Category Archives: Socialized Medicine

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Ok, sports fans and the great unwashed out there, buckle up for another ride on the
Wabash Cannonball express down the valley of curiosities of the inquiring mind.

Ebola hysteria reigns at least in the headlines and surely in many a concerned household.  But recall that mankind has dealt with far worse plagues and disease outbreaks in times past and we are still here.  The Roman Empire had two major episodes with plague, the 14th century saw an estimated 25 to 33% decline in population from the plague and likewise the 17th century had a horrible outbreak on the plague.  London was hit with the plague and the Great Fire in the 1660’s.  There were two common themes to all these occurrences.   First the plague eventually played itself out.  Either there weren’t enough hosts left to support it or mankind developed its on immunity through the natural processes of biology, or some combination of both.  The medical treatment was simply to let the sick lay down and give them nurture from those willing to risk being near them.  The second feature all those centuries ago was a quarantine.  History is replete with ships from suspected areas of contamination being denied access to port.  They were told to sail away, as recently happened with that cruise ship that was denied docking in Belize and Mexico.  Even with their less sophisticated medical knowledge the ancients understood the basic benefit of cutting off all intercourse with infected areas or people whether that was a nation-state, city or individual.  We really don’t need to try and re-invent the wheel here.  If we did absolutely nothing,  ebola would die away at some point but we can accelerate that process with sensible isolation policy.

ISIS–never go to war half-heartedly and without an intention to destroy and defeat your enemy.  History makes this point clear.  One has only to look at Korea and Viet Nam to see the efficacy of that maxim.  As has been said before War is too important to be left to the politicians.  Once the decision is made to answer the bugle’s call, let the military achieve their assigned objective.   And certainly never telegraph your punch.  Don’t tell the enemy what you will or will not do militarily.   To the contrary let them know that you will do whatever is required to destroy them.   As evil as ISIS is we should eliminate them.  Yes, send in combat troops to every center where they are now nesting.  Kill every one of them we can find.  Sure some will survive and the ideology of hate of that branch of the Muslim world will still exist.  But not one dime of help, aid or nation building.   Destroy what we have to and leave.  Be prepared to come back and do it again in a few years if necessary.   Such a p0licy would encourage most Muslims that there is a better way to express their religion and to function in the modern world with peace and such progress economically as they choose and pursue on their own initiative.

I noted the recent article pointing out how ordinary folks were having their bank accounts seized by the IRS because of a pattern of making cash deposits of less than 10k.   People, that has been the law for decades regrettably.  I have always abhorred those RICO and money laundering laws.  I do understand the desire to corral the mafia and other assorted bad guys,  I don’t like them and wish them nothing but the worst life can offer.  But go after them for an actual crime and why create a “crime” for someone doing what they wish with their own money?   That law is especially egregious.   You can be convicted of a crime for simply taking your own money, honestly earned, and depositing it in your own bank account if you do so in a manner that some damn assistant US attorney in his mind thinks is a “pattern to avoid reporting requirement”.  Hells bells what have we come to?  This is  supposed to be the US where you can mind your own business and live you live quietly and even off the grid if you prefer.  Unless it is stolen money or the fruit of some specific criminal activity you should have the right to do with your money as you damn well please and not be required to offer and explanation to anyone–including the Feds.   And if it is ill-gotten gains then the Feds must be required to prove that in court before they can lay hands on your money.

Karl Marx viewed everything and explained everything in society and the economy as part of the class war.  Modern Democrats divide all Americans by class and view all their political strategies as part of a class struggle.  Black and white, the 99%, war on women, you name it.   They clearly have read their  Marx thoroughly.   Capitalism was the great evil Satan for Marx and what Democrat these days (with rare exceptions) has anything decent to say about Capitalism?  Bernie Sanders is an openly avowed Socialist and believes government should own the means of production for many major industries just as Marx proposed.  Today the Demos don’t advocate direct takeover but they accomplish their goal a bit more subtly by Federal regulation.  They have just turned the entire health care industry into a government utility.  Their prices, services and means of operation have to all  meet Federal standards.   Even the Marx dictum of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” is alive and thriving in the Democratic agenda.  Now the dictatorship is the elites in government whether elected or part of the vast army, literally, of bureaucrats doing the will of their party at EPA, HHS, FERC, FCC , etc.   They know better than the common man  what  is good for him.   Just as the Commies the Democrats don’t really trust the people at all.   You think FDR’s old buddy Stalin trusted those millions in the Ukraine that he starved to death?  Or the other countless millions he and his successors condemned to the Gulag.  Read your Solzhenitzin.

“Where men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one anther, no other liberty is secure”  Wm. Hocking, American 20th century philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under business, Culture, Economics, Foreign Affairs, government, history, Politics, Socialized Medicine

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We will scan the headlines and the back pages today for your edification….

Per the Democrat Elijah Cummings the IRS scandal is all over because a conservative Republican was responsible for all the targeting and the case is solved and over.   He did back off that a bit, but only a bit.  But his original assertion and that of fellow Democrats that everything was contained to those low- level folks in Cincinnati runs into one pretty big contrary fact.  If it is really true that everything was done by those peons in Ohio and actually just the one guy–then riddle me this Batman–why did Lois Lerner feel the need to plead the Fifth during her Congressional testimony?   If that Democratic narrative is true then all the higher level people should have absolutely nothing to fear or hide.

The Nazis in Germany are rightfully vilified for their actions during the War.  One can reasonably wonder though why some of the same moral outrage isn’t directed at their allies during the War.   For example when Germany invaded Russia in June 1941, the Finns quickly joined into the fray as allies with the Germans and attacked toward Leningrad.  They understandably wanted payback for the unpr0voked attack of the Russians in the fall of 1939 into their country.  Indeed the Finnish forces helped complete the encirclement of that city which lasted for over two years and cause the death there of more civilians through starvation than all the losses of both Britain and the US during the entire War.  Likewise many aren’t even aware of the armies supplied to support the German crusade against the Soviets from Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the hundreds of thousands of Russians who all gladly joined the Germans to fight against the Commies.  It is always best to know some true history or you will be intellectually trapped into knowing only “headline” history or the headings in the Chapters of your World History book.   That will give you a distorted picture of your world today.

