Archive for the ‘barack obama’ Category

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Some Thoughts About Healthcare

September 6, 2009

A quick piece I wrote sometime last year, or so–all the more relevant right now.

I’m a fiscally conservative liberal. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but I promise you, it isn’t. I’m certainly not a libertarian, and I do not propose that I fall anywhere in your neat little political spectrum graph you have embedded in your head. I believe in providing some basic necessities of life, such as healthcare, retirement security, and social safety nets through grouping our resources as a community. I believe that we can do so in a cost saving manner, while ensuring a quality of life that is greater than current conditions.

That is how I view the function of government. I see it as our collective ability to help each other, and ourselves, through working in concert on the most basic of needs. We needn’t create massive bureaucracies to do so, nor do we need to give up our individual rights. No one wishes to have a government that is oppressive, or one that takes too much, and provides too little. These are the ingredients to doing the opposite of the what was intended.

The free market is fine and dandy for many, many things. It has proven effective at controlling costs up to a point, and provided us with ingenuity and inventiveness unseen for the vast majority of human history. It seeks to fill needs not yet provided, and punish those who would attempt to become robber barons. But it doesn’t always work. We know this. It isn’t that it needs to be done away with, or massively overhauled, it doesn’t. It just needs common sense measures to ensure it’s proper functioning.

The best example of the free market’s imperfection can be found in the mills and factories of the early twentieth century. Men, women, and children forced to labor in squalid conditions, and made to live as slaves within a framework of freedom. As a people, we rejected this, and rightly so. We put in place regulations and guidelines to correct the abuse of a few on the many, and the system was saved from catastrophe.

We have these dilemmas on a smaller scale each generation. Today, we have a few that need to be addressed. The free market has attempted to provide inexpensive healthcare while regulations have been put in place to help those that the corporate structure cannot, or will not help. These regulations are seen to have have worked against the goal of providing healthcare at a less expensive rate, making insurance and related costs skyrocket. Whether this is necessarily true is debatable, but I think there maybe some truth to the argument.

How are we to both provide inexpensive healthcare and also ensure the health of the population at large? We cannot sit idly by as millions of us suffer cruel fates because of the free market, just as we cannot let our desire to help collapse our ability to provide these services. We must choose a direction, either one that is less regulated, but may abuse those it provides services to, or one that is given to all of us, and is thus protected from such inequities. Either way, there is no doubt that lawsuits must be limited, and bad providers of services found and kept from hurting people. I don’t think anybody will disagree with that last point.

The best example on the world stage may very well come from a stereotyped people. The French. Sure, the French are the symbol of everything bad to the conservatives, yet there healthcare system may be the very best example of a market driven universal healthcare. A decent jumping off point for future discussions on the ability to help all without hurting everyone in the process.

The Frech system is not perfect, of course, but it does provide a wonderful array of services for almost half of what individual expenditures are here in the United States. The per capita cost in France is about $3500, while in the US it’s closing in on $7000. The french get to see their own doctor, and are reimbursed buy the government for a vast number of services. The individual can chose to get further private insurance for procedures that don’t fall into a basic medical needs category, and thus the extra costs of abuse of the system is avoided.

The system doesn’t have the long waits and poor service that conservatives put forward as arguments against universal coverage, and it’s bureaucracy is limited by the use of electronic filing and streamlined electronic transfers of funds. They limit the costs, and maintain a system that was rated number one in the world by the World Health Association in 2001. Half the cost, and everyone is provided for.

Businesses still provide their employees with extra insurance, as benefits, and a way to attract the best workers. Some self employed even completely forgo the system and provide themsleves with their own full coverage insurances. It’s a flexible system that does a number of exceptional things, while maintaining exceptional savings.

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I’ll be back sometime within a few days with updates

November 12, 2008

Sorry if it looks as though the blog has been abandoned, it isn’t. Just basking in a great victory for progress in America, and I’ll be back once my batteries are recharged for some new righteous indignation!

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WoooooooHooooo! President-Elect, Barack Obama.

November 4, 2008

What a wonderful day for change, but foremost in my mind is the return of the United States from being an international joke.

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First Election Results In!

November 4, 2008

Obama wins both Hart’s Location, and Dixville Notch (in my wonderful New Hampshire). The ballot tally in Hart’s Location was 17-10 for Senator Obama. Dixville Notch gave Senator Obama a greater victory, 15-6!

The tally now stands at 32-16

John McCain is not expected to overcome this 16 vote deficit.

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Palin Claims US is at War With Iraq AND Iran

November 2, 2008

She is now officially the dumbest politician on the national stage.

It’s dangerous for her to be anywhere close to any public office in the US. Mayor is too much for an idiot of this magnitude.

