Archive for June 2013

Shot Heard Round the World   5 comments


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

(Original Draft – When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independant station to which the laws of nature & of nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the change.)

Our Founders grew up as subjects to the British crown and all that entailed. Some had grown up in England. Others were from the colonies. Many in the colonies, including some of the ones who would be patriots later, had never considered themselves anything but loyal subjects of the Crown. Even those who had read Locke and agreed with his arguments wanted liberty under the Crown, not separate from the Crown.

It’s worthwhile to know that those in England were treated a bit differently than the colonists were. If you lived in England, you had representation in Parliament. If you lived in New York or Virginia, you did not. When we get the simplistic notion that the American Revolution was a taxation revolt, we really are off-base. Taxation was but one symptom of the lack of representation in Parliament.

The patriots had tried for nearly a decade to resolve the issues that stood between them and King George.  Basically, the English fought a war against the French on our land and then asked us to pay for it. It was a war that never would have come to our shores except the English brought it here. When we get to the grievances against King George, we’ll talk more about it, but the English goaded the French into war on American soil and then expected the colonies to pay for England riding to our rescue, when in fact our militias had probably kept them from losing the American theater and it never would have been necessary had the English had simply stayed out of French territory in the Americas. Perhaps that might have been avoided if the colonies had had a voice in Parliament.

There had been countless letters of correspondence and representatives of the colonies crossing the ocean to make an argument for fair treatment under Parliament with the result that the governors in America had been authorized to put their foot on the necks of the colonists. They considered the colonists to be rebellious and in need of guidance. The more they cracked down on the colonists, the angrier the patriots became and it soon because clear to all that the colonists might have to protect themselves against their own government, so they began to store weapons and powder against that possibility.

England had essentially declared war on the colonies more than a year before the writing of the Declaration when British troops marched to confiscate American arms in April 1775. During that entire year, while holding Boston siege, the Americans continued to try to reconcile with the British and received only edicts and ridicule. So, when Thomas Jefferson wrote “it becomes necessary to dissolve the political bands …” it was not done lightly or, indeed quickly. There had been a good faith effort to resolve things peaceably even as the British were being anything but peaceable.

Drawing from John Locke, the Americans considered themselves equal to the British under God’s natural law and they had come to realize that England was never going to grant them the equality that was theirs by right. They weren’t asking for King George’s treasury and privileges. They were asking to be treated in the same manner as British subjects living in England. It had become clear that was never going to happen.

Therefore, separation had become necessary. They wrote their declaration – which was of independence, not war – to explain their reasons to the larger world.  They weren’t seeking to sweep monarchies from the face of the world. They were merely seeking to establish the reasons the American colonies were separating from the British crown. However, they recognized there was a foundation for their reasons for doing this, and thus they put forth a universal message. 

This was not just a treatise on why the Americans were separating from England, but why any group of people joined in governance to another group of people might wish to separate.

In some ways, through setting forth the argument for separation from a despotic government, the Declaration, more than the Battle on Lexington green, was the shot heard round the world.

THE Founding Document   Leave a comment

The Declaration of Independence is THE Founding document of America. It established the American colonies intention to separate from Great Britain for some very clear reasons. Some were universal reasons — natural rights and tyrannical government — while others were specific reasons — King George was the tyrant they were resisting. So, in honor of the 237th birthday of our country, I want to take a look at the Declaration of Independence and what it actually means. How many of us have actually ever read it?


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Definitely Not Astroturf   Leave a comment

If conservatism wants to transform our nation from the ground up, we first have to start at the local level. Why? Because the “blue regions” think we’re nuts, so talking to them over the Internet isn’t really going to convince them of anything and the media won’t give the straight talk on our principles, so face-to-face, where they can see your eyes and your life is the best way to go. This doesn’t mean a national message will never get through, only that all politics is local and you are going to see your greatest harvest if you start there.

