Journal Politics

Healthcare – Designed by me

It’s late at night and I cannot sleep.  I think my insomnia stems from too much reading the news because instead of counting sheep to fall asleep I found myself thinking about healthcare.

With all the chatter lately by people who are not experts in the field and know very little about the complexities involved I started to feel a bit left out and decided to come up with a healthcare plan of my own to join in the fun.

Therefore I present:


It is quite obvious that we cannot agree on a national healthcare plan in this country and I say why should we.  We are different people with different needs and priorities so why should healthcare be one size fits all?

For my healthcare plan you can either be in or out.  If you are out then godspeed and I wish you the best.  If you are in then here is how it will work.

1.  We all pay into a pot in unequal amounts

–  First we develop a complex mathematical model which keeps track of every single member of our plan.  Those that are using the services more than others would at first have to pay more.  Yet, our model would also take into account which members contribute more to society.  We’ll have to come to agreement on what accounts for “contributions” and the value of these contributions but it would be a wide range encompassing  scientists, social workers, valuable service providers (police, trash collectors, fireman – things society needs) teachers and so on.   We’ll work on the amount of weight each service provides later.  We can try by democratic methods but as you know a camel is a horse designed by committee so I retain the title of dictator should we not be able to agree.

The people that provide valuable services to society would get bonus points and even if they used the medical services more than others, the points would lesson their payments a bit due to the valuable service they provide.  Whereas criminals would not necessarily be kicked out of the plan (maybe the guy stole bread to feed his family) but would definitely have points deducted and his premiums would go up.

We take into account the financial health of our fund and if a member needs a serious treatment such as a heart transplant we take this need, determine the impact to the fund and then they would have to pay accordingly.  If they cannot pay then we send a “request” to our healthiest members to chip in for this specific treatment (perhaps also with a profile) which would equal bonus points for them and thus they would have to pay less on a monthly basis for this good deed.  They would also get a gold star by their name and would probably feel good about helping out another human being which is enough reward in itself.  (but in case they are not into the whole karma thing they still get the bonus points)

If we do not receive enough contributions and the treatment is still outrageous then the member would have to pay a hefty amount but could also opt for the “nuclear option.”  The nuclear option is that the plan would pay for the entire expensive treatment but then the member would be out of the plan afterwards.  How many times does a person need these types of treatments anyway?  This sounds harsh but I have this worked out a bit depending on the financial health of the plan (keep reading)

Granted there are still some kinks to be worked out regarding the super expensive treatments but I think this is a good start.

2.  Cost Cutting

– We would have various levels one could go through before they have to visit a hospital or doctor.  With socialized medicine such as in Japan we find that people go to the doctor for simple things such as a cold which costs quite a bit.  We could have low payed college students search Google on sites like WebMD to find basic cures for the simple problems.  Heck, I went to the doctor once and he told me the exact same information that I found on Google afterwards only he charged me $150 and Google cost me $0.

If the problem remains unresolved they go to the next level which would be a midwife.  In many areas where there are no doctors and in many other societies the midwife is still very useful.  Here in the USA we forgot about her.  Granted, many of them may have been practicing pseudo medicine but perhaps we could give them a test or something and as long as they received a B or above then they get to be a midwife in our program.

If the midwife still cannot solve the problem then we will send our member to a real certified doctor.  AND perhaps we could incorporate this into our point scale.  By using our low payed college students who surf the web for cures no points are deducted.  The midwife would be low point usage and the doctor high point usage.

We could also steal a model from the electrical companies in which some users actually provide power onto the grid which pays them money!  In our plan, those which serve as midwives would be given extra bonus points and perhaps even make money off the plan if they never ever get sick but have healed others!  Just think, you could study to be a midwife, get licensed and still keep your day job!

A great advantage of this plan is that you are not “job locked” in that you’ll still get healthcare so long as you pay into the program.  Perhaps we could also take into account that you have no job and lesson the premiums for a certain amount of months.

This may sound quite silly but why should that be?  Currently, we work and our employer negotiates with an insurance company who negotiates with hospitals, doctors and drug companies.  The insurance companies have models which determine the risk of the people in the plan and make billions!  At the moment, the government is taking over healthcare and will do roughly the same thing but I really wouldn’t count on the government to make any profits.  Our plan would also determine risk but is more humane as outlined below.  If we get big enough we could also leverage our size and negotiate the crap out of the hospitals and drug companies.

Perhaps we could also work out a marketing scheme with the drug companies to lessen the financial impact.  Those members that need drugs but are not very smart could walk around with T-shirts promoting the drugs the company sells which would equal a discount on the cost of the drugs for the marketing services provided.  Smarter members could advertise the drugs on the internet and get a pay per click discount off their meds.

The benefit of our plan is that it will be non-profit since healthcare is very important and it is the noble (shall I say chivalrous) thing to do.  If we make billions we just reinvest it into the plan, find out which of our members is best at investing and let him/her make more from the stockmarket.  Then, we could take even better care of our members.

