I webbed the news today, oh boy!
Recent revelations from the UK’s Iraq inquiry seem to confirm what we’ve long suspected, and common sense told us, under Bush II, war with Iraq was inevitable—there was nothing Sadaam could do to satisfy Bush II. So, under dubious pretenses, (it was obvious there were no WMDs lurking), after Sadaam satisfied every single Bush II ultimatum, with no coalition in place like Bush I was able to craft, the US drove our one Arab ally against Al Quaida in the area into a hangman’s noose and loosed the very evil is said it was trying to root out.
Simultaneously, we forgot about the war in Afghanistan where we were actually fighting Al Quaida for a change because some idiot determined that Sadaam was more evil than Bin Ladin. Maybe it was a ratings move…not too many reporters lining up to embed themselves on patrol in Afghanistan whereas even Geraldo volunteered to be embedded in Iraq.
We, as a country, sure treat the rest of the world weirdly. Makes you scratch your head trying to understand things at times. I mean there’s a large segment of us who want to change the rest of the world to be just like us, while at the same time they are trying to deport foreigners who have immigrated to our country so they can be just like us. Am I the only one who sees the disconnect?
Back in the 70s we were told the world would run out of oil within 20 to 30 years. Here we are 40 years later and pumping oil like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve been expecting the Mammoth California Earthquake for most of my life and it hasn’t happened yet. And for the last three years we’ve been told a terrorist attack was bound to happen in the next few months and it’s been pretty quiet on the home front since 9/11. That all of these things are likely to happen, at some point in time, I do not dispute. Are some of them more likely to happen sooner rather than later, quite possibly. But if I’m living in Denver and California falls into the ocean after a 9.0 on the Richter quake, I’m not really going to be all the affected by it. Although I may think about getting some beachfront property in Arizona before it gets too expensive.
I’m glad Who Dat won the Super Bowl. New Orleans deserves it when I think how they must feel seeing the US effort to rescue Haiti dwarf anything that they, the victims of Katrina ever received. Even sadder are new revelations that faulty engineering by the Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for much of the flooding. They began constructing levees in earnest after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. They also did shoddy work. Back in the day the USACE was the bomb performing engineering feats of wonder. It’s one thing when you get screwed by Cousin Vinny the contractor, it’s another entirely when you get screwed by Uncle Sam.
I bet if you asked the average American how they thought cell phone service the United States compared to the rest of the world you’d get back an overwhelming majority of folks saying the US had the best service. (If you didn’t already know, when it comes to cell phone service we aren’t all that much better than most third world countries.) This false sense of entitlement, this unsupported leap of faith that America is the best in everything is not only wrong, it’s dangerous to ourselves. It’s clear to me that Bush I had a well developed sense of reality, while Bush II fell victim to blind faith…and look at the mess we’re in now.
Myself, I lost respect for the government of this country about the same time the government lost its respect for me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a two way street. After 1964, and the nonsense called the Warren Report was the end of respect from me.
It’s truly a sad state of affairs when laws are passed more for their fat content than their value. I’m talking about pork, of course. I suggest the Congress of the United States takes a lesson from sports and makes it against the law for any representative or senator to cast his vote in favor of a bill that provides funding to his or her own state. Maybe then we’ll have laws with merit and substance, rather than nonsense fueled by greed.
Class action lawsuits can be good things under the right circumstances. I see that there’s a class action suit brewing against Toyota because the recent recall for stuck accelerators has lowered the resale value of Toyotas. That’s quite some insidious and odious mind that came up with that concept. Let’s put the common sense rule into play….get over it folks, shit happens. Live with it. You could have bought a Saturn, or any of the other numerous defunct US car brands and then where would you be? How’s their resale value holding up? Even with the hit Toyota’s resale value has taken, they’re still hold one of the top resale values.
I webbed the news today, oh boy. What a sense of deja vu. I've been noticing that a lot of late. A week old story suddenly reappears on today's headlines. Doesn't seem to matter if it's CNN.com or YAHOO.com or MSN.com. There no longer is a read-by date for news apparently.
The nucleus of both the Great Depression of 1929 and Our Depression of 2008 was the financial markets. Stock market shenanigans in '29, sub-prime mortgage abuses in '08.
In both cases, excessive greed by the insiders, the elite, the moguls, the ruling class, whatever you want to call them, was the reason for the economic collapse. Too much rape and pillage of the common man, joe sixpack, the little guy and the system ran out of money.
The big difference is the approach to getting ourselves back on track. In 1929, FDR created "make work" projects, which paid the unemployed for doing work that may not have been necessary. The classic example would be to hire person A to dig a hole, and person B to fill in the hole. Even if that was 100% the case, 100% of the time, I find it better than the 2008 solution of bailing people out by giving them money for having screwed up.
While they both have merit (up to a point) in putting money back in the economy there are two significant differences. One: In 1929 the money went to the little guy, the worker. In 2008 in went to the the bankers, the financiers, the brokers. Two: The message in 1929 was that if you worked, you got paid. This is an enormous part of self-confidence and feelings of self-worth. The 2008 message was that if you were rich and screwed things up, the government would throw money at you. And allow you to take bonuses for having done "such a good job." Not only does it breed resentment within the working class, it breeds an sense of entitlement in a group of people who are failures...as human beings and as corporate executives.
What happened to the American work ethic? Listening to ESPN radio while at work, is not working. If you were my employee, you'd be fired on the spot. There's far too much political correctness and far too little common sense.