Noticed the report just this last week that in spite of that pathetic photo in Al Gore’s book and movie that there are more Polar  Bears today than in the last 40 years.

The peach crop was pretty meager this year. Don’t know why but the crop does vary from year to year even when the weather and other conditions remain pretty constant.  But the ones we did pick were juicy and delicious as ever.  Let my 10-year old grandsons help me pick them this year.

Always interesting to note that your Federal government can do things that people in the private world would go to jail for doing.  I mean the Fed is literally cornering the market on the US Treasuries buying up 75% of all the new issues for the last couple of years.  At the same time is it manipulating the interest rates for all banks and mortgage companies.  Can you imagine the outcry if JP Morgan was buying up 75% of all US Treasuries?   The Fed is also in clear violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act because it is definitely restricting trade in financial markets.

Recall last year when several Democrats floated the idea of simply printing a trillion dollar platinum coin and using it to pay down the national debt.  As predicted here earlier you will see at some point as the debt ceiling debate heats up again that the Fed should simply legally  forgive a trillion or two of the US Treasuries held by the Fed.  Again that would magically reduce the national debt.   We would all have the free lunch and Democrats love those free lunches.  I can’t find any statutory injunction that would prevent such an action.  Forgiveness of debt and a release by a lender is well-established law and could be done.   The Lender doesn’t have to offer any reason for the forgiveness.   Of course that could mean the Fed would have less money to pay over to the Treasury Department and Lord only knows what the domestic and international markets would think of such an action.  It wouldn’t be favorable.  It would be like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.

The IRS scandal has caused so many pundits and commentators to make comparisons to the Nixon era and his alleged abuse of government.  He was a tough politician in the same mold as Roosevelt and LBJ, no different.   Some of the comments are so far from the truth it makes me cringe.  I didn’t care for Nixon on many issues such as he embrace of pretty big government but darn these people can’t get any of their facts correct.  Most of them weren’t even around during Watergate and darn sure haven’t done any real research of the facts.  They are simply spewing out the headline story from the era.  I have personally read the Watergate tapes.  Please don’t form any opinions of Watergate until you have read them yourself.  Also I watched every minute of those hearings into Watergate.  The tapes do NOT reveal Nixon ever proposing or demanding anything remotely criminal.  Read them for yourself.  The secret Oval Office taping  went all the way back to Roosevelt and LBJ.  Indeed the system used by Nixon was merely a continuation of that utilized by LBJ.  Yes, Nixon and his cohorts discussed lots of things mostly of a purely political nature to minimize the p0litical damage from the break in.   But unsavory conversation is not criminal.   Nixon was understandably ticked off that the break in had occurred; he was doing well and on his way to re-election and the whole thing was a terrible distraction from what he wanted to concentrate on doing.  This is not an apologia for Nixon but I abhor historical distortion.  You need to know facts to reach your own determination of culpability or moral turpitude.

Which modern American party adheres most closely to the following tenets of K. Marx? 1 Abolition of property in land….2. a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.   5. centralization of credit in the hands of the state.  6.  centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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Pathway To A Better State

The recent 2012 campaign season has highlighted once again the stark and irreparable divisions within the US.   Those divisions have been manifest for decades now and river of discord runs deep and  wide.  They transcend simple explanations over one or two contentious issues.  The divide separates along core values for each constituent group.  We still compose a single nation-state but clearly are two separate societies within that framework.   Like identical twins originating from a single miraculous event but then pulling apart to become distinct individuals even though from a common bond.  We now must deal with that reality and the current organization of the US political system ill serves each of those societies denying to both their own vision of the future.

Most of us share a common pride in what the US was.  Many on the Left do not.  We are now confined to a nation that no longer gives expression to our values.  Certainly the Democrats and Left want a radically different set of values from those in common use today.  It is beliefs, values and social abstractions that bind a people not political divisions on a map.  It is the coalescing of those common values that gives life and energy to the political divisions that result in different states.  It cannot be gainsaid that we have two sets of value oriented views of the world.   They don’t mesh and never shall the twain meet.   The tensions and conflicts between these approaches to self-governance of a free people will escalate as the tides of advantage to one side or the other ebb and wane.    Many of us believe this is not the US the Greatest Generation fought so hard to preserve.   We abhor the direction we are taking and those of the Left wish to accelerate that direction.

This fact of divide and polarization has been brought to light in the recent movement for secession that has cropped up since our most recent election.   A peaceful and orderly re-organization of the US over the next generation is a much better path for the future of all regardless of Right or Left.  Our current path is one that will ultimately lead to true civil unrest, societal pain and divisions brought about by violence or near war-like discord.   These pages have previously mentioned the best path for this alternative approach.  We need to begin the process of calling a Constitutional Convention to give voice and reality to the two separate visions of the US.  Article V permits this approach.  The last time it was seriously considered was during the ’70’s and early ’80’s by those advocating the passage of the ERA amendment to the Constitution.  When their effort was falling short some of the Left mulled over the idea in public of trying the Convention as an alternative method to assure its passage.  That Amendment and the effort failed.   Are our current divisions so fundamental and endemic as to require such a step?   A realistic assessment says that the divide cannot be breached in our current political structure.

