Facebook Increases My Blood Pressure

February 24, 2017

The way I see it, there are three types of people who frequent Facebook. This may also be true of the other social media networks, but I am only familiar with Facebook. If the other networks affected me in a similar fashion, I would’ve had a stroke a long time ago.

The first of the three types of people on Facebook are those who stay away from politics and post nothing but nice friendly pictures, poems, videos, jokes, etc. I love those people. More often than not, they cheer me up and make my day. There is still hope for humanity.

The second type are those who post political items without doing the slightest bit of research to verify the truth behind the claims. These people represent the extreme sides of both major political parties. Prior to the election, they painted Hillary as a saint and Trump as the Devil, or vice-versa. Since the election, Trump is painted as Satan (his own self), or the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Both sides irritate the hell out of the other.

The third bracket belongs to people like me. Throughout this process I have tried repeatedly to demonstrate that no politician can be trusted and, for that reason, Trump might actually be beneficial – although I have no high regards for the man beyond the fact that he has not made a career out of living off the taxpayers as a member of some government.

Obviously, it is the second type that drives me up a wall. Not only will they defend their posts while refusing to acknowledge that the posts may be out-and-out lies, they will attack my posts and insist I prove my statements.

One such statement had something to do with, “The election is over and it is time to stop the protests and rioting. Give the man a chance. If he screws up royally, impeach him. If he screws up enough to cost him his re-election, vote him out.”

One person too lazy to do any research at all challenged me on the word ‘rioting’. I suggested they might consider the University of California at Berkley who stopped a gay Libertarian from speaking on the campus because the protesters considered him to be too Conservative.

The response from the challenger was “That’s one. You used a plural term.”

Too many people on the left (and yes, it is the Liberals)  are more than glad to exercise their freedom of speech to stop anyone they disagree with from exercising his or her right to free speech. Yes, that upsets me greatly. If you refuse to even listen to the other side, how can you ever hope for compromise.

And yes, it is the left – the side that preaches tolerance – as long as you agree with them. When is the last time a group of Conservative students stopped a Liberal from speaking on a campus?

I made another statement that caused consternation from the left. “I would love to see Trump make America great again simply to see how his detractors react.”

I was informed by people barely old enough to vote that American has never been as great as it is now. How do I argue with someone who is being indoctrinated by Liberal college professors?

I would begin by taking a closer look at the unemployment rate. Obama is very proud that the number is under 5%. On the surface, that is a wonderful accomplishment. However, if one does the slightest bit of research, there are a number of factors that bring that number into question.

Let’s begin with some basic numbers. I’ve seen government numbers (which calls them into question immediately) that an average of 250,000 people enter the labor force every month. I assume that is high school dropouts and graduates, college dropouts and graduates, and legal immigrants. (They might also be counting the illegal immigrants, but I don’t know that for sure.)

Every month the government releases the latest figures of people who got jobs last month. I have yet to see that number top 250,000. So, based on that alone, the unemployment numbers should be going up.

Unless something drastic has happened and I missed it, the population of the United States has also increased every month. I know there are many deaths each month, but the newborns more than make up for that. PLUS, we still have immigrants coming in on a regular basis.

Somewhere along the way I’ve seen numbers representing the ‘under’ employed. Those are the folks who had decent jobs that were outsourced or sent overseas. Instead of making $100,000 per year as middle-management types, they are now working for much less money – but they are working and not part of the unemployment numbers.

But the numbers are still questionable. The big question concerns the number of people in the labor force – a number that has dropped significantly over the last ten years. How can that be?

Let’s begin with the fact that unemployment benefits eventually run out. How does our government handle that? To begin with, there is welfare and food stamps- the recipients of both has dramatically increased over the last ten years. So, these folks are no longer counted as unemployed. They are simply living off the kindness of the taxpayers. (To be honest, if I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn’t be so kind. I don’t mind helping someone get back on their feet, but I resent helping someone stay in the chair.)

I have friends and relatives who insist I am a Republican because I believe and say things like this. I then ask them “How many Republicans have no problem with gay marriage?” I also point out that while I don’t like abortion, I hate the alternatives, so I accept it as a necessary evil. There are a few other items that would label me as a Liberal, but that is only a small part of the bigger point.

I could be wrong, but my guess is that the people on the far left and far right of the political spectrum are the vast minority of our citizens. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. But, thanks to the politicians and the news media, they have us at loggerheads.

As for the media, I am convinced they have moved into the business of ‘making’ the news rather than simply reporting it. If they didn’t bother to cover the protest marches, would the protester even bother? And if they didn’t stress certain facts, would people get royally ticked off and go on rampaging riots?

I heard a talking head question the Trump administration by asking “If they are doing such good and worthwhile things, why do they have minor things dominating the headlines?” Simple answer: So people will get upset and do more things for the reporters to cover. They are going out of their way to get juicy stories.

