Link to Classic Fiddling Ant

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Conservative Utah + Obamacare = Fiscal Child Abuse


You would think that in conservative Utah, this would be the last place where debt loving politicians would find allies.

Sadly, Utah opinion leaders have no problem in embracing a program that would saddle future generations with massive debt, to the tune of $1.35 trillion in just the next 10 years. (See Table B-1 of the January 2015 Congressional Budget Office's scoring report.)

The CBO numbers clearly show that there are not enough ObamaCare revenues to pay for the exchanges, much less the Medicaid expansion. In other words, ObamaCare Medicaid expansion is 100% paid for by debt.

The program the Republican governor of Utah wants to use to steal money from future generations is called "Healthy Utah." This program would take federal dollars to provide health insurance to people that don't make enough to qualify for the ObamaCare health insurance exchange - the so-called Medicaid Gap.

It has been sold to the public with the message that Utah taxpayers would only pay for 10% of the money spent and the federal government would provide the other 90% of the funds. The Utah governor, the major Utah newspapers, hospitals, doctors, drug companies and opinion polls all support "Healthy Utah."

So far the conservative Utah legislature has rejected "Healthy Utah." The main reason given is that there is no way to control future costs of the program and while paying 10% on the dollar for expanding health insurance for poor people sounds like a good deal, there is no guarantee that this 10% will not grow to the point that it will take money from other state spending needs or require state tax increases. The real problem is the other 90%, which thanks to a perverse form of money laundering, the public remains ignorant that it is totally unpaid for.

We are at a point where the governor and legislative leaders are trying to hammer out a compromise so Utah can get its hands on the federal money. I don't think they are giving enough attention to the debt this will create for the next generation.

Supporters of Healthy Utah argue that the program is needed because a large number of poor people have no access to affordable health care.They say that other states are taking ObamaCare money and Utah is missing out. They say Utah is sending federal tax payments to Washington and not getting back our fair share.

It sounds eminently reasonable and anyone opposed to "Healthy Utah" is cold hearted, and lacking in compassion, right? How can we allow people to live without access to affordable health coverage? No wonder polls show majority support for "Healthy Utah."

I think majority support for "Healthy Utah" would evaporate if people were asked this more truthful question:

"Do you support 'Healthy Utah' Medicaid expansion if the federal money used is 100% funded by federal debt which future generations will have to pay back?" or even better, "Is it moral to require future taxpayers to pay for the current health care needs of poor people?"

Some people will say, "It is what it is. We need to embrace the ObamaCare program because it is all we have and poor people need help." Fair enough, but we should be the ones paying for, not the next generation.

We are justifiably appalled when we see Baltimore citizens looting stores. How dare they take something without paying for it, even if they need it. Shouldn't we feel the same way about spending money on health care needs of the poor when we are not paying for it? We are literally stealing from future generations. And if we see other states stealing money, does that make it okay for Utah to do it too?

Laurence Kotlikoff, the liberal Massachusetts economist, refers to this modern practice of inter-generational theft as fiscal child abuse. This is a strong term, but an accurate one. How dare we as a society spend money that is not ours, so we don't have to pay for services that benefit us, and then expect our non-voting children and grandchildren to pay the bill?

Who wants to defend fiscal child abuse?

Tragically, the Utah media is not giving the funding source for ObamaCare the attention it deserves. If you want to fight fiscal child abuse, please share this information with Utah voters, fiscally responsible citizens, and especially Utah politicians.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Not Called (ME)morial Day


Updated 5/27/2016

Every year on the last Monday of May we celebrate and honor the thousand of U.S. citizens who gave their lives in the defense of their country. For some of us that means visiting the grave of a loved one who died while serving in the military. However, for most of us (ME)morial Day is a day to having fun for ME. Our honored dead will not be water skiing, bike riding, going to an amusement park or having a BBQ. My wife's uncle served in the army during World War II. He never made it home and is buried in the Philippines.

