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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

MikeRT The police and health care are not the same (618 comments)

Most developed countries recognize that health care is analogous to public security, not policing. The difference there is that you have an army of private, for-profit actors (like private security) and a public basic service. We expect companies to provide their own security, for example, because they have the wealth to do so and it lowers the cost on the general public. It is not acceptable to say "increase the police force 200% because Walmart and Target won't hire security staff to monitor such a large store full time." For the same reason, it's unacceptable to burden the public health care system with the middle and upper class when they have the wealth to pay private doctors.

This is a good example of why Social Security and Medicare are failing. They aren't means tested. You can have a fat pension and $2m in assets and still get the same maximum social security check as someone who was a skilled construction worker and entered old age with little more than a home and a small savings account to hopefully pass onto the kids. Should they both be entitled to these programs? Absolutely not.

yesterday
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Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

MikeRT You shouldn't need insurance for most things (618 comments)

For most visits, you should be paying in cash. A doctor's visit should not require a full time staffer processing insurance paperwork just for a visit and a prescription or two. Heck, even most basic hospital operations (like lab work, fixing broken bones and such) should be payable in cash by anyone who has been mildly responsible with their savings and paychecks.

Price gouging, fraud and EMTALA are the main culprits. My favorite example of price gouging here is a snake anti-venom that costs $100 to make and is sold to patients in hospitals for as much as $30k. If the state is going to prosecute people who charge a 100%-200% markup for a generator after a hurricane, what possible excuse do they not have to prosecute people for a 3000% markup on a drug that is absolutely necessary to the patient's immediate survival? Fraud? How about the trending practice of having one doctor in network and one out of network so that the in-network partner can use the out of network partner to deceptively rape the assets of the patient? Or drive by doctoring at hospitals?

This is a target-rich environment for massive law enforcement clean up. Enforcing the laws combined with efforts to increase access to medical school and some other subsidies on the supply side would force the market to act like a real market, not a state-protected industry.

yesterday
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Proposed Penalty For UK Hackers Who "Damage National Security": Life

MikeRT Not inherently unreasonable (164 comments)

If you attack an industrial system at a utility and make a bunch of people sick or die, even if it was "unintentional" you should get life. Why? You had no damn business being there. Even if you're an aspie with boundless curiosity, there has to be a consequence for breaking into sensitive systems and inflicting real, measurable harm to the public.

Though of course we know that's not how this will probably be used.

about a week ago
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NSA CTO Patrick Dowd Moonlighting For Private Security Firm

MikeRT Uh yeah, no (83 comments)

Of all of the things to be pissed about in DC, this isn't one of them IMO. This isn't the revolving door between regulator and the regulated industry. This is just some high level guy in government moonlighting in a mostly unrelated industry to make some coin on the side. This should be no more offensive to most than a GS14 or GS15 technical staffer taking out a contract with a big corporation on the side to make some extra bucks.

One thing the people crucifying Alexander and his company seem to forget is that if he's actually parlaying his background at the NSA into making the banks better at security, then that's a net gain for the American people. Be pissed all you want about what he did in the past, but the fact is for all we know he's also advising his clients on how to become more "NSA-proof" on the down low. I would be very surprised if he a bank offered him a lot of lucre to make them harder for intelligence services to breach that he'd suddenly turn that down and go squealing to Fort Meade now that his paycheck comes from the private sector.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption

MikeRT And remember folks... (284 comments)

This is the same imbecile that told Congress that Americans who are known to have fought for ISIS cannot be immediately arrested or denied entry--they'll just be "closely monitored"--cuz they're US citizens with valid passports.

about two weeks ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

MikeRT Adultery is not private and consent is irrelevant (304 comments)

Marriage is the state's business and most people strongly believe that. If they didn't, they'd support the abolition of all of the legal rules pertaining to it including presumptive paternity, alimony and child support. Marriage also forms the basis of most families since the history of recorded civilization which means marriage is the vehicle by which society is regenerated. To say there is no state interest there is laughable. What you do to your marriage may typically be of minimal interest to the state or none, but a serious breach like adultery is not.

But even setting that aside, you have no right to "give consent" to someone other than your spouse. You swore away that right once you got married. No, you don't "own your spouse" but you and your spouse pledged mutual fidelity in a politically and legally important, state-sanctioned relationship. Don't like that? That's cool, just live as an unmarried couple.

about two weeks ago
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How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

MikeRT Contact tracing the second nurse (381 comments)

Yeah, good luck with that. The last thing I saw on TV was people from her plane made hops to at least four states.

The President should have just ordered people with passports and travel stamps from these countries to not be allowed to enter the US.

about two weeks ago
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Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race

MikeRT And people are surprised why? (304 comments)

This was perfectly predictable when those who said "adultery is a private, consensual matter" won the argument and adultery effectively became a dead letter crime and tort. If adultery were reasonably enforced on those with licensed marriages, it would create a much greater argument for regulating these apps.

See funny thing is most people don't regard marriage as something where good behavior is strictly optional. When you take away recourse to the courts on the worse forms of betrayal in a state-recognized relationship, people are bound to take private action.

about two weeks ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

MikeRT Won't help (314 comments)

I've heard that the people who are scared the most about the SnapChat "hack" aren't the sexters, but financial industry people who thought it would be a great way to do backroom deals outside the prying eyes of regulators. They use perfectly legal and innocuous transfers to move money, buy assets, etc. The real meaning is held elsewhere.

You know what it's a lot like? How the drug trade uses code language, bank transfers, etc. In other words, these methods are effectively useless at making strategic victories against criminal activity.

At the national level, the police should be expected to operate strategically, not tactically. Take child exploitation. As an American, I don't want the FBI busting some high school sophomore who took a topless pic in her school's locker room, I want them investigating multinational conspiracies to exploit children. What's the point of even having such a high level agency if it often acts at the same level as a municipal police force?

Leave the crooks who use big bills to hide deals to the locals.

about two weeks ago
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PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

MikeRT It never ceases to amaze me (367 comments)

How the same type of people who froth at the mouth because someone wants to "legislate morality" they believe an ancient religion taught them is based in the will of a deity will seek to shame or impose on people the most meaningless "morality" based purely on their own asinine opinion (that doesn't even have the pretext of being a high power's will or rationally transcendental).

about three weeks ago
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How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

MikeRT A key part of the solution... (165 comments)

Would be defamation laws. They need to be vigorously enforced. False information like this is actually criminal in many jurisdictions. It's time that crap like this gets the submitter pummeled in court instead of "duh duh freedom of speech."

about three weeks ago
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Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

MikeRT And you know what came a few years before that? (236 comments)

During the Regan administration that changed

Because it took about a decade for the effect of going off the gold-exchange system wherein the dollar was at least pegged to a fixed unit of gold to really start hitting home. Then the printing presses started and suddenly inflation started to kick into high gear, especially 2000, onward. Since the early 1970s, the US dollar has been getting systematically hammered by federal policy and is it a surprise when eventually wage inflation can no longer match the inflation inflicted by federal policy?

But I suspect you are really a Keynsian who wants to believe in magic multipliers, animal spirits and all that horse shit.

And as I said, inflation is not the only culprit. In tandem with inflationary policies, we've incentivized the exploitation of arbitrage on multiple fronts, labor being one of the biggest. There's also the fact that this country continues to absorb immigrants despite the fact that all net job creation for about the last 15 years has gone to immigrants.

Of course, even if we aggressively clamped down on arbitrage and deported most immigrants who aren't particularly valuable (ie O1 candidates), our inflationary policies would still be raping the lower class and middle class. You can add half to a full trillion dollars a year to the money supply and wonder why an increasingly swamped money supply is buying less and less even domestically.

It will never end until it comes crashing down because the current system allows both the rich to prosper (they have the best access to the newly issued debt-currency from the Fed and get the labor benies) and it's also increasingly how we fund the welfare-warfare state.

about three weeks ago
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Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

MikeRT It's not technology that's the problem (236 comments)

In the 80s Computers and automation were suppose to free us for a 20 hour work week. Now we're pushing 50-60 hour work weeks because the only thing it's done is increase competition for the few jobs left. Productivity America's up something like 80% but real wages are way don. I'm not quite ready to become a Luddite yet but I'd like to see some of this increased productivity show up in my pay. But law of supply and demand says the more work I can get down the less it's worth.

It's inflation. Based on a simple inflation calculator I found on DuckDuckGo (usinflationcalculator.com), a $100k salary in 1980 would be the equivalent of making about $288,655.34 in 2014. Technology didn't cause the purchasing power of a dollar to collapse nearly 66% over the last 34 years. Federal reserve and congressional policy are the direct culprits. You don't have to be "anti-government" to pin much of this squarely on the federal government and Federal Reserve.

Between inflationary policies and allowing nearly unrestricted (even incentivizing by tax law) exploitation of arbitrage, we've see various government policies annihilate all of the savings and benies that technology would have brought to our economy. Now add on top of that the fact that we have a policy of heavy immigration which, when seen through the lens of the law of supply and demand, is essentially another assault on domestic wages (hint: adding millions of immigrants increases the domestic labor pool, which means that yes kids, wage competition will only increase).

Instead of Socialism, I would suggest reading up on Distributism. It is essentially Capitalism reforged through Catholic social teaching, so among many things it is free market-centric, but strongly pro-labor and pro entrepreneur.

about three weeks ago
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AT&T To Repay $80 Million In Shady Phone Bill Charges

MikeRT All well and good (61 comments)

But at some point, an attorney general is going to have to have to call a spade and spade and actually file criminal charges against actual officials for the pattern that keeps emerging at the telecoms and cable companies. Notoriety for agreeing to pay $X for Y and then finding $X steadily increasing or Y getting padded is not an oversight. It's a pattern of fraud. People need to go to prison for that. The shareholders will thank the states after a few years if the states clean house in these companies and thus hopefully put an end to that rotten culture. It's a liability.

about three weeks ago
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Only Two States Have Rules To Prevent Cheating On Computerized Tests

MikeRT The solution is project work (95 comments)

Everyone knows plenty of smart people who are "terrible at taking tests." Yet often these people are able to run circles around those good at taking tests when it comes to applied work in class. Based on my high school and college experience, I would say that the main reason why teachers avoid making project work the majority of a student's grade (at least 60%, it not over 75%) is that it's easier to make a class look good via testing. I know that if my alma mater had suddenly shifted from tests being 60-70% of the grade to being at most 30% (including quizzes), a non-trivial percentage of my fellow students would have seen their GPA drop an entire point.

about a month ago
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Facebook Apologizes To Drag Queens Over "Real Name" Rule

MikeRT Ok (280 comments)

"Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name," Cox said. "The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess."

So if Fred Phelps had gone around calling himself God's Fag Killing Machine, Facebook would obviously have let him use that name under this "understanding" of their policy. Right? Right?..

about a month ago
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Why India's Mars Probe Was So Cheap

MikeRT One major difference (200 comments)

TFA pointed out that India is a lot more forgiving of failure and fast iteration than the US is today. There's a lot of truth to that. Our soundbite culture has basically left us where politicians can screech at "that waste of money" like a scientific experiment of dubious value. Even as a staunch fiscal conservative, my response to that sort of thing is... so what? Are you really going to tell me that what's eating the federal budget alive is $2M to study the reproductive habits of spotted-ass field mice as opposed to, say, massive fraud in Social Security Disability, Medicare, government contracting and having a civil service that doubles as a jobs program to artificially inflate the middle class? More often than not, government failure on an engineering effort is the result of the government's byzantine procurement regulations crashing head-long into an unaccountable bureaucracy that doesn't stick to the plan. At least that's the IT side of it. I would imagine that even NASA has a share of that.

about a month ago
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Emma Watson Leaked Photo Threat Was a Plot To Attack 4chan

MikeRT Emma watson's speech (590 comments)

What the world really needs to realize is that David Goldman (AsiaTimes' Spengler)'s Law of Gender Parity, not feminism, accurately describes intersex relations. Paraphrasing: in each country, in all eras, the men and women deserve each other. Women get the men their behavior and attitudes demand; men get the same from women, at a societal level.

about a month ago
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Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

MikeRT Simple, politically incorrect solution (138 comments)

Hire a few veterans with sniper training (or hunters if you can't find them) to sit on the edges of the set with 30.06 rifles. Perfectly legal to shoot down an unauthorized drone that intentionally flies onto your property to do surveillance in most states.

about a month and a half ago
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High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

MikeRT Left unmentioned about smart guns (600 comments)

Is that none of the politicians demanding them, most of whom are big city liberal politicians, are saying "well if we had smart guns, of course we'd let all law-abiding citizens carry in public." It's just a measure intended to further lock down legal gun ownership disguised as a way to keep criminals from using stolen weapons. Even though theoretically smart guns should make it easier for police to account for gun crime, the people pushing this aren't going to let up because their goal isn't even really to balance freedom and security.

about a month and a half ago

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