Michela Skelton, Marx, and Scripture: what is the problem?

A special election early next month will pit Democrat Skelton against Sara Walsh, Republican, for the seat in the 50th Missouri House district. A forum given by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce was reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune July 12th here. At the forum Mrs Skelton quoted Karl Marx to justify her opposition to a tax reduction. Will Scharf, the Missouri Governor’s policy director, noticed here that the Tribune article failed to report this rather significant statement. Following up, the Tribune reporter in a subsequent July 16 article corrected his omission:

As she argued in favor of repealing a tax cut scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, Skelton said the principle should be “from each according to ability and to each according to need.”

This paraphrase without ‘sexist’ pronouns is clearly from Karl Marx. It is a fundamental characteristic of the workers’ paradise as envisaged by the Communist philosopher (Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875.) The July 16 story continues with Skelton’s reply to Will Scharf:

Skelton responded by pointing to a bible verse that is also similar.

But no ‘similar’ Biblical quotation or citation is given – probably because one does not exist. However, there is a verse that answers Marx and his progressive epigones:

If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (ESV)

The problem is not confusing Marx with Scripture or even being a Christian Marxist. But in knowing full well that the source is Marx, refusing to acknowledge that fact, and – worse – then claiming to be quoting Scripture. A gaffe, in other words, which is when someone in politics inadvertently says what he really thinks. In this case, it is when a progressive tries to mask her true beliefs, which are out of step with the voters.   


Ps: Mrs Skelton’s website under the rubric of Values has this curious statement: “It is time we stand up and demand that the freedom and welfare of the people must be the supreme law of the land.” Curious because as an attorney she knows that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, that it was carefully constructed to preserve our liberty from the depredations and vaticinations of those who would wreck it thinking they know better.


The disastrous Medicaid Expansion – an update

My original comments yesterday are here. In this post I’ll add some additional information – new data, but no new conclusions, just more confirmation of the harm the ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion has caused.

For background, please read Fact check: ObamaCare does hurt our neediest neighbors. The take-away there is that for traditional Medicaid the states are reimbursed by the Feds at 55% and the Expansion at 100% originally, now 95% this year. So if a state is running out of money, which program do you think it would cut? You don’t need to be familiar with public-choice theory to know that government takes care of itself first. My last post shows that the truly needy were left out in Ohio, despite the Governor’s preening moralism.

More from Ohio. As of May 2017 it had added more than 725,000 able-bodied, childless, and working-age people to the state’s Medicaid Expansion rolls. The budget called for no more than 450,000 enrollees. Expenditures are now nearly $7 billion over budget. All this at a cost of more than 34,000 ABD (aged, blind, or disabled) who no longer qualify under guidelines revised to cope with fiscal pressures. Ohio’s response to the crisis is to stop enrolling new people into the Expansion as of May 2018. Until then, of course, things will continue to get worse and more ABD will suffer. The cynical Democrats who crafted ObamaCare callously wanted to get as far to “single-payer” as they could, the cost in human suffering and death be damned.

In Arkansas things are no different. In early 2015 when the New Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, took office following the Democrat who allowed Medicaid Expansion, Expansion rolls stood at 250,000. Barely two years later they stand at a budget-busting 325,000. Nearly half of the able-bodied, working-age, childless enrollees do not work. It appears that Arkansas will adopt a work requirement, but freezing new Expansion enrollment has failed in the state Senate. More details here.

Finally a few of the ‘moderate’ Democrats in the Senate are defending their support of the Expansion by dissembling that it helps curb the opioid epidemic. Skeptics will note that free access to prescribed opioids is not always helpful. According to the executive director of Physicians Responsible for Opioid Prescribing, “overprescribing of opioids is fueling the epidemic.” No surprise that Ohio is facing a huge increase in opioid deaths. “The CDC’s own study of Washington State showed that a person on Medicaid was 5.7 times more likely to die an opioid-related death than someone not on Medicaid.” (Sources of quotations here.)    

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Republican ‘health care’ proposals: the addiction stumbling block

This addiction, found in voters and politicians alike, is not medical, but still a critical public health issue. The addicts are not harmed, but the malady is transferred to the public. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was deliberately designed to be nearly irrevocable. Feeding the addiction for free money is one of the hooks making repeal nearly impossible. The dependence of state politicians on Federal Medicaid money is the real question upon which turns the Senate debate.

The diabolical construction of Medicaid Expansion has created the most difficult stumbling block. Medicaid was originally designed to help the truly poor with children, not able-bodied adults with no dependents. To induce the states to consent to Medicaid Expansion the Federal government like a pusher offered to pay the states three to ten times more per person than for traditional Medicaid recipients. Thus the rush to accept this ’free money,’ risking financial peril a few years thence, since the states were then obligated to pay an increasing share of the bill. The problem is that even states with Republican governors accepted expansion. More than 80% of the national net increase in ObamaCare health insurance enrollment resulted from Medicaid Expansion. This Federal commitment unfortunately is an open-ended entitlement, encouraging the states to entrap as many people as possible and increasing the Federal deficit. The current House and Senate proposals would limit Federal money through various means, bringing the era of increasing free money to a gradual decline at some future point. However, the politics are such that limiting the growth is considered a cut. There are of course no actual cuts in any current proposal.