Every member would receive a monthly statement regarding the financial health of our plan.  By understanding where we are at financially one might consider how necessary a treatment might be.  Again, points could be put into this and if someone wanted to get liposuction when we were hurting financially they could technically do so but would get major negative points and a higher premium.  Or conversely, if one really needed a liver transplant when the plan was super healthy and they are not rich then it might not cost any points or money at all!  What I’m trying to get at here is that everyone is responsible for the plan and we’ll use our points and premiums to even things out.

So again, I have absolutely no expertise in the matter but instead of regurgitating the nonsense I hear in the news I just decided to create my own plan.  I’m still working on my plan for world peace so please stay tuned….

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A Letter to my Foreign Friends (Living in Distant Lands) Warning: Politics involved!

Friends, Amigos and Acquaintances,

I hope you are all well and sorry for the delay in getting you updates. It has now been four years since I came back to the States and what a ride. I got a nice job and joined corporate-land where they use the English language in a strange way such as say they “have so much on my plate,” and other metaphors which take me a minute to “digest.” Things are going well but I have to say I’m really envious of you all at the moment because I’m really missing life over there!!

Life in the USA for the most part has been pretty good. Of course San Francisco is a bit different from what I’m used to but I love the diversity and the weather! Also, SF has some killer technology. Yep, no blackouts by censorship or by power failure.
But boy, sometimes I wish there were. You see, everyday I pick up my awesome Iphone and read the news. This is where the problem lies. One would think by reading the “news” that everyone is extremely angry!!!

It’s not that everyone is really pissed off but the media would make us think so. You see, something close to national healthcare was just passed. No, it is not as good as what you have in your countries but is a step in the right direction. Man, I remember being over there and only having to pay the “foreigner price” of about $25 US for a doctors appointment and the prescription. When I got back here a visit to the doctor which gave me the same information I could have found on Google cost me $150 plus medicine. I then got a job and the co-pay was $25 so thank God I found a job and could let the doctor pass that horrible expense on to my employer.

Actually, I do not need to visit the doctor, almost never!! The only problem is the diet in this country makes you really fat and unhealthy so I’m trying to stick to “ethnic” diets. Otherwise I would be about 250 pounds. I only have to go to the doctor if my employer tells me to because I missed too many days of work and need a doctor’s note. This note costs them about $110. LOL suckers!!!!!

But anyway, we almost got something in terms of healthcare close to what you enjoy in your countries but it would seem everyone is really upset about it. Again, it’s not actually that everyone is *actually* upset but the media would make you think so. Here we have something called Fox news which is a bunch of prom queens, ex-quarterbacks and various neanderthals that like to yell and scream and generally get everyone into a tizzy because Obama won the election. Ever since he took office it has been one big complain-fest.
Yea, I know, Obama promised to stop having America fight all these wars that were unfunded and yea, it was in the Bush presidency in which our national deficit killed the surplus that Clinton created but Obama can’t really fix all the destruction Bush caused in just under a year you know. The problem is that everyone expected him to and the Republicans are really hounding him about it.

It’s not like they were born pissed off but Fox News made them that way so you have to cut them some slack. If you focus their attention on sports then they will forget the Fox talking points and start saying “This team or that SUCKS” or something like that. The trick is to divert their rage to sports and it works quite well!!

Unfortunately, they will watch Fox News again which claims to be “Fair and Balanced” but is the exact opposite. You see, in America you can outright lie and it is still ok. For example, the credit card companies will send you applications so you can have a low rate and then jack it up 2000 percent. Stores will tell you, you can “save money” but actually you are spending it. Yea, I know that we had trouble in the open air markets with always trying to bargain but here in the USA it is already built into the price so people think it is ok to pay outrageous prices. Better hope that the businesses in your countries do not get MBA degrees from our universities!!!

Getting back to Fox News they really have convinced a lot of people to be angry all the time. These same people have nice big houses, cars, and even air conditioning!! You would think they would be happy but no, material things do not create happiness. In the state they are in there will always be one more thing to be unhappy about.

It makes me smile when they say things like “America is trending towards socialism.” It is not that they are being creative using nouns as verbs but rather the fact that they don’t even know what Socialism is. They most likely have never been out of their city and most likely do not hold a passport and even if they could identify where France actually is, they would not realize that it is a Socialist country. They like to put down France a lot. Hell, at one point they even tried to change the name of “French Fries” to “Freedom Fries!!!” LMAO!!

They also do not realize that France was a major factor in helping the USA gain independence from Britain (Sorry Brits!) but instead just put down the country because the other boneheads on their Fox news shows do it. They seriously think that some guys in coonskin hats beat the British army all by themselves. LOLZZZ. Can you believe it!!!! You should!!

But what is really scary is the polarization happening politically now. I’ve actually had people wear “No Obama” T-Shirts and try to get me to debate while I was just walking down the street! Further, we have been having some major splits recently not only between Republicans and Democrats but also between major institutions such as the Catholic Church.

