On the Trail of Tears With Federal Bureaucrats

Breitbart News reports 80 percent of the female migrants to the USA’s heartland are sexually assaulted during the trip. Yet the heartless Trump administration remains relentless and will continue with its plan to force the USDA’s Economic Research Service to move to Missouri.

Rick McKee, Counterpoint

Wait. I’ve mistakenly conflated two stories. The sexual assault victims are willing illegals heading for our interior, while the USDA folks are unwilling migrants threatened with moving vans by the Orange Tyrant.

It’s an easy mistake to make. The WoePost’s coverage of the move has been so tear–jerky one could mistake Donald Trump for Democrat Andrew Jackson driving Cherokees from Georgia.

Here’s a recent headline: “The USDA relocation to Kansas City is ripping apart the lives of its employees.

Wow, that sounds like the pre–dawn raid on Paul Manafort’s house!

Only there’s no drama. It’s 2200 words of hysterical pathos. The tale of travail begins with an alphabet crusader. He’s a 28–year USDA employee being asked to move for the first time. The story begins, “Randi Johnson raised the picture of her dead son’s football team.” Followed by a reference to “Her dead wife’s high school yearbooks.”

It looks like the standard media elite’s same–pronoun marriage mixed with a double personal tragedy.

Only it’s not. Events were condensed for drama. Johnson’s marriage was perfectly normal when his wife died of cancer 11 years ago. It only became retroactively irregular — scrambling the pronouns — when Mr. Johnson decided he was Mrs. Johnson three years ago. Two years after his son’s overdose death.

It’s confused and sad and none of it was caused by a moving van.

The same goes for the other examples. One is a normal family that bought a “forever home” just prior to the announcement of the move. Her job was a bit like working in a call center. “At the NIFA, she spent most of her time on the phone talking to researchers, farmers and small businesses with ideas for new farming techniques or products.

She even met the odd farmer in his natural habitat, “Occasionally, she took road trips around the country to meet people face-to-face, one of her favorite parts of the job.”

However, the prospect of living among the “people” in Missouri was something else entirely.

The last victim is a 33–year–old who’s been there four years. No wife. No pets. He’s leaving a girlfriend he met on the web.

Let’s put this in perspective for people living in the coastal bubble. By the time I was a junior in high school the oilfield supply company my father worked for had moved us from Duncan, OK to Great Bend, KS; back to Duncan; then from Duncan to Oklahoma City; from OKC to Midland, TX and then from Midland to Dallas, TX.

The longest we stayed anywhere before Dallas was four years. Coastal snobs often dismiss inland unemployment by telling the jobless to move to where the jobs are. That’s exactly the situation here, but somehow, it’s a relocation tragedy.

The military is government and it moves people around in a regular fruit basket turnover without catching the eye of the Opposition Media. The difference is these USDA people have doctorates. They’re supposed to be immune to everyday cares and concerns once they go to work for the government.

Normal mom is unhappy she had only a year to prepare, the destination was uncertain because various municipalities were abasing themselves before Uncle Sam, hoping to land these highly–paid bureaucrats.

Compare that with Carl Icahn’s government move. The high taxes in New York supporting that bloated government are driving him to Florida. He announced his move with six months’ notice and as Bloomberg put it, “…employees who don’t [move] won’t have a job.”

The USDA move is expected to save $300 million over 15 years. It could save even more if the department resists the urge to replace all 366 employees who quit rather than be forced to bed down with hillbillies.

Even after wading through the WoePost’s angst–fest, the irony is all three employees had a happy ending. Mr. Johnson retired and moved to a beach town because “[he] always wanted to live near the ocean.” Plus, it’s closer to his grandchild.

Our homebuyer did indeed purchase a “forever home” because no one moved. She took a new job where she’ll be asking for government money instead of distributing government money.

And our single has taken a job at my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, where he can enjoy a fine campus and a great football team.

For taxpayers, plans change. Life goes on. Only the government entitled attempt to make a federal case out of it.

