Friday, August 27, 2010

The Other Shoe Drops (Sequel to "The Chickens Wander Home")

Yesterday, I got a phone call from my case worker at the parent agency that administers half of my health-care benefits; specifically, home services including a visiting nurse, a meals-on-wheels program, and my Lifeline service—the infamous “help-I’ve-fallen-and-can’t-get-up” button that I wear around my neck.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “The determination has been made that the level of care you require doesn’t meet the revised criteria for continuation of your services. You’re being dropped from the program.” There was some rote blather about filing a time-sensitive appeal, but it was obscured by the roaring of blood as my head exploded.

I’ve outlined this situation before, in a previous blog post: “The Chickens Wander Home.” [21 July; below]

Now, the other shoe has dropped, as the old saying goes. (I love platitudes and old sayings!)

After assuring the case worker that I don’t kill the messenger, I made some inquiries about the funding of the programs that have improved the quality of my life for the last six years. As I suspected, they are an adjunct of a federally-funded state assistance program, known in Georgia as PeachCare. My federal benefits had automatically attached me to these programs, and just as bureaucracy expands to fill the space allotted to it, so my parasitism over the years has grown to include complacency.

Keeping my voice under control, I asked the case worker if PeachCare had gone begging because of the recent $26 billion—$26,000,000,000—payoff to state-school teacher’s unions as a quid pro quo for Democrat votes in November. The answer was a reluctant affirmative. The inept and outnumbered Republicans in Congress insisted that any further federal spending be paid for up-front, so the Dems robbed already-funded programs to assure payment on their union bribes. A great deal of this came from federal funds previously allocated to state Medicaid programs, including PeachCare on the home front, and whatever they call themselves in the other 49 states.

When I received my annual review back in July, the case worker warned me that this was coming. She told me of people much worse-off than I am already being denied services because of lack of funding. Basically, according to the new tenets of ObamaCare, anyone who doesn’t require nursing-home-level care is out of luck.

Since the case worker had mentioned special-needs children requiring daily care by home nurses being denied services, I got to thinking about the implications of this. What I came up with sounds like a Zen circle-puzzle.

Say two young parents are raising a special-needs—retarded—child. Most likely, they have a house, and a mortgage, so they’re both working. The kidlet can’t be dumped into day care, because the local day care center can’t afford a special-needs teacher, or the child is too young or too dysfunctional for state schooling, and needs home care on a daily basis from a visiting nurse/CNA.

Suddenly, the state can no longer afford this service, and the home care is discontinued. Depending on who earns less, one of the parents has to quit work, and stay home to care for the child. That halves the family’s income, and possibly reduces their ability to make their mortgage payments. The tax-extortion money from their paychecks is also halved. Because only one parent is working now, they may have to apply for food stamps and other forms of public assistance—including federal mortgage bail-out funds—increasing their burden on the tax liabilities of others. Suddenly, a job is forfeited, and in some small increment, other people are living their lives for the sake of these parents, involuntarily shouldering some of their burden. The parents didn’t want to become wards of the “nanny state”; by working and paying their taxes, they were fueling the government infrastructure that provided care for their special child while they toiled to channel taxes to said government for half the fiscal working year.

Now, take this a step further. Imagine a single mother in the same situation. She quits her job to care for that special child, she’s on welfare, living in public housing, collecting food stamps, and using Medicaid for the child’s—limited—health care requirements.

I ain’t Buddhist, but I appreciate the wisdom of Zen thought.

The current regime’s answer to this conundrum is to magically increase federal spending for the agencies that would supply the services these parents need to continue their working careers. Unfortunately, due to malfeasance, nonfeasance, and misappropriation of funds, the federal nanny state has a reduced revenue base for their social “it takes a village” experimentation. Revenues are down, the credit line is maxed out, and funding has to be cut. Taxes are increased, further reducing the number of jobs, driving revenue down even further. More people become dependent on the nanny state, even as it becomes more dependent on a shrinking number of people who produce the sustenance the state requires for social welfare programs.

