An Immodest Proposal

The evidence is overwhelming: as the government takes on more and more of the medical/surgical expenses of the public, the USA slides closer to financial disaster. The cost of staying healthy is rising rapidly, and we need to do something about it. The Penguin Post has four suggestions that, if adopted, will ease the burden.

Ease the burden. That’s all we can do; there is no complete, permanent and problem-free solution at hand. Utopia is not available. So let’s think in terms of reducing costs and improving the context in which health care is delivered to the public.

Above all, let’s not fall victim to the Fallacy of the Unavailable Utopia. That error in thinking tells us that because we can not find a perfect solution to our problem, we refuse to make things better at all.

Restoring And Revitalizing The Medical/Surgical Profession

The oldest occupation in the world is not prostitution, but healing.

When humans (or possibly proto-humans) all lived in small bands, the task of healing was undertaken by shamans. From the first, healing arts were combined with magic, ritual and the charisma of the shaman. That was an instinctive development; when we do not understand what is happening to us, we resort to someone who specializes in arcane knowledge and has powers far beyond ours. He often makes up the mumbo-jumbo as he goes along (“curses cause illness”) or deludes himself into thinking he is more effective than he is (“take an antacid for that ulcer,” “Entero-Vioform will safely prevent amoebic dysentery”).

The pattern is distorted but unbroken today. The physician or surgeon is always a religious figure of a sort, commanding our faith as well as our resources. The rituals involved in being sick, being treated and being released from care (upright or feet first) are seldom noted, but they are still present. Health care is part rite and ritual, even for atheists.

We should acknowledge these truths, and make them work for us.

The study of medicine should be reserved as a privilege granted only to individuals who are willing to make a religious commitment. Like priests, rabbis, monks and pastors, healers should take vows, live lives at least partially apart from the lay community, and devote themselves to service.

As preposterous as this sounds, it is genuinely practical. Whatever one’s religion, one can take an oath dedicating one’s life and works to the relief of suffering. Yes, atheists can do it: a secular oath invoking a humanitarian concern for one’s fellow man is easy to imagine.

The student who wishes to learn a healing art should understand that he is not embarking on a career that will enrich him. No, he must not be expected to live in genteel poverty, nor should he be forced into celibacy (though some might wish to do either or both). But the devotional aspect of medicine must be returned to society.

All physicians and surgeons must accept a reasonable salary to maintain themselves and their families. Whether the money comes from their religious denomination, the government, or a combination of both, it must be modest compared to the large sums physicians can and very often do earn now — it probably should be about as much as what public school teachers earn. There should be no financial incentive to enter the field of health care.

No one would be permitted to study or practice medicine outside this devotional context.

The aim, quite simply, is to return healing to a purely humanitarian endeavor.

Reforming The FDA

Drugs cost too much. Because of FDA rules that are supposed to insure patient safety, tens of millions of dollars are required before a new medicine can be placed on the market. Clinical trials are prolonged, repeated, and sometimes extended counterproductively. After all that, many ineffective drugs come on the market, showing that the entire drug certification process is profoundly flawed.

The details of reform are many and can not be elaborated here, but one instance can be provided: because the FDA requires double-blind clinical studies of new drugs, the process of determining effectiveness and safety is often (not always) made too expensive and too time-consuming. A separate class of drug tests should be created — one in which patients with no hope of recovery can participate. Those dying should be permitted to take experimental drugs.

As things stand, a hopeless patient who wishes to participate in a drug trial is not allowed to know whether he is being given a placebo or the drug under study. That is grossly unfair, even cruel. The practice must be curtailed, and patients who qualify must be permitted to try unproven drugs.

The results of such non-blind, non-placebo studies would be valid. Yes, the trials might do terrible things to the patients, kill many of them, and so on. The possible consequences of participating in dangerous tests must be made clear to patients, and their decisions must be honored. The FDA has at present the ability to forbid a dying person to participate in a trial of unproved drugs. That is an unethical exercise of authority.

