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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE DEBATE MAY BE THE MOST CONFUSING

The American health care debate never stops being amazing to the outside world.  Why?  Rarely, have so many people been lead so far astray with so few facts for so long.

To be clear, there is access to some amazing technology and facilities in the United States devoted to health care, and some AMAZING PEOPLE in the industry.  For all of the potential it is held back by a few people with motives ranging from money to power to just plain old prejudice.

The propaganda around a single payer system being SOCIALIST and therefore inherently evil has been played up the conservative and Republicans for a long time.  The TRUTH is that the arguments are held mostly on fear mongering and lies about government panels deciding who lives and dies.  This is COMPLETE BULL SHIT.  In truth the profit based systems are far more discriminatory.  There are problems with the single payer system, but they are not anything like the problems that exist in the purely for profit system in the states.

The FACTS ARE CLEAR:

- As a whole system Americans have THE MOST COSTLY healthcare on earth.  Vastly more money per person is spent on healthcare than comparable democracies.
- As a whole, the outcome of American healthcare is much lower than other comparable democracies. As a whole, for everyone.  You may have had a great experience,  but is it reflective of the whole?

In Canada I shop around for my personal or family doctor.  There is ZERO interference with choosing my family doctor.  If I have an issue,  in consultation with my family doctor I get a referral to an available specialist.   If there are several specialists, I can ask to go to or avoid any one of them.  I can't just walk into a cardiovascular surgeon's clinic and say hi.  I need a referral. This is not a negative,  it's part of what makes the healthcare system, a system. There is a process that gets you from one place to another.

When a person presents at an emergency department they are seen based on their condition.   Rich people do not get seen ahead of poorer people because they flash their gold card.  This terrifies people who want their hang nail looked at before  a "lesser" person's heart attack. It has meant some long waits in emergency rooms for some very uncomfortable,  but not life threatening, conditions.

What about the "lack of competition"?  While major hospitals are owned and operated by the provincial governments my doctor has a PRIVATE PRACTICE.  His office is a partnership with another doctor.   THEY choose what services they want to offer and I get to stay or shop around based on the services and atmosphere or what ever I choose.


Competition in medicine,  as it relates to cost is counter intuitive.  Attracting clients to, hospital is based on having ALL the bells and services. CAT scan, MRI, helicopters, biggest and best EVERYTHING.  You don't look for a two for one deal on an appendix operation.  Competition in medicine more often than not drives costs up.

A for profit hospital needs the MRI to pay for itself.   To pay for itself, it needs people put through it.  It's hard to say no to the doctor treating your kid when told he/she needs a $1000.00 test done. These add cost, not always for the best of the patient over the best for the investors, but who the heck can tell?

The single payer system does prevent a real issue that drives up costs.  There is only one billing system to worry about. American hospitals have massive departments looking after billing and collections.  Often there are major portions of the admin department devoted to each insurance company.  The claim systems are very individual and complex.

There is only one major democracy in the world that has not accepted the notion that we are stronger together than we are divided.  We are also stronger when we are HEALTHY and able to participate fully in the economy.

The single payer system is NOT PERFECT.  Heck, it's not even perfect's cousin once removed.  It does do what it does, pretty well.  It guarantees the largest number of people the best overall chances at a healthier, longer more productive life. Why defend it so much, you may be asking.  It gets berated by forces with a lot of backing and money.  Defending it is not solely about giving the American people the chance to experience a healthcare system that CARES.  It is about comforting the people that have it now, that the picture painted by single payer's detractors is not the final word on the condition of the system.  We are rightly proud of s system that keeps us healthy as people and strong as a nation.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

RIGHT, LEFT AND CENTRE. THERE'S A VIDEO FOR EVERY IDEOLOGY.

There's one for every occasion and one for every narrative.  They are the white supremisist, the Muslim, the misogynist, the animal abuser and they all have a few things in common.

1.  They RARELY tell the whole story
2.  They ALWAYS have an angle.
3.  They're ALWAYS repeated over and over, retweeted and shared, over and over.
4.  They're NEVER used to bring us together or to SOLVE a problem.
5.  For every person defending the specific video, there's one bashing it.

What is their value?
What is their purpose?
How do we get rid of the problem?

Folks, this is not going to be a quick read from FactMissile, as we have been acustom to.  We have to get some things straight about the damage these videos are doing.  Moving MEMEs are a major problem, a major tool in the internet propaganda battles.

The current one that is causing all the rage features a native American elder in what appears to be a solitary protest in Washington DC.  Whether it is solitary or part of a larger protest is made irrelevant,  he appears to be solo and interviews make it sound as though he was acting alone for his specific cause.  He was not the only protester,  other causes were being voiced as well.

A widely re-posted video taken by I don't know who shows the protester, surrounded by a group of young white men who appear to be mocking the elder's traditional Native American chant performed with a traditional drum.  One young man in particular,  wearing a red MAGA hat, as were several others, was very much up in the face of the protester with an obviously arrogant or condescending facial expression.  It does not paint a good picture of the young men or the school they are associated with.

