“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Make Sure You Get Your Obama $2,500 Insurance Reduction

Hat Tip: Joe Pesci


  1. Now I know why insurance premiums have been sky rocketing. They're preparing for the big 2500.00 rate reduction. If insurance companies raise their rates high enough then when they have to be lowered, because ya know our President is such a wonderful man, people will think they're getting a deal and the system is working.

    It's Christmas all over again.

  2. It's being told around that with the election of Scott Brown Obama had all but given up on the "Big" Bill, and was looking to try and move a smaller, incremental type piece of legislation when Blue Cross Anthem raised rates by 39% in California.

    They say that gave Pelosi enough ammunition to tell Rahmbo to "stick it," and talk Obumble into trying again.

  3. I've resigned myself to the weekly insinuation of Levin into the Bar.

    Along with Hewitt.

    C'est la vie.

    "What do you do?"

    "I'm in construction."

    One of the best single-take scenes in all of film history:

    God loves Marty Scorsese.

  4. "Poverty" in America
    Damndest thing:
    Loosing their homes, hiring someone to move their expensive furniture, flat screen TV's etc, and driving off in their F...... Mercedes.
    ...Tugging at the heartstrings of the Marine who paid off his mortgage, is shown with his low-rent furniture.
    Wonder if he drives a 17 year old car like us?

    No doubt the resident socialists figure the single mom and assorted other spendthrifts deserve a writedown on their mortgage, free healthcare, and assistence in paying off the Mercedes and Flat Screens.

    Microcosm of Housing Crisis on an Arizona Street

  5. Trish would prefer a reading from Marx.

  6. It has long been my opinion that "change for change's sake" is good. That the most dangerous enemy of a free market system is Lethargy.

    Change begets "Movement." Sharpshooters start running around trying to find an "edge." Trying to "get rich." Movement creates excitement, and risk-taking. Spending, and employment follow.

    I know you can make some iron-clad arguments as to why, logically, my theory doesn't hold water. That's fine. But, argument doesn't trump observation; And, observation of past actions supports my thesis.

    A good example would be the "Cash for Clunkers." Now, anyone that can add "two and two" will tell you that, in the context of the overall picture, CfC was too small to make a difference, and all it could have possibly have done was drag some sales "forward," anyway.

    Well, that's all true; however, you can't deny that auto sales have been steadily improving since the program was implemented. The "bottom" in auto sales was the month before cfc, and, I'm not sure, but I think that might have been the bottom for the economy as a whole.

    People operate off "emotion." Get'em "fired up" and they Go to the Moon in a decade, or build the Empire State Building. Let'em slide into a "malaise" and you get The Carter Years, or "The Great Depression."

    This Bill has got'em "Fired Up."

  7. I think the Federals should pay underwater homeowners to burn their houses to get real-estate and the economy "fired up."

    ...a greater challenge than landing on the moon.

    Or filling a perfectly good Volvo with sand and destroying it.

    ...or socializing our toprate healthcare system.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I declared "NoMaas" @ 1:16 of that video, FWIW.

  10. Obama!

    Sign me up.

    You know my family can certainly use that $2500., now!

    Thank You, President Obama.


  11. "It has long been my opinion that "change for change's sake" is good. That the most dangerous enemy of a free market system is Lethargy."

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

    Reminds me of another post I saw regarding the war.

    Shit, in a world like that I could be president. Just keep rolling the dice until something eventually "works" (as opposed to following the typical business cycle or half a dozen other reasons) and you look like a genius.


  12. "Trish would prefer a reading from Marx."

    Trish wonders about the extent to which you believe your own remarks.

    A general observation that in democratic politics (as in war) there is no purity.

    Jonathan Bernstein last December:

    Matt Yglesias likes to deploy Max Weber's famous quotation, "politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards," and in a terrific post today Matt recommends "On Politics" generally. It's good, and I think it's a good thing for activists to remind themselves of, as they are forced to make difficult choices.

