Stealth Legislation as a Positive?

stand-up-for-americaAs I mentioned the other night, I have my son with me for the summer, and while it hasn’t affected much the last couple of weeks, that won’t always be the case. Over the next three remaining weeks of his time here, there may be several nights where I choose to spend time with him as opposed to spending 4 hours writing an article. Just figured I would let everyone know why some nights might end up with no article, or limited amounts of my own thoughts, such as tonight. I was using my very limited time this evening to read a lot of articles on different subjects, hoping I would find something early to research and then write about. I stumbled across this article on the Huffington Post website. The headline jumped out at me and I couldn’t resist reading it. And as I did I became more and more annoyed at the blatant disregard for integrity or honesty from government….

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark

The article is titled “Stealth Education Reform Beats the Health Debacle”, and was written by Tom Vander Ark. The article stood out to me as I was reading it for two specific reasons. The first was that it clearly says some things that I completely disagree with given my view that the federal government needs to have less control of public education, not more. The second was that the article comes right out and admits the faulty reasoning and lack of integrity when it comes to the issues of importance on the national stage. That isn’t a knock on one party or the other, because while I think in this case it is clearly Liberals that are lacking in integrity, there are plenty of examples of this on the Conservative side as well.

So I will put the article here in green/olive. I will interject some thoughts into the article in my usual blue color to address the parts where I disagree on his education issues. Then at the end of the article I will address the second part of my dislike for the message this article sends. If a section of the article is BOTH bolded and italicized, I did so. If it is just bold the original author did so. You can access this article directly at the Huffington Post. I know many of you hate that site, but as many have pointed out, it is important to read the issues from both sides. For those who like to read different views, I recommend the Huff Post, as there are a plethora of good writers there. You can get to where this article originally was published by clicking this link: Huffington Post Vander Ark Article

Stealth Education Reform Beats the Health Debacle

by Tom Vander Ark

Watching the Sunday morning arguments about health reform, I was struck by how fortunate we are that Obama’s team snuck education reform into the stimulus bill. While most of the $100 billion for education just partially backfills cuts, it forced states to acknowledge the Department of Education’s priorities of standards, accountability, and choice. The remaining 5%, nearly $5 billion in grant programs, will be used to feed the rabbits (the states ready to move) and won’t be held back by the rebel, laggard, and the complacent states. It sure beats having an education reauthorization fight to go along with the health care debate.

This week the Department of Education released selection criteria for the $4.3 billion Race to the Top (RTT) program for states. Of the 19 criteria, these eight form a powerful reform package:

1. Developing and adopting common standards
2. Developing and implementing common, high quality assessments
3. Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system
4. Differentiating teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance
5. Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals
6. Intervening in the lowest-performing schools and districts
7. Increasing the supply of high-quality charter schools
8. Building strong statewide capacity to implement

No Child Left BehindStandards. RTT requires states to work together to develop college and career ready standards. It’s crazy that each state has their own (actually I think it is crazy to think that such geographically diverse areas are forced to have the same standards, for example LA schools having the same goals as one in rural Indiana. The potential careers are vastly different). An unintended consequence of NCLB has been a lowering of standards (to show higher passing rates) (unfortunately very true, but predictable). Common standards will encourage investment in next generation content and new online assessments as well as making it easier to compare performance across state lines. However, there are lots of ways states and interest groups could still muck this up (but not nearly as many ways as the federal government could muck this up)

Assessment.
States are encouraged to work together to develop better tests including those designed to improve teaching and learning. This part of the proposed language should be more forward leaning–it’s a big chance to move most state testing online and to incorporate adaptive tests that quickly zero in on a student’s learning level. 

Data.
The ten elements of Data Quality Campaign, pushed for more than five years by the Gates Foundation, are a required component of the grant. Early adoption states like Florida put data to work to narrow the achievement gap. Because most curriculum will soon be digital, the trick with tests and data will be creating a frame flexible enough to encourage individual progress rather than lock step age cohorts. State policy makers should ask, “will this work for virtual schools?”

The Two Big Teacher's Unions have Sunk America's Education

The Two Big Teacher's Unions have Sunk America's Education

Teacher evaluation. RTT requires that states eliminate any barriers to linking student achievement data to individual teachers and using it for evaluation, placement, and compensation. Wow–that’s a big deal. But most of the barriers exist in local contracts and practices (No sir, most of the obstacles exist in the national teacher unions, who want no part of accurate evaluations of teachers ability to teach). It will be interesting to see if states can actually make some changes. 

Teacher distribution.
The grant program requires that teacher effectiveness data be used to make sure that low-income students get good teachers–easier said than done. Teacher distribution is a function of local contracts and budgets and a lot of personal choice (and just as large of an obstacle here is figuring out how to assess whether a teacher’s results are a measure of their competence or the prevailing attitudes towards education that the students receive in the home. Why will no one address this issue?). And we’re not very good at measuring effectiveness (I think I just said that). The push for alternative certification (which is great) complicates the desire for equitable distribution–even reform groups have a hard time agreeing on how to ensure equitable distribution.

Intervention. This is Duncan’s big push–to replace or transform the worst 5,000 schools in the country. The proposed language for intervention is pretty good but it doesn’t require that bad schools be named. The definition of low-performing doesn’t include graduation rates and it must–how else will we target and replace the 2,000 drop out factories (instead of looking to replace, how about first determining why the drop out rates are so high in these schools. Is it poor education offering or student attitudes towards education)?

Charter Schools ExcusesCharter schools.
States have been scrambling to lift charter caps in preparation for RTT application–a big early win. There’s a nod toward charter facilities and equal funding but not a strong set of requirements. I’m afraid charters will continue to get jerked around by local districts. (I am also afraid this will happen, especially when the federal government has shown little interest in the past in making charter schools a viable option in some places, DC comes to mind)

Capacity.
There’s nothing controversial about capacity–we just don’t have any. State education offices are thinly staffed to administer the complex codes their legislatures right. It’s too bad the first phase of the grant program won’t open until late 2009 but it is obvious that states will need time to plan and build support for their plans. None of the states have the program management staffing to do this right. RTT and foundation grants will help. Let’s hope some of it sticks around after the grants run out. (The author here touches on a big problem with the public education system here, but does so inadvertently. One of the largest problems with public schools is the bureaucracy of the federal and state governments eating up funds that could be used to provide a better education)

It’s unfortunate that the Department directs that at least half the RTT money must be distributed to districts based on a federal formula, but it’s a about the only way they can ensure that high need districts get help.

I’ve been worried that political pressure, probably linked to the health care debate, would force the Department to spread RTT funds like peanut butter. But if they stick to the intent of the proposed language, it will be hard for a senator to make the case that his/her state deserves funding when they just don’t measure up (In other words, the federal government has done a good job with this legislation ensuring that if you want to get federal government loot, you have to completely cozy up to federal rules and regulations, regardless of whether they are a benefit to providing an education in your area. In that way this legislation is nothing more than a new means to attempt to insert more federal control into the public school systems).

Instead of fighting a reauthorization battle, Team Obama is pushing preauthorization reform. While they will be disappointed in the number and quality of state applications, a few states will show the way for the rest and in doing so will reframe the reauthorization debate–and promote equity and excellence for all American students (any time I hear the word excellence mentioned in the same sentence with public education, I immediately have to throw the shenanigans flag).

Honesty PosterSo there is the article with my thoughts on education interspersed throughout. Let me conclude that part of this discussion by saying that I stick with what I have said in the past. The way for public education to get fixed in America is to remove the federal government from the equation. The bureaucracy eats up money. The lack of competition eats up improvement. And the belief that all schools should eventually offer the same cookie cutter curriculum limits the ability of schools to provide the education that best fits the students that they serve. Public education can only be saved by switching over to the private sector and away from federal government control. That is all I have to say about that.

