Monday, May 27, 2019

Christian version of Sharia Law?


As an old white man, I understand the abortion question as: When is a person a person?  The only answer to this is a religious one.  The only biblical reference I find that comes close to answering the question is: Genesis 2.7 “and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  Now, I don’t want to argue that the ability to breathe determines when the soul enters the body, but I’m certainly not going to argue against it.  Freedom of religion means we are allowed to believe what we want, without others forcing their beliefs on us.  From my  point of view the pro-lifers are trying to legislate religion just like the Sharia law they oppose so much.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Bullshit, Fear, Anger, and Hate keep the status quo


Can we pause for a second from all the divisive diversions and hateful rhetoric and listen to what is going on in the present.  The good of America is being held hostage to a power struggle between people that are much more invested in keeping their power than in moving America forward. Both parties have adopted a “my way or the highway” approach that can only lead to more extreme positions.  Fear is the motivator of both parties.  Arguments are framed in the horrible things the opposition is trying to accomplish, without regard to truth. The media is much more concerned with promoting controversy than reporting the details of the truth.  From fear it is very easy to ramp up anger, and then hat..  Fear and anger tend to rule out reason, and the lack of reason is our largest current problem.  Bad people have been doing good things and good people have been doing bad things for a long time.  Calling people names just ramps up the anger and hate and doesn’t move us forward.  The following ten issues have become so imbued with fear that we have lost track of some basic truths about them.

1.Health care:  Ignoring the ethics of making money from peoples suffering, the only way that ‘for profit’ health providers can increase profits is by: having more sick people, more treatable conditions,  raising prices, prolonging treatments and ignoring cures.  We already have universal coverage  for Emergency Room admissions,  the most expensive kind. There is a huge parasitic industry concerned only with money in healthcare consisting of benefit managers and insurance companies.  Both Federal and State governments provide substantial funding for reinsurance, subsidizing the insurance companies.

2,Global warming:  The conservatives are all aghast about the job losses, while the liberals celebrate all the job opportunities. Seems to me there’s room for discussion.

3.Social Security:  Liberals are afraid of cutting benefits, conservatives are afraid of raising taxes.  Politicians are afraid period.  The sooner it’s fixed the easier the fix is, why can’t we bargain?

4. Regulations:   Big money is for getting rid of them, Democrats don’t want to lose all the money their lawyers get from lawsuits. Can’t we eliminate some paperwork by putting the perpetrators in jail instead of giving them bonus’s while penalizing the shareholders with large fines?

5.Immigration:  We need immigrants for our economy to run.  We have several ways to take advantage of those wishing to live with us, without demonizing them.  Dreamers need to be dealt with, migrant labor needs to be made easier and better. Take out the fear and much can be done.

6.Government shut down:  This is what ISIS and Russia have been hoping for.  We have instituted slave labor by asking people to work for free.  Every day of the shut down brings us closer to becoming a third world nation!

7.Abortion:  The granddaddy of all hate issues.  Is making it illegal going to keep it from happening?  More women will be in ER’s due to botched procedures.  I don’t understand why the pro lifers have to punish the “evil doers”.  Is their faith so little that they don’t think justice will come in the afterlife?

8.Public debate:  First rule of debating reads: If you can’t win with logic go with insults.  The first insult tells you the loser of the debate.

9.Gun control:  The fear is taking all the guns away.  I want to know how that could happen?  Who goes door to door?  How do they know they’ve got them all?  It can’t happen.  Why can’t we talk about keeping them out of dangerous people’s hands?

10.Socialism, Capitalism, and Communism are all failed 19th century ideas that really have no bearing anymore.  Every advanced country has some state ownership, some private ownership, a safety net for the poor, and incentives for the exceptional.  It’s just a matter of degree.

We live in an age where we are forced to be willfully ignorant about many things just to live an ordinary life.  We must realize when commenting on issues just how ignorant we are of them, and refrain ourselves as appropriate. As FDR said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Single Payer?


I think that many of our problems with the cost of medicine date back to the 80’s and 90’s when state by state we passed laws requiring emergency rooms to admit all that came in without telling the ER’s how they would pay for this.  We truly have universal coverage because of these laws, and it is the most expensive type possible.  Prior to forcing hospitals to use creative accounting, ($40 aspirin), they just added a margin to their cost and charged like any other ethical retailer.  Now the system is to charge as much as possible depending on the patient and their coverage.  This philosophy has now spread to the entire medical industry and spurred the development of many well paying professions in the “managing benefits” industry and buying medical accounts receivables.  Keeping  track of the many insurance plans and how they differ in their payments also keeps many employed.  The growth of employment in medicine has been boosted way beyond reasonable with all these people making a living without ever seeing a patient.

In an effort to keep their jobs, these non-practitioners have orchestrated a huge fear campaign.  They cite  huge additional costs for ‘single payer’ when they don’t even define what it is covering, and ignoring the money currently being spent that would no longer be spent.  Until it is designed we can’t possibly know what the cost will be.  They also trash the “Canadian System” for long wait times.  Well, Canada has a different system for each province and some are better than others.  The long wait times usually refer to elective procedures.  The folks I’ve talked to in both Ontario and Quebec wouldn’t change their system for anything.  The phoniest objection I’ve heard is fear about a government bureaucrat making decisions for you.  I think a non-profit government bureaucrat would make more favorable decisions about my care than the current ‘for profit’ insurance company bureaucrat would.

