Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Monday, August 31, 2009

HCP Logjam Easing

A family member got her carry permit 60 days after filing.

Posted by Rich
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Disney Buys Marvel

The folks at Disney have just made an offer to buy out Marvel Comics.

My interest in upcoming Marvel movie projects just dropped by 75%.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Next Stop, Arlington National Cemetary

Words fail me. There are a lot of mean, ugly people in the world, and apparently, the ACLU stands ready to aid every one of them.

Posted by Rich
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For Those Who Disapprove of my Kennedy Post

Teddy thought it was a laughing matter, so I'm sure he would be ok with me bringing it up.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let’s Talk About Race

All the really cool kids are doing it, so let's join in.

My last post has stirred up some of my friends who think it is unfair and inaccurate and possibly over the top.

I agree with the last, but that's a feature, not a bug. Using Rep Watson's absurd rhetoric to lampoon the fawning media coverage of Obama's pitching prowess was just an added bonus. My first aim was to demonstrate just how ridiculous most Obama apologists are when they try to link all opposition to him to racism, which is exactly what Rep Watson said in this clip. Listen to it again if you don't believe me. She very clearly lays out her position that all opposition, not some or most, but all opposition is rooted in his racial identity, which is patently false. All you have to do is look at the opposition to government health care under the Clintons and compare it to the opposition today to see that it is the issue that drives the opposition, not the color of Obama's skin. To claim otherwise is dishonest, not to mention completely absurd. Her argument falls apart even earlier when she claims that wishing for a President to fail is the same as wishing for America to fail. Once again, listen to what she said while President Bush was in office. Apparently, she wanted America to fail back then.

To point out her hypocrisy and absurdity, I engaged in a bit of absurdity myself. Apparently, I was effective.

Look, I know there are people out there who oppose Obama based on his race. I have family members who voted Republican for the first time in their lives over that very issue. Notice what I just said; they voted Republican for the first time. Yes, they are life long, ardent Democrats.

So much for Rep Watson and her race baiting stereotypes.

The argument was made that blacks want to be identified by their race, and have that race treated as equal in every way to whites. If that were a true statement, I would have no problem with it. Unfortunately, all too often in the real world, we see that some want to take advantage of a perceived inequality to gain an unfair advantage. Take Jayson Blair as a prime example of this process in action. Or Obama himself. Every defense of his programs by his supporters carries with it the accusation of racism. Every single one. If you can defend his programs without ever bringing race into it, then I will respond with thoughtful criticism and there can be an exchange of ideas, because you will have demonstrated that the debate is about the ideas of the man, not the color of his skin. But But as long as some Obama supporters want to tell me that I'm a racist because I think his healthcare plan sucks, I will respond with scorn and ridicule, because they have proven that they don't have any real argument to present.

As far as wanting him to fail, it's not personal and it has nothing to do with his skin color. It has everything to do with what I see his policies doing to America over the next several decades. You can believe that or not; I know it to be true.

Posted by Rich
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A Deep Mystery Solved

"They are trying to see that the first president who looks like me fails."

I didn't realize that Obama has boobs and a vagina.

Of course, it does explain that pitiful throw in St. Louis.

All future posts concerning President Obama will feature this picture:

Because it looks so much like him.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moral Bankruptcy on Display

Ted Kennedy is dead, and liberals everywhere are rushing to praise this "Lion of the Left" and it's making me sick to my stomach.

How skewed do your priorities have to be to praise Ted Kennedy for living a life of privilege and power even after what we all know he did? To refresh your memory, after partying late into the night, a young Ted Kennedy along with passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, drove his car off a pier on Chappaquiddick Island.

While Mary fought to escape the car, Teddy swam away.
While her air grew foul, Teddy consulted with friends and family on how best to "manage" the situation.
While she drowned in misery, Teddy swam across the sound to try and set up an alibi, pretending he'd never been on the island that night.
While her body was trapped in the car all night, Teddy was in his hotel room.

It wasn't until after her body was found that Teddy finally reported the accident. The diver who found her body testified that had Kennedy reported the accident immediately, there was a good chance he could have rescued Miss Kopechne. The inquest determined that Kennedy was negligent and that his negligence was responsible for her death. However, the grand jury was not allowed to hear the results of the inquest, only the DA's summary report, which did not include the inquest's conclusions, and Kennedy never faced manslaughter charges.

Political power and his family name kept Ted Kennedy from paying for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, and the gaping moral blind spot that seems epidemic among liberals allowed him to continue to work as a Senator in Washington right up until he died yesterday.

And now those same folks are talking about what a great guy Kennedy was, how he supported all the right causes, and always seemed to have his facts in order.

It's too bad he didn't show that same moral clarity and command of the facts the night of July 18, 1969.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Dying isn't the worst thing that can happen to you in an accident.

You might live through it.

Posted by Rich
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Political Thought in a Nutshell

Modern liberals claim to value the individual above all, yet they subordinate the rights of the individual to the needs of the state at every opportunity. This is called insanity.

