HillaryCare II: Just as bad as HillaryCare I

While I consider Hillary’s Connect America plan more sinister than HillaryCare II, the prospect of the federal gov’t taking over healthcare isn’t any less of a threat. Take this as an example:

The centerpiece of HillaryCare II is an individual mandate, which is a fancy way of saying she would force everyone to purchase health insurance or face penalties. But where the government mandates that you buy insurance, the government defines what “insurance” is. That means the government will be designing your health coverage, with the help of legions of special interests with more political influence than you have.

CATO – HillaryCare II: Just as bad as HillaryCare I

I’m on record as being glad I’m not personally paying for full coverage health insurance; further, I think anyone who willing shells out between three and six hundred dollars a month just on the off chance that someone in the family will get sick, probably needs to see a shrink. On their own money, if necessary.

Consequently, the prospect of Hillary having agents of government show up on my doorstep in order to force me to pay for her version of what she defines as insurance doesn’t inspire me to do more than contemplate taking up life as a hermit. (the wife won’t go for the cave dwelling, though)

Even worse, there isn’t a candidate with a proposal on the table that I actually would consider a positive move, other than Ron Paul.

No, the health care crisis has been a crisis for so long that free market solutions are starting to spring up. (as was noted elsewhere)

Thanks to the horrors of dealing with insurance companies, many doctors are establishing cash-only practices with lower prices, and they are advertising these prices to attract customers!

Still other companies are being created to provide a wide range of basic medical services at lower pre-published prices with shorter waiting times. They are doing this inside shopping malls!

DownsizeDC – Rob your insurance company

All that needs to occur now is for the Federal government to wash their hands of the entire healthcare problem (including regulating the insurance industry, and giving tax credits to employers only) and the rest will work itself out.


Editor’s note, 2019. I love the fact that this is almost completely cribbed from other sources, including the title. I might have deleted this from the Blogspot archive, the second article I’ve found missing today. I hate it when I just do what other people tell me to do, like spreading the word as directed by Perry Willis in the DownsizeDC article most of this comes from. Restored from the wayback machine.

FFrF Radio: Steve Benson

Podcast link.
October 27, 2007Guests: Steve Benson & Robert R. Tiernan

The grandson of Ezra Taft Benson (the former head of the Mormon church) is an Atheist. Gotta love that irony. I can’t say that he’s my favorite political cartoonist (I have a soft spot for local artist Ben Sargent) but he’s definitely good. Steve Benson @ Arizona Republic

Good interview.


2006 Archive episode.
October 28, 2006Author Ann Druyan, on Carl Sagan and Religion

Interview with Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow, without a doubt the best episode in the 2006 year (but then I am just a bit of a Carl Sagan fan) discussing the volume of his work that she edited and recently released entitled The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.

Her recollections of Carl on the program were priceless.

Connect America = Control of the Internet

It’s not making much news, but Hillary Clinton has a proposal that should have all of us running away from her in abject terror.

No, it’s not the completely predictable proposal to force us all to pay for health insurance (that’s a yawner, from where I’m sitting) it’s the story being reported in this AP news story:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called for a national broadband Internet system and permanent research tax credits…
“The nation that invented the Internet is now ranked about 25th in access to it,” Clinton said in her latest speech directed at the middle class appeals.
Called “Connect America,” Clinton’s broadband network would give businesses incentives to go into underserved areas, support state- and local-based initiatives and change the Federal Communication Commission rules to more accurately measure Internet access.

Can we say FCC as a national internet service provider (ISP)? If a federal agency is given authority over the internet, can there be any doubt that they will become the ultimate ISP, and govern the internet as they govern television and radio broadcast. Even beyond that, rules changes allowing FCC regulation of the internet will give the FCC regulation of cable television as well.

Let’s imagine, shall we, that the self same government agency that has so famously declared certain words as unspeakable over the airwaves, and certain body parts as unviewable on television, can now determine what will or will not be acceptable on the internet.

Obviously there will be no more porn (and no more porn channels on pay-per-view, either) but that’s just the start. How about access to information on sex education? How about medical journals? And why stop there? How about an internet ‘fairness doctrine’. Political forums would be subject to requirements concerning equal times on the forum for dissenting views, or be faced with closure.

