Brett Bittner

Recent Posts From Brett Bittner

Where Did Pia Varma Come From?

Out of nowhere, my attention was called to the campaign launch video of a candidate in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional district.  Admittedly, outside of our interview of Jake Towne, the sitting Senators, and Pat Toomey’s campaign to unseat Arlen Specter, I am not very involved in Pennsylvania’s political activities.

This video was a refreshing surprise when I cam across it last night.  I immediately shared it among some friends, requested an interview for our Liberty Candidate Series of podcasts, and started delving into her campaign page.  I like what I see here, and I do not just mean her appearance…  Her unique approach to writing issue statements and the truth-telling rarity of her videos (there is another one on her YouTube channel, if you are interested) is really a breath of fresh air.

So, now that you have seen her in action, what are your thoughts?  Will this self-named “firebrand” light up Philadelphia’s desire for liberty?

MORE Thoughts on Scott Brown (And The Implications Of His Election)

I just read Matt Wittlief’s thoughts on Scott Brown, and since I have only tweeted about the Massachusetts special election and talked about it on the radio, I must be falling behind as a “political blogger” myself.  I started this as a comment, but my opinions turned this into a post itself.

As I see it, the GOP needed solidarity in the Senate (41 votes) to derail ObamaCare, and Scott Brown is that 41st vote for ObamaCare in 2010. I have said it before, and I will continue to say it, Scott Brown is nothing more than a “short term compromise.” His positions are not that different from Coakley, when you compare them across the board for all three candidates that ran. He also supported RomneyCare in Massachusetts a few short years ago. His support of government intervention into the marketplace is unquestionable, and he confirmed it with his comments on Wednesday, that every libertarian that tweets or is on Facebook cited.

Germans Strip Down To Protest Full Body Scanners

On Christmas Day, members of Germany’s Pirate Party organized a fleshmob to protest use of body scanners at airports:

The protesters marked their bodies with a number of messages such as, “Something to hide?” and “Be a good citizen — drop your pants.”

One woman has the word “diaper” scrawled on her lower back with an arrow pointing to her underwear and the word “prosthetic” printed on her leg. The word “piercing” and an arrow point to one of her breasts. Another woman dressed in a beige sweater and flesh-colored tights wears a sign reading “pixelated.” (To address privacy concerns, security officials say the scanners can be programed to produce a blurred, pixelated image of passengers to protect their modesty.)

Here is video of the protest:

Masschusetts Senate Special Election Polls

In analyzing the data from the latest polls coming from Massachusetts with regard to the upcoming special election on January 19th, I have some things to note.

  • Rasmussen polled 500 likely voters on January 4, releasing their results the following day.
  • The Boston Globe polled 554 likely voters January 2-6, releasing their results this morning.
  • Public Policy Polling polled 744 likely voters January 7-9, releasing their results last night. (full .pdf of the results available there)

Beginning linearly with the commencement of the polls, the Boston Globe began first, though it concluded on the 6th. It was not released until this morning, but I think that its results were not influenced by Rasmussen’s numbers, as Rasmussen conducted their poll in the midst, releasing the results toward the end.  They also included Joe Kennedy as an option, whereas neither of the other polls did.  Who knows why it took the Globe four days to release their results, but I think for the time their polling spanned, it is likely accurate.

Legislator Wishes To Suspend Civil Liberties To Show He’s “Tough On Crime”

This week, I caught a story on the Atlanta news that immediately drew my attention.  A state Representative, MY state Representative, will introduce a bill during the next legislative session that requires every suspect arrested of a felony to submit to a DNA sample.  Without careful examination, along with a very friendly news report about the bill, this does not strike many everyday citizens as a “bad thing,” as seen in the first comment made about the story.

Ever Wonder Why Healthcare Is So Expensive?

Note: I intended to merely comment on this chart when sharing it via my Posterous. During the 5 or so minutes I was commenting, it grew to be something more substantial, and at the urging of others, it has been cross-posted here.

graph

Since the 1960s, the percentage of total healthcare cost paid directly by the end consumer, aka patient, has dropped drastically, but out of pocket costs have risen and the cost of healthcare has risen drastically over that same period.