The Congressional and Senatorial representatives of most profligate and addicted states are now screaming bloody murder for relief from their states’ own greedy errors. As states face increasing financial pinches, new Medicaid enrollments have to stop or be slowed down. This means that the truly poor who qualify for traditional Medicaid are blocked out because so many able-bodied just above the poverty line and without children were let in. Good intentions are no excuse, given government’s inability to avoid disastrous unintended (but foreseeable) consequences and unwillingness to shut off the public teat to those who do not truly need it. (Witness the enormous growth in disability under Obama.) In the meantime the states that wisely refused Medicaid Expansion are in the position of having to share financially in the bailing out of the states that did.

Ohio provides a great object lesson. After accepting Medicaid Expansion the state’s share of Medicaid costs has been running 143% over budget. Consequently nearly 60,000 poor who qualify for traditional Medicaid have been put on a waiting list. Early estimates were that Medicaid Expansion would lead to 365,000 new enrollments. The actual number was 650, 000 leading to $2.7 billion in cost overruns in two years. (Ohioans like free money too.) Thus Senator Portman and the insufferable governor Kasich are screaming for more Federal money from the ‘repeal,’ since the able-bodied newly on Medicaid, just as addicted to government money as they are, would react in a ballot-unfriendly way if their Medicaid benefits were reduced or stopped. Republican Governor Kasich self-righteously bullied Ohio into accepting Medicare Expansion as a moral imperative, claiming he would get credit for helping the poor “when I get to the pearly gates.” But the morality play here is different: Kasich has hurt the truly poor to benefit the able-bodied, not to speak of the state generally. Ohio for example is financially unable to offer clinical services to opioid addicts. I remind the pious Governor of the moral imperative found in 2 Thessalonians 3:1 and 3: 10-11.    

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Random thoughts off the chest

It’s sex, not gender. Avoid the misleading term ‘gender.’ For quite a while lefties have invited us to confuse sex with gender. For them sex is a problem, given the differences between men and women. Gender is better; since it is imaginary, it can be stretched to cover many situations otherwise embarrassing to lefty ideology.

Just to be clear: if biology is not destiny, it is not far off. There are definite sexual differences between the two sexes, many with clear medical implications. Other differences appear in daily life. For instance, this article gives many  reasons why women cannot run as fast as men, Wonder Woman and transgenderism notwithstanding. (Would that the Pentagon accept this obvious truism.)

It’s race, not skin color. There are real racial differences, some with serious medical consequences. Some people from India have very dark skin, but have nothing to do racially with Africans. Race may have no moral meaning, but in many situations it can be a proxy for culture. And not all cultures are equal. None of this is trivial, though the use of the term ‘skin color’ is an attempt is make it so.

It’s about insurance, not health care. The current ‘health care’ proposal before the U.S. Senate is only the first step. A complete repealing and replacement is precluded at the moment by the Senate’s arcane and harmful rules – Senates are always a problem. – Despite that, Avik Roy, an expert in this field, thinks the Senate bill improves on the House bill, because it better enables the near-elderly working poor afford coverage. Click here for his and Guy Benson’s views. Follow the link to Roy’s enthusiastic Forbes article. My thoughts below.

Claims that n millions of people will be set adrift without ‘health care’ if the Republican plan is signed into law are NOT TRUE. The CBO scoring is so incomplete as to be fraudulent. Not even the Feds know who will and will not have insurance, absent knowledge of what the states will do and what millions of individual choices will be.

  • Having health insurance is not the same as having health care. Medicaid payments are so low that many, perhaps most doctors refuse to treat Medicaid patients. Insurance with large copayments and deductibles, not to speak of long waits for treatment, often leads to no care at all.
  • Some studies show that patients treated at emergency rooms receive care no worse and sometimes slightly better than through Medicaid. So the billions spent on Medicaid are …
  • Many of those who bought insurance from the ObamaCare exchanges did so only under compulsion of the individual mandate. They would rather not buy insurance at all and gamble on their youth or use the free care of the emergency room. Is permitting people to exercise their freedom cause for wailing and moaning? Millions did not die on the streets before the ObamaCare individual mandate.
  • Inexpensive policies covering disastrous medical conditions only may not be legally available to these people. Nor will the ability to buy insurance across state lines. But states will be free to enact work requirements for Medicaid. Some people may choose to forego subsidized insurance payments if it means having to work. Let’s not forget what Saint Paul said of those “walking in idleness:” If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thess, 3:10)
  • Many of those whose Federal subsidies might be reduced may indeed have to pay more. Or not – the market for individual policies has been ruined by ObamaCare, but costs may fall fairly quickly in a less regulated marketplace. (Again Senate rules preclude removing many of ObamaCare most damaging provisions.) What about paying one’s fair share?
  • No Federal law will prevent any state from supplementing Federal insurance subsidies with its own money. States like many people are completely dependent on suckling the Federal teat. States are also free to create their own insurance pools, as is done for car insurance. They may also reduce their regulations to lower the costs individual policies.

