This just in:  I just returned from Stanford University where they have accepted me as one of their guinea pigs in a study about lower back pain.

Lower back pain is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere.  I thought I would share some of my various treatments here.  The goal is two-fold.  First, I want to keep track of what I’m doing. This will include whatever it is that Stanford wants me to try.  Secondly, I want to share my successes and failures with the world-at-large in hopes that someone will find something here that works for them or someone will comment on this post with their own little secret treatment.

Background:  I’ve had lower back pain for most of my life.  Occasionally bad enough for me to stay in bed.  However, it became dramatically worse about a month ago. Since that time I have had two trips to the emergency room, one while strapped to a board.  I have never experienced a “10 out of 10” on the pain scale until these two visits.  Yesterday, I met with a spine specialist to review my MRI.  I have 2 herniated discs.  There is apparently no cure for this and they will only get worse.  Surgery is an option but I’m not there yet.  There are studies underway like one in Davis where they inject stem cells directly into your herniated disc to see what happens.  I’ll keep an eye on that one.

In the meantime, here is what I have been doing…

  1.  Everyone says “Core is the key”.  A strong stomach will help.  I’ve been starting every day with some sort of core exercise for about 5 years.  I think it helps.
  2. Yoga:  I have several yoga routines that I do in the morning with my core.  None take more than 5 or 10 minutes.  I won’t go into the details as the actual exercises change from time to time but they are always focused on the lower back.
  3. I have this thing called Teeter Hang Ups.  I’ve had it for about 3 years.  I hang upside down with it for about a minute in the morning and the evening.  The spine guy told me to use it for about 45 seconds every hour.  It has been my experience that this is the single most effective and immediate solution to pain.
  4. I don’t lift heavy stuff.  This is a hard one; mostly because of testosterone.  All men have a built in thought of “I bet I can lift that”. I need to fight this.  When I do lift something heavy, I first look for help or, at least use proper lifting techniques.
  5. I have inserts in my shoes.  Not sure if this is impactful or not but the people that sell them tell me they are…so take that for what it’s worth.
  6. I don’t carry my briefcase unless I have no option.  I use one with wheels on it.
  7. Ice works.
  8. I’m trying to lose about 10 pounds.  Every pound of weight is 7 pounds per square inch on your spine.
  9. When I do exercises, I do those that don’t make things worse.  Slow pushups and pullups give me all of the upper body I need.  I don’t do curls or anything that adds weight to my upper body and thus impacts my spine.  I don’t jog but I do walk.  Flat surfaces tend to be less impactful.  Note:  It’s important to find a way to stay fit.  A sore back is a ready-made excuse to be lazy.  Laziness will make you fat and unhealthy.  Just sayin…
  10. I spend 15 minutes in a jacuzzi every day with jets working on my back.
  11. I take a lot of Advil, about 1,000 milligrams a day.  The doctor says I can take more but I don’t.  In fact, I’m planning on tapering off in a couple of weeks.  I’ve only been doing this for about a month, since my first ER visit.
  12. I use a Netti Pot daily to reduce sneezing.  Sneezing and coughing are the most painful things I can do to my back.
  13. I use this thing called “Tens” which sends electrical signals to back through a patch that I attach there.  I thought it was bogus medicine but I tried it out of desperation….and it works!  I think it helps with the muscles around the spine that get tensed up when the pain gets bad…thus causing more pain.  My spine doctor like “Tens”.
  14. I don’t use any narcotic or opioid for pain.  I hear these are effective but highly addictive.  1 out of 5 people that take an opioid for back pain will become addicted.  I assume I will be that “one” so I just say no.  Having said that, when I go to the ER because I can’t move due to the pain, I’ll take whatever they want to give me.  I just won’t leave with a prescription for anything.
  15. Inflammation is the enemy.  Look for foods (and medication) that reduce inflammation.
  16. I hesitate to say this but….I also have a walker and a cane.  My vanity will only let me use these around the house and I only use them on bad days.  I can walk just fine but pushing down on a cane or walker takes some of the pressure off of my body.
  17. I’m thinking of getting a Zero Gravity Work Station.  It’s a bit pricey but it does look like something out of a spaceship so it does have that going for it.  My spine guy said herniated discs only get worse so the less pressure I put on my back on a daily basis, the longer I will be able to live a pain-free life.

