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If an inmate is suffering from depression to the point of suicide, psychiatric care would be in order.  If the subject was depressed about a life sentence, we wouldn’t accept the premise from a federal judge that incarceration is the problem causing the medical issue, cruel and unusual, and therefore we need to release the defendant to ensure that he does not suffer from a serious life-threatening medical need.  If the guilt and regret he suffers from his murderous actions results in a disorder where he feels he needs to have the offending hands amputated, we wouldn’t accept that either.  However, if the defendant requires electrolysis and implants to feel good about himself mentally, we should acquiesce.  Not sure how or why it would be determined that helping an inmate change his gender identity truly addresses a life threating situation, but it apparently does in Massachusetts.  In fact, it does to the point that a federal judge has determined that Massachusetts taxpayers have to fork over the money for gender reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer, as he feels that it’s “unusual” to treat a prisoner with gender identity disorder differently “than the numerous inmates suffering from more familiar forms of mental illness.”  Make me a woman or I’ll kill myself.

cruel and unusual...

cruel and unusual…

One can’t argue against this without the usual hate and diatribes about how closed minded, bigoted and discriminatory we are.  But this does not address the simple point that we as taxpayers have no obligation to pay to remove the genitalia of a convicted murderer just because he’s incarcerated for his crimes and threatening suicide if we don’t.  How a federal judge came to this conclusion illustrates just how screwed up we are when it comes to crime and punishment.  Why are we on the hook?

Robert Kosilek had ample time before he strangled his wife in 1990 with a cord and left her body in the back of a car at a Massachusetts mall.  He has been suffering from gender identity disorder since he was 3 and had been taking female hormones at the age of 16.  He’s had many opportunities to change gender in his life and he chose not to.  He also had the choice to murder his wife and decided that would be a good thing.  Now he dresses as a woman in the all male prison, has legally changed his name to Michelle and claims that the corrections department is violating his constitutional rights and subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment by denying him the treatment he feels he “deserves.”  He says that as a result of being denied treatment, he suffers constant depression, anxiety and a high level of stress.  Of course, no other prisoners incarcerated for life suffer these life-threatening issues; just Michelle.  Apparently that’s what Federal Judge Mark Wolf feels.

It is not cruel and unusual to be punished for one’s crimes.  Incarceration means punishment, means loss of choices.  Will he die without the surgery?  Only if he kills himself.  As sympathetic a portrait as we want to paint for this man and his suffering, he made choices that put him where he is today.

So maybe I’m the Neanderthal here.  I still feel that gender reassignment surgery does not fix anything, does not cure an individual.  It just addresses a symptom and makes us all feel good.  I’m sure I’ll get all sorts of links and blogs pointing to people whose lives were saved by this type of surgery, that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.  Could very well be.  But I doubt I’ll be convinced that Massachusetts should be paying for specialists from around the country to fly in to reassign Robert to Michelle.  He’s paying for the choices he made.  And just like the others in the general prison population around him, he’s suffering the consequences of those choices.  What cures will we offer them and at what cost?


Neat-o.  I get to buy government healthcare.  Or at least I get to have to buy government health care.  And much like government cheese, this stinks and it’ll eventually end up costing us quite a bit.  Of course for those who support Obamacare, you can keep telling yourself it’s free while you pay your share of the largest tax increase in the history of the world.

Screw the immigration papers, show us your insurance card….

So when is a tax not a tax?  Obviously when you’re trying to dupe a willing public who abhors additional taxes, then it’s a mandate.  So you go on national television with conviction ensuring the public that it is indeed not a tax.  Maybe he didn’t really know.  Even Nancy warned us we’d have to pass the bill to know what’s in it.  And like most Americans, who never had the opportunity or didn’t take the time, most politicians didn’t read it either.  One wonders, did the Supreme Court?

It’s pretty simple really.  The heart tugging stories of those who lost their homes due to their inability to pay their medical bills will now be replaced by stories of those who will go to jail or lose their homes for failure to pay their health care tax.  Of course, the local hospital doesn’t come after you at the point of a gun and put you in federal prison, although sometimes the food is quite similar.  Now, the IRS is collecting co-pays.

In the end, it’s another attack on our freedoms.  The only solution now is for concerned Americans and those who are disinterested, to get up and vote this administration and it’s bit players in the congress out and into obscurity.  The impact this will have will weigh this country down for decades and will certainly eradicate any hope of a recovery from the current depression we are living in, both economically and emotionally.

In five years we’ll all remember this day and wish we had the economy Spain currently has.  Enjoy the cheese though.

I really wasn’t thinking of wading into the debate over the contraceptives provision in the president’s health plan.  As usual, this administration has most of America arguing past each other and I can’t even get my normally civilized friends who occupy the opposite political spectrum from me to discuss this one without veering widely from the one point that concerns me most; Personal responsibility versus sticking our hands into other peoples pockets.   If you want to persuade me, please, accept my position as valid as I will yours and we’ll try to move towards each other.  Just don’t decide that the best response is: a) I hate the president because he’s black; b) I hate women and want to oppress them; c) I believe in an a mystical being that cannot be real so I’m foolish and irrational.  Seriously.  I recently heard an Episcopal Minster say that the Catholic Church can believe and teach that contraception is wrong but they don’t have the right to cross the line from persuasion to “coercion” by denying people the option to make their own choices.  And she said it with a straight face.

