Obamacare: What’s Good Enough for the Masses Should be Good Enough for the Ruling Class.

A bill currently being proposed in Washington would require the Supreme Court to enroll in healthcare insurance via the healthcare.gov (Obamacare) exchange. Personally, I think that the SCOTUS, Congress, the President, and all federal employees should be forced to get their health insurance coverage via the healthcare exchange – what’s good enough for the proletariat should be good enough for the bourgeoisie.

The Hill has the complete story.

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The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

A very well written piece on education.

Americas Education Watch

nclbOne of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis more apparent, and more damaging, than in kindergarten.

A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.

The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard.

How can teachers hold all children to the same standards when they are not all the same? They learn differently, mature at different stages – they just are not all the same especially at the…

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Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police

Rand doesn’t always get it right, but he nailed it on this one.

TIME

The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation.

If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.

The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.

The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.

Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote:

Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward…

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Pay no attention citizen; your Constitutional right to assemble is not being violated at all.

For those of you unaware of the situation unfolding right now in Ferguson Missouri, there has been a massive uprising for the last several days in response to an unarmed 18 year old black male (Michael Brown) who was shot and and killed by Ferguson police on August 9th. After the shooting, when protesters assembled outside the police department to protest Brown’s death, they were told by Ferguson PD not to protest and were ordered to leave. Sadly, after that,what started out as a peaceful protest deteriorated quickly into rioting. Since then, Ferguson PD, have made numerous arrests, have ordered media personnel to turn off their cameras, and have now arrested several members of the media for not complying with their demands to shut off cameras.

Ferguson has erupted into a full-fledged Orwellian Police State, complete with armored vehicles, tear gas, police interfering with the media’s right to freedom of the press, and denial of free assembly. How ironic that just 15 months after the warrantless door-to-door searches that followed the Boston Bombing, another American town has fallen to militarism of the police state.

Ferguson Protesters

Ferguson PD taking down media cameras

To Protect and Serve?

See my original write up on the Boston Bombing and the Police State: Freedom is Beginning to Look Less Free

Wake up America; the Police State is already here. 

Michael Moore’s Anti-Capitalist Hypocrisy

While I have nothing against rich people in general, anti-capitalist author and documentary maker Michael Moore disclosed this week in his divorce filings that he owns 9 houses (better described as mansions) and his net worth is pegged at approximately 50 million dollars.

For a guy who has made a career out of shredding on corporations, rich people, and capitalism in general, it seems that capitalism is treating Moore awfully well. Even sadder still, the left seems determined to ignore Moore’s hypocrisy.

Breitbart has the story.

War is Not the Answer; War is the Problem.

This Memorial Day weekend, I posted an update to my Facebook page that I was certain would bring a hailstorm of torches, pitchforks, and tar and feathers from my more conservative leaning, typically pro-war friends; surprisingly it did not, and I was actually met with a lot of support. Here is what I said:

As we enjoy Memorial Day this year, let it be more than a day where we honor the fallen with parades and barbecues. While I support our troops, I reject the wars. Too many of our young men and women have died needlessly at the hands of our bloodthirsty empire. To truly memorialize those who have died in service to this country, question why they had to die in the first place. How many wars have we fought that were truly in defense of our freedoms? May those who have died for this country rest in peace; we honor your sacrifice, and may we learn from our country’s mistakes and yearn for peace as we move forward.

Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s greatest political minds, once stated that

War…is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer.

To be clear, there are no winners in war; everyone loses. With every proxy-war that has occurred since World War II, the U.S.  has brought back too many flag covered coffins and has not utilized enough diplomacy.

Today, the use of military drones has decreased the number of our men in uniform that come back draped in American flags, but the collateral damage is no better.  In the last 5 years, U.S. drone strikes have killed 2400 people; of which, an estimated 200 have been Pakistani children. If you have the stomach to read it, a list of the children’s names and ages can be read here

Fallen U.S. Soldier_Korean War

Fallen U.S. Soldier

War is not the answer to this country’s problems; war is the problem with this country.  If this nation put half the effort into peace that it currently puts into empire building and global interventionism, there would be fewer widows and fatherless children observing memorial day, and more vets celebrating Veteran’s day with their families. It’s time for the U.S. to end the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago.

Nuclear War

The U.S. is the only nation that has used nuclear warheads

I’ll close with several of my favorite quotes on this topic:

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” –James Madison

“History has witnessed the failure of many endeavors to impose peace by war, cooperation by coercion, unanimity by slaughtering dissidents…. A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets.” -Ludwig von Mises

 

The Results of the Military Industrial Complex

Who Do the Police Protect and Serve?

While this is an older story, I just came across it today. Back in 2012, a New Mexico police officer tasered a 10 year old boy at a career day event at his school because, when asked to clean the officer’s patrol car, the boy stated he didn’t want to. According to the boy’s account, the officer told him that he would show the boy what happens to those who do not listen to the police, and then tasered the 10 year old in the chest until he blacked out.

While a lawsuit was filed and has since been closed (with an undisclosed agreement reached between the boy’s family and the state of New Mexico), this story speaks volumes on the state of our police forces today. Following this incident, the officer was neither fired nor relieved of his duties.

Today, more than ever before, we need to demand accountability from our public officials, and make them take responsibility for their actions. How many more child need to get tased before we stand up and demand accountability?

ht_taser_wounds_ll_121102_wblog

The “Affordable” Care Act: What the Media is Not Telling You

Reposted from the Michigan Political Review

If you listen to the mainstream media, hardly a day goes by that you do not hear something in the news about how enrollments are better than expected for the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.). The media paints an especially rosy picture when talking about the affects the government’s health care mandate. But here is something the media isn’t telling you; all over the country, people are feeling the effects of the government’s supposedly “affordable” care.

