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June 16, 2017

Comments

Glad we're friends, GftNC. I mean that sincerely.

Also, I do go on, and actually enjoy some controversy, so don't hold back.

JanieM: yes of course, you're right. If it were easy, you'd have done it already. And I can't stop my children squabbling either.

I was just trying to say how it looks from outside.

Thanks, Pro Bono. I shouldn't have used you as my punching bag. Sometimes I don't even realize how bad a mood I'm in until I've already flown off the handle for no good reason.

Needless to say, I didn't last too many years in a UU church. ;-)

the institution that has the greatest power to damage people's lives.

Of all the institutions that have the ability to screw me over, I find government to be the one with which I have the greatest leverage.

Believe it or not.

I don't discount your points, they have merit. The government has a freaking army, and I don't. Advantage government.

But in general, most of my points of contact with the government - any government at any level - are generally positive.

All of that said, I'm a straight white married 60 year old male with a good white collar job, a tidy little suburban ranch house, and a little bit of money. Other folks MMV, and it does.

Every one of you should be looking at the healthcare systems of northwest Europe, picking one you like, and asking whichever politicians you get to vote for why you can't have the same.

My friend, if you only knew. Keep saying it until it sinks in!

Needless to say, I didn't last too many years in a UU church. ;-)

Haha!!

My wife and I attend a UU chuch in Salem. We don't do joys and concerns. Thankfully.

Nonetheless, there's still plenty of "we *must* do something about [fill in the blank]". It's definitely a thing.

I like it because there is no creed. I used up all of my creed tickets long, long ago, I have none left, so the place we go suits me OK.

Did I mention no joys and concerns?

The UU's are all stirred up these days because the head of the denomination wasn't hiring enough minorities. Even though he, himself, is Hispanic. And even though the leadership of the denomination is actually pretty diverse. The man had to stand down, it was such a hot button issue.

Note that, if you go into a UU church, anywhere, on any Sunday morning, you are likely to be greeted by a lot of white middle class faces.

The lack of self-awareness is, as it turns out, a general and widespread human condition.

In any case, I get to be a member of the Unitarian Jihad. Brother Neutron Bomb of Kindly Thoughts at your service.

That alone is worth it, to me.

:)

the ACA has failed in its goal

Someone recently reminded me how much folks in Kentucky love their Kynect. It occurs to me to wonder, how will they react when they realize that their senior Senator was the mastermind behind blowing it away. (But maybe McConnell was planning to retire anyway....)

Ha ha ha !!

Next up:

"Yes, Putin's personal banker bailed my sorry ass out. Why didn't Obama's SEC prevent that?!?"

Sad!

I gotta give the man credit, he has chutzpah for days.

how will they react when they realize that their senior Senator was the mastermind behind blowing it away.

If history is any predictor, they will vote him in.

Not enough 2x4's upside the head yet. Maybe they should be teaching Aeschylus in the schools, instead of talking about Jesus riding the dinosaurs.

It's a brain fever. I'm just waiting for it to run its course. I'm not sure it will.

You have to be careful not to cross really radical UU members. They might burn a question mark on your lawn...

The UU's are all stirred up these days because the head of the denomination wasn't hiring enough minorities. Even though he, himself, is Hispanic. And even though the leadership of the denomination is actually pretty diverse. The man had to stand down, it was such a hot button issue.

Note that, if you go into a UU church, anywhere, on any Sunday morning, you are likely to be greeted by a lot of white middle class faces.

The lack of self-awareness is, as it turns out, a general and widespread human condition.

Was the leadership more diverse than the congregations? I can easily imagine that.

Lack of self-awareness is possibly our most fatal flaw as a species. I firmly believe that about 98% of what we do is done for reasons built into our neurons, our cells, our DNA, that are not accessible to consciousness.

FSM help us, we just have to keep plugging away I guess.

You have to be careful not to cross really radical UU members. They might burn a question mark on your lawn...

