The Bureaucrats running the Army waste $5 Billion experimenting with a New Universal Pattern Uniform

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 19th, 2013

Week in Review

The rollout of Obamacare has been a disaster.  Now we’ve learned that they used ten-year old technology for the big website.  They didn’t test it sufficiently before going live.  And there are political operatives working as navigators collecting our most personal information.  Some even with criminal records.  In other words, it’s a real cluster [deleted expletive].  Or business as usual whenever the government tries to do something (see The Army’s $5 billion waste by Caitlin Dickson posted 10/14/2013 on Yahoo! News).

In 2004, the Army decided to scrap the two traditional camouflage uniforms that had long been used by the military—one meant for woodland environments, another for the desert—and claimed to have come up with a universal pattern that could be worn anywhere and blend in with any environment. The $5 billion dollar experiment with the universal pattern is over as the Army is phasing out the uniform after less than a decade of use. But many soldiers and observers are wondering why it took this long and cost this much to replace an item that performed poorly from the start during a period when the money could have been spent on other critical needs, like potentially life saving improvements to military vehicles and body armor.

The left loves to point to the military as a government success story.  But it’s not the government that makes the military the best in the world.  It’s the people.  Patriots who love their country.  Especially the junior officers and the noncommissioned officers.  Those closest to combat.  Who learn at a steep price the art of war.  Those grizzled veterans of their late teens and early twenties who survive pass their craft on to the kids coming up behind them.  This is who landed at Normandy and fought their way through those beach defenses and went on to win World War II.  These old men in their late teens and early twenties leading the younger guys through the fires of hell and back home again.  Not government.  For all the weapons and all the planes and all the ships would not have done a damn thing unless they were in the hands of America’s finest.

Those noncoms and junior officers who advance through the ranks and the officer corps to leadership positions command larger units.  Turning from tactics to strategy.  Crafting our war plans.  That those noncoms and junior officers carry out.  But, again, it’s these combat veterans that make the military great.  Not the bureaucrats responsible for buying the uniforms.

We can expect more of the same with Obamacare.  For the same bureaucrats that waste $5 billion on a bad uniform design will be running our health care.  Of course under Obamacare we won’t just be wasting billions of dollars.  We’ll be destroying the best health care system in the world.  Which will put all Americans at risk.  Our health.  And our lives.

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Corporate Politics, Bureaucracy and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 5th, 2013

Politics 101

(Originally published April 4th, 2013)

You won’t find many Union Workers filling out TPS Reports

In the movie Office Space we see how frustrating it is to work in a big corporation.  The office politics.  The bureaucracy.  The policies and procedures.  The frustration of having to answer to 8 different bosses after making a mistake.   Bumping heads with management at all levels.  And the mind-numbing frustration of getting your paperwork right.

Anyone who has ever worked in an office no doubt had their own TPS report moments.  And dealt with their own Bill Lumbergh.  So we laugh at poor Peter.  For we’ve been there.  And know his frustration.  For there is nothing worse than trying to work through a company’s bureaucracy.  Or dealing with layers of management that often appeared to be working at cross purposes.  And suffering under bad bosses.

Which is the whole purpose of labor unions.  To protect their workers from a business’ management.  And bad bosses.  Because unions say if they don’t management will just abuse their workers.  So unions shield workers from these unfeeling and inefficient bureaucracies.  Who are always introducing new policies and procedures to improve business efficiencies.  Things like TPS reports.  Which unions say only makes things worse for the worker.  So you won’t find many union workers filling out TPS reports.  Just the non-union office workers.

Dealing with a Bureaucrat is like a Grizzled Sergeant with 20 Years Experience reporting to a Junior Officer

Junior officers get no respect.  Comedian George Carlin served in the Air Force.  And said a common joke was to say when someone broke wind, “Captain who?”  They get no respect because they are bureaucrats.  They come out of their officer training with only book-learning.  While enlisted people have been gaining experience and learning how to do things on the job.  Then these junior officers come in with their book-learning.  And start telling these enlisted people how to do their jobs.  Despite these junior officers having never done their jobs.  Or understanding how to do their jobs.  But they will tell these people how to do their jobs better.

This is less of a problem in combat.  As junior officers typically have a short lifespan in combat.  For all the book-learning cannot replace the experience gained in actual combat.  Which is why lieutenants may command units but it is the grizzled sergeants with the combat experience that lead men into battle.  And a smart junior officer will learn everything he can from his senior sergeants.

