In college 50 years ago, I took Introduction to Political Science from Stephan A. Douglas.  Not the short, fat Little Giant who debated Abe Lincoln.  But a very good tall and angular professor at Illinois.

The main thing I remember from his class is his explanation about a compelling revolution in political science and economics that began a decade earlier.  Traditionally, he said, political scientists sought to explain how institutions, practices and people in political and economic processes worked to promote the public interest and the common good.  It was Pollyanna-ish: All for the better.

Then some iconoclasts said that’s not how things work at all.  Most folks in the political and economic spheres aren’t trying to promote the public interest.  To the extent they can, they use institutions and practices to promote their own special interests.  This insight, which today seems obvious, changed political science and helped foster a branch of economics known as public choice theory – which has produced a number of Nobel Prizes in economics.

Against the background of the Viet Nam war and the turmoil in American politics in the 1960s, it was a bracing idea, and it quickly became a formative part of my intellectual make-up.  It has served me well in politics and public service.

Now come our corporate leaders with a perfect example of how political and economic behavior masquerades as public-spirited when it’s really completely self-serving.  The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s largest companies, issued a new “Statement of the Purpose of a Corporation,” signed by 181 CEOs.

“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” reads the key sentence.  It names those stakeholders: customers, employees, diversity and inclusion, suppliers, the communities where they work, the environment and sustainability.  Oh, yes, also “effective engagement with” company stockholders.

Since 1997, their periodic “Principles of Corporate Governance” statements have endorsed the notion of shareholder primacy: that corporations exist primarily to serve stockholders.  In the New York Times Magazine on September 13, 1970, economist Milton Friedman, one of the intellectual giants of the 20th Century, said business executives who pursue a goal other than making money for their equity investors are wrong.

They are, he said, “unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.”  They become “unelected government officials” who essentially tax employees and customers.  They violate their legal and ethical fiduciary duties.

But the new diktat declares all “stakeholders” equal – leaving corporate moguls, our enlightened visionary betters, to decide how to balance their interests via corporate actions.

The concept of corporate stakeholders arose soon after the public choice revolution.  Originally, it was descriptive: It described the groups that were affected by actions of corporations.  But once the term was invented, it morphed into a normative concept suggesting the stakeholders have some kinds of claims on the actions of companies and their decision-makers that legitimately compete with the fiduciary duties owed to those who put their capital at risk by investing in the firm.

Now the CEOs have thrown in the towel and joined these predatory special-interest claimants.  Why?

It’s something I’ve observed the last 40 years in regulation, politics and business.  Essentially, executives are – surprise! – pursuing their own self-serving interests.  They want to be lionized everywhere as great leaders, compassionate souls, visionary intellectuals.  They want to use the resources their stockholders have entrusted to them to buy off everyone – unions, politicians, predatory special interests such as environmentalists, and the lamestream press.

Maximizing long-term discounted stockholder value within ethical norms crimps those aspirations.

This rot is clearest with regulated utilities, where executives can cut implicit (sometimes explicit) deals with regulators: We’ll do almost any foolish thing you want us to, as long as we can pass on the costs to ratepayers.

The problem started a century ago when large corporations were no longer managed by their primary owners, but instead by hired professional managers with their own self-serving agendas.  Ironically, consumers, employees and the real public interest in economic growth and fairness suffer with stockholders in this scheme.  Friedman was more right than he knew.

 

--

 

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 Money

“Baby shots” used to be a boring subject, and taken for granted. As the number of vaccines grew from seven in the 1980s to 16 requiring 70 doses now, most parents obediently brought their children to the doctor when shots were “due.” The compliance rate was more than 90 percent. Parents who objected for one reason or another just got an exemption from school-attendance mandates and kept quiet. Every state had a medical exemption, most had a religious exemption, and many had easily obtained philosophical or personal-belief exemptions.

Now that states are repealing exemptions, parents are descending on state capitals en masse, many with severely injured children in tow. Thousands rallied outside an Albany courthouse as a lawsuit challenging an end to religious exemptions was heard.

Despite vociferous objections and attempts to disrupt hearings, the California legislature passed a law (SB 276) severely limiting medical exemptions, the only kind available. “Rogue doctors” were allegedly selling exemptions.

The bill’s author, Sen. Richard Pan, M.D., said that everybody who really needed an exemption would get one. However, 882 out of 882 pediatric practices told a mother that they would not write an exemption for a child who had had anaphylactic shock. This life-threatening allergic reaction, which kills rapidly by closing off the airway, is one of the few allowable indications for an exemption. But now, a parent not willing to risk recurrence cannot send her child to school.

Doctors are no doubt afraid of being targeted by the medical licensure board. SB 276 mandates scrutiny of doctors who have issued more than five exemptions, including exemptions made before the bill takes effect.

