Friday, December 01, 2017

The Bright Future of European Health Care: Britons Face Longer Waits Along with Rationing of Treatment

As Bernie Sanders, in a CNN debate between him and Senator Maria Cantwell on the one hand and Senators Ted Cruz and Tim Scott on the other, again defended nationalized health care — his main argument, or one of his main arguments, being nothing more than its very existence in European countries and around the world — across the pond Britons were treated to the splendid news that NHS patients face longer waits and rationing of treatment. (Cheers for the link, Maggie.)

Writes the health editor of the Times, Chris Smyth:
The health service will curb treatment for conditions such as hearing loss and dementia after its head set out the first explicit limits on what patients should expect.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, effectively ripped up waiting-time targets for routine surgery, rebuffing demands from ministers as he said that cancer, mental health and GP care should take priority.

Patients were told to stop expecting the NHS to treat coughs, indigestion and other minor conditions, with GPs encouraged to send people away without prescriptions for medicines they could buy over the counter.

A list of 36 conditions that do not need to be treated has been drawn up in plans to save £190 million …
Related health care posts:
Note to Americans Who Believe Europeans' Health Care System Is the Way to Go
• News From Across the Pond: Taking Britain Towards a Bright New PC Future
• Waiting 3 to 4 Years for Surgery: The UK's State "Rationing Will Cripple Patients"
• And, finally, There is no free lunch:
People are far more likely to go hungry in an NHS hospital than in a prison, researchers from Bournemouth University said.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meghan Markle Joins Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as Individuals Hounded, Previously Hounded, or To Be Hounded, by the IRS

The TaxProf's take on Prince Harry's bride-to-be, via Instapundit, namely that Meghan Markle’s U.S. Citizenship Could Cause Tax Headaches For British Royal Family, is a reminder that the most famous Briton, or the most famous person, to renounce his or her dual American citizenship (back in 2015) is a fellow by the name of Boris Johnson.

The foreign minister of the UK (who has long been and will continue to be a leading candidate for the office of prime minister itself) was hounded for so long by America's IRS that, in disgust during his tenure as mayor of London, he renounced his dual American citizenship in 2015.

Related: • Keeping the IRS happy grew ever more time-consuming and costly, until it became intolerable

A massive breach of the Fourth Amendment: The vast majority of those renouncing citizenship are middle-class Americans, living overseas, fully compliant with their U.S. tax obligations

Moreover: Check out 46 photographs of Boris Johnson to see whether he appears more British or more American 

The toxic sludge of victimology: There’s no way Americans could have landed on the moon, much less prevailed at Iwo Jima and Normandy, if we had been a nation of pants-wetting victims

Just when I thought I’d heard everything
sighs Benny Huang,
along comes a new phenomenon called self-cyberbullying. Apparently it’s “a thing” now. …

It occurs to me that I had in fact heard of self-cyberbullying several years before the release of this study, I just hadn’t known that the phenomenon has a name. In 2013, a University of Wyoming student, Meg Lanker-Simons, whipped her college campus into a frenzy after she anonymously posted an online rape threat against herself. Lanker-Simons was (and probably still is) a hard-left political activist.

“I want to hatef*** Meg Lanker Simons so hard,” wrote Meg Lanker-Simons. “That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican bitch.” [Spelling mistakes original.]

Outrage spread quickly. A rally against rape culture was held at which the “victim” Lanker-Simons spoke, followed by denunciations of the cravenly rape fantasist who was then still hiding behind a mask of anonymity. The coward was assumed to be one of those hated conservatives.

But then the police investigated and discovered that the threat had been posted from Lanker-Simons’ own computer. Woops! That wasn’t supposed to happen. The coward had been hiding in plain sight all along.

It isn’t difficult to see what Lanker-Simons was trying to accomplish. First, she was portraying her political adversaries as evil misogynists. Second, she was exaggerating beyond all proportion the danger of sexual violence that women face on campus, something feminists like to do. And third, and perhaps most importantly, she was making herself a victim.

I suspect she was trying to do this because victimhood is a sought-after commodity in our society. It’s this year’s Tickle Me Elmo—people are trampling each other to get their own. Those who haven’t actually been victimized get jealous of people who have been and concoct ridiculous hoaxes to get the same degree of attention. This pathology is so bad it’s even infected the US Air Force Academy prep school.

