Obamacare dictating FREE anything is weird — and election observations

The recent brouhaha around birth control and Catholic institutions appears to be dying down, although the “solution” that Obama has come up with strikes me as entirely insane. I mean, he is now telling insurance companies, by presidential fiat, to provide a product FREE of charge to certain types of institutions? There must be some outcry about this. Not because it is or is not birth control, but because — since when can the President of the United States determine what an insurance provider charges for anything? Anything at all?

I sense that this Obamacare, while not being out-and-out “socialized” medicine, certainly is similar to that looming behemoth. The insurance companies now appear to be mere utilities to the government. The government sets so much of the cost and risk and charges under Obamacare — that they are no longer independent, free market, competing entities. Here, from Charles Krauthammer, he says it better than me:

From – The Obamacare Trifecta
Where is the opposition’s argument against government health-care control?
By Charles Krauthammer

“Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.

Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court — because never before has the already-inflated Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.

This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies, and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.”

Obamacare Trifecta

________________________________________________________

And, yes, religious institutions should be allowed to not have anything to do with providing birth control or “morning after” pills to their employees. Not even “free” (and nothing is ever truly free, somewhere the price will be raised to cover the cost) birth control! Why? The first amendment keeps the government from dictating to religious institutions what they should do in matters of personal morality or belief. Unless of course, a church or temple wants to sacrifice babies to Odin, and then, we might have an issue. There are certainly restrictions on religious institutions doing criminal activities. In any event, this whole mess strikes me as being not about women’s health, but as a power grab by the government. It must be unconstitutional and I would hope that it is challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.

I support women’s perogative (not a “right” since the government strictly speaking does not give “rights” in the US, but a perogative) — to obtain birth control and even, an abortion within the first trimester — but certainly, religious institutions that provide care, often for poor women and children, or homeless men, like the Catholic church through its Catholic hospitals – deserve to have their right of conscience respected. It is in the First Amendment, it is that simple and straightforward.

The media, which is often driven by progressive or at least, Democratic party bias, keeps focusing on this controversy as a sign that the right “hates women”. Of course, Santorum, plays into this meme with his personal beliefs about birth control being unacceptable. Although I actually don’t believe that all people who think birth control is wrong, also hate women. That’s like saying that people who support abortion, hate children. What is interesting about Santorum however, is that he does support the government ponying up for birth control when it is not being done by a religious institution. He did support the Federal government providing birth control through Title X. Yes, he actually supported giving Federal money to Family planning clinics for poor people here:

Title X Family Planning
” History of Title X
The Title X Family Planning program [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” (Public Law 91-572)], was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only Federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.

That’s from the HHS page on Title X.
___________________________________________________________________
So there is more to Santorum than meets the eye. Santorum is more of a populist, and less of a fiscal conservative than he appears. He is a stalwart social conservative yes, but as Ann Coulter observed, “Santorum is not a conservative, he’s a Catholic.” Here from her column “IOWA SHOWS REPUBLICANS DETERMINED TO BEAT OBAMA”
January 4, 2012:

“Santorum is not as conservative as his social-issues credentials suggest. He is more of a Catholic than a conservative, which means he’s good on 60 percent of the issues, but bad on others, such as big government social programs. He’d be Ted Kennedy if he didn’t believe in God.

Santorum may not be a big spender as far as professional politicians go, but he is still a professional politician. In 2005, one of his former aides described him as “a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate.”

The Catholic missionary was fantastic on issues like partial-birth abortion, but more like a Catholic bishop in his support for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement program (now costing taxpayers more than $60 billion a year), and a highway bill with a Christmas tree of earmarks, including the famous “bridge to nowhere.”