Recently, the Nuns finally put their foot down and told the priests what to do with themselves. As we all know the Nuns are actually the ones that “do the heavy lifting” as we say in business-speak. They run the hospitals, teach the students and make things happen. The priests just sit around and tell people to “have faith” and “it’s a mystery” and stuff like that. I wish the Nuns would have the priests write “I’m a stupid old fart,” 1000 times on a blackboard I swear.

But anywho, what I really miss are the great debates we had. Here, people just recite the same boring talking points they heard on Fox “News” which can get quite ridiculous. This one lady Sara Palin said she could see Russia from her house (she could not) and that we should start another war with Iran. AND PEOPLE BELIEVE HER!!! Heck, they even made her a regular news anchor on Fox!!!

It is not all my countrymen who are crazy, just the ones that listen to the prom queens on Fox News mind you. What really concerns me is even respectable people that were carefree and happy have turned into grumps that complain about everyone having affordable healthcare.

Here in the states they keep complaining about debt which is in fact a problem. One that Bush created with two unfunded wars. Actually, he even increased Medicare which is like healthcare but only for the old people. There were no problems when he did that but now that Obama is trying to get everyone under the umbrella you would think it is Armageddon. So basically when Bush tinkered with healthcare everything was dandy but now that Obama does it people are in a rage.

In fact, the Republicans have a long list of awful things they want to accomplish. To sum it up, the Republican view would be:

1. Go to war with Iran
2. Elect a moron like Sarah Palin who can see Russia from her house.
3. Deny others healthcare except for old people which is ok.
4. Create more pollution by drilling for oil so we can drive bigger cars than we already have.
5. Bitch about debt when it was under Bush’s watch that the surplus went away.
6. Argue about Climate change so eventually everyone can breath in the pollution we know is atrocious in certain cities already. Man, even in the Bay Area you can no longer see to the other side very clearly. Instead, you see a hazy brown outline of the mountains on the other side.

And to add to this nonsense they are into calling everyone “A Great American” and keep saying things like “The American People believe
…” and so on. It is almost like the propaganda we were used to except they treat it as REAL NEWS instead of simple propaganda that people can see through. I’m not sure how long it will be until we find a word just as useful as “comrade,” because “You sir, are a great American,” just takes too long to say. Perhaps they could say “Americanissimo,” but that would perhaps sound too Spanish and that is another can of worms I’ll have to address later.

Anyway, I know we had some troubles living in countries other than our own but I swear it is better than everyone being angry all the time like in the USA. Even just driving your car, the road rage that goes on here in the cities would make your head spin.

And oh yea, I read a debate about if John Kerry got a purple heart or not and again, people got really mad. There of course was no debate about the Gulf of Tonkin not being the North Vietnamese fault or about the millions of people killed there. You see, a certain portion of the population only cares about their own, not what they do to other countries. So they showcase personal stories only about US personnel and how they are coping after war. I have yet to see an equal story about the hardships that were inflicted on people living in the target country. It would seem the media really doesn’t care about all the foreigners they killed and if they do they are all just branded “Terrorists,” or a generic term they created called “Collateral Damage.” To be honest, war is entertainment now and even if things go very wrong the population has a very short term memory.

They simply cannot understand that when a simple villager sees a warplane come to drop a bomb on his village and kill his family that what the villager should recognize is that the plane is really dropping 1000 pounds of FREEDOM on the village. Besides, they are just watching it from their comfortable armchair in their living room and believe that all is just dandy. After all, the plane did not drop 1000lbs of Freedom on their neighborhood so why should they care.

And you know, those kids we saw all deformed from the chemicals, well a certain portion of the population has already forgotten about that and even if they did remember it was all in the cause of Freedom anyway so IT’S ALL GOOD in their opinion. All the devastation caused is barely a flicker of a memory except of course for the adventuresome folks such as yourselves that see it firsthand.

Sorry if I’m getting upset but living back here in America is sometimes very hard on me when I watch the news and see all the spin. It’s not that day to day life is hard, or trying to ignore all the sales pitches, or the reality TV shows which teach people to be degenerate, or the state of politics in which some people believe there will even be another CIVIL WAR due to healthcare. I just really miss the incredible debates we had and all the amazing insight. Instead, I am subjected to a nice dose of hate every single day in the news media from spoiled over-privileged folks that believe just because they were born here and afforded a good education believe they are entitled to everything and everything.
So, thanks for listening and I hope to see you guys sooner than later. I really just needed to vent and it’s impossible to do so here unless I meet another person who has spent time abroad and understands how things really are. Don’t worry about the USA, it’s still a great place to visit, especially San Francisco. But if you see someone with a placard around their neck screaming racist remarks and spitting on you please walk in the other direction. They have just watched too much Fox “News.”