I love this. Do you mind if I use this?

Was the leadership more diverse than the congregations?

Yes, notably so.

FSM help us, we just have to keep plugging away I guess.

May we all be touched by his noodly appendage.

I love this. Do you mind if I use this?

I don't mind. I think there are versions of it in the public domain. :)

“I know my humor is outrageous when it makes the Unitarians so mad they burn a question mark on my front lawn.” - Lenny Bruce
Unitarian Humour

Q: How do you drive a Unitarian Universalist out of town?
A: Burn a question mark on their front lawn.

Unitarian Universalist Jokes

Question Mark on the Lawn: Who Are We Really?

UU: Sounds rather like the Church of England. When a witness, misunderstanding the question in court "would you like to swear the oath or affirm?" was asked kindly by the judge (a friend of mine) "do you have a religion?“, he replied "oh no, I'm C of E!"

JanieM, I understand your frustration with the thrashing around some of us do around here when trying to make sense of appalling developments (Trump's victory, US health care debacle etc). I suppose it's that I can't see another alternative to either "oh no, woe is us" or "this is happening, maybe if we do a b or c we can avoid it happening in the future". Obviously a, b or c are not usually completely new, genius solutions, or even necessarily practicable, but talking around them seems preferable to me to dwelling only on the "woe is us" side of the story. This may just be a character difference of course, I acknowledge for example that I am by nature a problem-solver and control freak, a combination that is made intensely uncomfortable when contemplating a bad situation with no apparent way to make it better. Of course, there may be a better alternative than the two modes I have sketched out, but if so it's obviously escaped me, for one!

Yeah, Obama had evidence that Putin was interfering with the US election.

He *could* have ordered a drone-strike on the US end of the Russia-to-USA influence pipeline, but he didn't. even. try.

I sure hope that Trump deals more forcefully with stuff like that; he can start with the horrible leaks coming out of the White House, by ordering a drone strike on IP address 127.0.0.1.

That's where all the trouble is coming from.

while ignoring the institution that has the greatest power to damage people's lives

that's a really strange assessment of the govt, IMO. it has the ability to write laws that could damage all our lives, certainly. it also has the power, which it has exercised frequently, to make all our lives better.

it builds the roads that i'm going to later use to drive to the store where i'll buy food that has been made to govt-mandated safety standards, packaged with govt-mandated labels (so i know what's in it), then i'll drive back in my car that's full of govt-mandated safety features on the roads that are policed by govt actors in order to keep things as safe as can be expected from a bunch of monkeys in high-powered metal boxes.

if there's a problem with any of that, i'll take it up with the government.

can things go wrong? yes. show me something perfect and i'll show you something useless.

GftNC: I understand your frustration with the thrashing around some of us do around here...

This is why it's always better to write at least a novella when sounding off. (I mean me, not you.)

It isn't "people around here" that frustrate me for the most part, it's more the pontificating pundit class, or a certain breed of activist who is sure that if you just do it her way, all will be well. (I do that myself sometimes, or did when I was younger.)

I'm always saying this, but I will try to write more later; I'm off to Sunday brunch right now. I think I have a time frame problem: I get up ("late," because I'm a night person) and see interesting things to respond to, but I'm already up so much later than everyone else that there's usually work to tend to, and by the time the work is done...all I want to do is go outside or read a good book.

So ... *maybe* more later. It's a beautiful day here in New England, I hope everyone else is having a nice one too.

Local governments are the ones that have the most impact (for good or ill) on people's lives.

The 'Libertarian' alternative to a local government is a 'Homeowners Association' (HOA). But HOAs can easily be as tyrannical and unaccountable as the worst local government. (and yes, HOAs can call upon the organs of the state to apply force, deadly force, if they want; they just have to pick up the phone instead of shout out the door of City Hall).

Plus, no reason for HOA little tin dictators to care about how it will affect their future political career, forget about the usual constitutional protection of citizen rights, and all the democratic accountability of corporate boards of directors.

