Sunday, August 31, 2014

Opuscula

TREASON ?

 

Treason: The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies. Legal Dictionary

 

If U.S. representatives to Congress had joyfully endorsed the Islamists attacks on 9-11 (2001), would that be treason?

If U.S. representatives to Congress had joyfully endorsed Japan's attack on Hawaii on December 7, 1941, would that have been treason?

U.S. representatives to Congress had joyfully endorsed the Communists' victories in Vietnam, would that have been treason?

According to the Legal Dictionary (ibid.),

    Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given. (Emphasis mine.)

The three examples above would clearly fall under the definition of "treason" and Americans would demand that those convicted of treason be severely punished.

Now, look at Israel.

Arutz Sheva reports that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is calling for the incarceration of several members of the Israeli knesset (MKs) who took part in a "victory rally" for the terrorist group Hamas last Friday in northern Israel to be jailed as traitors .

The Arutz Sheva article went continued

    "Those who took part last FridayNB...need to 'celebrate' an extended period behind lock and key on charges of treachery and support of terror," wrote Liberman on his Facebook page.

    The foreign minister noted that those joining the rally "didn't protest out of a humanitarian identification with the residents of Gaza; instead they expressed open support for an enemy that fought for two months against the state of Israel."

    "Therefore they should be treated as traitors and supporters of a terrorist organization; stand them on trial and give them the 'right' to stand for a moment of silence - as they did at the rally - in jail cells," added Liberman.

It's hard to understand how such people who hate Israel so much can be elected by people who claim, if not to "love" Israel, at least to prefer it to any Moslem government. Does anyone see a mass, or even mini exodus of Muslims from Israel to ANY Muslim-controlled area? The PA, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, or Egypt? Perhaps the ballot boxes are being "stuffed" to elect these treasonous people, stuffed by voters who are paid or coerced to vote for a one of several "Arab" (read "Muslim") political parties.

The fact that there ARE Muslim parties - and Muslim MKs - belies the suggestion that Israel is an "apartheid" country, a "Jews-only" country where non-Jews are, at best, only tolerated. (Tell that to the Druze colonel who commands one of Israel's most decorated military units or to the other Druze and Arab Christians serving in the Israel Defense Forces [IDF]. Jews are drafted; Druze and Arabs are exempt from the draft; they volunteer.)

    Unfortunately, Israel does NOT have "representative government" as in the U.S. where an elected official must live in the area he/she is supposed to represent. In Israel, voters vote party, not person (one reason I returned to the U.S.).

Would the U.S. have tolerated a member of Congress joining a flotilla to break the blockade Cuba when Cuba was fully in the pocket of the USSR? Would it have allowed a member of Congress to have unauthorized meetings with Mao? There would have been a call to punish the rogue politician as well as a ground swell to remove (impeach) the politician by the electorate.

Not so in Israel.

Israel's tolerance of treason - not just dissent, but actual treason - is beyond any reasonable person's concept of "democracy." It is closer to anarchy and not to be tolerated.

Only in Israel.

 

MKs joining the "Gaza Victory: This is Our Holiday" march: Hanin Zoabi, Basel Ghattas, and Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Sheikh Raed Salah (Islamic Movement in Israel) and Ibrahim Tzartzur and Masoud Ganayem (Raam-Taal)


Monday, August 25, 2014

Tell me about

War Crimes

 

There is a lot of talk lately about war crimes.

Mostly the talk is about war crimes allegedly committed by Israel in its aggression against Hamas.

As if war crimes were something new.

Certainly the United States never would commit war crimes. Nor would its loyal ally and former master, England. Or Russia, now or in the guise of the "Soviet Union."

The list can go on and on and on; hardly any nation is exempt.

How about the Federal's Gen. Sherman and his march across Georgia; his "scorched earth" policy. It might not have been a "war crime" then, but it would be now.

How about Germany. Slaughtering civilians - Romas, Jews, Communists, mentally disabled, homosexuals - that's counted as a "war crime."

Likewise bombing civilians in England; London was a prime target of the nazi's V-bombs; fortunately they were about as accurate as a Hamas rocket fired into Israel.

The U.S. and England retaliated and fire bombed the German city of Dresden. There are reports of mothers with babes in arms incinerated by the ally's bombs.

What Japan did to Koreans is not for "G-rated" blogs; but perhaps what the U.S. did to the civilians of Nagasaki and Hiroshima is likewise not stuff for a "G-rated" blog. War crimes?

Is it a "war crime" to bomb civilians?

If it is, then Hamas is guilty of war crimes.

Is it a "war crime" to deliberately put non-combatants into harms way?

If it is, then Hamas is guilty of war crimes.