Here in Alaska, there’s a tale to tell about this. In 1990, a local motel owner found her property taxes going up yet again and in frustration she called the local talk radio station. Bill Wally, the Fairbanks business owner who hosted the week-day show Problem Corner, listened to Donna Gilbert and thought there had to be something to do to fix what many of us saw as tax Armageddon. Our mil-rate was going through the roof, our Borough and City government employees were making incredible wages and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. Off the air, Donna encouraged Bill to run for mayor, which at the time was a ceremonial position. The city was run by a city manager and the borough (our county) was also. Bill decided to run as mayor and use his position as a bully pulpit. The town’s people submitted an initiative that changed the major into a strong mayor position and shortly thereafter another initiative passed that put a tax cap in place, forcing the city to stay within budgetary limits and only raise taxation levels by a vote of the people. Not too long later, the borough also got a strong mayor and a tax cap, also by citizen initiative.

The battle that followed was not an easy one. The city chose not to plow the streets for a winter in order to get us to vote down the tax cap, but every two years the voters reinstate both caps and we’ve held the line on spending and government growth. The city gave up coercion as a tool and now actually has a savings account and the streets get plowed.

Slowly, but surely, that conservative ideal has permeated Fairbanks politics. For a long time, we sent Republicans to Juneau where they immediately became progressives, but recently we’ve sent conservative Republicans to Juneau. The GOP in Fairbanks is strongly conservative and it is having an effect on the state level GOP, though one the party is wholeheartedly resisting complete with political dirty tricks. As a non-partisan, I find the in-fighting annoyingly stupid and it tempts/prompts me to vote non-partisan, but I also see it as a sign that there is a debate happening in the Alaska GOP that might lead to some substantive changes – eventually.

During the last few years, the Alaska Senate was evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but a handful of Republicans caucused with the Democrats and voted as a bloc – tying up legislation that Interior communities needed – natural gas trucking, a gas pipeline, etc. Interior voters helped to force a sea change this last fall and now the Senate is solidly Republican, but not just Republican – conservative Republican. They’re the ones who have fought for nullification of federal laws, more freedom with fire arms, and a reduction in regulations.

Alaska is a small population state with a well-educated, politically involved population, so changes here are perhaps easier than in other states, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. By targeting local offices where candidates often do not even need to declare a party, conservatives can teach their fellow citizens about our principles without scaring the unlearned with that word “conservative”. Our principles make incredible sense if they are not approached with presuppositions and local politics is the best place to prove that they work in the real world.

That done, it is much easier to conquer state and national elections because success at the local level brings supporters to our cause.

Remembering   2 comments

The Lord’s Supper, sometimes called communion by those who think communication with God has to fit into neat little packages, is a memorial ceremony honoring Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf.

That’s all. It’s an ordinance of the Christian churches, but it is merely a memory aid for what Christ did for us.

On the night that Jesus was taken, He took bread, broke it, and shared it out, saying “This is My body, which is broken for you. Eat it in remembrance of Me.”

Clearly, since Jesus was standing there playing waiter, the bread as body was metaphor and His disciples understood this. They may not have understood that He was going to die — they were incredibly dense — but they understood this was symbolic, because Jesus wasn’t cutting off pieces of his own flesh and giving it them.

Then He took the cup and said “This cup is the covenant in My blood. As oft as you drink it, remember Me.”

The Jewish feelings about blood were strong! There is no way His disciples — who were all Jews — would have participated in this ritual if they thought it really was Jesus’ blood — or if they thought it was magically going to become His blood. They understood it as a metaphor and the proof for that is they drank from the cup.

So the question is, why? For the sake of our memories. When I come to the Lord’s Supper, I’ve paused to think about my behavior over the last couple of months since I’ve taken “communion”. I think about the sins I’ve committed. I’ve asked God’s forgiveness. And if I can, I’ve asked the forgiveness of those I’ve harmed in small and large ways. But if someone springs to my mind as I see the cloth-draped table, I thank God for that reminder and I file it away for later, to call them or drop by and talk. I still take the Lord’s Supper, because this is what the Bible says I should do.

