One of the biggest campaign issues from last year was what to do with Obamacare. If you recall Obamacare was rammed through late at night on a party line vote with the famous proclamation from Nancy Pelosi that if you wanted to know what was in the 907 page bill, you would have to pass it first. President Obama did his best Nixon/Watergate and Clinton/Lewinki affair imitation by looking into the camera/face of America and lied; “If you like you doctor, you can keep your doctor.” President Obama and congressional liberals made many promises about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that were not true such as lowering healthcare costs and protecting middle class Americans from higher tax burdens. The point is that democrats shoveled and shoveled the manure in hopes that something beautiful would grow. There has never been a worse program that promises more government, more regulations, and more mandates as a solution to America’s health care problems. Originally billed as reform, Obamacare’s supposed “benefits” increase not only jacked up government spending, but had the same effect on the cost of private health insurance—on the backs of taxpayers. A starting point for Paul Ryan and congress should be setting commonsense insurance rules for those of us who buy our own insurance—individuals and small businesses outside the large group insurance market. Congress can finally combine sensible individual health insurance changes with long overdue tax and Medicaid reforms for a fair and fiscally responsible strategy to expand coverage to the currently uninsured. Obamacare inserted itself in the doctor-patient relationship and micromanaged what health care should be delivered to patients. Higher quality of care is impossible when government is given this much discretion and authority. One of the biggest affronts to freedom and religious liberty was the HHS mandate for employers to cover abortion related drugs regardless of religious or moral objection. This was only one of the first egregious examples in the Obama presidency that displayed a blatant disregard for the basic liberties and freedoms that our nation was founded on. In addition to being a massive federal power grab, Obamacare contained massive tax increases on the American economy—at a time when job growth should have been the nation’s number one priority. In total, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the Obamacare tax hikes would raise about $800 billion in new revenue over a decade including the unprecedented $494 billion tax hike that hit Americans in 2013. We all know what a cataclysmic failure Obamacare was. The cost alone is staggering. Imagine the impact of having that cash actually circulating in the economy rather than being wasted by the government. In the meantime, in comes President Trump with a voter mandate to replace Obamacare with something reasonable, effective and affordable. The phase “Repeal & Replace” has been thrown about quite a bit inside the beltway. Don’t let it fool you, this is not broken plan that needs to be fixed, it’s a lemon that needs to be returned to the lot. It presupposes a grand solution to a terrible problem without understanding the problem. It’s like the mindless calls for “immigration reform” without controlling the border or specifying what is wrong to begin with and which problem is being solved with the “reform.” This entire approach is rooted in the assumption that only the governments can fix it and ignorance of free markets, but more importantly in a broken political barometer. Republicans are in their strongest electoral position since the Civil War in part because of the Obamacare disaster, they believe that they will somehow lose influence by repealing that monstrosity. The central goal of any conservative health care plan, as was explained by president Trump during the campaign, should be reducing the market costs of health care and health insurance, not expanding access or universal coverage as we have been deceived into assuming all these years. Republicans should be focused on reforming the entire system and restoring the free market. Republicans should work on lowering the costs for those who want to purchase insurance on their own, and that will help expand coverage. The overriding principle of achieving that goal is eliminating as many of the government regulations and obstructions that have driven up the costs of health care. At the same time, leverage flexibility, portability, personal responsibility for individuals on top of that, innovation, and competition in the market place for health insurance, as well as removing anti-market forces that stifle the efficient delivery of health care. The end result will not be utopia. Rather, it will provide the largest array of choices at the lowest costs for the most people — the best outcome we can ever aim for.
Monofilament, super braids, fluorocarbons, copolymers. Back in the day (did I just say that?), choosing a fishing line came down to three choices: Stren, Berkley Trilene, or the cheap junk on the bottom shelf. Even back then, I stayed clear of that bottom shelf! These days, there are over a dozen different manufacturers making several dozen types of lines, it’s enough to make one’s head spin! Don’t worry; I’m not going to go into THAT much detail. This week, I’ll just stick to some basics. If you remove tournament anglers, guides, or extreme anglers from the mix, what you have is your weekend angler. The bread and butter for the line manufacturers, you’re the ones who actually keep them in business! What I’m getting at is: you don’t have to rely on the same narrow set of choices anglers had to back in the day (there it is again). Not everyone fishes the same way, and not every angler needs the same properties from their lines. That’s why I’m focusing on monofilament and co polymers this week. If you are primarily a bait angler, one who uses worms or crickets, then monofilament will suit your needs. It’s forgiving, and some companies even make fluorescent lines. The clear/blue lines from Stren, Berkley, or Sufix Elite react to UV rays from the sun, and will glow bright blue. Stained water is what the clear/blue lines were made for, the same goes for the salt.