Journal Politics

10 Minutes of Insanity – Post gets worse as it goes along.

There is nothing like the “news” in America these days. Actually, most programs which claim to be “news” are really just opinions. Yet, these “opinions” are really just emotional outbursts which center on certain talking points. The talking points revolve around central themes which just happen to orbit two centers of gravity known as political parties.

News used to follow the format where “such and such happened and this is the outcome.” Now, it would seem that on one side it is more “such and such is happening which IS DESTROYING AMERICA.” In the other camp the retort would be “Don’t listen to those knuckle-draggers as most of them probably didn’t graduate High School.” As the media portrays things one side is pissed off 24 hours a day and the other side is elitist and snide.

For me, I’ve spent enough time “out of orbit” and read enough that my opinions might seem like they are coming from deep space or perhaps even another dimension. So without further delay lets get into them.

1. Outrage

– This is the new brand of news media. It doesn’t matter what the topic is you have to be outraged by it. It’s like trashy reality TV but actually about serious issues. The networks know that if they are able to get people fired up, their viewership will increase which will be better for ratings. These ratings translate into advertising dollars so the more outrage the better. Once you get enough viewers one can even start selling GOLD!

The majority of this outrage is usually contained in the manufactured world of the news media. But like nuclear radiation has a fair amount which slips out and infects the population. Therefore, when I’m walking down the street I do not see most Americans yelling and screaming at each other, but like proper city folk you do your best to avoid eye contact, ignore everyone and get to where you are going. However, here in San Francisco, the infected do actually have protest cards around their necks and are asking me to be pissed off about something too.

When we were in Lake Tahoe last week there was a fat, bald, middle-aged white man with an Obama T-shirt on that said “Hopeless.” My wife had just taken a picture of the inside of our hotel and he asked “Do you want to take a picture of my T-Shirt?”

Well, first of all my wife doesn’t give a rats ass about politics in the USA as she is not from here. Second of all, why would my wife want to take a picture of a fat, middle-aged white man who likes to be pissed off and wear T-shirts to make other people mad as well? If we think about it, this fat, middle-aged man could actually be a nice representation of what is happening on a larger scale. He is in a beautiful place like Lake Tahoe, staying at a nice hotel but chooses to be pissed off. People like him who live in a nice place like America, have a bunch of possessions and the highest living standard in the world want to be pissed off too.

The problem here is not so much arguing about who is president and if healthcare will pass or not but rather the fury the media is generating will continue no matter what happens. I could not imagine watching Fox news and not having them be pissed off or something. Imagine if healthcare fails, Obama loses the re-election and the USA installs a nice middle-aged white WASP who drills all the oil out of America and cuts all the taxes. Would it be possible for Fox to stop the outrage? NOOOOOOOO!!!! Their entire model is based on outrage so they will have to find something else to harp on. (And of course the Republicans wouldn’t cut all the taxes)
I could not imagine Beck standing in front of his chalkboard and have nothing to write. Well, perhaps I could and he would write “America is beautiful today.” Then, the show would be boring, viewership would decrease and the man would lose his job. If Beck and O’Reilly cannot find something to go berserk about they would all lose their jobs!!! So, in fact, they are really reliant on the Democrats for their own job security!

Their audience would then turn to other sources and I wonder what the future themes would look like? Let’s take a stab at it.

1. War

– There must be somewhere to make war and a country who is just not enjoying enough Freedom. What they would do here is to find a country without enough freedom but not strong enough to really hurt America. Then, they send all the soldiers over there. The Democrats will cry to bring them back but the Right would say NO, those people need freedom! Then they can make “freedom baskets” or start programs like cell phones for troops and all the SUV moms would have something to do to support the soldiers. The soldiers cannot come home because then there would be nothing for the Soccer moms to do. First you have to put them into a war, make sure they stay there and then make signs to support the troops (but not enough support to actually bring them back, just enough to send them cookies or something.)

2. Set up Democracy and build up the economy

– For the democracy part we divide the natives up into two camps with the goal of getting them to fight each other like the Republicans and Democrats do. Introduce universal health care so they can create media programs which make the rest of the population OUTRAGED! Some countries already have universal healthcare and some have no healthcare at all. We could introduce the American way of some people having healthcare and others have none at all and then it would be perfect because they would then have something to be angry about just like us.

– Then send over our world beating companies to employ everyone while taking jobs away from Americans. Sure, the Americans without jobs would complain but they could just blame it all on the Democrats because they are too weak to put belligerent talk show hosts on the air. So any subsequent problems are just blamed on Democrats,,,,,, or the president,,,,, so long as he is a Democrat.

The profits from these world beating companies are thus transferred back to the country of origin which depletes the wealth of the conquered,,,,er,, I mean country that needed more freedom. But hey, the workers over there make $1 an hour and are employed which looks good. For the American workers out of a job we can just blame it on the Democrats as they are the source of all problems. AND speaking of freedom…..

