Thursday, 24 October 2019 16:44

The perils of medical care bureaucracy

The high cost of medical care is on the lips of every politician and draining the pocketbooks of most Americans. After creating the Medicare/Medicaid monster, the government’s expanded intervention into the medical care marketplace with the inaptly named Affordable Care Act doubled the premiums and deductibles for both employer-sponsored and individual insurance. Piling on more laws, regulations, and agencies is not the answer.

Anonymity, complexity, and opacity invite shady behavior. Individuals, companies, and patients who defraud the massive federal “health system” would never dream of lifting money from their patients’ wallets or stealing from their doctors’ cash drawer.

The government’s track record does not bode well for imposing more bureaucracy to remedy a problem created by the layers of third-party payer bureaucracy. Waste, fraud, and abuse are so rampant that the government has a Medicare Strike Force to root out and recover lost federal funds. Medicare fraud—about $60 billion in 2016 alone—is about 10 percent of Medicare’s total payments. By contrast the typical private business loses 5 percent of its revenues to fraud. Unfortunately, since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Strike Force has recouped less than $2 billion per year in misappropriated funds.

Medicare’s $16.7 billion per year hospice program is fertile ground for the unscrupulous. Hospices are paid a fixed daily sum for each patient enrolled “regardless of the services provided.” One amoral scheme recruits patients who unknowingly forgo curative treatment options by joining hospice. A recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) report revealed that in 2012 hospices billed Medicare more than $250 million for services to patients in long-term care or assisted-living residences who did not require hospice care, costing four times more than the appropriate level of care. Even worse, the OIG found that the quality of care suffered in 31 percent of programs. The bureaucratic morass allows the perpetrators to pocket the fixed fee and skimp on the services.

Further, the government cannot keep track of its program dollars. According to another OIG audit, in 2009, Medicare Prescription Drug program paid $33.6 million and hospice patients paid $3.8 million for medications that should have been included in the hospice daily fee. Even after discovering the snafu, the problem got exponentially worse. In 2016 the government paid $160.8 million for drugs that hospice organizations should have paid for from its fixed daily fee. Our tax dollars paid for the drugs twice.

Physicians know what patients want and are acting on it. Free from the restraints of government “healthcare” programs, the physician-led, price-transparent, direct-pay Surgery Center of Oklahoma performs some surgeries for less than the copays of some insurance policies. Direct Primary Care physicians provide 24/7 access and basic labs for as little as $50 per month with at-cost medications and low-priced x-rays.

The corporate private sector has learned a thing or two from innovative physicians. Care Accelerator is Sam’s Club’s version of “affordable [medical care] options with transparent pricing.” To offer relief from high out-of-pocket costs, $50 (individual) to $240 per year (families) buys access to lab screening for diabetes and heart disease, free generic drugs, telehealth, and up to a 30 percent discount on vision, dental, and other ancillary services. Additionally, Walmart is training its own employees for jobs in the health sector and ideally to staff Walmart’s own medical services. For their employees, Apple has “health care built around you” with its AC Wellness that offers office and home visits; Amazon launched its Amazon Care telemedicine services.

Given the outrageous price of drugs—largely due to the pharmacy benefit manager middlemen—Good Rx discount coupons are just what the doctor ordered. Good Rx is free to the consumer and makes money from advertisements on the website and referral fees. One typical victory is a Medicare patient whose neurologist prescribed a drug for his Parkinson’s disease symptoms. The government demanded testing that could not be done because of the patients debilitated condition. Despite a sympathetic ear and supporting research, the government arbiter could only parrot the party line: because the drug was not on the “list,” it was not covered by Medicare. In a fortunate twist of fate, with a Good Rx coupon the patient paid $34 per month cash instead of the drug’s $1,100 per month price with 20 percent patient co-pay that would have been charged through the Medicare Prescription Drug program.            

Congress claims it plans a full-frontal attack on the high cost of medical care (with the same results as the war on poverty and drugs?). Frankly, we are better off with Congress engrossed in its impeachment clown show and keeping its nose out of our medical business.

 

Dr. Singleton is a guest columnist. Her opinions are her own. Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is Immediate Past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. This is an edited version of her column that originally appeared on pennypress.com. Reprinted with permission.  

Published in Health

United States Attorney General Bill Barr recently addressed some important issues at the University of Notre Dame.  Excerpts follow (edited for space).

From the Founding Era onward, there was strong consensus about the centrality of religious liberty in the United States.

The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety.  It reflects the Framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.  

They crafted a magnificent charter of freedom – the United States Constitution – which provides for limited government, while leaving “the People” broadly at liberty to pursue our lives both as individuals and through free associations.

This quantum leap in liberty has been the mainspring of unprecedented human progress, not only for Americans, but for people around the world.

In the 20th century, our form of free society has faced a severe test.   

Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

But, if you rely on the coercive power of government to impose restraints, this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you will end up with no liberty, just tyranny.  

So, the Founders decided to take a gamble.  They called it a great experiment.

They would leave “the People” broad liberty, limit the coercive power of government, and place their trust in self-discipline and the virtue of the American people.   

[I]n the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.  

Modern secularists dismiss this idea of morality as other-worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy.  In fact, Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.

They reflect the rules that are best for man, not in the by and by, but in the here and now.  

I think we all recognize that over the past 50 years religion has been under increasing attack.  

On the other hand, we see the growing ascendency of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.

By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground.  

Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in sense less violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.  

[T]he campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery.  And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy.  

First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today.  This is not decay: it is organized destruction.  Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy, but also to drown out and silence opposing voices, and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.

One of the ironies … is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor.  It is taking on the trappings of a religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.  

But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of alleviator of bad consequences.  We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.

So, the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion.

The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites.

The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage.  While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

More next week.

 

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Ron Knecht is a contributing editor to the Penny Press - the conservative weekly "voice of Nevada." You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column which has been reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

I’m not an expert on foreign affairs.

 

I live in rural Nevada amongst people who believe in America First, Donald Trump, the Second Amendment, self-reliance, generosity, limited government and God.  

 

We are the people about who Barack Obama once said,  “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”  In short, we’re Hillary’s “deplorables”.  The 63,000,000 people who elected Donald Trump.

 

That said, I’ll bet I know at least as much as the talking heads on TV who know nearly nothing but sure want to tell us how President Trump should conduct an endless war in the Middle East.

 

Let’s put the Kurds versus Turkey in perspective, as an example.

 

The Kurds have been fighting the Turks for hundreds if not thousands of years.  That’s what they like to do in the Middle East.  They’ve been fighting each other so long they probably could not tell you why.  They are the Arab version of the Hatfield's and the McCoy's.

 

Nobody has any real number of how many of each other they have killed.

 

But, it’s a lot.  Maybe as many as a million.

 

So, our President asked a reasonable question.  What are our interests there and why is it worth the life of a single American soldier?

 

He came up with a reasonable answer.  Now that we are a net exporter of oil, we have very limited interests there and they are not worth a warm bucket of spit much less the life of a single American soldier.  And, if we need to choose our friends, we have only one true friend in the region—Israel, which we helped found.  Occasionally, we can count the Saudis in that category as well, when it suits them.

 

As for the rest of the area, the historical truth has always been that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  When they need us, they become the enemies of our enemies and suck us into their intramural battles so we can have young American men and women killed to suit their needs—whatever they may be.

 

Is any of that worth even a single bandage on, much less the life of one American soldier?

 

It’s not worth a bandage on, much less the life of, one bomb sniffing dog.

 

So, why are we there?  Because we are afraid to fight wars to win them.  We apparently learned that in Viet Nam.

 

After the 9-11 attacks, we—and I mean BOTH sides—made some bad decisions, not the least of which was NOT using weapons to wipe out Al Qaeda which would leave such a lasting scar that these morons would NEVER attack us again.  Do we have small tactical nuclear weapons designed to turn a Al Qaeda or ISIS training camp into glass?  Of course we do.  Unfortunately, we have a State Department which is part of the deep state and would counsel the President such a move would end the world.  Why it would be a “violation of the rules of war.”  Rules of war?  Who are they kidding?

 

One thing is sure.  Like the death penalty, it would make sure that these killer clowns would never harm an innocent civilian again.

 

And, for the record, 1,600,000 people live today in those two cities we bombed in 1945.

 

But Harry Truman had the cojones to end the war.  I’m guessing that Donald Trump does as well.  I’m also guessing he will exhaust every alternative before he reaches into our arsenal that deeply.

 

By NOT having a President who is part of the failures since Viet Nam, our chances of coming up with both new and old solutions is greatly enhanced.

 

Of course, I’m not an expert in foreign affairs.

 

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Fred Weinberg is a guest columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion

For better or worse, it seems clear that Senator Elizabeth Warren is the frontrunner to become the Democratic nominee in the 2020 election against President Trump. It’s not just me saying it. Pretty much every website that covers politics says it too. And the other candidates certainly believe it, because on Tuesday evening (the 15th of October) at the CNN debate they all went after Warren the way you do when there is an obvious front runner. Most of it didn’t stick, although I do think Warren needs to answer some specific questions about her Medicare plan as in, who’s paying for it? Because lots of folks ask her and so far, she kind of dodges. 

Other than that, I think she’s a fine candidate. Warren does not have the negative baggage that Hilary Clinton had and conservatives seem to be overly, “meh” about Warren. It’s not like the targeted conservative rage that men seem to have for AOC or Representative Omar. It's more of a dismissive dislike against Warren and they seem to regard her as nothing special outside of being another “stupid libtard.” 