Is it a "war crime" when civilians and traditionally non-military targets collateral damage when the aggressor places his weapons in highly populated areas and in hospitals and schools?

If it is, then Hamas is guilty of war crimes.

Is it a "war crime" when non-combatants are executed by beheadings broadcast for all the world to see?

If it is, then Muslims are guilty of war crimes.

Is it a "war crime" for military (e.g., the U.S. cavalry) and para-military (e.g., Cossacks) to attack villages and slaughter all the inhabitants simply "because." (Lest anyone forget, America's horse soldiers wiped out some 300 Sioux at Wounded Knee.)

Now reconsider Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The U.S. dropped leaflets telling Japan that in "n" days a horrible weapon would descend upon it. Having warned the nation and having given it a chance to surrender and end the war in the Pacific, the Japanese government refused to end the war.

So who committed the "war crimes" that incinerated Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

Consider Israel and Gaza.

Israel is famous for calling non-combatants and warning them of an impending attack.

It drops leaflets.

It drops warning bombs.

If Hamas keeps the non-combatants in their homes and these people are injured or killed, who is guilty of "war crimes?"

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt KNEW about the nazi's death camps. Despite people begging him to bomb the railroads taking people to the mostly-in-Poland death camps, FDR refused. Like Hitler, FDR would not "waste" resources on saving those headed to their deaths. (Hitler refused to relinquish his resources to the war effort, preferring to make his land "Jew free.") Was FDR guilty of "war crimes?" Was Hitler? Certainly the latter is a "no brainer."

If Israel would burn Gaza to the ground, a la Dresden, THEN Israel would commit a "war crime."

If Israel destroyed schools and hospitals not used as weapons depots or as launch sites for Hamas rockets and mortars, THEN Israel could commit a "war crime."

Given the number of pubic facilities - including the "neutral" UN buildings where Hamas weaponry has been discovered, and often admitted by Hamas or the UN - Israel MUST be given the benefit of the doubt; it's targeting enemy materials and launch sites, NOT public building per se. The "war crimes" lie at Hamas' feet, not Israel's.

Collateral damage happens, but it IS "collateral." Unlike Israel, Hamas fires its weapons at civilian targets in Israel. That is a war crime.

As much as Hamas, the PA, and their sponsor, Iran, might want to haul Israel before a world court for "war crimes," they cannot because they - Hamas, the PA, and Iran - have bloody hands from committing war crimes against others and their own.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

America should be ashamed

U.S. ports held hostage
By "Palestinian" protesters
While U.S., local laws ignored

UPDATE AUG. 21 The Zim container ship Piraeus finally had its Oakland-bnound containers off-loaded at the Port of Oakland CA.
 

CAVEAT:I am a dual-national (US, Israel) and I once worked for Zim. I have worked around the U.S. as a reporter covering, among other things, the military, police, and courts.

 

American dock workers have been cowed by "Palestinian" protesters on the U.S. west coast. Longshoremen who have - make that "had" - a reputation of toughness have caved to a relative handful of people who know nothing about "Palestine" or the middle east, whose only source of information is controlled by Hamas.

The local, state, and federal constabulary likewise proved to be pantywaists who allow a few people to initiate restraint of trade as well as showing what the U.S. is made of regarding international relations.

It's embarrassing.

With a Muslim and Hamas sympathizer in the White House, the federal agencies - FBI, Homeland Security, DoD - are left hiding behind their desks far from the action.

California's governor, Democrat (read Obama pal) Jerry Brown can watch the law being trampled from the safety of his office in Sacramento, a pretty town, but one sans a port so he can continue to hide his head in the sands of "political correctness that isn't."

It will be interesting to see how the police and governments react to similar demonstrations at Oregon and Washington State ports. The protesters may not fare as well in the more conservative states.

Counter-productive What the "Palestinian" protesters apparently don't know is that Zim carries cargo booked by its representatives in Gaza, the so-called West Bank, and Jordan; in other words, it carries "Palestinian" cargo along with cargo from other countries around the world. So while the demonstrators are preventing Zim vessels from docking, they also may be preventing trade with their "Palestinian" friends. See end of article for "Palestinian" offices.

Excerpts from the media follow. Follow the link in the "SOURCE" line to read the entire article.

SOURCE: Aljazeera America

Protesters block Israeli ship from docking at California port

By Renee Lewis

Thousands of protesters successfully blocked a commercial Israeli cargo vessel from docking and unloading goods in Oakland, California, late Saturday. The protest was staged in response to a call from Palestinian and South African unions to hold Israel accountable for what they allege are violations of Palestinians’ human rights — particularly during Israel’s latest offensive in the Gaza Strip, an operation that killed more than 1,900 Palestinians.

“Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods.”

Similar protests are to take place in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, on Wednesday, and later in Vancouver.