I don't think these men or women would begrudge us enjoying the liberty and freedoms we enjoy that they died to defend. But they did not die for an America that is all about ME and not more concerned with the good of the future. They sacrificed for the future and we should do the same.

Here is where we fall short.
  • Since 9/11 we have spent more than $1 trillion extra on military expenditures fighting two foreign wars. None of this money came from raising taxes or cutting back on other government spending. There was no war bond effort like there was during World War II. Basically, we've just spent more 15 years fighting a war and expect our children and grandchildren (many never even born before 9/11) to pay for our defense -- with interest. The ME politicians and ME taxpayers want to use their own money for themselves and pass the war bill to the next generation.
  • During the last two presidencies, we have refused to limit federal spending to federal revenues collected. Taxes collected are at an all time high and would easily cover the expenses from most budgets in the last decade, but government spending just grows and grows. Some Republicans pushed by the Tea Party are willing to tackle this issue, others are okay with borrowed spending (as happened with John Boehner's last budget that embraced deficit spending big time). Of course President Obama and the Democrats refuse to ever cut spending. Again the ME politicians put the $18 trillion short term desires of ME voters over the more important needs of the future of our nation. ObamaCare alone will add another $1 trillion to the national debt just in the next ten years.
  • The Obama VA scandal shows an incompetent bureaucratic failure of public officials to provide veterans with promised benefits. My daughter's husband, an army officer, spent a year in Afghanistan and six months in Liberia for the Ebola containment. He could have left a widow and fatherless children. Fortunately he returned safely, but many did not, or returned with injuries. To not provide these veterans with needed medical attention is criminal. The ME bureaucrats valued their records more than the lives of veterans. 
Let's take the ME out of Memorial Day and do all we can to make the future better for the next generation, not one saddled with debt and unfulfilled promises.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Diversity Hypocrisy


While the values espoused by conservatives include hard work, morality, and thrift, one of the most favorite values of liberals is diversity. Unfortunately, this is often a false value that is rarely actually displayed by liberal institutions. For example, higher education is a bastion of liberal thought where diversity is king (or should I say queen in the interests of diversity).

Sadly, the diversity in action is wildly missing when it comes to diversity of thought. The percentage of liberals teaching or administering at most leading universities can be up to ninety percent or more, hardly evidence of diversity.

You may argue that this is because no conservative wants a career in positions such as theater, women's literature, and queer studies but couldn't the universities at least invite conservatives to speak at graduations? In the interest of diversity, we should expect at least half of the commencement speakers to be conservatives, right?

Here is a list of commencement speakers at the leading U.S. universities for 2014 and 2015. Liberals in blue, conservatives in red.

Ivy League Schools

Brown University - Former San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan (2015) / Writer Isabel Wilkerson, a former NY Times bureau chief and expert on black migration (2014)

Columbia University - Democrat Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (2015) / Actor and Screenwriter Dan Futterman (2014)

Cornell University - Former Democrat congresswoman Gabby Giffords (2015) / Actor Ed Helm, known for The Office and Hangover. (2014)

Dartmouth College - Sometimes conservative New York Times Columnist David Brooks (2015) / TV Producer Sonda Rhimes, known for Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and President Barack Obama appointed her to serve as a trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts appointed by Barack Obama (2014)

Harvard University - Liberal former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (2015) / Liberal former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2014)

Princeton University - Director Christopher Nolan (2015) / Former Vice President Al Gore the climate change prophet (2014)

University of Pennsylvania - Samantha Powers, US Ambassador to the United Nations (2015) / Singer John Legend, known for supporting Earth Institute's sustainable development and AIDS Service Center NYC (2014)

Yale University - Vice President Joe Biden (2015) / Democrat Secretary of State John Kerry (2014)

Other Top Line Schools

Duke University - Paul Farmer, CEO, Partners in Health, social justice champion (2015) / General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2014)

John Hopkins University - Pixar President Ed Catmull, Democrat contributor (2015) / YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Democratic fund raiser (2014)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Megan Smith, CTO of United States appointed by Barack Obama (2015) / Dupont CEO Ellen Kullman, 61% of political donations made to Democrats (2014)