The Lord’s Supper doesn’t forgive my sins or bring me one step closer to God. Preparation for it reminds me of my sins and the repentance from those sins brings me closer to God.

Then, the Lord’s Supper reminds me of what Jesus did for me that I could not do for myself. While I was still a drowned sinner, helpless to save myself, Jesus died so that I could live.

Posted June 28, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity, Faith

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All Politics is Local   1 comment

What holds up conservativism from sweeping the nation?

When my dad, the classical liberal, used to tease my mom and call her a “conservative”, she was one of a tiny group of self-described conservatives in America. In the 1960s, the entire national “convention” could have been held in the hockey arena in Fairbanks Alaska. Things have changed. Today, 40-45% of the nation’s voters describe themselves as “conservative”. That makes us the largest voting bloc in the nation. But as I explained in my earlier post, mostly we’re supporting the Republican Party in electing moderate progressives who then give “conservatism” a bad name by acting in pretty liberal ways. The Republicans say we conservatives should moderate our positions in order to attract people to the Republican Party, but becoming progressives does not seem like a viable way to advance the cause of conservatism. In fact, I could argue that is what we’ve been doing since the 1990s and look where we are today.

I don’t think our principles are the problem. If they were, our numbers of voluntary association would not be increasing and they are. I think it is the Republican communication of those principles that cause us difficulty. When the Republicans got waxed in the 2012 election, it seemed as if they might self-analyze, but they’ve decided to look more like Democrats, so conservatives need to start looking a lot more like conservatives than Republicans.

If, as a conservative you’re still hanging onto the GOP, there are some things to consider about the 2012 election. The Republicans lost the minority vote, the women’s vote, and the city vote, but they also lost a large number of conservatives – and then they lost the election. If you were following the polls prior to the decision to nominate Mitt Romney, the GOP had a substantial lead over President Obama. That gradually disappeared in the runup to the general election. If you went out on conservative websites, you saw supposedly conservative commentators trying to convince conservative voters that Mitt Romney was palatable to them. But the final election results and polling following show that conservatives stayed home on election night. And the GOP lost the election.

So what does that tell us?

Conservatives are propping up the Grand Old Party and if we withdraw our support, puff, the GOP goes the way of the Whigs. In a 3-way election, if conservatives vote as a bloc, we win. But how do we pull that off?

The American Conservative Party has a good idea. I may be irritated with their insistence that you have to pay to research their ideas, but I give kudos where they’re due. Theyr’e concentrating on local elections and letting the federal level go for now. Why? Because the two major parties have a stranglehold on the federal election … for now. Ballot access laws prevent third parties from getting on the ballot in most states. However, by concentrating on each state individually, third parties can get on local school boards and city councils and then into state legislatures, so that by the time they declare for the Presidency they won’t be unknown to the people in at least a plurality of states. I wonder what color a third party might get on the election map. I like green.

All politics is local anyway and if we can prove to our communities that conservatism works, then we can move onto transforming our state governments and then our nation.

Sacred Space   Leave a comment

The other day I happened to be reading an article on urban planning, in which the author wrote at length about what is wrong with suburbia and, by extension, rural communities. He spent a considerable amount of space lamenting the lack of “sacred space”. I thought was strange since most urbanites I know are not all that into going to church while, conversely, rural and suburban dwellers go fairly regularly. Then I read his definition of “sacred space”. To him, it was not a place to worship God so much as it was a building with breathtaking architecture. Think St. John’s Episcopal in New York City or the Crystal Cathedral, which is now a Catholic church. He lamented that evangelical Christianity “infests” the suburbs and evangelicals just don’t know how to worship God. We inspire good works, but not great ones, he said.

Wow! Color me embarrassed in mediocrity.

First, we’re guilty on the architecture charge. Evangelical churches are rarely grand affairs and when they are, they’re usually big not beautiful. Are we just architecturally challenged or is there a reason for this austerity?

