Archive for February 2016

Donald Trump: The Great Uniter

If Facebook posts are anything to go by, then Donald Trump is the great uniter of politics. There is little difference between the Trump posts of my Lefty/Democrat friends and my Conservative/Republican friends. Both groups hate him with equal fervor, though the Lefty/Democrats show more schadenfreude about it. A misplaced glee, if you ask me, given their candidate stands a good chance of FBI indictment.

The Council Has Spoken: February 26, 2016

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Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cheaper Than Broken Collarbone

While perusing this article demanding the State cough up the dollars for sex reassignment surgery for transgender prisoners, I followed a link to The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery  and learned everything I ever wanted to know about male-to-female sex reassignment, including some things I would rather “un-know” (I’ll spare you the details). But here’s what I found surprising: the cost. Only $19,750 for “bottom surgery.” Yep, for about the cost of a new Kia one can get a brand new hooha.

That’s a veritable bargain in my book. A year ago I had arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder that cost $12,000. A few months before that I almost killed myself on a dirt bike and ran up a $40,000 bill which involved installing a small plate on my clavicle and an overnight stay at the hospital. But a 5 1/2 hour surgery at this clinic requiring general anesthetic and all kinds of plastic surgery costs double a 30 minute scoping of my shoulder and half the cost of my overnight hospital stay for a busted collar bone.

Why?

My guess is that it’s a cash-based clinic. The FAQ page states that payment is due prior to the surgery, but the clinic will help the patient submit paperwork to insurance. The FAQ points out that most insurance companies pay what they deem fitting for each procedure, and that figure more often than not is much lower than the fee requested by the clinic. Still, if the clinic sets the price too high, then fewer people – at least those who are not in prison for murder – would be able to afford the surgery.

Oh, and not surprisingly the blogger at The Daily Beast, Samantha Allen, cherry-picked the data. “Bottom surgery” is only one procedure of twenty. A transgender prisoner would need the full suite including breast augmentation, facelift, liposuction and other procedures (think Caitlyn Jenner). The total cost of the transformation? $86,350. Not the $100,000 she criticizes Breitbart and the Los Angeles times for stating but a lot more than the $20k she offers.

Council Submissions: February 24, 2016

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The Council Has Spoken: February 19, 2016

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Since When Did Democrats Care About White Blue Collar Workers?

A liberal friend shared the meme so I thought I’d alter it a bit to reflect reality.

Trump or Trompe-l’œil?

The more bad press on the Left and Right that Trump gets the more I like him. Mark Cunningham, writing at the New York Post, claims that Trump has found a new way to win.

Many other blue-collar folks struggle on OK. But they know they’ve got huge problems that just don’t get talked about — and anyone who does raise them gets denounced and then ignored.

Until Trump.

America hasn’t been great for the working class for decades — which is why “Make America Great Again” is a great slogan for a guy who’s talking tough on the problems that blue-collar Americans (and more than a few middle-class folks) see as killing them.

And getting attention — unbelievable attention — even as he breaks all the “establishment” rules.

As a registered Republican I hate the GOP establishment almost as much as my liberal friends do. I think the RNC and the RINOs in Congress and the Senate are happy to be the Loyal Opposition, trading the White House to the Democrats in exchange for their fiefdom on Capitol Hill. They don’t want to win; they don’t want to change anything in this country. They like the status quo, and don’t care whether their constituents are struggling to survive seeing their jobs shipped overseas while workers flood into the country to take those that remain, joining the Democrats in calling them red-necks and racists. Then every 4 years they’ll don their Kabuki masks and pretend about how the Democrats are so evil and every Republican must vote for the RINO they’ve selected to be their congress-critter, then put up the weakest candidate they can find to run for the White House to keep their Democratic friends happy.

Trump is like a rock thrown by the GOP grassroots through the Establishment’s window. Or maybe a grenade. Either way it was something that needed to be done. The divide between the party elite and the rank and file had grown too great.

