August 25, 2014

11th Sunday after Pentacost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 3:58 am by gruundehn

I am extremely tired. I haven’t slept properly for over a week and perhaps closer to two weeks. Since I have gotten home from church I have been napping and am still tired enough so that I just might get a good nights sleep regardless of how much I napped. Just typing this is hard.

I goofed up, although given how tired I am perhaps not, if I had not bought so much stuff that, although needed, could be put off until next payday, I could have gone to the NFL game in Glendale and watched the Bengals play. Figure $100 (slightly more) for travel there and back, $100 for food and drink and maybe a souvenir and whatever the ticket would be – probably less than $100, and I could have sat down and watched an NFL game live and rooted for my team. I haven’t been to a live football game for decades. The Copper Bowl was here in Tucson for a short time and I went to some those games and that ended in 1996.

My screwed up sleep patterns have screwed up my life so I got very little done last week. And having my debit card hacked was no help. Because of bogus charges my debit card was cancelled and a new one issued. It took about a week to get it all straightened out.

I did attend the Election Integrity Commission meeting Friday and we got little done. Not that what we have done in the past has be paid attention to, but we were discouraged enough so that we got little done. I’m going to hang on and try to make a difference. One of the members who had been with the EIC from the start got discouraged enough so that he resigned. He stayed for six years, I can do that much time at least.

I am too tired to write out the prayer list, so if you which to do so please use last week’s prayer list for your personal prayers. I ask that you add a young man wounded in Afghanistan and who needs surgery, but his lungs are not strong enough for anesthesia. I do not know his name, I was told of him by a member of my reunion group wh hadn’t permission to use the name.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma.

What I’m writing: I got nothing done last week.

What I’m watching: Finished Mythbusters and have watched a bit of a DVD collection on WW I. I just bought it and so far, it is interesting.

August 21, 2014

Allah and God

Posted in Politics, Religion tagged , , , , , , at 12:58 am by gruundehn

It is often said that Allah and the God of both the New and Old Testaments are the same. I disagree.

Allah has, other than being a lone deity – not in a pantheon, nothing in common with the God and Father of Jesus. Read the Koran and compare the depiction of Allah with the depiction of God in the New Testament, two different people. Saying the two are the same is like saying that I and Eric Holder (the Attorney General of the United States of America) are the same because we are both humans. Allah has some similarity with the early depictions of YWH but only the oldest depictions, wherein YWH is something of a warrior god and that depiction was at least a thousand years out of date when the Qur’an was written.

Robert Spencer has, in his book Did Muhammad Exist? makes a case that Muhammad was an invention created after the Arab conquest of the Middle East in order to create a political religion. I find that case interesting. If it is true then Allah is a created warrior god, one designed to give morality to a bunch of savages taking over a civilized region. Savages taking over a civilized region is nothing new, look at the history of China. The Mongols (as one example) were a savage, primitive people who after their conquest of China became a very cultured and urbane people, a credit to their teachers the conquered Chinese. The Arabs in the Middle East are similar. Once they conquered the civilized regions they adapted to the civilized culture and grew a hybrid culture much like the Mongols in China.

But the Middle East in the middle to late seventh Century AD was a region of religious turmoil as well as a civilized region. The Eastern Roman Empire was trying to deal with various religious issues in Christianity as well as various non-Christian religions from Persia and various other peoples, including the Mongols. Christian heresies that should have been dealt with at the various councils, such as those at Nicaea, stayed stubbornly alive and continued to pester the region because pressures on the Eastern Roman Empire in other regions prevented a strong hand to deal with the problems with the Levant.

So, according to Robert Spencer, the Arabs entered this region that was in religious turmoil, noticed that the Orthodox Christian Faith was a unifier for the Eastern Roman Empire and decided to create a unifying religion of their own. They took their savage warrior god, mixed in various religious beliefs running through the area at the time, latched onto a relationship with the Hebrews and mixed it all together and came up with Islam. So, other than the tradition that they were descended form Abraham through Ishmael and perhaps some scraps they might have picked up after the Conquest (if Robert Spencer is right) there is no connection with the Hebrew religion. He does point out a strong connection with the Arian heresy which was part of the religious turmoil in the Levant at the time of the Conquest, believers having fled Constantinople to the region because the Eastern Roman Imperial officials were doing their best to stamp it out in the capital.

