Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Dream of being "Trapped in Vietnam"

We soldiers, both male and female, are penned inside a conference hall within a large building in Saigon. It is very crowded. No chairs. No tables. Standing room only.

 Mitt Romney had been elected president. His stated policy is to keep all of the US troops in Vietnam. "The war will never end."

Huddled against the corner are a small group of visitors from the Tea Party delegation. They are very sad, reminiscing how candidate Newt Gingrich had made it a top priority to "bring the troops home." But because Romney is now our president, "the troops stay in Vietnam."

Meanwhile, we soldiers are in a state of starvation. Inside my clothes, I have hidden gobs of rice for emergency food.

Ann Romney happens to be visiting with us soldiers. She sees our anger, desperation, and hunger. To appease us, she forcibly administers a spoonful of rice into the mouths of each individual. She doesn't use a clean spoon, but reuses the same one for each person she feeds.

I panic, trying to hide from her. Each time she moves closer, I jostle through the crowds to move away.

In an adjacent hallway happens to be a cohort of civilians walking in a marched formation. Here's my chance to escape out of Vietnam. I have to join those civilians and pretend to be one of them. But then I realized that I'm wearing a military uniform. I must change into civilian clothes. So I happen to find a closet and search for civilian clothes. But the time ran out. It became too late. (Or so I thought.)

In the conference room, the soldiers practically start to riot. The Romneys feel the heat. On the loudspeaker, we hear an announcement. In a dramatic "about face" .. the White House bows down to pressure, declaring freedom for us soldiers to leave Vietnam.


Interpretation of the Dream:

President Romney is "Barack Obama."
Ann Romney is "Marie Antoinette."
Newt Gingrich is "Ron Paul."
Being trapped in Vietnam is "ObamaCare."
The spoonful of rice is the "individual mandate."
Our hunger is the result of "rationing."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Swiss View of America

Last night, I had a passenger from Zermat, Switzerland. He was a well-educated man, who keeps up-to-date on world events. (He also used to be a skiing buddy of Roger Moore.)

According to him, the Swiss are very conservative. Looking at American politics, they tend to favor Republicans on economic matters; but favor Democrats on foreign policy.

The Swiss regarded George W. Bush as a big embarrassment. They did not like his arrogance; they hated his Iraq war policy.

My passenger stated that the United States accounts for 48% of the military spending in the entire world. He said that it's a joke that the US still has military bases in Germany, when the cold war had ended long ago. But the German people love it, because they're getting money from the United States. He said that the US is bankrupting itself via all the wars it is fighting.

In Switzerland, everybody has health insurance -- but the people pay the same rate regardless of age. Whereas here in the United States under ObamaCare, older people forced to buy insurance where they're forced to pay 3x higher rates (and possibly 5x higher rates if the insurance cartel succeeds in their lobbying.) My passenger said that Obama (and his corporate allies) want to milk as much money out of the older people as possible.

He said that in Switzerland, every household has a stockpile of guns and weapons. Young men are compelled to do 3 weeks military training per year, in the militia. There are hardly any full-time militia personnel (primarily officers) -- nearly everyone are the 3 week part-timers. It's all for domestic defense. (Switzerland does not have long-standing armies for foreign conflict.)

My passenger said that very few Swiss emigrate out of the country. They stay in Switzerland because of the job security and the high pay. Every Swiss worker gets 5 weeks vacation per year. (For young men, it is 8 weeks "vacation" because of the extra 3 weeks for training in the militia.)

My passenger was astounded that New York has not invested in building underground power lines. The state is like a third-world country, re-erecting above-ground power lines over and over again. So when the next "Sandy" hits, it'll be more misery.

He said that the middle class is the driver for a prosperous economy. Without a middle class, we then become hopelessly dependent upon the rich --> "who are the cows providing us the milk." But we then kill the cows ~~> No more milk.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Naomi Wolf is Being Very Honest

Naomi Wolf's Tweets of May 25, 2012

I have to be honest about something. Some kind of evolution. I do still believe that women can never have social equality, if they can't terminate early in the first trimester. But I have been working and working on torture, extrajudicial killings, rights to freedom, issues of autonomy, issues of control and coercion. And I no longer believe that a fetus further along has no rights. I think it does. Believing otherwise would be terribly inconsistent for me at this point.


Naomi Wolf is an advocate for liberty and believes in the Constitution. (Her Twitter name is @naomirwolf with the link below.)


Friday, February 24, 2012

A Computer Revolution was Born

Grassroots Capitalism:

The counter-culture of the 1960's originally "scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized control," [Pg. 58, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson]. But eventually, a small contingent of these hippies came to embrace the computer as a possible tool for liberation. Steve Jobs was among them.

The establishment and the giant corporations were resistant to new ways of thinking. Whereas the younger generation had the propensity to imagine a world not yet in existence. Whether it was Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard in 1939 or Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak in 1976, they were able to make this new world a reality by starting their enterprises within a garage.