Small business owners feel the same way about government.  For a lot of small business owners often go into business after working for someone else.  They’re like those grizzled sergeants in the military.  They’ve learned and done pretty much everything in a business.  Then decided to quit and start their own business.  And one of the first things they have to deal with is the mind-numbing bureaucracy of government at all levels.  City, county, state and federal.  A bunch of bureaucrats who never ran a business.  Who have no experience in their field.  And here they are.  Telling them how to run their businesses.  Like a junior officer out of the academy trying to tell a grizzled sergeant with 20 years experience how to do his job.

Under Obamacare Professional Bureaucrats will tell our Doctors how to administer our Health Care

In these complicated times if there is one thing everyone can agree on it’s this.  Bad managers, bosses, and officers are insufferable.  No one likes putting together ‘TPS reports’.  Or being told by 8 different bosses that they did something wrong.  And they sure don’t like people who don’t understand the first thing about their job or business telling them how they should do their job or run their business.  They especially hate people that can cite rules and regulations by chapter and verse who mete out some penalty or fine because they can’t cite those same rules and regulations by chapter and verse.

This will be the world of Obamacare.  And as much as EVERYONE hates these things at their workplace there are some who still want these same clueless bureaucrats and politicians to take over health care.  As if somehow these people who don’t know the first thing about treating sick people can do a better job than the grizzled veterans working in the health care industry.  Who spend more and more time filling out paperwork these days than actually seeing patients.  And the last thing they want is an even more bureaucratic system where they will have to report to 8 different people and agencies to treat a patient.  Where bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the IRS will have their own coversheets for their ‘TPS reports’.

In the movie The Usual Suspects the character played by Kevin Spacey said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”  For if you don’t fear the devil you may live a life more in line with the devil’s wishes.  Making it easier for the devil to get your soul.  Government is a little like that.  For it has a horrible track record of doing anything right.  Even in the finest military in the world the bureaucrat side of the military pays $100 for a $15.00 toilet seat.  And yet the government has tricked so many people into believing they want more government in their lives.  Even though government is nothing but the managers and bosses people hate where they work.  Bureaucrats who tell others how they should do their job by citing rules and regulations by chapter and verse.  But who really don’t know what you do.  Or how you do it.  Now these professional bureaucrats will tell our doctors how to administer our health care.  And God help you if you get sick and put the wrong coversheet on your Obamacare health care services requisition form.  Or leave an important income tax field blank.

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China raises the Price of Cotton and Chases the Textile Industry out of China

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 9th, 2013

Week in Review

Communists think they are smarter than capitalists.  They think they can manage an economy better than market forces.  Despite the failure of the Soviet Union, China (under Mao), North Korea, Cuba, etc., there are many Western nations with activist governments.  Believing like the Chinese that smart bureaucrats can make the economy operate better than those market forces can.  But the problem is they can’t control all market forces.  So when they intervene there are always unintended consequences that usually make things worse after their intervention.  As this example in China shows (see China’s cotton procurement policy hurting textile industry by Staff Reporter posted 6/9/2013 on Want China Times).

China has jacked up the domestic price of cotton to 20,400 yuan (US$3,325) per tonne as of May 13, 4,500 yuan (US$730) higher than the international price, reports Shanghai’s First Financial Daily.

Industry insiders said that the current procurement policy does nothing to benefit cotton farmers and will have a serious effect on the domestic mid-stream textile industry, forcing many firms to move their operations overseas, the paper said…

The government has justified its cotton procurement at prices higher than international levels, by arguing that the policy can protect the interest of farmers and stabilize domestic cotton farm acreage and output, which assures the domestic supply…

The high cost has forced textile firms to abandon orders, with a growing number of firms relocating to Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India. Downstream firms, in dyeing and printing, have also been affected.

China expanded their cotton production when international cotton prices rose.  Then international prices fell.  Leaving them with a surplus of cotton selling at a price that did not recover the costs of that expanded production.  So these wise bureaucrats decided to raise the price of cotton.  And restrict imports.  Problem solved.  They forced the domestic textile industry to buy the higher priced domestic cotton.  Which, of course, raised the price of the textiles they sold.  Above the prevailing international price.  Pricing them out of the international markets.  So this economic reality forced them to relocate to a country that did not force them to purchase cotton above market prices.  Allowing them to produce textiles and sell them at prices the international markets would pay.