3. Freedom

– I don’t understand what this is. For as long as I’ve lived in America I cannot remember being free. They first made me go to school for the first 18 years of my LIFE!! We were controlled by tyrannical despots who made us sit in unmovable positions for 8 hours a day. Then we graduated but simply moved to another place called an office where we have to sit for 8 hours a day and are controlled by a tyrannical despot now know as “the boss.” We have to get this paper product called “money” which we then have to give to other people so we can buy land and a house or some form of shelter.

Sooooo, we are stuck in an office only to give our reward (money) to other people so we can not get rained on. The only light at the end of the tunnel is retirement when we saved enough paper products to do what we really want to do but then are 70 years old so have to spend it pretty quick.

Furthermore, there are these things called taxes. No matter where I go it seems like these “taxes” keep appearing and taking my money. I used to enjoy tax day as it meant the government gave me money. Now, the government is taking it which I do not like very much at all. Where I ask, is the freedom from taxes??

To me, this doesn’t sound like freedom at all. Somehow, it looks a lot more like society where one has to abide by innumerable rules and if the game is played right can have more time to do that which one truly enjoys.

So what does true freedom look like? Well, first of all I would have ditched school just as soon as I was able to comprehend what was going on. Then, I wo
uld go out into the countryside and claim some land. This would be a problem though because I think all the land is controlled by someone or other. If I check the city records it is probably owned by xyz corporation. I trace it back and xyz corporation bought it off zyx corporation who bought it off Farmer Jeb. Farmer Jeb was given the land by the Federal Government who bought it off the French. The French took it from the Indians. The Indians took it from other Indians who didn’t have strong enough bows and arrows.

So I ask which land I can have and am surprised to learn that all the land is controlled by some company individual or another. Therefore, I go really far out into the country, perhaps in rural South Dakota only to be surprised that I can have absolutely no land for free. Again, we return to the obtaining of this paper called money so I can buy the land which was bought from the corporation that was bought from farmer Jeb, which was bought by the Federal Government from the French who took it from the Indians who took them from other Indians who took it from the animals. It seems that if I do not play the game I cannot be free.

So, I hightail it to Canada but realize it is too cold up there. So I come back but then get stopped by these people with dogs known as Immigration. They ask to see my documents. I don’t have any documents so they tell me I cannot come in. I tell them I’m exercising my freedom from documents and they throw me into a holding cell. I tell them that in America we are supposed to all be for Freedom but they tell me we can only have freedom if we have documents.
Upon my interrogation I decide to speak only in Japanese. They get angry because they cannot understand Japanese. I try to explain that I’m exorcising my freedom to not speak English but this doesn’t get me very far.

At this point I forsake all my freedoms and speak in the language that will get results which is English. I ignore my freedom from documents and give them all my information so they can keep track of me and give me documents which gets me in the country. I relinquish my freedom of free time and find a job to get money so I can buy some land.

It turns out that the land I bought has very valuable minerals and even oil. I employ people to cut down all the trees, drain all the oil and strip mine for the minerals. People start complaining that I’m destroying the countryside and polluting. I exorcise my right to be free of corruption and pay off my congressman so he wins the election and provides me with permits to continue business. The toxins from the strip mining get into the water and cause everyone cancer. I exorcise my freedom to not care about my fellow human beings but to make everyone feel better start an advertising campaign with a leaf on it saying “It is all our responsibility to care about the environment,,,,, WON’T YOU JOIN US?” I even employ a guy with a nice soft voice who narrates the commercial for me.

Then I’m so rich I decide to take a trip to China to see what is going on over there. I half expect to be thrown into a state hotel and told how I am going to spend my vacation. To my surprise they are doing the exact same things we do in America except there are no Glen Becks or O’Reillys bitching about the government. I ask some students about their freedom and why their government doesn’t want to let them leave the country. I’m very surprised to hear that it is America that won’t give them visas!!!! It reminds me of my own time crossing the border from Canada and all the nonsense about documents. It appears that they require the Chinese to have documents too but most importantly the Visa!!!!

But back in America they are just harping on all the non-freedoms these people don’t have but from their point of view it is America that is hindering their freedom to travel to the USA. Interesting…. very interesting indeed….

At this point I come back to the USA and am determined to make sense of it all and glue my eyeballs to Fox T.V. Unfortunately after about three weeks of non-stop viewing the following just spews out of my mouth and I cannot control it:

SOCIALISTS, boots on the ground , hearts and minds, middle east, Democrats hate America, support the troops in that country over there which I think is located next to France, I like freedom fries, fair and balanced news, PRAY, FREEDOM, don’t take my guns, GOD, Terrorists, death panels, YOU BETCHA, Russia is located next to my house,

Journal Politics

10 Minutes of Ruminations

Again, it has been a long time since my last post. It has not that I haven’t had the desire to write but rather I really didn’t feel any specific topic worth an entire post. Therefore, even if I opened up my blog, other distractions quickly pulled me away. Tonight, the dam has burst as I’ve found a solution to this problem. I’ll simply write a post without lingering on any topic too long. These are things that have run through my mind in the past month and which I really don’t feel like getting in a mire with all the details.