But Liberals love her. They really do. But, can Warren win over undecideds and moderates? Well, that there is the winning ticket, ain’t it?  And … well … I don’t know. Again, she doesn’t have the Clinton baggage, I mean, there were lots of folks that hated Hilary! Some of the reasons to dislike Hilary Clinton were warranted, most were not. I think Warren is generally going to be recognized as a much more likable Hillary. If you’ve heard any of Warren’s speeches she actually just comes off as honest and good natured. That’s a huge plus.  

Moody’s doesn’t seem to think it matters much, though. Their analytical department has been fairly accurate predicting presidential races since 1980 and they see Trump winning in all scenarios except for one - extremely high voter turnout. (On the other hand, it should be noted that they had Hillary Clinton winning against Trump. So, there’s that). But that’s interesting. Their fairly accurate analytics department is pretty sure Trump is going to win, unless, of course, a HUGE number of people turn out to vote, and then they’re pretty sure the Democratic nominee will win. 

I’ve been hearing this my entire adult life. If more voters turned out, it becomes less likely that modern Republicans would win. I am making no judgement one way or another I’m just saying that I think that’s interesting. And it’s nothing new. 

So far I don’t see the fear mongering against Warren that usually happens in elections. You know what I mean, attack ads with scary music that say things like, “She’s the most liberal nominee ever and she’s coming for your guns, your bibles and your dinosaurs!”  =)

Of course, she’s not the nominee yet. She’s just the front runner, which may or may not change. Once the actual nominee is in, I’m sure the fear mongering attack ads will come. 

But they really don’t need to because, here’s the thing, the fear mongering ads, on both sides of the aisle - very, very rarely, if ever - come true! I hesitate to say never but in all honestly it’s probably a lot closer to never than rarely. They do seem to scare folks though. They just never come true. (Hardly, ever). 

Look, Warren is smart. She’s an academic, she’s a former professor and she’s been in the Senate for several years. In the same way that McCain defended Obama at one of the republican rallies from a voter who said she couldn’t trust Obama because he’s an “Arab,” conservatives should be pretty okay with the idea of an incredibly smart, academic politician in the oval office. She’s not some Lex Luthor-esq super villain looking to turn the U.S. into 1970’s communist Russia.

No one, and I mean NO ONE wants to turn the entire country into a communist socialist regime. There are people that want some socialized programs. Considering we already have a bunch of them - the police department, emergency rooms, the fire department, the DMV, public libraries and even, get this … the NFL.

That’s right, except for the Dallas Cowboys who bought themselves out in the 1970’s, all the other teams evenly split money that goes into the NFL, so that no single team has a money advantage over any other team. Which, is kind of like socialism and it’s not scary. It actually makes sense to do it that way.

I mean, it’s not exactly socialism, but close enough that any reasonable person who watches the NFL but rages against any kind of government program being socialized, should at least go, “Hmmm. Maybe a couple government programs could be socialized without the country going to hell in a handbasket.” 

Here’s a fun thought, how many republican NFL fans do you think will actually stop watching the NFL, if they were to find out that NFL is pretty socialist? 

Probably, not many. Mostly likely, none. But that’s just a guess. 

Anyway, all I’m trying to say is that Elizabeth Warren is not some scary socialist loon that’s going to strip away all your private rights and hand them over to the government. Keep in mind that there was a time when Democrats said things like, “We should try out Social Security & a G.I. Bill” and Republicans lost their minds and said the country would fall apart if you did either of those treasonous, libtard socialist programs! 

Looks like they were wrong. While it's true that the Baby Boomer generation is putting social security at risk, can you honestly tell me that it’s been a bad idea and /or that the G.I. Bill is a crazy socialist plot? I mean, think about that, there were once Republicans that raged against the idea of FDR’s G.I. Bill. 

If universal health care passes in the United States, I have almost no doubt that fifty years from now, when most of us are gone, the vast, overwhelming majority of the country will be like, “Can you imagine that people used to rage against the idea of universal health care? I mean, if you tried to take my universal health care from me or my family, they would have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.” 

Indeed.

Published in Politics

Just last week, I again heard this president talking of our purified democracy.  Democracy, Mr. President?  Really?  When did we become a democracy?

Over and over again and administration after administration, Americans have been continually inundated with this sort of propaganda coming from those who should know the difference (Hosea 4:6).

To say that we are a democracy shows the very pith and marrow of the ignorance that is on a daily display coming from those who are to uphold our enumerated laws found in our constitutional republican form of government.

Architect of the First Amendment Fisher Ames said:

“A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.  The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness (excessive license) which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.”

James Madison, 4th President and Father of our Constitution, said of democracy:

“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security of personal rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been in their violent deaths.” 

