The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘illegal aliens’ Category

HEALTH INSURANCE AND THE BORDER WALL

Since the Inauguration of President Trump anyone who’s flipped on a news program, watched a typical talk show, has picked up a newspaper or read stories on line has been besieged by a never-ending series of stories that are negative.  Most of those have been directed toward the president – but Republicans in general have also been beneficiaries of the sometimes brutal tripe that is put out for our consumption.

One of the loudest cries has been, “They have had seven years to come up with a replacement for Obamacare and they don’t have a plan to replace it.”  Well, the House passed a replacement plan the other week.  So, of course, the usual parade of vitriol, directed to a bill that will probably little resemble the final version if it even gets past the Senate, has begun.  Both sides are missing the point – and in their obfuscation of the facts, the American people have been led down the proverbial primrose path as well.

Neither the Obamacare legislation nor this replacement are about healthcare.  They are both about health insurance. Before I attempt to establish my point, we should have a brief discussion about the nature and purpose of insurance.

Insurance is a vehicle by which two parties share risk on an agreed basis and in exchange for a certain amount of money (premium).  That principle is the same whether the risk is a home, a car, an individual’s health or his life.  Having insurance does not suggest that your home won’t be lost in a fire, your car will never be involved in an accident, you will never get hospitalized or that you won’t die.  It merely mitigates the financial effect should any or all of these things happen.  That’s insurance plain and simple.

One, but not the only problem with the Obamacare insurance scheme, was that it was based not on reality but on ideology.  This explains why insurers are abandoning the exchanges in droves.  It might be politically correct to charge the same premium to men and women of the same age the same premium.  But those premium charges ignore the facts that women are more expensive to insure than men because they typically have more hospital stays than men – in part due to pregnancy.  Similarly, it is absurd to consider a person who has an extensive history of heroin addiction to be in the same health as a person who has never used the drug.  Yet their premiums were mandated to be the same by the law.  Abandoning sound, actuarial facts results in financial chaos for the insurers.  And that is the simple explanation of why they have been withdrawing from Obamacare.

Now those on the left will point to their exit as being a function of sheer greed on their part.  But think about this.  If an insurer cannot assemble a risk portfolio which enables them to earn a profit, eventually they will run out of capital to pay legitimate claims.

The new replacement law will probably not do much better because it also is predicated on the misconception that health insurance and healthcare are interchangeable terms – which they are not.  And this fixation on health insurance, were it not such a dominating force in this discussion, would be laughable.

I am not arguing that insurance, whether health or any other kind, has no value.  It does.  It gives the owner some peace of mind.  But insurance is unique in that it is the only product whose owner hopes never to collect on it thus recouping his premium payments.  No one wants their home blown away by a tornado or their car wrecked in an accident or wants to have a serious medical problem or have a loved one die just so they can collect on the insurance proceeds.

So as we have seen, the value of insurance is in mitigating the effect of a financially tragic event.  It does nothing to prevent that event.  Real healthcare would focus not on responding to disease but in preventing it in the first place.  That is an argument that is seldom heard in the Congress, the medical industry or the press.  One can only wonder why.  And the old saw, “Follow the money,” presents perhaps the simplest and most likely answer.

Our focus as individuals should be on staying healthy rather than getting better. So what if the new “healthcare” bill had a provision that funded a massive effort to eliminate cancer or cardiovascular disease?  That would be something that would receive great press and high endorsement from the voting population.  But one has to wonder if all those “charities” that have been raising money and paying their executives high six and seven figures for the last fifty years would be on board with that.

The truth of the matter is that there is a great deal of money and profit in having a population that is diseased.  If a cure for diabetes were announced, how would that impact the profits of those companies who manufacture insulin and all the ancillary products that are used to deliver it to the patient?  Their profits would plummet.  Do you feel they would adopt a laissez-faire attitude were the announcement of such a cure to be imminent?

We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars funding the CDC and NIH.  Presumably, we do so because we trust the research and recommendations that these two organizations make.  They are supposed to be independent and free from political pressure.  And they may well be.  But once they make a recommendation, it is up to our politicians to review and, if it has merit, to implement it.  So let’s look at the reality of what really happens.

