Context and Completeness is Required in History

I have been wanting to write about this since I learned about the walkout by students in Colorado. It just never came out in a coherent fashion until tonight.

“History is written by the victors” said Winston Churchill. The word “History actually comes from “His story,” which meant the winners got to tell the tale of what happened. So, there will always be a slant and an agenda in any history teachings.

Ben Carson, a possible Republican Presidential candidate for 2016 is now on the record against the AP US History. Here is what Ben said:

“I am a little shocked quite frankly looking at the AP course in American history that’s being taught in high schools across our country right now. There’s only two paragraphs in there about George Washington. George Washington, believe it or not. Little or nothing about Martin Luther King. A whole section of slavery and how evil we are. A whole section about Japanese internment camps. A whole section about how we wiped out American Indians with no mercy. I mean I think most people when they finish that course, they’d be ready to sign up for ISIS. This is what we are doing to the young people in our nation. We have got to stop this silliness. We have to stop crucifying ourselves. Have we made mistakes as a nation? Of course we have. Why? Because we are people and all people make mistakes.”

Now, I personally do not like some of his positions, especially on gun control. Realistically, I will never agree 100% with any candidate, unless I run for office myself. As in all elections, you have to look at a candidates positions and decide which one is closer to your own values. But I digress.

History is very messy. The people involved are very complex. Famous people in history have done things you might like, other things they have done you might abhor. With the exception of one person in the entire realm of human history, that’s just the way it is.

Any history course that over-focuses on either the good parts or the bad parts is an inadequate course. The teachers that use the syllabus have a  flexibility in what and how they present the information.

I do agree with Ben here. If all you teach is how Americans wiped out the Native Americans, enslaved Africans and tried to exterminate the Japanese people, you are teaching our children that this country is evil. No one truly views themselves as evil, so I can see how teaching nothing but “Evil American Imperialism” can result in some of these students wanting to fight against what they have been told we are.

History is very complex. For instance, let me speak on slavery for a moment. A lot of people do not know this (because it isn’t taught), about where the men and women who arrived in America as slaves started. In Africa, wars have been fought for thousands of years over shades of blackness between tribes. Tribe A didn’t like tribe B, for the sole reason tribe B was lighter-skinned than tribe A. Not “White vs. Black,” rather “coffee colored” vs. “chocolate colored.” So, tribe A would attack tribe B and either wipe them all out, or make slaves of them. A lot of these captured men and women would be taken to the West Coast of Africa, where they were sold to Dutch traders and eventually ended up in the United States as slaves.

By the way, slavery is still going on today, this hour, this minute in Africa. Maybe they’ll get around to abolishing it next year. Don’t complain about ancient history when it’s current events.

In case you didn’t know it, there were free Black men who were slave owners themselves. There was also at least one Regiment of black slaves who fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

And just in case you thought slaves were used for dangerous work, quite the opposite. Many Irish offered themselves as indentured servants (which is basically a fancy way of saying “white slave”) in order to be able to emigrate to America. The difference was, an indentured servant served for only a period of time, generally five to seven years.At the end of their term, they became free themselves.

One of the most dangerous jobs in the South was offloading the cotton bales from the ships that worked their way up and down the rivers of the South. It was the Irish indentured servants who “caught” the cotton bales being offloaded from the riverboats. If a line broke and a 500 pound bale fell on an Irishman, who really cared? If a slave was injured or killed, the owner was out a significant sum of money, spent in acquiring the slave and the potential income to be derived from the slaves labors.

Concerning the Native Americans, please tell me, when in the history of man where this never happened before? When the Romans moved into what is now Germany and England, they encountered the Germanic Tribes and other peoples like the Picts.

Whenever a group of people move into a region where the natives were of a lower technological level already lived, the lower technology always lost. Very few borders in the world today are where they are because of “mutual agreement.” They are there because one group took that land, or had it taken from them by force.

When Early Industrial Age Colonists came to America, they encountered a Stone Age society, namely the Native Americans. The Industrial society took the land from the Stone Age society. I am not saying this was right or wrong, it happened and all the wishing in the world won’t change the past.

