Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Letter to Speaker Pelosi

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

Hands off our healthcare!

If you had the capacity to think or really cared about our country, I would add the following:

More government regulations will make our healthcare even more expensive. Public option or no public option, the result is the same - the enslavement of the people by turning them into whining moochers unable to take care of themselves. The outcome of this reform will be more power to the government with more expensive and less efficient healthcare. Don’t think that we are fools who don’t understand that there is no such thing as something for nothing. “Free” government healthcare means more taxes, more inflation, more bureaucracy. Instead of helping some destitute people to rise, you’ll bring down everybody to the level of destitution.

But you don’t care. You would sell your soul, and no doubt you will sacrifice the future of this country for the sake of holding on to your power just a little longer.

The only true reform should include deregulation, removal of the existing government chains. Only real unimpeded competition can solve our problems. We need to simplify our health insurance system instead of making it more complicated. Health insurance should be just an emergency insurance like all other types of insurance. What we have now is prepaid care, which drives the prices sky-high, because once the deductible is reached people rush to get “free” unnecessary treatments to get their money back.

Emergency health insurance is virtually non-existent now. Even if you manage to find one with a high deductible, you are still forced to pay for things like obesity treatment, mental health and so on. How do we expect to fight obesity and other unhealthy behaviors if we punish people with healthy lifestyles by making them pay more to cover people with unhealthy lifestyles? Is this fair to make healthy people pay more in order to cover unhealthy people? We don't prepay every car repair in our auto insurance, we pay the price depending on our driving habits. Why is it so difficult to implement the same standards in the health care?

All these problems are a direct result of government regulations and the influence of lobbies instead of the rule of Law and the Constitution. Doctors should be given more freedom to decide what treatment to give to their patients. They should be free from constant fear of frivolous law suits. They should be free from having to deal with complicated insurance codes that add tremendous costs to their services, they should be free from government officials telling them how to do their job better.

Instead of piling more burden on the already bankrupt country, why don't you admit that you have been wrong all this time. You have brought this country to a complete collapse with your social security, medicare and medicaid entitlements. You have made a mistake by thinking that the government can solve problems better than independent people free to cooperate with each other without any force. Roll back you voracious appetites, leave us be, get off our backs, or we'll have to shake you off by voting you out!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Your Brother's Keeper

Many Americans are concerned that their country in the last half a year or so has been rapidly moving towards socialism. Those who have not been misled into believing that this new “New Deal” will help our country overcome recession and improve the lives of the majority of Americans, warn us about dire financial and lifestyle consequences for us and future generations. However, only very few are ready to contemplate the moral consequences of the new Obama reforms.

Our leaders from both conservative and liberal sides encourage us to sacrifice for our country and for our neighbors allegedly because we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. All we have to do to make our society more fair, we are told, is to love each other and to help our government carry the burden of care for the underprivileged. I am sure that most of us already understand that this goal is too difficult, if not impossible, to achieve, as the history of mankind, especially in the 20th century, shows. Yet we still believe that this is a worthwhile goal. Many of us agree that our society is too consumption oriented, too egoistic and too indifferent to the less fortunate. Therefore, in spite of all our distrust towards the government we continue to buy into “helping your neighbor” rhetoric. This is the rhetoric that occurs whenever our “wise and enlightened” leaders push for another reform meant to achieve a greater good for a greater many – a reform that is supposed to make us love each other and care about each other more.

However, in spite of all the beautiful promises of social architects, the results are exactly the opposite. When I first came to the United States from my native Russia, I was pleasantly surprised at the general feeling of benevolence: people smiling at each other, ready to help a stranger, giving to charities. Living in Russia I was used to treating a stranger as a person that you cannot trust, as a some kind of enemy. In the US, surely a more egoistic and profit-oriented country, that was not the case. Why? The answer was very simple although not very obvious. In a society where people are free to work for themselves, to take care of themselves and their loved ones, to take responsibilities for their own lives and to make their own decisions, people tend to be more satisfied about their lives. Consequently they are more respectful towards themselves and each other. On the other hand, I grew up in a society where every fruit of your labor was taken into the common pool and then redistributed “equally” by the government. This “fair” arrangement makes every one of your neighbors your competitor. Not a competitor for a portion of the free market which requires of you to be your best to succeed, but a competitor for a “free piece” of the common pie, where you have to present your worst to win the competition. When you have to convince a government official that you are more deserving of a new apartment or of an expensive surgery than your neighbor because you are more miserable, or because you have more children, you will begin to hate and despise your neighbors.

