National SecurityWhile the country was attacked and experienced a massive loss of life on 9/11 which we would like to prevent in the future, it is on the face of it unreasonable to cause the death of more than 100 times as many people (yes, 10,000% more people have died because of actions in our name by our government) in what are purported to be efforts to prevent another 9/11. Using reason, we arrive at certain conclusions namely that the threat of "terrorism" to America is vastly, vastly overstated. Cigarettes, prescription drugs, drunk driving and even lightning are much, much greater threats to American life than "terrorism" historically and based on rational forward-looking risks. The promotion of "terrorism" as one of the most significant threats to American life could not be more false. The threat of "terrorism", however, means big business for defense contractors, the mass media and fear-mongering politicians so it shouldn't perhaps surprise us that it is so diligently promoted as a huge threat.
The real terror to the country, as we'll see, are those who fear-monger "terrorism" and allocate virtually no resources to try to curb the preventable deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans annually from such not-so-fearsome but vastly-more-deadly causes as traffic accidents, cigarettes, and adverse prescription drug side effects.
No American is ready to kill citizens of other countries nor have other Americans killed in order to curb drunk driving or to control lightning, and yet (as ridiculous as it sounds) threatening for example automobile manufacturer and auto engineers with death if they don't make safer cars would be a vastly more effective means of protecting American and human life than the hundreds of billions of dollars spent and hundreds of thousands killed in the name of "anti-terrorism." Roughly five times as many Americans die every year from alcohol related traffic accidents and roughly six times as many Americans are murdered each year by other Americans than died on 9/11. So we Americans in the past six years through drunk driving and murdering each other have killed more than sixty-five times as many Americans as died on 9/11!?
A principled approach to national security works dispassionately from what are the most significant and likely threats to American life to how do we effectively curb them.
An unprincipled approach appeals to patriotism and emotions and goes willy-nilly without proper assessments of either risks or solutions. The results are devastatingly clear. In 2000, it was brought to the attention of the leaders of our country that a risk assessment (conducted by the later-pilloried FEMA) found the following three events the most likely and catastrophic risks for the country an attack on the US by a violent group particularly by hijacking a plane and attacking NYC, a devastating hurricane reaching the Gulf Coast, and thirdly a massive earthquake in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the leadership of the country wasn't concerned with true risk assessments and invented brand-new mathematics based on the idea that 1=100 (the so-called 1% doctrine of the Bush administration where an event with a 1% risk should be treated as having in fact a 100% risk!?), and the results are plain-3000 dead from 9/11 and 3000 dead from Hurricane Katrina with at the very least most of Katrina's deaths being highly preventable. It should also be noted that Katrina's occurence is related to another phenomenon which virtually every single geologist accepts but for some reason the Bush administration doesn't believe in, global warming. Models of global warming predicted devastating hurricanes years before Katrina happened-unfortunately our political leaders believed themselves smarter than geologists with decades of training. Our political leaders have ignored science at our peril. We have paid as citizens with thousands of our lives.
PODVoters respect all human life and we are not ready to sacrifice a hundred thousand lives of other countries' citizens out of a dim hope that we may prevent vague and unspecified threats. We believe in scientifically-based, sound risk assessments and a cost-analysis of preventable deaths in order to allocate resources effectively and guide legislation to protect Americans lives.
We are concerned with appropriating our resources effectively to protect all loss of American life whether from violence by foreign groups or nations, or loss of American life from violence by Americans (kill 6x as many Americans annually as died on 9/11), or from cigarettes (kill 70x as many Americans annually as died on 9/11), or from traffic accidents (kill 7x as many Americans annually as died on 9/11).
There is virtually no doubt that governmental resources have been used in the most ineffective ways. In the past seven years, the resources that have been allocated to the "war against terrorism" (approaching a trillion dollars!) which have resulted in thousands of American deaths and hundreds of thousands of foreign deaths could instead have translated into hundreds of thousands of American lives saved (and no to few foreign deaths) if those resources had been allocated towards safer cars, anti drunk-driving measures, better prescription systems, and other measures against genuine threats to American life.
We as a country spend a greater percentage of our collective earnings on health care than any other heavily industrialized country, and yet on most major measures of the effectiveness of a health care system, the U.S. comes in last. Further, despite the vast resources that are being given to the current health care industry, 50 million Americans don't have health insurance or reliable health care. This situation is unacceptable.
It is an accepted principle that every citizen should have access to health care. It is, moreover, not at all the case that every American citizen has access to health care today. The solution to this problem, though, whether to socialize the system or to engage in efforts alongside the private industry is not clear.
Currently, there is a mixed private and public framework for health care. The poor and the elderly are eligible for the government funded Medicaid and Medicare. For everyone else, there are private health insurers.
Something isn't working with the private system when a quarter of the people who should be in the system are not in the system. There is, thus, a need for government intervention since the private sector has not accomplished a goal which must be achieved. It isn't obvious, however, what the solution is.
We need experts to present to us various proposals and evaluate them as well as have studies of others countries systems which have universal public or private coverage.
We almost certainly need smaller policies, which may be test-able on a small scale, or that work incrementally towards a solution. Any wholesale change in the current health care system is unlikely to be an effective solution and even more unlikely to win a consensus of support.