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Orwellian politics

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Dick Morris has a good article on his blog today called “Rhetoric v. Reality: Health Care by Orwell“.

President Obama’s rhetoric last night summoned the memory of “1984,” George Orwell’s novel of a nightmarish future — where the slogan of the rulers is “War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.”

The president assures us that he will cut health-care spending . . . by adding $1 trillion to health-care spending.

He says that “health-care decisions will not be made by government” . . . while he sets up a new Federal Health Board to tell doctors what treatments they can offer and to whom and under what circumstances.

Obama told the media, “I will free doctors to make good health-care decisions” . . . by telling the physicians what to do.

He goes on to show point by point how Obama’s rhetoric does not match his actions when it comes to his health care plan. I’d go further and say that the observation applies to everything about Obama’s policies. He tells us he’s against running automobile companies as he takes them over. He tells us he wants to get past partisan politics then excludes Republicans from the debate. Everything he says seems to be the opposite of his true intentions. The same goes for his nominee to the Supreme Court who basically repudiated everything she had ever said up until the hearings. Jay Nordlinger summed her performance up nicely:

Well, that was an amazing performance by Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate committee. The Sonia Sotomayor of the past was completely gone. Gone was the woman who talked about the role of “physiology” in judging, who insisted that impartiality, objectivity, neutrality — all of that — was a fantasy, and a bad one. In her place was a champion of impartiality, disinterestedness, and the rule of law: the rule of law, and nothing but. Doesn’t make a difference whether you’re a Latina or a whitey or whatever. “Empathy”? Never heard of it. Certainly has no role in the courtroom.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse

The Obama presidency has so far been a disaster for future prosperity. The national debt has, what doubled? Our president is calling the shots at auto companies, and he is well on the way to establishing a socialized health care system and putting the final nail in the coffin of capitalism. Americans are now funding abortions overseas, and Obama supports the elimination of all restrictions in the US. It could get much, much worse, however, and bioethicist Wesley J. Smith describes one of the ways at The Weekly Standard:

Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, ranking Republican member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently announced he was holding up the confirmation of law professor Cass Sunstein–a close friend of the president rumored to be on the fast track for the Supreme Court–as the White House’s “regulations czar.” The reason: Sunstein explicitly advocates animals’ being granted legal standing.

…Of all the ubiquitous advocacy thrusts by animal rights advocates, obtaining legal standing for animals would be the most damaging–which makes Sunstein’s appointment to the overseer of federal regulations so worrisome and Senator Chambliss’s hold on the nomination so laudable. Chambliss plans to meet with the nominee personally “to provide him the opportunity to fully explain his views.” Chambliss said:

Professor Sunstein’s recommendation that animals should be permitted to bring suit against their owners with human beings as their representatives, is astounding in its display of a total lack of common sense. American farmers and ranchers would face a tremendous threat from frivolous lawsuits. Even if claims against them were found to be baseless in court, they would still bear the financial costs of reckless litigation. That’s a cost that would put most family farming and ranching operations out of business.

But animal standing would do more than just plunge the entire animal industry sector into chaos. In one fell swoop, it would both undermine the status of animals as property and elevate them with the force of law toward legal personhood. On an existential level, the perceived exceptional importance of human life would suffer a staggering body blow by erasing one of the clear legal boundaries that distinguishes people from animals. This is precisely the future for which animal rights/liberationists devoutly yearn.

Canadian healthcare

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If you have about 20 minutes to spare, this is an excellent video. Michael Moore sings the praises of the Canadian healthcare system, but here’s a guy who actually went to Canada and went along with some Canadian friends to try to get treated by a doctor. The waits we hear about are not exaggerated. Want a blood test? You have to get a family doctor first. The wait is 2-3 years. Yes, 2-3 years! The lady at the clinic says, “But you’re young, you’ve got time.” Maybe, maybe not.

The evolution of God

Amazon recommended a book called The Evolution of God to me because I “have ordered Christian books in the past” or something like that. According to one of the reviews, the author argues that the God of the Bible starts out as a vindictive tribal god and evolves into an almighty God by the time of Moses and into a loving God in the writings of Paul. He suggests that even Jesus did not think of God as a God of love. I have a little hint for the author if this is the case: The red letters in John 3:16 mean the words were spoken by Jesus, and if you’ll see Genesis 1:1 you’ll find that the “tribal god” of Israel created the universe.

Health insurance and the victimhood canard

One of the biggest twisting of the facts that goes on in the healthcare debate is the insistence by supporters of nationalized healthcare of using “health insurance” and “health care” interchangeably. That’s another topic all together, but I wanted to highlight something Star Parker mentioned in her latest column:

Health insurance, so far, is not mandatory by law, and we’ve got 16 percent of the population – 47 million or so – without it. Auto insurance is mandatory by law, and according to the Insurance Research Council, 14 percent of drivers nationwide still don’t buy it.

So, again, the question is, do we want or need a nanny state? I don’t want the government telling me what I can eat or how much I can weigh, so I don’t want nationalized healthcare. I don’t need the government stepping in to “save” me from the consequences of my own decisions.

