The Real Issue With the VA

(This is part of the script for the latest episode of my podcast, "Consider This!". You can listen to it on the website, or subscribe to it in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Blubrry, Player.fm, or the podcast app of your choice.)

Presidential candidate Barack Obama, back in 2007, gave a speech titled “A Sacred Trust”. It was a speech about the military; his plans for it, and for the veterans who came home from it. Here is one thing he said in it, “No veteran should have to fill out a 23-page claim to get care, or wait months – even years – to get an appointment at the VA.”

How was he going to fulfill that goal? Here was his promise, “It’s time for comprehensive reform. When I am President, building a 21st century VA to serve our veterans will be an equal priority to building a 21st century military to fight our wars. My Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs will be just as important as my Secretary of Defense.” He followed that with specific changes he was going to make. But, whether he made those changes or not, whether or not vets are means-tested for care, whether or not VA budgets were passed on time every year, the result is still the same; long waits, and deaths due to them.

Obama knew of the problems in the VA before he became President. At least 5 years ago, he was warned about the specific wait time issue. What has changed? Nothing. And now he claiming he was shocked to hear about it; not from his advisors, but from the media. Let’s not forget that he was shocked about the IRS targeting conservatives, up until the point where he claimed that there was “not a smidgen of corruption”. I guess his views on that “evolved”.

There is another line from that speech that I think bears considering. His plans for the VA were a blueprint for something else. “The VA will also be at the cutting edge of my plan for universal health care, with better preventive care, more research and specialty treatment, and more Vet Centers, particularly in rural areas.” That’s right. ObamaCare was the next step, and what’s happening now with the VA is the future of what’s going to be happening with you. Centralized health care, or passing laws to create facilities and doctors out of thin air, doesn’t work.

And honestly, this has been the issue for decades. It didn’t start when Obama was elected. Presidents from both parties have presided over this long-running debacle, some say as far back as the Kennedy administration, because the fundamental problems are always there. On MSNBC, one of their military analysts, Army Col. Jack Jacobs, spoke on The Reid Report about how Veterans Affairs Sec. Eric Shinseki was a good guy and was doing a good job, but in the end, the VA’s system of health care itself cannot give us what we need from it, regardless of how much money you throw at it.

Yeah, that really aired on MSNBC. But if the VA is the blueprint for ObamaCare, then the question is this: If we can’t take care of those we are the most indebted to, how is it going to work for all of us? Centralization like this – one of the pillars of the liberal view of government – is a failure. It has been shown not to work, specifically with regards to health care, and yet we just keep doing it bigger and costlier. Vets are dying in service to this social and political experiment. That’s certainly not the war they signed up for.

And in the meantime, Army Private and convicted felon Bradley Manning has been on the fast-track to get his sex change. Got to have your priorities.

The White House vowed to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by year’s end. That’s if they agree to leave. Comedian Argus Hamilton says, if given the choice between surviving Taliban attacks in the Afghan mountains and surviving VA care when they get home, they like their chances in the mountains.

    Unique Lawsuit Against ObamaCare

    George Will, writing in the Washington Post, highlights a very novel lawsuit working its way through the courts. Essentially, the thought process of the suit goes like this:

    1. The Constitution says explicitly that, “All bills for raising reveornue [that’s the 1700s spelling of “revenue”] shall originate in the House of Representatives”.
    2. The ObamaCare bill originated in the Senate. No problem there, but…
    3. The Supreme Court, in what Will calls a “creative” reading of the law, called the bill a “tax” on certain activity (or, in the case of ObamaCare, inactivity).
    4. As a tax, it is therefore a revenue bill, but it did not originate in the House, and is therefore unconstitutional.

    Ya’ gotta’ wonder if Chief Justice John Roberts played rope-a-dope with the liberals on the bench in creating this particular interpretation, and was hoping someone out there would notice.

    There are some other issues with how the bill was created, and reading this short piece, from a link in the show notes, is incredibly enlightening. Keep an eye on Matt Sissel and the Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit. We may be hearing about it more prominently in the months to come.