The United States is not perfect. It was created by flawed men. There are many instances in our history we should be ashamed about. There are also many instances where we should be proud of that we have done. As a people, we have tried to do the right thing. Our forefathers fought for and created a new type of society, where the government did what the People told them to do, not the other way around. Americans invented the light bulb, plastics, the aircraft and a million other technological advances that changed the world, for the worse and the better.

Teachers and parents should teach our children how to think, not what to think. You do that by talking about history, with all of the known facts and the context of why those people did what they did. Only then will you truly learn the lessons of history.

 

Doctors Abandoning Obamacare

I’ve tried to relate before using an analogy how health care in this country works. Here it is again, because this is very relevant to the article I found.

You have a village of say, 1,000 people. The village has 1,000 acres of land to feed the people. The population is pretty stable. Everyone is happy.

Then, along come 100 more people. Refugees, migrants, it doesn’t matter. All of a sudden there are more people than the land can support. There is no way to increase the useable farmland quickly enough to support the sudden population growth.In a situation like this, so there are only two options of action. In the first option, the villagers drive off the newcomers until the population is again reduced to a level the land can support. Or, the villagers can welcome the newcomers and everyone cuts back on the amount of food they eat. Essentially, the entire population slowly starves until the weakest die off and the population stabilizes again.

For those of you who don’t get analogies, the people are the people who pay for medical insurance. The food is the doctors and the additional people are the uninsured. A doctor can see only so many patients a week. That is a finite number and there is no way around it. If you increase the demand (the number of patients) then the percentage of those actually seen will go down. Or, everybody will receive less “face time” with the doctor, thus reducing their quality of care. It’s simple math and there is no way to get around it.

It is currently taking about 10 years of time and at over $250,000 in cash to turn a person into a doctor. And the number of licensed physicians in the United States is growing, just not as fast as the demand for their services. We are already at a deficit of available care and it’s only going to get worse.

And it only gets worse from there. The article I found, Over 214,000 Doctors Opt Out of Obamacare Exchanges lays this out pretty clearly.

The article talks about how the “Affordable Care Act” pays significantly less than even Medicare. For every $1.00 private insurance pays out (for a given test, procedure, office visit, whatever), Medicare pays 80 cents and ACA plans pay about 60 cents.

Think about that for a minute. You provide a service, and you normally charge $100 for this service. Your overall costs for delivering this service is about $75. Tom doesn’t have a problem with what you charged, and pays you the full $100. Dick is a tightwad, and only pays you $80. You still turned a profit, but you would have to start going the “quantity vs. quality” route to make a profit you could live on. Providing your service to Harry is mandated by the government, and they only pay you $60 for that service that costs you $75 and Tom is happy to pay you $100 for. What would you do?

Medical offices are a business. Most offices today staff multiple doctors because you need nurses, medical technicians, lab staff, staff to perform the transcription into the medical records and insurance specialists to make sure the information is submitted to the proper insurance agency, in the proper form and in a timely manner. So doctors combine their services to share the administrative burden.

No wonder almost 25% of doctors are not participating in ACA plans.

To jump back to our original analogy, let’s say those 100 extra people were “more expensive” food-wise than the original 1,000 villagers. Where the original villagers were at a “one acre feeds one person” ratio, these new people need 1.25 acres to feed one person. This only exacerbates the food shortage if the new people are accepted into the village.

The second part of the article is even more chilling than the “below cost” payments.

An MGMA study indicates that 75% of ACA patients that had seen doctors had chosen plans with high deductibles. Given that most of the patients are low-income, doctors are concerned that the patients cannot meet the deductibles and they will get stuck with the bill.

 

…HHS requires that insurers cover customers for an additional 90 days after they have stopped paying their premiums: the insurer covers the first 30 – but, it’s up to the doctor to recoup payment for the last 60 days. This is the number one reason providers are opting to not participate in the exchange plans. Currently, about a million people have failed to pay their premiums and had their plans canceled.

So, these doctors face probably higher costs in the services provided to those with ACA plans, they get paid less than what it costs them, and they will likely have to perform a lot of services “unreimbursed,” because it won’t be free.

I looked into an ACA plan to cover my wife and I when I was laid off back in February. I was receiving $247 a week, or just over $1,000 a month in unemployment. That money paid for what the food stamps didn’t cover, utilities, Internet (so I could do job searching), a car payment/gas/insurance so I could make it to interviews and so on. Let’s just say I had a lot of month left at the end of the money.