But that’s also only the surface. This is where the real money is. Access to all materials that have ‘cloudy’ licensing issues will be blocked. Peer to peer will be history. Torrents a thing of the past. If you want music or movies, software or whatever, you will have to go to the license holders and pay whatever price they ask. No more testing on the QT to make sure the product will work for you, not unless you can find someone with a duplicatible hard copy. No more catching that missed episode of you favorite TV show by accessing a torrent file.

“Follow the money” the saying goes, and I think I can spot where the money is coming from, and where it will be going, if Hillary gets her wish on this issue. Forget socialized medicine; we’re talking basic information access here.

But that’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Putting the gov’t in charge of internet access puts us in the same category as China; where anything the gov’t doesn’t approve of will be blocked. It opens up the door to a 1984 type scenario where information and history are completely malleable, where truth is whatever those in charge deem it to be at any given moment (we have always been at war with Eastasia…) because they can simply dictate that the records be changed, and there won’t even be the gaping holes in the photographs next to Stalin to point out that something is missing.

Is anyone still so naive as to think that once the camel’s nose is under the tent that the whole camel won’t shortly follow? That giving the gov’t the ability to provide access to the internet won’t eventually lead to active control of content? It’s happening now everywhere the gov’t is involved; the internet will be no different, and is already no different in places where internet access is provided at gov’t expense; the attempts to control content in libraries are a shining example of this.

We should run screaming from suggestions such as the one floated by Ms. Clinton. Better yet, we should vow never to listen to (much less elect) someone with such a shaky notion of what real freedom is.


I left that screaming tirade just the way I wrote it. Get a load of that guy, would you? What I find amusing is the fact that no one coined the term Hillary Derangement Syndrome in her entire time in politics, but they sure are quick to jump to the defense of demonstrably insane conservatives by calling their opponents insane.

Mea culpa review 2018. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. Here is the text of the AP article I was whingeing on about. I can’t find it anywhere on the internet, but I just happened to have saved a copy,

The Associated Press Go to Google News
Clinton: Internet Access Key to Economy
By PHILIP ELLIOTT – Oct 10, 2007

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) — Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday called for a national broadband Internet system and permanent research tax credits, while also quoting comedian Stephen Colbert for the second time in a week in a swipe at the Bush administration.

The Democratic front-runner and New York senator said that if elected she would invest in high-tech fields in order to sustain the high-tech jobs that are critical to economic prosperity and strengthening the middle class.

“The nation that invented the Internet is now ranked about 25th in access to it,” Clinton said in her latest speech directed at the middle class appeals.

Called “Connect America,” Clinton’s broadband network would give businesses incentives to go into underserved areas, support state- and local-based initiatives and change the Federal Communication Commission rules to more accurately measure Internet access.

“I see this problem in New York. A lot of the utilities don’t want to connect up our isolated, rural areas. And they also don’t want particularly to go into our underserved, poor, urban areas because there’s so much money that can be made in Manhattan and our suburban areas,” Clinton said. “It was like when we had to electrify the country in the 1930s. Utilities didn’t electrify places because it wasn’t cost effective for them to do so. Well, we’ve got to play catch-up.”

Clinton said the Internet is the new necessity for economic development.

“In the 19th century, we invested in railroads. In the 20th century, we built the interstate highway system. In the 21st century information economy we need to invest in our information infrastructure.”

Clinton also advocated making permanent the research and experimentation tax credits, which more than 15,000 companies have used since they began 1981.

“We cannot rebuild a strong and prosperous middle class if we don’t have a new source of new jobs,” Clinton said. “Our country is a country of innovators. We’re not acting like it right now, but we have all the potential to get into gear quickly.”

Clinton also repeated a pledge made last week in a speech to the Carnegie Institution for Science to give researchers increased freedom and to end the politicization on science. She cited Colbert, the Comedy Central news anchor with a pseudo-conservative personality.

