Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Big Brother is Phoning You

Big Brother is Phoning You
© 2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Bad Gums Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

Article synopsis: A series of conjectures proposed by doctors and dentists drinking heavily at a medical convention to explain the correlation between ED, heart disease, and periodontitis arrived at this less-than-coincidental conclusion.

How’s this instead: Women don’t always mind men grunting and sweating on top of them, but start drawing the line at grunting, sweating, bleeding from the gums and dying from a coronary on top of them.

This is an example of a news story that doesn’t need to be. A study shows a correlation and nothing else. There is no research into the mechanisms of the correlation, and the bulk of the article is devoted to identifying the avenues of bickering among those who now have to deal with non-medical people coming up to them and asking why their love life’s gone south when they don’t have cavities.

Conclusion: Too many journalists, not enough to journal.

Headline: Can Science Save the Tasmanian Devil

Article synopsis: A disease [devil facial tumor disease] is wiping out up to 90% of the marsupial populations in some portions of its Tasmanian range – they are expected to be extinct in the wild within ten years. Geneticists are now mapping the genome of the animal in an effort to preserve it; some geneticists are demanding that a “diverse” population be mapped so that future Tasmanian devils can better withstand diseases.

Uh: ... like Devil Facial Tumor Disease? Like that you mean? Or do you mean other diseases, ones that are not quite so extinctifying?

There’s quite a lot of research to indicate that cancers are spread by viruses and this appears to be no exception: this cancer is transmissible from devil to devil. And as biologists with their evolutionary theorizing have been saying for a dozen decades now, a species that cannot withstand the onslaught of the world is destined for extinction.

Conclusion: The devil’s number seems to be up. Study it if you want, but heroic lengths to save a miserable egg-laying rat or bring it back from extinction would seem to be throwing good science down an egg-laying rat hole.

Headline: US Officials: No Known Terror Threat Tied to July 4

Article synopsis: There is no credible information to support Department of Homeland Security paranoias.

Here’s why: Apart from paranoia being a baseless fear in the first place, in addition to the primary purpose behind the existence of DHS being to scare the pants off a majority of Americans a majority of the time in order to justify further federal power-grasping, there are these considerations:

1] to the degree that we are paranoid about al Qaida alone, it is and always has been a group of rank amateurs which aimed high and got lucky. They are misfits even among the “terrorist” class of third world hooligans. They were inept but popular with bin Laden at the helm; they will be ept[er] but unpopular with Doc Ayman in charge. Any attacks anticipated as a result of offing Osama would have been local [to Asia and Africa] and characterized by a strong resemblance to teen-aged vandalism – amateur hooligans in a fit of pique don’t often do good work.

2] to the degree that we are worried about any group of anti-Western non-state militias taking aim at us, they are predominantly interested in destabilizing what they view as the 51st US state, Israel. But more important than this at the moment is that between a fourth and third of the muslim-dominated nations are currently embroiled in pesky populist revolts in which the “terrorists” have a seriously vested interest in the outcome.

Many of the nations in revolt have given back- [or fore-] handed support to non-state militias – if that support is not duplicated in the future government, the non-state militias will be left to throw rocks and pointy sticks at Israel. Others of the nations in revolt do not currently support non-state militias and those militias see an opportunity to breed new state sponsors of their Israel as bellwether for Western demise philosophy.

Conclusion: “Terrorists” are otherwise occupied and don’t, in general, merit the current emphasis we place on them regarding our “ongoing layered security apparatus”. In fact, our “ongoing layered security apparatus” has the distinction of effecting the “terrorists’” aims without them lifting a finger. A $25 attack which fails is met by $100 billion of technological response that causes more citizen disruption, and anger and resentment toward our own government than if the attack had been successful. Why kill 12 and injure 67 by blowing up Times Square when you can infuriate 10,000 by making the feds implement more paranoid policies?

Headline: Obama Administration to Make Calls to Set-up Fake Doctor's Appointments

Article synopsis: The feds have budgeted $350,000 – a drop in the fiscal bucket – to test doctors and hospitals to see if they have different responses to new patients with private health insurance versus those with public health insurance – i.e., Medicare or Medicaid. A “mystery shopper” with a scripted set of symptoms and a phone number that would not show up on caller-ID would book an appointment over the phone having private insurance, then call back with the same symptoms and public insurance. Then he’d call back and admit to being a federal Alan Funt. There was no indication whether the appointment slots would be cancelled after the reveal.

As if it needs to be said: The current government insurance schemes – Medicare and Medicaid – have failed to pay enough doctors that many medical organizations now refuse to take new patients having only those benefits. If a doctor can’t get paid why should he do the work?

The government, currently vested in its Obamacare fiasco, is desperate to ensure, however, that doctors care for patients whether the doctor gets paid or not. Obamacare depends on it. Without that guarantee of doctors performing gratis, Obamacare will suffer the same results as Medicare and Medicaid suffer, and which is accused of occurring only within the realm of private health insurance: rationing medical care by refusing to pay for services.

The primary difference between private and public health insurance, though, is that private insurance tells the doctor up front which procedures are covered and which are not and, in my case, in which order. Public health insurance claims all things are covered and then simply doesn’t pay for it afterward.

Conclusion: Public policy which can only be implemented by coercive blackmail is a public policy straight out of Orwell. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Unpaid illness is healthcare … when the government unpays it.


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