Category Archives: News

Trump signs executive order banning taxpayer funding of foreign abortions

Trump signs good bill into law = GOOD TRUMP
Trump enacts good executive order = GOOD TRUMP

Well, this is two “Good Trump” episodes in a row.

The Stream reports:

President Donald Trump on “Day One” of his presidency signed an executive order restoring the so-called “Mexico City Policy,” which requires all foreign non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services.

Ronald Reagan first established the broader policy 33 years ago, which built on a 50-year-old law banning USAID from providing funds to any nongovernmental organization providing a number of services — including abortion.

Called the “global gag rule” by critics, the policy has been lifted or reinstated by presidents since Reagan, depending on whether the president was a Republican or a Democrat. Bill Clinton lifted the policy in 1993, George W. Bush reinstated in 2001 and Barack Obama pulled it during his first term as president.

Under the policy, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will lose federal funding. Alison Marshall, the director of advocacy for IPPF, estimates that the abortion organization will lose approximately $100 million over a period of two to three years.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the only woman remaining on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she has a legislative plan in place now that President Trump moved forward with restoring the policy. Shaheen is also worried that President Trump will gut gender equality programs, among other “liberal social policies.” Calling the move to reinstate the Mexico City policy “short-sighted,” Shaheen said that “Abolishing those programs is antithetical here in our democracy.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that it was “time to take a hard look at women’s aid programs,” reportedForeign Policy. “The State Department is trying to basically get countries who receive foreign assistance to sign up for a liberal agenda,” said Graham. He added that under the Obama administration, “It’s been out of control.”

In addition to his action on the Mexico City Policy, President Trump signed executive orders withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and freezing federal workforce hiring. President Trump exempted the military from the hiring freeze.

It’s important to note that Obama was the one who enacted taxpayer-funding of abortions abroad with United States taxpayer money.

Here’s what Obama did on January 24th, 2009, eight years ago today:

One of Obama’s first acts as president was to repeal the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited tax dollars from going to international organizations that do abortions. A few months later he signed an executive order that allowed tax dollars to fund unsuccessful embryonic stem cell research.

Less than a month after taking office, President Obama began the process to roll back conscience protections that his predecessor had put in place so that healthcare professionals would not be forced to perform abortions if they were opposed to doing them.

He also nominated Kathleen Sebelius, then governor of Kansas, for the position of the secretary of Health and Human Services. Ms. Sebelius was one of the most pro-abortion governors in the nation, vetoing a bill that would have restricted late-term abortions, and was close friends with late-term abortionist George Tiller.

[…]And all that was just in the first couple months of Obama’s presidency.

Are you pro-life? Obama was making you pay for abortions abroad, not to mention federal funding of Planned Parenthood. That’s what people who vote Democrat get when they vote Democrat. There is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat. Everyone who votes Democrat is pro-abortion, no exceptions. Every Democrat votes for late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, infanticide, sex-selection abortions and race-selection abortions. Every Democrat is in favor of abortions even after the baby can feel pain.

Good Trump, Bad Trump

Regarding reporting on Trump: I am going to be fair about posting good things that Trump does and bad things that Trump does. If Trump does anything to impose tariffs, I will blog on that. If Trump does anything to weaken NATO or embolden Russia, I will blog on that. If Trump does anything to waste money on “infrastructure”, I will blog on that. So far, it’s good Trump all the way.

Note: No conservatives really liked Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership deal, so Trump’s getting rid of that does not count as “bad Trump”. But I will be watching for any kind of tariff or other protectionist nonsense, since consumers are the ones who are hardest hit by those naive, populist economic policies. Free trade is bedrock conservatism, and any opposition to free trade is wrong. It’s wrong if Obama does it (by delaying the free trade deal with Columbia) and it’s wrong if Trump does it.

Trump signs executive order giving Americans relief from Obamacare fees and taxes

Health insurance costs rose dramatically under Obama
Health insurance costs rose dramatically under Obama (click for larger image)

The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Excerpt:

On his first day in office, President Trump signed an executive order that would relieve the economic burden that Obamacare has caused, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.

[…]Trump promised Americans that on day one of taking office, he would ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare,” Trump said. “As it appears Obamacare is certain to collapse of its own weight, the damage done by the Democrats and President Obama, and abetted by the Supreme Court, will be difficult to repair unless the next president and a Republican congress lead the effort to bring much-needed free market reforms to the healthcare industry.”

“It is not enough to simply repeal this terrible legislation,” Trump said. “We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country.”

