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David C. Murray

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Everything posted by David C. Murray

  1. Riverjop, you're welcome to your feelings about the removal of the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer from opening exercises in the public schools, but were you to actually read the compelling logic of the Supreme Court's decisions in those matters, your opinion might change. Serious fundamentalist Christians asserted that the Bible prohibits swearing allegiance to anyone but God and to have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States violates that prohibition. The logic of the legal opinion of the Court that found in their favor is compelling. A similar argument was made, successfully, with respect to loyalty oaths formerly required of many public employees. And while you can decry the cessation of the morning prayer, the compulsion for non-Christian children to be involved was, quite rationally, found to be unconstitutional. Or, imagine if you will, a situation in which, to be fair, children were required to recite a Christian (but Protestant) prayer on Monday, a Catholic one on Tuesday, a Koranic one (in Arabic, of course) on Wednesday, a Hindu one (in Urdu) on Thursday, a Taoist one in Japanese on Friday, a BaHai one on . . . Oops! We've run out of school days but there are still religions to treat equally. Imagine, too, how those fundamentalist Christians would react to their children praying "Koranically" in Arabic. Think about that.
  2. Tiffany, you make compelling good sense. There is a book by Stephanie Coontz titled "The Way Things Never Were" that is well worth reading. It explodes a lot of the myths about those "good old days". http://www.amazon.com/Way-We-Never-Were-Nostalgia/dp/0465090974/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418312566&sr=1-2&keywords=the+way+things+never+were I used to work for a guy who lamented that the fabric of society was being torn apart. The argument can be made. An alternative view, however, might be that a new fabric is being woven. While I've not read the torture report, it appears that it brings together in one place things that have been public knowledge for a long time. While no one has ever televised a CIA beheading (because, of course, it never happened), the videos of the waterboarding of Kalhid Sheik Mohammad by the CIA or its agents/contractors have been televised repeatedly. Anyone paying attention has seen them.
  3. The head of the ACLU was on Rachel Maddow's show on MSNBC last night. It's been pretty clear from the beginning that President Obama has no stomach for prosecuting these criminals, so he suggested that they be pardoned instead. Since one cannot be pardoned unless one is guilty of a crime, pardoning them would forever label them as the criminals they are. That's what President Carter did to the draft evaders, what Ford did to Nixon, what Reagan did to the Iran-Contra conspirators, what Bush the Lesser did to Scooter Libby, and what the others (Bush and Clinton) did, as well.
  4. . . . a woman after my own heart. At the urging of Abbie Hoffman never to trust anyone older than thirty, I stayed thirty for years. When he resurfaced, admonishing us never to trust anyone younger than thirty, there I was, perfectly positioned. It only had to change when I became eligible first for Social Security and then for Medicare, but that's it. Like Jessica, I just keep celebrating number sixty-five over and over and over again.
  5. Very well. I stand corrected. I would add, however, that if those illegal aliens who worked and contributed to the system not benefit as provided by law, they have hardly benefitted disproportionately. It would be interesting to know, your relatives aside, how many illegal aliens who contribute to the system do actually benefit from it. That is, how many work the required number of quarters. I don't know . . .
  6. Okay, so what you're saying is that an illegal alien could, prior to 2004, request and be issued a U.S. Social Security number, right? And, with that, and the cooperation of an employer who did not check their legal status, they could obtain employment in the U.S. and pay the taxes legally owed. Then subsequently, they could apply for the Social Security benefits which their withholding had contributed to just as if they were legal U.S. citizens. I guess I'm not seeing any great harm in this. They paid in according to the law; now they benefit, again according to the law. That "the government" generally was not diligent in identifying either illegal aliens with valid Social Security accounts or illegal aliens using either stolen SS numbers (someone else's) or invalid ones isn't news. That's been common knowledge for a long time. Truth be told, lots of native born America citizens have more than one SS number, too. So we're in agreement that (1)the system has been less than totally diligent in rooting out illegal workers, and (2)those who contributed can and (in my personal opinion) should be able to benefit from the programs to which they've contributed. I think it's also important to note that there is a very significant cadre of employers who have fought long and hard against the identification of aliens who are working illegally for the simple reason that employing them is very profitable. In fact, some local jurisdictions have passed ordinances prohibiting renting housing to illegal aliens and local employers have screamed bloody murder. So there's more than one side to this story, and there are competing interests. ________ Aside to Ron: I am sincerely sorry if some illegal alien has taken your minimum wage (or less) dream job on the kill line in some midwest slaughterhouse or kept you from the fourteen-hour days landscaping to which you may have aspired. In all too many cases, life's a bitch.
  7. Where have you read this, Colin? And . . . assuming you're correct, wherein lies the injustice in someone who qualifies for a program to which s/he contributes benefitting from it? Too, "paving the way" isn't quite the same as ushering them in wholesale. As a young child, my father taught me never to yell "Ouch!" until I was hurt.
  8. Indeed, Ron, when some of the eleven million estimated illegal aliens become citizens, they will be eligible for the benefits that any other native or naturalized citizens enjoy. Where you get a number of 20 million continues to elude me, but so does a lot of what you write. In the meantime, those illegal aliens' employers do, in fact, withhold taxes and that should increase as some five million, not twenty, qualify to be excluded from deportation and obtain legal work permits. Until they become citizens, however, their interests are not represented in the halls of Congress or the state legislatures. Yup, taxation without representation. Those who work and who contribute to the Social Security Trust Fund that pays our pensions (yours and mine) but who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits according to the law are (you guessed it) ineligible to receive those benefits. That means that they pay in but they cannot benefit. It's pretty straightforward concept. _________________________ ​You know, you have repeatedly ranted in the past about the fact that Medicare Part D (but not ObamaCare) prohibits negotiation of drug prices and we are in total agreement that that provision of the law, which Republicans as well as Democrats in Congress supported and which the Bush the Lesser Administration both initiated and signed, is a public policy abomination. I was agin it then and I'm agin it now. In fact, I quit AARP over their support of the bill when it was in Congress. The good news is that, irresponsible as drug pricing under Part D is, the program nevertheless does afford enrollees access to medications that they never had before. Frankly, I could never understand how Medicare could pay for your doctor's consultation which included his or her prescription of medications for whatever it is that ails you and then not pay for those meds. What sense does that make? If you can't get the meds your condition requires, why bother with the diagnosis? So there is a silver lining. That said, if you want to rant against non-negotiated government spending (counted in tens of billions of dollars), rant about the no-bid contracts awarded to Hailburton (can you say, "Dick Cheny"), Bectel, BlackWater and who knows how many other contractors who have provided one service or another in the pursuit of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who, other than the contractors, benefitted from all that? And at what cost in American lives, disability and money and at what cost in Iraqi and Afghani lives and disability. Rant about that.
  9. Ron, you wrote, ". . . With the evolving NEW direction of Amnesty for ILLEGAL ALIENS it looks like we may see a dramatic increase in enrolments by up to 20,000,000. I do wonder at what rate they will be charged. And why not. . ." Well, the "why not" is because the Affordable Care Act specifically prohibits the enrollment of illegal aliens. That's why not. So your son's and grandchildren's taxes at work are safe from those awful illegal aliens. That's illegal aliens, by the way, who contribute to the tax base and Social Security with no hope, ever, of benefitting from it, but your son and grandchildren will. As always, it helps to know the facts before arriving at a conclusion, but we've been down that road before.
  10. Ahem! There are 752 pages of registered users on this forum. How large a bar can you reserve in Tamarindo?
  11. I neglected to mention, Ron, that I hate lamb and liver but love anchovies on my pizza. And if I don't change my socks every couple of weeks well, you know . . . Now, that, coupled with #47, should be good for at least 1,500 hastily chosen and awkwardly assembled words. Rant on.
  12. Ron, you've missed the most salient points in your list of my shortcomings. Not only am I overweight, but I'm even older than I look. Thank you, however, for an entirely new rant. I knew we could count on you. And Jessica, I have no sense of humor. Sorry. (Ron, you should add that to the list.)
  13. So, Ron, the point of all this is really Your disdain for politicians in general, right? If yes, why not just come out and say so, although I fail to see how your hatred of them relates to moving back to the U.S. due to health care expenses.
  14. So, Dana, what you're saying is that, once again, we are confusung one thing for another, apples for oysters, right? Oh, well, the point is merely to have a good rant and in that we have succeeded admirably.
  15. Well, you make a compelling argument. It's interesting about your credit cards. Ours were recently replaced, too, and they came as "correspondence" in a #10 envelope with no tracking number and went to Aerocasillas' P.O. Box address which is the only address we've ever given our banks.
  16. Uh, would AT&T not simply send the new SIM to your Aerocasillas address directly?
  17. If the others are correct, that this "natural" pool would be something through which flows a natural source of water, then I'd advise you to have that water source tested before you commit to construction. Not all the free-flowing streams and rivers in Costa Rica are clean and pure, and some that originate on Volcan Poas (and maybe from sources near other volcanos, too) are very acidic.
  18. I like simple, too. When we go to the States, I buy a prepaid AT&T card from the AT&T Store. It has, of course, a limited number of minutes, but you can add to that online if you wish. They also offer a "voice plus data" prepaid plan that's been useful when we were beyond any Wi-Fi coverage. Trying to sort out the details of the various plans and providers gave me a major headache. Maybe the AT&T deal isn't the best, but it's tolerable and it's a known quantity now.