Both of them have attributed the rampant ratchet up in overweight, obesity and diabetes to Americans’ over-consumption of sugar.  Have you heard even a whisper of this analysis in the “healthcare” debate?  Of course not.  And the reason is very simple.  The sugar industry not only contributes to the re-election campaigns of our politicians as do Coca-Cola and Pepsi, two of the companies that substantially contribute to Americans’ sugar consumption

One can understand how a company wants to maximize it’s profits and sell as much product as possible – irrespective of it’s harmful effects – until forced by public opinion and ultimately government to accept responsibility.  But what is truly amazing is that the American sugar industry is subsidized by our government, the NIH and CDC reports notwithstanding.  (By the way, the tobacco industry which is widely reviled, also still receives federal crop and insurance subsidies – even as the feds and local governments continue to heap large excise tax increases on tobacco products).  These obviously conflictive official and “real” policies can only be described as disturbing – if not downright corrupt.

This is an excellent example of the swamp about which candidate Trump spoke when he was campaigning. And I suspect now as president, Mr. Trump is probably amazed that swamp is as extensive and thoroughly alluring to those who have helped create it.  Sadly, running and fixing a massive federal bureaucracy is going to be more challenging than running or fixing a business.

Perhaps that reality is no more apparent than as regards the border wall.  What most voters believed was going to be a solid and impenetrable brick and mortar edifice may have morphed into something less contiguous and involving more modern methodologies than Hadrian employed in Britain.

What we should realize is that the point of building the wall is not “building the wall.”  It’s securing the border and cutting down on the inflow of illegal immigrants who have had free reign to come into the country.  One of the tools which, based on the recent decreased number of illegal entry attempts, is not the wall, which has not progressed, but the mere threat, the power of the Trump administration’s bully pulpit with respect to enforcing the laws that are already on the books.

I view and always have seen the “border wall” in somewhat metaphorical terms.  If we could accomplish the goal of reducing the illegal flow of people into the country without spending money to construct a physical structure, I’m fine with that.  After all, accomplishing that goal should be our primary focus.

Wouldn’t it be great if we viewed “healthcare” in that same light?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SANCTUARY AND THE RUST BELT

In his attempt to find something as a “legacy,” President Obama is, through his minion Secretary of State Kerry, attempting to forge a deal of some sort with Iran.  Sadly, the president has not come to the realization that this deal, good or ill, will not be his legacy.  He has already established that.

The obvious and lasting legacy of this administration will be its consistent refusal to enforce the laws of the land – or, more exactly – to enforce those laws which it chooses and from which it sees a sense of political advantage and to ignore those which do not fit its agenda or which might benefit its opponents and all the rest of “We The People.”  The legacy of Obama will be that a nation whose foundation was built on equality under the law will have moved to a state of lawlessness on its way to nihilism and possible anarchy.

The unfortunate, tragic and avoidable death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco at the hands of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez is a direct result of the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce the laws regarding illegal aliens which are on the books.  But they are not alone in responsibility, the Sheriff of San Francisco, the members of that city’s Board of Supervisors and its mayor also share some part of the blame.  But if there were one specific cause for this tragedy to which we may point as being the culprit, it is San Francisco’s self-adoption of its “sanctuary city” policy – and the Federal government’s tacitly condoning it.  Translated, that means that San Francisco has chosen to ignore Federal law and do what it wants.

By now everyone knows that the alleged (and now admitted) murderer had entered the country illegally and been deported five times; that he was guilty of seven felony convictions; and had chosen to reside in San Francisco largely because he knew that he would find a safe harbor there and not be turned over to ICE authorities for yet another deportation.  So, in addition to the loss of a perfectly innocent young woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, we will now go through the expense of a trial and most likely spend good taxpayer money incarcerating a man for life who shouldn’t have been here in the first place.

You might have thought that with the brouhaha that Donald Trump made with his statement about illegal aliens that we would have heard something from BoPeepObama.  But the highest level of commentary came from California’s two senators, Feinstein and Boxer.  The two of them, who have been in the Senate since shortly after the great flood, took time to put down their hairspray and rinse just long enough to issue two separate but equally insipid statements in which they expressed an appropriate amount of tut-tutting and said that we really should do something about this whole thing with (using the PC term) undocumented aliens.  If there is a silently imposed invisible glass ceiling which keeps women from the same opportunities that men enjoy, these two and their colleague representing San Francisco in the House, Nancy Pelosi might well be the reason.  This troika might well be named the “Three Ditzketeers.”