The traditional “safety net” has a huge, gaping hole in it, and thousands of people are dropping into oblivion.

I can live without meals-on-wheels; they are a convenient luxury. I can crawl around on the floor and eventually get the sheets changed on my bed, and wrestle my vacuum cleaner into submission so the floor isn’t too dirty while I crawl there. I’ve fallen down my stairs more than once, and only broken a thumb during one bad tumble. The loss of those services that alleviate these inconveniences won’t kill me; as Nietzsche suggested, it will make me stronger.

What angers me is the plight of those I described above. I am blessed, but many are facing despair, and are trapped in the situation I postulated. I am blessed, but many are without hope.

The cycle enslaving them must be broken on 2 November. Your vote counts, and this may be our last chance to reclaim the America we grew up in. It ain’t perfect by a long shot, but it’s the best we've got.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Woof! Woof!" (The dog days are upon us!)

A few weeks ago, I began developing symptoms of severe stress. This started on or about 21 July, when I wrote my last full-length article here: “The Chickens Wander Home.” If you haven’t read it, it’s about the pending denial of some health-care services because the government is bankrupt and can no longer afford my burden on society. ObamaCare looms.

Those symptoms included acid-reflux [heartburn] so severe that it resembled an incipient heart attack, insomnia, nightmares when I did sleep, total loss of appetite, and a feeling that I was carrying around a five-pound rock lodged in my chest. Oh, and there was the return of the paralyzing depression that turned me into a blackout alcoholic thirty years ago. (I thought I had those demons vanquished, but I guess they never go away.)

Since getting drunk and screaming until my throat bleeds isn’t an option these days, I sat quietly and figured out why I was in such piss-poor shape.

I’ve been watching/reading/chasing too much news. From cable TV to the Internet to old-school written publications, there is too much information available. I no longer get input from firsthand assets, so I rely on television or computer screens, and turning pages, to keep me marginally tuned into the world in which I live.

Now, a well-informed, post-modern person will avail themselves of these media assets to form rational opinions about the state of the world. I like to think I’m one of these people. I don’t think I reached the point of “news psychosis”, but dealing with physical symptoms of stress made me realize that current events are, indeed, making me crazy.

Just as, during the lowest points of my life, I never entirely lost faith in God—preferring to proclaim “I don’t know!”—I have never lost faith in America. Oh, we’ve had our ups and downs; this country and my cynical self. I’ve never trusted the government, even when I was in thrall to it, and I’ve seen manifestations and abuses of power that will haunt me until my dying day. However, I always seemed to maintain some inherent patriotism and belief that the concept of America—if not always the practical reality—is the last, best hope of humanity. No one has come up with a better idea than the original concept The Founding Fathers staked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor upon, and I don’t think anyone ever will.

That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this nation in such a time of crisis. I’m sure that people who lived through The Civil War, The Great Depression, War II, and all points in between all thought the same thing, but I can only speak for the moment in which I find myself.

I used to make an oblique joke about wanting the parking concession for The Apocalypse. It was an amusing notion when I was a college sophomore, but I never dreamed that I would be a witness to the decline and fall of the last great nation on earth. America itself was something “too big to fail”, and I knew I could count on the country to be there for me if my puny efforts at self-sufficiency fell short. I’m not speaking of the “nanny state” here, but of the land of opportunity, where one can always remake oneself and start over afresh with an iota of ambition.

What we are faced with, and afflicted by today, is the collectivist alternative to the notion of individual achievement. Everyone is lumped into groups, and like George Orwell’s postulation that “some animals are more equal than others”, so are some groups more equal than others. Everyone is declared to be dependent on everyone else, and so must live their lives for the collective good of others.