I can’t speak for megachurches because I’ve never been a member of a megachurch, but I’ve been a member of some small Great Commission (aka Southern) Baptist churches. They were simple affairs, rows of pews for sitting, hardwood or low pile carpet for floors, a low stage in the front with a simple pulpit for the preacher to put his notes on and a Lord’s Supper table before it. My husband was raised Catholic and his first question upon seeing my church was “Where are the statues?” Now he understands that we consider statues in God’s church building to be idolatry, but more we structure our chapels so as not to distract from the worship of God. He’s center-stage, not the building.

This is partially because evangelicals do not consider our church buildings to be “sacred space”. The heart of the believer is God’s holy temple. The building where we hold Sunday service and teach English and citizenship to the foreign born is … well, a building. It’s convenient that we own it, but its main purpose is to house the congregation in collective gathering. I don’t feel the loss of a glorious space to worship in because I don’t worship God in that building. I worship God where I am at the moment – in my home, at work, driving through traffic, and sometimes in the church building. Biblical Christianity started in people’s homes and in the streets of Jerusalem. It didn’t need a glorious cathedral then and it doesn’t need one now. So, if our church buildings are uninspiring it may be that we’re spending our collective money on more important things.

Great works versus good works? What constitutes a “great” work? Evangelical Christianity was responsible for two “Great Awakenings”. The first one ended slavery in England and the second one was headed toward ending slavery in America when it got derailed by the Civil War, though some used it as an excuse for the Civil War. Evangelical Christianity sent missionaries throughout the known world to spread Christianity throughout Mediterranean Europe, Africa, the Middle East and as far as India while Christians were being persecuted by Rome. Modern Evangelical Christianity sent missionaries to the third world with the good news of Christ. Congregationalist evangelical Christianity’s church polity undergirds the American system of federalism. Evangelical Christianity drove German, Danish, and Dutch Gentiles to smuggle Jews out of Nazi controlled areas (google Corrie ten Boom). Evangelical Christianity smuggled Bibles into communist-bloc countries. Evangelical Christianity sends thousands of emergency workers to natural disaster sites with food, clothing, reconstruction experience (google Southern Baptist Disaster Relief). So,

I guess it depends on your definition of “great works”. It’s true that Evangelical Christians did not build the great cathedrals of Europe, but my spiritual ancestors were busy being the victims of the Inquisition and then, when they got to the United States (escaping religious persecution, by the way), we (in our loosely affiliated congregations) felt it best to concentrate on things we’d already excelled at – like, evangelism, prayer, Bible study, and convincing people that the wholesale slaughter and/or enslavement of your fellow human being is not a godly thing to do. We left the building of great edifices to denominations with more monetary resources and less important things to do.

I love great architecture. There’s not a lot of it in Alaska, so one of things I like about traveling to other places is poking around looking at aesthetically pleasing buildings – including churches. That is “glorious space”, but if you require awe-inspiring architecture to “get your God on”, there is something lacking from your relationship with the Divine. There is a portion of me – call it my heart, call it my spirit – that is “sacred space” that goes with me wherever I go, so that I am never out of touch with God unless I choose to be. That is worshipping Jesus in “spirit and in truth” and not creating “high places” where we bow down to the idols of God of our own design and hierarchal superstructure. In this way, we walk in the dusty footsteps of great past believers like Abraham, Moses, the prophets, Saul who would become Paul, Mary of Bethany, the church at Philippi, and Peter.

For a true believer in Jesus Christ, God is always right here with us and we need no more “sacred space” than our own heads.

Got Milk?   1 comment

America’s ruling class is certain it knows better how we should live our lives than we do. Examples abound. Take the raw milk fight.

There was a time before refrigeration was commonplace when raw milk could result in disease. In 1924, the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), a branch of the Food and Drug Administration, developed the Standard Milk Ordinance (we call it the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance today). It was a model regulation for states and municipalities to use in developing effective programs to prevent milk-borne disease. It contained provisions governing the production, processing, packaging and sale of Grade A milk and milk products. It became the basic standard used in the Voluntary Cooperative State -USPHS/FDA Program for the Certification of Interstate Milk Shippers, a program all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U. S. Territories participate in.

