Sunday, February 28, 2016


Who is behind unwanted
Endorsements for Trump?


IT SEEMS STRANGE that suddenly, with Donald Trump apparently the darling of American Republicans of all varieties, that "The Donald" is picking up "endorsements" from delusional right-wingers, people who - if they are believed - will do more harm to Trump's campaign than help it.

Of late Trump has been "endorsed" by:

  KKK leader David Duke

  French extremist Jean-Marie_Le_Pen,

  Serbia's Vojislav Šešelj

   American National Super PAC

WITH "FRIENDS" LIKE Duke, LePen, Šešelj, and the PAC, Trump doesn't need enemies.

Trump quickly disowned the so called "American National Super PAC" and, by the time you read this he probably will have distanced himself from the other hate mongers.

The media, both here and abroad, are trying to convince U.S. voters that Trump is bad for America and bad for Americans. So far, most Republicans have more faith in Trump than in the media.

When he is endorsed by celebrities, the headline reads not "Celebs endorse Trump," but "19 of Donald Trump's Weirdest Celebrity Endorsements." Those "weird" celebs include

· "Weird" politicians former governors Sarah Palin and Jesse Ventura, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio,

· "Weird" singers" Wayne Newton, Galvin McInnes, Loretta Lynn, Ted Nugent,

· "Weird" sports legends Mike Ditka, Hulk Hogan, Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman,

· "Weird" Conservative ladies Phyllis Schlafly, Ann Coulter

· "Weird" entertainers Lou Ferrigno, Stephen Baldwin, Willie Robertson, Jesse James, Tila Tequila

Admittedly some of the celebs listed on the patently anti-Trump site are known for misbehaving (e.g., Tyson and Rodman) and assuredly the misogynists flying under a liberal label - yes, there ARE such folks - will point out how unladylike are Ms. Schlafly, Ms. Coulter, Ms. Lynn, and the worst of all, former governor Palin.

Still, would the people behind the site call any other candidates' supporters "weird?" Doubtful.

The trouble with the U.S. as I see it is too many people see things only their way; they won't even LISTEN to anyone with an idea with which they may not fully agree. We have it in congress, we have it in the White House, we have it in the streets and byways of the country. Liberals are so far to the left they are falling into the Pacific while Conservatives are so far to the right they are filling up the Atlantic.

That might be a good thing; the only people left will be moderates who - surprise - THINK and DISCUSS issues and work to reach a workable compromise that, while not making anyone "dancing in the square" happy, at least doesn't hurt anyone.

MEANWHILE, Sanders adviser suggests Israel gassed Syrians. As for Mrs. Clinton, we are supposed to forget about her personal server, Benghazi, and a few other missteps.

Anyone can say anything about a candidate, especially a candidate about other candidates. (Would that the candidates address the issues, and there are many from which to choose. 'Course it would have been helpful if the "debates" really were debates and the moderators threw out the same question to each candidate and then gave each candidate time to address the question, cutting off candidates who "drift" off topic. Maybe next time.)

I expect all the candidates to distance themselves from radicals and hate-mongers on all sides. I want a president who will be a president to ALL citizens without catering to any one group or class.

Former KKK leader, French far-right figure endorse Trump

19 of Donald Trump's Weirdest Celebrity Endorsements

White supremacist super PAC robocall: Don't vote for a Cuban, vote for Trump

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Fool me once . . .


I HAVE "GEEZER" INSURANCE, a Medicare Advantage plan. The company making money off the government is AvMed and the plan is AvMed's Medicare Choice plan.

Normally, AvMed is "pretty good." It is head and shoulders above a plan I had with a different Medicare Advantage plan provider.

But AvMed seems to have a continuing problem.

Some of the practitioners listed in its thick AvMed Medicare Choice Provider Directory don't accept AvMed Medicare Choice members.

But they're listed in The Book.

Image from NEWSOM EYE

THERE ARE MANY MEDICARE ADVANTAGE plans available in my geographic area. The reasons there are so many mainly are two:

  1. The area has thousands of people eligible for Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs
  2. The plans get far more federal (taxpayer) money than the roughly $104/month most Medicare clients pay to the government (on top of what we already paid over the years).

The more the plans pay out, the more they get from Washington.

Last year I had the cataract in my right eye "fixed." The process, from initial visit to post-op check was "OK." Nothing to write home about.