“To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, that great philosopher, this administration doesn’t make decisions based on facts, it makes facts based on decisions,” Clinton said to laughter. “By ignoring or manipulating science the Bush administration is letting our economic competitors get an edge in the global economy.”

Later Wednesday, Clinton lashed out at Republican activists for questioning the financial need of a 12-year-old who spoke up on behalf of Democrats who sought an extension of the State Child Health Insurance Program. Bush vetoed the bill that would have done so.

Some conservative bloggers suggested the family of Graeme Frost had granite counters in its Baltimore home and could afford health insurance. The family said its counters are made of concrete.

“I don’t mind them picking on me; they’ve done it for years,” Clinton said to laughter from the audience at Symphony Hall in Boston. “You know, I think I’ve proven I can take care of myself against all of them.

“But President Bush and the Republicans should lay off Graeme Frost and all the other children who are getting health care because we have decided to do the right thing in America,” Clinton said.

Associated Press writer Glen Johnson in Boston contributed to this report.

Hosted by Google
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Reading back through that press release, I can’t tell the difference between what I think the internet should be now, and what she was talking about then. Since the Orange Hate-Monkey has nixed the net neutrality rules that we fought so hard to see put in place, we are now dominated by corporate information providers who can shut any or all of us off for whatever reason they like even though the internet is the only way to get some forms of business transacted these days. If the FCC ran it, and that isn’t even what she was talking about but let’s go worst case, at least they would be required to provide me with internet access. Corporations do not have to suffer the indignities of serving the poor and undeserving, even when denying service is the same thing as signing a death warrant. 

November 6 – Texas Constitution Amendment Vote

Have you ever read the Texas Constitution? It’s a mess. Check it out, here. There’s been a movement underfoot for years now to replace the outdated state constitution with a version that makes a little more sense (it’s not like we haven’t done that a dozen times before, don’t see the problem with doing it again) but it never amounts to much of anything.

I only mention it because it’s once again time to amend the Constitution, as we seem to do every year here in Texas, and I’m consequently reminded of the idiocy of the current state of our government here.

Anyway, there are 16 amendments this year, which is more than the average year. There are several guides to what the different amendments mean; ranging from the tried and true League of Women Voters to the how can this not be biased guide published on the Texas Legislature’s site. (I don’t know about bias, but I do know that it would take a scholar to find it. 136 pages of wind. Sheesh) There’s even one from the local LP, which I’ll append to this blog entry.

The reason I feel compelled to write something on this anniversary of the annual vote-me-a-benny spending spree is because of the fifteenth amendment on the list, the one that everyone’s favorite biking hero has been cheapening himself shilling for.

Yes, I have a problem with being taxed so that Texas can have their own inefficient version of the NIH, and spend even more money on ill-advised gov’t backed research into cancer than the federal gov’t currently does.

You may well ask “why”, and you better believe I have an answer. It’s because I don’t like theft. It’s bad enough when the state steals from me when it wants to build roads (which it now wants to charge me tolls to drive on) or when it wants to indoctrinate, er, educate children (and pays too much for schools I wouldn’t want to send my neighbor’s kids too, much less my own) at least those types of massively over-funded boondoggles can be justified on the basis that they could benefit everyone in Texas.

Not so the TIH (or maybe it’ll be called TICR, but that sounds like heart research) the expenditures there will benefit only the researchers.

Oh, but I hear you saying “what about the benefit of new cancer cures, those will apply to everyone in Texas” What’s my response to that? The cures will only benefit those who can afford to pay. That’s right boys and girls, just like paying to build stadiums that you then have to pay to attend (or roads that you have to pay to drive on after paying for them to be built) we get to pay for research into medical treatments that we will then have to pay for in order to receive.

Those of us who still have sufficient funds to pay with, that is. Consequently, I’m not exactly gung ho on the subject of giving a few more of my rapidly disappearing dollars to the state so that they can spend it on things they will want to turn around and charge me for.

How about this for a suggestion; I’ll keep my portion of the dollars, and you can bill me for my portion of the research costs if I ever need cancer treatment (or drive on the new roads, or go to a stadium event, etc) Of course, the argument runs “well, you won’t have the treatments (or roads, or stadiums, etc) later if we don’t pay for them now.