As for issue number two…. this is the real thorn in my side. Let me provide my own summary here of what the author begins this article saying:

It is a good thing that education reform was snuck into the stimulus bill behind the backs of the American public. Had that not happened, the liberal agenda that is being served by the legislation would have been exposed, debated, and subsequently rejected by average Americans.

Am I reading this wrong? I don’t think so. It is the prevailing thought by the majority of Americans today no matter which side of partisan thinking they fall into. The belief that subterfuge and trickery is OK so long as what they believe best serves the rest of the ignorant masses out there is what results from lying. What happened to the integrity of America? Was it completely lost altogether somewhere along the way? Mr. Vander Ark is not a politician. He is just a regular person, albeit a partisan one. And he had the audacity to write an article for public consumption taking pride in the fact that liberals were able to sneak this legislation through. Not just that this was OK, or justified, but an actual “thank god we snuck it through when we did”.

Integrity PosterThese people are actually proud of the fact that they achieved their goals through the use of dishonest tactics. No shame, no feeling of guilt for having pulled one over on others. No regard for the opinion of those on the opposite side of the issue. The author never even questioned whether acting without integrity in this case was right or wrong. He simply was relieved that they acted without integrity before the issue could get muddled down by simple things like logic or integrity or the will of the majority. In essence, he is glad they cheated to win. It is OK to cheat to win if “your cause is just”.

And this is the thinking of many Americans today. Abortion opponents are willing to outlaw the procedure even if it takes cheating to do so. Health Care advocates are willing to cheat in order to pull the wool over people’s eyes to get support for it. We shouldn’t be surprised by this in a country where people accepted that it was OK to take steroids to be a better athlete or in a country where many people think it is OK to use less than ethical tactics in pursuit of business goals. We shouldn’t be surprised when we see an America that is filled with politicians who wouldn’t know honesty if it tackled them, filled with a media that has zero interest in unbiased journalism, and celebrities who feel the laws don’t apply to them. America has been conditioned to win at any cost, integrity be damned. In this way our politicians are a direct reflection of the people they represent. And that is not something we should be proud of. It is something that we should be ashamed of.

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Comments

  1. Bama dad says:

    From ed.gov it says:

    Adopting internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace;

    Vander says:

    Standards. RTT requires states to work together to develop college and career ready standards. It’s crazy that each state has their own

    USW says:
    actually I think it is crazy to think that such geographically diverse areas are forced to have the same standards, for example LA schools having the same goals as one in rural Indiana.

    USW it’s worse than that, we have to be on a world standard according to the Fed.

    Makes you tend to believe in a United World Order Conspiracy.

    • Black Flag says:

      Eyeball

    • Our students’ proficiency in math and science should be compared to that of students worldwide. Until we realize how deficient we are in those subjects we are never going to regain our position as a world leader. Of course we could always just allow more people to fill our tech jobs using H-1B visas.

      • Bama dad says:

        Not saying that we should not be on pare compared to the rest of the word. All I am saying is after throwing billions of dollars away we are worse. We traditionally throw money at a problem and hope it gets better, well education has not.

      • USWeapon says:

        There is a very big difference between ensuring that we are on par in terms of math and science and having the federal government enact federal, or as Bama pointed out, international standards.

      • CWO2USNRet says:

        Concerning the US standing in worldwide Math and Science performance, we may not be as bad off as we have been led to believe. I read an article several months ago, sorry but I have no time to find it again, that made the claim that the US scores are aggregated over the entire student population whereas the other high performing nations are not. By virtue of the way their school systems are organized the Math and Science scores are only compiled for students we would consider on the college track. If true, then the oft quoted statistics are comparing apples and oranges.

        Can anyone back this up? At the time I read the article I didn’t pull the string to see if its claims were sound.

        I know I’ve been away for awhile. New job after a promotion and an upcoming contract recompete have taken all my time. I hope to more fully engage at some point before years end.

        Keep up the great work USW et al.

        John

        • This website quotes numbers from grade schoolers so I don’t think that they take into account whether the students are college bound. It actually shows that the US is not doing so bad as people might think.

          http://nces.ed.gov/timss/results07_math07.asp

          I also note that when comparing students in different countries, one should note the different cultures. Here in the US we take off for the summer and go to school for 8 hours a day or so. In Asia and Europe, there is a very different schedule. Students work longer in those countries.

          I also want to say that, while our public schools may not be as good, our colleges and universities are top in the world. People come from all over to go to college here. The US is far from being a “stupid country” despite what Bill Mayer may think.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Bama – would developing a more localized set of standards preclude a school in LA from producing the next great farmer or a school district in Nebraska from producing the next great urban planner? I dunno – just asking. I think standards are important to have to ensure some basic fundamentals are taught in each classroom – perhaps they are weighted too heavily or too improperly. I do agree that the Dept of Education is a bloated mess and should be disbanded and folded into a more simple standards and monitoring and reporting body. Put the money back to where it is needed most – in the actual districts and supportive of things such as homeschooling (e.g. access to equipment, teaching materials, etc).

      • Bama dad says:

        Ray I don’t know about the first part of your post but agree 100% with the latter, we need some standards. The US Dept of Education has turned education into a bureaucratic mess that is a black hole that requires more and more money with less student improvement.

      • USWeapon says:

        Ray,

        You said “would developing a more localized set of standards preclude a school in LA from producing the next great farmer or a school district in Nebraska from producing the next great urban planner? I dunno – just asking.”

        Let me answer that question from my point of view. I think the mistake here is to assume you could only get one type of education in a particular area. My problem with enacting standards the way that we have attempted to do in the US is that it ends up in a cookie cutter education with no allowance for specialization. In order to get federal funds you have to teach what the federal government dictates.

        I don’t think this has to end up with the scenario you laid out where localized standards have that effect. Put control at the local level, instead of a national cookie cutter approach, and I think you would end up with more schools, smaller in size, and more specialized in their approach to teaching. LA would end up with several “farming” high schools that focus on the knowledge needed for those heading to that realm of occupation. Indiana would also end up with several non-farm schools that focus on education in a way that ensures the next great urban planner isn’t missed.

        Just to make things easy I will use the round number of 1,000. Instead of 1000 schools all with the same standards, same curriculum, same results, there would be 100 of ten different types of schools with specialized curriculum that helps children remain focused on succeeding in the areas where they are proficient. There are many countries out there, China is one, that identify where children are proficient and place them in schools accordingly. The result is that the students with a proficiency in math are sent to a math school, and then they come here for college and destroy American students in math skills.

  2. What exactly is a school? It is an investment in the future by it’s tax-paying citizens. I do not have children, but my taxes help pay for education. The children being taught grow up and become part of my nation’s workforce. The better their education, the better my nation’s future will be. School is not a social experiment, it is where students are taught skills. As far as religion, teaching about morality and ethics, that is the parent’s responsibility.
    If you believe the USA leads the world in education, you are resting on your laurels. For instance, the UE has stated that they intend to be the world leader in technology. Part of their strategy is to force a higher standard of education on all member states. In Europe, they intend to churn out students with higher levels of education, and they will attain that goal. They are on a road to improve all aspects of education. Not just stand still as in the USA, but dramatically improve. So you guys better get off your butts and stop the petty partisan politics before you suddenly find that the rest of the world suddenly are the ones making things happen, doing the science, setting the standards in science.

    Funny thing, here in Canada the provinces control education, not the feds.

    I believe I understand what USW is getting at. I have spoken to a lot of people not citizens of the USA, and read a lot of stuff. Many people perceive the USA as the land of double-standards. How can any politician not campaign for election without proclaiming their integrity? And yet that same politician, once in Washington, partakes in such exercises as sneaking a bill in?

    It’s really simple, politicians in Washington have to be held accountable, and unfortunately, there is no mechanism at present. Why? Because petty partisan politics keep the average citizen from focusing on issues and records and instead are being distracted by mud-slinging and personal attacks.

    Now, I’ll just sit back and watch you guys moan and whine about liberal conspiracies, because that’s what you do.

    • Naten53 says:

      The liberals are making canadian hate us!