      Shoving Us Down the Slope

      The liberal-leaning magazine, The New Republic, had an article recently in which it re-redefines marriage. Titled “It’s Time to Ditch Monogamy”, it tries to make the case that the idea of a single spouse is just so “outdated”, as they put it. Their arguments are:

      • We’re living longer, which can lead to boredom.
      • Young people are used to “varied and transient love affairs.”
      • Girls can be more independent now than they could 50 years ago.
      • And basically, after a while, we just can’t help ourselves over our urges to wander, so to speak.

      The only lip service Helen Croydon, the author, pays to the major responsibility of child rearing is to note that, hey, women can get artificially inseminated. Never mind that she’s encouraging the difficulty of single motherhood, reducing men to sperm donors, and ignoring the huge task of actually raising a child. No, it’s all just a technological hurdle to overcome.

      As I’ve said before, cross one line, and there’s always another line to cross, another cultural norm to overturn. Remember, it’s conservatives that look to tradition and experience to determine the best course of action, while liberals are, by their own definition, “progressive”; trying out new things and throwing off old ideas, because, in their mind, this new thing ought to work, based on whatever arguments they can come up with. Hey, we’re bored, we can’t help ourselves, so let’s chuck these ideas that have worked in the past and try some social experimenting that may or may not actually work better, but at least we’ll feel better about ourselves after we indulge ourselves.

      That is a recipe for a slippery slope, one that has been, rather easily, predicted by conservatives.

        I Now Pronounce You Man and Machine

        A man in Florida is suing to be allowed to marry his pornography-filled computer. Chris Sevier would like to marry his Macbook, who, for the purposes of this post, I’ll just call “Mac”.

        Chris tried to get a license to marry Mac, but apparently was turned down. Clearly, Florida is against true marriage equality, and apparently prefers PCs. Why else would they allow for this sort of discrimination?

        Listen to some of what Chris says, and you, too, just might be won over.

        If gays have the right to “marry their object of sexual desire, even if they lack corresponding sexual parts, then I should have the right to marry my preferred sexual object.”

        If gays feel as is they are second class citizens, Mr Sevier argues then “those of us in the real minority, who want to marry machines and animals, certainly feel like third class citizens”.

        “Allowing my marriage to go forward will not adversely impact the fertility rate any more or less than a same sex couples.”

        “If there is a risk that is posed to traditional marriage and children, both man-man couples and man-machine couples pose it equally.”

        “In considering the equal protection clause, there are no fewer policy reasons for preventing man-machine couples from marrying than there are for same-sex couples.”

        Florida, as well as Utah, where he filed another suit, both turned him down. But how different, really, are his arguments than the ones for same-sex marriage. True, the main difference is that Mac isn’t sentient and can’t truly give consent for this, but the arguments are still quite similar. If who you love is the only determiner of who you can marry, who’s to say who you’re allowed to love?

        Or maybe, just maybe, marriage is actually about more than just love. Maybe, there’s a purpose, a goal, which marriage was the answer to, and the further we get away from it, the more pointless it will become.

          Same-sex Marriage vs. State Sovereignty

          States? States? We don’t need no stinkin’ states! At least, that’s what a federal judge said last month. The state of Ohio does not have same-sex marriage, but the just said that they had to recognize a marriage license for one that was granted in another state.

          Well let me ask you, does the state of Ohio have to recognize law licenses, or medical licenses, or even hunting licenses from other states? No, they don’t. They may grant some leeway for licenses professionals from other states, they certainly don’t have to. It is within their state’s rights not to recognize them at all.

          The judge in the case cited the tradition of Ohio recognizing marriages from other states that Ohio itself would not have allowed. He didn’t say specifically, but I’m guessing things like marriages between people who are related to closely. In 2004, Ohio broke with tradition and passed a ban on recognizing same-sex marriage. But the judge seems to think that tradition is somehow legally binding. Ohio was well within its rights to make such a law, as it can with other license recognitions. But the judge was apparently channeling Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof”; “Traditiooon!”

          Well anyway, I guess we can now start applying this new legal concept to things like gun licenses, eh? No, we can’t? This wouldn’t have anything to do with politics or activist judges of a particular leaning now, would it?

