Friday, June 30, 2017

Does Obamacare Save Lives?

Despite some anecdotes which would indicate "yes" (at the cost of making slaves out of the next generation who will be stuck with the debt created to fund it), this through analysis calls into question the very premise of the left, that "people will die" if Obamacare is ended (not that anybody in DC is actually considering doing that, they just want the same thing cheaper).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Symbols and Substance in the Ten Commandments Incident

"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.…"  Jeremiah 33
Does this at least mean that the ACLU won't be suing the state now? Less than 24 hours after a privately-funded ten commandments monument was placed on the grounds of the state capitol 32-year old Micheal Reed drove into the monument and destroyed it. Reed has a history of mental illness. He destroyed a similar monument in Oklahoma.

Symbols are important. At their best, they are used to re-enforce good things from our past and from our culture which are in fact present in ourselves. At their worst, they are used as substitutes for the substance which they represent- an external fig leaf to cover for the fact that the reality of the symbol is not present in our souls.

The symbols are only good when they are a representation of what is already within us. In Arkansas, we have a legislature with people who outwardly make a big show of supporting the symbol of the ten commandments monument, but are drastically short on the actual substance of the commandments in their actions.

For example, the commandments say "thou shalt not lie" and "thou shalt not steal." The commandments are good. But the legislature has insisted on maintaining Obamacare, which steals from today's children through generational looting. Further, they have resorted to numerous deceptions since 2013 to pretend that its not Obamacare. Those deceptions are not fooling anyone who is paying attention anymore, but still they have tried and its been going on for years. Most of them either participated in the dishonesty or went along with it as a "team player." I do not exclude Senator Jason Rappert from that group.

Every session those connected to the government get more and more while expanding debt and increased tax revenues are demanded from the rest of us with private means in order to pay for it. When government has been operating like this then having a big monument gathering dust on the grounds is an empty symbol. It does not reflect what they actually respect and the way they actually operate. It is just an excuse to tell themselves they are still good people because they want to publicly flourish the symbols of righteousness while letting the substance of it whither in their hearts. I consider this a very dangerous spiritual condition.

What I suggest is the long prescribed antidote to sin - repentance. I want to put the ten commandments back in our hearts more prominently and not worry so much if there is a symbol representing them out on the capitol grounds. Instead of pointing to a rock on the capitol grounds as evidence that the Ten Commandments still mean something to us, we should point to our lives and our work and our votes. That we neither lie nor steal nor use the law as a cover for unrighteousness. Let them be written on our hearts and it will not matter if there is a monument for some insane person to destroy. There will be no symbol for the ACLU to sharpen its ax for. But righteousness and peace will flourish.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wal-Mart War with Amazon Goes Hot

It seems that Wal-Mart would rather have politicians grab more tax revenues from online sales and threaten truckers who do business with Amazon than build a customer-friendly website for online retailing. It is crazy stupid. They could compete with Amazon for online retailing. Instead they want to hinder online retailing and force people into their increasingly unpleasant store experience. They are threatening to boycott truckers who haul stuff for Amazon!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Now Come the Tough Choices on Medicaid

Some of us warned about this day six years ago when the Republicans in this state signed us onto "The Private Option" with claims that it was "the furthest thing from Obamcare". Some of us knew at the time that was untrue, but it confused enough people long enough for them to get it going until they could change the name to "Arkansas Works" and reset the Confusion Clock.

Of course the few activists who were warning about this were dismissed as "unappeasables" who didn't know anything. I specifically said "the money to pay for these promises does not exist. It never existed." But hey, the national credit card was not maxed out just yet so party on dudes. What has the next generation ever done for us anyway? Let's stick 'em with the tab and congratulate ourselves for saying "yes" to more government spending on health care.

So now that the health care system and insurance plans in this state have been re-arranged to Obamacare, the money is running out and major changes have to be made. You may think that is a good idea, or you may think it is a terrible idea- but it doesn't matter because the money to do all this was never there. Governor Asa Hutchinson took the first step by moving able-bodied adults from 101% to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level off of Medicaid and onto the exchanges. They will still be somewhat subsidized on the exchanges but nothing like the sweet deal they got on Medicaid (sweet deal from them, terrible deal for tomorrow's children who will be stuck with the debt).

Before Obamacare we had Medicare for the elderly. It is not quite pure socialized medicine because people paid in all their working lives, but it was going broke even before George W. Bush did big pharma a huge solid and socialized prescription drug coverage for the elderly. We had Medicaid for Children, the disabled, and the very poorest of the poor. So those groups already had the government paying for their health care, and it was straining the safety net. What Obamacare did was add a lot more able-bodied adults into the safety net and it is giving way due to the strain.