This is the same reason why the U.S. doesn’t have a domestic textile industry anymore.  Only it wasn’t government forcing textile manufacturers to buy cotton at above market prices.  It was the unions forcing them to pay labor at above market prices that increased the price of their textiles.  And priced them out of the international markets.  Because there are always unintended consequences whenever we interfere with market forces.  Always.  And the end result is always worse after the intervention.  Always.

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Capitalism puts People First while Socialism puts the State First

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 20th, 2013

Week in Review

SeaWorld is going public.  In the initial public offering (IPO) filing they discuss the unpleasant business of their animals potentially killing people.  Which has happened in the past.  Of course, they don’t want their animals to kill people.  For it will adversely impact the bottom line (see SeaWorld: Our Investors Should Know That It’s Bad For Business When Our Killer Whales Kill People by Matthew Boesler posted 4/18/2013 on Business Insider).

This incident and similar events that may occur in the future may harm our reputation, reduce attendance and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A lot of people think that if government doesn’t regulate businesses they will wantonly put their customers at risk.  Even killing them with dangerous products or unsafe conditions.  People in government believe this with every fiber of their body.  So they can keep growing the size of government.  Creating ever more government jobs.  And they try to scare people whenever anyone talks about cutting the funding of government.  Saying people will die from these ruthless businesses putting profits before people if they are not there to regulate them.  Which is preposterous.

The SeaWorld’s IPO shows that if you harm your customers you will lose your customers.  And if you lose your customers you will make fewer profits.  Which means the profit incentive makes customers safe.  Because a business knows the more customers they have the more profits they can make.  So they have a financial incentive not to hurt their customers.  Something they didn’t have in the state-owned business of the former Soviet Union.

There was no fear of losing customers in the former Soviet Union if they killed their customers with faulty products.  Because there was no competition.  Just layer upon layer of bureaucrats.  And no one sued the ruling communists in the Soviet Union.  They may sacrifice the occasional bureaucrat if the outside world was aware of some incident.  But it was just another tragedy in the Soviet Union and life went on.  The people just had to put up with substandard quality.  And accept the occasional deaths.

Why?  Because in socialism where they put people before profits they actually put the state before the people.  Where bureaucrats protect themselves.  And other bureaucrats.  Because their state jobs are all that matter.  While in a country where there is capitalism the profit incentive puts people before the state.  Because any person felt mistreated by a business could simply take their business elsewhere.  Which forces businesses to bend over backward to please their customers.  Something you just don’t experience while renewing your driver’s license.

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Corporate Politics, Bureaucracy and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 4th, 2013

Politics 101

You won’t find many Union Workers filling out TPS Reports

In the movie Office Space we see how frustrating it is to work in a big corporation.  The office politics.  The bureaucracy.  The policies and procedures.  The frustration of having to answer to 8 different bosses after making a mistake.   Bumping heads with management at all levels.  And the mind-numbing frustration of getting your paperwork right.

Anyone who has ever worked in an office no doubt had their own TPS report moments.  And dealt with their own Bill Lumbergh.  So we laugh at poor Peter.  For we’ve been there.  And know his frustration.  For there is nothing worse than trying to work through a company’s bureaucracy.  Or dealing with layers of management that often appeared to be working at cross purposes.  And suffering under bad bosses.

Which is the whole purpose of labor unions.  To protect their workers from a business’ management.  And bad bosses.  Because unions say if they don’t management will just abuse their workers.  So unions shield workers from these unfeeling and inefficient bureaucracies.  Who are always introducing new policies and procedures to improve business efficiencies.  Things like TPS reports.  Which unions say only makes things worse for the worker.  So you won’t find many union workers filling out TPS reports.  Just the non-union office workers.

Dealing with a Bureaucrat is like a Grizzled Sergeant with 20 Years Experience reporting to a Junior Officer

Junior officers get no respect.  Comedian George Carlin served in the Air Force.  And said a common joke was to say when someone broke wind, “Captain who?”  They get no respect because they are bureaucrats.  They come out of their officer training with only book-learning.  While enlisted people have been gaining experience and learning how to do things on the job.  Then these junior officers come in with their book-learning.  And start telling these enlisted people how to do their jobs.  Despite these junior officers having never done their jobs.  Or understanding how to do their jobs.  But they will tell these people how to do their jobs better.