I can hear the objections now: ‘But isn’t there such thing as a real victim?’

Of course. It would be foolish to claim that there are no real victims or that we shouldn’t try to do right by them. I myself have written about victims—of abortion, of affirmative action, and of evil, oppressive private sector nondiscrimination laws. Earlier this month, a strident atheist victimized a church of full of Christians in Sutherland Springs, Texas. But there’s a difference between helping victims and establishing victimhood as our national idée fixe. The first is admirable while the second is anything but.

This obsession with victimhood is a worrying trend. There’s no way Americans could have landed on the moon, much less prevailed at Iwo Jima and Normandy, if we had been a nation of pants-wetting victims. We would have been doomed to mediocrity or worse.

I know of no other nation, with the possible exception of post-Apartheid South Africa, that has exalted victimhood to quite the same level as we Americans have in 21st Century. In other cultures, particularly non-Western cultures, victimhood is not nearly as important or valuable.

In the Muslim world, for example, victims are held in contempt because victimhood is associated with weakness, a despicable trait. This is especially true for men. If a guy has his wallet lifted while walking home at night he’s more likely to pretend it didn’t happen than to be perceived as too unmanly to defend himself. There’s a cultural conundrum here because most Muslims won’t hesitate to tell you that they’re victimized by big bad Israel or big bad America but in their minds that’s different. It’s not personal victimhood.

There are even some subcultures within the United States such as the military in which victimhood is shunned, or at least that’s the way it used to be when I was in the Army in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I recall being shocked when, during my first few days of basic training, the drill sergeant ridiculed those privates going to sick call as the “sick, lame, and lazy.” When some of the privates came back on crutches they were called “gimps” or worse epithets that I won’t repeat here. I couldn’t believe my ears. At that point in my life, which then totaled almost nineteen years, sick and injured people had always been given special care, reprieve from their duties, and above all sympathy. They were allowed time and space to recover. They were not barraged with insults.

Slowly I came to understand why the drill sergeant did this. Many of the privates were faking. They wanted to be treated as victims because it meant ducking out of training for a while and resting in an air-conditioned doctor’s office. If they came back from sick call with a doctor’s note they could be excused from doing pushups, running, or marching which made their lives a lot easier. It hardly mattered that it interfered with the frenetic training schedule or that it was a very dishonorable thing to do; the important thing was that they would be able to garner some sympathy which had a lot of benefits.

I know this all sounds very cruel to a lot of civilians but trying to turn a bunch of teenagers raised on MTV and Nintendo into soldiers requires a hardass attitude. The drill sergeant wasn’t allowed to forbid the privates from going to sick call but he could extract a social penalty from them in order to discourage others from mimicking the same irresonsible behavior.

But what about those privates who were legitimately sick or injured? In time they learned that the drill sergeant wasn’t talking about them. He was talking about the malingerers. Those who knew in their hearts that they weren’t malingering paid the drill sergeant no mind.

That was almost twenty years ago. I doubt very much that drill sergeants today are still allowed to call the sick call herd the “sick, lame, and lazy” though I wish they were. It would be nice if there was still some refuge from victim culture somewhere.

Just how did we get here? One explanation is that we’ve become a feminized society. Women, I believe, have a surplus of sympathy which makes them suckers for a sob story whether it’s true or not. Some men have the same soft spot in their hearts though most of these men were raised in feminized cultures. The majority of the world’s men still believe in “toughing it out.”

Another explanation is that our society has quietly and incrementally succumbed to Marxism. No other political philosophy sees the world in such stark categories of victim (the “exploited”) and victimizer (the “exploiter”). Without victimhood, Marxism has no basis and no meaning.

In classical Marxism, exploitation is understood in terms of class—workers suffering at the hands of the cigar-chomping boss man. That was the world as Karl Marx understood it, living as he did during a period of intense industrialization. Since the late 20th Century, however, many other “exploited” groups have become stand-ins for workers. Women, for example, have made their claim to being an oppressed class. So have blacks, homosexuals, and illegal aliens. Together this victim coalition hopes to topple the system that supposedly oppresses them.

