Posts Tagged ‘obama’

President Obama has just helped bring a new resolution to bear on the use of nuclear weapons. This morning, members of the U.N. Security Council unanimously signed the new resolution that focuses on stopping the spread of atomic bombs. It also urges countries to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that has been on the books since the 70’s. But what does this mean?

The most important issues that this resolution aims to solve are not clearly spelled out. India and Pakistan have nuclear arsenals but have not signed any treaty regarding their use. Isreal remains aloof. North Korea and Iran are not mentioned either, although clearly, these two countries in particular are the biggest cause for concern around the globe. North Korea tested the global community’s nerves when it exploded two nuclear warheads, one in 2006, and one in May of this year. Iran and North Korea need to be sent a clear message. So let’s sign a resolution that asks all countries to please play nicely with each other, but let’s not stoop so low as to actually call the misbehaving ones out by name.

If I may use a phrase from another hot-button issue: “If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns.” Now, regardless of my stance on firearms and the 2nd Amendment, I think this resolution points to just such a scenario. If all the “responsible” nuclear countries like the U.S., France, etc lay down their arms, then only those countries that don’t abide by the treaties will still have their nuclear arsenals. So why don’t they just play nice and lay theirs down as well?

Look at the situation from their perspective. Iran sees all these other bigger powerful countries with weapons of massive destructive power. Maybe they feel threatened. Maybe they feel like they should be allowed to have just as much power as everyone else. Why doesn’t the rest of the world just let them be equal?

Why? I’ll tell you why. Because they spout off about wiping another country off the face of the Earth is why. A country that the U.S. happens to be good friends with. Plus they don’t sign the treaties everyone else signs. If they want to be part of the “Nuclear Elite”, they have to agree to play by the rules set up by the countries that are already Elite. That’s how it works. So unless this new resolution is changed to include the countries it is trying to affect, it remains nothing more than another idle, ambiguous threat. One that I am sure Iran and North Korea will wave aside, just as easily as all the previous attempts to get them to play nice.

Is there a solution to this issue? What are your thoughts?

healthcareI know that there are downsides to socialized medicine, (and please feel free to tell me what they are) but I want to write about the upsides, and maybe the sidesides.

From my uninsured, and non-expert opinion, I think that the U.S. having Universal Health Care is a good idea. The main reason is that we have 50,000,000 people who are uninsured right now. We live in the richest nation in the world, and yet 16% of our population can’t get the help they need when it comes to health problems. The United States pays the most for health care, more than any other country, yet on almost any scale you choose to measure, we rank last. Out of Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the USA, we rank last on quality care, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives.

I started getting interested in this subject when I got Michael Moore’s “Sicko” out from the library. Now I know what you’re thinking.

“That is a load of democratic socialist propaganda!”

Maybe. So I also watched this Frontline report that also tackles the issue of Universal Health Care with a more dispassionate, intelligent approach. T.R.Reid (Washington Post reporter) goes around to the second and third wealthiest nations, among others, and investigates their health care systems. He evaluates each system on how much it costs to the public, the effects on the insurance and drug companies, the level of care, and most telling of all, how many people in that country go bankrupt every year from medical bills. ( None, as opposed to 700,000 in the U.S.) He tries to take the best of each program and apply it to the U.S. One of the interesting points was that not all countries have total government owned hospitals. Japan and Germany have privately owned doctors offices, hospitals, and insurance companies. Hmm, maybe we can do this in America after all.

When most people hear “Universal Health Care,” they automatically think, “Total Government Control! Big Brother! Waiting months to see a doctor!” The reality is much less alarming. In fact, we already have government run health care in America. Just look at the care we provide our Veterans. Putting the scandal a few years ago aside, the network of VA hospitals offers some of the best care in the country. Don’t believe me? read this excerpt about the VA.

The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2004, published a a study that compared Veteran’s health facilities with commercial managed care systems in their treatment of diabetes patients. In seven out of seven measures of quality, the VA provided better care. A RAND Corporation study published in the same journal concluded that VA outperforms all other sectors of American health care in 294 measures of quality.

One of the big complaints that people have with government run health care, is that people have to wait a long time to be helped. Really? Cause when I took my Mom to the Emergency Room at a local hospital in NY with a severe cut to her forearm at 10:00 p.m., we had to wait until 3:30 a.m. for her to be taken care of. And it was not a bustling downtown ER with gunshot victims. I find it hard to imagine that we would have to wait more than five hours to be seen somewhere in Europe.