Santorum cites his father’s admonition to put any extra money in the poor box at church to explain his wanting to use the federal government to help the poor. ”

Read the whole thing here: Coulter on Santorum and Iowa Caucus
_____________________________________________________________
I am not in the bag for Santorum. He is waaaay too mouthy about his social conservatism for me. I prefer those beliefs to be more understated. I certainly agree that it is preferable that people marry before they have children (how can this be controversial?) but I also am in favor of people living their lives as they see fit. In this country, we do have a measure of personal freedom and choice and I like that. In Santorum, I sense an authoritarian streak just beneath the surface. And, he exhibits a tangible disdain for gay and lesbian people. That distaste alone, which feels palpable, makes me uncomfortable. However, I will say that once I heard him through an entire speech, sat and listened all the way through — I also sensed a nearly earnest sincerity. A boyish Eagle Scout streak that felt a bit guileless in a politician, and — I realized that in spite of our very serious disagreements, Santorum is actually a good man. I believe he is strongly mistaken in some of his beliefs, but he is a good man nonetheless. In other words, when he is not exhorting homosexuals or homosexuality as inferior and sinful, Santorum is actually kind of likable. But, no. I am still in the corner for Gingrich and I will accept Romney. In fact, Romney is starting to look better all the time. He is not an extremist, he is a fiscal conservative, he is competent, he gets it on Iran (though they all appear to) and his moderation is appealing to more voters than Santorum’s bona fide social conservatism which feels, in this day and age, shrill and extreme.

I am watching everything in the election very closely now. Time will tell! My favorite, Newt, may yet pull something out of his hat. He can get things done (budget balancing, welfare reform), he’s fearless, he’s smart and — he’s sharp and angry enough to take on Obama’s smooth-talking sleight of hand, his large and hollow rhetorical flotsam. He means business. So, I do hope…

But I digress… what I really meant to write about was this strange new directive of Obamacare, telling an insurance company to provide something for FREE. Dictating a price to a private entity. So, is an insurance company then still an independent private company — or an arm of the state?

Seems like those “crazy” Tea Partiers screaming about “socialized medicine being Obamacare” were not so far off after all. I think they were downright prescient.

Advertisements

London Riots – Coulter and Phillips

I’m not feeling real talkative today. But I have noticed the riots over the past few days in England as well as the stock market swings. I’ve read a good bit of Dr. Dalrymple so the riots are not entirely surprising, even if they are dismaying and larger than life. Since I am not feeling very talkative, here is a column from Ann Coulter, yes – her, about the causes. I think she’s on the right track. Here, from: The Sun Never Sets on the British Welfare System”

Coulter writes:
Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country.

Not only that, but in a triumph of feminism, a lot of them are girls. Even the “disabled” (according to the British benefits system) seem to have miraculously overcome their infirmities to dash out and steal a few TVs.

Congratulations, Britain! You’ve barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap!

With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes.

I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state.

In 2008, a 9-year-old British girl, Shannon Matthews​, disappeared on her way home from a school trip. The media leapt on the case — only to discover that Shannon was one of seven children her mother, Karen, had produced with five different men.

The first of these serial sperm-donors explained: “Karen just goes from one bloke to the next, uses them to have a kid, grabs all the child benefits and moves on.”

Poor little Shannon eventually turned up at the home of one of her many step-uncles — whose ex-wife, by the way, was the mother of six children with three different fathers.

(Is Father’s Day celebrated in England? If so, how?)

The Daily Mail (London) traced the family’s proud Anglo ancestry of stable families back hundreds of years. The Nazi war machine couldn’t break the British, but the modern welfare state has.

A year earlier, in 2007, another product of the new order, Fiona MacKeown, took seven of her eight children (by five different fathers) and her then-boyfriend, on a drug-fueled, six-month vacation to the Indian island of Goa. The trip was paid for — like everything else in her life — with government benefits.

(When was the last time you had a free, six-month vacation? I’m drawing a blank, too.)

While in Goa, Fiona took her entourage on a side-trip, leaving her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, in the capable hands of a 25-year-old local whom Scarlett had begun sleeping with, perhaps hoping to get a head-start on her own government benefits. A few weeks later, Scarlett turned up dead, full of drugs, raped and murdered.

Scarlett’s estranged stepfather later drank himself to death, while her brother Silas announced on his social networking page: “My name is Si, n I spend most my life either out wit mates get drunk or at partys, playing rugby or going to da beach (pretty s**t really).”

It’s a wonder that someone like Silas, who has never worked, and belongs to a family in which no one has ever worked, can afford a cellphone for social networking. No, actually, it’s not.

