Comments Posted By Mark
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I am uncertain as to what part of my naivete you might be referring. Regardless, I do not pretend that others have achieved my degree of peaceful enlightenment. As Dr. King said " I have a dream!"

Respectfully submitted

Comment Posted By Mark On 19.05.2009 @ 21:51

And since I am on a rant anyway…

What do I care who marries who? The world is depressing and screwed up enough on its own. If somebody has found a way to be happy without taking anything from me, I say good for them. If your marriage is hanging on by such a fine thread that a couple of guys or girls getting hitched hurts it, you were in trouble already.

As we libertarian leaning conservatives are eminently practical, let me expound further on the rationality of this position. Have you seen some of these gay men? They are handsome as hell! Be glad they’re off the market and we straight men don’t have to compete with them. Really, a pretty man that likes to shop and thinks a getting a pedicure is a blast. Most of us wouldn’t stand a chance.

As far as lesbians go, I’ve always seen them as proof that I’m right: Women are just hotter. I’ve never been able to see what one man sees in another man’s hairy ass, but it isn’t that tough to see why one girl would be attracted to another.

Finally, and in no way the least important, an increase in the number of gay and lesbian couples out there has got to correlate to an increase in the incidence of oral sex. Deep in my heart I have to believe that contributes to the overall positive energy in the universe. Isn’t that a good thing?

Most respectfully submitted for your berating and belittling.

Comment Posted By Mark On 19.05.2009 @ 20:53

BD 57’

“I’d love to read a post laying out what you’re for - and please, not just the platitudes.”

OK, here goes:

Federal government
1) Eliminate corporate income tax – People pay taxes, not corporations. Corporate income tax is bad policy that hides the true cost of government and makes our business less competitive in the world market by raising the cost of goods and services. In addition, corporations don’t rally pay this tax, they just collect it from their customers by adding to prices. A reasonable argument can be made that it is a regressive tax, because people with lower incomes spend more of their total earnings, as opposed to saving or investing. Considering that many countries subsidize manufacturers cost, this is simple, conservative measure to promote the growth of American companies. Where do the additional revenues come from to pay takes? The increase in employment by businesses, spending by the newly employed.
2) Support a Constitutional Amendment declaring a fetus a person at 26 weeks – If somebody wants to come up with a better point in fetal development that indicates “personhood” fine. This one seems to work because there appears to be pretty solid agreement that a fetus can feel pain and perceive and react to outside stimuli at this point in development. Base the timeline on science, not faith. Abortion after this point should require a court order and be based on saving the life of the mother. Regulation of abortion, not prohibition, before that point should be left to the individual states.
3) Create a migrant work permit plan – Allow non-citizens to enter the US for employment purposes on a two-year permit. Permit holders would be required to return to their home country at the conclusion of two years. Non-residents would pay employment taxes, including Social Security, but could not draw benefits or earn services credits towards future pensions. Contributions would be used to offset the looming deficit in Social Security and Medicare. Employers would be free to offer medical and other benefits to these workers at their option. Cap the total number of permits at some percentage of total employment (1.5 % of all employed US citizens?) Violators would be ineligible to apply for citizenship, work permits, and denied future entry to the US. Children born to permitted workers while in the US would not be granted citizenship based on place of birth. They or their parents would have to apply. Permit holders would be immediately exported for commission of a felony. One misdemeanor would place the person on probations status. Persons successfully completing the program with would be granted favored status in applying for citizenship
4) Secure the border with Mexico. – Immigration reform will never matter until this happens.
5) Limit congressional staff – Members of the House should be permitted no more than 4 staff, including clerical. Senators no more than 8 staff, including clerical.
State government –
1) Push for localizing government - Counties, cities, schools and special districts should be the primary agents of governance.
2) Limited pay for state legislators – This shouldn’t be a full time job. Payment of a reasonable per diem makes sense. One of the reasons government has grown is that legislators are paid to do this fulltime. How can they avoid coming up with new, unnecessary laws.
3) Reform of local bureaucracy – That government should be local doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be good. To be certain, it should probably do less, but let local communities determine what services they want. I digress. I am not talking about finger pointing and meaningless calls for “accountability”. One of the things Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on is that government staff should be well qualified and trained. The parties should jointly fund and establish centers for government excellence through selected universities. Provide training to key government employees and assist with program evaluation. This should focus on the mechanics of governance not the policy. All of the things that the private sector in large businesses already does better than government. Accounting, Payroll, Personnel Management (HR), Procurement, etc.

“What are you arguing for in terms of policy - not ‘I don’t want us to talk about this’, but an exposition of ‘this is what we should be talking about.’ Bonus points if you don’t say anything snarky or critical about the social cons in the process.”

This should be enough for now. Oh, and I would like my bonus points please.


Comment Posted By Mark On 19.05.2009 @ 19:59


Well there was that one little Hamilton-Burr incident, but I think of that as the exception that proves the rule.

