Whit Merrifield, the Best Baseball Player You don’t Know

Whit Merrifield is the best baseball player that no one knows about and one reason is that he plays in Kansas City for one of the worst team in baseball.  Merrifield came up to the Royals in 2016 and since then, he has hit .292 including over .300 this year.  Over the past two seasons, he has hit 33 homers and stolen 70 bases plus he has played not only a very good second bases but has proven to be valuable player in the outfield.

What Merrifield has done is to combine the classic utility player, playing many positions while proving to be a solid hitter.  At the age of 29, he is in the prime of his career and presently his 36 stolen bases leads the league.  One player that he compares is to Ben Zobrist who is presently hitting .312 but a lifetime .267 hitter and Zobrist has played in two World Series for Kansas City and Chicago in 2015 and 2016.  Zobrist, like Merrifield, plays multiple positions and plays them well but so far Merrifield is the better hitter.

If Merrifield was on the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, he would be a household name but being in the Midwest and on a last place team in the worst baseball division, no one knows how good he truly is.  The question remains, how long does Merrifield stay a Royal? Right now he is under control until 2021 but there is always talk about trading him for multiple prospects.

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What should the Royals do?  They should keep him since he can play so many position but as a lead up batter and combined with Mondesi who has shown both power while hitting for average.  These two at the top of the lineup could the most potent one two punch. They can not only hit for power but also two of better base stealers in the game today.  That means those behind them are getting a lot of fast balls if they are on the base path, which benefits hitters down the line up and

The Royals are few years from competing but this year, younger players brought up showed potential just as Ryan O’Hearn who has hit 11 homers in less than half of the year along Hunter Dozier who added 11 homers. They still have Salvador Perez who is the game best catchers and there are young pitchers just as Brad Keller who look like they belong in the majors.

Merrifield is the best Royal player who can do about anything, hit for power and in Royal stadium that means not just homers but power to the gaps.  He is an excellent baserunner and fielder.  He is a Royal building block for the future.

 

 

 

From Lauren Bies, Thoughts on Kavanaugh

We are selecting a future Supreme Court Justice. Not one American should dismiss Dr.Fords statement. The actions by K should not be tolerated, covered- up nor ignored. Actions speak to character or the lack of. Dr. Ford has taken risk to her personal, professional and future state of mental and physical health to have come forward

. One must also be cognizant that this action of hers will affect her family for generations. It is not dramatic and certainly not an ignorant stance to realize that we as a country must understand that citizens will either become heroes, fools or exist in an apathetic state of being.

These are extraordinarily important moments which with just one brave act…, America will be forever the Land of the Free, or continue down a path whereas we will completely forget our humanity.

(Ms. Bies is presently living in Ireland, pursuing educational opportunities and working advance degree. She is an director, theatre screenwriter, poet, and scholar. This was an email read on the Donelson Files)

Triple G’s vs Alvarez by Tom Donelson

The second Golovkin-Alvarez was closer than their first bout and while I won’t say that Golovkin was robbed in this fight, he better understand he will never fbeat Alvarez short of knocking him out. I had Triple G’s the winner in the first bout 115 to 113 but this bout was closer as Alvarez pushed the action and as HBO Roy Jones noted that Alvarez pushed Golovkin and that unlike any previous Golovkin fights, Alvarez stalked triple G’s.   In their first bout, Golovkin threw 200 more punches as he did in the second bout but in the first bout, he landed nearly 50 more punches than Alvarez and power punches were nearly the same.  He out punched Alvarez in 10 of the 12 rounds and this was why many were disappointed he wasn’t awarded the decision.

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In this bout, he landed twice as many jabs as he did in the first fight but Alvarez landed nearly twenty six more power shots than Golovkin and Golovkin landed more punches in 7 rounds as compared to 4 for Alvarez and one even.  The perception of Alvarez more aggressive stance gave judges the reason to award the fight to Alvarez and the closer nature of the rounds aided Alvarez in the decision.  There were rounds Alvarez won in which he landed fewer punches because he landed effective power shots.

I had the fight even and many pundits including ESPN Dan Rafael had the fight even while others had like Bleacher Reports had it 116 to 112 for Golovkin.  This fight was closer than the first one and it was Alvarez who improved and adopted from the first fight.