If you’re favorite technique requires you to watch the line for any subtle twitch, this is your line. Stained water is what the clear/blue lines were made for, the same goes for salt water. The primary disadvantage with any monofilament line is excessive line stretch, especially if you’re fishing plastic worms or grubs. These lure types require a bit of sensitivity in order to feel the strike, which can be very subtle in deeper water. If you happen to be fishing a crankbait, then the extra stretch will be to your benefit (some brands exhibit as much as 30% stretch). The brands to look out for are Stren (Original, Magna-Thin, High Impact)…Berkley Trilene (XL, XT, Solutions, Sensation, Big Game)…Sufix (Elite, Siege, Pro Mix). All the lines I just mentioned have quite a bit of stretch, with the exception of Berkley Solutions and Sufix Pro Mix. These are monofilament lines specially formulated to have less stretch than standard monofilament line. Remember, in order to get less stretch, you will give up easy handling and limpness…both trademarks of the standard monofilament lines.
Now, if you want even less stretch that the specialized monofilaments, I’d suggest a copolymer line. Monofilament and copolymer lines look the same, and feel the same. The difference is a copolymer line is formulated from two or more polymer/nylon resins, while monofilament has only one. Copolymer line will give you less stretch then mono, but will be slightly stiffer. The brands to choose from are as follows: P-Line (CXX, CX Premium, Floroclear, Voltage)…Silver Thread (AN-40, Excalibur)…Vicious (Ultimate, X.A.C.T). The P-Line also features an added twist-they’re all fluorocarbon coated, making them even less visible in clear water, and to wary fish.
Here’s my advice on how to choose your fishing line….1) If you’re a multi species angler, going out on the weekends with the family, or fishing to get away and decompress from a hectic work week, or are primarily a “worm dunker”, go for the standard monofilament. You’ll experience fewer issues with your line. 2) If you’re a bit more serious (aka fanatical), or like to fish lures deeper than usual, opt for a copolymer. These will give you more advantages such as greater sensitivity, and in a few cases, decreased visibility. 3) If you’re a dad with youngsters on the bank, opt for the clear/blue monofilament. You’ll find them easier to keep track of where everyone’s line is located, and the kids will get a kick out of watching the glowing blue line take off when a fish swims off with the hook in its mouth! Well, hopefully I didn’t get too complicated with this subject. Just imagine if I had added fluorocarbon and super braided line into the discussion! Be glad I didn’t, because I’d still be typing this up!
The Courts declare what is law and what is constitutional, not the White House
“Alternative Facts” - we all know now – means to lie to confound and manipulate the public. Instead of accepting the facts, when they are plainly evident, Mr. Donald Trump lies, for instance, about how many folk attended his inauguration. If journalists don’t accept the lies Mr. Trump tells, Mr. Trump hounds and ridicules journalists and anyone else in tweets and sets upon the press his mad dog press secretary who performs like a thoughtless school yard bully you would have popped in the mouth when you were a kid. Another great whopper, viral on social media, told by the conning Ms. KellyAnne Conway, a Trump adviser, was that there was a “Bowling Green Massacre” by mid-east terrorists when, in truth and fact, no massacre ever occurred. Ms. Conway claimed this “imagined” massacre justified Mr. Trump’s unlawful and unconstitutional ban on Muslim immigrants from seven mostly Muslim nation states. George Orwell in a spectacular essay, “Politics and the English Language,” warned that “the slovenliness of our language makes it easier to have foolish thoughts,” and, when published, such “language can also corrupt thought.” Alternative Law is the emerging companion to Alternative Facts. Alternative Law is what the extreme right devised in the 80s to contradict the Supreme Court’s decisions recognizing our individual rights that protect us from an over-reaching and corrupt government. Alternative Law therefore presumes most citizens don’t understand this ruse. The extreme right, the alt-right, the Federalists, devised this new “way” to “understand” the law, insisting that jurists divine “the original intent” of the Founders who authored the Constitution. A moment’s consideration reveals how preposterous is the notion that we confine our jurisprudence, emphasis on prudence perhaps, to what we “imagine” was the intent of the Founders, who insisted on the fiction of fractional slaves to apportion to the southern states a more favorable representation in the nascent congress. We cannot possibly embrace the Founders “original intent” to deny women any rights – although the architecture of the “new way” seeks to constrict and deny the hard won rights of the modern woman. We now reject out of hand the Founders “original intent” that no man may vote unless propertied and of a certain financial standing, We abhor the slavery that it was our Founders “original intent” to protect, and that foreshadowed a civil war that sought to cure the Founders “original error,” and was only partly successful. The Founders made many compromises that they decided were necessary to give flight to this young nation. The Founders appeared, however, to appreciate the imperfection of their intent and of the Constitution they constructed as they provided us with a Constitution that could and has been amended first, right after the document was drawn and next, over the years since. The Founders’ one certain “original intent” therefore was that change was inevitable. In the early years of our nation, Chief Justice John Marshall made it clear in Marbury v. Madison that the Judiciary decided what legislative or executive actions were unconstitutional or unlawful, and this was a power reserved to the Judiciary, and not to the Legislative nor Executive Branches. Mr. Trump has recently troubled himself over how judges could overrule his Muslim ban as unlawful or unconstitutional. Plainly, Mr. Trump is entirely unfamiliar with the import of the court’s decision in Marbury v. Madison. We must, therefore, question Mr. Trump’s judgment to nominate any Supreme Court Justice including Judge Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch is a firm believer in divining the “original intent” of the Founders and questions why any person challenging a legislative act doesn’t first and necessarily ask the state legislature instead of the court to decide the question. In these perilous times, we do not need a judge on the Supreme Court divining intent, really in order to frustrate our individual rights and liberties, pretending to know another man’s mind in the bargain. Nor do we need, nor can we tolerate a jurist, who would throw over the responsibility to call a legislative or executive act unlawful or unconstitutional, not when Mr. Trump’s Muslim ban is presently declared unlawful and unconstitutional by the lower courts. We must pass over Judge Gorsuch and await a more worthy jurist. If one is not forthcoming, then we shall have a court of eight justices, or perhaps even seven.
