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Right Hook! 11 Must-Reads for the Politically Mature

I Know, 11 Must-Reads.  Why Not 10, right?

I wrestled with labeling this list as “conservative”. Anyone who reads it will learn something. This is especially true in the case of the Goldwater book. I came down on the side of truth-in-labeling. Conservative writers did write these books.  I consider these books to be arguable must-reads.

As I point out in Street Politics…, the terms Conservative and Liberal mean little in today’s discussion. There are few more stodgy and pig-headed than the modern American “liberal”. And people who would be slapped with the label “conservative” are often more willing than the Center and Left to try new ideas and cut loose the creative juices of their fellow citizens. Please bear this in mind as you browse the following books.

Also this is not presented in the rank order the books sold in. But most have spent time on the Amazon and NY Times best-sellers lists.

Just click on the book to go straight to it.

From Good to Best:

1. Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? (An Uncle Eric Book) 2nd Edition


by Richard J. Maybury (Author), Jane A. Williams (Editor)

I started with this book because it addresses directly the observation I made above. It properly diminishes the political labels that have been popular since FDR and challenges popular myth. Not every observation in this book aligns with my own, but at least we have a cogent argument about labels and why we must see past them if we are to have a hope in hell of ever getting this country back on a sustainable, successful course.

 

2. STREET POLITICS: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!

by Matt Jordan (Author)

Aw, c’mon! You didn’t think I was going to publish a list of conservative writers and not put my own masterpiece on here did you? Besides, I didn’t let hubris overwhelm me, placing SP ahead of everyone. I think I could have moved it much higher on the list, but I’ll be coy and keep it here.

This is your chance to deal with the new reality in Washington. Whether we like Donald Trump or not, we need to understand how got elected in the first place. Only then can we build on his unorthodox success.

As of this post, we are failing to do so. We are watching Republicans ensure the permanence of government-controlled health insurance while we miss entirely, the danger of a President who tweets WHAT HE IS THINKING, everyday, unedited, without an ounce of forethought or maturity.

Please remember:  50% of ALL AUTHOR PROCEEDS will go to support Lt. Jeff Kerr, super cop from Virginia, in his fight against Multiple Sclerosis; his fight and helping others as well.  Due to the way book sales are reported, we don’t have much time before the Bike MS event in late spring. I hope you’ll help and share this book on your favorite social media.

3. Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America

by David Horowitz (Author)

Here’s an in-your-face book that I hesitated to include. But Horowitz is no blushing virgin on the political scene. His book takes square aim at all who disagree with the new President, including to some extent your host. I have yet to be enamored with Trump’s antics and don’t yet see how his big agenda is going to be much different from Paul Ryan’s.

I’ll give this example: If the Republicans repeal Obamacare and then “replace” it with something, they will have permanently crippled our health care system with a government insurance program. The only valid disposition of Obamacare is to dump it by a date certain, allowing insurance companies time to come up with real policies people can afford.

But there is cadre of folks on the right who think I’m wrong. Horowitz is their siren.

4. The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z 2nd Edition

by Phil Valentine (Author)

Westwood One radio personality, Phil Valentine does a fair job of defining conservatism in this easy-to-read work. His opening premise is most important to understanding the books general direction; America is Good. He correctly points out that despite our rocky beginnings we are not only a great power, but a force for good.

This will only remain so if we can, as a nation, back away from the self-destructive behaviors of political apathy and ignorance of economics.

Valentine has some other interesting things to say in The God Players and his DVD An Inconsistent Truth.

5. Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America

by Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. (Author), Nancy French (Contributor)

Sheriff Clarke puts his common sense views on paper. It is more than passing strange that his views would be considered controversial. I suspect that in most cases, they actually aren’t.  But his detractors need a position to attack from.  Still there are many who think David Clarke is wide-eyed, right-wing doctrinaire.  That doesn’t speak well of our education system.

6. Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto

by Mark R. Levin(Author)

There are two Mark Levins. One is a radio host who seems to spend 90% of his airtime playing to the lowest common denominator in his audience. For a constitutional lawyer, one may opine, he sure spends a lot of time mired in emotionalism. And he insults his callers. It is often clear, due to a lack of active listening, Levin has completely missed a caller’s point. It makes him look even worse when he barks at a caller who agrees with him and is in the midst of making a very instructive point, and then hangs up on the caller. This is often followed by insults (dummy, jerk) when the caller was expounding on LEVIN’S point! So who is the jerk in this equation?

