HORIST: Mini essays on current events
Many current events do not require a long commentary but are worthy of attention. Periodically, this space will be used to sum up a few of them.
On the cost of medical care. Having previously written about the need to reduce medical costs and the needless expense of over-usage, a recent kidney stone operation gave me an opportunity to personally check out the system. I understand why people want the best and safest system possible, but have we gone too far? It was surprising to see just how much medical supplies and equipment are one-time-use only. I had my own blood pressure armband that I was told would be discarded after my use. Yet, in my doctor’s office they use the same one over and over. I wondered if there was any real benefit to have a disposable plastic IV bag as opposed to a refillable glass bottle. I noticed many packages of wound dressings were opened and only a portion of the contents used – the rest tossed. While washing hands between patient room visits is a good idea, but is it necessary to put on rubber gloves just to pick up food trays? When entering the hospital, I received a folder with 20 pieces of barcoded instructions and advice. None of which I read nor intend to read. Other patients I spoke with were of similar mind. Behind these useless CYA documents were staff people processing and reading the barcodes. And then I think of all those big pharma suppliers pushing for more usage of their products and I wonder which, safety or sales, are the strongest driving force. My brief experience is anecdotal, but it suggests to me that billions of dollars could be taken out of healthcare cost if we put as much effort in cutting costs as we do in just covering increasing costs. Cuts are the only effective answer to rising costs.
On the Kennedy assassination documents. In 1992, a law was passed that preserved the secrecy of the Kennedy files for another 25 years. This was done, they said, to protect from ongoing conspiracy theories. That makes no sense, since such theories thrive on the absence of information. The files were initially held secret until the last Kennedy of that generation died. If not a good reason, at least it was an answer more reasonable than the conspiracy theory excuse. Presumably, the Warren Commission and others had reviewed all those files before setting forth their conclusion. Either way, there is no good reason to maintain the veil of secrecy any longer. Time to place history ahead of politics.
On the NFL fiasco. After meetings between players and NFL owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the worst decision possible. He said that all players should stand for the Anthem but there would be no enforcement policy. If he thought it would please both sides, he is a fool. It solved nothing. The stadium is a workplace and the owners set the rules. There is no First Amendment right and those who keep proffering that argument on television are either ignorant or liars. The various alternative silliness will not work either. One respects the National Anthem by standing at attention in silence or in song with an option of hands at your side, on the heart or in a military salute. That’s it! Some left-wing commentators suggesting the kneeling is a church-like gesture would have us believe in the tooth fairy. It is an abuse of the gesture. Locking arms is just another expression of defiance. Everyone knows it is protest not reverence. Remaining off the field to purposely avoid the Anthem is equally disrespectful. For ESPN and FOX News to decide to not televise the Anthem is a shameful cop-out. If players want to express protest on the field and the owners want to allow it then go for it. But, let’s stop these attempts at redefining protest. If most Americans do not approve of using the Anthem for a specific protest, what are the players gaining? Otherwise we’ll just continue the needless, unproductive and divisive fighting.
On keeping a bad deal. The media seems to be confused because the Trump administration initially certified the Iran Nuclear Deal every 90 days as he considered his options. He has always said it is a terrible deal – and every day news reports from the Middle East, it keeps getting worse . So now he has refused to certify it. The fact that Iran is barely living up to the terms of a deal that is very good for them should be no surprise. The deal gave Iran billions of dollars to continue their state-sponsored terrorism. In return, they gave up nuclear bombs for a few years – bombs that they did not need and could not use in the short term. Since the deal, Iran has tightened its grip on Iraq even as Americans help defeat ISIS in that nation. Obama’s two major foreign policy catastrophes for the US were the pulling out of our troops in Iraq and the nuclear deal that further empowered Iran. Without certification, the future of the deal rests in the hands of Congress that would not approve the deal in the first place Even worse, our “victories” over ISIS in Iraq and Syria will accrue to the benefit of Iran and Russia largely due to the Obama lead-from-behind policies, strategic withdrawals and this awful, awful deal.