This single reform would lower the costs of putting new drugs on the market, speed research, and move pharmacology faster toward its targets.

Then too, there are drugs approved in Europe and in widespread use there for years that are not available to patients in the USA. The FDA too often requires redundant testing, in other words. This is not caution. It is insanity.

Insurance Should Be More Imaginative

Let us posit that the government will have a larger role in paying for health care costs. Insurance is the best way to expand that function. Imagine that there is a plan that all citizens can join without fee, and that supports their health care in the following ways:

It requires that you have a series of diagnostic tests at regular intervals, and that you pay a reasonable but reduced fee for those examinations. The testing is done to determine whether you suffer from any diseases that can be cured by early treatment; it does not test you for conditions that are inevitably fatal.

As long as you submit to those tests, and are treated if they indicate the need, you are insured. You are covered for all illness and injury.

Ignore the regular diagnostic tests, or refuse treatment, and you are dropped from the insurance.

Your health is your responsibility, not the government’s. Those unwilling to live by that truth have no valid claim on the wealth of their fellow citizens.

The Bookkeeping Of Hospitals Must Be Reviewed And Reformed As Necessary

This newsletter lacks information regarding the claim that unusual procedures are followed by health care providers who manipulate the facts to gain tax advantages. It is asserted by some — and no links are available to substantiate these allegations — that hospitals keep financial records according to a unique and essentially dishonest set of guidelines. Accordingly the government should make a study of exactly how this industry operates, especially as regards its depreciation of assets. This is an area in which the prudent taxpayer could be forgiven for suspecting the undue and unethical influence of lobbyists has tainted the operation of the market. Whether there even is a problem should be determined.

Conclusions

Of course none of the above is perfect, and even if adopted in full, the ideas here would only lower health care costs, not eliminate them.

It is nevertheless true that the medical/surgical profession currently creates and labors under a number of dysfunctional circumstances. They can be reduced.

The idea that one can become wealthy by healing or treating people is obscene, and the sooner that is recognized, the better. The abuse of bureaucratic procedures by the FDA creates opportunities for corruption and slows the development of drugs. A sharp focus on treatable and preventable and curable diseases would improve health care and lower its costs, and that focus can be achieved only if the individual is made responsible for optimizing his chances of avoiding suffering.

Ultimately, mankind has lost its ancestral conception of the healer as a responsive, humane member of the community who had a sacred calling. The spirituality inherent in us all is a resource that can be exploited for the good of the community, and secularists who deny the function of faith in their lives are not excluded from that generalization. Read the last two chapters in Sam Harris’s book, The End of Faith.

These are ideas, not detailed plans. May they serve as the impetus for discussion and development.

This Is Not The Way To Put It

In trying — or seeming to try — to make a case for the moral rectitude of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, some folks give ground to the friends of Hamas. Consider the wording of the following factual statement (found in an article in The Spectator):

It is tragic that Palestinian civilians are dying, but Hamas locates its military installations and administrative facilities in civilian areas precisely to dissuade Israel from attacking Hamas as it insouciantly bombards Israel, its soldiers, and more frequently its civilians.

The problem: that disturbing “but.” It weakens the statement of the moral principle; one is reminded of an alibi that does not deserve consideration, as in, “I would not have hit him over the head with a pipe, but he upset me.”

A quibble? Well, no. Long ago the PenPo’s predecessor, The Terrapin Gazette, complained that reporters and editors in the major news media were guilty of bias they crafted into their prose. In a plea for journalistic candor and objectivity, the TG asked that media writers accept responsibility for their tone, rather than disingenuously deny what they were doing:

As professionals who understand how words can be used to create a mood, journalists should take into account the impact their work will have on the reader. It is simply disingenuous of reporters and editors to insist that the tone, emphasis, choice of words, overall style and subtle expression of shades of meaning do not make an article negative or positive. … Every writer knows which direction his words are taking; even the most untalented writer (I, for instance) realizes what he is doing as he writes, and knows how the reader is likely to react.