Conservatives, on the other hand, value conformity to established norms, yet fight to protect the freedoms of the individual against the encroachment of the state. This is also insanity.

Socialists, like all tyrants, claim to know what is best for you and will do whatever it takes, even kill you, so you can live happily ever after.

Libertarians just want to be left alone with their booze, drugs, guns, and hookers. They aren't real good at governing, but they do throw good parties.

Posted by Rich
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Refuting a Tired Talking Point

The next time some liberal spouts the whole "Obama inherited these problems from the previous administration" garbage, remind the nitwit that:

1) Obama was part of the previous administration for four freaking years. Ask the mental midget to point to any Bush economic initiative or spending bill that Obama opposed. And by "opposed" I mean actually voted against, not just talked about.
2) The Democrats owned the House and the Senate for the final two years. You know the period when everything started collapsing?
3) When Republicans tried to draw attention to the coming real estate collapse, and the deadly instability of Freddie and Fannie policies, they were shouted down and called racists by the very people now trying to blame them for the collapse.
4) Then ask this simple question: "When driving through a minefield, should the driver be facing forward to find the safest path, or looking in the rearview mirror?"

The bottom line is that Obama and his pals didn't inherit this mess; they were right there in the thick of it, causing it.

If you're incapable of handling this particular set of facts, then maybe you ought to trade in your political analyst's hat for a game more suited to your level of intellect. How about "Chutes and Ladders?"

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Simple Method for Determining Whether It’s a Right or a Privilege

Every time I listen to Democrats talk about a "right" to health care, I think of the master swordsman Inigo Montoya who said,
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

It's apparent that Democrats have no understanding of the word, as they use it to mean whatever issue they happen to support.

Abortion? That's a right.
Forming a Union? That's a right.
Going to school? That's a right.
Silencing those who offend you? That's a right.

Yeah, Dems are real big on the inalienable nature of rights, well, until you get to some that they find a bit too icky.

Like the right to bear arms.
The right to disagree with them.
The right to worship God publicly. Unless your god is allah, in which case, they are ok with it.

Most importantly, in the world of a Democrat, their rights always trump yours.

Their right to feel "comfortable" in public trumps your right to defend yourself.
Their right to indoctrinate your children in their social paradigm trumps your right to raise your children according to your beliefs.
Their right to engineer society trumps your right to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The rights of the group always trump the rights of the individual, unless that individual is part of a specially protected class.

Or a member of the elite. Right, Senator?

All of this leads to the inescapable conclusion that the left just doesn't know what a right really is. It's not too surprising really, since whether by design or incompetence, we aren't taught a much about what a right is in government schools. Oh, they're really good at telling us about what rights we're given by the government, a statement which instantly demonstrates a total lack of understanding about the nature of rights, but as for the definition or origin of those rights, well, they get a bit vague.

"A right is something that you are given by the government."
"A right is a contract between you and society; as long as you follow society's rules, you can expect society to honor those rights."
"A right is something that can't be taken away from you."
"A right is something you are born with, inherent in your very nature."

That last one is hitting close to the mark, but ultimately fails to really explain anything. I was born with two eyes; that doesn't mean I have a right to see 20/20.

So, how do you define a right? What is it?

Let's try this definition for starters:
A right is an expectation of freedom of action.

It's a bit clunky, but it captures the essence of what I'm talking about. When we talk about having a right to do something, we're saying that we expect that we have the freedom to take action. For example:

"I have a right to my opinion," means that I expect to form and hold an opinion without suffering a negative consequence.
"I have a right to walk in the park," means that I expect to be able to walk through the park without suffering a negative consequence.

So it works, but it doesn't really go far enough. Why do I have that expectation of no negative consequences? Why do I have the expectation of any freedom of action?

As an ethicist, I could claim that "rights" are a useful fiction, used to bolster the dubious proposition that human life has some special value that must be preserved. Similarly, as a political scientist, I could claim that "rights" represent a social contract between society (the group) and the individual and represent nothing more than the degrees of freedom of action the individual refuses to surrender in order to maintain his place in the group. In these two definitions, rights are not absolute, but vary based on cultural priorities. That's a little bit too murky for me; if human rights depend on cultural biases and social contracts, then they really aren't rights as we usually think of them. Instead they are privileges granted to the weak individual by the powerful group. The nature of a right is that it is founded in the individual, not the group. It is a recognition of the inherent autonomy and freedom of the individual. At its heart, a right is nothing more than the self-recognition that the individual ultimately has more worth than the social group it inhabits.

And now we're getting somewhere. A right is the expression of an individual's recognition of his ultimate worth through an expectation of freedom of action.

"I am a being with value to myself, therefore, I expect that I can hold an opinion without fear of negative consequences."

That works. Sure it's a cumbersome definition, but if you think about it, a right is a very complex thing to define. It requires some depth and detail to nail it down.

