Archive for February, 2006
Update: Please note that I know these brave people risk their lives…which is why the more support they receive the safer they will be.
Also go to Michelle Malkin for updates and how to peacefully protest in New York City at the Danish Embassy. Get involved! (Just keep scrolling down the post.)
It’s about time! I’ve been ranting and raving about Islamism and the cow-towing of Western Democracies. It must stop. Civilization depends on free people fighting the IDEOLOGICAL battle for freedom! The New York Times, CNN and all the other pusillanimous media outlets who refuse to print the “offensive” religious cartoons in question to mollify peace-hating Islamists reveal themselves to be hypocritical at best and derelict in duty at worst thus aiding and abetting the enemy. AND WE (all freedom loving and equal-rights upholding people) DO HAVE AN ENEMY much as some would like to magic that reality away.
Here is the letter, in its entirety:
Together facing the new totalitarianism
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia”, an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Is it wrong to say Amen? Amen. Read more here.
Hello people. Been trying and trying to get the comments thing to work. It’s not working. Don’t have more time to figure it out right now, but will come back again later when I’m more clear-headed. You can link to my post now and see who links.
Sounds fair enough. Scott Adams ponders other silly laws here.
According to Awful Plastic Surgery, Fergie has had some bad plastic surgery. I dunno. I think she kinda looks good.
And Katherine Zeta Jones? Oh, please, please Katherine. You’re perfect! Don’t touch that face of yours. Don’t ruin one thing. And stop smoking.
The government this week is now admitting that the 23 year old man’s Jewishness “probably had to do with why he was killed.” Really?
Did you know that over 500,000 Jews live in France? I didn’t. Will they hold fire to the feet of the apathetic government? I hope so.
Is it racist/bigoted/stupid to burn down embassies? Is it wrong to never condemn these actions?
While I think there are lots of good Muslims out there, hesitation due to the sensitive nature of job in the context of post-9/11 doesn’t seem to be racist. It seems to be common sense.
Getting rid of Miers wasn’t sexist. She didn’t have the mental chops for the job.
Getting rid of the UAE based company (or at least pausing to investigate further) to manage our ports isn’t racist. It is sensible. The bombers weren’t from France. And I wouldn’t even want a French company doing the management. So there! I’m a Francophobe, too.
If you want to know how one of the busiest women in the world manages to cut a lithe figure while eating great food and sitting on her butt–a lot–read more here. You’ll have to get up early to learn her tricks, though.
Do I need any more shame in my life? I’m not sure…..
What is the solution to insurance? Right now, Maryland is forcing Wal-Mart to offer insurance to it’s people or else they will be taxed to make up the Medicaid costs. I’m listening to Rush right now and he’s apoplectic. With good reason, I think.
I am not against poor people. When it comes to insurance, I am poor people. We have a high deductible plan $5,500.00/year before one penny of insurance is invoked. Every year we have sidled right up to the $5,000 mark. Every disease-ridden year. Oy.
At our office, we do not accept Medicare/Medicaid. If a patient with that coverage wants us to treat them (because we’re the best Alternative Health Care Providers in Houston, of course), they must sign a waiver. They must pay…in cash.
Why don’t we provide for the government? Because he is an odious taskmaster, that’s why. It is impossible to please him. He pays terrible. We can do nothing right. And when we are wrong, we don’t just pay them or people back, we go to Federal Mandated-sentences Jail. Am I being alarmist? Probably. Our office is small potatoes compared to other practices out there, but we must comply to all the crazy rules, too. The regulations stiffle patient care and if you really care about the patient you give lots of services away for free. And why not? This is America–HOME OF THE FREE.
The government is bad enough. The Insurance Companies, the government dressed up in ruffled skirts and stilettos, is equally as bad. Cutting fees like a deranged seamstress, rejecting pleas for payment with callous disregard, limiting patient treatment like sadistic bureaucrats they are all adds up to lots of pain and little gain. Little health gain. Little wealth gain. And the two are connected.
The solution? Go after companies and MAKE them pay their employees health coverage! Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Hey, wait a minute. I am an employer, too. Barely able to cover my own health care expenses, we would have to get rid of our two part-time employees if we were forced to pay their insurance coverage, too. It’s just to much.
The problem, as always, is the government. Insurance companies now follow Medicaid’s lead when it comes to coverage. The government covers the barest minimum for health care survival. So insurance companies have followed their lead. Interestingly, though, fees for one thing are excessive, things for others are obscenely low. Some specialties thrive. Some are dying. General practitioners in stand-alone practices are dying breeds.
