Saturday, July 10, 2004

Cut Medical Costs -- It's Trivial!

If you're worried (in a political sense) about the cost of medical care, you don't have to. Dramatically cutting medical costs is cheap (if not easy).

1) Shut down the FDA. It adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of drug and medical device development. We all have access to enough information these days to decide what's good and what's not. After all, surgical techniques are unlicensed. Any surgeon can start cutting away any way he likes. He's free to develop new techniques and start using them without government permission. If that's reasonably safe, and it is, why not go the same way with drugs and medical devices?

2) Eliminate the prescription drug system. If all drugs could be bought directly by patients, they wouldn't have to pay off physicians to obtain prescriptions. They can self-prescribe. Saves a great deal of cash.

3) Open immigration. Much of the cost of medical care consists of the labor cost of both skilled and unskilled custodial care. Open immigration for health-care workers will reduce those costs by increasing the supply of labor.

4) Hospital deregulation. If the supply of hospital beds increased, the cost would go down.

5) Doctor deregulation. If the supply of doctors increased because restrictive licensure was eliminated, the cost of their services would go down.

6) Insurance deregulation. If insurance contracts were not being added to by state legislators in the interest of gaining freebies for their constituents without having to spend money, health insurance would be a lot cheaper. It's not accidental that a one-minute trip over the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania would drop your medical insurance costs by thousands of dollars a year. If one is not forced to buy mental health coverage, contraception, or first dollar coverage, one can spend much less for insurance and is -- therefore -- much more likely to possess it.

Anarchists, War, & Gay Marriage

I'm shocked, shocked and appalled, to note that some libertarian anarchists oppose the invasion of "other countries" and that some others do not oppose civil marriage for homosexuals (and by inference) heterosexuals.

If one does not believe in countries, sovereignty, borders, weapons control, or immigration control; one can hardly object to armed strangers traveling from point A to point B (in the absence of trespass on private property).

One can, of course, object to "invasions" of other "countries" that involve travel paid for by tax dollars. And one can object to common law crimes committed by the "invaders" against the residents of the zone that they have traveled to.

It is a challenging question of libertarian theory, BTW, as to how careful one has to be to protect innocent life when one is fighting a revolution or defensive war. This is a very difficult problem because artillery tends to go astray from time to time and anarchists do not (collectively) prohibit such risky behavior as the private ownership of nuclear weapons.

As for the civil marriage question...

Libertarian anarchists cannot in good conscience support the extension of civil marriage licenses to homosexuals. State licensing of sexual congress and/or family formation is a major human rights violation whether done to hetero- or homo-sexuals.

As with military conscription, libertarian anarchists should not favor the extension of a form of oppression to another group (say, women) in the name of equality. If oppression of one group is wrong, extension of the oppression to a new group (who had heretofore been exempt) is likewise wrong.

The whole concept of government regulation of domestic relations (dom rel law) is an outrage.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Self-Hatred Among the Demon-Cats

Kerry's Celebrity Fund-Raiser Is a Huge Bash

Paul Newman decried "tax cuts for wealthy thugs like me" as "borderline criminal."

The comedian John Leguizamo, who is half Puerto Rican, said the notion of Hispanics supporting Republicans was "like roaches for Raid." And Whoopi Goldberg, after joking about refusing to submit her material to campaign censors, made an extended sexual pun on the president's surname.

"This campaign will be a celebration of real American values," Mr. Edwards promised, saying that voters "deserve a president who knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong."

Mr. Kerry, inviting his and Mr. Edwards's adult children onstage for a sing-along of "This Land Is Your Land," told the crowd that "every single performer" on the bill had "conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."

Accused Army Deserter Leaves for Reunion : Accused Army Deserter Leaves for Reunion

PYONGYANG, North Korea July 8, 2004 — An American accused of deserting his Army unit 40 years ago to defect to North Korea left Pyongyang on Friday with his two daughters to be reunited with his Japanese wife in Indonesia.

Soga was abducted by spies and taken to the North in 1978 and then repatriated to Japan nearly two years ago. She had to return home alone because Jenkins, who allegedly deserted his Army unit in 1965, would face extradition to the United States and a court martial if he were to join her in Japan.

I would think that if he decided to return to the US, the Feds should decline to prosecute. What punishment for desertion could be worse than time served -- 40 years in North Korea!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

One Minute to Literacy

For the past few years, the National Endowment for the Arts has taken it upon itself to measure our interest in what it calls "literary reading".

Literary Reading in Dramatic Decline, According to National Endowment for the Arts Survey

Fewer Than Half of American Adults Now Read Literature

July 8, 2004

New York, N.Y. - Literary reading is in dramatic decline with fewer than half of American adults now reading literature, according to a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) survey released today. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America reports drops in all groups studied, with the steepest rate of decline - 28 percent - occurring in the youngest age groups.

Now the NEA's standard for literary reading is pretty low: The 2002 SPPA asked respondents if, during the past 12 months, they had read any novels or short stories, plays, or poetry. A positive response to any of those three categories is counted as reading literature, including popular genres such as mysteries, as well as contemporary and classic literary fiction. No distinctions were drawn on the quality of literary works.

Thus you have an opportunity to achieve official certified government literacy in less than a minute. Simply read the following Rudyard Kipling poem and the next time the NEA calls (this is an annual survey) you can report yourself as literate:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

by Rudyard Kipling -- 1919

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I Make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place.
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: Stick to the Devil you know.

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: The Wages of Sin is Death.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: If you don't work you die.

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four --
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man --
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began --
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire --

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

Can VoIP survive Congress?

Declan McCullah asks Can VoIP survive Congress?

The answer is "yes". If the Feds get too uppity, I'll just run my own SIP server and switch my own damn phone calls.

And as for "interfacing with the PSTN", I'll spend the whole $59 + $39 for PCPhoneline's Sip Gateway and Port Converter and connect my own damn VOIP calls to the PSTN.

No taxes and no CALEA problems.