Parents are besieging legislators with reports of children who died or experienced devastating illnesses or disability after getting their shots. Interchanges on Twitter are passionate. One juxtaposed a sign saying “Vaccinate your f****** children” with a photograph of a gravestone and the message “We did.”

Whatever happened to hundreds of once-healthy children—it’s impossible to prove that the shot did it—the public-health dogma is: “Vaccines are safe and effective.” So safe and so effective that vaccines should be the exception to the rule that medical interventions are illegal and unethical without informed consent?

Two articles in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons challenge the orthodoxy that vaccines should be mandated, overriding patients’ liberties in an effort to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases.

How much risk can a person be compelled to take, even to save the life of another? In other contexts, such as exposure to radiation or lead, a risk of 1 in 10,000 or even less is considered unacceptable. Yet a much higher risk from vaccines cannot be ruled out. According to the most current information available, only 1 percent of serious side effects (such as death or permanent disability) are likely reported to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

The 1905 Supreme Court precedent for upholding mandates, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, concerned a raging, deadly smallpox epidemic. Later courts have ignored warnings about the potential abuse of state police power, and permitted mandates to prevent possible future epidemics of much milder diseases. Now, a measles outbreak of some 1,200 cases—thankfully no deaths so far—has triggered the demand for stricter laws, suppression of “anti-vaxxer” information, and harsh measures including $1,000 fines for refusing vaccination in Brooklyn.

Even if at least a few of the tragedies are caused by a vaccine, isn’t it worth it to wipe out dread diseases?

In the 20th century, mankind seemed to be winning the war on microbes. Smallpox was eradicated, and antibiotics were vanquishing infectious diseases. The growing threat of microbial resistance has caused senior public health officials in the UK and the U.S. to be concerned about the “post-antibiotic apocalypse” and the “end of modern medicine."

Parental outrage might cause reexamination of vaccine orthodoxy. It also raises the question of where to draw the line against encroachment of our freedom.

 

--

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. Her views and opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN.  Her column can often be found at www.pennypressnv.com. This is an edited version of her column, reprinted with permission.

 

 

Published in Opinion

The gospel according to Robert Francis O’Rourke:

 

“Hell yes. We’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore.”

 

What a schmuck.  In fairness to our favorite fake Mexican, however, at least he’s honest about it.  Slicker politicos would never admit it.

 

They would not admit it because my neighbors and I would turn our AR-15s on them. That’s why the Second Amendment to the Constitution exists in the first place—so an oppressive government cannot ruin our country.

 

The left HATES guns.  It has a firm belief that anybody who owns a gun must be a terrorist.  Or the police.  Or their private security guards.  

 

They think that guns kill people.  Cars, Ryder trucks, diesel fuel, fertilizer?  Not so much.

 

Back when Chuck Schumer was just a Congressman (and the space between he and a TV camera was STILL the most dangerous place to be in Washington) he made a critical mistake with a witness in a hearing on gun control.  Suzanna Hupp was testifying because she was with her parents at the Killeen, Texas, Lubys’ Cafeteria in 1991, when a shooter killed both of her parents.  She had consciously left her weapon in her car.

 

When she testified in front of Chuckie’s committee, she was asked what sporting purpose a particular weapon had.  Her answer:

 

“I know I’m not making myself popular here. But the Second Amendment is not about duck hunting. It’s about our right—all of our rights—to protect ourselves from all of you sitting up there.”

 

Twenty-Eight years after the shooting, her popularity should be at an all time high—at least among sane people.

 

The simple fact is that no law, no rule, no regulation passed by some overstuffed, egotistic politician masquerading as a Congressman or a Senator—or worse, some nameless, faceless bureaucrat—will stop some nutcase from waking up one morning, taking anything which can be used as a weapon and using it to kill people.

 

No background check will save a life.

 

No weapon ban will stop a shooting.

 

No confiscation will stop the use of anything to kill someone.

 

We probably could work around the edges, but the left has some shibboleths which prevent anything like that from happening.

 

One of those shibboleths is that guns kill people.  It was never true and will never be true.

 

If you put a gun in plain sight and surround it with people, it simply will never stand up by itself and kill someone.  That takes a person who, for whatever the reason, picks the gun up, aims it and bulls the trigger.

 

But the left wants to blame a marvel of engineering as opposed to the moron who picks the gun up and kills someone.

 

Another shibboleth of the left is that law abiding people cannot be trusted to possess guns.  That somehow, owning a gun will turn a perfectly normal person into a bloodthirsty criminal.

 

Do they have empirical evidence?

 

No.

 

In fact, most evidence points the other way.  Whatever else you can say about criminals and even crazy people, they tend not to shoot up places where they might get shot first.

 

How many mass shootings (as the left is wont to call them) happen in cop bars, as an example?

 

Now, we’re never going to convince most of the lefty nutcases with words.  Which is why James Madison made sure we have the law on our side.  And now we have a Supreme Court which has said that gun ownership as a matter of self-defense is a right granted by God and not government.