In the seventh and eighth round, Alvarez looked stronger and it was Triple G’s who looked exhausted as the younger Alvarez appeared to be taking command. In the tenth round, and eleventh round, it was triple G’s who dominated the actions, it was Alvarez who look to be wilting.

Both fighters gave it all they had in the final round as both fighters landed big shots but over the last half of the round, Alvarez held the advantage and I had him winning the last round.   What we saw in the last half of the bout, was both fighters showing sign of wilting only to come back.  So the big question left to answer who won and we don’t have a clear answer.  Golovkin barely won the first fight but the judges awarded a draw with one judge giving it to Alvarex 118-110 while the other two had a more reasonable score with one judge scoring it 115-113 in favor of Golovkin and the other a draw. The latter two scores were reasonable even if I disagreed with the final decision draw.  This bout was better scored as two judges had it 115-113 for Alvarez and a third had it a 114-114 draw.

The bout was that close and it could easily have been scored the other way and Golovkin given the majority decision.  What we learned is that both fighters are close to each other in talent and skill.  Alvarez has quicker hands and showed in this bout, he could adjust his strategy.  Golovkin follow the same strategy as he did in the first fight, depending upon his jabs and just as in the first fight, he connected on double the jabs.  The only difference is that Alvarez connected on more power shots and he also stood his ground more often and victory came due to his change in tactic, Alvarez moved slightly ahead in the eyes of the judges and as Roy Jones noted, Triple G’s found himself on his back foot.  So who won? I had it even but the majority of ringside has it for Golovkin but many also had it a draw. It was a tough fight to score and unless Team Alvarez decide that two fights is enough, there should be a rematch and maybe this time not in Vegas. The Barclay Center in Brooklyn will be a good place where maybe Golovkin will have a home court advantage.

Path to More Free Market Health Care by Larry Fedewa

 

The starting point for a discussion of a national health care system should be setting our goals.

American health care should be:

  1. High quality, state-of-the-art
  2. Available to all
  3. Affordable
  4. Abundant
  5. Well-funded 

What are the principal obstacles to these goals

A. The shortage of medical personnel. This shortage has two facets:

Not enough medical professionals are produced in the first place, and too many drop out before their time.There are whole areas of inner cities and rural America, for example, which have no physicians at all. Why? Because our medical schools do not graduate enough doctors to serve the population of the United States. Why not? Lack of intelligent students? Lack of students who are motivated to give their lives in service to their fellow man? Not at all.

The reason is lack of money! Medical education is so lengthy and so costly in this country that very few students can afford to go to medical school. This situation has created a national crisis.

One very good use of taxpayer funds would be to offer medical and nursing school students free tuition, open to all qualified applicants. We do it for the military, why not for doctors and nurses? The cost would be miniscule compared to the Department of Defense or agricultural subsidies.

This policy would have a massive return on public investment. More doctors would increase coverage of the population (perhaps there should be a requirement for a graduate M.D. and R.N. to spend two years in a “no-doctor zone”). More doctors would increase competition for the patient dollar. More could devote themselves to research. New people, new ideas, new openness to change. The quality of care would go up, and the cost would go down – a mantra we have been hearing a lot lately. This program would also assure continuing support for U.S. medical technology which is already the envy of the world.

B. Inadequate funding

So how do we provide for adequate funding? Where does the $3 trillion we now spend go? The money flow starts with the employers who pay the insurance companies out of profits. It then goes mainly to the vast bureaucracies in the insurance companies which distribute the money, the government which oversees the money, and the hospitals and practitioners who must respond to the companies and the government. Only about one-third of the $1 trillion spent on healthcare gets to the practitioners. So how can this labyrinth be simplified?

1)  First, take the employers out of the picture. The added financial and personnel burdens on businesses of paying and accounting for employee health care is a double disaster. It is a drag on the efficiency of the economic system by vastly increasing the cost of starting and staying in a business, and on the healthcare system by removing from individuals the responsibility of seeing to their own health needs.

2)  Next, reduce the role of insurance companies. They are not chartered or ordained by God to be judging the value or disvalue of medical procedures. They are supposed to know about money, not cancer! The decisions about medical care and the balancing for costs versus therapies should be in the hands of the patients where they belong. When the ultimate decisions of life and death have been left with the patient, we will have come a long way toward patient-centered medicine. Face it, there is no way for the patient to become the main arbiter of his or her fate unless the patient is the source of the money which runs the system.