Allah does come across in the Koran as a bit of a hodge-podge and this may be why, but the main attribute of Allah is that he is a vicious deity more concerned with the Arab people (in Islam the belief is that Allah speaks only Arabic is a common one) instead of being a more universal deity. In the Old Testament YWH is shown as a deity just for the Hebrew people, except that there is also quite a bit showing YWH as a more universal deity. The Hebrews are to be apart from the rest of the world but also they are to be a shining light and a blessing to all the world. By the time of the Roman conquest the Hebrews, specifically Judah but not Samaria, were seeing themselves as a more inclusive people willing to admit anyone into their faith. The Samarians did not have this belief and part of the reason is, perhaps, that their Scripture contains only the Five Books ascribed to Moses which is the most exclusive part of the Old Testament.

Other than declaring Jesus to be a Prophet and thus acknowledging His existence, Islam takes very little – if anything –  from the New Testament and Orthodox Christianity. A Christian understanding of God is definitely not part of any heritage from Orthodox Christianity. So, other than propaganda, is there any connection between Allah, YWH and God? Not enough to matter. The connection between YWH and God is much stronger as the Christian understanding of God is derived from the Jewish understanding of YWH prevalent at the time. The Islamic understanding of Allah is not.

Thus I believe that the statement that Islam, Christianity and the Jewish faith worship the same deity is false and designed to further the interests of political Islam.

August 18, 2014

The 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , , at 12:44 am by gruundehn

My arm is not getting better, at least I don’t think it is. There is always a low-level ache in my upper arm. I don’t remember where the unhealed gap is, top or bottom of the break, but I imagine it is at the bottom and the funny thing is, that is not where the ache is; it is more towards the upper part of my arm. And looking at the scars where the rod and screws were installed, the ache does not match where the screws are holding the rod against the bone, the ache is about a third of the way down from the shoulder, where the rod is the only metal and I remember the rod being fairly smooth except at the ends where there are flattened sections to hold the screws. This ache may have something to do with the bone stimulator as this is where it rests when it is on my arm (unless it slips, it doesn’t fit secure enough for my mind) so when I next see the surgeon, in a month or two (I forget) I’ll have to ask. Maybe the ache is the result of the bone healing, I hope so.

I have not been sleeping well for the last couple of weeks so I finally bought some sleeping pills. I would have preferred to never have had to buy them but I need sleep and I need to get up early (so to speak) sometimes and not sleeping well makes it hard to get up early and be awake. Anyway, the suggested dose is two pills taken about an hour before sleep. So Monday night I took two pills about an hour before I wanted to get to sleep as the instructions said. Four hours later I fell sleep and woke up later than I had wanted to, luckily it wasn’t a problem since I had nothing scheduled for that day, and I was drowsy all day. So Tuesday night I took one pill well ahead of time and fell asleep when I wanted to and slept well. I though I had things in hand – I took one pill Wednesday night and had a horrible night, just like the recent nights without a sleeping pill. I sk ipped Thursday night as I did (and do) not want to get used to these pills. Friday night I took two pills early and slept well. Saturday night, because of when I got home, I didn’t take any and got no sleep at all. Tonight I plan on taking two pills and doing my best to make sure I do not oversleep. If I could get the pattern right I might be able to use these pills long enough to break my bad sleeping pattern and return to something normal. I do not intend to use sleeping pills for any length of time. Even if they do not break the bad pattern I am not going to buy a second bottle anytime soon.

My debit card got hacked so the bank cancelled it and is going to send me a new one. All those accounts wherein the card number and data will have to be changed. Another problem that will mess with my life.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors normally meets on Tuesday mornings, three weeks of the month; but during the months of July and August they meet for a regular meeting only once per month and they have a special meeting on the third Monday to set the tax rates. I’ll be speaking for the Libertarian Party against some of the practices the BOS does that might result in a higher property tax rate. Pima County has a property tax rate that is too high anyway. And the Supervisors do not manage the money they take from the taxpayers very well.

The Election Integrity Commission met last Friday and there wasn’t a whole lot to get done, except prepare for some items we are getting ready to do. We had made two recommendations to the BOS and both were shot down so there was some discouragement, especially with one specific member. But we march forward, having honest and transparent elections is too important.

