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Bureaucratizilla and Insurance

Go together like a horse and carriage…

Once upon a time, I owned a home.

Nice corner lot.

In a sketchy neighborhood – it was all I could afford.

After a car ran into the house (driven by a drunk driver), a subsequent burglary (renovation workers?), and a plumbing failure with mold threatening, the insurance company cancelled my insurance.

Not surprising.

A subsequent water damage problem came concurrent with the onset of my cancer, and loss of the house and insurance, home and medical.

Yeah, I know.  Just lucky, I guess.  🙂

I did land ‘on my feet’, thanks to a good friend who allowed me to move in with her, and being awarded medical disability.  Fortunately, not only do I get SSDI, but I had the foresight to obtain additional private carrier disability insurance when I was employed.  Together, they make just enough for me to survive.

Barely.  Sometimes.

But the private insurer likes to give me hoops to jump through – like me sending them medical and financial records – lest I appear to be actually working and getting ‘extra’ unauthorized funds from them monthly!

The joys of bureaucracy.

Now, my former employer, TMCCC*, has contacted me suggesting I take retirement!  I just turned 62.  And as I haven’t accessed their human resources website in many years, I had to jump through even more hoops.

All to advise them I’ve no plans to retire until 2017 – when I turn 65.

At least I’m not a close friend who gleefully signed up for Obamacare!  When it came time to renew their government-mandated medical insurance, they were told they could keep it.  For an additional $300 a month!

Unable to afford it, they opted for AHCCCS – Arizona’s Medicaid option.

And trying to advise the federal government they were discontinuing one insurance, and starting another was (in a word) difficult.  Apparently, one calls in and leaves a message, so ‘they’ can call you back.  ‘They’ do so (days later), and then threaten you with prosecution for not having insurance – even though you explained to them you were simply changing to another carrier!

(I should have included this in my previous posts regarding customer service, I know!)

I know all of us must deal with some variety of bureaucracy and it’s web of crap, but, with this modern age of computers, the Internet and menu prompts, you’d think it would be easier?

Especially on the older with infirmities.

NOPE.

*TMCCC – That Major Credit Card Company, where I was employed 22 years.

Red Light – Green Light

red lightRemember that game growing up?

John Lott gives us yet another perspective:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Chicago Tribune delivered the “first-ever scientific study” of the nation’s biggest camera program. Researchers commissioned by the paper found little or no safety benefit: Mid-intersection “T-bones” declined, but rear-end collisions sharply increased as drivers slammed on the brakes to avoid a ticket. Most damning, the Trib cited the city’s “long-standing reliance on using the lowest possible yellow light time” to maximize revenues even at the cost of encouraging more accidents. . . .

Apparently, the message is getting out as the company that have made these cameras are slowly exiting the business.

With Redflex losing money in North America, its Australian parent company recently instructed him to “de-risk the business” by diversifying into electronic toll-taking and traffic management. Nonetheless Mr. Saunders remains keen to rescue the reputation of photo enforcement, even if that seems like a Hail Mary at this point. . . .

My ex lived in Philly for about 10 years, and they had a government contractor maintaining the traffic signals so poorly that both turned green.  And her new car was totaled.

And there was no one to answer for it from the government works.

Yes, my friends, government works for the common good!

NO…stop a minute!

 

This Blog Is NOT A Democracy!

It IS a monarchy, with oligarchic tendencies.

What I write and post (or borrow steal and post) is entirely up to me.  I write about my experience with firearms, libertarian politics, government intrusion on our rights and my family and friends.

I’m quite proud that anyone bothers to stop by, and the fact I’ve followers and readers all over still astounds me.  A woman in Pakistan and another in India, and many military personnel have read here.

Thank you again for stopping by! 

Now to the oligarchic part.  I trust in a small cadre of regular readers opinions.  Not just the occasional comment on some random post, but I respect their judgement.  Some have even become friends and counselors off blog, much to my surprise and pleasure.

