San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Problem With A Single-Payer System

Neo-conservative Charles Krauthammer wrote an editorial on March 31st entitled, "The road to a single-payer health care system."  Although I deplore the idea of a health care "system," (there is no such thing as a "system" in anything, everything is merely the combination of thousands of individual decisions by thousands of individual actors) I was shocked to discover that he would advocate socialism in the health care industry.  Two different people wrote separate letters to the editor of the Denver Post in the last two days also in support of Krauthammer's idea.  One wanted a federal single-payer system, like the current Medicare program, and the other wanted a state administered system, like the one voted down by Colorado voters last November.  Let's consider this phenomenon for a moment today.
All supporters of government sponsored health care have two things in common.  First, they do not believe the free market is capable of delivering health care services to the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika and second, they all have religious devotion for the doctrines of socialism.  As the SDA has become increasingly dominated by socialists it is only natural and to be expected that a socialist medical program will eventually be imposed upon us all.   These air-heads really believe in the doctrines of socialism and, as such, they believe that a socialist system of health care will actually be better.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, one letter writer asserted that, "the savings with Medicare for all will be 50 percent, if the experiences of other countries are our guide."  He then fails to give any of the details about the alleged experiences in other countries in which medical care costs dropped by 50% once the government socialized them.  We do have the experience with Medicare in our own country and by all measures it is a disaster.  It is rife with fraud and mismanagement.  It results in ridiculously overpriced medical services being billed to the program and it drives up the cost of medical care for all citizens. According to Wikipedia, "Over the long-term, Medicare faces significant financial challenges because of rising overall health care costs, increasing enrollment as the population ages, and a decreasing ratio of workers to enrollees. Total Medicare spending is projected to increase from $523 billion in 2010 to around $900 billion by 2020. From 2010 to 2030, Medicare enrollment is projected to increase from 47 million to 79 million, and the ratio of workers to enrollees is expected to decrease from 3.7 to 2.4." Medicare is funded by a payroll tax of 2.9% on all income earned by all workers in the SDA.  Just think about that for a moment.  Almost 3% of all income earned in this immoral country goes directly into this program of socialized medicine.  In exchange for that we get very little.
The letter writer in favor of state sponsored socialized medicine made the same old argument about civil rights in regards to health care.  According to him, "all Coloradoans deserve reasonably priced, consistent available health care."   The philosophical basis for his belief that health care is a civil right was not explained.  He also failed to define what he meant by "reasonably priced."  He also failed to explain how much money was going to be taken from the citizens of Colorado in order to fund this state sponsored program.  Unlike Medicare, which is funded by a 2.9% payroll tax, Colorado care would have been funded by a whopping 10% payroll tax.  Can you imagine spending 10% of everything you earn on a state administered socialist health care program?  Neither can I.  Fortunately the people who vote in Colorado agreed with me and the program was soundly defeated. 
Without getting into the arguments as to why all government administered programs are bound to cost more than the free market can provide and without discussing the futility of expecting a government bureau to do something more efficiently than a profit seeking corporation, there still remains one insurmountable problem for all advocates of socialized medicine.  What is that problem?  All socialist programs of any sort are funded with money that is stolen from someone (always the "rich") and given to the members and beneficiaries of the program.  In other words, all single-payer medical programs would be funded with stolen funds.  In the judicial world a person who receives stolen goods from the free market is called a "fence" and is guilty of committing a felony.  In the SDA the recipient of stolen goods is called a bureaucrat or a patient.  Please explain to me how a program can be moral when it is funded with stolen funds?  Just once I would like for someone to answer this question for me.  Just once I would like a socialist to defend himself against this charge. 
I know the standard defenses for socialistic programs.  I am told that "we," as a "civilized society" have agreed to allow some of our money to be taken from us and given to the needy "poor," whoever they are.  But that argument is simply not true.  I have known thousands of people throughout my life and only a handful of them were happy about how much they paid in taxes to fund social welfare programs.  Almost to a person they all believed that they should be able to keep their money and not have it forcibly extracted from them and given to someone else.  So the argument that we have created some sort of social contract in which we agree to steal from the rich and give to the poor is simply not true.