Conservative Culture Options: Fight Back or Hope for Endangered Species Listing

Readers may be totally unfamiliar with the term ‘David French–ism.’ That doesn’t mean you can ignore it. David French–ism and its proponents are one of the reasons conservatives and Christianity have been almost routed from the pubic square. David French–ism is the failure of corporate and think–tank conservatism that resulted in a revolt of the rank–and–file and the election of Donald Trump.

New York Post writer Sohrab Ahmari coined the term in an article titled: “Against David French–ism.” Naturally, French took umbrage. Last week the Institute of Human Ecology sponsored a face–off in Washington, DC.

Ahmari defined David French–ism as, “A program for negotiating Christian retreat into a safe private sphere.” It’s his belief, “Too much intellectual firepower has been devoted to lawyers. There are cultural battles that can’t be fought in the courtroom, but must be fought anyway.”

Ahmari’s problem at the debate was a mirror image of French’s. He was all strategy with no tactics. And French was all tactics and no strategy.

It would have been useful for Ahmari if he’d spent some time mapping out steps conservatives could take to begin the outside–the–courtroom offensive. What Ahmari offered instead was a passionate, sincere warning about our “5–alarm culture fire.”

In contrast, French was smug, superior, condescending and worst of all lawyerly. In this current age lawyers are our gnostic rulers. French revels in his command of special wisdom and jealously guards it. French is doubly gnostic because he also has the secrets of “classical liberalism,” a term that means nothing to most of conservative America.

When Ahmari discussed particulars, French responded with the big picture. When Ahmari focused on the big picture, French got particular. It might be a great media debate technique, but it just made French look slippery and disingenuous.

Much of the evening revolved around Drag Queen Story Hour. This is an unholy event where deviants are brought into a public library to expose very small children to the joys of the alphabet lifestyle. Drag queens entertaining children was Ahmari’s cultural fire alarm, while French couldn’t be bothered.

He pooh–poohed Ahmari’s concern. “That’s the threat? I just don’t see it. It’s one of the choices people make in a free society.”

As he dismissed the example of deviants being celebrated by government at the expense of children I was reminded of something R. R. Reno wrote regarding “our fifty-year-long celebration of transgression. We have removed the moral guardrails in our society. It’s no surprise that more and more people are skidding off the road.”

Ahmari would like to replace the guardrails.

French contends conservatives should do everything in their power to preserve “viewpoint neutrality”, which is the welcome mat for drag queens. It’s the legal doctrine he’s used to win court cases requiring government to allow Christian organizations to use some abandoned storeroom for a Bible study.

Ahmari feels French–ism’s piecemeal gains “are not proportionate to the reverses we’ve suffered.” While French is impervious to the fact that 50 years ago Christians had the entire building.

Mark Bauerlein agrees with Ahmari, “David French’s commentary on the Oberlin College penalty pinpoints exactly the problem. Conservatives have lost battle after battle in higher education for 50 years, and when we get the rare pushback against leftist tyranny, establishment conservatives hail it as a game-changer. They have been proven wrong again and again.”

Besides libraries already exercise viewpoint discrimination. That’s the reason you don’t find Huster magazine in the periodical rack.

Ahmari likened French’s drag queen disinterest to his previous failure to recognize the impact of homosexual marriage in 2006. French later admitted that his laissez-faire attitude to a disaster for Christians was wrong. French ignored him.

He is a proceduralist who’s learned nothing. French is always on the deck of the battleship Missouri fighting for better surrender terms while the ruins of the culture smolder behind him. That’s why he’s still working to defeat Trump in 2020. The conservative judges Trump appointed are irrelevant.

When a lawyer in the audience said, “you spilled a lot of words talking about due process” but due process is at the mercy of judges. “When you have lawless judges on the courts nobody has due process.”

French airily dismissed her, “I reject the notion that everything stands or falls any given four years of judicial appointments.”

And there is smug, superior French–ism in all its glory. It’s why voters rejected it in 2016 even before Ahmari decided it was worth rejecting.

French’s hands remain pure, unsullied by any Trump support. He’s already negotiated his small comfy perch. The rest of you should do likewise.