      • (Canadians)

        It is so clear. Look at these facts.

        -Liberals are pushing for government run health care, where are Canadians going to go now?

        -Liberals are apologizing to all the nations of the world for us being to good. Now the Canadians know we think that! Way to go liberals.

        -Liberals want to stop global warming. How would this make Canadians hate us you ask? They are tired of the “Great White North” they want the longer summers and milder winters.

        -Liberals are against the boarder fence with Mexico. If there was a fence, all the illegals would travel by boat to Canada and walk across the boarder there. While in Canada they would spend money and increase the tax revenue. Without the boarder fence Canada does not get that revenue.

        It is clear as day people! Blame Canada.

        • he he, I can handle the blame… oh, and by the way, these Cuban cigars are so sweeeeet.

          Getting serious, the Canadian health care system is set up to treat as many people as possible, and sadly, those with very rare or expensive problems slip through the cracks. No system is perfect, sadly. So any Canadians who travel to the USA for medical procedures have either chosen to spend coin to get extremely high quality elective surgery, or seek out a remedy for a rare condition. Trouble is, you guys are inundated by horror stories, and get the wrong impression. As far as I am concerned, we have a responsible government that practices fiscal responsibility, are accountable, and our health care system works perfectly for over 99% of all Canadians.
          Trust me, if your health care system collapses, I will not suffer in any way at all.

      • Naten 53, you guys are my neighbours and friends. I want nothing but prosperity for you guys, if not for the simple reason that if your economy falters, ours will suffer, too.
        But I grew out of petty jealousy when I reached puberty, and I do not resent success. In fact, I consider it a personal benchmark, where to aim for.

    • USWeapon says:

      DaveE,

      Now that was a strange post. Quite argumentative this morning aren’t we?

      I think Americans are well aware of the shortcomings of the public education system, hence why almost everyone agrees that some sort of reform is needed. There are simply different schools of thought as to how this can or should be done. Some folks believe throwing money at the problem will fix it. Some believe that setting a national standard will fix it. Some believe that privatizing education will fix it. Some say screw it and remove the government altogether and decide to home school to ensure that their children get the specialized education they deserve. But regardless of what camp they fall into, just about all Americans realize that we are falling behind in the education race.

      Yes education is an investment in the future and all that. And it is because of that I believe that the education system we have today should be scrapped and a dramatically different and more effective system put in place. We don’t need to meet a national or international standard, we need to meet our own standard and set that higher than what the rest of the world is doing. But instead we read how China and India are killing us in this education effectiveness race. And I submit that this is because they don’t expect every child in their country to be the same. When you set a national standard as your bar, then everyone will be taught to reach the level of the lowest common denominator. Specialize the school systems and we can set higher standards for those able to attain them.

      As for the second part of my post, you seem to agree with me in terms of politicians lacking integrity, but am I to assume that you don’t agree that this is in large part because of the lack of integrity among average Americans these days? The politicians are a product of the win at any cost culture America has latched onto, tossing aside principles such as honesty and integrity.

      Now, I’ll just sit back and watch you guys moan and whine about liberal conspiracies, because that’s what you do.

      What is that all about? There wasn’t a bit of partisanship in this entire article. And I hadn’t seen a bit of partisanship in a single comment reply to it. I don’t think that people here whine about liberal conspiracies. I think they complain that government continuously ignores the people and attempts to gain more power and control, and I have been clear that both sides of the aisle are guilty of this.

      • Good afternoon USW, I hope you’re having a good day. I’ll answer the last part first. Over my observations in the last few months, I have come to the conclusion that most posts in here devolve into the usual chant blaming conservatives or Obama, or Pelosi, or something like that. Fine and dandy, but nothing comes of it. I’m from the military and construction background, and in that field, excuses mean nothing, just hard results. Identify the problem, work out a solution, and then fix it.
        So lately I have decided to be a bit edgy, push a few buttons, make people think and compare, do more than just lay the blame on liberals. My apologies if I offended anyone, I never wish to insult anyone or disrespect the USA.
        I appreciate your viewpoint USW, in how you are looking at the big picture, and coming to the conclusion that the entire system has problems, and that somehow the voters and elected officials are disconnected.
        All too often I have harped on how politicians need to be held accountable, because I believe it is a fundamental requirement for a democracy to work. It works like crazy up here, where no politician is ever safe, where they cannot escape from their bad decisions or blunders. In the USA, someone screws up or steps over the line, no problem, a Presidential Pardon will make it all right. In Canada, even Brian Mulroney, our Prime Minister during the Reagan era, is being scrutinized in his conduct when he served the public. No one is safe, all politicians can be held accountable. Period.

        • Black Flag says:

          Dave,

          The light questioning of Mulroney can hardly be called ‘holding accountable’.

          The man was bribed – and he’ll get away with it (minus a little bit of pride).

  3. Bama dad says:

    USW said:

    “One of the largest problems with public schools is the bureaucracy of the federal and state governments eating up funds that could be used to provide a better education)”

    Amen to that statement. A number of years ago I was asked by the local school board to set on a panel comprised of professional business men, local college, and trade school representatives to help one of their teachers improve his curriculum. The goal of this panel was to outline a curriculum that best fit today’s business needs and/or make students better prepared to attend college or trade schools. We reviewed the current course material and found it to be way out of date. With the full support of the local school board we and the teacher held monthly meetings and wrote a 2 year lessen plan. When we completed our plan it was sent to the state for approval, they promptly rejected it. We were told by them that the law said you have to teach this this and this, to which we replied you don’t do this this and this in the real world anymore. We fought this battle for two years to no avail. The teacher that we assisted was a good teacher that recognized he was teaching out of date material and was trying to help his students, but the system would not allow him to do so. Long story short, when he put in his 20 he retired and went to work in private industry. Bureaucracy cost the local school board a chance to improve at least one class and cost them a good teacher.

    One last thought before I get to work. As long as we have students in the class room who are not accountable, who do not want to learn, have no support at home, have no discipline and see no need for self improvement no amount of money thrown at education will make any difference. See you good folks later.

  4. Black Flag says:

    The Canadian System:

    Any attempt to pervert the laws of Economics causes some other consequence – usually far worse – then the ‘intention’ of the political interference.

    A Canadian, for instance, suffers third-degree burns in an automobile crash and is in need of reconstructive plastic surgery, the average waiting time for treatment is more than 19 weeks, or nearly five months.

    The waiting time for orthopaedic surgery is also almost five months; for neurosurgery it’s three full months; and it is even more than a month for heart surgery (see The Fraser Institute publication, Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists).

    Think about that one: if your doctor discovers that your arteries are clogged, you must wait in line for more than a month, with death by heart attack an imminent possibility. That’s why so many Canadians travel to the United States for healthcare.

    If one goes back a few years, the information is much more plentiful. A January 16, 2000, New York Times article entitled “Full Hospitals Make Canadians Wait and Look South,” by James Brooke, provided some good examples of how Canadian price controls have created serious shortage problems.

    *A 58-year-old grandmother awaited open-heart surgery in a Montreal hospital hallway with 66 other patients as electric doors opened and closed all night long, bringing in drafts from sub-zero weather. She was on a five-year waiting list for her heart surgery.
    *In Toronto, 23 of the city’s 25 hospitals turned away ambulances in a single day because of a shortage of doctors.
    *In Vancouver, ambulances have been “stacked up” for hours while heart attack victims wait in them before being properly taken care of.
    *At least 1,000 Canadian doctors and many thousands of Canadian nurses have migrated to the United States to avoid price controls on their salaries.

    Wrote Mr. Brooke, “Few Canadians would recommend their system as a model for export.”

    Canadian price-control-induced shortages also manifest themselves in scarce access to medical technology.

    Per capita, the United States has eight times more MRI machines, seven times more radiation therapy units for cancer treatment, six times more lithotripsy units, and three times more open-heart surgery units.

