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Member since: Thu Aug 30, 2007, 11:50 PM
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Snowden's revelations of the NSA's activities fallout continues. Next chapter, the UN

Foreign Policy Magazine is reporting that the people around the world we've been wiretapping and spying on and generally being nosy towards are headed to the UN. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/10/24/exclusive_germany_brazil_turn_to_un_to_restrain_american_spies

Brazil and Germany today joined forces to press for the adoption of a U.N. General Resolution that promotes the right of privacy on the internet, marking the first major international effort to restrain the National Security Agency's intrusions into the online communications of foreigners, according to diplomatic sources familiar with the push.

The effort follows a German claim that the American spy agency may have tapped the private telephone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of other world leaders. It also comes about one month after Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff denounced NSA espionage against her country as "a breach of international law" in a General Assembly speech and proposed that the U.N. establish legal guidelines to prevent "cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war."

Brazilian and German diplomats met in New York today with a small group of Latin American and European governments to consider a draft resolution that calls for expanding privacy rights contained in the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights to the online world. The draft does not refer to a flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world, particularly in Brazil and Germany. But it was clear that the revelation provided the political momentum to trigger today's move to the United Nations. The blowback from the NSA leaks continues to agonize U.S. diplomats and military officials concerned about America's image abroad.

So who do we talk to in order to get this quietly dropped? Our Middle East allies including Saudi Arabia have told us to go off and copulate with ourselves. South American allies, well if we had any, the actions of the NSA run amok have pretty much caused them to give us the cold shoulder. Perhaps our allies in Europe will use their influence to help us? That would include France and Germany, who are supporting this change to the UN's treaties.

Well, if all else fails, we can become the one nation in the world that doesn't sign on to this treaty change. As Syria was pretty much alone in refusing to sign the Chemical Weapons Ban treaty, we can stand alone refusing to sign the right to privacy on the internet treaty. That will show the world who is in charge of what.

Many times here I've read responses to revelations about the NSA about how everyone is doing it, we just got caught thanks to the traitor Snowden. Well apparently everyone is not doing it like we are. Because they are seriously pissed at us. We are the ones who are working overtime to alienate the world, pretending that they wouldn't dare do anything to harm our interests because we're the United States. Well, they aren't going to sit back and pretend that their lives are merely an episode of Big Brother while the NSA tracks everyone both foreign and domestic. We are rapidly shifting to being the black hat wearing bad guy in the world stage, and we seem unconcerned about this change, as if it will have no repercussions for us as a people. It will have repercussions for us as a people, it has already started, and it will continue to get worse.

We must get serious about reigning in the NSA, and strictly limiting the information they are allowed to have. WE must put a Civil Rights Division lawyer from the Justice Department in charge of the NSA with an eye to making sure all civil rights are protected domestically, and all treaties are respected internationally. Because it is nearly too late to save our future.

The truth is that Death Panels have always existed

Rationing is the means of adjusting supply and demand. Deciding who gets what is another way. We've all seen the medical shows where they discuss a patient who is on the heart transplant list. So we'll use that as an example. The list is hundreds, or thousands of patients long. A panel of doctors discuss your particular situation, and place you on the list according to many factors. Age, other health issues, what caused your heart problems, and other things. A man who has a genetic defect and works full time with a family and two small children who has been working hard to protect his heart knowing of his genetic issues is going to place higher than a man of the same age who is a drug abuser and has nearly exploded his heart with Crack.

That of course makes sense. There are a finite number of hearts, a finite number of Doctors who can perform the surgery, and a rather large list of people who need the lifesaving procedure. We have to decide the issue somehow, and this is the best way we can come up with. That drug user mentioned above probably wouldn't even make it on the list in all honesty.

Now, that is the situation for those with insurance, or money. What the ACA does is provide more people with the opportunity to make it on to the list, where they might get the surgery they desperately need to survive. The total number of people who get the surgery probably won't go up that much, but the ones who had been excluded before will now have a chance. If you are low on the list, chances are you won't get the transplant. If you don't get on the list, there is no chance for a transplant. That is the death panel, if you don't make the list, you are dead, often quite soon.

The truth is that death panels have always existed. The truth is that we've used them ever since the first doctor came up with a treatment that seemed to work. Look at Senator Kennedy. He got surgery on his brain from the one hospital that had any success with it. Others were rejected as candidates, because of any number of factors. The most limiting one was the Doctor's time, he can only treat so many patients, and he can only train so many at one time in the procedure.

