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Thoughts from the Frontline

Looking on the Bright Side

December 24, 2012

Choose your language

            It is Christmas Eve and not the time for long letters – just a brief note on why the fiscal cliff is not the End of All Things, and to point out a worthy cause led by some good friends of mine who are helping people who truly have no options in life. And we’ll start things off with a movie review of sorts to launch us into a positive take on the year behind and the year ahead.

Go See Lincoln

Last night I watched Lincoln on the big screen with son Chad. I cannot recommend the movie enough. It should be required viewing, if a free society could require such things. Besides Daniel Day-Lewis being a lock for Best Actor (in what will be truly a line-up of high-powered actors this year), Tommie Lee Jones may also get one for Best Supporting Actor. Spielberg continues to produce wonderful movies…

Discuss This


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Dec. 24, 2012, 5:40 p.m.

Excellent article, John.  I am looking forward to seeing ‘Lincoln’ when I return to Canada.  Thank you for writing such an insightful letter.  May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy a great 2013 however it unfolds.  Keep up the good work - I always look forward to your Thoughts.

Adam Passey

Dec. 24, 2012, 5:03 p.m.

As usual, I love your thinking; however, just for the sake of accuracy the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the “Mormons”) have a larger full time missionary force, currently well above fifty thousand, who serve virtually all at their own expense.  Not in any way am I detracting from the service of the those who participate with WYAM.

Michael MacMurray

Dec. 24, 2012, 1:45 p.m.

“They [YWAM] are working in Papua New Guinea, which John tells me is as poor as Haiti. There are only 23 dentists in the entire nation. This is basic health care, far removed from what we are debating over this weekend. Entitlements, indeed.”

I find it ironic that the mysticists of YWAM are able to help the mysticists of Papua New Guinea only through the use of products and technologies whose existence relies on the rejection of mysticism in favor of reason. Of course, YWAM doesn’t see it that way. To a group whose foundational values include the use of “the Bible as the authoritative word of God and, with the Holy Sprit’s inspiration, the absolute reference point for every aspect of life and ministry”, Papua New Guinea has only 23 dentists not because the residents pray to a god, but because they pray to the wrong god.

Faith has no place in investing. In future articles, please reconsider your inclusion of topics that are unrelated to your business and of your plea to give generously to a group that rejects the fundamental values (science, reason, logic) that make possible the creation of the economic values upon which your business depends.

john friesen

Dec. 24, 2012, 11:48 a.m.

One of the most expensive items of cost to U.S. healthcare, is the contributing cost of mal-practice insurance.  Most doctors and certainly most specialists pay a premium of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for their insurance premium.  Because of the possibility of an expensive litigation with every patient, doctors, out of extreem caution, over diagnose, over medicate, and do excessive procedures to avoid exposure to litigation.

In Canada, the maximum legal award for pain and suffering is $!00,000.  A Canadian cannot sue a doctor for wrongful death.  Therefore the liability premium in Canada is a small fraction of what a U.S. doctor pays every year.

The solution to the problem in the U.S.A is simple…..outlaw contingency billing. The result would be a dramatic reduction in healthcare costs.

John Friesen…Vancouver, Canada.

Lawrence Glickman

Dec. 24, 2012, 11:40 a.m.

Left Right or Mauldin the point continues to be missed. The entitlement programs which are the center of the debate are prisoners of the “legal corruption” of overpayment made possible by the K street lobbyists. The OECD list and analysis of US health costs is clear we overpay by about 30% compared to other developed nations. We should be angry that the cost of an appendectomy in the US is three times what is costs in Switzerland! Hardly a low cost living standard country. Yet the debaters continue to ignore this primary issue. Eliminate that issue and demand world standard pricing for procedures and drugs and viola the problem is substantially solved. Next just as Great Britain had to face reality after WW2 we must shrink the size of the military period. We spend more than the next five nations combined, for what? Finally its time to discuss the heresy of tariffs, yes I said tariffs. The US can never compete on any labor intensive job and not everyone can or should be a rocket scientist. We need a broad spectrum of jobs and we should charge for those countries that have no labor laws to protect children or the environment or we are merely asking to follow their path to an unlivable immoral lifestyle. Lets discuss the real problems and stop living in a debate bubble that the US’s problems should only be viewed in the light of domestic politics.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a Prosperous New Year to all!

Frank Blangeard

Dec. 24, 2012, 10:56 a.m.

Cut the huge defense budget by half. Eliminate the Dept. of Homeland Security. Forget about exploring Mars. There are many ways to save money. Leave Social Security alone. And yes, let the rich (incomes over $150,000 per year) pay more in taxes.

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