I’ve got news on that front too. I won’t be here if my tax burden gets much higher. I’ll be taking up residence under the 360 bridge with the rest of the homeless.

…I guess I really shouldn’t worry. Hillary will be elected next November, and I’m sure she’ll be re-introducing her socialized medicine, er, single payer health care proposal; as well as putting a chicken in every pot, no doubt. Cancer treatment will be free then, right?

So, why is Texas wanting to pay for research now, then? Anyone care to follow the money on this issue?


Travis County Libertarians release constitutional amendments voter guide

AUSTIN – October 18, 2007 – The Travis County Libertarian Party (TCLP) executive committee has adopted positions on 12 of the 16 Texas constitutional amendment propositions to appear on the November 6 ballot.

For: 7, 10, 11, 14
Against: 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 13, 15, 16
No position: 3, 5, 6, 9

Propositions 3, 5, 6, and 9 generated debate among Libertarians. On the one hand, they appear to provide some tax relief. On the other hand, they are targeted toward narrow special-interest groups to buy votes and provide sound bites for re-election campaigns, while the legislature keeps raising spending and shifting the tax burden onto others. Libertarians favor broad-based tax and spending cuts, rather than more complexity and special-interest pandering.

During the debate, some Libertarians expressed the principle, “When in doubt, vote no.”

These are the TCLP positions, with brief explanations:

1. AGAINST (Angelo State University governance change) This would be more than a simple change in hierarchy. It would allow
spending, tuition, and fees to increase.

2. AGAINST (Additional $100 million bonds for student loans) Bonds cause future tax increases. Government subsidies to students enable university bureaucrats to keep raising tuition and fees. Student debt upon graduation has skyrocketed in the past ten years, and we shouldn’t encourage that trend with more tax dollars.

3. No position (Tweaking appraisal cap rules)

4. AGAINST ($1 billion in bonds for state facilities) Libertarians support less spending on state facilities, not more.

5. No position (Tax incentives for down town revitalization programs)

6. No position (Tax exemptions for personal vehicles used for business)

7. FOR (Eminent domain buy-back rights)
This would provide a small amount of protection in some cases. However, the 2007 legislature failed to pass stronger protections against eminent domain, and this is a perfect case where politicians are likely to mislead voters by claiming they support eminent domain reform more than they really do.

8. AGAINST (Home equity loan regulations)
Libertarians believe in free markets and personal responsibility. This amendment would increase government interference with the loan process.

9. No position (Disabled veteran tax exemptions)

10. FOR (Abolish office of inspector of hides and animals)
Libertarians support eliminating the obsolete minor office of Inspector of Hides and Animals. We wish this amendment would also eliminate the State Board of Education, which would represent a real cut in government.

11. FOR (Require record votes on bill passage)
This would allow voters to actually find out how their representatives voted on final passage of a bill. More accountability is good.

12. AGAINST ($5 billion in bonds for Texas Transportation Commission)
The government already does a terrible job of spending transportation tax dollars, and we should not provide new revenue sources.

13. AGAINST (Denial of bail to some offenders)
This has a “tough on crime” sound to it, but it violates constitutional rights to bail and is unnecessary. America has the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. The state should focus on removing victimless crimes from the books to reduce incarceration and promote a stronger civil society, rather than imposing ever-increasing criminal penalties on every unwise action.

14. FOR (Permit judges who reach mandatory retirement age to serve out their terms)
Let elderly judges work if they want to.

15. AGAINST ($3 billion for a Cancer Research Institute)
Medical research is not a legitimate function of government. Funding for medical research should stay in the private sector. There is plenty of profit motive in seeking patents for drugs and medical devices, and if that weren’t enough, there is also a great deal of funding provided by voluntary charitable donations.

16. AGAINST ($250 million in bonds for water development to poor unincorporated colonias)
Developers build neighborhoods without providing and paying for infrastructure like water, then want other taxpayers to pay for water and wastewater services for their developments. Wrong. Development should pay for itself without outside tax subsidies.
Early voting starts October 22 and ends November 2. Election day is Tuesday, November 6.