Besides the central tenant of French–ism is: In the long run, we’re all dead.

‘The Hunt’ Is Canceled, But the Left Still Pursues Conservatives

It was disappointing when Hollywood temporarily canceled the premier of ‘The Hunt,’ a movie where leftists killed Deplorables for sport. Don’t mistake this cancellation for a ceasefire. Conservatives may not be shot on the big screen, but leftist commissars are still gunning for us.

Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch, OH

The Washington Post’s Viewpoint section is proof. On any Sunday, the WoePost’s opinion pages read like the editorial page of the Oberlin College student newspaper. Feverish leftists imagine conservative shock troops massing behind every Chick–Fil–A. [Closed on Sunday, so storm troopers in the parking lot won’t interfere with business.] A blast on a racial dog whistle will signal the beginning of a goose–stepping march toward Congress. [Also closed on Sunday and inactive for most of the rest of the year, too.]

Last weekend a vile woman named Eve Fairbanks published an almost 3,000–word slander of prominent conservatives. (For comparison, newspapers only allow me 800 words of calumny.)

She began, “After the El Paso shooting, Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative podcaster, asked Americans to draw a line between the few conservatives who are white supremacists and those who, like him, aren’t. [He complained] ‘Too many on the political left [are] castigating the character of those who disagree,’ lumping conservatives and political nonconformists together with racists and xenophobes.’”

Eve then proceeds to give Shapiro his lumps by contending conservatives derive their inspiration from antebellum slavery defenders. “The reasonable right’s rhetoric is exactly the same as the antebellum rhetoric I’d read so much of. The same exact words. The same exact arguments. Rhetoric, to be precise, in support of the slave-owning South.”

Translation: There is no “reasonable right.” All conservatives are racists.

The part I found most rewarding in this guilt–by–grammar character assassination was Fairbanks’ all–inclusive indictment. She includes lukewarm, don’t–hold–Trump–against–me cringers like Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens in her list of Deplorables, along with non–Trump voter Bret Easton Ellis and lefty Nicholas Kristof whom she accuses of channeling John C. Calhoun when he merely calls for supporting freedom of speech.

There are no conscientious objectors in a culture war. You are with the left or you are on their list.

Fairbanks’ smear of mainstream conservative thinkers is designed to blacklist them and their ideas. By linking Shapiro with slavery, she seeks to narrow the range of approved opinion and approved opinionators. She and the WoePost’s leftist stenographers know that by publishing her contemptable Rhett McCarthyism it gives her dishonest attack the stamp of authenticity and mainstream validation.

Publication in the WoePost enables others to cite her dishonest bile as a legitimate reason to dismiss all conservative ideas and deny conservatives a platform. This is not an isolated instance.

The week before Marissa Brostoff accused moderate author J.D. Vance, nominally a Democrat, of being a racist because he “lamented a falloff in white births.” Only Vance said no such thing and over Brostoff’s objections the WoePost corrected the slander.

This week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.” This means in the city where poop on the sidewalk is “the San Francisco treat”, duck hunters who don’t even own an AR–15 and think the NRA can be a bit extreme are now official terrorists.

Do you notice a pattern here? Speakers, organizations and ideas are systematically being ruled beyond the pale.

The left intends to make public expression of conservative ideas socially unacceptable and professionally risky. How many average conservative citizens are going to express their thoughts in public when they see high–profile individuals driven underground? How many will attend rallies? How many will even put a bumper sticker on the car?

Fairbanks is convinced conservatives are afforded too many opportunities as it is. She spins universities forced to pay for security to prevent leftist thugs from attacking conservative speakers as, “bending over backward to give platforms to right–wing writers and speakers who already have huge exposure.”

Exposure is defined as appearing on Fox News or writing a New York Times bestseller in spite of your book being denied reviews by the same NYT.

The kind of “exposure” Fairbanks and her fellow travelers really seek for conservatives is demonstrated by a Reddit thread that advertises a web guide to locate otherwise anonymous Trump contributors and learn their home addresses and occupations.

