Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel

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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"I've got some good news and I've got some bad news..."

Sometime in 1980s a meeting of the entire 60 Minutes staff was held. With corporate and network Gods looking on, 60 minutes executive producer Don Hewitt addressed the gathering. He used words to the effect of, "I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that for the first time in television history a network television news program made profit. The bad news is that for the first time in television history a network news program made a profit. The show is 60 minutes and from now on television news will never be the same."

Don taught the rest of us how to do it. That is only right because he is the one that figured it all out in the first place.

Thanks for all you did Don. You take my undying respect to the grave with you.


I plan to die at my desk.
- Don Hewitt

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Monday, August 17, 2009

National Health Care Lies - More on "You can keep what you have"

One of the repeating public health care themes coming out of the White House is "If you like your current health care, you can keep it." From the President, on down through Press Secretary Robert L. Gibbs to congressional representatives, we hear it over and over again.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The proposed health reforms will eliminate private health insurance. The reason is simple math and business sense.

Most people get health insurance through their employers. Unless you are buying your health insurance on your own, the decision will lay with your employer rather then you.

To how this works let us create a fictitious company. Our company has 50 employees and an annual payroll of $2 Million. Shopping around on the internet uncovered stripped down family policies available to groups of 50 for a little over $600 a month per employee. To make the math easy, we will use $600 for an annual fee of $360 Thousand.

That is not the only employer expense when providing private health insurance. With 50 employees, the employer has one person that spends at least part of their time administering the health insurance policy. At $600 per month for family coverage at a group of 50, the employer is probably also dealing with complaints from employees that are not getting all the services they think they should have.

H.R. 3200 Sec. 412 (see text below) will levy a maximum 8% tax on employers that choose not provide employee health insurance. An 8% tax on $2 Million comes out to $160 Thousand per year.

A government health plan gives our fictitious company two options. They can stay with the private option at $360 thousand per year as outlined above or go with the government option of $160 Thousand dollars per year. And the government option carries the added bonus of eliminating all the administration costs and employee griping.

Which option do you think most employers are going to go with? I know which option my employer will take.

As employees are shifted in massive numbers out of the private sector that pool of private insurance money used to pay claims with will shrink dramatically. That will cause the price of private health insurance to go up. More employers and individual policyholders will abandon the private companies for the less expensive government option.

Once that snowball starts down the hill it will not stop until there is nothing left. Eventually, one buy one, the private health insurance companies will become insolvent and die.

History shows what happens when government enters into direct competition with the private sector. For example, the Roosevelt Administration set up government run electric utilities in direct competition with private concerns. The Tennessee Valley authority destroyed Wendell Willkie's Commonwealth and Southern and wiped out millions of depression era stock holders.

How does this happen? It is simple. The play field is severely tilted.

A government entity pays no taxes. The federal government has the purchasing power to get well below market prices and terms on everything they need. Government can and will set rules and regulations that favor the government enterprise.

If government sets up a public health plan under the terms outlined in H.R. 3200 no private insurance company will survive. The tax advantage alone will be too much of an edge.

Legal scholars on both sides of the public health fence debated to exhaustion whether or not the now infamous Sec. 102 will end private insurance in five years through the language in the proposed law. Both sides have valid points. The debate comes from the fact that other parts of H.R. 3200 will change some of the existing statutes referenced in Section 102. Those changes will cause contradictions within section 102 itself.

I think the legal argument is academic. If there is government financed health insurance, in five years there will not be a private option left to test the law.

For the record H.R. 3200 Sec. 412 will change the Internal Revenue Code with the following language:


(a) In General- Section 3111 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d) and by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:

`(c) Employers Electing to Not Provide Health Benefits-

`(1) IN GENERAL- In addition to other taxes, there is hereby imposed on every nonelecting employer an excise tax, with respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to 8 percent of the wages (as defined in section 3121(a)) paid by him with respect to employment (as defined in section 3121(b)).


The only thing worse then a bad law is a badly written law.
- Me

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Yet one more act of democracy to be held against me…

I attended the town hall meeting in Monticello, FL where Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL). listened to comments and concerns about H.R.3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. The doors opened at 4:00 p.m. and by 4:30 the doors were closed when the court room reached a capacity crowd. My count was roughly 165 people. I'm told that another hundred or so people were left outside. I do know those left outside were a rowdy bunch.

The crowd ran 12 to 1 against H.R. 3200. Some comments were very concise and well spoken. I think what struck me the most was the vast amount of misinformation on both sides of the debate. One man wanted to know if the congressman would be giving up his fully paid, no deductible health insurance. Rep. Boyd corrected him on that misconception. Another lady extolled the virtues of a single payer system and how it wouldn't really cost any more then what we are paying now. A man complained loudly about the non-existent part of the bill that requires euthanasia of older patients.

Rep. Boyd handled the comments and questions fairly well. I was impressed with his ability to listen and respond. Respond he did, but answer he did not. It is hard to explain how he did it, but he did it well.