 

SOURCE: Washington (D.C.) Times

Calif. protesters block Israel-owned ship at Port of Oakland

By Jessica Chasmar

Pro-Palestinian activists for the second day blocked an Israeli-owned ship from docking at the Port of Oakland in a protest against Israel’s military action in Gaza.

Dockworkers at the Port of Oakland honored a picket line for the second day in a row Sunday as San Francisco Bay Area protesters gathered to stop a Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel from docking and unloading, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Several dozen police officers monitored the situation but no arrests were reported.

Mohamed Shehk, a director at the organization Critical Resistance who attended the protests both days, said the purpose was to send a message to Israel that “we will not stand for the murdering of Gazans” nor “the ongoing occupation of Palestine,” the San Jose (CA) Mercury News reported. (The Mercury-News article is below.)

 

SOURCE: Electronic Intifada

Activists declare first victory as Israeli ship delays docking at Oakland

San Francisco Bay Area Palestine activists have declared their first victory in attempting to prevent the offloading of an Israeli cargo vessel at the Oakland Port.

Activist Mohamed Shehk told The Electronic Intifada that the organizers have been tracking the vessel Zim Piraeus and realized last night that it had stopped before reaching its Oakland destination, spending the night at sea.

“This delay is seen as a victory for us. It shows how much Zim is trying to avoid our protest, and it shows how effective we can be when we can organize these types of actions,” Shehk said.

 

SOURCE: San Jose (CA) Mercury-News

Oakland protesters block Israeli ship from unloading again

By Harry Harris and Kathleen Kirkwood, Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND -- For the third day in a row, protesters have apparently prevented a cargo ship operated by an Israeli company from unloading at the Port of Oakland, officials said.

A small group of about 15 people who came out Monday morning were not part of the official Block the Boat protest but were an autonomous rally supported by the movement.

The Zim Integrated Shipping Lines vessel Piraeus had docked Saturday at the port's Oakland International Container Terminal, which encompasses berths 55 to 59, but dockworkers would not cross protesters' picket lines to offload its cargo.

Port spokesman Robert Bernardo said that as of mid-afternoon on Monday, the ship still had not been unloaded due to an "unavailability of labor." It was not known if work would resume later in the day.

He said no other port operations were affected.

Representatives for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said Monday that the union had not taken an official stand on the issue, but that individual dockworkers had decided not to cross the pickets for safety reasons.


Gaza (ELAWA for Shipping and Trading Company)
Jordan (Petra Navigation Co. in Jordan)
West Bank (Petra Navigation Co. in West Bank with offices in Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Unhealthy insurance - Part 2

The saga continues
Mishandled Rx is SOP*

AvMed, Humana: Are you listening?

 

This entry unfortunately is a continuation of the Humana and its docs rant posted Wednesday, August 6, 2014. This time Humana Customer Service gets a gold star.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014

On Wednesday, July 30 I gave the people at Leung Healthcare in Hollywood FL - I can't write "my PCP's office" since I now am relegated to seeing a physician's assistant (PA) and no, PAs are not RNs - a request, written in large letters, for four (4) prescriptions. Each was to be for a 90-day supply. To my Edward Bear mind, that was a pretty simple request.

Apparently the request was too complicated.

I need four (4) prescriptions.

* Send ZXY prescription via fax to RightSource.

* Hand me the remaining three (3) prescriptions and I will get them filled locally.

Only one (1) prescription was to be faxed to RightSource, Humana's contract mail order pharmacy. I spent many years as journalist and technical writer so I believe I know how to write clear and unambiguous English.

Three prescriptions were to be handed to me so I could take them to my local pharmacy (Publix) which dispenses two (2) of my meds gratis; no charge to me or to Humana.

RIGHTSOURCE HISTORY

RightSource has received the Rx for one of my meds three times.

The first time the order (from another practice) was filled promptly and correctly.

The second time my then PCP, proving he either can't count or won't listen, ordered 240 capsules. I take four capsules a day. By my math, that comes to 360 (30 capsules * 4-a-day = 120) * 90 days =360 capsules).

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2014

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, I called the practice and asked if my three (3) prescriptions were ready.

To paraphrase, I was told: "Well, gee, I can't find anything. Maybe they were sent to RightSource. Why don't you (the patient) call RightSource and check?"

I refused to call RightSource, telling the office person she should contact RightSource and get back to me before the end of the day. Today is Friday, August 15, 2014 and I still am waiting to hear from anyone at Leung Healthcare.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014

Today, Thursday August 7, 2014, I received a package from RightSource.

And the snafu - that's accurate because this obviously IS the normal situation - continues.

Inside the package from RightSource were three (3) bottles of pills.

