Corporatism and Healthcare

Image representing CGI Group as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

We’ve often talked of the differences between capitalism and corporatism. We are living through a real life demonstration as we speak. Where? In Obamacare. This is true on several levels.

One the law, distorts the market by requiring some coverage irregardless of the customer’s (that’s us) desires. One example is that I, as a roughly 60-year-old single man have very little need for maternity benefits, but the law requires me to buy them. Why? Most likely because it’s important to increase my cost to offset something else in the law. Like that women use more health care and are therefore more expensive to insure, but you can’t charge to reflect the fact.

There are plenty of these things in the law, pretty much all of them increase the cost of coverage.

You know, of course, that you are required to buy insurance. Why? And in truth most of these plans have annual deductibles that are higher than I have spent on health care in my life, which is why, except when I had an employer sponsored plan, I’ve never had health insurance, I’ve just paid my bills out-of-pocket and gone my way. Granted I’m not average, I suppose, I’m perhaps healthier than most, but not spectacularly, I just don’t go to the doctor every time I have the sniffles. Insurance companies love me, I’m nearly pure profit after underwriting. But I don’t love insurance companies, they are very nearly a pure cost to me, without benefit.

In truth, I’m at the age now, where I would be considering buying at least a catastrophic plan, but Obamacare has outlawed them. So I’ll have to reconsider.

That’s one way the law interferes with an efficient (let alone free) market.

Then there is the implementation.

Government programs are often contracted out, as they should be, the government does very little well. This contract process usually attempts to find qualified contractors, and then the contract is issued to the contractor offering the lowest price. It works, after a fashion. It leads to some jokes like the astronauts on the Apollo 13 mission after their problem looking at each other and asking how it feels to be going to the moon in a vehicle built by the lowest bidder. But it’s reasonably fair to all parties, and the government does have to purchase things. There are comparable things in the private sector, and if the specifications are properly drawn (sometimes a big if) it works well. It is a bit (sometimes a lot) cumbersome though.

So if you need something done very fast, there has always been a way to sole source contracts. The left used to love to talk about Halliburton in Iraq, specifically one of their contracts, which was sole sourced. It was to drive gasoline tankers across Iraq during the war, and it was for cost-plus one dollar. This one was to the government’s benefit but, the system is easily abused.

And that brings us to the HHS department and Obamacare. It appears that a lot of the IT work was awarded on sole source contracts (and no, gentle reader, they were not cost-plus a dollar, either). They agree to have been awarded to cronies of the Democratic party. That’s very bad management, and possibly corrupt. But the worst part is that it appears they were not particularly competent either. John Hinderaker of Power Line Blog has an article up with a cogent technical discussion.

Software expert Dan Weber, in a comment on Marginal Revolution, offers a cogent technical explanation of the failure of the Obamacare launch:

The front end technology is not the problem here. It would be nice if it was the problem, because web page scaling issues are known problems and relatively easy to solve.

The real problems are with the back end of the software. When you try to get a quote for health insurance, the system has to connect to computers at the IRS, the VA, Medicaid/CHIP, various state agencies, Treasury, and HHS. They also have to connect to all the health plan carriers to get pre-subsidy pricing. All of these queries receive data that is then fed into the online calculator to give you a price. If any of these queries fails, the whole transaction fails.

Most of these systems are old legacy systems with their own unique data formats. Some have been around since the 1960′s, and the people who wrote the code that runs on them are long gone. If one of these old crappy systems takes too long to respond, the transaction times out.
Amazingly, none of this was tested until a week or two before the rollout, and the tests failed. They released the web site to the public anyway – an act which would border on criminal negligence if it was done in the private sector and someone was harmed. Their load tests crashed the system with only 200 simultaneous transactions – a load that even the worst-written front-end software could easily handle.

Continue reading Why the Obamacare Rollout was a DisasterI’ll wait for you.

As it happens, I don’t and never did write COBOL, although I know people who did, I sort of learned FORTRAN IV a scientific language that we used in engineering, and I learned to program (and debug) on punch cards. You younger people have no idea how easy you have it. :-)

It’s hard, and I’d guess interfacing that stuff to a website leads to lots of hangovers. Not least because the programmers who really knew how to use those languages are pretty much retired (or dead).

And then when your prime requirement for getting the contract is political connections and/or contributions, you have set the whole process up to fail, the only question is, did you know that or are the executive level employees so incompetent that they didn’t understand what they were doing?

My friend Gilia at the Hump Day Report is here to tell you about some of the connections involved. I’ll bet we find more. Here’s Gilia

It pays to be a friend of the mighty Obamas.  While the American people have spent over half a billion dollars on the botched ObamaCare website, and the administration has wasted over 3 years getting it ready,  King Barry and Queen Michelle’s friend are doing quite well.  Check this out (shaka to DocMarv):

Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is executive at company that built Obamacare website

4:57 PM 10/25/2013

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.

Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.

Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

Toni Townes ’85 is a onetime policy analyst with the General Accounting Office and previously served in the Peace Corps in Gabon, West Africa. Her decision to return to work, as an African-American woman, after six years of raising kids was applauded by a Princeton alumni publication in 1998

George Schindler, the president for U.S. and Canada of the Canadian-based CGI Group, CGI Federal’s parent company, became an Obama 2012 campaign donor after his company gained the Obamacare website contract.

As reported by the Washington Examiner in early October, the Department of Health and Human Services reviewed only CGI’s bid for the Obamacare account. CGI was one of 16 companies qualified under the Bush administration to provide certain tech services to the federal government. A senior vice president for the company testified this week before The House Committee on Energy and Commerce that four companies submitted bids, but did not name those companies or explain why only CGI’s bid was considered.

On the government end, construction of the disastrous Healthcare.gov website was overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of longtime failed website-builder Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services.

Update: The Daily Caller repeatedly contacted CGI Federal for comment. After publication of this article, the company responded that there would be “nothing coming out of CGI for the record or otherwise today.” The company did however insist that The Daily Caller include a reference to vice president Cheryl Campbell’s House testimony. This has been included as a courtesy to the company.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/25/michelle-obamas-princeton-classmate-is-executive-at-company-that-built-obamacare-website/#ixzz2ixBAYpM7

Friends With Benefits.

To be honest, in all business there’s a level of this, we all like to work with our friends. I don’t get very excited about it as long as the work is done competently, on time, and on budget. But when you can’t hit even one of the goals:

“Houston, we have a problem.” 

Where Government Drops Ball, People Must Take Up

Logo of the United States Department of Health...

Logo of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The symbol represents the American People sheltered in the wing of the American Eagle, suggesting the Department’s concern and responsibility for the welfare of the people. The logo is the department’s main visual identifier; the seal is now used for mainly legal purposes. The color can be either black or reflex blue. More information here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Anchoress has a story up that I was glad to see, we don’t see enough of them lately it seems. Go read it, and then we’ll talk.

This is one of those stories that makes you feel good about one human being seeing and hearing and helping another human being, but it also frustrates, because long-term answers are not forthcoming.

When she asked if she had paid for all the food she was carrying, Robles confessed that she hadn’t.

“I asked her, ‘Why would you do that? What would make you do that?’” [Officer] Thomas told WSVN. “And she said, ‘My children are hungry.’”

Thomas pulled her aside and checked her criminal history. Finding nothing major, she charged her with a misdemeanor.

However it was Robles’ story that left Thomas concerned, as she knew the single woman’s problem wasn’t at its end. “I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn’t going to solve the problem with her children being hungry,” she told the station.

Thomas spent $100 of her own money on groceries for the young mother. . .Anais, Robles’ 12-year-old daughter, had tears streaming down her face as she expressed her thanks.
[…]
It’s “not fun to see my brother in the dirt, hungry, asking for food, and we have to tell him, ‘there is nothing here,’” the 12-year-old sobbed to the news station.

It’s great that the cop did this, but $100 worth of food plugs a hole that will be open again in a few days. What this lady needs — and I’m sure she would agree — is a job.

Continue reading Where Government Drops Ball, People Must Take Up.

It’s a nice story, and it leads to the usual things. Less we all know “Teach a man to fish”. But it’s difficult to fish in a river so contaminated as to be devoid of life. And that’s where we are in many ways.

If we are to talk of health care, I find the sheer arrogance of any politician, let alone one (or a government full of people) who have accomplished nothing in their life other than to talk a good game, not to mention their arrogance in proclaiming they don’t work for us.

And that’s not to say that the so-called opposition is all that much better either. I see little that makes me think that many of them are any better, less audacious maybe, but little better.

But these are the people who have taken it on them selves to take over one sixth of the American economy, the part that has given Americans some of the best health care in the history of the world.

Did it have problems before they started screwing around? Yep, sure did.

  1. It was expensive. Yep, sure was, or could be. You know what, when your trying to make the best in the world, your average, that’s what happens. It’s a feature of a rich society, not a bug. I’m here in the middle of the prairie, in country that probably averages less than 10 people per square mile, and within an hour of me are at least 3 MRI machines. The last I knew their were less than a hundred in all of Great Britain. Not to mention a dedicated multi-million dollar helicopter ambulance and it’s staff. If you want to reduce the cost without reducing the level, you enhance competition, not reduce it. You allow me to buy any policy offered anywhere in the country, that I think meet my needs. I’m the only valid judge of that, not HHS, and certainly not the IRS.
  2. It was unfair to poor people, well, I suppose it could be, what makes you think the new system will be any better. I think it’ll be worse, simply because now the decisions will be made by bureaucrats in Washington, not doctors looking at the patients.
  3. Too many lawsuits, Yep, tort reform. Obamacare doesn’t address this, too many trial lawyers support him I suppose.

As many of us foresaw the monstrous mess of a bill is blowing up in everyone’s face. I can’t say I’m sorry. I desperately needs to be repealed and forgotten,but, that’s not going to happens for now.

But what is:

  1. A half a million people have lost their health insurance this week, Some of them, no doubt are like me, that in the last 20 years haven’t used the first years deductible, but I’d guess there are many that really need that insurance. I also doubt that, even if they manage to get through that website, they will be able to afford what’s on offer there, let alone the nearly guaranteed identity theft that goes with it.
  2. Doctor’s are going out of business just as fast as they can unload their practice. Most doctors in my experience, became doctors to heal people, not to be paper shuffling (or electron inconveniencing) automaton. Some no doubt will establish cash only practices, the are the best hope of reasonable care in the future. It’s also the old model that held sway when I grew up. Go to the doctor, give him between $5 and 25, depending and go your way, maybe to the drug store, give them money too, unless it was a wonder drug that you needed all the time, then maybe, your insurance would help, rarely.
  3. Because the government has decided it’s a good idea to punish companies for hiring full time employee, employers are letting them go. How many stories of full time workers being reduced to 29 hours a week have you heard.

But what I really wanted to do here was to remind you of a couple things. No matter how good or bad (and yes even for an incompetent administration, contracting with corrupt contractors, it’s amazingly bad) the website is; that isn’t the problem. The problem is the arrogance of government thinking it knows what I need, better than I do.

Along that line we need to be careful, the website is fixable, the problems with the act, are not.

The other thing is we need to be compassionate here. There are still a lot of people who believe in ‘free stuff’. I, like you, believe in absolute personal responsibility, but you know, they weren’t brought up that way, were they? We need to educate them, we don’t have any real need to starve them to death. We need to figure this out as we go forward because Obamacare has already caused a lot of damage to health care (and the economy itself).

 But part of it is what the Anchoress wrote about. Why? This is how we always did it. People didn’t flock to America for the last hundreds of years because they were being ruthlessly exploited, they came for a better life, and they found it, and they wrote home, and more came, and almost none starved or died in the street. Why? The people and churches of America.

I’m more than a bit of a know-it-all; but I’d surely be interested in how you think we should proceed.

Objective Reality and Useless Mouths

warningIf you’re younger than me by more than a couple of years, actually it might be more accurate to say unless you’re ten years older than me, you’re not like me. Why? Pretty simple really.

You see, my parents worked all the way through the depression, there aren’t any handcarts of apples in my history. That wasn’t much of a surprise, really, given that my dad held his dad in his arms while he died. He was a junior in high school, and now he was responsible for feeding his 6 younger brothers and sisters, and his mom. This would have been in the 20s and there was no government help, likely there was a bit of short-term help from the church. Grampa was a musician and a mechanic, he ran the light plant and the town band (of the 9-11 members, 7 were his sons by the way). Neither of those are going to make you a rich man, and he wasn’t. I have doubts he ever saw the inside of the bank, although he might have, he did try manufacturing bicycles, and failed.

But, anyway, Dad took over and kept them all fed and clothed, that was the end of schooling of course. Although I can remember the owner of a fabrication company that did our work telling me after he died, that dad was the best engineer he ever worked with. I believe it, I saw his work and I saw the respect from his sons-in-law, both professional engineers, one civil, and one mechanical.

But think about that, for a bit. from the time he was 17 about, in the 1920s; until he retired in the late 1960s he was never out of work, and was nearly always respected. But some of those days were spent loading 100 pound bags of potatoes into boxcars by hand for 18 or so hours.I met people at his funeral that he hadn’t seen since 1938, they remembered and cared enough to drive 200 miles to his funeral.

And that was how I was raised as well, although I haven’t had the challenges he did. But you know, the one thing I never heard dad do? He never complained about his life, or the curveballs it threw at him, and there were some. He worked his way through it, with  (a little, sometimes very little) humor. hard work and intelligence. And his last job started on 1 August 1939 with a shoebox of paper, and when he retired in 1969, it was a functioning power company with a physical plant worth something like $2 million dollars. Real dollars, worth close to a 20th of an ounce of gold each, not the devalued scrip we have now.

And here’s the lesson of the day, and dad’s life.

Personal responsibility is the key to it all. I watch the fools in Washington a goodly bit, as do many of you. It sickens me but it is important. What’s the most sickening about it? The constant striving to shift the blame around and the complete unwillingness to take the blame for anything. At some point it will fail, and badly.

Where does that start? With our kids. While I don’t happen to have any, I have had a bunch of young employees over the years. So I tend to see them as they’re entering the workforce. I am not impressed. In fact, I am appalled. These precious snowflakes that you have spent years worrying about and defending when they screwed up (and they did often) are absolutely worthless. It’s pretty much a lost generation, if America can even survive it.

What do I mean? Here read about the reprobates, and their delinquent parents, from Cassy Fiano at Victory Girls

In Plano, Texas, a girl named Shea Shawhan has become the victim of bullying. It’s not a new story — indeed, the rise of bullying over the past few years has been covered to death in the media — but Shea’s story is a little more despicable than usual. Shea is a special needs student. She was born with a brain injury that causes her to suffer seizures. She is 18-years-old, but possesses the mental capacity of an eight-year-old. Yet she has been targeted by vicious bullies urging her to kill herself and threatening her with rape.

One of the texts read: ‘Why are u still here. Clearly no one wants you. U only have special needs friends. And ur ugly and have a horrible fashion sense. Honestly ur clothes suck.’

… Some of the missives addressed to the student were even more explicit and menacing, including one that stated: ‘Shea is so annoying but cute I want to do more than just kiss her I want to rape her then kill her. That will finally make sure she goes away for good.’

… A message sent in late September even boasted that Shea and her mother would never be able to figure out who has been tormenting her.

‘I am many because we are a group and a union of people who dislike u,’ the missive stated.

The texts were sent from a web application that generates fake phone numbers, making the identities of the perpetrators difficult to trace. But what will happen when they are caught? Several recent similar cases can give us an idea.

Consider the case of Brian Holloway. The former NFL player found his house trashed after a party took place with over 300 teenagers present. Many of the teenagers took photos of the party, including the vandalism, and posted them online. Holloway shared those same photos online in a plea to help save the 300 teens. Rather than pressing charges against them for the $20,000 in damages the teens caused, he invited them to his house for a picnic for veterans, where they would also spend the day helping to clean up the mess they made. One teenager showed up.

Other parents of the 300 criminals? They found lawyers and threatened to sue Holloway. And so instead of spending a day righting their wrongs, these teens are finding out that arrests are going to be made — for felony charges, too.

 Continue reading How to End Teenage Bullying

Those kids in any objective society are dead. They are unemployable, good job parents.

The old rules will come back, and when they do, again it will hold that “If you would eat: work”.

And remember these guys as well

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!

Personally I think we would be wise to heed The Gods of the Copybook Headings. For as I’ve said before:

“If you break the laws of reality; Reality will break you.”

ABC= Always Be Careful

High-voltage lines for the long distance trans...

High-voltage lines for the long distance transportation of electrical energy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of year again out here, we’re well into harvest, and everybody concerned is going full-out trying to keep up. That means nearly everyone is working till they get stupid. That’s the term I use when you keep going until you’re so tired that you’re not thinking clearly anymore. It tends to be endemic this time of year around farms, and with those of us that work in the industry.

I don’t condone ignoring safety rules but, I recognize it’s going to happen sometimes, and yes, I’ve done it too. But the thing is, I’ve been doing this work for nearly 50 years, and have pretty much of an instinctive knowledge of what can happen. I also know that some rules are not to be broken ever. If you think you know which, you don’t, so don’t break any of them.

By the way, I find that the older I get, the fewer I break, and then only for very good reasons, and not shutting down your operation is not one of them. About the only reason to for me anymore is to rescue somebody, and that I have to think about. Because it’s not going to help them if I kill myself trying to rescue them, is it? And with electricity it is quite easy to kill yourself.

In this first video, although it’s filmed on an industrial panel, it’s at a level that is available in your panel in your house. I know a lot of you like to do your own work. In truth, I’m sympathetic but, if you don’t know what you’re doing without guesswork, call a professional

Trust me, I’ve seen it in real life and you don’t want to! Luckily it was on a small irrigation pump but it was bad.

Look Up for Safety’s Sake

If your working with portable grain handling equipment, or even harvesting equipment sometimes, you can get much too close to overhead power lines. the only real solution is to pay attention This video is of a twig falling across the most common distribution voltage in the United States

You do not want your auger playing twig in this scenario. Along with that and besides winter is coming with ice storms and such, what should you do if a power line falls on your vehicle? Don’t know? Here’s a video that will show you. Watch it all, it’s important.

Remember that because it could quite easily save your life.

In fact, if you see any kind of wire laying on the ground, stay away from it, and keep others away and call the power company or 911 If you’re around industry or even a fair number of systems on the farm, you know that a lot of electricity is used at what we call 480V. It’s the most efficient overall voltage for commercial and industrial use. But it also can be a very dangerous voltage. Here’s another video

I saw a similar video years ago where the cover of the panel was blown clean across the room. There is an incredible amount of potential energy there. This is a demonstration by Progress Power of some of the things that can happen around power lines

Those of us in the industry have spent thousands of dollars on tools and education about these hazards and our rules change nearly every year as we learn more. If your interested, this video talks about some of the research that is being done

But, in truth, what makes a safe job, is safe workers. I can provide you with enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make you unable to walk across the room. But if you are overtired, impaired, or just plain careless, it doesn’t matter. Sooner or later, this is going to happen, and I or somebody like me is going to have to explain to your loved ones why you will never be coming home again.

So whether you’re a practicing professional or simply a consumer always

Be Careful Out There.

ps. You may have noticed that I never mentioned OSHA in this article. There’s a reason for that. I find some of their rules and paperwork requirements as nonsensical and burdensome as any of you. And if you read here often, you know how much I resent intrusive government. But, in today’s world, if you are a practicing electrician or lineman, OSHA is your friend. Far too many companies can not see beyond the monthly bottom line, and in a production environment, they will push you to violate every rule and procedure and even your common sense. Without OSHA you have very little protection from them. It’s definitely imperfect protection with our corrupt government but it’s the best we’ve got for now. In the last analysis your safety and that of your crew is, as it always has been, your responsibility. Nobody else’s.

NSA center meltdown

datae7bb042b489f453fbae484a360d60a66-e1381253354182Did you see this the other day? Wise electricians and electrical designer start taking measures for power quality in an installation the size of a storefront, especially if it has a fair amount of data processing and fluorescent lighting. Ballasts, power supplies, and motors do funny things to electricity. It’s a field we call ‘Power Quality‘. It’s one of the fastest growing areas in my business. And it’s a very difficult field as well. On the scale of this installation it must be a nightmare. So while I’m not particularly sympathetic to the mission of the installation (to put it quite mildly). I’m very sympathetic to the guys trying to make this work, dependably.

From the Daily Caller

Persistent electrical surges at a National Security Agency hub has delayed the center’s opening for over a year.

The center, located in Bluffdale, Utah, has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery since the problems began, The Wall Street Journal reports. The center has experienced 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months. The subsequent fiery explosions have melted metal and caused circuits to fail. According to reports, each time there’s a circuit explosion, it costs over $100,000 to fix.

The Utah facility is a huge project, spanning more than one million square feet of country and costing $1.4 billion in construction alone. The Cray supercomputers, costing $500,000 a piece, will also eventually reside there. While the causes for the surges are still unknown, the project officials are divided as to whether proposed solutions will work. Plans to turn on some of its computers this week have been delayed.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/10/08/nsa-center-meltdown/#ixzz2hLaOd566

Legal Pot, Why Not?

English: Official portrait of United States At...

English: Official portrait of United States Attorney General Eric Holder Español: Retrato oficial de Fiscal General de los Estados Unidos Eric Holder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This is one of those issues that my beliefs have changed over the last 30-40 years. We all have a few like that, I think. When I was young I saw the wreckage made by heroin in the late 60s and 70s and basically said , “There oughta be a law”, and soon there was. And Nixon’s war on drugs, and for a time, things seemed better.

 

But, you know, Americans know perfectly well what happens when you outlaw something. We tried outlawing alcohol, and created the mafia. As always, if Shakespeare didn’t say it,  Churchill did, “If you destroy a market, you create a black market.” In the featured article here, Gene Howington reminds us of some of the good products we used to make of hemp, besides marijuana, like rope, and paper, and medicine.

 

Go ahead and read the article, and then we’ll talk a bit more.

 

From Jonathan Turley by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

Propaganda 106 – Waging War (A Case Study)

“This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material? And what its causal nature [or form]? And what is it doing in the world? And how long does it subsist?” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII – 11

“All war is deception.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

As previously discussed, “we need to differentiate between the terms ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’.  Strategy is defined in relevant part by Webster’s as ‘the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war’.  Tactics, by contrast, is defined in relevant part by Webster’s as ‘the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end’ and ‘the study of the grammatical relations within a language including morphology and syntax’. By better understanding the tactics of propagandists, you not only gain a certain degree of immunity from their influence, but insight into their strategic ends.”

Today we will address strategy and tactics in the form of a case study. The context is the so-called “War on Drugs” and state’s efforts to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. The strategy is to exacerbate so called drug crime violence by obliquely attacking the burgeoning states effort to legalize marijuana and those who trade in legal marijuana by deliberately putting them at risk. The primary tactic in question is misdirection.  When analyzing propaganda, it’s important to ask who brings the message, what do they want me to think, why do they want me to think it and how do they benefit? The leader of this campaign against the American people?  United States Attorney General Eric Holder. Let’s examine the  what, why and who benefits from what Mr. Holder wants you to think.

LEGAL HISTORY, ECONOMICS, AND CULTURAL CONTEXT

Although preceded by a smattering of local laws and the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 at the Federal level, prohibition via the 18th Amendment in 1919 and the Volstead Act of 1920 which were subsequently repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1923, the term “War of Drugs” entered the American lexicon in 1971 when used by Richard Nixon to (accurately) describe his continuation and expansion of policies started under the Harrison Narcotics Act via the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.  The Controlled Substance Act classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug with a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use. In 1982, then Vice President (and former CIA director) George H. W. Bush began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts. The War of Drugs was being escalated in earnest. Many programs were started as cooperative ventures between the U.S military, the DEA and the CIA and foreign powers, resulting in billions of dollars flowing from the U.S. and into drug producing countries like Columbia, Mexico, Honduras and Panama – including the “stealth invasion” of Panama to overthrow former CIA front man, dictator and drug runner Manuel Noriega in Operation Just Cause. Many laws were passed, including the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (ironically enough) that included the Sentencing Reform Act.

US_incarceration_rate_timelineMany people are outraged by the Federal and state government using private for profit prisons even though both have a long history of contracting out specific services to private firms, such as medical services, food preparation, vocational training, and inmate transportation. However, in the wake of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act and its included Sentencing Reform Act, the 1980′s saw explosive growth in the private prison industry. With traditionally government operated prison populations filled to overflowing by the War on Drugs and the mandated increased use of incarceration,  overcrowding and ballooning costs became increasingly used by all levels of government as a rationale for outsourcing prisons to the private sector.  Recognizing a gravy train when they saw it, private business interests moved from providing the simple (and reasonable) contracting of services to contracting for the complete management and operation of entire prisons in what they call in the business world (again, the irony) a turnkey solution.

 

Continue reading Propaganda 106 – Waging War (A Case Study) | JONATHAN TURLEY.

 

Cui bono

 

Cui bono is a latin phrase you’ve probably heard fairly often, if you what crime shows and such on TV. Essentially it means “To who the benefit” Who benefits from illegal marijuana? That first chart tells a lot of the story, doesn’t it?. That tells us that everybody that makes money from the prison system, and Mr. Howington did a good job of telling us who that is. If you would like to know more, a friend of mine at Montana Corruption. org works on it all the time. You could probably assume that the story is not that different where you live.

 

And this is what I finally saw. The endless circle of crony-capitalism. The legislature passes a law, the executive signs a contract (usually for a bloated amount) with a (well-connected) company to carry out the law, and the company makes generous contributions to the political party, and the lawmaker, and the executive. And so it goes, forever, regardless of the interests and needs of the country, let alone the people.

 

You did notice in this whole thing, didn’t you, that there is no incentive for anybody to ever be found innocent. Think anybody, especially poor anybody’s get railroaded? Yeah, me too. Read some more at Montana Corruption.

 

I would suggest that we are big boys and girls who can figure out for ourselves whether marijuana is hazardous. Let alone whether it is more hazardous than either Booze or cigarettes. Who decides? Right now  Uncle Sam. I think we need to stop letting Uncle Sam be our Mommy and Daddy until we’re ninety-six.

 

It’s amazing what you see when you start to apply those two little words. Try it. often.

 

Cui Bono

 

 

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