Category: Ted Noel

Starbucks in the Land of Fruits and Nuts


Last week, a judge in California decided that Starbucks had to put cancer warning labels on coffee. He declared that Starbucks and other companies failed to prove their case that a chemical found in coffee posed no significant harm.

Give me a break! I can’t prove that air doesn’t cause cancer. Or water. Everyone who got cancer has breathed air and drunk water! So obviously they’re carcinogenic. Right… Maybe you’d like some of that swamp land I’ve got in south Florida…

Logically, you can’t prove a negative. You can only prove a positive. Let me put that differently. You can’t prove that there is no God. To do that, you’d have to be in every corner of the universe at once. That’s the only way you’d know that God wasn’t someplace you weren’t. But to do that, you’d have to be God! Proving he does exist is a lot easier.

If evidence exists that coffee does cause cancer, then it should be easy to see. But it’s not.

Before we get really twisted – like that judge’s mind – let’s remember that the voters of California passed Proposition 65 in 1986. It required the California Environmental Protection Agency to create a list of cancer-causing chemicals. This bureaucracy gets to declare that any chemical with a one in one hundred thousand chance of causing cancer has to have a warning label.

This is the Law of the Bureaucrat run amok. Remember that the Prime Directive of the Bureaucrat is to solve a problem – or at least appear to be solving a problem. After all, that’s what his job was created for. And that means that there has to be a problem to solve.

Let’s take a brief side trip. In scientific inquiry, it is generally accepted that you must have 95% statistical confidence that your answer is correct before you can present it as true. That means there’s still a 5% possibility that you’re wrong. And count on it, many things that we thought were true have been overturned by newer investigations. All you have to do is remember the many changes over the years in hormone therapy at menopause. What we thought was true changed to false with new information… and then back to true… and to false…

Next, we have to consider a word very few have heard: Hormesis. This term describes how the body responds to various environmental agents. In this graph, the red line describes risk of death. For most toxic agents – even radiation – if the body is exposed to too little of the agent, the risk of dying goes up. If too much is present, the risk of dying goes up. But in the middle, we find a zone of health.

Let’s look at dioxin, the culprit in the famous Love Canal toxic scare. Large amounts of it are thought to be hazardous. And the EPA claims that there is no safe level.  But it turns out that some low doses of dioxin greatly reduce the incidence of cancer in laboratory animals. But at very low doses, that benefit disappears. What’s going on?

The human body is fearfully and wonderfully made. It has defenses against viruses, bacteria, and a whole host of toxins. But you have to have some exposure to bad stuff in order to be able to defend against it. You develop a kind of immunity when small amounts of toxins pass your way. But if you aren’t exposed at all, you’re at risk.

Let’s get closer to home. I live in Florida, the Sunshine State. Lots of people spend a lot of time in the sun, some on beaches, others on golf courses – like me. The sun produces UV radiation. If you never go out in the sun, you can develop vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to bone weakness, cancer, cardiac disease, and other problems. But if you go outside a bit, you’ll be fine. If you spend too much time in sun, you run the risk of skin cancers. A zero dose is dangerous. Low dose is good. High doses are dangerous.

Returning to the Land of Fruits and Nuts, we find that the California EPA declared that acrylamide is a carcinogen. This is candy for bureaucrats. They had already regulated almost all real toxins, so acrylamide, a very common trace byproduct of cooking, was an easy target. In large doses, it does cause cancer. But in small doses, like all of us get every day, it helps to keep our bodies healthy.

Such a nuanced understanding is worse than useless to the bureaucrat. He has to fix problems, or there’s no reason for him to have a job. So acrylamide is just another problem for him to fix. It’s a reason for him to draw a paycheck. But the fact that the Starbucks dose is good for you gets in his way. So he ignores it. It goes on the list of banned books – er – substances. The bureaucrat is a hero for one more day.

So what does this judge do? He violates every judicial principle. Coffee is guilty until proven innocent. And we know that you can’t prove the negative. Yet that’s exactly what he demands. He guaranteed the verdict long before he heard – assuming he was even listening – the evidence. So let’s consider what the elixir of life actually does.

Spoiler alert: I grew up in a religious tradition that banned caffeine. Now I drink a cup or two of Black Rifle Coffee Silencer Smooth every day.

Caffeine:

  • Improves memory
  • May reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease
  • Reduces the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma
  • Reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction
  • Reduces driver errors
  • Reduces chronic inflammation
  • And more…

Coffee:

  • Reduces the risk of Type II diabetes, a major killer
  • Reduces the risk of liver cancer by 40%
  • Reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Reduces colorectal cancer

In short, coffee is a good thing. But because California bureaucrats are busy fulfilling the Prime Directive to justify their own existence, they are completely blind to the scientific evidence that

  1. Trace amounts of acrylamide are likely good for you due to hormesis
  2. Coffee has well-defined health benefits.

This was capped off by the judge refusing to believe any evidence that whatever small risk acrylamide poses is far offset by the benefits of coffee and cooked food.

Ultimately this shows the way the Left thinks. They have blinders on. Acrylamide causes cancer in some high-dose regimen. Therefore acrylamide is bad. Tax cuts benefit some rich people who actually donate to Republicans. Therefore tax cuts are bad. If there’s any risk, all benefits are ignored.

The Left has again proven itself unable to consider the balance of good and bad. Such a comparative risk assessment is beyond their ability to comprehend. It’s not because they are unintelligent. It’s because they have chosen to be stupid. In the words of the Apostle Peter, they are willingly ignorant. Unfortunately, when they have finished banning everything that causes some sort of harm, everything will be banned.

Curiously, should everything be banned, humanity will have achieved Green Peace. We will all be equal. We will all be dead, since everything that is good for us can also be bad if misused. Thus, the world will return to nature, completely without the corrupting influence of mankind. Isn’t that the ultimate Lefty ideal?

I, for one, will fight every day for what is good and right. Taking away our freedoms is not good. The Law of the Bureaucrat works every day to destroy our lives. The only way to win that fight is to continually reduce the arenas where the bureaucrats have any influence. They will fight tooth and nail to prevent that. We must be stronger than they are.

Last week, a judge in California decided that Starbucks had to put cancer warning labels on coffee. He declared that Starbucks and other companies failed to prove their case that a chemical found in coffee posed no significant harm.

Give me a break! I can’t prove that air doesn’t cause cancer. Or water. Everyone who got cancer has breathed air and drunk water! So obviously they’re carcinogenic. Right… Maybe you’d like some of that swamp land I’ve got in south Florida…

Logically, you can’t prove a negative. You can only prove a positive. Let me put that differently. You can’t prove that there is no God. To do that, you’d have to be in every corner of the universe at once. That’s the only way you’d know that God wasn’t someplace you weren’t. But to do that, you’d have to be God! Proving he does exist is a lot easier.

If evidence exists that coffee does cause cancer, then it should be easy to see. But it’s not.

Before we get really twisted – like that judge’s mind – let’s remember that the voters of California passed Proposition 65 in 1986. It required the California Environmental Protection Agency to create a list of cancer-causing chemicals. This bureaucracy gets to declare that any chemical with a one in one hundred thousand chance of causing cancer has to have a warning label.

This is the Law of the Bureaucrat run amok. Remember that the Prime Directive of the Bureaucrat is to solve a problem – or at least appear to be solving a problem. After all, that’s what his job was created for. And that means that there has to be a problem to solve.

Let’s take a brief side trip. In scientific inquiry, it is generally accepted that you must have 95% statistical confidence that your answer is correct before you can present it as true. That means there’s still a 5% possibility that you’re wrong. And count on it, many things that we thought were true have been overturned by newer investigations. All you have to do is remember the many changes over the years in hormone therapy at menopause. What we thought was true changed to false with new information… and then back to true… and to false…

Next, we have to consider a word very few have heard: Hormesis. This term describes how the body responds to various environmental agents. In this graph, the red line describes risk of death. For most toxic agents – even radiation – if the body is exposed to too little of the agent, the risk of dying goes up. If too much is present, the risk of dying goes up. But in the middle, we find a zone of health.

Let’s look at dioxin, the culprit in the famous Love Canal toxic scare. Large amounts of it are thought to be hazardous. And the EPA claims that there is no safe level.  But it turns out that some low doses of dioxin greatly reduce the incidence of cancer in laboratory animals. But at very low doses, that benefit disappears. What’s going on?

The human body is fearfully and wonderfully made. It has defenses against viruses, bacteria, and a whole host of toxins. But you have to have some exposure to bad stuff in order to be able to defend against it. You develop a kind of immunity when small amounts of toxins pass your way. But if you aren’t exposed at all, you’re at risk.

Let’s get closer to home. I live in Florida, the Sunshine State. Lots of people spend a lot of time in the sun, some on beaches, others on golf courses – like me. The sun produces UV radiation. If you never go out in the sun, you can develop vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to bone weakness, cancer, cardiac disease, and other problems. But if you go outside a bit, you’ll be fine. If you spend too much time in sun, you run the risk of skin cancers. A zero dose is dangerous. Low dose is good. High doses are dangerous.

Returning to the Land of Fruits and Nuts, we find that the California EPA declared that acrylamide is a carcinogen. This is candy for bureaucrats. They had already regulated almost all real toxins, so acrylamide, a very common trace byproduct of cooking, was an easy target. In large doses, it does cause cancer. But in small doses, like all of us get every day, it helps to keep our bodies healthy.

Such a nuanced understanding is worse than useless to the bureaucrat. He has to fix problems, or there’s no reason for him to have a job. So acrylamide is just another problem for him to fix. It’s a reason for him to draw a paycheck. But the fact that the Starbucks dose is good for you gets in his way. So he ignores it. It goes on the list of banned books – er – substances. The bureaucrat is a hero for one more day.

So what does this judge do? He violates every judicial principle. Coffee is guilty until proven innocent. And we know that you can’t prove the negative. Yet that’s exactly what he demands. He guaranteed the verdict long before he heard – assuming he was even listening – the evidence. So let’s consider what the elixir of life actually does.

Spoiler alert: I grew up in a religious tradition that banned caffeine. Now I drink a cup or two of Black Rifle Coffee Silencer Smooth every day.

Caffeine:

  • Improves memory
  • May reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease
  • Reduces the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma
  • Reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction
  • Reduces driver errors
  • Reduces chronic inflammation
  • And more…

Coffee:

  • Reduces the risk of Type II diabetes, a major killer
  • Reduces the risk of liver cancer by 40%
  • Reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Reduces colorectal cancer

In short, coffee is a good thing. But because California bureaucrats are busy fulfilling the Prime Directive to justify their own existence, they are completely blind to the scientific evidence that

  1. Trace amounts of acrylamide are likely good for you due to hormesis
  2. Coffee has well-defined health benefits.

This was capped off by the judge refusing to believe any evidence that whatever small risk acrylamide poses is far offset by the benefits of coffee and cooked food.

Ultimately this shows the way the Left thinks. They have blinders on. Acrylamide causes cancer in some high-dose regimen. Therefore acrylamide is bad. Tax cuts benefit some rich people who actually donate to Republicans. Therefore tax cuts are bad. If there’s any risk, all benefits are ignored.

The Left has again proven itself unable to consider the balance of good and bad. Such a comparative risk assessment is beyond their ability to comprehend. It’s not because they are unintelligent. It’s because they have chosen to be stupid. In the words of the Apostle Peter, they are willingly ignorant. Unfortunately, when they have finished banning everything that causes some sort of harm, everything will be banned.

Curiously, should everything be banned, humanity will have achieved Green Peace. We will all be equal. We will all be dead, since everything that is good for us can also be bad if misused. Thus, the world will return to nature, completely without the corrupting influence of mankind. Isn’t that the ultimate Lefty ideal?

I, for one, will fight every day for what is good and right. Taking away our freedoms is not good. The Law of the Bureaucrat works every day to destroy our lives. The only way to win that fight is to continually reduce the arenas where the bureaucrats have any influence. They will fight tooth and nail to prevent that. We must be stronger than they are.



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Do We Really Love Our Kids?


I voted for Marco Rubio, but it was basically a vote against a horrible Democrat.  Now the junior senator from Florida has re-affirmed what I thought in the beginning: Liddle Marco is no leader.

When Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen people at a South Florida high school, Senator Rubio declared, “If someone’s decided, ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they’ll find a way to get the gun to do it.”  In other words, forget about stopping the bad guy.  The jig is up.  The fix is in.  Buy stock in casket-makers.  There will be blood in the hallways, and there isn’t anything we can do about it.  But don’t try to ban guns, because that won’t work.

We can do better.  Senator Rubio is simply wrong. There are people who are totally determined to kill schoolkids, and we can defeat them, if we are willing to listen to the people who have learned how.

In 1974, Israel endured the Ma’alot Massacre at the hands of Islamic terrorists.  Twenty-five were killed and 68 more injured.  Since then, the Israelis have completely changed how they tackle school safety.  Since 1974, there have been two successful attacks, with fewer than ten dead.  In both cases, the bad guys were killed by armed teachers.  That’s still too many dead, but it’s fewer than we lost in Florida just this week.

Israel implemented a careful strategy of “Defense in Depth.”  This is a military concept, and it’s why we lost so many men taking Okinawa and Iwo Jima.  There the Japanese set up a whole lot of layers that we had to fight through.  Every added layer makes the problem worse for an attacker.  More layers equals more safety for the defender.

The outside layer of this onion is careful police work.  Every time a hint of pending trouble is identified, it is carefully investigated.  Israel’s police agencies don’t turn away information the way our FBI did.  This works not only for school safety.  Israel’s national airline, El Al, has had decades without a terrorist incident, largely due to careful police work.  But this can’t stop every attack.  And we don’t expect it to.

Next comes the classic “See something?  Say something!” slogan.  Surprise!  It actually works.  A grandmother in Everett, Washington foiled a plot by her grandson the day before the Parkland massacre when the Snohomish County sheriff listened to her.  Multiple threats in New England were shut down the day after the Parkland shooting.  We just don’t hear about many of these because nobody dies when a crime is prevented.

In the virtual reality ecosystem defined by social media, there are many, many opportunities to identify likely bad actors.  We don’t often learn of how a specific tweet or Facebook post led to apprehension of a potential shooter, but it happens.  This third layer saves lives, and we haven’t even gotten to the schoolyard.

Consider this.  If we knock off a few threats with protective layers away from the schoolyard, there aren’t as many to deal with at the school.  That’s where the next layer works.

Schools have been the softest of soft targets.  Most have multiple entry points that are guarded only by a door.  Most of those doors open to anyone.  Israel realized that this is an untenable situation.  Entry to schools in Israel is now limited, and there are armed guards at every entryway.  These guards are trained to look for suspicious signs and have largely prevented bad guys from getting in.  Their mere presence is enough to stop all but the most determined attackers.

By now we have at least four layers of protection, any one of which may be enough to protect our children from bad guys with guns.  All of these are preventive.  Now we move beyond prevention into active protection.  What do we do if a bad guy with a gun gets inside the school?

Let’s remember one key fact.  The rampage of every bad guy with a gun ends with intervention by a good guy with a gun.  Period.  Full stop.  No exceptions.  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed themselves when the cops closed in at Columbine High School.  Syed Riswan Farook and Tashfeen Malik died in a hail of police gunfire in San Bernardino.  Stephen Paddock ended it all in Las Vegas as the police got close.  And Nikolas Cruz dropped his gun when the cops moved in.  He was able to sneak out but got caught shortly after.  Every bad guy with a gun was stopped by good guys with guns.

But in most schools, once a shooter gets past the front door, there are no more protective layers.  Translation: A school is a target-rich environment.  All students and faculty are targets.  The Israelis saw this and got busy.  They knew that the vast majority of terror attacks are stopped not by police, but by armed civilians.  So they started training teachers in firearms use.  Those teachers took out the bad guys in the two incidents since the Ma’alot Massacre.

When you have armed faculty in a school, all of a sudden, the bad guy isn’t walking into a free fire zone, where he can shoot at will.  He’s walking into a shooting gallery where he is the target.  On top of that, he doesn’t know which of the staff might be ready to shoot, or where they might be coming from.  In short, only an idiot would try to shoot up a school with a trained staff of shooters.  And the less he knows about who’s carrying, the more difficult it is for him.

Once that layer is in place, there’s yet another one: the students.  Israel trains them on what to do in case a bad guy does get in.  That involves “active shooter drills.”  Doors are barricaded so that bad guys can’t get into classrooms.  Desks get turned into cover by turning them over.  A bad guy will have trouble shooting what he can’t see.  Finally, the kids learn that if a bad guy does get in, there are enough of them to take him down.  He may get a couple, but the rest will defeat him.

Isn’t that going to scare kids?  How awful!  But wouldn’t you rather have a live scared child than a full casket?  Oh.  I forgot.  You aren’t supposed to ask that question.  The left is the only side allowed to have a moral argument.

Let’s get one thing clear.  The left is all about feelings.  Leftists are completely unconcerned with facts.  And two facts remain absolutely clear.  When a bad guy has a gun, the only thing that can ultimately save the life of a child is a good guy with a gun.  Further, bad guys will always get guns.  In the Israeli Arab communities that have zero legal guns, police estimate that there are half a million illegal guns.  Or visit Chicago, where there are almost no legal handguns, but gang-bangers use illegal handguns to make one person every day assume room temperature.  Until that changes, gun-banners have no place to stand.  We cannot allow emotional arguments to distract us from solutions that are proven to work.

It may seem heartless to deal with facts, but if we love our children, we must protect them.  Since the bad guys always find a way to have guns, we have to make certain that we have enough good guys with guns who can protect them from evil.

The real question isn’t which single fix we can make.  For every complex question, there is a simple answer that is wrong.  We know the steps that have to be taken.  Schools have to be hardened so that they become safe places.  But that hardening works together with measures outside the schools to create a defense in depth.  More layers of defense create more safety for our children.

The real question is, do we love our children enough to let good guys with guns protect them from bad guys with guns?

I voted for Marco Rubio, but it was basically a vote against a horrible Democrat.  Now the junior senator from Florida has re-affirmed what I thought in the beginning: Liddle Marco is no leader.

When Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen people at a South Florida high school, Senator Rubio declared, “If someone’s decided, ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they’ll find a way to get the gun to do it.”  In other words, forget about stopping the bad guy.  The jig is up.  The fix is in.  Buy stock in casket-makers.  There will be blood in the hallways, and there isn’t anything we can do about it.  But don’t try to ban guns, because that won’t work.

We can do better.  Senator Rubio is simply wrong. There are people who are totally determined to kill schoolkids, and we can defeat them, if we are willing to listen to the people who have learned how.

In 1974, Israel endured the Ma’alot Massacre at the hands of Islamic terrorists.  Twenty-five were killed and 68 more injured.  Since then, the Israelis have completely changed how they tackle school safety.  Since 1974, there have been two successful attacks, with fewer than ten dead.  In both cases, the bad guys were killed by armed teachers.  That’s still too many dead, but it’s fewer than we lost in Florida just this week.

Israel implemented a careful strategy of “Defense in Depth.”  This is a military concept, and it’s why we lost so many men taking Okinawa and Iwo Jima.  There the Japanese set up a whole lot of layers that we had to fight through.  Every added layer makes the problem worse for an attacker.  More layers equals more safety for the defender.

The outside layer of this onion is careful police work.  Every time a hint of pending trouble is identified, it is carefully investigated.  Israel’s police agencies don’t turn away information the way our FBI did.  This works not only for school safety.  Israel’s national airline, El Al, has had decades without a terrorist incident, largely due to careful police work.  But this can’t stop every attack.  And we don’t expect it to.

Next comes the classic “See something?  Say something!” slogan.  Surprise!  It actually works.  A grandmother in Everett, Washington foiled a plot by her grandson the day before the Parkland massacre when the Snohomish County sheriff listened to her.  Multiple threats in New England were shut down the day after the Parkland shooting.  We just don’t hear about many of these because nobody dies when a crime is prevented.

In the virtual reality ecosystem defined by social media, there are many, many opportunities to identify likely bad actors.  We don’t often learn of how a specific tweet or Facebook post led to apprehension of a potential shooter, but it happens.  This third layer saves lives, and we haven’t even gotten to the schoolyard.

Consider this.  If we knock off a few threats with protective layers away from the schoolyard, there aren’t as many to deal with at the school.  That’s where the next layer works.

Schools have been the softest of soft targets.  Most have multiple entry points that are guarded only by a door.  Most of those doors open to anyone.  Israel realized that this is an untenable situation.  Entry to schools in Israel is now limited, and there are armed guards at every entryway.  These guards are trained to look for suspicious signs and have largely prevented bad guys from getting in.  Their mere presence is enough to stop all but the most determined attackers.

By now we have at least four layers of protection, any one of which may be enough to protect our children from bad guys with guns.  All of these are preventive.  Now we move beyond prevention into active protection.  What do we do if a bad guy with a gun gets inside the school?