So, the statement I continue to make on Facebook is “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”

In the meantime, I will stay off Facebook for a while and get my blood pressure back down to a reasonable level.

 

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Universal Health Care

July 22, 2009

I’ve barely scratched the surface in my attempt to get to the truth of this matter and I’ve learned that politicians cannot be trusted. But I already knew that.

I’ve also learned that journalist and talk show hosts cannot be trusted, but I already knew that as well.

I continue to be amazed at how solid arguments can be put together on both sides of an issue. Those ‘solid’ cases are usually built on half-truths and distorted facts. In many cases, the same statistics are used by both sides.

So, who do we believe?

I was once told not to believe anything I heard and only half of what I see.

The two videos below are prime examples of extreme sides of an argument. The first was produced by a union.

The video certainly painted Tommy Douglas as a superhero and Richard Nixon as a lowly dog. It seems that most liberals enjoy kicking Nixon. However, it seems to me that placing the blame on one man is not justifiable. There have been numerous leaders since then who did nothing to further the cause of Nationalized health care. A number of them were Democrats. Let’s be fair!

Speaking of Democrats, Al Gore wrote a book on the environment prior to being elected as Vice-President. For eight years he said nothing about global warming. Was he muzzled by his boss? Did Bill Clinton disagree with Al’s thinking?

Back to the subject at hand. Here is a humorous look at the other side of the argument.

Is this the reality that the union video ignored? I’ve heard of many Canadians coming to the U.S. to get treatment. I’ve read that Canadians have a sixteen percent higher death rate from cancer because it takes so long to get treated.

The union video states that Canadians live longer than citizens of the U.S. But I’ve seen studies showing that people in the northern United States live longer than their counterparts in the South. The extreme weather changes are credited with the longer life spans. Thus, a national health system probably has nothing to do with it. Living closer to the North Pole is most likely the cause.

So who are we to believe?

I’ve a good friend in London. He cannot speak for the Canadian system, but he lives with the English system, which is similar to the Canadian. Therefore I asked his opinion. Here are his thoughts:

The NHS isn’t bad at all. It suffers like all healthcare programmes by consuming too much money – but it’s generally recognised to do a reasonable job.

The current Labour government spent a shedload of money on the NHS a couple of years ago and brought down waiting times for all manner of operations. It also (by mistake) paid the doctors a huge raise, with no commitment in return. So the doctors were happy.

Here are some points:
1    Everyone is entitled to see a doctor and have hospital care, free of charge. A levy called National Insurance paid by employees and employers is supposed to pay for this (and more) but it’s not enough (check this).
2    For accidents and emergencies the NHS is superb. No private hospital can match it.
3    There are lots of private hospitals and health schemes. They’re of variable quality. Basically you pay for nicer surroundings and easier access to specialists.
3    You pay for your prescriptions, but this is a fixed fee (about £5.70 I think). Private patients pay more. Over 60 and children pay nothing (yippee!)
4    Old people are going to cost the NHS dear.
5    Some stuff is controversial – fertility treatment for example, and life-prolonging drugs which are hideously expensive and only work for a year. A committee called NICE arbitrates the subsidy of expensive medicines. It generally gets the balance right.
6    The Labour government made a huge mistake 10 years ago by bringing in a pile of ‘professional’ managers to run the NHS (previously it was doctors and nurses). This put the costs up massively but arguably without making doctors, hospitals and nurses any more available. The Labour government couldn’t manage its way out of a paper bag.
7    The biggest government IT project in the world is the NHS ITification. The aim is to put all doctors, pharmacies and hospitals online ia a private broadband network (called the NHS Spine) making patient records, etc available to everyone. Imagine the security issues. Predictably, it has cost billions (of pounds), made loads of IT consultants rich, and achieved close
to bugger all.

There’s lots more!

It should be noted that the taxes in England are much higher than they are here. And, according to Point 1, it’s still not enough to cover the cost of the program.

My friend is the picture of health and has little need of the system. He also leans to the left. I took that in account while reading the points he didn’t seem to be concerned with.

I think he is absolutely correct with Point 4 – old people will cost the system dearly. They’re (or should I say we’re) already putting a massive strain on Medicare – which is costing about ten times what our politicians predicted when they put it in place.

Point 5 concerns me. A committee (NICE) makes the decisions concerning life-prolonging drugs. What constitutes a life prolonging drug? Insulin?

This combined with Point 6 – government management sucks – are my biggest concern with any nationalized plan.

So, my jury is still out. I’m not convinced that Nationalized health care is good and I’m not convinced it is evil.

What I am convinced about is President Obama and his congress are trying to shove something down our throats and they don’t even know exactly what it is. I’m amazed at how many Americans seem to be unconcerned.

