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June 16, 2017

Comments

Yup, I agree with all of this, so as usual WRS.

WRS,
except I want to be clear that I want more people able to afford as much as a millionaire can afford today. Not just a bout of inflation that makes more people's wealth increase to make them millionaires. (I remember, too well, the inflation after the Arab Oil Embargo. We all got ten times wealthier on paper in the aftermath. But not in reality.)

WRS as usual.

Just writing "negative net worth" turns my stomach. It's too close to

If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

By the same token, the laws against theft are a form of market intervention.

If you say so...I would then only ask that you refrain from using the term "free markets" and dispense with the normative baggage ascribed thereto.

Thanks!

Without patent law, Bill Gates would just be another schlub who likes to write software

Microsoft got big back when Gates was against software patents - its software was protected by copyright not patents.

Software patents should not exist. They bring no benefit whatever to humanity.

At one time, there was some point in software copyright. But not now.

except I want to be clear that I want more people able to afford as much as a millionaire can afford today.

Yes, this.

It should be uncommon, or at least much less common, for people to be unable to meet the basic needs of daily life through their own work and initiative.

Everybody doesn't need a Rolls Royce. Everybody, or at least most people by far, should be able to buy a set of tires, or replace their washing machine, without breaking the bank.

People should be able to send their kids to school without having it cost as much as a house.

People should be able to deal with unexpected health issues without having it result in personal bankruptcy.

I'm not making outrageous demands here.

I consider Trump to be, basically, a world-historical scoundrel, but I understand his appeal. A lot of people are getting freaking crushed, and they don't really see anybody going out of their way to help them.

IMO you have to be willfully blind to think DJT is the guy to make any kind of dent in that, but I guess people see what they want to see. He's a walking talking human train wreck, but credit where credit is due. The man can read a room.

There are a lot of folks out there who feel like their backs are up against a wall. It's not a good place for us to be.

At one time, there was some point in software copyright. But not now.

that seems... wrong.

i've written and sold a lot of software in my life. and copyright is the only legal mechanism out there that stops other people from taking my stuff and selling it themselves.

copyright is the only legal mechanism out there that stops other people from taking my stuff and selling it themselves.

For software, read also music, books, anything easily reproducible.

Copyright is not just about protecting The Man. It's also makes a creative craft industry possible.

Among other things, it's a way of demonstrating respect for other people's work and initiative.

I would differentiate between poverty a financial distress. I have been poor and I have been in financial distress separately in my life. If I were to choose to focus on fixing one it would be the latter.

Yes, having fewer, or even no, people in poverty would alleviate much of the problem, but not nearly all.

I pit this out there with little more depth because I am in my car on my phone. But it seems there may always be poor people and we could still focus on a safety net that better addresses immediate financial distress.

Not a distinction I have thought about until russell wrote that sentence.

The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

all i hear are crickets, to my right.

all i hear are crickets, to my right.

Lots of crickets all over the place. Thank God for LGM.

If it's necessary to repeatedly register outrage and disgust at the actions of Russia, and re-emphasise how this heavily leant on the scales in the Trump's favour, I for one am prepared to do it. Ditto disgust at the nonchalance of the Republicans (or indeed the American public) about same. But I must say, I would have thought that the repeated need to do so will get very onerous and boring. However, so be it. Going forward (as current jargon has it), I worry as much about a Pence presidency as I do about a Trump one, although in different ways.

Going forward (as current jargon has it), I worry as much about a Pence presidency as I do about a Trump one, although in different ways.

Going forward, I worry that we will never have a free and fair election again. Unless we solve this, and can vote, all of our conversations about a social safety net, our views on copyright, or any other issue that is subject to democratic debate is moot.

I know, we should not assume doom, and I don't. I plan to work hard for candidates , and to get out the vote. But we have a collaborator in the White House, who has no interest in stopping what happened, and what will certainly continue with more skill and intelligence. Solving this is our most important concern until we do, boring or not.

First, in a country of ~330M people, 540 of anything is noise.

So, there's a lot of people who're just complaining about the noise. :)

About 20% of the population participates in some means-tested federal program or other. Medicaid, SNAP, housing assistance. One in five people. That's excluding Medicare and Social Security.

No doubt a good percentage of them due to family members being in prison, being unemployable due to criminal convictions or being dead. All because the larger society has decided that it's just fine to destroy people's lives just because some of them wanted to ingest certain plant products. In some communities, the populations are 40/60 male/female because the men are in prison or dead. An ending of the war on [some] drugs would greatly reduce the gun violence everyone complains about and reduce poverty.