Northwestern University - alumni IBM CEO Virginia Rometty (2015) / Conductor Riccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2014)

Stanford University - Liberal NBC News correspondent Richard Engel (2015) / Liberal philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates (2014)

Tufts University - Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton's Secretary of State (2015) / Anne Marie Slaughter, former Democrat State Department official (2014)

University of California Berkeley - Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, regular Democrat campaign contributor (2015) / Democrat Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (2014)

University of Southern California -  Chicago investment fund president and big Democrat campaign donor Mellody Hobson (2015) / Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, regular Democrat campaign contributor (2014)

University of Notre Dame - BBC Chairman Chris Patten, former Conservative member of Parliament (2014 rescheduled to 2015 due to health reasons)

University of Rochester - Education strategist Deborah Bial (founder and president of The Posse Foundation) (2015) / Liberal CNN commentator Chris Matthews (2014)

Wake Forest University - Stephen Colbert, Comedian (2015) / Jill Abramson, executive editor, New York Times (2014)

Williams and Mary - Condoleezza Rice, Bush Secretary of State (2015) / Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry (2014)

So, out of 20 top schools, only four conservative speakers in the past two years were invited to speak to graduates, only one if you focus on Ivy League schools.

Where is the diversity?

Not at our most prestigious universities.

Liberals seek a diversity of gender, sexual orientation, or skin color, but the last thing they want is a diversity of thinking.


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fiddlin' - Good Morning Baltimore!


The death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of Baltimore police is tragic. However, the response of looting, arson, and property destruction made things worse, not better.

The well known musical artist Prince has indicated his solidarity with the thugs with his recent Baltimore song.

The Fiddling Ant is adding to his collection of satirical parody songs using the song Good Morning Baltimore from the 1990's Broadway play, Hairspray. If you are unfamiliar with the tune you can find it here.

Good Morning Baltimore

Oh, oh, oh woke up today feeling
The way I always do
Oh, oh, oh hungry for someone that I can beat
Then I hear that beat
The rhythm of town starts calling me down
It's like a message of cars upturned
Oh, oh, oh pulling me out to the thugs and the
Streets that I burn

Good morning Baltimore
Every day's like an urban war
Every night is a arsony
And I’ll blame it on bigotry

Good morning Baltimore
And today when I’m looting a store
The world's gonna wake up and see
Baltimore frenzy!

Oh, oh, oh look at my fist
What crunk can resist some crime today?
Oh, oh, oh I've got my banger and brick to throw
I'm ready to go
My peeps on the street all dance round my feet
They seem to say, "You dawg, it's up to you"
So, oh, oh don't hold me back
'Cause today all my game will come true

Good morning Baltimore
There's the homey who lives next door
There's the bum on the barroom floor
They wish me luck on my way to score
Good morning Baltimore
And today when I’m looting a store
The world's gonna wake up and see
Baltimore frenzy

I know every step, I know every song
I know there's a place where I belong
I see all those popo lights shining ahead
Will someone invite me, lets go bust some heads
So, oh, oh give me a chance
In my low riding pants, I'm a hip-hop star
Oh, oh, oh something inside of me makes me loot
It’s hands up, don’t shoot
My feet want to go but my mom tells me no
It's like a playa inside my heart
So, oh, oh don't make me wait
One more moment for my life to start

I love you Baltimore
Every day's like an urban war
Every night is a arsony
And I’ll blame it on bigotry
Good morning Baltimore
And today when I’m looting a store
The world's gonna wake up and see
Gonna wake up and see Baltimore frenzy
(Yes, more or less we all agree)
Baltimore frenzy!
(Someday the world is gonna see)
Baltimore frenzy!



For an index of all Fiddling Ant parody songs, click here.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Obamacare Winners and Losers


Updated 10-25-16
Obamacare was supposed to be the "Affordable" Care Act. The White House has announced that costs for users is expected to increase 25% next year. Obamacare was never affordable from the start. You can't add more people, expand more "free" coverage, and increase insurance coverage limits without also increasing costs. Those in the know predicted this was on the horizon years ago. 