3)  This free market system would be much better and much cheaper. The individual works for the money; the individual chooses the doctor, makes the final decision as to spending the money, and pays the doctor, hospital, physical therapist, and pharmacist. So where does the individual get the money? From his or her own health savings account with enhanced income from fewer deductions, also from voluntary insurance or cooperative membership, or from family, friends or philanthropic sources. Since the money is the patient’s own, the patient is far more likely to become very cost-conscious – unlike today’s insured patient, who is always spending someone else’s money

C. Insurance Companies and Government

A patient-centered system also reduces the role of federal and state governments (46.9% of health expenditures, NCHS, 2016). The patient doesn’t need the insurance company or the government. If both the government and the insurance companies were completely eliminated from the system, about two-thirds of the cost of American health care would be gone. Of course, there will always be some need for both, so assume that half of that cost would be gone. At today’s rates, that would be about $1.5 trillion. This is a gross number, but it shows the potential.

1) There is still a place for insurance companies in this system, although dramatically reduced. The most obvious place is for catastrophic insurance. A safety net for when something very expensive happens to someone in the family – or the church, or the credit union, or whatever assembly of people the individual chooses to participate with. And this brings us to the role of governments.

2) The first federal government act should be to lift all interstate commerce restrictions on insurance companies, so that they are free and invited to offer policies in any or all the states they wish without the necessity of creating a separate bureaucracy for every state they enter.

3) The second federal reform should be the creation of a program for financial aid to qualified students in the medical professions. My suggestion would be a free education in exchange for a period of service in underserved areas of practice as determined by a federal government body, such as, CDC or NIH or HHS.

4) A third federal reform which would dramatically reduce national health care costs is tort reform. Everyone makes mistakes, including medical practitioners and hospitals. It is the federal government’s role to protect both the treatment sector and the patient. But the current practice of unlimited liability has led to “defensive medicine,” that is, exhaustive tests and treatments used far beyond medical purposes. These extras are done to provide a defense against the inevitable lawsuit in case anything goes wrong. This uber caution has become a major cost driver in American medicine. Congress should set reasonable and realistic limits on the monies which can be given to the victims of everything from malfeasance to honest mistakes. No more windfalls for injury lawyers.

D Universal Coverage

The larger issue is care for the poor and the other underserved members of our nation. The concept of universal care is a noble and worthwhile goal. But socialized medicine is not the only or even the best way to achieve universal care. We have government programs to feed the hungry; to provide health care for the elderly; to protect the innocent. We can provide health care access to the poor and the underserved, whether because of poverty or location. We can also do better than the COBRA coverage for those who lose their jobs, or those who are excluded because of pre-existing conditions.

It is very tempting to design a system in which no government plays a major role. However, the most efficient way to care for the poor would seem to be a State-run program which levies a small per capita fee on each pool of insured to be placed in a designated fund, administered by the State, for the benefit of qualified citizens. A model for such a program might be the Medicaid programs in each State. Another model is the Uninsured Driver programs administered by the states.\

E. Medicare

We have now discussed the entire healthcare cycle without mentioning Medicare. There is a moral and legal mandate involved in Medicare which does not exist elsewhere. Medicare works reasonably well as a medical insurance system for those who contributed to it all their working lives. The most prudent and honorable way to approach Medicare would seem to be to leave it alone for those to whom commitments were made, even while moving the system slowly toward a patient-centered system for those just starting out, with free choices developed for those in mid-career. The pressure of the free market system we have been describing here will undoubtedly alter and reform Medicare as the new system matures in due course.

So here is what a free market system might look like. It would fulfill all our goals for an American system that is:

  1. State-of-the-art;
  2. Available to all in need;
  3. Affordable;
  4. Abundant; and
  5. Well-financed.

To get there, we need to:

  1. increase the supply of medical practitioners,
  2. create a patient-centered system by letting the patient spend his or her own money on healthcare;
  3. create state-sponsored safety nets for the poor and underserved. 

