20200222S Day 53: Bernie wins Nevada Caucuses

With 27% of the precincts reporting in Nevada, the county delegates are divided amongst Bernie (46.6%), Biden (22.7%), Buttigieg (14.5%), Warren (8.9%), Steyer (3.7%), Klobuchar (3.3%), and Tulsi (0.1%). As projected in 20200219W Day 50: Quantum Analysis of Debate Shows Bernie Likely to Win Most Pledged Delegates, Bernie is on track to becoming the next U.S. president in many universes. However, there are also many universes where he does not become the next U.S. president. In those, there are likely to be things going on that are different from the one we experience today.

Update 2020-0223-0900CST: With 50% of the Nevada precincts reporting, the county delegates are divided amongst Bernie (46.6%), Biden (19.2%), Buttigieg (15.4%), Warren (10.3%), Klobuchar (4.5%), Steyer (3.8%),  and Tulsi (0.1%). It’s interesting that Bernie’s percentage stayed the same (within 3 sigdigs anyway) and also of note that Klobuchar moved past Steyer to gain the number 5 spot.

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Update 2020-0223-2100CST: With 88% of the Nevada precincts reporting, the county delegates are divided amongst Bernie (47.1%), Biden (20.9%), Buttigieg (13.6%), Warren (9.7%), Steyer (4.6%), Klobuchar (3.9%), and Tulsi (0.0%).

20200221F Day 52: Insurance for All Plan with Social Security Savings

Today I cancelled my dental coverage because they denied a claim for a $125 tooth filling because it occurred during the 6-month waiting period. When I called to find out about the denial, I also learned that there is a 12-month waiting period for any major work, such as root canals. The only thing the insurance pays for immediately is preventative stuff like clean-and-check.

I also decided to check on the medical insurance I purchased in a rush after finding out my COBRA coverage renewal was declined. It has a $5K in-network and $10K out-network deductible and then pays 80% (in) and 60% (out) of medical costs. My max out-of-pocket, including deductible is $7K (in) and $26K (out). The price for father and son is around $850/month, or about $10K/yr. So, my in-network annual cost for medical is $10K-$17K and if I need to go out-of-network, then the max cost is $36K.  I believe if anything major happens and I get too expensive, they can decline to renew my policy at some point.

With this same insurance, my antiviral generic drug was full price at $101 (because I haven’t met my drug deductible yet and for some reason I get to pay full list price until I do meet it). I didn’t use my insurance and instead downloaded free GoodRX app to instantly get over 50% off and pay “only” $46.  Why do I need to go through GoodRX and how does GoodRX make money here?

I no longer have vision “insurance” since COBRA ended. I’m surprised that vision “insurance” isn’t included with Amazon Prime by now.

I may give Sidecar another look. It has a model where patients shop around for the best “cash” price for medical coverage and then get reimbursed at a rate of approximately 80% of the “cash” price in the neighborhood.  It’s possible to even get reimbursed for more than the “cash” price if you find a cash price cheaper than 80% of the going rate for your neighborhood.  For places like hospitals and ER, Sidecar has a negotiator to help you negotiate down any bills that come in above the regular cash price for the area.

Bernie is pushing a Medicare-for-All plan:

  • Create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service.
  • No networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, no surprise bills.
  • Medicare coverage will be expanded and improved to include: include dental, hearing, vision, and home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs, and more.
  • Stop the pharmaceutical industry from ripping off the American people by making sure that no one in America pays over $200 a year for the medicine they need by capping what Americans pay for prescription drugs under Medicare for All.

I have often wondered about combining Life and Health insurance with a combined product that would provide a variable amount of life insurance (more when you need it more, such as when you have a family). I also now see the problems with IRAs – it’s too easy for people to get their money out and so it’s not there during retirement. With this in mind, I see a universe where in addition to a plan like Bernie’s, we have:

  1. Increased funding available to universities and private companies to create new drugs. Funding would include filing patents and individual inventors and universities would get recognition. The government funding organization would be the owner of the patent and receive any royalties, although these would likely be waived for domestic drug maker partners. Patent royalties would be paid by foreign companies and used to reduce costs of otherwise developed drugs.
  2. Social Security is upgraded to Social Security Savings, which gives everyone a cash balance of everything they have contributed plus earnings from a combination of U.S. Treasury Bond interest and gains from investments in an index fund of public companies weighted by how much total salary they pay to American workers.
  3. Healthy people who don’t use a lot of medical care will have additional money added to their Social Security Savings account. The amount will be determined like a co-op, where extra funds not paid out for medical expenses are paid out to everyone – more to those with less health care expenses.
  4. Unhealthy food is taxed at a rate to pay for twice the expected medical costs associated with that food being eaten. Check prices for soda and chocolate in Norway to see an example.
  5. Liability insurance, such as home and auto, no longer covers medical since these are covered by universal medical coverage. One can still be liable for pain, suffering, and lost wages.
  6. Included with Social Security Savings, is a variable payment life insurance policy that pays out variable multiples of your SSS cash balance based upon your age, family, dependents.

 

20200219W Day 50: Quantum Analysis of Debate Shows Bernie Likely to Win Most Pledged Delegates

One of the final questions to each candidate was:

If a candidate does not win a majority of the delegates, will you support the selection of the candidate with the most delegates?

All but Bernie said that they wanted to abide by the rules of the Democratic Party. That’s an interesting response that, if made from a self-interest standpoint, would mean that ALL of the candidates on stage believed that Bernie would receive the most delegates of all the candidates – at least most of the pledged delegates anyway.

If all of the candidates are accurately feeling the possible futures and their likelihood, then all of them are consistent in believing that Bernie will likely win the most pledged delegates.

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20200205W Day 36: Senate Acquits Trump as Romney votes from a parallel reality

Most of us are currently surrounded by a large percentage of universes in which the U.S. Congress representatives vote not with the leaders of the party in which they are affiliated instead of with their conscience. For those who find this appalling, there is evidence of a nearby universe in which conscience-based voting is the rule rather than the exception. This evidence is illustrated by Mitt Romney’s conscious-based vote despite strong arm-twisting by the other members of his party.

Here’s the full text of Romney’s speech explaining why he voted to remove President Trump from office today:

The Constitution is at the foundation of our Republic’s success, and we each strive not to lose sight of our promise to defend it. The Constitution established the vehicle of impeachment that has occupied both houses of Congress for these many days. We have labored to faithfully execute our responsibilities to it. We have arrived at different judgments, but I hope we respect each other’s good faith.

The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise “impartial justice.” I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the President, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.

The House Managers presented evidence supporting their case; the White House counsel disputed that case. In addition, the President’s team presented three defenses: first, that there can be no impeachment without a statutory crime; second, that the Bidens’ conduct justified the President’s actions; and third that the judgement of the President’s actions should be left to the voters. Let me first address each of those defenses.

The historic meaning of the words “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the writings of the Founders and my own reasoned judgement convince me that a president can indeed commit acts against the public trust that are so egregious that while they are not statutory crimes, they would demand removal from office. To maintain that the lack of a codified and comprehensive list of all the outrageous acts that a president might conceivably commit renders Congress powerless to remove a president defies reason.

The President’s counsel noted that Vice President Biden appeared to have a conflict of interest when he undertook an effort to remove the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. If he knew of the exorbitant compensation his son was receiving from a company actually under investigation, the Vice President should have recused himself. While ignoring a conflict of interest is not a crime, it is surely very wrong.

With regards to Hunter Biden, taking excessive advantage of his father’s name is unsavory but also not a crime. Given that in neither the case of the father nor the son was any evidence presented by the President’s counsel that a crime had been committed, the President’s insistence that they be investigated by the Ukrainians is hard to explain other than as a political pursuit. There is no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the President would never have done what he did.

The defense argues that the Senate should leave the impeachment decision to the voters. While that logic is appealing to our democratic instincts, it is inconsistent with the Constitution’s requirement that the Senate, not the voters, try the president. Hamilton explained that the Founders’ decision to invest senators with this obligation rather than leave it to voters was intended to minimize—to the extent possible—the partisan sentiments of the public.

This verdict is ours to render. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfilled our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

Yes, he did.

The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.

The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.

The President’s purpose was personal and political.

Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.

What he did was not “perfect”— No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.

In the last several weeks, I have received numerous calls and texts. Many demand that, in their words, “I stand with the team.” I can assure you that that thought has been very much on my mind. I support a great deal of what the President has done. I have voted with him 80% of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.