If I wanted health coverage, I would have had to pay almost $225 a month just for the premiums, and the plan didn’t shell out a penny until I racked up at least $5,300 per person. Um, yeah. That didn’t fly. There was no way I could afford the premiums, let alone the out-of-pocket expenses.

No wonder 70% of the physicians in California have not signed up with Covered California.

If you’re one of those “don’t bring a problem to me unless you have an idea on how to solve it” crowd, here are my suggestions on how to lessen this.

  • Make health insurance portable. Health insurance being provided by the employer as a benefit started in WWII, when wage controls limited how much people could be paid. As an extra incentive, employers started offering retirement and health insurance benefits to “sweeten the pot.” You need to be able to buy it on the open market so you can keep the same plan from job to job.
  • Make health insurance nationwide. Currently, health plans are limited by state borders. If you can take your health plan with you no matter where you travel across the country, this would help with costs because it would increase competition.
  • Limit liability. Limiting the level of liability (otherwise known as Tort Reform) to gross negligence or “reasonably foreseeable” circumstances. Leaving a sponge or forceps in you during an operation is gross negligence. Suing a doctor because your loved one was seriously handicapped or died because of a condition that only five people in the world have ever had it is not “reasonably foreseeable.” Medicine is an art, not a science. Scientific methods are used to narrow down what is wrong with you, however it really comes down to the doctor’s level of experience and treating your symptoms until the body heals itself. Diagnosis is trial and error at its best. Limiting liability will lower the doctors costs on that pesky insurance, and they can pass the savings on to you.
  • Diversify the medical professionals. When you go to your Primary Care Physician’s office today, you expect, nay demand, to see THE DOCTOR, no matter what is wrong with you. A medical office is like a Naval Battle Group. You have an Aircraft Carrier in the middle (the doctor), which is surrounded by smaller ships that support the Carrier. The Carrier does not need to be involved in the hunting down of submarines, that’s what the Frigates and Destroyers are there for. If you have the sniffles, it would be way more cost effective for you to be examined by a Paramedic, who would diagnose you, then take it to a Physicians Assistant or the doctor themselves for any prescription needed. A doctor, two PA’s and four or six Paramedics would provide almost the same level of care to three to four times the patients and a lower cost. You should not see the doctor unless there is something significantly wrong with you.

Regulating the insurance companies on how little they will be paid, then demand how much they will pay out is the best way to ruin them.

Which, considering who (as a group) is running this country right now, just might be the object of the exercise.

 

California Strikes Again

I’ve been meaning to comment on this for a while.

Back in the 80’s, I was stationed at the Amphibious Base in San Diego. Two separate incidents while I was out there illustrated how screwed up California really is.

First incident: A bumbling burglar in the process of breaking into a school, broke through a skylight and fell about three floors, seriously injuring himself. He sued the school system (I forget the basis) and won. So, the school had not only had to repair the damage done by his stupidity, they also had to support him and his medical expenses for the rest of his life.

Second incident: Someone made a joking remark to the head of CDOT (California Department of Transportation) about, “How motorcycle riders keep falling off their motorcycles.” She got –><– that close to passing a law or regulation (I forget which) that mandated seatbelts on motorcycles. If you have ever ridden on a motorcycle, I don’t have to explain to you why this is an extremely bad idea.

So, now the Marin County DA has sued and won $1.6 Million against Lowe’s because their 2×4’s are actually 1.5″ by 3.5.” He sued them under some “truth in advertising” law they have.

I’m sorry, but the DA is an idiot. No, I’m not sorry. He’s still an idiot. I am 53 years old, and I’ve known that a 2×4 is actually 1.5″ by 3.5″ since my dad taught me how to read a ruler when I was seven years old. It’s an industry standard, and it has been for longer than I’ve been around.

I am very glad I don’t live there anymore. In some ways, it’s worse than Guam.

 

Unfettered Power

Here you go. If you think you need to go cash only, here is a great reason why: Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required.

In this case, if you consistently deposit less than $10,000 in cash into your bank account, the IRS can take the money. Period. No charges, because you haven’t done anything wrong.