I try to wade through the BS showmanship and listen for cogent points. There are many. But too often he wrecks his own argument by behaving like a non-thinking progressive.

Fortunately, there is the other Mark Levin. His writing is far more palatable and enjoyable than his radio show. His intent is clearer and his legal education and experience come through on the page. He is an enjoyable read. If you love his radio show, then you have two reasons to love his work. I only have the one.

In Liberty and Tyranny Levin pulls no punches in his assessment of America under the boot of progressivism since FDR. And his assertions are correct. His argument is sound. Liberty and Tyranny is a fast moving read.  You can always count on Levin for spirited argument. His other works include Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America and Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America.  Also recommended reading.

7. Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand (Author)

This is the third rail of “conservative” literature. There are two reasons. First: Rand is [gasp] an atheist! As a result many will never read the clear-minded, conservative thinking which supports a free-market worldview as well as Rand does. Many of this cadre have an equal and opposite view of their religion-infused politics as their liberal counterparts. On the left there are those who believe Christ was a Marxist rebel and welfare maven. The religious on the right, who reject writers like Rand, believe if Christ were alive today he’d be a Republican hedge fund manager (with a heart of gold).

No matter the god you to which you might ascribe, it is folly to include him in our political squabbles. No all-powerful omnipotent would ever sully itself by wading into our petty politics and economics. That is a strictly human concern. If divine providence were ever a part of the American political experience we’d have neither Obamacare nor a President Trump.

The second reason is the dated, simplistic style of Rand’s novels. While her essays and arguments are concise and edgy, her novels incorporate those elements in a 1950’s romantic package. Her novels also belie her pure “objectivism” and demonstrate her passion and lust for life.

However, to understand Rand is to understand pure, free-market thinking and the rejection of needless government intrusion into our lives. One does not need to come away from her books as a committed Objectivist to benefit from the experience. Surely, many who think they are to the right of center, when confronted with the unvarnished portrait of that position, might actually question their position.

I find Rand’s work to be a reaffirmation of my own worldview with a bit of an edge added.

Read also: Fountainhead, We the Living and Anthem. If you would like to explore Ayn Rand through the eyes of a writer who is neither acolyte nor enemy, consider Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns.

8. A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America

by Bruce Cannon Gibney(Author)

Here’s an interesting one. I would take the author to task on a few of his conclusions (baby Boomers caused global warming or too little taxation led to the impoverishment of government) as a bit too simplistic and not quite accurate. Also, the writer is not what we’d call the modern “conservative”.   But his observations deserve attention. His hopeful goal is to lay naked the party Boomers have had, and continue to have, at the expense of their grandchildren.

Gibney’s warnings are very much in line with those responsible fiscal conservatives have been putting forward since before Bill Clinton.

If you are a hard right doctrinaire, you will have the wrong argument with this book. But if you are open to a discussion which may not originate inside you political wheelhouse, then this is a must-read.

9. Right Reason

by William F. Buckley(Author)

I’ve said that Bill Buckley could say in a paragraph what some writers need a book to say.

I chose to include this book because it offers a look inside the mind of a true conservative. There are other interesting aspects as well.

Written in 1985, this book lets you revisit the period ’79 to ’85, and hear it discussed by a man with few equals in the world of clear expression. It was Buckley’s robust and unrivaled use of language that first inspired me to consider writing about politics as a living. If you enjoy reading George Will or Christopher Hitchins, you’ll prize this book. From Buckley’s treatment of Hitchins’ election commentary on 1980 to his eulogy for his mother, we see glimpses of Buckley and the way his mind worked.

It should be noted that he and Hitchens were at opposite ends of the political and religious spectrum, but were good friends. Hitchens stood as best man for William Buckley’s son, Chris.

I am fairly certain Buckley would chafe at appearing on this list with Ayn Rand. There were times when Buckley showed real intolerance, while angered by intolerance toward Catholicism. Gore Vidal and Ayn Rand were among his favorite targets. This is odd in the case of Rand. Other than Rand’s atheism and more robust hedonism, there was little light between the two philosophically.

