Category: Politics

You Think the UK’s Healthcare System Is Better Than Ours?

Court To Decide Whether Severely Ill Tot in UK Can Travel to US for Pioneering Treatment

Can you imagine such a thing here? The US government  – a JUDGE – deciding the fate of your child?

Despite this family raising over a million dollars and thus being able to fund this treatment themselves, the UK doesn’t let them make this choice. Apparently a judge knows better than the parents.

This is sickening. We’re not talking about abuse. We’re not talking about neglect. We’re talking about a difficult decision that every parent has the right to make.

We need to wake up here in the US. This is what socialized medicine leads to. Whenever you choose security, whenever someone else pays for something, you give up freedom and are subject to the payer’s dictates.

I know healthcare is expensive. I know we’d all love to NOT have to pay for it. But this is the result of that kind of thinking – a judge telling you that your son is better off dead.

No thanks.

Depeche Mode…Damn Them

If you know me at all, you know that Depeche Mode has been been my favorite band since I discovered them at age nine. I’m not some super creepy groupie about the band members, but the music speaks to me. Dave Gahan is one of the most entertaining frontmen ever, and Martin Gore is a modern-day Mozart. Yes, I actually believe that.

I vaguely knew Gore was liberal – he’s been involved in some activist causes over the years, if I recall. Excellent. To each his own.

But in this article, I read this tidbit:

“Martin Gore, Depeche Mode’s chief songwriter and guitarist and keyboardist, said in the same interview: ‘We’re all really depressed by the outcome of the referendum [meaning Brexit]. I think it was a really stupid idea to leave something so important to the people.'”

How gauche. To leave the fate of a nation up to its people! What’s the alternative, Martin? Oh, right – a dictator. Isn’t that what you consider Trump? And the very thing you despise about him?

People are free to have their own opinions, and Trump and Brexit have been particularly polarizing. Fine. But when you state an opinion, it has to make sense. Your worldview, your moral outlook, must be coherent.

I won’t go so far as to say I won’t buy the upcoming DM album or I won’t be attending a concert. The music inspires me. But Martin Gore, your statement is completely idiotic. My respect for you just took a nosedive.


University of Washington – Another College to Cross Off Your List

When I was at Arizona State 20 years ago, I took an upper-level English class that spend half the semester explaining how Ebonics is a legitimate language with coherent rules and should therefore be accepted as grammatically correct. The arguments – for example, “He go,” is technically more correct than “He goes” because there’s no reason to change “go” to “goes” – didn’t move me then, and they don’t move me now.

This is just one more example of the left trying to equate standards with racism. Standards dictate a level of acceptability and correctness, an ideal. They don’t discriminate. Without them, any and all behavior is acceptable. And while language may seem like a small thing compared to other areas of life – like etiquette, or morals – the principle is important. We need standards.

It’s also interesting to note that the university writing center’s little manifesto is written in perfect, standard English. They are committing the very micro aggression they’re yammering about.

Why We Need the Electoral College

This conversation happens every election season. We look at the Electoral College – 538 people chosen to cast our votes for president – and wonder, “Why? Why can’t we all just cast our ballots, count ’em up, and declare a winner?”

There’s one big reason: our founders were smart enough to prevent the tyranny of the majority.

This isn’t about protecting slaveowners’ rights, this isn’t about protecting a buffoon from becoming president, this isn’t about preventing an uneducated populace from making a stupid decision. This is all about the protection of our freedom.

Let’s think about what would happen if the popular vote decided the election.

First, candidates would only bother campaigning in highly populated areas, getting the most bang for their buck. They’d be all over California and New York…but what about Iowa? Rhode Island? A few rallies in California might turn out more potential voters than all of the people who vote in Montana. Suddenly, low-population areas have no voice.

But they don’t have a voice now! you say. Untrue. 538 is an even number, and it’s possible, though unlikely, for the electoral votes to be tied between two candidates. Even one electoral vote can make a difference. And swing states change with every election. Hillary Clinton thought she had Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin tied up this time around. Wisconsin hadn’t voted Republican since 1984! Candidates ignore states, even small ones, at their peril.

Two, each state has its own election laws. I can vote by mail in California, some states allow early voting, some ban felons from voting. To get rid of the Electoral College, you are asking all the states to come to an agreement about one voting process. But the states base their laws on what the local population wants, what works best for them. You are asking states to give up that freedom, and for everyone to bow to the pressure of the majority.

Or the states keep their different election laws…and suddenly, you have endless opportunities for lawsuits. If everyone’s vote counts in one big election, why should a felon in California get to vote, but a felon elsewhere be denied? Why should someone be allowed to vote early in Florida but not in Nevada? Obviously, this wouldn’t work.