Snooze–alarm conservatives need to wake up. In the left’s view, no one is a little bit conservative and no blow is too low. These developments are ominous alone and together constitute a warning klaxon.

Claremont Review of Books writer Angelo M. Codevilla termed our current situation a “cold civil war.” Every indication is the cold civil war is heating up faster than the left’s climate fantasies.

Gun–Grabbers Shoot Themselves in the Foot

Some Opposition Media journos are taking a novel approach to covering guns. They’re actually going hands–on.

Gary McCoy, Shiloh, IL

Hayley Peterson, of Business Insider, decided to buy a gun. She avoided going to a local gun store — presumably because employees are experts on the process — and decided to try Walmart, which is not known for employee expertise or visibility.

“I went to a Walmart store in Virginia with the intention of buying a gun as part of an investigation into the placement, selection, marketing, security and sales of firearms in Walmart’s stores.
”

Hayley probably thought the only obstacle standing between her and looking like Yosemite Sam would be tracking down an employee to sell her the gun. Why the story practically writes itself: ‘Negligent, uncaring corporation forces employees with limited English skills to sell deadly weapons of war while working for slave wages!’

Only that’s not the way it worked out.

Her quest began as any experienced Walmart customer could have told her it would. After an hour and a half on the phone, “Three Walmart employees told me they didn’t know which stores sold guns.”

Hayley finally found a store with an arsenal only 30 minutes away. Her experience there was far worse than asking for a price check. She finds the gun case. She hunts down an employee. She waits for a manager. She listens as the manager tells her no guns today because an “authorized firearm seller” isn’t on duty.

Hayley returns Thursday. Her Walmart sells guns priced between $474 and $159 and no Walmart carries scary–looking ‘assault rifles.’ Times are tough in journalism, so she opts for the $159 model.

At that price point she’s probably looking at a low–power, rim–fire, .22 caliber rifle most gun owners would use to assault soda cans.

The authorized employee requests a manager oversee the sale. She pays $2 for a background check and starts filling out the form. The employee asks her if the home address on the form matches her Virginia driver’s license. Uh–oh. It doesn’t because she’s moved.

Pepsi cans breathe a sigh of relief because the addresses must match. She has to return with a government–issued document proving her current address.

A disappointed Hayley writes, “I left the store empty-handed — again.” Regardless of her initial motive for choosing Walmart, I give her credit for coming to a conclusion that didn’t fit the anti–gun narrative, “Overall, the experience left me with the impression that buying a gun at Walmart is more complicated than I expected, and that Walmart takes gun sales and security pretty seriously.”

After reading Gersh Kuntzman’s column on his ‘assault rifle’ adventure for the Daily News, I have the impression he would gladly have swapped places with Hayley.

Kuntzman wanted, “to fire and discuss the AR-15, a style of semi–automatic rifle popular with mass killers.”

It was a life–changing experience.

Gersh claims to have shot pistols before. It didn’t prepare him for his brush with Armageddon. “The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary form of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.”

That wasn’t the worst of it. “Even in semi-automatic mode, it is very simple to squeeze off two dozen rounds before you even know what has happened.”

I can see how that might occur, if you’re panicked and hyperventilating because you’ve lost control of your bowels.

Gersh’s hysterical beta–male meltdown was so extreme I was ready to start a GoFundMe campaign to find a Y chromosome donor. Selwyn Duke, another columnist, contacted the range owner where Kuntzman had his brush with mortality.

Gersh’s barrage of death–dealing, psyche–altering, wholly destructive firepower consisted of exactly three rounds. That’s not even half the load of a limited California magazine.

I think Hayley would have been good for twice the rounds with none of the subsequent wailing and clothes rending.

It’s a positive development when journalists familiarize themselves with firearms to gain some insight into the technology and gun–owner culture. They can see first–hand the hoops legal gun owners jump through each time they want to buy a weapon. Perceptive reporters might realize none of the ‘sensible gun control’ measures will keep guns away from people who don’t obey laws.

Spend enough time around ranges and reporters would also learn any rational gun owner knows some people aren’t fit to own weapons because they are a danger to themselves and others.