Now, we often speak about how one person's rights end when they infringe on another person's rights, a saying that indicates an intuitive grasp of the definition we've just derived. But let's look at it a little bit closer, in light of our definition and see just why that statement is true. If my actions restrict the actions of another, then I have violated his rights. Unless we choose to assume that some individuals have more value than others, I have no way to justify my actions. Put generally, if a right is an expression and recognition of the value of an individual, it follows that any action which impinges on the freedom of actions of another individual cannot be a right. So, it seems clear that I have no right to take an action which restricts or impedes another person's rights, unless we have an agreement in place to voluntarily accept restrictions on our rights to foster a group or community.

Do you see the difference between the earlier definitions and this one? In the political science definition, the group held the power to determine the restrictions of rights, in effect destroying the autonomy of the individuals comprising the group. Using the correct definition, the individuals retain their rights, voluntarily restricting the expression of those rights. This difference is crucial to understanding the difference between the progressive, authoritarian approach to government and the conservative libertarian approach.

Let's look at health care for example. Liberals love to claim that access to quality health care is a right, but is it really? In order for everyone to have access to health care, somebody has to provide it. That means that a "right" to health care is going to restrict another individual's rights by forcing them to provide the health care, either by doing the work, or paying for it. By our definition of right, this is an impossibility. Remember, nobody has the right to restrict another individual's rights, except through common agreement. The use of force or coercion to extract that agreement is in itself a violation of their rights.

Obviously, health care cannot be a right, since it imposes a burden upon others who may not be willing to accept that burden. Now this doesn't mean that the group cannot impose that duty as a cost of membership in the group, but that makes health care a privilege of membership, not a right. And that privilege comes with the responsibility to pay the cost associated with it. In a perfect world, it should also come with the ability to opt out of the group if you are not willing to bear the burden or accept the benefit of the privilege, but that is problematic in the real world.

Looked at in this light, we see that a lot of the "rights" claimed by folks on both sides of the aisle are not really rights at all. They are privileges afforded by living in a wealthy, technologically advanced society. Education, housing, food, health care, social security, all of these are privileges, not rights, as each imposes burdens on other individuals with or without their consent.

So the next time you hear somebody spouting off about the "right" to this or that, just ask one simple question. Does it place a burden or restriction on another individual? If the answer is "Yes" then it isn't a right.

It really is that simple.

Posted by Rich
Politics • (1) CommentsPermalink

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Only Difference Between Market Driven Health Care and Government Provided Healthcare

In a market based system, you can buy as much healthcare as you can afford. In a government run model, you get what they give you.


Put another way, in a market system, your access to healthcare is dependent solely on your ability to earn money and the relative priority you set on it. In a government system, your healthcare is dependent solely on who you know in the bureau and your status in the Party. Ask any former resident of the Soviet Union. Better still, ask a Democrat congresscritter why he thinks Congress should be exempted from the plan.

If you support the Health care plan as proposed in the House, even knowing that Congress has made sure that they are exempt from it's requirements and restrictions, even knowing that the President himself has said that he would go outside the plan for care for his family, then you are stupid.

Yes, I mean stupid. Not ignorant, misinformed, or mistaken.


In effect, you are saying that you will allow your representative to bind you to a healthcare system that is inferior to the one he enjoys simply because of his status as an elected representative. You are saying that you are willing to cede control of a large portion of your life to an unelected Washington bureaucrat who faces no accountability for his decisions and is not subject to the same requirements and restrictions he can enforce on you.

There's no other word that fits but stupid.

Yeah, I know, this isn't the way to convince anyone, but let's be honest. If you know that Congress voted down an amendment to place them and their families under this plan, and you still support the plan, then there's really nothing that would convince you to change your mind, right? So why should I bother? You've renounced your status as a citizen and accepted status as a ward of the state, surrendering your autonomy for second tier care, and you're happy with it.

And don't bother trying to tell me how wonderful the care is in Europe and Canada and Cuba; if it was going to be so good, the President and Congress would not exempt themselves from it.

I'm sure government run health care will operate every bit as effectively and efficiently as the various stimulus packages: TARP 1, TARP 2, the auto company bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, etc. To be honest, that is setting the bar fairly low, isn't it?

Posted by Rich
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Health Care Reform Collapse?

You know things are looking bad for the reform package when even the President compares government health care to th Post Office.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, August 10, 2009


Posted by Rich
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Misdirection by a Master

While Nancy Pelosi complained that folks opposing President Obama's Health Care plan are bringing swastikas to town hall meetings to intimidate Democratic congressmen:

  • Labor union thugs from the SEIUbeat up a conservative black man at a town hall meeting on Thursday

  • More union thugs assault a woman at the same meeting.

  • On Friday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told SEIU members to "keep doing what you're doing."

  • A Miami businessman is assaulted while attending a town hall meeting and police threaten him with arrest.

  • The White House encouraged supporters to inform on dissenters

  • The President of the United States talked about silencing conservatives

  • The President's adviser on Medical ethics says that people who don't contribute to society aren't worthy of health care.

I'm not surprised that Nancy is seeing swastikas; she's surrounded by them every day. My only surprise is that she's not snapping off a "Heil" every time she sees one.

Posted by Rich
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