    In response, I'll trot out one of my favorite quotations about politics -- in this case, coalition politics. It's from Bonnie Honig, and she is working from an essay by Bernice Johnson Reagon:

    Coalition politics is not easy. When you feel like you might "keel over at any minute and die," when "you feel threatened to the core," then "you're really doing coaltion work."

    And the thing really do democratic politics, in a nation of 300 millions (and, really, even in a town of thousands), you sort of have to do coalition politics. If you're a supporter of health care reform, you don't get to just work with Ron Wyden, and Sherrod Brown, and Chris Dodd, and Barbara Mikulski. You have to work with the Senator who just won't go along unless his constituents in the drug industry are taken care of. You have to work with the Senator who really, truly, is pro-life. And the Senator who has no policy convictions, or even substantive needs for his state, but s deathly afraid of casting a vote that will be perceived as liberal. And then you start to realize that even your allies, the people that you think are all on your side, are different, too. To be active -- to really engage -- in democratic politics means constantly being confronted with just how different everyone is, and how much that feels right and important and necessary to you is going to be threatened. And to be active in politics means that you, yourself, have to collaborate in threatening those things that feel right and important and necessary to you, at least if you are going to get anything done. It's painful. It's painful when you some ways, more painful than when you lose. Losing is like not participating; you get to sit back and pretend that you have no control, that Bad Guys are responsible for things that go wrong.

    Honig says, "To take difference -- and not just identity -- seriously in democratic theory is to affirm the inescapability of conflict." Exactly -- because it's not just conflict between the White Hats and the Black Hats, but because coalition politics is conflict. It's hard, and it's painful (although it's also potentially wonderful, and fulfilling, as Hannah Arendt tells us). In the present work hard, you campaign, you give money, maybe you go door-to-door or work phone banks, and you hold up paint the signs and engage in passionate arguments with friends or relatives who Just Don't Get It...and then your candidate wins, but you find that politics doesn't stop there.


  13. And more, from January, on the inevitability some things:

    The silliest reasons I've heard for the Democrats to avoid passing the Senate health care bill is that the Nebraska medicaid thing makes the whole bill toxic. If that is indeed what is motivating Democrats to find convoluted alternatives to pass-and-patch (that is, pass the Senate bill, and then pass a reconciliation bill to patch pieces that they don't like), then they're making a serious political error. It's actually an error that arises repeatedly -- the idea that Democrats can avoid attacks from Republicans by being careful about their actions.

    This is not true. Democrats can be assured that Republicans will attack them, regardless of what they do. Democrats could eliminate the estate tax permanently, slash the capital gains tax, repeal the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, invade Iran, and pass a Constitutional Amendment outlawing abortion, and Republicans would still attack them -- with exactly the same vehemence and vigor that Republicans have now. That's politics. It's how partisan politics is played. It is absolutely impossible to avoid attacks from one's opponents; nothing you do gives them license to attack, because they will attack whatever you do. Oh, and this isn't partisan; Democrats are going to attack Republicans, whatever the Republicans do.

    Don't believe me? Republicans are attacking Democrats for taking away people's guns, even though the Democrats basically surrendered on that issue fifteen years ago. They are attacking Democrats for cutting Medicare and for allowing Medicare to grow so fast that it'll bankrupt the nation -- sometimes in the very same speech (I've seen it in the same paragraph). Republicans have, repeatedly, attacked Barack Obama for not using a word he uses all the time. Last I heard, they were still attacking the Democrats for bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, something that as far as I know not a single elected Democrat has any interest in doing. No, it didn't make sense, but if they don't have attacks ready that make sense, they'll use ones that don't.


    Could be titled Why Many Of Those Who Hate Politics Do So.

  14. (I get fired up when you)

    March 23 (Bloomberg) -- “So lie to me, lie to me, I’d rather have it that way.”

    Every historic moment has its soundtrack, and passing U.S. health-care legislation is no exception. The song for this bill is “Lie to Me,” recorded by blues singer Brook Benton in 1962.

    Benton’s song is a plea to the woman who cheated on him to lie to him about it and instead say everything’s fine. The tune came to mind while watching some voters applaud Democratic leaders as they promise that the new law will reduce budget deficits by $1 trillion.

