We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, February 6. 2021
Bird Dog returns today from his sojurn in the Carribbean bath tub playing with a boat and rubber duckie. Back to his links Monday.
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The most heavily surveilled square footage in the world, but the citizens paying for it cannot get a report, or even a briefing, or even accountability. We still don't know how Officer Sicknik died, except that it appears it is unrelated to any injuries from the melee, because the autopsy shows he didn't have any.
We still don't know who murdered Ashley Babbit, although his identity is known, nor do we know the investigative conclusions or extenuating circumstances; we're simply told there 'will be no charges'. Is this related to the National Defense? No. National Security? That assertion is being used, but not explained. It's even being extended to predicate a purge of the military for 'extremists'. Our enemies are smiling, or at least their teeth are showing.
And since our government is modelling itself after Venezuela, let's reflect on that nation's oil plight. When you don't maintain or even use oil infrastructure, it crumbles. There is no re-starting it; the suspended solids in pipelines settle out and plug them; the lack of regular corrosion treatments and inspections render them obsolescent. Same for refineries, same for wells. Where Venezuela formerly could produce marketable products for pennies thanks to their extensive and fully-amortized infrastructure, it will all now need to be replaced. How expensive would it be? Because of this unhappy fact, much of their vast reserves of oil would be non-commercial at present prices.
Their pursuit of socialism has been successful: It has concentrated wealth and power in the hands of a few kleptocrats. Take a good hard look at Venezuela's state of affairs, as it applies to the population. We're headed in that direction now.
The articles over the past few days (The 30 Tyrants, the Time Magazine article on the secret cabal, and the Spiked story on the billionaire takeover, have told us now what happened from a few different perspectives. How do you fight a billionaire? Dunno.
The only thing I know is to organize to make your elected official's life miserable with simple messages: Clean up the voter rolls. Minimize vote by mail, making it available only to those with special needs. Demand transparency during vote counts; Demand identity verification of voters. Get the legislation in place before the next election. They will listen when you have organized enough voices to communicate by letter, email, and telephone.
Take it a step further: Go to legiscan.com and set up an account and learn how to use the site. This gives you access to each and every bill being worked on as they move through the system. The site is great - it will send you alerts when certain bills transition, and so forth.
Organize a group to review the bills, divide up the labor and brief each other - you'd be amazed at the crap they stack up in these things as they move through committees. Once you've read the bill, start haranguing your Congressmen to get the changes you want. MAKE THEM MISERABLE until they learn to respect your relative positions, until they understand that you are paying attention to what they are doing and are quite capable of making a stink about it. They are more vulnerable to this than you think, and some of them don't even read this stuff - it's prepared by special interest groups that have provided donations.
If you want real change, voting is not near enough, as we have just learned, the hard way. The Progressive side is organized and their financing appears to extend all the way to China. It will take a battle.
"...organize to make your elected official's life miserable" Well that's the problem isn't it? How are people in rural America going to force elected officials in Philly, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Atlanta to clean up their act?
You're already trying to make it so complicated it's doomed. Why would you want to influence any other state except your own? You're in no position to. Voting law is made at the state level, not the county or precinct level. How many states have blue cities and red suburbs? A whole lot, Texas included. Surely you don't think it's impossible to organize and get their attention? Political history over the past century shows: Grass roots programs work. Of course, it's easier to wring one's hands and despair.
As the grandparent of a baby born at 22 weeks, I am very conscious of the reality that had he been born anywhere other than Australia or the USA, he would have been snuffed, er excuse me, allowed to succumb. It's not that I don't understand why. His bill was $500,000 which would have provided a lot of care for less fortunate children. Today, he is a normal 16 year old; he doesn't even wear glasses. We are also acquainted with another child who was born with Pfieffer's syndrome, another devastating and expensive condition requiring periodic surgeries. How would she have been treated under socialized medicine? She is 16 year and lucky to have been born in America.
In addition, I have been in discussions with people concerning the financial distress of families who have a child with a rare government is going to magically provide genetic incurable disease. They actually believe that socialized medicine will take care of these children. It makes me think of baby Charlie.
I happen to fall into the camp that something needs to be done about healthcare, even if I don't know what. Just a reminder, health insurers pulled some pretty dirty tricks in the past. It also occurs to me that Europe didn't have much choice in the immediate aftermath of WWII.
With the exception of trauma, Medicine that makes an actual consistent difference in the treatment of disease has only been around for 30 to 80 years. When I was a kid there were a few vaccines, a few modestly effective antibiotics, topical antibiotics, digitalis and nitro, a primitive insulin, aspirin, opiates, and baking soda.... There wasn't that much that could be done regardless of status or income, you recovered on your own, or you didn't. At that point the REAL advances in health were as much a consequence of childhood VACCINES, potable water, public health and sanitation, adequate nutrition, and occupational safety.
That aside, consider the possibility that modern medicine is outstripping the ability of regular people to pay for it. Extreme preemies may have life long expensive complications, an aging population consuming drugs, not for a few years, but for decades, people who survive terrible accidents may need life long medical support, along with those who suffer brain injuries(strokes) or cancer. Yes, it is the paradox of modern medicine, the more medicine you have; the more you need. I don't necessarily have a solution and I don't think much of the ACA; I'm just pointing out that sometimes these outcomes have to be considered and addressed; it is not just a consequence of magical thinking.
Example a little girl in our area wound up a quadruple amputee due to a strep infection. Yes, it is a miracle that her life was saved, but the life long costs are mind boggling, even with the support of the community. See bellatucker.org.
