FT219: “Obamacare will give us rationing and long wait times like America’s other national health care: the VA.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 25th, 2014

Fundamental truth

Our Veterans have been Wounded and Maimed and we thank them for their Service with the VA

Where do the rich and famous go when they go to a hospital?  They can afford the best.  So you will hear hospitals like Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Mount Sinai, etc.  The crème de la crème of the best health care system in the world.  But one name you won’t hear?  Any VA hospital.

Rich and famous people have something our veterans don’t.  Choice.  They can choose to go to the crème de la crème of the best health care system in the world.  While our veterans have no choice but to go to the dregs of the best health care system in the world.  Very often the worst place you can go in the United States for health care.

It’s sad, really.  For our veterans have given more than any other American.  They have put themselves in harm’s way.  Had people shoot at them.  Lob hand grenades at them.  Had mortar rounds and artillery rounds land near them.  And had improvised explosive devices (IED) detonate around them.  Our veterans have been wounded and maimed and faced the hell of combat.  And our thanks for their volunteering to do this for us?  The VA.

Our VA Hospitals are so bad because they know our Military will be good Soldiers and Wait

There aren’t a lot of VA hospitals around.  So some veterans have to travel to get to one.  And when they get there they have to wait.  As there are a lot of other veterans in the waiting room with them.  Because there aren’t a lot of VA hospitals around.  But that’s not the only waiting they’re going to do.

If they need surgery or treatment there will be even more waiting.  A lot more waiting.  Because there aren’t a lot of VA hospitals around.  Or a lot of VA health care providers.  Or a lot of VA diagnostic equipment.  Which means they have to ration out health care in our VA hospitals.  And when you ration health care you make people wait longer for treatment.  An alien concept for the rich and famous.  Who get what they want when they want it.  Because they have choice.

Our veterans, on the other hand, continue to be good soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen.  And wait.  Just like the old military joke to ‘hurry up and wait’.  Where they will get up before dawn to wait on the tarmac for 4 hours to board an aircraft.  So we’ve trained our military personnel well in waiting.  Perhaps this why our VA hospitals are so bad.  Because they know our military will be good soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen.  And wait.

VA Hospitals are run so poorly that Veterans are dying as they wait for this National Health Care

The sad thing is that some of our veterans are waiting so long that they are dying (see A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list by Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin posted 4/24/2014 on CNN).  Because rationing leads to longer wait times.  And longer wait times lead to more deaths.  And this is why the VA hospitals (America’s national health care) are the dregs of the best health care system in the world.

The American left wants national health care.  They want VA hospitals for everyone.  Except them, of course.  For they will be going to the hospitals the rich and famous go to.  But it’s VA hospitals for the rest of us.  Where they will ration health care.  Increase wait times.  And provide some of the most inefficient health care service.  Another reason veterans have to wait so long is that the VA still uses paper records.  Like they did before the 1970s.

The left settled for Obamacare.  They wanted national health care but accepted Obamacare as a stepping stone to national health care.  For they think the government can run health care better than the private sector.  Even though they’ve been running the VA for decades without ever modernizing it.  The government runs the VA hospitals so inefficiently that veterans are dying as they wait for this rationed national health care.  But these same people who can’t bring the VA into the 20th century say they can improve the crème de la crème of the best health care system in the world.  But if they do the VA poorly they will do all national health care poorly.  Because the government just can’t do anything well.

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The Marines have Lower Physical Requirements for Women they’re Integrating into Combat

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2014

Week in Review

Women serving in the military in Iraq were issued rape whistles.  To protect themselves from their fellow soldiers.  They needed the whistle to call for help.  As they could not depend on being strong enough to fight off a rapist.  Or a gang of rapists.  Which illustrates a point about men and women.  They’re different.  Men are bigger and stronger than women.  So women were given rape whistles to call for help when a bigger and stronger man tried to rape her.

Of course, that whistle won’t do much good in combat.  Which is where the left wants to put women in the military.  In roles that have been until now reserved solely for physically strong men.  Who can do 3 pullups.  Or more (see Marines delay female fitness plan after half fail by AP posted 1/2/2014 on USA Today).

Starting with the new year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., but only 45 percent of women met the minimum, Krebs said.

The Marines had hoped to institute the pullups on the belief that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions.

Officials felt there wasn’t a medical risk to putting the new standard into effect as planned across the service, but that the risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service was unacceptably high, she said.

Because the change is being put off, women will be able to choose which test of upper-body strength they will be graded on in their annual physical fitness test. Their choices:

• Pullups, with three the minimum. Three is also the minimum for male Marines, but they need 20 for a perfect rating.