    “Just lie, lie, lie.”

    Everyone knows the bill will widen deficits over time.
    Entitlement and mandate expansions always do.

    And everyone knows that health-care reform isn’t about fiscal rectitude. As Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote last summer, the point of the proposal “was never to generate savings over the next decade.”

    It was to insure the uninsured. There’s a kind of masochistic consolation in the very improbability of the Democratic promise of savings.

    “Because the truth would only hurt me

    And that price is just too big to pay.”

    The question is how can lawmakers get away with their misrepresentation? One answer lies in the structure of the Congressional Budget Office, the government’s official accountant.
    Its job is to establish an honest price:
    to tell legislators and voters what a policy will cost in the short, medium and long terms. That CBO work is important because Americans rightly sense that the politicians’ math is rigged.

    “Nobody told me you were cheating.

    Aww, it’s just a feeling I had.”

    Flawed Assumptions:

    Lie to Me

    Nobody told me you were cheating
    Aww it's just a feeling I had
    So if I'm right, you got to lie to me
    Then I won't feel so bad

    Because the truth would only hurt me
    And that price is too big to pay
    So lie to me, lie to me, I'd rather have it that way

    Now you may think I'm foolish for saying what I said
    But the truth could mean I'd lose you
    So tell me a little lie instead

    Tel me that you love me and I'll believe every word you say
    Even if you lie, lie, lie, li-i-ie, I'd rather have it that way

  15. Matt makes a good stand in for Marx.
    You prove my point.

  16. Although the impurity of politics has the moral edge on that of war, the former not often requiring, say, the cultivation and monetary enrichment for strategic purposes of, say, someone with a known fondness for little boys.

  17. "Democrats could eliminate the estate tax permanently, slash the capital gains tax, repeal the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, invade Iran, and pass a Constitutional Amendment outlawing abortion, and Republicans would still attack them -- with exactly the same vehemence and vigor that Republicans have now. That's politics. It's how partisan politics is played."
    Real hard to spot the projection, isn't it?

    You would not find this (or tens of million other) Republican complaining one bit!

    ...except for the Moronic idea of invading Iran.
    As if Ledeen et al are calling for such.

  18. "Matt makes a good stand in for Marx."

    What the fuck ever, Doug.

  19. Tue Mar 23, 10:06:00 AM EDT

    Could I ask you to post in English?

  20. I'll even promise to say you are smarter and more subtle than me.

  21. Tue Mar 23, 10:09:00 AM EDT
    is what the fuck ever, bitch!

  22. February home sales down. Inventories up. Now at 8 1/2 month level. 27% of all sales in February were in cash.


  23. So who is paying whom for their fondness for little boys?

  24. "27% of all sales in February were in cash."
    Yeah, selling to "investors" and other banks.
    Lotsa strange stuff going on, laundering the filthy situation.

    In the Inland Empire of SOCAL, investors pay low prices, but it is cheaper to buy than rent there, so evidently they expect prices to rise, or something else unknown is driving their decisions.

  25. "The CBO’s structural failure benefits the Democrats this week. Indeed, Pelosi is teaching Republicans something: the bigger the misrepresentation, the greater the credibility with voters. Croon to them a tune about entitlement, and they forget that you’re clearing a path for a tripling of the tax on dividends.

    The CBO’s rules are bipartisan -- they hold for whatever legislation lands in its in box. Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, recently put forward a new blueprint for the federal budget. Ryan’s plan is less questionable than Pelosi’s because it’s relatively honest about costs. Ryan points out that the current unfunded part of the Medicare liability is in the trillions.

    No Traction

    The tax cuts Ryan proposes allow for more possibility of growth than Pelosi’s health-care bill.

    When CBO studied Ryan’s plan using Ryan’s assumptions, however, it placed a question mark over the plan that wasn’t there before. Everyone knew the numbers came out the way Ryan wanted them to. His proposal, therefore, is having a hard time gaining traction.