We have two very opposing views of the role of our Federal government and it is at that level where almost all the contentions collide.   The Democrats and Left believe in a large and almost omnipotent federal authority.  They view the Federal government as the helping hand encased in the velvet glove lifting up those in “need”.   They define need broadly and want everyone else to accept their definition.  To even disagree with their definition makes you an enemy.   Others believe the Federal government is the boot on the neck of the people.   That it intrudes into areas best left to the States and into the personal and economic lives of everyone.  There is a dramatic and irreconcilable chasm regarding the concept of Federalism.  The Democrats view it as a quaint and outdated concept from another era.  The rest view it as the bulwark of our freedoms.  The Democrats really would prefer that States be merely provinces of the nation with all control emanating from Washington.  TV talk show hosts and others love to make their cute little jokes about “fly over country” but sadly there is great truth to that comment and it reveals the true attitude of the Democrats.  They would prefer States be  administrative districts like they have in Metropolitan France or had in ancient Rome following the directives and edicts of
Washington.  They want power, power concentrated in Washington and obeisance from the populace.  Please review carefully your Solzhenitsyn, read lots of history of the Communists regimes around the world.  Stalin thought of himself as a champion of the little guy.  As an elite though he also believed he knew better than they want was good for them and certainly knew what the societal mores should be.   Opposition was not brooked.   But whether we of the Right  like it or not there are millions in the US that desire that kind of government.   Why not let them have their Eden commune on earth as long as we all don’t have to bow down to their Baal.

This has been building for decades.  It had its core with FDR and then was accelerated with LBJ and is reaching a zenith with the election of the current occupant of the White House.  But when they are gone there will others in their mold to step forward and continue the  road left.   If those on the Right could prevail it would not bring peace because the Left would ratchet up their venom and fight to tear down opposition to their forward march to a larger more powerful and ultimately more socialist government.  If we are going to become a Socialist European style government then what are the advantages to being in the US for those who believe that is so wrong on a moral level and destructive to individual freedom.   Why not live in Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland or Germany?

We’ve had a wonderful history even with our bumps along the way.  Mostly we have been a force for good in the world, at least the Right believes that we have, the Left not so much.   But things do change eventually as they have from the beginning of recorded time.  Rome didn’t last forever, neither did the British hegemony, nor the Kublai Khan.  It is not necessary to destroy the ideal of the US as envisaged by each political segment.  Left and Right can each have their domain without the opposition of the other.  But that destruction is assured if we don’t address our differences and divisions intelligently and forthrightly.  Many have said in times past that there is more than unites us than divides.  Only the hopeless optimist or foolhardy could possibly believe that today.  The fact is that there is far more that divides us than unites us today.  Pride of nation is deeply split along values.  Many take no pride whatsoever in the current actions of the Federal government, others cheer all its actions and want even more.   We can both be happy  if we each have a Federal government more in tune with our beliefs, values and aspirations.  In coming posts we shall explore specifics of some of the major differences and how each element in on nation can pursue its own course without so much interference  and outright obstruction by the other.   Yes, there would be problems but none any greater to solve that living in a nation divided and heading to civil disharmony and dysfunction.  There is a better way and a better place for all of us.  The Democrats should love this change.  Yes, they will lose some minions and slavish robots to the Federal government but truly they will rejoice in getting rid of most of those gun-toting, Bible- thumping rednecks and yahoos.   We of the Right do not respect or trust them and they disdain us.  Do you really think that will change?

Come again for details and the guide map that Pathway to Coastal America and Middle America where each pursues its own vision of governance and each allows the freedoms demanded from only its own citizens.  (Central power, Taxes, Supreme Court, environment, role of military, Rule of Law, social issues, size of government, economic system, capitalism.)

“A House divided shall not stand”…..stated in several places in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Lot’s of thoughts to pass along today from the headlines of our times and times past…..

If the Individual mandate is held to be constitutional then we truly will have passed from a system of limited government to a parliamentary type system.  In upheld then any future Congress can simply state that a new law is being passed because the activity is deemed part of interstate commerce and pass anything they want.  There will be no limits as we originally intended with our Constitution.  In parliamentary systems that is the way things work.  The majority party can pass anything it likes and that is the law, period unless and until it is repealed or modified by a later parliament.  I personally like the idea of the Federal government having clear boundaries on its authority over us.  If this is upheld they could easily decide that only 5 banks were going to be allowed to operate in the future and that everyone would be required to get a debit card from one of them and use them for all purchases.  They have power over the banks already and spending your money certainly affects interstate commerce and of course the federal demographers, Census bureau, Labor department and the FBI and Homeland Security would love to have a clear track record of everything you buy.  Give it some thought.  Is that the kind of government you want? Even if they didn’t do it would you want the Feds to have that power?

Per the Federal Reserve it bought 61% of all the Treasury issues last year.  That is troubling and should concern us all.  The artificially low rates do to the Fed purchases distort and hide the true cost of our national debt.  Bernancke talks about the real demand for our debt in the markets.  The facts belie that statement.  That fact also denies his constant assertion that the Fed is not monetizing the deficits each year.  You do understand that when the Fed buys those Treasury notes they simply print up the money to do it; it is created out of whole clothe and does not represent a real increase in economic worth of our country.  It helps the federal government keep the cost of borrowing low for a while.  But even supporters of this action realize it can’t go on forever.   Sooner or later the “markets” will demand much higher rates for lending us money or the inflation dragon will begin to breathe real fire.   There is no strong demand world-wide for US debt or the Feds wouldn’t have to “buy” so much of it with their printing press.   As the political season progresses we need to pay attention to the deficits and the total debt and the real cost when we have to start paying market rates for our debt which will add hundreds of billions annually to our deficit.

Don’t rest on your oars yet about the Greek debt crisis.  The latest polls indicate that the parties that just signed and agreed to the EU bailout are in real danger of losing the elections scheduled in the next few weeks.  The opposition is vehemently opposed to the bailout and the austerity called for under it.   If they do win then the odds dramatically  that Greece will exit the Eurozone voluntarily or involuntarily.  There will be chaos again because of the fear that Portugal, Spain or Italy might be next.  Of course the Germans might sooner or later simply throw up their hands and say to hell with all of them.   Watch your stock portfolio carefully the next few months. The fat lady may have sung on the last bailout but someone might be writing a new Act to the opera.