This is already happening in the USA where hard-working Americans are forced by their government to pay for their neighbors’ food stamps, education, healthcare, jobs, etc. Yet many of these hard-working Americans still continue like Hank Rearden from “Atlas Shrugged” to ignore that burden because it is still bearable or because they fool themselves into believing that it is moral to be generous to their brothers. Wait till the government nationalizes your healthcare. Now we hopefully still consider it immoral for a government official to decide who will get a certain treatment and who will be sacrificed. Wait until we get to the point where our limited common resources have to be distributed among unlimited medical needs. Will we all agree with our leaders that when one has to choose between saving the life of a healthy child and the life of an old or handicapped person, the child should have the priority? Will we all turn into a bunch of whining moochers begging the government for a handout and hating every one of our neighbors for their very existence? If you still subscribe to the premise that our underprivileged brothers suffer from our neglect in this age of egoism and profit-hunting, wait till you are forced to live in a socialist society.

This, in my mind, is the gravest implication of a society where you are forced to be your brother’s and sister’s keeper – the resulting hate and distrust of all your brothers and sisters.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My letter to the Congressman on Obamacare

Dear Congressman,

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to vote against government healthcare. This “free” healthcare will cost the taxpayers, the very people you want to help, in taxes and higher prices of virtually everything more than they could possibly spend on any private health insurance. And this “free” healthcare is going to be of a much worse quality. Government healthcare doesn’t work. It’s more expensive and less efficient. It takes a choice away from people. It is immoral, because it enslaves the doctors and impoverishes people who could otherwise find a better use for their money. It is immoral and it is unconstitutional. In order to provide this “free” healthcare you will have to rob us, people, of everything we still have left. Please, stop this madness!

I am originally from Russia, and Russia, as you know, has a government-run healthcare. Here are a few ideas of what it looks like:

The shabbiness of Russian policlinics and hospitals can horrify any American who sees them for the first time. Doctors, always underpaid, couldn't care less about their patients. Misdiagnosis is something absolutely common. They can be treating you for one disease till you die from another.

80% of medical negligence cases are never won. In fact, if somebody manages to win a case against negligent doctors and get some compensation (you are lucky if it's about a thousand dollars) it'll be all over the news.

There have been numerous cases through the years where babies and little children were infected with AIDS at hospitals during blood transfusions. Doctors don't always bother to check a donor’s blood for diseases. In some cases the number of infected children reached over 150.

If you are an old person (and old in Russia starts at 50-60) you get less and less attention from the doctors. If you are 80-90 and need an ambulance they may never even bother to come to your call, after all you've already lived too long.

Women are often afraid to get pregnant, because pregnant women seem to be treated worse than anybody else. My mother was made to walk to the delivery room when her water had already broken and her baby was half way out. A nurse or a doctor can yell at you if you are doing something wrong as if you are a whore and not an expectant young mother. Imagine the psychological stress especially for a first time mother who is already scared without any additional “help” from the doctors. Many babies are born with chronic conditions and their mothers get chronic diseases for the rest of their lives due to the doctors' negligence.

In my home town there is a practice now for young women as soon as they get pregnant to visit a certain doctor and pay him an advance to make sure that he helps them through the pregnancy and is personally present during the delivery, after which he gets the rest of the money. If you don't want to pay this bribe, blame yourself, your baby will be pulled out by an indifferent nurse. If they tear you apart in the process, it's your problem.

I heard of a case where a future father, when he saw the way his pregnant wife was treated, pulled out a gun and stuck it in the doctor’s mouth and promised that he'd pull the trigger if anything happened to his wife. The doctor did his best, of course, but not many women are lucky to have such protectors.

If you or your relative were in the hospital for any problem you would need to be prepared with bribe and present money. Small tips, chocolates, etc. for the nurses and bigger tips for the doctors. Plus you’d have to roam the drugstores in search of medications they’d tell you to buy, because they won’t have any.

If you were to go to your physical exam you’d have bring your own sterile latex gloves and your own gown if you care about your safety and cleanliness.

One good thing is that people don’t have to go to the doctor to get a prescription to buy a drug. You can buy anything in the drug store without a prescription, starting from antibiotics and birth control and ending with Viagra. For that reason people try to avoid doctors as much as they can and rely heavily on self-diagnosis and self treatment. I am sure it kills a lot of people too, but many people would rather die on their own than deal with doctors.

