They Got Theirs.

byronius, 2009/08/31 

How Many Dead Kids?

Click for the full cartoon

BCH Must Die.

byronius, 2009/08/29 

I found myself wondering today how I would feel if the public option fails. The Health Insurance Lobby is spending 1.4 million dollars a day to prop up a sick monopoly that curses the nation. They’ve taken off the gloves, and shown their disgusting true face so clearly now, that I have come to view them as bitter enemies of this country. I think of them as treasonous, vile, monsters. I would loudly applaud a campaign of assassination directed at their CEO’s and Boards.

Really. I would. Because I have felt their boot on my neck, and because of what they have shown us they are willing to do to defeat reform. They are Greedheads, Poisoners, Darkhearts.

TygrBright has a deeper, better understanding:

…Any of the major provisions of reform, if passed in any viable form at all, WILL kill off BCH (Big Corporate Healthcare).

Big Corporate Healthcare is a house of cards, built on an unsustainable premise and propped up by a giant con game, viable only so long as they could keep the game rigged six ways from Sunday.

Un-rig the game in any significant respect, and the balloon goes up, and the gravy train derails.

Nations that have figured out how to provide health care to their people understand that the term “insurance” is merely a convention. What they provide, whether via a single-payer, public option, or via an outsourced, tightly-regulated, “privatized” option, is not actually “insurance” in any significant respect. It is, rather, a payment scheme, with cost-and-benefit sharing for all participants.

“Insurance” is based on the concept of risk. And risk, by its nature and definition, is NOT certainty. We do not take out fire insurance because we are certain that, at some point, our home will catch fire. We take out fire insurance because it MIGHT catch fire. As might all of our neighbors.

If two thousand of my neighbors and I all pay modest premiums to a fire insurance provider over the course of a few years, the insurance provider can have a reasonable expectation that the vast majority of those premiums can be invested in interest-bearing instruments, accruing additional cash in the fund against the day that the fire rages out of control and consumes my neighbor’s home and damages mine, and they have to pay out a whacking great sum all at once to both of us, and still remain solvent and capable of paying out if the odds are particularly bad that year and another neighbor’s house burns.

That’s been the basis of insurance ever since the first bunch of merchants clubbed together to share the risk of someone’s goods caravan being lost or victimized by bandits. There was never, ever, any certainty that ALL of them would, at some point, lose a caravan.

Schemes where we pay in premiums for the CERTAINTY of needing a payout, not once, but several times over the course of our lives, and the almost 100% chance that by the end of our lives we will need at least one substantial payout, are not insurance. Sickness, injury, and the need for preventive care and maintenance on our bodies is not a “might happen,” it is a WILL happen. Not a risk. A certainty.

Big Corporate Healthcare, therefore, is founded on a swindle. The idea that what we have is “insurance,” and that what we are paying can reasonably be called “premiums,” and that we are somehow “sharing risk,” is a lie. And they know it is a lie.

They know it as they try to turf everyone out of their risk pools who conceivably might demand substantial payouts SOON. (Refusing coverage to those with “pre-existing conditions.”)

They know it as they attempt to retroactively boot out any currently ‘covered’ individuals who have the temerity to claim payouts. (Recission.)

By choosing to limit their (for want of a better term) risk pools to those who can be reasonably expected to not need substantial payouts in the next few years, they have shrunk those pools to a point where they are doomed to a vicious cycle: Without adequate pay-ins to maintain the profitability demanded by their executive salary bills, marketing costs, and shareholder expectations, they must cut costs and limit payouts. (Lifetime caps, exclusions from coverage, high deductibles and co-pays, and continually-skyrocketing premiums.)

If the health care reform that WILL pass, however unsatisfactory it may look, denies BCH any of those stratagems, they die. Period.

If they can no longer refuse coverage to people who might get sick, they die.

If they can no longer boot off their rolls anyone who starts making big claims, they die.

If they can no longer cap payouts, exclude the most costly coverage, or charge outrageously inflated premiums, THEY. DIE.

Period. If any ONE of those things is part of whatever health care reform is passed, they are done, good-night, dead. They pass on. They cease to be. They expire and head off to meet their Maker. They are stiffs. Bereft of life, they will rest in peace. Their metabolic processes are history. They shuffle off the mortal coil, ring down the curtain, and join the choir invisible. They are EX-CORPORATIONS.

And they know this. Why do you think they are pulling out ALL the stops to prevent it, even to the point of bribing, coercing, and suckering the GOP into squandering every last shred of credibility that might conceivably remain to them as a major political party, dooming themselves to a wilderness among the wackjobs for a generation or more? The GOP is their friend, their best tool, their biggest gun, their last hope. The fact that they are willing to spend its political capital broke, destroy its ability to function at all, demonstrates that they are fighting in the last ditch with their backs against a crumbling wall and they know it.

Read the whole post.

God gets sued

Cat eyes,  

Wasn’t sure what to make of this . . .

Mr Chambers sued God last year. He said God had threatened him and the people of Nebraska and had inflicted “widespread death, destruction and terrorisation of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants”. He sought a permanent injunction to prevent the “death, destruction and terrorisation” caused by God.