Fact: Hamas hides among women and children, and without regard for their welfare. Killing the villains is horrible work. The moral responsibility for harm done to the human shields lies with Hamas, not with the Israelis, whose tactics are above reproach.

There is no “but.” Israel has done all it can. End of report.

Who’s Going To Run This Show?

This newsletter has expressed the opinion that Congress would be governing the nation if Obama were elected, because (a) Obama would need a team of people to advise him and direct the administration’s projects, and (b) he literally does not have his own people. Congress would fill the power vacuum, according to the PenPo’s view, and inform Obama in no uncertain terms that in many decisions, his role would be decidedly secondary.

Obama countered by doing something the PenPo did not expect: drawing heavily on former Clinton officials (who are how loyal to Obama, and why?). That led some observers to say that his emerging administration offers no change and scant hope; it appears to be essentially what Hillary would have assembled.

(Some would say the USA is run by a bureaucratic elite, not by the politicians the people elect. But that’s an issue to be debated another time.)

The next step in the emergence of the new administration was to be expected: Obama seems to have told the top Democrats that he wants to be president, and they — meaning Reid and Pelosi and a few others — are having none of it.

The arched backs and hissing and spitting are understandable. Obama is ambitious, eager, new, untested, and an unknown quantity. He’s touchy. He will be sensitive about his grip on power he’s not experienced in wielding. Consider as well that he’s already getting grief for what his unborn administration has done, which is extremely unusual in itself (Senator Feinstein and the jihadis are both upset). Then there’s the economic crisis; Obama seems to want to spend his way out of the mess, while claiming the resulting debt will not cause iatrogenic problems. Whether anyone believes him remains to be seen. Is he a magician?

Before the next administration even attempts feats of economic legerdemain, it will have to come to an accommodation with Congress. That’s no simple challenge. Obama views the top Democrats as aliens of a sort; after all, they are not part of the Chicago machine he understands, and he had to pry the party loose from the Clintons’ grip to get nominated. He realizes that he must consolidate his power now — and he’s let it be known that he intends to instruct Congress on how to proceed. It’s either that or face an incredibly difficult struggle that could produce a single-term presidency.

Well, Pelosi and Reid are not deferential types. To them, Obama is the new kid on the block, and he’s not respectful of his elders.

It will be interesting to see how the prickly, quirky opponents maneuver in the next few months (especially as regards earmarks, a huge source of Pelosi’s personal wealth). That said, one must note that of course most of the Democrats’ intra-party warfare will be conducted in private.

That is, in this newsletter’s view, unfortunate; secrecy is too often used to strengthen the hand of the incompetent and unethical. Ask, for example, how it is that Sen. Dodd and Rep. Frank are still in power, and you will not get a satisfactory reply. It is as if no one knew what they did and what terrible consequences followed their malfeasance and dishonesty.

If anything should worry you about Obama and Pelosi and Reid, it is probably their secretiveness. Pelosi’s lucrative earmarks are safely out of sight, Obama remains by his own design a huge blank, and Reid is a man the electorate scarcely knows at all (which is a shame, because he’s a hilarious idiot). The British public knows more about the UK’s royal family than US voters do about these three incredibly powerful people.

Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth

From Mickey Kaus:

Enjoyable anti-DiFi sniping by William Bradley. … He notes that CIA nominee Leon Panetta is more than just a Clinton loyalist (for one thing, he hasn’t been all that loyal). … But Bradley describes the Iraq Study Group, on which Panetta served, as “widely excoriated on the right two years ago but whose blueprint is basically being followed today.”