Washington state and Colorado’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana are another example of how local government has decided to thumb their noses at Washington and do what they will.  They have received a non-response from Washington just as have the two hundred “sanctuary cities” that have self-declared themselves as such.

So as long as we are cool with local governments adopting policies which are in variance to what the Federal government mandates, this provides an opportunity to extend the logic of local self-determination to a higher level.  And this concept may go far to help revivify some of our rust belt cities which have fallen into a state of near collapse – places such as Detroit and Baltimore.  Those and similar declining municipalities should declare themselves a Federal Income Tax-free sanctuary zone – exempting their residents from the necessity of paying any Federal income taxes in the future.

There is very little reason for a person to want to move to a Detroit or a Baltimore.  Hundreds of properties in both are either abandoned or extremely run down.  The crime rate is so high that living there is a bit like taking a vacation in ISIS controlled Iraq but with no exit visa.   Unless there is some substantial incentive, soon they and similar cities will turn into a vast wasteland.  So the city governments should turn over those properties to pioneers who would like to take a shot (no pun intended) at rehabbing them.  Returning them to the tax rolls would provide the local governments some much needed revenue – if they could entice enough adventurous people to take part in this experiment.

Would the Feds go along with this income tax exemption?  After all, they’ve overlooked states that violate Federal narcotics laws – and municipalities that ignore Federal immigration laws.  But then when it comes to money, that may be where the buck stops.  After all, the reality is that collecting money from the American people is the lifeblood which continues to finance pompous politicians and bloated bureaucracies.  And in the end, maintaining their own privileged lifestyles may prove to be of sufficient importance that they would actually take action and put their feet down.  Money is probably more important than the citizens of this country to them.  Just ask the family of the late Kate Steinle.

NIGHTMARES

The other evening I was watching the History Channel which ran a number of episodes of the program, “Ancient Aliens” and followed those up with several episodes of “The Universe.”  I find that the mysteries of the universe are even more mind-expanding and interesting than say, watching a football game or even commenting on political poltroons.  After all, it might be argued (rather forcefully) that the universe is a bit bigger than either of these two – being, as it is, the sum total of everything.

As a child I remember spending summers in the Catskills and, after dinner, sitting outside our little cabin, staring up at the night sky.  I was away from the glare of the lights in New York City and the stars shone bright and sparkly.  Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was just looking at a small portion of our rather average 300 billion star-filled Milky Way galaxy which was only one of billions of such galaxies.  But even with my view that this little subsection of stars was the universe, I couldn’t help but be struck by a sense of true awe at the vastness and the possibilities that must exist in this amazing expanse.

Even the most entrenched city dweller whose view of the night sky is obscured with smog, haze and neon lights has seen the moon, if not the wide panoply of stars.  And the moon has always fascinated me with its changing phases and the images which we project on it, “The Man on the Moon,” or if you’re Asian, “The Mouse on the Moon.”  And it is well accepted science that the moon and the Earth have a symbiotic, gravitational relationship.  We know that the moon is the reason that our oceans have tides and the reason that the Earth bulges as a result of the moon’s influence.  And we also know that the moon is doing what it has done for billions of years.  It is moving away from the Earth, now at the rate of about 1.5 centimeters a year.  Egad!

About 620 million years ago or so, the Moon was so much closer that a day on Earth was only 21 hours long.  But as our satellite’s distance from its host planet has increased, it’s gravitational influence has decreased, resulting in the Earth’s slowing rotation.  One can only imagine the height of the waves in our planet’s oceans back then.  Of course, there was no one around to document that phenomenon.  But it would be reasonable to say that the weather and climate were far more extreme than what we know today.

Having spent a number of hours watching these programs, I retired for the night, thoroughly content with thinking about all the ideas which had been presented.  Who did build all those pyramids around the Earth?  What was the purpose and who could have constructed the Nazca lines in Peru?  What must it be like to witness a super nova as a star implodes?  And then the moon and its distancing itself from Earth sprung through my sleeping thoughts – and I awoke in a sense of panic.