10. How To Be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct

by Greg Gutfeld(Author)

This was intended to be a list of ten books and I wanted to include all the others. But I had to put Gutfeld in here. Not only does his work match or surpass any of the others, it does so in entertaining fashion. His books read even better if you know his voice and can hear his impish tone as you read.

Gutfeld’s approach to being right is not about shouting down the opposition. It is about reasoned argument, properly understood and delivered for the right reasons.

GG has a way of poking you in the eye and leaving you laughing about it. If we could all learn his timing and delivery, while arguing serious facts over Lefty fairy tales, there would only be about five self-loathing liberal left on the planet.

So, okay, I exaggerate. But the world would be a better, funnier place.

I’ll call this a tie with number 11 if only for the fun of reading it and your chance to actually learn something.

See also, The Joy of Hate, by Gutfeld

11. Conscience of a Conservative

by Barry Goldwater(Author)

Here, I go straight to the source. One on the most senselessly maligned and least understood people in modern politics is Barry Goldwater. He is also the father of the conservatism we know today.

In this book you will find principle that history has validated again and again. Over the centuries, people could be forgiven for not understanding the lessons of each passing era.

But since FDR, we have had an immediate audio and video record of the of big government, left wing failings and vindication of right thinking repeated over and over again. It seems society is either willfully ignoring the obvious answers or is breathtakingly apathetic about how their liberties and their hard-won treasure are being taken from them. And EVERY time this is done on a grand scale, the utopian programs the theft supports fails miserably.

Know Goldwater and you will know what we must do to right the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Obamacare: Repeal The Phony Healthcare System

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See part one here.

Why Not Go All The Way?

In 2009, while medical costs were up and a recession was getting underway, the government saw another opportunity to do something they’d been dying to do since Truman; a complete takeover of the medical insurance industry.

Here’s how the plan came together.

First, they never refer to the insurance takeover as a takeover or insurance. Call the takeover scheme “health care reform”.

Next, design a system that will fail rather quickly.

Wildly exaggerate results.

  • For example, we are repeatedly being told that there are now 20 million people who didn’t have insurance before that are now “insured.”  That’s not even a half truth.  First of all, millions lost jobs.  In doing so they lost their insurance.  thousands of companies either cut back hours, reducing workers to part-time because they could no longer offer insurance to employees, while other simply abandoned plans to expand for the same reason.
  • Tens of millions of working age people gave up and left he workforce.  Many of them now qualify for Medicaid.  And that is where they and many others already below a certain level ended up.  So many millions of the so-called insured are actually just Medicaid recipients.  That IS NOT a net plus by any measure.
  • So, truth be told,  far less than 20 million are on any kind of new insurance, and most who are, are heavily subsidized by others.  The others are the people who must not only buy insurance at wildly inflated rates for themselves, based on their own risk viability, they must also pay considerably more to take care of the so called 20 million  “newly insured,”
    • Update/NOTE:  As it turns out, my numbers are rather charitable and based on TV propaganda. As of 7 Jan 17, there are actually 11 million people (about .3% of the population) signed up for one of the “exchanges” under healthcare.gov.  So, if there are 20 million people now covered under Obamacare, and I doubt there are, that means about 9 million were added to the Medicaid roles.  That, my friends is a portrait of a miserably failed system.  Source: Washington Post, quoting HHS figures.  You have to love WAPO.  The article starts out saying how wonderful Obamacare is.  They throw percentages around in a way that would impress the credulous.  All that is to cushion the upcoming truth.  Or they are hoping you’ll quit reading before you get to the bad stuff.  But their own numbers reveal very few people are actually buying into the system. If there were no underlying fear of reprisal, fewer still would be buying.

Continuing With the Obamacare Plan

Uh…oops!

When the whole “market exchange” idea fails, and it will, the left can say, “Look at all the good things we’ve done. But all the greedy hospitals and insurance executives and doctors still ruined it! We need universal government ‘health care’!”

That is precisely what was perpetrated under Obamacare.  Single payer government health care was the outcome intended by the designers of Obamacare.