Let’s remember one key fact.  The rampage of every bad guy with a gun ends with intervention by a good guy with a gun.  Period.  Full stop.  No exceptions.  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed themselves when the cops closed in at Columbine High School.  Syed Riswan Farook and Tashfeen Malik died in a hail of police gunfire in San Bernardino.  Stephen Paddock ended it all in Las Vegas as the police got close.  And Nikolas Cruz dropped his gun when the cops moved in.  He was able to sneak out but got caught shortly after.  Every bad guy with a gun was stopped by good guys with guns.

But in most schools, once a shooter gets past the front door, there are no more protective layers.  Translation: A school is a target-rich environment.  All students and faculty are targets.  The Israelis saw this and got busy.  They knew that the vast majority of terror attacks are stopped not by police, but by armed civilians.  So they started training teachers in firearms use.  Those teachers took out the bad guys in the two incidents since the Ma’alot Massacre.

When you have armed faculty in a school, all of a sudden, the bad guy isn’t walking into a free fire zone, where he can shoot at will.  He’s walking into a shooting gallery where he is the target.  On top of that, he doesn’t know which of the staff might be ready to shoot, or where they might be coming from.  In short, only an idiot would try to shoot up a school with a trained staff of shooters.  And the less he knows about who’s carrying, the more difficult it is for him.

Once that layer is in place, there’s yet another one: the students.  Israel trains them on what to do in case a bad guy does get in.  That involves “active shooter drills.”  Doors are barricaded so that bad guys can’t get into classrooms.  Desks get turned into cover by turning them over.  A bad guy will have trouble shooting what he can’t see.  Finally, the kids learn that if a bad guy does get in, there are enough of them to take him down.  He may get a couple, but the rest will defeat him.

Isn’t that going to scare kids?  How awful!  But wouldn’t you rather have a live scared child than a full casket?  Oh.  I forgot.  You aren’t supposed to ask that question.  The left is the only side allowed to have a moral argument.

Let’s get one thing clear.  The left is all about feelings.  Leftists are completely unconcerned with facts.  And two facts remain absolutely clear.  When a bad guy has a gun, the only thing that can ultimately save the life of a child is a good guy with a gun.  Further, bad guys will always get guns.  In the Israeli Arab communities that have zero legal guns, police estimate that there are half a million illegal guns.  Or visit Chicago, where there are almost no legal handguns, but gang-bangers use illegal handguns to make one person every day assume room temperature.  Until that changes, gun-banners have no place to stand.  We cannot allow emotional arguments to distract us from solutions that are proven to work.

It may seem heartless to deal with facts, but if we love our children, we must protect them.  Since the bad guys always find a way to have guns, we have to make certain that we have enough good guys with guns who can protect them from evil.

The real question isn’t which single fix we can make.  For every complex question, there is a simple answer that is wrong.  We know the steps that have to be taken.  Schools have to be hardened so that they become safe places.  But that hardening works together with measures outside the schools to create a defense in depth.  More layers of defense create more safety for our children.

The real question is, do we love our children enough to let good guys with guns protect them from bad guys with guns?



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Single Payer is Doomed Before It Starts



The Law of Subsidy has killed the NHS. It just doesn't realize that it is dead. 



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The NFL Doesn't Know Who or What It Is


Chicago Cubs fans endured decades of futility but stuck like glue to their team.  Ditto for the Golden State Warriors.  Both teams were awful for what seemed like forever but never had any shortage of loyalty.  And when the teams finally reached the pinnacle of success, every fan claimed the victory as his own.

In the National Football League, “taking a knee” used to be part of the “two-minute drill.”  The quarterback would stop the clock and allow a team time to bring different players on the field or a new play in from the coach.  If your team did it, you cheered.  You had one more chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Now “taking a knee” means protesting something.  And nobody knows quite what they’re protesting.  The explanations sound like one side of a conversation over a horrible cell phone connection.  But we aren’t allowed to try to get a better signal.  So millions are simply pushing the red button.

Every person has an innate need to belong to a greater cause.  Even the Unabomber, a notorious hermit, was serving what he saw as a greater good.  Antifa members see a common interest they join, even when they can’t articulate it.  There are numerous other causes.

Christians serve a God who “will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake [you]” (Hebrews 13:5).  The God of Islam is less personal, but “All Forgiving” and “the Source of Peace and Safety.”  We could go on.

There is a common thread here, most explicitly stated in Christianity.  When someone becomes a true Christian, he becomes a part of a team he can never be kicked out of.  Think about that.  Unless you decide to leave, you are secure.  (We can discuss “eternal security” elsewhere.)  There is nothing your true team will do to make you insecure.  However small your contribution is to the goal, it is still treasured as a contribution.  You are a valuable cog in a larger wheel.  There will be a loss to the team if you leave.  What a wonderful contribution to your self-esteem!

The same thing happens with devoted fans.  They are important parts of larger teams.  The NFL even refers to fans as the “twelfth man” on a team with eleven actual players.  What’s really going on?

Every one of these “teams” is selling something.  That is, the team has something you want, and there is some cost you are willing to pay to be part of it.  While some are defined as religions, the others are also religions in some essential way.  And they all offer a reward for loyalty.  Christianity offers heaven, Islam offers paradise, and Greenpeace offers a better world.  Sports offer the hope of victory with the guarantee of camaraderie among those of like mind.  And there is one thing more.

Teams love you back.  The more one is sold out to the team, the greater the love that returns.  It comes in various forms, but it always comes.  And there is one, very important aspect of that love: it is unconditional.  Your team will never reject you.  You will always be accepted.

We all have this great need for acceptance.  We seek out the teams that offer us the greatest perceived returns as long as we can be accepted into them.  And until now, sports franchises accepted all comers.  That was the nature of sports.  It did not matter who you were or what you looked like.  If you were a fan, everything else followed.

But when the NFL took a knee, it violated this social compact.  Instead of loving its fans, it reviled them.  The same people who love NASCAR and the NFL also love country music.  Their enemies even took a knee to say that there was no reason to have compassion for the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre.

“Compassion” – a word that built from the idea of having strong feelings together.  “No compassion” means “we don’t care about you.”  That is exactly what taking a knee says to us.  You don’t care about us.  We aren’t welcome on your team.  You reject us.

You NFL players created a new rule about who can be part of your team.  And when there are more rules, you will have fewer team members.  NFL fans come from many walks of life but tend to be strong patriots, even when they oppose the New England team.  So should we be surprised when the NFL’s strong negatives reach 40%, as they just did?  Perhaps we should be surprised that they haven’t gone higher!

Jerry Jones, the owner of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, gets it.  Whatever he may have done last week, which was confusing at best, he has now declared that any player who disrespects our flag – yes, our flag – will not play for him.  He recognizes two things: taking a knee is disrespecting our country, and taking a knee is disowning his team’s fans.

The NFL survives because it is the National Football League.  When it recognizes that, it will enforce its rule that players will stand at attention facing the flag during our national anthem.  That is a salute to its fans, the twelfth man on the team.  It is also recognizing that the NFL has no business other than football, and politics should remain off the field.

The NFL had a chance to nip this in the bud when Colin Kaepernick took a knee.  But it dithered.  And it insulted America by refusing to allow players to wear a decal memorializing murdered police officers in Dallas.

The only question is whether it is too late for the NFL to recover from this self-inflicted wound.

Chicago Cubs fans endured decades of futility but stuck like glue to their team.  Ditto for the Golden State Warriors.  Both teams were awful for what seemed like forever but never had any shortage of loyalty.  And when the teams finally reached the pinnacle of success, every fan claimed the victory as his own.

In the National Football League, “taking a knee” used to be part of the “two-minute drill.”  The quarterback would stop the clock and allow a team time to bring different players on the field or a new play in from the coach.  If your team did it, you cheered.  You had one more chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Now “taking a knee” means protesting something.  And nobody knows quite what they’re protesting.  The explanations sound like one side of a conversation over a horrible cell phone connection.  But we aren’t allowed to try to get a better signal.  So millions are simply pushing the red button.

Every person has an innate need to belong to a greater cause.  Even the Unabomber, a notorious hermit, was serving what he saw as a greater good.  Antifa members see a common interest they join, even when they can’t articulate it.  There are numerous other causes.

Christians serve a God who “will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake [you]” (Hebrews 13:5).  The God of Islam is less personal, but “All Forgiving” and “the Source of Peace and Safety.”  We could go on.

There is a common thread here, most explicitly stated in Christianity.  When someone becomes a true Christian, he becomes a part of a team he can never be kicked out of.  Think about that.  Unless you decide to leave, you are secure.  (We can discuss “eternal security” elsewhere.)  There is nothing your true team will do to make you insecure.  However small your contribution is to the goal, it is still treasured as a contribution.  You are a valuable cog in a larger wheel.  There will be a loss to the team if you leave.  What a wonderful contribution to your self-esteem!

The same thing happens with devoted fans.  They are important parts of larger teams.  The NFL even refers to fans as the “twelfth man” on a team with eleven actual players.  What’s really going on?

Every one of these “teams” is selling something.  That is, the team has something you want, and there is some cost you are willing to pay to be part of it.  While some are defined as religions, the others are also religions in some essential way.  And they all offer a reward for loyalty.  Christianity offers heaven, Islam offers paradise, and Greenpeace offers a better world.  Sports offer the hope of victory with the guarantee of camaraderie among those of like mind.  And there is one thing more.

Teams love you back.  The more one is sold out to the team, the greater the love that returns.  It comes in various forms, but it always comes.  And there is one, very important aspect of that love: it is unconditional.  Your team will never reject you.  You will always be accepted.

We all have this great need for acceptance.  We seek out the teams that offer us the greatest perceived returns as long as we can be accepted into them.  And until now, sports franchises accepted all comers.  That was the nature of sports.  It did not matter who you were or what you looked like.  If you were a fan, everything else followed.

But when the NFL took a knee, it violated this social compact.  Instead of loving its fans, it reviled them.  The same people who love NASCAR and the NFL also love country music.  Their enemies even took a knee to say that there was no reason to have compassion for the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre.

“Compassion” – a word that built from the idea of having strong feelings together.  “No compassion” means “we don’t care about you.”  That is exactly what taking a knee says to us.  You don’t care about us.  We aren’t welcome on your team.  You reject us.

You NFL players created a new rule about who can be part of your team.  And when there are more rules, you will have fewer team members.  NFL fans come from many walks of life but tend to be strong patriots, even when they oppose the New England team.  So should we be surprised when the NFL’s strong negatives reach 40%, as they just did?  Perhaps we should be surprised that they haven’t gone higher!

Jerry Jones, the owner of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, gets it.  Whatever he may have done last week, which was confusing at best, he has now declared that any player who disrespects our flag – yes, our flag – will not play for him.  He recognizes two things: taking a knee is disrespecting our country, and taking a knee is disowning his team’s fans.

