Archive for the ‘economy’ Category


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.


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!


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.


Kim Jong Il on Death Bed, Yet Again

October 29, 2008

Kim Jong-il looking fly in his designer sunglasses

Kim Jong-il, known as both the autocratic leader of North Korea, and a fashion icon to millions in New Jersey, has reportedly fallen very Jong-ill. It has been reported through multiple channels that he had brain surgery to repair damage done by a stroke in August. The report comes from the print edition of Dong-a Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper.

The report cites a South Korean intelligence officer who disclosed that intelligence reports emerged Sunday (Oct. 26) regarding Kim Jong-il’s sudden ‘serious health problem’. The brain surgery that was performed after Jong-il’s August stroke had been reported as being performed by Francois-Xavier Roux, a neurosurgeon from France. Roux is considered an extremely competent, if not world class surgeon, who has denied the reports linking him to the surgery. Roux claims that during that time he coincidentally traveled to Beijing to attend a conference. All video and photos released recently seem to show Kim Jong-il attending functions months ago, further raising the speculation that the sunglasses-wearing man-god is in a dire situation.

Kim Jong-nam inherited smaller sunglasses than his father

Kim Jong-il’s oldest son, Kim Jong-nam, was thought to be next in line for the role of fashion god dictator, although no public declarations were made to that effect, and now he appears out of the direct line of inheritance. After a 2001 arrest and detention by the Japanese, Jong-nam may be somewhat out of favor, and Kim Jong-chol, a younger son, may be in line for the gig. Jong-chol was appointed to a high office within the Workers’ Party in 2007, making it a reasonable conclusion that he’s the next in line.

North Korea is denying the report, which, if their other denials are any indication, means that this is absolutely true. Sunglasses manufacturers are bracing for a possible economic downturn within their industry upon hearing the news, as Kim Jong-il is thought to provide at least four percent to the sunglasses industry’s revenues every year. If Kim Jong-chul begins to wear

This is thought to be Kim Jong-chul, although he wears no sunglasses, making the genetic comparison difficult.

sunglasses like his father and brother, they expect serious profit potential, considering he’ll have to build his collection from scratch.

If Kim Jong-il dies, there could be some wrangling within the ranks of the Workers’ Party to see who becomes the leader of North Korea, and a violent solution between the brothers is not out of the question. Jong-nam may feel resentment for his lack of favor stemming from his attempts to travel into Japan under a false name and passport. Jong-nam’s mother, Ko Young-hee, is Jong-il’s latest consort, and thus may confer more power to Jong-chul. If Jong-nam and Jong-chul do come to a power struggle, expect Jong-chul to have more party support.


Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens-Video-What is Their Real Relationship?

October 28, 2008

This was a great day, and one that makes us also realize that there are elements in this nation that will fight against us every step of the way. I’m not talking about fighting against Democrats, or Republicans, but all of us, our freedoms and our democracy. There were the skinheads found, arrested, and taken out of action from outrageous plans of killing simply because of melanin levels in their proposed victims, and then there was Ted Stevens, the senior Senator from Alaska. Stevens was found guilty of all seven charges relating to his cabin’s refurbishment, and his relationship with Veco, an oil services company.

Both of these elements are a destructive force on our landscape. One outwardly spouts hate, and proposes a ‘cleansing’ of those people that they find don’t fit their perception of what America is, attacking democracy from the outside in; the other works quietly, behind closed doors, eroding democracy from the inside out. Both are heinous and devoid of redeemable qualities, but both are now stopped (at least for the time being) from doing anymore damage than they already have.