• A flexed-arm hang. The minimum is for 15 seconds; women get a perfect score if they last for 70 seconds. Men don’t do the hang in their test…

Military brass has said repeatedly that physical standards won’t be lowered to accommodate female applicants. Success for women in training for the upcoming openings has come in fits and starts.

But you are.  If you have different requirements for men and women you have lowered the standards for women.  Which will not only put their fellow Marines at risk.  But it will put these women at a disadvantage with the enemy.  Because blowing your rape whistle won’t stop the enemy from beating you to death.

There are many roles women can serve in the armed forces.  Even in combat zones.  From pilots to sappers.  And they have.  So close to the combat that they’ve been getting killed and maimed serving their country just like men.  But putting them into infantry units will get a lot of them killed.  Imagine a wounded Marine outside a foxhole exposed to enemy fire.  Who can drag that Marine safely into the foxhole quicker?  The Marine who can’t do 3 pullups?  Or the Marine that can do 20 pullups?  If a man is in that foxhole he may be able to reach out and grab that wounded Marine with one hand.  And drag him quickly into the foxhole.  While if it’s a woman in that foxhole she may have to get out completely and expose herself to enemy fire as she uses both hands to slowly drag that wounded Marine to safety.  And likely getting shot in the process.

Soldiers need to be strong.  The stronger the better.  And the more likely he or she will kill the enemy before the enemy kills him or her.  There should not be different requirements for men and women.  There should be only one requirement.  For Marines.  If women want to fight in combat they should be as strong as men.  Or they shouldn’t be there.  Just like we don’t have women in the NFL.  Which isn’t as hard as being a soldier.

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A Nice Boss and an Easy Life will make you Soft and Fill you with Apathy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 14th, 2013

Week in Review

The movie Full Metal Jacket made R. Lee Ermey a star.  Who, you may ask?  Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.  Oh, that guy, you say.  Yes, he was a real ass.  A mean, callous, heartless bastard.  But he was good.  He trained his Marines so hard and so well that they would rather face the enemy on the field of battle than train with him.  That’s why the Marines are so good at what they do.  Their training is so intense and their DIs are so good that actual combat can be easier than training.  Which is how you want to train your Marines because combat is a stressful, exhausting, frightening, horrific hell on earth.  And you want to send people into combat who already have been to hell.  So they can take whatever the enemy throws at them.

Life is hard.  It’s not as hard as combat.  But it can overwhelm you at times.  And if you grew up in a pampered cocoon life will chew you up and spit you out.  America’s military is the best in the world.  But America has grown soft.  Because we pamper our kids today.  Give them participation trophies instead of letting them win and lose.  To know the thrill of victory.  And the agony of defeat.  To borrow the opening from the Wide World of Sports.  Could the current generation produce the citizen soldiers that took out Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany?  Could we even pry them away from their smartphones long enough to go through basic training?  Probably not.

Making life easy is not good.  For it makes us weak.  That’s why we have the expression ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger’.  Courtesy of Friedrich Nietzsche.  The more arduous the journey the more we learn and stronger we grow.  That’s why Gunnery Sergeant Hartman was such a mean, callous, heartless bastard.  To give his Marines the best chance of survival.  Because that journey with him was so arduous.  If you want to bring the best out of someone you can’t make life easy for that person.  Whether it be going to combat.  Or building a career (see Your Nice Boss May Be Killing Your Career by Greg McKeown posted 9/4/2013 on the Harvard Business Review).

Over a twelve-month period I have gathered data from 1,000 managers about their experiences at over 100 companies including Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novel, and Symantec. I wanted to understand the conditions under which people did the very best work of their careers. What I expected to find were examples of over managing, controlling, tyrannical managers. About half of the participants confirmed this assumption. The other half surprised me: what they described were managers who were nice but weak.

I once spent two days running a strategy session with just such an executive. He spoke with a soft, quiet voice. He never interrupted anyone when they were speaking. When he walked into the meeting he had a “nice” word for everyone. Every time the team became “positively frustrated” and ready to make the change necessary to get to the next level he would stand up and say sweetly, “Oh, I just wanted to remind you all of how far we have come.” And after a few more sentences the spark of aspiration was gone from the room. He unintentionally signaled the status quo was plenty good enough. There was no need to try harder or change how things were going. He reminded me of what Jim Hacker (the fictional politician in the English cult classic “Yes, Minister“) said to his bureaucratic colleague, “You really are a wet blanket, Humphrey, you just go around stirring up apathy.”

Apathy.  Yes, that’s what you get when work (and life) gets too easy.  When life gets too easy people get lethargic.  They get soft.  And become a less likely candidate for a high-stressed position that will help them up the corporate ladder.  And it is the same for the welfare state.