Contact:
Wes Benedict, TCLP Chair
512-442-4910
wesliberty@aol.com


For the purpose of completeness, I’ll add this addendum. It looks like we’ll be getting TICR,;getting a high profile celebrity to back spending your tax dollars (rather than celebrities spending their own private funds) always gets the public behind a project. Amendment 15 passed with 61% in favor. (source, Texas SOS)

Most of the amendments passed by 10 to 20 percent margins. With only about 5% of the population voting (One million of the over 20 million reported in the last census) I wonder how much the vote was skewed by targeted advertising, and how it might have been skewed differently if all those people who are certain that voting is a waste of time (because all the amendments will pass anyway) had gotten off their fat asses and gone to vote.

I guess it’s true that we create our world through our (in)actions.

American Freedom Agenda Act

Today’s DownsizeDC post. This is one we should all get behind.

The full text of this bill can be found on our Background page for this campaign. This legislation will . . .

  • Repeal the “Military Commissions Act of 2007” and thereby restore the ancient right of habeas corpus and end legally sanctioned torture by U.S. government agents
  • Restore the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” (FISA) and thereby outlaw warrantless spying on American citizens by the President of the United States
  • Give Congress standing in court to challenge the President’s use of “signing statements” as a means to avoid executing the nation’s laws
  • Make it illegal for government agents to kidnap people and send them abroad to be tortured by foreign governments
  • Provide legal protection to journalists who expose wrong-doing by the Federal government
  • Prohibit the use of secret evidence to label groups or individuals as terrorists for the purpose of criminal or civil sanctions

This one simple 3-page bill will . . .

  • Restore basic Constitutional protections
  • Empower Americans to support human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the world at large, free from the stink of hypocrisy
  • Protect Americans and American soldiers from blowback by foreign powers in retaliation for our government’s transgression of America’s most hallowed principles

read more | digg story

I have been agitating congress on all of these issues for quite some time. We must make them understand that a failure to act now will be an inexcusable act of negligence on their part.

No Strings Attached

from the latest DownsizeDC dispatch…

State, county, and municipal governments were not intended to be administrative districts of a powerful national government. They are supposed to be self-governing and accountable to the people.

We don’t see that today. Where the federal government does not have direct control, it provides grants to state and local governments. And the grants come with strings attached. To receive the money, governments must comply with federal requirements.

read more | digg story

They point out that problems with federal mandates have bee highlighted in a specific television program recently, but that’s hardly an isolated event. A few weeks back there was a great episode of Boston Legal, dealing with a civil case between a teenage girl and her gov’t run school; she was suing them because the mandated abstinence only program left her vulnerable to contracting STD’s.

[The boondoggle that is the abstinence only programs in our gov’t run schools has been the subject of discussion over at the CATO institute as well as FFrF (that unholy radio show) CATO has also had a lot to say about mandates, federal interference in the schools, and the complete ineffectiveness of NCLB]

Click the ‘read more’ link for the weekly update of damage inflicted by your congress critters.

Iranian offered settlement with the United States in 2003

Anyone still in doubt that President Bush is engaged in warmongering, should pay attention to the following:

In May 2003 the Iranian goverment faxed the United States government a proposal to discuss a comprehensive settlement. Prompt action on this offer could have brought peace between our two countries, and done much to stablize the entire region.

How did our government react?

It snubbed the offer.To learn more about this, and other opportunities for negotiated settlements, we recomend that you buy the current issue of “Esquire” magazine (November 2007, with Charlize Theron on the cover). Read the article “Briefing: Our Impending War with Iran” by John H. Richardson. 

DownsizeDC Dispatch, The text of the fax from Tehran

Four years ago, Iran offered to engage in talks with the US in an attempt to end the mounting hostilities. Apparently there is no profit in peace.