Two bottles contained a total of 180 pills which are taken one pill twice-a-day - a 90 day supply. (Yet, the bottle shows I have THREE (3) refills remaining.

The third bottle contained 90 pills of a one-a-day medication; a 90-day supply. This medication's prescription also was supposed to be handed to me. As with the earlier prescription, there are three (3) refills, so I'll be good for 120 days. According to Hozba.com there are less than 140 days until December 31; unfortunately that means one more trip to Leung Healthcare. Unless, of course, if there is another foul up not yet discovered- or I decide to skip 20 days between now and the end of the year.

The third "hand the patient the prescription" has yet to arrive.

The fourth prescription, the one that was supposed to be faxed to RightSource also was missing.

Did RightSource get the scripts? Will I get the remaining meds before running out in another few days.?

The first time RightSource sent a mail order it sent a 90 day supply - 3 containers, each with 30 days' worth of pills. (How did it happen that RightSource got it right? Different prescribing doctor; different practice.)

PAYING FOR LEUNG HEALTHCARE'S MISTAKE

Humana was charged $13 each for two prescriptions that I normally get for free - no cost to me or Humana - at Publix. While the $13 is not going to break Humana, the real issue , is that these charges get me very close to Humana's maximum annual allowance for prescription medications. (Humana's maximum is in line with other Medicare Advantage providers; the limit is not the issue - REACHING THE LIMIT is the issue.)

At the end of the day - the day being Thursday August 7, 2014, I am left wondering if tomorrow's mail will bring the rest of my meds and will the delivery contain a 90-day supply of two meds and, maybe, an 80 day supply of the medication for which I so far received only a 30 day supply.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2014

Letter to Dr. Gilbert Leung, the physician who owns Leung Healthcare, setting forth my problems with his Hollywood practice. I noted that I now am out of one critical medication (due to the pervious script's mishandling). I also related my communication with the office staff in trying to resolve the issue. This is my third (3rd) letter to Leung or his wife/administrator; none of which to date have received the courtesy of a reply.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2014

The third of he four medications arrive. As with the previous two (see Thursday, August 7, 2014, above), this 90-day supply shows "3 Refills before (date).

I still have heard nothing from Leung Healthcare - neither it's Hollywood office nor its owner or his wife; this cavalier attitude is most "off-putting."

How did "cavalier" morph from "horse soldier" to "don't care attitude?" (See bottom for Merriam-Webster's definitions.)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2014

HUMANA, in a response to a web-mail message I earlier sent, informs me that "RightSource does not have an active prescription for (medication) on file." RightSource got scripts for everything BUT the most critical medication, the one medication I told the people in the Leung Healthcare office to fax to RightSource.

Humana gets a gold star for tracking down what Leung Healthcare SHOULD have done two weeks previously.

Are all medical offices so badly run?

Last year I was with AvMed and I had an excellent PCP by the name of Edwardo (Eddy) Perez-Stable, a/k/a Dr. P-S. Unfortunately, the office staff almost never anything it right. (My wife still sees Dr. P-S - different insurance - and reports that the office still manages to mess up simple tasks.)

AvMed, in its questionable wisdom, dropped Dr. P-S' practice and, in a fit of pique, I dropped AvMed and signed on with Humana.

On first blush, I thought the practice where I reluctantly now go had a first rate office staff. A fa├žade; this group is no better - and possibly worse - than the staff that is supposed to support Dr. P-S. (AvMed also lists Leung Healthcare.)

 

Rx = Prescription, script (Yes, the graphic is deliberately upside down.)

SOP = Standard Operating Procedure


CAVALIER According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, "cavalier" as a noun means " a gentleman trained in arms and horsemanship" and dates back to at least 1589. "Cavalier" as an adjective id defined as "marked by or given to offhand and often disdainful dismissal of important matters"; this dates to at least 1641.

Wikipedia gives an interesting background on how the word was associated to Merriam-Webster's adjective definition.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ERM-BC-COOP:

Is your vendor reliable?
Was "due vigilance" done?

 

The recent or perhaps ongoing Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel's counter-attacks bring focus on vendors' reliability to produce and deliver.

I lived in Israel and worked for Tadiran which once billed itself as Israel's General Electric. My job in Israel was with the Electronics Division. This division was mostly defense oriented. I later worked for Tadiran's Telecom Division in Florida.

Between the two Tadiran jobs I became well acquainted with the problems a vendor can encounter and, by extension, the problems a vendor's client can encounter.

As with most things "Risk Management," most of the risks can be avoided or at least mitigated.

Some of the more obvious - to this scrivener, anyway - risks and remedies are addressed in this blog entry.

CAVEAT: The following is NOT intended to be all-inclusive - there always is the "ubiquitous other" that you'll only discover by working with other practitioners and process Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

Evaluating vendor reliability

Vendors should be at least as risk conscious as your organization.