    There are more MRI scanners in Washington state, population five million, than in all of Canada, with a population of more than 30 million (See John Goodman and Gerald Musgrave, Patient Power).

    In the UK as well — thanks to nationalization, price controls, and government rationing of healthcare — thousands of people die needlessly every year because of shortages of kidney dialysis machines, pediatric intensive care units, pacemakers, and even x-ray machines. This is America’s future, if “ObamaCare” becomes a reality.

    (Material credited to Mises.org)

    • And in the UK if one is suffering from Macular Degeneration you must be blind in one eye before they treat you.

    • Like I said before, you guys are swamped by horror stories. And yes, I did check out the Fraser Institute, and Mises.org.
      Both are agenda-driven .. thus not impartial.

      Did Mise tell the story of when I had a severe medical condition, and when I arrived at the emergency room I was rushed immediately into treatment? Oh, no, I guess not, news like that doesn’t suit the agenda of Fraser or Mise.

      I wish you guys would get information that isn’t so biased. Going to what is blatantly an agenda-driven web site isn’t fair or impartial for anyone.
      Canada has a federally sponsored, publicly funded Medicare system, with most services provided by the private sector. Each province may opt out, though none currently do. Hmm, looky looky…. any province may opt out of this medical plan .. but none choose to… and you believe we don’t like it?

      • Well, I am a Canadian citizen, though I live in the US and will become a citizen this year. My parents and grandparents lived in Canada and I can speak from experience. The doctors my parents saw didn’t care about them. When we moved here my mother was AMAZED that a pediatrician would come to the hospital on his own time in the middle of the night when a child has a seizure (that was me by the way). My grandfather had blood cancer, but he wasn’t diagnosed until too late because tests can’t be gotten. They came to the US and PAID for care here. My grandmother currently has a problem with her ears and has been waiting for two months to get a scan of her head… One family member I might count as a “horror story,” but by the experience of my family it is not quite so nice as you would have us believe.

      • Black Flag says:

        However, most of my point quantitative – equipment allotments – and reasoned on economics. Both of these points are demonstrated from the UK/Canadian examples.

        You also inferred a false dichotomy – that without government-health, emergency victims are abandoned.

        Frankly, personally using health care throughout the world – from socialists and capitalists – I have yet seen such a scene being the norm.

        Yes, specific incidents are known of such abandonment – within all systems! So such a complaint, if existing for both the pro and con of an argument becomes moot to both arguments.

        As far as the opt-out, you are maybe incorrect. Alberta attempted (or tested the theory) to opt-out, however the Federal government issued threats of cuts to funding as well as substantial alteration to the balance-of-payments made by Alberta.

        • Black Flag says:

          So, in response, Alberta made all health-care 100% free!

          ….and then, started to end funding for an every growing number of procedures….

          A back-handed way to eliminate ‘nationalized’ healthcare.

    • You want some horror stories Black Flag have a look through this thread at a forum I belong to which is primarily American.

      http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3175649

      I invite you to read all of it, it does not paint a pretty picture.

  5. Black Flag says:

    For example, while medical expenditures rose by 224 percent from 1965–1989, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 population fell by 44 percent and the number of beds occupied declined by 15 percent. Also during this time of almost complete governmental domination of the hospital industry (1944–1989), costs per patient-day rose almost 24-fold after inflation is taken into account.

    The more money that has been spent on government-run healthcare, the less healthcare we have gotten.

    This kind of result is generally true of all government bureaucracies because of the absence of any market feedback mechanism. Since there are no profits in an accounting sense, by definition, in government, there is no mechanism for rewarding good performance and penalizing bad performance.

    In fact, in all government enterprises, exactly the opposite is true: bad performance (failure to achieve ostensible goals, or satisfy “customers”) is typically rewarded with larger budgets.

    Failure to educate children leads to more money for government schools. Failure to reduce poverty leads to larger budgets for welfare state bureaucracies.

    • That effect is not limited to direct government bureaucracy, either. I’ve been told before that I shouldn’t come in on my tasks under budget, ’cause that just means that they get less budget next year, whereas if I over-run they get a higher budget the next year (with a fixed profit margin = more profit dollars), unless it’s *so* high that it just gets canned.

  6. Another attempt at control and indoctrination that has been going on for many years. In some areas, the teachers are teaching their students how to pass the LEAP test. That way the federal $$ keeps coming in. Not to mention the emphasis on multiculturalism and revisionist history.

    America, this is not what made us great. It can only make us look like idiots to the rest of the world.

  7. amazed1 says:

    The problems with “sneaking” things into the back door of a bill is very clear in the health care bill. As I stated a few days ago….read it. The people of our nation would be quite upset to realize that health care is not the number one fix in this bill…..the number one fix is all they can cram into it. It is wrong….I do not care who does it, it is wrong.
    Do we really want these sneaky underhanded politicans running our schools? Healthcare ect? I am not fond of the idiots even running our country much less the rest of the things they try to stick their hands into. How do these people and others just like them keep getting elected or are elected to office?

  8. Here’s something that addresses both education and healthcare reform.

    http://www.thefoxnation.com/health-care/2009/07/28/conyers-what-good-reading-bill-what

    For the record, I read the whole bill, all 1000+ pages, and understood it, all by myself.
    It took about 4 hours and was a bit boring, but I can now help educate my coworkers on what they may face if this is passed.

    G!

  9. I am so sick and tired of the government getting into everything they can, it’s just getting to the point of rediculum. I know, no such word, it’s a made up word.

    First, it was the auto industry, then the banking business, then health care, now education, what am I forgetting, I know it’s more than that.

    Why can’t they just stick to running the government, and they can’t even do that right, and stay out of places they don’t belong in? What makes them think they can do better than the people who are running it now? In fact, what makes them think they can do anything better.

    What makes them think they are so superior to everybody else? .

    • Black Flag says:

      Because the People allow the government to act with legitimacy.

      Without that, they are a criminal gang.

      When the People are ready, they will take it away.

      • Well, the people better get on the stick and hurry up then. They are a criminal gang already BF. You know that, or do you?

        • Strike that last question BF. Sorry

        • Black Flag says:

          The have been, always have been, and always will be.

          When we are tried of it, it will change.

          • A lot easier said than done though. Still waiting to see how one would go about doing that.

          • Black Flag says:

            First, do no harm.

            Second, give it no energy.

            Third, trust that with (1) and (2) the beast will die

            • Does the perceived threat of violent action by 80 million armed Americans qualify under your perception?

              • Black Flag says:

                No, because all that will happen is another violent gang of criminals will seize power, promising to ‘be different than the previous gang’.

                But how can they be different? They use the same tools, the same justifications and the same principles.

            • Birdman says:

              Black Flag:

              What do you mean by giving it no energy? Are you talking about not voting, not paying taxes? Someone will always vote.

              • Black Flag says:

                Yes to no voting. It is pointless – by voting you are agreeing with everything they do to you.

                It doesn’t matter who votes (because it doesn’t matter) – it matters who doesn’t vote – it scares the government to their core.

                When legitimacy becomes threatened, government knows the charade is over. They will do anything – including making a law to vote – to hold that legitimacy.

                They never make a law to stop voting.

                They vote in N. Korea and the (then) Soviet Union, etc. How value is voting, if tyranny uses it to justify themselves?

                Use the power of not voting – while you have it.

                It shows that you are no longer a fool or being fooled.

                Not Paying Taxes:
                It is dangerous, but the most powerful statement – it attacks government on its blood flow.

                IF there is a mass of people who organize a consistent play of no-taxes, it may work.

                It will not work as an individual. Ask the Brown’s

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_and_Elaine_Brown

                But most importantly, simply ignore government – don’t get involved in the Party system; TEA parties, or any ‘get involved’ plans, or any government organization, program, sponsorship, ‘fun time’, party – all of them are ways to POWER the State – it gives protester’s and the People an illusion that change can occur within the system.

                It cannot.

