Sunday, 25 October 2009

A Five Star Conspiracy?

My brother, ever the engineer....has this theory....there are a bunch of pharmaceutical guys, insurance executives, health care industry bosses, and lobbyists....who are running this entire Republican versus Democrat universal health care episode.

I laughed over this...a conspiracy of a 5-star magnitude? I sat there pondering this...trying to imagine how this would work....and eventually came to this vision.

So a couple of guys go in and put down some money and talk up universal health care with candidate Obama. Later, they continue with President Obama. They've got the agenda (plan) written down....so he doesn't have to think much.

Then some guys go over to Pelosi and Reid....and make sure they get some money to support this idea....campaign funding of course.

Then the same guys go over to the Republicans and give them the copy of the plan that Obama has. So they know precisely what to attack.

Then the same guys go to NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN...to talk this up and get wannabe journalists onboard with the Obama agenda. Naturally, there are talking points so the wannabe journalists don't have to think much about any of this. The numbers in the talking points? All bogus, but don't worry...these guys didn't take math in college so they won't add anything up.

Then the same guys go to Fox, Rush and Beck....and lay out the same story, with a different twist. So neither Rush or the boys will ever really think too much over this but just run with the whole program.

Then the same guys fly over to Norway....talk a couple of dimwitted guys into tossing a Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama....for nothing...but it makes the pot stir better.

So everyone is running off their scripts....kinda like a WWE wrestling match. And at the right moment...the entire momentum for national health care....fails. The efforts in congress drop off the side of the whole agenda. The President admits gross failure at making this happen. And whatever healthcare we have today....is the same healthcare we will have tomorrow and next week, and next month.

So in the end....nothing happens except we stay the same.

I stood back and reviewed by brother's conspiracy idea...and basically...I'm giving it a 60-40 chance of being true.

I sat pondering over this whole suggestion. If true...the only thing that could screw this up...is that Biden finally gets a moment of genius and realizes how scripted this is....spends an entire weekend drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and writes an entirely new script....with a new brilliant universal health care agenda...that does everything for everyone, and cost $16 a week for every citizen in America (including removing unsightly tattoos).

Yep, it's always the guy with a Pabst that screws up good plans and conspiracies.

Honduras and its Woes

Sometimes....you simply have to grin over comments made by idiots to journalists.

This week...ousted president of Honduras....Manual Zelaya....indicate that not only was he tossed out on one coup d'etat....but after talks failed this past week to get him back in as President of Honduras....he considers this failure to amount to a second coup d'etat.

I sat and paused over this. I am a historian of sorts.

I cannot recall...in the history of man...a guy getting tossed out twice in one year....on two coup d'etats. If true....Zelaya holds the world record at this point.

You'd think...after one coup...that a guy would get smarter. You'd think...that after one coup....a guy would hedge his bets and insure no second mistake. But this is Honduras, and most folks there see this as entertainment. It's hard to find a better guy for coup d-etats than Zelaya.

The BBC guys carried most of the update. The curious thing in their report is that they hint that time is running out for Zelaya because of elections in about six weeks. Then they say....the political crisis could flare up.

I paused over this analysis. Once you vote in a new guy....all the cards are off the table and a whole new game starts up. Zelaya is completely out and just a washed coup d-'etat guy. Even the Obama administration is screwed because democracy puts up a newly elected guy....free of problems. I'm guessing the new Honduran President in January will fly up to DC and try to get himself invited to the White House....but fail. But the Fox News guys will interview him and give him ten minutes with Beck.

That's probably another to make the President very upset and announce another war with Fox.

Change is Good

So in the coming weeks....if this new job in DC actually falls into place....I'll have to pick up and finally move (I've been here in Germany since 1994). It'll be a drastic situation....adjusting to a new country.....crime....people speaking English.

I've never been to DC....ever. I've been told....live in the city....take the "Metro" to work. This means literally no car for the most part. This in itself....will be a challenge. I'm even thinking of no car for the year or two that I'm there....just riding the buses and trains around town.

A studio apartment? Yeah....I'm already in that frame of mind. Just the simple necessities of life....a TV....a shower....a ice-box....an internet connection....cable TV....and a bed.

Several things will change. I'll be forced into eating American food again. I'll have fine American shows to watch....to include Animal Planet, Fox News, and Andy Griffith nightly.

I'll likely have to blog a fair bit on life in DC....and a Bama guy's view of sin city.

I see this as a sabbatical of sorts. After twelve months....I'm probably feeling American again. Heck, I might even attend a WWE wrestling match or a Washington Nationals baseball game. I might even get robbed.

Change is good....I just repeating this over and over....like Dorthy did in that Kansas wizard movie.

Just a Suggestion

It's an interesting proposal by Cass Sunstein....a regulatory Czar under the President. Get rid of the sanctioning of marriage by the government.

What Cass suggests is that the idea of marriage become privatized. The states would only get involved in this business if the couple wanted a civil union contract.

This all centers around the idea here here in 2009 that marriage licensing isn't like it was in the far past....say fifty or one hundred years ago. He even went to the extent of noting that folks stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations...without a license from the state or federal government.