Comment Posted By Mark On 20.05.2009 @ 23:33

Dearest Chuck,

My respect "BS' was a genuine attempt at civility inspired by a recent re-reading of the Federalist Papers and other associated letters. I find it remarkable that these great men were able to maintain that level of decorum in their correspondence about such important matters. I apologize if you found my tone to be other than courteous.

With regard to bidding, I have a fair amount of experience and expertise on this subject. First, I should probably say that I have entered this discussion under somewhat false colors. Despite my libertarian leanings, I am now and have been for the last 25 years, a government employee. In the last four years I have managed approximately $138 million in public works contracts. Bids for government contracts are as open and transparent as the people putting them together want them to be. While I personally make every effort to be certain that every bidder is able to understand and respond to bids, that is sadly not always the case. If we want to hide things or set the bids up so particular bidders win, it isn’t that difficult.

My experience in government service also provides me with a fair amount of experience regarding the elimination of programs. I would be happy to point out a number of government programs and agencies in the State of California that do little to nothing except create more unnecessary work for others. These programs are massively ineffectual and inefficient, yet they still exist. The fact that government programs in this country and others have not been eliminated is no proof of their quality or success.

Respectfully submitted, once again, for your consideration and comment.

Comment Posted By Mark On 20.05.2009 @ 21:21


"If nationalized health care is so bad, why has no country that I've ever about, gotten rid of it yet?"

Please do me the kind favor of naming a government program that was eliminated because of poor performance? The answer is it doesn't happen. When government programs don't work, the government throws more resources at them. It is never a bad idea or poorly executed, it was just under funded.

I have had the conversation you describe when my newborn son was in the neonatal intensive care unit. The sent me a $30,000 bill for 5 days because he wasn't named on my policy before he was born, even though the terms of the policy clearly stated that newborns are covered for 30 days after delivery. It took me 18 months of fighting to get the issue resolved. As bad as that was, if it that fight had been with a government agency, I would have no chance of winning, and they could have used their police powers to enforce the decision.

With respect, do you really believe that handing this over to government is the way to get rid of services provided by the lowest bidder? How do you think they buy things

Respectfully submitted

Comment Posted By Mark On 18.05.2009 @ 19:35


Although I admire your obvious concern about the state of the current system, I feel compelled to disagree with several of your statements.

I do not grant your premise regarding "the awfulness of our current system". In what specific way is it awful? Most of us will agree that it is expensive and services are not delivered equitably to all residents of our country. On the other hand, it produces remarkable innovation and is the envy of the world for treatment of many life threatening diseases and conditions.

"If you turned the entire thing over to government you'd eliminate the profits taken by business" To what extent would you turn it all over to government? Would all health care be provided through government run hospitals and clinics? Would all health care providers be employees of the government? If so, which government? Would this system be administered on a national, state, or local level. Without answers to these questions, you can't state that you would be able to eliminate the profit or reduce paperwork and administration.

The statements you have made about computer services illustrate the basic problems in your philosophy beautifully. Dell is marvelously efficient at building, selling, and delivering computers. More than likely you purchased a Dell because you got the product you wanted for an acceptable price. You got what you paid for. You didn't want to pay the extra cost for better service from a different manufacturer or reseller. Under the system you are advocating, choice will be gone. You will get the health care the government says you should get, end of story. You say you want a second opinion on your diagnoses? Thanks for sharing, move on to window number three for your prescription please. "Oh, but in California where I live we like to try a more holistic approach to treatment. I want to include yoga and an organic vegetarian diet in my treatment plan" Not on the approved list, sorry. (FYI, I live in California as well, so I can pick on us).

Respectfully submitted

Comment Posted By Mark On 18.05.2009 @ 00:35


With greatest respect, you did not answer my questions or respond to my comments. Are you unwilling to impose any form rationing? If so, no system, public or private will ever be affordable. Costs will spiral out of control and the system will collapse.

No system in place today, in any country, provides unlimited health care. Aside from some form of rationing, how do you propose to control costs?

Comment Posted By Mark On 17.05.2009 @ 19:28


Every wealthy country does not provide what you are stating. All of them ration health care to some degree. Services are limited based on a cost benefit ratio. Expensive treatments that have a lower success rate are regularly denied.

I did not say we shouldn't provide health care to everyone, I asked if they should all pay the same price for the same services. What incentive is there to be personally responsible if the government will pay regardless of your behavior? Should the 400 pound couch potato that eats ding dongs and pizza pay the same as the 180 pound jogger that eats broccoli and tofu? No, is the obvious answer in case you want some help with that.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Comment Posted By Mark On 17.05.2009 @ 15:42


If by cherry-pick you mean set prices based on conditions, yes they would. Shouldn't they, and employers, be able to adjust either price, contribution, or benefit based on factors that can be controlled by the beneficiary of the policy? Assuming all the other factors are equal, shouldn't a 6 foot tall 180 pound man pay less than a 6 foot tall 400 pound man?

Also, are you saying there should be no limits on what benefits are provided? Should an insurer be required to pay $10 million for a treatment that has a 2% success rate? If so, no cost controls are possible.


Comment Posted By Mark On 17.05.2009 @ 14:42

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