Now it is time to figure out who to reduce benefits to. The Republican plan from Senator Tom Cotton et al looks like it is trying to keep FEDGOVS hand in the pie, but still give smaller pieces of pie to every group that got pie under Obamacare. What that means is the elderly, the disabled, and children will have to get smaller pieces of pie going forward. Why? So that the group that Obamacare added- able-bodied adults who are poor but not the poorest of the poor, can keep getting government pie. That allows the lefties at the ARKTIMES to deride the plan as "annals of mean" for "cutting" benefits to children.

Now that the Democrats (with Republican help) have extended the reach of the federal government into the healthcare of able-bodied adults the Republicans just can't seem to simply let go. They can't seem to get behind a plan which would simply take FEDGOV out of that new area of life that they invaded and took over- even if they don't know what they are doing and don't have the money to do it anyway. It is like they are control freaks who cant. let. go.

Yet the right thing to do is so simple. Simple but not easy. The able-bodied adults who have gotten a free ride at the expense of tomorrow's children have to get kicked off the bus. If it is a choice between whose benefits to cut, cut theirs before you cut benefits to children and the disabled. Just admit that you are having a devil of a time managing the vast federal programs that were on your plate before Obamacare and it was a mistake to add more to that load. But they can't seem to bear doing that, no matter how obvious it is they should. I sure hope they get over whatever psychological issues won't let them come to grips with the reality that they need to let go, and that they do it before the credit card is maxed out.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Defending Conduit's Legislative Scorecard

Conduit for Commerce had a legislative scorecard that I was very complimentary of. No sooner had I complimented it than Dan Greenberg of Advance Arkansas put out a piece highly critical of their scorecard. Advance Arkansas and Conduit have very similar mission goals. They could either be allies or competitors for the "market" of economic freedom people. Greenberg decided to treat them like competitors and launched on them. I shared my views about it in some audio files which were played on the Paul Harrell Program. In addition to playing them on the show, they also put up the clips by themselves. You can listen to my critique of Greenberg's critique here. This is an example of a contrived and unnecessary fight among people who would be better off making peace and working together IMHO.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ranking the Legislators 2017

Conduit for Commerce has come out with their rankings for all legislators from the 2017 session. It is very comprehensive and I noticed that a lot of the names high on their list were names that were also high on our list of top legislators from the 2015 session. They don't explain it in their article but I think that the names that are underlined and have an asterisk were those who voted against the Governor when they needed to on a couple of big bills. I.E. those are the ones who will stand up for fiscal responsibility even when its not cool and the price could be high (the Governor finding them a primary opponent for example).

For the past several sessions I have gotten with four other activists and we had our own vote on who the best and worst legislators were. This list looks good enough that I don't feel the need to do that this time around.  I endorse their list, even if I don't agree with every bill they scored and how they scored it.

What do the numbers tell us? That there are six really good State Senators in the Arkansas Legislature and after that there is a really big drop-off in quality. It also tells us what kind of score Asa Hutchinson would get if he were a state senator- that score is "-19". We know that because that is the score that Jim Hendren got and he is the Governor's nephew and point man and votes with him pretty much right down the line.

The House has 100 members instead of the 35 the Senate has, so you would expect to find more good ones, and there are but not that many more. (NOTE: I don't agree that Sullivan was the #1 member of the house.)  Ten of them are really solid, like the top six senators, but after that there is a more gradual tapering of quality. The top ten is really strong and the next 15-20 are pretty good too. In the Senate once you get past the top six, things go downhill fast. It is like by then they have decided what they are and they go there. In the house they are still a work in progress and could go either way. I am not even going to link the house rating. Check the article out to see it yourself.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

In Training to Receive the Mark of the Beast

Revelations 13:16-17

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[a] the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
 I don't know what I believe about eschatology. It has always been the most unfathomable to me (along with early Genesis which I am finally convinced that I do understand) and I figured that I had a difficult enough time trying to live up to the parts that were easy to understand. I do know that when I was growing up it seemed very unlikely that we would have a one-world system, yet everyone was talking about it coming and how they would refuse to take "the mark of the beast", whatever it is or was. So much so that I can remember thinking "how could they get away with forcing people to take such a mark, too many people would know that it would be making a deal with the Devil?"

Now days it is very clear that the ruling class is pushing for a one world system, and it seems either plausible or maybe even inevitable. Yet no one seems to be talking about "the mark of the beast" anymore. It is amazing how much the world has changed since I was a teenager. The technological improvements have been wonderful. But more power has not made man better, and the noise has made us a lot less contemplative of life's larger questions.

One thing I have learned about evil over the years is that it does not describe itself as evil, at least until people are hopelessly sucked in. Rather, evil tries to present itself as good. That dishonesty is just a part of the evil. When and if the time comes they are not going to say "everyone who wants to deny God so we world rulers can try to take His place in league with Satan line up here to get your mark." It is going to be a lot more seductive than that. Not that truth can stay hidden to those who want to see. Despite an intense propaganda campaign with all kinds of claims about itself, I suspect the rottenness and corruption of the system will be plain enough to anyone who cares to see it.