If I take your money at gun-point I am a thief and you are rightfully angry with me when I rob you.  If I live in a geo-political zone and vote with the majority to take money from you and use it to pay my doctor bills I am a good citizen in a single-payer system.  How can this be?  How can it ever be moral to do something as a citizen in a democracy that is immoral to do as an individual?  How can it ever be right to take money from you by majority vote when it is theft to do it privately by force?  Please, someone, answer these questions!  Provide a moral and philosophical answer to the question as to why taking money from one person and giving it to another by force is wrong when done individually and right when done by the state.  To my knowledge no one in the history of the world has ever done this.  Will you be the first?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

My Take On United Airlines

I am going to do something today I have never done in the history of this blog.  That's right, I am going to speculate based upon nothing but my own imagination.  For the first time in my blogging career I am going to write something that is not based on either brute facts or air-tight logic.  What follows is my conception of what took place on the United flight from Chicago to Louisville the other day.
Okay, I lied.  Try as I might I find it virtually impossible to write something without introducing some factual content to the discussion.  So let me begin with a fact that everyone seems to be overlooking.  The UA snafu was not the result of the dreaded practice of "overbooking."  Every article I have read blames overbooking for what happened.  In case you are the only person in the world who does not know what overbooking is, it is the practice of selling some airline seats twice in anticipation of no-shows.  Airlines are loath to send a plane into the sky with empty seats so they double book some seats based upon how many passengers they expect will not show up.  When less than the expected number of no-shows arrive at the gate the airline is forced to not allow some of the passengers to board the plane.  It is significant to note that no airline I have every heard of allows double booked passengers to board the plane.  They are aware that having two passengers fighting over the same seat is a bad idea.  All overbooked seats are resolved at the gate prior to boarding.
I assume that airlines have done the calculations and determined that they can make more money by paying an overbooked passenger a premium to fly on a later flight than they can by never overbooking a flight.  In some cases the airline is forced to actually pay for a hotel room for a passenger who is not able to take his scheduled flight.  That happened to me once and I was put up in a nice room near the airport for the night.  So let's assume that the practice of overbooking is the most profitable method the airline can use to serve the consumers in the most efficient fashion.
The UA flight may have been overbooked but that was not the problem.  The problem was that the plane was full of paying passengers when the decision was made to deadhead four United employees to Louisville on the flight from Chicago.  Deadheading employees is the practice of shuttling flight crews around the country in order for them to be able to fly other routes.  Airlines fly their flight crews to other cities primarily for one reason, and this is where the speculation starts.
Government regulations prohibit airline employees, including flight crews, from flying more than a certain number of hours in a specific time period.  As far as I am aware, deadheading does not count as flying time.  When airlines experience unexpected problems such as weather delays and delays associated with closed airspace because career politicians are withing 1000 miles of some location they are forced to adjust their flight schedules.  Because of the regulations associated with the amount of hours a flight crew can work it sometimes happens that a particular flight from a particular city has no qualified local flight crew to staff the flight.  When that happens the airline has to deadhead a flight crew to that city in order for the flight not to be cancelled.  I suspect that is what happened on the flight from Chicago to Louisville.  If the flight crew, who were directly responsible for the need to force four passengers off the plane, had not arrived in Louisville on time the flight they were operating would have been cancelled and many more people would have been inconvenienced.  So UA made the decision to inconvenience four passengers on the Chicago to Louisville flight rather than an entire plane full of passengers out of Louisville later that day.
If my speculation is correct, and I have no idea if it is, then the blame for what happened on the UA flight that day is squarely on the shoulders of the FAA.  In the absence of stupid and overbearing regulations a profit seeking airline could pay its employees to work overtime in situations that require it. In a free market the conditions that resulted in the assault of a passenger by professional thugs would never have taken place.  But, alas, we do not live in a free country.  Expect more of the same.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spicer Should Not Apologize

King Donnie's mouthpiece, a fellow by the name of Sean Spicer, said something yesterday that outraged Nancy Pelosi.  Here is CNN's report about what he said, "White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologized Tuesday after saying Adolf Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" during World War II in an effort to shame Russia's alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons."
After Pelosi, who called upon King Donnie to fire Spicer for his horrific actions, and a bunch of Jewish organizations expressed their outrage at what Spicer had said, he issued this apology, "I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison, and for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that."