The incident with the Jetblue pilot is a sad story.  You have to feel for him and his family for the mental torment he is obviously enduring.  The passengers must have been rightly terrified during the entire incident.  Glad all ended well and hope that man recovers his balance.

During the 5th and 6th centuries what were considered heretical sects of Christianity by the Catholic Church spread across much of the mid east and even into India and China.  Little known fact but they had monasteries and priests, the whole shebang.  Indeed about a 100o years later when the Portuguese came to Gao off the coast of India they were surprised to find many there who were “Christian”.  Of course they didn’t recognize the Pope in Rome so conflict became the rule of the day in that region.   They imprisoned many of the leaders and brought rule from Rome.  However the Nestorians as they were called endured until the Dutch replaced the Portuguese and they rose up against the Portuguese and re-established they connection to their “bishop” who held sway over that Christian sect from Baghdad.  

The peach buds have popped out already but it is that time of year.  Seven or eight weeks from now we will have fresh peaches for a couple of weeks to adorn the vanilla ice cream or to do a cobbler.   Assuming the lady of the house deigns to do a cobbler.

Are you aware that the EPA has “cops” to enforce its laws and rules?  I mean they have badges and carry guns and are authorized to arrest people and shoot them.  I mean why else do they carry guns?  Its one thing for the FBI do have this authority but the list of other government agencies that allow federal cops to use force to compel compliance with Federal rules is troubling to me.   I didn’t know they had police force til just the other day.  If environment laws have been violated them let the issues citations and impose fines but arresting people under threat of being shot? I don’t think so.  Let real cops enforce our criminal laws.

On the relationship of government and man–“A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.” Ben Franklin www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

If you don’t think these are worth the price we offer a refundable scrip for the next edition at twice the price and all for only 19.99.  Otherwise enjoy your investment for today.

On the renewable energy/green front there is no one more “green” than the Germans.  They have the world’s largest users of solar panels and the like.  They also announced last year they are closing all their nuclear plants within a decade partially as a result of the Japanese disaster.   However if you read the fine print in the news lately they have sharply cut back on their subsidies for solar and just last week a second solar panel facility filed for bankruptcy.  Hmmm, they will figure it out, they are Germans after all, but one wonders if they have really picked the right horse for the future ride.  You want a preview of our solar future, watch the Germans for the tell.

Speaking 0f green, we notice that the Labor dept. stats list a bus driver driving a hybrid bus as a “green” job for their estimate of th total jobs in the category.  One would think the bus driver would drive whatever type bus they gave him.   Delve into the report yourself and see how well your tax dollars are spent by bureaucrats probing all aspects of the economy and then counting as green jobs everything they in their infinite wisdom perceive to be connected to that movement.  Even if you believe every categorization they make do we really need to pay someone to come up with those numbers?  How does that info add to our economic output?

You can sleep easier now.  Those particles sent from Switzerland to Rome didn’t travel faster than the speed of light after all.  Seems the machines weren’t properly calibrated and the readings were false.  Whew, otherwise a lot of what we trust in like gravity would have been in question.  We already have enough questions about life as it is.

In the earliest days of our Republic we still had a fairly primitive economy compared to the English.  Yes, we had a currency but its value was still in doubt and the merchants of the day had to be pretty darn good with their math and up on world affairs and the different values of foreign currency.  At that time it was still very common for commercial transactions to be consummated with foreign currency.  Spanish doubloons, English pounds sterling, Dutch Guilders and Italian ducats were still pretty common currency all along the eastern seaboard and the ports there.  The merchants had to determine how to make the conversions for many different currencies and what currency would be accepted by their counterparties, especially those overseas.  Foreign merchants were reluctant to accept payment in US funds.  But our paying off our state bonds, as promoted by Hamilton, greatly helped the value of our money.

The Egyptians built truly remarkable structures in the ancients times–the Pyramids, the Sphinx and all those buildings at Assam and Memphis.   Interesting that they never could figure out the engineering or muster the will to build the Suez canal.  That had to wait for millenia and the Europeans.  It was the French who built the canal to great fanfare but lukewarm financial support in the mid 19th century.  It took about ten years to complete and the British were constantly carping about it.  After all they were the world’s leading economic power then and controlled most international trade.    The Brits even provoked turmoil among the workers on the canal who they touted as slave labor.  After completion there was one other problem the engineers and businessmen involved hadn’t paid enough regard.  The early days of the canal were less than successful because most ships still were moved by sail.  The prevailing winds in that region move west to east and thus passage was long and sometimes not possible at all for days at a time.  It took the steam engines and ironclads to make it a success.  They maybe should have consulted more with the seafaring men before they started they venture.  Amazing how overlooking the obvious happens over and over.  The original company that built the canal went bust.  There is a lesson there for all of us.

The reports say that there are 25 Secret Service agents with the Obama kid on her vacation.  That is probably and sadly  correct,  I suspect.  As stated here before that protection for Presidents and others has reached ridiculous proportions. Yes, we need some protection for Presidents and those in succession and maybe a very minimal amount for ex-Presidents but that is it.   As late as Harry Truman’s term and Ike, they just left the White House as private citizens and went home.  Twenty-five agents for a child of a President is absurd regardless of who is President and regardless of Party.  We need to regain some sense of balance and responsible use of taxpayer money.  If we are that worried about the President’s safety then just use a company of Marines around the White House, they are already being paid.  Just asking for some common  sense in all this. 

