Why the rudeness? Although I'm not a material scientist, I am an engineer who has done experiments to determine loads that will cause structural failure with various materials. Is that better?
Being free to choose the size of your deductable is great.
Health insurance that covers every little medical expense doesn't make sense. It's like a car insurance policy that pays for oil changes and tire replacements. If I want that, I am free to choose that kind of plan (and the higher premiums that go with it). But those with a little bit of sense choose a higher deductable, and save a lot of money in the long run. I pity people who live in countries that don't allow the freedom to make such choices.
You seem to not understand how pre-Obamacare health plans work in the U.S., because all four of your points are invalid.
1. If I lose my job and have no income, I'll still be covered by Medicaid.
2. It's against the law for my insurer to drop me or raise my premiums if I get sick.
3. Regardless of whether I'm able to present my insurance card (or even whether I'm insured at all) after I've been in an accident, the emergency room will give me the same quality of treatment, and sort it out later.
4. Thanks to my choosing a high-deductable plan, my bank account is much larger than it otherwise would be, and I'm better able to afford visits to a doctor. Some people might blow the money they save on beer, instead of socking it away, but do you really want to design a healthcare system that rewards that kind of irresponsible behavior?
your tax money is used to benefit society; when you don't pay your taxes you are not contributing to society
Your definition of "contributing to society" is much too limited.
I happen to give money to charities that operate a lot more efficiently than government entitlement programs do. To the extent that I am taxed, I am less able to give to those charities. And if I didn't pay taxes, I could and would contribute a lot more to society than I do now.
Maybe you'd blow the money on beer if you weren't taxed, but don't paint everyone else with that broad brush.
They got lucky and the barrel didn't crack, splinter, shatter, or explode. I'm no gun expert, but I imagine that will eventually happen as people experiment with cheaper and cheaper materials.
Ketchican -- a quaint drinking village with a phishing problem.
(Apologies to Homer, Alaska, the "quaint drinking village with a fishing problem.")
The number of starving North Koreans is not static, it's dynamic and growing rapidly. Here's a great summary by Carlos Montaner:
In 1953, by the end of the Korean War, provoked by Kim Il Sung’s expansionist madness with the complicity of Mao’s China and Stalin’s Soviet Union, the two Koreas were destroyed. At that time, both countries had a per capita income lower than that of Honduras, then the poorest country in Latin America.
Today, 60 years later, South Korea’s per-capita income is $32,400 (twice that of Chile, Latin America’s richest country), while North Korea’s barely rises to $1,800 (half of Nicaragua’s, the poorest country in Latin America.)
Every year, South Korea produces 18 times the goods and services, per capita, that its neighbor to the north produces, although they both share the same ethnicity and culture and have similar levels of education. They are twin brothers made different by two antagonistic systems of organizing society.
With an economy based on the market, competition, private property, multiparty politics, democracy, commercial openness and respect for individual rights, South Korea has integrated into the First World, eradicated poverty and is one of the engines of the planet, with more patents and scientific articles published annually in specialized magazines than any Latin American country.
North Korea, which does the opposite, is the world’s worst and poorest tyranny. (It would be useful if the cheerleaders of 21st-Century Socialism made note of those differences.)
A common mistake to think our current Government in any way wants to serve us, defend our rights
Yes -- in a humorous bout of wishful thinking, our Declaration of Independence says that the very reason "Governments are instituted" is to "secure" our rights.
Perhaps prompting and arming some stupid schmuck in order to entrap him for terrorism
Or perhaps something worse, like this: "[Operation] Fast & Furious involved uncontrolled deliveries — of thousands of weapons. It was an utterly heedless program in which the feds allowed these guns to be sold to straw purchasers — often leaning on reluctant gun dealers to make the sales. The straw purchasers were not followed by close physical surveillance; they were freely permitted to bulk transfer the guns to, among others, Mexican drug gangs and other violent criminals — with no agents on hand to swoop in, make arrests, and grab the firearms. The inevitable result of this was that the guns have been used (and will continue to be used) in many crimes, including the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent. In sum, the Fast & Furious idea of “trace” is that, after violent crimes occur in Mexico, we can trace any guns the Mexican police are lucky enough to seize back to the sales to U.S. straw purchasers who should never have been allowed to transfer them (or even buy them) in the first place. That is not law enforcement; that is abetting a criminal rampage." -- K. Pavlich
Just as I suspected... you're unable to name a Republican who proposes "to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money trying to force the creation of Creationist-friendly textbooks," because there are no Republicans proposing this.
