Trump Endorsed by a Turk

(The Census marks yet another cut–and–run by Trump, but I hate to waste a column.)

The Associated Press Gotcha Patrol has discovered President Trump’s Facebook man–in–the–street campaign videos are using actors instead of supporters. Even worse many of the streets are in Turkey or Paris.

Take the bearded “Thomas from Washington,” who is more likely Mohammed from Izmir. Thats a city in Turkey, a country that’s barely an ally, much less a supplier of hipster endorsers of Trump.

Mohammed says, Trump is “in our prayers for strength and wisdom from God almighty.” Substitute Erdogan for Trump and Allah for God and the ad’s veracity is absolute.

Reporter Bernard Condon has a valid point when he writes, “[Using actors] raises the question why a campaign that can fill arenas with supporters would have to buy stock footage of models.”

The use of models is a shortcut. A shortcut any experienced political ad maker would not take because of the potential for stories like this. As GOP media consultant Fred Davis remarked, “Whoever did this is probably 22 years old, and they’re going through pictures and thought, ‘This is a great picture.’”

Using normal people for commercials means finding someone who is camera–worthy, articulate and will pass a background check. The process involves travel, recruitment and hours in the edit bay taking snippets of the interview and building an ad. And that’s just before the commercial airs.

After the broadcast the campaign ad team has to hope the supporter isn’t arrested, hit with a restraining order or changes sides and endorses the opponent.

The use of overseas models eliminates all those variables, besides I thought the Opposition Media was in favor of global free trade.

Realistically, Trump’s use of paid models is just as authentic as his promise to build a wall, stop illegals crossing the border and deport the illegals already in the USA.

Which brings us to the latest adventure of the Gang That Couldn’t Administer Straight.

Since the Dept. of Commerce is part of the executive branch and is in charge of the census, determining what questions are asked should be a routine executive function.

Unfortunately for the slapstick Trump he’s in a governmental civil war and as Carl von Clausewitz posited, “War is very simple, but in War the simplest things become very difficult.” Adding a citizenship question that asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” in this environment is the very definition of simple but difficult.

The census is crucial because it determines the number of congressmen each state has and it’s used as part of the formula for federal handouts. Counting illegals and other aliens gives political power to leftist sanctuary states at the expense of states that don’t go out of their way to welcome a criminal class.

It stands to reason that a census of the United States should be a census of citizens of the US and not citizens of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and points south.

The administration should’ve been prepared for a court challenge. Commerce either was not prepared or — in keeping with usual Trump personnel office policies — it picked a team of Resistance collaborators to defend the question.

The Supreme Court upheld previous rulings deporting the citizenship question, although Chief Justice John ‘The Weathervane’ Roberts gave Trump an out when he said the administration could resubmit the question with a justification that made sense.

Naturally Trump’s legal team enthusiastically embraced surrender. Team leader Joshua Gardner evidently learned the lesson of Sally Yates. Instead of refusing to defend administration policy you personally dislike, just do a lousy job and celebrate your defeat.

The Tweeter–in–Chief may have realized that voters might cut you some slack on building a giant border wall. They could understand how deporting 29 million illegals would require some preparation time. But dropping the ball on a nine–word question was something else again.

Trump tweeted he was “absolutely moving forward” with the question.

Currently in–house Resistance is telling Trump no can do. It’s ¡imposible! The administration must move muy pronto to make the deadline. This is correct only if lawyers move at their usual foot–dragging, government worker speed.

Hugh Hewitt, a lawyer in the Reagan administration, suggested Trump bypass court altogether, issue a “new executive order” directing Commerce to “add such questions for particular reasons” and conduct the census.

Trump and his micro attention span are in the driver’s seat. The Resistance has thwarted Trump when he wanted to take an action, they don’t have a response to inaction. Trump can simply sit on the census until he gets a questionnaire that’s best for citizens and not criminals nervous about being caught.

When you get right down to it, delaying the census beats accelerating the takeover by illegals.

