My soon-to-be-an-airman son and his girlfriend just returned from their first town hall, featuring our favorite rep, Justin Amash.
They said the event was quite entertaining, but the loudest members of the crowd seemed to be of a liberal bent. Representing such a diverse crowd can't be easy, so kudos to Rep Amash for all he does in the name of liberty.
The moment they both told me about came at a point where Rep Amash was discussing small government, talking about ..."how the founding fathers knew most stuff should be left to the states and we should follow the constitution. Everyone started yelling and we heard a very distinct 'IT'S 2016!!' "
"We laughed out loud."
I am so glad they're involved over in his district!
Although they deny it, religious freedom is constantly under attack from the left, and these days they win more battles than they lose, successfully fighting against crosses, commandments and cakes. Even though I'm not religious I find it disheartening to see so much of our history and culture being tossed into the memory hole on the orders of people who worship the government as their personal savior.
Therefore my day was momentarily brightened when I saw this little bit of news about freedom from vaccines:
I can't even begin to express my shock. The government (in the form of the EEOC) fined Saint Vincent Health $330,000 for insisting that their employees either get flu shots or bring notes from either clergy or MDs validating a religious or medical exemption. Anybody not getting an exemption request approved was fired.
Here's where it gets sticky: While all 14 medical exemptions were approved, all 6 religious exemptions were denied and all 6 employees who filed them were fired.
According to the decision, the hospital has no right to insist that their employees prove their religious beliefs, and thus the requirement that the exemption be "approved" by clergy was illegal.
Remember when I said my day was momentarily brightened? Well, here's the thing: I believe people have the right to refuse vaccines, but I also believe that employers, even hospitals should have a right to hire and fire at will. Unless I miss my guess, Saint Vincent is a Catholic hospital, and there's nothing in Catholicism that prohibits vaccines. So while they should have the right not to dispense birth control, they are perfectly within their rights to insist that their employees get vaccines.
Which put the government in the position of either defending the rights of workers (even the religious workers) or defending the rights of private employers. And since the federal government consistently fights against the rights of employers, it appears it had to pick religion as the winner in this instance.
via Time, Senator Paul's op-ed about the battle to end Obamacare. He explains the "arcane" processes of the Senate to clarify that it will require much more than an up-or-down vote. He then goes on to opine:
Congressional leaders are now engaged in a misguided attempt to attach Obamacare repeal to a budget that increases spending, increases debt and does little to nothing to fix our fiscal mess.
There is no reason for this. Often up here we are told, “We need the White House to cut spending and debt.” Well, we have that now, along with total control of Congress.
Then the next excuse often is “we need 60 votes to get anything past a Democrat Senate.” Well, this is the one case that is not true. All budgets require only a simple majority of 51 to pass. Not a single Democrat vote is needed in either the House or the Senate to pass a budget that cuts spending and taxes.
He clarifies his position:
"I am taking this stand — I will not vote for any budget that doesn’t have a plan to balance, regardless of what is attached to it and I’m calling on other conservatives in the Senate to take the same stand. Let’s repeal Obamacare, and let’s do it with a budget that leads us to balance in the near term."
But it's not as cut and dried as one might think: According to local bureaucrats and legislators it is the fault of the building.
(Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Myles) Deering said the agency has been considering moving from the nearly 100-year-old facility, because fixing the existing building would take millions of dollars. Sen. Frank Simpson said the facility was also faced with the inability to find and retain staff.
I have a hunch that allowing the staff members to resign is related to the probability of them keeping their nursing licenses or at least keeping the incident off their records.
By all means, let's socialize medicine so we can all get government care.
In Stephen KIng's 1980 novel, Firestarter, the book ended with the heroine going into the counter-culture offices of Rolling Stone magazine to tell her story of government gone mad to reporters who would presumably be brave and uncorrupt enough to publish the story. In the 1984 film version, the offices were those of The New York Times.
These days, Stephen King is a loud member of the privileged socialist caste we call Democrats, and would therefore undoubtedly not change the ending one whit if writing the book today. However, if I were writing such an ending, I'd take Edward Snowden's lead and Glenn Greenwald's Intercept would be the plot device of choice.
The article by reporter Craig Timberg – headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” – cites a report by a new, anonymous website calling itself “PropOrNot,”which claims that millions of Americans have been deceived this year in a massive Russian “misinformation campaign.”
So according the Washington Post, Ron Paul and Justin Raimondo are Russian propagandists. As is David Stockman, the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan.
Yes, it's that bizarre.
Truth be told, I find the whole political environment scenario to be quite beyond bizarre at the moment, and that's not even including the fact that we as a nation elected Donald freaking Trump as president. Here's what I mean: 10 years ago, the liberals mocked Romney's anti-Russia position with snarky comments like "The 80's called. They want their foreign policy back!" while Barack Obama promised he was going to hit the reset button on the US/Russia relationship. Heck, some say he won the election with talk like that.
But once elected, he apparently decided he preferred to stay within his community organizer comfort zone and essentially turned foreign policy over to Hillary Clinton's State Department. Fast forward to Syria, suddenly we're at loggerheads with Russia again, and the left-leaning Democrats are simultaneously accusing the far left Russian government of tampering with our elections and the right wing Republicans of being in bed with those filthy Communists.
Wait - what?
There is a propaganda technique called the Big Lie, which is usually stated along the lines of, "If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." Saul Alinsky is attributed with telling people to repeatedly accuse enemies of doing what they oppose, while doing that very thing. That seems to be what this is - a chess move in the game of psychological warfare. Conspiracies involving fake news and Russian propaganda is a way liberals who were blind-sided by the election results can explain away their stunning electoral losses. Calling Donald Trump and his supporters deplorable Nazis during the election cycle didn't stop him, so now they're faced with either believing that the majority of their countrymen are in fact Nazi supporters, or they need to explain the election win another way. Blaming Russia is a tool the leaders of their movement can use to drum up more hate and division without admitting that perhaps the core of their very philosophy is unpalatable to the masses.
There were not many things I agreed with Obama on. The 2016 deal that reopened at least some trade with Cuba was one of them. Communism makes people poor and capitalism makes them wealthy. It really is that simple.
I have no idea how President-elect Trump will handle relations with Cuba, but as a libertarian I hope he works some of that "Art Of The Deal" magic to keep goods flowing to and from the island.
I support engagement, diplomacy, and trade with Cuba, China, Vietnam, and many countries with less than stellar human rights records, because I believe that once enslaved people taste freedom and see the products of capitalism they will become hungry for freedom themselves.
President George W. Bush wrote that “trade creates the habits of freedom,” and trade provides the seeds of freedom that begin “to create the expectations of democracy.” Once trade begins it is hard to hide the amazing products of capitalism. The Soviets used to produce documentaries depicting poverty in America but it backfired when Russian viewers noticed that even in the poorest of circumstances you could still see televisions flickering in the windows. Once trade is enhanced with Cuba, it will be impossible to hide the bounty that freedom provides.