Daily Digest

Daily Digest - August 6

Thursday, August 6, 2009, 11:00 AM
  • One Simple Good Question
  • Shelly's Thread on State Mandates
  • ICN, Audit the Fed and 18 Million Vacant Homes (Video, H/T iDoctor)
  • Housing Recovery: About half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011
  • Will Acute Distress in the Baltics Blow Back to Europe?
  • Things Fall Apart: Complexity, Supply Chains, Infrastructure & Collapse (H/T SuzieG)
  • What the Fed is REALLY Trying to Hide In Fighting an Audit (H/t HuckleJohn)
  • He's Back: PennyMac IPO brings back subprime memories (H/T Jeff Borsuk)
  • Dylan Ratigan – “Playing a parlor game at America's expense…” (Video on page)
  • Monday August 4, 2008 Housing Collapse Ahead? Not According to the Data (http://www.ritholtz.com/)
  • Resource: Failed Bank List with Enforcement Documents
  • Warning Related To The FDIC
  • Inflation (Video, Second one on page, H/T JoeManC)

Economy

One Simple Good Question

ICN, Audit the Fed and 18 Million Vacant Homes (Video, H/T iDoctor)

Shelly's Thread on State Mandates

Housing Recovery: About half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011

Home price declines will have their biggest impact on prime "conforming" loans that meet underwriting and size guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bank said in a report. Prime conforming loans make up two-thirds of mortgages, and are typically less risky because of stringent requirements.

"We project the next phase of the housing decline will have a far greater impact on prime borrowers," Deutsche analysts Karen Weaver and Ying Shen said in the report.

Of prime conforming loans, 41 percent will be "underwater" by the first quarter of 2011, up from 16 percent at the end of the first quarter 2009, it said. Forty-six percent of prime jumbo loans will be larger than their properties' value, up from 29 percent, it said.

"The impact of this is significant given that these markets have the largest share of the total mortgage market outstanding," the analysts said. Prime jumbo loans make up 13 percent of the total market.

Will Acute Distress in the Baltics Blow Back to Europe?

The Latvian and Lithuanian governments are adamant that they will not devalue. That is what all governments in their position always say – right up until the moment when the dreaded decision is made. Their reluctance is not simply to do with economic risk. The Balts also worry that if they devalue, they might come to look like second-class members of the European club – a dangerous position for countries that were part of the Soviet Union less than a generation ago.

 Things Fall Apart: Complexity, Supply Chains, Infrastructure & Collapse (H/T SuzieG)

This is a presentation by Dr. David Korowicz from Feasta, given at the Oil Drum/ASPO Conference at Alcatraz, Italy in June 2009. It can be downloaded here: Things fall apart: Some thoughts on complexity, supply chains, infrastructure & collapse dynamics, PDF 23 slides, 1.3 MB, text of spoken presentation.

What the Fed is REALLY Trying to Hide In Fighting an Audit (H/t HuckleJohn)

75% of Americans and at least 276 Congress members and 19 Senators want to audit the Fed, but the Fed is fighting tooth and nail to keep everything hidden.

Most people assume that the Fed wants to keep secret the list of banks which received bailout money. You know, something along the lines of "we gave Goldman Sachs $100 billion".

But what the Fed is really struggling to keep hidden is the fact that the entire financial system is based on massive manipulation and fraud by the Fed and its primary dealers.

Specifically, the Fed is desperately trying to hide that many trillions of the government's bailouts have gone to inflating the stock market, buying up the U.S. government's own treasuries, and gaming the currency and gold markets.

He's Back: PennyMac IPO brings back subprime memories (H/T Jeff Borsuk)

Stanford "Stan" Kurland, the Countrywide Finance executive who pocketed more than $140 million at the expense of outside investors at the height of the subprime mania, has raised about $300 million from fresh investors for his latest venture -- trying to profit from the crisis.

His PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) made its stock-market debut last week.

True, the IPO only raised about half the $750 million originally planned. But it's still plenty. Add it to the $584 million that Kurland has raised from other investors, including BlackRock and Highfield Capital Management, and it gives him a war chest of around $900 million.

The name of the game: Distressed mortgages, particularly the kind of troubled subprime loans that Countrywide used to make.

Buy 'em cheap. Cut a deal with the homeowner. Make a mint.

Dylan Ratigan – “Playing a parlor game at America's expense…” (Video on page)

Monday August 4, 2008 Housing Collapse Ahead? Not According to the Data (http://www.ritholtz.com/)

Turmoil in the housing market has led to fears that home prices will drop precipitously, particularly if foreclosures force large numbers of homes onto the market in the coming year. Recently, these fears have driven financial stocks down and led to the government rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But the projected losses have been wildly exaggerated. Most Americans have not experienced any significant decline in the value of their homes -- nor are they likely to.

 Resource: Failed Bank List with Enforcement Documents

ProPublica has a great table of failed banks with sortable columns by state, date and Federal regulator.

The database also includes links to public enforcement documents with the dates the documents were issued (Cease and Desist orders, Prompt Corrective Action directives, etc.).

 Warning Related To The FDIC

I'm going to put this bluntly, at the risk of being called an "extreme doomer", even though the scenario I am outlining here has only, at this point, a reasonably-small (perhaps 10-20%?) chance of happening.