From what I’ve read, seen, heard from friends, and (gasp) in fact experienced myself, medical care overseas is prompt, professional, and cheap. When I traveled to Ireland, I got in infection (sparing details) that made my ears feel like I was fifty feet underwater. We went to a small clinic in a seaside village where I was seen immediately. I was a foreigner, and yet they saw me right away, proscribed medicine, and only charged me seven pounds ($15). If the situation were reversed, I’m sure that the sick Irishman would have to pay at least $150 for the appointment, that is, if they agreed to treat him in the first place without the consent of an American insurance company.

I’m going to post this now, but will be adding to this article as I learn more.

This is what we hired him for

Posted: January 29, 2009 in Money/ wealth, Politics
Tags: , ,

Obama smacked Citigroup around like a red-headed step child.

It’s cool to be able to know that something is wrong, and have the power to do something about it.

Some of my favorite snippets from Obama’s speech:

Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

I thought this was great, especially as the now (thank God) former Pres. Bush was sitting right behind him. (more…)

I thought it went pretty well. It was funny how Jim Lehrer tried to get the candidates to address one another directly and Obama did, but McCain refused to look at Barrack. McCain seemed like he knew a lot about foreign policy and he could back it up by saying how he had been to all those different countries but he still didn’t get it. I was waiting for someone to mention it but only Barrack brought it up. The United States’ reputation in the world had been badly damaged by the current administration and we need to take steps to change how others view us. How are we ever going to solve things if we refuse to speak to anyone?

Obama also made a good point about Afghanistan and Iraq. About which one is really important. And I loved the little bracelet exchange. McCain has a bracelet with the name of a dead soldier whose mom said to not let her son’s sacrifice be in vain and that he should make sure we “win” in Iraq. Obama said he also had a bracelet and that that mother said for him to make sure another mother never has to go what she went through again.

I hope that the American people will see sense and not allow McCain to take office in January.

I watched the last half of the Democratic National Convention last night. I saw the part where truck driver Republicans said they would vote Obama and Barack’s speach. Well…what now. We get to see the Republican Convention and endure days of them bashing all of Obama’s ideas. But I guess my question is: besides a few points, what reasonable person could say that what he said is bad. I know there are people out there who legitimately believe that everything Obama says is wrong just because it’s coming from him and not a republican. Someone in my Bible Study said that Obama stands for the opposite of everything he (the guy) believes in. Really? Lower taxes for the middle class. Holding big business accountable and taxing them. Trying to talk to countries before invading them. Yeah, that stuff is crap.

That last one really gets me. I know our foreign policy has seen better days but people freaked out when Obama said he would be willing to talk withanyone if there was a chance for peace.  “I want to have direct talks with countries like Iran and Syria because I don’t believe we can stabilize the region unless not just our friends but also our enemies are involved in these discussions.” Why is that a bad thing. Are things going to get better by ignoring the very people we should be trying to bring to the table. I remember watching Diane Sawyer inside North Korea meeting with some of their top military leaders and them saying, “I really wish Bush would stop calling us evil.” Yes, they may have done some bad things but calling them names from across an ocean is not going to make them want to stop. In fact it may spur them on to even more terrible action. I was once a student ambassador for the US and visited two countries. Understanding increases when you just speak with people. If I settled every argument like Bush, I would preemptively punch people in the throat before I confirmed that they had a  WMD in their pocket.

I also think we need to mind our own business. Yes, I know human atrocities abound throughout the world but there are still many happening in our own country that we have not dealt with because we are spending so much time and energy overseas. So Russia invades Georgia. That sucks but what does it have to do with America? Or how about this: Saddam invades Kuwait. What does that have to do with us? Oh yeah, I forgot. OIL. Kinda like how Saudi Arabia has a horrible human rights record but because we have a good business relationship with the royal family we overlook it. And China too. Well, we get so much of our stuff from China I guess it’s OK if they are terrible to their citizens. I guess it seems like I am arguing against myself. China’s human rights violations are not our problem. Why are we the worlds’ policeman?  I am getting off on a tangent here I know. Oh well. Maybe later I will publish my paper on foreign aid and how we should stop that too. Private organizations like World Vision do a much better job than the US Government. Anyway, I suppose I will end here before I go any farther. As always, I welcome your comments and arguments as long as they make sense and aren’t just insults.