One of the crises the Obamacare is now touting as a reason to rush ahead with the insurance scam is the 2009 recession. People were loosing their health insurance because they were losing their jobs. (An excellent reason to have never linked the two.) Ironically (?) the very same recession has been needlessly dragged out to the present day by things like Obamacare.

But, oh dear, what to do?

And now the Republicans are talking of “replacing” Obamacare with something they say will work better. They say their program will be better and will still include mandatory insurance for pre-existing conditions. But that too must fail. Or at least fail to stop the insane upward cost spiral we see today caused by Obamacare.

If you enact laws that says this is how you will insure people, you are already screwing the pooch. Insurance people, who are taking all the risk, know how to do that better than ANY government social engineer. And when you introduce your clever new insurance laws and don’t separate out pre-existing conditions and 26 year-olds on their parents plans (WTF?), you are simply creating Obamacare-lite. In other words, you haven’t fixed the problem. You’ve only delayed the collapse for a bit.

Here is the alternative that will work. You:

  • Set a timetable for ending all the government mandates on medical insurance for all those above the poverty line and not on Medicare or insurance through the military.
  • Repeal laws that prevent competition in the industry.
  • End all subsidies and tax breaks for employment-related medical insurance. That’s just an extra impediment to the efficient bet between the customer and the insurance company. The money the employer saves in medical set-asides and compliance can be put into the employee’s paycheck. With that kind of money, an individual can create a serious health savings account.
  • End all subsidies for wellness programs. They have been proven not to work. They are used as sops for doctors and others to suck up extra insurance money.
  • Thwart jackpot justice in the form of egregious damage awards. The U.S. courts were not set up to ruin doctors.
  • Along that same line, move first to eliminate those mandates that encourage doctors to practice defensive medicine.  Then eliminate all mandates.  It is not up tot he government to decide how much you pay, and for what coverage.  It is up to yo and the insurance company.
  • Encourage people to seek minor, non-emergency treatment (no longer covered under our adult approach) from facilities that post their rates. Educate them to shop their medical dollar. You’ll be AMAZED at how inexpensive routine treatment will become.

This list is not exhaustive by any means. But by doing these things we take the billions of dollars sloshing around a bloated and mismanaged system and let it move much more effectively between patient, insurer and doctor. By extracting the government money from the system, the incentive to bilk the system as government systems always are bilked, is eliminated.

Don’t dicker.  REPEAL!

In short, the plan should not be repeal and replace.  It should be repeal.  Give the industry a year or two to put real insurance offerings together and on a predetermined date, phase people off the government dole and into private policies designed to take care of CATASTROPHIC medial needs.

Once you’ve done all these things, if you want to still take care of those who are uninsured for reasons other than personal irresponsibility, you can do so at far less cost than under the Obamacare circus tent.  You provide them vouchers for care.

The one role the government has to play in this whole picture is punishing fraud. That is a legitimate role for any government. Fraud by insurers and doctors and fraud by people trying to get on a government program who don’t belong there. And punishments should be brutal. We can be confident that insurance companies in the United States can come up with selections of coverage and prices that work better than anything the federal government and the existing monstrosity, with its 2700 page law and 30,000 pages of regulation, have.

And the costs to the consumer would be dramatically reduced!  They will be lower than they were before Obamacare was ever conceived.
Photo Credit: Thomas Altfather Good Flickr via Compfight cc
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Dumping Obamacare: This is not Rocket Science!

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It’s Also Not Multiple Choice!

There is one and only one condition under which the Republicans can save the medical insurance industry and protect citizens from Obamacare. It is the only way to create an economy of scale that will permit the average American citizen to afford coverage that ONLY A GOOD insurance policy can provide.

The U. S. Government needs to get THE HELL out of the insurance business. Once it has done so, there are as many methods to creating and securing good medical coverage as there are imaginative providers.

We have at least two generations that have grown up dealing with an insurance industry that had been used as a piñata, stuffed with pounds of goodies, created by the nanny state, for the groping, supposedly helpless citizens to gather up. Anyone under the age of 45 has never lived in a country where their healthcare wasn’t a byzantine monstrosity.

To explain my position, a bit of history and definition of terms might be in order.

First, what is health INSURANCE? If you look at the definition Wikipedia suggests, we are told that in the United States, health insurance is any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a social welfare program funded by the government. The article goes on to be wrong about in every other conclusion it draws as well.