And what about voter fraud? Fake ballots, or not counting proper ballots, would have a direct effect on a popular vote. It would be very easy to game the system. But it’s very difficult to affect the outcome of the election with fraud using the Electoral College. You would have to have a coordinated effort in the right combination of states, and this is very hard to anticipate. Just look at this election. Hillary Clinton thought she had the blue wall sewn up. Even if she had the will and the means to try to commit mass fraud, those efforts likely would have been in the wrong states.

Our founders never intended for the US to be a pure democracy. A pure democracy ignores the voices of the minority. The Electoral College is an ingenious system that gives every state, and every voter, a voice. A popular national vote does not.

Why Clinton Lost, and Why the Left is Bewildered

A few weeks before the election, one of my childhood friends on Facebook posted a rant saying that if you support Trump, you are no longer her friend. She doesn’t want to know you.

I tried to engage her. I wrote that her statement was strong, and could we talk about the issues before she turned her back on people she had loved and admired all her life.

Her response was to basically spit in my face. And she wasn’t alone in her attacks.

So at the polls, Trump supporters spit back.

The left looks at Trump and wonders how the hell this happened. How anyone could support him. The irony is, I think a lot of people who voted for him don’t support him. They are simply tired of all the self-righteous people on the left spitting in their faces.

The left touts itself as the party of inclusion. Of open-mindedness. Of equality. But it has morphed into that which it despises.

Take racism. Racism is treating someone differently based on race. Once, the left wanted a color-blind society. Now, I am supposed to be ashamed of being white. I am supposed to apologize for my accident of birth and call out my white privilege.

White women are supposed to be ashamed for betraying “their people” and voting for Trump. Huh? Since when do my interests and beliefs align with all other white women in the country? Why do we even keep track of who votes for who based on race? Isn’t that racist?

Voting should have nothing to do with race. We should be voting based on economics, our values, how we view foreign policy. Race should be like hair color – a genetic legacy, separate from character and behavior. Should blonds vote in blocks?  Should the tall rule over the short? It’s a ridiculous concept.

But it’s an ingenious strategy – instead of focusing on the issues, just cry, “Racism!” whenever someone disagrees with you. That shuts them up real fast.

That’s why all the polling was wrong. Trump supporters were shut up. But that’s the great thing about the polling booth – you can vote for whoever you want, and no one is shouting you down.

I also find it incredible that so many people were able to overlook Hillary’s flaws (read: crimes) just because she was a woman. That wanted to break that glass ceiling. But that in itself is sexist – voting for a candidate just because of her gender! I don’t give a shit what gender my leaders are – I just want them to be capable, honest, upstanding. Hillary is none of those things, and if she were a man, she still wouldn’t have gotten my vote.

But I’ve been told that I hate women if I didn’t vote for her. Huh? Couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a woman, and I love myself. I just didn’t want someone so corrupt and beholden to the elite representing me.

So the left is racist, and the left is sexist. They’ve also become bullies.

Shame on you. You reap that which you sow. I hope you can take a good look in the mirror and change the way you interact with the other side, because there are worthy values on the left. Unfortunately, they’ve become twisted.

But I’ll extend the offer to anyone on the left that I made to my former friend on Facebook: engage. Let’s talk about the issues. Let’s refrain from bullying. That’s the only way we can come together and move forward.



Do You Want To Be Judged On What You Say In Private?

We are taught at a very early age that what we do in private is not always appropriate to do in public. Picking our nose. Farting. Pointing at the fat person. Using the f-word. Yet all of us have done these things in private, and I don’t think they’re a testament to poor character. We’re human.

Now imagine if you had to censor yourself when you are with your spouse, or even when alone. You’re being watched. You’re being judged. That California rolling stop always results in a ticket. That comment whispered under your breath – “Damn women drivers!” – labels you as a misogynist for the rest of your life. That time you got drunk at your sister’s wedding…the state is sending you to rehab.

All of that may sound crazy, but it’s not. That’s what the left is doing to America. It’s forcing it’s narrow belief systems on you. And it starts out as heart-felt and well-meaning – no one should run through a stop sign! – and it starts out as simple shaming…and then it turns into law. A mistake becomes a felony.

That’s not the world I want to live in.

I’m not without character and conscience, and I’m not without compassion. I will never point at the fat person and laugh out loud. But if I want to take my children aside and explain the dangers of obesity, or the consequences of wearing those short shorts, or why immigrants from Asian cultures excel far beyond those from other cultures, I’m gonna do it. And I’m not a fat-shamer, or a slut-shamer, or a racist.

