Friday, July 31, 2009

A Message Concerning NY from The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action

New York State Senate Called Back for Special Session!

Please Contact Your State Senator!

At the urging of Senate Democratic leadership, the New York State Senate will return to Albany for a one-day session on Thursday, August 6.

While Senators are expected to take up the controversial issue of control over the New York City schools, there is the potential for other pending legislation to be acted upon as long as they are in session.

Contact your State Senator and ask him or her to oppose the following list of anti-gun bills should any come up for consideration while the Senators are in Albany.

Senate Bill 4397A and Senate Bill 6005, both micro-stamping bills, would ban the sale of all semi-automatic handguns not equipped with micro-stamping technology.

Senate Bill 4753 would prohibit the possession of concealed firearms in any park or recreational area.

Senate Bill 1598 would require five-year renewals on pistol licenses.

Senate Bill 1715 would impose new restrictions on licensed dealers and require retailers to obtain liability insurance against the possibility of a crime being committed with a firearm any time after it is legally sold.

Senate Bill 5228 would outlaw handguns ”capable” of being fired by anyone five years of age or younger, this legislation would outlaw virtually all handguns in New York.

Senate Bill 2379 would ban frangible ammunition.

Senate Bill 5489 would institute a training requirement for issuance of a pistol license.

Senate Bill 4752 would outlaw .50 caliber firearms.

Senate Bill 3098 would require the mandatory storage of firearms.

Contact information for your State Senator can be found by clicking here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Declining Integrity Hurts Small Business

Alexandra, my wife's friend from Woodstock, just mentioned that many of the small businesses in the Hudson Valley/Catskills region are dishonest. In fact, it took me ten years to rehab my house in West Shokan in the Town of Olive, and almost as long to find honest craftsmen--an honest, competent plumber who knows how to design a heating system; a responsible electrician; a sober landscaper who does the work efficiently and intelligently; a mason who shows up and does a competent job quickly; a carpenter who finishes the job; a roofer who does not allow tar to spill over the side of the roof and knows that the problems are in the corners and details; and a snow plow guy who shows up punctually when it snows. Along the way I met a builder who took almost two years to re-work my bathroom (including an extension) and disappeared when I objected to the cost's becoming four times his original estimate; a landscaper who went way over budget and called me dishonest for objecting; another landscaper who left a new septic tank sitting on my front yard for almost a year; and a mason who never finished the job.

Without going into details excessively, I learned that requesting references chases away the worst perpetrators (several of them simply disappeared when I requested references) and to get all estimates in writing.

Although construction may be the worst venue, dishonesty seems to be common now. I have seen this in northern New York (Potsdam) as well, and I do not believe it to be a regional pattern. Rather, I suspect that ethics are on the decline.

That is unfortunate. Small business can offer a lot that big business cannot: good relationships, superior service, and understanding local needs. But the lure of the quick buck blinds too many of us from the traditional path of building a reputation through fair dealing. Unfortunately, big business has contributed to this moral climate. I do not believe that a business can become big by being dishonest. But once big, businesses too often utilize their market power in questionable ways. This should open up competitive avenues for small business. But instead of seeing the opportunity in quality, too many entrepreneurs see the opportunity in emulating corporate managers in seeking the quick buck.

The Catskills never seems to develop (which incidentally is fine with me now that my house is built and I have a good list of contractors). I think one reason is the failed moral attitude whereby money and short term gain are put before integrity. Show me an honest culture and I will show you a successful one.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Not Socialized Medicine?

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Langbert:

Why should we be afraid of "socialized medicine"? The government runs health care for our service men and service women. The health care for our military is first rate. You get health care from CUNY. Under their plan you are covered even for dental care. The Senators and Congressmen get their health care from the government. They, too, have excellent coverage.

So the military, the Congress, and you are part of the "socialized" medicine system in this country. I have not heard you complain about the quality of care that you receive.

Mitchell Langbert said...