Anything that angers Pelosi is something I want to get on board with.  Anything that causes sweet little Nancy to get all hot and bothered is something I want to support.  Anything that motivates the most famous California air-head of our time to call for the resignation of some other career politician is something I most certainly must know more about.  Let's think about this for a moment today.
Spicer was using his bully-pulpit to dispense propaganda in support of King Donnie's view that the Amerikan Empire, with Donnie at the front, needs to terminate the Assad "regime" in Syria.  Anytime the King of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika refers to a foreign government as a "regime" you can be most certain that bombs falling from the sky will be close behind.  Why it is the responsibility of the federal government to involve itself in the internal affairs of a foreign government like Syria was not explained.  Why the Empire's military forces should be bombing places in Syria was explained.  According to Donnie's spokesman, our King ordered a missile attack upon the Syrian government and people as retaliation for the allegation that Assad had unleashed poison gas upon some of his citizens.  Assad and Putin have denied that they were responsible for the release of the poisonous gas and Spicer presented no evidence in support of our King's view that Assad was directly responsible for the release of the poisonous gas.  We simply need to trust them and believe they are telling us the truth.  After all, no career politician has ever told us a lie, especially when they are looking for a reason to fight another war of empire expansion.
In the course of demonizing Assad, Spicer make a passing comment that even the notoriously evil Adolph Hiter (the only person condemned to the Lake of Fire in the view of many) never used poison gas as he prosecuted his various campaigns around Europe.  In making that comment he stated the absolute truth.  Hitler never used poison gas as a weapon of war.  Anyone who claims that he did is wrong.  Anyone who is offended by the factual observation that Hitler never used gas as a weapon of war is seeking to take offense when no offense has been given.  Those are the facts.
Immediately after his comment some politically correct journalists went off on Spicer.  Shortly thereafter Pelosi and various Jewish groups accused Spicer of a long list of sins for purportedly denying the Holocaust.  Of course, Spicer had done nothing even remotely close to what his detractors were accusing him of but that does not matter to the politically correct.  They had found something to be offended by and they were going to take that opportunity to be highly offended.
Given the opportunity to tell Pelosi and various Jewish organizations to mind their own business and quit whining about the past, Spicer decided to try a different tactic.  Look at his apology carefully and note what he says.  He begins by saying that it was "obvious" that his reference to Hitler was in the context of using gas as a weapon of warfare, in this case in a civil war in Syria.  He was not referring to the Holocaust at all.  In other words, those tender souls who were offended by his comments were wrong as he had never asserted what he was being accused of asserting.  Then, after asserting that it was "obvious" to anyone with a brain that he was not saying anything offensive to anyone not looking for an opportunity to take offense, he throws a bone to Peolosi and her ilk.
Spicer confesses to the sin of "making an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust" when, in fact, he did not mention the Holocaust at all.  Read the text of what he said.  It is not there.  What a strange confession for a man to make.  First he declares that it should have been obvious that he was not even thinking about the Holocaust when he mentioned Hitler but then he confesses to the sin of speaking without the advanced permission, censorship and approval of Pelosi and various Jewish organizations about the Holocaust when, in fact, he did not speak about it at all.  Then he issues an apology for something he didn't even say.  Does this make sense to anyone who's brain has not been destroyed by the doctrines of political correctness?
Spicer, if he really did apologize for something he really believes he did, should never have issued that statement of apology.  Indeed, after reading his statement carefully I am not sure that he did apologize.  His best reaction, in my view, would have been to simply ignore the offended folks and go on with his speech. Why should a man apologize for something he believes is obviously not a sin?  But he didn't do what I would have advised him to do.  Instead, he issued an apology that is not an apology for an offense that is not an offense that he obviously did not commit.  I guess this is where we all end up when politically correct speech is involved.  It is meaningless and communicates nothing but it sure makes the easily offended feel good about themselves.  Way to go Nancy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jesus Says To Execute Murderers Swiftly

An article in the Sunday Denver Post was entitled, "Arkansas primed to kill."  It was written by Washington Post contributor Shane Claiborne.  Shane, as his friends like to call him, is upset that the State of Arkansas is going to execute eight death row inmates over a ten day period this month.  It seems that the drugs that are used to execute prisoners are due to expire and must be used before the expiration date comes up.  I wonder if the FDA ever thought about this consequence to its rules and regulations about drug expiry dates?