Forty-six of the 50 have adopted most or all of the PMO for their own milk safety laws with those states not adopting it passing laws that are similar. California, Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland have not adopted the PMO.

Section 9 of the PMO states in part that, “only Grade “A” pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized or aseptically processed milk and milk products shall be sold to the final consumer, to restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores or similar establishments.”

I am not passionate on either side of this debate. I agree that raw milk (unpasteurized milk) tastes superior to pasteurized milk and I am told it makes better cheese and yoghurt, but I’m no expert. My grandparents raised six healthy children on raw milk in the absence of refrigeration. Several families I know locally own goats and do not pasteurize. If you happen to show up at some of their homes with your own pitcher and accidentally drop some money in a coffee can, you can take home some raw milk that will accidentally end up in your pitcher. I haven’t gotten sick and I don’t know anyone who has gotten sick. One of my friends who grew up on raw milk is intensively lactose intolerant when he drinks pasteurized milk and claims he can consume raw milk without problems. On the other hand, raw milk needs to be handled carefully and refrigerated to prevent the transmission of e-coli, salmonella and other milk-borne diseases that can make you very sick. But here’s the thing – so does pasteurized milk. It takes longer, but if you don’t treat it well, it will make you sick.

So, here I stand looking at my two hands and voting – why the heck does the government or anyone else have a right to tell me what I can eat or drink?

I’d be more passionate if the science were more certain, but it really isn’t. For every story of some British mother who contracted brucellosis (undulant aka moose fever) from eating raw goat cheese, there’s a study or two showing that exposure to raw milk reduces childhood asthma and dermatitis. Brucellosis is a rare complication of consuming raw milk easily treated with antibiotics, but “milk allergies” from consumption of pasteurized milk are wide spread and they don’t go away. Modern science makes it possible to have brucellosis-free herds, particularly if the standard is small herds on fertile pasture, housed in clean barns, using milking machines, stainless steel tanks and refrigerated trucks.

I am not opposed to food inspections, but I do object to the wholesale ban of a food product that appears to have health benefits because of long-ago problems that have been ameliorated by modern technology.

To decide for yourselves, here are a couple of websites for you to peruse and consider for yourselves – do we need the administrative state to make this decision for ourselves or can we handle this on our own?

I vote for handling it on my own and not arresting Amish farmers for selling American citizens a product they know could possibly make them sick. That would be consistent with our laws on alcohol – another product people like a lot that can make you sick if mishandled. I forget, didn’t we try to ban that once and it didn’t work out so well?

Bumper Sticker - Raw Milk

A Great Reason to Live in a Yurt   1 comment

If health insurance coverage is such a big deal and the uninsured are so desperate to be covered, why is the Obama finding it necessary to create a “nonpartisan” organization to help the uninsured navigate the exchanges?

Get Covered America is the long-anticipated propaganda campaign launched by Enroll America, an Obama administration front group funded with money extorted from the insurance industry.

What? You’re surprised that the most corrupt presidential administration since the Nixon administration is using a shell corporation of extortionists to cajole Americans who don’t want insurance into getting it? Given the IRS, NSA, and Fast and Furious scandals, why would you be shocked? Have you been living in a yurt in the Alaskan wilderness? That’s probably not an excuse because I know yurt-dwellers who know about this and are moving their yurts deeper into the wilderness in hopes of remaining uninsured.

The fact is that America’s uninsured problem was and remains largely a work of fiction, created when the advocates of socialized medicine realized their claim that government could provide health care more efficiently than could the private sector was not getting much traction with the general public. Only cognitively dissonant progressives were naïve enough to believe that fantasy, so something else was needed.

