Category Archive: These Are The Crazy Years

Greed? That’s a funny name for “trying to make one’s investment back.”

Yeah, from FacialBook as usual, the Book of a Million Lies:

Wrong.

Greed is not the problem.  Government over-regulation and FDA slow-rolling of drug approval is the problem.  Drug companies pour billions of dollars annually into drug development, most of which is “wasted” when new ideas for drugs don’t pan out, usually after years of expensive trials.  I’ve read that the success rate for drug development is one drug in ten, so for every billion-dollar development program that succeeds, there are nine billion-dollar development programs that fail.  If that rate holds, for every new drug a company develops through FDA approval, they have a $10 billion investment that has to be accounted for and and recovered.  Not much profit there!

Yet people wonder why new drugs cost so much, and agitators like Sachin Patel claim it’s because of greed.  Is it really greedy to want a return on your ten billion dollar investment?  Does Dr. Patel like having new drugs and therapies, or would he prefer to go back to the old days when aspirin and chalk pills was about all a doctor could prescribe?

I’ll agree in a heartbeat that there are companies like Mylan who ought to be ashamed of themselves (and be run of business) for what they charge for basic drugs just because they have a fancy proprietary delivery system.  But by and large, drugs are expensive to buy because they are expensive to develop, and drug companies naturally want to make their money back.

These RealFarmacy people are a real danger to the rest of the world.  Liars, cheats, and swindlers all, they are nothing more than modern Luddites wishing the rest of us back into a medieval world where we all drop dead in our 40’s from preventable disease, or starve to death because there isn’t enough food.  They are the logical heirs of Paul Ehrlich and his ilk.

It’s not a human right just because you say it is.

Health care is not a human right.

Nope.  Not even close.

Freedoms enumerated and enshrined in the Constitution?  Human rights.  The right to free speech, the right to worship as you please, the right to bear arms in defense of yourself, your family, and the nation, the right to be free of the government quartering its soldiers in your home, yeah, all those things are human rights, built into the bedrock of human experience.  That they have been violated more often than upheld is part of what makes them so precious, and worthy of defending.  But these freedoms and rights require nothing more than our eternal vigilance to maintain.  (Which is cheap at twice the price, considering the totality of human history.)

Health care is not a human right because it depends on so many other people doing things for your benefit.  If I were a doctor, I would not agree that you had a human right to demand my services for less than I believe they are worth.  (And if I priced my services too high, I’d probably go hungry a lot while my competitors lived off the fat of the land.  But that’s my right and privilege to determine for myself.)  If I were a nurse, I would not agree that just because your tummy hurts, you have a human right to force me to turn away from the cardiac patient who is coding in the next room and give you an antacid.  If I were a dentist, I would not say that you had a human right to barge into my office and demand that I immediately pull the tooth that’s been bothering you because you don’t have enough sense to take care of your own teeth, when I already have a waiting room full of patients who made appointments and also have dental issues.

And so forth.

What I’m really getting at is that the labor of another human being (either singularly or plurally) is not yours to demand as a human right, simply because you didn’t have the sense to buy insurance before you started having major health issues.  And that’s what you’re doing when you insist that health care is a human right.  You’re also demanding that my labor is yours to demand by proxy, since my tax money and my insurance premiums go to fund the abortion known as Obamacare.

We do not fight wars to restore human rights to people in other parts of the world in order that they can demand that we continue to prop them up after we’ve thrown the dictatorial and oppressive bastards out (which was the mistake we made in both Iraq and Afghanistan).  Human rights and the exercise of them are what lay down the base of a free and civilized society.  They do not provide services nor do they demand revenue.  They simply “are”.

When I write posts on this blog, they are my freely-expressed opinions.  I do not demand that someone else pay for my web hosting or domain registration, or my time and effort keeping the blogging software and the rest of the site up to date.  I don’t even ask for donations, because I don’t think my writing is worth your money 🙂  But to take the “health care is a human right” to another level, what if I and other bloggers started to take the attitude that the provision of the soapbox upon which we exercise our right to free speech should also be a human right, that all of you taxpayers out there should be forced to subsidize?

