Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Getting in Obama's way: Might that not be a good thing?

Van Jones has just proven that the Obama administration doesn't really want a Green world. They want a surreal one.

Previously published by Blogcritics

Further proof, if any were honestly required, that we cannot trust Green people to not have Red agendas—and that Mr. Obama does indeed associate with human weasels.
Having previously endorsed a 9/11 conspiracy theory accusing the Bush administration of playing a role in the terrorist attack, and making disparaging comments about Republicans in general, environmental adviser Van Jones "understood he was going to get in the way" of Obama's agenda and resigned via e-mail. Not before decrying the "vicious smear campaign" against him, of course.
He issued a weak mea culpa to Republicans: "If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize." But those nasty sons-of-bitches still demanded that he resign. Oh, the injustice.
Jones worked in the White House Council on Environmental Quality and was one of Obama's officials in charge of his made-up jobs for tree-huggers project. He is your typical acerbic, angry and downright mean-spirited Leftie, desiring a better world for all while poking anyone who dares to disagree with him in the eyes.
It's a shame that the president opposes gay marriage because the good reverend Jeremiah Wright and Jones are a match made in ... well, certainly and most determinedly not heaven. A match made with Gaia's blessing, shall we say?
Regular readers of this blog will know that I tend to side with liberals on environmental issues myself, insofar as I don't agree with the clear-cutting, development-crazy mindset of some avidly pro-business conservatives.
But I honestly have to wonder what these enviro-types are up to when they oppose the construction of incinerators. Technological advances have made them cleaner and more efficient, we can get "clean" energy from them, and we cannot recycle everything, nor can we force people to recycle if they won't. It is a real solution to a solid-waste problem. And yet most of these Earth worshippers oppose them. I can't figure that one out.
And then their eagerness to "dance on capitalism's grave" during G20 protests and embrace Sept. 11 conspiracy theories: More not-so-lovely examples of polluted minds. Clean up your own heads first, folks, before you try to clean up the planet.
What's so troublesome about all this is that environmentalists are very influential, most of them being part of the Left-wing cabal, such as they are, that sets the trend for so many easily-influenced minds as well as government agendas. For instance, if you're so grateful to someone for their environmental activism, then might you not start listening to their warped views on 9/11 or how all Republicans want to sacrifice children or any other nonsense they may spew and taking it seriously?
I'm grateful to environmentalists myself, as long as they stick to serious environmental issues as opposed to simply saying, "The world's getting hotter! Carbon's building up out of control! And it's all the GOP's fault!" I'm not looking for political rants from these people. I want them to do what they've pledged to do: to find sound environmental solutions that don't seek to destroy the capitalist ethic. I do not expect them to engage in proselytizing for the lunatic brigade. Honestly, if they're a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, I don't think they're to be trusted to play the organ at a ballgame, never mind help set national policy.
Meanwhile, Obama will whitewash the whole Jones incident in his usual I-see-no-need-to-discuss-this style, just as he did with Wright and just as he did with the Islamic terror threat during his love-in tour of the Muslim world.
Yep, it's a crazy world out there. The Jones controversy proves that our president does his damndest to make it just that bit more surreal.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An American health-care skeptic defends the NHS

Although the NHS might not be the role model Americans are looking for, the government-run British health-care system is not evil.

