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  • Payback's a you-know-what.

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    On President Obama using recess appointments (as Geo. W. Bush frequently did) to bypass a Republican party whose stated goal is to obstruct everything this president does - good of the country be damned - Senator and presidential election runner-up John McCain said: "Once again the administration showed that it had little respect for the time honored constitutional roles and procedures of Congress," said Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. "This is clear payback by the administration to organized labor."

    Payback?  Let's refresh our memories about what Senator McCain said after the passage of health insurance reform just last week: "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," Senator John Mcain said during an interview with The Hill. "[The Democrats] have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

    Gee, that "no cooperation" threat (which apparently they've been carrying out since January 2009) kinda sorta sounds like "payback."  Is there anyone who still thinks a short-fused child like McCain and a fringe-element headcase like Sarah Palin in the White House was a good idea?  I guarantee you we'd have invaded some other country by now that looked at one of them wrong.

  • We Have Met Big Brother, And It Is Us

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Imagine a system in which everybody born today gets their very first email address issued, like a Social Security number.  And from the moment that person goes online and begins interacting with the online world, all sort of information are being gathered and associated with that email address.  And in so doing that person, at a very early age, begins unconsciously creating an immense, intimately detailed profile of themselves - every email they've read or sent, every link they've clicked on late in the night when no one else was around.  Whomever had access to the profiles of others would know things about these people, things their closest friends and family would never suspect.

    When all these data are analyzed and scrutinized, patterns would emerge, personality types.  Perhaps who fall into patterns that are associated with criminals and deviants, perhaps they'll get a little extra attention from the law figuring this person is probably going to do something sooner or later.  Kinda "Minority Report-ish" I guess, and I'm sure I can't be the first person who's considered this, I was just thinking about it as I drove in to work.

  • A Step In The Right Direction

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    On the Jay Morris show today Jay and I debated the passage of the health insurance reform bill and what it means for America.

    Sean and Jay discuss the health insurance reform bill.

  • If You Oppose a Public Option, Here's Why

    Posted by Sean Patrick

     

    I have never advocated for a government takeover of health care.  In fact, "government takeover" is part of the propaganda campaign by the PHICs (profit-driven health ins cos) to create false visions of Big Brother and play upon people's fears and emotions - because they cannot win the argument on its merits.  Calling a public option a government takeover of healthcare is an outright falsehood - it is calling an apple an orange.  

     

    A public option is something to keep PHICs honest, something they have shown themselves to be no better at than Enron, Lehman Bros and Toyota.  They are like a row of gas stations on the same block - ever notice how they all have the same price?  That's the "competition" among PHICs and the consumer - who must buy this if they want to llive - has no leverage.  It's one thing to make a profit because you build a better television, but a loved one - someone's son, daughter, father, mother - doesn't need a television to live.

     

    Is someone is unhappy with the service of the US Postal Service, they can pay a bit more to get a premium service such as FedEx or UPS.  The public option is for people who otherwise wouldn't have access to healthcare - if you want to pay a bit more to get something better, perhaps through your employer, then you're free to do so.  But if you suddenly lost your job and then a health emergency came up, you wouldn't have to live a life of bankruptcy if you survived.  And by paying more to get something "better," I mean you would actually get something "better."  Now that PHICs would have to deal with ACTUAL competition, something that does not presently exist beyond the theoretical in the real world, they would have to actually provide better service than the public option affords to entice customers.  Americans would actually have REAL choice.  Premiums would actually go down, and the companies that are run most efficiently - and more importantly - satisfy their customers would succeed.  Isn't that private innovation at its best?  Wrongful denials of claims to make profits - as they happen now - would become toxic and deadly to a company in this new, customer-driven system, and a company that practiced such a shameful tactic would soon be out of business.

     

    This is what PHICs are calling "government takeover of healthcare."  Oooo, sounds scary to say it like that, doesn't it?  Think perhaps they're being a tad disingenuous?  Maybe a little biased?  But take a moment to really consider what a public OPTION (ie, not to be confused with the opposite-meaning word "takeover") would do.

     

    Would profits at PHICs go down?  Probably.  Do I feel badly about that?  Would you mind seeing the profits of Middle-Eastern oil producers go down?   Wouldn't bother me.  I believe there are some things in life worth more than money.  Life itself should be worth more than money.  Many of these same politicians who balk at the cost of providing a healthcare safety net for the American people were climbing over each other to be the first ones to sign any blank check put before them to extend the Iraq War.  Why are they suddenly such penny-pinchers?  Because their campaigns to keep their jobs are funded in part by PHICs, who are frantically working behind the scenes to craft talking points like "government takeover" - and these words are very powerful.  The complicit politicians repeat the phrases, which become part of the news, and are repeated by the talking heads.  And that is how an influential minority, the PHICs, is able to manipulate the American people into opposing their own best interests.  And in so doing the PHICs continue to keep a knife to the throat of America, to use the ever-present threat of death to make a foul and unclean profit, and all along the way those they duped continue to profess this is essential to our American way of life.  I can only hope future generations are finally able to see through it.
  • I'm from Big Business and I'm here to help

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Let’s get government off our backs!  - Ronald Reagan

    Often I hear people complain that businesses are too heavily regulated, that government regulation is what keeps the US from being competitive with China, India and other developing nations.  How many times have we heard the tired argument about how if we just leave the free market to its own devices, everything will be just fine

    Yeah right.