The various state-level occupation licensing laws don't help either. How is a poor person expected to spend thousands of dollars and thousand of hours in unrelated training just to do something as innocuous as hair weaving?

There is no excuse for the degree of poverty and financial distress that is normal here.

True. But it's hard to where the evil corporations and the evil rich are all to blame.

Going forward (as current jargon has it), I worry as much about a Pence presidency as I do about a Trump one, although in different ways.

I think that Pence will do a lot of things that I will dislike. Including a lot that Trump would fail to do due to his incompetence, not because he wouldn't be willing to do them.

On the other hand, Pence would also refrain from doing some of the utterly stupid things that Trump will blunder into. (See Syria.)

On balance, Pence would be significantly . . . less bad. Not a ringing endorsement, but that's the situation we are in.

I don't know about Pence being less bad. I have no confidence in that theory. I want to feel confident that whoever is in the White House is protecting US security interests (and democracy). I suspect that a lot of Republicans were just as complicit as Trump and his appointees (see traitor McConnell), and that there are a lot of people who could be compromised. This is an ongoing crisis superseding any discussion of Democrats' "messaging".

"all i hear are crickets, to my right"

Funny, it seems that there are multiple investigations being led by folks on th Right into Putin's actions. The Senate passed additional sanctions 98-2. The House will pass them soon enough. All of that supported by a huge majority of Americans.

Beyond that, if they have Putin doing that, I am certain they can sort out who he talked to about what. Then act accordingly. Outrage is unnecessary, it's being addressed.

Crickets that aint.

I think, but do not know, that Pence would basically bring a higher degree of respect for the office itself.

Among other things, I would not expect him to exploit the office for his obvious, venal, immediate personal enrichment. At a minimum, my guess is that he would put off cashing in until he was out of office and could make his pile as a lobbyist or on the lecture circuit.

Quibbles, no doubt, but there are some really pernicious precedents being set by Trump that would IMO be well worth nipping in the bud.

With W we got torture, the doctrine of pre-emptive warfare, and the mysterious fourth branch. With Trump we get POTUS as brand enhancement.

I'm not sure what's left - naked mud wrestling on the WH lawn? chucking suspicious Arabs out of helicopters a la Pinochet? branding opportunities on the Big Beautiful Wall? - but it would be good to see the trend go in the other direction.

"...where the evil corporations and the evil rich are all to blame."

There's plenty of blame to go around. It's not as if it's a finite resource.

Marty, remind me exactly when in the past that the GOP has been so calm and sanguine about Russian interference in the USA? Because it's just escaping me.

Various over-the-top "red scares", "commie spies", etc., seem to be more likely. Or was that all just hyped up theater for political gain?

Funny, it seems that there are multiple investigations being led by folks on th Right into Putin's actions.

there are substantially more folks on the right who think it's "fake news".

and there are many on the right who seem primarily interested in stopping people from talking about it.

that's funny, too.

The Senate passed additional sanctions 98-2.

they did. and that was, frankly, amazing. i keep waiting for McConnell to show us what that was really all about. maybe that's why the House is sitting on it. funny, in a different way.

Snarki,

I am not sure how multiple investigations in both chambers of Congress and a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department, all chaired or appointed by Republican led committees and Secretaries translates into sanguine. That is what escapes me.

IMO, "sanguine" = "Outrage is unnecessary, it's being addressed."

"it's being addressed" seems like a pretty tepid response to what is likely the biggest national security crisis this country has seen in at least the last half century.

It would be if there weren't a bunch of people, including professionals in national security, as witnessed by the leak that somehow the CIA recorded Putin giving orders to hurt Hilary and thus help Trump.(not sure how that isn't a problematic disclosure).

I suppose there may be more on the outrage meter if there was any reasonable person who didn't already assume that was true so the recording is just corroboration of the facts.

I'm sure somewhere in that first sentence I meant to say "working on it".

not sure how that isn't a problematic disclosure

It's a problematic reality, the disclosure is just the icing on the cake.

The Senate bill and pre-existing conditions.

The GOP is shameless.

It strikes me that the (R) concept of access to health insurance is basically a self-insurance model, with some kind of catastrophic private market plan as a stop-loss backup.

Some kind of co-pay for regular doctor visits, health care savings plans for four-to-five figure costs, then a catastrophic plan as a stop-loss.

That, I think they figure, will get the job done, will get people to think twice about spending money on stuff they don't need because it's coming out of their own pocket, and will keep people from totally going over the cliff if they have bad luck.

It's not the worst plan in the world. The only problem with it is the number of people that don't have any freaking money to put in their HSA.