The primary complaint was that I had to travel a fair distance to the doctor's facility and my spouse had to take me to the surgery center even farther than the doctor's office. She is not a confident driver and because the equipment in the surgery center failed (fortunately before anyone was "under the knife"), we had to make several trips.

This year I was looking for a surgeon to "fix" my left eye, long overdue for surgery.

I checked the WWW for ophthalmologists in my neck o' the woods. I came up with several likely prospects and did what due diligence I could, checking their resumes and patient comments on line.

With the selection narrowed, I checked my AvMed Medicare Choice Providers' Directory.

I asked my Primary Care Physician (PCP) to give me a referral to the doctor at the top of my list. He did and I hied myself off to collect the New Patient paperwork and to set an appointment.

    Why can't they put these forms on line. Fill-in-the-blanks PDF would be great,


One of this surgeon's New Patient documents amounted to a model release, stating that I would permit the doctor to use my image in his MARKETING materials. Chutzpah!

Now I think I'm cute, but I'm not inclined to allow my continence to shine on anyone's marketing material. The catch was, unless I consented to be used for marketing purposes, the surgeon would not accept me as a patient.

When I reported this to my PCP's office the reaction was "Unheard of!"

Back to the search.

At this point I had some alternative practitioners lined up. I selected one and, via several email exchanges, determined that "Doctor G" was my surgeon of choice - or perhaps "surgeon du jour."

I made the trek out to her office in an area that not so long ago was a cow pasture. I asked the receptionist to let me see the New Patient forms and I explained why I made the request.

After satisfying myself that the New Patient forms were pretty standard, I was giving my insurance information when -STOP! We don't accept AvMed Medicare Choice.

"But you're in the AvMed book," I said.

This was no surprise to her; I apparently was not the first AvMed Medicare Choice plan member to stroll into the office.

When I returned to my home office I composed a long email to AvMed that I expect will be answered later rather than sooner. (AvMed DOES respond, albeit sometimes slowly.)


I had sent a snail mail missive to a third surgeon's office asking four or five questions and requesting an email response.

I got the email response.

It asked me to call to discuss my concerns.

If I had wanted to call, I would have called.

I don't enjoy playing telephone tag and I don't enjoy having to repeat myself due to a poor connection.

Besides I had   c a r e f u l l y   spelled out the questions I wanted answered.

I responded with an email by repeating my questions and adding one more: Does the doctor have a contract with AvMed's Medicare Choice program?

I learned my lesson.

The only questions now are:

  1. Will AvMed respond to my email?
  2. Will the doctor's office reply to my email?

High hopes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Let them die


Coral Springs (FL) police said a 36-year-old man's friends received text and email messages from him claiming he wanted to harm himself. The cops responded with a SWAT team.

Meanwhile, in Israel, "Palestinians" go on hunger strikes as a way to force Israel to let them go free to do again what got them imprisoned in the first place.

COPS SHOULD NOT have to be traumatized by a person who wants to die.

Death is a personal decision. U.S. law prevents "assisted suicide."

Cops who prevent a person from - as the Coral Springs man planned - to "hurt himself" if they shoot him are breaking the law by assisting the suicide.

Trouble is, the cop has to suffer the mental anguish of knowing he killed someone.

My firstborn is a cop and he and his partner killed a man who was trying to kill them, even though the "civilian" knew he would die.

The man was a coward. If he wanted to die, let him put a gun to his head or swallow a bottle of pills or hang himself. There are multiple ways a person can end his life. Just search the internet.

IT'S HIS RIGHT TO DIE despite some stupid laws that make suicide a crime.

The guy in prison looking for an early release; it's HIS choice not to eat. The government should not force-feed the prisoner. If he wants to die, let him. Starvation, after the first few days, is a relatively painless way to die. The prisoner CHOOSE to die by starvation as surely as the person who puts a gun to his head or his head into a noose.

As a pre-teen I stood outside a suicide's door as she shot herself with a small caliber pistol. She's long dead, but I never will forget the sound of the gun and her final agony.

Maybe I'm cruel, inhumane, but I believe if a person wants to die, LET THEM. If the suicide is a caring person - and that may be an oxymoron - they should find a way to end it all without making others a participant.