I think the most effective way for the population to accomplish political change is to keep the message simple. Demanding price transparency (as Trump had planned) from medical providers is something that will have nearly ubiquitous support from all the people trying to navigate medical coverage - regardless of affiliation. Understanding the true cost of these services is the first, and the biggest step toward reforming commercial medicine, as well as private insurance.
We have numerous examples of socialized health care to compare our health care with. Canada has a socialized health care system that works 'OK' for minor things like broken legs or pneumonia. But if you have serious heart conditions or cancer it is a different story, long waits, even denial of service. But fortunetly Canada has a "pressure release valve" for their inadequate health care; the U.S. Many border cities in the U.S. routinely accept Canadian patients needing emergency operations like a bypass and even removal of appendix. My wife's Canadian grandfather at age 82 needed a quadruple bypass and was given two years to live if he didn't get the operation. But Canada doesn't have that kind of money to spend on 82 YO citizens and their health care is rationed. He was too proud to go to the U.S. for the operation so he passed away from his illness.
Another problem Canada (and may countries with socialized healthcare) has is that they tend to spend their healthcare budget in the first 9 months of the fiscal year and once the money is gone they shut the doors. Don't get serious trauma in that last quarter it's a killer.
#2: " In addition, I have been in discussions with people concerning the financial distress of families who have a child with
****a rare government*****
is going to magically provide genetic incurable disease. They actually believe that socialized medicine will take care of these children. It makes me think of baby Charlie." Exas, I think you left out a few words. I am not understanding what you meant.
Charlie Gard case and the heavy hand of the NHS
Thanks, Sam. Sorry, I was cutting and pasting.
It should be: In addition, I have been in discussions with people concerning the financial distress of families who have a child with a rare genetic incurable disease and believe that government is going to magically provide relief and treatment. That makes me think of baby Charlie.
I'll turn 75 this year. According to leftist thinking, my life will no longer be worth living, so I expect I'll be one of the ones rationed out of existence.
I turn 78 this year and we decided to "full time" RV. Sold the house, have a months worth of reservations in our usual places and after that it is discovery time. We have been doing it a month at a time for a few years and have discovered places we like to spend a week or so at and we are looking forward to finding more. Do it! Just do it. If you are unsure don't sell your home, but break free from the earthly bonds that tie you.
How Socialism Wiped Out Venezuela's Spectacular Oil Wealth
It didn't happen overnight. The (government-owned) PDVSA strike, an attempt to stop Hugo Chavez's attempt to take control of PDVSA, ended in February 2003. With the end of the strike, Chavez now had uncontested control of PDVSA.
Upon finding out that a PDVSA drilling rig had burned down in the summer of 2007, I e-mailed a petroleum professional of my acquaintance to find out what he knew about maintenance of equipment in PDVSA. He replied that he had made a number of inspection trips to Venezuela, and in the last year he had seen a decided deterioration in the maintenance of equipment.
Venezuela was still producing a lot of oil in 2007, but the decision taken in 2003 to take money previously targeted for maintenance and investment into "social programs" was already having an effect.
Chavez and his honchos believed that oil provided Venezuela with inexhaustible wealth. That was a widely shared belief in Venezuela. The Chavistas and the rest of Venezuela found out, to their chagrin, that the goose that lays the golden eggs is not immortal.
The link states that Maduro is seeking foreign investment in Venezuelan oil. Recall that in 2007, Chavez began confiscating the properties of foreign oil companies. Yet in 2004, Venezuela billed itself as a great place for oil companies to invest. March 2004:Statement of the Embassy of Venezuela Before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
PDVSA’s 2004-2009 business plan is both ambitious and realistic. The planUnfortunately, a "legal framework" means nothing under a regime that ignores that "legal framework" whenever it considers it convenient to do so.
calls for an increase in crude oil production capacity from the current 3.8 million barrels per day
to more than 5 million barrels per day by 2009. While this increase will be achieved principally
from substantial investments by PDVSA, there will also be sizable investments by foreign oil
companies – including U.S. companies – in Venezuela. Under the business plan, a total of $37
billion will be invested in the Venezuelan energy industry over the next five years. Foreign
companies will account for 26 percent of this total. PDVSA’s plans provide tremendous
business opportunities for U.S. companies. In addition, Venezuela has a legal framework in
place that allows for foreign participation up to 49 percent in upstream activities, 100 percent in
downstream activities, and 100 percent in natural gas projects.
There are already four multi-billion dollar projects that upgrade extra-heavy oil from theUntil we decide it is more beneficial for Venezuela to confiscate foreign investment that the Government of Venezuela had previously solicited.
Orinoco Belt into synthetic crude oil. U.S. companies including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips
and ChevronTexaco participate in these projects. Approximately 500,000 barrels per day
currently are produced from these projects, and most of these barrels are exported to U.S.
refineries. We welcome the involvement of U.S. companies in the Venezuelan energy industry
and believe it is beneficial to both countries.
In fact, we anticipate greater involvement by U.S. and other foreign companies in both
the Venezuelan oil and natural gas sectors in the future.
2004: Chavismo likes foreign investment in Venzuelan oil. From 2007 onward: Chavismo confiscates foreign oil investment. 2021: Chavismo - now Maduro- solicits foreign investment in Venezuelan oil. Any foreign oil company investing in Chavista Venezuela will take into account how Chavismo confiscated foreign investment in oil. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.