Outward from these individuals, however, are people and events that still need to be understood. A corrupt politician is nothing without the means to be so, and radical planners of hate crimes did not get their ideas from the ether. These people are interconnected with all sorts of other people and ideas, and the following is an example of the interconnectedness of Ted Stevens with someone else you may recognize:

There are legitimate questions about the running mate of John McCain. Here, on this blog, I briefly examined her house, and the similarities its building has to Ted Stevens’ cabin situation. They shared the same building supply company, and they both were massive improvements done in strange manners. When Governor Palin was Mayor, she made sure that building codes were not put in place before she built her house. Todd says he built the immaculate home with a ‘couple of buddies’. There were events going on down a short road from the Palin’s house construction site, though, that make the situation so strange. The Wasilla Sports Complex was being erected, and the same building supply company supplied both with their material–the same exact building supply company that was involved in the Ted Stevens’ cabin refurbishing. Oh, and did I mention, that building supply company seems to be a big Republican donor?

There they were, all too familiar with each other. Ted Stevens and Sarah Palin, mucking it up and making nice on camera. A show of support from Sarah Palin to a Senator who, at the time, had been indicted for the crimes he has now been convicted of. Governor Palin is so close to Ted Stevens that she headed up a PAC for him. A political Action committee that gave her the state stage from which to introduce herself to the Alaskan state Republican party. Before that she was a small town mayor. A former Alaska Independence Party member who switch to become a Republican in order to run for mayor. She was already scheming her way up the ladder, and Ted Stevens gave her that ladder. So what gives with her making nice in front of the cameras with a man about to be taken down with national media attention. It’s a risky move for a governor who, from what I’ve been hearing, was already lobbying to be the VP nominee.

I view the meeting and make nice session as a capitulation by Palin to Stevens. The embattled cannot dictate terms, especially something so major as a sit-down in front of news cameras without something to negotiate with. Stevens plays hardball. Not typical hardball, but hardball even by Washington standards. This is a class A, 100 percent certified bastard of a politician. The man was indicted on seven counts of corruption, and he still gets Palin, the sitting governor of the state with VP aspirations (and more) to defend him. He has something on her–something bigger than what can be passed off with a sleight of hand.

They both have ties to the oil industry that have been questioned. In Palin’s case, she negotiated a pipeline deal that favored only one company. That company happened to have an inside player, the head of Palin’s pipeline team had been hired as a lobbyist for the winning company. With Ted Stevens, he is now known to have taken over $250,000 worth of goods and services from an oil company. These events may seem disconnected, but they stem from the same attitude, the same inner circle, and from the same ethos and teachings that Stevens passed onto Palin when he groomed her for bigger things. Now the end game is afoot, and the lessons to be learned will haunt them both.

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New Ad Slams McCain on Gambling Ties

October 27, 2008

As I pointed out exactly one month ago today, John McCain has ties to the gambling industry that seem strange, at best. His contributors are the upper management of casinos, indicating an expectation of gambling expansion with his support. A watchdog group, called ‘Campaign Money Watch’ has released a new ad exploring the McCain/gambling industry connection.


The following is a list I compiled last month of just Winn casino (and closely affiliated entities) employees that donated to John McCain and the RNC from April to July of this year. That’s right, this amount of money from only one casino operation in just three months:

Contributor Date Amount Recipient
Early, Peter L 5/7/2008 $28,500 Republican National Cmte (R)
Schorr, Marc 5/7/2008 $28,500 Republican National Cmte (R)
Wynn, Elaine 5/7/2008 $28,500 Republican National Cmte (R)
Maddox, Matt 5/7/2008 $7,700 Republican National Cmte (R)
Peterson, Scott E 5/7/2008 $7,700 Republican National Cmte (R)
BUTLER, DE RUYTER O 5/2/2008 $3,000 Republican National Cmte (R)
Sinatra, Kimmarie 5/29/2008 $2,900 Republican National Cmte (R)
Wooden, Maurice L 5/7/2008 $2,700 Republican National Cmte (R)
EARLY, PETER L MR 4/28/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
KRAMER, RONALD J MR 7/31/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
MADDOX, MATT MR 5/9/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
NADY, LAURIE B MRS 4/28/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
OSELAND, ROBERT L MR II 5/9/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
PETERSON, SCOTT E MR 5/9/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
SCHORR, MARC D MR 5/2/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
SINATRA, KIMMARIE MRS 5/31/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
SINATRA, KIMMARIE MRS 5/31/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
Thomas, Roger 5/7/2008 $2,300 Republican National Cmte (R)
THOMAS, ROGER MR 5/9/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
WOODEN, MAURICE L MR 5/9/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
WYNN, ELAINE MRS 4/30/2008 $2,300 McCain, John (R)
ALLISON, WESLEY MR 5/9/2008 $1,000 McCain, John (R)
SCHALL, JASON M MR 5/9/2008 $1,000 McCain, John (R)
TOUREK, KEVIN JAMES MR 5/9/2008 $1,000 McCain, John (R)
Oseland, Robert L II 5/7/2008 $200 Republican National Cmte (R)