The Pima County Libertarian Party will be meeting Tuesday evening. The restaurant we normally met at closed unexpectedly last month but we have found a new place to meet. We are setting up a publicity and education campaign in order to get more people interested and registered as Libertarians. This should be fun and interesting.

For those who wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop for the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ray Hickey, Chris LaBour, Gwen McCaffrey, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Emma Aird, Betsy Bret Harte & family, William Brown, Griffin Carter, Steve Fahrendorff, Nicholas H., Ray Hickey, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & family, Ruth; for animal companions in need; for those who have died especially William H., Sheila H., Sebastian H., Vincent H., Samuel C. Hairston; for animal companions who have died.  I also ask that you pray for the millions of Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Yazidis who have been murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m writing: I got nothing written last week due to my sleep problems, in part, and meetings.

What I’m reading: I have started the on the Sister Fidelma series and enjoy it.

What I’m watching: I’m finishing off the Mythbusters collection I have. I like that program.

August 14, 2014

Muslim Terrorism

Posted in Politics, Religion tagged , , at 12:05 am by gruundehn

In the news, and more so in certain areas of the news, has been an increasing number of reports of Muslims terrorizing Jews, Christians, Yazidis, Hindus, and of course other Muslims. This should be no surprise to anyone who has read the Koran. There are several good translations of the Koran available, often the translation being done by Muslims.

Islam is often described as a “Religion of Peace” but the Koran disputes this. In the Qur’an Muslims are required to wage war on non-Muslims until the non-Muslims acknowledge their inferiority to Islam or convert to Islam. There is one verse in the Qur’an which might be used to claim that Islam is a “Religion of Peace” but the number of verses, and their tone, swamps the idea that peace has any place in Islam. At least, not until everyone is a Muslim of the proper type. probably Sunni. Thus, the attacks on the Shia minority.

I have read the Koran, various translations and presently own an annotated copy. The text of this edition matches the texts 0f the other copies I have read but the annotations seem to have been written (pardon the cliché) by a blond Valley Girl on steroids. I am presently looking for another copy without the flakey annotations.

And another point to consider when reading the Qur’an is that there are three versions presently in publication: the Cairo edition (the most common), the Istanbul edition, and the Baghdad or Persian edition. The differences between the three are not great, but they do exist. Off the top of my head I cannot remember what those differences are but I do remember that they exist.

But anyway, the Koran is a book of violence and war. Look at the life of Mohammad as conventionally presented. The Koran and the various ahadith (plural of hadith), the various writings by and about Mohammad the expand or clarify the Koran. These writings depict Mohammad as a liar, thief, murderer and pedophile. And these are favorable to Mohammad. If Mohammad is presented as such in favorable media, what will those who seek to emulate him act like? Look at the various terrorist organizations and realize the if he were alive today Mohammad would be part of them. That Mohammad, given the difference in technology, did the same back during the 7th Century  AD.

For those who want to “make nice” with Islam, read the Qur’an and realize that such a philosophy is useless, or worse. Being nice to Islam does not change the fact that Islam cannot be nice to us and stay true to the Koran.

August 11, 2014

9th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 12:35 am by gruundehn

I am a football fan, NFL, and my team is the Bengals. I was sorry to see that they lost last Thursday but this is only the preseason. In the past the performance during preseason had nothing to do with the performance during the regular season. So, if they loose all preseason games or if they win the remaining ones, it does not bother me. Well, it bothers me that they lose, but the regular season is what is important. So, I will watch the games and be enthusiastic when they do well, but I will not rip out my beard if they don’t.

Watching NFL games will take some time from what I need to do on several other projects so I am going to have to take care that I don’t end up doing nothing during the season. However, I know that I have been wasting a lot of time watching stupid videos on the internet and otherwise just killing time. I probably have a lot of time I can, and should, take the needed time from that category of what I do. I think that I may just get back into the habit of being better at planning, and then following up and doing, my time and efforts. If I were still on active duty acting this way would be a court-martial offense. Or at least get me chewed out on a daily basis.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is still on their summer schedule so last Tuesday was the only regular meeting this month – there is another meeting but it is to set the tax rates for the next year. The Election Integrity Commission had two matters on the agenda and lost on both. The two issues were getting a test of auditing early ballots (vote by mail) by precinct to determine if those votes match the regular votes on Election Day. Right now about 80% of all votes are cast by mail, a fact I do not like – these voters are saying that any information that comes forth towards the later part of the election season is meaningless; plus a lot of the protections against voter fraud are taken out of the equation – and if there is no method of auditing those votes by hand-count and comparing that audit with the audit of the votes on election day then the county is saying that fraud is acceptable. And that is something I will not agree with.