1. Healthcare

– If one listens to the talking heads too long in the media one is bound to go crazy. Thank goodness for American media that they have simplified the debate into two camps. The one camp that really stands out is of course the conservative side. I think this is because they say the most outrageous things which makes the news, Youtube etc. They do better at getting people fired up. On the left, I find myself reaching to think of a few talking heads but when I do, the Daily Show and the Young Turks come to mind but even these shows do not inspire the passion that the conservative side does.

My Opinion:

– Being back in the States I find this all silly. I have been in countries that have no health care. They do what they can but have no social net if they cannot afford treatment. Therefore, what I perceive here in the USA seems like a bunch of spoiled children, half of which wants the government to take care of them and half of them who do not. For the Liberals, they want big brother to take care of everyone which at first glance is a noble intention but we have fiscal troubles at the moment. The conservatives on the other side detest big brother and only want to take care of themselves or people they directly know. Perhaps they can just pray for everyone else and believe that will suffice.

After seeing people in other countries that have absolutely no healthcare, I really do not feel sympathy for either side but if I were forced to choose, I would choose universal healthcare but would make them get their finances in order first.

When I look at the conservative media such as Hannity show, I just see a bunch of old prom queens and ex-high school quarterbacks who drive SUVs drink their Starbucks and could give a rats ass about the poor class. The liberals on the other hand are more elitist and seem a bit snide with their comments.

2. Global Warming

– Another hot button issue. I understand the conservative point about the “cult of globalization.” It seems like a bunch of liberals taking up a cause in order to further their other agendas for what the conservatives believe is completely false.

My Opinion:

– I believe the scientists and from everything I have read points to Global Warming. Yet, their approach can seem a bit shady. However, if strict measures were not taken then how can we stop putting junk in the atmosphere. I have lived in cities where the pollution is atrocious. Even here in the Bay Area we can no longer see across the bay. Only after a severe storm can we see the other side. It would be best to stop putting crap in the atmosphere as this will cause problems in our lungs and one does not really want to breath the crap I have in certain cities. Perhaps the liberals are not going about it the right way but the bottom line is we have to stop polluting. We only have one Earth to live on! I am not on either political side on this one but the first one to come up with a good plan to stop polluting (and is not shady) I will support completely.

If we continue to pollute then I believe it will take a good majority of the population to come down with asthma before most people understand the problem. Unfortunately, by then there will be many other problems to contend with such as drought, rising oceans etc. On the conservative side, they can continue to deny it as we won’t feel the full brunt of the problem for another 40 years or so and by then the people who deny the problem will most likely be dead so they can say anything they believe now and not have to worry about the consequences.
I detest the fact that they see some snow and then use it to say there is no Global Warming. Even if it didn’t turn out to be as severe as scientist predict, it would do well to stop putting crap in the atmosphere.

3. Most passionate = Most uninformed

– I have never read so much as I do now. With the birth of the Iphone and all the free media I find myself reading anything and everything on a daily basis. It has almost become an obsession. Yet, I often ask myself “Am I learning anything or is it all just noise?” I believe the majority of the media is just noise which really doesn’t teach me anything. I find that I have a better perspective on the world through my travels and reading books from the past. When I read something that was written by someone in the 1800s or even earlier, I find I have a better understanding on what is actually happening today. The cliché is that “If we forget the past we are condemned to repeat it.” Well, from what I read in todays media, it would seem we have a very short term memory.

Those that do not read, have not traveled have a very small scope of understanding. By relying on the talking heads of today we are severely limiting ourselves in our understanding and simply taking up “talking points” by which to debate the issues. I’m afraid it is quite un-useful to have debates with most people back here in America as the majority simply repeat talking points that are used in the media. Those that have the most passion are most often the most uninformed and ignorant. I miss my discussions with top ambassadors and people of note that I had access to in Vietnam. Only on occasion do top news outlets such as the New York Times come out with a really good article that fosters great debate. Recently, the debate has been shit. If people really took the time to understand the issues of the day then there would be more people in the gray area than on the extremes which has happened now.

4. Facebook

– On a lighter note, I’m very delighted about the fact that I have been able to re-connect with just about everyone I have ever met. It is not so much that I am intimately reconnecting with everyone but rather am able to see their pictures and get a sense of how their life is progressing.

Some, prefer to keep their friends list pretty tight in that they only keep the friends with whom they interact with the most. For me, I prefer to keep connected, even if only lightly, with everyone I have ever met. Perhaps the reason is that I have lived in so many different places and am not bound to conform to any certain thinking or group. I also live in a place where I perhaps will never see the majority of people on my friends list ever again. Therefore, they are just a figment of my memory and only “become real” should I have the chance to meet them in person again.