Information gathered from FEC reports through

Something’s wrong with this picture. Why so much money, in such a short time from just one of the casino operations? Surely they’re getting something if McCain wins, and I doubt it’s any sort of oversight. You see, John McCain is a gambling man. He freely admits it. He plays craps, he gambles massive amounts of money. He’s been spotting gambling in high rollers rooms, not just run of the mill ones. This is a guy who doesn’t understand probability, someone who thinks that, for some reason, they are above certain mathematical truths.

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List of US Foreign Service Officers (Ret.) Endorsing Sen. Obama

October 26, 2008

The following list is compiled from a Declaration of Support for Senator Obama sent around the retired Foreign Service community. The people on this list represent thousands upon thousands of years of service in embassies and consulates around the world, in all manners of service to this great nation. There are bound to be any number who served their country in multiple capacities, some of which will never see the light of day. They were good at their jobs, and served honorably to represent the United States in all manners of peace and conflict. These are the diplomats, ambassadors, and foreign service professionals that followed in the steps of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Of those in the government that understand the tensions and dealings with foreign powers and various incendiary elements in the world, these are the cream of the crop.

Abbott, Luisa Jones, Ambassador George F. (Ret.)
Abbott, Wilson Lynn Jones, Ralph T.
Adair, Marshall Keene, Douglas R.
Ahlgren, Charles S. Keiswetter, Allen
Apsler, Ruby Kemper, Joseph M.
Arndt, Richard T. Kendall, Harry
Arnold, Terrell Kiesling, John Brady
Austin, Sheldon Kilgour, Mary C.
Ayers, Patricia Connor King, Wayne
Aylward, Rayna Kinzer, George
Bahl, Byron Korff, Michael
Baker, Robert Korky, Ann
Baldyga, Leonard Kuchel, Ambassador Roland K. (Ret.)
Bandler, Ambassador Donald K. (Ret.) Kushlis, Patricia
Barnes, Ambassador Shirley Elizabeth (Ret.) Kushlis, William J.
Barnett, Elizabeth LaGamma, Robert R.
Barry, Ambassador Robert L. (Ret.) Lambert, Lynne
Bathrick, David D. Lanpher, Ambassador Edward Gibson (Ret.)
Battle, Ambassador Vincent M. (Ret.) Laroche, Dick
Bay, Janice Friesen Latham Jr., Ernest H.
Beans, Timothy T. Lauderdale, Ambassador, Clint (Ret.).
Beebe, James Leidel, Ambassador Donald C. (Ret.)
Beecroft, Ambassador Robert M. (Ret.) LeMaistre, Alice
Bennett, David C. Lerner, Patricia J.