Orbis is a charity that operates a flying eye hospital. http://www.orbis.org/ They fly this hospital into remote areas, and perform a number of surgeries on peoples eyes restoring sight. Cornea transplants and other treatments. They have thousands of people who would love to have the surgery, and they do as many as they can, but they can't treat everyone. They use the judgment of the Doctors, who would benefit the most, who has the best chances. All of it is judgment of one or two Doctors.

The people of Orbis would love nothing more than to restore sight in every single person in the world who needs their services, but they are human, and they are limited. They do a great job, and they are worthy of commendation. But for every person who can see because of the surgeries this group performs, dozens go without that procedure.

Supply and Demand, someone has to decide who gets what, and that has been the case since the dawn of time. The objection to the ACA is that the decisions will be harder now, because more people will be eligible to get on the list in the first place.

Insurance and points of view

It is sometimes far too easy to utterly dismiss any points of view other than your own. On many issues, I myself am tempted. I have said many times I would like to see all guns banned, but I rarely rage at those with opposing points of view, as I am well aware that there is a certain amount of truth to their arguments.

On this board tonight, we have seen such activity regarding the ACA and those who will be paying more because of the laws requirements. Now, there is a certain amount of truth to both sides of the issue, and many of us will be suffering on both sides of the issue.

In this thread. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023824490 The poster pointed out how because of the requirements of the ACA known improperly as Obamacare, and the requirements that his plan must have certain coverage that he had previously opted out of, his costs are rising significantly. Those by the way mean dollars, real money. Many of us live if not paycheck to paycheck, we're not far from it. Perhaps we have a couple weeks, or perhaps even six week cushion against the unexpected. However that unexpected can go through that money in a minute. That cushion if it exists may not be that deep, and some people with those cafeteria plans may not qualify for the subsidies, and may well find that their costs are going up even with those subsidies.

Ronald Reagan famously said that a rising tide lifts all boats. To paraphrase that let me take it and apply it more accurately. We are not all in boats, we're all standing in the water. Some water is more shallow, and those are the rich people standing with only their feet in the water. Some of us are standing up to our waist in water, and some of us are barely able to touch the bottom and keep our heads above the water. Some of us are struggling mightily to tread water and feel like we are about to drown. The ACA adjusts the slope of the bottom of the bay. So those struggling mightily to keep from drowning can now join those who are barely keeping their heads above the water. But those who's heads were clear, are now liable to be joining those who were struggling to keep from drowning and their meager safety zone is now gone. That is the condition that many find themselves in and they feel some betrayal because they have worked hard to get that safety cushion going.

They have a point. There is some truth in their words. These are not radical RW trolls who are rabidly screaming repeal Obamacare. They are saying that the law has some flaws because all their work is about to vanish overnight. They are saying that they are stuck in the middle.

On the other side of the coin, there is truth too. It is true that those without should be subsidized by those with. The haves should help those have not's that are too numerous in our society. Medical costs bankrupt many families, and are outrageous. Many people have been denied care for far too long, and it is a disgrace.

I am not about to say nor am I alluding to some idea that we should repeal the ACA. I am saying that any law this big, should be open to consideration, and we should approach it's implementation with an open mind. Nothing is perfect, that is one lesson that we adults should have learned long ago. Nothing is perfect, but we should always strive to make things better. There is always some room for improvement, and on both sides of the coin, where there is truth to their statements, we should consider the matter and see if we can find a way to improve the footing of all of our fellow citizens. Perhaps there is a way to do so, but we can only reach that improvement if we stop the dogmatic denunciations of those who say that the one size fits all doesn't fit. I had a friend who described it as one size fits none. That may be true to a certain extent, because each of us are unique, and have our one individual situations and concerns.

In short, what I am asking is this. Must we be so callous in our treatment of fellow Democrats who point out that one size does not fit all?

Once again, I am not discussing nor am I trying to add validity to the Rabid RW doomed effort to repeal the ACA. I am saying that before we declare the program an unmitigated success, perfect in scope and execution, we should listen to how it affects those real people who are helped and harmed by it. So we can figure out if there is a way to improve it, to make it better for everyone. I don't know if it is possible, but I know we should not reject such views which are valid and again, have some truth to them.
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