The NFL survives because it is the National Football League.  When it recognizes that, it will enforce its rule that players will stand at attention facing the flag during our national anthem.  That is a salute to its fans, the twelfth man on the team.  It is also recognizing that the NFL has no business other than football, and politics should remain off the field.

The NFL had a chance to nip this in the bud when Colin Kaepernick took a knee.  But it dithered.  And it insulted America by refusing to allow players to wear a decal memorializing murdered police officers in Dallas.

The only question is whether it is too late for the NFL to recover from this self-inflicted wound.



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Educating Colleges: Free Speech Isn't Free


The University of California at Berkeley, the “birthplace of the free speech movement,” has again shown that it cannot tolerate free speech.  While accusations and counter-accusations fly like spitballs, it is crystal-clear that the administration of this “center of higher learning” has thrown multiple roadblocks in the way of bringing conservative speakers to the campus.  Conservatives are blamed for the security costs imposed by Antifa rioters.

Should we be surprised?  A glance at the university’s leadership roster shows that the “vice chancellor for equity and diversity,” Oscar Dubón, Ph.D., is an engineering professor whose bio says he hasn’t left the campus since age 17.  His student affairs department is responsible for “student conduct.”

As an engineer, Dr. Dubón ought to understand cause and effect.  Yet there is little evidence that students are actually expected to be respectful and responsible.  Instead, responsible presentation of ideas is oppressively burdened by his department.  Multiple faculty members have written a letter demanding a boycott of “all classes and campus activities” during Free Speech Week.  They falsely equate Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Mike Cernovich, and others with the agents provacateurs who created the violent incidents they decry.

The identity of the letter-writers is most instructive.  There are eighteen from gender and ethnic studies, fifteen from the arts, a mishmash from various other language and social studies, but not one professor from any STEM field.  In short, the protesters in the academy are all in fields unlikely to produce employable graduates in the absence of state-supported social engineering projects.  We are unable to dive deeply into the identities of the violent Antifa thugs, but the few that are actual students are also unlikely to be from STEM fields.

Hmmmm…is there another link?  We know that 11.2% of student loans are in default.  We don’t know the breakdown, but I’d bet that far fewer STEM students are in default than those from the underwater basket weaving and “social justice” fields.  STEM prepares productive citizens.  “Social justice” creates indolent rioters.  But for the purpose of Pell grants and Stafford loans, universities are allowed to self-certify that they are educating future adults.

What can we do?

Student eligibility for loans and grants is defined in 20 U.S. Code §1091.  There’s lots of legalese and complicated sentence structure.  Each grant or loan is at an “eligible institution.”  And that definition is the gold mine.  After digging through more complicated sentences that no social justice warrior is likely to understand, we find that an eligible institution is, among other things, “an institution of higher education … that meets such other requirements as the Secretary may prescribe[.]”  You read that right. Secretary DeVos can limit eligibility any way she wants.  That’s the law.

If an institution is turning out students who can’t earn a living, it is doing a disservice to them.  But with federal money coming their way, it’s getting a subsidy.  What does the university care that its students are saddled with debt?  They’ve graduated and aren’t a problem anymore.  Time to plug new ones in the pipeline!  We’ve got programs to fund and people to hire!  This is the Law of Subsidy in action.  (When you subsidize something, you get more of it, and it gets more expensive.)

But the secretary can set rules.  Suppose she were to stop loans and grants to schools with excessive numbers of loans in default.  They’re not providing useful education, so why support them?  With 11% in default now, let’s be generous.  If 33% of your graduates are in default, triple the national average, you get cut off.  You’re a really bad hombre.

Whom did we get rid of?  Diploma mills would vanish first.  Bankrupt with the stroke of a pen.  Good riddance.  But there might be some other casualties.  Berkeley has fourteen “colleges” inside it.  If the Department of Education were to cross-reference defaults with the “college” inside Berkeley, it’s possible, maybe even likely, that the College of Social Welfare might have such a high default rate that it would be decertified.

For universities and colleges that have a 22% default rate, twice the national average, Secretary DeVos could limit loans and grants to half of the present amount, pending a one-year review of actions taken to improve the employability of graduates through better education.  If they fail, then they get decertified as well.  Remember, the criteria here have nothing to do with the course of study.  They are narrowly tailored to ability to repay loans.  A single deadbeat graduate won’t cause a problem.  Only a pattern of drones will cause the college problems.

In order to assist universities, the Department of Education should supply them with a complete list of all their graduates who are in arrears on federally insured loans.  Since they are “institutions of higher learning,” we should expect universities to be smart enough to match them with their course of “study.”  Bad programs would stand out like a sore thumb.

Research has shown that having skin in the game creates good behavior.  And it doesn’t take a lot of skin – just a guaranteed haircut.  The programs that have the greatest number of phony-baloney, plastic-banana, good-time rock-and-roll courses catering to federal subsidy for the school without regard for ultimate employability will disappear like marijuana joints in a ’60s drug raid.  All those SJWs will suddenly find themselves without a comfortable place to stir up trouble.  They will have to figure out how to put food on the table and roofs over their heads.  They’ll be too tired from working to waste time beating up peaceful attendees at a lecture.

When those colleges face decertification, a huge number of useless classes and professors will disappear.  Unfortunately for those professors, there won’t be enough left-wing journals and news channels for all of them to claim paychecks.  And as more people are mugged by reality, fewer people will be watching them.  What a nightmare!  Productivity, not noise, will become the yardstick that measures the paycheck.

Who would have thought it was so simple?  Even John McCain can’t block it, since it’s already the law.  It’s not a rule against a political view, so it doesn’t run afoul of the First Amendment.  It’s just a rule that colleges should educate people to contribute to society by being self-supporting.  Imagine that!  And the moment the first college is decertified, all the others will instantly start checking their curricula, because they might be next.  If they have a marginal program, they’ll fix it by improving the course of study.  If they’re on probation, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be discharging professors and closing programs.  Of course, they’ll be redirecting financial aid to students who will use it to develop employable skills.

Fancy that.  We do something that has a very specific goal of preventing another annual batch of young adults trapped by loans they can’t repay and can’t discharge in bankruptcy.  It is narrowly tailored to that task, yet it has a massive social benefit that doesn’t appear anywhere in or near its text.  It puts a lid on campus leftism since those lefty courses can’t put bread on the table.  Could Secretary DeVos be convinced to consider this?

The University of California at Berkeley, the “birthplace of the free speech movement,” has again shown that it cannot tolerate free speech.  While accusations and counter-accusations fly like spitballs, it is crystal-clear that the administration of this “center of higher learning” has thrown multiple roadblocks in the way of bringing conservative speakers to the campus.  Conservatives are blamed for the security costs imposed by Antifa rioters.

Should we be surprised?  A glance at the university’s leadership roster shows that the “vice chancellor for equity and diversity,” Oscar Dubón, Ph.D., is an engineering professor whose bio says he hasn’t left the campus since age 17.  His student affairs department is responsible for “student conduct.”

As an engineer, Dr. Dubón ought to understand cause and effect.  Yet there is little evidence that students are actually expected to be respectful and responsible.  Instead, responsible presentation of ideas is oppressively burdened by his department.  Multiple faculty members have written a letter demanding a boycott of “all classes and campus activities” during Free Speech Week.  They falsely equate Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Mike Cernovich, and others with the agents provacateurs who created the violent incidents they decry.

The identity of the letter-writers is most instructive.  There are eighteen from gender and ethnic studies, fifteen from the arts, a mishmash from various other language and social studies, but not one professor from any STEM field.  In short, the protesters in the academy are all in fields unlikely to produce employable graduates in the absence of state-supported social engineering projects.  We are unable to dive deeply into the identities of the violent Antifa thugs, but the few that are actual students are also unlikely to be from STEM fields.

Hmmmm…is there another link?  We know that 11.2% of student loans are in default.  We don’t know the breakdown, but I’d bet that far fewer STEM students are in default than those from the underwater basket weaving and “social justice” fields.  STEM prepares productive citizens.  “Social justice” creates indolent rioters.  But for the purpose of Pell grants and Stafford loans, universities are allowed to self-certify that they are educating future adults.

What can we do?

Student eligibility for loans and grants is defined in 20 U.S. Code §1091.  There’s lots of legalese and complicated sentence structure.  Each grant or loan is at an “eligible institution.”  And that definition is the gold mine.  After digging through more complicated sentences that no social justice warrior is likely to understand, we find that an eligible institution is, among other things, “an institution of higher education … that meets such other requirements as the Secretary may prescribe[.]”  You read that right. Secretary DeVos can limit eligibility any way she wants.  That’s the law.

If an institution is turning out students who can’t earn a living, it is doing a disservice to them.  But with federal money coming their way, it’s getting a subsidy.  What does the university care that its students are saddled with debt?  They’ve graduated and aren’t a problem anymore.  Time to plug new ones in the pipeline!  We’ve got programs to fund and people to hire!  This is the Law of Subsidy in action.  (When you subsidize something, you get more of it, and it gets more expensive.)

But the secretary can set rules.  Suppose she were to stop loans and grants to schools with excessive numbers of loans in default.  They’re not providing useful education, so why support them?  With 11% in default now, let’s be generous.  If 33% of your graduates are in default, triple the national average, you get cut off.  You’re a really bad hombre.

Whom did we get rid of?  Diploma mills would vanish first.  Bankrupt with the stroke of a pen.  Good riddance.  But there might be some other casualties.  Berkeley has fourteen “colleges” inside it.  If the Department of Education were to cross-reference defaults with the “college” inside Berkeley, it’s possible, maybe even likely, that the College of Social Welfare might have such a high default rate that it would be decertified.

For universities and colleges that have a 22% default rate, twice the national average, Secretary DeVos could limit loans and grants to half of the present amount, pending a one-year review of actions taken to improve the employability of graduates through better education.  If they fail, then they get decertified as well.  Remember, the criteria here have nothing to do with the course of study.  They are narrowly tailored to ability to repay loans.  A single deadbeat graduate won’t cause a problem.  Only a pattern of drones will cause the college problems.

In order to assist universities, the Department of Education should supply them with a complete list of all their graduates who are in arrears on federally insured loans.  Since they are “institutions of higher learning,” we should expect universities to be smart enough to match them with their course of “study.”  Bad programs would stand out like a sore thumb.

Research has shown that having skin in the game creates good behavior.  And it doesn’t take a lot of skin – just a guaranteed haircut.  The programs that have the greatest number of phony-baloney, plastic-banana, good-time rock-and-roll courses catering to federal subsidy for the school without regard for ultimate employability will disappear like marijuana joints in a ’60s drug raid.  All those SJWs will suddenly find themselves without a comfortable place to stir up trouble.  They will have to figure out how to put food on the table and roofs over their heads.  They’ll be too tired from working to waste time beating up peaceful attendees at a lecture.