I’m also wondering what the reaction would have been if George W. Bush and his congress had tried similar ram-rod tactics. Were the Bush haters so glad to replace him that they’re willing to let Obama become the next Hitler?


Cap & Trade or Michael Jackson

July 7, 2009

Regardless of which side of the issue you’re on, it should bother you that the news media is spending far more time keeping the American people up to date on the Michael Jackson memorial service than they are in informing us of the progress of the Cap & Trade legislation.

And why are they placing so much emphasis on a dead celebrity? Why are they ignoring more important issues that could affect all tax payers?

Some right wing conservatives would have us believe that the left leaning media is intentionally taking the focus away from Congress so the Obama administration can shove another giant spending (and taxing) bill down our throats.

The left wing radicals would argue otherwise.

Naturally – and unfortunately – the truth has nothing to do with politics. Sadly, the media is giving the American public what the American public wants. I’ll admit I haven’t checked, but I’d bet that any broadcast of the American Idol show garnered a much larger share of the viewing public than any of the Presidential debates.

The truth is a large portion of our population doesn’t care about what goes on in Washington, D.C. In fact, they care even less about what goes on in their own state capitols.

Many years ago I attended a Key Club convention in Philadelphia. Each delegate was given a key ring. On one side was the Key Club logo. On the other was the phrase, “Combat Complacency.”

I believe we’ve lost the battle. In the 1960’s, college students stood up and voiced their opinions. While many of them were wrong in their beliefs, they all had the courage to stand up for what they believed. As a result, many things in our society were changed.

The youth of my youth took the time to learn about things that mattered. Sometimes they heard one side of the story and jumped to incorrect conclusions, but in most instances, they looked at both sides and came to good logical conclusions.

I’m afraid today’s youth are too busy twittering their lives away.

Perhaps that’s the major difference. While we didn’t have CNN, FOX News Channel, C-SPAN, or… come to think of it, we didn’t have any cable channels because we didn’t have cable. We also didn’t have lap top computers and the Internet. But we did have newspapers, news magazines, and the library.

We paid attention to the world around us – sweat bullets during the Cuban Missile Crisis – and felt a responsibility to speak out against what we saw as injustice.

Perhaps that was the influence of John F. Kennedy. I know we all admired the man and took the “New Frontier” very seriously. And we all deeply mourned his passing.

Until President Obama came along, we hadn’t had another President who could reach out and stir the interest of the youth as JFK did. But it appears that the interest of our current youth petered out once their man was elected.

It’s a shame because, the way I see it, it’s the youth and future generations who will be most harmed by what is currently happening in Washington.

The U.S. Government has no business being in business. Every time government has taken over an industry, that industry stops being self-sufficient. For example, independent bus and trolley companies operated in major cities for decades. They competed for riders and most of those companies were profitable.

The companies that couldn’t compete went out of business and their assets were bought up by the other companies. Then, the government decided to take over. The two ‘companies’ I’m most familiar with – the Port Authority Transit (PAT) in Pittsburgh and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit  Authority (MARTA) – have both operated at a loss for decades. Taxpayer subsidies are the only way they stay afloat.

Will General Motors be any different? Will taxpayer subsidized pricing put Ford, Chrysler, and others out of business?

The Federal Government has put itself in a very awkward position. Congress is talking about passing a ‘clunker bill’ that will give citizens a tax break for trading in an old car for a new, more fuel efficient, car. Will the tax break be higher for those of us who buy a GM product? It would make sense if the government wants their ‘company’ to flourish.

But wouldn’t that be unfair to the other companies? Does the government care?

There are many people who believe the economic crisis could’ve been solved months ago simply by the government letting workers keep their entire paychecks. Think about that. The typical worker has almost a third of his or her paycheck withheld every pay day. If that money had been available to the individuals, they would’ve spent it. Even if they simply paid off some bills, the economy would’ve improved.

Foreclosures would’ve been reduced dramatically and banks would’ve had more money for other loans. Consumers would’ve bought more cars, televisions, and other big ticket items… which would’ve resulted in more jobs.

If consumers bought Fords and Toyotas rather than Chevys and Buicks, GM would’ve had to fix their problems or go out of business. With increased sales, the other auto makers would’ve been able to buy GM factories and put the former GM employees to work building other makes of cars.

Is it too late for the government to get out of the auto business? I hope not. And while they’re at it, they should also get out of the banking and investment businesses.

Come to think of it, maybe it’s time for MARTA and PAT to liquidate and let the private sector show the politicians how it should be done.

Considering the business acumen of most politicians, it wouldn’t take a business genius to repair the damage done by congress. Think of it! How many politicians have held a ‘real’ job during their adult life. There may be a few, but most of them were borderline lawyers who recognized they could make a lot more money supporting the causes of special interest groups.

If they were intelligent enough to be successful business people, why would they even consider becoming a member of Congress?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and see if Michael has been buried yet.