We should not be afraid of socialized medicine. We should recognize it as another potentially mismanaged government program that will reduce standards and intensify the 30-year decline in the real hourly wage. Take a trip on the New York City subway. The service irregularities, filth, often rats scurrying around. Now, project the same incompetence to health care. A few years ago there was a major scandal about the Veterans Administration hospitals, where the veterans were being kept in filth. Do you wish to treated in a hospital run by the same people? Have you visited a DMV office lately?

Now, you mention CUNY. CUNY does not provide me with care. They pay for the care I receive. The care is provided by an independent hospital that makes its own decisions and has to compete with other hospitals. That is not what is being proposed now. That is to be eliminated.

As far as the CUNY dental insurance, the benefits were repeatedly reduced between 2000 and now to virtually nothing. We no longer have meaningful dental insurance. What is to stop Washington from similarly reducing health benefits?

That is their plan. I do not deny that the current system has resulted in waste. The reasons are complex and many of them would be resolved by a single payer system. But that system would result in government controlled rationing and an elimination of medical innovation.

The problem with socialized health care (which is NOT the current proposal) is that it causes stagnation. There is one country that has been responsible for the majority of pharmaceutical and health care advance: the United States. There is also one country with a non-state-dominated financing system: the United States. Proponents of national health insurance aim to manage the cost of health care by REDUCING TREATMENT (and eliminating innovation). The reason that national health insurance is cheaper in Canada is that the Canadians limit treatment. Much of this is for unnecessary care, which is an advantage. But also, they will reduce innovative or new treatment.

Thus, a national system will enjoy economies of scale and possibly better management in some ways, but it would eliminate innovation. It would enable government officials to pull the plug on treatments that they deem inappropriate. Obama proposes this by requiring counseling to the elderly not to receive treatment but to die on narcotics. That is the crux of the reason why costs are lower in Canada and in Europe. Is that what you want, to be told to die when you are old?

Since the bureaucratic approach to government management has been an abject failure elsewhere in our society, why do you believe it to be an effective method when applied to health care? Veterans DO NOT receive "first rate" care. The standards at the veterans hospitals have been an ongoing scandal. Like everything else government touches, the veterans hospitals have been turned into sh*tholes.

The potential for break through cures that significantly extend life will be staunched by national health insurance. A decentralized system can support innovation much better and will facilitate the application of new and different treatments.

National health insurance is failure of the American dream. The Declaration of Independence states that all of us are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Socialized medicine attacks liberty; it circumscribes and attacks the right to life; and it limits the pursuit of happiness.

Does Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D, NY-22) Support the Obama Plan to Murder Your Grandma?



I have sent the following secure e-mail to the Honorable Maurice Hinchey, Congressman of the Gerrymandered 22nd Congressional district.

Dear Congressman Hinchey:

I oppose the current health care bill. However, this inquiry concerns three related questions: (1) whether Congressman Hinchey has read the Obama health care proposal; (2) whether he believes that voting for a potentially incompetently drafted bill that he has not read fulfills his duties as an elected official; and (3) whether Congressman Hinchey supports the provision in the bill, noted by Dr. Betsy McCaughey in the New York Post, that encourages health policy makers to prevent the elderly from receiving care, i.e., that encourages murder or the elderly to die without care?

I am posting a copy of this e-mail on my blog, http://www.mitchell-langbert.blogspot.com.

There is a rumor flying around the Internet that few if any Congressmen have read the Obama health care proposal. This is because of a recorded statement on Youtube by Congressman Conyers to that effect. I would like to clear the air on this question:

Has Congressman Hinchey read the current health care proposal? I would appreciate your direct written response to this question.

According to the Youtube video of Congressman Conyers, no Congressman has read the bill because it is impossible to do so. Yet, the Democrats aim to pass the law anyway.

If that is the case, do you believe that you would be acting competently in voting for a complex bill of supreme importance that you have not read?

Again, I would appreciate your direct written response to this question. Do you believe that you are acting competently in voting for a complex bill that you have never read?