That’s a horse of a different color, isn’t it?

The argument that insurance should cover pre-existing conditions completely ignores the point of insurance.  Insurance is a gamble between you and the house (the insurance company) that you either will (your bet) or won’t (their bet) become gravely ill at some point.  Insurance generally pays for health maintenance like doctor visits and immunizations and colonoscopies and mammograms because those things are inexpensive (by comparison) hedges on their bet.  In other words, they pick up the tab because it’s like putting their thumb on the roulette wheel or using a marked deck — you’re more likely to stay healthy if you have those things, and not cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime for major medical expenses.

By definition, if you do not have insurance and you get some dread disease like cancer or lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, and then you demand that you should have insurance coverage to pay for it, you are holding up the house and trying to make off with something you did not pay for.  And that ends up making my annual bets on my own health cost more.

The running gag about the lottery is that you can’t win if you don’t play.  (In actuality, you can’t win no matter what you do; winning is a fluke, the rules and the odds are stacked against you.)  Translated to the casino metaphor I’ve used above, you can’t win if you don’t lay down a bet.  The casinos take a very dim view of that.  I would imagine sitting down at the table and placing a bet on 13 red without actually laying down a chip would get you hustled right back out to the street.

The uninsured do not have a human right to barge into my insurance company and demand that it pay for their dread disease.  Period.  I don’t care what Congress says and I don’t care what the Supreme Court or the President say, either.  Insurance is a pay-for-play deal.

Closer to home, the uninsured also do not have a human right to demand that the federal or state government care for them and levy the cost of that care onto the taxpayers.  While I would feel responsible for the health care of my own immediate family (as any civilized man or woman should), I frankly don’t have the money to waste on yours.  And it is a waste — it is money I will never see again (and never saw to begin with, because the government hoovers it out of my paycheck before I ever see it, to the tune of about two grand a month once everyone gets their cut).  That is money that I, as a responsible ant, should be putting away for my retirement and other future costs, not handing out to grasshoppers who can’t think past their young and healthy years and don’t even consider buying insurance until it’s too late — or just live on hope, that is, “I sure hope I don’t get sick or hit by a car or a falling meteor.”*

That said, I have at least one very close friend who has been buying his own health insurance for years and has had massive hospital and health care bills over the last six years.  Of course his premiums under Obamacare have skyrocketed.  And of course he’s not employed with what most of us would consider a regular job — he’s a writer and speaker.  And you cheap grasshoppers out there are part of why he’s hemorrhaging cash.

Despite my arguments above, I do not maintain that there should be absolutely no consideration for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions, but only that such consideration should be voluntary on the part of the public who will be paying for it, and not forced upon the public as a human right equivalent to the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  Some sort of fund to cover such people’s short-term medical expenses with the caveat that they MUST purchase an insurance policy and show proof that they have maintained it through the “pre-existing condition” period (which used to be a year for most things) is acceptable to me.  But the rules have to be clear, fair, and tough.  One year only, and only once in your life.

But again, the public ants shouldn’t be forced to pay for all those grasshoppers in the long term, and it ought to be hard to get them to pay in the short term.  Let’s face it: Eating, for instance, is not a human right.  Work or starve has been the rule throughout history, at least until modern times when the original meaning of the Constitution has been twisted to support federal welfare programs and more wallet-hoovering by the federal government.  Even the freed slaves after our Civil War were essentially told that freedom was defined as the choice between working and starving.

Housing isn’t a human right, either.  Housing generally requires other people’s labor, for which they expect to be paid.  Or it uses other people’s property, again, for which they expect to be paid.

Clothing?  Not a human right.  Lots of people in the world wear anywhere from nothing to locally-produced homespun to the cast-offs our thrift stores send to them.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written by hard-headed but fair-minded men who understood that a government could not force its citizens to be altruists.  When they wrote about promoting the general welfare, they did not mean handing out money to the indigent so they could eat, house, and clothe themselves.  They meant something more lofty than that — the general welfare of the country as a whole, which, if properly promoted, would mean that few if any people would go hungry, naked, or unroofed.  But not because such was a human right — because “a rising tide [should] float all boats”, as Ronald Reagan was fond of saying.