When those colleges face decertification, a huge number of useless classes and professors will disappear.  Unfortunately for those professors, there won’t be enough left-wing journals and news channels for all of them to claim paychecks.  And as more people are mugged by reality, fewer people will be watching them.  What a nightmare!  Productivity, not noise, will become the yardstick that measures the paycheck.

Who would have thought it was so simple?  Even John McCain can’t block it, since it’s already the law.  It’s not a rule against a political view, so it doesn’t run afoul of the First Amendment.  It’s just a rule that colleges should educate people to contribute to society by being self-supporting.  Imagine that!  And the moment the first college is decertified, all the others will instantly start checking their curricula, because they might be next.  If they have a marginal program, they’ll fix it by improving the course of study.  If they’re on probation, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be discharging professors and closing programs.  Of course, they’ll be redirecting financial aid to students who will use it to develop employable skills.

Fancy that.  We do something that has a very specific goal of preventing another annual batch of young adults trapped by loans they can’t repay and can’t discharge in bankruptcy.  It is narrowly tailored to that task, yet it has a massive social benefit that doesn’t appear anywhere in or near its text.  It puts a lid on campus leftism since those lefty courses can’t put bread on the table.  Could Secretary DeVos be convinced to consider this?



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Charlie Gard Is the Face of Single-Payer


I woke up very early this morning with the tortured picture of an infant running through my mind.

Charlie Gard has a tube through his nose into his lungs, connected to a machine that breathes for him.  He has all the latest electronics monitoring his status.  But he is unable to provide any indication of his pleasure or pain at the process.  He is dying from a horrendous genetic disease that robs his body of the ability to move, breathe, or respond.

Next I saw his parents.  Their expression conveyed the pain that Charlie cannot.  But their pain is not physical; it is emotional.  That is understandable, since their child is dying.  And their anguish is magnified by an emotionless megalith against which they flail to no avail.  Single-payer “health care” has taken their child from them, even while he is still alive.

Such pictures are not new to me.  During my time in critical care medicine, I saw many hopeless cases.  Their diseases had reached a stage where there was no medical reason to continue treatment.  They had no material chance to recover to a point where they would have any meaningful life away from extensive (and expensive) medical support.  And because these medical circumstances were not rare, I helped write my hospital’s policy on Futility of Care.  But Charlie Gard’s case is different from the ones I was involved with.

When Charlie Gard entered Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England’s single-payer health system, the National Health Service, took over.  At first, it seemed that this was a good thing, since his parents didn’t have to pay extra for his care.  But they didn’t have a choice.  They weren’t in the small minority who are either wealthy enough or favorably employed to access private insurance.  So Charlie was swallowed by the Blob.

Thus far, there didn’t seem to be any difference between single-payer and private insurance.  Both start with the same level of medical care. But shortly, the differences became manifest.  When Charlie’s rare diagnosis became clear (only 16 known cases), the NHS refused to allow any sort of alternative approach.  Charlie had struck the iceberg, and the Carpathia was nowhere to be seen.

After first contact with a doctor who might be able to help, Charlie’s parents set up a crowdfunding page and raised £1.3 million (about $1.7 million).  That’s enough for any conceivable therapy.  They had become financially able to relieve the NHS of any need to care for Charlie.  All the NHS had to do was say, “Yes.”  Instead, the NHS asserted its ownership of Charlie, and multiple courts agreed.  The hospital got court orders to discontinue life support.

What would have happened in the U.S.?  When there is no reasonable probability of returning a critically ill patient to meaningful life, the situation is to be presented to the patient’s health care surrogate.  This “Legally Authorized Person” is encouraged to recognize that further care is futile and should not be undertaken.  With the LAP’s consent, it would become possible to withdraw futile care.

It is critically important to note that the LAP (typically close family) has the authority to tell the medical staff to continue care or not.  It is not up to the doctors or the hospital.  It does not matter that continuing futile care burns out staff and consumes resources.  The family is the final authority, because the family members are the ones who own all rights in this situation.  It would be unethical to proceed without their consent, because they are protecting the patient’s natural human rights, even if they conflict with the medical prognosis.

I know that speaking in terms of “ownership” sounds strange coming from a doctor.  But this is the key fact, based in natural law.  Charlie Gard’s parents “own” him.  They begot him.  They cared for him.  And when he became ill, they cared even more for him by seeking expert assistance.  They are primarily responsible for Charlie.  But single-payer NHS changes everything.

When Charlie Gard came through that Emergency Department door, the NHS took ownership of him.  It’s a classic case of the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”  (Apologies to Saint Matthew.)  In essence, the NHS said that since it is paying the freight, Charlie is now the property of the State.  His parents were involuntarily dispossessed of their son.  The NHS stole him by force of law.  Parental rights inherent in natural law were “stripped away by strangers.”

The therapy proposed by Dr. Hirano from America supposedly has about a 10% chance of success.  That’s significantly better than the zero the courts have offered.  But let us suppose that it fails.  Is it a total loss?  Almost certainly not.  Knowledge will be gained.  It may not help kids with Charlie’s condition, but it may lead to help for others.  And Charlie’s parents are able to afford it now.  The NHS would incur no further expense.

Even at this late date, with doctors and world leaders lining up to volunteer help for Charlie, the NHS still acts on the basis that it owns the child.  His parents were not allowed to appeal.  Only the hospital had that right.

This conceit is at the center of the single-payer controversy, but no one is willing to actually argue it.  If it were debated, it would show that the “payment” idea is a diversion.  Instead, single-payer advocates have taken the position that the State owns its citizens.

Right now, I have been forced into Medicare.  I don’t like it, and I would happily take an alternative, but legally, I cannot.  Further, if Medicare declares that I can’t have a particular treatment, I can’t even buy it for myself.  That’s exactly the same situation Charlie Gard’s parents are in.  The federal government owns me through Medicare.

My only alternative is to go out of the country for unauthorized care, or to find a cash-only doctor who does not accept Medicare.  And how many of those are there?  I’ve saved enough to have such an option, but how many others can do that?  And suppose I’m in the hospital when the need arises.  I’d have to sign out AMA (Against Medical Advice).  Fortunately, I still have that small shred of personal ownership.

Every time someone proposes single-payer, throw Charlie Gard in his face.  He is single-payer – state ownership of the individual.  After single-payer is instituted, will it be possible that this “government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth”?

I woke up very early this morning with the tortured picture of an infant running through my mind.

Charlie Gard has a tube through his nose into his lungs, connected to a machine that breathes for him.  He has all the latest electronics monitoring his status.  But he is unable to provide any indication of his pleasure or pain at the process.  He is dying from a horrendous genetic disease that robs his body of the ability to move, breathe, or respond.

Next I saw his parents.  Their expression conveyed the pain that Charlie cannot.  But their pain is not physical; it is emotional.  That is understandable, since their child is dying.  And their anguish is magnified by an emotionless megalith against which they flail to no avail.  Single-payer “health care” has taken their child from them, even while he is still alive.

Such pictures are not new to me.  During my time in critical care medicine, I saw many hopeless cases.  Their diseases had reached a stage where there was no medical reason to continue treatment.  They had no material chance to recover to a point where they would have any meaningful life away from extensive (and expensive) medical support.  And because these medical circumstances were not rare, I helped write my hospital’s policy on Futility of Care.  But Charlie Gard’s case is different from the ones I was involved with.

When Charlie Gard entered Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England’s single-payer health system, the National Health Service, took over.  At first, it seemed that this was a good thing, since his parents didn’t have to pay extra for his care.  But they didn’t have a choice.  They weren’t in the small minority who are either wealthy enough or favorably employed to access private insurance.  So Charlie was swallowed by the Blob.

Thus far, there didn’t seem to be any difference between single-payer and private insurance.  Both start with the same level of medical care. But shortly, the differences became manifest.  When Charlie’s rare diagnosis became clear (only 16 known cases), the NHS refused to allow any sort of alternative approach.  Charlie had struck the iceberg, and the Carpathia was nowhere to be seen.

After first contact with a doctor who might be able to help, Charlie’s parents set up a crowdfunding page and raised £1.3 million (about $1.7 million).  That’s enough for any conceivable therapy.  They had become financially able to relieve the NHS of any need to care for Charlie.  All the NHS had to do was say, “Yes.”  Instead, the NHS asserted its ownership of Charlie, and multiple courts agreed.  The hospital got court orders to discontinue life support.

What would have happened in the U.S.?  When there is no reasonable probability of returning a critically ill patient to meaningful life, the situation is to be presented to the patient’s health care surrogate.  This “Legally Authorized Person” is encouraged to recognize that further care is futile and should not be undertaken.  With the LAP’s consent, it would become possible to withdraw futile care.

It is critically important to note that the LAP (typically close family) has the authority to tell the medical staff to continue care or not.  It is not up to the doctors or the hospital.  It does not matter that continuing futile care burns out staff and consumes resources.  The family is the final authority, because the family members are the ones who own all rights in this situation.  It would be unethical to proceed without their consent, because they are protecting the patient’s natural human rights, even if they conflict with the medical prognosis.

I know that speaking in terms of “ownership” sounds strange coming from a doctor.  But this is the key fact, based in natural law.  Charlie Gard’s parents “own” him.  They begot him.  They cared for him.  And when he became ill, they cared even more for him by seeking expert assistance.  They are primarily responsible for Charlie.  But single-payer NHS changes everything.

When Charlie Gard came through that Emergency Department door, the NHS took ownership of him.  It’s a classic case of the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”  (Apologies to Saint Matthew.)  In essence, the NHS said that since it is paying the freight, Charlie is now the property of the State.  His parents were involuntarily dispossessed of their son.  The NHS stole him by force of law.  Parental rights inherent in natural law were “stripped away by strangers.”

The therapy proposed by Dr. Hirano from America supposedly has about a 10% chance of success.  That’s significantly better than the zero the courts have offered.  But let us suppose that it fails.  Is it a total loss?  Almost certainly not.  Knowledge will be gained.  It may not help kids with Charlie’s condition, but it may lead to help for others.  And Charlie’s parents are able to afford it now.  The NHS would incur no further expense.

Even at this late date, with doctors and world leaders lining up to volunteer help for Charlie, the NHS still acts on the basis that it owns the child.  His parents were not allowed to appeal.  Only the hospital had that right.

This conceit is at the center of the single-payer controversy, but no one is willing to actually argue it.  If it were debated, it would show that the “payment” idea is a diversion.  Instead, single-payer advocates have taken the position that the State owns its citizens.