The second matter is related to the first in that because of the massive amount of voter vote-by-mail now in place and likely to go even higher, the county is removing the scanners from the precincts because they will not be purchasing replacements when they replace the central-count system. A layer of protection is being removed and with the amount of election and voter fraud that is becoming known and I resent that.

My arm is not healing fast enough, the surgeon who did the surgery back last September and put the rod in my arm is concerned. I have to have a bone stimulator on my arm for three hours a day for the next five months or so. If it doesn’t work then I will have to undergo more surgery and worse surgery at that. I don’t like the stimulator, I think it has been part of the reason I haven’t been sleeping so well. As I write this I am quite tired from lack of sleep. With luck tonight I’ll get a good night’s sleep and feel better. Given my recent history on the subject – I doubt it. Which may sabotage my sleeping tonight.

I’m still working on my Discernment Questionnaire but I find that the simple questions are hard to answer. I do a lot of writing but I find that I want to re-write my answers every time I start to answer a new question or two. Writers always re-write but I worry that I am not being clear in what I say. For me, becoming a member of the Community of Solitude or something similar is a growing need and I do not want to lose out like I did with the Community of Saint Mary of the Annunciation. I first started on this quest almost twenty years ago and I think I am reaching the end and I am getting anxious.

For those who wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, and Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ray Hickey, Chris LaBour, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Emma Aird, Betsy Brett Harte & family, William Brown, Griffin Carter, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Ruth; for animal companions in need; for those who have died especially Harold J. Greene, Girard D. Glass Jr, Donnell A. Hamilton, Keith M. Williams Benjamin G. Prange; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Christians, Jews and Yazidis who have been murdered, driven from their homelands and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: I am reading the Sister Fidelma series as well as D&D 3.5 of course and religious books, again of course.

What I’m watching: I just started re-watching Benny Hill. I am going through the DVDs and watching a show at a time and remembering why I think he is so funny.

What I’m writing: Still plugging away at Magic in the Monastery but not getting a huge amount done.

August 7, 2014


Posted in Politics tagged , , , , , at 12:52 am by gruundehn

The world is a dangerous place – it always has been but before the last hundred ears or so the danger has been primarily local. Yes the Black Plague was a world-wide disaster but at the time most people were in danger from starvation or local war that a world-spanning disease. And yes once the ability to construct ocean-going ships was established those ships could fight anywhere in the world where there was deep enough water connected to the sea, but that fighting was again fairly local in that those ships could not inflict serious damage on anyplace other than themselves or the minute portion of the world next to the seas.

Now, with the improvement in transportation technology, a fight could start in a small town and spread quickly to a much larger area – depending on how many people join that fight; and even then a small force with modern weapons could spread that fight far beyond what the sheer numbers could indicate. And of course, any state with powerful missiles can be a danger to someplace thousands of miles away and inflict that danger without much, if any, warning.

Disease is easier to spread now, more so that at anytime before. The Black Plague was spread by ship from country to country but once it reached a port the transportation technology limited its spread to a much slower pace. Today if the Black Plague were to start up the speed of its spread would not be so limited. Planes can take it thousands of miles at a hop, in a single day, and once in a country it would spread at the speed of cars, trains, buses and shorter hop planes. An outbreak could be world-wide before it was recognized.

However, diseases are not the most dangerous thing we face. Diseases for the most part can be treated and cured and any outbreak, even a world-wide one, could be treated and stopped. Violence with modern weapons is the greater danger. And here I will not jump on the shabby bandwagon of demanding the elimination of modern weapons – that is futile. Once technology is known it cannot be unknown without killing a huge part of the population and destroying every database that explains it – and even then it would probably be futile because the knowledge that the technology can exist will be enough to bring it back. And that knowledge cannot be eliminated without eliminating everyone over the age of perhaps five years old. And if you do that, who will keep those children alive? If you keep some adults alive someone will cheat and, to obtain control perhaps, will ensure that those under their care will learn of the technology and be able to re-invent it.  And someone else might do the same as a precaution against someone doing it for nefarious purposes.