If you're making $50K and have a couple of kids, where the hell are you going to find $500 a month (or more) to throw into an HSA? On top of whatever your piece of the premium for the catastrophic stuff is? Which, if you work for yourself, is all of it, and even if you don't work for yourself might be all of it.

My own co-pay for regular office visits is now $50. My wife's PCP is not one of the "preferred" guys, so hers is $75.

She sees her doc every time she goes in, BTW. I haven't seen my nominal PCP in about 10 years. When I go in I see a nurse practicioner. They're cheaper. That's why my guy is "preferred".

In any case, we can make that work, although it kind of sucks. But we don't make $50K, and we don't have kids at home who need to go to the doc every month or two for some damned thing or other.

I pick $50K because that's about the median household income in this country. Which means half the households have less than that, quite a few much less.

Feel the squeeze, America.

not sure how that isn't a problematic disclosure

the public needs to know about this stuff. they should have known about it (and especially the stuff that Reality Winner disclosed) before the election. now, states know they need to step up their security around elections. because, IIRC, the IC still hasn't actually notified the states that were among those that were hacked.

but given that it all points in the direction of helping Trump, and that Trump is a petulant child who would never let this kind of thing out because it diminishes his awesomeness, if we didn't get this stuff from leaks, we would likely never get it at all.

i hope they leak everything about this. if it embarrasses our national embarrassment, tough shit. Trump is screaming his head off about this stuff, as he should; but sadly he's screaming about it defensively and personally when he should be screaming about it as a goddamned patriot.

The only solid reason not to leak is if doing so would jeopardize the source inside Russia. Especially if we can get further intelligence from that source in the future, provided we don't blow his cover.

Granted, you might be able to leak so as not to make the source identifiable. Which would change the calculation.

Gowdy's working hard on this, I see.

Solving this is our most important concern until we do, boring or not.

Do I really need to point out that it is the requirement to constantly repeat how outraged we are about all this (to prove our bona fides) that is boring, not the need to solve the actual problem of the compromised election/s, which we all (as far as I can see) agree is a major, urgent priority?

Surely not.

Do I really need to point out that it is the requirement to constantly repeat how outraged we are about all this

I never asked you to do that. I'm suggesting that before Democrats are asked to "change their message," we should find out what actually happened to their message in 2016. I think there may be a lot of reasons why their message wasn't heard, and why, if it was, it didn't result in an electoral victory. Moreover, it might be more important to make sure it doesn't keep happening than for Democrats to morph their message into something that itself may be tampered with.

That's all. I'm certainly not insisting that you or anyone else repeat their outrage. Hope I've clarified this.

Thank you sapient.

"The only solid reason not to leak is if doing so would jeopardize the source inside Russia. "

My only point. this was pretty specific for them not to figure out how it was obtained.

I think in the article it says that they have withheld certain details at the request of the Intelligence services. Presumably, throwing smoke up about any details that could identify a source is part of that.

will get people to think twice about spending money on stuff they don't need because it's coming out of their own pocket

Which is a counterproductive way to reduce costs in aggregate in the longer term, since preventive and primary care (define "need") are cheap compared to dealing with problems that have become debilitating or life-threatening. The government is supposed to have the luxury of looking at the big picture and the long view when crafting policy, but the current bunch appears to be narrowminded and short-sighted. Visionaries, they ain't.

People who don't have a background in medicine are not in a position to be "informed consumers" of health care.

It's a fairly specialized technical field. That's one of the reasons it takes freaking years to become a doctor.

If I have weird inexplicable chronic headaches (which, at the moment, I actually do) I'm not in a position to know if I just need to get glasses, or if I have a rare arterial inflammation, or if I have atypical migraine, or if I have a brain tumor.

I have insurance, and even with a $75 co-pay for specialists, it's in reach for me to find out what's going on.

If I didn't have insurance, I'd probably just eat a lot of ibuprophen and hope for the best.

More times than not, that would work out OK. Conversely, I might stroke out and die.

Would I feel lucky enough to pass on the tests to find out? Or would I dig down and come up with the dough to check it out?

Would that even be a choice? Would the relevant docs even see me without insurance, or at least cash up front?

The whole health care thing is just so mind-bogglingly, needlessly stupid that I almost have to look at it as some kind of bitter comedy.

We live in a country where lots of people consider it an infringement on their personal god-given liberty to have the federal government involved in making health care available to them.

They'd rather get sick and die than submit to that heavy, heavy yoke.

Maybe there's a sane response to that, but if so, it's above my pay grade.

This bullshit is going to kill people. Lots of them. Unnecessarily.

It's a freaking sin.

I'm sorry to hear that you're suffering, russell, and hope very much that it's nothing to worry about, and stops hurting.

also, wrs.

i'll be fine. because i have insurance, and a job that pays more than minimum wage.

but thanks for the good wishes.

i'll be fine. because i have insurance, and a job that pays more than minimum wage.

