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."

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Dirty Don Beyer's Latest Target

I have been following Virginia politics for about 30 years now. And I can say without any doubt that the dirtiest politician I ever saw was Don Beyer. I never saw a politician so willing to get in the gutter to fight dirty. He has no compunction about a dishonest attack.

Most people, and even a plurality of politicians have qualms about getting in the gutter to win a contest, safe to say Don Beyer never had that problem.

In 1989 a young and inexperienced, and some would say unqualified, Don Beyer ran for Lt. Governor. With his Dad’s money and the abortion issue to run on, Don ran what has to be one of the most negative campaigns in Virginia history. His opponent was state senator Eddy Dalton.

Eddy was, and is, a lovely lady, in addition to being a state legislator she was also a former first Lady of Virginia. Beyer portrayed her as an extremist who wanted rape victims to be forced to carry the rapists baby to term. His ads were so over the top that they made some Democrats cringe. Well, sadly Beyer won.

After two terms as Lt. Governor Democrats nominated Beyer for Governor. Beyer’s opponent was Virginia Attorney General James Gilmore.

Beyer fell behind by Labor Day and realized that to win he had take the low road-no problem there. So, he decided to claim that Gilmore was soft on crime. A tough case to make since Gilmore was a prosecutor. As Henrico's Commonwealth Attorney Gilmore oversaw an office that prosecuted hundreds, possibly thousands of criminals.

In an effort to smear and distort Gilmore's record Beyer found the most salacious cases and used them to paint a false narrative. He found instances of rapists and robbers and other miscreants getting plea deals. Surely Beyer argued that this proved that Gilmore was weak on crime.

Beyer then sandbagged Gilmore. He waited to spring his attack during a statewide debate, knowing Gilmore would not be familiar with all those cases without reviewing the files.

Plea deals are part of the judicial system and they vary with each case. Beyer knew that but didn't mind trying to create a false impression about Gilmore's record as a prosecutor.

For Gilmore to go back and look at those cases and respond in the media would no doubt cause grief for the families to have to go back through the details. And Beyer knew that by the time Gilmore responded to each case the media would have lost interest. Damage done! It was a dishonest attack on Gilmore’s record and Beyer knew it.

Well, fortunately for Virginia Don Beyer lost the race to Jim Gilmore. And I thought Beyer was done. But he had other ideas. He stayed in the 8th congressional district and waited for Jim Moran to retire. I must say I kind of miss Jim Moran. Sure he may have been a crook, and sure he was a liberal, but as long as there wasn't too much alcohol running thru his veins he could be a charming man. Beyer has none of Moran's charm. Beyer is just venial and mean.

And now Beyer continues his trek on the low road of politics.

His latest target for distortion? EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Beyer sent this tweet out over the weekend:
"The latest outrage is the news that Scott Pruitt secretly worked out a special deal on condo rent with an industry lobbyist who represents companies regulated by the EPA.”

Pruitt is from Oklahoma and has a family there, so when he is in Washington he rents a room in a couple’s condo for 50 dollars a night. How can that possibly be unethical? It is not.

Washington DC is a company town and the company is the Federal government. Virtually everyone in DC has a connection to a Federal agency, a lobbyist or Congress. I suppose Pruitt could sleep on a park bench in Lafayette park, but he wanted a warm bed. And if he did sleep on a park Bench no doubt Beyer would claim that he kicked off a more deserving, and longer tenured, homeless person. I can see the Washington Post headline now:
“Trump Appointee Kicks Homeless Person Off A Park Bench.”

Beyer is trying to imply that since it was a “secret deal” and that the condo is owned by a “power couple” and since at least one of the owners “works for a fossil fuel proponent” there must be something corrupt in this arrangement. Nonsense.

What is a "secret special rent deal"? Not sure, but as long as the landlord knows what the rent is, and the renter knows what the rent is, you have a deal. A secret deal? Who else needs to know what the rent is?

There is no evidence of any wrong doing by Scott Pruitt, just Don Beyer smearing a good public servant and trying to hound him into resigning.

Don Beyer takes the low road because that is the only road he knows.