Colorado economy is holding its own
Alison Felix, economist and branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Denver Branch offers a slide presentation on the Colorado economy vs. the rest of the country. It's a good overview.
Obama Democrats see Benghazi as non event; Benghazi Hillary Clinton still could become president
Obama Democrats think Benghazi is a non event. Nixon Republicans felt the same way for years. Some still feel that way.
Nobody knows what will happen to Syria
We don't know what Syria will look like when its 2- to 20-plus years civil war exhausts itself.
Iowa GOP suicide bombers don’t even want to run for the Senate; they know they’d be demonized
The Iowa GOP is having a tough time finding a candidate for the U.S. Senate who could win the party's nomination and the election. UPDATE: Rep. Steve King (R-IA) won't run.
Potential Iowa GOP Senate candidates who could beat a Democrat know they would be crucified by Rick Santorum social issues fanatics.
Medium.com is a powerful, interesting new social media site for users of twitter, Facebook
One of the advantages of having been on social media sites for some 30 years is that I've experienced the fun of being on CompuServe, Internet message boards, this blog since 2003, newspapers' comments sections, twitter and FaceBook.
And now we have another social media site that I rediscovered this morning on twitter.com.
http://www.Medium.com announced its plans last year, and I registered as a member, but I didn't realize that it was up and running until I saw its tweet a few hours ago.
After signing in with my RealDonJohnson twitter account, I read a few articles and then dug into the "About" pages. (You may have to sign in with your twitter account to read that and other links I'm going to post here.)
Medium appears to be for people who want to write real articles, not just 140 word tweets or one-paragraph posts on FaceBook.
The site wants people to follow its style books, use its specified dictionaries and write "percent" instead of "%", which takes only one keystroke. I'm a "%" kinda guy. But if I decide to post on Medium, I'll try to use their style, which I think will keep a fair number of contributors away.
The next thing I read in the "About" section was a very detailed explantion of how "authors" and commenters can use the site. Writers can authorize readers to post "notes" next to sentences and paragraphs, not far away, deep in the middle of 1,000 comments posted below the article.
Notes appear in the margins of the page, right next to the sentence or paragraph they address. Notes writers are limited to only 200 characters per note, and you can't break those notes into paragraphs.
Long blocks of type are unreadable and unread. I believe in short paragraphs—the old Chicago Daily News style.
What's great about Medium's notes is that an author can turn them off, zap trolls and nasty comments and reply to those who post notes. And the author is the "moderator" and can make useless and nasty notes (flames) invisible to all but the author and the note writer.
In other words, authors and commenters can have real conversations. I'm hoping that Medium's authors will engage their writers. Few if any reporters for blogs, news sites like Politico.com or WSJ.com interact with commenters. I think that's a mistake and missed opportunity to engage readers.
Articles are posted in what Medium calls "collections". There are dozens of them. Sign in and take a look.
Who do we blame for ObamaCare, the unAffordable Care Act? Big Government corrupts
Who do we blame for soaring health insurance premiums?
You can blame AARP, health insurers, doctors and hospitals and the politicians that they paid with campaign contributions to distort the health insurance and health care markets.
And you can blame uninformed, unorganized and powerless voters for letting the Henry Waxmans of Congress and every president since JFK for making it all go wrong.
Health care is big money and big government.
Big government spends big money.
Big money in the hands of Big Government corrupts.
Big government corrupts politicians, campaign contributors, drug companies, hospital administrators, physicians and regulators who have anything to do with distorting our health insurance and health care markets.
That's why America's huge government is and looks so corrupt. We're a third world country now.
Congress 113th • Ethics • Trust • Health Care Providers • Health insurance • Fraud and Abuse • Health Insurance Reform • Individuals • Medicaid • Medicare • Healthcare Providers • Hospitals • Permalink
ObamaCare backlash grows; why community rating best thing in Affordable Care Act
The backlash against ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act, which is an oxymoron) is soaring among small businesses and their workers who are losing jobs and having their hours and take home pay cut while health insurance premiums are set to soar in 2014.
Premiums will soar as community rating, the best thing in ObamaCare, and expensive new mandated benefit plans kick in in 2014. The impact of community rating will be mostly a one-time event. Community rating protects the sick and most people over 40 from being discrimated against by employers because of their health status and age as I've written here. Please see the links at the bottom of that November 2009 blog for more information about community rating.
Expensive new mandated benefits designed to enrich providers and alternative care providers will keep premiums soaring until they're repealed and revised.
I've tweeted this morning at RealDonJohnson:
Why #community rating 1 of best things in #ObamaCare. http://tiny.cc/erwcww
How to reform health insurance markets. The Business Word.
U.S. needs community rates for health risks. By Donald E. L. Johnson
Health insurance • Community Rating • Health Insurance Reform • Small Business • Permalink
Greed for power drives immigration reform
There is no greed like the greed for power that is driving the Republican establishment's push for "comprehensive immigration reform" even when it involves a "poorly crafted", dishonest, unworkable immigration bill that is unworkable and never would be enforced by President Obama or his successors.
The GOP's leaders like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Mexico) think that if they back the most flawed immigration bill since the 2007 immigration bill Hispanic voters will give more support to the party's Congressional and presidential candidates. I don't think Hispanics will vote GOP, because the GOP is not of supportive of the Moocher Nation as Democrats are. Like Obama and other hard left Democrats, Hispanics think the government's job is to feed them and give them free health care.
That is why I think that the WSJ and Murdoch are way off base on immigration reform. They're pushing Congress to pass a flawed, dishonest and unworkable bill that never would be enforced if it became law. Obama and previous presidents haven't enforced border security for decades, and there is no reason to believe Obama would enforce a stronger law. He doesn't believe in the rule of law or in the U.S. Constitution.
I'm for the one-issue-at-a-time approach. Anyone pushing "comprehensive immigration reform" doesn't want reform, because it would be impossible to get through the House, if not the corrupt Senate.
What I'm for is a bill that would allow the members of the 11 million illegal immigrants who have paid their health care and education bills, paid local and national property and income taxes directly or indirectly, and obeyed our laws to stay as permanent residents.
No one who has illegally immigrated by violating our border security laws and regulations should be allowed on a path to citizenship. We should not reward those who've immigrated illegally and corrupted our politicians, judges, lawyers, journalists and academics with citizenship.
As for workers, the only ones we want are those who are educated, trained and capable of supporting themselves and their families. We don't need the sick, weak, illiterate, uneducated recruits for food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
And we don't need illegal immigrants who think the S. W. USA should return to Mexico.
Congress 113th • Ethics • Trust • Immigration Reform • Permalink
Xcel Energy: Wind power subsidies benefit developers, not utilities nor consumers
Excel Energy, the biggest wind energy producer in America, says that it may not sign up for more wind energy because the subsidies extended as part of the bill that saved 99% of Americans from income tax increases inclluded some $40 billion in pork for developers of wind power farms and their suppliers like General Electric.
The wind production tax credit (PTC) disguises the cost of wind energy and exacerbates the costs of other types of enery sources, Excel's lobbyist said in a statement reported by The Foundry blog, which is part of the Heritage Network..
Excel has raised rates to pay for its "clean energy" investments in Colorado and Minnesota. Many of its wind farms are around our farm in SW Minnesota. That it isn't likely to buy more towers is another reason for us to not put towers on our farm. I've been agaisnt the towers because they're ugly, noisy and likely to be eyesores for decades after they wear out and cease to produce energy. Most important, we don't like being part of an uneconomic enterprise subsidized at the rate of $8.5 billion $10 billion a year by consumers and taxpayers for no good reasons.
The Hidden Costs of Wind Energy; Why the full cost of wind generation is unlikely to match the cost of natural gas, coal or nuclear generation, By American Tradition Institute.
The hidden costs of wind power, by Institute for Energy Research.
Top wind utility: Wind subsidy benefits industry, not consumers, by Lachlan Markay, The Foundry blog.
Wind turbines 'Only lasting for half as long as previously thought,' by Energy Tribune.
The Democratic war on science, by Steven Hayward at Powerline blog.
Science must be seen to bridge the political divide; Scientists in the United States are often perceived as a Democratic interest grouip. For science's sake this has to change, by Daniel Sarewitz @ http://www.nature.com.
Agriculture • Farming • Congress 112th • Stocks • Energy Stocks • Taxes • Permalink
Education is key to a less violent, more healthy and prosperous America
Without more and better educated people we have:
House GOP in charge on fiscal cliff, debt ceiling; what it should demand from Obama
Divider-in-Chief Obama is sending America over the fiscal cliff he created and is trying to use to turn America into a one-party, Chicago style corrupt and bankrupt country. Sec. of Treasury Geithner, a leading liar for Obama, says the country will reach the debt ceiling on Dec. 31, 2012, Previously he had warned the ceiling would be reached in February. All House GOP Members should sign a letter to Obama that says the debt ceiling will be raised for one year when:
Congress 113th • Economy • Health insurance • Health Insurance Reform • Taxes • Permalink
Keep health care providers out of the health insurance business
The Wall Street Journal reports that some health care systems are getting into the health insurance business.
Gosh, how history repeats itself. Back in the 80s and 90s, several so-called "integrated" health systems got burned in the health insurance business. They didn't have insurance expertise, financial resources, market clout or credibility with individuals, employers or regulators. So most failed.
Hospitals and docs created Blue Cross and Blue Shield back in the 30s to make sure that they got paid the way they wanted to be paid, patients and payers be damned. That scam worked for decades until Medicare/Medicaid and smarter employers came along and forced the Blues to work for the payers instead of the providers.
If hospital systems try to compete with national health insurers, they'll lose the price wars even if they are the providers. This is because the national insurers have the financial and political resources and the market share that will allow them to crush the providers' plans whenever they decide to do that.
Over the last 35 to 40 years, too many hospital administrators have gotten their institutions into businesses that they knew little about, and they cost those institutions millions. Or, I should say, they ran up huge losses that they recovered by over-charging insurers and self-insured patients.
Most health care administrators are too smart to get into the insurance business. But their medical staffs get frustrated with insurers and demand that the hospital systems go into the health insurance, medical supply, group purchasing or whatever business the docs think will help them become richer.
Any board of directors that lets its CEO take it into what will be a money-losing, over-regulated business such as health insurance strikes me as being either incompetent, manipulated, self serving and/or all of the above.
State and federal legislators and regulators should not only outlaw health care providers from getting into the health insurance business, they also should enact anti-trust laws that break up the big regional and national health care chains and insurers.
Health insurance • States' Health Legislation • Health Insurance Reform • Healthcare Providers • Hospitals • Physicians • Permalink
How to make a fiscal cliff deal on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided within each party as well as between parties on how to avert putting the country over the "fiscal cliff," which really is a slope, not a cliff. As a Small Government Republican Medicare beneficiary who's benefited from the free gift of Part D, cheap Medicare premiums, tax credits on home mortgages and coverage of primary care services that I should be paying for out of pocket, here's the deal I would like to see:
1. Make Medicare and Medicaid catastrophic programs only. Drop all the wellness and primary care nonsense that enriches providers and often hurts patients with false positives and harmful procedures.
2. Take all Congressionally imposed mandated benefits out of M/M.
3. Take all payments for teaching and medical research out of M/M. Fund them in separate bills and programs.
4. Breakup regional and metro hospital systems, medical groups and national health insurers.
5. Free seniors to buy non Medicare health insurance plans that cover primary care, wellness care and alternative care services without any Medicare subsidies for those premiums.
6. Raise premiums on all parts of Medicare. They're ridiculously low.
7. Raise co-pays for all primary/preventive care and lower co/pays on catastrophically expensive cases.
8. Make Medicare Advantage enrollees pay the full premiums for the expanded coverage.
9. Use money saved by eliminating coverage of provider-enriching preventive and wellness services to cover long-term care expenses that become catastrophically expensive as a percentage of the beneficiary's wealth, including the value of a a home or other investments. If someone is worth, say, $5 million, and long-term care costs, say, $80,000 to $100,000 a year, let that person pay for that care. If the person is worth $500,000 or less, Medicare could pay. That's the Moocher Nation way, of course.
10. Eliminate the death tax. Keep taxes on capital gains and dividends at 15%. No tax increases on the rich unless everyone gets income tax increases. Shrink the number of people who don't pay income taxes, get food stamps and are fraudulently filing disability claims.
11. Keep SS/Medicare enrollments at current ages. Change CPI calculations to reflect real inflation, which is a lot higher than the CPI shows today.
Health insurance • Medicaid • Preventive Care • Medicare • Healthcare Providers • Taxes • Permalink
How farmers can get more folks up to date on agriculture
Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, warns that if rural America, or farmers, don't become more like other Moocher Nation Democrats, they'll lose even more influence in Washington, according to the left-leaning Associated Press story pubished on Politico.com. My comment on the story:
As the owner of a farm, I know that farmers are a big part of the Moocher Nation. We get our crop subsidies, government money to improve our land and nice tax credits for all kinds of things like having kids and getting home mortgages.
At the same time, the mostly Red States that gave the GOP control of the House are more rural than most Blue states. So farm states still have some clout.
The problem is that folks like Sen. Grassley (R-IA), a corn and beans farmer, defends and advocates Moocher Nation ag subsidies like ethanol, which are a huge indirect tax on urban American and rural America alike. Ethanol and wind power scams and ag subsidy programs, which is a lot of members of Congress are responding to voters demands that ethanol and wind power programs be cut from the Federal budget.
Now, the federal money and ethanol money is nice to have and hard to give up.
That farmers work for every penny is described in a wonderful book, Farm, a year in the life of an American farmer, by Richard Rhodes.
Agribusinesses should distribute Rhodes' book to every high school and college English teacher in the country and offer free copies to teachers who want to assign it to their students. And farmers should make sure that English and lit teachers in their high schools and community colleges assign the book to every student.
At the same time, the book should be distributed in lots of 10 to every Congressional office and all of the employees of the USDA, EPA and Commerce Dept. Those folks are readers. Give them a good read.
Econ books have used the grain markets to demonstrate the principles of supply and demand. The agribusiness world should encourage this and promote more ag econ teaching in community colleges and colleges.
Too see how high tech and complicated farming is, check out Iowa State University's curriculum for its ag majors.
Meanwhile, the Sec. of Agriculture is just unhappy that his wife lost her run for Congress in Iowa and that farmers put aside their personal financial interests and voted for their country and Romney, not for Divider-in-Chief Obama.
Maybe the farm bill would have a better chance if it didn't include so much spending on food stamps, which help too many of the near poor as the truly poor buy more junk food and bankrupt the country.
Agriculture • Farming • Books • Education • Marketing and Sales • Promotions • Permalink
How political candidates must engage voters online
Republicans are starting to figure out how they can match the Obama campaign's online political machine, Politico reports. As far as I could tell, the GOP had and has no online game. They're starting from zero. My thoughts:
1. Find and support bloggers and commenters who can compete with Obama's online advocates and thugs. Romney got very little online support because he despises the media, bloggers and anyone who can think.
2. Recruit social media candidates, not folks who tweet news releases and polite platitudes the way Mitt Romney did and most Congressional candidates do.
3. Teach the congressional candidates who can write and who have the smarts to debate online to engage folks on FaceBook, twitter and the comments sections of their local papers and broadcasters.
4. Make sure that candidates write their online posts and are online whenever they aren't fundraising or meeting voters. Social media only works when there are two-way conversations and numerous respondents to candidates' posts.
5. Exploit databases that allow them to target supporters with relevant content, messages and fundraising appeals.
6. Beef up candidates' web sites. Publish candidates' goals, positions on issues, speeches, articles, and important posts along with supporting documents, bills, laws and regs. Go for the opinion leaders who use the web site4s to identify the candidates they will support.
7. Make sure that everything written, printed, published and said by a candidate includes several hard sales pitches for relevant social media, e-mail and web pages where voters can learn more and talk to the candidates.
8. Make candidates read their Facebook and twitter threads as well as comments about them by readers of sites like Politico, Daily Caller, FreeBeacon.com, WSJ.com, WashingtonPost.com, and on their local media web sites. Connect with voters by engaging them and showing that you have the guts to take risks for them.
9. Show people who comment and blog for a candidate that they're being read and heard by responding to them online and quoting a few of them in speeches and articles. Do something to show you're not in a sound proof, windowless bubble. Get people (not paid pundits or your paid online advocates) excited about being on your team.
10. Get political communications consultants out of the way. We don't believe them nor do we want to hear from them. If a candidate can't give a decent speech, write and engage voters online, that person shouldn't be in politics and will have a hard time winning an election. Ask Mitt Romney. He could give a C speech and write a B article, but he got an F from voters because he didn't engage or communicate with them. He never showed he was learning from the campaign.
GOP seeks to up its online game, by Emily Schultheis
Campaign Mgmt • Consultants • e-commerce • Marketing and Sales • Blogging • Promotions • Permalink