So what to do? How to eliminate the danger of modern weapons if eliminating them won’t work? Surprisingly, what will work is increasing their availability. Not nuclear weapons or supersonic fighters as the work needed to maintain them would make them unsuited for personal ownership. But handguns, rifles, shotguns and may some others are suited for personal use and there is evidence that the lack of guns is a major factor in mass killings. Look up the mass shootings over the last twenty years or so. I know of no exception to the statement that they all happened where guns were banned.

Will the presence of guns deter disease? Of course not, nor will it deter vehicle homicide (well, maybe if you could disable the vehicle in time but that is unlikely) nor will it deter forest fires or death by lightning. But to be honest, normally when confronted with a defending person with a gun, someone attempting mass murder stops with the mass murder and either flees or commits suicide thus saving many lives. Well trained people with weapons are a valid way to reduce the dangers posed by modern weapons technology. And one of the best ways to implement that training is through the militia.

In America the militia is, basically, all male citizens over the age of 17 and through the age of 45. The Federal Constitution requires that they be trained. Such militia training would ensure that people get proper training and learn respect for firearms. Weapons safety would be part of that training obviously and the danger that firearms might pose would be reduced.

“When seconds count, the police are minutes away.” When second count a firearm in the hands of a trained person is available much faster.

August 4, 2014

8th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 12:57 am by gruundehn

I am working through the Discernment Questionnaire for the Community of Solitude and am having a rough time; which any good discernment questionnaire should do, give someone a hard time answering the questions. Answering the questions in writing is harder in some ways than answering them verbally to someone face-to-face. That would be harder for me because I get flustered and sidetracked in any discussion quite easily. But answering questions in writing is harder in some ways because I take too long going back over the answer and trying to become clearer; and perhaps end up in more of a muddle. I told the Community that I would have this done two weeks ago and it looks like it’ll be another two weeks before I get done.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has their meeting for August this week, Tuesday. On the agenda are two items relating to the Election Integrity Commission and I intend to speak on both issues. But a point has been brought up by a member that I have to research. One of our recommendations may be asking the BOS to do something prohibited by the State Constitution. I’ll have to find the State Constitution online and print it out and study it. I retired a while ago and now it seems that between the EIC and the Libertarian Party and my game work, I am working harder than before. That isn’t how it’s supposed to happen is it?

I’m using that bone stimulator every night now and I am beginning to hate it. My sleep patterns are disrupted and I think it is partly to blame. I have to wear it for three hours every day so I chose to wear it from 9PM to Midnight expecting that I could wear it while sleeping and it would not cause any problems. However, now I wake to the beep telling me that it is finished the three hours and can’t get back to sleep until about 4AM and then I sleep until about 9AM or so. Or else I don’t get to sleep once I wake up and get only a couple of hours sleep that night. I’m going to have to change when I use it but the problem is that I can’t be sure of being able to use it at the same time every day and if so I will probably forget it and reduce the chance of my arm healing. And if this doesn’t finish healing it then I’ll have to go through a bone graft and that’ll be much worse. But I’ll be able to prepare for the surgery this time and will have everything ready such as mail stopped as well as my rent paid ahead and what I’ll want and need with me in the hospital. Still, I do not want the surgery to have to happen. I hurt now and I expect that after that surgery I’ll hurt more and forever.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-st. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Dona Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Dick Steele, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & her family, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Maureen, Ruth; for animal companions in need; for those who have died; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Christians, Hindus and Jews who have been murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.  I could list the examples I have found of Muslim violence but I think the Sunday postings would run over several thousand words. Maybe I’ll add a set of daily postings listing the examples I found. Probably not, not that I am scared mind you – at least I don’t think I am but that is an issue that I can never be sure of until I’m dead – but I think the examples are easily found and if you are interested you can find them without my listing them here.