If under Obamacare the individual mandate is upheld we will  have lost most of our traditional freedoms to a central government that can run rough-shod over our State’s historical role of being in charge of police powers.  Next to regulate “interstate commerce” the Feds could require that all future IRS payments be made with US Treasury notes or bills.  They would force you to loan money to the government then take those same notes you hold as payment for your taxes.  Multiply that over millions of tax payers and you are talking real money.   If they can make you buy insurance what makes you think they couldn’t require you to loan them money?   Regardless of the need for health care reform such alleged reform is not worth allowing unfettered power to the Federal government.   That is why we only gave them enumerated powers and have a Bill of Rights. 

“History teaches that among the men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants” A. Hamilton.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Economic Free Lunches And Tooth Fairies

The White House has made its pronouncement regarding the demand that religious institutions must provide contraceptive medicines and devices for all employees.  We all know that they have modified that version by now saying that the institution itself will not have to provide such coverage in its policies and pay for it but that the insurance carrier for the institution will provide such service and must do so without any charge, it will be free to the employee.  Even that modification is somewhat vague if you have seen the testimony of Sibelius regarding the issue.  She is still talking about how the institutions have 13 months to comply and that they are still seeking accommodations with them whatever that means.   It is amazing that they White House thinks that by merely stating that something will be free makes it so.

If it is legal and constitutional in the first place to require an insurance company to provide a service that is free to the insured that doesn’t mean it is free.  We still have the 5th amendment to the Constitution the last I checked.  Supposedly the money for the contraceptive service will come from the insurance company’s reserves.  That is part of their capital and thus belongs to the shareholders which is a very diverse group of folks.  Some insurance companies are still stock companies that means that every insured is also a shareholder and even those that are not have shareholders that are pension funds, hedge funds, mom and pop and other public groups of all stripes.  The government regrettably does have the power to tax but that is different that a straight up “taking” of private property without just compensation.  The government is taking that money for an alleged “public purpose” which is the standard for determing whether or not the 5th amendment applies.   It would seem the government would be required to either pass a new tax provision or else pay for the property taken.  The 5th amendment doesn’t only apply to real estate although that is the most common usage by government. 

But beyond that slight shortcoming there remains the question of how this is “free”.  If allowed by law then the insurance companies still have to pay for the covered medicines and devices.  It sure isn’t free to them and it will reduce their profits.   Does the government intend to also require the pharma and medical device makers to also provide this service free?  Like always when the government says something is free to the intended beneficiaries  like so many of the entitlements it is only shifting the cost to someone else.  Free means you are paying for it but someone else is footing the bill. 

Even the Soviets after decades of trying never could figure out how to have a cash and capital free society.   Even if you didn’t pay a dime for medical services from the Soviet regime then that only meant that the regime was making someone else pay with their labor to produce the good or service.   It still wasn’t free.   Just because something is free to you doesn’t mean it was free to those who provided you with that good or service.  Even if we adopted the Soviet style and had all medical care controlled by the State and you never had to pay a dime for insurance or any medical treatment doesn’t mean it would be free.  The cost would have been borne by other taxpayers in our society.  Of course in our modern US of A that means half of us since that is all that pay any income tax.

We can have an argument about socialized medicine and that is ok, part of our process.  But the hypocrisy and lies are intolerable.   Trust me the free lunch is an urban myth.  That free lunch at school for example isn’t free, someone is paying for it just not the recipient of that nutritious meal.   If you were a car mechanic would you like the government to mandate that in the future you had to do oil changes free of charge to the car owner?  The government could well take the position that a well running vehicle is vital the well-being of the owner and that regular changes are good for the eco-environment and thus a public good.   Ergo it is only right that you give them the oil change without charge.  Would you believe that that oil change was free?  

We need to eliminate that mind-set from our political discourse that anything is free.  We have to earn it one way or the other.  There is nothing immoral or evil about that attitude, indeed that idea is what got us out of the trees and moved us from the caves to the houses and villages.   Providing for yourself and being charitable are part of what makes us decent human beings.   Believing in a beggar thy neighbor approach to society will only fragment and rend the very fabric of our society because of its inherent unfairness, a concept much bandied about these days.   www.olcrany.wordpress.com

love thy neighbor as thyself,,,,no more, no less and expect the same of him.

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Commodity prices are zooming but we’ve managed to keep these costs in line with the means of the average Joe.   The contents in the package are even the same size as a year ago.

I can only think of one thing that ever came out of a committee and took several years to accomplish.  Somehow those folks several centuries ago knew how to apply wisdom, learning and artistry to a singular project over a number of years.  Amazing but that was the method used to produce the King James version of the Bible.  It is still the epitome of the poetic and descriptive use of the English language.  You may find some of the words arcane but the power and beauty of them cannot be gainsaid.

How hard is it to get a toast correct?  Apparently it is beyond the capacity of the guy in the WH.  At least Bush One had the excuse of illness when he threw up in the Japanese premier’s lap.   I am sure that returned bust of Churchill was smiling at the wannabe cool guy.   Anyone knows when it is best to at least just shut up, or at least most do.

We have enormous abilities and capacities in the US.  We can do great things when motivated.  During WWII we built over 275,000 planes of all types–fighters, bombers, search planes (PBY’s) and cargo planes.  It is hard to imagine the losses.  More than 43,000 went down.  Slightly more than half in combat.  The rest crashed in training or routine missions.  More than 14,000 were lost in the continental US.  The training was hard and as fast as they could absorb.   The usual safety rules we have today were out the window.  We lost 121,000 men in those planes to death, injure or capture.   When you read the headlines of current casualties remember that we lost on average 220 men Per Day during the War.  That doesn’t diminish the loss of today one iota but it reveals the scope of the loss and suffering as a nation we had to endure at that time. 

Who will emerge as our new Best Friend in the Middle East?  The WH apparently plans on spending enough to buy several of them.  Some one once talked about with friends like that who needs enemies.  