I’m getting too philosophical here. Such thinking runs counter to my simple man’s approach to life. I ain’t a big brain, but I have a gift of eerie prescience, and know what’s happening when I see it unfolding. My grandmother spoke often of “common sense”, and one of the starkest debates I ever had was with my best friend and mentor about the very existence of “common sense.”

There is no commonality in the sense of a common digestion, whereby you eat and I am no longer hungry. There is, however, a common intellect, in that every person God ever made knows what is right and wrong for themselves. This is known as “selfishness”, and it is not an evil word. When people do what’s right for themselves, those around them are automatically taken care of. When people condescend and patronize others, they become tyrants.

Ah, but what’s all this got to do with my acid indigestion of late?

Just this: I have never seen a more malfeasant, incompetent bunch of wannabe criminals actually hold positions of power in this country. Faced with the common sense of the majority of Americans who want to expel them like phlegm from infected lungs, these careerist politicians and grifters live in denial and lash out like savage animals at those who wish to shun them and relegate them to obscurity. While fomenting their lies and pursuing their hidden agendas, these people have ripped apart the fabric of this country, all the while proclaiming “it’s for the good of everyone!”


“Public service” means you are there to serve the public, not the other way around. The public is not here to serve you. In the non-collectivist sense, this means “Get the hell out of my way!”

The next four-and-a-half months are one of the greatest times of peril this country has ever faced. If there isn’t a political bloodbath in November, with vast numbers of scoundrels being sent packing, then America will have forfeited our last chance to redeem ourselves as that last, great hope of humanity. The rat race will be over; the rats will have won.

Even if we—the rational people—win, there will be an interlude of what The Bible calls “tribulation.” If Those People lose power and common sense reasserts itself, there will be “lame duck” sessions of Congress wherein the collectivists, in clearing their desks, will make one last attempt to ram through every destructive piece of legislation they’ve brainstormed since 2006.

This is my first call for you, the Constant Reader or the drive-by dilettante, to get out and vote come November. As Edmund Burke supposedly said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” What he actually said was: "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

A great many people may be sitting the elections out this fall, too cynical or apathetic to take a half-hour and go vote. Maybe you think your vote doesn’t count, or it’s yet another hold-yer-nose election. My rule of thumb is that the lesser of two evils is still evil; my other rule of thumb is vote against the incumbent unless they are proven to be, as Burke states, associated with the good. My third maxim is: If you don’t vote, don’t bitch about it later. You get the government you deserve.

Maybe it’s the summertime blues, or just following good advice, but I have backed way off the news. My stomach quit burning, my breathing is easier, and the depression went away without resorting to Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, or whiskey. I’m sleeping six hours a night on average, without violent, bloody dreams. I feel like steak and eggs for breakfast today.

There is a sense of optimism in the air, and I still have that $100 bill on my desktop, wagered on the common sense of the American people. No one bets against me, and only a fool will bet against the people.

Whatever happens between now and this November is up to you. I’m only watching enough news to reassure myself we’re not into a nuclear war yet.

Do the right thing.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A guest editorial (I get mail)

I'm either constipated, have a case of the summertime blues, or my pancreatic cysts are acting up again. Whatever, I don't feel much like writing this week; body chemistry affects mood, and I feel out of whack.

At any rate, I don't like dealing with racial politics, because I consider them irrelevant and hypocritical in today's world. "Playing the race card" is a cheap trick employed by liberals to divert public attention from Those People's real agenda, which is usually something nefarious and sinister. There was the notorious "beer summit" when more attention needed to be paid to the health care bill then under intense debate. (Hence one of my milder names for Bobama: "The Red Herring.") All last month, and still ongoing, racial politics are being played by our "post-racial" president and his myrmidons to keep us from fully realizing the impact of the "financial reform" bill that slipped through almost unnoticed in all the brouhaha about Black Panthers, the NAACP, and allegations of racism in the Tea Party movement.