But HOAs can easily be as tyrannical and unaccountable as the worst local government.

But much easier to vote with your feet than with governments.

Double amputees and quadriplegics on Medicaid, on the other hand, are footless and fancy free.

Governments will now be running from them.

..., then i'll drive back in my car that's full of govt-mandated safety features...

Like overly aggressive airbags that can severely injure or kill people. But it's difficult to hold manufacturers responsible since they're just following government regulations.

CharlesWT, do you also resent having to stop at a STOP sign at night at a wide intersection when there's no other traffic in sight?

Apparently since, some years ago, I got several tickets for doing rolling stops at 2 in the morning. :}

But much easier to vote with your feet than with governments.

Selling a house and moving to a different place is not exactly what I would call easy.

But it's difficult to hold manufacturers responsible since they're just following government regulations.

Like it would be so much easier to hold manufacturers accountable without the collective power of government at your back.

Like overly aggressive airbags that can severely injure or kill people

are you being contrarian just for the sake of being contrarian ?

NHTSA estimates ... air bags saved 8,369 lives between 1987 and 2001.

vs

NHTSA recorded 238 deaths due to airbags between 1990 and 2002

But if airbags (and airbag regulations) cause any deaths, they are obviously a "bad thing" -- no matter how many lives they saved. For a true libertarian, any government regulations which are less than 100% perfect are unacceptable. And since perfection is in short supply in the real world....

and let's look at one of the least-regulated items in the US: guns!

1300 children are killed every year by guns.

And CAFE standards kill a lot more people than airbags save. Airbags only partially offset the increased danger of smaller, lighter vehicles. About 46,000 deaths from 1978 to 2003. That has probably improved since then with better designs and technology. But smaller, lighter vehicles are always going to be more dangerous than larger, heavier ones.

1300 children are killed every year by guns.

Eighty percent of which are teenagers shooting themselves and each other.

As we speak, the residents of La Paz County, Arizona are disabling their auto airbags, turn signals, mufflers, rear view mirrors, seat belts, and anti-lock braking systems and moving their gun-happy kids to Allen County, Ohio, amiright? Feets don't fail them now!

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/06/over-50-trumpcare-will-raise-your-premiums-4500/

"Eighty percent of which are teenagers shooting themselves and each other."

Are you supporting or countering the 1300-kid death toll here?

About 46,000 deaths from 1978 to 2003.

Should read: About 46,000 deaths from 1978 to 1999.

So it's ok for 238 people to die if it saves 8,369?

Are you supporting or countering the 1300-kid death toll here?

Much of the teenagers shooting each other is due to the war on drugs and gang violence. That would be a whole lot easier to fix than making all the guns magically disappear.

smaller, lighter vehicles are always going to be more dangerous than larger, heavier ones.

LOL.

that might be true if vehicles were just unstructured blobs of metal that we wedged ourselves into before being catapulted down the road. but they aren't.

wingnut myth: busted.

Eighty percent of which are teenagers shooting themselves and each other.

all of which are dead.

nearly unregulated tool for killing kills multiple children every day. those deaths could be prevented by a few regulations around the storage of guns in houses with children.

Like it would be so much easier to hold manufacturers accountable without the collective power of government at your back.

Exactly.

CAFE standards also SAVE lives in at least two ways: they reduce the need to go to war over oil, which was the original motivation; they also reduce CO2 emissions so that Earth stands a better chance to remain habitable for Libertarians as well as Republicans and Democrats.

Some number of injuries and deaths in auto accidents is surely due to one of the drivers being distracted by talking on a cellphone. (Leave texting out; texting while driving is too stupid to be worth arguing about.) What, if anything, would True Libertarians accept as a government-imposed limitation on their cellphone use while driving? Keep in mind that a restriction of your liberty to use your cellphone in your car is also a restriction on my liberty to endanger you by using my cellphone in my car. And vice versa.

