Warning: This blog is political in nature.

If you are sensitive to political commentary,
please go back to my main Random Thoughts blog.

If you like political discussion, you may also like my Political Positions blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Health care: Rationing required

President Obama now admits that his healthcare plan will require service rationing.

That is, only x number of y services can be performed in z period of time. That means that when you can now just go into your doctor and get, say, a mammogram done, you will instead need to sign up on a list.

In Canada, you generally have to wait 6-12 months for a mammogram, even if you have a lump. This person (second Google result for "canada mammogram wait") was 34 and had a lump; she could not get approved for a mammogram until she had an ultrasound, which itself a had 6-month wait. That's the difference between easy treatment with little or no side effects and go home and wait to die.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Regulatory reform: unnecessary and doesn't even do what it intends

Two major bills are currently being proposed. One is finance oversight regulation, the other is health care reform.

1: Finance oversight.

The major financial problems we've had over the last year was, and most people know this, due largely to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They encouraged, financed, and in many cases even required, lenders to make home loans to "underqualified buyers".

"Underqualified" means that the people couldn't afford them, like someone who makes $20k/year getting a $200k house. How could they even work that? Simple. Give them a low-interest, interest-only loan for the first five years. They don't have to pay on the $200k at all, only the 3% interest. They know that in five years they'll have to start paying principal too, and the interest will go to 9%. They pay $500/month for now. But in five years, that will go to $2028. Why would they even do that? They probably plan to either sell the house at a profit in five years, with a side thought of refinancing into a 30-year fixed at 6% ($1200/month) on an increased income. Problem is that housing values went down. They couldn't sell at a profit. They are "upside-down" in a house they couldn't afford. The bank should never have even lent to them. But Fannie Mae required that they make a certain number of these loans, or else risk losing access to financing sources.

The problem with the proposed legislation?

The new regulation DOES NOT APPLY TO FANNIE MAE OR FREDDIE MAC! AT ALL! The area that actually needs oversight doesn't get it!

2: Health care reform.

President Obama has pushed for this reform, in large part using General Motors as an example. The union "legacy costs", primarily health insurance, is too high, and has greatly contributed to their bankruptcy.

The problem with the proposed legislation? (Ignoring many other issues, like estimated costs of $1 trillion with no funding, and expectations that many employers will dump their current better insurance since the new stuff won't cost them anything...)

The new regulation grandfathers in the union plans! If you have a union, YOU CAN'T GET INTO THE NEW PLAN EVEN IF YOU WANT TO! The industries that need the reform most aren't allowed to use it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Transparent and Ethical Government as promised?

AmeriCorps is a public service organization under the Federal Government.

President Obama just fired the Inspector General of AmeriCorps. Why? He was "confused and disoriented". What's that mean? Is that like Joe Biden is everytime he speaks publicly? Or like Obama is everytime he doesn't have his teleprompter?

Obama sent notification to the Senate seven days after the firing. Part of the problem is that a law THAT OBAMA SIGNED requires 30-days advance notice is to be given to the Senate before starting procedures to fire any Inspector General. In other words, President Obama expressly broke the law, and a law he himself approved.

Why was Inspector General Walpin fired? Because the board of directors wanted him fired. Why did they want him fired? Because he had just investigated an organization for misuse of taxpayer funds provided by AmeriCorps. That organization, the St. HOPE Academy of Sacramento, was founded by an Obama supporter who used the $850,000 he got from AmeriCorp (for arts programs) for things like increasing salaries for his organization and personal car washes. After the investigation, While St. HOPE was not charged criminally, they agreed to repay half the grants.

In other words, Inspector General Walpin was doing his job, investigating misuse of taxpayer funds. But it turned out that those he was investigating supported Obama. And he was fired, without valid reason and directly contrary to the law.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moon / Space missions

OK, it's a toss-up, regular blog or political...

NASA has regular space missions. Some say they are useless. There's also the point that they're expensive in a time that we're having economic problems.