Really? I must have missed the part of the blueprint where the Iraq Study Group called for the Petraeus “surge” strategy. … Update: Fred Kaplan joins the “Keep Kappes” choir, and has a suggestion for breaching the CIA’s own internal wall to coordinate intelligence in specific problem areas. … P.S.: We need a czar! … Oh, wait. We already have a czar….

Yesterday’s Problem, Today’s Tolerated Uncivilized Outrage

There is a human tendency to avoid confronting problems, especially if society makes it particularly difficult for the individual to act. And it’s a shame.

Do you recall the problems your parents worried about? There were some things that a lot of people talked about back then — the sorts of things that seemed particularly invasive and troublesome. Think back, and if you can remember what you heard the Big People talking about when you were a kid, you may even be amused at how naive Mom and Dad were.

Right: they talked about “juvenile delinquency.” Remember that? Or they fretted over the trend in the divorce rate. Or perhaps they wondered what could be done about smog, as they burned trash in the backyard incinerator that was made of slabs of concrete.

And what’s our attitude today? Well, we gave up on juvenile delinquency years ago; you never hear the term any more. All of our big cities have gangs that include tens of thousands of thugs. These brutes practice a level of violence that our parents would never have imagined. Things are literally worse than they ever were in the Wild West.

How did that happen? Why did we lose interest in juvenile delinquency?

Then there’s divorce. “My, my,” we said, clucking disapprovingly, “people ending their marriages all the time!” In many social circles, it was considered a shameful act, the sort of thing you did not talk openly about. The divorced person was looked upon as a personal failure, or even as someone just undesirable enough to be left off the guest list.

So the nation grew up, and divorce was accepted. With our more mature attitude, we can now look back at the bad old days and laugh smugly at the narrow-minded rustics who were our parents.

What we don’t like to think about — possibly because we don’t consider it a problem — is the fact that divorce is often a genuine tragedy, especially where children are involved. The end of a marriage is a much worse event than most people realize. An ignorance of the full implications of their experience is common among the victims of divorce, who often have little insight into the profound psychic damage done to them when their family is shattered and their hopes and dreams mocked.

Like crimes committed by those under 18, divorce affects us all. It diminishes society because it harms children. We should have done something about crime and the disintegration of marriage fifty years ago, but we did not.

Why didn’t we act? Simply because we did not know what to do. We realized that making divorce impossible was foolish — the real problem was that former partners were no longer working together, and very often one member of the pair was afire with hatred for the other. There seemed to be no solutions, no ways around the baffling problems. So we asked the jurisprudential system to handle things for us.

Big mistake.

Why? Because the courts were designed to punish criminal behavior, and are utterly unqualified to settle personality-related differences of opinion between husband and wife. It’s not rational to consider breakdowns in interpersonal communications and loss of affection amenable to the intervention of a system that is skilled at dealing with felons. As to property settlements, agreements of that sort could be reached privately, with the help of social service agencies.

But the courts are involved, and that has tremendous implications, because courts do not confine themselves to entering the private decisions of people in the official record. Instead of merely formally acknowledging changes of marital status, the judicial system decides matters, meddles in negotiations between marital partners, imposes bitter, hatred-born ideological policies and cookie-cutter solutions, dictates the fates of children, and bends the troubled family to the Procrustean will of the state. Judges are used to imposing their authority in draconian, sweeping and virtually unchallengeable edicts, and they carry on that tradition of Final Solutions in divorce proceedings. It’s their nature; as the old saying goes, “To a man whose toolkit contains only a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Wretched fact: the courts have made a bad situation much worse. Do read “We’re the government, and we’re here to end your marriage!” at this weblog.

That post (you did read it, didn’t you?) will prepare you to consider this: today we face a problem rather like juvenile delinquency, smog, or divorce. Like those monumental challenges, it is complex and distressing, leading us to wonder what we can do as individuals. Oh, we recognize the threat it poses, for it, like many failed marriages, involves raging hatred, but…we want to defer to the government, and specifically the courts, and task them to deal with things like that. We believe it’s not for us to get concerned about. We feel we just can’t solve it.