The Stanford study will slot me into either a Mediation group to work on the impact of stress or another group that focuses on Behavioral Modification.  There is a third group that will use Acupuncture.  I’ve done that before with no positive results so I told them to not put me in that group.

If you have anything to add to my list, I’m all ears.  I had a guy on a plane last week tell me that when he sneezes, he lifts one of his heels and it make the sneeze hurt his back less.  Interesting.

Additions:  Thanks to cub reporter Sharon who reports that a friend had success with a Zaaz machine which is vibration therapy.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  Put a cat in a box with a decaying switch that will eventually release poison. Quantum Law says the cat it both, dead and alive until we actually open the box and have a peek.  This is famously known as Schrodinger’s Cat; a thought experiment about Quantum Theory.

So, according to Quantum Law, two opposite conditions of being can exist at the same time, so long as we don’t peek.

Trump is a lot like this.  Let me give a few examples…

Trump says something like, “We have the best tax reform coming up pretty soon.  It’s going to be fantastic.  This will spur economic growth up to like 6% (economists predict 2%).”

So, do we really have a great tax reform plan coming our way or not?  Trump says he has a The Plan.

Quantum Law (extrapolated to the political realm) says that we have both: a great tax plan and no tax plan.

Because both of these “opposite states of being” exist at the same time, everyone has what they want.  The people that like Trump can’t wait for Great Leader to unveil his gift to the country.  Everyone else shakes their heads and thinks, “Here we go again.  Another Trump bluff.”

We won’t know who it right until we peek.

But we have peeked at a few other things.

At one time the following existed simultaneously: (1) Obama had Trump wiretapped and (2) Trump lied about being wiretapped.

Also: (1) There were 3 to 5 million illegal voters or (2) Trump lied about this.

Also: (1) Trump has the best healthcare alternative to ObamaCare or (2) Trump lied about having a plan to replace ObamaCare.

Also: (1) Trump will keep the United States out of Syria or (2) Trump lied about Syria

Also: (1) Trump did no collude with Russia to get elected of (2) Trump lied about Russia

Also: (1) Korea was once part of China or (2) Trump missed a Geography class

Also: (1) Trump caused companies to bring jobs to America or (2) Trump lied about jobs since those moves were already planned before he took office.

Also: (1) We have an armada heading towards North Korea or (2) Trump lost the entire Pacific Fleet

Also: (1) We are going to do “extreme vetting” of immigrants or (2) Trump has no idea how we currently vet immigrants.

Also: (1) Trump helped force a runoff in the Georgia special election or (2) A nobody was able to force a runoff by being “not Trump”

This list can go on and on.

The point is, we all know that Trump lies.  He does this to create little “packets” of Schrodinger’s Cat.  He makes wild claims and then basks in a sea of “Theoretical Success” until someone peeks.

You might think “But we do peek.  He is routinely exposed as a Grifter.”

True.  But we forget.  If we don’t forget, we are at best, only mildly put off.

Trump has told so many lies that we have become immune to it.

The anti-vaxxer President has inoculated us against being put off by his wildly childish and unpredictable behavior.

The only thing we know for sure…if Trump said it…then it’s not true.

So, remember, for the next 3.75 years, it’s Opposite Day in the White House.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I’m not sure what Trump is doing; what his intentions are on a number of fronts.  I’m reaching out to Republicans that have some idea of what’s going on to help me with the following questions:

