Saturday, August 1, 2015

EXPAND MEDICARE TO REPEAL OBAMACARE?

In the August 1 WSJ, conservative Peggy Noonan (a spech writer for President Reagan) says she thinks Obamacare will gradually be replaced by expanding medicare.  What a surprise!  Is there a liberal out there that wouldn't love that?

A reason that conservatives have such a hard time coming up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare is that Obamacare IS the conservative health care plan.  It is not that liberals like the ACA, it is that it was the best plan that Democrats could get past.  There are DINOs in the Democratic Party (Democrats In Name Only) that had to be catered to.  So an attempt was made to appeal to DINOs and Republicans to vote for the plan.  Republicans voted against it and oppose it only because it was proposed by a Democratic administration.

An unusual feature of the ACA is that an attempt was made to PAY FOR IT.  Republicans don't like to pay for health care.  President Reagan, for example, instituted the plan where hospitals with emergency rooms had to take all comers whether they could pay for it or not.  But he left it up to the hospitals to find a way to pay for this service.  Ditto President Bush (Bush-43) with Medicare D, the prescription drug plan where no attempt was made to pay for it.  And Republicans seem to try to repeal all attempts to pay for Obamacare (e.g. the business mandate and the tax on artificial limbs and replacements).  It is a disappointment that Republicans, supposedly the party of fiscal responsibility are so irresponsible on health care.  It is as if Republicans don't want health care for the poor at all.  This is strange because the Republican Party has been taken over by Evangelicals.  They even criticize John Kasich, an evangelical with a small e, for accepting the Federal Medicaid money.  He believes that Christians need to take care of the less fortunate among us.  After all Poor and Poverty appear 446 times in the bible.*

* http://stopcontinentaldrift.blogspot.com/2014/03/poor-and-poverty-appear-446-times-in.html

Friday, July 24, 2015

LEAGUE OF NATIONS ALL OVER AGAIN?

The League of Nations for world peace was apparently the brain child of our president Woodrow Wilson, but in the end the United States didn't sign on, essentially killing the League of Nations.  As C. Northcote Parkinson has said (paraphrased) "Buildings for the League of Nations were finished in 1938 and so was the League of Nations."  I have used this phrase before that appears in his book "Parkinson's Law."*

There are complaints that the Iranian Nuclear-Inspections Agreement don't go far enough and should cover many more items of Iran's abuse.  Indeed I have covered this approach in item 7 of my Basics Of Bureaucracy title "Keep It Simple."**  Achieving bureaucratic things goes with a power law.  It is not twice as hard to achieve two things compared to one thing in one plan, it is 2squared times as hard, or 4 times as hard.  I believe it was right to approach only one matter in the negotiations. Even that proved to be nearly impossible.

* http://stopcontinentaldrift.blogspot.com/2011/07/basics-of-bureaucracy.html
This is not however, Parkinson's Law which states that work expands to fill the time available.  This saying is a favorite of mine used many times.  I have proposed a corollary that states, "Work expands to cover all the flat spaces available."

** http://stopcontinentaldrift.blogspot.com/2011/07/basics-of-bureaucracy.html#uds-search-results

IRANIAN-NUCLEAR INSPECTION AGREEMENT

Recently (July 16, 2015, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal*) William Tobey commented on the 24 day inspection delay in the Iranian-Nuclear Inspections and claimed the time could be delayed for months for reasons he itemizes.  I am unable to evaluate his claims except to say that it is only the suspected sites that are in the 24-day period.  In declared sites, inspections can be made at any time: 24/7.  This matter was also clarified by a letter-to-the-editor of the WSJ on July 23,2015.  I have heard President Obama and Secretary Karry say this on TV prior to Mr. Tobey's op-ed dated July 16, 2015 so I don't understand his confusion on this matter.

Also on July 26, the WSJ published an editorial properly talking about the 24-day period to search suspicious sites.  They too say that Iran may interpret items in the agreement to stretch out the 240day waiting period.  They say that the current declared sites all were once suspicious sites and conclude that Iran will have plenty of time manipulate the inspections in order to carry out their mission.  I'm not sure how long it takes to set up a site, carry out its function, dismantle it and clean up the site sufficiently that the inspectors can't detect what is going on.  I suspect a matter of, say, 6 mo. is insufficient having been involved in complex research problems involving radioactivity (e.g. nuclear test detection and nuclear waste disposal), but current researchers on making bomb facilities should know better than I.

