Thursday, May 21

Is Credit Bad For Your Health?

Two more things today, handled only briefly. The first will be health care in terms of what the Democrats should do to combat the barrage of flaming arrows unsheathed upon this very important campaign promise/legislative juggernaut. The second will be a brief strategy to combat supposed Credit card company fees and penalties to you, brave consumer.

This is the way to come at socialized medicine.

It'll be expensive, but the whole point of pooling resources is so that no one as a United States citizen should ever have to suspend their life and liberty because of the costs they incur just trying to be healthy. That's the nexus. Cancer and Alzheimer's are the kinds of infirmity that take happy retiree out of his home and dump him out the the street. It is a desperate condition, but handling these seriously debilitating diseases will be good for all of us and virtually impossible to vote against. Still, until the streams of revenue can be located, the scope should not only be legislated as limited in scope but also temporary. The implementation of further Heathcare rights will be continued on the basis of concurrent success.

The next part of the health care argument is more callous. We already spend upwards of $2 trillion credit (the opposite of cash money) on Medicare and Medicaid, a number that will only increase for the next 15-25 years as more of those entering their golden years are living longer. Not to mention that in about 35 years, all of us, their kids, will be those golden year patients. I don't know what I will be like when I am that age. Right now I can hardly think about wanting to continue on living if my faculties were significantly diminished. I cannot really understand wanting my spouse to prolong life if she were sick or not present. I do not believe there is value in life inherent to it living and breathing. I believe there is no value in life unless you actively can procure it for more than just yourself. I have not yet hit 30, however, so my mind might change. I'm still as cocksure and manipulative as I've ever been, so I do not expect my views to living will change a great deal. It's funny the things that DON'T change.

The cost of health care will surely not be going down from the sheer number of patients. When insurance companies and hospitals were given the free reigns of the corporate bull, they decided to save or trample patients based on how their outlook for the fiscal year. They lost their ability to go unregulated. Instead of providing good care, they provided more care. They award hospitals that make the extra tests and keep a good stable of lawyers to keep their lawsuits from catching wind. Often, they award patients with connections to medical boards through the labyrinth of personal wealth and big business instead of providing care on any kind of moral basis. First do no harm? Since when did that include Above all, Do nothing that costs too much.

No one is saying that universal health care will be all or nothing. Obama is not trying to get new legislation whizzed through Congress so that the junkie homeless person can go into the Emergency room if it's too cold outside. He is not trying pass laws into motion that will allow pregnant teens to get medical attention unabashed. They are aware of frequent flyers and have a plank in there about monitoring repetitive patients. Personally, I am with the idea of American justice where you can make practically any mistake there is if you're willing to pay for it. They might sway a few Republican Congress members over to their side if they introduced certain plank that incurred extra charges to the guaranteed significant Americans that used a free health care system to the point of abuse. The single payer system is good even if that means we all pay a fee that is a percentage of our monthly wage. That is, the single payer that we all put money into will be part of but in addition to the Medicare deductions each paycheck. No, that is not disincentive to earn more. It just means that you are paying the same amount everyone else is for your health, some people just have more or less money than you do.

This is also separate from Federal funding that is being put into the very good idea of electronic records. You may always know what's going on with your health, but if doctors can access real time empirical data on how patients with certain illnesses are being treated and how they are getting better, well that is good for patient and doctor.

Whatever happens, universal healthcare is sure to keep legislators busy for decades.

It is also incredibly smart for the President to make this Congress' bill. I think it is very likely that a foundation-laying bill will be hammered out by the end of the summer, and that most likely, we will see Obama signing a Health Care Rights bill by the end of November. Of course it's going to toss back and forth between House and Senate a couple times, but bi-partisan should mean more than 1 Senator and 3 Reps from the other side. The biggest problem will be reconciling a private health insurance option with the simultaneous payments into Medicare and whatever trust is set up for pay for the Health Care Rights provisions. The superficial answer is that while you will have the option to purchase personal health care, the incentive to do so will be similar to those of Canadian citizens. They purchase health care if they want to have access to highly desirable doctors and facilities. Or if they happen to be traveling in a country without universal health care. Most likely patients paying for premium care will be able to pay both--- and get good use from both. It will be interesting to see what 'networks' arise in response to "private health insurance" allocations in a new bill.