To claim that the Framers could not know that we would have the level of medical science that we have today and that they really meant to include universal healthcare as a basic right is to ignore the fact that the Framers were smarter than that.  Two hundred and thirty years later, there are only 27 amendments to the original plan, ten of which were ratified immediately as the Bill of Rights, one of which (smart) repealed another (stupid), and two of which (the 16th and 17th) were progressive, radical departures from the Framers’ ideal, and which have come around to bite us in the ass a hundred years later.

Bottom line:  Health care and the fulfillment of other basic human needs aren’t human rights, or the Framers would have included them from the start.

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* Dudes, I’ve had major medical insurance, either paid for myself or by my employer, from the time I was 24.  And life insurance, too.

 

Millenial sensitivity in a nutshell.

Millenials not only are ruining the country, they don’t even have a sense of humor.  Found on Facebook — where else?

With the exception of rape…and maybe not rape*, there was not a single one of those subjects that were off-limit to comedians and teenage boys back when I was a kid.  Having been both the brunt and the inflicter, I can attest to that.

The offense-mongers today have taken all the fun out of things.  Berke Breathed had it absolutely right — in 1983:

We’re doomed.

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* To wit:

Hedley Lamarr: Qualifications?
Applicant: Rape, murder, arson, and rape.
Hedley Lamarr: You said rape twice.
Applicant: I like rape.

and

Taggart: I got it! I got it!
Hedley Lamarr: You do?
Taggart: We’ll work up a Number 6 on ’em.
Hedley Lamarr: [frowns] “Number 6”? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that one.
Taggart: Well, that’s where we go a-ridin’ into town, a-whompin’ and a-whumpin’ every livin’ thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
Taggart: Naw, we rape the shit out of them at the Number Six Dance later on.
Hedley Lamarr: Marvelous!

Don’t tell me Mel Brooks wasn’t funny.

Well

It’s been four days, and I notice the ground hasn’t opened up under Washington, DC, nor has the sky fallen from above it, since Sen. McConnell and crew applied the Reid Rule.

Pre-natal infanticide is apparently still legal, too.

Government by Twitter and surveillance

We have a customer at high levels in the US government who suddenly presented us with a requirement that our product not write a console log, due to new privacy commandments handed down from on high.  We explained how they could do that, along with a warning that the console log is generated for a reason and it would be very difficult if not impossible to support their licensed copy of the product if they suppressed the log.

Naturally, less than a week later, they had a problem about which we could provide only educated guesses regarding its cause.

Why would this customer suddenly want the log suppressed?  What information does it contain that their SMTP server logs don’t contain?  Did they also suppress the SMTP logs?  Is this actually legal under government regulations dictating how records are to be kept?*

The problem is that this is a typically-idiotic reaction to the competing and escalating accusations of who hacked, surveilled, or wiretapped whom, and for what reason.  Both sides should shut up, climb down, and move on.  The American public at large — the so-called “silent majority” —  is getting extremely tired of it, from both sides.

Unfortunately, we have one party running the government by Twitter, and the other party refusing to accept that it lost, and going more and more insane by the day on the way to probably having an even smaller minority after 2018.  Fun times in America 🙂

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* Probably not, under 44 U.S.C. 3301, but IANAL.

So the hell what?

So I guess the new idiotarian progressive talking point is that Mike Pence won’t eat alone with any female other than his wife.

Seems to me that the bottom line is, “What business is it of ours?”  Plus, the rest of the world has known this since 2002, when Pence mentioned it in an interview with The Hill*, so it would be nice if the idiotarian progressive left could kindly keep up.

The resulting charge among radical feminists on the left (but I repeat myself) that Pence discriminates against women because this means they can’t get the same one-on-one access to him as men do is just another bogus charge from the progs, trying to stir something up.  But given modern security concerns, who actually believes that any official meeting with the Vice President (or any other politician at that level) isn’t covered and recorded for security purposes?  Despite that assumption on my part, he chooses to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and I say, bully for him.