I would put Kuntzman at the top of that list.

Medical Migrants Head to Mexico

There’s hope for price competition in healthcare, but so far only with companies that self–insure and pay for all employee’s medical costs. I do my part by advocating price transparency for hospitals to create competition and put downward pressure on insurance rates.

Bob Englehart Political Cartoons.com

Simply require hospitals that accept federal money to post binding prices for the 25 most common in–patient surgeries; the 25 most common outpatient procedures and the 25 most common tests. These turnkey charges must also match the best price offered insurance companies.

Getting patients to act on the information is the problem. This is difficult because surgery candidates – like Instagram followers – tend to believe high prices indicate high quality. This is not necessarily so. Hospitals with high prices may only indicate a large number of Ferraris in the executive parking lot.

The Maryland Health Care Commission posts prices for a handful medical procedures along with associated readmission rates. A surgical readmission is when a patient goes back a second time and is charged more to remove the sponge left inside their body — something hospital executives would never tolerate if the mechanic left a loose wrench under the hood of their Ferrari.

A knee replacement at the brand name Sinai Hospital in Baltimore costs $32,000 and risks an 18 percent readmission rate. Or you can pay $23,000 at the generically named Suburban Hospital, off in a parking lot somewhere, and only worry about a 0.6 percent readmission rate.

Unfortunately, health insurance companies are basically utilities run by bureaucrats who move blood instead of water. A creative solution from insurance companies to motivate patients to comparison shop was going to be difficult. That’s why I cautiously suggested the company apply a portion of the discount to the patient’s deductible in that year and the next.

I am indebted to Phil Galewitz, of Kaiser Health News, for reporting successful, effective incentives for patients do exist, but only for those fortunate enough to work for an enlightened company that self–insures.

Galewitz introduces Donna Ferguson of self–insuring Ashley Furniture in Mississippi who needed a knee replacement. Ashley’s own business is fiercely competitive and it evidently sees no reason why competition won’t work in health care.

That’s why Ashley is a client of North American Specialty Hospital. NASH currently works with 1,200 companies and some 3 million employees. Hospitals aren’t required to post prices in Jefferson Davis’ home state, but we do know in Maryland the low–price, high–quality knee replacement runs $23,000.

Even that lower price is almost twice the $12,000 knee replacement NASH offers in Cancun, Mexico.

The location may give you some pause now that Cancun is mostly famous for decapitated heads that occasionally wash ashore. Unpleasant sure, but none of the deaths were caused by hospital error. NASH makes all the arrangements for employees who opt for south of the border surgery. Travel, hospital, pre– and post–operative care, physical therapy and accommodations at a Sheraton attached to the NASH hospital are included. All the patient has to do is supply the problem.

Donna’s surgeon was a Mayo Clinic trained US doctor flown in for the procedure. All local hospital personnel are US–trained medical professionals. The NASH package even includes travel for one companion. In this instance mom got a knee replacement and dad got a vacation.

Some of you are no doubt thinking, yeah Mexico this year but it’ll be Somalia in 2020 if these greedy capitalists can save a dime. I’m suspicious of corporations, too, but in this case, it’s misplaced. Donna had the option of staying in Mississippi for her surgery. What made the difference was the $5,000 check she received from Ashley for agreeing to the lower–priced NASH package.

Plus, by using a US doctor Donna said, “she could file a malpractice suit in the US” if something went wrong. An option everyone who has ever watched a ‘Call 1­–800–SUE–PAIN’ commercial wants to retain.

Patients, companies, hospitals and insurance companies are the four variables in adding competition to healthcare. Hospitals, if they are required to post the turnkey, will lower costs on their own or suffer revenue shortfalls. The 1,200 companies NASH serves have already adopted a competitive shopping outlook. And Donna Ferguson and the other 140 Ashley employees who have agreed to travel for a medical procedure show that patients will respond to incentives.

The last and most difficult target are the insurance companies who are currently content as Obamacare wards of the federal government. Convincing these competitively inert organizations to share savings with patients or adopt other incentives is going to be tough.