--TP

I just deleted a long comment on US gun laws. It is purely incomprehensible from outside the US how this situation has been able to go on so long, even more incomprehensible than your healthcare situation, I think. And, discretion very occasionally being the better part of valour, that's all I'm going to say about it.

those deaths could be prevented by a few regulations around the storage of guns in houses with children.

Which would do little or nothing to lessen the deaths from gangland killings.

how this situation has been able to go on so long

Briefly, in the early 1970s the National Rifle Association changed from their historical position of supporting gun control to adamantly opposing any and every kind of limitation on the ownership of guns. And they built an impressive lobbying and electioneering organization to push their new view.

With lots of politicians living in fear of them, gun control efforts, especially at the national level, have failed.

Their propaganda efforts are so effective that there are huge numbers of people who are convinced that utter tyranny will result from any kind of gun control. The fact that the US Army could smash any group which doesn't have tanks and aircraft just doesn't seem to penetrate.

"So it's ok for 238 people to die if it saves 8,369?"

If the 238 are republicans, you betcha!

It's a proven fact that no one would have died in automobile and truck deaths over the past 110 plus years if the damn governments had minded their business not built all of those highways and byways to accommodate them.

We can do this all day.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/19/health/child-gun-violence-study/index.html

It would be easier to treat all American boys with female hormone therapy than it would be to take their guns away, too.

https://injury.research.chop.edu/violence-prevention-initiative/types-violence-involving-youth/gun-violence/gun-violence-facts-and#.WVAM21GQypo

I agree that the War On Drugs should be curtailed sharply, but I can't tell how that will affect mortality rates:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/drug-overdose-deaths-heroin-opioid-prescription-painkillers-more-than-guns/

Methinks there is some magical thinking involved in the expected sanguine consequences of disappearing the war on drugs.

If meth labs are legalized, may the FDA inspect them, or will that be another instance of the heavy hand of government? Can we depend on all of those high school science teachers quitting their jobs to provide quality control and truth in labeling or will thing be breaking bad?

I'm wondering too about this 80% gang and drug-related figure bandied about. It seems to be sourced from a CDC report (we'll leave aside conservative and libertarian claims that gummint can do nothing right, nor should it, but then quoting government studies to support their arguments), but the commentary following this Reddit post seems to refute the claim that the CDC report concludes any such thing:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Firearms/comments/23k9ju/80_of_gunrelated_deaths_nonsuicide_are_gang/

"those deaths could be prevented by a few regulations around the storage of guns in houses with children."

Charles: Which would do little or nothing to lessen the deaths from gangland killings

What a beautiful example of the view that partial solutions to a problem must be rejected, on the grounds that they are not 100% solutions.

wj: Briefly, in the early 1970s...

Adam Silverman at BJ has a much longer view. And more discouraging, IMO.

Methinks there is some magical thinking involved in the expected sanguine consequences of disappearing the war on drugs.

It might be worthwhile to look at the last time we revoked a Prohibition (on alcohol, that time). What controls were put in place? And what was the impact on gang violence?

No guarantee that this case would be identical. But it's the best example to inform any predictions.

Thanks wj, and at the risk of being a know-it-all, I knew that. My original, deleted comment said "The NRA is evil" (shows you where I'm coming from), so my remark about the incomprehensibility was much more meta.

Janie, I was only addressing the question of why we haven't changed. Not how we got our initial position.

The fact that the US Army could smash any group which doesn't have tanks and aircraft just doesn't seem to penetrate.

In asymmetrical warfare, the goal is not to win, but make it too expensive for the other side to win. Politicians and government officials might think twice about the wisdom of a war on citizens if, every time they stuck their head out, it got shot off. After all, there are hundreds of thousands, a few million sniper rifles in private hands.

And a great many of the military would likely defect if ordered to fire on their fellow citizens. And take their weapons with them.

I don't want to trouble the parents of the Sandy Hook kids more than they already have been by right wing murderous scum who are close to the President of the United States and the majority in Congress, but maybe we should exhume those children's remains and determine what drugs they were on.