The second thing is the credit card bill of rights. There are things the President can and cannot do. Barack Obama could sign the bill into law. He couldn't tell credit card companies to chill the fuck out with all the credit cards they issue. He cannot tell them not to charge you once they try to make up black they're losing. Listen up, people. The credit card companies stocks are going to go down. The drops will come really quickly in about 2 months, most likely because credit card companies find it inconceivable that they've been operating above their means. The country needs to have a booming industry, but a lot of the troubles that happened in this country came from rampant spending that isn't getting paid back. If the average credit card debt is $10K credit (the opposite of cash money), multiply that time 150 million people. THAT'S 1.5 TRILLION dollars. It's a wonder and an act of blind faith that those companies are not dirt nap cheap.

As consumers, pay off your credit cards. Use debits for dinners and vacations and such. If you want to make your credit score better, use the 12 month no interest for store credit cards that will undoubtedly pervade the consumer market and pay those off within that year. Get new ones from a new store. The number you have is less important than the amount you owe on them altogether. Use notebooks or some app like Quickbooks to track your spending and payments month to month. I prefer notebooks because I just don't trust that information to the Cloud.

Here's the thing. Start paying down your credit cards now. As soon and as often as you get fees or rate increases you believe are unfair to you, the good credit card holder, let them know that you will not be continuing with their company as soon as the bill is paid. Find out who the person's on the phone boss is and short letter to them telling them that they should really consider how to deal with their parent companies' irresponsible, bubble growth. They will listen. They have to now.

Monday, May 18

Default Lending

Just a few things. The real news is jam-packed with frivolity. Whose fault is this? When did the biggest sin currently affecting public policy arise? No, I wouldn't call it the exchange of money for the passage of legislation. Though in that realm of usury and 3rd Circle sins, accepting money directly is sufficiently more corrupt than accepting campaign contributions. Ted Stevens is still a harsh, egomaniac not made for this world so don't let him back in if he tries it. State prosecutors just fumbled the ball on that one. He is guilty. He even got caught. He just didn't have to pay for it. This time.

We cannot do as much to fix politicians at the moment. What we can do is try to whip or waterboard journalistic mediums back into shape. Hell, they have the easiest job in the world. Newspapers and policy magazines still do an admirable job. The former does a good job of providing context and supporting evidence for the brief slant we get from officials. The magazines are built on the edifice of a particular agenda, but they are fair in their imbalance. They provide the critical reader with enough material that we can see the wires and the cutouts. They present manuals for demystifying the magic tricks and obfuscation coming from the many hundreds of magicians both foreign and domestic. You just have to match the manuals up with what the other ones are writing.

Let's try to knock out two things here. Nancy Pelosi and Abortion.

1: Nancy Pelosi knew of torture. The Executive is obligated to inform the Joint chiefs and Congress of war operations, usually the Speaker of the House and specific committee Senators. She was not the only one who knew. If the question is what we should do about it, well then I say lock her up along with Bush and Cheney. If you're shocked that the Democrats were, to say it politely, shrinking violets when it came to standing up to this administration since 9/11, you've not been paying attention. The Democrats were right to support the President. Bush's administration was wrong to take that good will and deceive its citizens while acting like a steroid stepfather over in the Middle East. She knew, but if the Republicans are trying to hammer her on this apparent hypocrisy, they need to punish themselves for being the main offenders. Lock em up! Bulk up the Alexandria Federal Detention Center, put the government officials in one wing, the Gitmo detainees in another, make it a tourist attraction, and show how alive equality and justice are here in America. If Republicans are truly outraged at Pelosi's actions after she found out what was going on, well they should reexamine what they think about Colin Powell. If they are still insistent that she should have blown the whistle on CNN, they should read the US Code 47,606 as pertaining to Powers of War sections b, c, and h.