Two weeks ago, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 450 administrative and executive employees of Saint Joseph Hospital were let go.  According to an insider (who will remain anonymous), the terminated employees were given 1 week of severance pay for each year that they had worked for the health system.  Sadly, this story has not even made local news yet. It seems that the mainstream media is all too eager to selectively ignore the negative affects that the federal government’s healthcare takeover, and focus only on cherry-picked highlights.  Sadly, for 450 former employees of St. Joseph Health System, the truth can no longer be ignored.

As the Affordable Care Act continues to roll out, what happened in Ypsilanti is only the beginning. From the Becker Hospital Review:

The following are hospital layoffs and workforce reductions that have occurred so far this year and affected more than 100 employees. They are listed below by number of positions affected.

1. Cleveland Clinic cut several hundredopen positions, and about 700 workers took early retirement offers as part of the system’s plan to cut $330 million.

2. Northern Berkshire Healthcare in North Adams, Mass., closed North Adams Regional Hospital, its home health facility and its three hospital-owned physician practices. About 530 full- and part-time employees were affected.

3. Five-hundred employees at Louisville-based KentuckyOne Health were laid off, and 200 additional vacant positions were eliminated.

4. Berkeley, Calf.-based Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, a Sutter Health affiliate, eliminated 358 jobs. The cuts affected the equivalent of 175 full-time positions.

5. Financially beleaguered Crozer-Keystone Health System in Springfield, Pa., announced it would eliminate 250 positions. The job cuts affected physicians and several managers.

6. Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance announced plans to eliminate 116 filled positionsand cut 45 vacant positions in a cost-cutting move. The system said direct patient care areas would not be affected.

7. St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., laid off 152 employees and is leaving 18 positions vacant as part of a cost-cutting initiative. The hospital has experienced low patient volumes and reimbursement cuts and is cutting 5 percent of its budget for the current fiscal year.

8. Las Vegas-based University Medical Center laid off 105 employees, including nurses, as it plans to close four care centers.

9. Worcester, Mass.-based UMass Memorial Health Care announced its third workforce reduction in less than a year, in which it will eliminate 103 full-time equivalent positions, including 81 nursing positions. While some employees will be laid off, the loss of 103 positions will also be achieved through reducing employee hours and leaving positions vacant.

10. Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente issued layoff notices to 101 employees of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, which operates one hospital and 20 clinics on three Hawaiian islands. The affected employees include 66 security guards and 16 patient transporters, among other positions.

With the government’s mandate that all citizens must purchase health insurance, one would think the healthcare industry would be booming more than it ever has before;  yet sadly, even the industry that should be profiting the most is making significant staffing cuts.

It’s time for the government to get out of the healthcare industry and let the free market make healthcare affordable for all.  The government has proved that it can barely design a website that can handle the mandatory enrollment traffic let alone manage our nation’s healthcare system.

Waiting on Healthcare.gov

Waiting on Healthcare.gov

Click here to see if your state legislature is actively working to repeal or nullify the Affordable Care Act at the state level.  My home state of Michigan is not; it’s time for us to contact our state representatives and let them know that we will hold them accountable at the voting booth. It’s time to nullify the federal government’s job killing healthcare takeover.

Immigration Reform: Those Who Work are Not the Problem

Politico has an interesting article out today.  Howard Dean Bailey, a U.S. Navy veteran from Kingston, Jamaica, had lived in the U.S  as a legal immigrant since the age of 17, when he and his mother came to the U.S. in pursuit of a better life. Bailey was pursuing the American dream;  he was working full time as a truck driver, owned a house, and had applied for U.S. citizenship in 2005 (but was denied on account of a technicality) . In 2010, all of that changed when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) stormed his home and took Bailey away from his wife and two children at gun point. Bailey spent the next two years being bumped around various federal immigration detention centers  in the U.S. before he was eventually shackled and deported to Jamaica (a country he had not been to in 24 years).

While a sad and thought provoking read, Bailey’s story is not uncommon. The U.S. certainly does have an immigration problem that needs to be dealt with. While an unpopular opinion among many, I believe the U.S. should have allowed Howard Dean Bailey to stay in the United States; as a veteran and as a parent of two U.S. citizens, he was not a threat or a burden to the U.S. , and was earning a living without the use of welfare.

Bailey

Howard Dean Bailey, U.S. Navy Veteran, deported and denied citizenship.

Hard working immigrants who are pursing their unique version of the American dream are what this country should be all about (it’s why my family immigrated here from Ireland during the Great Famine of 1845-1852). People like Bailey are not the problem; it is those who dwell in this country (citizen or immigrant) who have no intention of working that are the issue that we need to deal with. We do not need more people looking for handouts, but those who are willing to work hard and pursue the dream that has made this country great should be welcome to do so here.

If your position on immigration is that we should close our borders because immigrants are taking all the good jobs, you may need to check your work ethic in the mirror. Perhaps the reason so many immigrants find good jobs here in the U.S. is because most of them lack the entitlement attitude that plagues this nation. They are willing to work hard and ask for little in return. They come here willing to do whatever it takes to earn what those of us born here have been freely given and often take for granted.

Immigrants at Ellis Island

Immigrants at Ellis Island

I desire nothing more for our country than open borders and freedom for all people to be whatever they are willing to work hard enough to become. Howard Dean Bailey was successfully pursuing this dream when he was dragged away from his wife and children due to an unjust legal system hellbent on technicalities. Is this how we repay those who immigrate to the U.S. in pursuit of the American dream; is this how we repay a veteran?

America, it is time to change our immigration policy; I know too many natural born Americans who are not half the American Howard Dean Bailey tried to be. The system is broken.