This victim/victimizer dichotomy has so thoroughly saturated our society that we can hardly make sense of the world we live in without it. Just as a fish doesn’t know that he’s wet, we don’t know that we’re swimming in the toxic sludge of victimology. We think we’re observing the world outside our windows with clarity and objectivity.

I wish I knew how to put a stop to victimhood mania because it’s tearing us apart as a nation. Each time there’s a phony baloney “bias incident” that turns out to have been a cry for attention, our societal fabric deteriorates just a little more. My suggestion would be swift and harsh punishment for hate hoaxers, though that probably won’t happen. Regardless, we can’t continue to reward this behavior.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Who Represents the Biggest Threat to Women?

A cartoon by A F Branco.

More on Roy Moore:
• Following Leftist Sex Accusations Against Conservative Politicians,
Conservatives Join In the Onslaught: When on Earth Are We Going to Learn?!

Monday, November 27, 2017

While the East Coast Élites Mock the Superstition of Conservatives Americans (i.e., Religion), the New York Times Prints Articles Treating Subjects like Astrology Seriously

Here’s what the feminization of the news room looks like
writes Heather McDonald (thanks to Instapundit):
The New York Times — that self-appointed scourge of fake news and the alleged war on science — has published a fawning article about astrology in its news pages. “Leaning on the Stars to Make Sense of the World,” by Alexandra S. Levine, treats Times’ readers to heaping doses of astrological mumbo jumbo: “Saturn’s move from a fire sign to an earth sign next month.” It respectfully conveys astrologers’ hilariously self-important evaluations of their “profession”: “‘It’s so important that we give quality literature, quality interpretation, quality astronomy and astrology,’” says the astrology columnist for Harper’s Bazaar
While we are supposed to roll on the floor laughing at the idea of flyover Americans engaging in practices so primitive as going to church — as I once wrote in a lengthy and in-depth piece (Devotees of Science Versus Followers of Religion — Are Only the Latter to Be Taken to Task for Their Alleged Superstitions?) — we are told to ignore the full reality which can be summarized in the following sentence:

While traditional Americans, aka clueless Neanderthals, are to be described as superstitious regarding their outdated religious beliefs, it turns out that the avant-garde and allegedly science-minded Democrats, as Jonah Goldberg puts it, "are more likely to believe in paranormal activity. They’re also more likely to believe in reincarnation and astrology."
The [New York Times] article never once asks the obvious questions, including: What is the theory behind astral influence? Do stars emit some physical force, wave, particle, or gravitational field that affects events on earth, and if so, has it been measured? What is astrologers’ ex post facto batting average — how do their daily newspaper predictions stand up? Have they predicted major events with anything other than random success? The closest that Ms. Levine gets to skepticism is the following: “for a craft so often criticized for being nonscientific and, in some cases, fraudulent, horoscopes still cover the pages and websites of publications in New York and across the globe.”

 … The day after the New York Times informed its readers about the “professional” world of astrology, it ran a front-page story about ICE agents’ alleged reign of terror in Atlanta, Ga., under the Trump administration. This reign of terror consists in targeted enforcement raids against individuals like an illegal Mexican who has been deported twice, served time in prison, convicted of two domestic-violence incidents, and charged with rape which he plea-bargained down to a lesser crime. The number of illegal alien law-breakers in Atlanta is so high that one is booked into a county jail every few hours, reports the Times. The Times notes with dismay that illegal aliens are being arrested for driving without insurance and without a license. Apparently Times reporters would not mind if their car were totaled by an uninsured driver. A reporter for the Spanish-language newspaper Mundo Hispanico sends out Facebook alerts of sightings of ICE agents so that illegal aliens can evade the law. Yet we are supposed to believe that it is the Trump administration that poses a threat to the rule of law.
Females have always been the biggest consumers of spiritual hoaxes such as astrology, crystals, séances, and other metaphysical claims about the world that rest simply on assertion rather than scientific proof. If a credulous article on astrology can get through the editorial process at an increasingly female-dominated Times, we can expect that political reporting will grow even more unmoored from reality at the Times and other outlets experiencing a similar demographic shift.