Third, Betsy McCaughey recently wrote in the New York Post that the Obama proposal includes a provision that would require health policy makers to ask doctors to counsel elderly patients that they are better off dying than receiving care. President Obama's "murder grandma" proposal is obviously essential to his claim that the proposal will reduce health costs. While there may be gains from providing coverage to the uninsured because they can obtain earlier treatment, the expansion of coverage will also stimulate demand in the absence of rationing provisions. I have not read the bill, but there is no doubt in my mind that rationing is essential to cost reduction claims( if indeed costs are reduced, which will be a surprise to me given the widespread incompetence in Washington with respect to even the most elementary managerial problems).

I repeat. Would you please send me a clearly written letter (another concept that is generally alien to the inept Washington culture) outlining your answers to these three questions:

1. Has Congressman Maurice Hinchey read the Obama health care bill?

2. If not, does Congressman Hinchey believe that in voting for a bill that he has not read and does not understand that he is fulfilling his duties as a Congressman to his constituents?

3. What is Congressman Hinchey's position on rationing provisions in the bill, including the "murder-your-grandma" provision?

Sincerely,

Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Phil Orenstein Supports Tea Party Against Obamanable Health Care

I just received this e-mail from Phil Orenstein, a leader of the pro-freedom movement in the Borough of Queens, NYC. Phil had the courage to stand up for freedom and proclaim Professor Sharad Karkhanis "educator of the year" on behalf of the Queens Village Republican Club when the dastardly faculty union's, the Professional Staff Congress's henchman, "Sue" O'Malley, attacked Professor Karkhanis via a bogus law suit.


TEA PARTY AGAINST SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE
OBAMACARE: TAXATION WITHOUT MEDICATION

Thursday, July 30th 6:00 to 8:00 PM
South Parking Lot Broadway Mall (near Macy's)/Sackett St., Hicksville. L.I.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Betsy McCaughey
Health Policy Expert and former Lt. Governor of New York State. Founder and Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dr. Betsy McCaughey, recently wrote an Op-ed in the New York Post entitled Deadly Doctors: O advisers want to ration care about the chilling prospect of denying healthcare services and benefits for the elderly or the terminally infirm. One of Obama’s top health policy advisors, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, is the driving force behind the push for a healthcare policy for “social justice” instead of meeting the needs of the patient. It’s called sacrificing grandma for the greater good. Dr. McCaughey, who has actually read the bill which most of our representatives haven’t, has also reported that on page 424 of the House bill America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, there is a clause to deny healthcare for the elderly, who will be subject to mandatory counseling sessions to consider "end of life" options. Take a pain pill instead of surgery or other expensive treatment options because in a “just” society the money could be better spent on the more able-bodied and fit.

As the August recess nears, Obamacare is being fast-tracked through the Senate and House back-rooms and out to the floor in the next few days in order to pass socialized medicine for all Americans. Not only is this a colossal government power grab, but when it comes to our health, here is where we must draw the line in the sand against putting government bureaucrats between us and our doctors. As the Congressional Budget office reported, it will not reduce healthcare costs, but will increase the federal deficit and cost over $1 trillion. Our representatives are supposed to represent us. How can they represent us when they don’t even read the bills which they are trying to pass before the public finds out what’s really in them. We should call our representatives to protest fast-tracking the bill this week and attend the Tea Party in Hicksville, L.I. on Thursday to make our voices heard before this irreversible government intrusion into our lives and our healthcare transpires. Be there.

TEA PARTY AGAINST SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE
OBAMACARE: TAXATION WITHOUT MEDICATION

Thursday, July 30th 6:00 to 8:00 PM
South Parking Lot Broadway Mall (near Macy's)/Sackett St., Hicksville. L.I.


Sponsored by Individuals United for Freedom
Go to Website for more information: http://www.meetup.com/Individuals-United-for-Freedom-Meetup-Group/



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nancy Razik on the Authors of the Obamanable Health Care Plan

>>Obama Health Care Plan encourages elderly to consider suicide to curb rising healthcare costs

>"These people are crazy, evil, Godless, and need to be put out of office immediately. Where did they come from? They must be aliens from another planet.

"Possessed! Insane! Ruthless!"

Why Government Is Incompetent: Fausta on The Obamanable Health Care Plan

In Roman history Fausta was the wife of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. Constantine had Fausta executed by putting her in an overheated bath and forcing her to stay there. My wife always says one of her greatest fears is being permanently locked in a steam room.