Virginia’s Blackface Governor Left Red-faced

Democrats and gun control are a case of Lucy holding and simultaneously trying to kick her own football. For the true believers in Virginia, the next off–year election is always going to be the one that hinges on gun control and returns Democrats to a level of power they haven’t enjoyed since the issue of the day was finally allowing blacks to vote.

Steve Sack Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Democrat’s last attempt to exploit tragedy and make gun control relevant was in 2015 and the results were dismal. Now in 2019 Democrats are going to try again as Gov. Ralph “Blackface” Northam (D–Shinola) tries to get out from under his personal cloud of scandal and become relevant again.

Northam’s political credibility was destroyed when a college yearbook photo of him either covered in blackface or dressed in Klan robes surfaced. Northam has never been viewed as a smooth political operator and his Responsibility Hokey–Pokey in the aftermath didn’t help matters.

First, he was in the picture. Then he was out. Then Northam shook it all about and admitted he had worn blackface when he entered a Michael Jackson contest. How denying he wore blackface in a yearbook photo, but admitting he did so later made a difference remains a mystery to me.

Northam refused demands from his own party to resign and instead resorted to the first refuge of a scoundrel – race baiting.

He pledged to devote the remainder of his single term in office to ‘racial reconciliation.’ One would think in a state that elected a black governor in 1990 and twice voted for Obama the races were pretty much reconciled, but ginning up imaginary racial grievances was Northam’s only hope for survival.

Then in an irony of ironies it looked like Northam’s career was saved by a black man!

A disgruntled city engineer on the verge of being fired or a model employee known for his sunny disposition — accounts differ according whether you plan to sue the city or you’re a city bureaucrat trying to avoid a lawsuit — killed 12 people in a Virginia Beach shooting inside a municipal building.

Northam pounced. He called a special session of the legislature and threw his support behind a laundry list of gun control measures:

“Universal” background checks; “assault rifle” bans, scary accessory bans; requiring gun owners to report theft or loss within 24 hours; “Red–flag” law; Prohibiting guns for individuals subject to a final protective order; reviving an ineffective law that limited handgun purchases to one–per–month; and allowing cities and counties to create a confusing patchwork of gun hysteria laws the legislature refused to pass.

It was the usual collection of don’t work and won’t work. Even our Kloset Klansman governor admitted this gun–grabbing dog’s breakfast wouldn’t have prevented the Virginia Beach shooting. That attack occurred in a building that was already a “Gun–Free Zone.”

Democrats conducted a series of carefully controlled show trials, excuse me, town hall meetings leading up to the session to generate favorable Opposition Media news coverage and raise public awareness. They were looking forward to a special session of fiery speeches and showboating politicians.

Northam could hardly wait for news conferences that would not include any questions about how to remove shoe polish and what thread–count sheet makes the best hood.

Anti–gun advocates even invited Andy Parker the out–of–control gun control advocate. Parker is the father of a TV reporter who was gunned down by a disgruntled homosexual black former co–worker in a high–profile shooting in 2015. Parker made gun control commercials for Democrats and afterwards threatened to assault a legislator who failed to send a condolence note and called other members “cowards.”

That resulted in the discussion going from ‘Do we need more gun–buyer background checks’, to ‘do we need more gun control spokesman background checks?’

On July 9th the special session convened and 90 minutes later the General Assembly voted to adjourn until after the November election. A shocked Northam — seeing his chance for relevance leaving town with the delegates — told the Washington Post, “I expected them to do what their constituents elected them to do — discuss issues and take votes.”

The WoePost immediately teed up the football. “The gun issue is likely to supercharge what is already shaping up to be a pivotal election year in Virginia…Democrats, who are hoping to take control of both chambers for the first time in more than 20 years, wasted no time Tuesday in embracing gun control as a rallying cry for their base.”

It’s hard not to gloat, but my favorite part of the coverage came when the House of Delegates voted to adjourn. In the gallery an angry male shouted, “Gutless bastards!” The Post had it as an anonymous, anguished cry, but my money is on Andy Parker.