Previously published by Blogcritics

With the health care debate raging in the U.S. currently, the spotlight has been thrown on Britain's National Health Service, NHS for short. Americans are worried that they, should President Obama manage to pass his health care bill in Congress, will be strapped with an inefficient government system that alone will determine how they are looked after.
Inefficient the NHS might indeed be—and this is because not only does it have to care for the needs of 61 million people, but those of illegal immigrants as well. There have also been horrifying examples of neglect, such as at an NHS hospital in Stafford, where up to 1,200 people died from neglect. The NHS also likes to dictate who receives what treatment and when due to cost-cutting.
But the NHS, despite its struggles, does the best that it can, burdened such as it is. And it is not, in the words of that renowned Rhodes scholar Sarah Palin, "evil."
There was a time, during my early years in England, when I scoffed at the NHS. Nothing was guaranteed to make my blood boil more fiercely than Brits who couldn't seem to understand why we Americans won't endorse any form of socialism. I had long arguments with my wife over why the NHS was a waste of money and resources as well as, due to the aforementioned socialist nature of it, immoral.
But then, when I was in need myself, my view toward the NHS ameliorated somewhat. When you are in such pain that you cannot think straight, views are bound to change a little.
In May 2005, I had a serious kidney stone attack and I was in such bad shape that I required an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I was assessed at one hospital, had x-rays and blood taken, and then transferred across London to another hospital with a urology department so that I could be given specialist treatment. I was in this hospital—Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital near London Bridge—for four days. At no point was I uncomfortable, at no point did I think I deserved better. The paramedics, the doctors, the nurses, the consultants: they were all wonderful.
You'll understand my feelings here, dear reader. If I bash the NHS, I bash these people who looked after me when I was in agony. I can't do that.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate being able to see the doctor without filling out cumbersome forms. I won't say it costs nothing, because that's not true. But I have already paid for it through taxes. The tax rate in Britain has consistently been around 23 percent. That is not unreasonable (even if I say that as a 17% flat tax supporter). The majority of Americans pay the same rate, and they don't have a government health care system.
Sure, the NHS is a bureaucracy and in these lean times, and with more and more people living in Britain, it has shown signs of incompetence. But private health care exists in Britain, for those that demand it, and even that is considerably cheaper than American health care. Unlike Canada, Britain does not demand that everyone use their government-provided health care. The NHS is there for those who cannot afford private health care.
Britain, in my opinion, needs to get serious about trimming welfare rolls, stop doling out cash for every baby born (let people pay for their own children), and strike all but emergency care for illegals. There is plenty of waste to be tackled and any money that is freed up can better assist the NHS.
In the U.S., the situation is different. There are 300 million people to look after. If $10 billion of taxpayers' money is to be invested every year over five years to move American health care toward a standards-based care system that exludes no-one, it's bound to be tricky—and it's no wonder that it's scaring the pants off Americans. From the July 27 issue of The Weekly Standard, Fraser Nelson & Irwin Stelzer report that "patients suffering from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions will do it the Obama-Biden way or else be excluded from insurance coverage." Canada all over again.
Americans are in no mood to experiment. They do not like their current health care system, but they fear what they might get—or not, as the case may be—with government-regulated health care. According to Stryker McGuire's report in the August 15 edition of The Daily Telegraph newspaper, "[A] solid majority (62 percent versus 32 percent) is in favor of giving Americans the option of a government insurance plan. But that's all they agree on ... By a 55 to 35 percent margin, they're more worried that Congress will spend too much money and add to the deficit than that Congress will not act to overhaul the health care system. By a similar margin, voters say health care reform should be dropped if it adds 'significantly' to the deficit, and by a much wider margin (72-21 percent), voters do not believe that Obama will keep his promise to overhaul the health-care system without adding to the deficit."
You could write a book—in fact, many have been written—on the inequities, inadequacies, irregularities and idiosyncracies of health care. I obviously do not intend to do that. In fact, my knowledge of the intracacies of health care is hardly in-depth. I know what everyone else does: that drug companies have too much say, insurance company lobbyists are too influential, malpractice lawsuits are a constant worry, and the obesity-producing lifestyle habits of the nation are hardly conducive to a cheap and easy delivery of health care.
But I do not blame my fellow Americans for protesting government health care; in fact, I'm proud of them for it. We are all heirs to Thomas Jefferson's limited-government mindset. His legacy is something we are right to defend so robustly. (One wonders that if Hamilton had won the day, would Americans still be agonizing over health care in 2009?) It is certainly preferable to letting the government control every aspect of our lives as they are wont to do in Europe, where nearly everyone believes that the state will look after them and they'll all live happily ever after as a result. Americans don't believe that rubbish, and more power to them. As Jefferson said himself, a government that big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.
But the point is, despite all that is wrong with government-run health care, the immorality of socialism, the inadequacy of insurance options, what have you, Britain's NHS is not evil.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The results what the kids got was brilliant: Yea for edjumacation

You will know from this entry, dear reader, that I take the correct usage of the English language seriously. Well, as correctly as you are capable of. I don't always use it properly in speech or writing myself. I, too, make mistakes. But, at the ripe old age of 39, it doesn't take much imagination on my part to confidently state that I am better at using English than 95 percent of the current crop of high school graduates (or "school leavers" as they are bluntly known here in Britain). And it annoys me.
The latest shining examples of our future recently received their exam marks. Just as with the past few years, the results were apparently tremendous. Listening to all the social commentators on TV or in the newspapers, you'd think every baby-faced young adult now trying to enter the job market was a budding Einstein.
However, people above the age of 35 contend that the exams are too easy. I don't think there can be much doubt about that. Is a yout' of today really as intelligent as a graduate from fifty, forty or even thirty years ago? If these kids are so bright, how come they possess a nearly total inability to express themselves coherently in writing? They have no idea of punctuation, cannot use "big" words, struggle with verb conjugation, and the role of the apostrophe is a foreign concept. It's one thing to not "get" math or another science, but proper language is fundamental to our society, our culture, ourselves.
Of course, criticizing the little darlings comes with risk, as I found out courtesy of the following diatribe which a particular young person—who is very much aware of my stance—sent me via e-mail. I beg you to remember that fact: an e-mail, not a text message. Now then, for your reading pleasure, I submit the following evidence to you, verbatim.
"OY, pal, I think its really bad that you poke fun of our exam results ... they were specktacular acros the bord why you got to hate on us ... the results wot me and my mate's got were brilliant ... the problem with u peeple is u think we all on drugs ... oh we no good. dont you beleeve it. Was u not a teenager onse ... your a wanker."
Got to hand it to him, folks. He's got a brilliant career as a social worker ahead of him. Or a politician, only that would require him to spell "Parliament" correctly as well as signing his name.