The Black Blood of Modernity

About ten years ago I was having a conversation with a friend about climate change. (I think we called it global warming at that time). I concluded that if warming was happening by natural causes, there was nothing we could do about it. So humans would have to adapt through artificial means. If warming was man-made, there’s also nothing we can do about it because the world runs on fossil fuels. And the world’s infrastructure is set up for them and them alone. So again, humans would have to adapt through artificial means. In other words, there is no plan of attack regardless of the cause so why worry about it. Why even investigate it. It’s coming, so just deal with it. And so I never bothered to figure it out.

But then the term “Peak Oil” was brought to my attention and I was forced to realize that even if man was causing global warming and had a magic solution to stop it, we still had a bigger problem coming.

People usually think of fossil fuels in terms of energy and emissions. Our fossil fuel infrastructure is more than transportation. It’s cooking, lighting, heating, cooling, communications. It’s also plastics. Without oil, there are no plastics. Or synthetic rubber. Or asphalt. Or medicine. Or some fabrics and foods. There’s no pesticides in some cases too. No solar, wind or tidal power will replace that.

Talking just in terms of energy/fuel, it takes decades, maybe fifty-plus years for energy infrastructures to become large enough to make the switch from one energy source to another. From railroad to diesel/gasoline vehicles to the future, change is slow. So even if we had the technology in renewables that gave us the same bang for our buck as fossil fuels do, we simply have no established grid or delivery system.

But energy/fuel aside, nothing can replace what oil gives us in the non-energy/fuel items listed above. So even if we started the major social and tech commitment to change from one energy source to another, we’d still need oil for everything else. Even if we had affordable electric cars, oil still makes up the seats, dashboards and panelling, tires, lubricants, and more. Even if we had solar powered homes, our televisions, computers, radios, foods, medicine, furniture…all oil dependant.

Oil drives just about everything we do. And by all accounts, the easy to get at reserves are either gone or just about gone ∗. Even if there was no climate change or global warmingness, the looming loss of easy oil is coming and the cost of everything is going to escalate as we approach it. Harder to get at oil means more costly means to get at it and the costs get passed down. And oil is a finite resource. Unlike wind and solar, when a well drys up, it’s gone. So some day, I have no idea when, but some day, the human race will have to learn to live without oil. And considering what we’ve just covered above, that is going to be real hard.

But until then, the world will continue to burn fossil fuels as if that time isn’t approaching. The globe will continue to suffer from the pollution that comes with it and things will get more costly. There’s nothing anyone is going to do to stop it. I’m sorry to tell you this. But no government policy, programming, marching, protesting, conferences, tweeting or otherwise is going to change the world’s need and use of oil (and other fossil fuels). And even if the United States government had the magic policy, that only goes for my country. It doesn’t apply to China or India, two of the world’s fastest developers and consumers of natural resources. One country’s policies do not apply to anyone else. This is a world issue, not a country issue. Pollution of fossil fuels will continue and costs of maintaining our civilization from the wonders of oil will rise.

The only change you can make is one for yourself.

This brings me full circle to the top of this essay: Nothing is going to change about our need for oil and other fossil fuels so it’s time to adapt. Here’s some recommendations regarding adaptation.

Unless I have to drive a car, I walk where I need to go. Or I bike. In good weather, longer trips are easier. I also started gardening about ten years ago. Learning how food grows and how to prepare it is a great skill. I also fish. Teach others to do so, it’s good for them. I also spend more time reading and writing than having electronics on (although music is usually playing in some corner somewhere). And instead of the obligatory hotel on vacations, my wife and I have used camp grounds on several occasions. Nothing like learning to put up a tent, make a fire, and all that comes with it. And for god’s sake, learn to use a firearm if you can. It’s a tool, a good tool that can be used for defense as well as hunting for food. I recommend doing as much local as possible. Not only are you supporting people in your own community, you’re learning to live with what is around you.

