Romneycare Upheld by Supremes; Romney Livid

“Romneycare”, also sometimes called “Obamacare” except NPR (National Public Radio) who call it “National Healthcare Law”, has been upheld by the Supremes. Not the Motown band, but the Supreme Court. Presidential candied-date Romney, who inspired the law, spoke from a balcony in Washington D.C. with the capitol as a backdrop, disclaiming and divorcing himself from his creation whilst drooling bile. He insisted “The only way to get rid of [Romneycare] is to vote for me, Mitt Romney, for president”. This implied that he would somehow single-handedly overturn the Supreme Court, leaving him to personally kill his child. I’ve come to call the legislation “O’RomnaBomneyCare” to celebrate the delicious ironies that are presented.

The entire picture was surreal, but the fallout from the Supreme’s decision is worth noting. Everyone will be able to get health insurance, regardless of “pre-existing conditions”, and regardless of their income. The quality of that insurance is certain to be unequal across the classes, which should please Republicans who are otherwise put out. The cost of health insurance should come down, but probably won’t, leaving plenty of room for more legal wrangling and lobbying with consequent coke-and-callgirl parties to blow off steam and stress in Washington. Children will continue to be able to benefit from parent’s health insurance, leaving no doubt that the average 26 year-old is about as mature as an 18 year-old was 30 years ago. Insurance companies will profit even more than before, as every citizen (and illegal immigrant) will become a customer under the force of law. And that’s just for starters. For more unbiased reporting on this development, and the current state of affairs in general, I suggest “This Modern World” by Tom Tomorrow.

We Hold These Observations to be Self-Evident

I’ve been getting out lately. Talking with folks on the street, in offices, on the job. I’ve been talking to the clear-eyed ones, and tallying up what they see. It’s been interesting.

It’s been bi-partisan and non-partisan, and it hasn’t looked like what we’ve been shown on TV. For starters, I find a lot more Libertarians in the wild than are accounted for in the mass-media view of the world. Not surprising given the state of denial manifested by the press in the early goings of the Republican Primary season. As always, the mainstream media had a great deal of trouble admitting that Ron Paul existed, let alone that he was getting votes. But, I’ve also talked with many people who see the differences between Republicans and Democrats to be like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

The mood on the street is grim. Most of the people I’ve talked to feel that neither Obama nor Romney will be able to save us. They therefore conclude that an economic collapse is coming soon to America, and that the government is too paralyzed by corruption, greed, partisanship, and self-aggrandizement to do anything about it.

“The question isn’t ‘if’, it’s ‘when'”, explained an Information Technology Project Manager. “The question we need to answer is how bad it will be, and how we’ll pick up the pieces when the Federal government collapses”. The Texan brought in the topic of States’ Rights as exemplifying how the Feds have extended their reach beyond their grasp. He pointed out how the Feds are collecting far more personal information than they know what to do with, and agreed with me that it’s some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder. He also pointed out that they (the Feds) would like to think they can lock us down, but that we out-number them, and they might find the military and law enforcement switching sides if they try to crack down on the populace, say, by claiming that we need martial law to protect us from terrorist threats.

Just how much abuse will Americans take from their government? That question was rhetorically posed by the owner of a landscaping business in New Jersey. “I really don’t know” he complained. “It seems like when police break into peoples houses, they could be spread-eagled on the floor with a boot on the back of their neck and a gun pointed at them, and they’d beg for more”. He marveled at how it seems most Americans are willing to give up all their rights so they can remain “in a state of denial”.

A Vice President for Business Accounts at a Nebraska branch of a large national bank said: “when the sh*t hits the fan, nobody’s going to be breaking down _my_ door. I’m heavily armed, and anyone trying to enforce anything on me or my family will wind up full of holes.” He added “I’ve got a good supply of [freeze dried] food stashed away, and several hundred gallons of water.” Like many of those I talked to, he was keenly aware that if an interruption to the food supply chain in America lasted longer than three days, mass hunger would quickly ensue.

A common theme among those I talked to was that things have gotten so bad, the government will not be able to fix them. However, no one had any idea of who or what can. They all seemed to feel it will boil down to every man for himself, in one form or another, and that the future will therefore feature much chaos. The consensus was clear: the government is the cause of the problem, and is unlikely to be a part of the solution.

Ironically, although the views seem very dark and pessimistic in print, the people espousing these views were actually fairly upbeat. They all seemed to think that after the chaos of collapse, we’ll have an opportunity for a fresh start, and, perhaps, avoid the mistakes of the past.

One can only hope they’re right on the last point!

Dark Cloud: Big Brother is Watching Your DropBox

I’ve been working with my iPad and iTouch (an iPhone without the 3Gphone). The apps make frequent use of “The Cloud” for data sharing, export, and backup. Very convenient.

The problem is, the Cloud is like Facebook. While Facebook provides the FBI (and other government spook agencies) convenient access to alphabetized lists of your friends and acquaintances, along with phone number, email addresses, scheduling/calendar info, and more, the Cloud provides easy access to all personal data stored there. Easy access not just for you, but for others like criminals, banks, insurance agencies, and most incredibility (not)  – the Federal Government.

If I were the author of one of those free apps that store data in the cloud, I’d be tempted to take generous payments from the government to provide full access to the data. Wouldn’t you? Of course it’s hush-hush, but it’s all on the up-and-up. After all, it’s the Government, isn’t it? Aren’t they the ones who decide what’s right and wrong? What could possibly be wrong about taking money from the Government?

The Buying Out of American Business

The US Government learned a valuable lesson in the Savings and Loan banking crisis of the 1980’s. When it bailed out the banks, it essentially nationalized them, turning them into stoolies for the government, reporting every transaction over $8,000 and even much smaller transactions that, for any reason, might seem “suspicious”. You don’t suppose that’s been used against anyone in a personal vendetta by a government employee or elected official, do you?

Why stop with the banks? After all, most marketing-savvy businesses are avid collectors of information about their customers and even just hapless prospects. Why not just buy it from them and support big business instead of big government? It almost sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

“Eyeball Networks” – the ISPs that service Internet consumers – are all picking up on this trend. They’re the ones in the best position to hand off records of all your Internet activities. Comcast charges $800/month to the Feds for each customer the government wants to snoop on. That’s way more money than they make for selling and servicing cable television to consumers, and with TIA (the Total Information Awareness program) is happy to pay with taxpayer dollars.

We learned recently another large ISP is earning millions selling the government the bits of data generated each time a computer looks up a hostname (e.g. on the Internet This includes identifying data such as your IP address.

Why stop there? Feds can simply buy your credit records. And, they can get your cloud data from Apple, Microsoft, DropBox, backup services like Mozy and Carbonite. It’s easy. It’s good for the economies of businesses taking the payoffs. It’s easy for the government.

How are YOU feeling about it? What is your threshold for this kind of abuse?