Right now, I have been forced into Medicare.  I don’t like it, and I would happily take an alternative, but legally, I cannot.  Further, if Medicare declares that I can’t have a particular treatment, I can’t even buy it for myself.  That’s exactly the same situation Charlie Gard’s parents are in.  The federal government owns me through Medicare.

My only alternative is to go out of the country for unauthorized care, or to find a cash-only doctor who does not accept Medicare.  And how many of those are there?  I’ve saved enough to have such an option, but how many others can do that?  And suppose I’m in the hospital when the need arises.  I’d have to sign out AMA (Against Medical Advice).  Fortunately, I still have that small shred of personal ownership.

Every time someone proposes single-payer, throw Charlie Gard in his face.  He is single-payer – state ownership of the individual.  After single-payer is instituted, will it be possible that this “government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth”?



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Democrats are insulting the public with dire claims of deaths from Obamacare repeal


There are times when I want to scream at the radio. One commentator or another has just declared that, according to the CBO, 22-million people will lose their health care. In response, the senior Democrat in DC declared that “hundreds of thousands” will die.  It’s a lie. Fake news. Made-up hoax. Dezinformatsiya. Pick your favorite term.

The very idea that having health insurance is what allows you to have health care is simply wrong. Our first step has to be EMTALA. This alphabet soup statute makes it illegal for any hospital to put “Do you have insurance?” between you and medical care for an emergency. That means that every hospital in the country will fix what’s wrong with you. Afterward they may try to get their pound of flesh back, but there are a host of programs, including the Affordable Health Care Act-protected “Pre-existing Conditions” provision that will take care of things. Notice I did not say the “Obamacare” provision.

Now that we’ve debunked the first big lie, let’s consider the purpose of insurance. When Blue Cross was invented by doctors and hospitals, it was a way to make sure that they got paid. If they could convert some charity work into profit, what was not to like? It wasn’t about making sure that people could get care. It was about their wallets.

Then, during World War II, insurance became an untaxed fringe benefit to get around wage and price controls. It looked cheap to employees, so why not? But something changed. As doctors and hospitals lost control of insurance companies, the companies figured out ways to entice more people to buy their products. And Obamacare made it the law that lots of people have to buy it. You had to put your hard-earned coin into the pocket of the big insurance company. The federal government used the law to hand their rich friends a big subsidy. That’s why the insurance companies supported Obamacare in the first place.

Now this house of cards is falling down. So what is the new argument?

“22 million people will lose health care!”

The real goal is to preserve the subsidy for insurance companies so they can make campaign contributions to their friends inside the Beltway. It doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with your health. How do we know that? I’m glad you asked.

In 1971-82 the Rand Corporation did a large study to look at the health benefits of health insurance. They didn’t find any health benefits. Then in 2006 Dave and Kaestner looked at people moving from no insurance to Medicare at age 65. They didn’t find any health benefits to being on Medicare. But they did find an increase in risky behaviors like smoking and overeating leading to obesity.

The real gold mine is the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. In 2008, Oregon had enough money to add a number of people to their Medicaid program. Because they couldn’t add everyone, they drew names by lottery to pick who could participate. And being really smart, they realized that this was a perfect randomized clinical trial. So they hired statisticians and got busy.

By now, you can guess the outcome. And you’d be right. There was no health benefit to having Medicaid versus no insurance at all. And it wasn’t because Oregon paid doctors badly. They paid significantly better than the national average. The only “health” benefit they were able to find was a reduction in depression.

There was one significant benefit, but it wasn’t medical. It was in personal finances. There was a reduction in financial stress, primarily due to coverage for catastrophic illnesses. The risk of bankruptcy was gone. Note that this wasn’t a benefit from preventive care or wellness therapy. It was a roof that prevented disaster when the sky fell. Nothing else mattered.

What about costs? Patients who had Medicaid overused medical resources without any health benefit. Their costs were 40% higher than people without insurance at all, and there was still no improvement in health. Put bluntly, health insurance, as we think of it now, is worse than worthless. If it were a new drug being presented to the FDA for approval, it would be rejected out of hand because it does no good and costs more. The only good form of insurance is catastrophic-only coverage, which is cheap because it only covers the rare disaster.

Will anyone die after Obamacare dies? Yes, but it won’t be because Obamacare went away. It will be because everyone ultimately dies. Obamacare didn’t provide health care to anyone. It provided a large subsidy to insurance companies and regulators. That subsidy was taken from every taxpayer’s pocket and given to rich people who did nothing to earn it.

The Law of Subsidy states that “When you subsidize something, you get more of it and it gets more expensive.” Obamacare is the logical result of the Law of Subsidy. Unlike a statute, you can’t repeal the Law of Subsidy. And the recipients of the subsidy will lie, cheat, and steal to keep you from taking it away from them. But it must be eliminated. We may not achieve this in one fell swoop, but we have to work toward a true free market in medicine. That ultimately means no government mandates and no tax benefit for buying “health insurance.”

If we re-create a free market in medicine, we’ll see more inexpensive surgery centers like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Nearly unlimited family care will be as little as $50 a month for adults and $10 for kids, with medicines at cheap wholesale prices. And that’s just the beginning.

It’s time to shout from the rooftops that “insurance” does not equal “health care.” Insurance as we know it is not a good thing, and the sooner all those first dollar “benefits” disappear, the better. They are only benefits to the insurance company. We’ll have money to spend on real care that will be far less expensive than at present.

We may not be able to repeal the Law of Subsidy, but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore it and continue to sell our souls to the unholy alliance of big insurance companies and big government.

There are times when I want to scream at the radio. One commentator or another has just declared that, according to the CBO, 22-million people will lose their health care. In response, the senior Democrat in DC declared that “hundreds of thousands” will die.  It’s a lie. Fake news. Made-up hoax. Dezinformatsiya. Pick your favorite term.

The very idea that having health insurance is what allows you to have health care is simply wrong. Our first step has to be EMTALA. This alphabet soup statute makes it illegal for any hospital to put “Do you have insurance?” between you and medical care for an emergency. That means that every hospital in the country will fix what’s wrong with you. Afterward they may try to get their pound of flesh back, but there are a host of programs, including the Affordable Health Care Act-protected “Pre-existing Conditions” provision that will take care of things. Notice I did not say the “Obamacare” provision.

Now that we’ve debunked the first big lie, let’s consider the purpose of insurance. When Blue Cross was invented by doctors and hospitals, it was a way to make sure that they got paid. If they could convert some charity work into profit, what was not to like? It wasn’t about making sure that people could get care. It was about their wallets.

Then, during World War II, insurance became an untaxed fringe benefit to get around wage and price controls. It looked cheap to employees, so why not? But something changed. As doctors and hospitals lost control of insurance companies, the companies figured out ways to entice more people to buy their products. And Obamacare made it the law that lots of people have to buy it. You had to put your hard-earned coin into the pocket of the big insurance company. The federal government used the law to hand their rich friends a big subsidy. That’s why the insurance companies supported Obamacare in the first place.

Now this house of cards is falling down. So what is the new argument?

“22 million people will lose health care!”

The real goal is to preserve the subsidy for insurance companies so they can make campaign contributions to their friends inside the Beltway. It doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with your health. How do we know that? I’m glad you asked.

In 1971-82 the Rand Corporation did a large study to look at the health benefits of health insurance. They didn’t find any health benefits. Then in 2006 Dave and Kaestner looked at people moving from no insurance to Medicare at age 65. They didn’t find any health benefits to being on Medicare. But they did find an increase in risky behaviors like smoking and overeating leading to obesity.

The real gold mine is the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. In 2008, Oregon had enough money to add a number of people to their Medicaid program. Because they couldn’t add everyone, they drew names by lottery to pick who could participate. And being really smart, they realized that this was a perfect randomized clinical trial. So they hired statisticians and got busy.

By now, you can guess the outcome. And you’d be right. There was no health benefit to having Medicaid versus no insurance at all. And it wasn’t because Oregon paid doctors badly. They paid significantly better than the national average. The only “health” benefit they were able to find was a reduction in depression.

There was one significant benefit, but it wasn’t medical. It was in personal finances. There was a reduction in financial stress, primarily due to coverage for catastrophic illnesses. The risk of bankruptcy was gone. Note that this wasn’t a benefit from preventive care or wellness therapy. It was a roof that prevented disaster when the sky fell. Nothing else mattered.

What about costs? Patients who had Medicaid overused medical resources without any health benefit. Their costs were 40% higher than people without insurance at all, and there was still no improvement in health. Put bluntly, health insurance, as we think of it now, is worse than worthless. If it were a new drug being presented to the FDA for approval, it would be rejected out of hand because it does no good and costs more. The only good form of insurance is catastrophic-only coverage, which is cheap because it only covers the rare disaster.

Will anyone die after Obamacare dies? Yes, but it won’t be because Obamacare went away. It will be because everyone ultimately dies. Obamacare didn’t provide health care to anyone. It provided a large subsidy to insurance companies and regulators. That subsidy was taken from every taxpayer’s pocket and given to rich people who did nothing to earn it.

The Law of Subsidy states that “When you subsidize something, you get more of it and it gets more expensive.” Obamacare is the logical result of the Law of Subsidy. Unlike a statute, you can’t repeal the Law of Subsidy. And the recipients of the subsidy will lie, cheat, and steal to keep you from taking it away from them. But it must be eliminated. We may not achieve this in one fell swoop, but we have to work toward a true free market in medicine. That ultimately means no government mandates and no tax benefit for buying “health insurance.”

If we re-create a free market in medicine, we’ll see more inexpensive surgery centers like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. Nearly unlimited family care will be as little as $50 a month for adults and $10 for kids, with medicines at cheap wholesale prices. And that’s just the beginning.

It’s time to shout from the rooftops that “insurance” does not equal “health care.” Insurance as we know it is not a good thing, and the sooner all those first dollar “benefits” disappear, the better. They are only benefits to the insurance company. We’ll have money to spend on real care that will be far less expensive than at present.

We may not be able to repeal the Law of Subsidy, but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore it and continue to sell our souls to the unholy alliance of big insurance companies and big government.



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Asking the Right Questions about Health Care


If I set out to accomplish a task, I have to start with the basics. What is the job? What steps are involved? The list goes on. The same concept applies to ObamaCare. It’s broken. Whether we repeal it or fix it, we have to start with foundations. In other words, as Herman Cain notes, we have to ask the Right Questions.

Paul Ryan didn’t ask any of the right questions. And the very first one is simple: “What is our objective? Do we want to make health insurance affordable, or do we want to make health care affordable?” Put differently, do we want to guarantee a subsidy for the health insurance companies, or will we put patients first?