2: Abortion is repellent. I've seen the videos and read the pamphlets. I know how hard it is to have such a decision touch you. It's brutally painful, not something I'd like to ever have to repeat. I wasn't involved in the decision. It was made without my knowledge and I only found out almost a year later. It crushed me and has nearly ruined me so far as intimacy goes. I do not wish that pain on anyone. I recoil when I hear that the right to abortion is only the woman's decision, I have never considered the choice of terminating a pregnancy an area of State or Federal governance. Whether you would like to save the babies or not, you cannot use your religion as justification. If so, you are as guilty as Pelosi when is comes to knowing about the suffering, greed, and murder that occurs on this Earth with so little as a Bible college or tubes of toothpaste sent their way. God, if he exists, is not going to punish you for voting for a man who supports a woman's choice while letting you off the hook for the 50 other injustices you daily come in contact with your casual dismissal. While I do not desire a nanny state, I do think that a social more can be implemented without a religious case being made, and a limitation of 1 abortion be allowed per woman per lifetime. Having shared the burden of an abortion, essentially without notice, I also would prefer criminal fines for mothers and fathers who try to stave off the responsibility of making this serious judgment.

Oh yeah, and teach kids that while Abstinence is best, condoms are relatively effective. Also tell them that sex is an awkward and ridiculous thing, and there are a lot other things they need to get good at before that will make the getting of sex much easier down the road. Perhaps here school can also teach something about marital ethics during their sexual education class. You can get AIDS or something else awful from just one unprotected coitus. It is abominable to lie to teens about the ineffectiveness of condoms. Talk to your kids. Don't always be their friend. They need guidance. Sometimes they need a villain. You are that parent.

Tuesday, May 12

Torture Or What We Really Need To Worry About

Amidst the looming and interweaving topics clouding American judgment on what we really should be dealing with, let's dispose of the torture situation.

We cannot rule torture completely out in all situations.

We cannot make it standard operating procedure. If torture is going to be used, a clear line of responsibility should be drawn. Bush did know and approve of torture. It was 'legalized' by a series of letters by military lawyers, Rumsfeld, and Rice. Bradbury and Bybee are the patsies so everyone higher could keep their names out of the fire. This is the greatest political legacy Bush left, the Domino Demagoguery. Every ill the Bush Administration faces is simply the work of some dynamic undersecretary or demi-God official that got all of Bushie's good intention turned around. We remind you not out of spite, but because we should all be aware when governments at the state and locals levels echo this strategery.

We cannot torture out of emotion and without just cause. The biggest problem with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay torture techniques was that it was done not only by CIA officials but also by untrained US soldiers, and privately funded, independent security forces. This loose approach to the collection of information lead to lots of bad intel. We stormed into innocent homes and friendly villages, bombed country sides and empty bunkers because our detainees wanted the torture to stop.

We are fighting a war without borders, without generals, and without a long term objective. It is a fallacy to believe "We are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." That is true only to the extent that our deployed soldiers and overseas citizens provide closer targets. What the US needs most is the spread of our most basic conviction: That America is good. Not every citizen is brave enough or equipped to play ambassador in the Middle East. So we should be damn grateful to soldiers that both learn the significance of Muslim and Arab; but also teach, by example, the valor and honor of being American. Indeed, they must be better than a large number of us. Counter-insurgency implemented by Gen. Petraeus will prove to be ineffective in the short term but possibly the solution to permanently shifting developed Islamic countries over to the side of religious tolerance and vigorous trade. Iraq will no doubt erupt once US forces leave. It will be short-lived however, as the majority of Iraqis want to return some semblance of regular life. Seeds have been planted, and they see the next obstacle as standing shoulder to should with nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Gen Petraeus' problem is now recruiting soldiers who can jive with the mixed-in, ambassadorial, counter-insurgency strategy that puts US soldiers in direct contact with local populations in order to shift their allegiances from Taliban to us, the Peacekeepers.