In any case, today's Fausta is an excellent blogger who makes an important point (h/t Larwyn):

>During his speech at a National Press Club luncheon, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), questioned the point of lawmakers reading the health care bill.

“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

When I worked in Albany for the ways and means committee in 1991 (I was a Democrat at that point) I noticed the same phenomenon. The members did not read the bills. Likewise, a perusal of Robert Caro's classic Powerbroker, which is about Robert Moses, describes how Moses repeatedly took advantage of this phenomenon to ram through laws that gave himself extraordinary powers that no one knew about until after the fact.

Rationality is a rare commodity. In the 1950s James March and Herbert Simon described managers as behaving in ways that are consistent with "bounded rationality". There are, they argued, cognitive limits on rationality. Earlier, Walter Lippmann argued that the public cannot possibly understand the political questions that it is asked to decide upon. Friedrich Hayek, the great Austrian economist, argued that because information is difficult to obtain, in the economy a simple signaling process is necessary. In a free economy that signal is price. No such signal exists in state dominated economies, which is why they are inefficient.

Supposedly, the political process is a matter of redistribution of wealth, who gets what, when and how, as Harold Lasswell put it. But a more important question is: who knows how to do it? The answer with respect to government is generally--"we don't know".

The process of political engagement is largely a smokescreen whereby special interests extract rents. This observation has been explored by economists such as Mancur Olson and George Stigler. The process of rent extraction by academic social democrats and their corporate clients has traditionally involved using the poor or working class as a ruse. De Jouvenal shows that this tactic goes back to the days of Septimius Severus and carried forward through the middle ages.

The health care plan is not a serious plan. Rather, it reflects the brokerage of corrupt special interests. How do I know this despite not having the slightest idea of what is in the plan, just like Mr. Conyers?

Citizens Against Government Waste Formats Anti-Obamanable Health Care Letter

Citizens Against Government Waste has posted an excellent formatted letter that you can e-mail to your representatives. The letter is here, and they can forward it to your representatives for you. They write:

Tell Congress: Vote NO on Obama/Pelosi/Reid Healthcare Reform!

1. Complete the form below with your information.
2. Make your letter stand out! Please take a moment to personalize the subject and text of the message on the right with your own words, if you wish.
3. Click the Next Step button to send your letter to these decision makers:
* Your Senators
* Your Representative
]

I am writing to express my strong opposition to any healthcare "reform" legislation that inflates the federal deficit and national debt even further, imposes new taxes and mandates on individuals and businesses during this economic recession, and includes a government-run plan that would ultimately crowd out the private insurance market.

With our nation facing a $1.8 trillion deficit this year and a national debt that is expected to nearly double from $11.4 trillion today to almost $21 trillion over the next 10 years, we simply can't afford a new $1 trillion-plus healthcare program.

What's more, the higher taxes and costly mandates on individuals and businesses that Congress is proposing to pay for this new program could not come at a worse time with families struggling to make ends meet and the national unemployment rate approaching double digits.

But perhaps worst of all, a government-run option that would expand the federal bureaucracy and compete with private insurance plans will only move this country down the slippery slope of a single-payer, socialized healthcare system. Such a system would restrict my choice of doctors, treatments, and medicines and erode the quality of care that my family and I receive.

A better way to expand coverage for the uninsured while preserving the high quality of healthcare we enjoy as Americans would be to enact meaningful tort reform to curb frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits that drive up costs. There are also numerous free-market proposals, such as providing tax credits for purchasing private insurance coverage, that would reduce the ranks of the uninsured.

Again, I urge you to reject any healthcare legislation that burdens taxpayers and our economy, expands the federal bureaucracy, and restricts my choice of doctors, treatments, and medicines.