I’m not talking about living off the grid in a cave somewhere although you’re welcome to do that. I’m simply talking about adding any and all self-reliant tools to your life-skill tool belt. I’m talking about having skills for times when modernity is not available. Practice now what your descendants will need later.

We live in a “just in time” community. That means, the grocery store shelves are stocked just in time. The gas stations are replenished, just in time. In August 2003, we got something of a test run on what would happen if we lost power on a wide scale for a lengthy time. The electrical grid went down from New York to Michigan. It lasted several days. What if it lasted several weeks? The stores and gas stations would be empty. What would you do if you had no supplies or means to travel? Having some of the skills mentioned above would come in handy.

But what if it turns out the center of the Earth is a creamy, gooey gob of infinite oil and the planet wasn’t warming? So what, you’re not wasting your time by doing anything that makes you more self-reliant. You’d at least be ready come temporary energy outages. What else are you going to do, watch more reality tv? Reality is passing by while you watch that garbage. Go out and live your own reality.

∗ The study of oil reserves and when we will start drying up (sometimes called Peak Oil) has a nice summary here.

 

 

Islam: The Third and Troubling Child

It’s no secret, I think all religion, being a practice on faith rather than reason, is a poor life style. However, current events demonstrate there is only one deserving special attention if not out right combat for hearts and minds. That is Islam.

I’ve addressed my concerns herehere and here. And here. This short piece is a reminder in light of current events that it’s still a generational battle. The question is, why does this seem to only come from Islam and not its older siblings of Judeo-Christianity?

Let’s spell some things out.

Judaism, as told in the Tanakh, justified through mythological origins a piece of land known as Israel for the Hebrews. No more, no less. Despite the tales of conquest of the land by Moses, Joshua, etc, these are not historical. Therefore, unlike Islam, there never was a time of conquering armies for the Jewish people. At most, they’ve been the most oppressed. And all Israel wants today is Israel. Not the world.

Christianity did one better. The first Christians did their best to separate from society. Their secrecy is what got them into trouble with Rome. Romans 13 tells them to not interfere with existing government. And in the very first gospel the other three copied from, Mark 12:17 has Jesus saying, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” So Christianity started as non-combative, non-interfering in the lives of others, despite what happened centuries later. They didn’t even want land. Their souls and bodies were enough.

Islam, however, began as a political philosophy that Muhammad could not convince people to follow. And therefore, started forcing it at the point of the sword from Saudi Arabia all the way to Spain. Read the damn Qur’an already. It’s impossible to miss the orders to kill any non-Muslim, conquer the lands of others, etc. Until you understand what Islam is, you’re doomed to be its victim.

So while it is worthwhile to draw attention to the lack of logic in religion in general, Islam is the one that needs our most attention today.

ISIS isn’t a deviation. ISIS is it.

Read the damn Qur’an to understand what the civilized world is up against.

Interview with Congressman Barry Loudermilk on WBHF – March 16, 2017

ICYMI: Here is my interview with Congressman Barry Loudermilk from Georgia’s 11th congressional district. We discussed President Trump’s revised travel ban and a Hawaiian judge blocking it. We discussed the proposed budget and numerous cuts to agencies. We also covered a bill being pushed through Congress to shorten the time it takes to fire a federal employee. We wrapped up the discussion talking about the hyper-partisan climate that currently exists in Washington, D.C.

 

The Great Drug War Wall

On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued the executive order that authorized the construction of the Great Wall of America. Expected to run about the length of one-thousand-three-hundred miles, costing anywhere from sixteen to twenty-six billion dollars to build, seven-hundred-fifty-million a year to maintain and taking four or twenty years to build, * it looks like he’s sure keeping his biggest promise: To keep out the worst of the Mexicans, those drug traffickers and gangs. He’s also pretty much included the people who come here to do the jobs Americans won’t do but, his biggest concern and broken record speech is mainly centered on drug traffickers and gangs.