I know reporters who were ordered by their editors to find people going bankrupt and even dying for lack of health insurance. Many of them tell me that this was not an easy task until a tiny group called Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) began sending out news releases. The PNHP’s microscopic membership has always been even less representative of health care community sentiment than the American Medical Association, which doctors I know tell me is virtually irrelevant. PNHP, however, is representative of the Ivy-League community in that many of its members teach at prestigious institutions and thus are able to get allegedly “scientific studies” published in the major media with little question.

Remember, Ivy League attendance is often a precursor of administrative statism.

My former journalism colleagues admit that nobody questioned one study that claimed 45,000 Americans die every year from lack of health coverage. Health policy experts immediately exposed the creaming that produced that absurdly high number, but that didn’t stop the advocates for government-run health care from parroting the PNHP report.

PNHP was also the source for the claim that 54% of all bankruptcies were caused by medical bills. A group of experts at U.C. Davis (which isn’t exactly the Heritage Foundation) demonstrated that the correct figure was about 5% of all bankruptcies. Of course, Obamacare advocates and the mainstream news media continued to use the 54% figure.

I can’t find an actual source for the oft-quoted figure of 47 million uninsured in America, all of whom couldn’t afford coverage. It was never supported by census data, I know. After subtracting illegal immigrants, people already eligible for government programs, and those who could obviously afford coverage but prefer to pay for it directly, the actual number of involuntarily uninsured Americans was about 14 million (which is less than 5% of the nation). Not coincidentally, this is about the number of people who will be newly eligible for Medicaid under ACA’s expansion of that program. Hmmm???? Now that’s interesting …. What a coincidence!

Let’s be honest. If the actual number of uninsured really were 47 million and truly constituted the human tragedy broadcasted in the media before Obamacare passed, Get Covered America would not be necessary. The uninsured would be lining up for insurance coverage like shoppers waiting for Walmart to open on Black Friday. So why do we need Enroll America?

WE don’t. The progressives need them. Most of the people they guide through the exchanges will not end up buying private insurance because it’s too expensive. Enroll America will instead guide them to voter registration, preferably as Democrats, and extol the virtues of Medicaid expansion and how the Democrats made it all possible. And, many of these people will be so foolish to think that the slum-lord medicine of the Medicaid system is living well. Soon, we’ll all think that Medicaid is the best we can do.

In the meantime, some independent-minded self-sufficient Alaskans are moving their yurts deeper into the wilderness so they don’t have to talk to Enroll America.

American Conservative Party   Leave a comment

I was leery of the Conservative Party when it first got started in 2008. For one thing, it seemed a bit cheeky to call themselves the American Conservative Party before conservatives had a chance to decide if they had earned that title. And, frankly, there was no time for them to build any sort of consensus by the November 2008 election. I gave them a cursory glance in 2012, but felt that the issues Obama presented were too important to allow him to win while I voted on principle. So, now, assured that there are three years to consider a new direction for the country, I am ready to say I like their platform.

As a Christian who also believes in civil liberties, I like their stand on religious freedom, which is that they don’t have much to say about it other than that it is a right and therefore protected. I like that they aren’t going for the presidency in 2016 and plan to focus on city councils and school boards in 2014 and maybe Congressional races in 2016. All politics is local and this sounds like a true grass-roots movement. When, if, they’ve established a track record at the local and state levels in enough states, they can become a true national party. That is far more sensible than wasting time, energy and money getting certified for a presidential election at this point.

On the other hand, the ACP seems a bit uncomfortable with allowing non-partisans like myself access to some of their state sites. They want money first. That could explain why my fellow Alaskans don’t appear to have formed a state site yet. Most of us are unwilling to buy a pig in a poke.

So, it looks like, at this moment, I am going to remain a non-partisan … for now. If they have a booth at the Alaska State Fair in Fairbanks, I’ll stop and talk with them. If not, well, they’re missing an opportunity here and not just with me, because as I said, most Alaskans are high-information voters.

The Peoples Oath   Leave a comment

Posted June 25, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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