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CLARIFICATION:

I’m glad I didn’t bet on Andy Parker being the individual who shouted from the House of Delegates Gallery. After this was written, I received an email from Parker that made a very convincing case on why it wasn’t him: “That wasn’t me shouting from the gallery.  Like everything I’ve done, I own up to it.”

Therefore, unless someone contacts me taking credit for the outburst, the perpetrator will remain anonymous.

Trump’s Healthcare Transparency Round 2

President Trump’s second go–round with healthcare pricing marks the first time I can recall a consistent effort on his part to achieve a goal in the face of opposition. Something sadly lacking in the immigration fight.

Daryl Cagle, caglecartoons.com

January was his first attempt. The Department of Health and Human Services required hospitals to begin posting ‘Chargemaster’ rates for medical procedures on their websites. The goal was to give consumers access to price information on medical procedures that had been negotiated with the government.

The Chargemaster is a typical government conspiracy against the taxpayer. It’s so complicated only industry insiders and federal employees have even a remote chance of grasping any useful information. It lists every possible treatment a customer can be subjected to, broken down into individual components.

Trying to estimate what it would cost to deliver a baby is like determining the cost of a new car by adding up the price of every individual part contained in the car. Even worse, those prices don’t reflect lower negotiated prices. That level of complexity and irrelevance still wasn’t good enough for the Uriah Heeps inhabiting hospital executive suites.

The regulation specified Chargemaster prices had to be published in a “computer friendly” format, so some of these parasites published the data in a format only a computer could understand. NBC found,”…[hospitals] made their prices available as JSON or XML documents, file formats more often used by programmers and data analysts than consumers.”

Back to the drawing board.

This time Trump signed an executive order directing bureaucrats to write a regulation requiring hospitals to post prices including “standard charge information, including charges and information based on negotiated rates and for common or shoppable items.”

That vagueness is what bothers me. What qualifies as a “shoppable item.” Is a bandaid shoppable, while a tonsillectomy isn’t? Knowing the price difference between a bandaid at MegaCare and CVS is not going to be useful, while knowing the difference between the cost of hysterectomy (I’m trying to be inclusive) at Catholic Charity Hospital and Pagan Price–Fixer Hospital is.

How much usable information consumers gain from Trump’s executive order really depends on whether or not the bureaucrat writing the regulation plans to go to work for a hospital or insurance company after he leaves government ‘service.’

Even that ominous prospect for consumers is too uncertain a variable for the Healthcare Industrial Complex. According to them any knowledge is a dangerous thing in the hands of a civilian. Rick Pollack, a professional liar for the American Hospital Association, claimed during an interview with Modern Health Care, “Publicly posting privately negotiated rates could, in fact, undermine the competitive forces of private market dynamics, and result in increased prices.”

My challenge to readers is to add the word ‘cars’ or ‘new homes’ to that sentence and try not to laugh.

The other disquieting news is that price disclosure could be interpreted to mean out–of–pocket cost for the patient. High health insurance deductibles sometimes provide a perverse incentive. Some potential patients may choose the highest out–of–pocket expense to satisfy all his  deductible and make the rest of that year’s care “free.”

Making a dent in healthcare costs requires a two–pronged approach that provides information to consumers and an incentive to price compare.

Simply require hospitals to post the lowest turnkey prices for the 25 most common surgical procedures; the 25 most common outpatient procedures and the 25 most common tests. The government should know what it’s paying for, so generating this list is easy.

Second, give consumers an incentive to choose a lower price by sharing the saving with him. For instance, charges for a knee replacement vary from $32,500 to $22,700.

Instead of pocketing the $9,800 saved by choosing the lower cost option, encourage insurance companies to share by applying ten percent of the savings to the patient’s deductible for that year. The patient would pay ten percent of the procedure ($2,270) and the insurance company would apply ten percent of the savings ($980) and their deductible for the year would be satisfied.