Benson, Raymond E. Levin, Ambassador Burton (Ret.)
Bentley, Robert Lewis, Ambassador Samuel (Ret.)
Berrington, Robin Lippe, Michael
Berry, Ann R. Loftus, Gerald
Bigge, Joan Lundin, John
Binns, Ambassador Jack R. (Ret.) Lundy, Walter A.
Bishop, Ambassador James K. (Ret.) Lyon, Ambassador David L. (Ret.)
Bitondo, Ron MacAlister, Robert J.
Blane, Dianne MacManus, Elizabeth Keys
Blaney III, Harry C. Magee, Ambassador Charles T. (Ret.)
Blodgett, Steve Mahan, Val
Booth, Richard Malloy, Edward M.
Bouton, Norman Mally, Alec
Bova, Michele Mandel, Pamela
Bowers, Gerard Marks, Ambassador Edward (Ret.)
Bresler, Ralph Martin, Thomas G.
Bridges, Ambassador Peter S. (Ret.) Martin, Thomas M.
Broderick, Amelia Fitzjohn Marwitz, Toni
Brungart, Robert Matheron, Ambassador Richard C. (Ret.)
Brynn, Ambassador Edward (Ret.) Matthews, Wade
Bumbrey, Sallybeth M. Mattox, Henry
Bumpus, James N. Maule, Robert W.
Burleigh, Ambassador A. Peter (Ret.) Maushammer, Robert J.
Butler, Letitia Kelly McCoo, Millie
Byrnes, Jill F. McGuire, Ambassador Kevin J. (Ret.)
Byrnes, Shaun M. McGuire, Harriet
Cahill, Ambassador Harry A. (Ret.) McKee, Richard
Calingaert, Michael McKniff, Joan
Carr, Robert K. McNeil, Ambassador Frank (Ret.)
Cecil, Ambassador Charles O. (Ret.) Meeks, Bill
Cheek, Ambassador James R. (Ret.) Meer, S. Ahmed
Cheshes, Ambassador Martin L. (Ret.) Miller, David Norman
Chester, George Molldrem, Vivikka
Chester, Geraldeen Monblatt, Steve
Chock, Alvin Keali’i Monk, Amy
Clark, Jennifer Monk, David B.
Clear, Taylor JESSE Moore, Alice
Coe, Robert Moser, Leo John
Coffey Jr., Fred A. Mueller, Richard W.
Cohen, David Murphy, Peter K.
Coker, Irv Murphy, Sandy
Coles, Julius E. Myrick, Ambassador Bismarck (Ret.)
Collins, Constance L. Nagy, Ernest
Conly, Jonathan Nance, William B.
Coon, Ambassador Carleton S. (Ret.) Nethercut, Richard D.
Coon, Ambassador Jane Abell (Ret.) Neuse, Margaret
Cooper, Ford Norris, James
Cotter, Ambassador Michael (Ret.) O’Connor, Thomas E.
Crigler, Ambassador Trusten Frank (Ret.) O’Donnell, Thomas J.
Cronk, Ambassador Edwin (Ret.) O’Farrell, Paul
Crumpton, Sandra Ann O’Neill, Rosemary D.
Curran, Robert T “Ted” Oakley, Ambassador Robert P. (Ret.)
Curtin, Leslie B. Oakley, Phyllis
Cutler, Ambassador Walter L. (Ret.) Oglesby, Donna Marie
Cutter, Curtis Olds, Suzanne
Czuczka, George Orley, Ray
Dameron, Ambassador William H. (Ret.) Palma, Carole
Darkins, William C. Parker, Donald
Davidson, Duane Parker, Norma J.
Davnie, William F. Patterson, Sue
Dawson, James W. Peasley, Carol
De Pree, Ambassador Willard A. (Ret.) Peck, Ambassador Edward L. (Ret.)