We could examine the effectiveness of the Wall by comparing it to the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, etc. But the fact is, we only need look at the six-hundred-fifty feet of already existing wall and fencing to see it does not work. People wanting to cross borders will find a way. In fact, recently someone pointed me to the use of good old fashion trebuchets to send drug packages over existing fencing.

A Wall is thousands-year old technology going against the ever clever human being. It’s like never upgrading the mouse trap beyond a cup and string; yet mice have evolved into the space age. Although, you don’t even need to be that sophisticated. Just using thousand-year old tech can defeat a wall. Exhibit back to the use of trebuchets. Oh and a ladder.

There’s a better solution to keep out drug traffickers and the gangs that roll with them:

End the Drug War.

We learned from 1920 to 1933 what happens when you take a perfectly legal product and make it illegal. The War on Alcohol gave us Al Capone, gunfights in the streets (with assault weapons, oh my!), police and judge corruption if only to partake in a little brandy from time to time. We got premarture deaths and injuries from poisonous bathtub gin. It was such a failure that by 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st.

But unlike the prohibition of alcohol which was conducted through amending the Constitution, the War on Drugs has been all legislation. The first big one was the Harrison Narcotics Tax of 1914 which regulated opiates and coca. And the noose just got tighter ever since, including more substances and offering tougher penalities for not only trafficking but use.

So it’s been over one-hundred years for this drug war and we haven’t learned the lesson that we should have with just thirteen-years of alcohol prohibition.

Because alcohol is legal, we no longer see gangs causing violence in the streets for sales and territory. When was the last time you saw Labatts and Budweiser have a tommy gun shoot out in your neighborhood?

If we end the prohibition of drugs currently listed as illegal, we will take the profits out of the illegal drug trade. Drugs wouldn’t be cut with “filler”, making them more dangerous t user’s health like bathtub gin once did. All drugs could be treated as we treat alcohol today.

And that means no need for Trump’s Wall to keep out drug traffickers who no longer exist. I mean, really, when is the last time a group of smugglers were caught crossing into Arizona with a case of Corona and arrested? Maybe 1925 when it rolled out for the first time?

We have to ask ourselves, do we want to treat drugs as a health issue? Or criminal? The years of treating it criminally have failed, made enemies with neighbors, caused injuries and death, corrupted law enforcement and so on. Ending the War on Drugs will not only find us Americans no longer needing a Wall, but maybe on better terms with Mexico in the long run.

* Figures bounce dramatically depending on what source you review. One thing I’m certain of, however, is that with any government project, not only won’t it work. But it will cost millions/billions more than projected.

Take the Outsider Test

Through the Obama years, Democrats had no problem with his pen and phone approach. If he couldn’t get it his way with GOP support, he was determined to go it alone. And while he was doing this, there was zero opposition from members of his team. But now that Trump is in power and the GOP hold most of the cards in Congress, the Democrats are going nuts over Trump’s pen and phone approach. What gives?  He’s doing the same thing Obama was doing. It’s been real interesting seeing Democrats (and socialists alike) suddenly in favor of state’s rights and limited government.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republicans made Hillary Clinton’s private email server the issue to go after her on. Commercials and talks about how she put American security at risk dwarfed just about everything else bad about Clinton. And the Democrats, in fact Clinton’s biggest rival, Bernie Sanders, declared they were done hearing about her damn emails. But now Trump is in office. And Trump has a lot of smoke related to ties with Russia, both financially and politically. And the GOP has decided it doesn’t care to hear anymore about Trump’s damn ties while the Democrats are now up in arms about security. Again, what gives?

In both cases we have the same problems. In our first discussion, we have authoritarian power. In our second, we have American security. And what we find is that the party of the guilty looks the other way as long as they’re of the same party. Only the opposition complains. So it’s not about authoritarianism or security. It’s about who has the ball.

This starts a dark road into tribalism where facts and decency don’t matter. So before we get there (even if we probably already are), it’s time for everyone to take the Outsider Test.