If I were VP, or frankly a politician at any level, I’d just carry around a table sign that said, “This interaction will be monitored and recorded for security purposes,” and let the chips fall where they may.  Glenn Reynolds’ advice to always record or film your own interviews, especially when you figure the opposition will cut and paste their tape to suit their agenda, makes great sense.  While it sounds Nixonian, it’s hardly covert or illegal if you come right out and say all of your interactions with other people will be recorded.  They can take it or leave it.

FWIW, I somehow suspect Pence has either read Glenn’s “The Appearance of Impropriety”, or he already understood the concept deep in his bones when he went into politics.

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* See the recent profile on Karen Pence in the Washington Post.  It’s about halfway down.

You want more Trump? Part I dunno what.

So, this happened.

New GOP Star Born When California Dems Forcibly Remove Vietnamese Senator for Criticizing Tom Hayden

Sen. Janet Nguyen (R) was the star of last weekend’s California GOP convention because she was forcibly removed from the floor of the Senate on Feb. 23 for criticizing the late Sen. Tom Hayden (D), who was honored by his former colleagues two days before.

I’m going to make it plain that I am lukewarm as hell about Trump, even if I think most of the things he is pledging to do need to be done (and wouldn’t get done with a more “conventional” GOP president, and may still not if the “conventional” GOP Congress doesn’t start playing ball).  And I hope people understand that when I repeatedly say, “if you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump”, I mean, stupid moves like the one linked above are how the Dems unintentionally solidify GOP support, i.e., “more Trump”.

All the protests and the heckling and the sit-ins and the crocodile tears from the press and the unfunny assassination jokes — that’s how you get more Trump.  And you’d think the Dems would be able to wrap their minds around that and find a different, more adult way of dealing with their loss.  You know — like the right did when Obama was elected.  We weren’t happy about it, and we snarked about it, and certain idiots came up with conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory about him, but in the main, the right does things differently from the left — primarily, it doesn’t act like a spoiled baby with a poopy diaper when it doesn’t get its way.

At this point, the left is just damaging itself to no good purpose.  If you think this hasn’t resulted in the creation of a ton of closet Trump Democrats, kind of like there used to be Reagan Democrats, you haven’t been paying attention.  And the last thing I’m going to say about that is that the American Republic is not a healthy place if the balance of power swings too far either direction.  I can get along with a Kennedy Democrat, or a Scoop Jackson Democrat, or even a Zell Miller Democrat.  It’s these far-left socialist redistributionist anti-capitalist Democrats that I have a problem with.  This country was designed to be run from the center, and we’ve almost completely lost track of that.

It’s time for compromise, and neither side will ever have a better chance to do that than right now.  That’s what Trump is all about:  The Deal, which by definition requires compromise.  If you don’t want to compromise, don’t expect to get more than short shrift from him.

Children should not be allowed to vote.

This kind of thing makes me more and more convinced that Robert Heinlein was right and we need to require intelligence tests with a reasonably high passing grade to qualify to vote.  He suggested the solution of a quadratic equation which would be randomly generated and shown on a screen before you got to the ballot.  He also suggested that there should be no minimum voting age; if a 13-year-old girl could solve the quadratic, she should be allowed to vote.

Heinlein also suggested that voters should be military veterans with an honorable discharge in order to vote.  Which would disqualify me since I never served, but that’s on me, not anyone else.  (Besides, Heinlein left open the possibility that anyone could serve a term, discharge honorably, and obtain the franchise.)  For some reason this position got Heinlein labeled as a Nazi — or worse — by the soi-disant cognoscenti, few of whom ever actually read Starship Troopers and didn’t understand the logic behind it.

The childish minds at work in this video cannot possibly encompass the intelligence or the moral discipline to evaluate properly the issues of the day and cast a ballot accordingly.  Want to secure the ballot?  Start ensuring that the people who cast them can actually articulate their personal political and moral philosophy.  Mooning the Trump Tower in Chicago doesn’t rise to that level.  Kids and drunks do that kind of thing, not intelligent adults.