For your own use and edification you should go to eia.gov and look over the projections from that branch of the Energy Dept. for our sources of energy for the next 25 years.  This is the administration’s own think tank group on the subject.  You will see that the needle for solar hardly moves at all for that time period.  Wind about doubles but its starting point is almost nothing so the percentage of total energy use is still barely perceptible. Biomass grows but that assumes the Feds keep subsidizing it for the entire period of time.   In total all the renewables are projected to increase only from 11 to 14 percent of total energy use.   Those ugly old carbon sources will still be the overwhelming factor in our need for energy for another generation even assuming the all out and expensive renewable plans of the hard left.   Consider that when you make your investments.  Facts are stubborn things.  

With that said it will be wonderful it some day we can actually figure out a realistic way to harness the power of the Sun.  After all it will last much longer than we will.  Maybe someday they will figure out how to fulfill Tesla’s dream of providing electric power with the power lines.  He worked hard to develop a system to send the electric power through the atmosphere the way we do the microwaves for our cellphones.  He couldn’t make it happen but maybe our kids will down the road.

The mony and investment pundits talk about the Federal Reserve reducing its balance sheet and tightening the economy to fight inflation by selling off some of its 2.9 trillion is assets.  You will see that statement made often in the financial journals and papers.  I have a question–how does selling assets reduce the balance sheet?  After all when they sell a Treasury bond they will get cash for the bond.  The balance sheet remains the same.  They merely substituted one asset for another.  Do they get cash and then burn it in the back yard?  Really, how does that work? 

I love the adage–“if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”.  But when we apply that to Medicare it doesn’t hold up.  Sadly the Dems don’t seem to get that.  It IS broken and not only that but going broke on an exponential scale.  It has to be fixed but lo anyone brave enough to broach the topic publicly.  It won’t remain that way forever though.  The bill always comes due sooner or later.  Remember those that stick their heads in the sand usually end up getting kicked in the rear.   Simply taxing the “rich” won’t do it, not even close.  From the Medicare’s on estimates the cost will exceed all the worth of everyone, including every millionaire we have.   We got nine kittens and a basket that will only hold seven. 

You and I have actually paid the salaries of pointy-headed bureaucrats at the EPA to conclude and propose regulations that will treat milk spills as toxic waste.  We’d laugh except it is true.   Here is another little cut in the Federal budget–fire everyone there who even touched such a report without writing their strongest objection to the absurdity of the idea. 

We are in danger of having our politics ruled by the mob and the dependent since only half the people pay income tax.  Yes, they pay FICA but that will only be enough to pay for what they take out later, maybe.  They have no stake in the finances of the nation.  That is a terrible situation.  Again, we call for the prerequisite to voting that you have to pay something–anything– in Federal income taxes the year prior to election year.   It is wrong  and dangerous for the takers to dictate to the makers.  www.olcranky.wordpress.comlco

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Health Care Costs Without The Parachute

We are going to do a real brain teaser so sharpen your imagination and thoughts.  The country has endured endless debate and ultimately a mind-blowingly large health care overhaul.  You will recall that one of the major arguments of the proponents of the health care bill passed last spring was that it was a deficit fighter.  That health care change with government takeover of virtually the entire sector was essential to bring down costs.  It was argued that only government could do this.   It was offered as a way to reduce the deficit, the total US debt and “bend the cost curve” down in the out years.  You heard those arguments if you were awake during ’08 and into ’09.  The cost savings was a central mantra of the pitch for that massive 2700 page bill that Pelosi promised we would like once it was passed and we got to see what was really in it.

Of course this summer several major companies reported the increases to their costs for the Bill.  You will remember the WH yelled back saying they were just playing politics with the issue and trying to embarrass the President.  Then quietly the WH backed off because it became evident that those companies were merely doing what was required by law and if they hadn’t they would have been in trouble with the SEC for not making a disclosure of material information regarding their financial condition.  Recently, several insurance companies have submitted applications for increases in rates.  They are now having to cover more circumstances and take greater risks than before so, surprise, surprise, it will cost more for those risks.  The Secretary of Health and Human Resources has already lashed out at these companies too, accusing them of unjustified rate increases.  I don’t know how much each company is seeking but it goes without saying that there will be an increase; they can’t cover additional risks without all of their insureds having to pay more to cover that or they go broke which probably wouldn’t do anyone any good.

How about a radical idea for a change. Neither liberal or conservative.  Imagine for a moment a world with no health insurance, none, zip, nada.  None for individuals, union members, retirees, government employees.  No, really think about it and what would happen as a consequence.

First, there would still be a demand for medical services.  People would need care.  Those doctors and hospitals and specialty clinics would need to pay their bills and feed their families.  The competition for patients would be fierce and proactive.   The costs would drop, dramatically.   Each health care provider would be very interested in market share and volume.  Those MRI’s that used to cost $2000.00 would suddenly  be going for $750.00.   Those $800.00 a night hospital rooms would be $200.00 a night.  Doctors and nurses would make less but it probably wouldn’t be nearly as dramatic.  But the surgeon who used to charge $15,000.00 for a pacemaker would now be doing it for $5000.00.   The drugs and all other medical devices would likewise drop tremendously in price, they would have to because the patients couldn’t afford them anymore at the higher costs.  It doesn’t do a health care provider any good if it has the best product on the market but no one can afford to pay for it.  The price would adjust to the level the market (patients) could afford.

The savings would be in the billions.  Don’t forget too that there would be enormous savings in the health insurance premiums we all have been paying and those paid by our employers.  That would also be in the billions every year, year in and year out.