                The State loves these type of illusions – it exhausts the energy of the people involved, they get frustrated and quit with the attitude of “well, at least we tried”, and then fall back in line.

                The State actually funds many of the protests through many of its agencies – it will actually supply lawyers to fight the government! Why?

                To distract and exhaust the People – a small victory, a tiny-weeny rollback – is seen as a huge victory – and the government in a couple of years pushes the rollback into the dustbin and carries on.

                The system is organized to inoculate itself against anything but increasing its power.

                Once you stop giving it power and legitimacy – by ignoring it – it will whither. It cannot stand the people ignoring it.

                Think about the scene of a little boy yelling at everyone “You have to play by MY RULES!!” and no one in the playground is listening. How powerful is the bully if no one listens to his lies?

  10. I can only imagine how many people will or are going to die, because of their wonderful health care bill. And, just what makes them so damn immune or exempt? If everybody else has to use socialized medicine, then by cracky, they should too.

    I am so fed up with this administration and their arrogancy, their holier than thou attitude, think they’re above everyone else, bow to and cow down to, I can just, can’t even think of anything, I’m so angry and pi$$ed off.

  11. Here is you hard earned tax dollars hard at work.

    Sorry I didn’t retype this, but it’s too long, and I’m getting ready to leave work and go home shortly. A friend of mine sent me this.

    ________________________________________________________________________________

    “In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to
    this country that has given me so much,” she said. “See, that’s why I

    left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, ”
    Michelle Obama

    No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and
    she
    doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her
    from
    hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every
    whim
    and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great
    Recession.
    Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for
    the
    White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell
    out the salary for her personal secretary.

    How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of
    Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence
    wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald
    cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the
    benefit package for these servants of Miz Michelle are the same as
    members of the national security and defense departments and the
    bill
    for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public:

    1. $172,2000 – Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

    2. $140,000 – Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the
    President
    and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

    3. $113,000 – Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the
    President and White House Social Secretary)

    4. $102,000 – Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the
    President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

    5. Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and
    Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

    6. $90,000 – Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the
    First Lady)

    7. $84,000 – Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press
    Secretary
    to the First Lady)

    8. $75,000 – Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and
    Advance for the First Lady)

    9. $70,000 – Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and
    Projects for the First Lady)

    10. $65,000 – Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy
    Social Secretary)

    11.. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social
    Secretary)

    12. $62,000 – Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of
    Scheduling
    and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

    13. $60,000 – Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and
    Trip
    Director for the First Lady)

    14. Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the
    First Lady)

    15. $52,500 – Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and
    Deputy
    Press Secretary To The First Lady)

    16. $50,000 – Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for
    Scheduling
    and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

    17. $45,000 – Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of
    Correspondence For The First Lady)

    18. Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

    19. $40,000 – Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the
    Chief
    Of Staff to the First Lady)

    20. $36,000 – Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the
    Social Secretary)

    21. Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

    22.. Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of
    Correspondence
    for the First Lady)

    There has never been anyone in the White House at
    any time
    that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the
    facilitation of the First Lady’s social life. One wonders why she
    needs so much help, at taxpayer expense, when even Hillary, only had
    three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one; and prior to Mamie
    Eisenhower social help came from the President’s own pocket.

    Note: This does not include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49,
    and
    “First Hairstylist” Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom travelled aboard
    Air Force One to Europe.

  12. Murphy's Law says:

    I like the article…..yours, I mean, USW. You are correct in saying that integrity just about gone from our society. And most people didn’t even notice it was happening……I see the frog named Integrity in the increasingly hot water here…..and it’s about to die.

    I’m going to throw another politically incorrect opinion in here…..since education is on the menu today…..I am a teacher and have been in the public schools for almost 20 years now. It is a common refrain we hear, how poorly teachers are paid. This statement is made as though true across the board, no matter where one teaches.

    I maintain that most of us are NOT underpaid. Now before a lot of people get really upset with me, let me say that I realize that small rural districts have lower pay- in Texas there is a state minimum (about 27K for a new teacher) and some districts say they cannot afford to pay more than that. I cannot speak to that situation as I have never been in a rural district nor tried to live on the state minimum in a rural area. I am sure that is difficult. But even the subject of state minimum pay for teachers, like minimum wage, is controversial. That’s for another post.

    I have worked in several suburban districts and one large urban one. I am paid more than $50,000/year- certainly not riches by any definition today…….but I get:

    10 weeks off in the summer,
    2 weeks at Christmas,
    1 week spring break,
    1 week off for Thanksgiving if I take 2 days of staff development before a cutoff date,
    plus at least one 3 day weekend per month, the only exception being February.

    (And you should hear the teachers gripe about having to work all that month without any Mondays off. Those poor overworked souls!!!)

    I just looked up several urban and suburban school districts’ salary schedules, and the starting pay ranged from 41K to 48K. Even I was surprised- the school district where I live (not where I work) had the highest I found, which was just over 48K. To start! (My search was by no means exhaustive- there may be others that start their teachers even higher.)

    I’ve looked at other jobs and their pay……and asked myself how many other jobs could I have that paid that much and had 14 weeks off, and during those weeks off, if I wish I can work to supplement my income (which I have also done)? And in teaching you don’t have to work a few years before getting all that vacation time. It starts the first year you do.

    I get really griped when I hear teachers complaining about their “low pay”……..didn’t the idiots know the salary when they took the job? Of course they did. And it’s not all that d***ed low!

    And increasing teacher pay has NOT improved student scores. I know many fabulous teachers but also some who absolutely should not be in the schools. But it takes an act of Congress to remove crappy teachers who haven’t committed some gross infraction of the rules. UNLESS you work in a district where the finance dept can’t do math and then they discover a budget shortfall. THEN they will have no problem laying off hundreds of teachers, as one Texas school district did last year. But I digress……

    Most teachers I know are against school vouchers. They can argue the issue any way they want. The truth is they don’t want any competition. Where’s the integrity there? I’ve heard them cry about how vouchers would take funds away from the public schools…….he** yes, it would take money away. That’s the idea. Take it away from those who waste it and give it to a private school and see what they can do with it. I have seen so many storage rooms in EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL I’VE EVER WALKED INTO, FILLED WITH EXPENSIVE SETS OF MATERIALS THAT NO ONE IS USING. Every year they go after the next “big thing” that is supposed to transform student achievement…….when it is not an overnight success, away it goes into mothballs and we will spend more big bucks going after the next “big thing” some educational talking head has to offer. The money is WASTED.

    I know I will sound like some kind of little “scout” here…….but I have this crazy idea that teachers maybe ought to have the integrity to earn their pay, not complain about it.

  13. Black Flag says:

    OK, so a bit of a info post here….

    Almost everyone knows about a monopoly – one supplier for all buyers.

    But the government is a monopsony – one buyer for all suppliers.

    It is a monopsony in education and (soon) healthcare, for example.

    As with monopoly, a monopsony can only exist by government writ – that is a law prohibiting others from entering the market.

    Take some time to understand the concept –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopsony

  14. Black Flag says:
    • Judy S. says:

      I read it , makes sense to me, and it sounds like what a lot of people try to say, but just can’t get the words out. Somebody like that is what we need to get the ball rolling.

      BTW BF, just where do you get all these links from?

      • Black Flag says:

        Hundreds of sites – that one came from Kent (the Hooligan Libertarian) – his site is linked thru by USWep, above.

        He is one of the most real, articulate freedom fighters I know of on the ‘net.

  15. Judy S. says:

    Here is another email sent to me from the same person about Michele Obama

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Following the mad recommendations of Peter Singer made in NYT’s Sunday magazine, it pays to take a look at what is actually in the healthcare bill.

    It’s worse than you can possibly imagine. Somehow, it manages to be Singer on steroids. Who wrote this bill? It has Singer’s footprints all over it.

    Peter Fleckstein (aka Fleckman) is reading it and has been posting on Twitter his findings. This is from his postings (Note: All comments are Fleckman’s)

    Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

    Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill – THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benes u get

    Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill – YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!!