Judge Marlon Polk said in his ruling that a plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a case to proceed.
“Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice,” Judge Polk wrote in his ruling.

The court, Mr Chambers said, had acknowledged the existence of God and “a consequence of that acknowledgement is a recognition of God’s omniscience”.
“Since God knows everything,” he reasoned, “God has notice of this lawsuit.

If this is the case then isn’t God now guilty of contempt of court and failure to appear????

The suit was launched by Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers, who said he might appeal against the ruling. Mr Chambers, a state senator for 38 years, said he filed the suit to make the point that “anyone can sue anyone else, even God”.

Apparently you can’t sue an imaginary being.

Sounds Humans Can Make

Cat eyes,  

The French can build lighthouses

Max, 2009/08/28 

Found this at Joe Duck’s blog:

Scaring Oldsters For Fun And Profit.


Big money in this new industry. Next: Obama’s Americorp thugs coming to torture your dachshund! It’s Really Real ™!!

Crooks And Liars

Fire insurance and colonoscopies

Max, 2009/08/27 

Last night I was so delighted by the animation diaried by tunesmith breaking the health care reform issue down to stick figure simplicity that I immediately posted it to my blog with the simple statement preceding:

“I’d like to see every right wing nutjob rebut this video:”

Within an hour I had my wish.

Not really a nutjob, but a dear friend I’ve known for nearly four decades gave me a phone call. We’ve drifted apart in some ways, geographically and philosophically, as he’s become deeply religious while I’ve become a spirited atheist and my liberalism contrasts strongly with his conservatism. Still, we have much in common and I have deep respect and fondness for him. He had to call me immediately upon seeing the post because he thought he had a real zinger for me.

“I just wanted to let you know that I have fire insurance, and so do you!”

I could tell he was kind of spoiling for an argument about this, but I really wasn’t in the mood. Truth be told, I hadn’t heard from him in a while, and wanted to touch base on friendlier grounds. I chuckled admission that he may have a point and swiftly changed the subject to things I knew we had general agreement on; movies, science-fiction, family stuff.

A bit later in the conversation he told me about his recent colonoscopy, which he’d found to be a fairly unpleasant experience as it is with most folks I imagine. I surprised him by telling him I’d had one a couple of years earlier upon turning fifty and remembered it to be on balance a pleasant overall experience. We agreed the evacuation ritual the night before, with its atrocious tasting concoction, was not fun, but I had enjoyed the aftermath of the experience in particular, and not solely for the delightfully stoned experience of the anesthetic medication. I’d been thrilled to find out I didn’t have cancer.

He was surprised I’d had the procedure done so promptly – knowing me to be a chronic procrastinator I suppose. I told him it had a lot to do with my older brother’s recent case, where the doctor found several pre-cancerous polyps and told him he might have been facing a death sentence if he’d put it off much longer. For several months I had dwelled upon this news with a case of severe Woody Allen-like anxiety, certain that I would hear the worst when I had my turn. This spurred me to get it done fairly promptly, and when it was over I was pretty well blessed out at the knowledge I wasn’t facing imminent extinction. After a little more chit-chat we said goodbye. His last comment showed he was still aware of why he’d called me though as he suggested I “do something about that horrendous blog post.” I told him I might have to add a few words, or something to that affect.

Afterwards I thought back to that fire insurance thing. It struck me that the analogy was poorly considered and really not necessary- they’d already done a great job of illustrating the nature of the problem and the all too obvious solution. But it led me to another thought. Why is it such a bad analogy? Could there have been another insurance analogy they could have chosen? Not really, because most forms of insurance are about protecting property value. House, cars, etc., come in a wide range of values, from essentially worthless to worth a fortune. It makes sense in these cases that companies should compete to offer the best policies to protect what is valued to whatever degree. Human health, however, is a different story. Our consensus moral code as elucidated in our constitution is that all human beings are created equal, so it follows that they are of equal value- regardless of their perceived worth to human society. A system of profit-driven insurance seems to imply the question “how much is a particular life worth?” How much are you willing to pay to protect yours? Seen in this light, profit-driven health insurance seems deeply un-American to its core. A little “socialism” is a small price to pay to advance core American values, isn’t it?

Now I can’t help thinking about the colonoscopy thing in yet another light. What if I, like 47 million Americans, had not had insurance? The dread I’d felt for those few months could have lasted for years, and the financially driven procrastination could have eventually proven lethal. How many Americans are we consigning to this unnecessary hell with this immoral policy?

Cross-posted to Daily Kos

A little creepy?

Max, 2009/08/26 

today's sun

See why.

Makin’ it simple


I’d like to see every right wing nutjob rebut this video:

Eentsy Beentsy Earthlings.


A moment of reflection on the Larger Picture.



Click For Larger

This is a map of the nearby Universe. Each dot represents galaxies, not stars. 100,000 galaxies, to be approximate. You are looking at a representation of roughly 1000000000000000 stars total.

Again, this is only the region nearest to our galaxy.

Think we are alone in all this?

No. I know several aliens who post on this blog. There must be more.

One quadrillion stars in that picture?

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