Good, but go to the dr. You're immortal, of course, but could still be messed with.

The Onion: Humorously relevant.

"we don't want the responsibility of having to pay attention."

bobbyp: Now there's a grand theme with many possible riffs - marx's concept of alienation for one (cue mcmanus).

Rather than breaching the thickets of critical theory, I think more useful right now are Guy Debord and Sheldon Wolin, The Spectacle and "inverted totalitarianism"

We are watching ourselves (watching ourselves) doing "politics" as public discourse. We watch pundits discuss how WWCs will react to Trump cutting Medicaid, and watch each other comment on each other's comments. This is the spectacle, the show. We are the show, we make the Show. To a large degree in discourse politicians follow the Show.

The totalitarianism is inverted because the people are "free" to say and do almost anything (with consequences, but no prior restraint) but without any influence on policy or systemic reform.

As the few survivors retreat from the rising waters into the domes, we will get bored with politics and embrace Huxley's future of sex, soma, and feelies.

Or, saying much the same thing as my 6:13 above, and the most recent paragraph by Kavoulakas ("Lukacs Theory of Reification..." in the Palgrave Handbook of Critical Theory 2017

The paradox of the modern form of understanding is that, although it releases the potential of dialogical evaluation of differentiated validity claims already raised in everyday communication, thus triggering a communicative rationalization of the lifeworld, at the same time it allows the separation of instrumental practices and the formation of particular fields of functional coordination of social action through steering media (money and power). It is precisely the excessive development of these latter fields of systemic integration due to their inner dynamics that causes a structural restriction of free communication and the so-called “colonization” of the lifeworld by the system (Habermas 1992: 195-197).

Just having some early morning fun with y'all.

Thanks bob mcmanus, I found your 06.13 troublingly easy to understand. Feeling much less unsettled now normal service is resumed!

russell, what sapient said. Don't forget that it's a prerequisite for ROTU that nominees don't want to do it, and don't consider themselves capable of doing it. There is no other possible candidate.

"dialogical evaluation of differentiated validity claims"

I fell asleep during that part of the feelie.

Atypical migraines are fiercely debilitating. Between pain and exhaustion from the pain, and the frustration of the cyclical nature of almost relief from otc pain meds followed by the inevitable bounce back dagger to the brain, they cruelly exist with you constantly, and forever, without diagnosis and treatment.

My greatest sympathy and prayers for a quick resolution.

"I fell asleep during that part of the feelie."

I was wondering if there was, from a national identity perspective, any possibility of a meaningful dialogic process even possible.

Then I nodded off.

sapient, FWIW, after your objections and points re Pelosi, I have been reading e.g. hilzoy's feed on this as well, and (although still rather ignorant on the ins and outs of the actual procedural stuff etc) realise that blaming the Dem leadership in the way that I somewhat lazily went along with is a mistake.

https://twitter.com/speechboy71/status/877943248773197824

Apologies.

"Then I nodded off."

You're not alone.

GftNC,

Beyond the politics of sex and age, Pelosi represents a version of the Democratic party built on the politics of demonizing Republicans. Demonizing their economic and social policies as evil, hateful and failed.

That is what the Democrats struggle with today, can you be a party that is primarily a reaction and maintain a big tent in local and state races on a broad scale.

One of the bigger challenges, that Ossof clearly recognized, is that it is hard to paint yhe individual in a local race as hateful and evil. It works better in national elections, but in smaller races people meet the candidate and know they aren't actually evil. So those politics fail.

Pelosi is also a product of the same generation of lawmakers as Boehner was, people who competed but in the end struck deals. Much of the criticism on the left is because she recognizes that to govern you have to eventually give to get. The only surprise is how much longer she has lasted in this environment than Boehner as the House has become more polarized and she has her own group of no compromise members.

As the titular head of a party with a failing political strategy and a hard line to her left it would be surprising if she wasn't a casualty.

a party that's primarily reaction sure did rack up a lot of accomplishments, accomplishments that the non-at-all Reactionary Party Of Civil Ideas is working like crazy to tear down as quickly as it can.

i mean, what could possibly be a more positive vision for America than "Repeal and Replace" ?

all the president's lies.

the Democratic party built on the politics of demonizing Republicans. Demonizing their economic and social policies as evil, hateful and failed.

Marty, I strongly suspect that some of the problem is that if you reverse the party names in the phrase above, it would accurately reflect the situation as well. Given that most partisans would fight to the death rather than recognise the truth of this, it is difficult to see the solution. And truthfully, given for example the latest version of the AHCA, it is not hard to see why the Dems find it very easy and persuasive to characterise the Republicans this way. Of course, you might say that I'm a liberal so I would think this way. And on and on it goes.....

