, a Republican can easily be elected in 2012.
But hold it... maybe that's not my point. While those facts are true enough, maybe the Republicans really are finished this time. The truth is that I do indeed believe in the permanent demise of the Republicans, but not in contradiction to any of the points I made above.
I would add two caveats to my assessment that the Republicans are finished. First, it will continue to be slow and incremental. Second, it is manifestly NOT because of all the reasons that you keep hearing in the media (GOP out of ideas, etc.)
It's baloney that the GOP is out of ideas. They have some very good ideas. They lost because they abandoned those ideas and governed like Democrats. George Bush spends us into oblivion, making Lyndon Johnson look like a penny pincher, and people blame conservatism? Had Bush (or McCain) acted like a conservative, disaster would not have struck.
But here's the deal - the real reason I say Republicans are finished (or will eventually be relegated to small minority status). It's not because of bad ideas; it's because of bad American demographics - and bad demographics cannot be overcome by failed or successful policies (blacks and Hispanics vote Democratic no matter what). Those groups who vote Republican are shrinking, dwindling, and slowly disappearing. Non-Republican groups are rising because of immigration and high birth rates.
It's almost hard to believe that Ronald Reagan won New York State twice. That is a demographic impossibility today. Same with California. Nixon and Reagan both won it twice; GHW Bush won it once. That could never happen today because of the influx on non-whites.
The racial realities are stark. The last Democrat to win the white vote nationally was LBJ in 1964 - 45 years ago! Yes indeed, even when Democrats win presidential elections - and win them comfortably (Clinton in 92 and 96) the Republican candidate still wins the white vote - McCain in 2008, too. In other words, if only whites voted, or if America was only white, a Democrat could never win.
But since whites don't vote monolithically the way non-whites (especially blacks) do, it only takes a decent percentage of the white vote to make the Democrats winners.
So my answer to the question of this post is that yes, the Republicans are finished unless the racial demographic in America can be reversed. There is no indication that it will be. If anything, it's getting worse for Republicans. So as more and more states become totally out of play, like NY and CA, the"electoral lock" will become Democratic.
And by the way, Bush and McCain and many Republicans have gotten exactly what they deserve with all this - because of their ridiculous and suicidal support of increased immigration and amnesty programs.