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Sic transit gloria baden-powell

I’ve been a Scout and Scouter most of my life.  39 years this year, in fact.

I’ve watched Scouting evolve from an organization that was about making boys into moral, competent men, into an organization that seemingly will stop at nothing to chase numbers.

From the abortive attempt to take the movement co-ed in my teen years — when the uniforms suddenly started sporting “Scouting USA” emblems rather than the familiar “Boy Scouts of America” tags (which came back pretty fast when it became apparent that the Girl Scouts took a dim view of the BSA poaching their gender) — to the varied crises of dealing with urban Scouting, youth protection, loss of interest when boys reached the “girls and gasoline” age, and a general societal shunning based on the fact that Scouting actually expected its adherents to cling to what was considered an outdated moral code — yeah, I’ve seen it all.

And now, the smart boys and girls in Irving have determined that it’s OK for transgender children to join packs and troops.

Leaving aside the question, “WTF is a transgender child, and how in hell does a child decide what gender it’s going to be,” this is absolute and utter insanity.

I have held my peace and gone along with changes that included allowing female leaders (in Boy Scouts; women have long been Den Mothers, or now, I suppose “Leaders”, in Cubs), gay Scouts, and finally gay leaders — the latter two regardless of the dictates of the Scout Oath and Law.  I have watched religious organizations, formerly the backbone of the BSA’s chartered partners, walk away from the program because it no longer reflected their principles.  I have watched troops that were formerly powerhouses become ghosts of their former selves.

And I have watched the general public, which used to approve heartily of the Boy Scouts, turn on it like a ravening pack of wolves, snarling that the movement is bigoted and outdated and shouldn’t be allowed to corrupt our youth.

This new wrinkle, though — I can’t go on pretending that these continued surrenders to public opinion on the part of the National Council don’t do violence to my concept of what Scouting is supposed to be about.  If you’re going to let everyone in, fine, let everyone in, quit pretending that the organization is any more than an activity like after-school sports, and just drop the whole moral and ethical framework that underpins the whole thing.

And be prepared, as it were, to lose people like me, who have made Scouting a part of their lives.  Because it won’t be Scouting anymore.

I have not been an active Scouter in a long time, but I’ve remained registered against the time that I might decide to become active again.  I’ve actually been working with a group that’s trying to start a STEM-oriented Venture crew (with little or no help from the local council, I might add, but in my long experience with the council, that’s not really much of a surprise).  But I’ve really stayed registered to keep my OA registration current, since I’m a Vigil member, and if I drop my BSA membership, that’s it for OA.  Doesn’t really matter, I guess, in the grand scheme of things.

All that goes down the hole at the end of the year.  If I’d known about this idiot move by National a few days earlier, I wouldn’t have bothered to re-up for 2017.  I already stopped giving money to the annual fundraisers several years ago when they decided it was OK to let gay leaders in.  And you can say what you like about that, but I’ll just refer you to the Oath and Law as I did above.  Either we have standards or we don’t.  And either we live up to those standards, or there’s no sense in pretending that we have them.

To paraphrase a certain former Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America:  I didn’t leave Scouting.  Scouting left me.

I guess I’ll be sitting on this log over here talking to Baden-Powell about the good old days.

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Another meme, another blind misunderstanding

My niece posted this on Facebook:

Uh-huh.  Let’s see about that.

Actually, the “wall” between church and state is not what people think it is.  It’s based on a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to a church, and the text of that letter is usually misinterpreted to mean religion and the state should be completely separate and have no influence on each other.  Which is impossible in real life.  Anyway, see Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists.  Read it carefully.  It doesn’t mean what most people think it does.