John W. Loftus, once a practicing ordained minister and student of none other than William C. Craig, is now an atheist, challenging others once like him to examine the Christian faith. In March 2013, his book, “The Outsider Test For Faith” was published. The subtitle is, “How to Know Which Religion is True.” The premise of the book goes back to David Hume as Hume used the same kind of argument against Islam and Catholicism. But it’s Loftus who wraps up the test perfectly.

The test is simple: Critique your religion as if you were not part of it. Then see if it holds up. You should ponder on your beliefs and consider what someone outside your religion thinks of them.

The Outsider Test doesn’t have to be with just religion. I believe both major political parties in the United States need to take the Outsider Test.

What if during the presidential campaign, the roles of Trump were reversed with Clinton. What if it was Clinton who was encouraging more leaks from the GOP and encouraging Russia to hack Trump’s email? What if it was Clinton who fawned over Putin? What if Clinton refused to release her tax returns? What if Clinton’s choice of National Security Advisor quickly resigned over contacts with Russia during the campaign?

I can tell you exactly what would happen. The reverse of what is happening today. It would be the GOP going after her, calling for an investigation and the Democrats would be ignoring it. How do I know? Because the GOP went after Clinton on her emails, calling out FBI Director Comey for claiming she engaged in no wilful crime, for Clinton’s husband meeting on the tarmac with Attorney General, Loretta Lynch shortly before Comey said there was nothing to see here.

Both parties, all parties, all peoples of these parties are descending into tribalism. And might I add, when their own side engages in what they’d hate from the other side, there’s been a lot of special pleading going on. The best approach is to be as consistent as possible.

Ask yourself, would you be okay if the other side was doing such and such? If you answer “yes”, then sit back, relax, you’re being consistent. But if you say “no”, it’s time to take the Outsider Test.

A few years ago, here and here, I called on members of my own political leanings to point out some areas needing improvement. It is more important to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help others. I think this very simple test does the trick. The question is, are you good enough to accept the results?

Morning interview with US Congressman Barry Loudermilk

I got a chance to catch up with one of our local representatives today on Bartow’s Morning News. 11th Congressional district representative Barry Loudermilk joined us from D.C. to talk about several current items being discussed in our nation. We discussed President Trump’s order to make the transgender bathroom issue a states-rights issue and not a federal one. We also discussed the protection of the press under the first amendment, about the press choosing sides and dishonesty in general. Additionally, the topic of immigration law was discussed and that Congress has not passed any new laws, the Administration is only enforcing existing law and working on immigration reform.

Executive Disorder

First things first, read the entire Executive Order. Then come back. I’ll wait.

Done? No you’re not. Read it first please.

* Flips through Cabela’s catalog, looks for fly-fishing classes *

* Gets diverted to the muskets. Always wanted a musket *

Done? You sure? Okay, here we go:

The Executive Order PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES justifies itself three times on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. And yet, the seven countries it puts a ninety-day stop on had nothing to do with that attack.

The seven countries affected by the Executive Order are Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And yet, the nineteen hijackers on September 11, 2001 came from Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and primarily from Saudi Arabia. So I’m confused here. It’s like 2002 all over again. Members from al-Qaeda strike us from orders out of Afghanistan, we strike Afghanistan but then the Bush Administration goes after Iraq.

The only reason I can think of why the four countries with nationals who were part of the September 11, 2001 attacks were left off the list is because oil and business and more business. If I am correct, then this Executive Order is not about protecting America at all. It’s about…something else.

Before we speculate that, let’s look at the primary reason for the protests and uproar.

Paragraph three under Section 1 reads: In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation. (emphasis added).