 

The crazier the left gets, the more it plays into our hands.

 

You want to confiscate guns from law abiding people?  Come and take them.  Speaking for little guys everywhere, see what happens.

 

----

 

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

"Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity." — Chuck Muth

 

Last weekend was the big GOP Nevada Central Committee Hoedown in Winnemucca.

 

I can report that my fellow columnist and friend Chuck Muth (who wasn’t there) is absolutely correct—at least insofar as Nevada is concerned—that Republicans “never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity.”

 

The first negative out of the meeting was the re-election of State Chair Michael McDonald.

 

Forget anything else negative we’ve ever written about Mikey.  Only one thing is relevant and it is this:

 

If Bill Parcels or Bill Belichick had McDonald’s won-loss record, they’d be coaching in Canada if at all.

 

In the last election, his leadership managed to ring up losses in every statewide election except one.  And all of those losses came because of Clark County which is where Mikey is from.

 

That, however, isn’t nearly as irritating as a rules change which, summed up, instructed what passes for leadership in the party NOT to release contact information for central committee members both at the county and state level.

 

And you should have heard these phony guardians of democracy explain their position.

 

One lady—we’ll not use her name to protect the guilty—had the nerve to say that she did NOT represent Republicans and she didn’t want to talk to JUST anybody.

 

What does this woman think a county central committee is supposed to do?

 

And the really strange part is that this woman comes from a county where you could almost count the residents on your abacus.  If she couldn’t handle being open to contact from her county, how in the hell could she presume to make informed decisions about the future of the state?

 

The problem with these so-called Republicans is that they are like mall cops.  They want authority but they don’t want to give you a meaningless badge number.  Anybody on any quasi-public committee who doesn’t want to give out their contact information should immediately be fired.  Especially when you consider the party’s official position on openness and transparency.  From the 2016 platform: Based on these principles, this platform is an invitation and a roadmap. It invites every American to join us and shows the path to a stronger, safer, and more prosperous America.

 

And the platform goes further: The President and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable to the American people.

 

What part of accountable don’t these folks understand?

 

I see a bunch of go along to get along sycophants totally unworthy of any party position—especially the Republican Party.

 

Frankly, to all those who do not want their contact information made public…quit the party and join a book club—assuming you can read.

 

And these are the people who strongly back a President—as they should—who gave millions of documents to Robert Mueller so Mueller could conduct a witch hunt which turned up NOTHING.

 

Did these people do anything correctly?

 

Yes.  They dispensed with a very expensive caucus designed so that clowns like Bill Weld, Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh could get their 15 seconds of fame.  And this guy is the fake Joe Walsh.  The real Joe Walsh is older, wiser, sings and plays the guitar much better.

 

And probably actually does have an accountant who pays for it all.

 

----

 

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
%PM, %12 %699 %2019 %15:%Sep

China trade war, moral and economic

Ask yourself if you were President, what would you do if you discovered that a foreign country has been waging an underground war against the nation you are sworn to protect surreptitiously killing tens of thousands of your people every year by pouring a drug so deadly that merely accidentally touching a small amount could kill you?

What would you do if you discovered that the same country had been engaging in economic warfare against your country designed to emasculate critical industries, gain control of the mining of critical rare earth minerals used in military manufacturing and manipulating your currency on the world market to ensure that key domestic manufactured goods could not compete on the international market?

And what would you do if you were to discover that this same country was stealing the intellectual property created in your country through forced technology transfers, industrial and government spying and outright theft of individual and company’s patent protections, with this stolen creativity fueling their dynamic economic growth?

If your answer is nothing, then you are at some level describing how the United States government had been responding to China since at least the late 1980s.  Some, like the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations attempted to deal with currency manipulation, when the Treasury pegged it as a manipulator between 1992 and 1994, and later the U.S. administrations would also try to stop technology transfers to China, but ultimately their attempts failed because they weren’t willing to create a meaningful cost to the Chinese government.

The resulting opiate and economic hollowing out crisis is what led to Middle America to embrace a Donald Trump presidency.  America lost faith that traditional leaders would fight for their interests and Trump promised them that he would put America (them) first when dealing with Washington, D.C. and the rest of the world.

So when President Donald Trump took the oath of office to the Presidency of the United States and pledged with his hand on the Bible he pledged, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” much of America took heart because for the first time in a long time, they believed that he meant it.

Not being a politician who was steeped in the mythology that somehow China was going to forego thousands of years of history and suddenly transform into a western, capitalist republic similar to Japan’s forced Post World War II conversion, President Trump looked at China through a different lens.

President Trump went to Beijing and was quoted as bluntly stating to Chinese President Xi, “I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country to the benefit of its citizens? But in actuality, I do blame past [U.S.] administrations for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow. We have to fix this because it just doesn’t work for our great American companies and it doesn’t work for our great American workers. It is just not sustainable.”