No matter how many times I broadcast this or preach this from the pulpits across the country, I see that the people continuously return to what they are told from these politicians, which are incrementally undermining our constitutional republic by convincing you that we are a democracy (Jeremiah 5:31).  

The 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson said:

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”  

The 2nd President of the United States, John Adams said:

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” 

Is this what is happening today? Yes, in fact, it is. 

Yet again, Americans continually follow the example of those who are perverting this nation's foundations rather than those who established them (Hebrews 13:7).

Now, they are even going so far as to take on a language that is foreign to our US Constitution. 

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful…”-George Orwell

The American people, under the tutelage of those who are undermining our foundations, have conditioned themselves to speak the same language as their teachers. In the end, it is designed to divide and conquer. 

“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” -Mark 3:25

Now, there are over 101 un-constitutional party affiliations or caucuses (As was a new Muslim Caucus most recently added).  Caucus was not a word defined in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for the Colonies were ruled by ecclesiastical law (Canon Law), not party affiliations. In other words, Americans, we are ruled by constitutional law (Article 6, Section 2, US Constitution), not by your favorite politicians found today in the “Circus of Politics.”

We were warned long ago about taking on this language.

George Washington said, in his 1796 Farewell Address, that political parties “are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

He went on to argue:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

What Washington called “the spirit of party” was, he argued, “inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind”—namely, the tribal passion to separate the world into “we” vs. “they,” into rival and competing groups. This spirit can then easily become a desire to see “our side” win, regardless of whether our side is better than “their side” and regardless of the issues at stake or the facts of the matter.”

President John Adams provided a far more succinct comment on the matter. 

"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution." - Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780), "The Works of John Adams", vol 9, p.511

How is it that the un-Constitutional, two-party system is set up today? In contrast, to its original intent (Jeremiah 6:16).

In the United States Constitution, Article 4, Section 4, US Constitution it states: 

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, against domestic Violence.

Divide and Conquer - Republicans vs. Democrats

 

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Bradlee Dean is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions are his own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the Genesis Communication Network. Bradlee's radio program, The Sons of Liberty, broadcasts live M - Sat here at GCN. This is an edited version of an op-ed originally published by Sons of Liberty Media at www.sonsoflibertyradio.com. Reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
Wednesday, 16 October 2019 22:08

Dumb kids and Che Guevara

Let’s say that all you knew about Adolf Hitler was that he painted scenic pictures, postcards, and houses in Vienna, loved dogs and named his adorable German Shepard “Blondie,” and frequently expressed solidarity with “the people.” You might sport a T-shirt adorned with his image if you thought such a charismatic chap was also good-looking in a beret. But your education would be widely regarded as incomplete.

If you later found out that the guy on your T-shirt was a mass murderer, you might ask your oppression studies professor why she left out a few important details.

This hypothetical resembles a real-world phenomenon seen today on numerous college campuses. Fifty-two years after his demise in Bolivia—on October 9, 1967—the maniacal socialist Ernesto “Che” Guevara is still making headlines and spoiling perfectly good clothes.

In film and pop culture, Che comes off as an adventurous motorcyclist, a humble-living commoner, a romantic egalitarian revolutionary, and a swashbuckling sex symbol. His ghastly history as one of Fidel Castro’s favorite thugs routinely gets whitewashed because, in spite of all the murders, he supposedly had good intentions (read: hate the rich, concentrate power, eliminate dissent, help the poor by creating more of them).

In his remarkable 2007 volume, Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him, acclaimed journalist Humberto Fontova contrasted the fiction with the facts in these terms:

Who Was “Che” Guevara?

Myth: International man of the people. Humanitarian. Brave freedom fighter. Lover of literature and life. Advocate of the poor and oppressed.

Reality: Cold-blooded murderer. Sadistic torturer. Power-hungry materialist. Terrorist who inspired destruction and bloodshed through Latin America.

Here are some lesser-known info bits about the psychopath-on-the-T-shirt, drawn from Fontova’s book and other sources:

  • He publicly applauded the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and denounced the student protesters battling Soviet tanks in Budapest as “fascists.”
  • Upon the victory of the 1959 communist revolution in Cuba, Che commandeered for himself one of the most luxurious mansions in Havana—complete with a yacht harbor, monster swimming pool, seven bathrooms, sauna and massage salon, and five television sets.
  • Che played a leading role in the Cuban Literacy Campaign of 1961 and, at the same time, helped direct the regime’s brutal policy of crushing dissenting opinion and opposition media. As Fontova documented in his biography, Che “promoted book burning and signed death warrants for authors who disagreed with him.” Communist despots routinely teach reading and writing but work even harder at making sure you only read and write what they want you to. Che’s first public book-burning set more than 3,000 books ablaze on a Havana street.
  • Even Che’s adoring hagiographer, Jorge Castaneda, admits that Che “played a central role in establishing Cuba’s security machinery” in the early days of the Castro regime. In that capacity, Che supervised the torture and execution of untold thousands of Cubans without trial. He had a special affection for firing squads.
  • Cuban poet and diplomat Armando Valladares, author of Against All Hope: My 22 Years in Castro’s Gulag, says Che “was a man full of hatred” who executed people “who never once stood trial and were never declared guilty” and who declared, “At the smallest of doubt we must execute.”
  • Che was no equal opportunity oppressor. He held special dislike for gays, whom he incarcerated in multiple prisons. He was a well-known racist, as well.