JanieM that was a very illuminating post by Adam Silverman, thank you.

"Politicians and government officials might think twice about the wisdom of a war on citizens if, every time they stuck their head out, it got shot off. After all, there are hundreds of thousands, a few million sniper rifles in private hands."

The conservative and libertarian murderers who are about to remove medical insurance from tens of millions of armed Americans, thus declaring war on them, would do well to heed your advice.

In fact we could go up and down the list of issues that 500 highly trained assassins under my direction (not that government which can't do anything right could ever figure that out) could settle one shot-off head at a time.

Besides, I doubt Steve Scalise is thinking twice about his agenda, which again, is why head shots are the better approach.

I prefer poisoning, liberal demon that I am, but time is running out.

You are talking to a guy (and his wife) whose office building was cased by Timothy McVeigh and Newt Gingrich, and whose good friend's husband was murdered in the Oklahoma City Bombing, so I can handle whatever fucking pigshit firepower you wanna come after me with.

how many people are saved by guns every year? show your work.

Which would do little or nothing to lessen the deaths from gangland killings.

lookit them goalposts run!

my 4:39 was for Marty

But smaller, lighter vehicles are always going to be more dangerous than larger, heavier ones

Really? It seems to me that it's much more dangerous to be driven into by the large, heavy ones.

Really? It seems to me that it's much more dangerous to be driven into by the large, heavy ones.

Even if you eliminated the heavy vehicles, roadside objects, motorcycles, etc. don't get any smaller.

Even if you eliminated the heavy vehicles, roadside objects, motorcycles, etc. don't get any smaller.

no matter how large and heavy the vehicle is, people will still find ways to die in it. by your logic of "if ain't perfect it's wrong", that vehicle will be deadly.

and that would be a concern, if you were really arguing about saving lives, and not about the evil of regulation in general.

Guns?

For anyone who is interested, this was in today's Observer, with three pieces on the current situation in the Democratic party. Main piece by Heather Cox Richardson on the background, then a piece by Jean Hannah Edelstein subtitled (at least in the paper) View from the Left, then another piece by Michael Cohen subtitled (ditto) View from the Centre.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/25/civil-war-raging-inside-democratic-party

Regarding Democrats: there was recently a primary in Virginia. Little policy difference between the two candidates, although many hailed Perriello (a latecomer to the race, and for that reason seen as somewhat of an insurgent candidate) as the "Bernie" versus Northam's "establishment". (These labels were not actually true, but Perriello did get Bernie's endorsement. But also John Podesta's. So, not sure what it meant for the "Civil War".) The candidates immediately did a unity tour after the election that Northam won.

In any case, I am highly suspicious of people trying to magnify the divisions within the Democratic party. I voted for Perriello, but am thrilled to work for Northam (clearly a very compassionate person) againstRepublican thug, and gerrymandering king, Ed Gillespie. I'm pretty sure that most Perriello supporters feel similarly. Everyone I talked to about it just wanted a candidate who could win.

I think people are trying to stoke unnecessary drama with this Civil War crap. Of course, like Putin's trolls, it will probably serve to divide because everybody likes to take a side.


http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/06/trumpcare-will-bring-chaos-to-health-care-market/

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/06/finally-poor-will-freedom-die

"Politicians and government officials might think twice about the wisdom of a war on citizens if, every time they stuck their head out, it got shot off."

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/24/government-u-turn-over-fire-safety-controls-for-new-schools

Head shots that should happened a long fucking time ago:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/6/25/1675181/-Open-thread-for-night-owls-Rick-Perry-humiliates-himself-yet-again

I remember European studies that normal cars are safer than heavy ones and heavy ones safer than light ones (given European standards of heavy, normal and light which might differ from US ones). One aspect that should not be forgotten is that people feel safer in heavy cars leading them to more reckless driving.
In Germany it was once proverbial that Mercedes cars (Daimler-Benz) had a built-in right of way (because they could crush other cars*, and the owners were arrogant bas+ards).

*crash tests also showed that the way they were built led to them disemboweling the opposition in case of a crash ("aggressive" crumple zone)

Even if you eliminated the heavy vehicles, roadside objects, motorcycles, etc. don't get any smaller.

http://blog.motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/smallest-e-bike2.jpg

http://incredibleweird.com/wp-content/uploads/10406985_10152346193239032_484900957256063353_n.jpg

..., and the owners were arrogant bas+ards

Or, the difference between a porcupine and a Mercedes is that the pricks are on the inside...

Pro Bono, I am curious if you can envision the Northwest European countries getting together with Southern Europe, Etc. And implementing a common health insurance plan covering all Europeans in the same way, equally sharing costs?

Not so much a challenge as a thought that keeps coming to me as people continue to suggest the US treat 340M people, in economic and cultural circumstances as diverse as Europe, all the same.

Changing the subject for the moment, for all you Monty Python fans/Brexit worriers, compiled by somebody in Australian TV:

https://twitter.com/InsidersABC/status/878766306261999616/video/1

I am curious if you can envision the Northwest European countries getting together with Southern Europe, Etc. And implementing a common health insurance plan covering all Europeans in the same way, equally sharing costs?

FWIW, "southern Europe" includes Spain and Italy, which have the 7th and 2nd best public health systems in the world. Just saying.

As far as your basic point, my vote is to send it back to the states. Any place I care to live will have a good to very good system in place. Much of the rest of the country will have crap.

Freedom-loving, small-government, liberty-producing crap. Their people will suffer.

And when and if they get sick of suffering, they'll do something about it. Or not. Not my problem, really.

I am freaking sick and tired of arguing with people to try to persuade them that something like access to health care is something they should be interested in.

Let the states do it, and let the outcome be on their heads. The whole debate has long since passed the "teaching a pig to sing" benchmark.

Politicians and government officials might think twice about the wisdom of a war on citizens if, every time they stuck their head out, it got shot off.

It's hard for me to say exactly how pernicious, irresponsible, and plain old wooden-headed wrong this very common line of argument is.

First, I think we all agree that the legitimacy of government rests on the consent of the governed. So, yes, at the limit, it is legitimate for people to resist a tyrannical state, even by force if that is what is required.

By an enormous margin, the folks who usually spout off with this tripe are not suffering under a tyrannical regime. There are demographics within the US that could, IMO, make that claim. All of the assholes running around with a Gadsden flag on their bumper sticker are not those people.

The context of the 2nd Amendment is near-universal citizen participation in a militia. Not a militia that they made up with a bunch of their buddies to go play army on the weekend, and not some nebulous bullshit Dick-law-era "unorganized militia". A militia, under the direction of civil government, and subject to civil authority, made up of people who got their asses out of bed on a regular basis and trained.

The 2nd A was passed because the states weren't completely sure how this whole federal government thing was going to go, and they did not want the feds to have a monopoly on military force. They wanted to retain their own, state and municipal level militias.

Thus, the 2nd A.

The American attitude toward armed insurrection in the first generation of the nation can be demonstrated by the responses to the Whiskey and Shays rebellions. Both of which were expressions of quite legitimate grievance. Both were put down, firmly, by military force. In fact, by militias, under the direction of civil authority.

The outlier regarding those rebellions was Jefferson. He thought they were freaking great. Shays prompted him to pen his famous "watering the tree of liberty" quote. He wrote that from France, where he was hanging around with actual tyrants, eating their food and having his slave taught how to prepare it so he could continue to enjoy a nice coq au vin when he returned to VA, drinking their wine of which he was quite fond, and having fun with the ladies when he wasn't expanding his personal stock of slaves by screwing his teen-age slave mistress.

Liberty!

On this topic Jefferson can generally kiss my ass, as can all of the folks who like to trot out the famous quote and wave their guns around every time they don't get their way.

The underlying cause of the American revolution was that the folks living in North America were subject to the king - and were generally very happy to be so - but were also subject to laws passed by Parliament, at which they had no representation.

If you have no representation in the federal government, you may be able to make a similar case. If you think you have no representation, send me your zip code and I will disabuse you of that notion by sending you the contact information for your House rep and Senators.

In short, the whole "we'll take up arms!" stuff is arrant bullshit, and irresponsible as well, because it only encourages unstable nutjobs to go off the reservation and kill people.

Enough of that bullshit already, please.

Also, if we want to "send health care back to the states", as a citizen of MA I reserve the right to prevent folks in other states from trying to sell shitty, half-assed, catastrophes-only policies in my state.

In for a penny, in for a pound. If the feds don't get to tell you what to do, they don't get to tell me what to do.

Sell that trash in your own world if you like, keep it out of mine.

The 2nd A was passed because the states weren't completely sure how this whole federal government thing was going to go, and they did not want the feds to have a monopoly on military force. They wanted to retain their own, state and municipal level militias.

In short, the National Guard.

Me: Politicians and government officials might think twice about the wisdom of a war on citizens if, every time they stuck their head out, it got shot off.

russell: It's hard for me to say exactly how pernicious, irresponsible, and plain old wooden-headed wrong this very common line of argument is.

I was responding to:

wj: The fact that the US Army could smash any group which doesn't have tanks and aircraft just doesn't seem to penetrate.

to indicate a possible response to the federal government making war on citizens. Of course, no arbitrary group is going to prevail against the government. But if the government tried to use force against a significant portion of the population, it could get very expensive for both sides.

But if the government tried to use force against a significant portion of the population, it could get very expensive for both sides.

Especially the losing side. See Syria.

to indicate a possible response to the federal government making war on citizens.

Fair enough.

Frankly, if folks are really concerned about that, they might think about focusing on strengthening Posse Comitatus, rather than getting their Braveheart freak on.

What I observe is that the most, and most positive, change in this country has been brought about by non-violent means.

Not least because, to sapient's point, it's quite rare for violent insurrection to do much beyond make a mess.

Marty, I don't have an opinion on whether the USA should organize healthcare at state or federal level. But your comparison with Europe won't wash. The USA is a fiscal union, with the effect that the range of per capita GDP is much narrower than in Europe. Because the wealthy, usually Democrat-voting states subsidise the poor, usually Republican-voting states.

Unlike countries in places like the middle east, the ratio of young/old people is too low in western countries for violent insurrection or revolution.

For years, the powers-that-be in Iran promoted an increased birthrate. Now they're sitting on a very young population powder keg.

"The USA is a fiscal union, with the effect that the range of per capita GDP is much narrower than in Europe. "

I might be missing something here. Do you mean for example between California(58,619) and Alabama(37,261)? As compared to Greece(34,832) versus Germany(46,352)?

I just want to understand that that is what you meant.

..., they might think about focusing on strengthening Posse Comitatus, ...

One might argue that an end run has been made on Posse Comitatus with all of the military equipment that's been dumped on local law enforcement.

Per capita PPP GDP in the EU (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_in_Europe_by_GNI_(nominal)_per_capita ) ranges from
Ireland: $54,654
Germany: $47,268
Denmark: $46,635
not just to
Greece: $26,680
but to
Serbia: $13,482
Albania: $11,305
Bosnia and
Herzegovina: $10,510

So rather a larger range than Marty suggests.

Marty, yes that's what I mean, except that your numbers are fantastic. Greece is much poorer than that.

Yes wj, but really no one has ever told me we should adopt Bosnias health care system. In fact, what was stated was that we should look to Northwest Europe. The furthest North is Sweden which is about 10M people and probably not a good indication of what could be expected to be accomplished here.

I picked Germany and Greece because they are bookends to a kind of fair comparison to the US by GDP and size.