I recently received a follower request from Steven D. Jennings of  Stone City Blog Network.  This is a group of correspondents and bloggers doing so from prison.

Now, I don’t begrudge prison populations from trying to better themselves, nor do I pretend to understand what it must be like ‘inside’.  And prison populations have increased something like ten-fold over the past 40 years, largely due to ‘victimless’ crimes like personal marijuana use.  Mr. Jennings admittedly is doing 43 years for multiple assaults.  NOT a victimless crime.

The question is, should I allow him and network access, knowing that recidivism is a very real concern, and that many behind bars crave information they might use, like firearms training and escaping restraints – both addressed multiple times in this blog?  (One of my previous posts viewed recently was how to get out of zip ties!  Coincidence?)

What do YOU think?

I want to be ‘fair’, but I don’t want political correctness to mar an otherwise positive blog experience.  And, I suspect some folks who deserve to be incarcerated, but are not, read the Internet for such information, regardless.  So this is probably moot.

Having Gratitude Isn’t Always Easy

I’m in whine mode.

(I know I said at the outset that I wouldn’t use this weblog for therapy, but, hell, it’s my blog, so here goes…)

Holidays suck.

Why?  Not only do I not have any funds to get neat presents for friends and family, but, I’ve no one with whom to share the non-materialistic parts of the holidays.  One terrific couple I know gifted me with a cool assortment of cheeses and beers (including Lindeman’s raspberry ale!), and all I could give them in response was a small bag of garlic goldfish.

Hardly an even trade.

I love my sister and her kids, and her kid’s kids dearly, but going to a family celebration alone with certain people in absentia is always painful.

Now it’s the downhill slide from the New Year, to Molly’s birthday, to the anniversary of the accident, in March.

We’re told the best way to get out of this kind of funk is to create a gratitude list.  So here goes…

I’ve a roof over my head, and a working car.  Thanks to my friends!  I’m on Medicare.  I’ve disability benefits, which, while in no way am I rich, I can buy food, gas, and pay rent.  I’ve a select group of friends, both locally and on the Internet, who help out whenever they can.  Many of these friends have gone above and beyond – for years – when I am unable to give back in kind.

This must mean something.

I’m disabling comments for this post.  Because, in lieu of giving me an Internet “there-there”, or a virtual hug (or a kick in the pants), please stop for a moment and create your own gratitude list.

It helps.

Customer Service

Is it out there, anymore?

I remember my Father ranting about the dearth of customer service when I was a teenager – and that was in the 60’s.

Back then a guy in a uniform (or at least a uniform shirt) filled your tank, checked your oil, and cleaned your windshield.  And no tip was asked or expected.  Now, IF there’s a monitor/cashier at the self-service gas station behind the bulletproof glass, it’s an effort to get them to look up from their graphic novel to take your card for purchase.

And waiters/waitresses?  One would think when they are first being trained, they would be instructed that the more courteous and efficient they are, the better tip they will receive.  But most these days are barely capable in getting your food to you at all.  Need extra napkins or a refill on that beverage?  Good luck with that.

And getting the order correct in the first place?  Fuggedaboutit!

Retail stores?  Just try to find someone who has any idea where stock might be, or even be able to direct you to it.

Call centers?  Pshaw.

And we who chat regarding firearms on the Internet are familiar with H & K’s (in)famous lack of customer service.

One word.  OBAMACARE.  And government services in general.

And, while I’m on the subject – do any of these aforementioned folks speak American English?  This assumes I don’t have to migrate through a computer-generated menu prompt resembling a RPG in Urdu to get to a human.

Sigh.

We now return you to your post-holiday festivities.

But, The Koch Brothers Are Meanies!

I’m a big believer in giving credit where credit is due.  And blame.  AND RESPONSIBILITY.

Much of the media likes to pin the badge of how evil the Koch Brothers are, because they support conservative causes.  Funny how they rarely look at George Soros and his tentacles with anything more than a passing glance.