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The Undeniable Idiocy of Palin

October 31, 2008

Sarah Palin sometime just before, and just after saying something completely asinine

Celebrities are notorious for saying some of the most outrageously asinine things that can be imagined. Tom Cruise, the master of glibness, has a streak of about 20 years of this, as does Jon Voight. These aren’t sane men, at least not if their silly comments are a peek into their actual worldview, and not just moments of confusion in front of the cameras. It doesn’t matter what their political views are, bat-shit insane extends throughout the whole spectrum. We expect this from them, and the other people famous for memorizing lines of dialogue, but Sarah Palin? She has a special place in the bat-shit insane category–a place reserved for those that should know better, but are just far too dumb to understand.

Politicians seeking the highest offices of the nation are supposed to be intelligent. They need to have the wherewithal to analyze and solve problems of such magnitude that history is affected by their decisions. A sound base of understanding and capability to piece together the various doctrines set forth by the forefathers and the preceding great administrators of our democracy is absolutely mandatory to make such decisions. One of the most basic of these doctrines is the Bill of Rights.

We should be able to expect that someone put forth as a major party candidate has a firm understanding of the Bill of Rights. It’s only twenty seven amendments that need to be understood, and one of those was repealed, simplifying the task. With sixteen years in politics, no matter the level she was serving at, one could reasonably expect Sarah Palin to have a firm grasp of these simple concepts. However, she has fallen far short of reasonable expectation, and her latest insight into the Bill of Rights leaves us no doubt as to the level of idiocy she has attained.

For those that have refused to read, or even take a quick gander at the Bill of Rights, here’s the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There’s six main points within the this amendment, so let’s just take “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”

Sarah Palin, in all of her glory, stated today:

If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.

How monumentally idiotic is this statement? Not all of the marble quarries, in all of the countries on earth, could possibly provide the material to celebrate this idiocy with a monument fittingly large enough. It’s that convoluted, that moronic, and that far off from what the First Amendment deals with. We expect more from a major party nominee for Vice President.

Let’s just deal with her First Amendment right to free speech, for the time being. She has the right to say a lot of things–there is no denying this–and she’s speaking very, very freely. Some could argue that she’s even riding a fine line between free speech, and speech that is slanderous (per se). I won’t go into that here, as slander is tort law, and we’re just dealing with the First Amendment in a more pure state.

She hasn’t been stopped, by any party, from speaking. Many, if not most, of her speeches are televised, broadcast around the country, and the world, for billions to hear. There has been no speech filter placed between herself and the masses huddled in front of the evening news, and no attempt to stop her from spouting off what she wants to on the stages constructed for that purpose. Her freedom of speech has not only not been denied, it has been amplified far beyond the common person’s ability.

Her assertion that the the press is threatening her ability to exercise her freedom of speech is ludicrous. She cites the “fear of attack” by the ‘mainstream media’ as that threat to her freedoms. Nowhere in the First Amendment does it state, nor in any precedent, that the press cannot examine and analyze the speech made by an individual to the point of making that person fearful to speak freely. On the contrary, the press is guaranteed to do such things, right there after the individual’s right to the freedom of speech.

The press needs to be free to criticize Sarah Palin’s various opinions and statements put forth in order for our democracy to function well. It’s not a matter of getting her to stop speaking, or to dissuade her from do so, but to inform the general public of the veracity (or lack thereof) and implications of the various statements she makes. The freedom of the press, especially in disseminating information and opinion contrary to that which is put forth by our politicians, is not only in the best interests of the public, it is mandatory for the continuation of informed voting.

This cockamamie argument that the press labeling some of her speech as ‘negative campaigning’ is abridging her freedom of speech is not only wrongheaded, but a dangerous mischaracterization of the First Amendment. Her speech has not been infringed upon in the slightest, and to posit that criticism of her statements by the press is harmful to her First Amendment rights is laughable. That same press, that ‘mainstream media’ that she is attacking is the same press that gives her hour upon hour of coverage…in her own words. She could have even more camera time, if she so chose, but her ineptness as answering even the simplest of questions has made the McCain campaign limit the outlets of her free, and mind-numbingly foolish, speech.

Sarah Palin, spare us your horrifically idiotic interpretations of the First Amendment. Your ignorance knows no bounds. Your freedoms have not been threatened, but if you get elected all of our freedoms will be threatened by your idiocy.

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Vote Flipping, Vote Caging, and Suppression Problems

October 29, 2008

Testimonials of vote flipping

And here’s the ‘problem’

And some nasty voter registration challenges in Missouri (‘caging’, a violation of the Voting Rights Act)

Vote caging exposé

pt. 2

Oh, my…more

Sen. Whitehouse (isn’t that the best name for a politician?) on vote caging