This is less of a problem in combat.  As junior officers typically have a short lifespan in combat.  For all the book-learning cannot replace the experience gained in actual combat.  Which is why lieutenants may command units but it is the grizzled sergeants with the combat experience that lead men into battle.  And a smart junior officer will learn everything he can from his senior sergeants.

Small business owners feel the same way about government.  For a lot of small business owners often go into business after working for someone else.  They’re like those grizzled sergeants in the military.  They’ve learned and done pretty much everything in a business.  Then decided to quit and start their own business.  And one of the first things they have to deal with is the mind-numbing bureaucracy of government at all levels.  City, county, state and federal.  A bunch of bureaucrats who never ran a business.  Who have no experience in their field.  And here they are.  Telling them how to run their businesses.  Like a junior officer out of the academy trying to tell a grizzled sergeant with 20 years experience how to do his job.

Under Obamacare Professional Bureaucrats will tell our Doctors how to administer our Health Care

In these complicated times if there is one thing everyone can agree on it’s this.  Bad managers, bosses, and officers are insufferable.  No one likes putting together ‘TPS reports’.  Or being told by 8 different bosses that they did something wrong.  And they sure don’t like people who don’t understand the first thing about their job or business telling them how they should do their job or run their business.  They especially hate people that can cite rules and regulations by chapter and verse who mete out some penalty or fine because they can’t cite those same rules and regulations by chapter and verse.

This will be the world of Obamacare.  And as much as EVERYONE hates these things at their workplace there are some who still want these same clueless bureaucrats and politicians to take over health care.  As if somehow these people who don’t know the first thing about treating sick people can do a better job than the grizzled veterans working in the health care industry.  Who spend more and more time filling out paperwork these days than actually seeing patients.  And the last thing they want is an even more bureaucratic system where they will have to report to 8 different people and agencies to treat a patient.  Where bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the IRS will have their own coversheets for their ‘TPS reports’.

In the movie The Usual Suspects the character played by Kevin Spacey said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”  For if you don’t fear the devil you may live a life more in line with the devil’s wishes.  Making it easier for the devil to get your soul.  Government is a little like that.  For it has a horrible track record of doing anything right.  Even in the finest military in the world the bureaucrat side of the military pays $100 for a $15.00 toilet seat.  And yet the government has tricked so many people into believing they want more government in their lives.  Even though government is nothing but the managers and bosses people hate where they work.  Bureaucrats who tell others how they should do their job by citing rules and regulations by chapter and verse.  But who really don’t know what you do.  Or how you do it.  Now these professional bureaucrats will tell our doctors how to administer our health care.  And God help you if you get sick and put the wrong coversheet on your Obamacare health care services requisition form.  Or leave an important income tax field blank.

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Britain’s National Health Service is becoming less Centralized to Improve Quality

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 31st, 2013

Week in Review

The answer in fixing the American health care system, according to Obamacare, is for more top-down management.  A centralization of the health care system.  Having distant bureaucrats make treatment decisions for patients.  Why?  According to President Obama, doctors were ordering needless tests and procedures just to maximize their billings.  The president even said they were amputating limbs unnecessarily.  Again, to maximize their billings.  And the only way to stop that was with the heavy hand of government.  Just like they do in Britain (see Hospitals that fail patients will be fined, says NHS chief by Denis Campbell posted 3/29/2013 on the guardian).

Hospitals will face financial penalties if they fail to give patients with problems such as a stroke or heart attack the best possible care, under controversial plans spelled out by the NHS’s top doctor.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, speaking to the Guardian, said the new GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that will take control of £65bn of health spending on Monday will hold back from a hospital part of the fees for an operation if the patient has not been treated to the highest possible standards. “The idea is that the CCG would say: ‘We will withhold a certain amount of payment from you until you can demonstrate that you’ve met these standards.’ So it’s a bit like the building industry – you pay 90% of the [cost of] the building upfront, and then the final payments comes a bit later, when you’re sure everything is OK,” Keogh said in his only interview before the new NHS system starts in England on 1 April.

Such differential payments – it is hoped – will compel hospitals to provide high-quality care and force units that do not embrace the latest medical thinking in their specialism to overhaul what they do. Medical teams that do not implement the latest clinical guidance – called quality standards – on how to manage those with a particular condition will forfeit an as yet to be agreed part of the payment…

His tough message to hospitals on quality of care was reinforced by the decision late on Thursday to suspend children’s heart surgery in Leeds General Infirmary following concerns about the quality of lifesaving procedures offered there and the number of its patients who died. An inquiry into practice at LGI has begun…

The NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals, voiced unease at the plan. It would be better to give high-performing hospitals small bonuses over and above the full tariff rather than use penalties against the weaker ones, said Mike Farrar, its chief executive and a former boss of the NHS’s north-west region.