This goes for both parties, by the way. This isn’t a defense of Donald Trump. If Hillary is musing in an email about how to knock Sanders out of the race, we shouldn’t judge the words. That’s all they are. We should all be able to have private conversations and vent and talk things out. Sometimes that’s what leads us to the right path – proposing something crazy, saying stupid shit, and then realizing just how stupid the thought is.

We don’t want to venture down this road, folks. The Thought Police were once a horror in a science fiction novel, but today, they’re at our door. Keep us all free. Judge us on our actions, and not our words.


I Got in An Argument on Facebook, And It Makes Me Sad

We all have those connections on Facebook – people we knew once upon a time, maybe in childhood, but who we don’t really know anymore except on social media. I like to see these people’s posts, watch their children grow and their careers soar, and most of the time, the interaction is supportive: “You look great!” “Congratulations!” “Hope your day gets better!”

But I had one of these connections, a friend from elementary school, post something rather extreme.


So I commented. Three days of posts, two separate threads. I was told throughout to “grow a brain and fuck myself” for asking how the above comment helps and that we should talk about it; that Trump wants to exterminate Mexicans, this is the pre-cursor to another Holocaust, and that they don’t need to waste their time proving this – I should go out and find the info myself; if it has to be explained to me, I’m hopeless and they don’t feel its their job to educate a 40+-year-old woman of means; that the OP should just “rule out the white people”; that California is “occupied territory”; that the “motherfuckers” who were Columbus’s crew were undocumented, there’s no European legitimacy for being on this soil, and I am an interloper. It all comes down to the fact that my very existence is offensive because I don’t believe in open borders.

First, there’s a lot I could say about the politics and actual issues of the discussion (which was mostly by me – these people who piled on generally did not add to the discussion substantively, although a few did, and I tried to acknowledge those as the thread grew), but frankly, that’s not what bothered me. We all have different opinions. I’m open to hearing about those and exploring ideas. That’s why I engaged.

What bothers me is how the discussion was handled. The OP had a perfect opportunity – she was obviously upset, emotional, and frustrated, and I was willing to listen. Why not take that opportunity and try to change my mind? After all, she claimed that Trump wants to EXTERMINATE her and all people from Mexico! If she really felt that way, wouldn’t she want my vote and support?

Sadly, no. She didn’t care to change my mind. She just wanted to tell me how ignorant I was and that she didn’t want to be friends with anyone who didn’t think exactly the way she does.

And then her friends chimed in. Some added arguments, one linked to a video of Rachel Maddow (drink the Kool-Aid much?), they said how I put my foot in my mouth and can’t stand the heat and blah, blah, blah.

I think the fact that I stuck it out so long is proof that I can stand the heat. I remained respectful. I continued to try to address the issues. This former friend of mine…she did not.

I took screen shots of both entire threads, and my first thought was that I would post them here. Maybe someday I will, but right now, I’m too disheartened. In one of her posts, the OP alluded to the fact that 20 people had messaged her asking her to back off me. I appreciate that, and while I didn’t feel I needed help, per se, even having one person stand up and say, “This is not how we have a civil dialog and advance our cause,” would have been golden. We have many mutual friends on Facebook, and not one of them actually engaged, but some of them had to read the discussion. And nobody spoke out.

To sum it up, I don’t feel offended at any of the exchange. I just feel sad. If this is the way the OP treats a friend, I would hate to be her enemy.

I Found Quora…and I Like It

Social media has always been tough for me. I love interacting with people, but I’m not inclined to share my every thought. I don’t take selfies – heck, I don’t like taking pictures of myself period. And I’d rather have a deep, philosophical discussion about the meaning of life than tell everyone what I ate for breakfast.

But knowing this was my Achilles’ Heel in the marketing-driven world of writing and selling books, I attended an IWOSC marketing seminar. I knew they wouldn’t tell me what I wanted to hear – “You don’t need a social media presence!” – but I was hoping for some nuggets of wisdom that would make it a bit easier to put myself out there.

One of the presenters mentioned a site called Quora. People ask questions, and other people answer. You can have a dialog with others in the comments. I thought, “Who knows? Maybe my obscure knowledge of metrology and statistics and philosophy can actually help someone.”

So I registered on Quora and started to browse. A question about Donald Trump caught my eye, and I was drawn to answer because…why not?

I got some views. Some Likes. A few comments. Not all the comments were positive, but the engagement was. The discussion was respectful and productive.

So I answered some more questions. Other people started requesting my answers! This was awesome!