I think it’s obvious to all that reform is needed.  We need to communicate with each other to get it right.  Both the fights for Social Security and Medicare were contentious, but civility lead to the compromises we have now: government provides the base protection, and the individual provides the extras:   By setting a payment schedule, similar to  Medicare,  and then paying the providers 100% of the schedule amount if the provider bills for that amount, and then reducing  the payment to the provider by the same percentage that the provider charges over the scheduled amount.  This would allow the providers to charge what they want while allowing the patient to keep their doctor, if they can afford him/her.  It also leaves open business for our health insurance companies with “gap”  or “advantage” insurance similar to Medicare.

With the health insurance industry and the pharmaceuticals leading the country in political donations we are unlikely to see any changes. 

Unsolvable problems highten emotions


I don’t think our Founding Fathers would be pleased with our present version of democracy.  How did we get to a point where we are voting against people instead of for them?  The use of fear and anger has led many to abandon reason and embrace emotion.  Somehow we have people that believe the impossible intentions of others are somehow achievable.  Single unsolvable issues have blinded us to other issues that are solvable.  Abortion,  guns and tax cuts in particular increase the emotional level.  Why isn’t it obvious that abortion isn’t going to go away if it is made illegal?  It will just cause the death of more women due to unsanitary conditions and fuller jails.  I really want to know how the guns are going to be taken away!  Who is going to go door to door asking for guns?  Would we really want to hire someone crazy enough to do the job?  And then: how do you know you’ve got them all?  The tax cutters seem to be the worst.  Don’t they realize that cutting one tax just causes another to go up?  Not only do they want to cut taxes but they then want to say we don’t have the money to carry out essential programs.  Divide and conquer is the strategy of the day. Hypocrisy is the tactic.  To hell with unite and prosper.  We have an inability to see that even bad people can do good things; even Hitler made the trains run on time. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Single issue madness


I don’t think our Founding Fathers would be pleased with our present version of democracy.  How did we get to a point where we are voting against people instead of for them?  The use of fear and anger has led many to abandon reason and embrace emotion.  Somehow we have people that believe the impossible intentions of others are somehow achievable.  Single unsolvable issues have blinded us to other issues that are solvable.  Abortion,  guns and tax cuts in particular increase the emotional level.  Why isn’t it obvious that abortion isn’t going to go away if it is made illegal?  It will just cause the death of more women due to unsanitary conditions and fuller jails.  I really want to know how the guns are going to be taken away!  Who is going to go door to door asking for guns?  Would we really want to hire someone crazy enough to do the job?  And then: how do you know you’ve got them all?  The tax cutters seem to be the worst.  Don’t they realize that cutting one tax just causes another to go up?  Not only do they want to cut taxes but they then want to say we don’t have the money to carry out essential programs.  Divide and conquer is the strategy of the day. Hypocrisy is the tactic.  To hell with unite and prosper.  We have an inability to see that even bad people can do good things; even Hitler made the trains run on time. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Power Corrupts


Watching the Kavanaugh hearing we can see that power corrupts.  Understand that I am a Nobody.  The  only power I can wield is my vote because I don’t have the funds necessary to buy (the ear of) congressmen.  How did we get to this point.  We all point to others as the reason the country is in such a mess but we need to see how both sides have taken the route of wanting more power rather than what is best for the country.  If we want more power than a single vote, we have to send money to special interest groups, including the political parties.   The special interest groups I belong to, (AARP & Boat US) both get a substantial amount of their revenue from insurance sales making them insurance lobbyists as well.   As an insurance executive I was asked to make a payroll deduction to the Company Political Action Committee.  The slide in my career coincided with my refusal to do this.  I didn’t like the idea of the foreign owners of our holding company looking at the use of these funds and the folks in control were anxious to impress these foreigners.   With the ability of special interest groups to finance unlimited campaigns without disclosing the source of the funds is it any wonder that the largest PAC’s are screwing the country the most.

   When we see Democrats championing getting government out of our lives and Republicans voting to increase the deficit to record levels it can be only because of a desire to hang on the power they already have.  Instead of railing against George Soros and the Koch brothers we have to realize we are acting just like them when we send money to politicians we can’t vote for.  We need to learn that talk about the opposition includes many lies, and we should learn to listen from the horse’s mouth rather than the hatemonger’s interpretation  of what the horse said.  The current situation only benefits those on the campaign gravy train.  They are the only ones able to correct the situation.

 Democracy is designed to give the power to the people.  By letting anyone  contribute to any political contest, we allow power to reside with those with the funds and not the voters.   This new method of carpet-bagging can only be stopped with a Constitutional Amendment.  I would suggest:

  Notwithstanding the First Amendment, efforts to influence elections to public office in the United States and its’ subdivisions shall be limited to those who are able to vote in said election.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Proud to be a Deplorable?


I keep wondering what happened to the Party of: family values, free trade & markets, cutting taxes,  and fiscal responsibility?  Why have they turned into a band of people proud to be deplorables?  Could it be that the Democrats have alienated a bunch of old white people that have only known black people  through Amos and Andy as a child?  I know, as an old white man, that I still have many racist sayings in my head that I never equated with racism as a child.  Should one of these slip out inadvertently at any minute, I would be instantly branded as a racist pig.  While ignorance is the root of the problem, our hatefulness amplifies people into believing that they are what we tell them they are.  Can we please start complaining about ideas instead of people?