“Bruce is right that commissioners [CCGs] need to use levers. But the downside of penalties is that if hospitals don’t reach the standards set, then they don’t get the rest of the tariff fee and the risk is of a downward spiral in which they have less resources next year in which to try and meet the standards,” Farrar said.

In the Guardian interview Keogh urged the NHS to help stick to its tight spending limits by cracking down on patients receiving unnecessary tests and procedures – known as “overtreatment”.

He voiced concern that the NHS is conducting too many x-rays and blood tests without a good medical reason, subjecting some patients to operations they do not need, and prescribing too many antibiotics.

Odd.  The very things a more top-down approach was supposed to eliminate are now being eliminated by moving away from that top-down approach.  And moving towards a more local approach.  Having people closer to the patients making treatment decisions.  Holding caregivers accountable before they authorize final payment for their services.  And making sure patients and their families are satisfied with the care they received.

Almost sounds like a step back to that intimate doctor-patient relationship.  That served patients so well.  And doctors.  For the only way for doctors to get rich was by taking care of their patients as if they were family.  So they wouldn’t go to another doctor.  And form an intimate doctor-patient relationship there.  Providing a strong incentive to give patients the best care possible.  Because there was accountability.  Not a cold, faceless bureaucracy.

Those on the left have long pointed to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) as the proper way to do health care.  And here they are.  Moving towards the way things were in America.  Before Obamacare.  Basically a tantamount admission by someone in the business of national health care that it doesn’t work.  And yet here we are in the United States.  Moving towards something with a proven track record of failure.  Something that will benefit the politicians.  At the expense of the patient.

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China is Worried about rising Property Prices

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

Housing sales are booming in China.  And prices are soaring.  So much so that the government is taking some action (see China Orders More Cities to Restrict Housing Purchases by Bloomberg News posted 2/21/2013 on Bloomberg).

China told local authorities to “decisively” curb real estate speculation and take steps to rein in the property market after prices rose the most in two years last month…

The government’s almost three-year effort to curb property prices has included raising down-payment and mortgage requirements, increasing construction of low-cost social housing and restricting home purchases in about 40 cities. Authorities also imposed a property tax for the first time in the cities of Shanghai and Chongqing.

Why all the concern of rising property prices?  Because of what happens when they stop rising.  Like they did in the U.S.  When people were paying mortgages that were greater than the market value of their houses some of them walked away.  And let the bank have their house.  As more did more foreclosed houses entered the market.  When interest rates rose on Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) some could no longer pay their mortgage payment.  And they, too, let the banks have their houses.  Putting more foreclosed houses on the market.  With more houses on the market prices fell further.  Putting more people underwater in their mortgages.  And so on.  Until the U.S. eased itself into the Great Recession.  Just as the Japanese eased themselves in their Lost Decade when their asset bubble burst.

This is what the Chinese want to avoid.  That downward spiral of prices.  Deflation.  Sending their economy into a tail spin.  Like the Japanese are still trying to pull themselves out of some two decades later.  Because housing sales are the biggest driver of the domestic economy.  Building houses.  And furnishing houses.  It all adds up to a lot of economic activity.  Which the Chinese want so desperately so they are not wholly dependent on their export economy.  For they really don’t want to end up like the Japanese.  But they probably will.  As the Chinese are trying to manage the economy too much.  Just as the Japanese did.  All that government partnering with business.  It just doesn’t build real economic activity.  Because you have bureaucrats making economic decisions.  Not the market.  And bureaucrats often get things wrong.  Unlike the market.  Especially when it comes to asset bubbles.  When the market creates them they’re not that big and the corrections are not that painful.  But when the government creates one with their excessive interference into the free market economy you get a Lost Decade.  Or a Great Recession.

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FT153: “The two things you need to pass liberal policies are uninformed people and heightened emotions.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 18th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Girls in the “In” Crowd focus on their Appearance and try to be the Kind of Girl the Boys in the “In” Crowd Want

After puberty the attractive people start noticing each other.  Boys become jocks and get physically fit.  Girls start dieting and develop eating disorders.  The jocks tend to come from more well-to-do families because it’s expensive to participate in sports.  So not only are the jocks physically attractive to the girls they also have the nicer stuff.  The attractive girls try to date the good looking boys with the nicer stuff.  And they do.  When these attractive people get together they form the “In” crowd.

