Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Election Eve

It is election eve, less than a week away, and with it comes to mind one of my favorite stories. On the eve of the 2000 Presidential election I happened to walk into a McDonald’s in McLean Virginia. Yes, I admit McDonald’s food is a habit I have, and probably never will, outgrow.

While there I noticed former Republican Congressman Phil Crane. Crane was a conservative from Illinois. He ran for President in 1980 on the belief that Ronald Reagan was not going to run.

Well, not being shy I walked up to him and introduced myself. I should say I re-introduced myself to him. I met him at a college Republican event. He didn’t seem to remember me, but he remembered the event.

And in the conversation, I asked him who he thought would win the election, Bush or Gore. I’ll never forget his answer, he said “Son, I don’t know who is going to win, but I do know this, this is the most important election in our lifetime.” Actually, he probably didn’t say “son” since I was well into my twenties but the rest of the quote is verbatim.

I do remember thinking he was right, this is the most important election. But it seems that every election since is the “most important.”

It is the most important because the parties are so competitive, the stakes so high, and the consequences are so great.

If we Republicans keep the senate we can keep nominating and confirming conservative judges. If not, we won’t get another conservative on the bench. If we keep the senate Trump can get rid of Sessions, Rosenstein, and maybe Mueller.

If Democrats take the House they will investigate the hell out of the Trump administration. Subpoena every member of the administration down to the clerks in the mailroom.

If Democrats win they will move to impeach the President. They will push to repeal the tax cuts that have given a great boost to our economy and a terrific bull market. (My IRA is up big!)

If Democrats get elected they will push to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, they will push to abolish ICE. If Democrats get elected they will push for insane programs such as Medicare for all, and “free” college. Just think you didn’t like paying for your college tuition how do you feel about paying for someone else’s.

So, every election eve I think about my chance meeting with Phil Crane. And his words still ring true today, “this is the most important election of our lifetime.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

CNN and The Politics of Personal Destruction

It is true that CNN is a purveyor of fake news, but that does not tell the whole story of what motivates and animates CNN. Their goal is to advance a political narrative. It is not just to spread lies (fake news), rather it is to advance a misleading narrative. It is a narrative in the direction of socialism.

As President Trump racks up wins and advances his make America great again agenda CNN gets more hyperbolic. Take the Kavanaugh nomination.

Two months ago they simply advanced the idea that Brett Kavanaugh, on the supreme court, would try to take away “a woman’s right to choose”, or deny people healthcare, or protect President Trump from justice.

Now their attacks have entered a new phase. The politics of personal destruction. The other night they had on a classmate who said Kavanaugh was a “heavy drinker” back in school. What a crock of you know what.

For every one person that they could dig up who would say that he was a heavy drinker I bet they could find ten that would swear that they never saw him take a drink. However, CNN is not interested in the truth. They want to spread a narrative. The narrative is that Kavanaugh was a drunkard. Didn’t he say under oath that he was a moderate drinker, wow that could be perjury? A drunkard and a liar.

They have even promoted discussion of whether as a young person he was a rapist. This based on an unsubstantiated charge, and it turns out that the person who made the charge is a liar.

They even discussed a charge that he pulled his pants down and exposed himself at a college party. I thought that was a regular occurrence at college parties where alcohol is on tap.

I will tell you this if I am at a party and someone drops their pants I would leave. And I would not do an interview with the New Yorker describing it 30 years after the fact.

For CNN it is not enough to oppose him on philosophical grounds rather they have decided to destroy his character.
Shame on CNN. What a disgrace.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Obsession With Roe

H.L. Mencken once observed that the greatest glory of the Constitution was that it can be read and understood by anyone at a 10th grade reading level, and it could be done in 15 minutes. Now we have added a few amendments since Mencken, but I agree with his observation.

Now take that same 10th grader, give him a copy of the Constitution, and the task of finding any justification for the Roe vs. Wade decision. Even give him a hint, “Johnny look for a penumbra of rights.” Johnny wouldn’t be able to find it. Because Justices Blackman, Stewart, Douglas, Potter, Burger, Marshall, and Powell made it up.

One thing liberals don't understand is that we conservatives are not looking to the courts to stop abortion, rather we want the courts to rule on the law and the Constitution, and not legislate from the bench. Overturning Roe would not outlaw abortion, it will simply allow states to have their own abortion laws. If Roe were to be overturned would New Jersey outlaw abortion? Would Massachusetts or New York? I highly doubt it.

But to the left Roe v. Wade is sacred. It is precedent don’t cha know. It is settle law, like anthropogenic global warming is settle science. Off limits to all debate.

The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret the Constitution as it was written and amended. This statement may keep me from ever being nominated to the Supreme court, but I will say it. Precedent is not that important, actually it doesn’t matter. In other words, it deserves very little consideration.

In minutes after Kennedy announced his decision to retire the mainstream media started wringing their hands with worry about the legacy of Roe. The sky is falling, the barbarians are taking over. As if a country without Roe would be akin to the fall of Rome.

In the weeks before President Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh and since I estimate that NBC leftist Chuck Todd has spent at least 60 percent of his time on air discussing abortion, which may or may not ever again be taken up by the Supreme Court. Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer may have spent even more time talking about it.

But as Bob Dylan once sang, “These times they are a changing.” One more conservative on the Supreme Court and we will have a conservative Judicial branch of government for at least a decade. Precedent be damned.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Medicaid Expansion is Riskier Today than a Month Ago

The following is a post from Michael Thompson, President of the Thomas Jefferson Institute.

"The massive "Omnibus" spending plan passed by Congress last month did not include a bail out for insurance companies. There has been little mention of this dramatic development and the consequences are significant and should impact the current Medicaid expansion debate in Virginia's General Assembly.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who worked long and hard to get this insurance company bail out into the recent spending bill, conceded defeat and made this little noticed comment: "... the only choice we have is to go back to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act."

Soon there will be another major effort to reform Obamacare and that outcome could have significant impact here in Virginia. That is why the debate on Medicaid expansion should be set aside until we know what Congress does. Why make a major change when the rules of the game could dramatically change?

The alternative being worked on today is to build on last year's idea promoted by Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Ron Johnson and Dean Heller. This plan would move much of the current federal health program to the states, including Medicaid.

This replacement for Obamacare will focus on three areas: 1) lower costs and improve/increase patient choices; 2) give states flexibility and resources to reach these goals; and 3) set federal guidelines for people to choose private coverage if they want.

Medicaid would become a block grant to the states. And this means that Virginia will have to design a program that makes sense within the parameters set out in this new bill, should it pass.

Our General Assembly should not pass Medicaid expansion until the federal playing field is better defined. It should take Medicaid expansion out of the budget with the understanding that once Congress determines in a few months what will happen to Obamacare, then our elected officials can decide how to manage not only Medicaid, but whatever other healthcare responsibilities are handed to the states.

The current Congress is under the gun to pass a repeal-and-replace program that makes sense. The elections this fall will likely bring a number of new liberal Democrats into Congress. How many no one knows but history indicates that the House could well be turned over to the Democrats. This means that any repeal and replace legislation must be passed this spring or summer or nothing will be passed during the current Trump Administration.

The General Assembly will know by Labor Day if Congress has changed the rules and decided to send much of health care, including Medicaid, to the states in one or more huge block grants. At that time, our elected officials can either hold a Special Session and tackle Medicaid expansion or hold off until January after spending quality time figuring out how best to proceed.

But if the General Assembly decides to rush ahead and pass Medicaid expansion knowing major changes could occur, there are a number of questions that it should answer before it approves such a new direction, including:

1) Why should Virginia not experience dramatic budget increases, far beyond current projections, as have other states which expanded Medicaid, and how will it handle that situation? Most states that expanded Medicaid faced 50% or more additional costs than anticipated. Why should Virginia be any different? Will the hospital "bed tax" be increased? If not, then how will these additional budget requirements be met?

2) Will a "work requirement" demand proof of actually looking for a job and seeking better employment by the new Medicaid recipients, or will the legislators simply ask if someone is looking for work? Will volunteering at a local church raking leaves be considered meeting the work requirement? This needs to be spelled out and it needs to be clear and serious.

3) Many doctors refuse to take Medicaid patients because of lousy government reimbursements rates. Adding 400,000 people to Medicaid will make it more difficult for these patients to see a limited supply of doctors. Why is this issue avoided?

4) How is the state going to be sure that those who are enrolled in Medicaid deserve to be in the program? What is the qualification/certification process? Does such a system exist today for the current Medicaid population? Illinois is saving $350 million a year with a better qualification process and Pennsylvania is saving $300 million a year according to the Foundation for Government Accountability.

For the General Assembly to expand Medicaid, just weeks before major changes could take place, is a disservice to the taxpayers. A delay in legislative action makes a lot of sense."