Trompe-l’œil, French for “deceive the eye”, is a painting technique that displays a three dimensional scene on the flat surface of the canvas. Is Trump “deceiving the eye” with his new-found conservatism and bragged about leadership skills, or is he capable of being a decent president? Is he a true leader or an American Berlusconi who wants to throw bunga bunga parties with the jet-set crowd instead of govern? I really don’t know. But it’s fun to watch the GOP leadership squirm like a bag of weasels.

Council Submissions: February 17, 2016

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The Council Has Spoken: February 12, 2016

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The Purrfect Rifle

One of the reasons why some people are afraid of rifles like the AK-47 and the AR-15 is they look scary. Here’s an idea to make them less frightening to the non-gun owning public.

AR-15 owners may ask, “Where’s the ejection port?” The obvious answer, “Where do you think?”

Peak Bernie?

So far Bernie Sanders has tied Clinton in Iowa (surprise) and won New Hampshire by a 3-2 margin (not a surprise). Nevada is up next, and the last poll taken in December gave Clinton a formidable lead. Following that is South Carolina, and recent polls there have Clinton “beating Bernie Sanders soundly,” as NPR cheerily puts it.

Are we at peak Bernie?

I believe so. Sanders fires up the grassroots and college students but primaries and caucuses  are insider affairs. Clinton allies are well-placed throughout the states and barring an unforeseen miracle, Sanders will lose Nevada and South Carolina by significant margins even without Clinton’s lock on superdelegates. Queue the “comeback kid” storylines fed by her operatives to the sycophant media and Hillary will be back on track to her coronation.

I haven’t added a “Bernie Sanders” category to this journal yet and given the cunning and fortitude of the Clintons I doubt I will have reason to.

Ammo Tax? How About an Abortion Tax?

One of the posts at The American Interest suggests the tactic of gun grabbers should switch from gun confiscation, which the writer says is unlikely to ever happen, to taxing ammunition. He even tries to make it more palatable by saying ammo could be tax free at shooting ranges and for police but in the free market a 10,000 percent tax – making a $.19 9mm round $19 – would curb gun usage and ultimately, gun ownership. Chris Rock raised the same argument, saying gang-bangers would shoot more carefully if each round cost $5,000.

Legally it would be much easier to raise the taxes on ammunition than ban its sale completely. A similar tactic could be used by pro-Lifers to discourage abortion.

For the sake of argument I’m going to make the following assumptions: The wealth spent on raising a child would be spent on other goods and services, making the economic activity from a social perspective the same whether a child is born or not. The expenses in retirement are covered by social taxes paid earlier in life – a big assumption on my part I know.

From Society’s point of view a child consumes resources until adulthood, at which time s/he generates income by working and paying taxes until s/he retires. For argument’s sake let’s assume the aborted child would have held a job. started earning at the age of 25 and stopped at the age of 65, a total of 40 years of productivity. S/he would then die 15 years later, assuming the current life-expectancy of around 80.

So 40 years of productivity. The average income in the United States is roughly $50,000. Multiplying the two together we get $2 million in lost earnings. Earning $50,000 means contributing about $10,000 a year in taxes, making a total tax bill during the productive years of $400,000 in lost tax revenue.

So each abortion costs the government roughly $400,000. In 2014 there were roughly a million abortions, meaning the potential lost revenue of $400 billion. Since abortion was legalized in the US over 25 years ago, this means that the US government today is missing out on the taxes that would have been paid by the “lost taxpayers” who were aborted in 1991 – about 1.4 million. Just this cohort could have contributed $14 billion in taxes this year. There were nearly 23 million abortions in the US from its legalization in 1973 until 1991. Applying our numbers to these lost taxpayers and we find that abortion has cost the state, local and federal governments in the US $230 billion in 2016.

Shouldn’t the government recoup that cost somehow? Perhaps if a woman had to pay a $40,000 tax she’d be more careful about getting pregnant just as gun grabbers claim extreme taxes on ammunition would discourage people from shooting others.

As a pro-Life, gun owning libertarian who supports legal abortion I believe such taxes whether on abortion or ammunition prohibit liberty instead of enhancing it. But the above little “thought exercise” shows how easy it is to take a tactic used to curb one freedom and use it to justify curtailing another. Gun-grabbing Pro-Choicers take note.