This is referring to tenets of Islam some Muslims engage in. Here, the Order is clearly talking about Muslims, not Jains, Mormons, Buddhists, etc. (As my partner here, Alan J. Sanders, at Freedom Cocktail noted while reviewing a draft of this essay, the use of the word “should” does not mean “must” or “shall”. Being a legal document, without any more information, we can’t be entirely sure if the should is a shall). In any case, the listed “acts of bigotry” appear to be applying to Muslims, especially since no other religion practices honor killings. We now proceed on to Sec 5 (b) for clarification that this is, indeed, an executive order primarily lodged against Muslims.

Section 5 (b) reads: Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. (emphasis added) Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.

Islam is the majority in the countries identified. So when they say, religious minorities, they’re talking about Christian and otherwise. But the fact is, it is Muslims who primarily become victims from other Muslims. Finally, this may go against the Establishment Clause. Lawyers can work on this.

The third section that was bringing people to protest at airports was the following:

Section 3 (c) reads: (c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas). (emphasis added).

Immigrants (which include Green Card holders, legal permanent residents) are included in the ninety-day stay. This means legal residents who were out of the country when the Order went into effect couldn’t return to the United States for at least three months and then jump through whatever other hurdles were imposed. Just to get back home legally!

The preference for non-Muslims and docking legal residents (immigrants) are the major problem with this executive order. Besides my reading of the document, Donald Trump said the intent of this was to prioritize Christian refugees. Have a look. He does note that many people of all types have been harmed. But he puts more victimhood on Christians.

Is it a Muslim ban? Remarks by Rudy Giuliani seem to say so. In an interview on January 29, 2017, he noted that Trump approached him to put together a Muslim Ban and to do so legally. Those are Giuliani’s words. Sure, he did later say in the same interview that the ban wasn’t based on religion but “danger”. Okay, fair enough, but now we’re back to asking why Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and especially Saudi Arabia are not included?

Let’s also not forget that Trump ran his campaign on a platform for a year calling for a “complete ban” on Muslim entering the country. Is this just a watered down order?

This Executive Order is, indeed, saying at least, if you’re a Muslim from these particular seven countries, you’ll have to sit at the back of the bus.

But back to the four Muslim countries with nationals involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks not being included. Nor were the many other Muslim majority countries. So what gives?

Maybe the answer is in Trump’s tax returns? Maybe it’s oil? Maybe tourism? Maybe anything? I don’t know. Possible combination?

What about Pakistan? Members of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, have been known to be al-Qaeda sympathizers. That country has been a wobbly ally since the Soviet Union / Afghanistan war.

Maybe being a United States ally is a reason?

In any case, I can’t take this Executive Order seriously as a means of protection for Americans when zero acts of terrorism have come from the listed seven but not the four that actually spawned September 11, 2001 terrorists. And, since it’s primarily aimed at making it more difficult for Muslims that come from countries that have no strong business ties to Trump and/or the United States, it’s terribly insulting to this American to try to claim otherwise.

I suggest more reading on the subject. Here, the Atlantic declared it was a Muslim Ban. It’s a fine analysis.

  • I was considering commenting on Trump’s claim that Obama did a similar thing in 2011 but have chosen not to. First, we cannot change history. Secondly and most importantly, just because your predecessor does it doesn’t mean it’s right. And finally, if you want, here’s an article that says more than I could about it.

Is it really about 5 million illegal votes cast?

mustshowidtovote

Well, now he’s done it!

First spokesperson Sean Spicer brought up a comment in a White House presser about a concern over voter fraud and the press corps jumped on it. At one point, Spicer revealed that President Trump felt it could have been 3 million illegal votes cast in the last Presidential election. Then it turned into 5 million. All of a sudden, the press pushed him to provide evidence and asked if the President was going to launch an investigation. He stammered and shuffled his feet and said something to the effect that there were more pressing issues for the President to face in his first days in office.