I’m in with the “In” crowd
I go where the “In” crowd goes
I’m in with the “In” crowd
And I know what the “In” crowd knows

The “In” crowd attends the best parties.  They wear the finest clothes.  They have the latest toys.  Everyone wants to be part of the “In” crowd.  But most only see it from the outside.  For they aren’t attractive enough or rich enough to be in with the “In” crowd.

We breeze up and down the street
We get respect from the people we meet
They make way day or night
They know the “In” crowd is out of sight

The girls in the “In” crowd focus on their appearance.  And try to be the kind of girl the boys in the “In” crowd want.  The blonde stereotype.  Young and dumb.  And beautiful.  If they please these rich boys they get jewelry, clothes, recreational drugs and great nights out at the best parties at the best clubs.  And all they have to do is look beautiful.  And put out.  To hook up with these rich boys and give them what they want.  Sex with beautiful girls.  Which they readily give up thanks to birth control.  And when that fails, abortion.

I’m in with the “In” crowd
I know ev’ry latest dance
When you’re in with the “In” crowd
It’s easy to find romance

Being in the “In” crowd is where it’s at.  That small clique in school everyone wants to be a part of.  The nerds and the geeks.  The poor.  The overweight.  The short.  Those with horrible acne.  The losers.  They all look at the beautiful people in the “In” crowd and dream of being asked to join them.  But they never will.  So life goes on for them.  These losers.  Some work on their grades and go on to college.  Become doctors, chemists, engineers, etc.  Others get a factory job.  Learn a skilled trade.  Go into journalism.  Or politics.

Once in with the “In” Crowd you become Part of the Upper Class and Live like Royalty and are Treated like Royalty

The rich guys in the “In” crowd like their women young and dumb.  In fact, a lot of the people in the “In” crowd make fun of the smart kids in school.  Calling them chumps for learning stuff.  Some of the “In” crowd go on to great success in sports, music, movies and television.  Some go on to great success for nothing more than being part of the “In” crowd.  Such as Paris Hilton.  And Kim Kardashian.  But a lot of girls who were in with the “In” crowd lose the affections of the boys they once had.  As other young and pretty girls displace them.  Even marry these rich guys.  With nothing but their looks to go on some end up dancing in strip bars.  And when their youth fades some enter prostitution.  Or collect government benefits.  Because instead of hitting the books when they were in high school they went to the best parties.  And travelled with the “In” crowd.

Some of those who did hit the books in high school learned some things.  Some useful things.  Things that helped them get into college.  But they primarily learned how to be Democrat voters.  Because public education is controlled by the teacher unions.  And their Democrat friends in government.  When they go on to college their liberal college professors pull them even further left.  They learn to not like or trust capitalism.  And to love government unconditionally.  When they get their degrees some go into journalism with a liberal bias.  Some become elected politicians.  Liberal Democrats.  Where they have a lot of money pass through their hands.  Which gives them a lot of power.  And what does money and power give you?  Access to the best parties.  Where you can actually meet and rub shoulders with the stars of sports, music, movies and television.  Yes, these losers from high school finally get to travel with the “In” crowd.

And once in they never want to leave.  Because it is great being in with the “In” crowd.  You become part of the upper class.  You live like royalty.  And are treated like royalty.  Because of all that power you hold.  So they want to protect their elevated status.  By protecting their government jobs.  And creating more government jobs.  As many as possible.  So there is always some place for them to go in case their ungrateful constituents vote them out of office.  And these ungrateful constituents are a problem.  Because they believe in limited government.  Low taxes.  Little government spending.  Fewer regulations.  The very things that are anathema to those who have entered the “In” crowd via big liberal government.

A Serious Crisis gets People Emotional and makes them willing to do things they weren’t willing to do Before

American kids are getting their behinds handed to them by Indian and Chinese kids.  Who are blowing them away on test scores.  Why?  Because of the liberal control of public education.  Instead of being introduced to differential calculus in high school American kids are learning multicultural things.  Instead of learning about Adam Smith and laissez faire economics they’re learning about America’s original sin.  Slavery.  Even though the American economy took off in the free North.  Which is why the North defeated the South in the American Civil War.  But they teach our kids that we stole the land from the Native Americans and got rich by exploiting African slaves.  Because of the evils of capitalism.  And the profit incentive.  Which steals from everybody.  And exploits everyone.  This is what they teach our kids.  Instead of math and science.