  1. I just wrote a big check to the IRS.  This makes me wondering if Trump will release his tax returns.  He has said he will once an audit is over.  Is this still true?  I think we need to see them for two reasons: (1) If he is pushing for tax reform, we need to know if he is looking out for the interests of the country or his own self interests and (2) He claims to have no Russia business connections. The tax returns would prove this one way or the other.
  2. Isn’t nepotism illegal?
  3. Trump claimed that he had strategic reasons from dropping that huge MOAB in Afghanistan.  Later, it appeared that he didn’t even know such a bomb existed until after it had been dropped.  Which is it?  Was it strategic or was he just taking credit for something he had nothing to do with?
  4. Why is congressional ethics committee not investigating Trump for having business interests that benefit from his position as president?  This is illegal.
  5. What is his plan about HealthCare?  Is it to Repeal and Replace ObamaCare at all costs or is it to Repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something that is even better?  What I have seen so far appears to be “Repeal and Replace with anything not named ObamaCare regardless of how bad it is.”
  6. What is his plan with China?  Are they trade partners of currency manipulators.  Are they helping with North Korea?  Yes, they turned back a couple of shipments of coal but that seems like a minimalist gesture to give the impression that they actually care.
  7. What is his plan with North Korea?  Are we going to attack?  If so, what would be the trigger?  I know he is saying that he doesn’t want to tip his hand.  However, from Trump, this seems to mean “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
  8. What is the status of the infrastructure plan?  He has said he wants to spend a trillion dollars.  The Democrats support this but the Republican Party does not.  This seems to have disappeared off the radar.
  9. What is our plan for Syria?  Are we going to put more boots on the ground?  Do barrel bombs = chemical bombs as far as what makes him feel bad?  Are we working with Russia on this issue?
  10. Does Trump support a Free Market or does he support “Buy American”?  These are two distinctly different economic thoughts.
  11. Why does Trump keep talking about bringing back jobs when we can’t fill the jobs we have now?  He is limiting H-1B visas stating that we are bringing in cheap foreign labor.  In truth, H-1B visa holders make about 15% more than American workers and we are bringing them in to take jobs that we can’t fill because we don’t have a skilled enough workforce.
  12. If our workforce truly is not skilled, what are we doing about that?  What is Trump’s view on education?
  13. Why does Trump want to build a wall when the vast majority of Americans don’t want one and there are plenty of other things that the money could be spent on.  Along the same lines, how is deporting undocumented workers creating jobs?  Does Trump think that an undocumented worked picking lettuce for $7.50 and hour will be replaced by a documented worker at $35 an hour?  Or does he believe there are plenty of people lining up for $7.50 an hour?
  14. How will Trump bring back coal?  Plants are shutting down at increasing rates and clean energy is making jobs faster than we can fill them.
  15. What is Trump’s plan on tax reform?  When he says stuff like “it will be so great” I hear “I actually have no idea.”  His recent comments on tax reform, like healthcare, seem to indicate he has no idea how out tax system works.
  16. Why does Trump lie constantly?  Is this a planned strategy or is it pathological?
  17. Why is Trump alone, even among his cabinet members, in his affection for Russia and Putin.  He seems to have very thin skin, striking out at even the smallest insult…except for when it comes to Russia.
  18. On a completely unrelated note:  Why is Trump stonewalling on the Russia investigation and why is the Republican Party helping him in this regard.

These are just a few things that I don’t understand.  I’d love for someone to help me out.   Saying things like “fake news” or “he won the election so get over it” tell me that there are no answers that fit other than…Trump has no idea what he is doing.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I think we need to take action in North Korea…but first, we need to plan for the aftermath.

For more than half a century…we’ve tried to remove the band-aid that is North Korea, from the arm of the Earth by pulling slowly in order to avoid any pain.  It only made it worse.  Or rather….it only gave North Korea time to make itself more dangerous.

Maybe it’s time to just yank off the band-aid.  Maybe we should strike first.  We can do this by overwhelming their nuclear capabilities.   Apparently we know where everything is and have the ability to take it out before it can be used.  After that, its simply a matter of a 2017 military against a 1955 military.  In short, their tanks can shoot and hit our tanks without causing any damage.  Their air force will be gone in under an hour.  Their 2 million ground troops will be sitting ducks.  In short…it would take less than a day if we decided we had better things to do tomorrow.

But wait…there are some downsides to having a War-Boner….

First, do we really want the world to know what we can do?  Russia will be watching very closely.  If we shoot down ICBM’s as they leave the launching pads, Russia will take notice and prepare to take that option away from us in the future.

As for Nukes.  If we miss one, we might as well miss them all.  While the United States is currently not in danger, millions in South Korea are.  Are we ready to accept the responsibility of that city having a Nuke  lobbed over the fence?  Forget ICBM’s.  Kim Jong Un Donut could fling one over using a catapult and it would be “mission accomplished”.

What about the aftermath?

There are 25 million people in North Korea.  They are not guilty of anything other than being in North Korea when they were born.  They have no industry.  They will have no society.  If we (meaning the entire world) are not prepared to step in and help, then get ready for Asian ISIS.  Thugs will fill the void.

What about China’s concerns?

China is not our enemy, however, we are a threat and they certainly don’t want a unified Korean peninsula with nuclear weapons at their doorstep.  I don’t blame them.  If we want China’s help, and we will certainly need it, then we need to do what it takes to address their concerns about this.