And therein lies the very crux of the problem we face with Obamacare and it’s repeal. The only thing that falls under the definition of health insurance, in the context of this discussion, is a fiduciary relationship between an individual and a private insurance provider which, based on the premiums charged, provides an agreed set of benefits to the individual. Anything else, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, is not insurance. Those are wealth transfer schemes. Whether you think they are important or not, doesn’t change what they are.

Why? I’m glad you asked.

As I said in Street Politics (On Amazon Kindle) insurance is a bet. Insurance companies, now dependent on the government for their survival, and self-appointed social engineers working for the government, chafe at hearing insurance is a bet. It threatens their ego to think they are bookies in a gambling scheme. And in this case, they are low-life bookies who have been gaming the system since the 60’s.

But the fact remains insurance is absolutely a bet.

You (or your employer – the second problem we’ll address) put your money down every month betting that you are going to be sick or injured. Based on actuarial tables, the insurance company bets you will stay healthy. If you get sick, you win the bet. The insurance pays the doctor, the hospital, or in some cases you, the winnings. The cost of your ante (monthly premium) is based on what the actuarial tables say is the insurance company’s risk vis a vis your age and overall health.

No matter what anyone tells you, true insurance only works, and medical care only remains affordable, when it is a clean, two-party bet and the payoff only applies to a catastrophic situation.

Before WWII health insurance was a means for individuals to hedge against serious illness or injury. But over time, and in narrow-minded reaction to economic pressures, the government perverted the idea. First, with taxes rising during the war and post-war, executives were paying shameful percentages of their income to the government. Smart, high-wage employees started to ask for compensation other than money. Along with snappy benefits like company cars and paid vacations came employee-provided health care.

Well, when the unions got wind of that, driven as they are by class envy, they decided that health insurance should be a part of every workers pay package. Well…, it complicates things, and the risk becomes a bit fuzzy, but okay. Employers rolled with that. But as post-war fears of inflation took hold, the government beat the bushes looking for ways to thwart it. One of the ideas was to set price and coverage controls in health insurance. They also codified tax breaks for people carrying such insurance. And that would be the camel’s nose under the tent.

What’s That Goddamn Camel Doing In Here?!

Fast forward about a decade and a half. With its early interference in the health insurance industry as precedent, the government was primed to interfere more. And the American people gave them the excuse(s).

Anecdote: Poor Mrs. Jones. Her son got a nosebleed on Thursday and it wouldn’t clot. She had to go the emergency room and have it cauterized. It cost $X to have it done. She isn’t rich. She shouldn’t be penalized just because her son got a nosebleed. There oughtta be a law!

 Anecdote: Poor Mr. Smith. All his kids caught really bad colds at the same time this year. One had a fever so high Mr. Smith had to call the doctor. He was charged for a house call and medicine. He has health insurance. Why can’t the bad, rich insurance company help him with that?

 With one non-catastrophic malady after another, voters began to hound their legislators about how their medical insurance didn’t cover nose bleeds, minor stiches, colds, birth control and on and on. With each complaint, politicians found fertile ground on which to plant their incumbency desires. Why dip into your savings to pay for one of the things responsible people save money for? Can’t Mommy Government wipe your noses for you?

“Oh, hell. That was the easy part. I just told them if you like you doctor you can keep your doctor. And they believed it.”

Sadly, not considering the consequences of their actions, the people loved the Mommy State making the big, bad, rich insurance companies pay for every conceivable thing they might suffer. By the 80’s, the mountain of mandates placed on insurance companies had reduced their profits to near zero. Government, by that time already in bed with the big companies, was interfering with interstate trade and telling companies what states they could and could not operate in. This went along with reams and reams of needless compliance.

The insurance companies, under no obligation to commit suicide, passed the costs the government had placed on them along to the customer. Insurance was getting very expensive. With each turn of the government screw, hospitals were seeing more and more guaranteed revenue streams. They had no reason to compete with each other for nosebleeds and coughs. They ran their charges right up to what the law allows, whether they needed to or not.

Photo Credit: Palazzochigi Flickr via Compfight cc

In the next segment, BHO goes all in for a scam designed to fail.

Matt Jordan is the author of Street Politics:  It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.

 

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