To ensure this wasn’t a one–time–only cost–conscious decision by the consumer, the insurer could continue to apply ten percent of procedure savings to future deductibles.

My proposal is simple, clean and understandable and it will work to lower healthcare costs. This is why there is no chance swamp bureaucrats will follow my advice.

Instead I fear we will still be stuck in a situation Sen. Angus King (I–ME) aptly described to the Wall Street Journal, “I know of no other business [healthcare] where you have no idea what something’s going to cost, and you can’t find out even if you ask.”

Food Expiration Dates Are a Conspiracy

Scott Nash is my hero this week. I’m so proud of him I might even spend some money in his out–of–the–way and somewhat expensive grocery store. Nash is the founder and CEO of Mom’s Organic Market and the Washington Post featured him this week.

(That’s another breakthrough. Normally the WoePost only features victims – real or imagined – and their downer stories. The story with Nash, on the other hand, was happy, upbeat, positive and scientific!)

For the past year, Nash has been eating food that is past its “expiration date.” The story explains, “He ate a cup of yogurt months after its expiration date. Then tortillas a year past their expiration date. ‘I mean, I ate heavy cream I think 10 weeks past date,’ Nash said, ‘and then meat sometimes a good month past its date. It didn’t smell bad. Rinse it off, good to go.’ It was all part of his year-long experiment to test the limits of food that had passed its expiration date.”

The heavy cream is no big deal. That ultra–pasteurized sugar suspension has the shelf life of Uranium–238. The meat is another story. That’s putting your theory where your mouth is. It’s the grocery–shopping equivalent of Dr. Barry Marshall who drank a glass of Helicobacter pylori to prove bacteria causes ulcers.

I’ve told my anti–science family for years that ‘expiration dates’ are a manufacturer’s scam to convince consumers to throw out perfectly good products and buy unnecessary replacements. The key word in the conspiracy being “buy.”

They moan “it’s expired” and I reply the product is only gaining momentum.

This is one of the rare times when the government and I agree, except maybe for the conspiracy part.

Even the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute has admitted, “‘Best if used by’ describes product quality, meaning the product might not taste as good past the date but is safe to eat. ‘Use by’ is for products that are highly perishable and should be used or tossed by that date.”

The jig should have been up even for the most gullible shopper when they started putting expiration dates on WATER! But sheeplike consumers just nodded and thought, “Gee, I didn’t know that. How old the water in our pool?”

Enviros should be on this like methane on cows, but they are noticeable for their absence. Tossing perfectly good food is wasteful and as the WoePost advises, “And you are not just wasting calories and money. You are wasting all the resources that went into growing, packaging and transporting that food.”

Here’s my handy guide to food longevity. Produce and fruit take care of themselves without government intervention. Canned meat is fine years after the ‘expiration date’ unless the can is bulging. The same goes for soup and canned vegetables. Candy and other bars are best judged individually. Cliff bars and protein bars just become more chewy, helping to cancel out some of the calories. Hard candy is good until Jesus returns. Snickers are fine, but the peanut butter in Reese’s Cups will become hard and develop a clay-like . It’s edible but not pleasurable.

Soft drinks will become flat in a few years, but remain drinkable. Snapple on the other hand won’t. I had a bottle of Diet Peach Tea this week that was of the 2016 vintage and it was awful.

With dairy products let your nose be your guide.

Currently, the feds only require expiration notices on infant formula. The other dates are part of the conspiracy. That may be changing. Emily Broad Leib a nanny affiliated with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic has plans. “We’re going to need the main government agencies that regulate food to be able to say: These are what these labels mean. When you see these on products, here’s what you should do, here’s how you should interpret them.”

She also wants to bring back criminal penalties for those who wantonly tear the tags off of mattresses.

Scott, for his part, maintains, “Some things just shouldn’t be dated.”

I agree. My list of undated items would include water, ‘cheese food’, Twinkies and buttermilk, which is immortal. Buttermilk’s enemy isn’t time, it’s evaporation.