Inflation (Video, Second one on page, H/T JoeManC)

45 Comments

Dragline's picture
Dragline
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

 You should look beyond pretty faces before posting shill material for the insurance industry.  The most laughable thing about it is the person complaining about lobbying that Shelly references is, in fact, a lobbyist for that industry and her links go straight here:

http://www.cahi.org/cahi_contents/about/

CAHI stands for Counsel for Affordable Health Insurance.  You can bet that anything that is called "Counsel/Foundation/Organization" for "Something that Almost Everyone Would Agree Is a Good Thing" is just a lobbyist for a particular industry.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Fishy Health care news?

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Great piece from Stephen Colbert - The Colbert Report - on how corporations, PR firms, and mainstream media are distorting opposition to healthcare reform and manufacturing "grassroots" protest movements.

Very funny, but kind of scary - the cycle of media "events" going on these days. Rich patrons, corporations, and PR firms create memos and talking points and sponsor groups to go out and protest at town-hall meetings and rallies, then news organizations owned by those same corporate interests report back on a spontaneous "grassroots" movements sweeping the nation! Amazing.

For anyone who think the majority of Americans oppose healthcare reform, please watch this. 

(What I find sad about the media these days is that you'll find more in-depth reporting, accuracy, and transparency from comedy shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report than most prime-time newscasts. And I say this having earned a Journalism degree in college. Yep, healthcare ain't the only thing broken.)

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/240728/august-04-...

 

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

This is insane: Maybe the White House should write the bill in English and not in attorney/legislator mumbo jumbo and this wouldn't be an issue, American's could read it and make their own determination rather then reading it and having more questions than answers or looking for more information and finding cliff noted versions from all sorts of groups with agendas.

Once again the press is left reporting everyone's opinions, agenda's and any and everything Britney Spears (?Sp) related instead of covering the facts.

Of course if Congressmen could write their constituents back that would be nice.

Davos's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hello Dragline:

First, I do NOT appreciate your implication or for that matter your post and I seriously question you motive here. I will spell this out for you, I have seen several documentaries on Monsanto and I have seen Roche's work on Monsanto. It was quite professional.

Second, I find her work on State Mandates and her question to be intellectually stimulating, I could give a rats but about her voice or her looks, I care only about her merits.

Third, what is it exactly that you are trying to say:

The most laughable thing about it is the person complaining about lobbying that Shelly references is, in fact, a lobbyist for that industry and her links go straight here:

http://www.cahi.org/cahi_contents/about/

is, in fact, a lobbyist for that industry

CAHI stands for Counsel for Affordable Health Insurance.  You can bet that anything that is called "Counsel/Foundation/Organization" for "Something that Almost Everyone Would Agree Is a Good Thing" is just a lobbyist for a particular industry.

Is it a lobbyist? Or isn't it a lobbyist? A or B? Your writing is ambiguous.

Lastly, a .7-1.6 trillion dollar bill dumped on an insolvent country is a big issue. Hey, I am all over this bill and all for it if it is a good bill. I have read the entire bill, ALL 1017 pages.

Have you read the bill - all of it?

I have read every cliff noted version I can find. Many places did a great job but many places have agenda's. I have written my Congressman with specific questions. I have posted pro and con material on the bill.

The bottom line is the bill is as nebulous as your writing implying that the link is that of a lobbyist. I'd much prefer facts than implication and cheap shots shill name calling and critiquing a post that I took time to put up because I thought it voiced a good question. Fat is fat, do we need an entire COSTLY overhaul when we have a 2 trillion a year and growing deficit?

OR

Could we cut fat of 18% to 50% on existing care and make it more affordable to other people and more people?

Also: Do I care if her link it to a lobbyist if it answers my questions of just how much fat is in my state?

jpitre's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6 - State Mandated Health Insurance

Watch out for pretty faces !

I don't have need for alcohol treatment and I don't have cancer -- obviously I shouldn't pay for what ever portion of health care insurance those issue contribute ?!?!? I'm not planning on a car accident in the near future either, so my auto insurance should be much less than it is.

That's not the purpose of insurance or the way it is supposed to work. Risk is pooled and we each get to pay our fair portion and then we get the benefit of being covered for those unexpected occurrences that we can't handle ourselves.

I'm not in favor of the State mandating much of anything, but when the a scam is in progress they sometimes need to legislate to protect recipients of goods and services.

More slanted nonsense from the health/sickness industry.

Jim

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Dragline,

You are out of line on this one. Davos has posted hundreds of videos, many of which have people that apparently you would object to due to their looks?

Certainly there is a better way to handle your post than this, something like "I think that Ms. Roche may be biased due to her affiliation with ...  however I have not actually researched this. I have a counter point to make and it is ..."

You come in here the way you did, you'll get driven out with pitchforks. Let's be adult, huh?

Davos's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Jim:

I don't know if you are warning me or readers or both to watch out for pretty faces but I'll make this very clear:

My post of her and all the rest of these health care coverage posts are NOT about people's looks, political orientation, or their special interests.

It is about facts and merits.

This bill is getting voted on based on everything but facts and merits.

I'm not a stupid person and I shouldn't be left with questions after reading 1017 pages of legal drivel. America would be better off it if got the facts and costs and then made a decision rather than finger pointing it's way towards a vote, to or against, based on watch out for pretty girls or lobbyists dressed as moms and dads.

We are in a financial mess because no one understood money or debt creation or off balance accounting.

We are deepening the financial pain because what got us in trouble has been masked. Worse, we are relying on the problem to fix the problem. Falsely believing the problem is the solution will make it worse not better. I equate this to a faulty fire warning light in an airplane when we are down to 1 engine. Acting without verification won't have a positive outcome. We are having the Fed solve the problem it created via it's creation in 1913.