Since Trump’s economic policy draws on the experts at the conservative Heritage Foundation, we can expect that the alternative to Obamacare will be one based on a system that is proven to be successful. Switzerland has a health care system that has universal coverage, yet is fully privatized. It costs little, and delivers a lot of health care. Their system works, unlike socialist health care systems in the UK and Canada – which Obama was trying to emulate.

House Republicans say:

“Our goal is a truly patient-centered system, which means more options to choose from, lower costs, and greater control over your coverage,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). “And as we work to get there, we will make sure there is a stable transition period so that people don’t have the rug pulled out from under them.”

The nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.) echoed that sentiment, saying at his confirmation hearing that it is imperative that individuals have health coverage and have greater choices and opportunities to get the coverage they need.

“I think there’s been a lot of talk about individuals losing health care coverage—that is not our goal, nor is it our desire, nor is it our plan,” Price said.

The Daily Signal has more details on the relief provided to poor Americans in his executive order. It directs Trump’s subordinates to:

[…]exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.

The Daily Signal also comments:

As to the substance, the new president’s clear directive is for his appointees to focus on minimizing the damaging effects of the law. That constitutes a sharp change in direction from the one taken by the Obama administration.

The implementation approach taken by the Obama administration was essentially to try to increase subsidized enrollment heedless of any resulting costs or disruptions to either the public or private sectors. This executive order signals that the Trump administration’s first order of business for Obamacare will instead be to minimize those costs and disruptions.

Some numbers from CNBC:

For many Obamacare customers this year, they’ll be paying more for less.

A new report on Obamacare plans details how plan premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket insurance costs have grown sharply even as the size of networks of health providers covered by those plans are shrinking in 2017.

The report from the Avalere consultancy also details how the number of insurers selling Obamacare plans have also shrunk, decreasing competition in the individual health plan market.

Last year, just 4 percent of all regions of the United States had only one participating insurer on Obamacare exchange, according to Avalere’s analysis. This year, 36 percent of all regions in the U.S. will have only one participating health insurer on an Obamacare exchanges.

Avalere’s report also found that in 2017, just 31 percent of all exchange-sold plans are “preferred provider organizations” or “point of service” plans, down from 52 percent of all plans in 2014, the first year of Obamacare coverage

PPOs generally have a wider networks of doctors and hospitals covered by the plan, and cover more out-of-network services than do other types of plans, including health maintenance organizations.

I have a friend who is a Democrat. For every month of the last 6 years, I have been presenting him with the numbers on Obamacare showing the negative impact on small businesses and poor Americans. He makes 6 figures as a software engineer, and knows literally nothing about economics. I have even told him stories about some of my friends who are poorer who struggled with the financial burdens caused by the law. His response was stunning: “what does this matter to you, you have health care through your employer”. That’s how Democrats think. As long as they are OK, who cares about the poor. The important thing for them is that government run everything and make all the decisions, because ordinary people cannot be trusted with freedom.

You can read more about the disaster of Obamacare here in a report by the Heritage Foundation.

Who suffers the most from the trend of extended adolescence?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

My friend Tracy sent me this interesting post. As I read it, I thought I was going to disagree with him about who is to blame for the mess he describes, but as we’ll see in a bit, I don’t.

Here’s his intro, which pretty much everyone agrees on:

The Five Traditional Milestones of Adulthood

Something magically happens between adolescence and young adulthood.  There are five traditional milestones of that mark entrance into adulthood that sociologists, psychologists, and the general population have used as a proxy to determine when someone has reached that tipping point of maturity.  It is at this time adolescence is shed and emotional maturity comes to full fruition.

These are:

  • Leaving Home
  • Becoming Financially Independent
  • Completing School
  • Marrying
  • Starting a Family

He has some examples to illustrate who is and isn’t mature:

Examples of Adults:

  • A 25-year old teacher with a college degree, who works full time, is married, has a child, owns her own home, and pays for her own living expenses
  • A 65-year old janitor with a high school diploma, who works full time, is married or widowed, has children, owns his own home, and pays for his own living expenses

Examples of Extended Adolescence: 

  • A 30-year old who has part of their rent and bills covered by parents, endlessly enrolls in colleges or universities seeking additional degrees or credentials, single, without children.
  • A 45-year old high-school dropout living on social welfare programs who spends his days getting drunk in bars

OK, then he talks about who suffers the most from “extended adolescence”:

What is particularly interesting is the interaction between biology and the paradigm shift that has occurred with so much of the younger generation suffering from extended adolescence. Women have a specific, limited window of time in which they can genetically reproduce and to which they are attractive to potential mates.  This so-called “biological clock”, written into the code at the very deepest core of our DNA, puts a limit on childbearing for females.

