Monday, December 29, 2014

Dismang's Tungsten Balloon on Obamacare

Senator Jonathan Dismang is the President Pro Tem elect of the Arkansas State Senate.  He is one of the architects of the dishonestly-named "private" option - Arkansas version of Obamacare in which the Medicaid money passes through the hands of GOP-friendly special interests on its way to providing welfare to able-bodied adults in the form of heavily subsidized health insurance.   It is all done with borrowed federal money until 2017, at which point Arkansas has to start chipping in.  The money to pay for all of these promises does not exist.  It only looks like a "good deal" now because for the first few years the feds are passing all of the bills for it to the next generation.

Most Arkansas Republican legislators rewarded their base who worked so hard to get them re-elected by immediately confirming pro-Obamacare Dismang as Pro Tem.  That was sarcasm in case you missed it, and more on that sorry episode can be found here.  For several elections now, the people of Arkansas have voted against candidates who supported the state's continued entanglement with Obamacare.  But while the citizens are on one side, the lobbyists are on the other.  The special interests want the "free" (i.e. stolen from the next generation) money to continue flowing.  So no matter how many Republicans who claim that they want to end the "private" option version of Obamacare that people vote in, pro-Obamacare guys like Dismang wind up in charge and the "private" option keeps getting re-authorized.

A new session is about to start with an even larger crop of candidates elected on a platform of ditching the "private" option.   At some point, continuing to fund the private option when it only takes 25% + 1 vote of the legislature to stop it just gets downright embarrassing.  Everyone who is not a willing dupe or brain dead will at last figure out that those who want a limited-government conservative party will have to start one themselves.  Voters don't want the "private" option, Republican County Chairmen don't want the "private" option, but even though a small minority of the legislature could block it at any time it just keeps getting authorized and funded.  If they don't stop it this time then it just becomes too obvious that voters don't control that party, nor do county chairman control it- they only get their good names tarnish and their efforts toward public service wasted when it only answers to special interests or party headquarters in Washington.

So what is needed, from the view of the political class on the Republican side, is some way to give cover to their set course of blowing off their own grassroots, local chairman, and voters generally. Five days ago, while normal people were busy with Christmas, Dismang floated his trial balloon, no doubt hoping that the failure of the people to take notice and be outraged would provide the political cover he needed.  This idea would empower him to lean on people elected on a platform of stopping the "private option" to break their word to their constituents and vote to fund it anyway.

What he suggested was that adding a requirement that those able bodies adults receiving "free" (paid for by your kids since it is financed largely by debt) health insurance under the "private" option be required to either work or be "actively seeking" work.   This appears to be what he considers "dramatically" altering his version of Obamacare.

What an intense insult to our intelligence this farce of a proposal is. I think most of us who have worked at large employers saw what happened when unemployment benefits got stretched to 99 weeks.  Even more people came in and wasted HR's time by "applying" for jobs that they had no intention of taking if offered.  I remember one place I worked at some years ago that these people would show up for the "application" dressed in filthy rags and obviously high just to make sure they did not get hired, but by golly they met the requirement of "actively seeking" work!  If one did get hired by mistake, they would not show up for work.

Businesses started retaliating by moving to online-only applications, or even saying you could not apply for a job with them unless you were already working!   They started saving the serious applications and not taking any new ones.  FEDGOV responded with their usual ham-fistedness- telling employers they could not keep applications more than a short period of time so that HR would have to take "applications" from more deadbeats, wasting everyone in the private sector's time but keeping that government paperwork flowing smoothly.

No, adding such a requirement to Obamacare does not "dramatically" change the "private" option.  Voting for a "private" option with a work or seek work requirement is not voting for anything meaningfully different than voting for the original "private" option.  Dimang may be trying to float the idea that it is so that those who told you they would vote against the "private" option can vote for it anyway and then come home and tell you that they did not vote to fund the old private option they campaigned against, they voted to fund something "dramatically" different because it added the "work or seek work" requirement.  If any politician insults your intelligence by looking you in the eye and telling you this I hope that you will have the moral courage to tell them to their faces that they are liars.  I know I will.

At some point, the people we elect simply must do what they said they would do when they ran.  They must quit acting shocked and offended when we expect them to do exactly what they said they would do when they ran.  When they lie to our faces, they have no right whatsoever to expect us to speak of them as anything but liars.   If they do not wish to be called liars then they should stop lying.  It really is that simple.

My expectation is that they will fund the private option, they will continue to brazenly ignore the voters and even their own local party folks. Then they will aggravate this profound multi-year display of disrespect by giving some DOA, fundamentally dishonest excuse like the one I outlined above.  They will do this for as long as you the voter will accept it and continue to hold your nose and vote for them.  In that sense, they don't deserve all of the blame for lying to you, some of you deserve part of the blame for allowing yourself to continually be lied to and disrespected while still supporting their party in general and voting for them in particular.