Same-sex marriage is the law of the land now, so that’s over with — not that it’s that big of a deal since the population affected is tiny; they simply scream and holler well over their weight class until people get tired of listening and another barrier is lowered.  However, the backlash is starting to cause something I have wanted to see for years — several states writing legislation to significantly reduce state control of marriage, which would in effect nullify the Supreme Court ruling regarding same sex marriage without outlawing it.  Indiana has a bill before the legislature right now to that effect.  So I’m all for anything that does that.  Why should anyone have to buy a license from the state in order to get married?*

Stem cell research goes on regardless of whether it’s funded federally or not.  The key is not the research itself, it’s whether federal money should be spent to further it.  And there have been compromises over the years to allow some federal funding.  I’m all for stem cell research as long as it’s done properly — there are some major breakthroughs coming in therapy because of stem cells.  But the original argument over the use of stem cells was that only embryonic stem cells would work, because only they are “pluripotent”, which goes back to the abortion argument.  After a lot of smoke and fire, it was discovered that adult stem cells can also be induced to be pluripotent.**  So there’s likely no pressing need to use embryonic stem cells in any case, which should mean properly-done stem cell research should bother exactly no one other than extreme Luddites.

Abortion, on the other hand, is murder in a lot of peoples’ opinion — and that’s hardly a religious question, unless you think you can only be moral if you are religious. And a “safe abortion” is a contradiction in terms anyway.  But it’s ALSO the law of the land, regardless of how you feel about the outcome of Roe v Wade.  My argument has long been that abortion needs to be removed from politics, because eventually the “Roe Effect” will take hold and it won’t be an issue anymore.***

TL;DR version:  I wish people would think about these things before they just generalize about them.  I’ve been thinking about them for over forty years, and a Facebook meme isn’t going to change my mind about any of them.

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* Of course, if people don’t vaccinate their kids, rubella is going to come back, and then the state will once again have a pressing interest in whether or not the potential mother is rubella-free.  But I’m sure that can be handled some other way.  Like by a family doctor testing her before or right after she gets pregnant.  (Before 1987, women had to have proof that they were rubella free before they could get married in Indiana.  In point of fact, even though this portion of the code was repealed in 1987, my wife still had to have a rubella test in 2000 before our county would give us the license.  Interesting.)

Also interesting is the fact that the bill in question in Indiana still prohibits polygamy.  Which is fine with me.

** I’m not going to go into this in depth, but the NIH says, “Human embryonic stem cells are thought to have much greater developmental potential than adult stem cells. This means that embryonic stem cells may be pluripotent—that is, able to give rise to cells found in all tissues of the embryo except for germ cells rather than being merely multipotent—restricted to specific subpopulations of cell types, as adult stem cells are thought to be. However, a newer type of reprogrammed adult cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, has proven to be pluripotent.”  NIH FAQ regarding stem cells, research question #2, accessed 1/24/2017; bold emphasis mine.

*** For those who can’t reach the linked 2005 WSJ article by James Taranto,

The Roe effect, however, refers specifically to the nexus between the practice of abortion and the politics of abortion. It seems self-evident that pro-choice women are more likely to have abortions than pro-life ones, and common sense suggests that children tend to gravitate toward their parents’ values. This would seem to ensure that Americans born after Roe v. Wade have a greater propensity to vote for the pro-life party–that is, Republican–than they otherwise would have.

In my opinion, there’s more to the Roe Effect than whether or not a child is aborted or allowed to come to term and be born; it also depends on the consequences of education for that child.  A child can be born into a family that considers abortion to be murder, and through indoctrination in our public schools, come to the conclusion that a fetus isn’t human and can therefore be safely disposed of.  Such families also generally believe that sex should be confined to marriage and that it is a sin to have intimate relations before marriage.  Young girls from such families who find themselves fallen pregnant (a interesting term) typically believe that their best option to avoid punishment or disapprobation from their parents is to get an abortion, even though abortion is far worse than simply accepting fate and keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption — which have more consequences in and of themselves.  Perhaps the true solution is to stop telling children that premarital sex is a sin and will be punished by $DEITY, and tell them instead that sex is indeed a wonderful thing, a sacred mystery if you will, but it can lead to bad consequences for young girls who engage in it — and make it clear that even if a daughter finds herself pregnant, she’ll still be loved and accepted and everything that can be done to support her will be done.  Because I’ll bet you more girls run away from home to find an abortion when they find out they’re pregnant whose parents go all fire and brimstone on them about premarital sex than those whose parents are proactive and supportive even if the worst happens.

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