  • Fertility: Female fertility peaks at 20 to 30 years old.  After 30 years old, fertility drops by 20%.  After 35, it drops 50%.  After 40, it drops 95%.  As for in vitro fertilization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that women in their early 40’s have, on average, only a 3% to 5% chance of having a baby through this method.
  • Down Syndrome: At 25, a woman has about 1 chance in 1,250 of having a baby with Down Syndrome; at age 30, a 1-in-1,000 chance; at age 35, a 1-in-400 chance; at age 40, a 1-in-100 chance; and at 45, a 1-in-30- chance.
  • Miscarriage: Only 9 percent of recognized pregnancies for women aged 20 to 24 end in miscarriage; 15 percent of women aged 25-30 miscarry; 40 percent of women over 40 do and more than 50 percent miscarry at 42 years of age.

These limitations do not apply to men (an 80 year old man can still reproduce).  Men have virtually no opportunity cost to waiting to find a mate.  If they want to spend their twenties working their way up their field, putting money in the bank, playing video games, and hanging out with friends, they can always wake up one morning and decide they are ready to settle down, get married, and have kids.  As such, the biological cost of extended adolescence is significantly and substantially higher for women than it is for men.  Females suffer from a Mother Nature-induced “use it or lose it” policy.

So, should men be expected to ride to the rescue of women who are the end of the their fertility period? Should men make things “work out” for women who refused to marry when they were in their 20s, when they were fertile and attractive?

Nope:

This fear was encapsulated by Kay Hymowitz in a book called Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys.

[…]As one reviewer somewhat critically noted of the book, “Hymowitz wants the child-men [those suffering from extended adolescence] to man up so that women don’t have to become spinsters or “choice mothers” at the expense of their careers. Might women alter their own behavior? “[T]he economic and cultural changes are too embedded, and, for women especially, too beneficial to reverse.” So the answer is no. Although it is women who are becoming disenchanted with the way things are, and although it is women who have created this situation, it is [in her opinion] men who ought to change.  And they are to change precisely when women are ready.”

The reviewer is correct because men are acting rationally within the confines the new paradigm.  In today’s world, men are presented no social, financial, emotional, or reproductive advantage by adjusting their own life to the ticking of a potential mate’s biological clock.  It is for the woman, to borrow a phrase, “too damn bad”.  It may not be fair, but in a finite world, there is an opportunity cost to every decision we make.  That has always been one of the central themes of this blog.  Incentive systems drive nearly everything in civilization from the type of people we attract into certain industries to the kind of behavior we reward.  The incentive system for men has changed and society now reflects this reality.

I actually blame the pastors and parents for allowing women to delay marriage, and then blaming men for not marrying women who pass their fertility date. Pastors and parents don’t challenge young women’s feelings with the truth about what she ought to be doing in order to grow up early and attract a man during the time when she is younger and fertile. They want to let women decide what to do at every point in their lives, based on their feelings “in the moment”. The refusal to make judgments leads to women having delusions like “I can have children when I’m 35” and “I can change a bad man into a good man after I marry him” and “a degree in English is as worthwhile as a degree in computer science”.

Feminism has a lot to do with it. Women used to be taught by pastors and parents that they should choose chaste men with good jobs, work histories and savings. But feminism says that men don’t have any special provider role, and now the main things that women look for in a man is that he is attractive, fun, and lets her do whatever she feels like doing – no matter how crazy and irrational it is.

One woman recently told me that a female friend of ours, who is dating a penniless 28-year-old student, who has never worked a day in his life need not worry about him. She said “if they marry, he’ll drop out of school and start to work and provide for her”. She is 33, and she thinks that marrying a full-time student is a good idea, because he enthusiastically supports her crazy plans to pursue fun, thrills and travel into her mid-30s. She tells him that God is telling her (through her feelings) to pursue fun and thrills through travel – a position she held when she still an atheist in college, mind you. And she intends to keep up the traveling for as long as she can, even if she isn’t out of debt until she turns 40. And he, in response, is both unwilling to, and incapable of, questioning her plan from a practical point of view. She likes that he lets her fly the plane, even it it means she’ll crash it and kill them both. There is something mentally wrong with a man who stays in school until he is 30, and thinks that he is fine to be in a relationship with a woman. Only men who show aptitude for the provider role should be taken seriously by women.