Fidel Castro appointed Che Guevara as communist Cuba’s first “Economics Minister” and president of the country’s National Bank. Within months, the Cuban peso was practically worthless. Castro appointed him Minister of Industries, too. In that job, Che proved equally incompetent. He once bought a fleet of snowplows from Czechoslovakia because he thought they would make excellent sugar cane harvesters but, sadly, the machines simply squashed and killed the plants.

Che was Castro’s economic czar, though he knew nothing about economics beyond Marxist bumper stickers. His former deputy Ernesto Betancourt said Che was “ignorant of the most elementary economic principles.” Nonetheless, he actually wrote communist Cuba’s agrarian reform law, limiting the size of all farms and creating state-run communes. Production plummeted and is still lower today than before the revolution.

The Soviet missiles in Cuba that nearly precipitated a world war in 1962 were Che’s idea. When the Soviets were pressured by the Kennedy administration to remove them, Che publicly declared that if the missiles had been under Cuban control, they would have been fired at the US because the cause of socialism was worth “millions of atomic-war victims.”

Che left Cuba in 1965 to foment violent insurrections first in Africa and then back in Latin America. He was captured by the Bolivian military on October 8, 1967, and administered a dose of his own summary medicine the next day.

Bottom line: Think twice (actually, just once ought to be enough) about adding a Che Guevara T-shirt to your Christmas giving this year.

 

Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Ambassador for Global Liberty at the Foundation for Economic Education. His opinions are his own. This article originally appeared on fee.org, then pennypress. Reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
Wednesday, 16 October 2019 21:00

Making Biden's kid wealthy

My father was a big shot in the worlds of engineering and education.

 

He retired as the Dean of the College of Engineering at Bradley University after a years long career, producing hundreds of engineers for companies like Caterpillar.  One of those young engineers was NOT me.

 

If I had come to his office one day, when I was still in college, and told my father that Caterpillar had hired me for (this was the 70s) say a mere $20,000 a month in an unspecified position with unspecified responsibilities he would have come unglued.

 

He would NOT have been proud and congratulated me.  

 

He would have rightfully called the Chairman at Caterpillar (in those days, his friend William L. Naumann), demand I be fired and would never have allowed such a conflict of interest to take place.  (I actually had to fight him over the $200 a month job of running the University’s radio station and he ultimately did have me fired after two years.)

 

Contrast that with former Vice President Joe Biden.

 

His son, Hunter, is a drug addict who got himself kicked out of the Navy.  Serious skillset there.

 

His father basically had a few responsibilities as Vice President.  In addition to staying alive in the event of the President’s untimely demise, two of those were representing President Obama’s policies in China and the Ukraine.

 

After he got kicked out of the United States Navy, Hunter hitched a ride to China on Air Force Two and a few days after they returned, Hunter’s private equity company got a BILLION dollar “investment” from China’s government.

 

Imagine that.  Coincidence?

 

Doubtful.  But to listen to the former Vice President, sonny boy didn’t do anything wrong—like he intimated the Trump children have.  There is, however, a difference.  The Trump children were in business long before their father ran for President.

 

Does Joe really want to take the position that someone who is a businessman CANNOT serve in public office? 

 

You see, Donald Trump is the first President we have had in many years who is NOT part of the political club.  Who is so wealthy he cannot be bought, despite the ridiculous claims by people that, somehow, he has become enriched by becoming President. However much the media hates him, it would be very hard for a President as vilified as he to actually increase his net worth while in office.

 

And his inability to be bought is just another reason he is vilified by people and institutions which would love to buy him.

 

How is it that a clown like Joe Biden could use his position to make his son wealthy and look the media in the eye and say that nothing was done wrong?  That during his tenure there was no corruption?

 

Simple.

 

That’s the very swamp which Trump is in the process of draining.  People expect this crap in DC, just as they used to expect the mob to control Chicago, New York and Las Vegas.

 

Biden would have you believe that he’s an honest man in Washington—that Donald Trump is corrupt.  That using his position as Vice President to enrich his son never happened.  And, if it did, well, that’s how things work in big time politics.