  26. “Bruce Norris, a longtime Riverside real estate investor and consultant who warned other investors early on that the real estate market was about to tank, said the deluge of houses hitting the foreclosure auctions and the numbers of buyers chasing them are far beyond what he had expected. He recalled that a year ago it was common for just a handful of investors to turn out to hear the trustee’s auctioneer reel off the addresses of houses for sale and sometimes the auctioneer would speak to an empty courtyard, he said.

    Interest in foreclosure auctions is driven by a dwindling supply of bank-owned houses listed for sale. Investors can quickly resell houses purchased at auction to first-time buyers and others eager for affordable prices, low interest rates and government tax rebates.

  27. A friend of mine is real excited, today. It looks like in about 3 months he'll be able to buy health insurance for the first time in his adult life (he has Crohns.) His monthly meds run him $1,200.00/mo (the good stuff costs $3,000.00/mo,) and he's spent the last 5 years in and out of hospitals (he'll have to have a bowel resection, soon,) and working at low-paying jobs with insurance policies with $3,000.00 annual caps.

    He graduates from vocational school with a certificate as a Medical Encoder in Sept. thanks to a Pell Grant, and a gov. backed student loan. Maybe he'll make it after all. Here's hoping, right?

  28. So instead of setting up special insurance pool for those without, or pre-existing like that guy, we should socialize the entire healthcare system, right?

    "The Dems did good."

    My Ass

  29. Doug, I would have gone with the "Pool." But, they didn't ask me.

  30. In fact, that is how he will be covered for the next four years.

  31. Of course, if the dumb-assed Republicans would have done something along those lines the deal would have been done.

    But they didn't. They listened to Rush Limbaugh and spent four years ragging on Dubya for passing the Prescription Drug Bill for Seniors.

    Stupidity, and Greed are a Deadly Combination.

  32. "Victims" of the Real Estate Meltdown.

    This graphic shows that the mercedes driving single mom's house retreated a whopping TEN PERCENT from what she paid.
    ...but of course, she's been living the lifestyle of the rich and famous on another mortgage on the house.

    Second family, the place is worth 50% more than what they paid, 72 k in the black, but they too took out a much larger mortgage for "those necessities of life."

    Sure will be nice to contribute a bit to their healthcare, won't it?

    It's our duty as compassionate dupes, according the socialist cheerleaders here.

  33. "Of course, if the dumb-assed Republicans would have done something along those lines the deal would have been done."

    So be sure to give the Dems props for not doing it either!

    Brilliantly fair and balanced, I'd say.

  34. Rush Limbaugh has be prescribing that instead of Socialized Medicine for some time, btw.

  35. He, like you, ran the numbers on what that would cost.

    Unlike you, he has no expectation that the Dem plan won't cost many times that.

  36. That's right, Doug, Yglesias is a Marxist.

    I was told years ago that Americans really ought not be privy to the intimate details of their sausage being made overseas. That were it safe to reveal goings-on, it would serve no good purpose.

    There's this Delta Force guy who was on some op in Baghdad prior to the invasion. Due to some circumstance or other he ended up with a young kid in his sight. The thing to do to protect the operation was to shoot the kid, but he decided not to, accepting whatever negative impact that would have. He's daamn glad he made that decision, but his finger was on the trigger. It was a hard one.

    Had he decided otherwise, it might have destroyed his life.

    And there are all kinds of calls like that but the one that sticks in my mind has to do with strategic sources, one in particular in Iraq. He was, maybe still is, on the payroll. He likes little boys. And he'll even invite his interlocutor to go the park with him. He's a pedophile and child molester who's paid very well by us to tell us things.

    One individual drew a purely personal line at that and said, "Send somebody else to do it, because I can't."

    Somebody else did indeed go do it, picking up that one along with however other many cases. Somebody had to.

    Strangely counter-intuitive or just flatly wrong though it appears to many in the defense community, democratic politics is rather cleaner, somewhat easier, don't you think?

  37. doubt everybody here knew exactly what you were talking about in your offhand reference to the pedophile, right?

    And I still say that my
    Tue Mar 23, 10:09:00 AM EDT
    quote of your boy Matt proves he is full of shit.