The question is if you took that band of countries and tried to normalize health care laws across them would it look much different than here.

Even with the fundamental assumption that everyone gets covered every one of those countries ended up with a different mix of government controlled health care(private doctors, public doctors, government controlled hospitals, different ways to allocate finite resources, single or single third party payer, caps on charges, caps on doctors incomes, prescription drugs in some cases not even included.

Yet, we struggle to address all of those things in a single way across states with equally diverse cultures and GDP's so we look stupid? or whatever the word was.

Even the 35M people in Canada set a minimum and left the rest to the provinces.

My numbers are from Wikipedia from 2015, whatever column I picked. One column had them at 17K I could find a US estimate that makes Mississippi pretty close to that. I don't think Greeces 17 versus 25 for Mississippi changes my point a lot when Mass and NY are fighting it out at 75k

What is different about providing health insurance in MS as opposed to MA?

Or FL as opposed to CA?

Or anyplace in the US as opposed to any other place in the US?

I understand differences in the specifics of the kinds of care needed, how to provide it most efficiently, etc. But nobody is proposing a universal program for providers.

There's a basket of coverage, and a requirement that insurance providers cover that stuff, and that pre-existing conditions not be the basis of exclusion.

What's different in one place or the other?

You picked the CIA 2010 column. They must have made that guesstimate just before the Greek economy went into freefall.

Anyway, some sort of federal healthcare in Europe isn't going to happen, because there's no federal government.

But, and this is the important point, every country in Europe not poorer than Mississippi has a universal healthcare system where what you pay is largely unrelated to your expected healthcare costs. That's what you need in the USA, whether it's organised at the state or federal level.

To be clear: the US needs National Health Insurance, or, if it prefers, State Health Insurance.

Insurance: Risk-transfer mechanism that ensures full or partial financial compensation for the loss or damage caused by the event(s) beyond the control of the insured party. Under an insurance contract, a party (the insurer) indemnifies the other party (the insured) against a specified amount of loss, occurring from specified eventualities within a specified period, provided a fee called premium is paid.

Seems like the various approaches to paying for healthcare being bandied about in the US and in use in the US and some countries is labeled insurance because it's familiar and convenient. Not that that is what it is.

The USA is a fiscal union...

I offer that this is the central point, not a comparison of GDP differentials as between states. The US has a unified central government fiscal system. The European Union does not. Thus you do not see poor states, hat in hand going broke and begging private banks for loans to "sustain their spending" a la Greece.

In other words, the concept of say, Alabama, having more imports than exports is meaningless in the US context.

Even the 35M people in Canada set a minimum and left the rest to the provinces.

Yes. The federal government sets standards that the provinces must meet. They also have this thing called "price controls" (prescription drugs, for example) for some components.

You can read all about it at the link.

Block grants do an end run around this by essentially saying, "Here's you money! It will shrink every year going forward! Do with it what you want! You're on your own! Best of luck!"

That is not a health care policy. That is a deliberate policy to shrink and eventually kill an effective public program.

Scary facts about spending...

Some folks insist that defense spending increase at 4% a year, in other words, grow faster than the economy. So if you do the math, eventually defense spending would encompass the whole economy.

But these assholes never call that a "crisis".

Interesting, no?

Republicans want to spend tax money on defense, but not social programs.

Democrats want to spend tax money on social programs, but not defense.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean

U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined. Is that the result of Democrats not wanting to spend money on it?

Democrats want to spend tax money on social programs, but not defense.

The military budget increased in 2010 and 2011 -- budgets enacted while the Democrats had a majority in Congress. It decreased every year since.

Part of that was due to the draw-down of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. But most was due to sequestration -- that is, because the Republicans in Congress couldn't get their act together to pass a budget.

For those opposed to military spending, the Republican Party looks to be home; and the Democrats for those who want it increased. Not exactly what their reputations would suggest (as witness Charles comment gives them).

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