This morning a depressed young man committed suicide by driving his car the wrong way on a major highway, lights off, into a tractor-trailer rig with two people inside. He succeeded in taking his own life, and the passengers in the tractor were only physically shaken up, but the mental damage may be very long lasting. (The suicide posted his plans on social media, making it very clear what he intended to do.)

Like the people who commit "suicide by cop," this person had no consideration for his fellow. If the people in the tractor were injured or killed, "no big deal"; our suicide accomplished what he wanted.

The suicide's life revolves around the person planning to die; there is no thought or concern for anyone else.

If a person wants to "hurt himself," LET HIM; don't send the cops to do the job for him. If a person wants to starve himself into the grave, let him; don't violate his civil rights by force feeding him and thwarting his desire to die.

By all means, if a person exhibits suicidal tendencies, offer help, counseling. If the help is refused, rejected, so be it. An effort was made.

The bottom line is that it’s a person's civil right to die at a time of his choosing. It is NOT, however, a person's civil right to cause another to be the executioner nor to ruin anyone's mental health by waiting for an audience.

Friday, February 19, 2016


How do you say
"Chutzpah" in Italian?


HAS A CATHOLIC POPE EVER tried a direct, confrontational role in a U.S. presidential election?

Certainly American Catholic priests have tried to influence elections - just as have American Protestant and Jewish religious leaders, but the Pope of Rome? I don't think Pope John Paul VI either endorsed JFK nor denigrated his opponents.

But the popular pope, Pope Francis, said candidate Donald Trump is "not a Christian" for Trump's position on building a wall between Mexico and the U.S.

Photo from the New York Times web site. Click on image to enlarge

IF BEING A "CHRISTIAN" is the criteria to be president of the U.S. there have been several presidents - most notably Thom. Jefferson - who were not suitable for the office. Democrat Bernie Sanders, an admitted Socialist, certainly is not qualified; candidate Sanders is Jewish, albeit apparently non-observant and not publicizing the fact.

Certainly being a "Christian" - at least as defined by Pope Francis - should not be an endorsement; consider the "Christian" presidents who have failed this country and the "Christian" candidates who have violated federal laws with impunity.

If the Mexicans who illegally cross the border to find employment had decent wages in Mexico, they would stay in Mexico with their families. Why come to a country where the language is strange and many people consider you "beneath" them. A country that is more non-Catholic than the Catholic religion most Mexicans claim.

Rather than have the U.S. spend millions to build a wall to keep out both poor Mexicans looking for better paying work AND Mexican drug and gun runners, let the pope free up some of the Vatican gold - much of it stolen, including Mexican gold - to fund profit-making enterprises in Mexico (and elsewhere in Latin America).

The pope also could stop encouraging Catholics to have children they cannot support, or, alternatively, the Church could finance families with many children, not just in Mexico but throughout the world.

THAT would be the "Christian" thing to do.

So maybe Pope Francis is not behaving as a "Christian" should behave. Certainly sitting on Rome's money bags while people risk their lives to enter a county illegally to avoid abject poverty is not what Jesus allegedly preached.

Christianity is NOT synonymous with being an American. No religion, no matter the demographics, is synonymous with being an American.

Pope Francis is well advised to carefully consider is remarks; as the old saw goes: "Engage brain before putting mouth into motion."

Finally, Pope Francis should have been informed that the wall is NOT candidate Trump's idea, that a large portion of the (largely ineffectual) fence already was in place long before Trump announced his candidacy, and that the current alternative to a wall often is death at the hands of Mexican smugglers paid exorbitant fees to move the poor across the border.

According to the United States Border Patrol, 1,954 people died crossing the U.S–Mexico border between the years 1998-2004. In the fiscal year ending September 29, 2004, 460 migrants died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2005, more than 500 died across the entire U.S.-Mexico border. The number of yearly border crossing deaths has doubled since 1995. In 2009, 417 deaths were reported across the border. Yet the statistics cited by scholars and the media are only the number of known deaths and do not include those who have never been found, underestimating the actual number of migrants that have died attempting unauthorized border crossings.

Additional Pope vs. Trump sources


New York Times


NY Daily News


Additional migrant death sources

Huffington Post

New York Times

The Real News

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


It's been several
Of "those days"


I HOPE I'M NOT PAYING FOR MINUTES on calls I don't answer.

The spammers from the sub-continent called me several times telling me they were Windows technical support. Despite telling them I use Linux, the calls continued.