The real kick in the guts is, you have to prove a negative, i.e. you are innocent to get it back. And it can take most, if not more of the money that was seized to get it back. Now I am a self-admitted old “fuddy-duddy” who actually reads the Constitution, which, the last time I looked, the 5th Amendment reads, “…nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law;”

This most assuredly a deprivation of both life and property. You lose your livelihood by being unable to sustain your business, and that cash is your property.

Your government at work, folks.

 

Blog Housekeeping

I started this blog over eleven years ago on Blogspot. A few years later I moved over to my own domain and WordPress. I started with WP 3 (I think), and have kept up with it. In the course of exporting, importing and backing up, some of the data it seems to have been stripped off. I was trying to find an old post for another reason, and found out that a lot of the over 2,300 posts I have made are “Uncategorized,” which just bothers the stuffing out of my CDO (that’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, in alphabetical order, the way it should be).

So, adding to my already overloaded project list, I will be spending the next 3-4 months going back through all of my old posts and assigning categories to them. Maybe I’ll find that post I was looking for.

Nah, No Liberal Bias In Academia

I really don’t find this surprising. Survey Shocker: Liberal profs admit they’d discriminate against conservatives in hiring, advancement.

Dan Ackroyd, as Ray in Ghostbusters, said, “Personally, I like the University, they gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college, you don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.”

Colleges and Universities today are money making machines. And young people are willingly turning over a large chuck of their future income to acquire a piece of pretty paper that says they have a degree.

Too bad most of the degrees that a student can acquire today have little practical value in the commercial side of the world. Having a Masters Degree in English, with a major in “Comparative Literature” has literally zero use for any job of any worth.

I know of Case Workers who ran up $40,000 in student loan debt to obtain a Masters in Social Work so they could qualify for the Case Worker position… Which earns about $32,000 a year. So, they will struggle with a below average income while having almost a house note on their backs for most of their working lives.

So, it is not surprising that those who remain in academia for the “softer” degrees are overwhelmingly Liberal. They don’t have to produce anything of a substantive nature.

I have been called mentally ill because of my Conservatism before and I refuse to “return the favor.” However, I will say that the views of Liberals have little basis in reality.

So, it really is little wonder that the overwhelming majority of the academic staff at our schools of higher learning are Liberal. And, of course, they have no problem in discriminating against a person for their political beliefs in the workplace.

I personally believe if you do your job (in this case impart the necessary subject matter to the students) without political bias, I don’t care what your personal political persuasion happens to be.

I find, time after time, Liberals have no qualms about doing the same exact actions (discrimination against minorities and females, etc.) that they accuse their opponents of doing. The mental gymnastics they must go through to justify what they decry must make Nadia Comăneci weep.

 

A New Level of Temper Tantrum

In 1993, Nathan Dunlap, a recently fired employee of a Chuck-E-Cheeses in Aurora, Colorado shot and killed four workers and injured a fifth. He was caught and convicted and sentenced to death for the heinous executions he committed.

He has sat on death row since his conviction. Dunlap had a date set to be executed in 2013, however the Governor, John Hickenlooper (D) issued a “temporary reprieve.”

Today, he is facing a serious challenger for the governorship. His response?

Basically, unless he is re-elected and “if his opponent makes a political football out of the death penalty or specifically the Dunlap case” his response will be to issue full clemency to an animal who executed four people.

Think about that for a minute. John Hickenlooper is saying, “Keep me in office or I will turn an animal who has no conscience or compunction about killing other people loose into the community.”

Sore loser, temper tantrum, whatever you call it, he should be removed from office just for implying he would put a community at risk just because he got fired.

On some level, John Hickenlooper shares some qualities of Nathan Dunlap. Dunlap shot five people because he was upset over being fired. John Hickenlooper is willing to set a sociopath loose on innocent citizens because he would be upset if he (might be) fired from his job.

 

Correct, But Not Right

I found this article, 5 Reasons America Is Not—And Has Never Been—A Christian Nation, and I wanted to speak on this.

This is a classic case on how someone can be technically correct, yet totally wrong.

I will agree, that the federal government is purposely neutral concerning religion in the Constitution. James Madison, the man who wrote the initial draft of the Constitution, never wrote about his religious views.