We don't need another Federal Reserve Bill and this bill could be that or it could be the greatest health care bill and cure. I don't know what it is or isn't.

Only facts of the bill will lead to a positive vote.

Right now we do not have the facts, we have 1017 pages of legal drivel that my 9 year old could have written in a way that I could have better understood.

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

i love the informed citizen news!  How did I never hear of it before?  Can't seem to find a website, only youtube videos, does anyone know more about them?  iDoctor?

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Re: Health Care Bill

Thanks, Davos, for all your digging for information on the health care bill.  No doubt there are over the top allegations coming from both sides to the health care debate.  Nevertheless, my view remains that the Obama Administration could have taken steps to explain the details of what the bill actually says. It has not done so.   Instead it has chosen to hide what the bill actually says and smear the bill's opponents.     

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hello HuckleJohn:

I agree and I will add that BOTH sides of this have let their supporters, constituents and their country down.

The senator's letter I posted above was super, but why was it written? For protection to the First Amendment OR for political grand standing.

I'd feel better if it was from a Democrat who supported the bill not a Republican who is not in support of the bill. Don't get me wrong, the letter needed to be written and this sort of behavior (not explaining intentions and how flags will be dealt with) only leads one to believe that the health care bill has privacy flaws.

Take care

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Great digging Davos! Hell, this info is so good that more and more of my morning is spent digesting this stuff!

Not sure if you've seen this in the last couple of days; Ron Paul lambasting Bernanke, et al, on the HR 1207 (auditing the FED):

http://coloradoliberty.org/blog/2009/08/05/07-30-2009-ron-paul-floor-speech-on-federal-reserve-audit/

Keep bringin' it!

Jeff

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

That's a great Colbert report point, Beez123 -- especially where he shows the mainstream media reporting lobbying as "fact" from reliable source. This is a real symptom of how unreliable (and simply lazy) our mainstream media has become these days.  I think that's part of what has made the comedy/satire news programs so popular.

Think how different the stories would be if the media simply changed the captions from "Unknown Organization with Feelgood Name" to "Organization of ______ Funded by _______."  The media does a great disservice by not identifying the potential motivations of the speakers.

Dragline's picture
Dragline
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Davos,

Sorry, I did not mean to hit a nerve.  I sometimes forget that things that are intended tongue-in-cheek may come off differently in a web post or email.

For clarification re the lobbyist, here is what it says on her web link (i.e., her source):

"J.P. Wieske, director of state affairs for the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI), says "For state legislators, [mandates are] used as a special interest tool to reward lobbyists with a specific mandate and let someone else pay for it"

J.P. Wieske is the director of a lobbyist organization complaining about rewarding lobbyists.  I find that ironic and amusing.  Or maybe just sour grapes that they have not been as successful on that front as they would like.  But not something to be taken seriously.

I do agree with the other poster who noted that the presentation misconstrues the notion of what insurance and insurance pools are supposed to represent.  Bear in mind the insurance issue affects doctors as much as patients.  There are a number of states where doctors such as obstricians cannot buy insurance and have to demand upfront waivers of liability from their patients instead.  It's a bizarre patchwork of issues and problems indeed.

As for the bill, I'm also not convinced that it addresses some of the real reasons U.S. healthcare is so expensive and coverage is so spotty, which I would like to see addressed.  Here's a thought provoking article about that (and the surprising fact that health care costs are some of the highest in South Texas of all places):  http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande

Thanks for all your good work.  Peace.

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

I think people that complain about having to pay for "all those other people's problems" are kind of missing the point of insurance. If I understand insurance, it's when an individual pays into a fund, with lots of other people, and when a small percentage of them perhaps gets sick, the sick people are then able to use funds from the pool to pay for medical care.

Disclaimer - if people are just concerned with paying for other people's hair pieces and liposuctions, then by all means, complain away. I don't think these things should be covered under large umbrella general insurance plans. If people want to pay into specialty cosmetic funds, then that's their prerogative. But I've heard from hundreds of people that don't want to pay for anybody else's treatment, no matter what it is. But they still want their personal issue to be covered by insurance. I really don't think they understand the basic concept of insurance.

What makes it work is the large collective bargaining power of the huge group of people paying into the fund. No one knows if they are going to get sick next year. Did my dad know he was going to get leukemia? Did my mom know she was going to get cancer? No, they did not.

They were pretty darn healthy individuals for most of their lives. But they paid into an insurance fund for years and years. Now, did I ever hear mom or dad complain abut paying for all those "other people" that were using the insurance fund money to pay for "their procedures" or "their medicine?"  No. Because mom and dad knew, at some point, they might need to tap into the fund themselves. It's called empathy.

If you don't want to pay for all those "other people's" medicines or procedures, then guess what? You have some choices.

1. You can find another insurance plan that you like. Maybe there is one that only covers cancer. Or one that only covers heart disease. If you are only concerned with those issues, then maybe you should seek out a fund tailored to your issues. Good luck. Most people are satisfied paying into a general coverage fund because... maybe they don't have a crystal ball.

2. You can opt out of paying insurance, for now. If insurance is mandated by Federal Law, then yes, I guess you will just have to suck it up and pay the least amount possible. But if you can opt out paying insurance - then be prepared to deal with the consequences. You might get sick, because it's true, the human body is fallible. Even if you seem perfectly healthy now, you never know what the future will bring. And then you are stuck with possibly going into bankruptcy, losing every bit of money you have - all to pay for that medical treatment that would have been covered under insurance (hopefully). But you didn't feel like paying into the system to help out all those "other people." Well, guess what? Now the rest of us have to help YOU out. Because one way or the other, the treatment you required will have to be paid for in some form. 