If that…

90 Miles From Tyranny recently posted a list of those organizations funded by Mr. Soros and his minions.  A smattering off the list:

  • American Civil Liberties Union: This group opposes virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by the U.S. government. It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board.
  • American Institute for Social Justice: AISJ’s goal is to produce skilled community organizers who can “transform poor communities” by agitating for increased government spending on city services, drug interdiction, crime prevention, housing, public-sector jobs, access to healthcare, and public schools.
  • Center for Community Change: This group recruits and trains activists to spearhead leftist “political issue campaigns.” Promoting increased funding for social welfare programs by bringing “attention to major national issues related to poverty,” the Center bases its training programs on the techniques taught by the famed radical organizer Saul Alinsky.
  • Democratic Justice Fund: DJF opposes the Patriot Act and most efforts to restrict or regulate immigration into the United States — particularly from countries designated by the State Department as “terrorist nations.”
  • Free Exchange on Campus: This organization was created solely to oppose the efforts of one individual, David Horowitz, and his campaign to have universities adopt an “Academic Bill of Rights,” as well as todenounce Horowitz’s 2006 book The Professors. Member organizations of FEC include Campus Progress (a project of the Center for American Progress); the American Association of University Professors; theAmerican Civil Liberties UnionPeople For the American Way; the United States Student Association; theCenter for Campus Free Speech; the American Library AssociationFree Press; and the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups.
  • Green For All: This group was created by Van Jones to lobby for federal climate, energy, and economic policy initiatives.
  • Institute for America’s Future: IAF supports socialized medicine, increased government funding for education, and the creation of an infrastructure “to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard.”
  • LatinoJustice PRLDF: This organization supports bilingual education, the racial gerrymandering of voting districts, and expanded rights for illegal aliens.
  • Media Matters for America: This organization is a “web-based, not-for-profit … progressive research and information center” seeking to “systematically monitor a cross-section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation.” The group works closely with the Soros-backed Center for American Progress, and is heavily funded by Democracy Alliance, of which Soros is a major financier.
  • Prison Moratorium Project: This initiative was created in 1995 for the express purpose of working for the elimination of all prisons in the United States and the release of all inmates. Reasoning from the premise that incarceration is never an appropriate means of dealing with crime, it deems American society’s inherent inequities the root of all criminal behavior.
  • Working Families Party: Created in 1998 to help push the Democratic Party toward the left, this front group for the Soros-funded ACORN functions as a political party that promotes ACORN-friendly candidates.

As with so many progressive-based organizations, they may have been started as independent of politics, with good intentions, but later co-opted by the progressive movement.  Others were poisoned from the beginning.

You should really visit 90 Miles From Tyranny and see the whole, long list.

Then go back to poo-poohing the Koch brothers.

More CHRISTMAS Guffaws!

treeseggnogold macsantasanta selfieAnd on the subject of SELFIES…

20141225_072509MERRY CHRISTMAS!

They’re HE-ERE!

poltergeist(No, not poltergeists.)

THE GARLIC GOLDFISH, LAUDED IN SONG AND STORY, HAVE ARRIVED!

Well,  in a cheesy story, anyhow…

It seems once-upon-a-time, there was a lad who decided to make Chex Party Mix for enhancing his Christmas cheer.  And it came to pass.  And it was good.  But at a Christmas party, he noticed that most folks were being selective in what they ate from the mix of Chex cereals, peanuts, pretzels and Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Cheese Goldfish Crackers.  SO…

When it came time to make a subsequent batch, rather then spend all the extra money on the flotsam and jetsam which was being judiciously avoided, he just bought the goldfish crackers.  DUH!

And not only was it good, it was BETTER!

And a Christmas tradition was born!

When I was employed, I used to bring gallons of the stuff into work.  Beginning after Thanksgiving.  People would approach me in September and ask, “Are you making goldfish this year for Christmas?”

