American Elephants


What Do Doctors Think of ObamaCare? by The Elephant's Child
September 30, 2012, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Election 2012, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Dr, Jill Vecchio, speaking to an Americans for Prosperity rally

From a new report by the Physicians Foundation:

— 52% of physicians have already limited the access of Medicare patients to their practices or are planning to do so.

— 26% have already closed their practices to Medicaid patients.

— More than 50% of physicians will cut back on patients seen, will switch to part-time, switch to concierge medicine, or retire within the next four years.

— 62% believe Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are either unlikely to increase healthcare quality and decrease costs.

— 59% say PPACA has made them less positive about the future of healthcare in America.

— 57.9% would not recommend medicine as a career to their children or other young people.

— Over one-third of physicians would not choose medicine if they had their careers to do over.

— 77% percent are somewhat pessimistic or very pessimistic about the future of the medical profession.

ADDENDUM: Did anyone think that ObamaCare was going to save us money? Aside from the 158 new departments, bureaus, agencies and offices?  The Tax Foundation has estimated that compliance with ObamaCare is estimated at eight million man-hours.  It will keep 40,000 workers busy doing paperwork and sorting through a confusing pile of government regulations. And Obama claims that regulation is not a problem— just that Republicans are trying to de-regulate Wall Street so they can do it all over again. (No explanation of what he thinks “it” is.)



Four More Years? by The Elephant's Child

The Dismantling of American Culture and What to Do About It by The Elephant's Child

From David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge:

Let us assume, then, that each party partakes equally of the human capacity for good and bad, for corruption, for misguided compassion, and of overweening cupidity; and that each will suffer failures of projects both good-willed and merely monstrously self-serving.

The question as posed by Milton Friedman, was not “What are the decisions?” — any human or conglomeration is capable of decisions both good and bad — but “Who makes the decisions?” Shall it be the Government, that is, the State, or shall it be the Individual?

In some cases it must be the Government, which is, in these, the only organ capable of serving and protecting individual  liberty and freedom; notably, in defense, the administration of justice, and maintenance of and oversight of Federal Infrastructure, e.g. Roads, Interstate Travel, Waterways, Parks, and so on. But what in the world is the Government doing meddling in Education, Health Care, automobile Production, and the promotion of dubious, arguable or absurd programs designed to bring about “equality”? Should these decisions not be left to the Individual or to a Free Market, in which forces compete, to serve the Individual who will be the arbiter of their success?

“But which system,” Mamet asks, “Free Enterprise, or the State, is better able to correct itself?”

Nothing is free.  All  human interactions are tradeoffs.  One may figure out a way to (theoretically) offer cheap health insurance to the twenty million supposedly uninsured members of our society.  But at what cost — the dismantling of the health care system of the remaining three-hundred-million-plus? What of the inevitable reduction, shortages, abuses, delay and injustice caused by all State rationing?

All civilizations need and get Government. But how much and at what cost? Many governments began as Welfare States dedicated, they claimed to distributing the lands abundance to all. And as redistribution  increases, so does resistance to those choices, and the Welfare State descends into dictatorship. The cost of all this benevolently intended redistribution is shortage, famine, murder, and the eventual collapse of the state.

We are in the process of choosing, as a society, between Liberty— the freedom to pursue happiness free from the State — and Equality, which can only be brought about by a State empowered to function in all facets of  life which means totalitarianism and dictatorship.

Does the State decide for the citizen? Or does the individual insist on a reduction of State powers to that point at which the power is reserved only for the application as specified by law, where one individual or group abridges the liberty of another?

The latter is the revolutionary understanding of government spelled out in that Constitution elected officials swear to defend.  They are elected as public servants, the public granting them only that freedom of action necessary to fulfill that oath.  Is it not time for a return to that revolutionary understanding?

David Mamet is the noted playwright, author, director and filmmaker, Pulitzer prizewinner, and former liberal, who awakened,  examined his politics seriously and at great depth, and wrote a highly entertaining and enjoyable book about his conversion.



There is Prodigality, But this is Ridiculous! by The Elephant's Child

The United States Government spent 200 times more on the Obamas than the British spent on the royal family. Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on everything from staffing, housing, flying and entertaining for President Obama and his family, according to Presidential Perks Gone Royal by Robert Keith Gray. In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57 million on the royal family.

The $1.4 billion is the total cost of the Presidency, factoring the cost of “the biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars, and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled airline.”Gray said “the most concerning thing, I think, is the use of taxpayer funds to actually abet his re-election.”

Taxpayer dollars are subsidizing Obama’s re-election effort when he uses Air Force One to jet across the country campaigning. When the trip is deemed political, it’s customary for the president to pay the equivalent of a first class commercial ticker for certain passengers, but that hardly covers the taxpayer cost of flying the president and his staffers around on Air Force One.

There are, however, special perks: The president can vacation for free at Camp David. Gray says that each round trip to Camp David costs the taxpayers $25,350. It is also estimated that the combined transportation and personnel costs for a Camp David visit are $295,000 per night.