Parker also cites a recent study showing that in many cases people are making the choice not to purchase health insurance:

…According to a new study from the Employment Policy Institute, authored by two economists from City University of New York (one, Dr. June O’Neill, spent four years as head of the Congressional Budget Office), 43 percent of the 47 million can afford insurance and choose not to purchase it.

And that doesn’t even take into account the 10 million that are illegals. Should Americans pay for health insurance for illegal immigrants?

Pulling immigrants out of the equation, we’re left with an uninsured population that can’t afford insurance about a third the size of the widely quoted 47 million. It’s a population that is generally poor, young, uneducated and not working.

We’re already set up to deal with these folks. Either through Medicaid or covering their emergency room visits. The operative question is do we want to further institutionalize this reality into a new national health care plan involving trillions in new taxes and programs.

Her solution is more in line with the spirit of our country’s founding than a nationalized healthcare system:

Open the door to millions of poor kids out of broken families, broken public schools and the cycle of poverty through school choice. Give them the opportunity to go to church schools.

Rather than perpetuating poverty through further institutionalization of the welfare state, expose poor kids to the values and education necessary to enable them to make the right choices for their lives.

There is no future for a nation of victims, whether we’re talking about health care or anything else. But there is a great future for a country of responsible, free people.

Did Jesus exist?

Today I listened to a debate between J.P. Holding and Ken Humphreys on the existence of Jesus. Humphreys argued that Jesus did not exist, but he did take it for granted that the Apostle Paul was a real historical figure. Holding did a nice job of showing that the same unfounded tactics Humphreys was using to discredit historical evidence for Jesus could be used to discredit the existence of practically any other historical figure, but my question is if Paul existed then did Peter exist? If Peter existed, did the other disciples exist? If the other disciples existed, then who was discipling them if not Jesus? If we agree that Paul existed, then how can we doubt the existence of Peter who was spreading the Gospel at the exact same time and, at least in one instance (Greece), the same place (Galatians 2)? If Peter did not exist, did the people in Galatia think Paul was crazy for suggesting he did? Was Paul speaking of a fictional character? Did Paul write Galatians but this passage was a forgery? Was Galatians itself a forgery? Who made up the existence of the disciples? Paul? Is church tradition completely unreliable (i.e. the martyrdom of the disciples)? To me, the suggestion that Jesus did not exist is beyond absurd.

Enemy combatants and Miranda rights

In case you missed it, I just had to share this little observation from Jay Nordlinger:

Do you remember back when right-wingers used to joke, “If a liberal Democrat is elected president, and commander-in-chief, we’ll be reading terrorists their Miranda rights”? Do you remember that? It was funny, wasn’t it?

Yes, I remember that. I’d have to say I found it more frightening than funny. I also remember people telling us not to worry, that Obama was serious about keeping our nation and our soldiers safe…

Gay relationships and incest

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The NYT reports that on Monday, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote a letter to President Obama in which he said, “I cannot overstate the pain that we feel as human beings and as families when we read an argument, presented in federal court, implying that our own marriages have no more constitutional standing than incestuous ones.”

I’m wondering, what is the difference between a sexual relationship between two men who are unrelated and two men who are brothers? Why is one acceptable and the other not? If two brothers wanted to get married where gay marriage was legal, what would be the reason for denying it? If the brothers were then allowed to marry, what would be the reason for not letting a brother and sister get married?

iPhone: The world’s most advanced mobile?

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iphone

For several years I’ve used a basic mobile phone here in Japan with a very limited data plan just so that I can meet up with people and be able to make emergency calls if the need were ever to arise. Some time ago, however, I realized that having a mobile phone on which I could check my e-mail would make things a whole lot more convenient. Since I work from home, the inability to check e-mail away from my computer was keeping me tied to my desk even when I would otherwise be free to run errands or whatnot.

Anyway, SoftBank, the mobile carrier here in Japan that has an agreement with Apple, was running a campaign a couple of months ago called “iPhone for Everybody” in which they were giving the phones away with a 2-year contract. I decided now was the time, and so I got one. They advertise it as the world’s most advanced mobile platform, but I wonder if anyone at Apple has ever even looked at a Japanese mobile phone.

The very first thing I noticed was the inability to use infrared to send your contact information to another phone by just putting them next to each other. Then, when I started to type e-mails I realized it had no copy and paste function. Next, I took a photograph with the camera and realized there’s no flash or zoom. I also tried to scan the barcodes at shops to get their website info and stuff and, surprise, surprise, the iPhone can’t scan barcodes (not very well, anyway)! Moreover, e-mails sent to my phone do not come immediately, because the “push” e-mail function does not work yet.

In Japan, even the most basic phones come with copy and paste functionality, infrared, camera flashes, barcode scanning, push e-mail, etc. How on earth can Apple reps even describe the phone as “modern” with a straight face? A phone without copy and paste functionality is not advanced. It’s obsolete. Phones in Japan can be used to buy things from vending machines and convenience stores, pay utility bills, watch television, ride trains, find directions, surf the net, etc. In almost every respect, the iPhone is inferior to the majority of mobile phones in Japan.

There are certainly some things that I like about the iPhone: there are apps for tracking jogging routes, the GPS function can help people like me without a sense of direction find stores and, most of all, I can check my work e-mail on it. All of these things are available with Japanese phones, though, so if I had it to do all over again I’d probably go with a different phone.