Do you need a transplant? Keep dreaming, for most people it’s absolutely out of reach. The waiting lines are so long that you might as well give up hope.

There are a few private clinics, of course, but they are absolutely unaffordable for about 90% of the population. And very few cities actually even have them.

If you want to imagine going to a doctor under socialized medicine imagine going to the DMV or a post office. The waiting time and the attitude are exactly the same. The only difference is that a driver’s license or a postage stamp are not the same as your kidneys or your heart or your liver.

Of course, you may say that Russia is not Canada or France or Great Britain because things are so much worse in Russia. Things are worse in Russia, but Russia is the ultimate example of what Canada or Great Britain or France or the USA can become when the governments of these countries run out of other people’s money and run out of people who care.

Trusting your heart or your brain to a doctor, enslaved in the socialized healthcare system is the same as committing a suicide. They simply don’t care, because they don’t have to compete, because there are very few doctors who want to work under that kind of system. You might as well go to a butcher to have your brain surgery. Or maybe you are hoping that you and your family will be spared. I am sure you won’t have to wait in endless lines for basic medical procedures. You’ll still be able to afford private healthcare unlike 90% of the Americans who will be forced to use public doctors because their money has been stolen from them to support those very public doctors, and they won’t be able to afford anything private anymore.

Please, stop this public healthcare plan! Please, use your reason. You must have some consciousness left to keep you from participating in the destruction of this country and the people who voted for you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cap and Trade letter

Dear Senator,

Thank you for your response on the Cap and Trade Bill.

It’s a very noble goal to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, however in this rush to push this bill through we forget that the government should not be the one to decide on such important issues as alternative sources of energy and whether the use of certain kinds of energy should be encouraged or prohibited. Bureaucrats, no matter how far-sighted or educated, cannot make a correct decision on which sources of energy are viable and which are not. Only the free market can. Any kind of government interference in this matter will not only spike taxes and prices but it will also stifle independent competitive research and development. Let us not forget the examples of a not so distant past that illustrate very well the efficiency of free markets and the wastefulness and inefficiency of a controlled economy.

The Soviet Union, one of the greatest empires in the world, collapsed mostly due to economic reasons, due to the inability of the government to predict and control supply and demand or efficiently launch and promote innovations. I myself came from that unfortunate country to the United States in search of freedom, and it horrifies me to see my new home repeating the mistakes of my old one and slipping into the abyss of socialism. You don’t need terrorists or nuclear weapons to destroy a free country. All you have to do is to make the people of a free country embrace socialism and they will destroy themselves and their country.

If we look back at the history of the United States in the 19th century we will see how much private initiative had to do with real progress and technological advances, especially in the energy market. In the 19th century our energy market was developing, as Alex Epstein so eloquently put it, literally with the speed of thought, any new idea was tried as soon as it was thought of, because there were no obstacles in the form of government regulations.

Back then people were afraid that as soon as they ran out of coal they would be doomed. There were many so called scientists and analysts trying to predict the end of the world due to the limited amount of resources. If back then the US government had stepped in and monopolized the energy market and had tried to regulate coal distribution and the production of candles and lighting oils, we would all still live in the dark ages. Yet we were lucky, because that was the time of truly free markets, and in search of profit many innovators came up with the ideas of how to use oil. Those ideas changed history, and we leaped into a new more advanced era because we had oil and knew how to use it.

Do not forget that before oil and before coal people had to use wood. And then coal was a major discovery. What if back then the governments tried to regulate wood distribution and stifled any new ideas about alternative sources of energy like coal?

And by the way, carbon dioxide is not a threat. Oceans produce more carbon dioxide than all humans together. CO2 is required for life and in different historic periods more CO2 usually meant more vegetation and more prosperity. And it is not a general consensus of the scientists that the Earth is warming, in fact there is new data that the Earth is actually cooling. One of the EPA scientists, Alan Carlin, tried to express these ideas to his superiors. However this information was suppressed. Doesn’t it look like a conspiracy directed to destroying the USA and its independence and competitiveness? Here is an excerpt from the interview with Alan Carlin: (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Suppressed-EPA-scientist-breaks-silence-speaks-on-Fox-News-49513762.html)

How about instead of regulating our energy sector the government deregulated it? What if we gave the initiative back to private entrepreneurs? Private businesses are always in search of profit and a competitive edge. If we get to the point where oil is no longer viable, the one who finds a better, cheaper and more efficient alternative source of energy will not only beat their competitors but solve another energy crisis problem for the rest of mankind.

