It turns out Obama did not meet with his HHS secretary, Kathy Sebelius, even one time from the date his signature health law was passed and the day it was supposed to roll out in October of this year. Even a bad manager knows you have to meet with people, find out how things are going, and make adjustments, give authority, fire people, promote people, ask hard questions, set clear expectations, etc. This guy seems completely bored and disinterested in one of the most interesting and non-boring jobs on earth. He is lazy beyond compare, in addition to his numerous other character faults.
The worst thing about the otherwise beneficent demise of the Soviet Union is that the leftist embrace of Soviet-style policies is not as apparent as it once was. One forgets that the Soviet Union had an extensive and long constitution that guaranteed health care and the right to vote and housing and jobs and the like. To some extent these promises were fulfilled, but only in a minimal, formalistic way. The country was always drab, dreary, and full of inequality that benefited the managerial nomenklatura. Large and impressive monuments to Socialist progress, such as the Soviet space program or the Seven Sisters buildings in Moscow, existed alongside the failures of the system to provide happiness and progress in the more prosaic private realm.
Obamacare has many of these same features: it began with grandiose promises of health care access and universal insurance, but it destroyed the legacy insurance policies that customers were reasonably happy with (if they bothered to buy it), and it is beginning to destroy the health care relationships that the old system permitted. These are not mere incidental effects. It’s all part of the “bending the cost curve” aspect of this technocrat’s dream-come-true. So we see the expansion of a paper benefit–health insurance–even as the quality of health care goes down. And, worse than that, the price of this lower quality care may well go up for many due to the high premiums, high deductibles, and high out-of-pocket limits of the Bronze and Silver Obamacare plans.
These are Soviet-style empty promises in the service of a Soviet-style expansion of government power. And indeed much of the social control exercised by the Soviet Union in recent memory was not in its Gulag or Stalin-era use of mass murder, but rather in the power, simply, to declare people mentally ill, to deprive them of access to state housing and state jobs, and otherwise to dole out selectively the largesse of the state. Incidentally, much like the Soviet Union, under Obamacare that promises health care equity, congressional staffs and other government workers will maintain plans and get subsidies that will be cut by Obamacare in the private sector. So there is an increasing divide more broadly in the country, with the connected government sector and its army of poor dependents on one side and the embattled private sector–the petit bourgeoisie or Kulaks if you prefer–on the other.
This not-so-ancient history of the deliberate, sincere, and totally failed Soviet system should be studied. Its trajectory is the key to understanding the folly of the socialist designs of Obama, including its impossible-to-solve technical difficulties and perverse incentives inherent to his signature healthcare law.
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
It is frankly absurd and wrong for a great many reasons for women to be in the infantry and for us, as a society, to be trying so hard to make this happen. I’ve explained my thoughts on this issue elsewhere.
That said, it does not surprise me that a certain number of women could meet the minimum standards and make it through the post-boot-camp, SOI course, i.e., 27 min. 3 mile run, 3 dead hang pull ups, etc. The girls who did so should be commended, and the group that did so seems to have the right attitude.
That said, it sounds like they barely made it. One broke her leg. Young men are expected to be “first class” PFTers just out of boot camp, banging out 17 to 20 pull ups, running three miles in 18 or 19 minutes, etc. Making the bare minimum standards is nothing to write home about. It is far less than is expected of officers or someone in the fleet. It is far less than the average man is capable of reaching at that point in his life. More important, of the women who have been put in the pipelines to get this training, 3/4 or more have dropped out or failed out.
Here is a basic principle of efficiency our innumerate press and political class forgets: just because a rare someone in a group can do something, does not mean it is efficient to find that someone, since there are real costs to training and selection. We want to maximize the value of limited training slots, so we limit training to particular people that meet particular standards. The military resorts to averages and parameters related to height, age, weight, eyesight, prior injuries, prior brushes with the law etc. Sure, there are convicted felons who could serve well, but why find out when there’s plenty of non-felons to choose from. The army experimented with allowing men up to 40 to enlist, but has since pulled back. Of course that’s a kind of discrimination against a morally neutral aspect of a total human being. . . . . but so what.
Most of the useful information about life is statistical. And we know, setting aside the impressive achievement of these young ladies, that the vast majority of women are slower, weaker, and generally less aggressive than the average man. This can be seen in any sports competition. Until recently, it was basic common sense. Feminism has tried to drive this knowledge into disrepute, even as feminism itself has become less and less influential. In short, there’s no reason to spend energy to find the very small number of women who can meet the bare minimum standards of the combat arms.
I do think the political correctness at the top is getting really out of control, between this, the DADT repeal, the cover issue, and a whole bunch else. God forbid Gen. Amos uses his substantial credibility on matters of military discipline to fight against this totally unnecessary change that will weaken the combat arms.
The question, “will this help us win wars?” seems a real after thought these days.