But people will not want to see it. A lot of folks who consider themselves "good people" will line right up for, even if they don't buy the system's claims about itself. Why? They will tell themselves that they need access to the system so that they can do good with it. They will assume that they themselves will resist the corrupting influences of the system that they see in others.

Not everybody will be jaded. There will be some "true believers" who want to get wrapped up in something bigger than themselves (but not God). They will take the mark "on their foreheads". That is to say, it will reflect the state of their minds- they will really believe. Others though, will just take the mark on their right hand- they will do the things the system wants them to do in order to maintain their access to the system no matter what is going on in their minds. They won't necessarily buy into it- at least not at first. They may even think that they will just be using the bad system for some "good" purpose. They have to take it in order to stay "relevant", in order to be "players."

If Revelation is such a mystery to me, how do I know all of this? Easy. It is already happening. Right now I see this very thought process occurring in lots of otherwise decent people. People who think of themselves as the good guys, as decent people, will go right ahead and voluntarily put their name on an institution that they will privately admit is corrupt to the core. And they will do this for the very reasons that I described above. They will want "access". They have convinced themselves that they can use a corrupt institution to accomplish good things- things that the institutions leading lights are opposed to doing. And they think they can out-use those professional users without becoming tainted themselves- they thought that they might be never even seems to occur to them.

Yes, I am talking about the Republican Party, among other institutions. I don't think an institution has to be 100% pure or moral before I lend my name to it- once I was a part of it then it would not be 100% pure any more anyway. But I am opposed to joining an organization that I know is systematically corrupt and which tends to make those who join it worse instead of better. The generally upright people I know who are heavy into it are miserable, and the dirtiest and willingly deceived who are in it seem the most supportive of it as it is now. Why would any decent human being want to join an outfit like that? Why would they remain in such an outfit? For all of the reasons I outlined above.

I can't tell you how many people I have talked to inside it that admit to me that it is bad and getting worse. Some make excuses about trying to "change it from the inside" but mostly they don't say that anymore. They are too ashamed to because people have tried to do that my whole adult life-time and its only gotten worse not better. Anyway you might as well try and join the Gambinos and try to "change them from within". Mostly, they say just what I outlined above- they know it is rotten but they want to use it to accomplish some personal goal that they see as good. Well, the system is using you too, your name and influence, to give the cloak of credibility to what they are doing, even if you don't approve. You are supporting and enabling it by continuing to be a dues-paying member.

I visited with a guy the other day who once ran as an independent for a county position and did very poorly. Now he wants to run as a Republican. I told him that I knew lots of men who tried to use the system for good purpose without becoming either corrupted or miserable, but maybe he would be the first. He actually wrote back agreeing that in the past every single person he supported for leadership in the party let him down and went back on what they said they would do with it. I guess he considers himself made of finer clay than those other guys who went in and let him down. I don't think so much of myself. I want to be surrounded by people who will help me be better, not worse.

For a believer, this world is not our home. We hope for a better country, the land above. And as such we should not have the same compulsion to be a "player" in a corrupt system. Our spiritual forebears knew this. They were thrown to the lions because they would not burn a pinch of incense to the Emperor as though he were a god. Some folks who say most of Revelation has already happened think that this is the "mark of the beast" that Saint John the Revelator was referring to. They refused to pay homage to a corrupt institution, or lend their name to it. It finally crashed in on itself due to its own corruption. That caused a lot of hurt- mostly to those deepest inside it. The Christians could not have saved it anyway, because it was being judged by God and was not meant to be saved. All they could have done by staying in and supporting it was get in His way.

Sure, there were centuries of rebuilding required, but that rebuilding was on a firmer foundation than state-worship and Emperor worship. Their descendants built the political systems which became the Republics of the West, which granted mankind more freedom and stability than had ever before been known. Our refusal to participate any longer in a corrupt system may or may not have the same effect, but it is still the right thing to do. I am not advocating just giving up mind you, but leaving the corrupt system which offers you hope of personal advantage and "relevancy" and starting something new which is not mired in rot even though it offers you nothing but self-sacrifice. Both your grandchildren and your soul will be better off.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Libertarians to Submit “New Political Party” Petitions Monday

On Monday, June 12 at 10:00AM, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas will be delivering petitions to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office to become a “new political party” for the 2018 elections.  This will be the fourth consecutive election cycle in which the LP has petitioned to be a “new political party” in Arkansas.
Arkansas law requires a new political party to collect 10,000 valid voter signatures during a 90-day period.  Over the past two months or so the party has collected over 15,000 signatures.  After some brief remarks from LP officials at the State Capitol, and opportunities for reporters’ questions, the petitions will be delivered to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office.