 

The truth can be divined in a quote from a video of Biden talking to the Council on Foreign Relations about a Ukrainian prosecutor who apparently was getting a little too close to Sonny Boy. “I said we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said ‘you can’t do that, you have no authority, you’re not the president. I said if the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money.  Well, son of a bitch, he got fired." 

 

(Editor's note: This quote is taken from a one hour video of Biden (and others) discussing Biden's efforts on behalf of the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine into prosecuting corruption and firing prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was universally recognized by diplomats and officials as an ineffective prosecutor who refused to go after corrupt politicians. Shokin's office was also investigating Burisma, a company that Biden's son Hunter, was a board of director member. Shokin was later fired and replaced by another prosecutor. Therefor, many are pushing an idea that, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor in order to protect his son who must have done something illegal while he was on the board of directors of this company. The above quote is used as "proof." The first  problem with this is that Biden's quote is taken completely out of context and if you watch the full hour video, which is much more interesting than you would expect it to be, it speaks for itself. The second problem is that, if you read about the actual Burisma investigation it dealt with Ukraine's Ministry of Ecology, which allegedly granted special permits, that may or may not have been illegal, to Burisma between 2010 and 2012. Hunter Biden did not join the company until 2014. But, because the investigation was still on going when he joined the company it is factually accurate to say that Hunter Biden was on the board of directors while the company was being investigated by Shokin's office. But, as you can see, it would be impossible for Hunter Biden to have anything to do with the investigation since he wasn't even involved in the company until multiple years after the fact. Finally, the reason Shokin was actually fired was because he refused to go after corrupt politicians. He was replaced by a prosecutor who was known to go after corrupt politicians. So, while it is all true that Hunter Biden raised $1.5 billion with China's state bank by having his fater, who was Vice President at the time and was in China on a state vist, introduce him to some very wealthy Chinese folks, which is a bit shady. There is clearly nothing going on with the no story of the Burisma / Hunter Biden investigation as it was about an issue that was two to four years before Hunter joined the company.) 

 

Published in Opinion

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. -Fredrick Douglass former slave, abolitionist

Just recently, while speaking at an event, I heard a preacher ask the question to the congregants why, in the state that America is in today, it is that ministries such as Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Pat Robertson etc have not taken to the streets in protest concerning corruption within the government (Matthew 16:17-19). Many of these national ministries are put up to keep the people down (1 Kings 13:33). The fruit proves the seed (Matthew 7:16).

In fact, they are driving support to created opposition, teaching men to submit to corrupt government rather than God's moral law (Deuteronomy 4:6). Scripturally, they have it backward (Isaiah 59) and upside down (Deuteronomy 17:9).

https://sonsoflibertymedia.com/franklin-graham-our-country-could-begin-to-unravel-if-trump-is-removed-from-office/

Franklin Graham, "Our country could begin to unravel" if Trump is removed from office.  

Why does Billy Graham have a Hollywood star? Only one thing can explain it...

Now after I heard the preacher bring forth his question, I thought that was a good question to those who are not paying attention.  Yet, there is an obvious answer to those who are paying attention.

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach." -Isaiah 30:1-5

The first thing I would have you take notice of is that America’s favorite preachers are not the standard of Christianity.  Christ Jesus is the standard.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” -Acts 4:12

If the coaches in the NFL have lost as many games as preachers in America have metaphorically lost (prayer, abortion, marriage, etc.), they would have been thrown off their teams long ago. 

The hierarchies in the American Church are the problem.  They have forfeited our possession (To the other evil team) through false doctrine and through their inactions over and over again. They are the reason that corruption prevails within the walls of government and why, because they don't preach out against the sins that they themselves are guilty of (Luke 6:41).  How could it be otherwise when corruption prevails within the walls of the Church?

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” -2 Peter 2:19

These are also the ones that have somehow convinced the rest of Christendom that luke-warm is the temperature that the Lord has set when it comes to His children and how they are to live out their walk, and yet Jesus stated the contrary in Revelation 3:16:

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

“By the time the average Christian gets his temperature up to normal, everybody thinks he has a fever.” -Watchman Nee

How diametrically opposed to Scripture can Americans become?

Hebrews 1:7 tells us “Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.”

Benjamin Franklin stated that "Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world."

What the Church in America has become is a group of saltless, effeminate and spineless men who fail to judge themselves (Psalm 119:30) and, therefore, have no power to confront the world (Matthew 7:3) with the message of repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).The church is called to bear testimony against corruption (Matthew 10:18). And because they fail to be the salt, they are simply trodden under the feet of men. And so it is. The Spirit of the Lord will not bear witness to their compromise and lies (1 John 5:9-12).

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” -Matthew 5:13

What do we hear from the Church hierarchy today, "Let's pray.  God is on His throne. Jesus is coming back. Just trust Jesus" (Throw your hands up in hopelessness). Yet again scripture commands Christians that they are to occupy till He comes (Luke 19:13). 