Everything that weakens an employee because work is too easy is true when we make a person’s life too easy with a generous welfare state.  They get lethargic.  Soft.  And fill with apathy.  Which is why when you make welfare too comfortable people are less willing to get off of welfare.  And when they do they parallel what a worker gets with a nice boss.  The worker gets a dead-end career.  While the person on welfare gets a dead-end life.

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Marine Survey raises Concerns about Allowing Women to Serve in Combat Zones

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 2nd, 2013

Week in Review

Men and women are different.  They notice that difference during school.  In the workplace.  In single bars.  And they will probably notice that difference in a combat zone.  Where normal actions between men and women anywhere else could have drastically different consequences in a combat zone (see Marine survey lists concerns on women in combat by JULIE WATSON, Associated Press, posted 2/1/2013 on Yahoo! News).

Male Marines listed being falsely accused of sexual harassment or assault as a top concern in a survey about moving women into combat jobs, and thousands indicated the change could prompt them to leave the service altogether…

Among the other top concerns listed by male Marines were possible fraternization and preferential treatment of some Marines.

Respondents also worried that women would be limited because of pregnancy or personal issues that could affect a unit before it’s sent to the battlefield…

Some, however, said the survey shows the need for sensitivity training and guidance from leadership so the change goes smoothly, as occurred when the military ended its policy that barred openly gay troops…

Just as the Marine Corps adjusted to the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” despite being the most resistant among the military branches, troops will likely fall in line again with this latest historical milestone, said Frakt, a visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Gay men and heterosexual women are different.  Heterosexual men may be attracted to the heterosexual women in their units.  They’re not going to be attracted to gay men.  And no relationship that can result in a pregnancy is going to result between heterosexual men and gay men.  So this is not the same as repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.

About 17 percent of male Marine respondents and 4 percent of female respondents who planned to stay in the service or were undecided said they would likely leave if women move into combat positions. That number jumped to 22 percent for male Marines and 17 percent for female Marines if women are assigned involuntarily to those jobs, according to the survey.

Interesting.  Some 17% of active duty female Marines would leave the Corps if assigned to a combat position against their will.  Like they assigned men to all of the time.   So not all women are on board with putting women into combat.

Both sexes mentioned intimate relationships between Marines and feeling obligated to protect female Marines among their top five concerns about the change.

Female Marines also said they worried about being targeted by enemies as POWs, the risk of sexual harassment or assault, and hygiene facilities, according to the survey, which did not give specifics.

One can guess.  Marines in a combat zone are in the field.  They sleep on the ground.  They don’t bathe.  And don’t use bathrooms.  The ground is their toilet. Where there are no toilet stalls with disposal bins for soiled feminine hygiene products.  Or dispensers for new ones.  So all of those things women do when they go off to powder their nose behind closed doors they will be doing in the field.  At a very short distance from their fellow Marines.  Many of whom will be men.

Over the past decade, many male service members already have been fighting alongside women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Women who serve in supply units, as clerks and with military police have ended up on the unmarked front lines of modern warfare.

Some active duty women have gotten pregnant.  So there is some fraternization going on.  Also, pilots, air crews, supply personnel and military police typically work out of bases.  Where they have segregated living quarters, toilets and showers.  Things you don’t have when deployed in the field.  So you can’t really say that women are already serving in combat zones as if they are already serving in the infantry.

Yes, women are serving heroically in combat zones.  Some have been wounded.  And some have died.  But they haven’t served in the infantry.  Where they live and fight like animals.  With no propriety about any bodily functions.  Where you may have to poop in your helmet while hunkered down next to someone in a foxhole.  Then risk getting your hands shot off while dumping your helmet outside of your foxhole.  Or you just crap in your foxhole.  For the filth and stench in your foxhole is a whole lot better than what is happening outside of your foxhole.  Unable to go someplace to powder her nose a woman would have to do this next to whoever is in her foxhole with her.  As well as attend to her other needs.  Such as her feminine hygiene needs.  No doubt a concern of some female Marines who were concerned about hygiene facilities.

In a combat zone there is strength in numbers.  And individuals cut off from the main body of troops are easy pickings for the enemy.  So while some ladies would like a modicum of privacy to powder their nose they do so at their own risk.  For the farther she wonders off the greater the chance the enemy will capture her.  Unless a detail of women go with her to provide protection.  Which could weaken the unit.  Or cause an unnecessary rescue mission should the enemy capture them all.  Especially when her fellow Marines worry about what the enemy may do to them.  Which could weaken the unit even more should the rescue mission fail.  Things that just wouldn’t happen if there were only men in combat zones.  Even if some of those men were gay.