He did affirmatively state that he could not support the bill as it is written. He said that he would vote for what was best for the country.

I hope the bill does not change to something he can support. And lately the leadership in Washington seem to have lost sight of what's best for America. At least the America we know now.


"Americans haven't given up on the idea of a free press, but they don't think the press is unbiased. They see the press as valuable in tracking what government does and giving them information on some very basic and real issues like the war on terror. But large numbers of Americans wish they got a better news report. The public wants us to redouble our efforts to be fair and unbiased, or at least acknowledge bias."
- GENE POLICINSKI, acting director of the First Amendment Center.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Health Care Lies: Part 3 - We can do it better if everyone has health insurance

How many reading this are old enough to remember when liability insurance on your car was optional? All of you old enough think back to that simpler time in your life. The rest of you follow along, there is an example here.

Remember the insurance companies testifying before your state legislators? They said if everyone is covered there won't be anymore more uninsured losses, law suits will drop dramatically and therefore premiums will drop by double digit percentages. The laws were passed, people were ticketed and some lost licenses for not having proper car insurance.

As the laws passed, auto insurance rates took off like sky rockets. As each state required insurance, rates in those states went up in double digit percentages. At the same time, insurance rates in states still holding out against mandatory car insurance saw no or very small increases during the same time periods.

Auto insurance companies blamed the evil trial lawyers for screwing up the plan. Funny as it may be, states that did not have mandatory insurance laws during the same time period must not have had the same trouble with the trial lawyers. The only thing we can deduce from that information is that trial lawyers are a direct result of mandatory insurance laws. 

Now fast forward from the 1970s and 80s to March of this year. Karen Ignagni testified on behalf of the health insurance companies before the US Senate. Then she gave an interview to USA Today.

"This is a major step, and it changes everything about how the market works," Ignagni told USA TODAY. Insurers, she said, are prepared to "offer coverage to everyone who applies."

In return, however, they want a system similar to the one that now exists only in Massachusetts, in which all residents are required to get insurance. Insurers want the federal government to help those who cannot afford private insurance with subsidies or tax breaks.

Insurers also want to prevent any new system from including a government insurance plan similar to Medicare. Ignagni said such a plan could attract 100 million people who now have private insurance, because the government can bargain for lower rates with providers.
USA Today: Insurers' proposal requires coverage for all

Last weekend Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) appeared on the Mike Huckabee show. She said that "we all have to be insured" for the federal health system to work and keep costs down.

Where have we heard that before? I'm not certain, but I might have seen this tap dance before.

You can be certain the insurance companies do not want to see a government run insurance option. That is a matter of simple survival. A government run plan will exterminate the private option for all but the very wealthy.

But it is almost a sure bet the private health insurance industry longs for a Massachusetts style law requiring health insurance on everyone. Once they have a captive market, the price of the policy is no a key concern.

So everyone will have insurance, but at what cost? Once health insurance is required by law the sky is the limit.

Been there, done that, got the ticket. (Dismissed, found the insurance card later.)


"You have awakened a sleeping giant."
- Katy Abram addressing Arlen Specter (D-PA) at a town hall meeting in Lebanon, PA

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Certified Fishy and un-American.

I am proud to display the "Certified Fishy" seal of disapproval. It is an honor and a privilege to be declared fishy by those who think H.R. 3200 is a good idea. To think that my thoughts were able to tweak those that believe in social and economic justice (What ever the Hell that may be) even for a minute means I'm doing something right.

In addition to that the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (Twit-CA) and House Majority Leader,  Steny Hoyer (D-MD) declared those speaking out against health care (myself included) to be un-American. They did so in a joint opinion column that ran in today's USA Today.

Let me share part of that column with you:

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
USA Today: 'Un-American' attacks can't derail health care debate By Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer

Does anyone remember when the New York Times exposed critical anti-terror operations? Critics called the reporters, editors and publisher of the New York Times un-American for doing that. (I used the phrase traitorous, but tact has never been my strong suit.)

Does anyone remember Rep. Nancy Pelosi and company spending hours on CNN and MSNBC vilifying President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and those complaining about the New York times? She was one of the chief cheerleaders rallying the troops against the evil right wing war mongering conspirators. Nancy and Co. were all very free with the word "un-American" while referring to the people listed above.

Hey pot, which kettle are you calling black?

A tip of the hat to my cousin who indirectly turned me on to Verum Serum. On their page they have a link to a template that allows you put whatever you want in the middle of the seal. I bought the kitty with the fish bone from ClipArtOf.com for ten dollars. Well worth the money.


A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it.
- George W. Bush

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

National Health Care Lies: Part 2 - All Anti-Health Care Protestors Are Professional Rabble Rousers

The August break for Congress is traditionally used so representatives may return home and meet with constituents. This year the constituents are not just asking to be heard, they are demanding it. At meetings across the country, the prospect of government run healthcare is bringing out lots of people for lots of reasons. Most of them are pissed off beyond belief over one or more aspects of the plan. They are are not being shy or even tactful when personally delivering that message in town meetings.