These hirelings are teaching the congregants to stand down instead of standing up in protest with their lives, if need be (Luke 12:4). The church is to be the barracks that soldiers of the cross are to be spiritually equipped (Ephesians 6:12-18).

They are opening up the gates to the wolves (John 10:12) so that the sheep may be devoured (Matthew 26:15).

These ministries have taught their congregants to submit to what God has commanded to throw off (Daniel 3).

“For now the common song of all men is, 'We must obey our kings, be they good or be they bad; for God has so commanded.'  True it is, God has commanded kings to be obeyed; that which they commit against His glory, He has commanded no obedience." –John Knox

The American Church will call for prayer and yet fail to act.  The hirelings of the day apparently have forgotten to read the book of ACT's. The scripture is clear on this matter: “The body is without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead" (James 2:26).

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass 

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;” -1 Timothy 1:18 

Christianity is a battle waged against invisible foes who are always alert and ever seeking to entrap, deceive and ruin the souls of men.

I end with E. M. Bounds who stated "The Christian life is no picnic or excursion. It is not entertainment or a pleasure trip. It involves effort, wrestling and struggling (Acts 14:22). It demands putting forth the full energy of your spirit in order to frustrate the foe and be, in the end, more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). It is not a flower-strewn path, no rose-scented affair. From start to finish, it is spiritual warfare. It is a battle, not a game. From the moment they first draw their spiritual swords, Christian warriors are compelled to “Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).

What a misconception many people have of the Christian life! How little the average Church members appear to know of the character of the conflict and its demands upon them! How ignorant they seem to be of the enemies they must encounter if they are to serve God faithfully, succeed in getting to Heaven and receive the crown of life! (Matthew 7:13) They scarcely seem to realize that the world, the flesh and the devil will oppose their onward march – and will totally defeat them unless they give themselves to constant vigilance and unceasing prayer (Revelation 12:17).

It is just at this point that I mean to highlight the professed Church’s greatest defects. There is little to nothing of the soldier element in it (2 Timothy 2:3). The discipline, self-denial, spirit of hardship and determination that belong to the military life and are so prominent in it are lacking in Christianity. Yet, my friends, the Christian life is warfare from the beginning to end."

Remember, God is willing to give the Church that for which it is willing to fight, but you do not get the victory without a fight. 

How is the Church in America at peace with corruption that is at war with God?

Time to start reading and acting for ourselves, for we will answer for what it is that we do, and what it is that we do not do (2 Corinthians 5:10), for we see that the professors in the American church will not. 

"Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" -Psalm 94:1

 

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Bradlee Dean is a guest contributor to GCN news. His views and opinions are his own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the Genesis Communication Network. Bradlee's radio program, The Sons of Liberty, broadcasts live M - Sat here at GCN. This is an edited version of an op-ed originally published by Sons of Liberty Media at www.sonsoflibertyradio.com. Reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
Wednesday, 09 October 2019 20:20

Medicare hypocrisy for all

Ever since Senator Bernie Sanders made “Medicare for All” (M4A) the centerpiece of his campaign, it has attracted support, and others have joined the bandwagon. In a Kaiser Family Foundation poll earlier this year, 56 percent of respondents and 81 percent of Democrats backed “a national health plan, sometimes called Medicare for all,” which has been used to assert a mandate for M4A.

Medicare’s Unfunded Liability

Since exactly what M4A details (where the devil lurks) are less than crystal clear, and even the best-articulated versions are more like political talking points than complete plans, backed by questionable, if not provably incorrect assumptions, the goal is clearly to pass a bill that would be very hard to undo before most citizens have any clear idea of what is involved.

Consequently, it is important to remember what most stories hyping the popularity of M4A leave out: When people were informed it would entail a massive increase in costs and taxes, support cratered. Given that Sanders’ proposal could add $3.2 trillion in annual government spending (when America now spends $3.5 trillion annually on health care), that is easy to understand. However, there is also another multi-trillion-dollar reason why many who now support M4A might switch sides: Medicare’s massive unfunded liability.

As with other Social Security expansions, when Medicare was created in 1966, those in or near retirement paid little or no more in taxes but got substantial benefits throughout retirement. That imposed a large unfunded off-budget liability on later generations. And every expansion since (most recently, Medicare Part D’s prescription drug benefit, whose officially estimated unfunded liability at the time was $17 trillion) has created another free lunch for those older, expanding the huge tab facing later generations.

The same sort of conclusions were reached in an Urban Institute study of Medicare, which found that in 2012, average-earning males were “buying” $180,000 in Medicare benefits for $61,000, while similarly situated females, with smaller lifetime contributions and longer life expectancies, did even better.

