Posted by sanityinjection on June 22, 2015
In the wake of the Charleston church shooting, politicians both inside and outside South Carolina are calling for an end to the display of the Confederate flag in that state.
To be clear, I don’t like the Confederate flag. I think that with the exception of specific uses in a historical context, it is generally used as a banner of white supremacy. When I see someone wearing it or having it on a bumper sticker on their car, I assume they are either racist or extremely ignorant. However, I also believe it is for the people of South Carolina to decide this.
But my purpose today is to point out that most of the politicans who are suddenly so vocal on this question are the worst kind of hypocrites. Why? Because when they were actually running for office in South Carolina, none of them had the guts to be so vocal about the issue. Take Mitt Romney, for example. He was quick to take to Twitter to call for South Carolina to take down the flag.
However, Mitt Romney competed in two Presidential primary contests in South Carolina in 2008 and 2012. During neither of those did he ever make such a clear and forceful statement about the Confederate flag. I guess it’s easy to have political courage when there’s nothing on the line.
So forgive me if I’m less than impressed by all the pols jumping on the bandwagon on this issue, because they figure the shooting makes it safe for them to do so.
Posted in Politics | Tagged: Confederate flag, hypocrisy, Mitt Romney, South Carolina | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sanityinjection on February 11, 2010
One of the features that is likely to be included in any federal health care reform bill is the “individual mandate” – a legal requirement that every citizen must purchase health insurance or be subject to fines and penalties. This provision is generally seen as an essential part of any plan that expands health insurance coverage to just about everybody as the President and his allies want to do. It is necessary because you need to have the healthiest people – who might otherwise choose to gamble on not buying insurance – participating in the system in order to help pay for the cost of care for those who are sick and need expensive treatments.
A good example of this is the so-called “Massachusetts model” enacted by that state under its former Governor Mitt Romney. In Massachusetts, you are required to provide proof of your health insurance (sent to you by your insurance company) when you fill out your state income taxes. If you cannot do so, you are penalized.
Let us not beat around the bush: If you are forced to pay for something you don’t think you need, in order to subsidize it for somebody else – that is socialism. The individual mandate is the closest thing to the old left-wing goal of “socialized medicine” short of an actual government insurance program or “public option”.
A number of states such as Virginia are taking action to try to pre-empt a federal mandate by passing legislation banning it in their state. While it’s legally questionable whether such laws would actually be valid against a federal law, it is interesting to note that support for the idea is coming from both Republicans and Democrats.
Imagine for a moment you are Bill Gates. Why do you need health insurance? You can afford the cost of even the most expensive health care procedures. You have no incentive to pay monthly premiums against the chance of getting sick or injured. Under an individual mandate, you would be forced to buy health insurance not for your own good, but as a required contribution to the cost of everybody else’s insurance. Unfortunately for everybody else though, Bill Gates’ insurance isn’t necessarily any more expensive than ours, so he is not paying into the system any more than you or I do.
I believe that individual health insurance mandates are wrong in principle. If you have to be compelled to do something that’s supposed to be good for you, maybe it isn’t so good for you. If health care costs were more reasonable, there would not be such pressure to socialize them. Once again, we see that reducing the cost of health care is the most important reform, and that successfully doing so would reduce the need for other reforms. Any reform that achieves some other goal such as expanding coverage but fails to impact the actual cost of health care is essentially doomed to fail.
Posted in Politics | Tagged: health care reform, health insurance, individual mandate, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, universal coverage | 1 Comment »
Posted by sanityinjection on September 4, 2008
This was the first and probably the only night of either convention that I was actually able to watch almost all of. I’ve already posted below about the GOP’s “minority voices” hour and CNN’s deliberate censorship. This was followed by speeches by Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, two successful CEOs who had been mentioned as possible VP picks. While both came across as substantial, their speeches were boring.
The first major speech of the night was Mitt Romney. I was looking forward to hearing what kind of tack Romney would take. Unfortunately, I thought his speech was a poor one. It sounded like Romney was giving the first speech of his 2012 presidential campaign. He was quite obviously aiming for the right wing of his party and said nothing that would appeal to independent voters. Worse, every time he mentioned the nominees of his party, it sounded as if the speech had originally been written to refer to Romney himself and then edited at the last minute. While Romney’s comments on policy areas seemed genuine, that was the only thing that did. I don’t doubt Romney’s commitment to the ticket – he understands how to play the good soldier – but it’s clearly not motivated by anything more than self-interest. He said nothing about McCain and Palin that couldn’t have been scripted for any generic Republican ticket.
Mike Huckabee spoke next. His speech would have been thoroughly unmemorable except for a terrific story he told about an elementary teacher who had all the desks removed from her classroom to drive home a point to her students about the sacrifices made by our nation’s military veterans. It was powerful and moving, as it was meant to be.
Rudy Giuliani was the warm-up act for Sarah Palin. He gave a strong speech full of criticisms of Obama and Biden and praise of the GOP ticket. Pretty standard stuff, but executed well. He avoided the social issues where his views differ from those of most of the delegates, and the crowd rewarded him with genuine applause.
Then of course it was time for the main event. The media has already analyzed her speech to death, so I’ll limit myself to some brief comments. Governor Palin is clearly an attractive lady, and her wardrobe did not appear to be chosen to hide her femininity. At one point duing her speech, she actually blew a kiss to one of McCain’s fellow POWs in the audience. Her remarks concerning her family, and subsequent interactions with them on stage, seemed very natural. She delivered some brutal barbs toward Obama but with a smile on her face that seemed to rob them of malice, a neat trick. She seemed to be enjoying herself and looked at ease. The vibe she exuded could be summarized as: “I’m a girl, and a damn clever one at that. I’m confident and not afraid of anything so you might want to think twice about messing with me.” Her charisma is undeniable.
The speech was light on policy and strong on partisan rhetoric, but then, it was supposed to be – this is the traditional role of the running mate, and she performed it as well as anyone. Anyone expecting her to fall on her face was disappointed. McCain seemed enormously pleased with himself when he came out and hugged her after her speech. Seeing the two of them side by side, I couldn’t block out the idea that Palin looked like she could be McCain’s daughter – yet it didn’t seem like a negative image. On the contrary, the father figure image, though new to him, seemed to sit well on McCain.
Of course, one speech does not qualify a person for the Vice Presidency. It remains to be seen how Palin will perform in her debate and on the campaign trail. However, I doubt there will be any underestimation of her from this point forward.
Posted in Politics | Tagged: John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Republican Convention, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sanityinjection on July 14, 2008
This is a very clever little application. It’s really a strategy game that happens to be dressed up in election politics, but you don’t have to know or care anything about politics to play and enjoy. In the game, you play as either Barack Obama or John McCain. You use your operatives to raise money by controlling different regions of the country, and also to take out your opponent’s operatives. Each unit has a special ability or abilities, but using them costs money.
The result is a very playable and enjoyable game with amusing sound and visual effects. You can play against another player or against a computer opponent. Best of all, you can play simply by visiting the website, without having to download anything or provide any information. Be warned, however: This game can be addictive.
For those who are still carrying a torch for a defeated primary candidate such as Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney, here is a link to an older version of the game where you can play as those characters:
Posted in Politics | Tagged: 2008 election, Games, Hillary Clinton, McCain, Mitt Romney, Obama | Leave a Comment »