North Korea is a threat.  They are ruled by a crazy person with nuclear weapons.  But….so is the United States.

Are they a big enough threat to justify a preemptive strike?  Maybe.

I am probably leaning towards a “yes” on this.  I do think such a strike is inevitable.  However, I think we need to spend way more time preparing for what happens afterwards.  Maybe this is taking place behind the scenes.  Probably not.

That’s my two cents.

As a superhero, I have these 6 words for North Korea “Don’t make me come over there.”

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  The people we elect, represent us and thus, are a reflection of who we are.

Let’s take a look at what that means…

We are a country that thinks the poor are somehow lesser than the rich.

A waiter works 60 hours a week and is homeless.  A cashier works 12-hour days and can’t afford lunch for her children.  We eat salads made from vegetables picked by a migrant worker that lives in his car.  We ignore our Domestic Untouchables.  When they dare to use public assistance, we call them “lazy” or “takers”.  This is who we are.

We are a country that thinks Healthcare and Education only belongs to the rich.

In order to keep the wealthy from paying too much in taxes, we charge the less fortunate for things like healthcare and college because if we provide it for free, they will become dependent upon it and stop trying.  In other words, we believe they like being poor.

We are a country that does not believe in science.

Data says climate change is real and man-made.  Data shows that making abortions illegal will not slow abortions but will rather make them more dangerous.  Data shows that providing birth control lowers unwanted births and abortions.  Data shows that legalizing marijuana lowers opioid deaths.  Data shows that tax cuts only provide short-term growth in the economy.  Data shows that we don’t need jobs but rather a more skilled workforce to fill jobs that are currently available.  Data shows that Consumers, not the rich, create jobs. Data shows that the Free Market is the worst possible solution to rising healthcare costs.   Data shows that Green Jobs outpace Fossil Fuel jobs by a large order of magnitude.  Data shows that joining wars in the Middle East cost the lives of children from poor families while providing wealth to those that build the missile.  Data shows that unlimited money in politics is the number one reason our country is no longer in the world’s top 15 democracies.

We are a country that believes in Santa and the Devil.

We elect leaders that tell us our problems are someone else’s fault.  Let’s blame the Muslims or the Mexicans or the Poor or the Other Political Party.

We elect leaders that promise us gifts using magic.  The Free Market will lower healthcare costs….this time!  Lower taxes will cause economic growth…this time.

We elect the worst people in our society.

Start with Trump. Add Pelosi.  Add Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.  We hate Congress but more specifically, we hate “everyone else’s choice but love our own choice” when it comes to congress.  The result is we keep electing the same people over and over again.

We allow for anti-Democratic processes.

We allow Gerrymandering.  We allow voter suppression.  We allow corporations to pick election winners.

In summary…

All of this points to a society with a weak spine; one that finds it easier to believe things we know are not true rather than stand up against such things.  We find it easier to justify actions we would normally abhor because to push for change….would take an effort.  We fall for the same cons over and over again because “maybe this time it will be true.”

Trump is the worst possible leader I can image and yet…he is the one we deserve…

So…now what?

If you look in the mirror and the image looking back at you is wearing the wrong shirt or carrying too many pounds…you ask yourself a question:  “Is it worth the effort needed to change this image?”

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

This just in: Thought I’d try my hand at a “political-free” post.

I’ve decided to give a few reviews…

Books:

If you like action-packed Science Fiction…I recommend Neal Asher.

My latest passion over the last couple of years has been the emerging field of Behavioral Economics.  Why do people typically make choices that don’t match economic theory?  There is a book out called Mis-Behaving which is a great introduction into this field that mixes economics and psychology.

Movies:

Have you ever wanted to watch a movie but found that none of the choices fit your mood?  This happens a lot to me.  I’m not quite in the mood for action or drama or thriller etc.

If this is you, try Founder.  This is a movie about the making of McDonalds. It’s not a documentary but the story is light and interesting and starts one of my favorites, Michael Keaton.

If you are looking for something completely different, try What We Do In The Shadows.  This will not be like anything you have seen.

As for movies with one-word titles: I liked Fury and Lion.

Hobby:

I like to play golf but can rarely find the time.  I like to drive my Jeep over large rocks (something I don’t quite understand) but again…takes some effort.

I also like to write.  I like contests about writing.  If you want to try your hand at this, go to Writing.com.   This place has tons of contests and help etc.  Some contests are for stories that are less than 100 words long.  Writing is a great hobby for me.  I can do it just about anywhere.