Suddenly, I realized that in a mere 50 billion years the relationship between the Earth and our satellite would be over after a long and fruitful marriage.  The moon would become an errant wanderer.  There would be no more songs written about the moon, blue or otherwise.  The Earth’s tides would cease.  Our symbiotic relationship would be over.  Life as we know it today would be forever changed.

So I thought about this and was going to start a campaign that we immediately develop a scientific project to figure out a way to keep the moon in place where it is today, just where it belongs.  And then it hit me.  Before the moon escapes the grip of Earth’s gravity, in about 45 billion years, good old Sol is going to consume it’s fuel and turn into a red star, forever altering life on Earth by ending it.  I turned my focus to that startling event and realized that this was the predictable cataclysm which deserves our immediate attention.  And we have 5 billion fewer years in which to find a solution than in the moon’s escaping the Earth’s gravitational force.

Astronomers are discovering that our Milky Way contains hundreds of exo-planets which exist around their respective stars.  Some orbit their suns either too closely or too far to sustain life as we know it.  Some are far too large and the effects of their gravity would quickly crush a human being who ventured on their surface.  But with the incredible vastness of space, it seems inevitable that we will find a planet, or perhaps even many, that are capable of sustaining human life.  But that’s just the first part of the equation.  Then we have to get there.

With our present state of technology and keeping in mind Einstein’s premise that the speed of light is an absolute which cannot be exceeded, even if we were to find that our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri had planets which could support human life, it is 4.24 light years from Sol.  So picture a massive spaceship with a few thousand pilgrim/explorer/settlers/ on board, confined to a relatively small space for a period of time of longer than four years.  How would they get along for that amount of time when passengers on a plane here on Earth can barely handle sitting next to a stranger for four or five hours?  The solution might be putting them all into cryo-sleep for the time of the journey and resuscitating them on arrival.

This, of course, assumes that we were able to develop a propulsion system which allowed us to approximate the speed of light at 186,284 miles per second.  The fastest man made object to date was the Helios 2 probe, which sped along at slightly less than 150,000 miles per hour – which is about 1/24,000th the speed of light.  That would make our theoretical journey a 100,000 year long trip.  We have a lot of work to do not only in improving our technology to speed up our rate of travel but we probably need some collaboration from the Food Saver System to make sure those cryogenically frozen explorers don’t suffer from freezer burn.

Of course, even if we do find habitable planets in time and even if we develop the technology to shuttle some of our teeming masses to these brand new horizons, there is one factor which we probably won’t know until those stalwart souls show up at their new home.  Those planets may be occupied by intelligent beings who have very strict laws about the immigration to their world of alien creatures and might tell these voyagers to go home and get lost.  Now wouldn’t that be a pickle?

Some people see “global warming” as the issue which most challenges humanity on planet Earth.  But I would suggest they have a very unclear concept of the dangers which truly imperil us.  So I wish we would all get together and recognize that the moon’s wafting off into space and the sun’s ultimate burnout are the real threats to humanity’s survival.  And I wish someone would get busy and try to figure out a plan to insure that we could make it to alien worlds so that I can get a good night’s sleep and put an end to my nightmares.

WHO YA GONNA CALL?

It was the last post that Anahlia Cowherd posted on Facebook – a plea for help – help for deliverance from a predator who lived in her house – her grandfather.  Apparently, the sexual abuse she had received from her 79 year old relative, Honorario Yango came to her mother’s attention who then confronted her father with the allegations.  He in turn killed her, his granddaughter and attempted to kill his 10 year old grandson who thankfully escaped.  Yango then turned the gun on himself, saving the taxpayers from another costly trial – and the prison system from having to make space for yet another depraved pervert.  That last sentence might sound cold – because it is.  After reading story after story about the kooks who dominate the news with their predation either on relatives or strangers, it’s getting harder to maintain a rosy outlook on humanity.

Those stories sometimes revolve around sexual abuse but others are more generic, exhibiting sheer animal gratification and the thrill of killing.  Stories such as those regarding ISIS and the events last week in Canada, New York, earlier this week in Sacramento and the innocent woman in Moore, OK who was beheaded by a former co-worker in her office fit that second category.  There are far, far more of these stories than should be appearing in any civilized society.  If I were a betting person, and I am, I suspect that the curtain is far from falling on reports of this kind.