An incredulous press pushed, stating that if there were millions of illegal votes cast, it would be one of the biggest stories in the nation’s history. Though the mainstream media is never short on hyperbole, they did have a point and Sean Spicer could only reiterate that President Trump was focused on other things.

trumptweetonvoterfraudWell…we didn’t even go 24 hours before a tweet was issued from President Donald Trump. He tweeted out that he would be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those trumptweetonvoterfraud2registered to vote who
are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures. (I put that last in italics for my own emphasis and to draw your attention to it. Keep those words in the back of your mind for a moment.)

Enter the next news cycle with talking heads and news media outlets jumping into the discussion, almost all in a negative way. Local news outlets in my state of Georgia ran it as a lead story, having interviewed the Secretary of State and others who assured citizens that incidents of any allegations of voter fraud are so minuscule, they barely warrant a mention. We were assured that the handful of incidents reported were all taken seriously and found to be, with the exception of 5 or 6 cases, non-existent.

It’s all much ado about nothing! So why would Trump be saying something so stupid?

Because Donald Trump does not seem to do anything on a whim — or if he does, he has an amazing, unconscious ability to pick the word, phrase or action that contains far more depth and meaning than what appears on the surface. Listening to each news cycle tout that the state of Georgia has almost no voter fraud made me realize, this was President Trump’s point. Why? Because the state of Georgia has one of the toughest voter photo ID laws in the country. It has been challenged and every time, those arguments are shot down by the supreme court.

But, Georgia is one of only 16 states that require a photo ID to cast a ballot. An additional 15 states accept non-photo ID, but there is a lot of discussion over how valid that option really is in preventing fraud. 38% of states, or the remaining 19, require no ID whatsoever, including the huge population (and electoral) centers of California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania — all of them democrat since Ronald Regan until Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016.  And the 19 states (plus D.C.) that do not require any form of voter identification at all accounts for 228 electoral votes. That puts you just 42 electoral votes shy of what is needed to win the presidency.

voteridsbystate

There are only 8 states with strict photo ID laws, followed by 8 states with non-strict photo ID laws to create the 16 states who look for a picture ID. There are 3 states that are considered to have strict non-photo voter ID laws. The remaining 12 states have non-strict, non-photo ID laws.

The message is clear. Whether or not there is wide-spread (in the millions) of illegal votes being cast in the country is secondary to the agenda I believe Donald Trump is trying to pursue — strict photo ID laws in all 50 states. All it will take is for a statistically significant number of irregularities to present themselves, especially in the no ID required states as compared to the strict photo ID states, and that’s all it will take to tip the balance.

So, keep running the headlines in Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Virginia, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana and Vermont about how insignificant the instance of voter fraud is. Thanks to Jill Stein’s attempts at forcing a recount, we already know there were some serious irregularities in many of the voting precincts in Wayne County, Michigan. Before the recount was halted, 37% of those precincts tabulated more ballots than the number of voters tallied by workers in the poll books. Who knows what the final numbers would have been if the recount had been allowed to continue? And Michigan is one of the non-strict photo ID law states. Imagine what may lurk in the 19 states with absolutely no voter ID requirements whatsoever?

Will we find 3-5 million illegal votes? Who knows? But, if there is enough of a discrepancy in those states with weak to no voter ID laws, well, as President Trump tweeted, there will be a push to strengthen up voting procedures.

He may have the mainstream media fixed on the wild allegation thrown out by both Sean Spicer and him, but there is something bigger at play than a number. Maybe we should all be paying a little more attention to what he continues to reveal in his tweets. He seems to be keeping his word on a lot of what he’s been saying over the last 18 months.

 

Interview with Kathleen Saucier

It was my pleasure to interview Kathleen Saucier, the mother of imprisoned sailor, Kristian Saucier, who was sent to jail for a year for having six pictures/selfies on his cell phone that were considered confidential. Even though there is no evidence that Kristian transmitted pictures anywhere and was only doing what so many of us do with our phones, he’s in jail while Hillary Clinton is still walking free after causing far more harm with her private email server containing hundreds of classified emails, all the way up TS: SAP.