This seems like a hard point to explain but perhaps the best way to do so is that most of them are just pictures and updates on a computer. I don’t have to worry about someone not agreeing with me on a certain point or keeping with the social norms. As Mr. Smith put it in the movie “The Matrix,” I’ve “become unplugged, out of the network” if you will. Therefore, I have the freedom to write things such as this because I have no fear of unpleasantness or disagreement with my social network. People who want to agree or disagree remain simply updates and pictures on a computer.

5. Rush Limbaugh

– For amusement, I find myself listening to Rush Limbaugh quite often in the mornings. I find that at first it got my blood boiling but now just seems like a comedy show. This man is full of hate speech for three hours every day. Yet, to my surprise, I did agree with him on one issue this past week. He was speaking about Toyota and the witch hunt going on between the government and Toyota. He m
ade a point that it seems very odd that the Government is seeking answers from a private company and threating to punish them. Why, should the government be involved in this? In the public sector, as Toyota has caused problems their sales will suffer. That is the way of the market economy. Why is it that the Government needs to get involved?

My Opinion:

– Government, stay out of it. Toyota will pay the price for their failings and don’t need any trouble from you. Less government is better in this issue and by taking a private company to task, you are raising the fear which the conservatives have been most harping about. If you want to do something, just pass healthcare and leave everyone else alone.

In any case, that is my two cents for the week. Had to get it off my chest.


Journal Politics

News of the week – Healthcare, Joe Wilson and 9/11

As usual, I woke up this morning, grabbed my Iphone and read through the WSJ, New York Times and Google News reader. And frankly I have a lot of questions on issues that either the right or left seem to be so sure on. What I need is a kind of referee that would penalize half-truths, exaggerations and be unbiased to the point of being boring. So many thoughts popped into my head that I had to write about them.

I do not get my news from Fox, CNN, conservative radio, nor any blatantly “liberal” outlets that I know of. Google aggregates everything and I suppose the NYT or WSJ might be a little left? The Economist is even a little left on social issues but it’s no where near the bias from the conservative outlets. I actually do listen to Rush from time to time just to get my circulation going but this isn’t about how biased the news outlets are.

Where I am going is that I make my decisions from a variety of sources and it would seem to me, through my own lens the following:

1. Healthcare
– I don’t believe that either side willingly wants to deny people without healthcare (46.6 million) even though it would sometimes seem that way. On one side it appears the Democrats cannot reassure people that the system would not go broke while on the far right people do not care about the uninsured. Just calling them uninsured seems a little crass, let’s call them “other human beings.”

People are saying they don’t want “socialism” or that we would “be like Canada!” I highly doubt these people actually know what socialism is or have even been to Canada. It would do well to use a better argument and for the former argument one could reply by asking “What is Socialism?” I know the response will be unsatisfactory to say the least.
After reading today’s news it seems that there are two sticking points which are “the Public Option,” and “Illegal Immigrants.”

Concerning the public option people are afraid the government would have too much control and private insurers would go bust. This is a fair argument. However, something must be done as costs in this country are entirely too high and the drug and insurance companies make billions. People are going to the emergency rooms anyway so there has to be a fix one way or another. Why is it we are required to have auto insurance but not health insurance? Seems a little fishy and like unfair politics due to large corporation influence to me.

Morally, everyone should have healthcare and those that can, should help out others in need. This is a very important tenant in the Bible (and central to most religions) and it amazes me that those who are against universal healthcare seem to ignore. It would seem that the logic is to help as long as I’m not the one that has to do it. Or rather, helping others is a wonderful idea and we fully support it until someone (that someone being the government) asks us to. Or perhaps, I’ll help when I want (which is usually never), just don’t force me to do it.

I personally do not like being forced by the government on anything so I really do understand the point here. But at the same time it is disappointing that the “religious right” doesn’t seem to give a rats about the down and out either. I guess I just do not like being stuck in the position where I have to choose to either give more power to the government or look the other way on human beings in need. If I have to choose it would be to trust the government (never good) and should they do not do a stellar job (unlikely) switch parties promptly.

From everything I’ve read however, I just cannot subscribe to the policy of “no” when so many people need assistance and would rather have less money due to helping others out even if the manager of it (government) is a bumbling fool. Until the right can come up with a plan where everyone is insured (which they haven’t) I’m definitely on the left on this issue.

The second issue is if the public option would cover illegal immigrants. The right does have a point in that we as a nation do not want to cover anyone who may come here seeking health care which is understandable. The policy could not be sustained.

However, it still leaves me feeling a little uneasy and selfish. There are millions of Mexicans here working “jobs Americans do not want to do” which were fueling our economy and making it so Americans could pay others less, get richer and not give a crap for the welfare of these workers. When times get tough, those that came to work are left high and dry. This seems reprehensible to me.

