From The Publisher:
The late, great author Herman Wouk wrote in The Caine Mutiny, “The first thing you’ve got to learn about this ship is that she was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots.”
One of those idiots must have recently mustered out of the Navy and enlisted in the Army, because that is the only excuse I can think of for the Department of the Army filing a trademark complaint against the Vegas Golden Knights over the name Golden Knights.
You read that correctly. Some idiot at Fort Belvoir (or maybe the Pentagon) has decided that the name of the expansion National Hockey League team—which has performed beyond all expectations for an expansion team while creating professional sports history—has decided to use the power of the Federal Government and our hard earned tax dollars to get involved in the private sector.
Now, let me be clear; this is NOT about supporting the troops. It is NOT about patriotism. And it is certainly NOT about the Army’s great parachute team which is also called the Golden Knights. (If you’ve never seen them, it’s worth the trip to a show.)
It is about wasting tax dollars on the whim of one of those idiots and interfering with the operation of a private enterprise—the same kind of private enterprise which the Army exists to defend our right to create.
Here are the facts.
In a tweet, the Knights said, “We are not aware of a single complaint from anyone attending our games that they were expecting to see the parachute team and not a professional hockey game.”
That was the team’s response to the Army’s ridicules claim that the Hockey Team caused “confusion” with the parachute team.
In the immortal words of the late Stuart Scott, “BOOYAH!”
The Army complained about “dilution” which in the small world of trademark law is usually applied to suggest that the Vegas Golden Knights somehow tarnishes the Army Parachute team. Any sentient human being would have to ask a simple question. How can the most wildly successful expansion team in professional sports history possibly tarnish the name of the Army’s parachute team? On what planet could that possibly happen?
The Army also had the nerve to do to team owner Bill Foley what an idiotic Federal Judge did to President Trump. It took things Foley said about having graduated from West Point and was quoted in the news media to somehow make a point that the whole thing was some conspiracy to steal intellectual property from the Army the same way some idiot Judges used something Trump said during the campaign to try and make him out to be a racist and his whole immigration policy as being anti-Muslim.
The difference here is that these lawyers actually work the executive branch and ultimately, the President is the Commander in Chief. We doubt, however, that whichever idiot authorized this incursion into private enterprise bothered to ask the Commander in Chief’s permission.
If you are as outraged about this wasteful use of tax dollars, you have the option as a taxpayer to ask the people you are paying to commit this abuse what their logic is.
The attorney of record at the United States Army Legal Services Agency is Shari L. Sheffield at Ford Belvoir, her direct phone number is 202-656-7004 and her email is Shari.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call or write her yourselves.
I would urge you to be polite, because she is probably just following orders, but if she gets enough—for lack of a better term—taxpayer input, it will probably get passed up the chain of command and the idiot who ordered this police action will learn what civilian command and control really means.
This is no win situation.
If, by some travesty of so-called justice, the Army ekes out a pyrrhic victory it will lose the respect of the very people who voted the current administration into office. If it loses, then the United States Army will not only suffer that loss of respect, it will look very foolish in doing so.
In either event, a very important government institution will look like a remake of Wouk’s Caine Mutiny with a little of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 thrown in.
By RON KNECHT and JAMES SMACK
Recently, Stanford’s Shelby Steele, one of the truly great thinkers and writers of our age, wrote the article: “Black Protest Has Lost Its Power.”
He noted the recent protests by black professional football players “were rather sad for their fruitlessness.” Protestors “were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course.”
He explained: “What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people.”
He adds: “Of course this does not mean there is no racism left in American life. Racism is endemic to the human condition, just as stupidity is. We will always have to be on guard against it. But now it is recognized as a scourge, as the crowning immorality of our age and our history.”
He concludes with a point we want to broaden here: “But the NFL protests may be a harbinger of change. They elicited considerable resentment. There have been counterprotests. TV viewership has gone down. Ticket sales have dropped. What is remarkable about this response is that it may foretell a new fearlessness in whites (and blacks outside the victim-focused identity) to say to blacks what they really think and feel, to judge blacks by standards that are universal”
We quote his argument at length not just because it succinctly states the central truth about racial matters in America, but also because it helps explain what has happened to statist liberals and politically correct progressives in American politics. It explains decades of history ending in the great liberal crack-up we’re recently witnessing.
Modern western liberalism is distinct from classical liberalism that’s oriented to freedom, equal opportunity, progress and economic growth. But it has roots in that earlier liberalism, roots that anchored a tree that has grown twisted and perverted and borne poisonous fruit.
Thus belief in equality before God, the state and the law was perverted into a requirement of equal outcomes in all matters except those in which minorities or other favored demographics benefit. So, one can sue colleges for having too few blacks enrolled, but not for having too many blacks on the basketball court.
Similarly for individual freedom and its corollary that people may fail or succeed in their pursuit of happiness. It has degenerated into a notion that all are entitled to the fruits of those who create value for society. Classical liberals have long supported reasonable social safety nets for people unable to fully care and provide for themselves. But in the hands of progressives, etc. that allowance has become the massive redistributionist and punitive obsessions of the Occupy movement that seeks to punish those whose private efforts benefit society most.