Our out-going Commander-in-Chief has pardoned or commuted a record number of felony convictions while in office, but he refuses to address the obvious double-standard surrounding this particular case. Perhaps, with enough awareness and sharing their story on social media, President-elect Trump will once again be asked to clean up yet another steamy pile left behind.

 

Let’s Talk Health Care

Let’s talk about health care. First, some things I won’t do. First, I will not invoke the Constitution. Second, I won’t debate whether it’s a Right or not. These two items alone have caused more weeds in the discussion than results. I won’t do any of these things because regardless of where you fall using these methods, they don’t solve the problem. The problem is that health care is expensive and everyone wants to be able to afford it. So instead of fighting for making it a Right or defending whether or not it’s Constitutional, what we should be doing is discussing how to make health care affordable. So that’s what we’re going to do.

So let’s talk about health care. It’s a hot topic and rightly should be. Everyone wants to be free from illness and the stress that comes with it. According to this Gallup Poll, it’s the second biggest thing in terms of importance. Sure said poll is over a decade old but I’m going to make an educated guess it would be the same today. At any rate, it rightly should be at the top of everyone’s list on most important matters in life. So why isn’t it?

According to this report from Marketwatch, Americans are spending more on eating out, getting new cars and entertainment than health care. In fact, more than double. I’m sure these numbers fluctuate over time but let’s understand something. If Americans spent less time being entertained, more time cooking at home and maybe scaled down on the need for new cars, I’m betting that money alone would pay for a health care insurance plan.

I noted in a previous post (which I’d encourage reading again even though it was posted before the Affordable Care Act became law) I noted first, that government was responsible for the high costs of health care. Second, I noted that many people, even those considered “poor”, have cell phones and cable television. Even a basic cable plan and an iPhone with a data plan totals today about $150.00 or more. Do you need cable television? Nope (I don’t have it). Do you need an iPhone? Nope. It’s nice to have these things and you can have a smart phone. Just scale down the unnecessary big channel and data plans. I’m betting all that data is being blown on social media, YouTube, Netflix…in essence, entertainment.

Now what else are Americans spending money on? America gets teased because it’s a consumer nation. We want big toys. A friend of mine once remarked, “America. We want big cars, big houses. Big boats and big plates with lots of food. We want big televisions and computers. We want big everything. Except for our bodies.” But it’s precisely because of our consumer nation that we have big bodies. And what do big bodies get? That’s right, health problems. Being over weight brings health problems and more needs for doctor visits and medications and…

Here’s my point. Americans have the money. They’re just putting it into things that are not important and quite frankly, causing health problems. America, you could afford health insurance before the ACA, you were and continue to spend your money on unnecessary things.

I’m convinced we could reduce the cost of health care if we got government completely out of health care. Everything I noted above that Americans afford are for the most part, not regulated to death by the government (except cars). Certainly no where near how the health care industry is regulated.

Let’s concentrate a moment on cell phones to see how to solve this.

Even the cheapest of today’s smart phones have more computing power than all the computers that sent man to the moon in 1969. And yet, when I wanted one, my cell phone company pretty much gave it to me in exchange for a monthly service plan. I had a choice of services to add or remove from the plan. I had/have choices. I only pay for what I want. Why doesn’t the health care system work like cell phone companies?

What if you could walk into a doctor’s office or hospital and say, “I’d like a health care plan.” And then someone comes out with a catalog of things you could buy. And on a monthly basis, you would pay for them. It could work something like car insurance. You buy based on your risk assessment.

Of course, the question always arises. What if you plan poorly and you get hit with something you did not foresee? Well, maybe the hospitals could have an “Act of God” option. Pay an extra $10 a month for it.

I don’t have all the answers. And maybe my suggestion would suck. Could it be any worse than what we have now? Couldn’t we try it and if it doesn’t work, we just go back. Right?

Let’s massage this out. Let’s keep looking for more ideas and less “But the Guberment gotta do something.” Let’s be more creative. Continue the discussion in the comments section or on social media.