Now the patients, us.  First, the overwhelming majority of us do pay health insurance premiums each year and so do most of our employers.  Let’s be arbitrary but within reason to assume a family of 4 would have been expending $10,000.00 per year for insurance.  Now they have that money in their own pocket to spend as they think fit for their health needs.  They will be good consumers and shoppers.  It is their money they are spending and they will use it much more wisely than any government program.  That facts are that many of them won’t have to spend that much in any given year and would be thousands of dollars ahead each year.  Those routine visits for the kids and regular flu treatments and arthritis, etc. don’t and wouldn’t cost that much for a visit.  You can bet your bottom dollar for sure that they would all ask questions  everytime the doctor ordered and MRI or Catscan.  They would want to know why and what it cost and if there was another way to find a diagnosis without it.  Or here is an idea, maybe just wait and see what happens.  The old Hippocratic doctrine of first do no harm.  There are millions of people like me who hasn’t cost his health insurance company but maybe a couple of thousand dollars over the last 40 years.  I am healthy and work at it.

For those really necessary and expensive treatments like heart transplants or cancer treatments we would pay those out over time.  The cost for them would drop because of the competition but when they were still too high the banks and other lenders would step in and make loans to be repaid over time.  The health care providers would likely jump into that lending market themselves.  Remember, everyone would be saving money each year equal to the old premium they had been paying.  Over the course of years that would a very tidy sum indeed and could cover even expensive procedures if utilized for its purpose.

Yes, there would be the need for charity.  There would still be those who are down on their luck, suffer a permanent disability or whatever circumstance prevents them from having the ability to pay.  Almost every community in America already has a charity hospital and it is paid for with local taxes.  In our community it is hundreds of millions per year and there are private charities available.  There is lots of money already spent on those in need almost everywhere.  Those taxes are already baked into the cake as it were.   We haven’t covered all the issues that would arise but the basic idea of dramatically lower cost is sound.  That most people most of the time would save thousands per year from medical premiums to cover current medical needs is obvious and so is the fact that most, most years would have thousands of dollars left over to add to next year’s savings.  You think about it.  Do we really need government intervention?  Do we really need medical insurance?   The market is efficient if left to operate.  Not only is it efficient, it is fair as opposed to government picking the winners and losers based on status or political influence.

Edison, Bell and Morse all were prolific innovators.  They advanced our industrial development in an astonishing manner.  What is of current value to remember is that they did all that without any government grants or loans.  Today, the government has its hand in everything from clean energy to stem cell research believing that only it can provide the direction for the future.  Thank God it wasn’t around when those guys were at their peak.  They would have spent all their time doing grant applications rather than inventing things that changed our nation and the world.    www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Divide To Unite–Constitutional Convention To Redraw US

There is obvious political discord in the nation at the moment.  It is very intense.   It has been intense before and the battle lines have been stark for some time.  There is a significant portion of the nation led by the Democratic party that strongly believes in a large and expanding federal government role and an unending search for “social justice” as they define it.  They largely believe that the wealth of society should be redistributed for the betterment of society.  Many are outright socialist and others while maybe not in that camp do believe in a government so large and intrusive as to not make much difference.  There are others who have a very different vision for the country and its future.   They believe in a lean government that controls with a light touch and allows for mostly local control of most issues. Those two views are not compatible now or in the future.

These clashing desires for the future direction of the country are the root cause of the current discord and conflict within the country.  Some have said we are heading toward a civil war.  That is not a ridiculous thought.  It has happened before not only in our country but in others around the world.   If either respective group was only a very small percentage of the population it wouldn’t be much of a problem because the small minority would have to conform.  But the Demos and the Left do have a substantial portion of the population with them and they are endeavoring to enhance that portion with expanding government programs to make more people dependent on their largess and therefore inclined to support them because they provide for their welfare by handing out the bread and circuses to them.  These contrary views are irreconcilable and as long as we butt heads the greater the prospects for a destructive Balkan type clash in our future.  There is a better way to make most of us happier.  There are no Utopias on earth but we can improve matters by allowing each faction to pursue its own course without having to constantly be at odds with the other.

The Constitution provides for Constitutional convention to amend the Constitution.  One should be called and we should divide the nation into two segments for most political purposes.  The division would be pretty obvious to anyone.  The two coasts, east and west would become one segment and most of the mid section would become the other.   Michigan and Illinois would have to petition in all likelihood to gain admittance to either one.  It would be an open question as to who would want them.  This is using the ballot box to resolve our differences and to provide for much greater stability for each new America as we move into the 21st century.  Things change.

The Left group could do as they pleased and not have to be concerned with any significant opposition.  The could allow Washington to dominant everything in their country. They could totally ignore the federal system as they have wanted to do for decades.  Each state would merely be an administrative province of Washington.  They could have a national health care system.  They could allow unions to form on the request of 10% of workers.  Heck they can socialize utilities, take over all the banks, insurance companies, railroads, airlines, agriculture and all professions.  They can legalize drugs and put up a neon sign on their border saying welcome to all who are completely destitute and illiterate and let them become citizens upon entry by filling out a simple form.   They can regulate to their hearts content and have wage-price controls on everything and everyone.   They can have expanded affirmative action programs so that no one is denied a position they think they deserve and they could offer free education so that anyone could stay in school without tuition until they got their PHd.   They can tax their rich into oblivion with 95% tax rates if they like and impose all they new taxes they want to redistribute the wealth.  They can obliterate capitalism.   They wouldn’t have to worry about obstructionists or Tea Parties.   They would be happy as pigs in a mud hole on a hot day.

The other America could tighten its borders, allow as much regulation as they thought necessary on industries and promote economic growth and a low taxes.  It would have the same bill of rights as exist now but would restrict the commerce clause to actions, events, or endeavors that have a “direct and material” effect on interstate commerce.   It’s new capital could be anywhere in the mid section of the country.  The military would be divided equally so that each could protect the security of its citizens and we would have a very strong joint military treaty to aid one another.   There could be a provision to allow a long period of adjustment, say ten years for citizens to make up their mind which country they preferred and then move if that is their choice to the other segment.  But once made that is it.  Trade and commerce would flow between the two countries freely for the clear reason it would benefit both, but political direction and governmental policies would stop at the border of each.

