10/28/2013

How the Mainstream Media Gets the Tea Party All Wrong

10/27/2013

The I Ching, or Book Of Changes

10/26/2013

On Liberalism, Culture and Rules


10/21/2013

General Blog vs Programming Blog

There seems to be a bit of confusion from some commenters. This is not my programmning blog, although in the past I have posted technical content. This is my "everything" blog - I write about politics, science, psychology and other subjects here. If you want my programming blog, it is at peterbromberg.net - there is only technical content there.
Thanks!

10/20/2013

Why Obamacare Will Never Work, and How We Got It All Wrong

A refusal to look abroad to see what systems actually work is the major failure of Obamacare. It was rammed down our throats from behind closed doors. Ill-conceived, politically motivated, you name it.

For example: the Danish health care system is the nightmare of any anti-government free market believer: it's a tax-funded state-run universal health care system.

Denmark provides "free" health care to all residents, funded through taxes.
There is an optional private health care sector, but it is tiny compared with the vastly larger public system that is used by most of the population. Users pay for a few procedures, such as fertility treatments (from the third attempt onwards) and non-essential cosmetic surgery, as well as most of their own dental care and a portion of prescription medication.
Apothecaries are privately owned, but doctor's visits and hospitalization, including tests, treatment, follow-up care, and some medication, are fully covered.
The Danish health care system is not cheap. According to OECD's Health Data 2009, Denmark's health cost per person, public and private, was $3,512. But in the US the cost is *more than double* at $7,290! And it's increasing every year. In 2013, costs are estimated to increase by over six percent.

In addition, Danish health care covers everybody - 100 percent of the population-while in the U.S. fewer than 80 percent of citizens are covered, and often only partially. Even under Obamacare, millions will still go uninsured.

So basically the U.S. system costs more than twice as much and still leaves nearly a quarter of the population in the lurch if they need any medical care.
In fact, the U.S. could get universal coverage and still save about 1 trillion dollars per year on health care!

What makes Danish health care so cheap? It's not because it's of poorer quality. According to international surveys, more than 90 percent of Danes are totally satisfied with their health care, and it uses the most advanced methods available anywhere. And per capita there are more hospital beds and doctors than in the U.S.

It's mainly cheap because it's a lot simpler to manage. There are *no insurance companies or lawyers operating for profit*, or financial background checks. There are no uninsured, so there is no paperwork if you get sick or injured.
Some proof of identity-citizenship or residence status - is all you need. And Danes are still free to pick their own family doctors, as long as they choose one within their own geographical area, and they have a choice of hospitals and in certain cases can even opt for treatment abroad.
Of course Denmark's universal health care means a higher overall tax bill and that healthy people are paying for the treatment of sick people through their taxes. But because the system is simpler and less profit-oriented, it ends up being cheaper for everybody.
U.S. health care is the most expensive system on earth and incredibly wasteful. Of course I'm not advocating the wholesale adoption of the Danish or Scandinavian welfare system. Those countries have a radically different social model. Bur our failure to examine these systems and employ their best ideas is, at best, a total failure of leadership on the part of both the president and Congress.

Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries clearly prove that a government-run system can provide its population with superior care without being inefficient, bloated, or costly.
Stronger state regulations ensure that the money pouring through the system ends up where it's supposed to: with doctors and health care providers. There are no lobbyists. No greed lawyers.
The pharmaceutical industry still gets its fair share since medication is still bought on the free market. This rewards innovation.
In the U.S., health care financing is siphoned off by lawyers, administrators, and insurance companies; the cost of lobbying lawmakers and advertising is astronomical.
The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that does not support universal health care for its citizens. A greater degree of government involvement in health care might be un-American, but when the American system has abjectly failed, a refusal to look abroad for better models is simply self-defeating.

This is why Obamacare will NEVER WORK, and must be repealed so that we can start over and do it right. And it starts with controlling unit costs.

10/18/2013

The Debt Limit is a Cruel Joke On Us



So right now the Senate (and the House, which voted to approve) doesn't increase the dollar amount of the debt limit - all it does is suspend enforcement of it until February 7th, when the limits are supposed to go back into place and will have to be raised. What that does in the meantime is give Obama and the Democrats a blank check to accumulate as much new debt as they want until then.



Essentially what has happened is our lawmakers have gotten away with allowing the country to rack up more debt and avoid the threat of default without actually voting for debt limit increase.

We're in to 17 trillions of dollars in debt; what I'd like to know is, what are we going to do when we're in the hundreds of trillions of dollars? What's the number after that? What happens when we are so far into debt that we can't possibly repay in hundreds of years? Because at the rate we're going, our grandkids will be right in the middle of it. Have these spineless turds in Washington even thought about that? Do you think they even care?