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Fiscal Policy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 6th, 2012

Economics 101

The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787) was about Money and Unity at the National Level 

Once upon a time in America federal taxes were small.  As was federal spending.  The Constitution called for little.  The only big ticket items being an army and a navy.  To protect the new nation.  But Americans didn’t like paying taxes then any more than they do now.  There wasn’t even a federal income tax until the 16th Amendment (1913).  So even maintaining an army and a navy was difficult.  Which led to a lot of problems.  For a nation that couldn’t protect herself got pushed around in the rough and tumble world.  And the U.S. took its share of swirlies and wedgies in her infancy.  Figuratively, of course.

Just as kings needed money to maintain their kingdoms, the Americans needed money to maintain their new nation.  Which was the point of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787).  It was about the money.  And unity.  Which the new nation (that just gained its independence from Britain) had little of.  So we got a new constitution.  And a new nation.  And the federal taxing and spending began.  Which was small at first.  Too small for Alexander Hamilton.  But far too much for Thomas Jefferson.  In fact, Jefferson thought any federal spending above zero was too much.  And when he was president he slashed government spending.  To the point that it hurt the safety of the United States.  But he also bought the Louisiana Territory.  And used the Navy and the Marine Corps to protect American interests abroad.  These two items alone required enormous amounts of federal spending.  And borrowing.  Another thing Jefferson was dead set against.  And we’re talking sums of money that not even Alexander Hamilton had proposed.  Yet here was Jefferson, the limited-government president, spending and borrowing unlimited funds. Being more Hamilton than Hamilton himself.

Of course, things change.  Even for Jefferson.  The Louisiana Purchase was a deal that no president should have passed up.  Thankfully, Jefferson took that opportunity to more than double the size of the United States.  Without a war.  Unlike Napoleon who was conquering Europe.   But he was burning through money.  And he needed money more than he needed the Louisiana Territory.  Hence the Louisiana Purchase.  Which turned out to be quite the bargain in the long run for the U.S.  And the antimilitary Jefferson flexed America’s might by teaching the Barbary pirates a lesson.  By deploying the U.S. Navy and Marines to the Shores of Tripoli.  The first U.S. victory on foreign soil.  Giving the U.S. respect.  And a cessation of those swirlies and wedgies.

Keynesian Stimulus Spending may lessen the Severity of Economic Recessions

These things cost money.  And the lion’s share of the federal budget was defense spending.  Per the Constitution.  For that was one of the main things the several states could not do well.  Maintain an army and a navy.  Because they needed unity.  One army.  And one navy.  To protect one nation.  So the states and their people could pursue happiness without foreign aggressors molesting them.  So this is how federal spending began.  But you wouldn’t know it by looking at fiscal policy today.

Fiscal policy is the collection of policies that government uses to tax and spend.  But it’s more than just defense spending these days.  Federal spending had grown to include things from business subsidies to Social Security to Medicare to food stamps to welfare to income redistribution to farm subsidies.  And everything else you can possibly imagine under the sun.  None of which was included in the Constitution.  Because neither Jefferson nor Hamilton would have agreed to these expenditures.  But it doesn’t end with this spending.

Fiscal policy also ‘manages’ the economy.  Or tries to.  By trying to maintain ‘full employment’.  Which means they adjust tax and spend policies so that anyone who wants a full time job can have one.  Based on Keynesian economics.  And the business cycle.  The business cycle is the cyclic economic transitions between economic expansions and contractions.  The inflationary and recessionary boom-bust cycles.  No one likes recessions.  Because people lose their jobs.  And have to get by on less money.  So Keynesian economists say to lessen the severity of recessions the government can take action to stimulate economic activity.  They can cut taxes.  Because when people pay less in taxes they have more disposable income to spend on economic activity.  Which they say will keep people from losing their jobs.  And create new jobs.  Or the government can spend money.  Picking up the slack from consumers who aren’t spending money.  Thus saving and/or creating jobs.  Which stimulus depends on the political party in office.  In general, Republicans favor tax cuts.  And Democrats favor spending.

All Keynesian Stimulus Spending is Deficit Spending

But it’s not as simple as that.  Because during recessions tax revenues fall.  When people earn less they pay less in taxes.  Far less.  Especially if an interruption in their income puts them into a lower tax bracket.  And if you run through all of your unemployment benefits, it will.  So there’s more to economic stimulus than meets the eye.  For to stimulate a government must borrow money.  Or print money.  Because all stimulus spending is deficit spending.

Keynesians say this deficit spending is not a problem.  Because once the stimulus turns the economy around there will be plenty of new tax revenues to pay back the money they borrowed.  But that rarely happens with a tax and spend government.  Because they like to spend.  As is evident by the ever increasing federal debt.  And when they get more tax revenue they spend that tax revenue.  On anything and everything you can possibly imagine under the sun.  Often times cutting defense spending to help pay for all that other spending.  Despite defense spending being one of the few things enumerated in the Constitution.

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