Pastors and parents don’t dare hurt the self-esteem of sensitive little girls by telling them to study hard things, get full-time jobs, move out of the house and focus on marrying a man who can provide during their 20s. And what happens when the “fun-thrills-travel until you’re 35” plan explodes and no one wants to marry her? Well, then, all pastors and parents who applauded when she delayed marriage blame men for not wanting to marry her. But men don’t marry 35-year-old women. At age 35, the value proposition of marriage to men has been greatly diminished by age and infertility. (Or worse: by promiscuity, cohabitation, divorce, and children from other men) There is a window of opportunity for a woman to invest in a man with her youth, beauty, support and encouragement. Once that window is closed, a man who has a good education, a good resume and good amount of savings has no obligation to marry. All the battles have already been fought as well as they are going to be, and without a woman there to help him. He doesn’t have any emotional connection to a woman that would cause him to either get married or stay married, because of the help he received when it really mattered. Believe me when I tell you that single women today are very intentional about passing up good men so that they can be “free” to travel and have fun. They know exactly what they are doing, but hope to somehow escape the responsibility for their choices later.

Obama commutes sentence of government employee who leaked classified information

Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign
Obama speaks to the Human Rights Campaign

The non-partisan The Hill reports.

Excerpt:

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army [private] [Bradley] Manning, according to the White House.

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks.

[…]Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he doesn’t agree with Obama’s decision to release Manning early.

“I think on the larger issue of criminal justice reform, the president is really undermining our political capital by granting clemency at an unprecedented rate,” Cornyn said. “People say, well why should we change the sentencing rules in criminal justice reform if the president can just do it with a flick of his pen?”

While it’s the president’s right to commute sentences, Cornyn said, it’s not a wise move.

[…]Obama has relied on his 2014 clemency initiative to advance his goal of shortening sentences for non-violent offenders he views as unjust.

The president has mostly doled out commutations and pardons to people convicted of drug crimes who received lengthy mandatory minimum sentences under requirements that have since been scaled back by Congress.

Obama has granted commutations to 1,385 federal inmates as president, more than the total number given by the past 12 presidents combined. He has also pardoned 212 people.

The White House is expected to announce another round of clemency grants on Thursday, officials said.

Bradley Manning is a gay man, and he received sex-reassignment surgery at taxpayer expense thanks to the Obama administration.

Gay rights groups and anti-American legal groups petitioned the far-left President to pardon the convicted traitor, and that’s what Obama did, since he is funded by far-left groups and must dance to their tune.

What do we learn from this?

Well, this story continues a pattern of behavior by Democrats in which they side with criminals, terrorists, and enemies against the interests of America, of America’s allies and the safety of American citizens. It is a pattern.

Ben Shapiro explains in this article for Daily Wire:

Manning wasn’t Obama’s only controversial commutation: he also commuted the sentence of General James E. Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who lied to reporters about leaking information about the Stuxnet virus directed by Israel against the Iranian nuclear program; Obama commuted Oscar Lopez Rivera, an FALN terrorist who was convicted to a 55-year sentence for seditious conspiracy, forced robbery, and firearms charges.

[…]Obama Hates The National Security Community. Manning revealed documents to WikiLeaks that damaged American national security severely. According to the Associated Press, as The Weekly Standard notes, “The government presented [an] uncontested written statement that former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden asked for and received from an associate the Afghanistan battlefield reports that WikiLeaks published. The material was found on digital media seized in the May 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, [lead prosecutor Maj. Ashden] Fein said. Bin Laden was killed in the raid.” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) rightly stated, “I don’t understand why the president would feel special compassion for someone who endangered the lives of our troops, diplomats, intelligence officers, and allies.” And Obama’s other commutations reveal a deep disdain for our allies and our defense community: FALN is a terrorist organization, and the leak of the Stuxnet virus information only helped Iran.

This is what Obama and his Democrat allies learned in their non-STEM college courses at leftist universities: America is evil, and America’s enemies are good. That’s why Democrats bend over backwards to release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay prison, to give assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels (which are then used to murder law enforcement and border security personnel), to abandon our security personnel in Benghazi, to give billions of dollars to assist Iran to develop nuclear weapons, to embolden aggressive invasions by Russia into Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014), to cut our military spending (e.g. – stop production of F-22 Raptor, mothball our aircraft carriers), and cripple our armed forces with political correctness. And so on.

Is health care a right or a commodity?

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Here is a splendid post about the economics of health care from Ben Shapiro, writing for National Review.

He responds to a view held by those on the radical left: people need health care, therefore health care is a right.