While many in the media and elsewhere focused upon President Trump’s seemingly giving China a pass for being a bad economic actor, in reality, he was announcing to China and the world, that there was a new sheriff in town and the on-going hollowing out of our nation’s manufacturing sector would no longer be accepted.

Now, almost three years into Trump’s first term, the President has prioritized four items when dealing with China: stopping fentanyl from China; protecting intellectual property rights; stopping Chinese currency manipulation and normalizing tariffs between the two countries.

Incredibly, publications like Bloomberg, which are supposed to be financial in nature, are publishing articles like: U.S. and China got in a trade war and Mexico won demonstrating that they have little understanding of what is at stake either economically or strategically.

First and foremost, those Chinese apologists who believe that someday the communist Chinese government will suddenly reform into good little capitalists and democrats because we are making them incredibly wealthy are dangerously wrong.  China has been engaged in an on-going war against the United States for more than twenty years, enabled by open economic borders types who argue that we should ignore that Chinese slaves are making our apparel, plastic junk and yes many of our electronics and their internal components, because the low labor costs drive our prices down.

Importing slave made finished goods is no different than importing cotton for the mills before the Civil War more than 150 years ago, it is astonishing that anyone in modern America would make this argument, yet unwittingly that is exactly what the open economic borders globalists do.

It also cannot be missed that President Trump has engaged his Chinese counterpart more on the fentanyl import issue than any other.  Opioid addiction is hollowing out our nation.  It knows no economic class or race.  Opioids are so addictive that virtually anyone can become controlled by the desire to attain them.  And yes, many people die, almost 70,000 a year, from opioids — 30,000 of these directly from fentanyl — which arrived in American bloodstreams straight from China.

Chinese President Xi promised to crack down on the fentanyl trade and his government did recently make it a regulated controlled substance.  Xi has promised time and again to stop the fentanyl flow, and yet, just last week, the Mexican Navy interdicted a shipment of 25 tons of fentanyl directly from Shanghai on order from the Sinaloa Cartel which was planning on hotlining it into our nation using their various border crossing routes that some in our nation don’t believe should be shut down.

Unlike an American president, the president of China and his government controls all economic activity including the shipping from China’s ports.  The Lazaro Cardenas port where the drugs were seized is Mexico’s largest port and has, off and on, been controlled by the Sinaloa drug cartel. Given the Chinese government’s relatively iron-fisted control, it is more likely than unlikely that they were directly involved in pushing this poison onto the streets with their Sinaloa partners.

A simple understanding of how China lost the first and second Opium Wars to the British in the mid-1800s, is enough to explain why the Xi regime views the destruction of America by attacking the soul of our nation through the same addiction that many believe took China 100 years to recover. And in their wake, they leave millions of broken people and tens of thousands dead each year.

If 30,000 dead Americans each year due to Chinese fentanyl and the burden of supporting human slavery don’t fully make the moral case for changing our fundamental relationship with China, then the theft of intellectual property might.  America uses the best research university and government laboratory systems in the world to create the science which will drive the 21st century world.  And then China either steals or purchases the ideas flipping them into products that they sell back to the U.S. at ten cents on the dollar.  Meanwhile the critical applied sciences manufacturing sector that will determine which country will lead the 21st century ends up in China, as it doesn’t make economic sense to make it in the United States.

It is this last point that head in the sand conservative globalists fundamentally don’t understand.  So, here is the point — when a company decides that it makes more sense to make a product in Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, India or Australia to export to the U.S. rather than China, it is a win.  China’s manufacturing sector is diminished and more importantly, the U.S. has supply lines for crucial products outside of the Middle Kingdom.

When Bloomberg declares that Mexico is the winner in the trade war, that means that the United States wins on multiple fronts.  As stated in the paragraph above, Mexican supply lines are secure, which benefits the U.S. consumer.  Also, as China has to compete with other countries to supply goods to the world, suddenly there is real leverage against the Xi government to crack down on fentanyl production and trade, in exchange for more favorable tariff rates.

And it should not be forgotten that it is in the United States’ interest for the Mexican economy to be healthy as a strong Mexican economy is the most natural barrier against illegal entry into the U.S. of all.

Winning the trade war is not only about transferring manufacturing from China to the U.S., it is about ending China’s opium war on the U.S, its role as a virtual sole source provider, and diversifying the markets which serve the United States.  On that front, the Chinese are clearly losing and the U.S. is winning (along with other economies like Mexico).

Diversifying trading partners also allows U.S. consumers a choice. If you are upset that Chinese Christians are jailed for simply having a Bible, say no to products made in China.  Upset about the forced organ donations those in concentration camps, the Trump trade war is giving you a “not made in China choice.”

While the market is not moral per se, it is made up of hundreds of millions of transactions by people who are.  And by providing a “not made in China” option, President Trump is allowing those choices to have a moral component.

Because ultimately, the so-called trade war by President Trump is a moral and economic fight for the future of the world.  It is just sad that so many very smart people are so divorced from any sense of morality, that they cannot see it for themselves without having it explained in explicit terms.