Britain has a far more redistributive welfare system than France, which is why France’s crime problem is mostly a matter of Muslim immigrants, not French nationals. Meanwhile, England’s welfare state is fast returning the native population to its violent 18th-century highwaymen roots.

Needless to say, Britain leads Europe in the proportion of single mothers and, as a consequence, also leads or co-leads the European Union in violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.

But liberal elites here and in Britain will blame anything but the welfare state they adore. They drone on about the strict British class system or the lack of jobs or the nation’s history of racism.

None of that explains the sad lives of young Shannon Matthews and Scarlett Keeling, with their long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.

Democrats would be delighted if violent mobs like those in Britain arose here — perhaps in Wisconsin! That would allow them to introduce yet more government programs staffed by unionized public employees, as happened after the 1992 L.A. riots and the 1960s race riots, following the recommendations of the Kerner Commission.

MSNBC might even do the unthinkable and offer Al Sharpton​ his own TV show. (Excuse me — someone’s trying to get my attention … WHAT?)

Inciting violent mobs is the essence of the left’s agenda: Promote class warfare, illegitimate children and an utterly debased citizenry.

Like the British riot girls interviewed by the BBC, the Democrats tell us “all of this happened because of the rich people.”

We’re beginning to see the final result of that idea in Britain. The welfare state creates a society of beasts. Meanwhile, nonjudgmental elites don’t dare condemn the animals their programs have created.

Rioters in England are burning century-old family businesses to the ground, stealing from injured children lying on the sidewalks and forcing Britons to strip to their underwear on the street.

I keep reading that it’s because they don’t have jobs — which they’re obviously anxious to hold. Or someone called them a “kaffir.” Or their social services have been reduced. Or their Blackberries made them do it. Or they disapprove of a referee’s call in a Manchester United game.

A few well-placed rifle rounds, and the rioting would end in an instant. A more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself, finally removing shaved-head, drunken parasites from the benefits rolls that Britain can’t find the will to abolish on moral or utilitarian grounds. We can be sure there’s no danger of killing off the next Winston Churchill​ or Edmund Burke​ in these crowds.

But like Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for — which is fortunate since most of their cops don’t have guns.

This is how civilizations die. It can happen overnight, as it did in Revolutionary France​. If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the “Heil Hitler” salute and singing the “Horst Wessel Song.”

____________________________________________

Melanie Phillips from the UK also opines here:

An illuminating report on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme (0810) this morning said it all about the British riots. Some teenage thugs who were hooding up to go looting were asked why they were doing it. Maybe they couldn’t afford the trainers and other goods they were setting out to steal? Yeah, we can afford them, came the reply; but since the goods were there to be robbed, it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. What about their parents? Did they know where they were? Yeah, came the reply, but the most they do is shout at me. And as for the police, well the worse that can happen is that I’ll get as ASBO (antisocial behaviour order).

Some of the rioters and looters are as young as eight or nine. I then listened to a spokesman for Manchester city council appealing to parents to ensure that their children are not on the streets tonight. Why can’t people see what is staring us all in the face? We are not up against merely feral children. We are up against feral parents. Of course the parents know their children are out on the streets. Of course they see them staggering back with what they have looted. But either they are too drunk or drugged or otherwise out of it to care, or they are helping themselves to the proceeds too.

The parents are the problem; as are, almost certainly, their parents and their parents too. Not that any of them necessarily even know who their parents, in the plural, are. For the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem, behind the total breakdown of any control or self-control amongst the rampaging gangs of children and teenagers who are rioting, burning, robbing, stealing, attacking and murdering, is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a fully committed, hands-on, there-every-day father.

—————————————–

Take note of that last line about the lack of a father. A “fully committed, hands-on, there-every-day father”, or even yes, two parents period – a family unit. I guess some of these people don’t even know their grandparents. This dissolution has been going on for some time. This is what the breakdown of the family looks like — murder and mayhem.

Not so good, no. As for me, I’m fine. Still in-between places but I do transitions well. I have a few now, and so – I am attempting to regain and keep my balance. And, have fun at least some of the time!

I’m not updating as much as I’d like in other words, since I am in the midst of a move, but I’m still here. Thanks to all who read.