But here's the kicker, if you opted out of insurance because you didn't want to pay for all those other people and their weird illnesses and strange medicines that you know you would never need... And now let's say you get sick, really sick. Are you going to expect to be treated for your illness? (Oops, you didn't save up the 50k needed for that procedure?) Are you going to lay down and die? What about others that thought exactly like you? They don't want to pay for you. They would just be following your logic after all. Why should they worry about your disease or treatment?

I think this country suffers from a severe lack of empathy. Is there a cure for that?

Let's now skip past non-empathetic people who, at least it sounds like to me, really don't want anything to do with insurance or the concept of collective bargaining power, period. Let's now address the real issue with health insurance. (If you want a more lengthy explanation watch the Bill Moyers interview with Wendell Potter. Davos posted this excellent piece a few days ago. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/watch2.html)

Even if you have been paying into a decent insurance fund for years and years that insurance company will fight you tooth and nail to NOT pay for your medical treatment should you need it. Their business model depends on denying care to as many people as possible. Each time they grant someone coverage for treatment - they LOSE MONEY and profits shrink. That is the long and short of it my friends. It is a business. There are very cold and calculating people running it. They don't give a hoot about your grandmother, your sister, your father, or anyone else. Deny, deny, deny is the battlecry of insurance companies. If you don't know the score by now, if you don't know anyone who has had a battle with insurance companies for payments owed them, then you don't know many people.

What Obama... you know what - forget Obama. His is a name and personage that incites too many people to argumentative behavior. Let's just acknowledge that there is a large group of citizens in this country, around 75% by some counts, that want health insurance reform. A lot of those, a majority, would like a single payer system. But, let's even leave single-payer aside for now. All these people in favor of reform want - is some form of competition to go up against the private insurance companies and corporations. The private companies are motivated by profit. What a government-run plan could do is deliver an insurance plan that does not depend on profit to survive and thrive. The government-run plan would also be a HUGE pool of people using their collective bargaining power to lower costs of treatments, drugs, etc. The private insurance companies are scared to death of this because their businesses will most likely lose billions in profit due to having to compete with a more cost-effective government run plan. This is why they are resorting to the same old scare tactics to misinform people, buying out congressmen, sponsoring pseudo-grassroots movements and protests, etc.

The "bill" in it's current form might be a total mess, but the idea of government-run health insurance is good (single-payer would be even better). If the bill is messed up, maybe there's a reason for it. Could it have something to do with all the health insurance lobbyists buying congressional influence? Could congress be writing such a mess of a bill and causing such confusion and anger so that the bill doesn't pass, and we are stuck with a bunch of greedy profit-driven private health insurers for a few more decades? Think that might sound good to them?

What we need is a clean bill. One without lobbyist influence. A bill that is clear and concise and simple within reason. A bill that is transparent.  I'm scared Congress is too corrupt to allow that. Call up your Congress-person and complain today. And while you're at it, ask them what health insurance plan they are on? Oh yeah, that's right, a government run health insurance plan. Huh, how about that?

 

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Yoshhash glad you liked it. here is a link http://www.youtube.com/user/InformedCitizenNews.

Thanks, Davos, for all your digging for information on the health care bill. It sounds as if my kids who are going into the medical field might want to think about changing to the Counseling field as scientific medicine is replaced by hand holding counceling. That END of life Counseling looks to be a booming field if Obama has his way.

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Interesting thread.  I am all for free markets and small government.  But, IF, and only IF people who are uninsured (by choice or laziness or stupidity - not due to disability) still get treated in the ER or anywhere and the government ends up paying anyway, we need to move toward socialized medicine.  IF anyone is treated at the expense of the taxpayer, then all taxpayers should pay equally (or progressively). 

The other alternative is to not treat people.  I dont know that this country is ready for that extreme of an idea, and because people live way beyond their means and because its so easy to get the government to pay for your healthcare by being lazy, then a the logical path is to equalize the entire system. 

I hate that this is true, but its the lessor of the evils.  I pay WAY more than my fair share of taxes, and I also pay for very good health insurance.  I am therefore more than double taxed and also pay for those unisured.  Because that is the case, I would rather have everyone forced to help me pay than continue this unfair tax.

I am originally from Canada, and while there are many parts that stink up there with healthcare, they also have longer life expectency....so how horrible can it be?

Does the US have this money to pay for socialization of healthcare?  nope, but right now people like me are paying for it rather than the masses, and I would rather have everyone pay the toll fairly than me and others who work hard, save like crazy, and dont extend themselves.  The other option (which I prefer), is to truely turn away those who need care who dont have insurance or the cash to pay.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Well,

(As I pull on my court jester hat)

Davos,

I think you should post more videos with pretty faces. I am all about the facts.... but the FACT is, if the video is easy on the eyes.... then all the better!

(jester hat off)

I tried to wade through the bill the other night. It is written in perfect politician-ese! I can't remember the specific chapter, but it began to sound like it contradicted itself in the enforcement and who had jurisdiction in what.

I am a health-care provider and have worked on both sides of the health-care fence. My wife is a case manager and deals with third party payers, and Medicaid on a daily basis. I can tell everyone from experience that whether it is the government payors or third party (private insurance) their goal is to NOT PAY! The longer they can take before they pay a benefit the better (for them). I am also beginning to think that the Cadillac "full coverage" plans only make money for the insurance companies. (I know, I have the best coverage money can buy in my state.)