 

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government and a guest contributor to pennypress.com: the conservative voice of Nevada. His views and opinions are his own. This article was originally published at pennypress.com and has been reprinted with permission. 

Published in Opinion
%PM, %05 %700 %2019 %15:%Sep

Diabetes was not in my life plan

When I was in my 20s and pregnant with my first baby, life was going along just fine thank you, and out of the blue, my doctor told me I had diabetes. He blew me out of the water, telling me I had flunked the test with flying colors. I had heard of diabetes. I remember a girl in high school passed out and then learned she was diabetic. Other than that, I knew nothing. And this was in the middle of my first pregnancy where I already was realizing I knew less than nothing, and then they threw that at me!

I was told it was likely gestational, which means it happens during pregnancy, and it would probably go away after the baby was born. I was given a diet to follow, and when I asked if there was more I needed to know, I was told, “Just follow the diet.” That was not much help, and it certainly didn’t ease my fears.

Then I heard all the horror stories from various people who really knew nothing. I was told this happened because I ate a lot of candy (not true – well, the candy part was true, but that didn’t cause this). I was told I would probably lose my feet … because that’s what a nurse should tell a pregnant woman who is newly diagnosed with a scary disease. I often got the serious pity look when I told people my news … the look that really helps a person newly diagnosed with anything. One person said, “Oh no! You’re pregnant?? Does your doctor know??”

So as you can probably imagine, it was a very difficult time for me. I was terrified that I would not be able to have a healthy baby. I was pretty scared anyway just trying to bring a baby into the world, and this definitely did not help. Then they told me I had to go into the hospital for a week so I could get my blood sugar under control and learn how to give myself insulin shots. I tried to pretend I was cool about the whole thing, but I’m sure I wasn’t very convincing.

Moving forward a little bit, I had two healthy babies from diabetic pregnancies. The diabetes was not gestational, and although I was taken off insulin between the pregnancies and for five years after the second one, I was put back on insulin and had to accept I would not be going off of it. It was again upsetting and something I had to come to terms with. I finally did when I read a book called Diabetes Without Fear, and the author wrote about a friend of his who had stomach cancer and said something like, “I’d give anything to be able to give myself shots to stay alive.” That was a big moment. I realized I didn’t have it so bad, and I needed to suck it up and stop feeling sorry for myself.

Ok, fast forward to today, some 30+ years later. I know so much more, technology has come so far, and I’ve left my state of denial for good. I now have the latest insulin pump, which is referred to as an “artificial pancreas” because it acts the way my pancreas should act but doesn’t. I call her Harriet. I decided if I was going to be so intimately attached to something, it should have a name, and for reasons I do not know, she seemed like a Harriet.

Some days, Harriet pisses me off with all her vibrating alerts, and some days I’m pretty sure I piss her off as well. But most days, we get along pretty well. She lets me know if my blood sugar is going too high or too low, she tells me if I need to test it, and I’ve learned if I listen to her, my numbers are much better, which means my diabetes is in better control.

Some days, but only on occasion, I tell her to kiss off. Last week, for example, I got to go to Lawry’s The Prime Rib in downtown Chicago, a place I had wanted to go for a very long time, and yeah, that was definitely one of those days. She wasn’t happy about it, and she got a little bitchy, but I told her she needed to simmer down. I enjoyed one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and except for her bitching the rest of the evening, I had no regrets. I knew, though, that the next morning, I needed to clean up my act, because the bottom line is the more I control my diabetes, the less I have to worry about complications.

I have a fabulous doctor now who cheers me on every step of the way. I’ve worked with other great medical professionals over the years as well, who far outweigh the few really awful ones like the nurse mentioned above. Overall I’ve been very fortunate. One wonderful educator told me to avoid thinking of myself as a diabetic and instead think of myself as a person living with diabetes. That was another big moment. Instead of thinking of myself as a sicko who had to be deprived of so many things, I began to think more that I was someone who could handle this diagnosis and not let it get in my way. When it became more about my decisions and my control, I did a whole lot better. I have never responded well to being told what to do. Some might think I have an attitude, and to that, I say, “No s#!t.” I do much better when I have been given good information and know the consequences of an action and then choose to behave accordingly.

The amazing thing I have learned is I can keep living my life and take care of my diabetes at the same time. It really doesn’t get in my way most days. I now also have a sensor that monitors my blood sugar and talks to Harriet so she can keep me in line.

I’m so grateful for researchers and new technologies that are getting better all the time. Recently, I talked to a woman who was upset that her young granddaughter had been diagnosed and was using the same pump I have. The girl’s mother can monitor the pump on her smartphone and contact the school when adjustments are needed. I can hardly believe we have come so far! I told the grandma that I wouldn’t wish diabetes on anyone, especially a child, but her granddaughter was diagnosed at the right time. The researchers are making so many advances that I believe diabetes will be cured, if not in my lifetime, certainly in her granddaughter’s.