But again, though that’s not where I would go in this discussion, that’s where the defenders of this policy want to take you.  For me, it’s pretty simple. Coercion is what you call it when the full force of the government compels you to buy a good or service against your wishes, or against your religious beliefs and convictions.  Coercion is when a compliant media paints anyone who dissents from this administrations socialist policies as haters or kooks.  Coercion is when the President of the United States can look you in the eye and tell you that it’s all going to be free, except that the insurance companies will cover the cost which they’ll pass along to everyone though higher premiums which, of course, the President of the United States said would not go up under Obama care. And in the mean time, I hate you, you hate me while more of our civil liberties are eroded and the debt burden crushes our children’s futures.

All because we want “free”.

The minimum wage in Minnesota is currently $6.15 per hour, $5.25 per hour at smaller firms with annual receipts of less than $625,00 per year.  Sonya Mills is one of the luckier state employees, bringing home $3,600 per month.  That brings her wage to $20.76 per hour.  Her Job?  Up until the state government shutdown this week, it appeared to be making babies.

Does this mean no more babies?

Before I get ahead of myself here, let me state that Sonya does not in fact work for the state of Minnesota.  No, Sonya manages to get over $43,000 a year in state child care subsidies.  Sonya is a 38-year-old mother with 8 children who actually works at a temp agency, so her yearly income is somewhere north of that number.  How far north I can’t say because the several articles (all derivatives of the same AP story) in which I find her quoted on her hardship don’t go into any detail about her at all.  No, the AP and those papers and websites sympathetic to her plight want the focus to be on the fact that she has 8 kids to care for and that the evil state has cut off her $3,600 monthly support checks.  With so many people out of work, will this generate any sympathy at all?  Do Minnesotans wonder why they cannot balance their books?

One has to wonder how those folks who are making at, or just above minimum wage with no children feel about this, since they are contributing to her monthly stipend.  I want to know how much Dad is contributing to his 8 children.  I want to know if she gets a raise with every new child.  I want to understand how in the world we are going to motivate people to go out and look for work when they can make over three times the minimum wage to stay home and have children.

This kind of largess not only destroys incentive and motivation to find work, it also diminishes the importance of responsible parenting and the value of the family itself.

Funny how the argument for this is always “it’s for the children.”

Next time you take a long family trip, invite your local IRS agent along for the ride.  Or better yet, invite him on your day-to-day jaunts around town while you do your shopping, run to the barber, kids’ soccer games, whatever.  Get used to the concept, because if we aren’t careful, we’ll get the next best thing.

If the government were half as creative in controlling their spending as they are thinking of new reasons and ways to tax us, we’d probably be repaving every stretch of road in town at least every 5 years.  But every crisis needs a tax solution and this one is no different; Revenues from federal and, one would assume, state gas taxes are way down.  Anyone like to hazard a guess why?

Let me give you a hint in case you’re an elected official trying to figure this out.  CAFE standards are targeted for 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.   We’ve been conserving year over year, either by choice or by force of the high cost of gas, including some onerous per-gallon taxes.  Add to the mix that we’re likely to see more electric cars on the road in the coming years and presto; reduced demand for gas results in lower gas tax revenues.  Maybe we should be electing high school sophomores with one year of business classes behind them.

Or maybe we should be electing people who are honest.  The CBO is suggesting that a tax based on total vehicle miles driven could be just the ticket to enhance revenues to support highway maintenance.  Notice it’s enhance, and not replace current federal (or state) taxes.  Government rarely retires a tax.  Besides, they’d still want to get their pennies every time I fill up my snow blower or lawn mower.

So all those crossovers, all those hybrids, Prius’ (what the heck is the plural for Prius? Prii, correct?) and Volts, all those times we took our bicycles or walked to the market we were contributing to the collapse of our highway infrastructure.

Your local IRS agent....

So picture this.  You fill up at your local station, and you pay your state’s per gallon tax.  You also pay the federal tax.  Then of course, the new pump reads your odometer since your last fill and you get charged per every mile you drove.  Sounds a little like double taxation to me; really I don’t fill my car just to park it.  If this doesn’t bother you, it should.  The government will assure everyone that even though they can in fact, track your movements, they promise they won’t.  Right.  Even the CBO report recognizes the issues surrounding privacy concerns but tells us “..some have proposed restricting the information that would be transmitted to the government.”  Hey, they’ve proposed it.  I feel better, how ‘bout you?

Of course, because they’ve made that brave proposal they’re ready to get the ball rolling. Minnesota is already looking for volunteers to test their GPS based tracking system.

And without a whimper, we say nothing but line up to test their equipment.  Turn the heat up to a boil; the frog’s almost done.

So what is the issue?  Have we conserved so much that our actual gasoline usage has dropped to record lows?  When the heck was that ever reported?  Are we to believe that all of those little wanna-be mobiles have reduced our consumption; all the while prices continue to go up?  Reduced demand, increased supply and prices go up?  Have we actually reduced the miles driven while at the same time seen an increase in the wear and tear on our roads?  Bottom line, they want us to believe that while our miles driven have increased, causing damage to our bridges and highways, we’ve actually decreased our gas consumption over all because of more fuel-efficient cars?

Before you ask me where I’ve been and where I’m going, how about you show me where the tax revenues went first.

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