Pay Attention to the Teacher

It's a Beautiful Day - It's a Beautiful Day 1969 (full album) - YouTube

Just a great album that says It’s a Beautiful Day! The full album is on YouTube BTW so… turn up the sound!

Pay Attention to the Teacher

The Covid-19 crisis has given us an opportunity to discuss the health care system from an unemotional and objective viewpoint.

Such new developments as the four different analyses that show the overblown expectations for shutdowns and the childlike tearing down of statues because a criminal cop murdered a criminal black man, should caution us on knee jerk reactions. It is a pity that the costs of the shutdowns and riots will be felt by everyone and recognized by few as direct costs from these mistakes.

George P. Shultz has been a government bureaucrat so long that his foolish opinions in office can cause me to dismiss anything he says. But a column he co-wrote with Vidar Jorgensen in the Wall Street Journal comparing Singapore’s medical care to that of our own, should be an important element if we wish to improve our miserable record here.

Of our gross domestic product, 18% is dedicated to health care. In Singapore, 5% goes to a system that produces a life expectancy of 85.2 years compared to 78.7 here. Singapore’s maternal and infant mortality rates are less than half of ours.

Here are some of the differences:

  • In Singapore all health care providers must post prices and outcomes.
  • All Singaporeans are required to fund their own health savings accounts. I don’t usually favor government force in such matters but look at the people at the State Fair and whose health care you are forced to fund. Singaporeans are also required to buy catastrophic coverage. But with the savings accounts they can pocket the savings generated by healthy living and informed choices.
  • There is still MediFund that covers special situations. To me this looks like a possible problem, as we have seen all government programs inevitably expand over the years.

Transparency and competition have led to costs that are 75% lower in Singapore than they are here. Heart valve replacement is $12,500 compared to $160,000. Knee replacement is $13,000 compared to $40,000 here. Here at home, Lasik and cosmetic surgery both have falling prices because they are not covered by insurance.

Encouraging signs are everywhere that show we are on a path toward diverting cash from heath care to other things. That does not mean health care will suffer as a result as we might think in a world where cost is falsely associated with quality, such as in public school budgets.

Walmart has instituted financial incentives for employees who shop around with second opinions and alternative courses of action. These employees have found that 50% of spine operations and 30% of hip and knee replacements can be eliminated with alternative therapies.

Our brilliant, yet ignored Constitution was written years after the British citizens here threw out their government. It gave the authors time to understand what was wrong with the system they rejected. The limitations imposed by that Constitution are largely ignored today resulting in the excessive waste incurred today and calls for, ironically, escalations in the same old socialist system.

Since starting farming 40 years ago without previous experience, the most important thing we’ve learned was to learn from others. Here’s our chance.


Black Lives Matter

I suppose it’s my job to comment on the racial discrimination issue that has taken over public discussion. It is difficult because each time the English language opens a door it becomes like British soccer fans fleeing a match gone bad. The door is plugged with complications.

Personally, I’ve witnessed police brutality. Having long hair in Orange County, California was my choice. Long hair meant I wanted to cut profits for the defense (?) industry. I was like a temperance advocate on Bourbon Street.

When I went to Hawaii after logging in Alaska all summer I didn’t intend to blow all my savings to support their tourism industry. It was the first time I witnessed true racism. Although mild compared to other accounts, it hit home and made me realize that walking that mile in those shoes is the only way to know what it is like.

When I read and see videos about the three events that led up to the recent chaos, I ask why, and seek solutions. I suppose I’m not alone.

Black Lives Matter has been at the forefront of organizations concerned about the role of police regarding race. I went to their website to find what they propose. There’s a lot of the typical love thy neighbor talk, same as me. Then their main focus is on dismantling police departments and moving that cash to social programs.

My ideas would create a more sustainable peace.

If we are to reform the systemic racism at the heart of what happened to George Floyd and the other victims, we need to look at the basic role of government. To simply “dismantle the department” will be cause for celebration for rapists, murderers, burglars, and robbers.

Police with a specific mandate of protect and serve shouldn’t be required to babysit. They should only protect us from the aggressive behavior of others. Police departments mandated to regulate drug use, prostitution, gambling, and other activities between consenting adults get spread too thin.

Now we get to the reason Derek Chauvin and other officers like him are policemen. He’s a bully. Law enforcement is important work; too important to be polluted with people like Chauvin. But the fact that law enforcement’s job, through all this social engineering nonsense, allows and even encourages them to beat up on people attracts them. Then police unions protect their jobs and reinstate them after the smoke clears.

The next part of Black Lives Matters’ agenda requires some outside-the-box thinking. Am I a racist for pointing out that the Black community has a bigger problem with crime than the white community? I think it is compassion. But there is still an element of fear because statistics show a reason for it.

The transfer of police funding to social programs is misguided. Intact families produce better citizens. Social programs have reduced the need for fathers. But they don’t fulfill the role that a family with a father and mother fill. The correlation between the breakdown of families to crime statistics is irrefutable.

This quote from the Black Lives Matter website regarding their origins should reinforce my opinions:

The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state.”

Society today has become addicted to this welfare/police state. But if we really want to do something about the violence, we need a weaning process.

Letter to Smithsonian Magazine

Dear Editor,

In the Smithsonian June 2020, Prologue / American Icon by Rahawa Haile calls Navajo beliefs “mythology.” It seems disrespectful to me to call anyone’s belief system untrue without citing evidence to that effect.

The article assumes that public land is better cared for or preserved than land in private hands. This mythology can be debunked simply by looking at private yards and public thoroughfares. Do you see trash among the shrubs and lawns of private residences? Do you see litter lining the streets?

On a scale more relevant to the article, managed grazing has been proven to be beneficial to open spaces on private land where the owner has a stake in preserving value. Grazing on leased government land has shown devastation because the responsible parties are just doing a job, rather than caring for something that is theirs.

As someone who has logged public land in the past and farms private land today, I see preservation through public ownership as more of a myth than the Navajo religion.

Love, Fritz