During the early days of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak struggled, financially. To raise money, they didn't ask for government handouts. Instead, Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus for $1500 and Wozniak sold his HP 65 calculator for $500 [Pg. 62, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson].

Eventually, Apple Computer became a Fortune 500 company. It was through hard work, perseverance, and vision that made it possible.

This type of capitalism rewards innovation. It also gives people freedom, choice and affordability.


Top-down Corporatism:

Now imagine a different scenario. Let's suppose:

  • We had a President Mussolini in the White House in 1976. 
  • IBM were a government-protected monopoly. 
  • There were certificate of need regulations to prevent competition within the high-tech industry. 
  • Government doled out huge subsidies to these corporate behemoths. 
  • It was illegal for the layperson to tinker in computer technology.

Under the above scenario, Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak would have been arrested for practicing without a license computer hardware & software activities. Plus working in a garage would have been a zoning violation. Furthermore, they had obtained computer components without a prescription.

Next, President Mussolini signs into law that every American citizen is mandated to buy ComputerCare insurance. His rationale is that without insurance, only the rich can afford computers. Everyone must have universal access.

This type of corporatist model stifles innovation. It's also a recipe for inflation and rationing.


Now let's review. Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak had introduced the personal computer. This was something new. Their business had started in a garage. Initially, only computer geeks had any interest in the product. The established corporations were skeptical. But eventually, it became popular with the general public. The computer revolution was thus born.


Whole Earth Catalog redux:

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. No insurance.

Our next wave of liberation shall be personal ownership of #HealthCare. The new "garage" shall be from the home of Kevin Delaney.

Please follow him at Twitter:!/yintercept


Thursday, February 9, 2012

EducationCare ~ A Hypothetical History

Once upon a time, there was a President named Franklin Roosevelt. He imposed wage and price controls upon industry during the inflationary years of World War II. But companies needed workers. They couldn't attract anybody with the capped wages, so they put into effect a gimmick -- Free EducationCare.

Subsequently, the Federal Government began to exempt education benefits from taxation. Thus, people became dependent upon their employer for the education of their children. If they lost their job, they then lost their insurance, and their kids couldn't go to school. It was too expensive.

The premiums for Education Insurance were based on pre-existing conditions. If the person had children, this then meant insurance rates of $500 per month. If the person was childless, then the premiums were only $100 per month. The insurance policies were very generous -- unlimited free education for children AND adults.

In the 1960's, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law SpryCare and SorryCare. The former was single-payer, government insurance for spry seniors wanting college education. The latter was a state-federal partnership of providing EducationCare for the sorry folks that are poor.

As a result of these government programs, education costs skyrocketed. People (without good jobs) who didn't qualify for SpryCare or SorryCare were out of luck. Their children couldn't go to school.

Then during the new century, thanks to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the government decided to impose an individual mandate to FORCE all Americans to buy EXPENSIVE "education insurance." Liberals screamed, because they wanted single-payer EducationCare. The Tea Party screamed, because they hated the insurance mandate.

As a result of the groundbreaking "reform" legislation, the insurance companies were no longer allowed to discriminate people by their pre-existing conditions.  Therefore, single people now had to pay just as high premiums as families with children. But an allowance was made for age. Since younger people are more likely to go to school, their premiums are allowed to be three times higher than people in their 50's.


The above scenario exemplifies DEMAND-side, insurance-mandated EducationCare. It is a failed model and does not work. (Just look at HealthCare.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Pharma-Hospital-Insurance Complex

The exploding cost of healthcare -- as a percentage of GDP in the United States -- is a cancer that is out of control. As of 2010, it was 17.3% of GDP. It's projected to be 19.3% of GDP by 2019.

The bigger the healthcare sector, the more clout it has in government with respect to lobbying (i.e. bribery). The ObamaCare legislation was crafted behind closed doors -- all to benefit the industrial monopolies.

Since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, the United States has been in a biflationary economy. The inflationary sector (i.e. healthcare) has the most money to bribe Congress & the White House. The deflationary sector (i.e. "Main Street") doesn't have this kind of clout. Hence, the federal government will favor the inflationary sector with the subsidies, mandates and monopoly protections. With more money being pumped into the overheated healthcare sector, this actually fuels the inflation of that sector; whereas money is being sucked out of the deflationary sector. This exacerbates the dichotomy between the two economies.

Government subsidies have the effect of fueling inflationary bubbles. It had happened with housing; it's now happening with healthcare. So when the healthcare bubble bursts, it shall be the aging Baby Boomers who will bear the main brunt. But who cares? The government? The old people will have their care rationed -- just "let them die."

Both ObamaCare and RomneyCare are immoral. They force citizens to sacrifice their hard-earned income unto middlemen -- insurance companies and government bureaucrats -- who will then control people's healthcare. This is what I term as demand-side, insurance-mandated healthcare. It favors the industry, not the consumers. Likewise, it discriminates against old people with insurance rates three times higher than those of younger people. (In Canada, the healthcare tax is based solely on income.)