I once contracted with a major T&E company's Vendor Management (VM) Group. My job was not only to assure that my client - the VM group - could weather any storm, but to look at the group's critical vendors' abilities to survive when "things went bump in the night."

All of the vendors had the standard SLAs for their deliverables, but an SLA by itself is a bit like a politician's promise.

With my client's permission, I asked each of the critical vendors for their business continuity plans. Each vendor supplied its plan; I reviewed and critiqued the plans, then provided both my client and the vendors with my critique. (Vendors only saw the critique of their own plan.)

It was a win-win-win situation.

It was a WIN for my client since it now had a level of confidence in the vendor's ability to meet its SLAs "no matter what."

It was a WIN for the vendor since its plan was critiqued, gratis, by an outside professional. A plan created in a vacuum rarely is a viable plan; even mine.

Finally, it was a WIN for me since I learned about risks and remedies I had not previously considered.

A requirement to provide my client with a business continuity plan before any new contracts were let became the Vendor Management Group's policy.

Financial help or alternate vendors

Assume - and I know that is a dangerous thing - for a moment that your organization has a vendor it REALLY wants as a business partner. Maybe the vendor is owned by a board member or the CEO's sister-in-law. The reason is immaterial.

Continuing the assumption, assume that the vendor's business continuity plan is found wanting; there is evidence that "in the event of," the vendor would fail to meet its SLA with your organization.

What to do?

There are two (2) basic options (there may be more, ergo the weasel word "basic").

Option One: Offer financial help to get the vendor to a state that it will be able to meet its SLAs - at least to your organization - "no matter what." Part of this assistance must include protecting your investment and that means independently researching the vendor's financial worthiness.

Option Two: Consider alternate or back-up vendors. The problem with back-up vendors is that your organization always will play second fiddle to the vendor's primary customers . . . unless your organization is willing to pay a super-premium for preferential service.

Vendor's vendors

The specifics may be hard to come buy, but you need to know about the vendor's vendors.

Are the vendors providing hard-to-get resources? Are the vendors prone to work (in)actions? Do the vendor's vendors have delivery problems such as described under the War zones and other "inconveniences" heading below?

If the vendor's vendors don't meet muster for whatever reason, your vendor must, as you did in Financial help or alternate vendors above, show you that it can avoid or mitigate its vendors potential situations.

Getting from Point A to Point B, C, and D

Transportation is a risk that goes away only when the product or service is delivered to the final client/end user.

Your vendors and your vendor's vendors need plans to assure continued delivery of resources - raw materials, products, personnel - despite interruptions such as (an alphabetical sampling)

  • Fire and police lines
  • Parades and other right-of-way blockages
  • Pirates and other highjackers (on land, sea, and in the air)
  • Port strikes
  • Railway strikes
  • Roadway closures
  • Terrorists
  • Trucker strikes
  • War and lesser conflicts

Your organization also has to consider how it gets its product or service to your client. If your client is a middleman, you also need to consider

  • How the middleman markets your product, particularly in light of the competition - both competition within the middleman's business and from the middleman's competitors hawking a competitor to your product
  • How the middleman gets your product to the final client/end user

War zones and other "inconveniences"

Blockades and embargos

Blockades take many forms.

During the War for Southern Independence, a/k/a the American Civil War, the Federal (Union) forces blockaded the coasts along the Southern states, preventing cash crops from going to European clients and preventing war materials from reaching the Confederates. Blockades and blockade runners have been a fact of life It seems forever.

There also are blockades of people - picketers, protestors. In most jurisdictions, interfering with freedom of movement is illegal and the authorities usually will assure people - and resources - can come and go. This is true in the U.S.; it may not be true elsewhere.

An embargo properly belongs under the next heading since it is defined as "an official ban on (trade or a country or commodity)."

Politics and public pressure

When I worked for Tadiran's Electronics Division, Israel's Customs went on strike. (At the time, under the Labor government, Israel probably was more strike-prone than any other country; things changed when the government changed and strikes are much fewer even today.)

Israel is a "revolving door" country: it imports raw materials, manufactures something from them, and exports the finished product.

Customs controls both import and export.

With Customs on strike, Tadiran could neither import raw materials nor export what it made. The company was prepared to lay off 10 percent of its workforce if the strike didn't end y a specific date. Fortunately, the strike was settled and we continued in our jobs. (I was a technical writer.)

Embargos can be put into place by politicians under pressure from trade unions, disgruntled customers, or other unhappy constituents.

Public pressure generally is applied directly to an organization by a group that wants to punish the business for any reason. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) actions are a form of public pressure that can be applied to organizations that deal with products or services from a and organization or country the the BSDers find offensive.