I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?

I sought to hear testimony from John Bolton not only because I believed he could add context to the charges, but also because I hoped that what he said might raise reasonable doubt and thus remove from me the awful obligation to vote for impeachment.

Like each member of this deliberative body, I love our country. I believe that our Constitution was inspired by Providence. I am convinced that freedom itself is dependent on the strength and vitality of our national character. As it is with each senator, my vote is an act of conviction. We have come to different conclusions, fellow senators, but I trust we have all followed the dictates of our conscience.

I acknowledge that my verdict will not remove the President from office. The results of this Senate Court will in fact be appealed to a higher court: the judgement of the American people. Voters will make the final decision, just as the President’s lawyers have implored. My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate. But irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me. I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial. They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the President did was wrong, grievously wrong.

We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history. But in the most powerful nation on earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.

 

20200203 Day 34: Iowa Democratic Caucus Results in Parallel Universes

In some universes, the final results of the Iowa Democratic Caucus have been released and the winner is …

In the universe I’m in right now, the results have been delayed. The reason for the delay is still being observed and is currently in a superposition of states such as “app failure”, “dotting i’s and crossing t’s”, “waiting for coins to flip”, “back room negotiations”, “quality control”, “busy phone lines”, and “conspiracy against Bernie”.

In the majority of parallel universes, the top three candidates ordered by number of state delegates is:

  1. Bernie
  2. Buttigieg
  3. Warren

with Klobuchar and Biden splitting almost all of the remainder, except for one Yang delegate.

#IowaCaucus

2020 Day 8: Consumption and Creation

I’ve noticed over the last few days that as my time spent creating posts has decreased, my time spent consuming content has increased. I was able to go about a week before my old habits came almost back to full strength. As I try to restrict my attention to world and financial news, these both start shouting louder for attention. For instance, one of the stocks I am invested in, Drive Shack (DS), had a large daily up movement because their large competitor, Top Golf, was in the news regarding an IPO. In world news, hopefully the tit-for-tat between the U.S. and Iran will end and Congress will reassert it’s authority to declare war.

I volunteered for the Bernie campaign last night. The Iowa Democratic caucuses will occur Feb. 3 and will be brought to you by the letter “B”, for Bernie, Biden, and Buttigieg. Alphabetical order is a reasonable prediction of caucus results for these top 3 candidates.  Super Tuesday is a month later on March 3, after which it will become clear that Buttigieg is the odd man out as Biden hangs on due to strong support from the Democratic Party establishment. What happens next is likely to follow a similar path as 12 years ago when Obama and Hillary ran against each other.

Obamacare survives attempts to repeal and replace 

2017-03-27M-0719-Home

If you are reading this in a universe where Obamacare is still the law of the land in the USA, then our universes are not far apart and we are both surrounded by similar universes in that respect. Of course there are also universes nearby where Obamacare has been repealed and replaced. While those are in the minority, they are still there.

We actually can’t know for certain the ratio of universes with Obamacare to those without. We can feel both sets of universes though. We can tell by Trump’s tweets that both are near.

Which universe do you prefer? If you want to be an expert universe surfer, you need to exercise your free will to make choices that raise the probability of you being in a universe that you desire – in a universe that has as a high probability of having the characteristics you desire and a low probability of having the characteristics you don’t desire.
What do you desire? In this moment, what do you desire? In the next moment it may change – it will change. Our hopes, our dreams, our needs, our wants, our preferences – these all change. If you are tuned into your quantum self, you can feel the diversity of your quantum self’s hopes, dreams, and desires. Before tuning into your quantum self, understand your classical self – the one experiencing the classical universe you are in at the moment. It is going to be similar to the majority of the classical universes around you, so it’s a good one to start with.
Educate yourself about Obamacare. What problems did it solve? What problems still remain? How can the remaining problems be solved without bringing back the problems already solved? How can new problems be avoided? If you want to live in a universe where health care benefits you, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and everyone else, then your probability of living in that universe is increased if you educate yourself and know the characteristics of the health care system that will be most beneficial.
The sun is rising now as I sit under a cloudy sky. I can’t see the sun, but I know it is there. The clouds will clear. The light will shine brightly and bring warmth to everyone. It’s a good day.

Happy Surfing!