  38. So appologies to Matt:
    Not a Marxist,
    Just full of (leftist propaganda)

  39. The Brits are starting to figure it out. World Oil Reserves Overstated by a Third

    I did disagree with one thing he said; see if you can figure it out.

  40. Don't forget to cheer the Dems for having 9 million seniors lose their Medicare Part B prescriptions that you say Bush was right to write.

  41. Good that the Dems have kept us from developing domestic energy for 40 years.

  42. Later in the day, I'll tie that all neatly into a comment on the Republican Party search for ideological purity.

  43. If we developed our natural gas resources to the Max, how much of our needs would that represent, Rufus?

  44. Only the Dems are pure.
    Pure evil.

  45. Kid's going all solar here:
    Incentives are a little different @ 33 cents/kw!

  46. "companies such as BP and Shell insist that production will be able to keep pace with growing Asian energy needs."
    That's it, right, Rufus?

  47. Doug, I'm a Republican, remember?

    I voted for McCain (although, it was purely symbolic. Anyone with a brain knew he had no chance.)

    About nat gas. Doug, I Don't know. All the recent excitement is based on "hydrofracking" of shale. This is going to take a couple of years to sort out. I suspect that it's a bit overhyped, but no one can be Sure at this point.

    As far as nat gas for transportation - No Way. Just won't work. And, besides, you'd just be trading one depleting natural resource for another.

    Saudi Arabia, and the Seven Sisters (I'm being metaphorical, here) are trying desperately to kill ethanol before it's too late. Don't believe Anything you read about biofuels for the next year unless it's writte by me. :)

    I really am sort of serious, though. There is an incredible amount of misinformation, funded by Oil, out there, and on the way.

  48. Doug, a few years ago, Shell had to come out and admit it had been LYING about its oil reserves. They had to reduce them by 40%.

    The Oil Business is a Brutal, Dog eat Dog Business. Those that make it to the top ain't wimps, and pantywaists. They Lie like Hell.

    I keep posting those Megaprojects numbers. THAT is where the rubber meets the road. It takes anywhere from 4 to 10 years, or more, to bring a major field online.

    We know what's coming, and we know how fast the old wells are declining.

    This will be the last year in the history of the universe that new production comes close to matching the decline from existing wells.

    It might be July, or it might be next March, but sometime pretty soon we wake up in one hell of a mess.

  49. Rufus, my daughter is in the same situation as your friend. Three years ago when she became independent, of course, she was no longer on our insurance policy. She went a couple of years without it but in January when she started attending a university it was required that she have some kind of medical insurance. She pays 1600.00 a semester through the school and learned the first time she used it for an x ray that it doesn't pay for much.

    Although, she doesn't have crohn's disease, she does have a gluten allergy, which doesn't sound like much, but it has gotten worse. She won't go to the doctors now because she knows that she's going to need tests.

    I listen to every one's comments here. I listen to the news. I listen to all the debates and I'm still the one in the middles that just says, "Hmm...I don't know," and hopes for the best. Because I think that's all any of us can do...really.

    Meanwhile, she has gone back to a strict gluten free diet and has also cut out dairy and meat, which seems to be helping.

  50. When the Global Economy tanked, and worldwide oil demand dropped by 4 million bpd (barrels per day) it took Saudi Arabia, and the UAE a couple of months to cut their production back to the new level. About 250 Million barrels of oil, and products (gasoline, and diesel) were bought, cheap, and stored in idled tankers.

    We are in the process of working off that "floating storage." We have, probably, about 3 months till we deplete that million barrel/day resource.

    Despite all their silly hyped bullshit, Saudi Arabia can pump about 1.5 mbpd more than today. It could be 1.0 million. It's going to start getting tight, again, soon.

    What all this does to "prices," and as a result, the "economy" this summer we'll just have to wait and see.

  51. I'm estimating there are at least ten to fifteen Million Americans in that boat, Melody.

    If you're not personally connected they're invisible. Once you're aware you realize they're everywhere.

  52. Melody wrote:

    "She won't go to the doctors now because she knows that she's going to need tests."

    And I presume she won't do the tests because they cost money? If so, I think that is the tragedy of the current US system.