My thoughts?

First, on the economy, that's a valid point. My first thought was that we could delay missions for now until we can better afford them. Then I realized that large economies are built around these industries; if we shut them down, that would just cause more economic problems, albeit in specialized sectors. If it were planned properly, maybe, but we now have people and companies relying on these missions for their incomes and salaries.

Second, on the missions themselves:
Step it up! We should have manned stations on the moon by now. And civilian colonies on the moon. We've been visiting for FORTY YEARS! Why are we just playing with it? Most of the missions we're doing are with obsolete equipment. The only good these missions do is to enable scientific labs on the space station. Why have we not developed better propulsion systems? Better defensive systems? Antigravity systems?

It seems like our space administration is, like most in government, more interested in saving their own jobs than actually developing new tech and making new discoveries. How else can you explain our more advanced space tech being 20-year-old shuttles? If the problem is that they don't have sufficient funding, maybe they need to use the money more wisely. They're not getting anything done as it is. Maybe they, like many government agencies, are paying too much in too many salaries, and not on the research and equipment.

Bill for a specific purpose is only 80% for that purpose, and that's fine?!?

A bill to fund military operations includes $5 billion in lending to the International Monetary Fund, money that some expect will be lent to countries like Iran and North Korea. Money that will be borrowed (by us) largely from China, since we don't have it.

But the Democrat House Majority Leader, says that it's not a problem since 80% of the bill is still going to the military.

That's part of the problem. As long as over half of the funds of a bill go to the EXPRESS PURPOSE OF A BILL go to that purpose, the bill is "close enough" on target. That's why they have no problem with "pork". They are including in a bill $5 BILLION that is for something entirely different? I'm not even getting into the wrongness (or whatever) of what that money is for. If they want the money for IMF, put a bill through for that; don't tack it onto something else.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ahmadinejad Reelected?!?

So, Iran's "president" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the man often referred to as "Hitler in a head scarf", was reelected in a landslide, despite polling that showed him tied with the other candidate.

Who'd have thunk it?

On another note, there are people protesting the election results. If I were them, I'd stop - now. And either get out of Iran or distance myself from the protests, and quickly. Especially if they have families to think of. Because, one way or another, there probably won't be any of these protesters left in another month or so.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pay controls for everyone

The President's office has just announced pay "guidelines" that apply to all employees at all public companies. Not just financial companies, not just companies that accepted bailout funds. Everyone.

Do you expect executives for companies that have been growing and making lots of money will keep working hard when their pay is cut? Do you think they will work hard to keep as many jobs as they can? Will they work to keep costs down so they can keep wages high?

Why should they try to keep employee wages up if the government will mandate lower wages?

Do you work at a fast-food restaurant or big box store? Any job that could be considered entry-level? Do you want to have your pay changed to minimum wage?

This is un-Constitutional. There is no provision in the Constitution for government to get involved in regulating business. At all.

If the Federal government wants to tie wages to performance, let them start at home. Cut Congressional pay rates. Tie the President's pay to performance - as the economy dries up, let his pay dry up. Drop the excuses blaming everything on a guy who left office in January when you've effectively been in charge since last November. Try pay for performance there first before you mandate it on everyone else in the country and kill off what economy we still have.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Global Warming: Winds - a quick comment

It has just been noticed, with preliminary study results, that global wind speeds seem to be slowing.

This is inconsistent with "warming". It is also inconsistent with the dire warnings some have been screaming.

But it is consistent with a global "greenhouse" environment. The idea is not warming, but moderating. That means that while winters may be warmer, summers will be cooler. Winds will be lower because the temperature extremes are not as extreme. Weather storms, one of the major threats of global warming extremists, will actually reduce, because they are created by temperature extremes, both locally and globally.