In my years as a self-employed business person I realized that I had certain skills on which I could dependably rely and that there were some areas of running the business in which others had more ability than I did.  Rather than spend my time performing duties in which I only had average ability, I chose another route to make sure that those aspects of the business were handled in the most professional manner.  That answer was to hire someone with the expertise to manage those activities.  Whether it’s a private business or the business of government that same principle applies.

Fortunately for the business person, their enterprise is fairly simple.  It is either to manufacture a product or offer a service and do that while earning a profit so that they can continue either to manufacture a product or offer a service.  The Founding Fathers had a similarly simplistic view of the function of the Federal government granting it very few responsibilities.  But one of those was to protect the country from intruders and to keep the country’s borders secure.  That wisdom seems to have been lost on those in Washington who have taken a path where they want to control everything – resulting in their not controlling much of anything very effectively.

Recently I came across a website which I spent some time exploring.  It is a website devoted to the topic of how to stop bullying.  Without regard to partisanship, I hope that we all might agree that the actions which caused Anahlia Cowherd’s death at her grandfather’s hand is bullying carried to an extreme.  It is a problem that affects people tragically, but fortunately that number is fairly small.  And if your view is like mine, the person who engages in bullying activities has mental problems which would best be treated medically rather than governmentally.  The rather well done website, by the way can be found at the following link:  www.stopbullying.gov.  Yes, that’s right, our Federal government used some of our tax dollars to create and maintain this site.  The fact that it is easy to navigate suggests that they did not use the same contractors who were hired to put up the Obamacare website.

I would be exceptionally happy if all bullying suddenly ceased – as a result of this website or otherwise.  But we all know that is not going to happen because that same activity has been around for my lifetime and I suspect was around for centuries before I arrived on planet Earth.  So while this website leaves us with an impression that our Federal government cares about the issue, it really does nothing to fix the problem – most likely because realistically, no fix is possible.

Meanwhile, in California, there are two law enforcement officers who are dead at the hands of one man, Luis Monroy-Bracamontes a Mexican national who has been deported four times, rejected twice at the border before he entered the country and two more times after he made it into the U.S and on his second “visit” remained here for five years.  This is the practical result of the Federal government’s failure to address one of its few Constitutional responsibilities – securing the country from intruders.  What is disheartening is that the present administration actively chooses to worry about issues like bullying and passively chooses to ignore the question of securing our borders and making the country a safer place for all our citizens.

It would be foolish to suggest that all those who are in the country illegally have either criminal inclinations or intent.  But the fact that we obviously don’t enforce our laws certainly would be an inducement to those who do have criminal inclination and intent to come here, knowing that we do not give their presence or activities a very high priority.  If we suddenly stopped prosecuting people who committed bank robbery, it should surprise no one if there were a spike in the number of bank robberies that were committed.

One of the premier planks in the liberal agenda is restricting access to firearms of people who are either mentally unstable or who have criminal backgrounds, all this as a stopgap provision until they can try to figure a way to sell the idea of banning all individual ownership of munitions for any reason or purpose.  I don’t know whether Anahlia’s grandfather had a weapon which was purchased legally and registered.  I do doubt that Luis Monroy-Bracamontes’ weapon was owned licitly.  And despite the fact that the two law enforcement officers were armed, he was able to ambush and kill them.

With the Federal government’s inability or inadequacy to prioritize the safety of American citizens, we are currently dealing only with isolated incidences of violence.  What if, and hopefully this doesn’t occur, the worldwide jihadist terror movement decided to launch widespread attacks throughout the country – or attack vulnerable infrastructure such as the electric grid.  Based on the responses from the Obama administration to date, is there a rational person among us who feels confident that any Federal response to such an incident would either be effective or timely?  And having developed a sufficient permanent underclass in all of our major cities, who does not believe that members of that group would take full advantage of this situation as an opportunity to loot stores and abscond with private property?

Perhaps the greatest lobbyist for American’s right to bear arms and for the NRA is the administration and its supporters themselves.  Should such an event occur, notifying your friends on Facebook or even dialing 911 may well prove either impossible or fruitless.  And it is for that reason, so many Americans feel that if they place a call to anyone to protect them in that emergency, that call will be to Smith and Wesson.

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