Beyond the Cusp

March 5, 2017

Republican Distress Self-Inflicted

 

The Republicans appear to be in disarray and acting as if they are completely unaware of the fact that they control both houses of Congress and the White House and are in the catbird seat exactly as the Democrats were the first two years of President Obama’s two terms. They are capable of setting the rules in the Senate such that they would have sufficient votes to ensure cloture by requiring a mere fifty-two votes ending any filibuster. The Democrat use of the so-called nuclear option set the precedent for adjusting cloture to fit your needs when you have the majority in the Senate. Yes, doing so would allow for the Democrats to do similarly when they gain fifty-one seats in the Senate and who does not believe they would do exactly as such anyway. The Republicans instead are fighting with the White House declaring the President’s budget dead on arrival. This is a party in need of better leadership as currently they are wasting their first and possibly only opportunity to prove they are the better option by acting as a whole to enact their vision for the United States.

 

I hear people demanding what we would propose if we think we have the answer. Well, perhaps they could actually get everybody on the same page instead of having a different set of priorities for every twenty or thirty Republicans. They need to have the Senate choose ten Senators and the House of Representatives choose twenty-five or thirty Representatives and have these people meet with the President and each Cabinet member in a series of meetings taking a week out of their schedules. Initially the President on the first day along with his preferred advisors should meet with the delegations and set a general structure for the ensuing week or even two and have the President and everyone else at the meeting express their preferences and ideas and have them discussed in a general sense setting up a framework. Then they should have meetings with cabinet members and the President each morning and then return and meet with the Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate each with their own chosen delegates such that everybody has some input and in the end they reach a consensus which is acceptable to the President and his Cabinet and advisors. Once this framework has been set, then the House of Representatives and the Senate can begin to work on the enactment of these ideas putting them into action. These agreed upon initiatives should be enacted through the House of Representatives and the Senate in quick order and signed by the President getting a basic set of accomplishments enacted and presented to the public as actual accomplishments in the next election cycle. If their ideas actually capture the minds and match the ideas of the population in the majority of the nation, then the Republicans can reap the rewards and press forward with even more action and accomplish what they promised in the first place.

 

President Trump National Security Advisor McMaster Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Hatch

President Trump National Security Advisor McMaster
Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan
President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Hatch

 

The first thing they need do is revamp healthcare. An idea we would like to suggest is to keep the choice parts of the current system adjusted to make them include competition between the many insurance companies. Much of healthcare need be taken from the employers and returned to the people such that their demand for the most and best options and the insurance companies need meet their hopes at an acceptable price, this will bring healthcare costs back down within reason. Further, the government need remove most of the regulations, reporting requirements and other unnecessary paperwork which has completely destroyed the concept of a single doctor working from their home in the neighborhood where their patients reside as had been the case before the government needlessly intervened and destroyed affordable healthcare. The government should only require that insurance policies cover major medical allowing people to decide to pay for any minor care out of their own pockets. The one idea which the government should make illegal would be controversial but in the long run would produce lower medical costs, and that is to make group policies illegal such that companies, unions, and other groups such as retirement groups or social groups from offering insurance to their workers or members. Make individual policies the sole type of health insurance allowed and only require minimal coverages. We suggest only what used to be considered major medical which would include emergency rooms treatment with a deductible, surgical procedures, any hospital or clinical procedures again with a deductible, and hospital stays with a deductible. The deductibles would depend on the cost of the coverage with the less expensive coverage having a higher deductible while there could be specialty additional coverages which would cover these deductibles but this should be banned from health insurers offering. Such a system would produce insurance affordable at any level such that younger and healthier people could take the risk of higher deductibles and with people paying for most of their own healthcare we would see prices become lower for most standard healthcare needs. The main way to cut healthcare costs would be to put a cap on rewards for malpractice suits and make one vital change, the lawyers losing any malpractice suit would be responsible for both sides’ court costs and lawyers’ fees within set limits. This would lead to fewer malpractice suits as lawyers would be very careful to only take such cases which they felt quite sure of their case and winning the case, period.