We had better reconsider that approach, for this problem, unlike divorce or juvenile criminals, will not just weaken our society — it will literally destroy our civilization if we don’t cope with it. Given their miserable record in crime prevention and interfering in our family lives, the courts and legislatures don’t inspire confidence that they can help us with this problem. The solutions must be found, however, so it’s time for us all to get inventive and involved.

That problem is Islam.

And just how well are we dealing with Islam? Hardly well at all, especially as regards our courts and legal system. Common sense tells us that we must impose reforms on people who are not going to suffer that indignity gladly.

To understand just one issue in this effort, read this article. It is followed by over a hundred comments, some of them dealing with a specific aspect of the case; you should read those remarks, as well, so the relevant ones have been reproduced here. But don’t skip the article itself, for the comments won’t make full sense by themselves.

Here are the important comments:

11. Benson: “(Sultan) holds U.S. permanent residency status and, according to one federal law enforcement official, travels regularly on a U.S. passport.” And: “Sultan is pursuing U.S. citizenship.” How is that possible?? Poole must have his facts wrong.

16. Patrick Poole: Benson, permanent residents can apply for US citizenship after 5 years. Sultan has lived in the US for more than 10 years. What exactly do you think I have wrong?

27. Benson: Re comment 16, by Poole: I just looked at my own passport, and I see it says I am a “citizen/national” of the United States. I guess that means a non-citizen can get a passport, eh? I did not know that! I thought that document was available only to citizens. So do I stand corrected?

29. Patrick Poole: Benson, Yes, in certain circumstances permanent residents can obtain a US passport. Most usually have their green card and carry the passport of their country of origin. Sultan is in that small category that do have US passports.

39. tino: Kick this bum out!! We do not need more terrorists. I seriously doubt than a permanent resident can obtain a US passport. “When applying for a U.S. passport in person, evidence of U.S. citizenship must be submitted with Form DS-11.” http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html

63. Immigration Lawyer: “. . . he holds U.S. permanent residency status and, according to one federal law enforcement official, travels regularly on a U.S. passport. And as I have reported elsewhere, Sultan is pursuing U.S. citizenship (the status of his application is unknown due to federal privacy laws).”

If he is a permanent resident, then he is not traveling under a (valid) US Passport. Either the sentence has the facts wrong, or this creep is likely removable for making false claims to US citizenship, which using a US passport would entail. No offense, but I suspect the former – that is, he is not actually traveling under a US passport.

70. Dave: If he is a legal permanent resident and not yet a citizen, there is no way he is “traveling regularly on a US passport”. Only Citizens carry US passports.

75. m james: How can he have a US Passport and not be a citizen?

84. Immigration Lawyer #2: Mr. Poole is correct. Permanent residents can be issued passports in some limited circumstances. I don’t know anything about Sultan’s situation, but it does seem that a US passport would be extremely valuable for someone like him to slip in and out of countries without too many questions.

100. Benson: Regarding USA passports for non-citizens: the website suggested (by) tino in comment 39, http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_830.html, seems clear: you must be a citizen. Yet we have (a commenter who claims to be) an immigration lawyer who says that under some (unspecified) circumstances, a person holding a “green card” can get a US passport.

Assume all the above is true: the law is self-contradictory, and needs to be cleaned up. Now I’d really like to know how this Sultan fellow qualified for his passport. In the USA, the laws and regulations should be available to the public so they can be studied. Where can I read this rule?

I’m genuinely shocked to learn that my passport says nothing about my citizenship. My citizenship is a vital, integral part of my identity. How can I prove I’m a US citizen?? And what’s the difference between citizenship and nationality?? Lawyers are requested to respond.

