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This Is What Being Chumps Feels Like (Apathy 2)

We are all being played for chumps.   Let me rephrase that.  Most of you are being played for chumps.

Now, point at yourself and say, “Who, me?”

Yes, you.  There is better than a 66% chance I am addressing a chump right now.  And you’re a chump because you suffer from the apathy I spoke of last week.  I exclude myself because I, and a few of my fellow citizens, actually are paying attention and refuse to be played.  If that makes me an elitist in your eyes, so be it.  It’s hardly true, but I couldn’t possibly care less.  If you are one of the few who see what is happening or if you are the type of person who gets involved and writes their representatives, you are on my side of the equation, even if you disagree with this post.

We just ended the most ridiculous week in politics since the passage of Obamacare.  Yes, even more embarrassing for the country than the last election.

The Republican led legislature (happily) failed to get the Obamacare “Repeal and Replace” bill to a vote in the House.  But they tried their best, most knowing there would be no consequence to them either way – because you’re a chump.  They know you believe the myth that you have the good Reps and Senators. My Senator said so himself.  It’s all those other Congressmen that are ass hats, right?

So you can just go about your business.  Nothing to see here.  Don’t check on what these phony “liberals” and “conservatives” are doing inside the Beltway.  You just keep your brackets straight and make sure you catch the next zombie show on TV.

Let me break all that down for you.

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Also from Street Politics:

Right Hook! 11 Must-Reads for the Politically Mature

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Flimflam #1

Labeling.  What was before the House this week was not a “repeal” of anything.  This was a classic example of how government programs, no matter how temporary or worthless, tend to gain immortality.

The Republicans created a bill that kept the class envy, bureaucracy, income redistribution, corruption and almost all the financial burden on the Makers intact.  The plan was to hype how they would dicker around the edges of the worst law in American history and claim to have “replaced” it with a wonderful new law.

Of course, their proposal did no such thing.   They left all the backbone in place for the system to be completely restored by the first change in government.

Why?  Because they want the same thing the Dems got from the bill when it passed to begin with.  With the cash subsidies, Republican can throttle it either way, giving the Takers more or less depending on what they needed in the way of votes.  “Look at what I’ve ‘given’ you,” they’ll exclaim next election.  “I increased your money from the government by XX%!  Am I not a generous, moderate Republican?”  OR  “Look at the money (2 or 3% of growth) I cut from that terrible subsidy! Am I not a great conservative?”

The ACA and the AHCA give both Dems and the GOP several avenues through which to scam money from companies, and votes from the chumps.

Flimflam #2

Phony Strength.  Once again, for the fourth time since 2010, when Republicans claiming the mantle of “conservatism” were elected to office, they opened their argument with a 75%+ give away to the opposition.

In the case of some (Trump is at the top of the list) this is just a display of their complete ignorance of how the free market works and what conservatives truly believe at their core.  For others it demonstrates clearly that those in control of the GOP in Congress are NOT conservative.  They are opportunists, as devoid of principles or interest in what is good for the country and the economy as Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi.

These people don’t want affordable health insurance.  They don’t care about that.  They want control, pure and simple. By keeping things like the tax on “Cadillac plans”, the Republicans are fighting the Democrats by BEING Democrats. Idiotic!

(The term “Cadillac Plan” is a Democrat canard for insurance plans that successful people are willing to pay for, putting more money into the overall insurance pool.  Keeping the tax in place plays on class envy and discourages participation in the plan.  This shrinks the amount of money in the associated insurance pool.  Way to go, geniuses!)

I’ll do just one more example, but I can go on for hours.  You can even see other parts of a valid argument on the subject here.

Flimflam #3

Binary Choice:  This is the third time in the last 12 months we’ve seen this term thrown around.  The first was when the media hyped Trump and Clinton for a year, instructing you (the chumps) that you only had two choices.  Being drones of whatever the TV tells you, you believed that out of the original 21 candidates running for president, you could only choose from two, no matter what.  To make an intellectual decision on your own would spell the end of civilization as we know it.

And you bought it!

Then near the end of the general election, when both leading candidates had demonstrated how lacking they were in either scruples or basic intelligence, you were once again schooled by the talking heads that you only had two choices to pick from. Never mind the other candidates.  We, the media, are not covering them.  Therefore you have no choice but to listen to us.  And don’t you dare research these candidates on your own.  A vote for X will cause unworthy candidates Y or Z to lose and you don’t want that, do you?

And you bought it again!  You ACTUALLY bought it again!

I’ve made this point before and it is proven here in stark numbers.

There is an old adage I picked up during my Navy days.  “Once learnt, twice burnt. Three times, a sucker.”  And this week was your third time.  “There is only a binary choice,”  they keep telling you.  There are no other choices out there.  Congress must vote to keep Obamacare or vote for keeping 75% of Obamacare plus the expense of rewriting and enforcing the new regulations.

But the only reason there was only such a choice was because that is how the “leadership” arranged it and how the media sold it for them.  They could have actually created a real plan, starting from pure free-market principles and allowed real debate and amendments to occur before trying to cram the bill down everyone’s throat as Obamacare did.

They could have explored the infinite number of choices which debate would have provided.

They could have started from a position of strength instead of starting from a 75% Democrat position.  They would have had the GOP in both houses locked down in favor of the bill.  Then the destruction of our economy, if it occurred, would have been on the heads of Democrats.  They get that.  They’re dishonest, not stupid.

They could have forced the Democrats to try and defend Obamacare in the face of outrageously high costs to the Makers in our society.  And the Dems would have lost that argument.

Trump would have gone along with this.  He wouldn’t have known good from bad anyway.  He’d have supported that looked like a campaign promise being kept without argument.

But NO!  Only what Paul Ryan and a few other skeezy politicians say are the choices – are the choices. “It’s a binary choice”.

And from all appearances, it would appear you are going to happily eat this shit sandwich again!

Here’s the Chumpiest Part

And they continue to get away with this because they are 100% certain that you are either ignorant of the way they are supposed to do their jobs, or you are totally disengaged and won’t even notice them scamming you yet again! Or both!

Hell, one of the biggest complaints the GOP had about Obamacare was the centralization of power it created and the heavy hand of regulation over legislation involved (2700 pages of law and almost 30,000 pages of regulation by the executive branch).

And what does Ryancare do?  It leaves two thirds of the law untouched, passing responsibility for making new healthcare “regulation” (read changing the law) to the dictates of the Executive Branch and HHS. 

A few moments of critical thought will destroy even the arguments Ryan makes about it on his own web page.

For the truly slow, HHS would have written those regulations in such a way as to protect their share of power.  Bureaucracies are inherently bound to protect themselves, not work for a greater good.  You would have seen a whole new, big-government side of Tom Price, I can assure you.

So, would someone explain to me again why we elected Ryan speaker and how Trump is a conservative?  From where I am sitting, both notions are preposterous.

Thankfully, we now have a clean slate from which to start and we can still purge the government from the health insurance business.  If we can succeed in doing that, we will see premiums drop into the basement.  Half the people who were moved onto Medicaid by Obamacare won’t need it.  In fact they’ll prefer a market driven policy to the garbage the federal government doles out.

But that will only happen if you join me in calling on your reps to introduce new legislation.  The final lie is that this was our only chance.  What horseshit!  They can deal with Obamacare any time they wish to and as many times as it takes.

C’mon!  Talk to your reps! A phone call.  An email.  You can do it.  Get back in the game!

Matt Jordan is the author of Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! 50% of all proceeds go to Jeff Kerr and his team at the Colonial Crossroads event to fight Multiple Sclerosis! Be sure to get your copy! Just click on the book!

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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.