Of course, all this is theory since no studies along these lines have been done. Studies of global warming have been done, and the earth has been seen to be cooling instead of warming over the last decade. But I suggest that the earth is moderating in true "global greenhouse" style. Think "global Hawaii". Moderate temperatures year-round. Weather storms will get milder and milder in general, though there will be exceptions. As long as politicians do not do anything extreme, since our interference in this natural process could cause problems.

The earth is generating large amounts of carbon dioxide. Not man, but natural processes. And the plants love it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Definitions: Racism and Sexism

Racism: The belief that one race/ethnicity is inherently superior to another.
Sexism: The belief that one gender is inherently superior to the other.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said that she believes a woman would make better decisions than a man, and that a Latina (a woman from a Spanish-heritage country) would make better decisions than a white man.

President Obama said he would hope that she would restate it given the chance. She did. She said effectively the same thing repeatedly over a number of years in a variety of situations.

So, you decide. Are these racist or sexist comments?

Do these statements have any place whatsoever coming from someone nominated to a position which is supposed to be "blind" and completely impartial to all circumstances in all decisions?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The President seeks to appease a religion?!?

Why does our President feel it necessary to appease a religion, to meet with leaders of that religion, fly to nations with majorities of that religion, and have long, extended speeches specifically to speak to members of that religion?

He flew to Egypt to speak to "the Muslim world". Not the Arab world, not the middle eastern world. The Muslim world. Did he fly to Italy to speak to "the Catholic world"? Did he fly to Israel to speak to "the Orthodox Jewish world"? Did he fly to Germany to speak to "the Lutheran world"? Did he fly to Japan to speak to "the Buddhist world"?

Then why select one specific religion to speak to? Repeatedly? And specifically to apologize to them? On two separate world tours?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GM Bankruptcy, review

I just saw in my post from April 30 that I thought GM's bankruptcy would get the government out of their management at last.


The US government now owns 60% of General Motors. (Or Government Motors, whatever.) And Canada gets 12.5%. The UAW (United Auto Workers union) gets 17.5%.

And the bondholders, the people who were originally guaranteed by bankruptcy law to get at least their principal back, those who didn't take risk, those who needed stable investments, like school, fire department and police department pension funds, will get the remaining 10%, mere pennies on the dollar.

Stockholders get zip. Preferred stockholders (retirees living on a fixed income from dividends) get zip. Common stockholders (holding them as they split and increase value over time) get zip.

GM Being Run by Inexperienced Dropout

GM is now being run by Brian Deese, a 31-year-old Yale drop-out.

He got his undergrad degree in Political Science from a small private school in Vermont, and has had no formal econonomics education. His only previous experience with the auto industry was sleeping in his car in a Pontiac plant parking lot.

He worked with several Democratic-financed think-tanks, and after the stint at Yale, went to Hilary Clinton's Presidential campaign as her economic advisor. When that folded, he went to the Obama campaign as deputy economic policy director, then with the transition team as an economic advisor. Then, despite having neither any economic or business education, nor any private-sector experience, he was the only full-time member of the auto task force between the election and mid-February.

He is now managing the government investment of $458,000 per day in GM. And that plant at which he slept in the parking lot? The entire brand is being closed under his management.

Reference for much of this, though I found it elsewhere citing this article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Abortion is murder. But murder is also murder.

Some over-zealous individual (or nutjob, or psycopath - I don't know his story) killed an abortion doctor Sunday morning.

Yes, I believe abortion is wrong. But murder is also wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right. And a wrong done for the right reasons is still wrong.

How should this have been handled? Since elective abortion is murder, the laws should reflect such and those who do elective abortions under such law should be found by the courts to be guilty of murder. (No, the law should not be retroactive, as no laws should be.) The law should then act and serve justice. If a murder is, for some reason, not legally considered such (whether unborn children as now, or members of unfavored ethnicities as in the past), then the law should be changed, not the enforcement of laws.

However, this individual who murdered the doctor finds himself in the same place he wished the doctor. The doctor is legally not guilty and the individual guilty. When these persons come before God for judgment, they will both be deemed guilty of the same crime.