Tariffs are, among other things, taxes placed on imports. If a government wants to reduce imports of a specific product, it levies or increases the import duty/tax. Sometimes this is done at the behest of a trade group that wants to "even the playing field" with a foreign competitor that has substantially lower production costs.

As long as nations have armies there will be call-ups of reservists. Then call-up may be to fight or it may be to provide local governments with emergency support following a catastrophic event (think Hurricane Rita). Regardless of the reason for the call up, it will take personnel from their regular jobs; what will the impact be on your organization? ON your vendor's organization?

Dealing with interruptions

In most cases, the way to deal with "things that go bump in the night" is to have an inventory of product that can outlast the outage. Don't forget to stockpile spare parts for critical products.

Figuring how much to stockpile requires working with sales and marketing people, getting their sales projections over a given period - how long a period is a product of your and the vendors' risk management (business continuity) plans. Figuring out how and where to stockpile the materials is another challenge.

As far as combating politics and public pressure, that has to be a "fight fire with fire" issue. Political whims are subject to change, faster if a good case can be made for change. Popular pressure can either be ignored or can be countered with information, although people who wear their politics on their sleeve frequently are intractable.

 

If I wrote it, you may quote it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Opuscula

If you're thinking Chinese,
Limit thoughts to restaurants

 

Once more Chinese "quality" is making headlines.

The Sacramento Bee reports under a headline reading Senate report: Caltrans ‘gagged and banished’ Bay Bridge critics that

A California Senate report released Thursday said that Department of Transportation managers “gagged and banished” at least nine top experts for the new $6.5 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after they complained about substandard work by the Shanghai, China, firm that built much of the span.

Many experts questioned the durability of the new span and predicted that it would require retrofitting well ahead of its planned 150-year lifespan, but none said that defects make the structure unsafe in a large quake or during normal use, as other experts have warned.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald headlines New suit claiming Chinese drywall destroyed homes over Associated Press copy out of New Orleans that reads:

Lawyers for people who say their homes were wrecked by defective drywall made in China have filed a new lawsuit against the manufacturers and a new defendant — the Chinese Cabinet agency that oversees the country's biggest state-owned companies.

The AP story continued:

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, two weeks after U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and related defendants in contempt of court for ignoring court proceedings over harm done by the drywall. He ordered them to pay $55,000 in fines and attorneys' fees, and to stop doing business in the United States or pay one-quarter of its profits for the year of the violation.

The new lawsuit adds to the list of defendants China's State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. It is being sued as a parent of China National Building Materials Group Corp., attorney Lenny Davis said..

While the dry wall issue is not new, it's noteworthy that Judge Fallon held Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and related defendants in contempt of court for ignoring court proceedings over harm done by the drywall.

Not only did the Chinese sell us dry wall that damaged our homes, but they now thumb their collective noses at the U.S. legal system.

Chinese products are becoming synonymous with shoddy workmanship and often dangerous products.

    Dry wall.

    Flammable children's clothing.

    Food products.

    Lead paint on toys.

    Tires.

    Toys.

What next?

Maybe the reputation of several U.S. and Israeli businesses recently acquired by the Chinese - Smithfield Foods, the folks known for hams and other pork products - and Tnuva, an Israeli company that manufactures dairy products.

To be fair, the blame does not fall entirely on China. When products from any country are imported into the U.S. the obligation to assure the products are safe and to specification falls first on the importer and then on the organizations that place their labels on the items or sell the items from their stores.

Years ago, when Japanese products had a less than enviable reputation, Honeywell imported Pentax cameras. Honeywell inspected each Pentax that carried the Honeywell name to assure a quality level it required for its products. I bought a Honeywell Pentax H3v SLR (with a loan from the Titusville Star-Advocate) and used it for years before giving it to a friend . . . who later gave it to his son-in-law who later, as I understand it, gave it to his daughter. Given the price of film and processing, I'm certain it finally was retired and replaced with a digi-cam. Bottom line: Pentax made a good product and Honeywell made sure it met its (Honeywell's) standards.

Admittedly companies such as Mattel, which import small items from China and elsewhere, cannot inspect 100% of all incoming products, but it must at least sample the products to assure they meet U.S. standards.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Unhealthy insurance

Humana and its docs
Raise my blood pressure

 

I'm frustrated and my blood pressure, already high, is going to stratospheric levels.

Why?

Glad you asked.

I am a geezer on Medicare. My Medicare Advantage provider is, until December 31, 2014, Humana, specifically Humana Gold Plus (HMO).

My PCP is Leung Healthcare, a multi-office practice in Florida's Broward and Dade counties.

I signed up with Leung after my first Humana PCP refused to refer me to my long-time ophthalmologist who is a Humana practitioner. That boggled my mind - a Humana PCP refusing a referral to a Humana specialist.

IN ANY EVENT, last week I visited my PCP's office. I gave the office folks two pieces of paper.

One piece was a form from RightSource, the mail order pharmacy that contracts with Humana. The instruction was very clear - order ONE 30-day supply with two refills (total 90 day supply) of a specific medication. RightSource normally sends all 3 months in one package.

The other piece of paper instructed, in 14 point text that I needed three (3) separate, individual prescriptions for three additional medications. Each script (prescription) was to be for a 30-day supply plus two (2) refills for a total of a 90 day supply. I take the three meds I wanted prescribed on separate prescription blanks to local pharmacies; two of my medications are free from Publix, a local high end supermarket.

OK.

Leung's sole doctor - the nearby office is advertised as a two-physician practice, but this has not been true since early 2014 - has twice managed to mess up my meds. For that and other reasons I now avoid the practitioner and see a "certified" physician's assistant. In Florida, a physician's assistant is not required to be a registered nurse (RN). It's bad enough when a patient is seen by an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) although, if truth be told, I've known some RNs who were better diagnosticians than the doctors for whom they worked. Still, a "PA" is a long way from an RN and even farther from an APRN. I wonder if Human is billed for a physician's visit.

About 5 days pass and the patient - this scrivener - calls the office to check if (a) the one script was faxed to RightSource and (b) if the three (3) scripts I will fill locally are ready to be picked up. (Never mind that the office should have called me.)

Because my meds previously were mishandled, the scripts no longer are in synch so I get the prescriptions filled when needed. (Insurance carriers make sure I do not get any meds ahead of time; no objection to that.)

When I asked about the three scripts that I specifically requested be written (again, 14 point text) I was told "I think they were ordered through RightSource."

I was told that I could call RightSource and check. I declined and asked that the practice office contact RightSource to find out where are my prescriptions. I didn’t send them to RightSource; I don't know who to contact at RightSource. Bottom Line: Not my job.

I TRIED to share this with Humana.

After all, Leung is a Humana practice and having the prescriptions filled by RightSource costs Humana more than having the prescriptions filled at Publix.

I can contact Humana several ways - via "social media" or through an on-line form. I don't have - nor want - Facebook or Twitter or similar "social media" accounts so that is out. I have managed to contact Humana several times via the on-line form, but not this time.

I tried with Chrome. I tried with Explorer. Neither could open the form. There was zero indication that Humana's system was sick and that I should try again in "n" minutes/hours/days. Click on Compose Message and nothing happens.

The end of the calendar year nears and I'm already looking for a new PCP and possibly a different Medicare Advantage carrier. So far I've found four (4) prospective Advantage providers - Aetna, AvMed, Cigna, and Humana. (The criteria is listing my vascular surgeon; if Jeffrey Hertz is absent from a provider's list, I move on.)

I have experience with AvMed; it was mostly positive and, had it not cancelled my former PCP's contract, I'd still be with AvMed. (To be fair, my former PCP's office staff never seemed to get anything night the first time; sometimes not the second or third time, either.) If I had a problem, I knew who - and how - to contact at AvMed; not so with Humana. I have zero experience with Aetna or Cigna.

I have reason to believe that Humana has a robot that scans blogs and "social media" for certain words - "Humana" being the primary word - so perhaps - perhaps - this rant will get someone's attention at Humana.

I know I can change my PCP at the first of any month, but since I anticipate visiting my current PCP's office only once more before year's end, I can (hopefully) "live with" Leung Healthcare's certified physician's assistant (in lieu of the second physician advertised for the local office).

One thing about Medicare: it's an education. I've learned there are many questions to ask both the Advantage provider and the prospective PCP. Although a patient can change PCPs every month (not advisable), the geezer is "stuck" with the Advantage provider (e.g., Aetna, AvMed, Cigna, Humana) from January to December.

MEANWHILE, if anyone has experience with Aetna or Cigna Medicare Advantage programs, please contact me via email: JohnGlennMBCI at gmail dot com.

Monday, August 4, 2014

ERM-BC-COOP

Dealing with the chaos
Around the Mediterranean

 

I have been on both sides of this concern - working in a country that was nearly strangled by a strike by Custom's clerks and working for the same company elsewhere trying to convince prospective clients that we could meet their service requirements "no matter what."


Civil war in Syria.

Political conflict in Turkey.

Iran - enough said.

Ukraine and Russia.

Turmoil in on the European side.

Remnants of the "Arab Spring."

Israel and the terrorists to the south and the north.

And a few more "to be named later."

If your organization buys products or services from anywhere around the Med you can plan on interruptions of product or service.

The Internet and common carriers are not immune as nations close their borders or are quarantined.