But I quickly learned how to identify calls from Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Chennai.

Not bad enough, an ophthalmologist I selected for cataract surgery wanted me to sign a form allowing him to use me in his marketing program. If I don't agree to his unrestricted use of my image, he won't perform the surgery.

Fortunately there are a number of other qualified eye surgeons in my neighborhood. (Lots of geezers live in the area, and "geezers" = "cataracts.")

ADMITTEDLY, Windows, as do all Microsoft products, NEEDS technical support, and I know that companies trying to save a cent at customer expense take business - including tech support - off shore. Never mind that it is difficult - at best - to understand these folks in India, Pakistan, and let's not forget, the Philippines.

The real problem with these scammers is that the right hand doesn't communicate with the left hand. After I've told several "I DON'T USE WINDOWS" I still get calls from the same organization.

They simply don't give up.

My phone rings 3, 4, 5 times-a-day as the scammers try to convince me an OS I don't use needs their wisdom. If they HAD any wisdom, they would stop calling and listening to Ring-No Answer responses. Maybe these scammers are using a Windows' database and can't figure out how to flag my number as "no response" or "RNA." It is fairly obvious these are robo-calls (not to be confused with Robo-Rubio).

It seems that the Powers That Be at Microsoft would go after people who use its products to scam users. Obviously - else the scammers would quit - they fool lots of people and manage to fleece them out of their money.


I know lots of doctors think they are a god, but the absolute chutzpah of this person is astounding.

In Florida doctors may self-insure. If they screw up and are sued and don't have the wherewithal to pay for the damage they caused, the patient - or survivors - are out of luck.

Signs stating the doctor has elected NOT to carry malpractice insurance about as common in South Florida as an accident on an interstate road.

Likewise, statements allowing the doctor to share a patient's records with insurance carriers, governments, and a few select others (e.g., morbidity panels) and students in medical programs are common clauses prospective patients are required to sign before treatment can begin.

This eye doctor, who will for the moment remain anonymous, requires potential patients to agree to allow him to use patient information - including the patient's image - for marketing purposes- or he will refuse to provide his services. In truth, it's a model release; and there is no compensation for the patient.

On another form, the doctor warns the patient-to-be that if the patient pays with a credit card, finds something amiss, and cancels the payment the doctor will sue.

Granted, it is not unreasonable to sue for a cancelled payment.

But the form suggests that this practice gets many cancelled payments.

Maybe I'm old fashioned - as well as old - but I expect professionals to project a professional image.

As Harry S' desk sign stated: "The buck stops here"

This doctor apparently cares nothing about his image.

The package of forms I needed to fill out included:

    A Patient Information form copied on a slant and lacking room to answer the questions

    Two forms with typographical errors (doesn't anyone proofread image documents?)

    And of course the marketing permission form that is the primary cause of this rant.

I suppose I should be glad that my surgery will be with a doctor other than the one with whom I had the now cancelled appointment.

It's been a rough week - and it's only Wednesday.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Organized BDS vs.
Personal Preference


I DON'T BUY CHINESE (when there is an alternative) and I encourage others to follow suit.

When I say "I don't buy" that includes knowingly buying Chinese stocks.

The operative word is knowingly.

My retirement fund might invest in Chinese stocks, but I have no control over where the fund management puts my few dollars. I am not going to tell the fund managers to divest all Chinese stocks and bonds.

I don't believe in political BDS; while I encourage people to buy products from sources other than China, I am not pressing my representative to Washington (who is useless in any event) to ban Chinese imports.

WHAT'S MY PROBLEM with the Chinese?

I'd like to write that my primary objection is the government's human rights violations, but in truth, that's reason #2.

The Number One reason is absolute lack of quality assurance/quality control and total disregard for consumer safety.

Perhaps someday things will improve; Japan started off sending shoddy products to the U.S., but it improved. Now almost every family has Japanese products in the house or driveway. Most are considered reliable.

So what have the Chinese sent us that prompts this rant? Let me begin with a"short" list:

  • Baby food
  • Children's pjs (famable and toxic)
  • Dry wall
  • Face cream
  • Flip-flops
  • Human food (donkey/fox and sewage-raised fish)
  • Laminate flooring
  • Pet food
  • Tires,
  • Toys for the young and young of heart

The U.S. is not the only country to have Chinese products recalled.

