Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Republicans and Obamacare

It seems to me that for as long as I have been in this country, Republicans have never wanted to improve health care or its coverage as an effort to benefit active Americans.

It took the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) to get them infuriated about the idea and, from day one, promising to repeal (and not replace) the law.

So even with seven years to come up with a better idea, they did not, simply because enhancing that policy was never on their agenda.

It only took Trump's campaign promises to force them into concocting a replacement plan that was a disaster because they had never thought through the idea before and had no interest for it. They just were forced by Donald Trump to make something up.

At that point, only Democrats can do something about fixing the ACA and it will require a strong majority in Congress...

Monday, March 27, 2017

The (real) art of the deal

I have yet to read “The Art of the Deal” that best seller Trump has had written for him back in 1987 by Tony Schwartz. I plan to read it as soon as possible, because I can't understand that a self-proclaimed sales or business guru like Trump would fail at repealing and replacing Obamacare as he did a few days ago.

Maybe when I'll read his famous book, I'll change my mind about what selling is all about.

That's true, I've always thought that successful selling (or deal-making for that matter) began by listening to the customers, always doing one's very best to be polite and considerate with clients, always looking forward to establishing a strong and lasting rapport and, as much possible always attempting to hide one's ego and arrogance.

To me any other for behavior was that of a jerk, but again, once I've read the masterpiece I might be proven wrong!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Friends of Putin

Quite a number of prominent individuals have publicly stated their trust, admiration and friendship for Vladimir Putin, the former KGB chief, who has become Russia's de facto dictator.

The list is impressive, beginning with politicians like Donald Trump or François Fillon, actors like Steven Seagal, Gérard Depardieu or Pamela Anderson, and musicians like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.

Worse, there even Jean-Claude Killy, the skier I admire most that has also fallen for the man. A character that many reasonable people see as a ruthless oppressor and killer.

Well, I can only hope that everyone of these famous people got something of great value out of the relationship and that Mr. Putin never turns on his western “friends!”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

America's Problem

We all are aware that America has many problems. Actually, our main problem is not with Mexicans, opioids, or abortion, and it's not with Muslims either, but it's with our Republican Party.

The latter is dead set on demolishing instead or repairing or constructing what we need (no border wall, please!).

Republicans congressmen and women must finally understand that they are working for us and that it's time for them to get off their rear-end and start playing nice with Democrats!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Military spending and education

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading.

The 2015 version of the test was published on 6 December 2016 and shows that Singapore outperformed the rest of the world. The top other OECD countries were Japan, Estonia, Finland and Canada. Now, contrast this with our worldwide military expenditures.

Close to $1.7 trillion is spend annually world wide towards military expenditures; in other words to kill people. This is a category where the USA is a dominating leader.  In fact we spend more than the 7 next countries for our defense (that is close to $600 billions or about 5% of our GDP).

We clearly don't do nearly as well with our PISA scores and lag on all counts. Wouldn't it be nice if we spent less on our military and more on our students?

If we did that, perhaps would we do a sudden U-turn and reverse our decline and return to excellence?

Something to think about...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Weird hairdos and sick minds

I wonder if anyone has ever conducted a thorough study on people wearing weird haircuts, and their disastrous consequences on mental sanity?

Since the human hair is located so close to the brain, it does affect its function and whenever the hairstyle goes off the established norm, it must confuse the synapses and may provoke erratic behavior on the subject wearing the non-conforming hairdo.

For those who don't quite know it, a synapse is a structure that allows a neuron (or nerve cell) to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron. It is therefore easy to imagine the resulting chaos that takes place when the entire synapse network is hammered with continued electrochemical breakdowns caused by a disorderly hairstyle.
So, next time you find yourself in close proximity to a person like the ones illustrated on this blog, change sidewalk immediately.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The first French presidential debate

Two nights ago, we bravely invested three hours of our precious time to watch the first French presidential debate of 2017.

The French must have an amazing attention-span because we were beat up at the end of this intellectual marathon.

What follows are just my reactions:

I thought both Mélanchon and LePen, were both the best story-tellers and communicators of the quintet. They seem to know what being populist is all about.

For me the most forgettable candidate is Hanon, the socialist, who like Mélanchon is a utopist and is probably too far ahead of his times. His program is as weak as his persuasion skills.

Macron is the quintessential French Technocrat. He piles up words that are meaningless. Since he has no program per se, he is smart enough to agree almost 100% with whatever Fillon says and since the later is the only one who has a sensible platform, Macron shows his intellectual clarity.

Clearly, Fillon's passive demeanor showed he's wounded and lacked the assertiveness he displayed during the primaries.

So, what should the French do? 

Just like we did it for Hillary, they should hold their noses and vote for Fillon, praying he makes it to the run-off and can block LePen.

This said, what's the likely outcome? 

At this juncture, I would predict that LePen and Macron will survive the vote. During the run-off debates, Macron will be crushed by LePen, many French will abstain, the right will support LePen and she'll emerge as the victor.