People who think Obamacare will make Health Care Better need to Understand how things are in the NHS

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

The left wanted single-payer.  But they didn’t get it.  Because people in the United States do NOT want any form of national health care.  So they settled for the Affordable Care Act.  Believing it was the pathway to single-payer/national health care.

Why do they want this so much?  So they can provide high quality yet affordable health care to everyone?  No.  They just want the power national health care gives those in power.  Even if it destroys the health care system we have.  As it has done in Britain.  The National Health Service (NHS) is the very model the left would like to have in the United States.  Despite the NHS making health care for the average Briton horrible.  Don’t think so?  Well, read Pills, bills and bellyaches: a peek behind the scenes at a GP surgery by Stephen Moss posted 11/3/2013 on The Guardian and you will see just how bad national health care is.  And what we have to look forward to as Obamacare transfers more of our health care system to government control.

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Americans love Winston Churchill because he stood up to the Nazis and Communists when others Wouldn’t

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

The Americans and the British have a special relationship.  We are BFFs.  And are each other’s most important ally.  For when there is a dictator to vanquish or a peace to maintain you can count on the Americans and the British.  Despite their complicated past.  And sometimes conflicting interests.  Why, the Americans have a special place in their hearts for two great British leaders of the 20th century.  Margaret Thatcher.  And Winston Churchill (see Winston Churchill, an all-American hero by Tim Stanley posted 10/31/2013 posted on The Telegraph).

This week, a bust of Britain’s greatest leader was installed at the heart of the Capitol building. So why does the cult of Winston still hold Washington in thrall..?

Americans heard Churchill’s war broadcasts – and it’s this image of resolution and pluck that stayed with them throughout the Second World War, and beyond. After Germany’s defeat, and thrown out of office by Labour’s surprise 1945 election victory, Churchill leant moral leadership to the fight with Soviet Communism. On March 5, 1946, he gave a speech before 40,000 at the small town of Fulton, Missouri, in which he declared: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” This was the rhetorical starting gun for the Cold War. The simplest reason why Churchill is so popular in the US is that he was an ally in three global wars.

Why are Americans in love Winston Churchill?  Perhaps I can best answer that question in song.

In case you didn’t make out the lines in the last verse they are included here.

Others will respect you
Others will elect you
They’ll accept your calls
Others will desire you
They may not admire you
But they will admit
You do transmit
Balls.

When others wanted to appease the Nazis Churchill didn’t.  When others wanted to embrace the Soviet Union Churchill didn’t.  When others wanted to give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety he chose essential liberties.  This is why Americans love Winston Churchill.  We respect him.  And he transmited balls.  Unlike some of our world leaders today.

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President Obama and his CIA Killing Program

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

Democrats say Republicans want to kill women, children, seniors, everyone’s beloved grandmother, etc.  They keep saying this.  Yet there is no actual body count to back up these claims.  Unlike there is for President Obama (see Obama Told Aides He’s ‘Really Good At Killing People,’ New Book ‘Double Down’ Claims by Mollie Reilly posted 11/3/2013 on The Huffington Post).

A new book on the 2012 presidential campaign claims that President Barack Obama told aides that he is “really good at killing people.”

According to Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the authors of Double Down: Game Change 2012, Obama made the comment while discussing drone strikes last year. CNN’s Peter Hamby noted the anecdote in his review of the book for the Washington Post.

While the White House has not commented on the president’s alleged remarks, senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer on Sunday dismissed other reports from the book, including that campaign officials weighed replacing Vice President Joe Biden with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket.

“The president is always frustrated about leaks,” Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I haven’t talked to him about this book. I haven’t read it. He hasn’t read it. But he hates leaks.”

Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, has overseen the expansion of the CIA’s targeted killing program, which the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates has killed between 2,528 and 3,648 individuals in Pakistan since 2004. That organization also estimates that between 416 and 948 of those killed in drone strikes were civilians — an estimate disputed by the Obama administration.

Targeted CIA killing program?  That’s something that’s only supposed to happen with Republican presidents.  Not peace-loving Democrats.  In fact, President Obama has more drone kills than George W. Bush.  Yet Bush was the deranged cowboy killing people in violation of international law.  While Obama remains the cool president.

It makes you wonder if anything President Obama will do will cause his loyal base to stop supporting him.  Fast and Furious?  Benghazi?  Spying on Americans without a warrant?  Using the IRS to attack political enemies?  The Affordable Care Act lies?  And his CIA killing program.  Which actually is killing people unlike the Republicans are.  These scandals come and go and the mainstream media says move along.  There’s nothing to see here.

History will not look kindly on the Obama presidency.  Nor the mainstream media.  Which helped him do the things history will not look kindly on.  By circling the wagons around him whenever something bad happens.  And, instead, turning their venom loose on the Republicans.  Even though the Republicans aren’t responsible for Fast and Furious.  Benghazi.  Spying on Americans without a warrant.  Using the IRS to attack political enemies.  The Affordable Care Act lies.  Or the CIA killing program.  No.  That was the Nobel Peace Prize winner.  President Obama.