On things the media does not like to report. (1) While the left beats up on big pharma for the opioid crisis – and there is a share of blame, to be sure, the biggest problem is opioids made in China and shipped to America legally (through the U.S. Postal Service) and illegally (through our porous borders). Perhaps this is China’s revenge on the West for seducing the Middle Kingdom with opium more than 100 years ago. But hey! That was the British, not us. (2) The trial is going on for that illegal alien who killed that young lady in California. The father has made statements pleading for sanity with regard to our handling of the borders and illegal aliens. I did not see his story on CNN or MSNBC. (3) With all the talk about the Russian influence in the 2016 General Election, how many reports noted that the Ruskies spend less than $100,000 in multiple states. That would not be enough to influence a single congressional election. (4) The liberal media is avoiding the new developments in the Russian investigation that are dragging in the Clintons up to their wallets. One liberal newsie simply dismissed as bringing up old news. You read that right. The media that is still talking about Trump’s statements years ago, are saying the new developments are “old News.” (5) Ari Emmanuel, brother of Chicago’s Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, has been for decades one of the most prominent talent agents in Hollywood – described as the “21st century Hollywood mogul” and the “pre-eminent power player” in Tinsel Town. Does it strike you as strange that he has not been questioned by the media? What does he know and how long as he known it? Even worse. How deeply has he been involved that culture?
On California’s new sanctuary law. How ironic that California should enact a law to protect illegal aliens across the board – and that means criminals, too – while a home state illegal alien is on trial for murdering a young woman. Their claim of being America’s first sanctuary state seems to be a dubious honor. It is true that very few of the illegal aliens are criminals – and certainly not of the most dangerous types. However, a lot of very bad things can be done by a few bad people, and we know that very bad people are among those illegally entering the country. They have already killed, raped, robbed and imported drugs. The illegal alien criminals prefer sanctuary environments. How do I know? They have said so, and why not? They can ply their evil deeds with a lot less fear of arrest and deportation. I personally know of one illegal alien who was convicted of drug trafficking and released on probation. Even he was shocked that he did not get deported. The law will now join with the state’s reckless tax-and-spend policies in driving more citizens out of California – which is already an exodus state.
On politicizing our fallen heroes. This is a difficult subject to cover because I do not believe it should be covered. I am disgusted with the politicization of the heroic ultimate sacrifice young men and women make for this nation. Once again, President Trump made a maladroit statement that was somewhat subject to interpretation. He responded to questionable media criticism by comparing his response to that of past presidents in dealing with those who too often arrive in caskets in Dover, Delaware. Did he mean that no other president made calls? Did he mean that no other president made calls in all cases? The answer to those questions is unfortunately left to partisan bickering. We do know that his intent was in heartfelt sympathy. Words similar to his have been expressed on many such occasions. They were in honor of a person who understood the risks and proceeded regardless. Trump’s statement, wrong or right, involved only other presidents – not the servicemen and women. It was flamboyant Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson who dragged in the specific issue of Sgt. La David Johnson. She launched the politicization of the fallen by interpreting Trump’s words in the most dishonest fashion for only one purpose – to demonize the President. Ironically, Wilson used words similar to Trump at the dedication of the FBI office in Miami named after two fallen agents, saying that they recognized the risks when they entered law enforcement. But to me, the most obnoxious and obscene players in this political melodrama have been the left wing media that has hyped and prolonged this story beyond all public interest. Day after day they repeated their same biased theories against Trump to the exclusion of many significant news events. Their intent was not to do their job as they arrogantly claim, but to abuse their privilege for political propaganda. Day after day, they repeatedly displayed the images of the fallen, implying that their sacrifice was not respected by the President and the nation. They have no thought or consideration of the pain such reporting might impose upon the families. As a gold star grandfather, I would resent having my grandson’s image repeatedly displayed for partisan political advantage. I would never have wanted our tragedy to be used by any faction in the political spectrum. I can empathize with the pain of so many gold star families, but I think any family who moves into the spotlight of partisan politics, such as the Kahn family that appeared at the Democratic National Convention, removes the protective shield of mourning. You cannot just go out in public and take a few political shots and then say “Don’t push back, I’m in mourning.” In the case of my grandson, President Obama never made a call – nor did we expect one. It never would have occurred to us to criticize him because of that. We were overwhelmed by the support of our government and the Marine Corps during our time of mourning. If there was any informational value in this Trump/Wilson/Johnson story at all, it ended in a day or two. It is time for the shameless press and politicians to quit abusing and misusing gold star families. And true to my own advice, this is the last time I will write about this shameful controversy.