The president has a full-time movie projectionist in the White House Theater. Projectionists sleep at the White House and are there 24 hours a day in case anyone needs to see a movie. “Compared to the 450 times President Carter used the movie theater in his four years in the White House, the average American citizen goes out to see a movie slightly less than five times a year.” Gray writes.

The president’s dog gets its own high-paid staffer. “Bo made the news when he and his handler were flown to join the president on vacation in Maine.” Gray wrote about the Obama family dog. “It has been reported that the first family’s dog handler was paid $102,000 last year.”

Aside from a salary, the president gets a $50,000 a year expense account, a $100,000 travel account, a $19,000 entertainment budget and an additional million for “unanticipated needs.”

There is no mechanism, said Gray, ” for anyone’s objection if a president were to pay his chief of staff $5,000,000. a year. And nothing but a president’s conscience can dissuade him from buying his own reelection with use of some public money.”

It was reported elsewhere that Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s Rasputin, has been assigned full-time Secret Service protection, which would be 6 agents 24 hours a day, including on the Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

How odd that in all these lavish expenditures, we cannot seem to find the funds to secure a consulate in Benghazi.

Priorities.



Harvesting Wheat in The Palouse. by The Elephant's Child

On the other side of Washington State and into Idaho, lies the Palouse country, with rolling hills of wheat, embroidered with small stands of evergreen  woods.  Beautiful country, and it takes a different kind of combine to do the harvest in such hilly country. Here’s what it looked like near Spokane around 1910, when the combine had to be pulled by horses — lots of horses.  Shows what mechanization has meant. Sorry about the music, turn your volume down.



Now They’re Lying About Lying About the Benghazi Attack. by The Elephant's Child
September 27, 2012, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Politics

Your government has been lying to you, but you knew that. When President Obama gave his speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, he talked about the September 11 attack on the U.S consulate in Libya. “There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.” He didn’t say a word about what he would be doing about the security lapses, the intelligence failures, and lack of planning that contributed to the murders of our ambassador, his associate and two former SEALS who stepped into the breach to protect the ambassador. And as far as that goes, he’s been” relentless” before, to little effect.

It is well-established that the administration knew within 24 hours who the attackers were and where at least one of them lived.The administration insisted that the consulate was properly defended, the U.S. had no reason to prepare for any attack, though in previous years embassies across the Islamic world took extra precautions.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice, a leading candidate for Secretary of State, made the rounds of the talk shows insisting that what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction…as a consequence of the ‘disgusting’ video.

“The office of the director of National Intelligence has said we had no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She called the security measures “robust.”

Witness statements and cell phone photos soon showed the attack to be well-coordinated, and carefully planned, with fighters armed with guns, RPGs and diesel canisters which were used to set the buildings on fire. Ambassador Christopher Stevens died of smoke inhalation, and the consulate had no fire protection. When the administration briefed Congress, they changed their story and blamed it on al Qaeda.

On the night of the assault, four lightly armed Libyans and five.  American security officers were on duty. Neither the consulate in Benghazi nor the embassy in Tripoli were guarded by U.S. Marines, whose deployment to Libya was not a priority. After the attack, a CNN reporter picked up a seven page notebook belonging to Ambassador Stevens, which said he was concerned about the ‘never-ending”security threats in Benghazi and said he was on an al Qaeda hit list.

Four Americans died in  an assault that seemed to be a carefully planned operation. The administration has failed to accept responsibility, tried to blame others, and to stonewall. Yet starting last spring, U.S. intelligence had been worried about radical militias in eastern Libya. In August, State warned American citizens who were planning to travel to Libya about the threat of assassination and car bombings. Yet our diplomatic missions had little security. We apparently were not clear about how much we could expect from Libyan police and military forces.

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton indicated for the first time that there was an explicit link between the al Qaeda franchise in North Africa and the attack on the diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans.

Last week Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center said that intelligence analysts were investigating ties between local Libyan militias and al Qaeda, but hadn’t come to any conclusions. He did say that the assault was a ‘terrorist attack.” The next day, Jay Carney said “It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” Obama himself has not used the word. I think it’s not in the Homeland Security book of euphemisms.

So the despicable YouTube video has fallen by the wayside, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been jailed for a parole violation, has gone into hiding, has put his house up for sale, and a constitutional law professor says it is ‘highly unusual’ for a judge to order detention on a probation violation for a nonviolent crime. According to the radio, he is in jail, but since many prisoners are Muslims, there is concern for his welfare.

When faced with a mess, it’s best to fess-up promptly. Cover-ups seldom work.

 



You Know How Milk Gets Into Those Cartons, Don’t You? by The Elephant's Child
September 27, 2012, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy | Tags: , ,

You know about cows, of course, Jerseys, Guernseys and Holsteins, contented cows, modern dairy farming? Bet you had no idea it was like this. I know I didn’t. A little break from politics into more placid territory. Enjoy.




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