The creed of the modern GOP is: tax cuts for the rich are the best thing government can do for the not-rich. Well, that's the professed creed; the real creed is the tax-cuts-for-the-rich part, and any alleged benefit to the not-rich is just the sales pitch.

When the modern GOP caterwauls about the "national debt", it's always with the implication that spending (on Medicaid, not the Pentagon) is too high, never with an acknowledgement that taxes are too low. Any talk of taxes being too low might arouse impure thoughts like "let's NOT cut taxes on the rich" among the populace.

I put "national debt" in quotes because I mean to distinguish The Government from The Nation. A nation whose people who are all in debt but whose government is debt-free can't really be said to have zero "national" debt.

The GOP's line that cutting Medicaid in order to give tax cuts to the rich is really being done out of compassion for "American taxpayers" may fool some slow-witted not-rich taxpayers, but it doesn't fool me, and it certainly doesn't fool the rich who value their tax cuts more than life itself.

--TP

this is what Bellmore used to call "doing violence to the language".

saying that liberals are reactionary is cute rhetorical trolling. but it loses its charm once you consider that the definition of the word "reactionary" is:

(of a person or a set of views) opposing political or social liberalization or reform.

the Democratic party built on the politics of demonizing Republicans. Demonizing their economic and social policies as evil, hateful and failed.

and this is adorable!

it's like you really believe everybody else comes along with you into your world of make believe.

a "death panel" is a sober and level-headed assessment of the ACA, right?

calling Obama a "tyrant"? why that's just simply lining up the facts with the plain meanings of words. there's no hyperbolic partisan bullshit there! not a whit.

and saying a law that bans employers and landlords from discriminating on the basis women's reproductive choices is an attempt to turn a city into "an abortion sanctuary city" ? why that's just a clear reading of the facts!

Donald Trump, the elected leader of modern conservatism, spends his days sitting on the toilet screaming into his smart phone about witch hunts and the "failures" of his enemies and how sad and pathetic everyone is. why, that's just common sense!

come on Marty, pull the one!

pull the ^other^ one!

'this is what Bellmore used to call "doing violence to the language".'

Bellmore spoke English.

You have to translate Marty's statements back into the native Russian to get the true meaning of the violence that is coming.

hey Marty, explain how "Obama is a Muslim terrorist" wasn't demonizing.

I love this thread, I did not say one thing about the pros or cons of the current GOP. In fact, I alluded to their failures in my comparison of Pelosis challenges with Boehners.

It is completely illustrative that people here believe the 30 years of Democratic demagoguery and refuse to accept that the ACA has failed in its goal to allocate healthcare resources effectively and perhaps handing some of that control back to the states will create a better solution.

So the solutions are labelled hateful so there is no discussion of them or their potentially positive outcomes. Only negative outcomes aare assumed.

Someone mentioned long term views on making policy, Democrats wont even imagine a long term view on this discussion.

hey Marty, explain how "Obama is a Muslim terrorist" wasn't demonizing.

Hmmm, despite my (somewhat absurd) attempts to be evenhanded, and keep lines of communiation open, this is a bloody good question.

Demonizing their economic and social policies as evil, hateful and failed.

here are partial bibliographies of three top political authors. see if you can tell if they are conservative or liberal!

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)
Godless: The Church of Liberalism.
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans.
Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America.
Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America.
Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama.
Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican.
Adios, America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole.
In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!

Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism
Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism
Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

so much clear and sober thought! not a hint of demonizing.

I did not say one thing about the pros or cons of the current GOP.

you're standing right on top of the point. look down.

"I love this thread, I did not say one thing about the pros or cons of the current GOP."

Putin-worthy trolling.

The discussion was about Pelosi. That's my summary of her challenges today. If you are now trying to say the Democrats haven't engage in calling Republicans evil and hateful by pointing out that Republicans have engaged in similar activities you are wasting your time, I am well aware of the GOP failures in this regard.

But there is some Latin phrase for that form of argument.

I'm sure that Muslim dictator is pretty hateful, I only assert he was dictatorial, in particular his last two years, and never have cast him as Muslim, as a compliment or criticism. So if that is a general complaint I am in agreement.

Hmmm...the other is to blame ratio seems a bit off.

Books critical of conservatism in the United States

Books critical of modern liberalism in the United States

Good, but go to the dr.

Atypical migraines are fiercely debilitating.

Thanks for the kind and sympathetic words. I don't want to make the headache thing seem bigger than it is.

I'll share the basic narrative for the insights it provides into the American health care system.

Every now and then, probably once or twice a year, I get some swelling in my temple and an accompanying headache and neck stiffness. It's kind of weird, but it doesn't get in the way much.

First time around, off to the doc. Could be an arterial thing, which if left untreated could lead to stroking out and/or sudden blindness. Uh oh! Or, could be... we don't know what.

Blood work says no arterial thing. Maybe it's shingles (?!?). Throw a steroid at it and see what happens. Steroid seems OK, swelling goes away, pain goes away with it.

Next time, we... still have no idea. Steroids worked last time, try again. Seemed to work again.

One back story to this is that, for like 10 years, I've had what was diagnosed as visual migraine. Cool sparkly shiny stuff, some transient blank spots in the field of vision, on one occasion a truly spectacular wavy ripply aura that reduced my field of vision to about the size of a dime.

It was an interesting drive home, that time.

Anyway, this time around, the doc says, maybe the visual thing and the headaches are related. Still no idea WTF it is, but they're packing me off to a neurologist. In the meantime, eat a bunch of ibuprophen 3 or 4 times a day. Maybe skip aikido for a week or two, all that getting thrown on the mat might not be so good for it.

I see the neurologist next month, about six weeks out from when I made the appointment. Six weeks for an appointment might seem long for a situation that involves visual distortion, random swelling of the head, and transient headaches, but I know it must be OK because we have the best health care system in the world, especially since I'm not on any dreaded public insurance plan.

Ha ha ha!

In any case, it mostly just feels like somebody punched me in the head a couple of days ago. I eat some ibuprophen and carry on.

What I expect this all to come down to is "you're a geezer, shit happens". I get that a lot lately. My audiologist and I joke about it, she's about my age and she gets the same line now.

"What's the problem? Uh oh... How old are you? OK, never mind."

I got that diagnosis most recently with a weird lipoma I magically grew on my back. Went to the doc, he poked it a bit and said, "It's along for the ride". We had a laugh and off I went.

When I say "the doc" here, I'm referring to nurse practicioners. I haven't seem my nominal primary care guy in about 10 years.

Costs me a $50 co-pay every time I go into his office, typically $75 for specialists, so I generally prefer to not go for minor stuff.

See, market forces at work!! Ha ha ha!!

I used to have a better deal, but the company I work for was bought by an outfit from Irving TX. They self-insure, and insist that the coverage and fee schedules are consistent with industry standard.

Ha ha ha!

Which is just another reason I'm glad I live in MA. The folks in my office are hoping to set up our own deal, health insurance-wise. We'll see how it goes.

In any case, the headache thing is just not making that big a dent in my world. We'll see how it goes. I'm going back to aikido on Tuesday.

I'm a geezer, shit happens. I'm OK.

But I do thank you again for the good wishes.

I am well aware of the GOP failures in this regard.

so, why do you keep trying to pretend that it's a left-only problem? if it's a problem for the left, why isn't it a problem for the right? why has it, apparently, worked for the right, but can't (or can't be allowed to) work for the left?


damn, russell. hope they can straighten that out for you!

I fell asleep during that part of the feelie.

Yeah, but the first one was pretty good.

the ACA has failed in its goal

Ahem..

The law has 3 primary goals:
  • Make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (“premium tax credits”) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
  • Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. (Not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs.)
  • Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally.

I call it a solid win on #2. Mixed results on #1, it made things affordable for some folks, and made things worse for some others. No joy on #3.

So, a mixed result.

But a couple dozen million people have insurance now that didn't have it before. So, not the total failure you want to make it out to be.

I'm OK with pushing it back to the states if that's what folks want to do, because I live in MA, and what we had before is better than what we have now.

Most places, you'll probably end up worse off. But if folks want to go that way, fine with me. Some folks need to learn the hard way.

Mostly, I'd love to see it come back to MA because it get national (R)'s the hell out of the discussion. We're a commonwealth, we have a basic grasp of the idea of the common good. We'd get some useful stuff done.

damn, russell. hope they can straighten that out for you!

Actually, the visuals are kind of fun. :)

"so, why do you [Marty] keep trying to pretend that it's a left-only problem?"

Because whatever Marty dislikes about Trump, his fealty to Cleek's Law trumps everything else?

OMG, I wish I could go to watch this.

Dueling Illinois Nazis, a big old bag of popcorn, and maybe a Smutty Old Brown Dog or two.

Heaven.

Actually 2 is problematic. No one talks about the fact that Medicaid costs have skyrocketed because the feds are paying 100% but the implementation is at the state level so cost per enrollee is way over the original estimate and even 50% over estimates from 2015. So 2 is negatively impacting the ability to flatten the cost curve because it's an infinite pool of money. So now the states don't want to give that up, surprise.