So, all in all, it doesn’t suck too much. I’d definitely rather not have it, but I’m grateful that it’s something I can live with. I will hopefully get better at not pissing Harriet off, even though sometimes she really is uptight.

This is what I’ve learned about life plans. They don’t usually go as planned. I planned my whole life to be a teacher, and I changed careers after four years. I planned to never be divorced. Oops. I also planned to have four children and willingly stopped after two. But with all of these unplanned things, it really just meant I was going in a different direction. So add this to the list. It wasn’t what I planned, but I’m doing just fine in this different direction.

 

The author is a public relations professional.  We thought we needed a break from politics—even the politics of healthcare. Her story originally appeared in the pennypress.com - the conservative voice of Nevada. Her opinions are her own. This version has been lightly edited, reprinted with permission.  

Published in Health
%PM, %05 %693 %2019 %15:%Sep

Guns and Democrat Presidential candidates

We had another nutburger start shooting at police last weekend in West Texas.  

 

The lame-o media—in this case NBC News—decided for America that the important part of the story was this:

 

  • The attack, the second mass shooting in Texas this month, prompted a round of calls for stricter gun laws from some hopefuls running for the Democratic nomination for president.
  • U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said on Twitter, “America is sick of this. We need to act.”
  • Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed in an Aug. 3 attack at a Walmart, tweeted, “More information is forthcoming, but here’s what we know: We need to end this epidemic.”
  • U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said on Twitter that the violence makes her “heartsick.” “We’ve already lost far too many to gun violence-Congress must act now,” she said.
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, also called for stricter firearms rules.
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang tweeted, “We are better than this. We will do better for our kids.”
  • And California billionaire Tom Steyer called for “emergency gun legislation.”

 

Imagine that.  Six Democrat who think they could, when they grow up, become President of the United States are so consumed with their run to get the nomination to nowhere that, irrespective of the facts, they hear about a crazy person using a gun to kill innocent citizens and can think of nothing more than we need new laws.

 

Answer me this: Isn’t murder and jacking a USPS mail truck already illegal? 

 

To me, this comes under the heading of, “but Achmed, we can’t do that in the United States, there’s a law against that.”

 

For its part, Google gives the so-called national media infinite amounts of preference when you google “Odessa TX shooting”  On early Sunday morning, you had to get to the fourth page before you got past CNN, MSNBC, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc.  I never actually found the Odessa American on Google as a news source for the shooting, even though they had their police reporter assigned to it.  The Washington Post?  The New York Times?  Seriously?

 

The fact is that the shooter is a resident of Odessa who was killed by police at a theatre complex after he hijacked a U.S. Postal Service truck killing the truck driver.  And, had been fired from his job that morning.  It has been reported that he called the FBI and other law enforcement tip lines before he used what appears to be an illegally purchased weapon.

 

The point is that, short of repealing the Second Amendment and confiscating over 300,000,000 guns, nothing “proposed” by the six Democrats referred to above would have prevented any of the “mass shootings” we have recorded since 1966.

 

The only thing which might work is repealing Democrat sponsored bills like those which make it illegal to consolidate databases of mental health issues and allow for one central constantly updated database against which background checks are made.

 

And even that’s a relatively long shot.

 

Because, in my opinion, what stops bad guys with guns are good guys with guns—and the training to make a difference.

 

They may be crazy when they go somewhere and shoot it up, but they’re not stupid.

 

These shootings almost never happen where there’s much of a chance that someone there might be able to shoot back.

 

But the left can’t accept that.  Guns bad.  Criminality good.  That’s the way the left sees it—which is why NOTHING meaningful will ever happen.

 

If, by chance, one of these idiots were to get elected President and Democrats take Congress, you might see an armed revolution.

 

Or, more likely, we would find out that these guys were blowing smoke up our butts all along.

 

----

 

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
%PM, %28 %934 %2019 %21:%Aug

Medicare At Bernie's

Bernie Sanders is strongly promoting “Medicare for All,” and claims to be its father (“I wrote the damn bill,” he proclaimed to the nation during the second round of Democratic Presidential debates).

His plan does not look like Medicare at all. It appears that he hardly knows anything about Medicare. He probably has no experience with it. Despite his advanced age, he does not need to depend on it. Members of Congress are allowed to receive Medicare benefits, but unlike most other Americans, they can receive other benefits in addition.

Sitting members of Congress can get routine examinations and consultations from the attending physician in the U.S. Capitol for an annual fee. And military treatment facilities in the Washington area offer free emergency medical and dental care for outpatient services.