The healthcare oligarchs are greedy. They not only get subsidies and the insurance mandate, they also get the government to provide them monopoly protection via certificate of need (CON) regulations. This guarantees huge profits because these regs eliminate competition. But with the aging of the Baby Boomers, this will spell disaster with runaway inflation -- or with prices capped, then severe rationing.

What's desperately needed is a new model -- supply-side, consumer-driven healthcare. This is how our foodcare industry is modeled after. There is a proliferation of supermarkets, people buy their own food with their own money -- no insurance required. A person who is poor, does not go into the store (demanding from the grocer) free food. Everybody is expected to pay -- including illegal aliens. Yet we do not live in a country of mass starvation.

So with healthcare, we need to allow for grassroots capitalism to flourish within the hospital /medical industry. With the aging of the Baby Boomers, there should be no problem, whatsoever, for a proliferation of medical clinics in our neighborhoods -- just like grocery stores. But this cannot happen with the certificate of need regulations limiting the number of hospitals/clinics within neighborhoods.

Likewise, the Ryan Plan talks of increasing competition for private healthcare insurance; but not for increasing competition of healthcare clinics and hospitals. This will still result in runaway inflation and rationing. The conservatives in Congress are just as retro in mindset as the progressives -- they're trapped in the mindset of comprehensive insurance (as the required medium) for access to routine healthcare. (The only difference is that the conservatives believe in private insurance, whereas the progressives believe in government insurance.)

Another problem with the Ryan Plan is that it isn't based on "free markets." The insurance will be subsidized. Hence (like that of the subsidies for low-interest loans via Freddie Mac), it will fuel an inflation bubble. Plus the government is then put into the position of picking winners and losers. (Politicians will decide which insurance plans qualify for the the subsidies .. and which will not.) This is a recipe for corruption.

The reason the insurance model worked okay during the previous decades was that the Baby Boomers were young, whereas the sickly old were few. The Ponzi nature of insurance (including Medicare) was in it's early, benign stage. Now that the Baby Boomers are getting old (with a scarcity of the young to support them), the Ponzi bubble is about to burst.

References: (CBS News Website)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Canadian HealthCare

Canada has a population smaller than the state of California. Yet its socialized medicine is administered at the provincial level -- not at the federal level. (Whereas the United States, with its huge population, the ObamaCare will be administered at the federal level.)

Each province of Canada has its own version of "Medicare-for-all." In British Columbia, every individual (whose annual income is $28,000 or greater) must pay a flat-tax premium of $57.00 per month -- regardless of age. In Alberta, there is no premium, but merely a progressive tax based solely on income -- again no discrimination based on age. (Under ObamaCare, the mandated insurance will allow insurance rates to be three times higher for the 50's + age group versus the 20's age group.)

In all the provinces of Canada, the "Medicare-for-all" covers for basic healthcare, routine doctor visits and  emergency care. It does not cover optional procedures (like plastic surgery) nor does it cover prescription drugs (except for seniors, who do get drug coverage.) But employers often provide supplemental insurance. These employer-provided plans are often "Cadillac plans," where they can include things like massage therapy and fitness clubs.

Via my interviews with many Canadian citizens, medical clinics for "emergency care" tend to get overcrowded with young families having only minor ailments (like the common cold). Waits in Ontario can last for 3 to 6 hours.

Primary care doctors and surgeons (covered under the government) are forbidden to privately contract with patients. In other words, patients are not allowed to pay those doctors for personal care.

For things like hip-replacement surgery, it may be a wait of several months. But wealthier Canadians often travel to the United States or to Europe to privately contract with a hospital and pay cash out-of-pocket ... to "jump the line" and get instant surgery. (But doing that inside Canada would be strictly forbidden.)

When ObamaCare gets fully implemented in the United States, healthcare would become two-tiered. The U.S. citizens would be stuck in overcrowded waiting rooms; healthcare will be rationed -- especially for seniors. But the ruling class elites will be able to "jump the line" by traveling to Panama or Costa Rica for first-class healthcare down there. Whereas swelling numbers of ordinary Americans will be stuck in the U.S.A. within the Medicaid ghetto.

But ObamaCare will be worse than Canadian care, in that the 50's + age group would be discriminated by their age via the higher "tax" they'd be forced to pay (otherwise known as an insurance premium.) This reduces the saving potential for that age group as they approach retirement. They'd be trapped in poverty.

Whether it's Canadian healthcare, ObamaCare, RomneyCare or Medicare ... they all are based on the model of  "Third-party Payer." The ordinary citizen does not have an incentive to economize. Whereas the healthcare monopolies become hooked to this arrangement of easy profit, guaranteed by the government.

Under ObamaCare (and because of the "certificate of need" regulations), hospitals are going to be "too-big-to-fail" ... just like AIG and the investment banks of Wall Street. This will be horrible for the healthcare consumer. Welcome to our future nightmare.