Shane is mad that the powers that be in Arkansas are going to execute eight murderers, four blacks and four whites, immediately after Easter.  According to Shane the message of Easter is that all murderers should be forgiven and most certainly never executed for their sin.  According to Shane, Jesus taught that the death penalty is sinful.  But don't take my word for it.  Here is some of what Shane wrote:
"Arkansas is set to execute eight people over a stunning 10 days....Arkansas consistently ranks at the top of the most religious states in America, sitting comfortably in the middle of the Bible belt....At the heart of Christianity is a savior executed by the state.  How we understand what happened on the cross 2,000 years ago shapes how we understand capital punishment today....What Jesus did on the cross was make a spectacle of death.  He exposed the violence of the state and the violence of the human heart, not to celebrate death, but to triumph over it.  He died with grace on his lips, forgiving the very people who were killing him, and all of us whose sins helped land him there.  Jesus' death broke the cycle of violence....Jesus was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.  He stole the show with love....And what about those people facing death row?  The Bible promises, 'Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.'  The Bible is filled with murderers who were given a second chance including Moses, David and Saul of Taursus....Arkansas, as religious as it may be, will miss the point of Easter if it does not stop the executions."
Well there you have it.  Shane, an expert in Christian theology if I have ever seen one, has authoritatively declared that God opposes the planned execution of eight murderers in Arkansas this month on the grounds that Jesus' death somehow makes it so that murderers should no longer be executed by the state.  As Shane put it, he "is calling for an end to the death penalty in the name of the executed and risen Christ."  Let's consider Shane's arguments for a brief moment today.
I don't know what Shane means when he pens that Jesus "made a spectacle of death."  The death that Jesus suffered was at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders of the time who utilized the civil authority of the Roman Empire to accomplish their ends.  Prior to His execution Pontius Pilate attempted to release Jesus to the people but they would have none of it.  Having been stirred into a hate-filled frenzy by the religious leaders the crowd shouted out, "His blood be on us and on our children."  They got their wish soon after, in 70 AD, when God providentially destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish religion forever.
Shane uses Jesus' famous words about forgiving "them, for they know not what they do" in the same way all ignorant and air-headed arm-chair theologians do.  He does not bother to ask the single most important question about what Jesus uttered that day; namely, who is "them?"  Everyone always assumes that "them" is the entire human race.  In other words, Jesus asked God the Father to forgive every single member of the human race of his sins.  Given the fact that Jesus never uttered an ineffectual prayer and given the fact that God the Father answered all of Jesus prayers, it necessarily follows that God has forgiven everyone who has ever lived, including the eight murderers sitting on death row in Arkansas.  If they are forgiven, as Shane apparently believes, they certainly should not be put to death.
Shane adopts the heresy of Marcion when he alleges that Jesus has invalidated the death penalty for murder by means of His death on the cross.  The punishment for murder, according to biblical law, is death without mercy.  There are no exceptions to the rule when it comes to God's proscribed penalty for murder.  All murderers should be executed swiftly by the civil authorities once they are caught and found guilty of their sin.  But Shane has rejected God's law as morally binding on us today.  In that sense he is a good antinomian (look it up).  He also rejects God's law as morally binding on us today because the Old Testament law in regards to murder and murderers was cooked up by a vengeful, nasty, hateful and mean spirited god who either no longer exists or has changed his mind about the punishment for murder.  That puts him squarely in the middle of the heresy of Marcion (look it up).