Health insurance is a subsidy to health insurance companies, because it has preferred status in the tax code. Taxpayers get a tax break for supplying health insurance companies with profits. That means that insurance companies will spend breathtaking amounts of money to support legislators who protect their profits. Legislators will respond by creating bigger tax incentives to buy health insurance, and the cycle will continue. Health insurance is a classic example of the Law of Subsidy in action.

The Law of Subsidy: Every time you subsidize something, you get more of it, and it gets more expensive.

Nobody asked, “Does health insurance improve health?” Had they asked, they would have learned that for the general population, health insurance does not improve health. The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment showed that:

“Medicaid coverage resulted in significantly more outpatient visits, hospitalizations, prescription medications, and emergency department visits. Coverage significantly lowered medical debt, and virtually eliminated the likelihood of having a catastrophic medical expenditure. Medicaid substantially reduced the prevalence of depression, but had no statistically significant effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, or cardiovascular risk. Medicaid coverage also had no statistically significant effect on employment status or earnings.”

Notice that there was essentially zero overall effect on health. Insurance did reduce individual financial risk, and that’s what insurance is supposed to do. But because of a 20 percent increase in use of medical resources, it substantially increased overall cost, suggesting that there may be better ways to protect individual finances.

Where did that excess money go? Providers! Insurance is a subsidy to the health care industry. Since this was Medicaid, it took taxpayers’ hard-earned money and gave it to insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals. We didn’t get to decide whether to use (and pay for) their services. The money was taken from us and given to them. And it did no good for poor patients.

What about the handful who have potentially catastrophic medical problems? There’s a different way to handle them called “high-risk pools.” Thirty-five states already have them, and they deal with the worst situations, including pre-existing conditions, at far lower cost to the state than ordinary Medicaid. So, with this very narrow exception, health insurance simply does not answer our most foundational question. That makes it the wrong approach to improving health. But it an effective way to take tax money from productive taxpayers in order to give it to large corporations and their stockholders.

The next question did get asked, but never in a serious way. “How do we reduce health care costs?”

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment showed financial benefits for the insured since they didn’t have catastrophic losses. But that doesn’t require “full coverage” insurance. It only requires catastrophic coverage, which is the original purpose of health insurance. You pay the initial costs, and if your expenses get really large, they are covered. That kind of policy was (and would be) much less expensive, but is illegal under ObamaCare.

Health Savings Accounts are another way to save money. Properly structured, there is a block of money in a savings account that pays for basic medical expenses through the year. Any costs over that amount are covered by a catastrophic policy. If money is left at the end of the year, it belongs to the individual. The Rand Corporation says that HSAs will probably cut health costs, because HSAs lead to cost sharing. The windfall at year’s end for not using excess services is a strong incentive to save.

One reason that HSAs may not work as well as intended is that medical costs are not easy to determine up front. Insurance plans negotiate deals with providers that aren’t public information. That $100 aspirin tablet on your hospital bill is just one example. But life doesn’t have to be that complicated.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma publishes up-front all-inclusive prices for its services. These are far lower than the typical hidden (and variable) prices at other centers and hospitals. Yet Surgery Center of Oklahoma makes money, and has made money for years. What they don’t do is take insurance. Subsidies for comapnies who don’t provide care is needless overhead they don’t bother with.

This model is often repeated by plastic surgery and Lasik centers. Since their services are not covered by insurance, they compete on price to attract patients/customers. Many cosmetic procedures have gotten cheaper. Lasik, which started out at thousands of dollars per eye, is now available as low as $250.

Mandates that force people to buy insurance they don’t need raise cost, and as we saw before, take money from workers and give it to insurers and health care providers. Of course, those mandates don’t improve health, either.

Obviously, there are other areas that can be addressed. The FDA imposes immense costs on drug companies that try to bring new drugs to market. Much of this cost is scientifically and medically unnecessary, and could be eliminated. Medical device regulations also inflate costs.

With all these known facts, what questions did the Republican lawmakers ask? They asked how to maintain insurance coverage. This question leads down the rabbit hole of increased cost, with no benefit to patients. “Insurance” may sound good, but it is actually a transfer payment from workers to wealthy insurance companies and health care providers.

Seriously asking how to improve health care would have led Republicans to eliminate subsidies from the poor to the rich. Until that happens, we will see the Sheriff of Nottingham increasingly oppressing the taxpayers of Sherwood Forest. But subsidies can’t be eliminated until legislators understand that dropping dollars from helicopters will only lead to demands for more helicopters.

This is politically difficult. It requires principled analysis and education. Concepts must be presented simply, so that a sound-bite audience can understand them. Conservative Republicans attempted to restore freedom, but the established order simply did not accept their arguments. Fortunately for us, they held the line. But now they have no choice but to stand by as people suffer in the death spiral of Obamacare. Perhaps when there is no other option there will be a more receptive audience.

Freedom works every time it’s tried. Freedom in the medical marketplace will improve everyone’s health. Ultimately, every insurance subsidy must be eliminated. The tax-preferred status of health insurance must go away. Safety net coverage must be limited to true safety net cases, typically in high-risk pools. Regulations of all types must be cut, and prices must become public. When all these things happen, care will become much cheaper, and it will be available to all.

In simple terms, these steps basically take government out of the health care marketplace, allowing the free market to reassert itself. When that happens, all sorts of good things are possible.

If I set out to accomplish a task, I have to start with the basics. What is the job? What steps are involved? The list goes on. The same concept applies to ObamaCare. It’s broken. Whether we repeal it or fix it, we have to start with foundations. In other words, as Herman Cain notes, we have to ask the Right Questions.

Paul Ryan didn’t ask any of the right questions. And the very first one is simple: “What is our objective? Do we want to make health insurance affordable, or do we want to make health care affordable?” Put differently, do we want to guarantee a subsidy for the health insurance companies, or will we put patients first?

Health insurance is a subsidy to health insurance companies, because it has preferred status in the tax code. Taxpayers get a tax break for supplying health insurance companies with profits. That means that insurance companies will spend breathtaking amounts of money to support legislators who protect their profits. Legislators will respond by creating bigger tax incentives to buy health insurance, and the cycle will continue. Health insurance is a classic example of the Law of Subsidy in action.

The Law of Subsidy: Every time you subsidize something, you get more of it, and it gets more expensive.

Nobody asked, “Does health insurance improve health?” Had they asked, they would have learned that for the general population, health insurance does not improve health. The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment showed that:

“Medicaid coverage resulted in significantly more outpatient visits, hospitalizations, prescription medications, and emergency department visits. Coverage significantly lowered medical debt, and virtually eliminated the likelihood of having a catastrophic medical expenditure. Medicaid substantially reduced the prevalence of depression, but had no statistically significant effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, or cardiovascular risk. Medicaid coverage also had no statistically significant effect on employment status or earnings.”

Notice that there was essentially zero overall effect on health. Insurance did reduce individual financial risk, and that’s what insurance is supposed to do. But because of a 20 percent increase in use of medical resources, it substantially increased overall cost, suggesting that there may be better ways to protect individual finances.

Where did that excess money go? Providers! Insurance is a subsidy to the health care industry. Since this was Medicaid, it took taxpayers’ hard-earned money and gave it to insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals. We didn’t get to decide whether to use (and pay for) their services. The money was taken from us and given to them. And it did no good for poor patients.

What about the handful who have potentially catastrophic medical problems? There’s a different way to handle them called “high-risk pools.” Thirty-five states already have them, and they deal with the worst situations, including pre-existing conditions, at far lower cost to the state than ordinary Medicaid. So, with this very narrow exception, health insurance simply does not answer our most foundational question. That makes it the wrong approach to improving health. But it an effective way to take tax money from productive taxpayers in order to give it to large corporations and their stockholders.

The next question did get asked, but never in a serious way. “How do we reduce health care costs?”

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment showed financial benefits for the insured since they didn’t have catastrophic losses. But that doesn’t require “full coverage” insurance. It only requires catastrophic coverage, which is the original purpose of health insurance. You pay the initial costs, and if your expenses get really large, they are covered. That kind of policy was (and would be) much less expensive, but is illegal under ObamaCare.

Health Savings Accounts are another way to save money. Properly structured, there is a block of money in a savings account that pays for basic medical expenses through the year. Any costs over that amount are covered by a catastrophic policy. If money is left at the end of the year, it belongs to the individual. The Rand Corporation says that HSAs will probably cut health costs, because HSAs lead to cost sharing. The windfall at year’s end for not using excess services is a strong incentive to save.

One reason that HSAs may not work as well as intended is that medical costs are not easy to determine up front. Insurance plans negotiate deals with providers that aren’t public information. That $100 aspirin tablet on your hospital bill is just one example. But life doesn’t have to be that complicated.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma publishes up-front all-inclusive prices for its services. These are far lower than the typical hidden (and variable) prices at other centers and hospitals. Yet Surgery Center of Oklahoma makes money, and has made money for years. What they don’t do is take insurance. Subsidies for comapnies who don’t provide care is needless overhead they don’t bother with.

This model is often repeated by plastic surgery and Lasik centers. Since their services are not covered by insurance, they compete on price to attract patients/customers. Many cosmetic procedures have gotten cheaper. Lasik, which started out at thousands of dollars per eye, is now available as low as $250.

Mandates that force people to buy insurance they don’t need raise cost, and as we saw before, take money from workers and give it to insurers and health care providers. Of course, those mandates don’t improve health, either.

Obviously, there are other areas that can be addressed. The FDA imposes immense costs on drug companies that try to bring new drugs to market. Much of this cost is scientifically and medically unnecessary, and could be eliminated. Medical device regulations also inflate costs.

With all these known facts, what questions did the Republican lawmakers ask? They asked how to maintain insurance coverage. This question leads down the rabbit hole of increased cost, with no benefit to patients. “Insurance” may sound good, but it is actually a transfer payment from workers to wealthy insurance companies and health care providers.

Seriously asking how to improve health care would have led Republicans to eliminate subsidies from the poor to the rich. Until that happens, we will see the Sheriff of Nottingham increasingly oppressing the taxpayers of Sherwood Forest. But subsidies can’t be eliminated until legislators understand that dropping dollars from helicopters will only lead to demands for more helicopters.

This is politically difficult. It requires principled analysis and education. Concepts must be presented simply, so that a sound-bite audience can understand them. Conservative Republicans attempted to restore freedom, but the established order simply did not accept their arguments. Fortunately for us, they held the line. But now they have no choice but to stand by as people suffer in the death spiral of Obamacare. Perhaps when there is no other option there will be a more receptive audience.