What is happening is this: Doctors and patients are turning back to an old standard: CASH. You see, when a patient pays cash, he seems to miraculously get better faster. You might think that it’s the doctors sucking up all the coverage and in some cases that is true. But for doctors like us who want our patients to get healthy ASAP, we find that our cash patients consistently follow care recommendations more closely, respond to treatment quicker and generally take charge of life more. They have a BIG incentive to do so–their own pocketbook. While the insurance patients tend to look at their insurance plans as banks from which you can indefinitely withdraw. SOMEONE is paying those bills people. You want taxes to go down? You want your pay at work to go up? Lower your health care usage. Most of it’s crap anyway.
Here is what we did for our son because of our lack of health care coverage. Some of you might think that it proves we need universal coverage, but I don’t think so. When Little Toot burned his hand, it was an obvious emergency. We knew that we had a $500 payment minimum for what would probably be a one-hour hospital stay, but we had to do it. So we did. At the hospital, the doctor showed us how to treat the burn. We watched closely. He gave us explicit directions for care. We listened attentively. When we got home. We did exactly as told.
Now, the doctor wanted us to follow up with a Hand Surgeon the next day. That would have been at least another $200. For what? So she could look at the hand and tell us what we knew: that the hand was healing nicely and quicker than expected considering the severity of the burns. She would have then asked us to come back in one week–another $200.
Do you see? The care is approaching $1000, actually with the prescription pain medication and hand cream, would have been $1000. Instead, because we are paying the bill ourselves, the bill is around $500. And our son’s hand is healing pefectly fine.
Yes, we are doctors ourselves, so feel more confident evaluating the healing process. But that’s just the point. For other people it might well be worth their money to get the follow up care because they lack expertise.
For example, when we go to the car dealership, we have to pay for a lot of care that other people might not because they know how to fix it. We don’t. Likewise, a lawyer might not have to pay for law advice because she knows it. Or a grocer can skim old produce off the shelf because it will go to waste anyway and he’ll save money.
When it comes to cash, people are more willing to deal, too. No patient who needs care but can’t afford care gets overlooked in our practice. Thousands of dollars of care gets given away every year in our practice and in doctor’s offices (especially the independent ones–the big hospital-affiliated practices don’t give as much away because billing is separated from the one giving the service–the doctor) across the USA. And that is as it’s should be. We are in a helping profession. We like to help.
I am loathe, however, to see corporate patients with rich health care benefits while their insurance cuts my fees to nothing. In some cases, we go behind financially with insurance covered patients who could more than pay for their care! That is an uneven exchange. The patients are numbed by their relationship with the Insurance Company. They no longer see themselves as consumers. They see themselves as beneficiaries and get angry when they actually get billed for services not covered by their insurance. Newsflash! Why should doctors be expected to work for free? More than many other professions, we have HUGE costs to operate our business. I don’t even like to add up our insurance coverage (doctors are big targets), money we spend on accountants (IRS likes doctors too), and then there are our fat college loans.
Cash, which forces a direct doctor-patient (service provider-consumer) relationship, solves this. Doctors can cut fees at their discretion. Patients have to explain to their service provider directly why they can’t pay. Doctors can choose to give extra services. Doctors can give the care they believe the patient needs. Doctors can spend the time they would like to understand the problem.
What about high-cost treatments? Well, you know what, a lot of treatments are bunk, but insurance pays them. Consumers would get smarter. Episiotomies? That $400 procedure has absolutely no medical benefit, but it is done all the time. Caesareans? No, “elective” procedures should ever be covered. There is too much risk. But insurance pays them. Blood thinners with Angioplasty? Actually make outcomes worse. But insurance pays it. Angioplasty itself? Not effective one year out, but insurance pays it. Knee surgery? Back surgery? Bunk and bunk. Done all the time and insurance pays it.
Why does insurance pay this stuff? Heck if I know! Why do patients submit to these ridiculous, painful, unhelpful procedures? Mostly becuase they have the s%#t scared out of them and “Something MUST BE DONE”. Bah! So many patients would rather have a sexy surgery, than exercise, change their diet or do the very unsexy work to get back to health–because they wrongly believe the “procedure” will save them time and money (because the hard work stuff isn’t paid for by insurance). Which it doesn’t.
Our practice is full of post-surgery pain-filled people who are as bad off or worse than before their procedure. That’s why we call our office a RESORT–the last resort. Frustrated, embaressed, the patients are willing to try anything to get back to their old way when “standard practices” and “procedures” fail them.
That is not to say Modern Medicine fails everyone. On the contrary, patients need surgeons to cut out bad stuff, emergency medicine in emergencies and high-tech diagnostic procedures to catch bad stuff before it gets really, really bad. That costs money. A lot of money.
The high-deductible insurance is a good choice. Consumers will have to decide if the problem their facing rises to the level of serious monitary investment. No? Maybe they dodge a bullet and the problem goes away. Yes? Maybe they pay money for nothing. Yes? Maybe they catch a life-threatening problem.
Patients know. They might be in denial, but they know, often intuitively, when something is not good. Doctors are notoriously wrong when it comes to knowing how much worry to invest in a patient’s symptoms. This is proven as more and more care is dictated by computers because they are less wrong than human doctors! (Heart attack signs are better evaluated by a complex computer algorhythm than people. It’s true. The computer ignores all the doctor’s biases. Even really good doctors.)
Let the patients decide. They have to live with the results anyway. When costs come down because patients take their health into their own hands, the result may be that more employers pay for the high-deductible plans. It’s a nice BENEFIT.
Insurance is not an obligation of the government or big business. It just creates a further class divide. Health care payment is the obligation of individuals. Everyone needs to remember this as their insurance coverage dwindles.
The country will be a better place when insurance companies diminish and the consumers take charge again.
Holland’s warning is clear. Douglas Murray relates how the loss of free speech will change all of our lives. Free speech means freely saying just about anything–except it seems, to report the obvious: that Islam is the current tool of undereducated, angry, suppressed, impoverished (morally, ethically and socially) people and those who want to suppress them with simple-minded ideology.
Please note that I’m not saying that Islam is necessarily simple-minded. I don’t know enough about the religion to make that statement. But any religion in the hands of egomaniacal tyrants whose only motivation is self-interest will become a tool to enslave people. Make no mistake, those who worship at the fanatical fringes (or is it more mainstream than we like to admit?) of Islam are enslaved by choice to a cult, an ideology that suppresses even as it gives license to the basest human urges: revenge, domination, and glory. There is nothing more dangerous than immorality backed up by God, Himself.
This trend toward Islamic fascism will not stop. History has shown that it must be pushed back and that to only contain it. Why won’t it stop? A little Biblical history is in order:
- True believing Islamists (as opposed to the weak, back-sliding “moderate” Muslims who say nothing for fear of their own lives) know that they are the heirs of the FIRST born son of Abraham–Ishmael. Isaac whose name was changed to Israel wasn’t the first-born son at all, in their opinion, and should not have been so blessed. It is unfair and wrong. Israel must pay. Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Sarah’s (his wife’s) handmaiden Hagar, was the special one for many years before baby Isaac came on the scene and ruined everything. When Isaac turned five, Sarah finally weened him (can you blame her, she was in her 80s when she finally had her kid–I’d spoil him, too) and Abraham had a party to celebrate. Ishmael, being the older brother, taunted Isaac (can’t you just hear him saying “Mama’s boy!” and then Isaac crying, which only proved the point). Hagar had been insufferable for quite some time and refused to take direction from her boss once Ishmael was around. Sarah took it for so long, but had had it at the party. Sarah begged Abraham to turn them both out. Abraham was distressed (he loved Ishmael) and asked God what to do. And God said, “Listen to your wife.” Read the whole account in Genesis 21. Hagar wasn’t much of a believer as she sat in the desert waiting to die, but Ishmael was and he prayed to God. God told Hagar,”Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand: for I will make him a great nation.” And he is a great nation today.
- True believing Islamists share the following trait with their father Ishmael. I quote here the King James version of the Bible in Genesis 16:12 where the Angel of God talks to Hagar who has run away from Sarah because Sarah wasn’t too kind to the unsubmissive Egyptian woman, “…you shalt bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael: because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Can you think of a better description of the Middle East?
God has indeed blessed Ishmael’s heirs with wealth and multitudes beyond imagination. God has blessed Isaac’s heirs, too, with wealth and influence.
There are plenty of secularized Christians and Agnostics or even Atheists whose new religion is Humanism mixed with a little Relativism, who view this history as pure silliness. All ideas and people are the same. What quaint little ideas are put forth in the Bible. Or even more likely: the ideas in the book cause the world’s conflict–the solution is to get rid of religion all together and work together person to person.
Many Jews I know seem to shy away from their “destiny” wanting to melt into the surroundings as average people. You might too, if you knew the prophecies yet to come. As the people in France and the rest of Europe prove, though, anonymity will elude Israel’s descendents just as peace will elude Ishmael’s.
Isn’t it amazing how the legacy of two brothers affects us all?
While looking to see what the folks at Passionate Users were up to, I read and went to the link about a friend whose daughter Elena had just died. While the years fade away the sharpness of the pain of the loss of a child, when my mind turns to it, Andrew’s death is like a present-time-consciousness thing. I’m in the hospital. The weight of the decisions are upon me. The pain is real. My grief immediate.
It is helpful during our narcissistic forays into everyday life, to remember that people all over the world suffer unspeakable grief. Tsunamis, hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, disease, accidents, war, famine, life have taken children from parents. Every death is a tragedy. Every sorrow personal. A parent is never the same. Never.
It pains me that one more family suffers. Thy Kingdom Come.