Optimistic Assumptions

The result, as reported by Michael Tanner, was a 2015 forecast of almost $48 trillion of unfunded liabilities under implausibly optimistic assumptions. A return to higher medical cost inflation rates could make it $88 trillion. A continuance of lower birthrates than forecast would push it higher. So would including future commitments to recipients who have qualified for but not yet received all their benefits as of the end date of a study.

So why might recognizing that massive unfunded liability and its continued expansion move Americans into the “anti-M4A” camp?

Because of the wealth transfer to early enrollees, as well as from ensuing expansions, Medicare provided many with a great deal. But that deal was the result of dumping an enormous bill on future generations (bigger than the unfunded liabilities for Social Security plus the national debt).

With that bill starting to arrive, Medicare is not even close to sustainable in its present form, much less to be leveraged to cover the entire population (although one can understand the vote-buying potential in promising massive new M4A generational transfers).

Not only is a massive expansion of an already far-in-the-hole Medicare program a fool’s errand, but the massive unfunded liabilities it has built up also mean that the previous costs were far higher than what recipients paid and continue to be so (even underestimates of its unfunded liability growth add more than $1 trillion per year of hidden costs to Medicare).

As a result, Medicare was a far worse deal than M4A salesmen and women admit, and it is now decaying at an increasing rate, making its extension to all a 14-digit boondoggle, not a boon. And doubling (or more) down on the already unpayable burdens Medicare has laid on future generations also highlights the blatant hypocrisy of backers who, at the same time, preen about all the new plans they have to “invest in the future.”

 

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Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His opinions are his own. This article originally appeared on fee.org, then pennypress.com Reprinted with permission. 

Published in Money
Wednesday, 09 October 2019 20:14

"No treason, no bribery, no criminal conduct"

Oooooh…The President said “Bullshit” in a tweet as a description of Adam Schiff’s and Nancy Pelosi’s actions in the latest kafuffle regarding his phone call with the President of the Ukraine.  That’s a comment even Schiff can understand.

 

And at least two of the three broadcast TV news divisions could not resist mentioning it.

 

This is nuts.

 

You want an enemy of the people?  Just watch the evening news.  Even during the dog days of Viet Nam it wasn’t this bad.  ABC and CBS should be ashamed.

 

Most of these clowns cannot see or admit that something smells, even when the derelict son of a then-sitting Vice President took huge amounts of money from companies in the very countries his father was assigned to monitor.  What a coincidence!  Even some Pulitzer Prize winning twit at the Wall Street Journal called the Biden corruption “widely discredited.” Which should bring a new level of scrutiny to the Pulitzer Prizes.

 

I have a friend of long standing, who, among other positions in a long, distinguished career of public service, served as a United States Attorney.  He has a serious understanding of the United States Code.  Asked if he could cite any specific portion of the law which the President could have violated with the phone call being bandied about by Adam Schiff, here was his reply: “No treason. No bribery. No criminal conduct.”

 

This “impeachment” inquiry has zero basis in law and, if it goes too much further, will be regretted by the saner elements (if there are any) of the Democrat Party should it ever gain any serious power again.

 

They are making this crap up as they go along.  And here’s a big hint it’s crap.  None of the TV lawyers on the various cable channels can name a single section of the U.S. Code that the President appears to have violated.

 

Now keep something in mind.  Every day, the average American commits three felonies. So argues civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate in his book Three Felonies a Day, the title of which refers to the number of crimes he estimates that Americans perpetrate each day because of vague and overly burdensome laws.  Yet, all the media and Democrats can talk about where President Trump is concerned are generalities.  Collusion is not a crime.  Asking a fellow head of state to look into a former sitting government official’s actions is not a crime. 

 

This is purely political.  

 

And it will surely come back to bite certain purveyors of Trump conspiracy theories on their well upholstered asses.

 

As I am writing this, I just heard Jessica Tarlov tell Fox news that this was “an abuse of power” and thus a “constitutional violation”.  Well…that was certainly a valid use of her Bryn Mawr College B.A. in history and two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in political science and government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

 

It’s just amazing what professors teach people these days.

 

The Constitution is NOT to be confused with the law.  It is a framework.  The Constitution does not codify “abuse of power.”  Ms. Tarlov is a classic know nothing who was educated by people who know less.

 

And yet, Fox uses her so it can trumpet Fair and Balanced as if having a slightly older Greta Thunberg parrot Democrat talking points allows a conversation to be “balanced.”

 

Undoing an election means telling 63,000,000 Americans to pound sand. 

 

Before these leftist screamers take the first step to doing exactly that, maybe they ought to consider what other nations look like which try to tamper with the will of the people.

 

Look closely at Hong Kong.  Or Great Britain, where the elites are trying to not do what the public voted for in Brexit.

 

What might the reaction of 63,000,000 voters be if the elites in Washington keep it up?

 

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Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subscribe at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of his column, reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
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