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
Suggest your opponents want to reinstitute slavery! Truly, this is like the apotheosis of every idiotic liberal prejudice and calumny rolled into a single, poorly reasoned article.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »
Interesting article at Politico about Obama’s frayed relationship with military leaders, which friction began during the 2009 debate on troop levels in Afghanistan. This scenario sounds like the same kind of arrogance and lack of experience that led to the ongoing Obamacare s**tshow:
“The [military’s] general stance is, ‘We can do this, but we want you to acknowledge the mess, cost and complexity,” says a former senior Pentagon official. To many in the military, McChrystal’s 2009 troop recommendations fell victim to a White House unwilling to acknowledge any of those things. “There’s a sense that the White House wants contradictory, impossible things … but won’t resource them,” a congressional staffer with previous military experience told me.
Indeed, most of the military leaders I interviewed said they believed that military recommendations often go unheeded by senior White House staff, who now assume that a risk-averse Pentagon exaggerates every difficulty and inflates every request for troops or money.
This assumption turns discussions into antagonistic negotiating sessions. As one retired general puts it, “If you said, ‘We need 40,000 troops,’ they’d immediately say, ‘20,000.’ Not because they thought that was the right number, but they just took it for granted that any number coming from the military was inflated.”
“Sometimes you want to tell them, ‘This isn’t a political bargaining process,’” another retired senior military official says ruefully. “Where the military comes in high, they counter low, and we settle on an option that splits the difference. Needless to say, the right answer is not always in the middle.”
A former White House official with Pentagon experience says White House staff often remain willfully uninformed about the logic behind military recommendations: They “don’t want to take the time to go through the slide deck or get the full briefing. Basically, they don’t want to know.”
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Thankfully I’m not too much a caricature of myself. In spite of my political conservatism, I’ve made a certain amount of peace with the times. It’s not all bad. And I’ve always liked all kinds of popular and alternative music and took a particular liking to Lou Reed about ten years ago. His lyrics were at once comic, dark, inciteful, clever, and memorable. His music was unpretentious and innovative, and it evolved, as he did, with his times and life experience. It’s hard to understate how much he and the Velvet Underground influenced everyone from Bowie and the entire Glam Rock movement to the later New Wave of the 1980s. From a young, drug-addled and sexually experimental rocker of his youth to a more sanguine, thoughtful man of middle age, Lou Reed was very much a Baby Boomer and a reflection of his time and place in history. He loved, he hurt, and he gave voice to a great deal of his sensitivity in his music.
I’m sad he’s gone, and I’m glad he lived and gave us his music. Here’s a timely song I hope you enjoy.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »
Has Obama, who successfully pushed for and obtained a huge expansion of government to regulate healthcare and health insurance, ever really thought about this subject in his entire life? After the website disaster and the deliberate mass cancellation of legacy plans, Obama seems a little surprised to learn this would happen. He seems equally surprised that people don’t like the plans they chose being cancelled, don’t like being told their only alternative is overpriced versions of the same that double and triple the earlier rates, and don’t like being told they can only get those alternative in the next few weeks through a website that does not work. So, he has proposed yet another administrative ukase–allowing insurers to continue issuing their legacy insurance plans–he said everyone would love their new plethora of choices once this thing was up and running.
Two things are striking about this failure. First, what the hell kind of country do we have where Congress passes these behemoth, disruptive laws, and then the President decides not to enforce them here and there. Certain businesses get a break. He unilaterally decides on various delays and exemptions. Now certain types of insurance are going to be let back in. Is this law? Isn’t this a kind of lawlessness? The President should not get to selectively enforce a law like this. It’s not like prosecutorial discretion, where, by design, certain factors should favor or disfavor prosecution. It’s an ordinary regulatory law. It’s his law, in fact. And now he should enforce it: good, bad, and ugly. And then, in our putatively democratic system, we the people can decide whether to keep it, mend it, or end it.
There’s something else weird about his reprieve on keeping one’s legacy insurance. Yes, this is a backtracking based on lies he told and promises he made without any justification in the text of the statute. Beyond that, however, the idea that you can create a situation of mass cancellations of insurance by design and then change your mind shows real confusion about how complicated this all is. Insurance companies have their faults, but everyone knows it’s a complicated business. It involves a lot of math, risk calculation, the pooling of risk, projections about the future, and all the rest. Did he not realize this? Does he not know that you can’t cancel something and then bring it back to life, as if nothing happens, without knowing something about what the pool of insureds look like? Is he really this friggin’ stupid? It appears he and his liberal cronies just thought of insurance in a caricatured way, bogeymen from central casting, greedy bastards who sat on big piles of endless money from whom money can be cajoled into doing this or that without consequence. One wonders if he hired any serious private sector insurance and web design experts in the ramp up to this debacle, as it appears his signature initiative was treated as cavalierly as Obama has treated so much else in his administration: the economy, foreign policy, and the explosion of the national debt.
These mass cancellations cannot be easily undone. There is no doubt about that. Obama is reaping what he has sown. Unfortunately, so too are a great many decent Americans. Republicans should force him to veto their law and then own whatever comes up from his own hairbrained method of “granting exemptions” to fix this unfixable law.
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »