Some recommended weekend viewing Quick note about comments

The Sunday Bits for January 26, 2014

January 26th, 2014 at 10:01am

Happy Australia Day, and welcome to the first Sunday Bits for 2014.

Australian Flag

If you watched the tennis last night then you probably saw Billie Court sing the national anthem before the match. Normally I am not a fan of the public performances of Advance Australia Fair as it is a beautiful and important song, but most singers are just not capable of performing the song with the respectful gusto which it deserves. In fact I believe that Julie Anthony is almost the only person who has ever done a good live rendition (and excellent recorded version) of it…but last night I was very pleasantly surprised by Billie Court who did an absolutely fantastic job.

Being Australia Day I had hoped to provide you with Billie Court’s rendition of Advance Australia Fair from last night, but I can’t find it. I did, however, find her rendition of it at the cricket a few years ago. The picture quality is a bit dodgy, but the song is excellent.

If I can get my hands on last night’s rendition, I’ll post it for you.

In This Edition
*A change of format
*Best wishes to Ian Ross
*Socialised medicine kills
*Kevin Andrews’ interest in marriage counselling
*Impending deflation
*Aliens running America?
*Upcoming climate change discussion
*Obama administration has been covering up Benghazi from the start
*The war on Christianity is alive and well
*The electric chair is making a comeback

***

A change of format
A quick note before we delve in to more interesting subjects. When I started The Sunday Bits it was supposed to be a quick summary of things which I either couldn’t get to during the week or were interesting but didn’t really deserve their own blog post. Unfortunately I found myself effectively writing a dozen full blog posts in one blog post, and spent over an hour on it. It was unworkable and didn’t really fit the intended purpose. To correct this I have changed the format a tad by introducing a word limit of 1,000 words, with a target of 750-800 words. WordPress (the software behind this site) keeps a word count as I write, so it’s count will be used for this purpose. Due to the room taken up by this note, I’m giving myself a little bit of extra room this week.

***

Best wishes to Ian Ross
I’d like to take a moment to wish former television newsreader Ian Ross all the best after it was revealed yesterday that he has pancreatic cancer and has been told he only has five months to live. Ian was a great credible newsreader on multiple networks. He has opted not to undergo chemotherapy and try alternative treatments. Here’s hoping Ian sees much more than five months in relatively good health.

***

Socialised medicine kills
It might be for the best that Ian Ross is not undergoing chemotherapy, especially as a public patient. A news article today shows something which is plainly obvious.

MORE than 840 people – 16 a week – died waiting for surgery in Victoria in the past year.

The revelation comes as the length of time patients spend on elective surgery waiting lists continues to grow.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show almost 841 people died on hospital waiting lists in 2012-13, an increase of 246 – or 41 per cent – in three years.

(h/t Peter Mickelburough of the Sunday Herald Sun)

Sadly it’s common sense really. Government-managed systems are ultimately controlled by a finite government budget sourced from finite tax revenues. As such they can only afford to perform a maximum number of operations in a year, which results in rationing and waiting lists. This is a problem which a market-driven (not highly-regulated like here in Australia) private system doesn’t have as competition between insurers and consumers helps to ensure people can be seen quickly. There have been cases of Australians on a surgery waiting list going to the US and ending up in hospital for unrelated treatment, only to have the US hospital treat the waiting list condition there and then (I wish I could find the link I had to such a story) and have it covered by the medical component of their travel insurance, and save Australian taxpayers a motza in the process.

***

Kevin Andrews’ interest in marriage counselling
Earlier this week I expressed my concerns about the federal government’s mooted scheme to hand out $200 marriage counselling vouchers to newlyweds. Larry Pickering has come up with some interesting information about the minister responsible for the scheme:

More concerning is that the holier-than-thou Minister Andrews and his wife also run a Catholic marriage guidance counselling company.
He maintains he has not actively done so since the latest election but his marriage guidance web page tells a different story.
“He is advertising group sessions at $240 per couple”

Hmmm, I do hope this scheme, silly as it is, has more behind it than ministerial self-interest.

***

Impending deflation
I pay to subscribe to a few U.S. talk radio shows, including Coast To Coast AM. Coast specialises in some very odd topics and often the shows are of little interest to me, so I don’t usually listen to the live show, but it usually has a couple of interesting shows each month which I listen to after they’ve aired. Recently it had a very interesting show in which demographic economist Harry Dent explained that he thinks the world’s economy is about to hit a tipping point where the number of newly-retired baby boomers will cause a crash and long-term deflation. He believes the markets will climb until May, and then a large crash and deflation will hit. He doesn’t expect recovery for at least five years.

***

Aliens running America?
Later in that episode a discussion was held about a bizarre revelation from a recent Edward Snowden NSA leak. According to PC Tech Magazine’s summary of the leaked reports, a bunch of tall white aliens are in control of the US government and were also responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Worryingly, some other aliens apparently favour Russia and oppose the tall white aliens.

Make of it what you will.

***

Upcoming climate change discussion
In an upcoming edition of Coast To Coast AM which I will be listening to live (many radio stations stream it live if you wish to join me) on Thursday afternoon (Wednesday night/Thursday morning US time), Space historian Robert Zimmerman will be on for the shows first two hours (5pm – 7pm Canberra time) to “discuss the fraud and dishonesty which has permeated the sciences of climate and environmental studies including how scientists at NASA and NOAA have consistently manipulated the temperature records”.

Sounds good.

***

Obama administration has been covering up Benghazi from the start
The Obama administration has to take a lot of the blame for the lethal attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. It has tried to deflect blame and cover up the truth. Fox News is one of the few places where the truth has not been in short supply on the subject, but even they’ve had a hard time reporting it. Noel Sheppard at the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters.org website explains the lengths the Obama administration has gone to in an effort to avoid the truth from getting out, including omitting Fox and only Fox from multiple briefings and press conferences, and even trying to get a friend of Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren to silence Fox reporter Jennifer Griffin. Despicable, but typical of Obama and friends.

***

The war on Christianity is alive and well
I read a story the other week (no link, sorry…I didn’t think I’d need to keep the link) where somebody tried to claim that there is no war against Christianity in popular culture and public institutions. They took particular umbrage with Todd Starnes who relentlessly reports on the subject. I wonder then, what that person makes of these stories?
First grader, while telling her class about a family Christmas tradition, as was the task at the time, told she was “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school” and was prevented from telling the class about her family’s tradition of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas.
Detroit 8-year-old told he can’t bring a Bible to school after reading it, quietly, in a free-reading period.

There mightn’t be any missiles or bullets, but there is definitely a cultural war happening here.

***

The electric chair is making a comeback
The electric chair is set to become the primary method of death penalty executions in Virginia. Ironically this change in method, which is undoubtedly more painful than lethal injection, is being brought about by the producer of the lethal injection drugs trying to be nicer.

European pharmaceutical companies last year stopped selling the three-drug mix used for injections on ethical grounds, forcing several states, including Virginia, to consider alternative methods to carry out lethal punishment.

(h/t Fox News)

A Democrat is complaining about it being a barbaric way to kill someone (oddly he hasn’t proposed a firing squad which would be as quick, effective and “non-barbaric” as a lethal injection), but I don’t see a problem with it. The electric chair never went away and was always available upon request to death-row inmates…and we should not forget that people on death-row have been convicted of the most barbaric of crimes themselves. It seems fair, in my view, that they receive an unpleasant sentence. It’s certainly a better option than an alternative lethal injection method which was tried in Ohio earlier this month in which it took 26 minutes for the convict to die. The electric chair works, is a real punishment, and gives the family of the victim some comfort in seeing with their own eyes that the assailant is not getting off lightly. I’m all for it.

***

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful Australia Day. I hope your day of celebration is a good one for the anniversary of the fantastic day on which the First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove and started the process which eventually created our great nation, and equally I hope your day is not sullied by that annual countdown done by that communist taxpayer-funded radio station.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: The Sunday Bits

Print This Post Print This Post

6 Comments

  • 1. frank83  |  January 26th, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Socialised medicine kills
    A news article today shows something which is plainly obvious.
    Sadly it’s common sense really. Government-managed systems are ultimately controlled by a finite government budget sourced from finite tax revenues. As such they can only afford to perform a maximum number of operations in a year, which results in rationing and waiting lists. This is a problem which a market-driven (not highly-regulated like here in Australia) private system doesn’t have as competition between insurers and consumers helps to ensure people can be seen quickly.

    Plainly obvious? Sadly you lack common sense really. Socialised medicine doesn’t kill, Sam. Clearly ignorance does. These waiting lists you refer to are for patients without private health insurance. Yes the government must ration, but the alternative would be these patients would not be operated on at all.

    There is a market driven private system in this country! Do you realise that any person in Australia could contact a surgeon and have whatever procedure they require next week, provided they paid for it themselves or via private health insurance? There is no “big government” that you have imagined to stop them. In fact this happens every day in Australia.

    But there are many people who cannot afford private health insurance in this country. For them the only option is the “socialised medicine” you are so vehemently opposed to. If there was no socialised medicine how do you think these people would undergo surgeries they can’t afford?

    Fact is, they wouldn’t. If you had your way and there was no public health care all patients on that waiting list would die.
    .
    How can you not be aware of this? Frankly for a 26 year old man who spends his life following current affairs, to demonstrate this level of ignorance of the world in which you live is embarrassing.

    Yet, it is also a reminder of what happens when one let’s themselves be brainwashed by bombastic right wing talking heads who chase ratings over factual reporting.

    Socialised medicine doesn’t kill; in this country it saves lives. It is ignorance such as yours that kills.

  • 2. Samuel  |  January 26th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    No, I explained this in the post. Australia does not have a free-market health system. The private sector health system is heavily regulated.

    I’ll expand on this for you. The heavy regulation and the fact the private sector has to compete with a public sector means that there is not enough competition to bring medical costs down, which forces people on to the rationed public system. It’s a government system which is designed to slowly squeeze out the private health sector and empower government. Once government gets close enough to a monopoly on health, it can start to justify all sorts of new and intrusive laws as “reducing the strain on the health service”.

    The argument that in a fully free-market system the poor would be excluded is nonsense and here’s why. Most doctors practice medicine because they want to help people and won’t abide the poor missing out, and therefore will do what they can to help people. Exactly how they do this varies, but it has usually been through some form of co-operative arrangement between the doctors where they take turns at spending a certain amount of their time treating people who otherwise could not afford the normal fees. This, however, in a free-market system is a very small portion of the population because insurance companies compete with each other and create products which are within the price range of all of the population…it is in their interest to attract as many customers as possible and therefore can make all kinds of offerings for all different types of people and groups.

    It is also important to remember that receiving health care is not a right as such a right would violate the right of the doctor to dispense their services and expertise as they see fit and for a fee to compensate them for their investment in acquiring the necessary knowledge and expertise to do their job. That said, just like lawyers who do pro-bono work for people and causes, doctors will do work for free if and when they want to, especially when untreated sick people pose a risk to others.

  • 3. frank83  |  January 26th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    the fact the private sector has to compete with a public sector means that there is not enough competition to bring medical costs down, which forces people on to the rationed public system.

    This doesn’t even make sense! According to you the private sector competes with a product which is free to the user but this somehow leads to higher private sector costs? Medical costs are not high because of lack of competition, they are high because healthcare (of a standard Australians expect) is hugely expensive irrespective of competition.

    The argument that in a fully free-market system the poor would be excluded is nonsense and here’s why. Most doctors practice medicine because they want to help people and won’t abide the poor missing out, and therefore will do what they can to help people.

    This is a joke right? Do you seriously think that i) in fully free market systems the poor aren’t excluded and ii) it is because of the charity of doctors? Do you understand that there are significant healthcare costs other than doctor’s fees? Who pays for all the hospitals, nurses, surgical equipment, medication, bed linen etc. doctors? Of course not.

    There is no comparative government dental service. Yet you don’t see competition driving dentists’ fees down. Quite the opposite. You also don’t see vast levels of pro bono dentistry. People who can’t afford dental fees, whose teeth are rotting out of their jaw, who are in chronic pain and cannot eat, simply go without. Is it because dentists are heartless compared to doctors? No. It is because yours is an unrealistic solution from someone out of touch with the real world.

    doctors will do work for free if and when they want to, especially when untreated sick people pose a risk to others.

    Oh I see. Doctors will do work for free for the public good will they? In other words “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” as per Karl Marx?

    Do you realise that in defending your attack on “socialised medicine kills” you have offered an an even more socialist alternative that will kill even more people?

    As for: is also important to remember that receiving health care is not a right
    So why even complain about patients dying because they don’t receive healthcare? According to you they don’t pay so they don’t have a right to it. Unless you think the blame should rest with the doctors who aren’t treating them for free?

  • 4. Samuel  |  January 26th, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Yes, private sector competing with the subsidised public sector causes private sector prices to be higher because the reduced number of people using the private sector means that private sector doctors need to charge more to each patient to cover their costs. The heavy regulatory burden also increases cost.

    There is a government dental system. It doesn’t cover much, but it covers enough to interfere with the free market. More importantly the youth dental service conditions people to expect to not pay for the service…as this is effectively youth indoctrination, it is an attitude which is then carried through to adult life. People with this attitude avoid the dentist until it’s too late, so of course dentists are going to charge high prices if a) few people come in for general check ups and prevention, and b) when they do see the dentist the problem had become so big that the fee is necessarily high.

    The lack of paying customers in dentistry causes it to be unworkable for dentists to provide free services on a large scale.

    Your reference to Marx is erroneous in this situation. The Marx quote you noted is a reference to an idea that a central authority decides how much work people can do and where the fruits of that labour should go. I was describing a charitable system run on the whim of individuals, made possible by the fact they have a profit-stream from the free-market system.

    I can see where you could get the two systems confused in that both result in non-paying people receiving something. The difference though is the motive…socialism is distribution by dictate whereas capitalism is distribution by free will.

    And why does it matter that socialised medicine is a killer when medical treatment is not a right? Because life is precious and we have multiple ways of setting up a medical system, and some have better outcomes than others. Treatment is not a right, but the sanctity of life dictates that a humane society should choose the system with the best outcomes. Free-market healthcare produces better outcomes than socialised medicine.

    Before I forget the question of paying for nurses, hospital equipment etc. That depends on the location. In a free-market system you have multiple types of health providing locations with different setups. In most cases the patient ultimately pays for these people either directly or indirectly, but it is also possible for, as an example, a group of local businesses to provide funding to a medical centre of some sort in exchange for their staff receiving discounted or free medical services. This generally works to the benefit of the business (staff retention) and the medical centre (guaranteed revenue to fund ongoing expenses) as well as the employees (cheaper healthcare) and the community (better local health services). This has not been uncommon in various US communities…alas Obamacare’s mandates about the types of services which must be provided are making this type of mutually beneficial arrangement illegal.

    The free-market works on a combination of self-interest and “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mutual benefit, which is why it makes for a good health system.

  • 5. frank83  |  January 26th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    People with this attitude avoid the dentist until it’s too late, so of course dentists are going to charge high prices if a) few people come in for general check ups and prevention, and b) when they do see the dentist the problem had become so big that the fee is necessarily high.

    To clarify, you are suggesting i)adults who avoid the dentist can afford to but choose not to pay.
    ii)If the youth dentistry program were scrapped, the cost of dental fees would decrease to a point almost everyone could afford it, and the rest would be covered by free dentistry?
    What do you think the new price of a general check up would therefore be?

    More importantly the youth dental service conditions people to expect to not pay for the service…as this is effectively youth indoctrination, it is an attitude which is then carried through to adult life.
    Do you have a shred of evidence to support this?

    The reduced number of people using the private sector means that private sector doctors need to charge more to each patient to cover their costs.
    Do you have any evidence to support this? Are you suggesting doctors would charge less per patient if they had more patients? This is nonsense and not consistent with the laws of supply and demand.

    This has not been uncommon in various US communities…
    This is well and truly your finest strawman argument. “A medical centre of some sort” is not a hospital with operating theatres and an ICU where the surgeries you initially referred to occur. Unless you’re suggesting a group of local businesses have together funded such a hospital?

    The lack of paying customers in dentistry causes it to be unworkable for dentists to provide free services on a large scale.

    Ok i)How much do you think dentists currently earn?
    ii) How much do you think they would need to earn to provide “free services on a large scale”?

    Free-market healthcare produces better outcomes than socialised medicine.

    Do you actually have any evidence to support this argument?

    The free-market works on a combination of self-interest and “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mutual benefit, which is why it makes for a good health system.
    Are you aware of the failures of the free market? Are you aware that people without resources to contribute e.g.. pensioners and the unemployed are effectively excluded from it? These are the very people dying on the waiting list. You have made the unsupported assertion that scrapping the public health system would actually lead to these people receiving surgery because doctors would work for free. Please point out which aspect of free market economics supports your model involving doctors working for free?

    My comparison to Marx is valid as your system also relies on doctors routinely working for less than their worth and you are naive enough to expect them to do so.

  • 6. Samuel  |  January 27th, 2014 at 12:50 am

    You want specific numbers, well seeing as market forces would decide that, you’re asking for the impossible. The best you’ll get is that the cost of private health care for the individual should go down a reasonable amount. I’ve already explained the reasons.

    Your comparison to Marx is not valid. Marx’s system forces doctors to work for less than their worth. My system bases their worth on what the market will pay…I don’t expect them to work for less but I know some will voluntarily do that from time-to-time as it’s human nature for people to volunteer and donate out of the goodness of their heart.

    Now, I’m sure you’re enjoying this much more than I am. You, under various aliases dating back to 2007 as far as I can see, have done your best to wind me up by twisting everything I say as much as you can until the conversation becomes utterly ridiculous. I’ve banned many of your aliases from this site before, and as I have better things to do with my time than engage in your deliberately circular and pointless arguments, you can consider your latest alias banned as well.

    I would invite you back in the future if you ever gain the ability to have a logical conversation, but I know that has never been your reason for bothering me, so I won’t invite you back. I am warning you now that if I ever detect your presence here again, I will take further action to continue your ban.

    Good day.


Calendar

January 2014
S M T W T F S
« Dec   Feb »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Most Recent Posts

Search Blog or Web

Login/Logout

Ads By Google


Blix Theme by Sebastian Schmieg and modified for Samuel's Blog by Samuel Gordon-Stewart.
Printing CSS with the help of Martin Pot's guide to Web Page Printability With CSS.
Icons by Kevin Potts.
Powered by WordPress.
Log in