Learning:

I recommend taking a look at TheGreatCourses.com.  If you are interested in continual learning, about anything, you will probably find something here for you.  At my house we have purchased courses ranging from cooking to writing to partical physics.

Food:

Eat salad or eat Popeye’s Chicken.  Swing for the fence or go home.

Car:

I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee (in addition to my 1987 Wrangler).  I love it, but it can be expensive to maintain.  “I see you need your tail light fixed. That will cost $2,500.   Why?  Because we always remove the dashboard before doing any maintenance on these things.”

Netflix & Amazon:

I have binged on the following: The Detectorists, Vikings, The Americans, Peaky Blinders, Dark Matter, Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie, Catastrophe, Marco Polo, Travelers, London Spy, Luther, River, Nobel, Glitch, Spotless.  I’m sure there are more but that’s it for now.

Healthcare:

I work for myself so I have to buy my own insurance.  I signed up with Kaiser about 2 years ago.  I love them.  Suttter Health is stone age by comparison.

Amazon Prime:

Get it.  I ordered a $5 item the other day and it showed up the next day…free delivery.

Farm Fresh To You:

This is produce shipped to your house straight from the field.  Expensive considering Safeway’s food is just as fresh, 5 minutes away and half the price.

There you have it.  If you are my identical twin…you now know what to get and what to avoid.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  Dressing up something ugly so that others may mistakenly find it attractive has been called “Putting lipstick on a pig.”

This is what Paul Ryan is in the business of doing.

I’m not against people liking Ryan and his policies.  I think if you like pigs than you should get one.  I just want to make sure that you know that a pig with lipstick is dressed up that way because someone is trying to fool you.

Let’s just take two examples.

Example #1

Paul Ryan says he wants “Patient Centered Healthcare” which he describes a “You should not have to buy insurance you don’t want or need.”  He claims government interference in Healthcare is a disaster.

He claims you should be able to buy your own insurance.  This is something that I can do now under Obamacare.  I can choose from several levels of coverage even with only one provider.

He claims you should be able to pick your own doctor.  I can do this now under Obamacare

He claims costs are skyrocketing.  He is right, but fails to mention that they were rising faster before Obamacare.

He says “Competition will lower costs”.  Sounds reasonable but why not just add a clause to Obamacare for this to happen?

He says you shouldn’t have to buy insurance if you don’t want to.  This is where he and I disagree.  Saying “You don’t have to buy insurance” is the same as saying, “Let others pay higher insurance premiums so you can freeload and get healthcare in an emergency room.”

This is exactly what his plan is:  To make it no longer necessary for you to buy insurance.  He calls this “freedom” but what he is really doing is passing the costs onto more responsible people that actually pay for their healthcare.

Paul Ryan knows this.  He just thinks you are to stupid to notice.  He is using bumper sticker phrases to put lipstick on his pig.

What he is really doing is trying to get you to support a tax cut for the extremely wealthy; those that paid to put him in office.

That is his only goal.  End of story.  Paul Ryan and the Republican Party are trying to get rid of Obamacare so the tax burden associated with it will be taken from the extremely wealthy. That this burden falls onto the elderly is none of their concern.

Example #2

Paul Ryan strongly opposes environmental regulation.

Here comes the lipstick:  He says it will bring back jobs; especially coal jobs.

Here is where we all stand up and clap.  Isn’t that pig pretty?  Who doesn’t want more and more jobs?

But wait!

Unemployment is near record lows.  We are not educating our kids for the high paying jobs and we are kicking out illegal immigrants so the only openings are in the lowest paying jobs.

The ship has sailed on coal.  We will not be bringing back more of those jobs.

So what does Paul Ryan really want?  He wants to lower the cost of being environmentally responsible for those that put him in office.  The Koch brothers are the owners and operators of the Republican Party.  They will benefit bigly when these regulations are cut back; even in their industries that have nothing to do with coal. This will not create a single job.  Profits don’t create jobs, consumers do.

 

I could go on and on.  He lied about his marathon time…bigly.  He lies about Planned Parenthood.  He lies about Social Security (We have to contain costs!…..or we could just raise the cap but that would be a tax on the rich)

So…If you like pollution…go with Ryan.  If you think I should pay for your healthcare….go with Ryan.

But don’t fall for bumper sticker nonsense like “Patient Centered Healthcare” when it’s really “A tax cut for the rich” with lipstick.