SYDNEY, Australia — An Australian company has recalled its frozen berry products after a hepatitis A outbreak linked to poor hygiene and water supplies in a Chinese packaging plant.

A few on-line articles supporting the need to beware of China's exports.

China Has a History of Selling Dangerous Products to U.S. Consumers

The 6 Most Horrifying Product Recalls in China

Toxic dyes, lethal logos, cotton drenched in formaldehyde... How your clothes could poison you

China's Product-Safety Recalls

China Recalls

China Product Recalls

Guess Which Country Topped 2007 Recall List?

Chinese Tires Pose Safety and Recall Problems

Report backs Chinese drywall health complaints

China Product Recalled in Australia After Hepatitis Outbreak

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wishful thinking

On same ticket:
Good for America


IF - AS I HOPE - THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARIES portend the November presidential election candidates - Socialist Bernie Sanders and Capitalist Donald Trump, America may be in for a new era of cooperation.

Sound crazy? Maybe not.

Over the last 16 years or so Americans have moved more and more to the political extremes. Both parties are to blame, but the parties only reflect their constituents. That is NOT to suggest that once elected, the politicians pay any serious attention to the voters - until they need cash for their next election run.

Now, with a Saunders-Trump card - the boxing reference is deliberate - Americans will have serious champions of social and capitalist philosophy debating each other.

In the process, perhaps - perhaps - Americans can see there is a common ground, a way to help Trump "Make America Great Again" by making sure that, as Sanders wants, everyone is a "Has" - has what is needed to survive and improve their life.

The two perspectives CAN be merged to America's benefit.

In my Edward Bear (a/k/a Winnie the Pooh) mind, I think the perfect ticket would be Trump-Sanders. Trump to direct the finances and Sanders to direct social services.

Bigger military? OK. And bring back the draft. Let young, directionless and under-educated youth be drafted. During their time in service - be it military or national service (JFK's VISTA, for example - it's still around as AmeriCorps VISTA) - the volunteers and draftees would get a chance to

  • Let go of Momma's apron strings
  • Get free of perhaps some bad influences in the "old neighborhood"
  • Learn to appreciate diversity - in basic training, everyone is a skin head (i.e., all hair is shorn from the male recruits' heads - been there/done that)
  • Gain 3R (Reading, (w)Riting, and (a)Rithmatic for the under 50 set) skills
  • Learn basic survival skills - how to make a bed, dress for the occasion, develop "culinary" arts ("KP" by any other name).
  • Learn marketable job skills, admittedly some better than others
  • Learn responsibility and develop management skills

The inductee (that covers both the draftee and the enlistee) gets a new set of clothes, medical attention, decent food, and a place to sleep out of the elements. No, Virginia, it won’t be the Ritz and the "chow" might not be on the level of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, but it will be healthy and plentiful.

Building up the military does not mean young people will be going to war; indeed, if America's military might is restored, there may be less reason to fear attacks. In any event, the U.S. is finally learning that holding on to captured territory is less and less of value - training locals to govern themselves always is the better option. No, the locals do not need to have an American-style democracy to have American support. The U.S. should have learned that lesson during Obama's "Arab Spring" fiasco.

People who prefer national service have many options, almost none of which include guns, but all include training and many require the inductee to increase their education, if only within a limited area. The military knows there are hundreds of jobs that don't require a college degree but that do require specific job skills that can be taught in highly focused classes.

America can have fiscally sound government while at the same time - simultaneously, too - provide needed social support.

I think Mr. Trump could find and allocate the resources to "Make America Great Again" while Mr. Sanders finds ways to make Americans great again - or at least to offer all Americans a path to a better life.

As long as there's no dole for people who can work but who refuse to work.

A Sanders-Trump ticket would not be good for America; it would be great for America.

A Trump-Sanders ticket would not be good for America; it would be great for America.


Until the War for Southern Independence, a/k/a Civil War, presidents and vice-presidents often - usually - were of different political parties.

Early in U.S. history, the candidate with the most electoral college votes was named president and the first runner-up was named vice-president.

Two URLs on this topic worthy of a visit are:

  1. The Twelfth Amendment on the Constitution Center web site and
  2. Running Mate on Wikipedia

Someday U.S. voters may - may - be able to directly elect the president and vice-president, but until Congress reluctantly gives up the electoral college control . . .