Instead, you named an entire state. I assure you, most Texans don't want taxpayer dollars spent to create textbooks of any kind, because they know the private sector has been doing a fine job of meeting the demand for textbooks, without need for any subsidies.
Got a link? I've not heard of any politician, of any party, proposing to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money trying to force the creation of Creationist-friendly textbooks. (There's no need to... such textbooks already exist, and are used by a small minority of home-schooling parents.)
But even if some politician had proposed this, it and similar follies wouldn't account for the enormous size of government. Try looking at a pie chart: the hugest slice of federal spending is entitlements. Try looking at an animated pie chart that shows how fast that slice is growing. It's terrifying.
In 2010, one of my friends thought defense cuts could bring about a balanced budget. Then I showed him a pie chart of the 2009 federal budget. The deficit was $1413 billion, and if the $600 billion defense budget had been cut by 100%, we still would have been left with a deficit of $813 billion! (By comparison, Dubya's largest deficit was $459 billion.)
they're pretty evenly divided between wanting slow upward wealth redistribution, or very rapid upward wealth redistribution
An even more accurate way to say this -- which is backed up by their actions and proposals -- is that some want wealth redistribution programs to continue to grow faster than GDP (with no regard to the unsustainability of this), and the rest want wealth redistribution programs to grow at a sustainable rate.
There are (in theory) actual budget cuts, and then there are Washington-style "cuts," which are actually budget increases that don't quite live up to the expectation of faster-than-GDP growth. I know of only one politician who proposed actual cuts -- and that politician was voted out in November.
One thing I've noticed is that there are two kinds of people with strong opinions. Type I is of below-average intelligence, and they hold strong opinions because they're closed-minded. Type II is highly intelligent and very openminded, and, after thinking deeply about issues, they reject ideas that are illogical or unworkable. Opinions that survive that rigorous test deserve to be strongly held.
And then there are people who think everyone with strong opinions is closed-minded -- essentially, they don't recognize the existence of Type II. They accuse people with strong opinions of having a "black-and-white" view of the world. Ironically, they themselves have a black-and-white view of their fellow humans: people with strong opinions = bad, people like themselves = good.
I simply avoid registering to vote because all that happens is I get calls from people telling me to vote for their guy and they can't really explain why. For example I got a call from somebody on Matt Salmon's team telling me that they would repeal Obama Care, and lower medical costs through deregulation. Being a libertarian, that is music to my ears because I know from experience that red tape does raise costs in the medical field significantly. However when I asked what he would deregulate and how that would help, he didn't even know. But he expects me to vote for his guy anyways.
You can't expect a low-level campaign worker -- probably an unpaid volunteer -- to be able to articulate the specific nuances of his candidate's platform. At least this campaign worker knew enough to embrace the correct guiding principle. A worse aspect of political campaigns are bumper stickers or roadside signs that display only the candidate's name, and give you no clue about their positions. If some voters can actually be swayed by these information-less signs, that's pretty sad. If voters can't be swayed by them, I wish the candidates would learn to redirect their resources into media that actually conveys information.
The best you can do is hedge your assets (gold is a horrible idea
What is a good way to hedge, then?
There is basically no scenario in which North Korea can start a war and "win".
Nobody is worried about a scenario in which NK wins. Everybody is worried about a scenario in which both sides lose (lots of lives). There are are plenty of plausible scenarios like that.
Bombing civilians and calling it cost of doing business?
Apparently you've never sat through a class on the Law of Armed Conflict. Intentionally targeting civilians is forbidden. When a military target is bombed and civilians casualties are accidentally incurred, military professionals call it "collateral damage" (your screed is the first place I've heard it called "cost of doing business"). Many resources are expended in order to minimize collateral damage: teams of lawyers have to approve every target, then very expensive smart bombs are dispatched.
The "Greatest Generation" didn't do any of that -- to the contrary, residential neighborhoods in Dresden and Tokyo were intentionally targeted with incendiary bombs, and civilian casualties were the goal. Does that make the current generation "Greater than the Greatest"?
US may not be quite as beligerant as NK
Are you saying that NK's teams of lawyers may not be quite as concerned about sparing civilians as the US teams; or that NK's smart bombs may not be quite as good as US smart bombs about using low yields to take out military targets while sparing nearby civilian structures?
Or maybe you and the folks who modded you up are just speaking out of the anti-American chips on your shoulders.