Up, up and away…

JIm

This just in:  I always vote.  I do this because it’s my right. I do this because, in my mind, it gives me the right to complain.  If I don’t vote, then I have no business whining if someone else gets elected.

In 2018, I expect to vote against the Republican Party.  Here is why…

  1. I think money in politics has ruined our democracy.  Companies and wealthy individuals are actually buying votes…legally.  I saw where the Koch brothers said they would fund the campaigns of Republicans that voted against Trumpcare.  This is buying votes.
  2. I am against Gerrymandering.  This is a blatant attempt to make one vote NOT count as one vote.  Both parties do it but the Republican Party has taken it to new heights.
  3. I am against voter suppression.  The Republican party is the ONLY party that does this in an attempt to keep people from voting that will not vote Republican.
  4. I am pro-legalized abortion.  This does not mean I like abortion.  I don’t think anyone does.  I do know that making abortion illegal will not slow down abortions. It will just make women find more dangerous ways to get out of a situation they created in conjunction with a man.
  5. I like Planned Parenthood because it reduces abortions and provides healthcare to women that would otherwise have to go without.
  6. I like green energy.  I like it because it saves the planet and is creating tens of thousands of new, high paying jobs.  I like us to stay up with the rest of the world when it comes to technology.  We should lead but at the very least…we need to stay in the race.
  7. I don’t like getting rid of environmental protections.  We are not going to return to coal…that ship has sailed.  The impact of getting rid of these protections is pollution without job creation.  Consumers create jobs.  A company’s ability to dump its waste in a river will not create a single job…well maybe one for the guy that drives the truck down to the river.
  8. I think its traitorous for the Republican Party to work hand-in-hand with Trump to stifle all efforts to find out if he colluded with the Russians in the last election.
  9. I believe religion has NO PLACE in government.
  10. I believe in LGBT rights.
  11. I want Universal Health Care.  To be honest, I would pay less money for insurance under Trumpcare because of my income.  However, most Americans would pay more.  This is especially true for the elderly and the poor.  I am a patriot first.   We are a stronger country when we take care of each other.  I want Universal Health Care because there is overwhelming evidence that it is far better than Obamacare, than Trumpcare and far, far better than the Free Market.
  12. I stand against racism.
  13. I believe that if we want nice things, like education, we need to pay for it by taxing ourselves.  I’m not an advocate of waste but taxation is not “taking”.  If the Federal government does not want to do things to help Americans, fine.  Reduce my Federal taxes and raise my taxes in California.  I would pay more in taxes for better education and healthcare and roads.  I don’t want to pay for a wall because it made for a cute campaign bumper sticker.
  14. I think Science is a real thing
  15. I think education is the path to better jobs and global competition.
  16. I think history has lessons to teach us.  I also believe that the past is fixed and not subject to change. (see Trump on a daily basis).
  17. I think NATO is important.
  18. I think diplomacy and statesmanship are as important as tanks.
  19. I think Russia cannot be trusted.
  20. I believe in free trade and that such trade does not happen by accident.
  21. I think that kicking out illegal immigrants only brings back jobs at the absolutely lowest point in our job/income scale.

Now, notice that I didn’t say I would vote Democrat.  I think Pelosi is a dinosaur that needs to be put out to pasture.  I think they are becoming what I detest, a party that clings to the past.  While I liked Obama, I don’t want us to stay in his world.  We need to move forward lest the rest of the world leave us in the dust.

I rarely vote along party lines so I will feel free to cross over if the right candidate catches my eye.

Right now, I’m hoping that a 40 year old Bernie Sanders comes along.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

This just in:  Health insurance is all about math.  If you think its about slogans, then you are a Trump supporter and thus, part of the problem.

Next year…there will be a certain amount of childbirths in the United States.  The healthcare plan we have in place, no matter what that plan is, will not change that number.

So, assuming this is true…let’s take a look at A-la-carte healthcare plans.

This is the basis of the Republican plan…you get to choose what you want to be insured for.

So…as a man, I don’t want to buy pre-natal care.  I don’t want to buy post-natal care.  I don’t buy this and save a ton of money.  The GOP calls this “patient centered” insurance.  I only buy what I need.

Now, as a woman, I still need this type of care…so I have to buy a plan that has this type of coverage.

Isn’t this great?!  People only buy what they need.