Let each go its on way without the conflict and discord we have now.   Those desired directions are very different and each side now views the other with extreme hostility, in many cases as the “enemy” and with good reason.  Each side’s views and efforts do thwart the ambitions and desires of the other.  Let’s be honest about matters–we do have two visions of America and they don’t jibe; they are in direct opposition to each other.  We would probably be pretty good allies down the road and even if that is not true it would be better than being enemies within the same borders and having  brother against brother.  Each would have a much more stable society and happier people. 

Those 16,500 new IRS agents could all go to the Coastal America.  They would need them to enforce their tax collections and it would provide government jobs which they all love anyway.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Learning From History Or Confusing Facts–Which Is Fed Doing

Bernanke has made so many references to the Great Depression over the last 18 months that it is impossible to keep count.  We have all read or heard by now that he spent his academic career studying the Great Depression and therefore he is the pre-eminent expert to guide us through the current financial mess.  It is a good thing he has studied it.  We definitely can learn from our history and for that matter the history of others who have been down similar road before us regarding economic difficulties.  He has stated numerous times the fault of the government during the Depression was to back off of easing monetary policy too soon as a contributing factor in prolonging the duration of the Depression and uses that as the  justification for the printing of trillions of dollars and the “buying” of US Treasuries and other instruments in the market place such as mortgage-backed securities.  He projects continuing those policies for the indefinite future and wants us to believe that is a good thing.

Of course all that activity by the Fed results in the expansion of government control in even more vital sectors of the economy.  There is a significant percentage of folks out there who love that and place complete trust in the role of government.   He constantly makes a comparison to those events of the ’30’s to the events and occurrences of today.  Some of that is legitimate and appropriate.  We can find useful knowledge from past events.  However today’s Fed is far more political than it has ever been.  It is at this moment essentially another cabinet position of the current administration rather than the completely independent body it was intended to be when created.  While we study the similarities between then and now it is also important to recall the differences between the two eras.

Social Security was just starting and the ratio of workers was very high compared to the retirees.  Also the live expectancy was only 62 and most importantly of all the system was not considered a retirement plan but merely a welfare plan for the most needy of the elderly.  The Federal budget was small compared to GDP at that time and the military budget was non-existent.  That lack of military power played its part in  the rise of Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler.  It was certainly not our fault alone but we didn’t exactly step up to the bar and push back against those tyrannies.  Indeed many were embracing Stalin at the time.  We also didn’t have food stamps, subsidized housing, a government program that controlled the mortgage industry like Fannie, Freddie and the Fed do today; there was no Medicaid or Medicare to pay for at that time.  

You are all reminded of what that great philosopher Brother Dave Gardner taught us all decades ago that you can’t do the “same” thing again, ever.  As he taught you can only do something similar to what occurred before.  Unless you know how to do time travel you can never do the same thing again.   Bernanke  is forgetting this valuable lesson in his comparisons to then  and now.  He keeps talking about us doing or not doing the “same” thing today as was done then.  His methods at the moment are working hand in glove with the group in the administration that is promoting a European style economy.  There are lots of positive aspects to that European model, but it has some very negative downsides.

Mostly what the European model lacks is the spirit of rugged individualism and innovation that are the hallmarks of the American economy historically.  They lack that.  Just look at all the major advances in science, medicine, physics, economics and industry over the last 150 years and the US is the clear leader in any category by leaps and bounds.  Sure who wouldn’t want 6 weeks vacation every year, “free” medical care and free higher education and a public dole that allows a comfortable existence without working.  But we need to be objective and also recognize the flip side of all those.  They have had and still have much higher rates of unemployment than we do because it is almost impossible to fire anyone once hired so companies are very reluctant to add employees.  In France now there is great controversy over this issue.  There free higher education system is wonderful but remember only a tiny fraction of their population has access to it; the majority are in “trade” school by about age 16.  They are rapidly reaching the point of insolvency because of the huge debt burdens of their governments to support their welfare programs, see, Greece, Portugal and Spain for starters and then Italy  and Ireland with Britain and France trailing pretty close behind.   Even the EU is finally realizing that someone has to work, wants to work rather than live on the dole, build new things, and that everyone can’t just sit home and write poetry or sip Merlot in front of their 50 inch TV.  

Bernanke is taking the wrong lessons from 75 years ago.  Failure for incompetence or bad decisions is a good thing, a sound dollar is a good thing, low taxes are a good thing, smaller government is a good thing and promotes a more vigorous and growing economy.   Even in the completely non- capitalist Soviet society people had to work, indeed they were required to work for the social justice of all was the theory.  We need the government to be an honest arbiter and referee of our capitalist society but no more than that.  It doesn’t and shouldn’t be in the auto industry, the banking business, the mortgage business, credit card business or the medical industry.  When some of those industries faltered the big government types said we had no choice but to rescue them, excuse me, we did have a choice.  They could have failed and then re-emerged as better companies in every instance and the creditors and shareholders would have suffered no more than should be expected for making bad decisions.  We are seeing the consequences of those decisions now–a growing Nanny government who is morphing into a dictator government to achieve social justice for us all.  Lord protect us from ourselves.  People deserve the government they allow to rule them.  Hopefully, we will deserve better soon.

The health reconciliation bill has a provision to manipulate the accounting with regard to deficits and Social Security. You recall there are changes to Social Security to save money but they say it is revenue neutral because the money is replaced.  What is actually provides is that to the extent enforcement of this act reduces Social security funds they shall  be replaced by the Treasury every quarter.  Sounds good except that is just more IOU’s going to SS from the Treasury, it is not real money, merely another promise of money down the road but it helps balance the books for health care proponents.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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