    Pg 42 of HC Bill – The Health Choices Commissioner will choose UR HC Benefits 4 you. U have no choice!

    PG 50 Section 152 in HC bill – HC will be provided 2 ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise

    Pg 58HC Bill – Govt will have real-time access 2 individs finances & a National ID Healthcard will b issued!

    Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Govt will have direct access 2 ur banks accts 4 elect. funds transfer

    PG 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan 4 retirees and their families in Unions & community orgs (ACORN).

    Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Govt is creating an HC Exchange 2 bring priv HC plans under Govt control.

    PG 84 Sec 203 HC bill – Govt mandates ALL benefit pkgs 4 priv. HC plans in the Exchange

    PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill – Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will ration ur Healthcare!

    PG 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill – Govt mandates linguistic approp svcs. Example – Translation 4 illegal aliens

    Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Govt will use groups i.e., ACORN & Americorps 2 sign up indiv. for Govt HC plan

    PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill – Specs of Ben Levels 4 Plans. #AARP members – U Health care WILL b rationed

    -PG 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill – Medicaid Eligible Indiv. will b automat.enrolled in Medicaid. No choice

    pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No “judicial review” against Govt Monop

    pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill – Doctors/ #AMA – The Govt will tell YOU what u can make.

    Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into pub opt plan. NO CHOICE

    Pg 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay 4 HC 4 part time employees AND their families.

    Pg 149 Lines 16-24 ANY Emplyr w payroll 400k & above who does not prov. pub opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll

    pg 150 Lines 9-13 Biz w payroll btw 251k & 400k who doesnt prov. pub. opt pays 2-6% tax on all payroll

    Pg 167 Lines 18-23 ANY individual who doesnt have acceptable HC accrdng 2 Govt will be taxed 2.5% of inc

    Pg 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from indiv. taxes. (Americans will pay)

    Pg 195 HC Bill -officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access 2 ALL Americans finan/pers recs

    PG 203 Line 14-15 HC – “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax” Yes, it says that

    Pg 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Govt will reduce physician svcs 4 Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected

    Pg 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill – Doctors, doesnt matter what specialty u have, you’ll all be paid the same

    PG 253 Line 10-18 Govt sets value of Dr’s time, prof judg, etc. Literally value of humans.

    PG 265 Sec 1131Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries

    PG 268 Sec 1141 Fed Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven wheelchairs

    PG 272 SEC. 1145. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS – Cancer patients – welcome to rationing!

    Page 280 Sec 1151 The Govt will penalize hospitals 4 what Govt deems preventable readmissions.

    Pg 298 Lines 9-11 Drs, treat a patient during initial admiss that results in a readmiss-Govt will penalize u.

    Pg 317 L 13-20 OMG!! PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Drs. what/how much they can own.

    Pg 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating hospitals cannot expand

    pg 321 2-13 Hospitals have oppt to apply for exception BUT community input required. Can u say ACORN?!!

    Pg335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339 – Govt mandates estab. of outcome based measures. HC the way they want. Rationing

    Pg 341 Lines 3-9 Govt has authority 2 disqual Medicare Adv Plans, HMOs, etc. Forcing peeps in2 Govt plan

    Pg 354 Sec 1177 – Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs ppl! WTF. My sis has down syndrome!!

    Pg 379 Sec 1191 Govt creates more bureaucracy – Telehealth Advisory Cmtte. Can u say HC by phone?

    PG 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life

    Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

    PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Govt provides apprvd list of end of life resources, guiding u in death

    PG 427 Lines 15-24 Govt mandates program 4 orders 4 end of life. The Govt has a say in how ur life ends

    Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An “adv. care planning consult” will b used frequently as patients health deteriorates

    PG 429 Lines 10-12 “adv. care consultation” may incl an ORDER 4 end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOV

    Pg 429 Lines 13-25 – The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.

    PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Govt will decide what level of treatment u will have at end of life

    Pg 469 – Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Svcs here!!?

    Page 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment 2 a community-based org. Like ACORN?

    PG 489 Sec 1308 The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. Which means they will insert Govt in2 ur marriage

    Pg 494-498 Govt will cover Mental Health Svcs including defining, creating, rationing those svcs

  16. v. Holland says:

    http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2448/State-Educational-Systems.html

    I’m wondering if we have more people running the school system than we have children in the school system and notice that the Federal Government got their foot in the door the same way they normally do my giving money. The States really need to stop taking money from the Federal Government if they really want to demand State rights.

  17. Black Flag says:

    Bob

    Total cost to me for a three day hospital stay, surgery, and eventual rehabilitation: if I recall correctly, I paid $50 for my full-arm cast

    Well, Bob – that is exactly the horror.

    The illusion that it only cost $50.

    The uncomfortable question, Bob is: WHO PAYS – certainly not this author – but someone had to.

    All socialized health care creates is a gambling game –

    “Do I win by using the system for everything I can, or am I the sucker who is healthy and has to pay for those that use the system?”

    And no one likes to be a sucker – so, with no surprise, the system is consumed to exhaustion.

    • BF, I want to apologize to you for that remark I made to you earlier, I was kind of in a pi$$y a$$ mood, when I said that. I think you know what I’m talking about, right, I hope. Again, I’m sorry. Especially after the nice conversation we had this weekend.

      Judy

    • Yes I think it is horrible that people can get medical treatment without having to worry about bankrupting themselves. Did you read any of the other nice stories from the American posters who were unable to get insurance due to a pre existing condition and are literally praying that they dont get sick. What about the heart warming tale of the 9 year old girl who was scared to tell her mum and dad how injured she was because she knew it costs them a lot of money to see the doctor.

      One of my friends had about half the function of 1 kidney an affliction he had since birth, he was sick for a long time and required regular dialysis. Luckily he managed to get a kidney transplant 2 years ago and now lives a full and active life. In your perfect world he would have been left to die (“a tragedy”), no way would the family have been able to afford the treatment over those years. So sorry if I dont come over to your way of thinking anytime soon.

      As regards the American health system you complain about people falling through the cracks of the NHS and Canadian system (which does happen unfortunately) but there are an estimated 101,000 people deaths from preventable illnesses each year in the US.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN07651650

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Bob and others:

        In regards to the stellar US Healthcare System – here is another story:

        A middle aged couple has a baby boy, their first. The couple is covered under the wife’s insurance plan. Health coverage is denied to the infant due to a ‘paperwork glitch’ on behalf of the company HR that resulted in status change not being filed w/in 31 days of birth. The couple, frantic, does the following:

        1. Files and appeal with the wife’s company – but is told it may take months for the appeal to be ‘heard’ and will likely be denied;

        2. Signs up for a single coverage plan through a well known provider – is told it can take weeks and maybe a couple of months ‘for all the paperwork to work its way through the system’;

        3. Signs up for a short term plan for the infant that is basically highway robbery – for a couple hundred bucks a month the infant is ‘covered’ but only for something significant (read: a hellacious deductible).

        Who is the couple? Yours truly. This isn’t even a system anymore – its a complete cluster of a mess. If my kid gets sick or something significant does happen I dread the thought of what could happen to us as a family. A fine mess to worry with when you have your first child after trying for close to a decade. A doubt any system is perfect (Canada, France, UK) – but to think we need not do anything is a sick joke.

        • My wife and myself had our first child (a little girl) last year. We went to our local hospital with a nice room with an ensuite. 1 midwife was present throughout labour and towards the actual birth we had 2 midwives and due to some complications 2 doctors. She is fine and toddling around now, I never have to worry about her going to the doctors or her health needs. The forum I linked earlier has some American families paying $600 a month for insurance and they have to pay costs on top of that, to me that is insane. My national insurance payments (that fund the NHS) do not even come close to that amount and I am in one of the top brackets.

  18. First, do no harm.

    Second, give it no energy.