    Every government oversight agency that exists does so because the free market has demonstrated time and again that given a choice between making a few pennies more and doing the right thing, it will come down on the side of greed.  For the true capitalist, there is no such thing as “enough” profit.

    If companies could be trusted to dispose of their waste responsibly so as not to pollute the land, air and water of our communities, we wouldn’t have to have an Environmental Protection Agency.  But alas, companies have shown themselves all too willing to dump their filth wherever they can get away with to maximize their profits rather than responsibly disposing of their poisons.  Perhaps the best example of this was the voluntary “self-regulation” then-Governor George W. Bush allowed for air polluters in Texas.  Texas quickly became the state with the worst air quality in the union.  Get government off our backs indeed.

    If businesses could be trusted to do right by their employees and provide a safe working  environment and make provisions for employees who are injured on the job, we wouldn’t have to have an Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  But of course, they cannot be trusted to do so on their own.

    If businesses could be trusted to keep their books fairly and honestly, we wouldn’t have to have a Securities and Exchange Commission.  But as excellently demonstrated by Enron, Lehman Bros. and others recently, they cannot be trusted to do so.  And now of course we are reaping the rewards of banking deregulation.

    So it is clear that unregulated capitalism makes no allowances for doing anything that would reduce profits – no matter what the human cost.  So when I hear those free-marketers painting a dire picture of Cap and Trade, you have to consider the source.  Let’s suppose Cap and Trade, reducing carbon emissions, wouldn’t be so bad after all – you don’t suppose they (and the politicians to whom they are so generous) would greatly and dramatically overstate the impact for fear they might make a few dollars less profit, do you?  Can they be trusted to give a fair and honest picture?  Of course not.  I hear people whining about it’s just NOT FAIR!!! (baby crying, child throwing tantrum) China and India aren’t curbing their pollution – why do WE have to!!??  (Everybody else is going to the party – why can’t Iiiiiiiii!  It’s just not fair!  Waaaah!).  Well Junior, China and India can go right ahead and pollute their air and water, and down the road when they can’t breathe or drink you’ll thank me.  If China and India jumped off a bridge, well, you know the rest of it.

    Using China and India’s failure to agree to greenhouse gas limitations as rationale for our not doing so is about as lame a cop-out as it gets.  Since when do we allow other countries to set the example, to dictate how America should act?  I’d like to believe that my America is still a leader in the world, still the country to set the example of how things should be done – and that’s not always the easy way.

  • Non-census

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    I got an "eUpdate" from the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce today.  In the upper-left corner of the update was a poll: "Do you plan to fill out the CENSUS 2010 form?"  The options were Yes, No and Undecided.

    If I am not mistaken, the law compels Americans to answer the Census.  So I guess the poll is really asking "Do you intend to break the law by refusing to answer the Census because you've bought into all the paranoid conspiracy garbage being spouted by a right-wing still bitter about losing the White House?"  Perhaps you can burn the Census form to power the stove in your underground bunker stocked with seeds, ammunition and gold (because for some reason when society collapses, gold will still have value - didn't know you could eat it).  

    I expect this kind of ranting nuttiness at a TEA bagger rally, but from the respected Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce?

  • Toothbrushes and snow - these are a few of my favorite things!

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Couple thoughts today...

    One, Nataliya got her and I some new toothbrushes - I don't know the brand name because there's nothing on the brushes themselves.  But this new brush has something I've never tried before - the back of the head, opposite the brush side- has a rough patch.  So when you're brushing the outside of your teeth the other side of the head is scrubbing the inside of your cheeks and mouth.  Brilliant!  What a fresh, clean-scrubbed feeling!  I mean, I took the toothbrush out of my mouth and marvelled that someone didn't think of this WAY before!  What a great idea!

    And also I was noticing all the melting snow as I was heading into work.  A smile spread across my face as I pondered the end of another Michigan winter, but then there was also a hint of sadness.  I thought back to the carefree days of childhood, when snow was a plaything, something to tunnel in, throw at each other and sled on.  My how times change...

  • Should Toyotas be pulled off the road?

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Seriously, think about it - These Toyotas are still taking off in traffic, the company doesn't seem to really know what's causing it and they haven't given any reassurances that it's going to stop anytime soon.  Regulators have blamed 52 deaths on speeding Toyotas - How many is acceptable?  Each day these cars are allowed to be on the road, driving next to you.  Is it unsafe?  Maybe.  But what's the alternative - tell millions of people they can't drive to work tomorrow?  Hmm, imagine the sales that would generate for other auto makers...

  • Religious flowcharts

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Just like the headline said, a couple terrific flowcharts I found online - enjoy!

    Science vs Faith Flowchart

    Which religion flowchart

  • Republicans doing a lousy job of shaking that whole "racism" thing

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Check out this slide accidentally left behind at the hotel after a Republican fundraising strategy meeting.  It's seldom we get such a candid, honest view into their motivations and their techniques for manipulating saps into opposing their own best interests.  That's how Republicans see their voters - simpletons to be lied to and fear-mongered into making the wealthiest wealthier.

    Republican fundraiser

  • Pole Position

    Posted by Sean Patrick

    Driving down Howard St on the way in to work today, I caught a glimpse of that GINORMOUS flagpole WMU has "erected" at Valley Street.  If I spent that much money for a GINORMOUS flagpole, I would also buy a GINORMOUS fan to put right underneath it and make sure that flag is always flying, loud n' proud!

    Western Michigan floagpole