103. Benson: With a little help from Google, I located this:

http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_781.html, which includes this:

Section 308 INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) confers U.S. nationality but not U.S. citizenship, on persons born in or having ties with “an outlying possession of the United States.” The outlying possessions are defined in Section 101(A)(29) INA as American Samoa and Swains Island. No other statutes define any other territories nor any of the states as outlying possessions. Those enumerated in section 308 INA as eligible for this status, in addition to those mentioned above, are those individuals born abroad to two American non-citizen national parents, or those born abroad to one alien parent and one non-citizen national parent. Also, there is a residency requirement placed upon the parents of the child prior to birth in order to transmit U.S. nationality. (End of quote)

I don’t see it as obvious that Sultan qualifies. Someone should look into this.

And that’s it. Obviously there is something wrong in the administration of the law, and that begins with the fact that most citizens — and evidently some lawyers — do not understand it, and do not like what they find when they look into the matter. That in itself is cause for concern in a democratic republic.

Invisible laws and inane consequences of the laws are corrosive of the common weal.

That article on Sultan and the comments it provoked may not convince you of the need for legal reform, for they merely introduce the topic. There is a great deal to be learned and discussed regarding immigration policies.

Even if it is agreed that there is an obvious need to alter our jurisprudential/legal/political course, one must still ask what can be done. How far do we want to go in restricting the political and religious opinions of those who live in the USA? Can we toss somebody out because we don’t like his attitude? How great a danger is Islam, and is all of that danger presented only by Muslims who are immigrants or the children of immigrants?

We need to discuss these issues. That discussion must begin with the realization that if we leave the defense of our culture to lawyers and legislatures and courts, we won’t do one bit better than we have done with failed families and crime. In fact we won’t reduce our problems with Islam as well as we have managed to reduce air pollution.

Our defensive struggle against Islam will have to be both military and cultural. We must prevent the violent enemies of our nation from achieving significant victories over us, which will require tireless vigilance. Then we must find ways to assert our ethical and cultural superiority over Islam, without conceding any tactical advantages to our blood enemies.

In past issues of this newsletter and its predecessors, various ways of conducting the defense of the West have been suggested. Some of those ideas might bear repeating. Meanwhile you should consider whether your heritage deserves to survive, and how you might contribute to its strength.

Courts and laws and political systems are useful in specific circumstances, but we cannot shirk our personal responsibilities by depending exclusively on them. Recall the passengers on United flight 93.

Our civilization is unique because it celebrates the sovereign dignity of the individual. Individuals will prove more than equal to the challenge posed by the hungry tyranny that is Islam.

 

Links, Off The Cuff

Slick plays footsie with some really nasty types. Got a thing for Teheran temptresses, Willy?

This seminal piece dates to 2004. It’s still important.

Here’s an item on DDT that looks like propaganda designed to mollify outraged humanitarians, but….

It’s not a good time to be young in the USA.

BOOM! And…it’s real!

Vote. It’s easier than shooting somebody.

The war in Gaza and the law. Not that Hamas cares, but you do.

A New Feature

Beginning with this number, The Penguin Post will republish selected items from The Terrapin Gazette, the PenPo’s predecessor, as well as news and commentary that was circulated before the newsletter format was adopted.

The first issue of The Terrapin Gazette appeared in December of 2004. Before that, what was to become to content of the newsletter was distributed as ordinary e-mail. The final number of the TG was mailed out on the fifth of June, 2006. That was the one hundred second issue.

Originally, the URLs of web pages referenced in the TG (and in earlier messages) could not be opened with a click of the mouse, as nothing appeared in HTML format. That has been corrected in the republished material, but do not expect all the links to work. Over time, some websites close down or purge pages.

Republished items will be identified by their original titles and dates (when available), and placed in the last section of The Penguin Post under the headline, “From The Archive.” The space the PenPo devotes to current news and commentary will not be reduced, so the overall length of each number will increase — in some cases the PenPo will be considerably longer.