A free human mind is always in search of solutions to problems. An enslaved human mind does not function. You may force slaves to do physical labor, but you can’t force a slave’s mind to work. It will always be inferior to the mind of a free man. American inventors have always been on top of the world precisely because they were free not only to come up with new ideas, but also to profit from them. No matter how many great scientists worked in the Soviet labor camps, American scientists could always beat them because they were free.

The Cap and trade bill will enslave American scientists in a predetermined government-controlled paradigm. Instead of being truly free to exercise their minds and harvest the fruits of their labor, they will have to struggle through a limited amount of alternative energy choices (most of which are not economically viable) in their government-created jobs.

How much efficiency do you expect from that? Are you so naïve that you truly believe that this kind of arrangement can help America solve her energy problems? I am afraid that if we stifle the human mind, if we rob private companies of their profits in order to invest in dubious government enterprises, if we impoverish people through higher taxes and prices in order to force them to convert to more expensive and less efficient sources of energy, we will create more problems than we are now hoping to solve. It will put this country at a huge disadvantage compared to other countries, and what is worse it will destroy private innovation that has always been a source of American wealth and prosperity.

Please, stop and think twice before you vote for any bill (this or any other) that will put private America in government chains. I believe that there are many other Americans who write petitions to you asking to support things like Cap and Trade or public healthcare. You have to remember that any such initiative will enslave one part of the population in order to serve the other part of the population. This is exactly the kind of democracy that our Founding Fathers were warning us against. When two wolves and a sheep decide what is for lunch the outcome is predictable. This country is a republic based on the rule of Law not the mob, and the Supreme Law of this country is the Constitution of the United States.

You have all taken an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States, and these kinds of bills are in complete violation of this monumental document. Stop thinking that more government is the solution of the problem. Stop thinking that you can please the ignorant masses by giving in to their irrational desires while violating the Constitution and the rights of the minorities, with the smallest minority being an individual. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the Soviets. More government is the problem that is now leading America on this path to nowhere.

Take a stand for freedom, this is what all free Americans expect from you. Don’t sacrifice the American principles for the sake of keeping your seat in Congress. You have to care about justice. You have to care about freedom and principles. You have to care about the real values that this country was based on, even if the majority sometimes thinks otherwise. After all it was not the majority that founded this country and its laws. It was not the majority that made this country great.

You have to take a stand. Simply voting or not voting is not enough anymore. You have to take a real stand for protection of the Constitution of the United States, for protection of the American principles and values. You have to take a real stand for the protection of individual rights. These rights do not include a free house, or a guaranteed job, or free healthcare. You have to take a stand and make yourself heard, so that others can join you! We have to save this country and what you are doing now is not helping this cause. You have to take a stand for what is right, not for what is required by the expediency of the moment! We The People of the United States of America are watching you!


I am starting this blog as a form of a politically incorrect diary for myself and for the people who care about what is happening in America as much as I do.

I am relatively new to America. I came here only 3 years ago. I was born in the USSR, I grew up in the USSR until I was 9 and then in the new fledgling country called Russia.

I cannot say that life was bad there, after all almost any adult will tell you that their fondest memories are of their childhood. I was happy there as a child, because I didn't know any other life. But as an inquisitive and thoughtful child I was always looking for answers to serious questions that most children don't even think about. I remember that as a child I saw justice as one of the major virtues. I was judging most events in my life based on that concept or what I then knew of it. I remember that I was always ready to act in defense of justice and was always upset when justice was violated. I particularly remember one episode from my elementary school. As often happens we had a bully in our classroom. He was really nasty to everybody, bullying both boys and girls and being a peeping Tom in the girls’ bathroom. I remember when this bully hurt my friend. I don't remember what exactly he did to her, but I know that I was mad. I simply pulled his hair until he was crying. Guess what? I was punished for establishing justice and that was one of my first lessons on difference of opinions on justice.

I remember that at one point I saw the Revolution of 1917 in Russia as just. I was a child then, I didn't know much about politics or economics but I was well read in whatever books were available to me at that time. Most books taught me that it was just to take from the rich and give to the poor because the lazy and spoiled rich were exploiting the hard-working and starving poor. I honestly believed in that and was ready to grow up as a good citizen in order devote my life to the state and the common good.

My world collapsed with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 90’s were really bad years. Those who were stronger participated in carving up the industrial heritage of the Soviet Union and establishing themselves in the new and cruel world of Russian “business”. Stories about murdered businessmen were so numerous that people got used to them. Consequently, most people didn't want to venture into that world because they cared about staying alive. Many were still working for government plants and very often they were not paid for their work for several months in a row. People survived mostly with the help of their small gardens where they could grow some vegetables.