My company has had to hire reimbursement professionals to wade through the mire of red tape because our customers (hospitals and practitioners) have been saying that their reimbursements have been cut and cut and cut. This comes at a time when CMS (the Medicare funding folks) has published increases in payments publicly. We hired the reimbursement folks to help us understand the disconnect.

From my arm chair vantage point I laugh at the "Health-care reform" debate. This bill is a stinker because it isn't real reform and will end up costing billions.

FWIW - C.

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

 +1 on the ICN Youtube Channel

Davos, when are you going to start your own youtube channel?

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6
beez123 wrote:

 

If you don't want to pay for all those "other people's" medicines or procedures, then guess what? You have some choices.

1. You can find another insurance plan that you like.

 

Beez,

Thats the whole point. If the state mandates that all insurance companies offer hair pieces or liposuctions then you can't "opt out" and find an insurance company that does not offer that.

The point is that the state mandates drive up the cost of insurance. That part should be easy to see.

 

Ken

 

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

I enjoyed the nakedcapitalism and FT articles, but was surprised that both failed to point out the obvious irony that the IMF is forcing these struggling Baltic nations to do exactly what the US refuses to do (ie. the right thing).  I guess taking your lumps and re-thinking failed strategies is a good idea for the little guy, but not for the bully who makes the rules as the game progresses.

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

I think everone has missed the most basics of points:

She says that these "mandates" are put in place as "rewards" for lobbyists. (her words, not mine)

Lobbyists are paid by and work directly for "The Health Care Companies"

So in essence, what she is really saying is that the current, private insurace system doesn't work. Its a corrupt, profit motive system not designed for patients.

Rather, it's designed for CEO's of healthcare companies to walk away with 70 million dollar bonuses of our collective money (that should be used for healthcare, not the yacht industry)!

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hello iDoctor:

Wow, I grew up with a friend whose dad was an obgyn. Out of all the doctors at the club he worked the hardest and lived most meagerly. Don't know if it was upbringing or outlandish insurance (malpractice rates). His son went on to be a plastic surgeon. Smart guys, could do anything, I wonder if they will now have regrets.

When Marsh was pregnant we did a silly blood test that indicated our girl had spinal bifida. Our doctor recommended amniocentesis test. I called my friends dad, he said it was because if the very inaccurate test was actually right and he didn't recommend further testing he could be sued. He told me to ask the doc if we could do a level 2 sonogram first and if it was questionable discuss the amniocentesis test. Level two was fine - we didn't have to risk the amnio sack for another test.

So, I have only skimmed Dragline & Jim's reply but I see that what we have isn't perfect and I don't know what we are getting but when professionals like you, Denise and Carl make points they hold a lot of water.

I'm really saddened there wasn't more coverage on the guts of the bill and a whole lot less on the politics and special interest and companies and lobbyist and religious aspects.

I also need to dig up the cash flows. Something close to a trillion a year I think could be devastating if it all goes out at a time when we take in 2 and spend 4.

Take care

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beez123
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6
kenc wrote:
beez123 wrote:

 

If you don't want to pay for all those "other people's" medicines or procedures, then guess what? You have some choices.

1. You can find another insurance plan that you like.

 

Beez,

Thats the whole point. If the state mandates that all insurance companies offer hair pieces or liposuctions then you can't "opt out" and find an insurance company that does not offer that.

The point is that the state mandates drive up the cost of insurance. That part should be easy to see.

 

Ken

 

 

Okay, Ken, maybe I'm not seeing that part of the issue clearly. If States really are mandating all sorts of weird coverage, then maybe that should be thrown out with the whole rest of the garbage posing as a health insurance industry. All I know is, it's broken as hell and maybe now is not the time to quibble over paying an extra tiny percent or two because some schmoe wants to quit smoking on the rest of the insurance-paying public's dime. The fight is over insurance companies denying people coverage for serious issues like kidney transplants and cancer treatment.

I will say, not all States pay for all the whacky treatments. And I just thought - what if a hair-piece is not some guy's vanity toupee, but a grandmother's wig as she is undergoing chemo and dealing with hairloss. I wouldn't have a problem paying for that.

Bottom-line: I agree, a health-insurance pool is forced to pay for someone's bad personal habits like stopping smoking, obesity due to over-eating, or vanity procedures, then yeah, maybe that shouldn't be covered by insurance plans. Let the person save up for it and do it if they want to. But anything that a person has no choice over and adversely affects their health - then yeah, it should be covered.

You know what? Now that I think about it. Let's say that person who tried to stop smoking but couldn't afford the treatment nicotine patches or whatever ends up getting cancer. Or maybe the person who couldn't afford to see a dietician ends up having a heart attack. What do you think is going to cost more? Treating stopping smoking or cancer treatment? Treating obesity by a some counseling and diet education or heart surgery?

Further down the rabbit hole...

I like this place because it gets me to think. I change my mind a lot. I value the opinions of others even if I disagree with them. The dialogue here certainly helps to form and reform opinions and positions. I still haven't made my mind up on smaller sub-issues, but I do know one thing. Single-payer is the only system that will ever truly satisfy the majority of the people. 

As long as there are private health-insurers in existence there will be vast amounts of corruption and dissatisfaction. I don't think you can have zero government participation in health insurance. Look what happened to the financial industry as less and less regulation occurred. On the other hand, government regulation of private insurers will always be corrupt if we allow monetary contributions from industry to congressional election campaigns. No getting around that one. The only way to bring truly decent affordable healthcare to the masses is to take money out of the loop. Health-care should not be a profit-driven business - period. Everyone pays into a giant government-run and regulated plan. Everyone is covered. It's an extra bit of taxes. As it is, healthcare costs are spiraling out of control. Do you really think if we had one giant plan that it would be any worse? 