    Third, trust that with (1) and (2) the beast will die

    BF, The beast, as you say, will never die under these conditions. While I agree with your philosophy, it don’t achieve reality. Beasts must be defeated, not ignored. This beast is not going away, and I aquate this to a killer Grizzly bear, it tastes blood, it will keep coming to get it! Do it no harm? The bear keeps feeding on our blood.

    Nature cannot be ignored, and the bad parts must be dealt with. We, humans, are a part of that. While your choice to not give government acknowlegment is not a bad thing, it does not address the nature of life, and the evil that is around us. Not acknowleging nature, while living philosophical beliefs, I would consider another bad religion. Call it what you will, And we may disagree here, but I’d rather fight the evil, than let it consume me from the outside in, because I ignored it, or gave it no attention.

    No offense intended, and maybe I’m wrong, but nature does’nt contradict in most cases (my spelling might, LOL), it just is what it is.

    Peace my friend!

    G!

    • Black Flag says:

      First, do no harm.

      Second, give it no energy.

      Third, trust that with (1) and (2) the beast will die

      BF, The beast, as you say, will never die under these conditions. While I agree with your philosophy, it don’t achieve reality. Beasts must be defeated, not ignored. This beast is not going away, and I aquate this to a killer Grizzly bear, it tastes blood, it will keep coming to get it! Do it no harm? The bear keeps feeding on our blood.

      It is an illusion, G-man.

      You do not defeat an illusion by fighting it – if you try, you make the illusion real, and since it is an illusion, you can never defeat it.

      You defeat illusions by not acting on them.

      The men behind the illusions are criminals – when the illusion disappears, they will have lost everything – they will be exposed. It will be a very few against a whole lot of many, and they will not act (or if they do, they will be destroyed easily).

      But as long as we hold ILLUSION, they are powerful.

      Nature cannot be ignored, and the bad parts must be dealt with. We, humans, are a part of that. While your choice to not give government acknowlegment is not a bad thing, it does not address the nature of life, and the evil that is around us. Not acknowleging nature, while living philosophical beliefs, I would consider another bad religion. Call it what you will, And we may disagree here, but I’d rather fight the evil, than let it consume me from the outside in, because I ignored it, or gave it no attention.

      Fight evil – it exists now and it will exist forever.

      But that is not the question. The question is legitimacy of power.

      It is easy to fight the thug down the street because everyone knows he is a thug.

      It is not easy to fight government because almost no one see it as a thug.

      Do nothing with government, and it evaporates.

  19. Here are some good laughs everybody. Hope you enjoy.
    BTW, I got plenty more.

    ________________________________________________________________
    These are from a book called ‘Disorder in the American Courts’ and are
    things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now
    published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while
    these exchanges were actually taking place.

    ____________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
    WITNESS: Yes.
    ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
    WITNESS: I forget.
    ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
    ___________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he
    doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
    WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
    _________________________ ___________

    ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
    WITNESS: He’s twenty, much like your IQ.
    ___________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
    WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
    _________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
    WITNESS: Yes.
    ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
    WITNESS: getting laid
    ____________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
    WITNESS: Yes.
    ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
    WITNESS: None.
    ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
    W ITNESS : Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new
    attorney?
    ____________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
    WITNESS: By death.
    ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
    WITNESS: Take a guess.
    ____________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
    WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
    ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
    WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
    _____________________________________

    ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition
    notice which I sent to your attorney?
    WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
    ______________________________________

    ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead
    people?
    WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
    _________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
    WITNESS: Oral.
    _________________________________________
    ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
    WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
    ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
    WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
    ____________________________________________

    ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
    WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
    ______________________________________

    And the best for last:

    ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a
    pulse?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began
    the autopsy?
    WITNESS: No.
    ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
    WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
    ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
    WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing
    law..

  20. I heard tonight that Pelosi, Reid, Boxer, and another one I can’t remember who are in trouble when the next voting comes out. And, I also heard that Obama is slipping in the polls, GOOD. Then maybe when the next election comes, he’ll be out of the running especially with all these lies, and stupid bills that he’s trying to get passed, people will finally see the light, if they haven’t already.

    I hope to God, that he won’t be elected again. I hope also, that these other idiots won’t be re-elected again either. I know we definitely need to get rid of Reid here in Nevada, he isn’t doing a damn thing for this state, and the sooner he gets out, the better.

  21. Black Flag says:

    G-Man,

    Before a description and design of how to manage without government (which will naturally dismantle government) – it is imperative to hold a core principle.

    The reason is, as we go through answering problems, there is a strong tendency to fall back to government concepts for the answer. IF that happens, well – nothing will change.

    By the firm commitment to the principles, there can no be falling back. It will also mean that there may be harder answers to problems then you are used to – it means that some easy answers that you may have used in the past that suddenly are a whole lot more difficult, and some hard problems of today that are incredibly easy.

    But there will problems that we cannot solve morally – and it will be very easy to try to cheat, and go back to using violence. But we cannot.

    When you are ready… let me know.

    • BF, Is it not the true core of all life forms to survive? I read your posts with a goal, to expand my knowledge! I question for reasons that I desire your input. You have great knowledge about government and economics. I tend to look at nature to help me with these issues.

      I’m not against your anarchism, actually, I’ve found many things that I like about it. I’m not going into whats morally right, but what nature path is leading us.

      We have been down natures path, good and bad, and I don’t see that changing, as much as I’d like it to!

      I know I’m going A different path with this, but is that not good?

      Must get some sleep, will check back about 5 hours. Peace be with you my friend!

      G1

    • v. Holland says:

      Hi BF,

      I know that you want no government but do you see that ever happening in this Country? If you do, what do you think would cause that to happen?

    • Black Flag says:

      G-Man

      BF, Is it not the true core of all life forms to survive?

      Certainly. If you’re merely a life form.

      But humans have intellect.

      That changes the purpose of human life to be more profound then merely making it to tomorrow.

      Thus, humans also infer quality, desire, wants on top of mere needs.

      To achieve the maximum of these things, we have used our thinking and experimentation.

      We have found that civilization offers the maximum ability to achieve these things for all the people.

      The core premise of civilization is Freedom – that is, no one imposing upon another, voluntary association with others, free and voluntary exchange, etc.

      We have found that violence moves us away from civilization back into savagery.

      I’m not against your anarchism, actually, I’ve found many things that I like about it. I’m not going into whats morally right, but what nature path is leading us.

      Savagery is an easy path.

      It takes years to build a building and minutes to destroy it. It takes a lot of work to build civilization and moments of savagery to destroy it.

      However, it is obvious that even as easy as it is to destroy, and how hard the work is to build, civilization is so bountiful, it dominates the world.

      Savages are lazy – and the threat of civilization means they can no longer ‘do nothing worthwhile’.

      Time is on our side.

      V. Holland

      Yes. But when? (shrug) When the people want it.

      But paradigms are hard to shrug off – it usually takes a disaster, and sadly, that is where we are headed.

      The last, major, paradigm that was thrown off was the Church.

      The change – (now, we shake our heads at the stupidity and the horror) – was merely the idea that a common man could commune with God without a Pope.

      The 30-years War of the Reformation was the single worse conflict in human history up to that time – essentially a world war – and a ‘total’ war, where civilians were purposely targeted for slaughter.

      The Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. The war was fought primarily (though not exclusively) in Germany and at various points involved most of the countries of Europe. Naval warfare also reached overseas and shaped the colonial formation of future nations.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years%27_War

      And that was over merely a man wanting to talk to God.

      It certainly suggests that the idea that a man can rule himself will be an order of magnitude more profound.