            The "Tolerance Police" Claim Their Next Victim

            I mentioned the case of Brendan Eich a little while ago. He’s the genius that basically invented JavaScript, which web programmers are very familiar with and have been using since 1995. He co-founded Mozilla, the company that produces, among other things, the Firefox web browser. He was going to be the company’s CEO recently, until someone noticed he gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 effort in California to keep marriage to mean one-man-one-woman. He was run out of the company for what I called a Thought Crime. He was eminently qualified to be the CEO of the company, but because he had the politically incorrect idea that marriage should mean what it’s meant for millennia, he was pressured to resign. There were no allegations that he had ever treated someone badly because of their sexual orientation, but he had, according to some, the wrong idea about marriage, and therefore he was unfit to be CEO of the technology company he helped create.

            That’s what I want to stress here. In every other way, he was qualified for the job, but he had opinions that some disagreed with, and they created an atmosphere where Eich could not function in that job. That, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely what the word “intolerance” means. The irony is that those who created that atmosphere would very likely consider themselves the tolerant ones. The sad part is, they are unable to see intolerance in themselves because of the way they have redefined the word “intolerance” to mean “disagreeing with me”.

            That was exhibit A. Exhibit B showed up a couple weeks ago when twin brothers Jason and David Benham were green-lit to host a new show on Home and Garden TV – HGTV – about fixing up dilapidated houses for families in need. Who in the world could be against that?

            Well, in a radio interview, David Benham said this, and made some people mad.

            Read the rest of this entry

              From the "Now They Tell Us" Department

              The Associated Press is breaking news that those of us who were paying attention knew about at least 6 months ago.

              The first thing Michelle Pool did before picking a plan under President Barack Obama’s health insurance law was check whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.

              Pool’s $352 a month gold plan through Covered California’s exchange was cheaper than what she’d paid under her husband’s insurance and seemed like a good deal because of her numerous pre-existing conditions. But after her insurance card came in the mail, the Vista, California resident learned her doctor wasn’t taking her new insurance.

              "It’s not fun when you’ve had a doctor for years and years that you can confide in and he knows you," Pool said. "I’m extremely discouraged. I’m stuck."

              Stories like Pool’s are emerging as more consumers realize they bought plans with limited doctor and hospital networks, some after websites that mistakenly said their doctors were included.

              Now we know why her policy’s cheaper. You get what you pay for.

                Thought Crimes

                Charles C. W. Cooke calls it fascism. I think that may be a little overwrought, but there’s no escaping the reality that, if you think something politically incorrect these days, your job is in peril.

                Another day, another witch hunt — this time in duplicate. “Twin brothers David and Jason Benham,” CNN reports, “have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.” On Tuesday, the pair was gearing up for their new role; by sundown the next day, the network had announced tersely that it had “decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series.” And that, as they say, was that.

                HGTV’s mind was allegedly changed by a post on the blog Right Wing Watch, where the duo was described as being “anti-gay” and “anti-choice.” That post, David Benham told Erin Burnett yesterday, “was too much for them to bear — they had to make a business decision.” How sad. Certainly, the Benhams hold some heterodox views. They are not merely opposed to abortion and gay marriage, but critical of divorce, adultery, Islam, pornography, “perversion,” the “demonic ideologies” that have crept into the nation’s “universities and . . . public school systems,” and the general culture of “activist” homosexuality, which, David contends, is inextricably tied up with a wider “agenda that is attacking the nation.” But so bloody what? They were tapped to host a home-improvement show, not rewrite the Constitution.

                It matters not, however, to the "tolerant" Left, for whom that word now means "agrees with me". Redefining long-understood definitions seems to be their stock in trade, along with the word "marriage".