"so, why do you [Marty] keep trying to pretend that it's a left-only problem?"

Pretty sure I have never pretended any such thing.

I wonder if they'll all dance around shirtless, spitting milk on themselves? Because nothing strikes fear into the hearts of untermenschen like a dancing half-naked pasty frat boy with a fashy haircut, covered in milk and spit.

Plus, Roger Stone. Will he show us all his Nixon tattoo?

Seriously, I wish I could get a seat for this.

Huh, I have the visual migraine too, intermittently. It's like the right hand half of the jagged line around "Kerpow" in the comics, lit up in neon. No pain, and it lasts about 10 minutes. Not the worst kind of migraine to have, but worrying when it first started. Started getting weird black floaters like spiders a few weeks ago, different to normal ones. Spent 4 hours in A&E at London's best (and internationally well-known) eye hospital Moorefields, and ended up being reassured it's "vitreous jelly" detaching, normal for my age (do women get to be geezers too? It doesn't have much of an age connotation in English slang, by the way). Nothing to pay at the end of the tests etc, I hardly need to add.

No one talks about the fact that Medicaid costs have skyrocketed...

Here is the thing.

Medical costs in this country are very high. There are a variety of reasons for that. There are various ways to address that.

Passing the hot potato of "who has to pay" around is not among those ways.

It doesn't matter if the feds pay, or the states pay, or private employers pay, or if you and I pay out of pocket. People get sick, they need to go to the doctor, they are in general going to do whatever they need to do to go.

Either that, or, at the margin, they will just not go, and they'll get sick and die.

It is a domain ruled by highly inelastic demand. Nobody talks about that.

Another thing that nobody talks about is managing the prices that providers and pharma can charge. Nobody talks about directing resources to less-lucrative but highly beneficial practices like general medicine, instead of more lucrative specializations.

Nobody talks, at all, ever, about doing anything to motivate providers to charge less.

It's all we can f'ing do to get people to consider not letting providers refer their patients for expensive procedures that they personally profit from, or that generate kickbacks to them. It's beyond us to prevent docs from prescribing drugs to people which just happen to be marketed by companies that fly those same docs off to "seminars" in lovely Caribbean resorts.

Etc etc etc.

Medical costs grow because people will pay whatever the cost is up to and including their last dime when their lives are at stake, and they grow because we don't do anything to constrain or manage them. Arguing about who ends up with the bill doesn't seem to address that, as far as I can tell.

OMG, I wish I could go to watch this.

they're calling each other losers. they're both right!

russell, an interesting, possibly, aside. I ha migraines most of my life (I can remember having them at 9) but never thought much about them. I would takes it stuff, it would hurt less and I went on with my life. FF to 42 when I complained that I had a headache to my new PCP, he suggested migraine medicine based on my history, so sure why not.

I took the medicine and 30 minutes later I was stunned, I simply told my wife it was interesting to find out what it was like to have NO headache,for the first time in memory. It really blew my mind because I had just adjusted to always having one, at some level, from what I considered normal to really bad. But I realized never NO headache.


Two areas of medicine with declining cost and improving service: Lasik and cosmetic surgery.

I took the medicine and 30 minutes later I was stunned, I simply told my wife it was interesting to find out what it was like to have NO headache

!!!!

cool.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the neuro doc has to say. Maybe it'll be as simple as a med!!

Thanks for the good wishes Marty, back atcha.

Three areas where government, even in a very democratic country, has had huge negative impacts on people's lives.

"'America’s War on Drugs' is an immersive trip through the last five decades, uncovering how the CIA, obsessed with keeping America safe in the fight against communism, allied itself with the mafia and foreign drug traffickers. In exchange for support against foreign enemies, the groups were allowed to grow their drug trade in the United States. The series explores the unintended consequences of when gangsters, warlords, spies, outlaw entrepreneurs, street gangs and politicians vie for power and control of the global black market for narcotics – all told through the firsthand accounts of former CIA and DEA officers, major drug traffickers, gang members, noted experts and insiders."
America's War On Drugs
"In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day."
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
"In the 1970s, the United States had an incarceration rate comparable to those of other liberal democracies-and that rate had held steady for over 100 years. Yet today, though the US is home to only about 5 percent of the world's population, we hold nearly one quarter of its prisoners. Mass incarceration is now widely considered one of the biggest social and political crises of our age. How did we get to this point?"
Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1BS7XnEZqc

Three areas where government, even in a very democratic country, has had huge negative impacts on people's lives.

and?

"the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments."