  22. Here is another one. I’m sorry people, I’m on a roll here.

    _________________________________________________________________

    Who said ‘Give me Liberty , or give me Death’?”
    She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Little Johnny a bright
    Navajo Indian boy, who had his hand up: “Patrick Henry, 1775” he said.
    “Very good!”
    Who said, “Government of the People, by the People, for the People,
    shall not perish from the
    Earth?”
    Again, no response except from Little Johnny, “Abraham Lincoln,
    1863”.
    The teacher snapped at the class, “Class, you should be ashamed,
    Little Johnny knows more about
    history than you do.”
    She heard a loud whisper: “Screw the Indians.”
    “Who said that?” she demanded.
    Little Johnny puthis hand up, “General Custer, 1862.”
    At that pointa student in the back said, “I’m gonna puke.”
    The teacher glares around and asks, “All right!!! Now who said
    that!?”
    Again, Little Johnny says, “George Bush to the Japanese Prime
    Minister, 1991.”
    Now furious, another student yells, “Oh yeah? Suck this!” Little
    Johnny jumps out of his chair waving his hand and shouts to the teacher ,
    “Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!”
    Now with almost mob hysteria someone said “You little shit. If you
    say anything else, I’ll kill you.”
    Little Johnny frantically yells at the top of his voice, “Michael
    Jackson to the child witnesses testifying against him, 2004…”
    The teacher fainted.
    And as the class gathered around the teacher on the floor, someone
    said, “Oh shit, We’re screwed!”
    Little Johnny said quietly, “The American people, November 4, 2008”

  23. Last one, I promise.

    ________________________________________________________________

    How many times do dumb things like this happen? It is amazing!

    We went to breakfast at a restaurant where the ‘seniors’ special’ was two
    eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $1.99.
    ‘Sounds good,’ my wife said. ‘But I don’t want the eggs.’
    ‘Then, I’ll have to charge you two dollars and forty-nine cents because
    you’re ordering a la carte,’ the waitress warned her.
    ‘You mean I’d have to pay for not taking the eggs?’ my wife asked
    incredulously.
    ‘YES!!’ stated the waitress.
    ‘I’ll take the special then.’ my wife said.
    ‘How do you want your eggs?’ the waitress asked.
    ‘Raw and in the shell,’ my wife replied.
    She took the two eggs home and baked a cake.
    DON’T MESS WITH SENIORS!!!
    We’ve been around the block more than once!

    Send this to the Seniors in your life. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!!

    Even non-seniors will appreciate it!!!!!

  24. Black Flag says:

    Bob

    Yes I think it is horrible that people can get medical treatment without having to worry about bankrupting themselves.

    Yes, it is called “Health Insurance” – I know, since I bought some.

    Why you think that is horrible (shrug) – some people have strange ideas.

    However, I can tell you for fact, that my insurance is in no-way-shape-or-form like your government one.

    Mine is insurance, not someone elses piggy bank that you can raid – that is, meant to mitigate a financially devastating event. It is not there to pay for everything I need for my health.

    When ever a system is perverted by government, it is no wonder that for most people, it won’t work.

    Did you read any of the other nice stories from the American posters who were unable to get insurance due to a pre existing condition and are literally praying that they dont get sick.

    Pray tell – would you sell fire insurance on a house that was on fire?

    What about the heart warming tale of the 9 year old girl who was scared to tell her mum and dad how injured she was because she knew it costs them a lot of money to see the doctor.

    Good for her, at her young age she has figured out what many adults haven’t figured out – there are consequences to ones actions.

    Of course, she is a little girl – so she isn’t quite up to determining serious vs. not – but at least she’s leagues ahead of many in one part of her thinking!

    One of my friends had about half the function of 1 kidney an affliction he had since birth, he was sick for a long time and required regular dialysis. Luckily he managed to get a kidney transplant 2 years ago and now lives a full and active life. In your perfect world he would have been left to die (”a tragedy”), no way would the family have been able to afford the treatment over those years. So sorry if I dont come over to your way of thinking anytime soon.

    I’m sure she could get a transplant without having to steal money from someone else.

    I’m not sure why you believe stealing is the only way to solve health problems?

    As regards the American health system you complain about people falling through the cracks of the NHS and Canadian system (which does happen unfortunately) but there are an estimated 101,000 people deaths from preventable illnesses each year in the US.

    A doubt any system is perfect (Canada, France, UK) – but to think we need not do anything is a sick joke.

    Yes, government run medicine (and yes, the US has government run medicine) is the #1 killer in the United States – twice the rate of auto accidents.

    It is a shame, isn’t it? Maybe time to get government off the roads and out of hospitals?

    • Oh please do tell where my friend could have got that kidney transplant from, human kidneys dont grow on trees unfortunately and if they did they dont magically get absorbed into your body. In your world my friend would be now making a tasty snack for worms, luckily we dont live in that world and he is now happy and pain free.
      Oh and please tell me what you would do Black Flag if yourself or one of your family for that matter were unable to get any sort of health insurance and then got a serious illness. Would you chuckle to yourself, say its your/their fault for getting ill and start digging your/their grave in the back yard?

      • Black Flag says:

        From a donor…. why is that concept outside your understanding?

        As far as insurance:

        First, the most important key to any insurance is to organize and purchase it as soon as possible for the risk you wish to mitigate.

        As you’ve noted, it is too late to buy insurance AFTER the issue has surfaced. No one will sell fire insurance on a house that is on fire, nor car insurance on a car after it was in an accident.

        And health is no different. It is bizarre to expect that someone will sell you health insurance AFTER you get sick.

        The early you get insurance, the cheaper it is – significantly – over the whole term and policy. For example, I got life insurance when I was 25 years old for $5 million for accidental death until age 65 – it cost me $15/month. I got an additional $5 million when I was 45 – for a term until 65 and it costs me $350/mon.

        I got health insurance, for world coverage, all problems, full family for pennies a day.
        The secert? I have a large deductible. I pay for the first $10,000. I was smart enough, early enough to understand insurance. I saved up the money so I can pay for the twisted ankles, broken heels, and stitches, so that IF I get a massive health issue, I can afford it.

        But all of this if for not, if I believed I had a right to steal it from you, Bob.

        Why would I have to think, learn and plan?

        I merely need to send thugs to your house and take your money.

        Why would I have to save my money to pay for my own costs?

        You got lots of money for me to take.

        Right?

        • Your skirting around the issue completely here Black Flag, who is going to put that donor kidney in? Last time I saw the operation it wasnt like putting in a USB cable.

          Its good you got health insurance and are prepared for the worst what about those with birth defects or illnesses who would never be able to get insurance? What about those who got an injury later in life had health insurance through work but due to a job loss they no longer have insurance and would not now be able to get insurance anyway due to the pre existing condition? Tough luck, hope you dont get ill?

        • Chris Devine says:

          The kidney is obviously coming from a donor. You consistently dodge the questions by either pretending not to understand or by offering trite responses.

          Regarding your superb insurance, is that $10k deductible for a set time period or is that per incident? The reason I ask is because you could easily spend that much on emergency care following an accident. If that accident wasn’t covered by another form of insurance (e.g., automotive liability) or couldn’t be recouped through a civil suit (due to negligence), then all it would take is for you to have a string of bad luck and now you’re no better than someone who was denied insurance in the first place due to pre-existing conditions.

          Your scenario about forethought and personal sacrifice is nothing but BS. There are plenty of people in this country who work their asses off to provide just the bare necessities and to suggest that they must somehow have $10k in the bank (otherwise they deserve whatever happens to them) is about as moronic and despicable as anything I’ve heard.

          The fact remains that health care should not be paid for through insurance. It should be considered a basic human right and everybody should help pay for it according to their ability. We all benefit from a healthy society and we should all pitch in to ensure that we have one.

          On a side note, life insurance is about the worst investment you can make. You would have been better off putting that money in a savings account to cover any expenses when you die. Throwing $350/month away when you could have been saving since you were 25 (or 45) is asinine.

        • Black Flag says:

          (Comment moved to “Tues Open Mic”)

  25. Here’s wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year !

  26. I would just like to tell you that Zack DE La Rocha is a fraud.
    The lyrics for the Rage Against the Machine songs are not his.
    Read 2nd Corinthians 12 to find out who I am, if you can be bothered.
    I thanyou for a place on the net where people can be true.

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  2. […] political cartoon was posted by USWeapon on his blog about his thoughts on the American government.  Although this is a very opinionated […]

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