A new day for the GOP and the LGBT? Coulter at HomoCon, Log Cabin GOP

So, while I’ve been away in LA, at a certain book fair, the Grand Old Party has been continuing to build momentum toward a change, or at least a diversity of opinion, on the ever contentious issue of gay marriage. First, Ann Coulter’s highly anticipated and controversy causing appearance at HomoCon (for gay conservatives) was widely misrepresented in the liberal press as divisive. Looking for another perspective, I went to Coulter’s twitter feed to find out what she recommended as the real scoop, and found a link to the following article by Lisa De Pasquale of Human Events who reports:

“I was fortunate to be a guest of Coulter’s at a New York City cocktail party where she gave a short speech and did Q & A with GOProud, a group of conservative-minded gays. Unsurprisingly, Coulter stuck to her principles by defending traditional marriage between one man and one woman. They were completely charmed and loved every minute of the repartee. What’s a reporter to make of a crowded room of open-minded conservatives with Ann Coulter at the helm? Lie, of course!

Politico reported that there was “nervous laughter” when Coulter addressed the frequent argument that gay marriage is a civil right and akin to denying blacks their rights. Coulter pointed out, both with truth and in jest, “Gays have the highest income of any demographic group in America. Blacks must be looking at gay rights activists in bewilderment thinking, ‘Why couldn’t we be oppressed like that?’”

There was no “nervous laughter” except, perhaps, by a reporter unsure of the location of the 14th Amendment.

Toward the end of her speech, Coulter gave a reasoned argument for traditional marriage. She said, “The purpose of marriage isn’t for society to honor the strong feelings people have for one another, it’s solely and exclusively to provide children the best environment for developing into law-abiding, socialized, productive citizens—so they don’t end up on welfare or mugging us someday.”

There was no booing. No haughty retorts. No one left the room in a dramatic huff. Members of the audience were tolerant not because they’re gay, but because they’re conservatives.

Coulter also offered a proposition that was well-received by the event’s organizers and the crowd. After reminding the crowd of the devastation of single motherhood on children, she said, ‘Instead of promoting something that’s a terrible idea, that everyone hates and that I know you secretly don’t even want anyway, my proposal is that GOProud demand that heterosexuals start taking marriage seriously.’ “

Here’s the story: Reporters Freak as Ann Coulter Meets Gay GOPers

I think it’s true that in many respects, the conservatives I’ve interacted with SO FAR, and I admit these are not too many since really, I am only beginning this journey, but the ones I’ve interacted with are generally far more tolerant of viewpoints not entirely in agreement with their own. I can discuss choice or gay marriage with people who disagree with my perspective, and not be maligned as a woman hating, moronic, sexist, insane, or — (insert nasty insult of choice). The person I am speaking with does not appear to be about to explode or evaporate with anger. I learn a lot from many of these discussions, and I feel the other party might also, or I hope so. My experience with the (far) left is far more contentious and I add, far less respectful of disagreement. I’m not talking about you moderates out there! In any event, I am not surprised that Coulter went over well, after all I doubt that anyone thought she was going to go to HomoCon and pitch gay marriage, but her perspective and humor was valued nonetheless.

The GOP is grappling with gay marriage anew, as I’ve written recently. This is fascinating to watch and of course, I am hoping personally for a real change or an opening here. I think it will be a mixed bag, but I do see a change occurring. After all, the case for gay marriage can be made principally from the perspective of liberty and individual rights; when marriage stopped being about marrying girls off to the highest bidder, about property or status, when people decided to marry for love as much as for pragmatic concerns, gay marriage became inevitable. Some people, after all, fall in love with the same sex, and not – the opposite.

Another story on this strange and unexpected sea change from the GOP here by Matt Lewis:

“Other conservatives even went so far as to argue that supporting gay rights is inherently conservative.

“Conservatism and gay rights are actually natural allies,” said S.E. Cupp, conservative columnist and author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity.” “Conservatism rightly seeks to keep the government out of our private lives, and when you strip away the politics of pop culture, it’s this assertion of privacy and freedom that the gay rights movement is essentially making.”