Third example: Limited government conservatives have long recognized roles for government spending and regulation to address legitimate market failures and negative externalities. But statist liberals and progressives perverted this idea into the modern administrative state that consumes an ever larger fraction of our economy (and thereby depresses economic growth and human wellbeing) and declares puddles on farms to be navigable waters that pre-empt farming or home building.
For decades, statists and their PC fellows used not only protest and litigation, as did racial minorities, but also the politics of aggression and intimidation. Thus, minorities threaten to label folks who won’t give them what they want as racists. And Democrat TV ads show conservatives pushing granny over a cliff in a wheel chair because they have the temerity to suggest income transfer programs may have become unduly large.
In all this, leftists smugly labeled and bashed conservatives as racists, lacking in compassion, destroying the earth to satisfy their greed, etc. Aided by their captive empires in entertainment, the media and academe, they disdain serious discussion of facts, issues or balance. They declare themselves good and their opponents evil. So, any policies they advocate must prevail.
Their problem is that many people quit being intimidated by them and began to push back by electing Donald Trump and a Republican congress. So, leftists and their echo chambers are now frothing at the mouth with incomprehension and rage.
By MARILYN SINGLETON, M.D., J.D.
Special to the Penny Press
The U.S. “health care system” continues to be a costly behemoth. Health care costs were the number one financial concern for 17 percent of families in 2017—the same level as it was in 2007 pre-Affordable Care Act era. And only 18 percent of those polled said the Affordable Care Act helped their family.
The ACA did not work as promised.
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” Unfortunately, health insurance companies canceled plans for 4.7 million people. Many insureds chose to have inexpensive, limited plans to cover major expenses. These plans however were not ACA-compliant as they did not contain the mandated 10 “essential health benefits” with no copays or deductibles. While many of these required “benefits” are medically useful, many (e.g., pediatric vision and oral care, maternity care, breast cancer genetic screening, mammograms, and female contraception) are superfluous for childless unmarried men.
“I’ll also bring Democrats and Republicans together to provide every single American with affordable, available health care that reduces health care costs by $2,500 per family.” Kumbaya? The ACA was passed in the dark of night with only Democrat votes. Affordable? Overall costs to the consumer have risen dramatically.
In 2008, the cost of the average employer-sponsored family plan was $12,680, with an employee share of $3,354. The 2016 cost topped out at $18,142 with a $5,277 employee cost. In the individual market, the biggest losers are those who earn a little too much to qualify for federal premium subsidies, particularly the self-employed in their 50s and 60s. For a bronze-level plan with a health savings account, a three-person family can pay $15,000 a year in premiums and paid out-of-pocket for the first $6,550 of medical expenses for each family member.
Moreover, many insurers have requested—and will likely receive—double-digit premium increases for 2018. Nationally, the increases between 2017 and 2018 for unsubsidized premiums for the lowest-cost bronze plan averaged 17 percent, the lowest-cost silver plan averaged 32 percent, and the lowest-cost gold plan averaged18 percent.
“We’ll start by increasing competition in the insurance industry.” That was a colossal failure. Overall, the number of insurers in the individual market has decreased since 2014. In 2017 UnitedHealth Group eliminated ACA Exchange plans in 31 of 34 states and Aetna remains in only four states. Humana and Aetna plan to exit all ACA Exchanges in 2018.
Agreed, some Americans gained health coverage. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) accounted for 14.5 millionof the 20 million of newly covered. The 2014 cost per non-disabled adult and child enrollee was $3,955 and $2,602, respectively. Some 27.5 million people remain uninsured with cost cited as the main problem.
Further, being “covered” was meant to keep emergency departments (EDs) from being used as an alternative to primary care. But according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the number of emergency department visits covered by Medicaid increased by 66.4 percent between 2006 and 2014, outpacing population growth by a factor of two, making Medicaid the leading payer for ED visits.
These data tell us we must have a serious conversation, not intellectually lazy political slogans, like “Repeal and Replace!” Instead of ruminating about how to modify the government’s involvement in medical care, Congress and policymakers should ask how can we take better care of more patients and be open to all suggestions.
One successful model is direct primary care (DPC) mainly seen in solo and small medical practices. Here, patients pay a monthly fee (generally ranging $75 to $150) directly to the physician’s office for 24/7 access, and in many cases, basic labs and medications, and steep discounts on radiology and pathology services. Also growing are direct pay specialty and surgical practices where the fees for the operating room, surgeon, and anesthesiologist are included in one low price. And yes, many of these practices (even in California) offer sliding scales and charity care without running afoul of rigid federal regulations.
With DPC, patients spend more quality time with their doctors and physicians can shed the administrative burdens of government programs and insurance companies and treat patients according to their best judgment. A testament to the success of this model is the University of Michigan offering such a program this spring. Hopefully, the big boys won’t ruin a good thing.
ObamaCare’s individual mandate is dead. It’s time to use our healthcare dollars wisely and pay for the medical care, not the middlemen.
Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist and Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Board member. She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School.
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