The PenPo staff hopes that you will enjoy comparing today’s newsletter to yesterday’s. Some of the predictions in the archived material provoke red faces here, but that’s all part of the fun. Your comments are welcome.

From The Archive

The following items originally appeared in The Penguin Post’s predecessor, The Terrapin Gazette, on 22 December, 2004. They may contain obsolete links.

Iraq

Al Qaeda is vitally interested in making things hot for the US in Iraq. The reason: bin Laden realizes that if Iraq becomes a stable democracy, the Middle East will be transformed, and his dream of isolating it as much as possible from the rest of the world will be shattered. Only by disconnecting the Muslim world from the West can he establish and maintain his theocracy.

A victorious US presence in Iraq will compel the Saudis to come down hard on AQ and its financial backers, however. Implausible? For more on the dynamics of this peculiar situation, see America’s Secret War (Friedman), which I recently reviewed, and this.

Western opponents of the “illegal” war in Iraq have no conception of the sophisticated power politics the USA is playing. Iraq is central in the war against Islamofascist terror, even though Saddam never plotted with bin Laden or substantially aided his efforts. For the USA, it’s a must-win effort; for AQ, it’s a desperate attempt to evade extermination.

Iran

The mullahs are trying to increase their influence over the “Palestinians,” which is in line with what Israel has been saying for years. It’s odd how the world pays so little attention to the malignant influence of Iran. The intifada would have died out long, long ago if it were strictly a “Palestinian” effort.

So who has been bankrolling the bombers? Not Saudi Arabia, which has always provided only symbolic support of the extremists and terrorists trying to eradicate Israel. Not Egypt. Syria? To a very limited extent. Iraq? Payments to the families of “martyrs” were helpful, but the PLO and its allies have a lot more cash than can be accounted for, unless you include Iran.

Source

Adieu, Cote d’Ivore

France is pulling out. Having been given a free ride from media, the French feel they have done enough.

But…what about the massacre? “We did not do it, but in case you think we did, here is proof that we were provoked into doing it.”

Source

Hoax?

You read about part of this in your newspaper, and saw part of it on TV: Rumsfeld blindsided by an enlisted soldier upset because the Pentagon doesn’t care enough about the lives of US warriors to provide necessary armor for vehicles. Boy, did Rumsfeld look like a fool!

Right. That’s what you read. Or watched on the tube.

Here’s the other part: it looks as if the reporter who put that soldier up to tossing Rumsfeld a hot potato was perpetrating a hoax. You did not read about that, did you? You won’t see it on TV, either.

Source

Here’s a follow-up press conference you never read about, as well.

So how about body armor? Don’t we all know, courtesy of the big media, that the Pentagon has been lax and heartless in that area?

No, we don’t. More facts you have never seen before.

A Sea Change That Has Scarcely Been Noticed

It’s called “gun control,” and it is often touted as crime abatement, suicide reduction, public safety promotion, and a way to keep total lunatics from butchering scores of nuns and orphans.

For many years now, the prevailing wisdom has been that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution does not mean what it says. It’s called “collective rights,” as opposed to individual rights. In other words: society as an entity has a right to a well-regulated militia, which means firearms are legal, but no individual has any right to them. So you can lock all firearms up in arsenals.

Almost unremarked, the “assault rifle ban,” a federal law aimed at preventing people from getting their hands on deadly firepower, expired. It was never workable, rational or sound law, and over the years, there was a slow realization that it addressed no problems. Anyone who wants to murder large numbers of people will use a shotgun or a bomb, not a military rifle.

Now the realization has finally reached the legal community: that Second Amendment does in fact guarantee the individual the right to firearms ownership. Some of us knew it all along, but…the knowledge was not Politically Correct.

The legal case is solid: the Constitution says what it says; firearms are not to be banned.

And now you can get your very own “assault rifle.” Of course you always could…even when the old law was in effect, perfectly legal rifles that were functionally equivalent to “assault rifles” were available for purchase. Ho-hum.