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Autopilots and Lawyers take Flying Time away from Pilots, Increase Stalls

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

Flying has never been safer.  Air craft incidents make the news because they are so rare.  Such as two planes clipping wings on the tarmac.  And any crash is on the news 24 hours a day.  Because they are so rare that statistically they just don’t happen.  But as rare as they are they still happen.  And planes fall out of the sky (see Crash investigator urges stall training for pilots by Bart Jansen posted 10/30/2013 on USA Today).

A federal crash investigator urged a conference of aviation safety officials Tuesday to better train pilots to avoid stubborn problems such as stalls.

Earl Weener, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, recalled four separate fatal crashes over the past two decades that he said involved stalls, with pilots basically pulling the plane’s nose up too much until the aircraft fell to the ground.

“The question in my mind is why did the crew continue to pull back on the elevator all the way to the ground,” Weener told about 300 people attending the Flight Safety Foundation’s International Aviation Safety Summit, rather than leveling off to regain power and speed.

Lack of training is feared to be one culprit…

A NASA study of voluntary reporting by pilots found stalls 28% of the time while cruising at high altitude, Weener said. And an airline database study by the International Air Transport Association found 27% of stalls occurred while cruising, he said.

But a survey found only 26% of airlines trained for high-altitude stalls – even though 71% of stalls occur when the autopilot is typically engaged, Weener said.

Lack of training?  With 71% of stalls happening while flying on autopilot try lack of flying.

Most accidents today are pilot error.  Is it because we have bad pilots?  No.  It’s because we’re not letting them fly.  In the risk-averse world we live in today we try to avoid all risk.  We have autopilot systems that are so sophisticated that they can fly a plane without a pilot aboard.  In our litigious society airlines feel machines will make fewer mistakes than people.  So they have the machines fly the plane most of the time.  While pilots monitor the systems.  Entering set-points into the flight computers.  While the computers fly the plane.  And when there is a problem pilots try to get the flight computers working.  Instead of taking the controls themselves.

Before pilots turned flying over to the machines they flew the planes.  They felt the planes.  They listened to the planes.  And flew by the seat of their pants.  If there was an odd vibration they felt it.  If there was an engine problem they heard it.  And if the plane stalled they felt it in the pit of their stomach.  And instinctively pushed forward on the column and applied full power. 

Today, because of lawyers, airlines want pilots to fix the autopilot.  Not take the controls.  So the machines can start flying again as soon as possible.  As they feel they are less likely to make a mistake than a pilot doing some real flying.  Unfortunately, a machine will only fly as well as a human can tell it to fly.  By entering those set-points.  And if the human makes a mistake at data entry the computer will assume that the human didn’t make a mistake.  And follow those instructions exactly.  Even if the plane flies into the ground.  Or stalls and falls out of the sky.

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When it comes to Buying Votes few things work as well as High-Speed Rail

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

Governments everywhere have a love affair with high-speed rail.  Because it’s big.  It’s costly.  And best of all it takes a lot of union workers to build it.  And even more to maintain and operate it.  That’s a lot of grateful people who will remember them at the next election.  And when you get down to it that’s what politics is all about.  Buying votes with taxpayers’ money.   And few things cost more than high-speed rail.  Which is why governments love them.  Even if they are not good economic models (see Upgrading existing rail network would be better value than HS2, government analysis finds by Tim Ross posted 11/3/2013 on The Telegraph).

Ministers published their latest economic “business case” for the controversial £50 billion high speed project last week, as the Prime Minister sought to deflect pressure onto Ed Miliband over Labour’s wavering support for the plan…

Ministers paraded the latest official estimate of the economic value of the plan, which claimed that HS2 would deliver £2.30 in benefits for every £1 spent on the scheme.

The figure was based on an assessment of the impact of quicker travel times, more trains running between London and the north, and extra investment in jobs and businesses along the new route, among other factors.

However, detailed analysis buried within a separate 150-page study into the alternatives to HS2, also published by the Department for Transport last week, showed that upgrading services on existing rail routes would provide far better value for money.

According to this study, one package of improvement works to existing lines between London, Birmingham and northern cities would deliver economic benefits equal to £3.30 for every £1 invested, 43 per cent more than HS2.

This is why high-speed rail is not a good economic model.  It may deliver everything they say it will but whatever it does deliver is never enough.  Not with those mammoth price tags.  In this case £50 billion (about $80 billion).  To return £2.30 for every £1 invested that would come to £115 billion in new economic activity.  Britain’s GDP in 2012 was about £1.49 trillion.  So the expected return on that high-speed rail investment would be 7.7% of GDP.  Sounds nice.  But highly unlikely when you consider Britain’s GDP growth was than 1% in 2012.  Coming in at 0.1%.  Worse, all the costs will be in the first few years of breaking ground.  While the new economic activity will be spread out over decades.  Guaranteeing costs will exceed revenue for a very long time. 

Of all the high-speed rail lines in the world only two actually operate at a profit.  One in Japan.  And one in France.  Every other passenger train in the world loses money and requires taxpayer subsidies.  And because they do it is better to spend less than more.  Especially when more is £50 billion (about $80 billion).  And you can produce a greater return on investment by spending less.  But that is hard to do when you’re in the business of buying votes.  Which is why they keep trying to build high-speed rail.

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