These proposals, of course, seem radical today, even in America’s free market culture. But sometimes the most obvious solution is indeed the best. The fact is that the employer-based system we have today was initiated because the elite of another day considered average Americans too irresponsible to handle their own health and welfare. Not true today.

(Larry Fedewa, Ph.D. is a conservative commentator on social and political issues. Former international technology executive, business owner and college president, he lives on an Arabian horse farm near Washington, D.C.  He granted permission to use this article and we are appreciative.  He will contribute to the websites and is presently working on a his own radio show/podcast)

9/11 17 years later by Tom Donelson

Many of us remember where we were on 9/11 and while we remember the collapse of the twin tower, we should note that New Yorkers have rebuilt their city in wake of the attack.  Where the twin towers existed, stands One World Tower, orignally called the Freedom tower and around the area, the 9/11 museum and memorial reminds of that day.  Other buildings being constructed or are completed include 7 World Tower, 4 World Tower and 3 World towers.  Out of the ashes of the old, arises the new.

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What Is Art by Loredana Gasparotto

What is art? I frequently ask myself that question when I see a polished ad in a fashion magazine or when I observe weird stuff in a museum. Did you know that many artworks exhibited in museums were not meant to be art, but rather a subversive act against the establishment of their times? So, why are they in museums? Is art supposed to be rebellious or beautiful?

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Conversely, are you one of those people who think that art is a matter of taste?  If that was true, everything could be art, like a chair, a shoe or a toilet! Do we accept the objects we see in museums as art just because they are in museums? When we look at an Andy Warhol’s, are we just pretending to see what is not really there? Maybe this dilemma stems from our confusion and sense of loss. The loss of those ideas we thought would stay eternally unchanged. God, consciousness, freedom, choice.

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To set it in plain philosophical terms from the 20th-century art has been instilled with a philosophy of relativism and pluralism where everything seems to be acceptable and accepted by most.

However, we crave guidance to help us understand a meaningless universe, which offers infinite choices. Therefore we expect the “system” in this case the art system to give us all the answers we are looking for. We let the critics decide for us what is art, what we should consider valuable or not. However, the art system like any other system doesn’t care about giving us anything meaningful or truthful, because it is primarily organized by academic bureaucrats who function in correlation with the art market which is only interested in making money. This system effectively absorbs all-new subversive efforts and places them into a neutral, only occasionally gently offensive history of art, the kind we find in art history textbooks.

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Maybe we should go back and listen to the wise men. Tolstoy believed that “a real work of art destroys the separation between the audience and the artist. We become one with the artist. And in sharing this union with others lies the great attractive force of art.” Art shouldn’t be created for sale; it should be designed to inspire.

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While Benedetto Croce said, “Art is not the concept that it displays, but the emotion that the concept inspires.” So that even when we don’t possess any past knowledge of the artwork we observe, we “feel” its message immediately. And this feeling like Croce states “is what grants art the airy lightness of a symbol.”

Maybe for art to be a powerful instrument of social progress, it needs to be understood by as many people as possible and not only by an elite of individuals. Whatever this art is, it must be universal; like a scientific “truth.” And as it is universal, so it must be free and not regulated by market demands or fashion trends.

Osaka Defeats Williams: An End of Era and the Beginning of Another By Tom Donelson

The youthful Naomi Osaka swept Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in the US Open final. This was considered an upset but maybe it was a signal that one era is over and new era is beginning.  Williams made it to her second major final in a row this year but she lost both finals in dominating fashion.  At Wimbledon, Angelique Kerber swept past Serena 6-3, 6-3 and Osaka game was no different as she was easily the better player in this match.

Serena Williams managed to finish in two straight finals but at the age of 36 years, she have exceeded the age where most Tennis players decline in their skills and rating but she managed to still be one of the best in the world returning from her pregnancy.  For Williams, it is about getting to 24 Major titles to tie her with Margaret Court, but that 24 is proving elusive.  Williams still is competitive but she is no longer the Queen of Tennis and before her pregnancy, it was often it was Serena vs. the rest of field but now she has come back to the field.