However, the birthrate didn’t change.  The amount of cost the insurance companies have will not change.  The amount of money they have to pay out will not change and their profit margin will not change.

What will change is that instead of everyone sharing in the cost of prenatal care, only the women will.  Someone will pay less and someone else will pay more.

This is called a “Zero Sum Game”.

My intent is not to say, “Let’s take care of women.”  I could have chosen something else.

Let’s take a man issue.  If only men have to buy coverage for colon cancer, their costs will go up for this by the same amount that women’s costs go down.

By making everyone by a certain baseline of insurance, we are accomplishing two very important things.  The first is that we now all know what is in our plan.  No more finding out that the small print says, “We will cover broken bones but only if they occur on odd numbered days.”  Secondly, we spread the risk.

If we don’t spread the risk, the elderly will have far, far higher insurance costs compared to the young.  The older you get, the more health problems you will have.

We can do this.  We can shuffle the cost of healthcare to the elderly since they need it the most.  But let’s do that knowingly.  Don’t fall for “patient centered healthcare” slogans because those mean nothing.

The Republican Party is betting that you are not good at math.

Up, up  and away…

Jim

This just in:  As a Superhero, I have access to a Super Computer; one very similar to IBM’s Watson.  I can ask it a question and it will give me the most likely answer. In other words, if there is smoke, it will reach the conclusion that there is something causing that smoke.  I’ve decided to interview it with regards to the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

The following may or may not be a transcript of that interview…

Me:  Why doesn’t Trump want to show his tax returns?

Computer:  Because they would tell you something bad about him; something worse that what is currently being speculated.  Otherwise…he would show them to end the speculation.

Me: Is Trump being blackmailed by the Russians?

Computer: Yes. He has three weaknesses in his personality that are typically used for exploitation by the Russians.  He has frequent money problems and needs to be bailed out.  He has women problems and has been known to hang out with a notorious pedophile.  He is easily manipulated by praise and criticism.

Me: Is this why Trump never says anything bad about Russia?

Computer: Of course.

Me: Why are the Republicans supporting Trump?

Computer: Because to do otherwise would not help them.

Me: What does that mean?

Computer:  Trump is at once, their rubber stamp and their fall guy.  The Republican Party works for big campaign contributors.  The Koch brothers, for example, like big oil and so the GOP needs Trump to take the blame as the Republican Party trashes one enviromental protection after another.  Many wealthy contributors want fewer taxes so the Republicans will manipulate Trump into several actions that cut taxes for the wealth.  The GOP has made a career out of using Obamacare to say what they don’t like about Democrats.  Now that they are in charge, they realize that their bluff has been called.  They need Trump to take the blame for a healthcare plan that is worse than what we are doing now.

Me: Is there another reason the GOP wants to get rid of Obamacare other than “It wasn’t our idea?”

Computer:  Yes.  Their new plan is another tax cut for the rich.  They are being paid by the rich, not to make healthcare better for Americans but to reduce taxes for the rich.

Me:  Why was Jeff Sessions so anxious to support Trump during his campaign?

Computer:  Trump promised to make him the Attorney General.  Trump needed loyalty in that position since it was anticipated that he would come under investigation about his Russian ties.  Sessions would be able to stifle that investigation.  When Sessions stepped aside, Trump was furious.  He’d hired Sessions to protect him (Trump) not get out of the way.

Me:  Is Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression democratic?

Computer:  You don’t need me to tell you that.  Ask any 8 year old.  These two practices are two of the three things that the Republican party does that are in direct conflict with the word “democracy.”

Me:  What is the third?

Computer: The Republican party runs on money from special interests.  They will do whatever it takes to keep unlimited campaign funds coming into their party pockets.

Me:  Why does Trump lie so much?

Computer: For two reasons.  First, he has a sickness that makes it difficult for him to understand the depth of impact his lying has on his and our country’s credibility.  Secondly, he gets away with it.

Me:  Why does he get away with it?

Computer:  About 37% of the American population will watch him shoot a man dead in the street with their own eyes and then believe him when he turns to them and says, “Obama just shot that guy…bigly.”

Me:  Is Trump a traitor?  By that I mean, is he putting his own interests ahead of the entire country’s?  And, is the Republican party equally guilty by knowingly allowing this to happen?

Computer: Yes and Yes.

My computer is starting to overheat so I think I’ll give it a rest for now.  There will be more to come.

Up, up and away…

Jim