Darryl Penner

Dembro (née Mercurio), Sharon Perrin, Patricia E.
Dembro, Mark Perry, Ambassador Jack R. (Ret.)
Dembski, Sandy Piet, David
Demitz, Sherwood H. Pomeroy, Thomas Alexander
DiPaolo, Donna M. Pope, Ambassador Laurence (Ret.)
Doggett, Clinton Powers, Robert A.
Dolan, Daniel Precht, Henry
DuBose, Robert Presgrove, Barbara A.
Duline, Charlene C. Rackmales, Robert
Dunford, Ambassador David J. (Ret.) Ransom, Marjorie
Easum, Ambassador Donald B. (Ret.) Reeber, Mary K.
Ehmer, Paul Reinhardt, Ambassador John E. (Ret.)
Ehrman, James Richmond, Yale
Eicher, Peter Rose, Victoria
Eisenbraun, Stephen Ross, Sherman
Elam-Thomas, Ambassador Harriet (Ret.) Rucker, Robert L.
Ely, Michael E. C. Ryan, Henry B.
Engle, Ambassador Gregory W. (Ret.) Sandoval, Barbara
Fairchild, Albert E. Savage, John
Farley, Vincent Schacknies, Rosina
Farrand, Ambassador Robert W. (Ret.) Schaffer, Ambassador Howard B. (Ret.)
Ferch, Ambassador John A. (Ret.) Schertz, Mary Lou Kate
Fernandez, Aurelius Schiff, Stanley
Finberg, Donald Schoonover, Ambassador Brenda (Ret.)
Fischer, Ambassador David (Ret.) Schwartz, Deborah R.
Flannery, Terence Sebastian, Ambassador Peter (Ret.)
Fraenkel, Richard Segars, Ambassador Joseph M. (Ret.)
Frederick, David Senser, Robert A.
Fromowitz, Sam Serwer, Daniel
Fry, Samuel Sewell, Virginia
Gaines, William Sharpless, Ambassador Mattie R. (Ret.)
Garon, John Sheinbaum, Gilbert
Garon, Patricia Sinding, Monica Knorr
Gary, Phil Sinding, Steven W.
Gary, Viviann Singer, Derek
Gerlach, Frederick H. Smith, Ambassador Pamela H. (Ret.)
Gerson, Leslie Smith, Paul R.
Gong, Richard D. Spalding, Peter
Gorton, Lynn Spiro, Joel
Gosende, Robert R. Springer, Richard L.
Gould, Michael St. John, John J.
Grant, Gail Milissa Stahnke, Paul K
Gray, David L. Stefan, Adrienne
Gray, Victoria Stern, Robert
Gregory, Bruce Sterner, Ambassador Michael (Ret.)
Gregory, Jerry Stewart, Ambassador John Todd (Ret.)
Gulliksen, Gail Streeter, Alvin
Gunning, John Sundquist, Alexandra
Haahr, James C. Sutton, Gerald
Hamilton, Ambassador John R. (Ret.) Svengsouk, Thvanh
Hamilton, Donna Swain, Diana
Hardy Jr., Howard W. Takahashi, Lorraine
Harrod, John P. Taylor, Ambassador Clyde D. (Ret.)
Harrop, Ambassador William (Ret.) Tetro, Robert
Harter, John Tompkins, Tain
Hartley, Douglas G. Tomseth, Ambassador Victor L. (Ret.)
Hartman, Jan Tongour, Nadia
Harvey, Gerald W. Tonkin, Thomas
Hatton, Charla Troy, Carl
Head, Al Tuch, Hans N.
Heaphy, Eileen M. Turner, Linda
Hill, Ambassador H. Kenneth (Ret.) Usrey, Gary
Hirsch, Ambassador John L. (Ret.) Vaughn, Arthur A.
Hoganson, Jerome Villareal, G. Claude
Holfeld, Joyce M. Vincent, John
Holmes, Brooke Virden, Dick
Holmes, John W. Von den Steinen, Erwin
Hornblow, Michael Weinland, Helen
Houlahan, J. Michael Wells, Sharon
Howard, Barbara D Wheeler, Evelyn
Huggins-Williams, Nedra White, Robin L.
Hughes, David Wilder, Carol
Humphreys, Liam Jackson Williams, Albert N.
Hutcheson, James W. Williams, Ambassador Richard (Ret.)
Huxtable, John A. Williams, Nicholas
Illing, Robert Wilson, Dwight
Irving, Ambassador Frederick (Ret.) Wolcott, Peter
Jacobs, Morris E. Wood, Susan
Johnson, Ambassador Darryl N. (Ret.) Wozniak, Robert
Johnson, Charles N. Wright, Jr., Lacy A.
Johnson, Joe B. Zelle, Susan W.

The length of this list is impressive, but moreso is the great service these men and women have performed for this great nation.

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