So, without further bloviating on my part, here is a thoughtful and well-reasoned analysis from a Constant Reader. It's verbatim for content, with only a couple of buffs for style and one grammatical correction. There were some links, but not everything translates well directly from e-mail. (The recipients list and Hank's e-mail address are deleted for privacy.)

Date: 03-Aug-10 7:38:15 PM
Subject: NYT: Black Caucus Members Lied About Tea Party protestors

Actually, the editors at the Gray Lady didn't exactly use those words but that's what they meant. They just couldn't bring themselves to that level of frankness.

I find it extremely troubling to see allegedly Christian black American Congressman - who may have indeed suffered racial discrimination in the past - engage in such bald-faced lies in such a partisan, race-hustling manner in hopes of discrediting those politically opposed to Mr. Obama's radical, Neo-Marxist agenda ("from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.") - in this case the HealthScare Obamanation. And it comes as no surprise to those of us who have suffered the slings and arrows of militant liberals, unprincipled liberals are very adept at ending debates going badly for them by calling their political opposition (us) homophobes/bigots/racists/sexists blah, blah, blah. Right? It happens all the time. And in this sphere of the debate, with liberals it's "all race, all the time."

As I've stated before, on a private and individual level, the Marxist screed, "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need", is simply a recapitulation of one facet of human charity. Sometimes people can extend a charitable hand even when it’s beyond their ability to give or when they aren't giving out of an abundance. In either case, there's nothing wrong for individuals to embrace Marx's charitable philosophy, but it does become wrong when under penalty of law governments adopt such a coercive "spread the wealth" philosophy, though Marx certainly wouldn't have seen it that way since the seeds of tyranny and despotism are strewn throughout his philosophy of government.

The taxation "charity" that is required by the government is nothing more than warmed-over tyranny and is anything but charity freely given. Unfortunately a lot of well-meaning liberal evangelicals have gone brain-dead regarding this distinction since they seem to believe Jesus taught that government should be in the business of "charity" when indeed charity begins and ends in the home - from one home to the next or from one home to the homeless. When Jesus was asked by his disciples who would feed the multitude, he did NOT say, "Get Caesar to feed them" or "Get the Pharisees to feed them." Rather Jesus said, "YOU feed them." And it's no mystery why the more arrogant liberal evangelicals have unrighteously condemned (to the applause of Christian-hating secular/liberal humanists) their conservative brethren for embracing the more biblical "hand-up" charity as opposed to the more corrupting "hand-out" tenet of liberal religionists' social gospel.

One of the most immoral propositions of our generation is the superficial contention that it is somehow a virtue to empower big government to levy ever higher levels of confiscatory taxes under the guise of "charity" in order to grow what is essentially a welfare plantation. After all, wouldn't that be the most "compassionate" thing to do for the poor and the homeless? NO! Human experience demonstrates that those kinds of political arrangements merely enslave the most vulnerable to a political thought or a political party which proposes such handouts from the public largesse. In reality, we are witnessing an institutional slavery that has given rise to third and fourth generation welfare families! Now that reality should tell any informed and honest person something about the alleged efficacy of such a political abomination which goes against everything an honest patriot of freedom understands about true liberty.

The most direct means of charity - one person to another or from a private philanthropic/religious institution to an individual - is the most moral and superior means by which to redress inequalities. The idea that government should involve itself in what is supposed to be the private affairs of its citizens in relation to their neighbors is not only an abuse of power but in fact can only lead to full-blown tyranny since bureaucracies can justify any government program under the pretense of "the public good" or "income redistribution." A government big enough to redistribute money is clearly a government big enough to take private wealth. A government big enough to build a welfare plantation, is a government that is too big! A government big enough to create a "right", is a government big enough to take away a right.