There have been videos surface showing the interaction from other angles and painting a slightly different picture of the events. Each video, where ever shot from can paint an entirely different picture of the events.  Think back to an earlier Quick Read; A SINGLE FACT CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING.  You need to see as many angles as possible to have an informed view on the event. Whether it is a single view of an event from one focal point, or a single event out of thousands, it is entirely possible to be completely led a stray by one view and a few words to push you in a given direction.  As is predictable, and frankly understandable the press and twitterverse have made hay out of this event for both sides of the MAGA debate. Although the spin on this one, out of the gate, was from the anti Trump/anti MAGA side.

Certainly it is not to imply the pro Trump/pro MAGA supporters don't do the same thing.  They are to be blunt near addicted to it.  At times pulling up stuff that one would only find in obscure little corners of the web.  As with any of them, they can and do provide their own narrative. As mentioned earlier, those few words to push viewers down a given direction.

Often time the video features language that has to be translated and we are at the mercy of the poster to let us know what horrible thing is being said.  The propaganda issue is the same as the video of the boys in red hats as well.  The video captures one point of view and one small chunk of what is often a much larger event, or it does not even accurately depict the event at all.  How do we know what the goal of the poster is?  This takes us back to an earlier post; " HAVE YOU BEEN INFORMED OR INFLAMED?" It is not very often that the poster of any of these videos is simply trying to provide dispassionate, balanced reporting.  It is out there to create outrage.  Outrage after all gets people to the polls and it gets people clicking and sharing.  Sharing means clicks, clicks mean coin.

It's not limited to the debate over MAGA and the border wall by any stretch. Climate Change, Porn, Gun Rights, Animal Welfare, if you have a cause you can find a video to make your point, while ignoring everything else going on outside of the view of that one camera.

How do we work our way around it?

1.  DON'T GET ANGRY, GET FACTS.
2.  GET MORE THAN THE ONE OR TWO FACTS BEING SHOWN
3.  ANALYSE AND ASK IF YOU ARE BEING INFORMED OR INFLAMED.
4.  STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, TRUTH IS RARELY COMFORTABLE.

Find out who is benefiting and how from the fixation that is being created on the video that you are being drawn in to.  Someone is getting something out of it.

We have to start taking a lot more personal responsibility for the views we are developing from the propaganda that is surrounding us.  Right, Left or Centre we are not benefiting from the constant bickering and distrust that we are being conditioned to maintain.  There are puppet masters out there that want us to continue to look at each other with distrust because if we ever stopped to look at the world they are creating we might just demand better from the powers than what we are being offered.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

THE EVIDENCE SAYS THE U.S. SOUTHERN BORDER IS NOT IN CRISIS.

The southern border is not in crisis.  That doesn't mean there is nothing to fix or there is nothing wrong.  It does mean there is no need for a shutdown,  no need for stoking fear and no need for a wasteful military deployment.

Like laws or don't like laws, if you don't follow the law, you have broken the law.  If you don't like the law, change it.  This needs to be the focus of attention.   If the economy benefits from these workers, and the evidence is that it does, in a big way, make the process support them.

But make no mistake; all of this has ZERO to do with the border and has everything to do with distraction,  deflection and deception. These are the three "D"s that define Putin's Proxy Presidency in Washington.

BUZZFEED, AN HONEST ERROR VS. INTENT TO MISLEAD?

A Trumpian wet dream come true or a deflection to protect the investigation?  How much do we read into a one paragraph response from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to Buzzfeed's report?  I am of the view that we need to relax and let things come out.

If it's an honest error let BUZZFEED take care of correcting it.  If they are intentionally trying to mislead then we can read or not read them just like FOX"news".

Sunday, January 13, 2019

WE NEED CRITICAL THINKING TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.

There are examples all over, of people who have complicated, responsible, important jobs that they execute thoughtfully and efficiently.  Then they step outside and seem to lose even the most basic abilities for critical thinking.  We all have biases.  It's part of our nature.  When we look at a problem, challenging our biases is how we solve the problem.

We need to look at the information provided to us and apply common sense and critical thinking.   The wall is being pushed as a way to stop the "invasion" coming from the south.  The data is clear that there is a near historic low in people coming across America's southern border.  Even if there was a massive throng of people crossing that border, the people who are of concern are healthy enough to find another way.  ISIS isn't sending someone to Mexico to cross the border, then just give up and hit the beach because there is a wall.

There is a problem at the southern border.  It is people trying to get in around the rules.  It needs to be solved, like them or not the rules exist and should be followed or changed if they don't meet the current needs.  But, to be clear, the people you are worried about are NOT coming in with migrants crossing the border.  They have the health and the means to come in where and when they want.  This wall distraction is making it easier for those with means and intent to come in.  Not even accounting for the lapses being created by the shutdown.

Critical thinking can solve problems and open minds. The wall isn't a solution.  It's a distraction diverting attention from real problems.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

TOO MUCH EXCITEMENT FOR THE FBI INVESTIGATION ON TRUMP.