This column frequently highlights the various battles in Americas culture war that have been ongoing since the 1960’s. I’ve written about the war on Christmas, gay marriage, immigration and black lives matter. So where will the culture war go in 2017? With the left in disarray, hysterically running around trying to blame everyone from the FBI director to the Russians to white supremacists for Clinton’s loss, there is surely no central command for the left yet.
The culture war may become more complex in 2017. The usual battle lines may have to be redrawn. The traditional definitions may no longer apply. Liberals are flitting about looking to coalesce around new rallying points. The old model was easy to see, the conservatives defend freedom of religion, expression, right to bear arms and freedom of association, with support of traditional marriage and banning government funded abortion high on the priority list.
Liberals progressive agenda of compulsory tolerance for whatever pop-culture fad or lifestyle choice drive their passion du jour. Add militant allegiance to a socialist agenda and forced redistribution of wealth and you have a picture of where the culture war is being fought today.
What is at stake in the culture war? I would proffer that it is literally our national identity. The very thing that draws many honest, hard working immigrants to America to start with. With that, those leading the charge against traditional American culture use their secret weapon. Hidden in plain site.
Would you be surprised if I said that weapon was Multiculturalism? I assert that multiculturalism doesn’t have anything to do with other cultures, that it is actually just about western culture, specifically America and its rich history, and transforming that which defines us.
What would replace it if the progressives get their way? A culture where government involvement in our lives is welcomed rather than eschewed. A culture where Americans are divided into groups, rather than individuals and families.
When I grew up in southern West Virginia, we took West Virginia Studies as our eighth grade history, learning our own local culture and history. 9th Grade was American history to 1865 and 10th was American history to the present. World Cultures was 11th and 12th grade.
Despite a robust cultural education, it was no substitute for getting out in the world and meeting those from different cultures, diverse views and unique experiences. Living in the Washington DC area is a testament to people from all over the world living in close proximity for the most part, peaceably.
But the conventional wisdom in America has always been to welcome those who wish to legally enter our country, learn our culture, laws and language while still respecting and embracing their culture of origin.
America has been a nation of immigrants since German immigrants began to stream into Pennsylvania in the 1600s. Millions of immigrants have migrated from all over the world to partake of the American dream, and to be part of it. Assimilation into the body politic is the concept that is sorely missing from the debate on multiculturalism. Marian L. Tupy defined assimilation as “a process by which immigrants acquire the social and psychological characteristics of the American mainstream. It increases the long-term benefits of immigration for everybody by allowing immigrants fully to participate in their adopted country’s social and economic life, and by lowering tensions between different groups of people.”
The problem is that the progressive left needs for every ethnic group and religious group to become a pressure group, putting that groups’ cultural equal to that of our nation as a whole. The overarching American culture is not given priority.
In 1794, George Washington said, in a letter to John Adams, “The policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the language, habits, and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws: in a word, soon become one people.” As a conservative, I believe in respecting all cultures equally, in their natural habitat. Michael Gonzales wrote for the Heritage Foundation “America has had the secret formula for being able to take in millions of immigrants and at the same time have a unified national culture. It is called patriotic assimilation—the marriage of patriotism and assimilation.” This is a battle of cultures plain and simple. The world looks on at the daily examples of how multiculturalism has weakened German culture and in some ways, may overwhelm it. While we watch this cultural battle spread across Europe, and see German’s and others fighting to retain their national identity, we must see that America is also at risk. America is still Western Civilization’s shiniest beacon on the hill, we are not immune to the siren song of multiculturalism for its own sake. American culture and its resplendent exceptionalism must not parish from this earth. The culture war continues, we must continue to embrace our unique culture and not let this be our last battlefield defending it.