Friday, December 21, 2012

Much to my Surprise, I Agreed with the NRA today

To be clear, I would place myself far on the left when it comes to gun control. I am fairly certain that I am a part of a significant minority that wants to abolish the second amendment through replacement, and though I don't ever expect that to happen in my lifetime, I can only hope that we take significant measures to curb private gun ownership in America to more sane levels. Over the short term, this could take the form of bans of various flavors, but a far more effective way to accomplish this is a long term change in our culture towards one that no longer holds so fervently to delusions of rambolike grandeur when faced with the potential of totalitarian regimes or threats against one's property.

No amount of private gun ownership will overthrow the US government in this day and age, and all too often I see gun rights activists sound a little bit paranoid for my tastes, listing gleefully the benign circumstances in which they think guns are useful.

Sometimes with that hammer in your pocket, a lot of screws start to look like nails.

But all that is not to say that there is not evil in this world, and that there is not a need to counter it with violence. I simply don't think that we should obsess over making that violence available to as many people as possible as easIly as possible and as efficiently as possible.

So as the NRA said today, we have a lot of security professionals who are qualified, motivated and unemployed. Let's put them in schools to protect our most prized possessions, our children.

I have no problem with security professionals providing protection.

Most everything else the NRA said today was the same pathetic fear-mongering I have come to expect. Just because the NRA can point to other problems in society, that does not mean that it will distract us from the toxic combination of distrust, paranoia and violent culture the NRA stands for.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Far Will Zionism Go?

I posted a lengthy comment to the "about this blog" section of a blog I have been reading and for whatever reason, it has not been approved for the past week or so. I hope it is just because the author of the blog is busy, and not permitting the comment is obviously his prerogative, but the issue is important to me and I have yet to hear any good answers to my questions so I suppose I will resort to posting it here in hopes of a response from someone.

The blogger is a settler in the occupied territories, and he clearly justifies this on biblical grounds. It is a divine right and responsibility to him.

My question to these people has been simply to ask how far will you go? The bible clearly promises Abraham all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates. That represents an absolutely ludicrous amount of territory for Israel to conquer and the logical conclusion of a prophetically informed expansionist policy is to annex significant portions of Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. 

That, of course, is insane.

As is the prophetically informed, Zionist expansion that characterizes Israel's foreign policy now and since its inception and if their is any real threat to Israel's existence, it is a continuation of the status-quo.

Here is the blog I am referring to:

Here is what I posted:

"Names are indeed historic markers of past civilizations, but they have little bearing on who should occupy a location today. By the same standard, we should return Illinois to the descendants of the native tribes that made up the Illinois confederacy. History is long and successive in nature. Perhaps we would all be better off trying to find solutions that are reasonably fair to everyone who is alive today.

Of course you probably refer to biblical prophesy as a justification for the preferential treatment of Jews. I must ask, when will this end? After all, did God not say to Abraham that he will give to his descendants all the land between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates?

If you honestly believe that all prophesy in the bible is just, perfect and going to transpire at some time in the future, how far should you go to take matters into your own hand to accomplish this?

Should you expand a defensive war beyond your initial borders to take Jerusalem and double your territory?

Should you later add another thirty odd percent to your total territory in an additional defensive war? Should you then settle it with the clear motive of land reclamation even after your nation has agreed to cede that land in an eventual peace deal?

Do you really want to deal with the inevitable strife for generations, the strife that this expansionist policy will elicit from the various peoples displaced?

I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not if it didn’t have to be that way.
But no, that is not enough. For according to the Bible all the land must belong to the Jews.

Maybe this will be accomplished through more defensive wars. At the current rate of expansion, it wouldn’t take long to achieve most of Jordan and a good bit of Iraq. After all, it didn’t take long to get the Sinai – that’s most of the way to the Nile.

Perhaps religious activists should begin building communities throughout Amman Jordan and even Karbala in Iraq.

It is insanity, and since the country’s inception this insanity has been informing Israel’s policy toward its Arab population in a way that is only going to risk its well-being at best and its very existence at worst.

I grew up in Israel. I have a lot of friends there. I don’t want either of those to happen."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Entire Health Insurance Industry is Subsidized

There is a tacit admission by the private health insurance industry that it is an unsuitable choice to provide health coverage for Americans in any systematic manner. Of course all insurance companies, about half the politicians and your average free market capitalists would have you believe that they are capable of providing the best prices, the lowest overhead and the most affordable care through the invisible hand of competition, their record on the matter is far less impressive that their rhetoric.

The price of insurance is determined by the aggregate risk associated with a given pool of enrollees, which is mostly simply translated to say that insuring an older, sicker population is more expensive and insuring a younger, healthier population is cheaper.

Of course insurance companies are more than aware of this reality, and they certainly act accordingly - by casting off responsibility whenever they can.

They get rid of you the second you turn sixty five when your health is far more likely to fail, and up until recently they would cast you off when you became too sick - private insurance for the elderly is prohibitively expensive for most and the cruel irony of lifetime caps on spending is that those who need coverage the most are by definition excluded. They pay only ten percent of long term care for those who need it with Medicaid picking up the remaining ninety and the high deductible health insurance plans that cover over sixty million Americans today are worthless for chronic conditions, a reality that drives thousands to the safety of a government net the moment they are unfortunate enough to acquire a sufficiently grave injury or illness.

Anyone can provide competitive rates if they can systematically reduce the risk of their pool by neglecting the population who by definition need it the most. Only private insurance companies obscure the morality of its owners in the name of stockholders and profit enough to do so.

They have admitted their inadequacy. They constantly enlist the help of the government to cover the important expenses their business model has no intention of covering. They are subsidized. They are not up to the task of providing true insurance, insurance that can provide in your time of need.