In the real world an investigation into how Trump interacted with the Russians appears to have been undertaken by the FBI in 2017.  It is significant,  but in the resistance world has taken on an aura of fait accompli.  If there was an obvious smoking gun that the president was probably acting on behalf of the Russian government does that mean that the FBI would have moved by now or they would hold until he didn't have the power to evade?

In the current Russian run TRUMP/GOP administration is there any safety in making a move?  Likely not.  The FBI investigation results are meaningless until the GOP senior leadership is taken down by what has to amount to a coup within the party.  That assumes that it is the leadership that been compromised, not the party proper.

Are there any patriots left in the party of Lincoln,  or is this the end of The Grand Experiment?

Friday, January 11, 2019

REALITY CONTINUES TO BE A CHALLENGE FOR CONSERVATIVES IN AMERICA.

The southern border has issues.  Yes people do make their way over the border.  Many of these people are not following the rules when they cross into the United States.  Yes, that makes them illegal immigrants. The problem is that the conservatives are portraying the issue as a crisis of public safety.  It is not. To be clear, there is an influx of illegal immigration, but there is NO MASS SAFETY ISSUE RESULTING FROM IT. These people seek, even crave to stay below the radar.  They want to make a pitiful wage, doing jobs that the American public is often uninterested in doing.

There are true risks to the safety of the American public.

GUN VIOLENCE COMMITTED BY AMERICAN CITIZENS ON EACH OTHER TAKES 10s OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES EVERY YEAR.

HEALTH CARE THAT IS OUT OF REACH OF THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, MANY OF WHOM HAVE TO DECLARE BANKRUPTCY DUE TO A FAMILY MEMBER BECOMING ILL.

You can think of several more I am sure.  The next one is of greater concern than many of us thought would ever be an issue.

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN HACKED BY FOREIGN POWERS AND IS BEING RUN BY A MAN WHO WANTS TO BE DICTATOR, BACKED UP BY, AND MANIPULATED BY,  A LIFE LONG INTERNATIONAL SPYMASTER.  TRUMP DOES NOT HAVE THE FACULTIES TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON.

THE GOP HAS LEFT AMERICA FOR DEAD.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

FAR FROM FAKE PART 2: IS MONEY GOTTEN FROM RATINGS, OR ARE THEY PAID TO EFFECT POLITICS?


Where is the media falling down and why?

The flow from reporting, to analysis, through commentary to the almost, or outright propagandizing that we now see in outlets like FOXNEWS on the right, and to a lesser extent MSNBC on the left.  These are clearly not the only cases, but are the most obvious. 

What has set MSNBC apart from FOXNEWS, until the last couple of days is the willingness, or allowance to criticize their guy.  It was possible to hear MSNBC comment negatively toward a democrat, whether president or other elected official.  It may not have been exceedingly common, but you were not surprised, or at least were never shocked to hear it.  FOXNEWS on the other hand, until the last couple of days, would never make a comment that implied any critiquing of the Republican Party or for sure the President.  Some of that is changing in the current state of affairs, but it remains to be seen what the motives are for figures like Tucker Carlson and Anne Coulter taking a shot at reality in their talking points.

MSNBC’s nightly line up consists of several commentators who are, for the most part, prodigy of Keith Olberman.  The main anchor show of the evening line up is The Rachel Maddow Show. It’s a good factual cable news program.  Like most of the cable news programs, it is high in commentary.  It’s commentary the person writing this, happens to agree with, by in large.  It is also based on provable facts.  That is to say, that you can trace down the information the information and verify it.  The repetition of the messages is something that takes, for me, the process beyond informing and allowing judgement to trying to change people’s point of view.

Sowing outrage, whether for the right or the left, does not help get people together to work on issues that matter to everyone.  This all being said, agree or not with my opinion on whether or not it is commentary or reporting, we need a balancing weight for the left to counter the propagandizing coming from FOXNEWS.

We need to get back to cover the facts and move on.  Ratings are important, it is how we pay for the news, but focus on ratings has given Donald J. Trump more power that his stature and background should have provided for him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

WELCOME TO 2019.

As nations ring in the new year a couple of factual thoughts to guide us into the next year.

1. This numbering years thing only matters to us humans.  Earth has far more trips around the sun under its equator than the pathetically minor number of 2019 that we are celebrating.  It's only raised to put some perspective on our role on the planet.  Despite our talent for damaging its life support systems and our verbose ego, humans have, but a minuscule role in the history of our planet.   We seem hell bent on shortening our time on earth.  Let's hope some reality can enter our motives moving forward.

2.  Everyone involved, on both sides of the Atlantic, in the unending attacks on reality must be brought into check.   They are using a vast power of religious beliefs and their understanding of phycological science to change people's perception of reality.  Education must return critical thinking to curriculum everywhere.   It's a scary prospect to those seeking power, that the people they are intending to coerce might be able see the tricks they play.  Now more than ever, knowledge is power, but also freedom.

2019 has every potential to be great, or tragic.  The new energy economy will not only save a place for humans on earth, but is worth TRILLIONS of dollars.  Let's unshackle the innovators in 2019.  The transition is going to take time and there is plenty of room for every sector,  new and old to benefit.

Good luck and Happy New Year.