 

 

Council Submissions: February 10, 2016

Council News:


This week, we introduce another fine member to the Watcher’s Council, Michael McDaniel of Stately McDaniel Manor! His stellar work has appeared in PJ Media and in the Second Amendment site Bearing Arms and we are both pleased and proud to have him on the team. Check out his debut Council article this week!

So, let’s see what we have for you this week….

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Why I Could Live With President Sanders

As a libertarian and registered Republican, to say I’m disappointed with the GOP’s current crop of presidential candidates is a mild understatement. I pretty much hate them all. My top choices were Gov. Scott Walker (first to drop out) and Sen. Rand Paul (latest casualty). If Trump or Cruz become the GOP candidate there is only one scenario in which I will vote for either of them:

If Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee.

I don’t have a long history of Hillary bashing the way some on the Right have. 8 years ago I even said some nice things about her. But the woman simply doesn’t know how to tell the truth. She’s a pathological liar, and one that deserves prison for her handling of top secret data on her unsecured server, and ostracism for her role in wrecking Libya and sentencing an ambassador and his security detail to death – and covering up with lies by blaming it on a video afterward. She also exemplifies the crony capitalist, taking millions from Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs then portraying herself as being soulmates with Occupy Wall Street. As the British newspaper columnist Tim Stanley for the Daily Telegraph writes, “Her politics is the politics of identity, narrowed down to a very specific constituency: she’s selling herself as the hope of everyday rich white women who want to be president.”  There is only one thing worse than a Trump presidency in my view and that’s a Hillary presidency.

Which brings me to Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a self-avowed “democratic socialist”, a form of government more akin to those found in Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia than in the United States. Sanders has spent his entire life espousing socialism. He has not lied about it, nor has he hidden it the way Hillary has hidden her ties to Wall Street. Sanders is a socialist, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to vote for him.

While I don’t like his economic policies, especially now when I’m preparing to finalize my taxes whereby the Wife and I send an extremely large portion of our labor earnings to the Federal and State governments, I’m less averse to his social liberalism. If you want to revolutionize American economics, the Presidency is not the place to do it. Congress controls the country’s purse strings, and there is no way his socialist economic policies would see the light of day in a Congress dominated by Republicans.

It’s often said that Libertarians combine the fiscal conservatism of the Republican Party with the social liberalism of the Democrats, but it’s been a long time since either party came close to either stereotype. The Republicans under Bush spent like Democrats during their 8 years in power, 6 years of which they held control of Congress as well as the White House, and today’s Democratic Party is the party of censorship, gun confiscation, and state interference into the private lives of its citizenry.

It’s worth noting that until very recently Sanders wasn’t a member of the Democratic Party. His stances on social issues are much more libertarian-friendly than the woman appearing on Reason magazine’s cover next to the title, “Hail to the Censor! Hillary Clinton’s Long War on Free Speech.” Would a Sanders presidency be all that bad for libertarians?

Andrew Kirell, writing at The Daily Beast, doesn’t think so. In his piece The Libertarian Case for Bernie Kirell quotes Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie saying, “You could do worse than having Bernie Sanders in the White House,” he admitted. “The things that he would be able to direct in the White House would accord with libertarian values. Being a commander-in-chief, he would minister our foreign policy much differently than Obama or Bush; he would be much more likely to change the scheduling for marijuana, which the president can do; and he’d be in a much better position to push criminal justice reform.” Gillespie later responded on Reason.com’s website, writing “Suffice it to say that noting you could do worse than Sanders is not an endorsement.”

Unfortunately libertarians don’t have many choices this round, but isn’t this pretty much the SNAFU case every 4 years? When’s the last time you absolutely loved either candidate? I don’t think I’ve ever felt the thrill up the leg that Chris Mathews felt for Obama in 2008. I’m suspicious of any candidate who inspires such emotional charge.

But the truth is I think America would be better off under a President Sanders than it would be under a President Clinton or Trump. At the very least it would give both parties time to shake out the crazies so that in 2020 America would have saner choices than those offered by either parties today.

The Council Has Spoken: February 5, 2016

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