 


Mediterranean and surrounding states

 

Assume - always a dangerous thing to do - that your organization must have a product or service from an area of contention.

Your customers are concerned that your source may be prevented from delivering a product or service they expect due to contract. It is a justifiable concern. How can your organization assure them that it has a risk management plan to protect your clients' interests?

 

Hardware Products

Assuring sufficient hardware products is (relatively) easy.

If the product is electronic, you should know the MTBF* of all critical components in the product. Given the MTBF plus the sales projection it would be relatively easy to "guesstimate" how much product and how many spares need to be warehoused in-country. If your organization is selling very large items - aircraft, ships, and other things that cannot easily be folded and shelved - finding a suitable place to warehouse the product can be a problem, but it is a surmountable problem.

 

Software Products

Products delivered by Internet - software applications, bug fixes, upgrades and the like - also are subject to delivery interruption. The Internet is a "pipe" with government "valves" that can restrict both incoming and outgoing data.

A Guardian article headed Internet censorship listed: how does each country compare? includes a table from the OpenNet Initiative listing countries and how each rates regarding (1) Political Filtering, (2) Social Filtering, (3) Internet Tools Filtering, and (4) Conflict/Security Filtering.

Of the 74 nations listed, only 40 had no Internet restrictions while 5 had "substantial" political filtering. ONI's options were, by severity:

  • Substantial

  • Selective

  • Pervasive

  • No evidence

USA Today identifies its Top 10 Internet-censored countries.

 

Service

Just as a nation can close off Internet flow - or have it closed off by cyber-criminals attacking servers in the victim nation - it also can close its borders to two-way traffic - or, as with cyber-crime, be isolated by its neighbors' closed borders.

In either situation, your organization needs to plan ahead and, while travel is possible, either

  1. Send its personnel to the vendor or

  2. Have vendor trainers come to your organization

to train to a level sufficient to meet client requirements.

In truth, this is no different than if the vendor's site is isolated due to a localized epidemic or any other "natural" cause.

Technical manuals are helpful, but having "factory-trained" personnel with hands-on experience always trumps a manual - paper or digital. That should <

be understood to mean technical documentation - with any updates - is not necessary; it is most assuredly necessary.

I have been a technical writer and a trainer. I remain a reader of manuals and other instruction materials.

Don't forget "the usual suspects"

When reviewing the threats to an international supply chain - be the product or service physical or software - remember all the "routine" supply chain gremlins, including but not limited to

  • Competition
  • Customer fickleness
  • Point-to-point transportation (sea, air, rail, roadway)
  • Work (in)actions
  • Theft
  • Vendor failure (temporary or permanent)

 

* MTBF: Mean Time Before Failure

Friday, August 1, 2014

ERM-BC-COOP:

Burger place learns
It must guard clients

 

Under the headline Jury awards parents $27 million in McDonald's negligence lawsuit, readers learn that a jury ordered that McDonald's pay millions for failure to protect its customers.

According to the article in the Bryan-College Station Eagle (and other publications), a McDonald's location had a history of violent confrontations on its property yet, the plaintiffs alleged, failed to engage security personnel to protect the store's customers.

The key issue, according to the plaintiffs' counsel was that the store management failed to do anything to protect its customers even after 20-plus incidents police responded to from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on the weekends in the 11 months leading up to the deaths of two young people.

The lesson for risk management practitioners is simple: Eliminate - or at least mitigate - risks when they are first identified.

In the McDonald's case, security lights in areas where customers - and personnel - frequent was insufficient to prevent violence; one of the plaintiffs' attorney's told the jury that “I will tell my kids if they go to a McDonald’s at night and they don’t see an off-duty police officer, don’t get out of the car.

For practitioners it pays to know not only their client but the neighborhood as well.

What are the crime statistics for the neighborhood? What type crimes?

Who are the neighbors - are the neighbors targets for any groups? Are the neighbors security conscious - are the neighbor's parking areas secure and well lit?

Is your client's parking area secure - that means more than a wooden (or even metal) bar across the entrance way. This is especially important when parking is inside a parking garage.

Are at-risk personnel escorted from/to their vehicles when arriving or leaving in darkness or when the facility is otherwise unattended (e.g., weekends, holidays). How are "at-risk personnel" identified; if this category cannot be strictly identified then all personnel must be considered "at risk."

Having police patrols or having a police presence nearby may not be enough to protect the people who work in, or visit, the facility, even if law enforcement promises a fast response. Fast still may be too late.

It may be impossible to totally eliminate all threats in and around the facility, but if management wants to avoid a potential multi-million lawsuit (and the cost of defending itself) it must carefully consider history.

It was the history at the specific McDonald's that caused a jury to award the $27 million.

McDonald's is expected to appeal the verdict and award.