TIME Magazine's Steven Brill did us a great service in writing his book, America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System. Brill leans left, but his does not pull any punches in pointing out the significant problems with Obamacare. Here are the winners and losers created by the Obamacare mess.

WINNERS

1. Trial Lawyers. Brill estimates that at least 5% of medical costs are due to extra defensive medical testing and other excesses related to dealing with ambulance chasers. Obamacare did nothing to reduce this contributing cost to high health care costs because trial lawyers are big Democrat donors.

2. Drug Companies. Because of heavy contributions to both Republicans and Democrats, congress won't take actions to control the cost of prescription medicines. A proposal to allow people to buy drugs from Canada for significant savings was shot down. A rule that requires Medicare to pay higher than average prices for drugs was also not addressed. As a major buyer of medicines, Medicare should be able to demand significant discounts, just like all insurance companies do, but they are not allowed to in order to protect drug company profits. At one point Obamacare was structured to favor generic drugs. However, in the final version, Big Pharma was able to get co-pay free drugs approved. This means that a more expensive name brand drug would be picked because it was available without a co-pay - no upfront cost to the customer, but higher costs overall that increases premiums for everyone.

3. Hospitals. For years hospitals have had to absorb losses from serving people in emergency rooms who could not pay their bills. Brill estimates this could be 5% of their revenues. Now that many of these people have insurance, they will be collecting fees from insurance and writing off fewer bad debts, resulting in another new source of income. Hospitals were big Obamacare supporters because they recognized they would be getting more customers out of the deal, with hardly any change to their billing practices.

3. Lower Middle Class Families. In pre-Obamacare 21st Century America, many people worked in low paying jobs with no medical coverage. These people went without medical care or used emergency rooms. There is no question these people are big winners. They are getting more access to health care because other people (or future people) are footing the bill.

4. Federal Contractors. Creating heathcare.gov cost hundreds of millions of dollars, even when it didn't work! This was a windfall to the federal contractors who won bids to create the program.

LOSERS

1. Obama's Leadership Reputation. Even rabid Obama supporters can't defend the way the Obama administration botch the creation of healthcare.gov. White House advisers recommended bringing in an experienced high tech business manager to run the operation. Obama instead gave the lead job to a former college professor with no business or tech experience.

2. Secretary Sebelius. Her Health and Human Services job was supposed to have gone to former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, a health care reform wonk and Washington insider, but his nomination would not go through. Instead we got a cabinet secretary who was clueless to the disastrous Obamacare roll-out. She was pushed out the door once it was clear it would not overly embarrass the president.

3. Democrat Office Holders. The number of Democrats in congress has dropped by 70 and in the senate by 14 since Obamacare passed. Obama squandered the big lead the nation gave Democrats because they were weary of Bush's wars.

4. Health Care Reformers. All health care experts acknowledge that American health care is too expensive for the results we get for the money spent. Some reformers were naiive and believed that Obamacare would find ways to reduce costs. That might have been possible with a capable leader, but not easy. What we got, from Mr. Lead-From-Behind, was a program that gives more people access to our expensive system. No wonder Obama got no opposition from doctors, hospitals, and drug companies - Obamacare gave them all more customers pretty much paying the same rates, with the government footing the bill.

How bad did Obamacare blow its chance to fix health care? Here is a quote from Confidence Men, by liberal author Ron Suskind where he talks about Dartmouth Method reformer Dr. Jim Weinstein, whose research had found widespread waste and unnecessary procedures throughout the health care industry and was hopeful that Obamacare would address these obvious problems.  However, special interests squelched any chance at these much needed reforms.

     To spend a ¨once-in-a-generation¨ effort on extending coverage to the uninsured--without any real teeth in using evidence about what was effective in reducing unnecessary procedures, and driving down costs--was a ¨stunning error.¨

     ¨It made things worse,¨ he said solemnly.