Of course, dumbing down the curriculum has a very positive side affect.  For liberals.  The less these kids know the easier it is to lie to them.  Making it easier to turn them into good Democrat voters.  Who keep voting for liberal candidates.  And their liberal policies.  Which keeps expanding the size of government.  And the amount of government spending.  Which they pay for by increasing the taxes on those who can afford to pay more.  And they add layer upon layer of new regulations on businesses.  Enforced by a growing number of bureaucrats.  Creating ever more jobs in the federal government.  To help level the playing field.  To help the little guy.  And to punish those who have too much wealth.  Because it is the fair thing to do.  The just thing.  Especially in a country with so many wrongs to right.

But eventually these kids grow up.  Get jobs.  And raise families.  They become moderates.  Even conservatives.  Who tend to vote against the liberal agenda.  Which is why the Left can’t rely on just dumbing down people.  Because dumb can wear off.  So they have to tug on people’s heartstrings.  Get people’s emotions working for them.  And nothing does that better than milking a crisis.  For as Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Because a serious crisis gets people emotional.  Makes them willing to do things they weren’t willing to do before.  Like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Twenty dead children really made people emotional.  And the Left hopes emotional enough to get these people to support something that they normally wouldn’t support.  Gun control.  Which the Left is hell-bent on passing.  Just as they were hell-bent on passing Obamacare.  Despite the masses opposing it.  Just as they oppose gun control.  But they were able to tug enough at people’s heartstrings to pass Obamacare into law.  Just as they hope to pass gun control into law.  For when it comes to passing an unpopular liberal agenda nothing helps more than uninformed people and heightened emotions.  And the more of that liberal agenda they pass the more the government grows.  Creating more jobs in an expanding federal government.  Giving these politicians more money.  And more power.  Getting them into the best parties.  Where they meet and rub shoulders with the stars of sports, music, movies and television.  Letting these one-time high school losers continue to be in with “In” crowd.

(The “In” Crowd by Billy Page performed by Bryan Ferry.)

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Can we trust Obamacare when the NHS loses 1.8 Million Confidential Patient Records in a Single Year?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 28th, 2012

Week in Review

One of the ways Obamacare is supposed to reduce costs is by digitizing our medical records.  So any of our doctors can pull them up from anywhere.  So that every doctor will always have the most up to date file on us.  The problem is, it just may not be our doctors accessing our records from anywhere.  So some are asking if we should trust the government to protect our confidential information.  For they can look across the Atlantic and see that trusting the government with our confidential information was not a wise thing to do (see NHS lost track of 1.8m patient records in a year with sensitive information found in public bin and for sale on the internet by Jack Doyle posted 10/28/2012 on the Daily Mail).

The NHS lost track of 1.8million confidential patient records in a single year, the Daily Mail can reveal.

In worrying lapses in data security, sensitive paper records have been dumped in public bins and electronic records found for sale on an internet auction site.

The worst cases include details of terminally ill patients being faxed to the wrong number, and patient records being stolen and posted on to the internet.

The total is the equivalent of nearly 5,000 records going missing every day. But the real figure is likely to be much higher because in some incidents it was not known exactly how many records were lost…

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has levied fines totalling nearly £1million on NHS bodies in the last six months…

Trespassers gained access to the site and copies of records – which dated from the 1950s – were posted on the internet…

The worst breach involved a CD containing 1.6million patient records, including personal details, belonging to Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT. The CD was lost when a filing cabinet went missing during an office move.

The trust was not fined, but signed an undertaking with the ICO not to repeat the error.

The worst breach of patient privacy is punished by a promise not to do that again?  Well, problem solved.  For promises are serious things.  I mean, who has ever broken a promise?

The NHS is taxpayer funded.  So how does that work?  The government fining the government?  Do they reduce the amount of money they spend on health care services?  Does the government then reimburse the NHS Trust?  Or does it simply let more people go without health care?

This is the problem when government provides services.  And the oversight.  The government provides oversight on themselves.  They set the standards.  And they measure if they meet those standards.  Which probably explains why they fix problems with promises.