Even that was not as scary to me as the change in ideology. Everything that I had been taught was changing before my eyes. The same teachers who had taught me about Lenin and the Party a year before were now teaching me about the usurpation of power by the Bolsheviks and the martyrdom of the Tsar family. That was more than I could take because contrary to most other kids I was not aacepting information blindly, I was trying to analyze it before absorbing. I was not able to resolve my confusion but I definitely learned to think critically and verify information before trusting. Coincidentally I faced another injustice. I did my homework myself, I studied hard, I spent my time to prepare for the school and then at school I was surrounded by a bunch of my classmates who had neglected their work and now needed my help. They expected my help as if I owed it to them and if I refused they took it as a slight to them. I know that it often happens in school and my experience was not new in any way, but what I saw as a real problem was that the same attitude didn’t stop in school but went into the adult professional and personal lives.

I saw many other unjust things in my life too. My grandmother who had worked her entire life 6-7 days a week for 10-12 hours a day for the state in her kolkhoz and couldn't save any money for retirement, (because the amount of money that she was receiving at her work was barely enough to survive and the state was supposed to take care of you after your retirement), after her retirement was receiving a smaller pension from the state than her next door neighbor who spent her entire life avoiding work under the guise of numerous non-existent ailments. Those who were foolish enough to save money for retirement or for any other needs, depriving themselves of everything, like my other grandmother or my parents, were robbed of their money by the new Russian government. Almost overnight inflation swallowed everything they had. To make it clearer, imagine that today you have 100 000 dollars in your savings account, tomorrow you wake up and you have 100 dollars in your account.

Life was full of injustices. Yet Russians always went on, complaining, but eventually getting used to it. Poor health care, bad roads, horrible utilities, dirty streets were considered normal because they didn't know any better. Most people who knew better did their best to leave Russia. I realized that most problems that we had were inherited from the USSR and magnified in the new world of relative “freedom”. I saw the problems but I couldn't name them or their causes. Not until I accidentally came across one of the books of Ayn Rand. In her simple logical manner she answered all the questions that had been troubling me. I got the answers most of which I already knew somewhere deep in my mind. These were the answers that I knew as a child, but then was taught to think differently. I was finally able to grasp the concept of justice completely, the way it should be, instead of fairness the way I had been taught.

Life can give us unexpected gifts sometimes. It happened that Ayn Rand also introduced me to the United States. Thanks to her I met the love of my life and left Russia for America. I was going to see the world that Ayn Rand admired so much, the world of freedom and capitalism, the world of individual rights and justice....

Well, I was in for a disappointment. Of course, I was amazed how different the USA was compared to Russia. I saw wealth and prosperity where I was supposed to find "rotting capitalism" as they had taught me in Russia. Now I knew where wealth and prosperity came from and what I found was logical. But behind this beautiful facade I saw familiar themes. Behind this prosperous and happy world of citizens and private businesses I saw the same grinning specter of communism that I hoped I had left in Russia. I saw a world where people were taught by their government to live according to the motto "From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs". I saw a world where people were taught to be their brother's keepers. A world where unconditional love to your neighbor and devoted service to the state became more important than justice. The only difference was that I had left Russia at the point when people were trying to cure themselves from that disease and I came to America at the point where people were getting sick from the same disease. I couldn't believe my eyes. America that had everything, America that had a great history of individual rights, America that had the history of fighting against socialism and collectivism, America that had the history of living according to real values was now in the process of losing everything. I was learning history almost from a clean slate because I realized that my knowledge of American history was very superficial and in many cases incorrect. I learned about the spirit of the Founding fathers and the philosophy that made the revolution possible, I learned about the gradual erosion that had been taking place over the last century and the cause of that erosion. Even then I was not ready to brace myself for the events that started unfolding after the election of the first black president of the USA apparently without regard to his other qualifications outside his skin color. I feel like I am on a roller-coaster ride to socialism. In a blink of an eye we have lost more in the last half a year than probably in the last 20 years. At that rate in three and a half more years there will be nothing left from the USA. We all will be living in the USSA (United Socialist States of America).

I guess that is the main reason why I decided to start my blog. I don't know how much I can do or how many people I can convince to fight for their lives. At least this blog will help me to put my thoughts in order and track the dizzing events that have been happening so rapidly, as well as their causes and effects.