Democrats are attempting to paint everyone showing up at town hall meetings as agitators from out side the district and Tea Party Patriots. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (Twit-CA) coined a new term for these protestors, "This initiative is funded by the high end. We call it "Astroturf," it's not really a grass roots movement. It's AstroTurf by some of the wealthiest people of America." 

Nancy and the rest of the people making these claims seem to think we, the American public, are going to be diverted form the real issue by this verbal slight of hand. But fortunately this particular magic trick is so bad that even the most wide eyed innocents are laughing at it.

A few of the people showing up for these meetings are coming at the behest of e-mailed requests, web postings and talk radio shows. So what? The point is these people do not believe the brand of government run health care being proposed is good thing for them or their country.

Most of the people are showing up on their own volition without the extra prodding. They do so because they believe the proposed health care plan is so bad that it is worth going to the meeting to be heard in person.

All of the people showing up for these meetings have a reason for being there. Many are worried about the cost, the effect on the federal budget and their taxes. Many know their existing health insurance will eventually dry up under government competition and are gravely concerned about what will replace it. A large number of older constituents are very concerned about what will happen when free health care over loads the system and the federal budget. Everyone wants to know where the lines will be drawn when the resources eventually run out. A few are even more concerned over who will be drawing those lines.

The idea that all the people showing up at these meetings are rabble rousers out to torpedo Democrats is pure political fantasy. It is so fantastic that only the most fanatic "The US Bombed the World Trade Center" believers are buying into it.

That leads us to one of two possible conclusions:

  • The Democratic leadership actually believes that this is nothing but semi-pro rabble rousers making trouble at the town hall meetings. In this case it means the Democratic Leadership is so far disconnected from the reality of what their constituents want that they have no place making laws and spending decisions over them. We are talking a disconnect so severe that even the "we know what's best for you" elite are becoming concerned.


  • The Democratic leadership believes the American public is stupid enough to buy that load of fertilizer they are shoveling. If that's the case they have proved themselves to be snake oil salesmen and con artists with no place in making laws and spending decisions over any of us.

I recommend that anyone reading this seek out the nearest town hall meeting and be heard. It doesn't matter which side of the debate you are on. What does matter is the badly needed reality check for our representatives. It never hurts to remind elected officials from time to time that their cushy jobs still depend on the unwashed masses that vote for them. Who knows, they may actually listen to we voters instead of those high priced lobbyists.

Well, at least for a while. 


"It is kinda funny, though, having a professional neighborhood organizer [President Obama] crying "foul" because those of us upon whom this abomination will be foisted may be organizing to protest."
- My Cousin

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Thursday, August 06, 2009


This morning's Fox News ran a piece about the White House asking for people to e-mail any "fishy" they get in e-mails or overhear in conversation. I found the blog post. Allow me to quote:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.
The White House Blog: Facts Are Stubborn Things

So all you people that disagree with me, here's your chance. Once again that address is flag@whitehouse.gov. You can tell the president himself that I am a mean spirited naysayer.

Sadly it won't change anything. He and his plans will still be wrong for our nation, but at least he'll know people are talking about it.

In the mean time, I'm going to e-mail a link to that YouTube video Linda Douglass made about keeping your existing health insurance. That is one of the fishiest things I've seen on health care in the last couple weeks. 


In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
- Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984)

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Homeowners Association vs. Christmas Lights and Gargoyles

I watch a site called Emails from Crazy People. It is good for a laugh now and then. The latest installment was an exchange between a home owner and representatives of a homeowners association titled Devil Worship And Christmas Lights. Here's a snippet:

We are writing to you as members of the Evergreen Homeowner’s Association about a concern that has occupied all our minds since you moved into this neighborhood. We are a congregate group of good Christian and God fearing people. The display you have set up on the outer section of your lot has us a bit concerned as the statue appears to be a type of Pagan worshipping symbol, unlike the other lawn decorations in our neighborhood. Shirley Whitley, a neighbor of yours says that this is a Satanic being and that you may be involved in the Occult.
Emails from Crazy People: Devil Worship and Christmas Lights

It never fails to amaze me what people will put in writing. For the record, the Satanic Object is a gargoyle. There is a picture of the offending statue on the original site, Gargoyle Troubles.

It would be interesting to hold a contest to see who can name all the laws the homeowners association violated with their first missive. I'll give you a hint, the number is greater then three.

This post is dedicated to my daughter who once lived in a condo that came with the Homeowners Association from Hell. But battling home owners associations seems to run in the family. I too have less then zero use for a bunch of empowered busy bodies with no other life then to run other people's lives.

I have enough trouble with government intrusions into my property and my life without a bunch of power hungry appearance Nazis using a ruler to measure the height of my grass every couple of days.

You go Chris!


"So let me get this straight. You want me to sign this piece of paper granting you deed restrictions on my property and submitting myself to the will of your newly formed homeowners association. But you are offended that I want to be paid for the loss of freedom to use my property as I see fit?"
- Me, addressing a group of civic minded neighbors in Texas.

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