When we look at the big picture it would seem that they are here only so long as Americans get rich off of their labor and the economy is going well but should we have to pay back America becomes irate. Again, this does not sit well with me. I’ve heard the phrase that people who come here should want to be American which is false. Many people the world over prefer to live elsewhere while retaining their own nationality. There is nothing wrong with this. The mentality here seems to be that everyone in the world should want to be American and Americans cannot understand if someone would like to work here but not take on nationality!! Would logic not follow, that if we wanted to go live in China they we should want to be Chinese? That makes no sense to the American mind, it only works the other way.

Further, one aspect the right has not thought of is that they should NOT want more checks by the government! To solve this situation, we should all be issued governmental identity cards which state our nationality, driving status, if we’ve payed our taxes or not, and for good measure, let’s throw in our health status and any genetic defects as well. This would solve all the issues in one big sweep! Illegals would not be covered, the insurance companies could choose weather or not to insure us because we might be defective, and to be sure we are playing fair, our taxes to see how much we should get out of the system by how much we have put in!

But, of course we don’t want that. I enjoy finding loopholes internationally which allow me to work, skip some rules and so on. Less control is better people, be careful what you wish for!

2. Joe Wilson

It is absolutely ok to disagree with the president but NOT like he has done in a formal setting. Do not disrespect any president from either side in that manner. If that was allowed to slide then those formal meetings would turn into a circus and shame us all. Might as well give the audience rotten tomatoes and other vegetables to throw.

I think both sides agree he made a big mistake. He has apologized and the government should decide whether or not to give him a formal censure or drop it. The Dems in asking for another apology after he has already are incorrect. Personally, I’m on the side of a formal punishment then letting the matter drop. Just decide one way or another and move along.

3. 9/11

We marked the 9/11 anniversary last week which was one of the worst days in the history of the United States. The news was filled with ceremonies of remembrance and patriotism. It leaves me asking the question however, what in the world would make any human being do such a thing and wish the media would spend more time on this.

It is true that any superpower in looking after their own interests are going to make plenty of people angry around the world. This is what superpowers do. This also opens up America to attack which it should guard itself against. However, what precipitated this attack in the first place?

This issue is so sensitive, I really do not want to touch it with a ten foot pole. But I think it would do well for the American people to become more informed about what their country does around the world and to have more debate about it.

It seems on the far right that America is just in their foreign policy 100% of the time. For anyone who has spent any time abroad they will quickly r
ealize that is not the case. People should not be left in the dark about this. To say anything against American foreign policy would be met with a serious barrage of hate. (on both sides) It’s almost like living in a communist country in that we cannot discuss such things except it’s the people discouraging dissent instead of the government. The issue that is forbidden, is how could have America made people angry enough to get on a plane and kill so many innocent people. The easy answer is they are crazy terrorists and that could very well be true. I want more information though in how they became so “fundamentalist” and why they direct their anger at us. There are plenty of other targets to attack, why did they choose America and why the World Trade Centers? Further, “they do not like our freedoms” is not a good enough answer. The real answers are not suitable for public debate really and the best answers I’ve heard came from government officials from both the USA and various other countries when I lived in Vietnam in informal settings. For real insight, you should have a talk with those guys, it will knock your socks off.

As for security, the intelligence community has done a stellar job in stopping further attacks. There has been some debate between Cheney and the government on if America is more secure or not. If I was in the intelligence community, I would want everyone to be required to take a security clearance (Americans and foreigners) which determines your psychological profile and will issue a clear pass or not. Foreigners would all have to wear ankle bracelets and log exactly where they are going and what they will be doing with more enforcement for those of certain countries than others.

Of course this is ridiculous but just shows the balance needed to keep America 100% safe or not. How much control do you want the government to have? It does not make sense for the right to encourage more surveillance but less government control? Or perhaps it is only more government control is allowable when the president is Republican? I prefer less control, more safety and I don’t care which side makes it happen.

Final thoughts

When living abroad there were certain issues it was better not to mention and sweep under the rug. Returning to America I’ve found there are certain issues it is better not to mention and sweep under the rug.

For real answers, do not watch or listen to the media. Make friends with consular officials and chat with them in an informal setting. Real answers come out but one must speak with 3 or 4 of them preferably from countries that are not seeing eye to eye and a clearer picture becomes available. The level of debate being played out in the media is appalling.


One final question remains however after my “official post” however.
What exactly hit the Pentagon?

I came back to America well after these attacks and although I saw the planes hit the World Trade Center there hasn’t been even one picture or video showing a plane, wreckage or anything at the Pentagon site.

I don’t believe one way or another at the moment but in some countries I have lived in/visited there is an official story which everyone knows is not correct but you just go along with it because that is how things are.

If I look up this question on Google, all I see are the conspiracy theory pages. Does anyone have any links to pages that show otherwise?

My feeling is that something hit the Pentagon, the Government tells us it’s a plane, there are no pictures or video showing a plane, but the country accepts the story and moves on. All the documentaries and websites could be classified as crazy conspiracy theorists, but the question remains?