Here’s the text of the fax:

Text of Iranian offer for a comprehensive settlement, May 2003:
Iranian Aims: The U.S. accepts a dialogue “in mutual respect” and agrees that Iran puts the following aims on the agenda:
Halt in US hostile behavior and rectification of status of Iran in the US: interference in internal or external relations, “axis of evil,” terrorism list
Abolishment of all sanctions: commercial sanctions, frozen assets, judgments (FSIA), impediments in international trade and financial institutions
Iraq: democratic and fully representative government in Iraq, support of Iranian claims for Iraqi reparations, respect for Iranian national interests in Iraq and religious links to Najaf/Karbal
Full access to peaceful technology, biotechnology, and chemical technology.
Recognition of Iran’s legitimate security interests in the region with according defense capacity.
Terrorism: pursuit of anti-Iranian terrorists, above all MKO (People’s Mujahedin of Iran) and support for repatriation of their members in Iraq, decisive action against anti-Iranian terrorists, above all MKO and affiliated organizations in the US
US Aims: Iran accepts a dialogue “in mutual respect” and agrees that the US puts the following aims on the agenda.
WMD: full transparency for security that there are no Iranian endeavors to develop or possess WMD, full cooperation with IAEA based on Iranian adoption of all relevant instruments (93+2) and all further IAEA protocols
Terrorism: decisive action against any terrorists (above all Al Qaida) on Iranian territory, full cooperation and exchange of all relevant information.
Iraq: coordination of Iranian influence for activity supporting stabilization and the establishment of democratic institutions and a non-religious government.
Middle East: 1) Stop any material support to Palestinian opposition groups (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.) from Iranian territory, pressure on these organizations to stop violent action against civilians within borders of 1967. 2) Action on Hezbollah to become a mere political organization within Lebanon 3) Acceptance of the Arab League Beirut declaration (Saudi initiative, two-state approach)
-END-


Bear in mind this is an initial offer, the start of negotiations. Negotiations that the Bush administration chose not to pursue. It’s been my opinion (pretty much since 1991, but not confirmed until 2003) that Iraq was simply the beachhead for the eventual pacification of the entire Middle East.

…I really do hate being right.


Another post that is a favorite of bots. Replaced post with more than 1800 hits on it just to see what happens. I may have to alter the link for this one as well.

Declining Dollar is only the First Symptom

While this story is a year old already, Why the global financial system is about to collapse remains scarily accurate in its analysis of the problems faced by fiat money systems around the world.

The global financial system is about to collapse because the US dollar is about to collapse. The US dollar is about to collapse because of a simple economic fact that no one has the power to change or conceal. The fact is that the spontaneous remonetization of the precious metals is a Nash equilibrium.

Why the global financial system is about to collapse

I don’t know who John Law is, but he made some interesting points. Good luck finding him if you have questions for him. I questioned the insistence that gold (or any commodity) could serve as a stand-in for money, questioned it at the time, but I temporarily gave a home to the text he generated because I thought it worth discussing. 2019. That time has passed. I removed the text he generated from this blog entry aside from the snippet. Follow the link if you want to read the rest of the article.

I’m no longer convinced that John Law understood economics better than I did at the time, and I’ve learned a lot more about economics in the decade since stumbling across that article. People like the idea of gold as money, but they aren’t willing to carry the stuff around in order to trade with it, and they don’t seem inclined to pay the full costs of maintaining all the systems and the costs of maintaining reserves simply to protect against the debasement of their currency.

Humankind needs to come to some new understandings about what money is and why we need it, but I don’t see a return to gold anywhere in the cards. It just isn’t practical to have huge troves of precious metals sitting around gathering dust in treasuries around the world. This is especially true when electronic systems could be created that could do the same job without taking up the real estate doing it.

No, I’m not talking about cryptocurrencies, at least not any of them that currently exist. We’ll just have to see what happens next. In the meantime I may drag out a few more snippets as examples to rebut in a future piece that I will be writing about the subject of money.

Bush advising Hillary Clinton

Don’t believe Hillary has already been selected as our next President? How about this little tidbit:

President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.

read more | digg story

Don’t know why they bother to qualify it with an if; the mainstream media have clearly already picked their favorite.

…and since the electronic voting machines currently in use can be programmed to spit out whatever winner the vote counters prefer (and there is conveniently no paper trail to verify the accuracy of the vote) I begin to wonder who will even notice that the fix is in?