Two months later, it’s still awesome. I’ve met some great people, I’ve honed my answering skills, and I recently became a Most Viewed Writer in Teaching. You can read my content here: Andrea Ring’s Quora Profile

I encourage everyone to check out Quora. It’s a great way to share what you know and engage with people from all around the world. Thank goodness, I’ve finally found a social media site I’m comfortable with!

Political Rants Comin’ This Way

I host the Orange County Satellite for IWOSC, the Independent Writers of Southern California. As a group, we’ve been working on professionalism, taking our careers seriously and viewing our writing as just that – as a career, and not as a single writing project. And as part of that, we’ve been working on branding ourselves and figuring out how we want to present ourselves and be perceived.

So we were talking tonight about blogging, providing valuable content, and a question came up about politics: do we dare to go there?

And the answer from our PR maven was…yes. Go there. Better to be controversial – as long as it’s done in a professional way – than to go unrecognized.

I struggle with this. Ninety-five percent of the blogs I want to write, and several of the books on my writing to-do list, are political in nature. I love to challenge myself to make a logical, coherent argument. I’ve been blogging so infrequently since I started my new website because I’ve been censoring myself, afraid to ruffle feathers. I don’t like actors who blurt out political rants, so why should I tolerate it with writers?

Well…I’m a political animal. I have opinions. And since I’m a writer, I think I can at least present my thoughts logically. You might not agree with them, and that’s great – disagree away! I want to learn new things, and I want to hear the other side. Make me see the world in a different way, open my mind, and I will try to do the same for you.

So I’m going there. I hope you’ll go with me.

Some Thoughts on Sin Taxes

Since tax day just passed, I’ve been thinking a lot about the tax codes and why they’re written the way the are. Sexy topic, I know, but as a small business owner and all-around decent citizen, taxes are both painful and necessary. Any time a new tax idea is introduced, I’m interested, because it affects me.

I’m not going to address the politics behind tax policy. We all know that if a politician proposes a tax on, say, new cars, then the automobile industry will lobby hard to block that tax. Politicians are paid off, corporations make deals and donations, etc. But that’s all (sadly) behind the scenes.

The part that is front and center is when a politician proposes a new tax so that those tax monies can be used for a new and important social program. And to make this tax more appealing to voters, said politician decides to target “sin” products, those things that are bad for us but make us feel oh so good, like alcohol, cigarettes, soda, or fast food. I mean, we don’t want people being unhealthy, do we? So hey, let’s add a dollar to every purchase of a soda, and that dollar can pay for universal preschool! Win, win!

But let’s think this through:

1. The goal of the tax is to pay for a program that low- and middle-income families cannot afford on their own. (Because, of course, high income people can pay for their own preschool, and won’t qualify for the program.)

2. Who are the major buyers of “sin” products? Multiple studies say it is low-income people.

3. If #2 is true, then…low-income people will actually be paying for their own program!

Defies logic, doesn’t it?

Another point:

1. A “sin” tax has the added benefit of encouraging people to be healthier. The higher price should be a deterrent to purchasing those taxed products.

2. Studies demonstrate that this is the case, at a certain price point. Let’s assume the tax has pushed the price high enough.

3. So what do people do when they can no longer afford their sin of choice? They look for an alternative. If they cannot afford a soda but want a sugar boost, they turn to a Snickers bar. If they can’t afford the Cafe Mocha, they will buy a black cup of coffee and dump three packets of sugar in it. Or a black market will develop for the sin item. You’re not actually saving anyone’s health with this approach.

4. But it has been demonstrated that people will turn to healthier alternatives if they’re available and the right price. Taking up vaping in favor of smoking is one such example. But this switch was due to the free market, where an entrepreneur brought vaping to the market and showed it to be a viable (and healthier) alternative to smoking. If vaping hadn’t been available (studies show), those people would most likely still be smoking cigarettes.

And another.

1. If you want to pay for a program that helps those will lower incomes, you need those with higher incomes to pay for it.

2. Again…sin products are disproportionately used by lower income people. Taxing these products will hit these people the hardest. These taxes are regressive, meaning they are the same for everyone, no matter their income, so that means they are “higher” for low income people, because they count for a greater percentage of their income. If you make $1 and I make $10, and we both pay $1 in tax on our soda, you’re paying 100% of your income, and I’m only paying 10% of mine.

3. If the goal is to get high-income people to pay for these programs, it makes more sense to target luxury products for these taxes.

And let’s not forget the inherent dictator-ness of these taxes. You’re telling me what to eat and what to drink and what to smoke. I’m in charge of my own health, thanks.