Osaka is 20 years old and she told the rest of the Tennis world that she is not just a champion but she may be ready to take over the Woman Tennis world.  Not only did she blow away Serena in the finals but before that, she blew Madison Keys off the court in semi-final.  Much of the post-match centered on Williams’ trouble with Carlos Ramos, the chair judge, who called a coaching violation on Williams for receiving coaching from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou and later, they got into another row in which Ramos rewarded Williams a game penalty and it took attention from the Osaka’s victory.

The US Open may be known years from now as the Open that marked the end of Williams sister era and the beginning of new era in which younger players now begin their own reign led by Naomi Osaka.

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Legacy of John McCain by Tom Donelson

John McCain Legacy for me is a mixed bag, a Senator who served his country first as a soldier who sacrifice much for his country and finally in Congress, first as congressman before moving to the Senate.  The first time I saw John McCain was in 1993 when he appeared at a health care conference opposing what was then Hillary care. Ms. Clinton appeared briefly in the morning, made her statement and left without taking questions from the media or anyone and leaving the heavy lifting to others to defend her position during the rest of the conference.  I covered the event for KC Jones, a conservative newspaper and had a chance to interview people from both sides including McCain.  When John McCain voted against the skinny repeal proposed by his friend, Lindsey Graham, I remember the McCain of 1993 and wonder if maybe Senator McCain of 2017 might wanted to reread his own speeches on health care reform. He betrayed his own voters who he promised in 2016 that he would lead the fight to repeal Obamacare and his past beliefs.  This vote represented for many of us the most frustrating aspect of John McCain career, a man whose often voted conservative most of his career but in many crucial moments over the years, become the Maverick by not just compromising on his beliefs but abandoning them.

It is the Maverick McCain that helped open the door for the National Populist movement that he would spend the last years of his life fighting. In 2000, the McCain express opposed George Bush run to the White House and his campaign was based on a premise that many voters were no longer satisfied with both political parties. He often moved to populist points starting with campaign reform and later opposing Bush Tax cuts from a populist position that mirrored Bernie Sanders and in some respect, Donald Trump.  The 2008 McCain ran a more traditional conservative campaign but his selection of Sarah Palin, who was a Maverick in her right opposing the Republican establishment in Alaska showed that he had not abandoned the populist and anti-establishment route. Throughout the Obama years, he was a leader in opposition to a good portion of the Obama agenda including foreign affairs.

McCain legacy will be the last of what I would call the Wilsonian internationalist who believed in the goodness of America to influence the world as Coco Konski and I discussed his legacy on our podcast,. What is often forgotten, McCain ran on a platform of a muscular foreign policy and American Greatness, influenced by the staff of Weekly Standard in 2000 and it was George W. Bush who ran on a platform of “more modest Foreign policy,” similar to the Trump campaign strategy 16 years later. The American Greatness did evolve into a more Nationalistic view of America that Trump took advantage of.  Trump ran on the more modest foreign policy but he also ran on the greatness of America with the idea of Making America Greater.  After the 2000 election, while McCain still held Bush’s tactics in the 2000 primary against him, both men found common grounds after 9/11 as Bush sided with McCain view of foreign policy.  Bush adopted the Freedom agenda of McCain and we spent the next decade importing Democratic procedure to the Middle East where so far, they have not taken much root.  We can argue the mistakes made in the Middle East and whether the pro-democracy agenda was doomed from the beginning or had a chance for success, sabotage by poor execution and Obama retreat from Iraq. That is a debate for another time.

The Freedom agenda also led to bad judgment including supporting the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and deposing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.  David Goldman describe Egypt plight before the military finally disposed of the Brotherhood, “In 2012, Senator McCain backed the installation of a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt…In July 2013, more than 30 million Egyptians – a majority of the adult population – demonstrated against the country’s Muslim Brotherhood government. Under General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s military took control of the country, which was nearly out of food. Al-Sisi saved Egypt from starvation and chaos…Senator McCain sadly denounced the military takeover as a violation of the democratic process. Technically speaking it was a coup against an elected government, although under emergency conditions and with massive and visible popular support. So beguiled was McCain with the prospect of a democratic Islamic regime that he never accepted that his illusion had vanished.”  The irony is that Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood was seeing the fabric of Democracy already being throttled plus the country was about to enter into chaos and massive starvation.  In the case of Libya, there was no game plan for a post Gaddafi and it became a terrorist playground.