The traditional Chex Mix recipe calls for an assortment of cereal and snack goodies, marinated in a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and margarine, dashed with a bit of garlic powder, then baked until crispy.

I’m rarely subtle.

I modified the recipe to a half stick of margarine and enough Worcestershire sauce to make about 1/2 inch deep in the bottom of a frying pan.  Heat moderately until simmering.  Add garlic powder to taste.  I usually add a healthy dose.  (Suffice it to say we don’t have a vampire problem.)  Then coat the crackers until they soak up all the sauce, and bake @ 350-375, turning often until dry and crispy.  It’s okay if a couple burn a bit.  Those are the BEST!

Serve with ice cold beer or soda, and watch the garlicphiles come out!  They are hot immediately out of the oven – it’s wise to let them cool a bit.

goldfishENJOY!

 

 

Worst Congress EVUH!

Hardly.

While they certainly do not bring points for the most civil, moral or efficient.  Or Constitutionally libertarian.  They are definitely not the WORST!

Exhibit One (courtesy of Cato @ Liberty)

The 31st Congress, which passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850

The 5th Congress, which passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798

The 21st Congress, which passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830

The 77th Congress, which passed Public Law 503, codifying President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of Japanese, German, and Italian Americans, in 1942

The 65th Congress, which passed the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition), the Espionage Act, and the Selective Service Act, and entered World War I, all in 1917

And let us not forget the rubber stamping of Constitutional Amendments changing election of Senators to popular vote (effectively eliminating State Power and increasing Federal Power) and creation of The Federal Income Tax, AND the National Firearms Act, Gun Control Act and Assault Weapons Ban.  AND, The Patriot Act and her illegitimate children.

I could go on.  And on.

Why do they insist on being called LAWMAKERS?  Shouldn’t they MODERATE and ADJUST for REMOVAL of Laws, not just add to them?

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls…

bellBayou Renaissance Man posted regarding the recent interactions between the constabulary and suspect(s), the protests that followed, and the police political assassinations that followed THOSE actions.

And, as usual, he did so with aplomb.  You should go to the link above and read him.  (And, if you are not regularly reading him, why not?)

And he brought up a recent court decision and the Peelian Principals.  (Sir Robert Peel being the founder of Modern Law Enforcement.)  They are:

  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

And here’s Peter’s money quote:

I can already hear the scoffing from police officers that those principles are utterly outdated when dealing with a society that regards the rule of law as nothing more than a polite fiction.  I can’t blame them;  our politicians and leaders in other spheres often appear to honor our laws more in the breach than in the observance.  Needless to say, our citizens all too often take their cue from their leaders (or is it the other way around?)  Nevertheless, any officer of the law who enters upon his career regarding the people he’s called to “protect and serve” as the enemy rather than his peers and fellow citizens is riding for a fall.  Sooner or later, someone’s going to provide one for him. (end)

It does appear as though we as a Society have transcended into pre-civil war status.  That is, that those charged with ‘protecting and serving’ the public are ‘protecting and serving’ each other, to the exclusion of the public (not entirely) and engaging in rampant abuses of power and authority not seen in many years.  In The United States, anyway.

Including wholesale surveillance of cellular telephone and email communications.  Restrictions placed on travel (elimination of 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, airports, ‘sobriety checkpoints’ and even some railroad and bus stations)!  And lets not forget misused or misapplied warrant services.  Does the name Jose Guerena come to mind?  Rendition and torture, in violation of both civil and military law.

And punishing of those who wish to bring such facts to light via the Internet or even cell phone cameras.

And now the remaining folks in blue who actually do their jobs and refrain from abuse are being subjected to political assassination, in the name of social justice?

Isn’t this what some Internet bloggers have been suggesting for the past few years?  Just because it’s painted in race doesn’t make it any less real.

Can we as a Society fix this before it’s too late?  Before cities, towns and States are overrun with folks tired of the governmental abuses?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

It peels for thee, Republic.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…