Members are also eligible for the Federal Employees Health Insurance Program, and they won’t be kicked off as soon as they reach Medicare age. They do have to go through an Obamacare exchange, but it is a small one, the DC Health Link, which reportedly functions well. There are 57 gold-tier plans to choose from, not one or two as in many states. Their portion of the premiums could be as little as 25 percent of the total premiums. Apparently, subsidies for senators don’t run out just because their salary exceeds 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Funding for Medicare for All will apparently be vacuumed up from all other sources of payment for “healthcare,” and will go into the big collective pot. Then people can get everything without premiums, copays, or deductibles—so they say. This is not at all like Medicare.

Medicare Part A, for hospital care, is funded through the Medicare payroll tax: a 2.9% first-dollar tax—no deductions--on all employment income, half of which is paid by the employer. Seniors believe that they have been funding this through their working years, as they are constantly told. They have indeed paid, but their taxes were immediately used to pay for the care of older retirees. So, their hospital bill today will be paid from the wages of about 2.5 workers (say the persons pumping their gas, collecting their trash, and repairing their plumbing). Already that is not enough, so the IOUs in the “trust fund” are being redeemed from general tax revenues. That fund will soon be gone, according to the Medicare trustees, as Baby Boomers are flooding into the system. It would vanish in a nanosecond if we loaded in everybody, with or without illegal immigrants.

Medicare has long been implementing ways to curb runaway expenditures. From the mid 1980s comes the Prospective Payment System, or Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), under which payment has nothing to do with services rendered to a particular patient. According to my 1985 “Ode to DRG Creep”:

“Now the pay’s by the head, if alive or if dead,

Diagnosis determines the money,…

We need costs less than average, and discharges quicker

We will get no advantage -- For care of the sicker.”

Since “quicker and sicker” discharges might cause a need for readmission, the government penalizes hospitals for readmission. One way to prevent readmission is to discharge to hospice or directly to the morgue. If Bernie were an anonymous Medicare patient, he’d get a consultation on POLST. That’s Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, which translates in the Newspeak Dictionary to “Legally Enforceable Orders to Terminate Life-Sustaining Treatment Including Food and Water.”

Bernie might think he had been admitted—say he had an IV in a hospital room. But if he gets discharged before his second midnight, he might be classified as an outpatient, which is covered under Medicare Part B, and get a “surprise” bill for thousands of dollars, because of the “Two-Midnight Rule.”

Or Bernie might expect to have a little rehab after an orthopedic procedure, but if he is in hospital for fewer than three midnights, rehab isn’t covered. He might have the choice of paying out of pocket, or going home where he will be alone, unable to get out of bed.

Yes, Bernie on Medicare will have free choice of doctors—except for the ones who aren’t accepting Medicare patients.

If Bernie himself were stuck on Medicare with no way out, he might think it not so wonderful. Has anyone heard him tell people about these Medicare problems?

Maybe he means the Canadian Medicare system. It does have a way out for non-senators—called the United States.

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. Her views and opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN.  Her column can often be found at www.pennypressnv.com. Her column has been reprinted in full, with permission.

 

 

Published in Opinion

I always hesitate to write about our two freshmen Muslim Congresswomen and Israel because the first reaction of those who will not agree with me is that I’m Jewish and I just don’t understand their attitudes.

 

You would be half right.  I did grow up in a reform Jewish family, my parents were educators, I went to Sunday School every year from Kindergarten to 10th grade, was Bar Mitzvahed at age 13 and am pretty conversant in comparative religion.  But I also understand Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, maybe better than they understand themselves.

 

How do people like these get elected to Congress?

 

The same way Donald Trump became President.  By playing to their base.

 

Only their base is a group of people who simply don’t want to come to America and assimilate.  They want to come here and make us into Somalia.  Or, any number of other failed states in the Middle East.  I know, I know…Tlaib was born in Detroit.  Have you been to Detroit lately?  It bears a strong resemblance to certain cities in the Middle East.  So do a lot of cities run by Democrats these days.  

 

Omar and Tlaib in their tender freshman term have a bad case of hubris.

 

Hubris is a noun which is defined as “excessive pride or self-confidence”—something many politicians are afflicted with but usually as they climb further up the ladder.

 

To repeat a story I’ve told many times, when we had a radio station in Tulsa, we had a regular caller named Jack Jackson.  He used to say that when someone gets elected to the school board, the city council or the county commission, they get down to the school headquarters, city hall or the county courthouse, they see the receptionist and that 10 button phone, they take a whiff of that pink gas and they’re never the same.

 

You can imagine what happened to these women when they got elected to Congress.

 

They took that pink gas out of a mask hooked to a tank they had delivered to their offices.

 

They became the “us” in “us versus them”.  And, of course, we—you and I—are the “them.”

 

It’s an occupational hazard for politicians of all stripes but it is especially contagious among those who are being egged on every day by the fake news media.

 

So what these two clowns have done is to take on Israel.

 

There was a bi-partisan House delegation which went to the Middle East and talked to all sides from August 5th to the 15th.  These women could have easily been part of that group.  But noooooo.  That’s would not have shined a big enough spotlight on them, so they announced they would make a separate trip to Israel to talk with…wait for it…the Palestinians—whoever they actually are.