Goldman noted the difference between McCain and Trump when he noted, “The bright line in American policy divides the utopians who believe that America’s mission is to bring free markets and liberal democracies to the benighted, backward nations of the world, and realists like Trump…Senator McCain threw his support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the expectation that it would become a vehicle for Muslim democracy; Donald Trump proposed to insulate America from the problems of the Muslim world.”

The modest foreign policy promised by Bush in 2000 is the basis of Trump’s policy in 2018 and America rejected the more internationalist view of McCain for a more realistic policy that accept the limits to American foreign policy and constructing policy toward a identifying and defending America’s national interest. As I noted in my book, “The Rise of National Populism and Democratic Socialism What our response should be”, Trump foreign policy would be “Donald Trump s bringing back realpolitik, in which our country’s foreign policy will be based on America’s national interest. Idealism will no longer be a reason to send young Americans into combat, but defending our national interest will.”  This approach is not isolationist but a more realistic approach to a world that is now multipolar with different blocs and Nations defending their national interest first, world predicted by the late Herman Kahn in his book, The Coming Boom. I observed in my book, “In 1982, Herman Kahn wrote The Coming Boom, in which he foresaw the economic prosperity of the Reagan years and a new world order that included the rise of regional powers and new challenges to the bipolar power struggle between the United States and the U.S.S.R.  Kahn thought that a multipolar world would eventually stabilize but the era before stabilization could be chaotic.  Kahn’s predictions proved to be accurate.”  McCain worldview has now been overtaken by events and the desire from the American people for a more modest foreign policy.  The world of John McCain internationalism has passed and he, like many within the foreign policy right including William Kristol, fail to realize the changes in the world.  McCain defended those institution that kept the peace just as NATO, Trump is asking the question if these institution serves our national interest.

McCain was a man in full, not a perfect man or the master of the United States Senate and often times, his own view disagreed with his Party. In many cases it was his Party that was right and not McCain. His support for carbon tax to save the planet has been rejected by his Party and with good reason and the one bill that bears his name, McCain-Feingold was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for the simple reason that it interfered with freedom of speech.

McCain was not perfect and there were times he could hold grudges that last a long time and mistakes were made. McCain would be first to admit that he should have supported Martin Luther King Holiday in 1987 and his refusal to allow Sarah Palin to come to his funeral was more than a mistake since Ms. Palin had stayed loyal to McCain, never uttered a bad word about him and even campaigned for him after 2008.  As Sarah Palin noted not once did McCain ever said to her that it was mistake to place her on the ticket in 2008 only to find out that he would declare this in his last book not yet published.  For many politicians, loyalty is a one way street and John McCain is not the first politician nor will he be the last to throw some of his own past supporters under the bus if need be.  Every politician at some time has but unlike former campaign staffer, Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace, who profited from their own disloyalty, Palin stayed loyal.  National Review John Fund summarize John McCain, “But John McCain was enough of a genuine American hero that he need not be placed on a pedestal and treated like a plaster saint. He was throughout his career what is called “a man in full,” a leader defined by his bold moves, bold personality, and bold accomplishments. He also deserves to be described in our farewells as a man in full, with all of his contradictions, inconsistencies, and expedient behavior…By holding up him up as a paragon of virtue, the media failed last week in their job of telling John McCain’s story in full. I suspect their credibility took another hit with many Americans as a result, a credibility that is already so low that someone like Donald Trump has been able to exploit it.”

McCain served his country and suffered as a result and many of the same people who praised him during his funeral were perfectly willing to call him a fascist, a racist and everything in between when he oppose their agenda and it suited them in his 2008 presidential run against Obama.  McCain was not the perfect vehicle and over the last half of his legislative career, he often abandoned principle to reach across aisle and like many of his generation, he failed to see causes of the present rise of Populism, a movement that he himself help start two decades earlier.  There is much to praise about McCain heroism and much to criticize record wise as a legislator.  History and Historians will make their own judgement years from now and I will let others decide if working across the aisle as Man putting country before Party or simply fool errands that did little to advance the causes he believed in.  I remembered the McCain who took a stand to defend free market reforms in health care in 1993, ran on those platforms in 2008, campaign on them in his 2016 Senate race only to desert them in 2017. This sums up the contradictions of McCain the Senator.