This must have been before there was such a thing as voting.

I'm on the wait list for the book at my local library, but it's a governmental instrument that's got nothing to do with me, somehow growing like a mushroom with no input from me, so I'm sure they'll destroy all of the copies before they let me read it.

The smallish, inobtrusive government of texas apparently has nought to do with its citizens' wishes and goes about its business in the dead of night:

https://www.texasobserver.org/segregation-in-texas-cities/

https://news.utexas.edu/2013/08/13/study-shows-jim-crow-era-segregation-persists-in-texas-schools

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/04/texas_public_school_disaster_how_segregation_and_cuts_are_gutting_the_system/

In that case, time to overthrow it with savage violence.

On November 8, 2016 subhuman assholes and shitheads outnumbered decent people in a stolen election. On that date, the government began acting and shapeshifting itself to look and act more like subhuman assholes and shitheads than decent people.

Must have been a coincidence that for many decent people, life became instantly more difficult:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/26/fighting-for-the-immigrants-of-little-pakistan

1000 cites today, a thousand more tomorrow.

and?

I know it's a bit of but, what aboutism, but many of you, except for criticism of your ideological adversaries in government, seem to give an inordinate amount of attention to private sphere actors, while ignoring the institution that has the greatest power to damage people's lives.

The greatest power to damage perhaps, but conversely the greatest power to ameliorate.

GftNC, my counter is:

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have."

:)

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

I'm sure that without government and laws, we humans could manage very well on our own to damage each other's lives.

As many do within the confines of their own families.

I'll concede that organization of one kind or another can do damage more efficiently and with scale.

I was stunned, I simply told my wife it was interesting to find out what it was like to have NO headache,for the first time in memory. It really blew my mind because I had just adjusted to always having one, at some level, from what I considered normal to really bad. But I realized never NO headache.

swap discrimination for headache and see what obtains...

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/06/24/the-card-should-say-moops/#more-212932

I don't know how clear it is from within the USA how COMPLETELY INSANE your healthcare debate is. The US spends nearly twice as much per person as any other developed nation, and doesn't even manage to give everyone a basic standard of healthcare. And here you are discussing a new law which moves the current, bad, law in exactly the wrong direction. If passed, it will exclude millions of people from non-emergency care, and make it even more ruinously expensive for millions more.

There are two things you should be talking about First, how to get healthcare for everyone. Second, how to stop it being so ridiculously expensive. The first is easy: you have to have an approach in which insurance costs are independent of expected treatment costs. Look at Germany for example. The second is harder: your whole system is a clusterfuck of overpricing and unnecessary costs. It can be done over time, if you concentrate on what you're trying to achieve, and you're willing to take profits away from some of the corporates who fund politicians.

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.

Pro Bono, you are forgetting about "American Exceptionalism".

As in "exceptionally ignorant" and "exceptionally evil".

GftNC, regarding your 10:02 AM:

Hey, you know you rock. I love the fact that you comment here - please don't ever take my rants personally.

But, yeah, Nancy Smash is a hero, and so was Harry Reid. Remember how much bullshit is cast their way.

I was away today at a cooking class (out in the country) that was amazing. If anyone ever finds her/himself planning a visit to the greater Charlottesville area, please let me know. There are some lovely folks here, and the ones I saw today support the IRC in a huge way. Lots of hope from that.

Thank you sapient, yet again. Yes the IRC seems to be a great organisation - if only their head, David milliband, had not been beaten to the Labour leadership by his brother Ed, we might have had a labour government and no fucking Brexit. But this is of course mere speculation, and plenty of people would disagree that he could have won (a Labour activist friend said to me only a few days ago "he wouldn't have won - he can't speak human!).

@Pro Bono at 7:41: gee, it's so simple! And no one over here ever thought of any of that! We'll get right on it.

*****

Sorry, this isn't personal, I like Pro Bono's comments as a rule. But this thread has been making me feel this way over and over again.

I am so very very tired of people pointing out what "we" (or in this case "you") should do to fix everything (Lilla's column was another trigger, even worse because it was from the pundit-on-high, I'm-not-accusing-anyone-of-anything-but-I-do-know-better-than-you-dimwits ivory tower, where people sit around and dream up brilliant innovative ideas like teaching kids civics).

Many years ago when my kids were small, we had started to go to a UU church. One Sunday at "Joys and Concerns" time, when people could get up and say what was on their minds that week, a woman got up and takled about the war in Bosnia. She ended with a passionate plea: "We *have* to do something about Bosnia."

All I could think as I sat there was: I can't even get my kids to stop squabbling. WTF does she think "we" are going to "do" about Bosnia?

/rant

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