So far as I know, this matter of the 24 days to inspect suspicious sites has yet to be thoroughly discussed, Mr. Tobey's analysis being the most thorough.  I for one would like to read a rebuttal to Mr. Tobey's claims.

Neither Mr. Tobey nor the WSJ put forth an alternative Nuclear-Inspection Plan.  I presume they hope that increasing sanctions would eventually bring Iran to its knees and say "Uncle."  Well escalation didn't work all that well in the Vietnam War nor did 40+ yrs of sanctions on Cuba bring them to their knees.  Dictatorships can let their people suffer  for very long periods of time.

And what do critics think will happen if the Agreement is not accepted?  How long will adversarial countries like Russia and China stick with us on sanctions, much less increase them?  As others have claimed, I thank that without inspections, Iran will have a free hand to go ahead with making a bomb, if they wish to.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-iranian-nuclear-inspection-charade-1437001048

Thursday, July 23, 2015

IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHOSE OX IS GETTING GORED

Republican candidates are objecting to Donald Trump criticizing them.  Marco Rubio says Trump has no class.  Fair enough, but then he goes on to say our current president has no class.  I guess being rude only applies when you are criticizing someone in your own party.  Those in the other party are fair game.

"We already have president now who has no class," Rubio said, citing Obama doing selfie-stick videos and inviting YouTube stars to the White House and going on "comedy shows" to talk about serious issues such as Iran.

"It is important for us to have a presidency that restores dignity and class to the White House," Rubio said.*

A problem for Republicans is that everything Trump has to say are feelings held by a lot of Republicans.  There are those who DO feel that Mexicans are sub-human.  There ARE those who feel that you shouldn't be captured, but go down fighting or commit suicide if fighting is impossible.  Some say that Trump has peaked.  Well I don't know about that, but I do hope those who favor what he says are only 25% of the Republican Party.

* http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/marco-rubio-says-obama-like-trump-has-no-class/2238257

JUST UNBELIEVABLE!

So a lady who happens to be African American is pulled over on an open highway because she didn’t signal a lane change in Texas.  It is against the law to do so.  Well, I think it was a cheap shot, but did the officer just write her a citation and go on his way?  No, he demanded that she put out a cigarette (Is smoking in a car against the law?) and yelled at her a number of times to get out of the car.  She eventually did this when the officer threatened to “Light you up.” with his taser.  She ends up being jailed for three days (!) when she dies from asphyxiation.  The claim is that she hung herself with a plastic bag in the jail cell (Why they should have left such a thing in a jail cell, I have no idea).  Or maybe they hung her up or something.  No matter, the problem is SHE WAS STOPPED FOR AN ILLEGAL LANE CHANGE (NO SIGNAL) ON AN OPEN HIGHWAY, SERVED THREE DAYS IN JAIL, AND ENDS UP DEAD.  Dead over an illegal lane change? Unbelievable!  May the saints preserve us.

These sorts of things are happening to African Americans all over the U.S. it seems.  I'm just counting police here and states involved are Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Texas.  Have I missed something?  Remember the guy who choked to death from police activity for selling single cigarettes?  The boy with the pellet gun who was frantically killed by police?

Friday, July 17, 2015

MEDICARE/MEDICAID

Republicans don't like health care for the poor.  Republicans, along with Democrats and Independents, like Medicare, however




http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/16/medicare-medicaid-popularity-high-ahead-of-birthday.html

Thursday, July 16, 2015

BUILDER SENTIMENT AT DECADE HIGH

The nation's single-family home builders are feeling a lot better about their business, even as mortgage rates move higher. A monthly sentiment index rose to the highest level in July since November of 2005.*
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"This month's reading is in line with recent data showing stronger sales in both the new and existing home markets as well as continued job growth," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, builders still face a number of challenges, including shortages of lots and labor."*

Construction was the hardest hit industry during the "Great Recession," but now has labor shortages.  We missed a major opportunity to do infrastructure improvements at low cost by not doing them in the "Great Recession."
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U.S. commercial real estate is the midst of a big foreign investment boom that is likely to continue, according to one prominent expert.**
China is leading the boom, but money also is coming from Canada, Norway, the Middle East and elsewhere, Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate at Blackstone, said at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.**
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"There's not a ton of building going on, leverage in the system is reasonable and we still think this economic cycle has a bit of a ways to go," he said. "That's why we're optimistic."**

* http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/16/builder-sentiment-hits-decade-high-rising-to-60.html
** http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/15/real-estate-boom-not-over-blackstone-expert-says-at-delivering-alpha.html