Excerpt:

The idea here seems to be that unless you declare medical care a right rather than a commodity, you are soulless — that as Marx might put it, necessity, rather than autonomy, creates rights.

This is foolhardy, both morally and practically.

Morally, you have no right to demand medical care of me. I may recognize your necessity and offer charity; my friends and I may choose to band together and fund your medical care. But your necessity does not change the basic math: Medical care is a service and a good provided by a third party. No matter how much I need bread, I do not have a right to steal your wallet or hold up the local bakery to obtain it. Theft may end up being my least immoral choice under the circumstances, but that does not make it a moral choice, or suggest that I have not violated your rights in pursuing my own needs.

But the left believes that declaring necessities rights somehow overcomes the individual rights of others. If you are sick, you now have the right to demand that my wife, who is a doctor, care for you. Is there any limit to this right? Do you have the right to demand that the medical system provide life-saving care forever, to the tune of millions of dollars of other people’s taxpayer dollars or services? How, exactly, can there be such a right without the government’s rationing care, using compulsion to force individuals to provide it, and confiscating mass sums of wealth to pay for it?

The answer: There can’t be. Rights that derive from individual need inevitably violate individual autonomy.

But there are ways to make a commodity less expensive, and of higher quality. It happens all the times in free markets, where innovators are rewarded with profits – just think of the people who sell smartphones.

More:

To make a commodity cheaper and better, two elements are necessary: profit incentive and freedom of labor. The government destroys both of these elements in the health-care industry. It decides medical reimbursement rates for millions of Americans, particularly poor Americans; this, in turn, creates an incentive for doctors not to take government-sponsored health insurance. It regulates how doctors deal with patients, the sorts of training doctors must undergo, and the sorts of insurance they must maintain; all of this convinces fewer Americans to become doctors. Undersupply of doctors generally and of doctors who will accept insurance specifically, along with overdemand stimulated by government-driven health-insurance coverage, leads to mass shortages. The result is an overreliance on emergency care, costs for which are distributed among government, hospitals, and insurance payers.

So, what’s the solution for poor people? Not to declare medical care a “right,” and certainly not to dismiss reliance on the market as perverse cruelty. Markets are the solution in medical care, just as they are in virtually every other area.

Treating medical care as a commodity means temporary shortages, and it means that some people will not get everything we would wish them to have. But that’s also true of government-sponsored medical care, as the most honest advocates will admit. And whereas government-sponsored medical care requires a top-down approach that violates individual liberties, generates overdemand, and quashes supply, markets prize individual liberties, reduce demand (you generally demand less of what you must pay for), and heighten supply through profit incentive.

It’s always a good idea to look at how health care is working in countries that do have single payer health care systems. Canada has a single-payer system. How is that working out?

The Fraser Institute issued a recent report on health care in Canada:

Waiting for treatment has become a defining characteristic of Canadian health care. In order to document the lengthy queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures in the country, the Fraser Institute has—for over two decades—surveyed specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces.

This edition of Waiting Your Turn indicates that, overall, waiting times for medically necessary treatment have in-creased since last year. Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 20.0 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 18.3 weeks reported in 2015. This year’s wait time—the longest ever recorded in this survey’s history—is 115% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.

[…]It is estimated that, across the 10 provinces, the total number of procedures for which people are waiting in 2016 is 973,505. This means that, assuming that each person waits for only one procedure, 2.7% of Canadians are waiting for treatment in 2016.

[…]Patients also experience significant waiting times for various diagnostic technologies across the provinces. This year, Canadians could expect to wait 3.7 weeks for a computed tomography (CT) scan, 11.1 weeks for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and 4.0 weeks for an ultrasound.

Research has repeatedly indicated that wait times for medically necessary treatment are not benign inconveniences. Wait times can, and do, have serious consequences such as increased pain, suffering, and mental anguish. In certain instances, they can also result in poorer medical outcomes—transforming potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions, or even permanent disabilities. In many instances, patients may also have to forgo their wages while they wait for treatment, resulting in an economic cost to the individuals themselves and the economy in general.

The typical cost of the single-payer health care system to a Canadian family is nearly $12,000.

Socialist Canada has been doing a lot of taxing and spending to try to fix this problem, but the problem is getting worse. And no wonder: when the government controls health care, it becomes a tool for buying votes. Abortions and sex changes are “health care” in Canada. Breast enlargements and IVF are “health care” in the UK. Of course, good luck getting treatment when you are in your old age and will not be voting much in the future : both Canada and the UK have euthanasia programs to get rid of elderly people who are no longer as useful to politicians as young people who still have lots of voting ahead of them.