Ask the majority of Canadians or British if they would like to adopt a system like the US. I think they'd be horrified at the prospect.

 

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beez123
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6
kenc wrote:
beez123 wrote:

 

If you don't want to pay for all those "other people's" medicines or procedures, then guess what? You have some choices.

1. You can find another insurance plan that you like.

 

Beez,

Thats the whole point. If the state mandates that all insurance companies offer hair pieces or liposuctions then you can't "opt out" and find an insurance company that does not offer that.

The point is that the state mandates drive up the cost of insurance. That part should be easy to see.

 

Ken

 

 

Okay, Ken, maybe I'm not seeing that part of the issue clearly. If States really are mandating all sorts of weird coverage, then maybe that should be thrown out with the whole rest of the garbage posing as a health insurance industry. All I know is, it's broken as hell and maybe now is not the time to quibble over paying an extra tiny percent or two because some schmoe wants to quit smoking on the rest of the insurance-paying public's dime. The fight is over insurance companies denying people coverage for serious issues like kidney transplants and cancer treatment.

I will say, not all States pay for all the whacky treatments. And I just thought - what if a hair-piece is not some guy's vanity toupee, but a grandmother's wig as she is undergoing chemo and dealing with hairloss. I wouldn't have a problem paying for that.

Bottom-line: I agree, a health-insurance pool is forced to pay for someone's bad personal habits like stopping smoking, obesity due to over-eating, or vanity procedures, then yeah, maybe that shouldn't be covered by insurance plans. Let the person save up for it and do it if they want to. But anything that a person has no choice over and adversely affects their health - then yeah, it should be covered.

You know what? Now that I think about it. Let's say that person who tried to stop smoking but couldn't afford the treatment nicotine patches or whatever ends up getting cancer. Or maybe the person who couldn't afford to see a dietician ends up having a heart attack. What do you think is going to cost more? Treating stopping smoking or cancer treatment? Treating obesity by a some counseling and diet education or heart surgery? Somebody has to pay for it, unless we just let them die.

Further down the rabbit hole...

I like this place because it gets me to think. I change my mind a lot. I value the opinions of others even if I disagree with them. The dialogue here certainly helps to form and reform opinions and positions. I still haven't made my mind up on smaller sub-issues, but I do know one thing. Single-payer is the only system that will ever truly satisfy the majority of the people. 

As long as there are private health-insurers in existence there will be vast amounts of corruption and dissatisfaction. I don't think you can have zero government participation in health insurance. Look what happened to the financial industry as less and less regulation occurred. On the other hand, government regulation of private insurers will always be corrupt if we allow monetary contributions from industry to congressional election campaigns. No getting around that one. The only way to bring truly decent affordable healthcare to the masses is to take money out of the loop. Health-care should not be a profit-driven business - period. Everyone pays into a giant government-run and regulated plan. Everyone is covered. It's an extra bit of taxes. As it is, healthcare costs are spiraling out of control. Do you really think if we had one giant plan that it would be any worse? 

Ask the majority of Canadians or British if they would like to adopt a system like the US. I think they'd be horrified at the prospect.

 

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jpitre
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Davos

For the record -- I have the greatest of respect for you and your opinions. Even if I don't agree with you (most of the time I do) I want you to know that I am greatful for your tireless dedication to this site -- Thank you for ALL posts that you make, including the ones I find biased or otherwise incorrect. In this case, the Mandate one with Shelly Roche sparked some good posts like the ones by Rickets and Beez plus others that helped clarify my thinking and probably helped others.

My comment about a pretty face was not intended as a warning to anyone, just my lame attempt to lighten up on a serious subject.

 I haven't read the entire legislation as proposed as you have, however I'm sure that if/when I do I will find it to be as much as you have. For many reasons including - 1) Legistlative bills as usually written by lawyers and in general make little sense to anyone, and  - 2) Most legislation, especially when including controversial issues tend to have endless negotiations involved with every point which makes the whole even have less sense when read as a single document.

A fresh start on a blank slate with a single payor system would be preferrable in my opinion, however the world of politics being as messy as it is, such is unlikely to happen and muddling through is more likely.

Davos -- keep up up your outstanding work !

JIm

 

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Davos
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hello Jim: 

Thanks much! I'm in favor of something better also, single payer or otherwise. I hope in the end we wind up with a good plan. Nothing less, nothing more.

If this is it then super! I'll be all for it.

I'm passionate about HR 3200 because we are insolvent (in debt to equity and more importantly in deficits we take in 2 trillion and spend 4 trillion now) and this HR 3200 and cap and trade both have huge price tags, one alone could (likely) tank the economy before the Fed's printing takes the dollar to Zimbabwe or the housing market and CRE implode on the banks balance sheets.

I just would like to find a blog that offers the facts on cost, cash flows, coverage and big brother verbage since nothing out there explains what could be the biggest change to our country since Social Security and Medicare (which have us in the hole for 63,000,000,000,000.00). 63 trillion bucks that decades of Congresses spent on our year to year budgets and stuffed IOU's in the "trust" fund.

I don't agree with LC.org even though one of my better friends is sending their kid there, mine won't be going there. But I do post stuff if I think it has merit, no matter what they look like or what their agenda is. I welcome debate and discussion!

I don't care if anyone beats me up, beats up LC, or beats up Shelly, or anyone else as long as the beats go to merits not looks, political orientation, or agendas. I blog because I think the 25 blogs I cover are all merit driven.

