Archive for March 7th, 2012

Nude body airport scanners: Eight billion dollar fraud

| March 7, 2012 | 1 Reply
Nude body airport scanners:  Eight billion dollar fraud

Take a look at this short video by Jonathan Corbett. He makes a pretty good case that the nude body scanners at American airports constitute an $8 Billion fraud, in addition to exposing us to supposedly safe radiation and invasive searches. Most important, these scanners are technically flawed to such a degree that any terrorist can slip virtually anything into an airplane. Corbett points out that the Israelis refused to invest in these scanners, because they are “useless.” This is a rather unsurprising accusation against the folks who never considered locking the cockpit doors prior to 9/11–boondoggle and ineffective. But at least a lot of Americans will see those shiny expensive new nude body scanners and assume that they are safe. After all, these new scanners are newer than the “old fashioned” metal detectors that actually work. But it seems to be the prime objective of the TSA to cause people to believe that they are safe.

For more information, see Corbett’s website posts on this topic here and here.

If Corbett’s analysis is correct, these nude body scanners exemplify this country’s approach to many issues. Hype a problem, inject with the fear of terrorists, spend a lot of money that isn’t really needed, violate lots of fundamental civil liberties and cover up the fact that the money is not being well-spent.

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On the outrageous cost of American healthcare

| March 7, 2012 | 8 Replies
On the outrageous cost of American healthcare

In France, an MRI costs $280, while in the U.S., an MRI costs $1080. At the Washington Post, Ezra Klein discusses this huge discrepancy:

There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher. That may sound obvious. But it is, in fact, key to understanding one of the most pressing problems facing our economy. In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish. Workers would have much more money in their pockets. Our economy would grow more quickly, as our exports would be more competitive. . . . In America, Medicare and Medicaid negotiate prices on behalf of their tens of millions of members and, not coincidentally, purchase care at a substantial markdown from the commercial average. But outside that, it’s a free-for-all. Providers largely charge what they can get away with, often offering different prices to different insurers, and an even higher price to the uninsured.

What about the new health care reform law? Klein offers the bad news: “The 2010 health-reform law does little to directly address prices.” This is a stunning conclusion, given that Barack Obama’s opening sales pitch for health care reform is that we need to do rein in the high cost of health care.

On October 15, 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) promised the American people: “The only thing we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.

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Distorted memories make rational people act crazy

| March 7, 2012 | Reply
Distorted memories make rational people act crazy

The way we remember the past determines how we understand the present and how we will act in the future. Consider this example: How do you remember 9/11?

Many people remember 9/11 something like this: A group of people who are representative of ALL Muslims, who were part of a worldwide conspiratorial network of Muslims, hated that Americans have freedoms, so they began an endless violent onslaught against America in order to completely destroy America.

For people who remember 9/11 like this, all of the following are “logical”: A) immensely wasteful Manichean American war-mongering worldwide, B) giving law enforcement the green light to deprive citizens of fundamental liberties, C) intense groupishness, leading to unabashed bigotry aimed at Muslims and other non-Christians and D) Doing everything possible (even at the expense of ignoring America’s decaying infrastructure) to attempt to protect Americans from violent Muslims, who could be lurking around every corner.

[More . . . ]

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