Normally, I have little to agree with in this administration....but this idea isn't that weird.

The deal here is that we didn't really get into the license business or the state involvement....until the early to mid-1800s. This started because some guys were marrying up and then a year later....leaving....then marrying another gal. The government guys thought that if a license was involved....you could better track things like this. Adding to this mess....was the issue over property....so a license detailed the second partner and made deaths, wills, and property dispersal simpler.

So how would this work? Johnny Junior wants to marry Wanda. He contacts a local minister and they work up a ceremony (similar to what happened in the early 1800s). Once the minister marries them....they have a second option in terms of property and ownership...this civil union business. So you walk into a county office....both of you declare your property and come to a mutual agreement. Maybe you retain your business entirely....should the union ever split up. Maybe the wife agrees to a fifty-fifty ownership deal on the house. Maybe the wife gets full ownership of the house, if a split occurs. But you are basically ironing out this as part of the civil union. You could update this civil union every five years....if property changes occurred....and it'd just be a visit....$100....and a new civil union agreement.

The neat thing here....you could be gay and have a civil union. You could be two cousins....and have a civil union. You could be a 80-year old guy and a sixteen-year old teenage gal....and have a civil union. There's no limit.

The comeback from the public? Getting rid of marriage....no way. The Republicans? This is an idiot idea from a Czar. The media? It's pretty crazy and will never happen.

So basically.....here is the one idea of great thinking. It ends the whole gay marriage episode in all fifty states. It makes civil unions into a vehicle that you could use for a thousand different purposes. And it finally gets the government out of the marriage business....which it never should have been in....in the first place.

Course, it does open the door for some guy to marry Wanda....stay a year....and then run off to Texas to marry some gay guy....and then a year later run off to Nevada and marry Brittney Spears. These are fresh problems....which the media would really appreciate.

The White House and Afghanistan

There was a great graphic that I saw yesterday over the President and Afghanistan. Presently, there is a debate over whether the US should pump in more troops. The general would likely 40,000 more troops....to really take down the Taliban and the various bad guys in Afghanistan. Even 20,000 would make a pretty good difference.

So far, since this request came to the President well over 60 days ago....this entire mess has been under advisement.

So the graphic laid out the 20 people who are referred in some fashion as the "war council". They put up their pictures and had a brief line of "for" or "against".

I sat there laughing.

You have a guy who has zero international experience....zero military experience...and zero decision-making experience. So he needs people to tell him what to do....which would be understandable. But you can't allow twenty VIP advisers to be standing there and playing this game.

By the time you get to the last of the twenty.....then the first guy will ask for another twenty minutes of your time....because he thinks that some idiot from the state department briefed you wrong. Then the number two guy will call up and ask for another fifteen minutes because something happened this week in Pakistan which could affect everything.

So this becomes a merry-go-round of advisers shuffling in and out everyday for two weeks, and then repeating their episode.

You will never make a decision. But maybe, that's the whole game....just to keep this in some decision-making process and avoid any stupid mistake to one direction or the other.

Imagine yourself the CEO of the New York Yankees....with twenty people giving you advice in January over which new players to sign or avoid.

Imagine yourself the boss of some bar and grill....with twenty relatives or friends advising how to run the place.

Imagine yourself a university president with twenty folks telling you how things are screwed up and wanting you to make huge changes.

Logically, if you were President....you have three guys with military experience sit down and give you their personal vision of the request and issues. Then you'd give the state department one slot....one guy....not a Czar, Hillary, and three other dudes who claim some kind of Czar-like status. Finally, you'd let the CIA analyze this and give you one presentation. The VP might be there for each session...just to lesson. Then you sit down over a weekend....and make a decision.

In this case....you probably would arrive at a simple fix. Give the general 25,000 troops....but 8,000 of them are there for six months only. And another 8,000 are there for twelve months only. The remaining 9,000 extra troops are removed in approximately 20 months....period. You have one brief window to make something happen. If changes happen....great....if not....then the window will start to close in six months....and life goes on.

My guess is that another thirty days will be wasted on this decision....and no extra troops will deploy until March of 2010 at the earliest.

The only curious thing here....if this had been the healthcare or stimulus debate...there would have been a 12-day window of debate, and then turbo-blasters would have been turned on as everyone rushed to make things happen.

A National Emergency?

In 1918, as the flu epidemic went through America....never once did the Wilson administration consider this a national emergency. In fact, all of the governors in the US would have frowned on this and declared it a political agenda if he had.

So yesterday, a national emergency has been declared in the US over the H1-N1 Swine Flu episode.

Will it make much difference? I'm guessing in major cities with a poor population...there will be government funding released to provide ample nurse assistance and cover doctor's bills. Other than that? No...there might be some great moments where the President visits some hospital wards and shows sick people shaking his hand (heavily soaked in alcohol, of course).

This flu is going to run its course over the next eighteen months...and eventually come to a close. Fortunately for us....there's a guy out there discovering another flu...probably from chickens...and we'll get a run of that deal as well.