Here's the important thing. You need to see this video (trailer below)...it's an amazing collection of facts, opinions, educated guesses, and most importantly, survival tips. Because, my friends, with the clowns that are in charge of things today, we haven't seen anything yet. Our economy is on its absolute last legs. So watch the trailer of The Fall of America and the Western World and decide for yourself...are you willing to bet your future on those who are in charge of our country's financial policies? Because, if you're not, you owe it to you and your family the get this tape. To do nothing is to risk everything.
The seamy side of politics has never been exposed so blatantly as what we've witnessed during the health care debates. It's clear that many of the votes have been bought and paid for by the insurance companies, the existing bill is a travesty that holds little promise for improving health care, and that Ted Kennedy is rolling over in his grave. To even consider fining someone who can't afford health insurance for not having health insurance is government hypocrisy at its worst.
As things stand there are no winners (except the insurance companies)...we are all losers. While I identify with the spirit of the public option, I shudder at government administering health care. What's needed is a realistic look at the problems and non-conventional thinking about solutions.
There are plenty of examples of health care systems that work in this country. Kaiser Permanente is a prime example. Their premiums are cheap, their service is excellent, and out of pocket co-pays are minimal. Most importantly, Kaiser makes money, so it is a sustainable model.
Let's look at how they do things: first and foremost, Kaiser emphasizes preventive medicine...let's fix the problem before it becomes something major. I concur. But I think we can do better.
I've long thought that the role of the Federal government is as follows: each citizen of the United States gets born for free, buried for free, is provided free education and medical (including dental and vision)offerings (or can choose to go to private schools or use personal physicians and pay out of their pocket) and if they are willing to work 40 hours they can earn enough to rent lodging, have money for food, and be able to afford payments on a second hand car.
Anything elective (like private school, abortion, plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry) comes out of the citizen's pocket.
The key is to have rational limits on what is covered under this health plan. Here's what I propose: childbirth, annual physical checkups, flu shots, childhood vaccinations, emergencies (heart attack, broken leg, gunshot wound, etc) dental fillings and crowns are covered with a $50 co-pay. Plastic surgery, cosmetic dental work, abortion, liposuction, and other optional treatments are not covered but can be purchased for additional money.) Doctor visits for routine (non vital) ailments like colds, ingrown toenails, poison ivy would have a nominal doctor visit of around $50. Generic prescriptions are filled for cost plus $5. Brand name prescriptions are filled for cost plus $25.
Lab and testing costs need to be factored in. They need to be reduced to reasonable amounts because in this model, our tax dollars will be paying for these lab tests. There are certainly economies of scale that can be arranged to make this so.
The final key to this business model is the scale in which physicians get paid. Currently, the range in pricing for a doctors visit to doctors with private practices is very wide. Depending on the doctor, a visit can range from $50 to $350 for the same thing. To make the plan work, doctors would receive the $50 co-pay plus a reasonable fee for any additional medical treatment (surgery, etc.)
As much as Obama wants to use health care as a signature event in his administration, this bill is not acceptable.
I webbed the news today, oh boy. It seems the Kennedy dynasty has run its course. The four brothers, all dead in service of their country. The golden sun, also dead at the wheel of his private plane. The shining daughter, who recently disclosed political ambition but withdrew before running is left to carry the torch, or at least hold it aloft until a generation can be skipped and a new prince emerges.
The Kennedy's three, John, Robert and Ted has charisma and social conscience and wished to make America a better place for all who lived here. JFK's brief presidency was defined by standing up to the Soviet Union while not going to war, fighting organized crime and obtaining civil rights reform. Civil rights was passed in honor of his sacrifice.
Robert stood for stopping the war in Vietnam and treating our country's poor with more equality. He too was assassinated. The war in Vietnam ended, but not in his honor and the plight of the poor remains poor.
Teddy was up next...never as charismatic as his older brothers, Teddy ran himself off the road and off the discussion for president one night in Chappaquiddick and settled for becoming the most productive senator over the next forty years. For over the last two decades, Ted Kennedy championed a national health plan to cover everyone. For two decades, the lobbyist won. Will Ted's death be honored with passage of the National Health Reform? Stay tuned....
So far the political battle of health care has been one of the ugliest political brouhahas I've ever seen. The lies and distortions and hate that have been unleashed by the far right and United Health are blatant. As was the position of the Republican party on this issue. Put into plain speak the Republican partly line is "Fuck the health plan, let's roll out our hate mongering political bag of tricks because we can bring Obama down on this issue if we spin it right."
So far, fixed news, the christian right, and some inane senators have done a powerful job of delusional sound bites that have been repeated often enough that America seems to have lost its mind, or at least its common sense and swallowed them whole. From death panels, to no options, to limited service, to immigrants being covered for free, the far rights is pushing buttons with a fury. The lobbyist whose pocket these grand ol' elephants are riding in is throwing money like confetti.
If the National Plan included an option to open up Kaiser Permanente Clinics around the country, the problem would be solved immediately. For those of you who haven't heard about there medical insurance go to kp.org (note, they may not have a clinic there but pick anyone to see plan details). I've been using Kaiser since the early 1960's and have yet to come across a medical program that makes more sense, offers so much, for such a low premium. Those foolish enough to believe the urban myths about Kaiser are losing out...Kaiser doctors are among the best I've ever seen. They are truly focused on making you well.
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