  53. You see, Ash, if Melody's daughter (and a few million like her) gets insurance, and gets to take those tests, then someone with insurance, now, might have to wait a couple of days to get "their" tests done.

  54. The current system requires you to work at least 20 hours a week to be eligible and being a full time college student doesn't really give you much time for that. She does work but it's not enough.

    Now if she was a heroin addict she would be eligible and get all the medical care she would need. And then allow her to go to a methadone clinic once a day just to get her fix.

  55. Melody, it sounds like a system in need of reform.

  56. From the outside looking in the below article seems a pretty good summary:

    The rancorous realities of Obamacare
    Margaret Wente
    The Globe and Mail

    American liberals are giddy over Barack Obama's hard-won health-care victory. Only weeks ago, they were in despair over his failure to live up to his early promise, but now his fortunes have been miraculously resurrected. They're are already predicting that Obamacare will seal his place in history as one of the greatest presidents of all time.

    Canadians are pretty happy, too. At last, the U.S. has come around to universal coverage. Obamacare fixes the terrible injustice of people who can't get health insurance because they're already sick, and people who lose their coverage when they lose their jobs. From the Canadian point of view, Obamacare is a political and moral triumph (to say nothing of a vindication of our own superiority).

    But perhaps we ought to be a little less triumphant. America's “health-care revolution” (as a Globe and Mail headline put it) entrenches two deeply destructive trends: ideological warfare without end, and the metastatic growth of U.S. debt and entitlement spending.

    Since FDR, every sweeping U.S. social reform – the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare – has been a bipartisan affair. Not this time. Not a single Republican voted for this bill. That's not Mr. Obama's fault. But it's now clear his promise to forge a new era of postpartisan politics, where people would be reasonable and play nicely together, is dead. As David Sanger of The New York Times put it, “the approach to governing he had in mind simply will not work.”

    Mr. Obama is also swimming against a mighty tide. Despite the passage of health reform, most Americans no longer trust the government to get things done. Obamacare is part of a bigger fight over the proper role of government that has split America in half. And even those of us who believe in universal health care might doubt the ability of bureaucrats to impose solutions to complex problems, no matter how wise and smart they are.

    The new health-care legislation is a vast exercise in bureaucracy-building and social engineering, in a sector that already accounts for a mind-boggling 17 per cent of the economy. Will it produce better health outcomes? Will most Americans feel they themselves will be better off because of it? Don't bet on it.

    What you can bet on is that Obamacare will fail miserably at containing costs. Americans already spend 60 per cent more money on health care per capita than we do. Yet, this legislation will do nothing to check the power of trial lawyers, unions, Big Pharma or doctors. It does nothing to check consumer demand for more and better treatments. (And if it did, Americans really would revolt.) Instead of containing costs, the legislation adds even more open-ended entitlement programs.

    The official estimate says Obamacare will cost $1-trillion over the next 10 years but will actually lower federal deficits. Don't believe it. A more likely result, reckons Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, is that it will add at least another $562-billion to the deficit, which is already projected to reach an impressive $1.2-trillion by 2020.

  57. In a rousing speech a day before the vote, Mr. Obama recalled the glories of the past. “You know, naysayers said that Social Security would lead to socialism. But the men and women of Congress stood fast and created that program that lifted millions out of poverty.” What he didn't say is that Social Security must be reformed to be sustained, but no one wants to touch it.

    The one issue that unites America's warring parties is their mutual refusal to address the runaway entitlements that both of them have built. Neither has the will or courage to honestly address America's staggering debt. Neither has the nerve to tell the people that their country is living beyond its means and that, sooner or later, they'll have to pay the piper.

    If Mr. Obama ever takes that one on and survives, his place in history will be truly secured.

  58. ...just catching to the part about Amish freeloaders...What does one call the multitude of non-service connected veterans receiving VA benefits?

    As to people just happening to “luck out” with VA and gain health care benefits, MALARKY! One must apply for benefits and make the case for neediness. The process is long and arduous as a general rule. Also, as a general rule, the first level of caseworkers has only one rubber stamp. It prints, "DENIED".