 

There are probably many other means for lowering court costs which we have not included which the Congress could enact. Removing regulations and paperwork would be one of the greatest means to relieve the burden on physicians who have had to form groups to defray the clerical costs imposed by both government and insurance companies who often are demanding additional paperwork simply because the government demands they file paperwork. Government is once again the greatest contributor to the costs of a commodity which they also demand everybody purchase. This is simply something the people’s need should have to accommodate and not employers or government as that is the current system which the people declared broken and becoming overly expensive with far too many forms. The government should never have the power to add costs beyond reason to an industry and then require the people purchase said product. As happened with car insurance, whenever the government demands people to purchase a commodity the price of such commodity will naturally skyrocket reaching the limit of what the people are capable to pay, not the actual required cost of the commodity. Simply ask yourself what would you charge for widgets if the government required every person to purchase one widget every month? You would price them set the highest price the market would bear rather than a competitive price because every other widget salesperson would be doing the same. The highest probability is all widget salespersons would agree to set an inflated price where all would become wealthy beyond what any normal competition would prevail had the government not required people to purchase your product. That is simple reality of life and not rocket science, or advanced economics. The proof of this theory has been the cost of health insurance since Obamacare hit the market. This is why competition must be returned to the health insurance markets and as much government involvement must be removed back to bare bones or less. No government involvement would be the most preferred state of healthcare. But first the Republicans need to unify and find some leadership which can work well with President Trump, both by leading when necessary and following when Trump is leading constructively. We can only hope.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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December 29, 2015

The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

Writing a daily post on a news blog where you have been writing articles almost daily is that there are slow news days, no news days, and days such as today where almost all the news is about something I have already written on, and for most, written on extensively. I am sure my regular readers have memorized by now and know every letter and note written on such things as the San Remo Conference, the Iran nuclear disaster of a deal, Sykes Picot, Balfour Declaration, Green Line, Global Warming, United Nations Human Rights Commission, Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu or even something so specific as Turkey and the Kurdish Militias so there is no real need to go these today. That is the problem and I really do not want to be bummed writing about the ongoing terror stabbings and car assaults along with rock and boulder throwing and firebombings and it will have to suffice that they are all ongoing and more. So that leaves us in the quandary as to what to write about. And quoting John Cleese, “And now for Something completely different?”

 

 

And Now For Something Completely Different John Cleese

 

 

We could do hopes and things we hope to do sooner rather than later such as trips to see new things in Jerusalem, and that is what is so really exciting about Jerusalem that even if you lived there you could almost daily find somewhere you had not been or something new about a place you have been to daily such as saying your morning prayers at the Kotel. Of course a trip to Jerusalem would mean I would need to post really early on one day and then depend on my tablet holding a charge for the next day which would hopefully be about the trip. We may end up posting earlier on some days as there is a class I hope grabs my interest sufficiently to make me desire to learn more, one can always be exposed to more and hope the teachers or class interactions to make a lasting impression so one also learns more, and isn’t that the challenge of so many things in life. When we are young and so completely ignorant we learn things often the first time we are introduced to them such as the stove top is hot, a closed bedroom door means do not enter, that is unless there are sounds which definitely need investigation in your young teenage child’s room and then you enter even if it takes kicking the door open, and you have no idea how many times I thank Hashem that I never faced that challenge. There is no blessing greater than a child who even if they hated you’re telling them what to or not to do and despite protesting or yelling that you will not ruin their life still obeyed your council and even admitted that you were right in the end and are now successful and happy even if they still have one last council which will be the most difficult when that time comes, that is their making Aliyah when you tell them it is time. There are so many things in life we can thank Hashem for, those things we thank Hashem when they happen and those things it takes us time to realize why such things were for the best. It really is strange how life with all its challenges and twists and turns result in placing you where you need to be and gives you the tools to meet the coming challenge. Let us pray we always find that strength.