Now, What We Should Really Be Worrying About. The Threatdown for Obama's Administration and the forseeable future.

1. Right-wing Agit-prop
2. Iranian Nuclear Weapons
3. The Budget and Banking Pitfalls
4. Left-wing Agit-prop
5. Russian Military politicking
6. Taliban operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
7. UK Conservative party and Chinese financiers sabotage
8. Unstable countries such as Pakistan and Somalia

Sunday, May 10

Here in my car, I feel safest of all

I was watching C-SPAN this morning. I like to tune in at least a few hours every week, and almost every morning after something goes down.

Mona Charen was a guest on Today from Washington. I hear makes a lot of appearances for parenting and motherhood, so I hate to dis her on this of all days. She's an empty head. She represents herself as a syndicated columnist for the National Review. That's not exactly true, even less so if you listen to her. If it was true, her job would be to present rigorous debate in the forum of political punditry. She didn't deserve the blanket attack against Jews from a fellow Republican call-in, but she's nearly as vile in her dismissals of Democratic and Obama actions of the past 110 days. Basically, she is boring. Check her out and vilify her on her sites and to the editors of papers she's syndicated to if the feeling strikes you. I'm sure it will. And she just does not justify our aggravation.

Now what I really want to talk about.

Stress tests seem to be an exercise of Government control over financiers. Banks are mandated to reduce costs by these stress tests. Essentially, they are told they must generate liquid assets in about a month. This should allow Geithner's team to understand how banks have previously hidden bad assets, and simultaneously help the banks to reduce operating costs.

I can understand how there appears a disconnect between my previous post and this one. Banks are local and must survive. The Difference is that auto companies can try to survive no matter what country they are in. They've informed the Treasury they will not survive unless they cut their costs, cutting jobs, and manufacture offshore. However, factory towns are decimated in the process. Here is a point where I disagree with Geithner's plan. Do we really need auto companies to survive? Banks are integral to the fabric of even neighborhoods, but wouldn't we just buy a better car if American companies could no longer produce them?

Bailing out banks helps wealthy financiers as well as middle income mortgage payers and lowest bracket survivors. Bailing out auto companies when they are doing little to nothing to protect American infrastructure, consumers, or their employees makes little if any sense. SO should the taxpayer save them?

I will continue to investigate this further, but my gut feeling is 'No.' This is meant to appease voters in Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois who thought Obama was going to swoop in and save their jobs. Unfortunately, auto companies are worried primarily about their bottom lines. Their profits should not be a government concern.

To hammer this home, I stated in my last post that Socialism has some very pertinent and useful applications in the automarket. Innovate! should be the bumper sticker that carries this point across. If American car companies don't want to share its breakthroughs (and we cannot really afford to as yet) with foreign companies, we should develop a new engine or fuel delivery or core technology that is patented on these shores, uniquely American, and marketable to the globe. This is a place where Big Government can do the job that much power is warranted for. They should mandate that these American car companies monthly or quarterly think tank their ideas until they revolutionize the personal vehicle. Treasury, Commerce, Ways and Means, Republicans and Democrats together should be force the R&D of American auto industry to meet and share this information with each other until someone breaks the riddle and gives us something both economically and practically solvent.

Maybe then we can stop with Green energy lip service and tackle the Power Grid next.

And don't forget the assuredly fatal problems of Social Security and Medicare if nothing drastically wise gets done.

Now a gay woman killing the Liberty Tree of America.
Naw, just kidding, It's Wanda Sykes being funny at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

Happy Mother's Day.