                Future students of language will wonder at the period in our history in which it was said with a straight face that diversity required uniformity, tolerance necessitated intolerance, and liberalism called for dogma. Of late, we have been told that Brandeis University is simply too open-minded to hear from a critic of Islam, that Mozilla believes too vehemently in “freedom of speech” to refrain from punishing a man for his private views, and that a respect for the audience of a show about duck hunting demands that we suspend a man for expressing his religious views in an unrelated interview. “Never,” David Benham confirmed in an interview with CNN, “have I spoken against homosexuals, as individuals, and gone against them. I speak about an agenda.” Later, he added that “that’s really what the point of this is — that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith.” Say, now where might he have got hold of that idea?

                  Benghazi: Smoking Gun, or All Smoke

                  When the latest memo to come out of the Benghazi investigation came out…

                  OK, let me back up. Actually, the memo was never given to the Congressional investigation. It took a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch for this memo to come out. So for starters, it really looks like the administration did not want this out in public.

                  The thrust of the message was clear: Protect Obama’s image (and re-election efforts) at all costs; American interests and the American public’s right to know be damned. It contained four bullet points:

                  –”To convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad;

                  –”To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy;

                  –”To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice, and standing steadfast through these protests;

                  –”To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

                  Remember, this all happened in the heat of the President’s re-election campaign. As to the bullet points, we now know that the US was not doing everything it could to protect the consulate, the protest were not rotted in an Internet video (and the administration knew that almost immediately after the incident), we did not bring anyone to justice (not even now, 20 months after the incident), which goes to show that the President and the Administration do not have strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.

                  But the kiester-covering was in full swing and scapegoats were worth their weight in gold.

                  In his congressional testimony, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said that then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is the one who linked the video to the Benghazi attacks but that the video was not part of the CIA analysis. In other words, the administration made it up out of whole cloth to deflect blame for its policy failures in relaxing the war on terror…

                  Indeed, the day after the event:

                  An email on Sept. 12, 2012, to Rice from Payton Knopf, deputy spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, confirmed the attacks were “planned in advance” and “complex,” not spontaneous in reaction to a video.

                  Poor Jay Carney had the unenviable job of trying to deny that these memos had anything to do with Benghazi, even though they were provided due to a FOIA request about…Benghazi.

                  The fact that they, indeed, speak to the Benghazi issues specifically, but the administration hung on to these memos and did not give them to Darrell Issa and the committee, shows just how revealing they are.

                  But only now are the mainstream media noticing this story. The Benghazi hearings have been pitifully covered. The idea that this has been a “Fox News story” (as though they made it up) only came because they gave it the coverage it deserved, while the rest of the media sat on its collective hands. Now, even ABC news reporters found themselves amazed at the stonewalling and dissembling.

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                  But even with that, ABC has been very reluctant to report on it. Even the President has called out Fox on this — no other network — so you know it’s been getting short shrift elsewhere. And at other networks, without coming out directly and saying it, the news executives suddenly wouldn’t find time to report on it.

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                  Yes, the daily interviews from the committee can be yawners, and it’s not always breaking news. That much is true. But it’s also true that the latest revelations are news, and even that is getting reported primarily by Fox.

                  Oh, and MSNBC? Yeah, never mind about them. If it doesn’t have a link to Chris Christie and “Bridgegate” (where nobody died), they don’t care much about it.

                  This is important. If you news outlet isn’t covering it, you may need to switch sources.

                    Health Care Coverage vs. Health Care

                    There’s a difference between getting heath care coverage, and actually getting health care. In the US, you could always get health care. Emergency rooms had to see you whether or not you could pay them. And there were various free clinics, like one in Mountain View, California.

                    The Rotacare clinic was happy to help out their patients in getting ObamaCare coverage so they’d no longer need the free clinic. Months later, however, the same people are coming back. Why? They can’t find a doctor taking more patients or who are accepting the plans.

                    Conservatives warned that exactly this thing would happen, years ago. It was handwaved away as scare tactics. But it’s Californians who are scared now, about having to pay premiums, subsidized though they may be, and not be able to actually use what they paid for.

                    Millions of Californians have been added to the ranks of the insured, but 1/3 of California primary care physicians are set to retire. What are we going to do now? We passed a law that said insurance should be magically cheaper. That didn’t work. So then let’s pass a law to make doctors magically appear!

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