 

There are those events that we really have no clue and will go to Hashem when our time comes and then we will be instructed exactly how that was necessary and we will look back and understand that our part, though small and beyond meaning to us was so very vital and we will praise Hashem for allowing us to be a part of His designs and we will feel proud of that moment as we were when young and we pleased our parents as after all, is not Hashem the greatest Parent possible? Just hope that we made that sacrifice or committed to that challenge that Hashem assigned us and Hashem was not required to give that privilege to someone else as we fell short. What will amaze us is how even things which we thought were so wrong were so somebody else could take on a challenge due to our little shove on their lives because of our failings, another item that will allow us to see those acts as something so required, kind of how Joseph’s older brothers likely felt, well, besides their being terrified when they finally realized that Joseph was now the second most powerful man in Egypt and could have then slain at his slightest whim, and we read of the wisdom of him to not do so and allow for the formation of the twelve tribes as Hashem had desired. We really do not know what things were really necessary and what were things just for making our lives enriched and satisfying us like having all the vanilla (or flavor of your choosing) ice cream in the freezer and nobody to yell at you telling you that you have had enough ice cream for the day. Such are the little things which mean so much to each if us and we will be amused if not shocked when we have revealed to us what acts we performed regularly that so pleased Hashem.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 10, 2014

Ebola: To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine

There has been more than sufficient debate and even beyond to the point of hyperbole. Even mentioning quarantine and you are accused of racism because closing the border to flights originating in the areas which are stricken with the Ebola epidemic will only cause the disease to spread faster across the world and the United States. Statements such as this, which fly in the face of logical thought, are really as ridiculous as any thinking person would first believe. But we are supposed to forgo logic and ordered thought and instead believe those thoughts which we are told solely because these truths are self-evident under the correctness as dictated by political correctness and multiculturalism and the chosen deciders of that which will be considered acceptable thought. We are told that the first person who succumbed to the Ebola virus was a person of color that the treatment he received was racist otherwise he would have lived if he were not a minority. It was due to racism that he was initially sent home when he went to the hospital emergency room with severe flu-like symptoms which should have been diagnosed immediately as Ebola but the hospital sent him home after treating him and the computer misdiagnosed the patient’s high risk for contracting the Ebola virus. Later the hospital readdressed the situation “in the interest of transparency” and stated in writing that “There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event.” The latest statement from the hospital released stated, “Texas Health Dallas has relocated the travel history documentation to a portion of the EHR that is part of both workflows. It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa. We have made this change to increase the visibility and documentation of the travel question in order to alert all providers. We feel that this change will improve the early identification of patients who may be at risk for communicable diseases, including Ebola.” None of this addresses the debate of whether to quarantine or not, it just restates the fact that even hospitals are staffed by humans and their procedures come from humans and as such are potentially flawed. There was no racial judgmentalism in the mistaken diagnosis and treatment nor was the treatment for Ebola for Thomas Duncan was exactly the same that any person upon diagnosis for Ebola would have been and the result would likely have been the same in any similar case of Ebola.