So is it any wonder that they’ve lost over a million confidential patient records?  No.  Will it be any wonder when Obamacare loses over a million confidential patient records?  Probably not.  Because bureaucrats are bureaucrats.  So digitizing our medical records is probably not a good idea.  For that matter, neither is Obamacare.  Based on the real world example provided by the NHS.

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NHS Doctors compromise Patient Privacy by Accidentally Clicking on ‘cc’ Instead of ‘bcc’ when Emailing

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2012

Week in Review

One of my favorite Winter Olympics were the 1992 games in Albertville, France.  In part to that montage at the end accompanied by a couple pieces from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.  And Charles Kuralt.  Who gave us charming slices of life in the Tarentaise Valley.  Farmers eating a breakfast of cheese and wine after finishing their early chores…before the sun had risen.  And people waiting for freshly baked baguettes in the crisp predawn hours.  Made by bakers the way bakers had baked bread hundreds of years earlier.  Because as Charles said, sometimes the old ways are the better ways.  It turns out that’s true in more ways than one (see Doctors ‘risking email privacy breaches’ by Caroline Parkinson posted 6/1/2012 on BBC News Health).

As the email whizzes off into the ether, dread strikes. It’s gone to the wrong person.

Normally, the worst that can happen is a little embarrassment.

But a medical advice body is warning that while trying to use modern technology to contact patients, doctors are sometimes revealing confidential information…

In one case a practice sent patients an email reminder for a flu vaccination clinic, but mistakenly pasted the email addresses into the “To” rather than the “Bcc” – blind copies – box…

The MDU is issuing advice to doctors about how to send out group emails, and what to do if it goes wrong.

“These are breaches of confidence. It shows those in the email group that other individuals are part of that practice, and part of that particular group.

“And, while you may not be directly releasing clinical information, it can be possible for people to make assumptions, especially in small communities.

“For example, on a flu jab reminder list, you may be on there because you are immunosuppressed, because you have cancer or HIV – or other reasons you don’t want people to know about.”

In the old days there were family doctors.  Who we knew all our lives.  And we paid them for the services they rendered.  In the days before heath insurance became an employee benefit.   And life was good.  Charming.  Folksy.  But now health care has grown into a great bureaucracy.  Where doctors have to spend more of their time being bureaucrats than doctors.  With the advent of employer provided health insurance there were no longer free market forces to determine health care prices.  Because someone else was paying the bill.  Then came the lawyers.  And the malpractice suits.  Changing medicine into a defensive action against frivolous lawsuits.  Further increasing health care costs.  And pulling health care providers further away from practicing medicine.  Instead spending their time managing risk. 

Now Obamacare wants to change this further.  By digitizing medical records.  Turning health care into production line care.  To process more people per hour to reduce costs.  Transforming the doctor-patient relationship to a patient-random government bureaucrat relationship.  Relying on the data in our records more than personal knowledge of a patient like in those folksy old days.  Which can really speed up treatment.  As long as an overworked, underpaid bureaucrat inputs all of the data correctly.  And no hacker breaks into the system to mess with people’s data.  Or steal it.  For it will be one large repository of names, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers.  As well as intimate medical information.  Which people could use for whole sorts of reasons.  The mind shudders to think what may happen when this information is in the hands of the wrong people.  Especially when health care providers begin emailing each other.  With attachments.  Or their patients.  Like in Britain.  Accidents happen.  Especially when the technology makes it so easy for accidents to happen. 

Doctors are at risk of being in breach of both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations 2003 – and the Information Commissioner would have to be informed.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s office said GP practices, like hospital trusts and local councils had a responsibility to take care of the data they hold.

He added: “Bcc and group emails are a concern. If we find a breach related to Bcc, and particularly if that’s caused damage or distress, we would take enforcement action.”

As if doctors didn’t have enough to worry about in their busy day.  Being both bureaucrat.  And part-time doctor.  Now they have to worry about breaking the law when they accidentally click ‘cc’ instead of ‘bcc’ after a long, sleep-deprived day.

And this is a glimpse into the future of Obamacare.  Where we can only hope it will be as good as the NHS.  For as national health care systems go, it’s one of the best.  But it still doesn’t beat the good old days.  When we had warm familial relationships with our family doctors.  Who knew us better than we knew ourselves.  Who didn’t need digital records or emails.  And not only were we able to pay for our own health care but we liked our health care.

It’s like Charles said.  Sometimes the old ways are the better ways.

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