April 10th, 2012

(no subject)

Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation Over Her ‘Puffy’ Appearance

There's more than one issue raised in this article, but for this post I wanted to continue the point from my last post.

A brief analysis demonstrates that the following “conclusions” were all made on the exact same day, March 20, about the exact same woman (me), looking the exact same way, based on the exact same television appearance. The following examples are real, and come from a variety of (so-called!) legitimate news outlets (such as HuffPo, MSNBC, etc.), tabloid press, and social media:

The journalists (and non-journalists) being called out here are making speculations and writing them as firm conclusions. This is a pattern we see over and over again on any topic. Whether it's merely to sell papers/magazines/blog ads or whether it's truly believed, the social effect is the same; the self-reinforcing cycle of bias continues and society is worse off for it. Journalists continue to claim to be unbiased, but regularly show otherwise and those people who pay attention learn to distrust them and those who don't are led astray by trusting too much.
War

Civilization without Civility: Why Fear Homosexuality?‏

Until quite recently, the word "homophobia" seemed like an oxymoron to me. I had no sense of how deep the fear actually runs. In fact, I considered it to be a self-referential fear such as the fear of being discovered. People who attack homosexuals are themselves latent homosexuals who fear that others will find them out. Although there may be some truth in this interpretation of the term, it misses a whole body of fear that I knew nothing about until recently.

The Icarus phenomenon of Jason Russell's meltdown prompted me to look more deeply into the involvement of Christian bigots in Uganda. The campaign of Invisible Children to pressure the Obama administration into retaining military advisers in that country reminded me of recent news of American fundamentalist ties to attempts to legitimatize de facto violence against homosexuals in that beleaguered land. I was reminded of how homosexuals in Africa fear being subjected to the vicious treatment of "necklacing" with a burning tire.

My quest for information took me to the work of Jeff Sharlet who became famous for his work exposing the fundamentalist mafia in Washington. Sharlet interviewed Ugandan homophobes to determine the depth of their ties to the Washington mob and to get a handle on the nature of their bigotry. What he found in the former case is that the Washington group has very strong ties to Ugandan homophobes. In the latter case, he found an intellectual basis for bigotry in a thin tome entitled The Pink Swastika by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams. It is an eye-opening view into the minds of people who fear homosexuality more than homosexuals fear fundamentalism. Until I read the book, I did not think that was possible.

The authors use evidence of sadistic homosexuals at the highest levels of the German national socialist movement to imply that national socialism is a product of homosexuality. They go so far as to imply that the liberal attitude toward homosexuality within the Weimar Republic gave rise to national socialism. They add two and two together to come up with the number three: freedom for homosexuals leads to death camps for Jews.

The most remarkable aspect of their work is that they provide sufficient evidence for a counter argument, but fail to pay any attention to that evidence. They show that the sadists who perpetrated atrocities were merely a fraction of the homosexual population and what these sadists shared with the authors: a contempt for other homosexuals. They also showed that some homosexuals react violently when they are abused, yet they would have their audience abuse homosexuals. Lively and Abrams make Jonah Goldberg appear downright liberal.

Do you fear homosexuals or homosexuality itself? Why or why not?

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Default

Another loaded question...

So after 400+ comments I'm back for more, things like "Human rights" and "moral imperative" get thrown around an awful lot but nobody really seems to agree on what such things actually entail so with that in mind I ask...

What exactly are we all entitled to?

I freely admit that my own answer is bleaker than most. In my mind anything beyond conscious and ambulatory tends to get logged in the bonus column. As a result, I find it difficult discuss things like "Health-Care" and the so-called "Living Wage" because my concept of "neccesity" is pretty much limited to oxygen, water, food, and a place to sleep (in that order). As far as the moral imperetive aspect is concerned the only real entitlement I recognize is the right to be left alone if you so desire.

Discuss...

Real example of implemented obamacare

Obamacare - so advertized "no patients left behind uninsured" system.
Real example from Russia.
Every year 500 000 new registered patients with cancer.
1/3 of them dies in 12 month after it.
Drugs benefits covers usually much less than needed, so poor JUST dies. And no hope to raise money in poor country. System is broken and even charity can't fix 1% of it.

F.e. breast cancer cure rate in USA is 98%, in Russia is 63%. And many dies without diagnosis.
Here is source in Russian (you are welcome to use Google translator, if you are interesting in)
I remember last emotional call here - ahhh... Obamacare saved one kid.

Saving one kid's life is important, but using wrong economical approach could result destruction of the system that saves hundred of thousands of lives each year in USA.

Surely you can argue about underdeveloped Russia and so on, but Russia is underdeveloped for reason and this reason is very clear - socialism in all areas for many decades.
And main reason for obvious failure of "universal health care system" is underfunding and unfair funding.

When you are talking about removing life limit and forbidding using patient's precondition to calculate insurance cost, you are surely going into same hole Russia lives in for decades:
you are exhausting medical funds, which leads to DENY OF SERVICE.
And that's cost is tremendous: hundreds of thousands dies for this reason, including tens of thousands of kids!
You can easily broke the system that saving lives, it's never easy to bring it back to normal.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
Can you imagine buying home insurance without insurance agent assessing real risks?
Buying auto insurance right after incident, and hoping insurance will pay?
That's really what "precondition" in obamacare means.
It means unfair funding. And as a result - underfunding and theft.
For realistic insurance companies that law means - insurance payments must be few times bigger to fund all those requests.
But more than half of the states already dictates rates increase for insurance companies.
Can you imagine this kind of "free market" with states doing VETO on pricing??
And this is even before abuse of system started.
Insurance premiums and total cost is constantly rising at least 6-7% p.a., it means it doubles in decade. And 7% is good, it could be double-digit numbers, enough to bankrupt many small businesses, or cancel medical benefits for their employees at all.
In average premium is only 18% of insurance cost. Rest 82% paid by employer.
So rob the rich and that's all?
No, today - you rob the rich, tomorrow everybody became poor and broken.
No chances that system which ruined health care in Russia will work better in USA.
The Captain's Prop

Taking Stick of Money Today

When last I posted, I ended our short history of money noting, among other things, that money is no longer backed by precious metals as once it "was" (I hope to make the scare quotes more salient later). Even before Pres. Nixon removed the US from the gold standard in 1971, wild swings in our money supply drove the country into a Great Depression that few theorists foresaw. Few theorists today foresaw the current crisis, and that should be easily explained. We have, essentially, unlearned the lessons of the Great Depression, removing the legal speed governors and safety interlocks that prevented our economy from revving too out of control from 1934 to about 1980, pulling the final bit of monetary prudence away from the system in 1999.

For that reason, it is illustrative to go back to the heady days of 1929 and see the policies that brought down the economy . . . you know, the policies we have today . . . and maybe answer brucenstein's initial question about the weirdness of money. Collapse )