Freedom works every time it’s tried. Freedom in the medical marketplace will improve everyone’s health. Ultimately, every insurance subsidy must be eliminated. The tax-preferred status of health insurance must go away. Safety net coverage must be limited to true safety net cases, typically in high-risk pools. Regulations of all types must be cut, and prices must become public. When all these things happen, care will become much cheaper, and it will be available to all.

In simple terms, these steps basically take government out of the health care marketplace, allowing the free market to reassert itself. When that happens, all sorts of good things are possible.



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I Was Fake News before Fake News Was Cool


On March 26, CBS aired a “60 Minutes” story on “Fake News.” Within that story was a two minute plus segment with Mike Cernovich of www.DangerandPlay.com. Scott Pelley declared that Cernovich had published “stories with no basis in fact” that were “categorically false.” Prominently featured was a story “by a retired anesthesiologist in Florida who never examined Hillary Clinton” that said “she has Parkinson’s Disease.” I am that anesthesiologist. And it’s true that I have not examined Mrs. Clinton. But the diagnosis of Parkinson’s is based in observation, not examination, and “60 Minutes” wasn’t interested in that fact.

“60 Minutes” carefully edited my name and website out of their broadcast presentation. But when the entire transcript of the interview was made public, my name was clearly present. One has to wonder why they felt it necessary to avoid naming the source of the story when I had gone public months before. Sean Hannity’s producer found my cell phone number and called me while my wife and I were shopping at Costco, yet “60 Minutes” made no attempt to contact me. It also appears that they didn’t bother to examine anything other than the headline Cernovich added to my story.

After my first report on Hillary Clinton’s obvious medical difficulties went viral, I published another sixteen posts expanding on the original story. Among those are two of particular importance: “How to Prove Me Wrong About Hillary’s Parkinson’s Disease” and “Differential Diagnosis of Hillary’s Neurological Disorder.” I also posted a video that discussed how “tinfoil hats are not permitted.” Had “60 Minutes” even looked at the thread on www.VidZette.com, they would have realized that, instead of me promoting “a bogus diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease,” it was their story that was bogus.

One must ask why I tilted at this windmill. It was never my intention to get involved in the election other than contributing cash to a campaign. But a perfect storm of information and circumstances fell my way. Parkinson’s patients and caregivers told me what they saw. A Parkinson’s Disease researcher declared that Hillary demonstrated clear signs of the disease. A Secret Service source leaked that she had been ill for an extended period and the service had expended considerable sums to accommodate it. Finally, since I had been retired for three years, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would be legally unable to audit and penalize my practice, thus destroying my life. This last point is crucial. Most practicing physicians are afraid of CMS. That is why I keep my sources confidential. The threat to them is too great otherwise.

Professional opinion on my work is not unanimous. One particularly literary neurologist declared that it was “a steaming crock of equine excrement.” But while some disagreed, an equal or greater number agreed, including a neuropsychiatrist specializing in Parkinson’s Disease. His professional assistance was crucial in developing the “Differential Diagnosis” document, which discusses alternative explanations for the signs she demonstrates. And demonstrate them she does. Many members of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons agree that she is most likely ill and that it is a neurological ailment.

Unlike Fake News that is simply manufactured, I am guilty of committing science. Looking at evidence (and more evidence), I proposed a hypothesis: Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease. I published that hypothesis because its implications are of great consequence. Should she become president, we would have a chief executive who would suffer “Off” states where for extended periods she could not make decisions in a timely manner. If she was suffering from Parkinson’s Dementia, we would not have a leader who could make rational decisions. The Wikileaks revelations supported this possibility. America cannot afford another Woodrow Wilson.

My hypothesis is like all scientific hypotheses. It is falsifiable. As I stated in the “Prove Me Wrong” video, it’s actually quite simple to make me go away: provide a better explanation for the signs we see. Or provide real medical records for detailed examination the way John McCain’s records were handled. A two-page whitewash won’t do. And don’t tell me there’s nothing to see here the way the National Parkinson’s Foundation did. The video record is too extensive.

By way of contrast, let us consider one other story. The New Republic published an article by Dr. Steven Beutler suggesting that President Trump has neurosyphilis. As an infectious disease specialist, he ought to be well qualified to offer an opinion. Unfortunately, he appears to have flunked out of his freshman class on Physical Diagnosis.

The first step in any medical diagnosis is a good history. And Dr. Beutler doesn’t appear to be aware of any history whatever, other than the fact that Donald Trump was sexually promiscuous as a young man. He then spins this one fact into a web of supposed insomnia, dementia, and hair loss.

Any attentive medical student (or Navy enlisted man) would have learned that syphilis is a very easy disease to treat. It is also progressive. But Dr. Beutler completely neglects to note that the President’s “insomnia” is a lifelong pattern common in high achievers — he only sleeps about four hours per night. His “dementia” is simply decisions Beutler doesn’t agree with. Those decisions led to building a massive fortune and a decisive Electoral College victory. Need I note that the President has more hair than I do?

“60 Minutes” conclusively demonstrated that they are Fake News. A program that for decades has been respected for careful reporting has become a shill for partisan interests. They manufactured a declaration that my reporting was “categorically false.” And they did it without even a cursory glance at what I actually said. And now they are joined by the New Republic on the left. One has to ask “Why?”

The New Republic is easy to understand. They have Trump Derangement Syndrome. As for “60 Minutes”, I can only speculate, but they led with the idea that the last election cycle was full of Fake News. But the only supposed “Fake News” they actually covered were two stories opposing Hillary Clinton posted by Mike Cernovich. No “Fake News” about Donald Trump was included. Could it be they are trying to immunize Hillary Clinton from these potent stories so she can run again?

On March 26, CBS aired a “60 Minutes” story on “Fake News.” Within that story was a two minute plus segment with Mike Cernovich of www.DangerandPlay.com. Scott Pelley declared that Cernovich had published “stories with no basis in fact” that were “categorically false.” Prominently featured was a story “by a retired anesthesiologist in Florida who never examined Hillary Clinton” that said “she has Parkinson’s Disease.” I am that anesthesiologist. And it’s true that I have not examined Mrs. Clinton. But the diagnosis of Parkinson’s is based in observation, not examination, and “60 Minutes” wasn’t interested in that fact.

“60 Minutes” carefully edited my name and website out of their broadcast presentation. But when the entire transcript of the interview was made public, my name was clearly present. One has to wonder why they felt it necessary to avoid naming the source of the story when I had gone public months before. Sean Hannity’s producer found my cell phone number and called me while my wife and I were shopping at Costco, yet “60 Minutes” made no attempt to contact me. It also appears that they didn’t bother to examine anything other than the headline Cernovich added to my story.

After my first report on Hillary Clinton’s obvious medical difficulties went viral, I published another sixteen posts expanding on the original story. Among those are two of particular importance: “How to Prove Me Wrong About Hillary’s Parkinson’s Disease” and “Differential Diagnosis of Hillary’s Neurological Disorder.” I also posted a video that discussed how “tinfoil hats are not permitted.” Had “60 Minutes” even looked at the thread on www.VidZette.com, they would have realized that, instead of me promoting “a bogus diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease,” it was their story that was bogus.

One must ask why I tilted at this windmill. It was never my intention to get involved in the election other than contributing cash to a campaign. But a perfect storm of information and circumstances fell my way. Parkinson’s patients and caregivers told me what they saw. A Parkinson’s Disease researcher declared that Hillary demonstrated clear signs of the disease. A Secret Service source leaked that she had been ill for an extended period and the service had expended considerable sums to accommodate it. Finally, since I had been retired for three years, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would be legally unable to audit and penalize my practice, thus destroying my life. This last point is crucial. Most practicing physicians are afraid of CMS. That is why I keep my sources confidential. The threat to them is too great otherwise.

Professional opinion on my work is not unanimous. One particularly literary neurologist declared that it was “a steaming crock of equine excrement.” But while some disagreed, an equal or greater number agreed, including a neuropsychiatrist specializing in Parkinson’s Disease. His professional assistance was crucial in developing the “Differential Diagnosis” document, which discusses alternative explanations for the signs she demonstrates. And demonstrate them she does. Many members of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons agree that she is most likely ill and that it is a neurological ailment.

Unlike Fake News that is simply manufactured, I am guilty of committing science. Looking at evidence (and more evidence), I proposed a hypothesis: Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease. I published that hypothesis because its implications are of great consequence. Should she become president, we would have a chief executive who would suffer “Off” states where for extended periods she could not make decisions in a timely manner. If she was suffering from Parkinson’s Dementia, we would not have a leader who could make rational decisions. The Wikileaks revelations supported this possibility. America cannot afford another Woodrow Wilson.

My hypothesis is like all scientific hypotheses. It is falsifiable. As I stated in the “Prove Me Wrong” video, it’s actually quite simple to make me go away: provide a better explanation for the signs we see. Or provide real medical records for detailed examination the way John McCain’s records were handled. A two-page whitewash won’t do. And don’t tell me there’s nothing to see here the way the National Parkinson’s Foundation did. The video record is too extensive.

By way of contrast, let us consider one other story. The New Republic published an article by Dr. Steven Beutler suggesting that President Trump has neurosyphilis. As an infectious disease specialist, he ought to be well qualified to offer an opinion. Unfortunately, he appears to have flunked out of his freshman class on Physical Diagnosis.

The first step in any medical diagnosis is a good history. And Dr. Beutler doesn’t appear to be aware of any history whatever, other than the fact that Donald Trump was sexually promiscuous as a young man. He then spins this one fact into a web of supposed insomnia, dementia, and hair loss.

Any attentive medical student (or Navy enlisted man) would have learned that syphilis is a very easy disease to treat. It is also progressive. But Dr. Beutler completely neglects to note that the President’s “insomnia” is a lifelong pattern common in high achievers — he only sleeps about four hours per night. His “dementia” is simply decisions Beutler doesn’t agree with. Those decisions led to building a massive fortune and a decisive Electoral College victory. Need I note that the President has more hair than I do?

“60 Minutes” conclusively demonstrated that they are Fake News. A program that for decades has been respected for careful reporting has become a shill for partisan interests. They manufactured a declaration that my reporting was “categorically false.” And they did it without even a cursory glance at what I actually said. And now they are joined by the New Republic on the left. One has to ask “Why?”

The New Republic is easy to understand. They have Trump Derangement Syndrome. As for “60 Minutes”, I can only speculate, but they led with the idea that the last election cycle was full of Fake News. But the only supposed “Fake News” they actually covered were two stories opposing Hillary Clinton posted by Mike Cernovich. No “Fake News” about Donald Trump was included. Could it be they are trying to immunize Hillary Clinton from these potent stories so she can run again?



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