  59. 13 states sue over Obama’s health care overhaul

    "Attorneys-general from 13 states sued the U.S. government Tuesday, claiming the landmark health-care overhaul bill is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed it into law.

    The lawsuit was filed in Pensacola after the Democratic president signed the bill the House passed Sunday night.

    “The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage,” the lawsuit says. "

  60. Allen, you have absolutely no fucking clue what you're talking about.

    Your long, arduous process consists of producing a DD 214.

    They take an income statement, but I don't recall the phrase "needy" ever coming up. There is no human decision-making. You either qualify, or you don't.

    There are "Treatments," such as surgeries, joint replacements, etc. that, obviously, require qualification, and approval. I understand those are difficult to come by.

    I guess they would, indeed, be very difficult to obtain if you were a Non Service-Connected Veteran. Whatever to hell that is.

  61. Israeli leader gets warmer welcome in Congress

    Mr. Netanyahu has been courteous enough to resist the temptation to poke his hosts in the eye while on American soil. There is a lesson there for the Administration.

    Mr. Netanyahu will agree to hateful concessions. The Palestinians will follow up with some barbarous act. Everyone then will return to the status quo ante.

  62. I think it's pretty clear what you think of the VA, and Veterans with your stories of the veterans standing outside the VA (a smoke-free zone) with their little bags of drugs, that they'll sell, and trade for more drugs, and alcohol to take back to their homes under the bridges.

    You're just a despicable, fucking phony. I don't think you've ever been near a VA hospital, much less inside of one. I've got no use for you.

  63. rufus,

    Re: phony

    Right...Those who read the previous link will quickly determine who is the greater fool.

  64. Well Here is the applicable page for applying for benefits, asshole. You can do it online, or you can drive down to the VA hospital, DD214 in hand, and sit while the gal fills out the questions. It takes about 10 minutes.

    There are other Veterans that read this site. I'll let them be the judge as to which one knows what he's talking about. Guess what - Since I've done it, I'm going to figure you're fucked.

  65. America's Most Underwater Housing Markets

    About Orlando (58% underwater):
    "For the condo or condo conversion owner, literally they may carry them out feet first before they ever see that property reach 2006 values," he says.

  66. rufus: +1, USMC veteran
    allen: liar & scoundrel

  67. rufus,

    Re: "It takes about 10 minutes." income taxes...

    The linked website exists because veterans need all the help they can get to obtain benefits. That is also why organizations such as the DAV, VFW, and AL exist.

    As to my experience with VA, I am proud to say that I have been of great service to some number of veterans who would have otherwise been hung out to dry.

    Since there are several million hits/sites that to some degree or another address the difficulties faced by veterans with VA and given the enormous Congressional record on matters pertaining thereto, I rest my case.

    Doubtless, you will continue to hold forth as the world's foremost authority, but that is to be expected.

  68. The VFW exists so Veterans have a place to go and have a drink, and tell lies free of the presence of assholes that have never fought in a War for their Country.

  69. Actually, it's a place to go to hide from the wife.

  70. Well, Really, it's a cheap place to drink beer, and hide from the wife. :)

    Thanks, Rat.

  71. allen lies about the scrolling, or he'd not tell us he was.

    Such a schmuck

  72. rufus,

    Your appraisal of the VFW comes as no surprise. It is on par with your knowledge of VA - consumption only.

    Re: HC and America's veterans

    This is why there is a VFW.

    "All VFW ever asked for months now for the promises made to be written into the final bill. They were not. "

    Veterans of Foreign Wars

  73. ...and this:

    "'What's hurtful,' said Tradewell, a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis., 'is a continuing perception that DOD is more concerned about the budget than they are about recruiting and retaining a professional volunteer force that's been at war now for more than eight years.'"

    "'It is a sacred responsibility that this nation provides her defenders something more tangible than just the privilege of fighting and dying for their country.'"

    ["Indeed, it is a sacred responsibility to give old, henpecked drunks a place to lounge and vent their collective spleens."] (For the dim of wit, that last, in brackets, was editorial poetic license.)