This is how institutions evolve and emerge within a conservative culture,” says Jon Henke, a libertarian-leaning blogger. “In time, gay people will be married, extending the valuable social institution of marriage to more people. In time, conservatives will argue that the positive impact that marriage has on the gay community is further evidence of the importance of the institution of marriage.”

National Review’s Dan Foster believes the changing attitudes are largely generational, but added that “a central thread of conservatism, going back to Edmund Burke, is . . . gradualism.”

Change has come gradually, and it’s worth noting that Coulter’s decision to speak at HomoCon is merely the latest example of prominent conservatives (of all ages) lending, at least, tacit support to the cause of gay rights.

Conservative anti-tax activist Grover Norquist serves on the board of directors for GOProud, and RightWingNews, the blog site run by conservative blogger John Hawkins, has agreed to co-sponsor HomoCon.

Meanwhile, Ted Olson, the lawyer who represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, the case that resolved the 2000 presidential election, recently worked to overturn Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California. Fox News host Glenn Beck recently said he thinks government should stay out of the gay marriage debate. And The Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson is speaking at an event hosted by the Log Cabin Republicans.”

From this article by Matt Lewis: Ann Coulter Applauded by Young Conservatives for ‘HomoCon’ Speech

And, where does the notorious and populist Tea Party stand on this? Of course, the Tea Parties are not actually unified political parties, but they are swinging libertarian. An amalgam of political impulses, ideas, and passions, they are a work in progress and represent discontent with big government and a huge deficit more than a veering toward pushing government mandated traditional values. That’s not to say that social conservatives are not well represented at the Tea Parties, because they are, but these same social conservatives also share libertarian free market principles and appear presently, more engaged with pushing back what they believe is the encroachment of nanny state socialism and big government spending. Here, the founder of Log Cabin Republicans gives his take on the Tea Parties and LGBT politics in an interview on NPR with Linda Wertheimer:

Mr. TAFEL: Well, it was a big experiment in the Republican Party for a decade over a decade, which was the fiscally conservative, less government, free market party was going to become the family value, social conservative party. And it sort of switched identities. And I think, actually, the rise of the Tea Party and the loss of moderates and independents has been a signal to the party that hey, there’s a lot of people out there who’s issues are fiscal issues, less government, possibly the military issues, and probably pretty libertarian on a lot of social issues. Those folks have been lost and now they’re coming back in different ways, they’re finding their way back. And I think the social issues folks have lost.

WERTHEIMER: So Glenn Beck says that gay marriage is not a threat to the country. Ann Coulter, who is a conservative political commentator.

Mr. TAFEL: Um-hum, um-hum.

WERTHEIMER: Speaks at a gay Republican event; Senator John Cornyn who is a Republican chairman of the Republican Campaign Committee in the Senate speaking at your fundraiser for the Log Cabin Republicans. It’s beginning to sound like you’ve won.

Mr. TAFEL: Well, we’re not there yet. I always felt like we were going to win because I spoke to so many young people in the ’90s.

And, no the GOP is not there as the recent “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” vote shows, but time will tell, and — I have a feeling that a lot will change simply because – as Tafel describes in this interview later, the culture itself has changed.

The interview is included here in an audio clip and the transcript:

GOP Shifts Stand On Homosexuality Issues

As a heterosexual trans man, this is not actually even my fight. But, I am not foolish enough to believe that denying gay and lesbian people their right to create intimate partnerships is going to help make my rights any more secure. I understand that gay marriage represents a radical change, I won’t deny this, however, people universally have experienced many radical changes in the last few hundred years. Some have not worked out, and others are working just fine. The time has come to loosen the bonds that restrict people’s ability to choose who they marry or partner with . People are doing it any way, as Glenn Beck has pointed out, gay people are “marrying” for all intents and purposes. Marriage or at least, civil unions with the same rights as civil marriage, can only create more stability for society as it secures and strengthens the idea that people make commitments that have consequences and responsibilities, as well as privileges. I actually agree with Coulter when she said that gay people should try and make heterosexual marriage stronger, how about some no-fault divorce? Or, an automatic opt-in for such for couples with children. Of course people may be discouraged from having children, which would not necessarily be a good thing. So, I’m not sure about this issue people, but I do think we have to free people to create lasting partnerships, if they wish.

I just believe ultimately in individual liberty.