Shane believes in the kind, gentle, sheep carrying, loving God of the New Testament; namely, Jesus Himself.  Shane believes that Jesus would never have a murderer executed by the civil government because Jesus died to remove the death penalty for murderers, among other things.  By expounding his beliefs about Jesus and the death penalty Shane has profoundly illustrated his ignorance of Christian theology on the topic.  The New Testament declares that God is a "vengeful" God.  The New Testament records the saints beneath the throne of God crying out to Him, continually asking how long He will wait before he avenges their blood on the earth.  The New Testament says that it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  But those beliefs are emotionally and socially unpalatable in our times so we ignore them and praise Shane for his compassionate and loving article in which he argues that Bible believing Christians are hate filled, vengeful monsters (and probably racists as well) who need to repent of their belief that God's opinion about the punishment for murder has not changed.  Oh yes, that reminds me of another important doctrine Shane denies.  He does not believe in the immutability (look it up) of God and his disbelief  inevitably leads him down the road to ruin.  Too bad his disbelief could not prevent him from erroneously speaking for the God of the Bible.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Eight Years For Nothing

An Aspen man was sentenced to eight years in prison last week.  That got me to wondering.....just how much time do most convicted felons spend in prison?  As I thought about that I started wondering....just how much time is spent in prison for various felony offenses?  To satisfy my curiosity I went to the source of all important information in the world.  Yes, I consulted the vast bureaucracy of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  According to the Bureau of Judicial Statistics, a bureau I didn't even know existed, the following offenses have the following average prison sentences:

The average murder sentence is slightly under 21 years.  The average rape sentence is 13.5 years.  An armed robber will serve slightly over 8 years in prison.  Violent and aggravated assaults will earn most folks about 5 years in prison, as will burglary.  Drug possession offenses average slightly over 3 years and if you happen to sell some drugs you are looking at 5 years.  The average prison sentence for the category known as weapons offenses, whatever that is, is exactly 4 years.
God says that murderers are to be executed swiftly.  There are no exceptions to His law in regards to murder.  The government of the Amerikan Empire disagrees and gives murderers an average sentence of just over 20 years.  That means if a murderer commits his first murder when he is twenty years of age he will be able to commit another when he is forty, another when he is sixty and yet another if he lives to be eighty years old.  Innocent people die at the hands of murderers when the civil government refuses to obey the law of God.
Drug offenses are non-offenses in the eyes of God.  God's law makes no provision for punishing anyone for using any type of drug.  God holds men accountable for what they do to others when they are under the influence of drugs, something which the civil government specifically does not do, but does not punish men for using drugs in the first place.  Those languishing in prison today because of drug offenses are imprisoned unjustly in the eyes of God.  The judicial branch of government in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika disagrees.  The majority of the citizens of the Amerikan Empire also disagree with God.  Guess who is right.
The man in Aspen who was sentenced to 8 years in prison is serving a sentence roughly equal to armed robbers and those who commit sexual assaults other than rape.   Can you guess what he did?  It might surprise you!  According to the Vail Daily this poor soul was sentenced to 8 years in prison because he "filled a 2 liter soda bottle with gunpowder, .22 caliber bullets, .25 caliber bullets, a .410 shotgun shell and dozens of small pieces of lead shot, then wrapped the whole thing with black plastic electric tape and left it in his home near Aspen."  That is it.  That is all that Dustin Brown did.  When the police found out about the gunpowder filled bottle in his home they swept down upon him and arrested him for his offense.  When the judge heard that he had put gunpowder into a plastic bottle he asked Dustin what he planned to do with the bottle.  Dustin informed the judge that his plan was to "put the bottle in the water and then blow it up because it would be fun."  The judge then sentenced him to eight years in prison for wanting to have fun.
During his sentencing hearing Brown told the judge that he "made some stupid decisions."  I suspect he said that to try and lighten his sentence.  I don't see what is so stupid about putting a bunch of incendiary material into a plastic bottle and blowing it up.  In fact, that sounds like fun to me.  I would have liked to have been there when Dustin blew up his bottle.  But the law of the SDA does not see things that way.  It is illegal to have fun in the SDA in this post-9/11 era when any bit of gunpowder is now defined as a bomb.
Dustin Brown will serve 8 years in prison for putting gunpowder and bullets into a plastic bottle.  The law of this insane and immoral land declares what he did to be a felony.  The fact that Dustin had no ill intent with regards to his powder filled bottle is irrelevant since the law declares him to be guilty of building a bomb with the intention of doing harm to people and property whether he intended to do harm or not.  As a teenager I blew up lots of things.  I put gasoline into some stuff and gunpowder into others.  I shot things and ignited things to see what would happen.  I had lots of fun.  Little did I realize at the time that what I was doing could have earned me a felony conviction and 8 years in prison if the jack-booted thugs who enforce the immoral laws of this God-hating country had discovered what I was up to.  Poor Dustin.  He is serving 8 years in prison simply because he wanted to have some fun in a way the government does not permit.  I wonder what God thinks about that?