    VFW Fires Back at Defense Official

    Separate Legislation Now Required to Protect VA, DOD Healthcare Programs

  74. So heroes, how's that HC plan sound now?

    Of course, the VFW, AL, and DAV are all lying without doubt. HC good - Veterans' Organizations bad.

  75. Allen. We need to talk.

    As to people just happening to “luck out” with VA and gain health care benefits, MALARKY! One must apply for benefits and make the case for neediness. The process is long and arduous as a general rule. Also, as a general rule, the first level of caseworkers has only one rubber stamp. It prints, "DENIED".

    My narrative about VA benefits had its origins one day not too long ago when I wandered into VA clutching my DD214s to just inquire if I could get benefits because my hearing had really gone south on me. The intake guy, or whatever he's called, glanced at the papers and fired up his computer. Next thing I knew, after honestly answering a few questions off the top of my head, I was in. He even made me an appointment with primary care to get the ball rolling, and I walked out with a shiny new plastic card. Unfortunately in a sense, the honest answers I gave him off the top of my head were not exactly what VA wanted in order to figure eligible means. He also didn't mention that if I exceeded their means test, I wasn't eligible for entering the copay status since missing the politically inspired deadline in January, 2003, I wasn't eligible for anything, unless destitute. I merrily signed on for every test and exam I'd been putting off for quite a while. Hearing, vision, colonoscopy, etc., as well as some advanced diagnostics the specialists wanted to run like a CT-scan to rule out a certain type tumor related to hearing losses. Later on, VA caught up to me via IRS. Only then did I realize I wasn't eligible in the first place. The problem was that they have a very peculiar way of testing means in which sale of a bundle of mutual funds to pay some unexpected bills is counted as income on the gross sale amount, not adjusted for basis. Also, alimony doesn't apply. Another interesting quirk I encountered was that a fellow I'd met in the intake office happened to be manning the information desk as I was leaving at around the time I was inquiring about the eligibility fiasco. We said hi and he asked me why I was there. I told him I needed to schedule my second annual primary care exam, but that I was crossways with the beancounters. He put my name into his computer and said, "You show up here...what did you want again?" I walked out with an appointment, and was launched into my second year of coverage. Eventually the computers circled their wagons, and I could no longer penetrate the beancounters' defenses. I did get an extra year of low cost Viagra out of that exercise, as well as getting to see my sweet primary care physician again.

    So, sometimes there's denial, and other times you're welcomed. It must be my scintillating personality. No?

    As to veterans receiving assistance in the absence of service connected disabilities, I don't argue with the position that
    it's a questionable practice that has partially been closed by the January, 2003 rule. I only applied because it was clearly a benefit I had access to, or thought I did, not realizing the 2003 cutoff. I wouldn't have objected if anytime in the process I'd been told to just get out and leave the resources for the needy.

    That clearly wasn't the case. They were eager to take in new applicants. The medical staff seem to operate in a different world than the administrators. I like that.

    In spite of all the criticism leveled at VA, I was impressed by the level of care, competence, friendliness, cleanliness of facilities, etc.

    Oh. I never did get my hearing aids. None service connected I was told.

  76. Linear,

    Your experience took longer than "10 minutes"?

    Sorry about the outcome.

    My advice to anyone seeking VA benefits is to get good, competent representation from one of the service organizations. It's like that old saying, "A man who has himself for a client has a fool for a lawyer." O, and the odds always favor the house. And VA has pretty stringent rules.

    Talk to some of these folk. They know the system and how to work you through it. If you are turned down, appeal. There is a direct correlation between the level of the appeal and winning an award. In short, the higher up the food chain you go, the better your chance of success. Don't be shy about bringing in your member of Congress or a Senator (most have staff to handle veterans' complaints exclusively). But you have to be patient: appeals have been known to take up to three years. When you win, the pay out is retroactive.

    By the way, I am not opposed to the care of non-service connected problems. Men and women who have served the United States deserve a break.

    I am opposed to idiots who misrepresent the facts to the possible detriment of others. Goofy theories about HC and petroleum supplies don't bother. Gaming veterans does.