I suggest we start our own grassroots groups to locally elect independents to the state legislature, and for county offices.   This experiment we have been trying where we outsource the job of representing our interests to this DC based organization whose candidates have been lying to us so often is a complete failure.   We should revert to self-government.  Is that more work?  Sure, but freedom is worth it, and we are not going to stay free any other way.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fayetteville First City to Reject Gay Agenda Ordinance

A national campaign by the so-called "Human Rights Campaign" to pass city ordinances that would enact punitive measures on businesses which did not submit to the homosexual/transgender agenda met its first defeat in Fayetteville last night. The measure, largely the brain-child of "Human Rights Campaign" founder and accused child rapist Terry Bean, called for a city commission to assess daily fines on local businesses which failed to accommodate homosexuals and transgendered persons to the degree an appointed commission felt they should.

In other cities, this has included forcing business owners to permit patrons to use whatever restroom they felt they identified with that day rather than their actual sex.  Opponents pointed to several reports of predatory males using the cover of the ordinance to gain access to women's restrooms in order to victimize women.   It was the battle over the same type of ordinance which led the lesbian Mayor of Houston Texas to attempt to subpoena the sermons of five area churches.

The Human Rights Campaign had targeted 200 cities. mostly with large universities like Fayetteville, where they set a goal of seeing the ordinance enacted.   Though the ordinance remains controversial in many cities they were more than halfway towards accomplishing that goal without a single defeat, until now.   In Fayetteville's case, they persuaded the City Council to vote it in over the protests of those who felt it should go to the ballot.   A provision in the city charter allowed citizens to place a repeal of any ordinance on the ballot if they got the required signatures.   Opponents did so, and the special election was held last night.  Despite an all-out effort of the city council, and the far better organization of the pro-ordinance side, the ordinance was repealed by a 52% to 48% vote.  This makes Fayetteville Arkansas the first such city to reject the proposal.

Not only was this noteworthy because it represents the first time in the nation citizens have successfully pushed back against this aggressive effort to use state force to demand compliance, but several other noteworthy things occurred.

One was that this was the first time I have ever seen a side down so much in early voting come back and win.   Early voting was heavy for the type of election it was, and the pro-ordinance side (due to their superior organization) had a twelve point lead.   They went from being up by twelve in early voting to losing by four overall.   I have never seen that happen.   The overall results are virtually always within three points of the early voting.

The second notable from this event is what led to the first:  Churches were actually being churches.  Local churches stepped up and told their congregations about the special election and urged them to go to the polls and vote to repeal the measure.  Readers of this space will know that I am not a fan of churches being captured by politicians or political parties, but speaking the truth on issues is one thing they ought to be doing.   That is why the pro-ordinance side won early voting, but lost big on election day.  Most voters for the pro-freedom side did not even know there was an election until Sunday.

The third notable was that the Republican Party did not accomplish this repeal, it was local citizens reverting to the novel concept of self-government.   The local Republican Party had no role, they basically sat this one out, though some of the best workers in the repeal effort were also members of a Republican Women's group.  I stopped by the victory party and saw all kinds of people there, Republicans, Democrats, and Awake.

The last notable is the decption.  The proponents of this measure were all about the homosexual agenda, but they masked what they were doing as a campaign for "equality" and "civil rights".   They tried to hide in a crowd of other groups, groups not based on behavior such as race, where there is still guilt and a stigma to racism.  I have to believe that many people who voted for this ordinance to stay in place did not really understand what they were voting for.  They just heard the right buzzwords.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

A Better College Football Playoff System

The results on the field this year have created a perfect storm for the new four-team college football playoff system.   It is a nightmare, a near worst-case scenario which will result in calls for changes to the system,  For how to fix it, real on....

Problem: too many places worthy contenders can come from relative to the number of playoff spots.  There are ten Division One FBS conferences in America, five "Major" conferences and five "Mid-Majors" such as Conference USA or the MAC.   There are also a few independents floating around out there, most notably Notre Dame and BYU.   With five major conferences, the present four team playoff system was bound to leave one of the major conference champions out of the play-offs.  If Notre Dame or Boise State had been strong, then they may have knocked another major conference champion out of the playoffs.

The mid-majors and the independents did not pose any problems this year, but they could in future years, and everything else that could have gone wrong did go wrong.  One of the major conference champions, probably a very impressive Ohio State team, will not get a chance to compete.  Then add to it the wild-card - the so-called "Big 12" only has ten teams left in it, so they don't have a conference championship game.

The worst thing in the Big 12 that could happen for the four-team playoff would be that two of those teams are awesome and that when they played each other during the regular season it was a super-close game with the home team narrowly winning (making people wonder what would happen if the game were replayed on neutral turf).    That was just what happened, because both Baylor and TCU look good enough to deserve a shot in the playoffs.  To make it worse, Baylor won the head to head with TCU, but TCU appears to be the one going to the playoff.

Look, it is college, so you want to keep the playoffs as short as possible.  The thing is, four games is too few to really resolve this, and with five major conferences and a couple of strong independents and many mid-majors out there they should have realized it.

How would I fix it?   You have to have three games.  The conference champions from each of the five Majors would have a slot.  The sixth slot would be the wild-card, filled by either the highest ranked independent team, or a rare outstanding team from the mid-majors, or a situation like the one we have now in the Big 12 where it looks like a conference has two worthy teams.