What has happened between then and now? The intervention of government into the marketplace. Insurance regulations, government mandates about what MUST be covered, Medicare/caid, and inflation make costs skyrocket, but the opacity of the prices keeps patients from seeing what each visit, prescription, and procedure actually costs. With that opacity, there is no competitive pricing, because the prices paid by patients are merely co-pays and the withholding from their paycheck for employer-sponsored health plans, insurance companies, and government programs that pay negotiated rates. Without competition and price transparency, prices will continue to rise.

In addition, patients largest out of pocket expense is their insurance coverage, which does not fluctuate to accommodate the amount of healthcare services consumed. The patient knows they only pay $10-$50 for each office visit, but the overall costs of those visits can be thousands of dollars. The patient rarely, if ever, sees the actual cost… Usually only if their insurance claim is denied.

UPDATED: Homeland Security Official Air Travel Security Rules

UPDATE: This afternoon, airline officials confirmed that the in-flight restrictions had been eased to allow a plane’s captain discretion about their enforcement.

For those of you still awaiting flights home from the holidays or with impending business travel in the coming weeks, you may want to read over these security directives distributed by TSA as their “official security rules” in light of the Flight 253 “Underpants Bomber:”

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Transportation Security Administration
Aviation Security Directive
Subject: Security Directive
Number: SD 1544-09-06
Date: December 25, 2009
EXPIRATION: 0200Z on December 30, 2009
This Security Directive (SD) must be implemented immediately. The measures contained in this SD are in addition to all other SDs currently in effect for your operations.
INFORMATION: On December 25, 2009, a terrorist attack was attempted against a flight traveling to the United States. TSA has identified security measures to be implemented by airports, aircraft operators, and foreign air carriers to mitigate potential threats to flights.
APPLICABILITY: THIS SD APPLIES TO AIRCRAFT OPERATORS THAT CARRY OUT A SECURITY PROGRAM REGULATED UNDER 49 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR)1544.101(a).
ACTIONS REQUIRED: If you conduct scheduled and/or public charter flight operations under a Full Program under 49 CFR 1544.101(a) departing from any foreign location to the United States (including its territories and possessions), you must immediately implement all measures in this SD for each such flight.

 

1. BOARDING GATE

New Environmental Program Leading The Pack In Upcoming Pollution Reduction Bill

Nipping at the heels of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the smashing success of this summer’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, and this story about the carbon pawprints of pet dogs, it appears that in order to help reduce America’s CO2 emissions, there is a new provision to be added to the upcoming pollution reduction bill.  This provision will incentivize working class families to rid themselves of the burden of having to care for a family pet, lessen their impact on the environment, and provide new green jobs for thousands of Americans.  To encourage Americans to participate in the aptly-titled “Buck$$$ for Barker$$$” program, canine activity cessation centers will be set up nationwide, staffed with caring and compassionate federal employees, to assist Americans in doing their part to save our planet.  Payment for qualifying pets will be made in the form of pre-paid debit cards conveniently loaded with $450 or will be applied toward the one-time purchase of 90 male betta and one large fishbowl.

Bucks for Barkers Propaganda

Let’s Cultivate OUR Own Garden

If you follow eminent domain cases at all, you are likely to recognize the name Suzette Kelo.  She sued the City of New London, Connecticut for their misuse of the power of eminent domain, as they condemned her property and the property of her neighbors to allow Pfizer to build a research facility.  The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and resulted in a gross violation of property rights nationwide, as the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, found that the positive impact of the facility in terms of jobs and tax revenues would benefit the community of New London qualified as “public use” as outlined by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Last month, four years after the decision, Pfizer pulled out of the project, leaving New London with an empty lot generating next to no tax revenue after displacing Ms. Kelo and her neighbors.

Gary Johnson Weighs In On Health Care Reform

In a press release today, Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor and honorary chairman of the recently launched Our America Initiative, weighed in on the health care reform. He had this to say:

There seems to be enormous pressure to resolve this matter quickly regardless of the ramifications. The proposed health care plan could have long lasting detrimental consequences to our economic health.  We don’t need more of a deficit –we need less of one.  I urge the Senate to take the time needed to seriously review these potential concerns and not rush to pass this faulty plan.

He further commented, stating that, along with most of us in the liberty movement, his support lies with free-market reforms that promote private sector management of health care.  As many agree, the system is in need of repair, he noted that reform should focus on “affordability, portability, and control by the individual rather than government or an employer.”

To hear more from Gov. Johnson about economic issues, check out this video from the Our American Initiative.

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