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The Daily Planet’s Opinion: April 2014
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 11:26

To save soul of Asheville, don’t create technocracy

As Asheville and surrounding Buncome County crank up their efforts to recruit — with a host of incentives — startup and high-tech firms and their well-paid employees, we caution all parties involved to consider the plight of San Franscisco, where the battle for the soul of the city remains at fever pitch.

The tech boom there, involving stratospheric job growth in the nearby Silicon Valley, has been described — by those who like the old SF — as a wrecking ball, with spiraling rents and evictions forcing many residents to be priced out of their beloved city.

We think the facts would support that funky Asheville is quite comparable to San Francisco (albeit on a much smaller scale), and we would contend that our city likely will soon face the same battle to save its soul.

San Francisco was once a stomping ground for beatnik poets, bohemians, hippies and even the Black Panthers. Music and the arts flourished. It now is increasingly the capital of global digital connectivity. The tech boom is changing the very character of the now less charming West Coast city, named, ironically, for the patron saint most famous for his defense of the poor, sick and outcast.

Author Rebecca Solnit has described the soul of San Francisco as “the sense of this place as a refuge for all comers, as a place that fosters eccentricity, freedom, tolerance, alternatives and joi de vivre, as a place of environmentalists, poets, people whose lives are driven by idealism and not by greed, by a sort of biodiversity of community in class, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, interests. When only the rich survive, and even the doctors I know have trouble finding housing, all that’s clear-cut.”

Despite the stereotype of techies as money-grubbing, socially uninformed nerds without morals, we think that characterization is a bit harsh.


We are not anti-tech, just  against creating a “technocracy” that accents class polarization.


 
The Candid Conservative: An alternative to ObamaCare’s intrusions
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 11:06

By CARL MUMPOWER

Medicare and out-of-control health care costs are a big part of America’s developing bankruptcy. Much of the mess can be traced to big brother’s built-in inefficiencies. Government’s number one priority will always been maintaining government. For example, Medicare clumsily attempts to control reimbursement rates for 7,500 treatments. That’s impossible, but it does encourage physicians toward entrepreneurial creativity. More and more of our healers are becoming specialists in milking Uncle Sam’s cash cow. Routine assembly-line cataract surgeries taking 10 minutes are reimbursed at over seven times the rate of a 25-minute primary-care visit. No wonder we’re running out of family physicians.  It’s not ObamaCare, but America’s dimming dedication to a free-market offering the best way out. Instead of attempting to rig an ever-changing deal, Medicare should be encouraging competition. We can kick-start policies that reward productive providers instead of cheaters and embrace the middle ground between rigged medicine and socialized medicine. Look to what free-market competition did to the cost and quality of flat screens to see what could be done with healthcare.


No such thing as something for nothing  

The financial stimulus program used by America’s politicians has more to do with political cover than economic recovery.  In fact, our economy has been deeply wounded by these social manipulators’ indifferent to long-term consequence. Cash-for-clunkers, cash infusions for banks and cash bailouts for industry are all examples of special deals with long-term, not-so-special impacts. The first action gutted the market of affordable used cars. The second actually removed incentives for banks to lend money. The third rewarded corporate incompetency, union greed and the illusion that government is smarter than a self-correcting free market. Through politicized tax policies, one-sided trade agreements, unfunded entitlement promises, convoluted regulations and inflationary housing policies, our politicians crashed our economy. Through artificial money they are now screening their failure and transferring the bill to our children and their children. They know they will retire before most of us figure out the game. America has no immunity from natural law and something for nothing does not realistically exist in nature.


Cultural genocide

The Homeland Security Department recently did a curious thing for someone charged with homeland security. They halted routine deportation of illegal aliens. Hispanic activists and Democrats hailed the move. Why not? They’re clearly concerned with their special interests, not our country. Democratic Congressman Luis Guitierrez – using the same logic that all criminals use when caught – hailed the Obama supported move because, “good people are being ruined by bad laws.” No, Mr. G, America’s culture is being ruined by porous borders, illegal immigration enablers thinking like you do, and a replacement of the rule of law with rule by law. In the latter our leaders and officials get to pick and chose, depending on political, personal, and power agendas, which laws they wish to enforce or not. Any culture that starts down that slippery slope is on its way to losing its culture. Once again, rational review affirms that our president continues to betray his oath of office. If you ignore the Constitution you are doing the opposite of upholding it.


Socialists are masters of denial

The American Success Equation is defined by liberty, opportunity and responsibility working together as an honest foundation for hope and prosperity. Socialists don’t like the idea of individuals creating their own destiny in a free society. They prefer the idea that government, especially their kind of government, is the answer.  If you’re confused about what a socialist is, consider the words “Democrat,” “progressive” and “liberal.” Though they scream bloody murder at the accusation of being socialists, their actions speak loudly to those credentials. Socialism prevails wherever government controls the production and distribution of capital, resources and land. If you constantly press regulations, laws, monetary practices, income redistribution initiatives and tax policies that control production and distribution, then you’re a socialist. Conservative thinkers recognize Democrats, progressives and liberals as closet socialists. Because they’re in denial doesn’t mean we have to be too.


Preying upon our children

Our young should be furious at what we older folks have done to them. Historically, each of America’s previous generations has passed a generous inheritance of prosperity and opportunity. In that we baby boomers have lived beyond our means and are in the process of leaving behind an inheritance of debt and dead ends – we are the glaring exception. 

The impact of our culture’s unrestrained extravagance has burdened every young person in America with the equivalent of a home mortgage without the home. At the same time their economic potentials have been burglarized by the greed of those who should have been serving as protectors. This is a partial explanation as to why our newest citizens are being called “generation zero.”

The extent of their burden has purposely been hidden. Politicians at all levels have been successful in providing a steady stream of lies, fog and distractions concealing the reality of the national debt burden. When the bill for Medicare, Social Security, public service retirement, defense and other promises is tallied, the dollars are so astronomical as to be incomprehensible. It will be impossible to address this debt without herculean sacrifice. We have not even begun that process.

Most of that pain should rightly be handed to the people who bought into the hollow promises of something for nothing, failed to properly fund future needs, and who now expect a rainbow of services.  Unfortunately, it will be the young and productive who will be handed most of the bill for those of us who have neglected to patrol our health and prepare. 

It has never been easy to be young. Today’s America is providing some unique hurdles. Finding credible role models, a mission in life, and a way to escape a never ending parade of seductions from reality is becoming ever more difficult.   

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood there should be a conduit of hope. Instead, too many of our young find a canyon or a slippery bridge of ice melting before their eyes. History tells us that the greatest achievements are often triggered by adversity. The current younger generation has been betrayed, but they are still blessed to live in America.

For now, we remain a land where those with courage and conviction can still carve their destiny. That is important – the “American Dream” lasts only so long as we help our youth succeed with the “American Reality”….

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Carl Mumpower, a former member of Asheville City Council, may be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 



 



 


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