Sorry I missed the intended and much needed humor.

Take care!

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alcatwize
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

 Well, unfortunately no health care solution is going to work because there simply isn't enough money to pay for all the services wanted/needed.  Why?????  Because we eat like crap, drink like fish, are fat as hippos and we think taking a pill can fix all of our problems.

 

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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Davos and CM - great posts and commentary, as always.  For a little departure from healthcare....

The scene in the Ratigan video is so symbolic of the current state of public opinion in this country.  And it made me feel exactly the same as I feel most of the time when I bring up Crash Course views in general conversation. 

1 -  A lone voice (Dylan), honest, agenda-less (no one is actually agenda-less, but humor me here), making a lot of sense about an important issue; 2 - an interested party (the woman in this video), clearly following the line of thought, though distantly as if it is all happening to someone else on another planet; and 3 - a bunch of frat-boy chuckleheads (everyone else in the country) who can't be bothered to take seriously the thievery that has bankrupt our nation and directly threatens the prosperity of our children. 

[HAHA - boy, you sure do take this thing seriosly - HAHA - you really need to lighten up - HAHA - how many lines did you do before the show (this "joke" epitomizes the arrogance and excesses of the American people) - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!]

I am astounded that so many millions of people - including the 3 chuckleheads in the video - can be so nonchalant about the criminal activity going on right in front of them.

The exasperated look on Dylan Ratigan's face at the end of the video says it all.

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kemosavvy
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Zulu,

your analysis of the Ratigan video is spot on. How many times have you been confronted with the same laughter when someone enters into a friendly debate with you on the economy and you make your case and become passionate in explaining the realities of our fraudelent capitalist system. I've been engaged in this type of conversation before with friends and recieved the same treatment as Ratigan... from friends!!!

Obviously Ratigan is among super-egos and at the moment they have no chance to present an excellent counterargument they revert to the insanity of child-like behavior. The sniffing coke line is about as juvenile of a comment as you can get.

I, as well as Zulu, thinks Ratigans face says it all, I think it says 'these guys are in on it somehow, we've (the American people) been betrayed'

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Davos
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

 Hey Steve:

we've (the American people) been betrayed'

Great point and one more reason I think we need to really look at the guts and the inner workings of these two major bills coming, HR 3200 and cap and trade. I don't think we need another Fed, another Social Security (program may have been okay if it prevented the fund from being looted).

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kemosavvy
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Davos,

I don't know if you've been following the story about how Goldman Sachs has been craftily positioning themselves to profit handsomely from the cap and trade bill. I've forgotten the details on what companies GS is buying interests but Matt Taibbi outlines the scheme in his last Rolling Stone piece titled "Inside the Bubble Making Machine".

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/28816321/the_great_american_bubble_machine

My wife and kids are gone so I'm planning on ingesting every bit of the Daily Digest today. Thanks for the work you put into this blog, at last check almost 1800 reads. Amazing.

Steve

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Davos
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hello Steve:

Thanks for your podcasts each week!

Yes, I have been following Cap n Trade closely. Jim Puplava had a great peice on it a week or two ago and several even before that, along with Matt's fine bubble piece which I'm pretty sure I posted, if not I'll put it up or even do a repost.

Puplava, and I think I agree, seemed very concern on severe impact on the economy either of these bills would have.

Take care

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PraySam
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Agree alcatwize. And yes, insurance does pool risk. But state mandates for hair prosthesis and in vitro. Give me a break!

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idoctor
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Really I am happy that "Pretty face" thing came out since it sparked some passion to our thoughts .

Davos & all some really good posts & thoughts here. I hate to see this Daily Digest just fade away & wish this thread could be put into the forums.

Davos interesting situation with Marsh & thanks for sharing this. Hope all is well now. 

I hate to even get started with all my thoughts about the Medical field & Healthcare. I could go on for weeks about it all. It is so messed up....not the Medical Field but how the Govt has messed things up & then they point the finger at everybody but the biggest problem which is them.

I guess when you are broke everything is a big problem.

The Medical professionals now spend far less time practicing medicine & helping the people because they are so bogged down in BS paper work, defensive medicine & jumping all the hoops of something that has been made far to complicated for everyones gain except the one that is sick & needs help.

I would welcome a one payer system so that it is standardized instead of the helter-skelter system we have now. But a one payer system doesn't lead to any competition which never seems to work in a capitalistic system. 

We get new regs all the time coming down. So much to keep up with it gets impossible to plain stupid. Stuff coming down on waste & abuse....I mean get real the biggest waste & abuse is what the Govt created with their liberal entitlements creating people that have no self esteem since they don't have to work. They feed them to the point they are huge with huge self inflicted disease states.

The healthiest people I see are the ones that feel good about themselves by being productive. They don't have the time to think about all their problems they could have so most don't have them.

We are almost Socialized with medicine the way it is so many of the docs I know think we might as well go complete & get it over with. It will not be better IMHO but only stir the pot in a different direction. Our current system is broke & a new one will be as well. People in general will not be happy with either since something is going to have to give which will be a cut in what they will receive.

It seems the best fix would be a healthy economy where we could afford what sick people need but I think we know the answer to that.

Look at all the Plastic Surgery taking place for far less in foreign countries at this very moment. I see many on planes in some of my travels. It is done for far less out side the USA. Pretty easy to see why.

It astounds me to see a President talking about that he knows how to make health-care more efficient when he has little experience at running much of anything but a campaign. I mean even the duller knives in the box knows enough that the Govt never makes things more efficient & cost effective.