To this seductive proposition we must be vehemently opposed since it creates in those who support such despotism a self-righteous smugness, a fealty to corruptible government, and a captive class to this welfare plantation. Those who recklessly define even a part of their "compassion" by empowering government in this manner only deceive themselves since their "goodness" does not flow freely from their own resources but rather is predicated upon how much bureaucrats they've emboldened can remove from the backpockets of hard-working taxpayers who may even be conscientiously opposed to such a program - particularly a program or a power not clearly enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. After all, the Constitution was the People's means to limit government, not the other way around.

In effect, liberal/religious humanism has become a veritable religion that is turning our constitutional republic into their version of a theocracy by forcing everyone to contribute to a government passing around a collection plate in support of extra-constitutional powers and expecting everyone to contribute under the penalty of law. This state of affairs is neither "charity" nor "compassion". And it is precisely that kind of coercion to which the American founders were uniformly opposed - government collecting money under penalty of law for items other than pure government.

The Constitution clearly states the federal government is empowered to "promote the general welfare" of the People, and that only according to the powers clearly enumerated. The Constitution does NOT say the federal government is empowered to "provide welfare."

And you can quote me on this, dear reader.



The New York Times Issues a Correction

August 3, 2010 - by Ed Driscoll

The Gray Lady slices up this year’s plastic turkey of a false meme:

The Political Times column last Sunday, about a generational divide over racial attitudes, erroneously linked one example of a racially charged statement to the Tea Party movement. While Tea Party supporters have been connected to a number of such statements, there is no evidence that epithets reportedly directed in March at Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, outside the Capitol, came from Tea Party members.[Emphasis added by author.]

Andrew Breitbart, who, as the president is wont to say, got in the MSM’s faces, and punched back twice as hard against these lies, responds:
• The Times is admitting that there is absolutely no evidence that any epithets were shouted at the Congressman by any member of the Tea Party.
• This correction demonstrates we have finally proven our point to the nation’s most eminent and influential liberal media organ: that Rep. Andre Carson lied when he told the AP that members of the Tea Party hurled the “N-word” 15 times during the March 20 health-care rally that took place at the U.S. Capitol.
• That’s great, as far as it goes – a thorough vindication of the Tea Party — but it doesn’t go far enough.
• It’s not enough for the Times to make a correction having let that calumny sit out there unrebuked for weeks and months and then, way after the fact, issue a correction.
• It’s not enough because the Times continues to imply that something racially charged might happened on the steps of the Capitol, when we have shown conclusively, via multiple videos of the moment in question, that nothing of the sort occurred.
Andrew adds:

It’s not enough because the Times correction is just the beginning. The same correction needs to come from every other major media outlet that blithely repeated this defamation, including the AP, the Washington Post, The Hill, and MSNBC – not just in their news columns, but in their editorials, op-ed and opinion columns and shows as well. Until then, there will be no closure, because the Tea Party will not stop in its pursuit of vindication until the same media effort that went into propagating this lie goes into dispelling it and giving the millions of Americans – 23% of whom are minorities, according to Gallup — their good name back.

Which media outlet is going to have the courage to air the exculpatory videos?

Which will be the first to admit that Congressman Carson lied about the events of that day? That he slandered the Tea Party and had his charges believed by a gullible press corps that did no reporting and pursued no corroboration from among the 400 people and the Capitol Police officers whom Carson claimed had witnessed the event?

Why? Because it didn’t “fit the narrative.’

We are not going to stop until, in our pursuit of justice for the falsely maligned Tea Party, the MSM airs the exculpatory evidence. And to air them is just to expose a massive government-crafted fraud, it shows the moral emptiness at the core of the media. Those videos are the elephant in the room.

What’s at the center of this national racial mess is a cynical political ploy created by President Obama and elected Democrats, and executed with the help of their media allies and activist groups like the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus, to gin up the base for 2010 and take the spotlight off a faltering economy, a bungled Gulf oil spill cleanup, a soaring national debt, and a deeply unpopular health care bill.

Which, as Hot Air notes, paraphrasing Gerald Seib in the Wall Street Journal, “Now it can be told: ObamaCare has little political benefit for the left.”