     And then he got frustrated. ¨I can´t believe how wrong they got it. This was our one chance, and we completely blew it.¨

5. Future Generations. The biggest loser by far is future generations. Too late to be included in Brill's book, last year the Congressional Budget Office scored Obamacare and released a report showing that Obamacare spending is only covered by 1/3 in new Obamacare revenue. The other 2/3 must be paid for by borrowing, to the tune of over $1 trillion over the next ten years alone.

This means that with Obamacare we will be spending health care dollars now and expecting our children and grandchildren to pay it back later. Who really wants to defend this funding system?


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Friday, May 8, 2015

Funny Mother's Day Songs


The Fiddling Ant would love to work as a parody lyricist, but that career doesn't pay very well unless your name is Al Yankovic or Tim Hawkins. So I write parody songs to amuse anyone who appreciates clever lyrics.

Over the past years I have written a number of parody songs in honor of Mother's Day. Here is a sample:

OUR MOM

to the tune of Gaston, from Disney's Beauty and the Beast

CHILD
Gosh it disturbs me to see you, dear mom,
Looking so down in the dumps.
Ev'ry kid here'd love to hug you, dear mom,
Even when taking our lumps.
There's no mom in town as admired as you,
You're ev'ryone's favorite gal;
Ev'ryone's awed and inspired by you,
And so we present this chorale.

No one's strict as our mom.
No one's quick as our mom.
And our blackheads are frequently picked by our mom.
For there's no mom in town half as momly,
Perfect, a pure paragon!
You can ask any Stan, Dick or Tomley,
And they'll tell you whose fam’ly they’d like to be on.

CHILD AND CHORUS
No one's nice like our mom,
Gives advice like our mom.

CHILD
No one guides and corrects as concise as our mom.

MOM
As a specimen, yes, I'm intimidating!

CHILD AND CHORUS
My what a gal, that’s our mom!
Give five "hurrahs!" Give twelve "hip-hips!"

CHILD
Our mom is the best,
And the rest is all drips.

CHORUS
No one’s bright as our mom,
Breaks up fights like our mom.

CHILD
In a screaming match nobody frights like our mom!

CHORUS
For there's no one as loving and caring.

MOM
As you see I've got patience to spare.

CHILD
Not a bit of her's grumpy or erring.

MOM
That's right!
And ev'ry last inch of me's perfect I swear.

CHORUS
No one cheers like our mom,
Cleans my ears like our mom.

CHILD
In a shouting match nobody hears like our mom.

MOM
I'm especially good at commiserating!
Poor dear!

CHORUS
Ten cheers for our mom!

MOM
When I was a girl,
I raised hens, goats and pigs,
Ev'ry morning to help me learn work.
And now that I'm grown,
I raise rambunctious kids,
So pipe down or I'll go berserk!

CHORUS
Oh, ahhh, wow!
My what a gal, that’s our mom!
No one cooks like our mom,
Reads us books like our mom.

CHILD
Then goes tromping around kicking butts like our mom!

MOM
I use Pint’rest in all of my decorating!

CHORUS
My what a gal, our mom!


Here are some other parody Mother's Day songs.

Fiddlin' - The Motherly Way

A parody of The Company Way from How to Succeed Without Really Trying. This is a fun duet for a couple of brothers. It shows how mom really runs the house.

Fiddlin' - Our Dear Mommy's Lot Is Not An Easy One

A parody of A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One from The Pirates of Penzance.

Fiddlin' - Mom, My Eyes Are Fully Open

A parody of My Eyes are Fully Open from Ruddigore, a great Gilbert and Sullivan patter song.

Fiddlin' - There is Nothin' Like a Mom

A parody of There is Nothin' Like a Dame from South Pacific. A song with multiple parts for the whole family to take part in.

Fiddlin' - I Am The Very Model Of Our Modern Homeschool Motherhood

A parody of I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General from The Pirates of Penzance. Perhaps the best known patter song of all time.