Maybe the threat of ‘Medicare for All’ and the potential end of insurance companies will provide motivation before November 2020.

Female Soccer Players Unite With Hollywood to Demand Pay Cut!

The world champion US Women’s Soccer team traveled to California to combine their misplaced outrage with that of Hollywood actresses. The goal is for both groups to combine intangible athletic and showbiz popularity and demand corporate America solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

If they get their wish, it should result in a major pay cut for the women’s team,

WoePost columnist Sally Jenkins has been drum–beating for female soccer pay equity in a series of increasingly strident columns. If you can get past the slightly creepy gushing over the women’s physique (imagine if Curt Schilling had written this) “Alyssa Naeher, tautly muscled and flying through the air…”

True–believer Jenkins rails, “So I don’t give a rip about FIFA revenue generated by men’s teams in Germany or Brazil. American soccer officials answer to American laws on equal pay for equal work…I also don’t want to hear another word about the bigger size of revenue in the men’s World Cup.”

In spite of Sally’s insistence we not confuse her with the facts there is no way to get to the bottom of the equal–pay–for–equal–work issue without the use of numbers.

In the corporate arena — where Jenkins appears to think Titans of Industry are cowering with their hands crossed over the family jewels hoping Ms. Purple Hair won’t send a penalty kick screaming toward their groin — there is no pay gap.

I’ll take the risk of incurring Sally’s wrath by using an analysis from the Heritage Foundation. The so–called “pay gap” is based on a comparison of the median earnings of every woman compared to every man. It’s not a valid comparison because it ignores variables like “education, occupation, experience and hours, which account for nearly all of the differential in earnings between men and women.”

Once those factors are added it “eliminates all but an estimated 3 to 5 cents of the gender pay gap.” Ah ha! A nickel is still a nickel! Turns out that’s illusory, too. That differential is explained by “women’s preference for greater flexibility” in their occupations that “accounts for some — if not all — of the remaining pay gap.”

Okay. Angry female ballerina ball players bringing corporate America to its knees was a stretch anyway, but what about those fat, greasy chauvinists at US Soccer who really make Sally’s blood boil? They pay the women like sharecroppers on a plantation!

Frankly, I’d be in favor of paying the women the same as the men when they can beat the men on the soccer field. Biology is a harsh mistress and so is ticket and television revenue. This is why even the most talented player in the Lingerie Football League makes a fraction of the salary of a player on the NFL’s worst Arizona Cardinals.

Only that’s not the case here. US women’s soccer team players are paid MORE than male players!

US Soccer, the cruel corporate overlords of our feminine heroes, released an independently audited ten years of internal financials. Let the petard hoisting begin. “From 2010 through 2018, U.S. Soccer paid our women $34.1 million in salaries and game bonuses and we paid our men $26.4 million — not counting the significant additional value of various benefits that our women’s players receive but which our men do not.”

This means that for the Purple–Haired Norma Rae to be paid on an equal basis with the men, she would need to accept a 23 percent pay CUT. Something tells me this isn’t what the Trump and flag hater has in mind.

The Team Estrogen has also been peddling a hypothetical 20–friendly season where they earn 38 cents for every dollar the losers on the men’s team grab. A conjecture Jenkins fell for hook, line and sinker.

Using the women’s own Uncle Tom’s Cabin catalog of injustice the governing body found, “…if the men and women ever did play in and win 20 friendlies in a year and were paid the average bonus amount, a women’s player would earn more from U.S. Soccer than the men’s player — the women’s player would earn at least $307,500 (WNT and NWSL salaries, plus game bonuses) and the men’s player would earn $263,333 (game bonuses only).”

This is what happens when you let jocks loose in the economics department. Women soccer players in the US make more than the men. It’s part of the contract they negotiated with US Soccer and they approved. The only reason they are griping now is because they fell for leftist fantasies of injustice, victimhood for alphabet crusaders and a general distaste for capitalism while ignoring the specifics of their own situation.

I eagerly await Sally’s next update on the situation.