What I’m writing: I’m still trying to get Magic in the Monastery finished but am having slow going. The internet is just too addictive. I plan on “just a quick look” and four hours later I realize I haven’t written anything.

What I’m reading: Religious books and a book on ancient Greece. I have probably 30-40 books in my queue for reading and I am slowly working my way through them. The Sister Fidelma mysteries are interesting and I recommend them if you like Brother Cadfael and other slightly odd detectives. The setting is Ireland in the early Middle Ages so the Rule of Benedict does not operate here and Sister Fidelma leave being a nun and marries a monk – an Angle as he is constantly reminding people. The first book was a bit easy, I had solved it halfway through but I kept because of the story and setting. The next two (all I have for now) are not as simple. The only complaint I have is that the people in the story are constantly explaining a word to title which the speaker and the listener in the setting would already know. It’s for the reader but it still jars a bit. Without it I’d be lost and I’m sure others would as well but it does jar some.

What I’m watching: Very little television but the occasional DVD. I just got the Dogfight series and finished that off. I love it.

July 31, 2014

Government run health care

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 3:59 am by gruundehn

Consider the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Administration Health Care System. One is out of the news and one is in the news. Both are junk compared to privately run health systems. One of the reasons, one of the main reasons for the reservation casinos is so that the various tribal nations can provide quality health care for their people; the Indian Health Service is worse than third-world. Some of the VA hospitals are good hospitals, the one here in Tucson is one of the good ones, but for the most part they are a disservice to the veterans who often get their health care elsewhere. However, there are those who cannot afford to go elsewhere and therefore put up with poor service. As I said, Tucson has a good hospital and I have no complaints about my health care here, except for some problems with the computer scheduling me for an appointment when my doctor is not there or deciding – on its own – that one of my medications has been recalled and cannot therefore be refilled.

But government intervention in health care has historically made things worse. It is the government that keeps the number of doctors less than needed by the population be restricting the number of medical schools and the number of doctors licensed by the government. It is the government, through Medicare and Medicaid, that increased demand by suddenly making it seem cheaper to go to the doctor and use those programs without increasing the number of doctors to meet the demand; plus, both programs increased the cost to the doctor and lowered the payments to the doctor thus many doctors are leaving the field and doing so without replacement. Now the Affordable Care Act is increasing the costs to the doctors, increasing the paperwork involved in treating patients and of course, reducing payments to the doctors – no wonder so many are retiring early or otherwise leaving the medical field.

Insurance is another way government has reduced the quality of health care. By making insurance one of the means of getting wage controls during WW II the government increased demand without increasing supply. For a long time there was enough play in the system so that workplace provided health insurance did not skew the situation too badly. But people got out of the habit of knowing what their health care cost was. If your insurance pays for your office visit, why bother to discover if what your doctor charges is reasonable or if another doctor provides better quality care at the same or better price? Plus, it may be that the health insurance requires you to use a specific doctor or choose from a small list of doctors, but maybe one off that list was better for you. You were being trained, probably inadvertently, to not care about your health care costs or to do proper research about your care.

It was in the news recently, about two or three months ago, that a small but growing number of doctors were not accepting insurance and passing the savings on to their patients. As a result, patients were paying less out of pocket for routine health care than the deductible on their insurance. This is an indication of just how badly routine health insurance is for the patients – and government intervention is similar. Without Medicare and Medicaid the costs to the patients would probably be much less than their co-pay.

Get the government out of health care and eliminate routine health insurance, not catastrophic insurance but routine health insurance. Pay your doctor for the office visit and for your shots – you will save money and get non-doctors out of the decision loop for your health care.

July 28, 2014

7th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , , at 1:02 am by gruundehn

Lately I have not been sleeping well. I go to bed at my normal hour, right after the weather report on the early news, and read for about half an hour as I normally do. I fall asleep for an hour or two and then I cannot go back to sleep until about 4 AM local. I then sleep until about 9 AM local. Now I have very few things that I do that call for a schedule but those activities that do call for a schedule occur at 9 AM local. Obviously there is going to be a problem if this continues. I was able to get up in time to go to church today but I need to get this problem fixed. I don’t want to use sleeping pills even for a short time in order to train my mind and body to sleep in a better pattern as I think those can cause too many problems. I need to research a solution that works. This cannot continue.