  19. None of the foregoing has anything to do with ObamaCare or your confused objections to it. Discussion over.
  20. 1) It was the Bush Administration and their supporters in Congress who drafted, amended and enacted Medicare Part D. That law does, indeed, prohibit price negotiation within the Medicare Part D system, but you've asserted that (paraphrasing) it's illegal for a government agency to require price negotiations or volume discounts. Unless and until you can name one (just one) other federal law that contains such a proscription, you will remain wrong. 2) I would never suggest that Republicans are more responsive to human needs than Democrats. What I will say, with respect to Medicare Part D, is that the Bush Administration wanted it and the Republicans (and indeed some Democrats) in Congress were rubber stamping anything and everything the Bush Administration wanted in those years. If you don't believe that, have a cursory look at the enactment of the Patriot Act, the Authorization to use Military Force which "justified" the U.S.' invasion of Iraq, and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for prime examples. 3) In my response #25, I quote your own words that ". . . it is ILLEGAL for a [emphasis added] government agency to require Pricing . . or Volume discounting." What you said then, and what I'm saying now, is that you're simply wrong. When you wrote that " . . . a government agency . . ." you cast your net over every agency of government in the United States -- federal, state and local. And you got it wrong, as I pointed out. Not only is the VA permitted to negotiate prices but so are fifty state Medicaid programs, the Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and elsewhere, the States Title V (Children witjh Special Health Care Needs) programs, many or most governmental employee health plans, health systems which the government runs or subsidizes for underserved areas and Native American reservations and elsewhere, the entire U.S. military medical establishment, and in other settings. For you to assert that it is illegal for a governmental agency to negotiate price or volume discounts, you simply don't know what you're talking about. Or prove me wrong. Cite one (just one) other example. ____________ ​And as for throwing Senator Kennedy under the bus, I did no such thing. If he supported passage of Part D, he's to be thanked for that. I've never said it was a bad thing. But understand, too, that plenty of things passed through Congress in his years there that Senator Kennedy neither favored nor supported. By a very wide margin, he did not get his way every time or things would be very different today. _____________ And, by the way, you have yet to volunteer yourself and your entire extended family to be among the nameless, faceless "them" who go without health care coverage. When will we be hearing about that? Remember, you and they are equally "them". (See Response #2.)
  21. Don Ron, you wrote, " I am a bit confused, and thus delayed in response, by your most recent POST #31 where you state " you have to have your facts right" . I THOUGHT WE WERE TALKING POLITICS, WHAT THE HELL DO FACTS HAVE TO DO WITH POLITICS ????? The facts "have to do with [it]" once the political process is complete. Once the law (ObamaCare, in this case) becomes the law of the land, politics ceases to be relevant. Then (and, sadly, only then) are we confronted with the actual, verifiable truth of the matter.
  22. I'm easy to lick in an argument, but you have to have your facts right. If not, whose fault is that?
  23. Friend Ron, once again you're off base a little. First, it was the Bush Administration, with strong support from Congressional Republicans, who passed Medicare Part D (the prescription drug benefit). It was the Bush Administration and their supporters in Congress (maybe Senator Kennedy but hardly on his initiative alone) who included the "no price negotiation" provision in Medicare Part D. It is not (absolutely NOT) ". . . ILLEGAL for a government agency . . to require Pricing . . or Volume discounting". In fact, every State's Medicaid program does exactly that. They, not the drug companies, set the reimbursement rates for the drugs on their formularies just as the VA does. Too, every federal government employee health plan (and most other governmentally-sponsored health insurance policies) control drug costs by setting maximum prices they will pay. In fact, what most (maybe all) Medicaid plans require is that pharmacies charge the wholesale cost of the drug to the Medicaid program and then add a small fee to cover administrative costs and to permit a modest profit. You and others concentrate one one or just a few of the weaknesses in ObamaCare but ignore its strengths and benefits. I would never suggest that the ObamaCare law is perfect. And I've said before that it's not the design I proposed to anyone who would listen. That aside, it's what we've got, and rather than advocating repealing it in its entirety, we should recognize the best of it and remedy its shortcomings. ObamaCare, like every other law Congress has ever passed, is subject to revision. And while we're at it, what's your complaint with ObamaCare's prohibition of termination of coverage when people actually get sick? What is it you don't like about the mandate for coverage of pre-existing conditions? Tell us how awful it is that children can be covered by their parents' insurance up to age 26. Tell us how expanding Medicaid coverage to those who have never had medical care is such an awful thing. Why is it that reducing excessive payments to Medicare Advantage plans is so bad? Shall I go on . . ?
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