Stop Watching CNN--You'll Be Better Informed

Much of my summer is spent working on research projects and working out. I exercise at the Emerson Inn and Spa, an expensive hotel on Route 28 in the Catskills. Politically I carried petitions for the Town of Olive Republican Committee (Ulster County, NY). When I speak to Republicans around here, they agree that the election of Barack Obama was a disaster. When I speak to Democrats, they are outraged that the Democrats' health care plan hasn't passed. For my part, I am outraged that I am forced, at gunpoint, to participate in failed government boondoggles that already exist, for instance social security and medicare. Enforced government health insurance is but one more manifestation of social democratic tyranny.

Why is it that the Republicans I know with a few exceptions are blue collar, while the Democrats I know, with a few exceptions, are professionals or wealthy? Given the preponderance of professionals and trust fund babies among Democrats, why do the Democrats claim that they are the agents of the poor and Republicans of the wealthy? Added to the mix, of course, is the claim of wealthy academics that poor whites are not poor but are really oppressors, and that they, the wealthy whites, are the true oppressed along with racial minorities. Thus, in their opinion, large wealth transfers are needed, transfers from working class whites to oppressed university professors (and smaller ones to programs that claim to benefit the poor). The repeated failure of Marxist, socialist and social democratic ideologies have led to these ideological gymnastics. The days of independent thought, laissez- faire and important innovation are over. Only government-improved innovation like cell phones and computers is permitted today.

American political discussion is perplexed by racial concerns, and the way race was handled in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was one tragedy of American history. But as important as race is, it is overblown while more important economic questions are left to the self-interested elitists, who quietly find ways to transfer wealth to themselves, whether through nepotism, the creation of programs that create administrative jobs, or Federal Reserve subsidies to the ultra-rich in the name of stopping an imaginary "depression".

I've noticed that in the gym, Democrats inevitably turn the television to one of two or three news stations--CNN, occasionally MSNBC and occasionally CNBC. Thus, I am forced to listen to the social democrats' Izvestia, although I turn it off whenever I can. I once mentioned to a wealthy social democrat that listening to CNN is like listening to Mein Kampf. She snorted but continued to watch it.

Yesterday in the locker room a guy who bought a weekend house in Hunter, NY to entertain his daughter told me that he thinks it is an outrage that the health plan has not passed. I did not reply because when in the company of social democrats the world that they envision materializes. They do not permit disagreement and might complain to the hotel administration if I disagree with their vulgar political ideas, which they openly and crudely express as though they were at a sit down strike in college. As they gain power, the social democrats will naturally transfer their crude impulses to government force, as they have already done in many respects, and violent thugs that they are will establish bureaus to which they can complain about people who are politically incorrect. This social democrat did not claim to know what the results of the health plan would be on the quality of care to the poor; whether his own health care would improve thereby; or what the effects on the overall economy would be. He did not even know whether I agreed or disagreed with his position. He assumed I did just like he assumed that the health plan will be a bonanza. Of course, the true beneficiaries will be the professional class, who will establish the appropriate rent extraction systems with the assistance of rent-extraction-"experts" from Harvard.

The problem of unforeseen effects and the basic economics of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson is unknown to many social democrats. It is not that they've considered Hazlitt's ideas and decided they were wrong. Rather, they are simply ignorant of them. Instead, they watch CNN and imbibe the stupidity and ignorance of CNN's inept ideological lynch mob.

CNN does not provide news, defined as information about the most important events of the day. Their subject matter revolved around a policeman who mistakenly arrested a professor and a series of confused, blabbering cheers for Barack Obama. Listening to CNN is participating in a lynch mob. The victim is the United States of America.

Racist Obama Supporters Continue to Harass This Blog

Barack Obama is the most divisive, ugliest and most racist president in recent decades. His supporters continue to attack me through the comments section of this blog. I just rejected a comment that called me a "white racist pig".

The person who wrote the comment felt that because Mr. Obama is black that he ought not to be criticized and that anyone who criticizes him is a racist. That is a racist claim.

Barack Obama is a con man, a liar who pretends to help the poor but stuffs his back pockets with money and supports Wall Street.

My great grandparents were killed in southern Poland in the holocaust. My paternal great-great grandfather had his index finger chopped off by the Czar. I don't seek sympathy, and I am sick of the Democrats' bulls*it racism.