The claims that quarantine would cause more Ebola cases which would also spread faster within the United States. The claim that the United States should have a special relationship with Liberia because Liberia was founded because America had slavery misses one crucial factor, had the United States continued to allow slavery there would have been no founding of Liberia; Liberia was founded as a result of the United States ending slavery. Why would this be turned around and made to be that Liberia was founded because America had slavery without even bothering to mention that Liberia was founded for freed slaves because the United States ended slavery is an intentional attack on the United States meant to stir up anger and feelings of the death of Mr. Duncan had a racial element. But why would there be a need to quarantine the areas of the world which are facing an epidemic from Ebola and a closure of the border to flights and passengers coming from Western Africa. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) which had initially stated that there was almost no chance for the spread of Ebola from one person to the next because the Ebola patient is not contagious until they have symptoms and then the virus is not airborne and one needs to have contact with bodily fluids in order to become infected which makes prevention easy. They did not bother to mention that one of those bodily fluids was the spray which results from sneezes and coughs and even sweat and that the Ebola virus could potentially remain active for as long as the moisture from any of the above remained at some residual level. This means that Ebola was far more easily spread than the CDC had initially stated especially considering that sweating, coughing, sneezing and projectile vomiting are all symptoms of a person with Ebola. How long before the CDC informs the public that any surface contaminated with bodily fluids, such as spittle from a sneeze or cough, can potentially remain contagious for hours which means that taking the shopping cart offered in a friendly manner from a person who just emptied it into their car on a busy Saturday where carts are at a premium might become a life threatening event and that you should wipe down the handle area of the cart before touching it and wipe the rest down discreetly out of the friendly person’s sight, especially if they sneeze after handing you the shopping cart. No, there is no reason to initiate a policy which would ban passengers from areas of the world where the Ebola virus is still an active contagion, is there?

The question of whether to quarantine or not to quarantine is even necessary can be blamed upon the invention of aircraft and airlines, especially international direct flights from anywhere in the world to any place else in the world directly. Before airlines shortened travel times between all places on Earth to all other places on Earth within a single day the fastest manner of travel was a steamship which took as much as three weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. This meant that Ebola carriers would more likely show signs of the contagion before the ship ever made port in New York allowing for precautions to be taken. Crossing the Pacific took even longer which would really allow sufficient time for Ebola and most other diseases to become evident long before the ship makes port. This was why the immigrants arriving in the United States until World War II landed on Ellis Island where even if a passenger was sniffling they were sent to a neighboring island for medical quarantine and treatment to determine if they should be permitted entry or be returned to Europe or wherever their originating port was. We no longer have that luxury in the modern world where the longest it takes to fly between destinations including stopovers where you do not necessarily need to deplane is under twenty-four hours. The discussion on quarantine is a new one for the United States. In Europe it is an old subject which has already been settled from past experiences and Europe will more often than not opt for quarantine without any concern for political correctness or multiculturalism as their experience where quarantine became their default position has much to do with a small plague which came from the Orient, the Bubonic Plague. From that horrendous time forward quarantine became the default in Europe and Britain but the United States has not yet to discuss quarantine nor have they been forced to before now. The only other time the United States faced an epidemic which was imported came after World War I when the returning soldiers brought the Spanish Flu with them and it spread throughout the United States like a storm, an ill wind blowing across the plains. There was no real alternative as the nations soldiers were already in transit and it was unthinkable to ban them or place them in quarantine, but some towns and even cities enforced short quarantine procedures where they basically had all stores, schools and other places where the public interacted including houses of worship to close and instructed the people to remain in their homes for as long as three or four days which did serve to stifle the spread and such places had far lower death rates than places where they continued life as normal. This is a discussion that should be argued and thought through to a complete and accepted policy for the future which will be applied in all cases of potential pandemic for the future. Any action which simply ignores the subject and dismisses any discussion simply claiming that there is no real need as the Ebola threat is over so there is no pressing reason to address the quarantine subject with any urgency. Such is simply doing what public officials too often use and get away from taking up sensitive subjects known as kicking the can down the road. The problem is nobody can predict when the next Ebola like disease will strike forcing the discussion once again on whether or not to impose quarantine on transit from the effective regions. Starting the discussion while under the gun, so to speak, is waiting too long and is the reason to force the discussion now. Hopefully the people elected to serve the public welfare and wellbeing will take the responsible path and make a reasoned decision now, and if they do not choose to perform their assigned tasks the public must force the discussion until a definitive decision is reached and a definitive policy has been defined and articulated in law, nothing less should be acceptable.

Beyond the Cusp

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