Our Founding Fathers wanted to avoid at all costs any hint of an “official religion.” They broke away from England who had a state-approved religion (the Church of England), the head of that church was King George III himself.

Thus, when the Constitution was written, it specifically stays silent on any particular religion, even including in Article 6, Clause 3, “… but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first words of the First Amendment also specifically states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

With all of that said, the author is correct. Technically. Here’s where the author gets it wrong: The men of that day by and large had a strong moral sense. They and the society they lived in had a strong moral code, with clear boundaries as what was right and wrong. No matter a mans religion, they shared a societal construct that could be traced back through the Magna Carta, the Ten Commandments, all the way back to the Code of Hammurabi.

In the time of the Colonies, a mans word was his bond. A man who broke his word was usually ruined, and the punishment would run from derision by the entire local populace, to being tarred and feathered and/or being ridden out of town on a rail.

He had a strong moral compass that was instilled in him at a young age, based on what is known as “Judeo-Christian” beliefs. These were based on the Ten Commandments.

Since the 60’s, when the “do your own thing” idea came out, our societal rules have fallen by the wayside. The concept of “you can’t judge me” has also come into vogue.

The structure of our society is unraveling before our eyes. We have been slowly conditioned to “let the government do it” as far as punishing those who break the rules. The result? A country where you commit an average of three felonies a day. A country overburdened with thousands upon thousands of laws, rules, regulations and policies. It is nigh on impossible to go on about your day and not break some law. The only question when you are caught breaking a law is, how much effort does the government want to put into investigating you and your subsequent prosecution.

History is replete with major arrests and prosecutions that started with a minor traffic violation. Timothy McVeigh was pulled over for an expired license plate. And there is a thousand more examples.

The end result is we have no internal moral compass any more. We have become content to let others define our standards and morals. We defer to authority, and thus forge the very chains that will be used to enslave us.

We need to stand up for what we know is right and against what we know is wrong. When someone tells us we have to stop doing something we are doing because “it might offend someone” we need to stand up and say, “I refuse to let my actions be dictated based on how someone else might feel.”

 

Happy Birthday Navy!

US Navy 239If you look in the Constitution of the United States, In Article 1, Section 8, Clause 13, it says specifically: To Provide and maintain a Navy;

The men who wrote the Constitution understood the importance of having a Navy to project the will and power of this country. It is the only armed force specifically mention in the Constitution. The 12th Clause does talk about “To raise and support armies…” but does not give any specifics to what those forces would be.

So, I just want to say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THE UNITED STATES NAVY!

 

SWAT-ting

SWATing, for those of you who don’t know what it means, is to call the police and misrepresent a situation using words like “active shooter” so they respond with maximum force.

It seems that some (about 5%) of commenters on places like the Facebook page for Moms Demand Action, or gunfreezone.net (no, I will not link to them) are actively advocating that you call the police and “misrepresent” (e.g. lie) about the actions of a person who is open carrying their firearm.

Here is a nice example:

MomsdemandactiontweetThis is somewhat similar to what happened to John Crawford III, where a caller to 911 grossly misrepresented Mr. Crawford’s actions, which lead the police to approach with a “shoot first and ask questions later” mindset. Mr. Crawford died as a result of these “mischaracterizations.”

If you are thinking of calling 911 to report a visibly armed citizen, just to “ruin his day” and/or “get him what he deserves,” all I can say is DON’T.

This is one of those “sound good” ideas that isn’t a “good, sound” idea.

In Tennessee where I live, if you were to see an armed citizen (you honestly don’t know if they are properly licensed or not) who is minding their own business and you call 911 and infer an “active shooter” situation where you state the armed citizen is brandishing his firearm in a reckless manner, or shooting other people, that is basically filing a false police report.

At minimum, that is a class D felony, punishable by 2-12 years in prison. Under the right circumstances, it can be bumped up to a class C felony, which is 3-15 years in prison.

It could also open you up to a personal liability lawsuit by either the person you called the police on, or their surviving family members, which is what looks like is going to happen in the Crawford incident.

So, if you get the urge to teach someone a lesson and you lie to the police, the end result is YOU end up in prison and with a hefty multimillion dollar lawsuit judgement against you that will be awarded to you after you finish your time in “the big house.”

Good luck with that.