For a complete list of Fiddling Ant parody songs, click here.


Have a Happy Mother's Day honoring the mothers in your life!


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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Challenging Evolution With Science



Ninety years ago today, biology teacher John Scopes was arrested for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in violation of Tennessee state law. Scopes is one of the patron saints of secular humanists who believe faithfully in evolution. In ninety years evolution has become the accepted science taught in schools. If a teacher were to teach intelligent design today no doubt he or she would be fired or arrested. Challenging evolution is blasphemy.

Back in 2006 a legislator here in conservative Utah proposed a bill that would let schools teach intelligent design. The state school board reaction was to derail this bill at all costs. The bill never was passed, and it opened my eyes to the firm control secular humanists have over the school system in the United States. 

Not long after this happened, I happened to watch the classic Spencer Tracy movie, "Inherit the Wind," the courtroom drama based on the Scopes Monkey Trial where a teacher was prosecuted for teaching evolution to students in the 1920s. I thought, the world has turned 180 degrees. In the 21st Century a teacher could get in trouble for teaching intelligent design. I realized you could redo the original play section by section with basically the same characters and tell a challenging and compelling story of intelligent design on trial. 

It sounded like a fun project, so that is what I did. I wrote a new play called "Inherit the Wind: Overturned by Design" (see link at upper right). This time, instead of basing the over-the-hill politician turned prosecutor on William Jennings Bryant, he looks a lot like Al Gore. Instead of Clarence Darrow, the feisty defense attorney is based on Ann Coulter. It's conservatives debating liberals, intelligent design vs evolution. It shares the message that intelligent design should be taken seriously, and not dismissed without any debate. My goal is to see this play help advance the intelligent design argument.

In the years since I published this play, the reaction has been, as expected, highly favorable, or disparaging. Conservatives open-mindedly appreciate a scientific based argument for a designer of the universe. Evolutionists want to dismiss intelligent design and ignore the evidence.

The play is available for Nook, IBook on ITunes, or Amazon.

Contact me if you are interested in performing the play. It is much more topical for the 21st century than the original play which is still regularly produced.


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Liberal Lucas Channels Conservative Icon C.S. Lewis


Updated May 4, 2016

It's Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a smash hit. There is no movie from the 1970's that has had greater impact on the culture than Star Wars. It has made George Lucas, "The Creator," a billionaire. In 2014 journalist Chris Taylor wrote a very entertaining and informative history of George Lucas and the Star Wars phenomenon. The name of his book is How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise.

George Lucas, to no one's surprise, comes across as a big liberal in Taylor's book. It was disturbing to learn that Lucas based the first Star Wars movie on the Vietnam War with the rebels representing the Vietcong and the Galactic Empire representing America. He's a regular supporter of liberal causes and a critic of George Bush and the Iraq War.

However, with age, it seems that even a liberal icon can dispense conservative advice you would associate more with C. S. Lewis than Louis C.K.

As reported in Taylor's book, in a 2012 speech to the Academy of Achievement in Washington D.C., Lucas said:

Here's something I learned along the way. Happiness is pleasure and happiness is joy. It could be either one. Pleasure is short lived. It lasts an hour, a minute a month, and it peaks very high. It's like drugs, like anything -- whether you're shopping, engaged in any pleasure, it all has the same quality to it. Joy doesn't go as high as pleasure, but it stays with you. It's something you can recall. Pleasure you can't. So the joy will last a lot longer. People who get the pleasure say, "Oh, if I can just get richer, I can get more cars . . . ." You will never relive the moment you get your first car. That's the highest peak.

Pleasure's fun, but just accept the fact that it's here and gone. Joy lasts forever. Pleasure's purely self-centered. It's all abut your pleasure. It's about you. A selfish, self-centered emotion created by a selfish moment for you.

Joy is compassion. Joy is giving yourself to something else, or somebody else. It is much more powerful than pleasure. If you get hung up on pleasure, you're doomed. If you pursue joy, you will find everlasting happiness.

Well said!

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