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rht1786
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

All right... I want to clarify something... because I'm not sure if I'm understanding the situation completely. I'm an American living in China at the moment, and I'm (very happily) not blasted with the propaganda-like crap that spews from American mainstream news media, but this is how I understand the system is working.

We have an inefficiently run health care system that needs to be addressed by the powers-that-be. Something needs to change, and people want the government to change it.

So, the government and P.R. firms in Washington are stirring up an opposition movement to the bill, to make it seem like there are more people than there actually are that oppose it (from Colbert's video - about 25% oppose or abstain the issue and 75% are for health care reform).

The goal of this, presumably, is to push people to become more politically active and voice their concern by telling their Congressmen "We want health care reform! Vote for it!"

However, the actual vote that is being forced down Congress' throat, and by some accounts rushed through by the executive, lobbyists, and select Congressmen is on a bill that is extremely socialistic, contrary to free-market economics, and geared towards increased corporate profits, as it allows the government to mandate who receives what treatment. This will, in turn, allow the government to select domestic corporations receiving contracts and business, rather than foreign, and make way for special interests to prosper.

This bill is also sponsored by lobbyists representing think tanks, organizations and corporations who donated heavily to Obama's presidential campaign. Concurrently, it is written in Washington's unique style of highly complex legal and political jargon, making it extremely difficult for a citizen employed outside the field of law or politics to understand.

Ergo, the executive is inciting citizens to speak out for a bill that is haphazardly constructed, most likely but unreadably contrary to the good of a democratic free-market system, and catering to special interests, in order to pressure Congress to pass it expediently without an examination of its contents that would quite probably lead to rejection.

This seems to be a step in the wrong direction.

Please correct me if I am mistaken in this logic.

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Davos
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

 Hello rht1786:

However, the actual vote that is being forced down Congress' throat, and by some accounts rushed through by the executive, lobbyists, and select Congressmen is on a bill that is extremely socialistic

China? 

Hey, sounds like you know for sure what is in this thing, after reading it and contacting my Congressman I couldn't tell you anything about this bill. Did you find a source that explains it over there? If so please send me a link. Thanks!

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pinecarr
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hey SuzieG-

   Great H/T article and presentation on "Things Fall Apart: Complexity, Supply Chains, Infrastructure & Collapse"!  Thanks for sharing.  David Korowicz does a great job of putting into words and pictures what my intuition has been telling me; that we have become very dependent on a lot of highly complex and fragile systems, and that as a result, [I believe] we are at a higher risk of collapse if a couple supporting beams get kicked out than many may realize.

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Davos
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Hello iDoctor:

I really enjoyed your read. Thanks. I too feel that fixing the economy would fix a lot of our other problems, or maybe I should say, give us the means to.

I'd feel better if I could understand the bill. I'm seeing videos on fights and chanting but not facts. Maybe I'm nuts, maybe votes should be on emotion and not facts.

Take care,

idoctor's picture
idoctor
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Posts: 1731
Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Everybody drunk on CNBC this morning from drinking the punch with the new jobs numbers LOL...better than expected? Gold in Sacks just missed by 3000 with their revised figure of 250,000....hum...hum...wonder how they are so in-tune???

Recession over get in now before it is too late LOL...

I will day trade this a little. One economist has a thought about why the market has been getting some of this boost. He felt the new ruling that could come out at anytime that will not allow naked shorting is pushing all the double & triple shorts to go out & by the shares before this comes down.

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Farmer Brown
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Re: Daily Digest - August 6

So let me get this straight:  although job losses were less than expected (surprise surprise) jobs were still lost, but somehow the rate of unemployment decreased?  How is that possible?  Did a bunch of people die?  This is getting beyond Orwellian and is simply entering Disneyland territory.

Davos's picture
Davos
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Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Disney World :

For a lot of folks they may not like the way their ride ends.

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beez123
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Posts: 40
Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Here's a good article that attempts to shed a little light on the movement behind all the healthcare protests and town hall meetings. It doesn't surprise me at all the lengths they will go to. The insurance industries are mega-billion dollar players. PR stunts are routine for them, especially when billions of dollars of their profits are at stake.

www.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/opinion/07krugman.html

Davos's picture
Davos
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Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - August 6

 Hello Beez123:

Read that, thanks for the good read. But where is all the coverage over the guts and inner workings of the bill?

The biggest change to government since Social Security and Medicare should not be allowed unless people undertand the bill and how it is going to work. We don't need another 63 trillion dollar bankrupt plan that had it's money looted for the bread and circus show.

Instead, all I see in the media is coverage of this drivel.

Is this a good bill? Is this a bad bill? Does watching chants of protests and meetings with Congressmen/women tell us what is in the bill? Do articles exposing special interest movements tell us what is in the bill? Does the bill tell us what is in the bill? Do the cliff noted version of the bill done by axe grinding agenda driven organizations tell us what is in the bill?

Take care

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gregroberts
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Posts: 1024
Re: Daily Digest - August 6

Health Care Is Not A Right

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=9

"Today, however, we are seeing the rise of principled immorality in this country. We are seeing a total abandonment by the intellectuals and the politicians of the moral principles on which the U.S. was founded. We are seeing the complete destruction of the concept of rights. The original American idea has been virtually wiped out, ignored as if it had never existed. The rule now is for politicians to ignore and violate men's actual rights, while arguing about a whole list of rights never dreamed of in this country's founding documents -- rights which require no earning, no effort, no action at all on the part of the recipient."

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