While playing with friends yesterday one of them noticed that I have a growth in my right ear. Normally there is a small hump in the opening just above the lobe, were the ear attaches to the head and it is on this hump that a growth is. It is not a hard growth, but it isn’t soft either. I can squeeze it with some difficulty and I cannot squeeze it all the way like I could an ear lobe or a bit of fat. It is not attached to the rest of me except by the skin that covers it. By this I mean that I can move it and the only restriction is the skin, it isn’t a hard lump growing out of an underlying layer. I see my doctor in a few weeks and I will have to remember to have my doctor examine it.

I am going to have to start going full-time on my campaign for D&D 3.5 in order to be ready when the present Lo5R campaign ends. And although the individual running that campaign thinks is will be months, maybe three or four at least, there is a tradition of ending campaigns early with our gaming group. And the groups is asking a lot of background questions and forcing me into the area of campaign design that I had so much trouble with designing my Arlun GURPS campaign. Maybe I will be able to get back to working on Magic in the Monastery in the near future, before I forget where I was going with it.

It looks like there will be a fight between the Pima County Election Integrity Commission and the County Administrator. Not only has he started legal action, through the State, on an Open Meeting Law issue but he is fighting our recommendations on new election equipment. He was against our recommendation to try to get the Secretary of State to waive an unnecessary requirement (which the SOS refused to do, surprise surprise) and now seems to want to eliminate the EIC as a useful tool for the Board of Supervisors. I hope I am wrong and this is not what it seems right now, that he is just trying to run the county efficiently. I have my doubts and several members of the public are publishing opinions attacking him.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop for the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Kathe3rine Bernard, Catherine Brown, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Steve Mattix, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Dick Steel, Angel Wang, Angelina Wang, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & her family, William Brown, Betty Jo Elliston, Donna Guy, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, James, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Karl, Kirk, Brenda & Gus, Leah, Leona, Lisa, Maria, Maureen, Monica  Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Patti, Ruth, Terry, Zara; for animal companions in need; for those who have died especially Annita Harlan, Gus Lindauer; for animal companions who have died especially Bosco Shinn, Liberty. I also ask your prayers for those millions of Jews, Hindus, and Christians who have bee murdered, driven from their homes and otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world. I also ask your prayers for those Muslims whose shrine was destroyed by “pure” Muslims who are following the instructions of the Koran and the ahadith.

What I’m watching: Dogfights by the History Channel. When I had a Blockbuster account I rented the two seasons often. Now I own the DVDs of the two seasons and look forward to watching in the future.

What I’m reading: D&D books and various religious books.

What I’m writing: I got some done on Magic in the Monastery last week but I’ll have to set it aside for a while, hopefully a short while.

July 24, 2014

There is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed

Posted in Politics tagged , , , at 1:09 am by gruundehn

If you follow my posts on Sundays you will notice that I am an Episcopalian and attend Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here in Tucson. I haven’t said so explicitly before now but it should be obvious from the prayers I ask from you. So I get a lot of progressive propaganda on Sundays.

One bit of propaganda I get fairly often is the comment that is the title of this post. Until you think about it, this seems a good piece of wisdom and one that everyone should follow by restricting themselves to what they need only. It is only when you examine the idea that it falls apart like a lot of progressive philosophy.

The biggest failure of this idea, and the only one I’ll write about here and now, is: Who decides?

Yes, who decides that what you want to buy is either need or greed? Who sets the standards you have to live by?

If you decide that what you want is need or is greed then there is no difference from now and the saying is stupid.

If someone else decides, then how do they determine that what you want is need or greed? Do they come and do a detailed evaluation of your situation? What criteria do they use and did you have any say in the creation of those criteria?

If you decide but your decision is based upon a set of standards taught you, then who set up those standards and how did they know what your situation was going to be when you have to make the decision?

Anyone can rationalize a greedy decision as a needy one and anyone can put off a needy decision for fear that it is a greedy one. And anyone else can dispute the decision but that disputing will be based upon incomplete information. Indeed, any decision will always be based upon incomplete information but you will always have more information on your situation than anyone else.

You decide if what you want is what you need. I hope that you take care in such decisions and that you also do not let someone else bully you into deciding as they want you to do. Such bullying is never in your best interests.

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