 

Israel did what any sovereign nation has the right to do.  It said NO.  Then, Tlaib said she wanted to see her Grandmother—who she had never met—living on the West Bank.  Israel immediately said yes to that on humanitarian grounds.

 

Was that good enough for Ms. Tlaib?

 

Ummmm.  No.  “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me,” she said of her grandmother.  “It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in.”

 

Right.

 

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri summed it up neatly.  “Last night, she sent me a letter asking her to allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother ‘because this could be my last chance to meet her’.  I approved it on humanitarian grounds, but it turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”

 

Hubris is a tough taskmaster.

 

Worse are the American Jews who are—for almost inexplicable reasons—so hard core Democrats that they’ll overlook this and blame Israel.

 

But I have a suspicion that if the Omars and the Tlaibs become the face of today’s Democrat party, you may see what my friend Wayne Allyn Root calls a JEXIT.

 

We are almost 75 years away from the end of the Holocaust which made the need for a Jewish state apparent.  It’s easy for people who have no connection to World War Two to have no passion for this never to happen again.

 

Perhaps it is necessary for everyone to study some history so that it can never repeat itself.

 

And maybe some Democrat elders should explain to Omar and Tlaib that—in the total scheme of things—they are not past grade school and their hubris may well stop them from getting to high school.

 

----

 

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. His column has been reprinted in full, with permission. 

 

 

Published in Opinion
%PM, %14 %941 %2019 %21:%Aug

Some reasons for hope for the future

In last week’s column, I showed things really are much better now than in the past and said this week I’d provide some reasons for hope in the future.

Let’s start with: Our air and water are much cleaner now than 50 years ago.  But we’ve not really observed the fundamental principal of regulation: We should implement such laws and regulations only if they are socially cost-effective and fair.  That is, if the social benefits exceed the costs and minimize cross-subsidies.  Fortunately, the Trump administration has stopped the rush to mindlessly promulgate ever more regulations and started to reconsider a few excessive ones now on the books.  Maybe we can get policy right and all be better off.

Many children are indeed growing up in poor circumstances and face challenging futures.  But that’s always been true, and some of them turn out surprisingly well anyway.  Many other children are raised in very good circumstances, and some of them also do very well.  Our daughter gives me much hope for the future.  I hope your kids do so for you, too.

And some people are finally beginning to speak up about the need for two-parent families and the damage divorce and single parenting often do to children.  We can’t reduce these problems until we openly acknowledge them.

Almost all significant dire things Al Gore predicted in his 2006 book An Inconvenient Truth have failed to materialize, especially the 20-foot rise in sea level.  Good thing for him, too, because he bought an $8-million mansion on the coast.  Probably even he didn’t believe that dreck.

Even though government excess and other basic trends have slowed economic growth, it seems to have settled at two percent annually in real terms, instead of slowing ever more.  Economic growth is necessary to increase human wellbeing.  Maybe we can turn our policies and other problems around and get back to long-term growth above three percent so each generation is about twice as well off on average as its parents.

A handful of high-tech companies have huge size and virtual monopolies in communications platforms.  But just as IBM and others once ruled their sectors, only to be taken down by disruptive firms including the current leaders, so also will they eventually succumb to new technologies and business models, curing some of their current bad behavior.

A prominent futurist predicts artificial intelligence will blossom in the future, the way micro-electronics and the internet did before.  And its benefits will exceed its risks.  I think he’s right.

The rot of the Deep State is bringing it down fitfully and slowly.  People are gaining consciousness of it and the problems it causes.  All this likely will set off a round of reform that will benefit the public interest and ordinary folk.

Rumors of the death of the private auto are greatly exaggerated.

New technology has fostered a boom in creative arts and will continue to do so.  You can make a video and post it to the world with your phone.  Yes, most are forgettable, but not every play in Shakespeare’s time was a masterpiece, either.  New tech gives us much new art and science.

Baseball is as much fun as ever to watch, especially the brilliant fielding plays.  And the Dodgers are still the best team.  Now, if only the Orioles could get back to their glory days …

If current film-makers won’t produce good movies (plot, character development, hope, inspiration, etc.) we can now watch classics on TCM, which we couldn’t decades ago.  Thanks, Ted Turner.

There’s some hope biotech will help us live better, longer lives – and reduce the cost of medical care.  No guarantees here, because health care and insurance costs continue to rise, but we can hope.

Technology and economic progress continue to improve our diets – quality, variety, nutrition, etc.  Now we need to find ways to manage our intakes to fight obesity and promote overall wellness.  A task for people, not governments.

We’ve been through crazy times like the present before and recovered.  The Great Depression, the Sixties and various wars.  We can do so again.

Thank you, President Trump, for considering the human lives lost before counter-attacking the evil empire of Iran.

 

--

 

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
Page 1 of 5