Perhaps it is not even about insurance, but simply votes.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Given, not taken – tears on Memorial Day

This day we honor our soldiers. Our combat veterans will not permit the memory of their fallen brothers to fade away. Nor will they discard the images of the faces of those fallen on the battlefield and those they have killed in hand-to-hand combat. These are bitter memories, the horrors of war returning in silent meditation. They know the lives their brothers lost were not taken, but freely given.

A good man might lay down his life for his friends. But our fallen, not all good men, gave for the millions in their country, for our American community. They strengthened the bonds (religio) that bind us together. Their gift was to us, to their country, a political unity and even more a cultural one. To all Americans, past, present, not yet born. Our nation state, the last outpost of Western civilization, is under attack from within as well as without. Despite many obstacles, domestic and foreign, our military and first responders – those who would die for us – form the last, best line of defense of the best of our traditional American culture. Yet many among us hate their American identity, deny nation states – ours most of all. They seek a godless millennium in a world government of open borders that is multiculturally communitarian and politically communist. Multiculturalism means of course no culture, the denial of local culture, a population of faceless, rootless isolated and etiolated mere human beings with social ties only to Big Brother.

Our call to remembrance on Memorial Day elicits tears of gratitude for the fallen and the survivors, a small reflection of the free gift of grace given by our fallen Lord. With the living waters of our tears of joy we bless our soldiers and hope that their sacrifices past, present and future will inspire a virile patriotic effort to overcome all challenges threatening our liberty, values, and culture.    

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

The conceptual penis as a social construct

Read this groundbreaking new article in gender studies here in the scholarly open-access journal Cogent Social Sciences. The authors explain that in their paper they

incorporate careful reading of the relevant academic literature with observations made by searching trending hashtags to derive important social truths with high impact. In this case, their particular fascination with penises and the ways in which penises are socially problematic, especially as a social construct known as a conceptual penis, have opened an avenue to a new frontier in gender and masculinities research that can transform our cultural geographies, mitigate climate change, and achieve social justice.

Of course the article is a hoax, puncturing the balloon of academic radical social “science” research and hilariously following in the tradition of the great Alan Sokal , whose hoax  proved quantum gravity was a social construct. Confessing liberal use of the Postmodern Generator (see below,) the authors reveal their true identities and the purpose of their hoax here. The linking of the conceptual penis to climate change was a masterstroke. As is the insight about ‘manspreading’ and rape:

Manspreading — a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide — is akin to raping the empty space around him.

The Internet is full of delicious commentary. Here is one from James Delingpole, one of our favorite skeptics. Another is from the great Steve Hayward at Powerlineblog. He has been a faithful reporter of many academic absurdities. For more search Bing or google for “conceptual penis.”

The Postmodern Generator, the salvation of penis-equipped undergrads anxious to survive required social science courses compos mentis, will generate a similar article for you here. Scroll down to the bottom for a full explanation.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Will the ‘nuclear option weaken the Senate? Don’t believe it.

The ’nuclear option,’ so named because it is believed to be catastrophic to U.S. Senate tradition and function, would remove the filibuster requirement for Supreme Court nominees. But why should Senate tradition, which in this case is not very old, be worth preserving? One case for retaining the filibuster is here.

The French word flibustier at the origin of our term filibuster appropriately means ‘buccaneer’ and by extension ‘crook.’  Until recently the filibuster rule permitted a senator to delay a floor vote only so long as he was speaking from the rostrum continuously – no bathroom or other breaks permitted. He could, however, be relieved by another Senator. This tactic could in principle gain other Senators time in which to round up votes.

But the current rule does not require speaking to an empty chamber reading from Dr Seuss. Now when the minority simply signals ’filibuster,’ a cloture vote to end debate is not permitted and the bill being debated is shut down. Pace filibuster apologists, this hardly extends debate or encourages deliberate consideration of different points of view. It simply ends debate, giving the minority party veto power, like a buccaneer on the high seas invading another vessel. If the goal is to enable extensive debate and further reasonable compromise, other and better rules can be substituted. However, to think that rules can encourage thoughtful compromise is rather naive.

The Senate is all too often the place when good bills go to die. If they do not die, the requirement of a filibuster-proof supermajority makes them emerge diluted and loaded with pork. Remember the Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, and the Florida flim-flam provisions in Obamacare? Since the nuclear option exercised today does not apply to legislative filibusters, we can anticipate with dread what Senate ‘tradition’ will do to tax reform and the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The Senate’s indulgence for its ‘traditions’ seems to suggest a culture of self-importance. Senatorial egos suggest the same.

Don’t believe the pleas to retain the filibuster for judicial nominees. In fact let’s remove the filibuster for garden-variety legislative bills. If we insist on preserving tradition, – why? – let’s bring back the old-fashioned filibuster as detailed here and enable the solons of the Senate to block cloture votes only while they are speaking from the rostrum.    

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)