10/17/2013

Drunk Florida man sets self on fire while lighting Halloween cross-burning ‘prank’

A Florida man is recovering from burns on up to 50 percent of his body after he reportedly set himself on fire while trying light a cross-burning decoration for Halloween.
According to Florida Today, Palm Bay police identified 50-year-old Ron Nielson as the man being treated for burns by Palm Bay Fire-Rescue crews on Tuesday evening.
“He was conscious and alert but he had second-degree burns over 40 to 50 percent of his body, including his chest, arms, upper torso,” Palm Bay Police Department spokesperson Yvonne Martinez said.
Palm Bay police described the incident as a “prank” that included using candles and gasoline to light a wooden cross along the side of his home.
“It started as some kind of prank apparently and involved a wooden cross,” Martinez explained. “We don’t know if he was trying to light the cross or the candles but when he did, his clothes caught fire.”
WFTV reported that Nielson had been drinking when the fire occurred. His wife tried to douse the flame with a garden hose.
Nielson was recovering on Wednesday at Orlando Regional Medical Center and Palm Bay police were continuing their investigation.
Watch this video from WFTV, broadcast Oct. 16, 2013.


Why ObamaCare is History

10/05/2013

Are We a Democracy Or A Republic?

The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October of 1787 and August 1788. A compilation of these and eight others, called “The Federalist” or, “The New Constitution”, was published in two volumes in 1788 by J. and A. McLean. The series' correct title is The Federalist; the title The Federalist Papers did not emerge until the twentieth century. Though the authors of The Federalist Papers foremost wished to influence the vote in favor of ratifying the Constitution, in Federalist No 1 they explicitly set that debate in broader political terms: It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question: whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.

founders1

There are 178 separate uses of the word "republic" in the Federalist, and 83 separate instances of the word "republican". Obviously this word and it's meaning were very important to Hamilton, Madison, and Jay. There are many highlights among the essays of The Federalist. Federalist No. 10, in which Madison discusses the means of preventing rule by majority faction and advocates a large, commercial republic, is generally regarded as the most important of the 85 articles from a philosophical perspective. The Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase: "and to the republic for which it stands." So is the United States of America a republic? I always thought it was a democracy? What's the difference between the two? Often I hear or read from people that America is both a republic and a "representative democracy". Many claim that the Framers lived in the 1700's and that since then "times have changed". I disagree with that stance. The ideas of the Framers are universal ideas and concepts, and they are truly timeless. That is why Federal judges today, when interpreting the Constitution, frequently use the Federalist Papers as a contemporary account of the intentions of the framers and ratifiers.

The United States is, indeed, a republic, not a democracy. Accurately defined, a democracy is a form of government in which the people decide policy matters directly--through town hall meetings or by voting on ballot initiatives and referendums. A republic, on the other hand, is a system in which the people choose representatives who, in turn, make policy decisions on their behalf. The Framers of the Constitution were altogether fearful of pure democracy. Everything they read and studied taught them that pure democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths" ( from Federalist No. 10).

By popular usage, however, the word "democracy" has come to mean a form of government in which the government derives its power from the people and is accountable to them for the use of that power. In this sense the United States might accurately be called a democracy. However, there are examples of "pure democracy" at work in the United States today that would probably trouble the Framers of the Constitution if they were still alive to see them. Many states allow for policy questions to be decided directly by the people by voting on ballot initiatives or referendums. (Initiatives originate with, or are initiated by, the people while referendums originate with, or are referred to the people by, a state's legislative body.) That the Constitution does not provide for national ballot initiatives or referendums is indicative of the Framers' opposition to such mechanisms. They were not confident that the people had the time, wisdom or level-headedness to make complex decisions, such as those that are often presented on ballots on election day. Writing of the merits of a republican or representative form of government, James Madison observed that one of the most important differences between a democracy and a republic is "the delegation of the government [in a republic] to a small number of citizens elected by the rest." The primary effect of such a scheme, Madison continued, was to: . . . refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the same purpose (Federalist No. 10). Later, Madison elaborated on the importance of "refining and enlarging the public views" through a scheme of representation: There are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice and truth can regain their authority over the public mind(Federalist No. 63).

In the strictest sense of the word, the system of government established by the Constitution was never intended to be a "democracy." This is evident not only in the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance but in the Constitution itself which declares that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government" (Article IV, Section 4). Moreover, the scheme of representation and the various mechanisms for selecting representatives established by the Constitution were clearly intended to produce a republic, not a democracy. To the extent that the United States of America has moved away from its republican roots and become more "democratic," it has strayed from the intentions of the Constitution's authors. Whether or not the trend toward more direct democracy would be smiled upon by the Framers depends on the answer to another question. Are the American people today sufficiently better informed and otherwise equipped to be wise and prudent democratic citizens than were American citizens in the late 1700s?

By all accounts, the answer to this second question is an emphatic "no."

Sources: Wikipedia, Federalist No. 10, and other portions of The Federalist, U.S. Constitution

10/02/2013

Paid Obama For America Supporters Flooding My Google+ Post

Have a looky at the unusually large number of "BlueHeads" - people with no profile photo - making negative comments on my post. Most of them, when you look at their profiles, have never made a post and have little or no followers. Draw your own conclusions: