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March 11, 2019

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There are bad parts of it,the attempt was an overall good.

SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act 

Conway is the kind of a Republican I like:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/is-america-becoming-trumps-banana-republic
“Yes,” Conway responded. “It would make it a banana republic.” But he went on to offer an important caveat to the remarks he made at Georgetown. “If it were not for the inherent checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution,” Conway said, “we would have a banana republic. But that also makes him an inherently weak President, because the office requires you to have the power to persuade. Ultimately, you become a powerful President only if you are able to persuade others to go along with you. His narcissism means he has to retreat to the people who worship him. He cannot reach out and persuade, like every other President tries to do. His narcissism causes him to be a weak President, and the checks and balances mean he is a weak President. And that’s why we don’t have a banana republic.”

Support for Patients and Communities Act, also good.

The House vote on that was 396-14, with 13 of the "nay" votes coming from (R)'s. The Senate vote was 98-1, with Lee (R)-UT the only "nay".

So, kind of a bipartisan thing, I would say. Although it was brought to the floor by Walden R-OR, so points for that.

No Child Left Behind was a corporate cash grab for the educational testing industry that did not a single thing for the quality of education in America. Both it and the Race to the Top were serious steps backwards that made it harder to actually teach our children to think. There is not a single thing tested in any of those tests that is not some form of calculation or memory recall performed more quickly and accurately by a computer.

All high stakes testing has done is shunt all of that confusing thinking and conceptual work into some form of enrichment exercise to be put away when the hard job of justifying a budget with higher scores comes around.

Horrible policy.

SCHIP It was bipartisan but started by Orin Hatch, I think. It has been under attacks from Republicans but survived with both R and D support.

But it was made into law a while back I don't think the current Repubicans in Congress would propose anything like it now and would not support it if propose by Democrats.

@russell
How do you feel about Yucca Mountain? The Republicans didn't quite get it up and running before Harry Reid got in the way, but were certainly working on it. There are many people from Omaha east to the Atlantic who would have dearly loved to see all that spent nuclear fuel leaving their state and going far away.

President's Malaria Initiative

How do you feel about Yucca Mountain?

The first thing I should say is that what I know about Yucca is fairly limited, likewise for what I'm qualified to say regarding any of the technical or engineering issues around the site.

All of that said, Yucca seems, to me, to be more or less pick of the litter as far as safe places to store nuclear waste. And, a safe place to store nuclear waste is a very good thing to have, especially if we want to include nuclear power generation as an alternative to fossil fuel.

My understanding is that Yucca has basically been mothballed, and primarily for political reasons rather than technical. All of which is unfortunate, and none of which is especially surprising. I believe folks in NV were not crazy about it, if only because they didn't like the idea of being stuck with everyone else's toxic trash. And I guess they should have some kind of voice in the duscussion, since they'd be living with it.

And that's everything I know, and probably more than I actually know, about yucca mountain.

President's Malaria Initiative

Agreed, well done. Started under W, it's saved millions of lives. Continues to do so, with bipartisan support in Congress, in spite of Trump's efforts to starve the agencies that are responsible for it.

laura: what change is it that is seem by so many Republicans as destroying America?

1. demographic change: more Spanish speakers
2. Participation in public life of people who are not real true Americans like they are.

There's a reason I asked the question originally. Most folks here may agree, but I'm pretty sure that Marty wouldn't. So I ask, what (prospective, if the Democrats are in charge) changes does he see as "destroying America." Which, be it noted, he said they would.

There's no point in others saying what worries him, no matter how sure you are you've read him right. What we need is what he sees as worrying.

My understanding is that Yucca has basically been mothballed...

More problematic is that the last few hundred miles of transportation hasn't been solved. There are two proposed rail spurs, either 300+ miles long, that haven't been started. One crosses tribal land and the tribe is opposed; the other crosses an existing federal wilderness area. Both will be tied up in court for years. Truck transport has to go through Las Vegas.

From a libertarian point of view:

Yes: First Step Act
No: Medicare Part D
No: No Child Left Behind
No: Patients and Communities Act
No: SCHIP

I just watched Mayor Pete get interviewed by Chris Wallace, I think this show reinforces my statement. As a potentially moderate Democrat he was asked what he would tell the Trump supporters about jobs etc.

His answer was that we need to have universal health care, portable benefits and higher minimum wage.

The typical Dem answer, no policy to expand jobs or grow the economy, to expand opportunity. The first reaction is socialism, that is destroying and will destroy America.

The Green New Deal is a jobs program, because we will upgrade every building in the country was another answer, that's a frightening justification for incredibly unnecessary spending. Again, terrifying lack of understanding of the consequence of those proposals.

Expand the SC to 15 justices with 5 not being picked by the President.

Just a few of a long list. The way we become a banana republic is to destroy our economy a and borrow ourselves into oblivion. I dont support the Trump spending plan either so just dont go there.

Re: Yucca Mountain

The original political compromise was one waste repository in SC one in NV.

But SC is too damn wet, and too damn well connected in DC, so they shut that down.

I hear that there are tribes in UT that actually want the nuclear waste repository, for jobs. No idea if it's suitable.

Better to do reprocessing, but that's even more politically radioactive. Oh well.

The typical Dem answer, no policy to expand jobs or grow the economy, to expand opportunity. The first reaction is socialism, that is destroying and will destroy America.

For the last 40 years we've been listening to (R)'s, libertarians, and conservatives generally telling us that what we really need to do is get government out of the way of the private sector and let the economy grow, grow, grow. Because that would create opportunity and wealth for everybody.

And that has turned out to be a crock of shit.

I am apparently a lefty, which amuses me because by any sane measure I'm nothing in particular. I have very little by way of political ideology. My political ideology consists of affirming self-government by free people under law as an ideal. And by "free people" I mean Locke's concept of liberty - all subject to the same laws limits and restrctions, and entitled to the same privileges and liberties, as agreed to via a self-governing political structure. Not this "don't tread on me", "molon labe", I'm gonna do whatever the hell I want bullshit.

That's not liberty, it's license, and it's license in the most childish and selfish form.

I want universal access to health care so my friends in the "gig economy" can stop having to crowd fund their medical care. Like, for cancer, or massive strokes. Or the guy who is an A-list trumpet player whose ability to work is at risk because he has untreated diabetes which is making his teeth fall out. Or, my buddy who spent most of this last winter living in his freaking van and trading his labor for food and needs to go to the dentist to get his bridgework replaced so he can eat his damned food. Or, those folks who have been going without insurance all their lives and are basically fucked at this point, and simply want to help their families get over the financial hardship that is gonna come when they fucking die.

All real cases, from my life, over the last year or two.

I want universal access to health care because there is no freaking reason why it should not be available. And people suffer and die for the lack of it. And if you have any impulse to dismiss that last claim, I'll thank you to keep it to yourself, so we can keep things mostly civil around here.

From a purely "make the economy grow" point of view, access to healthcare means people can actually take entrepreneurial risks that are unavailable to them now, because they don't want to put themselves or their families at risk of turning out like any of the folks I just mentioned.

And I can't imagine what anybody's issue with portable benefits might be.

If we're going to have a minimum wage, it ought to have some resemblance to what it actually costs to live. Because a lot of jobs pay close to minimum, and the people who work those jobs have a hard time making it. They are working people, not "takers" or "moochers" or lazy bums. They are working, creating value, putting money into the bottom line of their employers.

And I'm sick of every public effort being labeled as "socialism". Socialism is public ownership of the means of production. People deciding to make things available to themselves through public effort is not socialism. Roads, schools, water, electricity, gas, cops, firemen, libraries, postal delivery, social insurance programs like Medicare and SS. The government is partially or completely responsible for making all of that available. Why access to health care and/or upgrading housing stock to reduce our need for fossil fuels is any different than any of that escapes me.

it escapes me because it isn't so.

i don't give a crap if the SCOTUS is 9 or 15 or 3 or 121 justices. 121 is probably not practical, 3 is probably too few. 9 or 11 or 15 is all the same to me. Having SCOTUS justices not nominated by the POTUS may run afoul of some Constitutional requirement, I don't actually know, I'd have to look it up. But absent that, I don't see what the issue is.

Banana republics are not examples of socialism. They are examples of government being captive by a small number of private actors, and being run in the interest of those private actors. Like, when public agencies responsible for oversight of industries are headed up by people from those industries, and who have spent their careers fighting against oversight by the agencies they now head.

That is what banana republics are.

An economy that makes a few people absurdly, insanely wealthy - wealthy beyond any real benefit to themselves, their families, or anybody else - while reducing working people to living in their cars and crowd-sourcing their cancer treatment is *already destroyed*. It's already toxic and dysfunctional.

Fuck the Dow. Make the people whole. If the Dow comes along for the ride, fine, but make the people whole first.

If this kind of thing is all you got, I'm not on board.

wrs

But, also, how any R can claim that D's destroy the economy would be laughable if I weren't so tired of listening to their lies.

"His answer was that we need to have universal health care, portable benefits and higher minimum wage."

"The first reaction is socialism, that is destroying and will destroy America."

Which of any of those three proposals is socialism, let alone "destroying" America?

"Portable benefits" are socialist!? Not even Ayn Rand surreptitiously signing up for Medicare on her husband's account (after cheating on HIM with Nathaniel Brandon, yet another Medicare beneficiary) had the chops to go on Phil Donahue and let that cat outta the bag.

Putting aside all other objections universal (single payer) healthcare (mine is that Americans, as a class of people, are incompetent at running anything that doesn't benefit Mr. and Mrs. Top Dog ... in other words, the 300-plus million "Me's" in the country who have constructed their own walled-off kingdoms ..... to the neglect of everyone else), corporate America and small businessmen (those below five feet tall and less than 120 pounds) will save many tens of billions of shareholder dollars once responsibility for their employees' healthcare funding is removed from their balance sheets.

It'll be like an enormous .. tax cut .. for corporations, though taxes of one kind or another will and should rise to fund universality.

I suspect when Marty signs up for Medicare, which he will, if he hasn't already, THAT will be the death of America or at least political discourse without snickering.

"President's Malaria Initiative."

If only we had malaria endemic to America instead of colon cancer, we'd be in the money. Though the regulatory apparatus put a big dent in mosquito productivity and bloodsucking incentives. Mosquitos in Africa hardly bother to get up and go to work in the morning anymore.

"Is America becoming a banana republic"

"Sir, what have you wrought?"

Ben Franklin, who counted my German forbears as among the swarthy as well: "A shit ton of bananas, Madam, if you can peel them yourself, since slavery will only last another 75 years with another 100 years or so of loopholes and then endless foot dragging to follow! Now, good day to you!"

I did not expect you to be on board. But I didnt expect you to have any way to pay for it except raise taxes, just on the rich. Which doesnt pay for all that. Ever.

The last 50 years of economic policy have created the strongest and most resilient economy in the world, The economy has absorbed over 60 million new workers, since 1960's doubled the workforce, while maintaining the average salary and substantially increasing total comp.

Before the ACA pretty much anyone could buy insurance through places like the SBA.

People inb the gig economy had the opportunity to have insurance, they chose not to in lots of cases, and still do depending on age.

I dont care what term you want to use,eventually you have to pay for it by taxing pretty much everyone, in your spending world probably 75%. Not many people besides you think that would be a good solution, so Dems dont admit to it.

The question I was answering was what policies I believed would destroy America. I wasnt trying to get anyone to agree.

Health care and a living wage are going to destroy America. Right.

Those ideas are not what is dividing America. Polling shows that most Republicans like those ideas. What divides America is THEY ARE DESTROYING AMERICA BY LOOKING DIFFERENT THAN ME AND BY TAKING MY GUNS AND KILLING BABIESAND EBOLA TRANSPEOPLE IN BATHROOMS AND HAVING OPEN BORDERS ETC ETC ETc!!!1!

The rightwing perception that American is being destroyed in not based on consideration of options to solve real problems. It is not based on good faith discussions of policy differences.

It isn't based on good faith at all.

The polarization of our political lives into Republicans screaming abuse at everyone else and everyone else getting increasingly angry back is the result of cynical tactical decisions made by leaders ot the Republican party: Rove, Atwood etc The decision was to use lies and hyperbole on cultural issues to create polarization.

Deliberate cynical creation of polarization around cultural issues by lying and exaggerating in the discussion of those issues. And all of that is summed up by the claim that Democrats are destroying America.

The only difference between Trump and other Republican politicians is his blatancy. The others used dog whistles.

And now one of the repeated themes from the rightwing propaganda machine is that conservatives have to defend themselves with violence from leftwing violence.

Trump eluded to that recently. One of my rightwing facebook friends posted a thing from Tucker Carlson about that with my friends added comment about how conservatives had to fight attacks from the left--and he meant it literally. The drum beat of warnings of how leftwingers won't allow Republicans to win elections. Turning Point members provoking people with taunts to get fights started, videotaping the fights, and posting the fights as examples of how conservatives a re under physical assault by leftists on college campuses.

Those people are not motivated by fear of an increase in the minimum wage or existential angst over the ACA.

They are motivate by their sense that their America is indeed being destroyed by another vision of America. So what is their vision, the one they consider the real America? According to Candace Owen, Hitler provided a model for how "nationalism" could be promoted within a nation.

The claim that American is being destroyed is not based on different thoughts about policy. Its a belief of people who have been listening to rightwing propaganda and have formed a vision n of themselves as the only real Americans and who from that stand point seek to reject marginalize demean and abuse the rest of the population. Mostly they want to do this by cheerleading for righwing politicians but some what to do more and kill people.

Ben Franklin, who counted my German forbears as among the swarthy as well

Wave after wave, with each wave eventually getting to be counted among the white and worthy. Eventually.

A worthwhile thought, for St Patricks Day. Hell, even Italians and Jews are white now.

Sometimes I think the history of America is an extended exercise in having the idea of "white" finally fade away, to be replaced by the idea of "human".

If not America, then someone else, and we'll be swept into the dustbin of history, having played our part. It's not like we have a monopoly on virtue.

Soon come, one way or another.

The original political compromise was one waste repository in SC one in NV.

Yeah, the DOE's original plan was one large repository in the East, near all those reactors, and a much smaller one in the West. Upstate New York and western Maine have some nearly ideal sites with straightforward access to geologically stable basement rock far below any water tables. None of the proposed sites were eliminated for engineering reasons, they were eliminated as political favors before the serious studies got started. The act that limited the choice to Yucca Mountain was generally referred to in Congress as the "Screw Nevada Bill", and was done in a way that precluded any committee or floor debate.

The Utah tribe -- and a couple of other rural places -- are offering temporary above-ground storage of spent fuel casks. The tribe is actually pursuing the necessary licenses. None of the companies that actually own the spent fuel seem interested, largely because of the liability risk of moving the casks themselves. DOE has never been actually authorized to do anything about interim storage.

I still have family in Nebraska. The state seems to be going from a strong supporter of Yucca Mountain to an opponent. They were a supporter when they saw it only as a way to get rid of the casks at their two reactors. They started changing their mind when they found that DOE's plans for waste from farther east involved unloading >300 barges filled with casks in Omaha per year, putting them on UP trains, and running them the length of the state. Every year for 25 or more years.

The only difference between Trump and other Republican politicians is his blatancy. The others used dog whistles.

It occurs to me to wonder. Having become accustomed to blatancy, will dog whistles still be effective going forward? Or will everyone appealing to bigotry be forced to be out front with it? (With predictable negative effects among those parts of the electorate which is growing, rather than shrinking....)

The question I was answering was what policies I believed would destroy America. I wasnt trying to get anyone to agree.

Thank you, Marty. I appreciate the response.

The last 50 years of economic policy have created the strongest and most resilient economy in the world

What were we before 1969, chopped liver? I thought those were the days we were going to return to when we Make America Great Again?

The economy has absorbed over 60 million new workers, since 1960's doubled the workforce, while maintaining the average salary and substantially increasing total comp.

The US population is almost twice what it was in 1960, so I would expect the workforce to keep pace. As far as total comp, I know my old man could buy a house for about twice his salary when I was a kid. It cost me nothing to go to college.

Good times.

As an aside, the St Louis Fed weighs in on historical rates of personal bankruptcy for the last 100 years. Look at 1969 to now, compared to before then.

Before the ACA pretty much anyone could buy insurance through places like the SBA.

People can still buy insurance any time they like, ACA or no ACA. If they can afford it.

People inb the gig economy had the opportunity to have insurance, they chose not to in lots of cases, and still do depending on age

Stupid dumb asses, not buying insurance!! See my comment immediately above.

eventually you have to pay for it by taxing pretty much everyone, in your spending world probably 75%.

For what, health care? What do we spend on health care now?

"How you gonna pay for it?!? We can't tax the rich people, they'll take their money and run away!?!??".

We already pay for it, all of the things under discussion. We just pay for it in stupid and inefficient ways. Health care, housing, transportation, all of it. Pick anything on the list. We already pay for it, or else pay for the lack of it.

I'd like better bang for the buck.

Wave after wave, with each wave eventually getting to be counted among the white and worthy. Eventually.

A worthwhile thought, for St Patricks Day. Hell, even Italians and Jews are white now.

Heck, even East Asians are considered "white" now. And wouldn't that astonish (not to mention appall) folks from the era of fretting over the "yellow peril"?

I guess it will always be 'necessary' to mix both, one as the drone and one as the tune.

I was referring to wj's blatancy/dog whistle question.

Heck, even East Asians are considered "white" now. And wouldn't that astonish (not to mention appall) folks from the era of fretting over the "yellow peril"?

Not so sure that this is firmly established. Since it has been decreed that the US need a new big enemy for the 21st century and China is the main candidate, the 'yellow peril' might get a mighty revival.

"Just on the rich:

No, everyone. The Medicare tax, or whatever replaces it, will rise for everyone.

It won't happen. Too many sunk costs in the bullshit and small print we have now.

"they chose not to in lots of cases"

Nonsense, most of them can't even afford the employee share of the insurance premiums and thus are forced (by circumstance, the free market enforcer, whose devastations conservatives worship because it's cheaper that way) to forgo insurance.

I'm dating a 45-year old woman right now who can't afford the employee insurance for herself, though she pays for her daughter's insurance thru her company for whom she works full time, so she does without.

I broach the subject.

It's either that or no car or no apartment.

That's not a choice. It's fucking bullshit.

And it will get worse as progress progresses:

“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she says. “We should not feel nervous about the tollbooth collector not having to collect tolls. We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited about it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.”

Observed by Karla Marx, that former bartender from the Bronx.

Russell wrote: "Sometimes I think the history of America is an extended exercise in having the idea of "white" finally fade away, to be replaced by the idea of "human".

Read Ibram Kendi's "Stamped from The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" in which it is documented (the book has its shortfalls, to be sure) even abolitionists held the opposite point of view: that in fact becoming white, via education, christianization, and force, WAS becoming fully human and to be accorded full humanity by the white race, who were born right.

Of course, not necessarily fully enfranchised even then, certainly not for women. One wonders if Abigail Adams, had the opportunity been available, would have transitioned to male surgically and via hormonal therapy, to assume the "identity" required to merely enter a voting booth.

Cotton Mather, Ben Franklin, the lot. Not John Brown, since only lunatics had the foresight to be sane.

America was built on a foundation of Identity Politics.

The present campus silliness, your mileage may vary, is a logical development from those roots.

Change your identity and you too will be accorded full humanity.


I must ask.

If this private insurance we speak of is available and affordable to everyone merely as a matter of choice, WHY, Marty, did you put us through years of endless kvetching about your participation in the ACA?

"the 'yellow peril' might get a mighty revival."

As long as we exempt the massage therapists.

Why cut off our slausons before we get to the Slauson Cutoff?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twqa9AppfeE

John, Did you read what I wrote? Prior to the ACA...

I priced private insurance, with no employer intermediary, as I was unemployed, before and after the ACA was law, and it was out of sight both ways for a completely healthy 60-year old man.

Happily, I was able to remain on the FEHB, at full cost without the employer contribution, but still cheaper and most of all free of the crap regarding pre-existing conditions (I was 60; THAT was the pre-existing condition), but it was still unaffordable, as in I had to pay via my savings, unless I made the non-choice choice of realizing that my age indeed could have turned into a post-existence financial catastrophe without it.

But, clarify for me the pre and post ACA differences in purchasing health insurance in the private market without the resources.

I'm listening.

And I get that your assets placed you in 20-plus percentage of those ACA participants who didn't qualify for subsidies, which was just a stupid American principle that even Obama and company felt compelled to adhere to.

I simply couldnt get the SBA group insurance I had for years off and on as a contractor. So the way I found somewhat affordable ins was to find group insurance, I had found a few but I dont remember all of them, but the group through the SBA was the most affordable and pretty easy to get.

I dont know for sure it went away with the ACA because I didnt use them for a few years before the ACA but I suspect it replaced it because it's not on offer anymore.

Group insurance was indeed a blessing.

When I was contracting, I and a couple friends (all, be it noted, with pre-existing conditions which made us uninsurable as individuals), created a group. Which allowed us to purchase insurance . . . with no questions asked about possible pre-existing conditions.

But, no offense intended, it is not a ploy that I would expect the average Joe to come up with. And note that neither was it cheap -- "cheap" as in affordable by those with merely average incomes. But at least it was possible.

There comes a point in these discussions where the reality of the difficulties that many people - millions of people - face gets waved away, either as being not real, or of no consequence, or as simply being their own damned fault.

That's the point at which my ability to participate, and interest in participating in, congenial conversation across the line in the sand from a foot away ends.

A vibrant economy that does provide the means to a basic level of economic security to millions of people is not a vibrant economy. I don't care what the Dow is, or how many million and billionaires it spins off.

It's nice that you guys found a way to get health insurance. Good for you.

Maybe you want to consider the circumstances of people other than yourself. Just as a starting point, for that civil conversation.

Russell, nothing gets waved away. People have issues, we have a safety net, it didnt cover everyone, so now we should just do away with the insurance that covers 80% of the people, dismantle the insurance companies, raise taxes on everyone for some system that right now is less good than what the 80% have.

Somewhere in this conversation the potential negative impacts just get waved away and any discussion beyond that point is useless.

Multiple times I've suggested means tested Medicare as a way to cover the rest, but then no because means testing is somehow bad. Which I still dont understand, if it's a safety net why wouldnt you means test it?. And at that point I quit discussing it because the point is clearly not focused on solving the problem.

So the point, and the difference, is it isn't a safety net, it's a right that everyone should have equally, no matter what they di. The new Demicratic platform is equal outcomes. Guaranteed living wage, guaranteed health insurance, guaranteed child care, guaranteed everything. By the time you tax everyone enough to pay for that then everyone is equal.

So no, I dont believe in guaranteed equal outcomes. That's your difference.

By the time you tax everyone enough to pay for that then everyone is equal.

I.e. no one will live in poverty even if everyone has to be taxed into poverty to do it.

I dont believe in guaranteed equal outcomes.

The existence of a some kind of minimal economic baseline does not, remotely, equal guaranteed equal outcomes.

And in general people would prefer getting paid enough to live on for their work, in circumstances that were reasonably stable and reliable, to a safety net.

The argument against means testing Medicare, and SS for that matter, is less about "everybody should have everything", and more about maintaining a political constituency for the programs.

Because if you think people b*tch about the entitlements now, imagine how they will howl if they have to pay in, and then get nothing in return, because they make too much money and they already have more than enough.

SS is funded by a regressive tax, but is actually progressive in payout. You get less of a proportion of what you made when working, the more you make.

Medicare is no longer funded by a regressive tax, it's basically a flat tax. So the more you make, the more you pay. But, you get the same benefits, regardless of how much you paid in.

And all of that is probably about as much redistribution as those programs can stand. If we start shutting rich folks off, they'll make sure the programs go away.

Enough of them want the programs to go away as it is.

And I'm sorry, but responding to a discussion about people crowd-sourcing their cancer care with something like "they should have just bought insurance from the SBA" is kind of hand-wavy.

They couldn't afford to buy insurance from the SBA, or anywhere else, and also pay for everything else they needed to pay for. They didn't have enough money, even though they work their asses off.

That's the issue.

A vibrant economy that does provide the means to a basic level of economic security to millions of people is not a vibrant economy.

I find it impossible to disagree with anything russell says in this thread, except the quotation above, and that's presumably only because he left out a "not" after "does".

russell, it's not hand waving, I've helped a few friends and family in similar ways. But I cant discuss policy with you when you personalize every issue down to people you know,because any objection is offending you, petsonally.

I've never said, ever, we shouldnt have a safety net.

There's a difference between means testing Medicare prior to 65 for a safety net and means testing ss and Medicare after retirement.

Thanks for the response, Marty.

_______________________________

Russell: "A worthwhile thought, for St Patrick's Day. Hell, even Italians and Jews are white now."

And right on cue, the discriminating vermin in the Republican Party hand us more of their fucking identity politics.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/03/17/gop-stupidity-open-thread-erin-go-bragh-to-you-too-ronna/

Dammit, I'll have you know I could once drink any Irishman under the table.

I want to means test by political registration.

Republicans get no Medicare. They set foot on a public road and I'll shoot them for theft of services.

"There's a difference between means testing Medicare prior to 65 for a safety net and means testing ss and Medicare after retirement."

On which side of 65 would you means test?

I'd say they are the same in this respect. Means-testing would be a ready made political hit ad run every political cycle by the conservative movement, asking why all of these poor and dusky people are getting full medical care paid for by the hardworking less poor and less dusky taxpayers, who have been discriminated against because of their wealth.

Just like now.

Why, photos of allegedly drunk Irishman with their darkened photo shopped mugs buried in the public trough would be peddled far and wide.

Paddy Horton glowering criminally after a welfare colonoscopy.

No, as long as the Republican Party is a legally going concern, NOTHING will permitted to work in this country.


"But I cant discuss policy with you when you personalize every issue down to people you know,because any objection is offending you, petsonally."

Wait just a galdurned second here, Roy.

Russell and others here showed great understanding and empathy for your own personalized story, related over the course of several years by you, of being dragooned into the 20 percent of the ACA population not provided premium subsidies because of ...... MEANS TESTING, (those last two words were yelled, I confess).

I threw something too.

There goes another pair of glasses.

presumably only because he left out a "not" after "does".

oops.

yes, there should be a "not" after "does".

:(

you personalize every issue down to people you know

Sometimes I discuss this stuff in terms of people I know, and sometimes I don't. I've made a number of points in this thread that refer not at all to people I know, if you'd like to address those that's fine.

None of the things we're discussing are limited to people I know. I'm not offended by points of view. I am, not offended but angered by, arguments that fail, or refuse, to account for the real difficulty that people live with.

I appreciate that you support the safety net, and I have no doubt that you are a decent person who helps people out when you can. But as a simple example, there are something like 20 million households - 45 million people - in the US that participate in the SNAP program. The majority of those households have at least one person working. It's absolutely great that the program exists, but that's like 15% of the population.

A wonderful vibrant economy with a <4% unemployment rate and a historically high market valuation of the corporations that participate in it should not have ~15% of the population on food stamps. It should not have some of its largest employers coaching their employees on how to apply for federal aid.

All while spawning something like 15 million millionaires.

All of that points to a dysfunctional, toxic, and unbalanced economy. Not a vibrant and healthy one.

There's a difference between means testing Medicare prior to 65 for a safety net and means testing ss and Medicare after retirement.

As Mr. Thullen has pointed out, there would likely be little difference in the response.

Ask wealthier people to pay more into a program that's available to everyone, and get less in return, and you're basically hanging a great big target on the back of that program.

There are only about 20 different ways to slice and dice the health care thing, each of which has been demonstrated to be pretty workable and effective, in societies not too different from our own. Some of them are 100% public funded and run, most are some kind of combination of public and private, or highly regulated private.

And all of them are cheaper than what we do, when full cost of both public and private expenditure are considered. Most of them MUCH cheaper.

If "Medicare for all" is a stumbling block, do one of the other things. "Medicare for all" is basically just shorthand for "make it possible for people to go to the doctor without going broke". I don't think it matters all that much what form that takes.

I have a friend, a co-worker, whose Irish. Not American "St Patricks Day" Irish, but born in Dublin. He sometimes listens to the radio from back home on a streaming service. He was telling me about someone he heard on a call-in show, ranting about how she had to pay for supplemental health insurance, because whatever the public program was didn't do everything she needed.

It was going to cost her $2000. A year. She was livid.

We had a good laugh about it. He's the guy I've talked about before, the guy who's going back to Ireland after he makes enough of a pile, because his son's profoundly autistic and he's afraid of what would happen to his boy if anything should happen to him (my friend, not the boy).

A good place to make a lot of money. Not a place to trust with your kids. That's America to the rest of the world, now.

This is Trump's latest tweet: ...must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true....

Ironically he has nothing to say about the flooding in Nebraska and Kansas. Among other things Republican bas voters are chumps.

The chair of the Republican party just posed that Democratic "obstructionism" wil take the form of "howling mobs" "sabotage" and "slanderous libel".

At this point it is hard not to conclude that trumpl his base, the rightwing media, with the complicity of most elected Republicans are inciting violence against people outside their base. So yeah Democrats are destroying AMerican is fucking hate speech.

Sounds preparatory to martial law and the canceling of elections with the requisite disappearances of just about anyone these vermin hate.

Ronna Romney McDaniel is this cuck's name, though p requested she drop the "Romney" when he nominated her to be a piece of shit in his service because that name personally aggrieved the fucking dog.

Direct all yer obstruction, howling mobs, sabotage, and slanderous libel and libelous slander at her personally.

CharlesWT: From a libertarian point of view:
Yes: First Step Act
No: Medicare Part D
No: No Child Left Behind
No: Patients and Communities Act
No: SCHIP

The "yes" and "no" presumably refer to the original request: "identify any 'definite improvements' the GOP has proposed in the last 20 years".

Libertarians are individually entitled, like everybody else, to judge what counts as a "definite improvement". My problem is not with anybody's judgement of each proposal. My problem is with the characterization of all these things as Republican proposals.

It is over-generous, IMHO, to credit the GOP for proposing some Good Thing when support for it is nearly unanimous.

I don't know the legislative maneuvering behind any of the above "Republican proposals", but I doubt that every one of them was opposed by the Democrats in the way that ACA was opposed by Republicans. However you judge Obamacare, even Republicans will tell you (loudly) that it was a Democratic proposal.

During her "Hockey Mom = Pitbull With Lipstick" nomination acceptance speech at the 2008 GOP convention, Sarah Palin drew great applause by boldly promising to "fight for" special-needs kids as VP. My question at the time was: "Fight against WHO? Liberal Dems??"

I hope that illustrates my point.

--TP

However you judge Obamacare, even Republicans will tell you (loudly) that it was a Democratic proposal.

Not this Republican. I'll tell you it was a Republican proposal. Which they abruptly opposed after Obama's name got associated with it. Because, you know, "no wins of any kind for Obama" necessarily meant opposing anything he seemed to favor. Heck, if he'd proposed cutting top tax rates to 20%, they'd have opposed it. Probably on the grounds that it wasn't enough of a cut, but opposed nonetheless.

wj: Not this Republican. I'll tell you it was a Republican proposal.

Take it up with Marty. Best of luck :)

--TP

Facts remain facts, however inconvenient.

Now I suppose one could make the argument that it was only proposed because they considered the alternatives to be worse. (And didn't realize there was a way to use the information bubble to rally lots of those who lacked access to insurance to oppose making it available.) Not sure I'd buy that, but it's got a lot more going for it than claiming it was the Democrat's idea in the first place.

I have no idea where Marty gets his healthcare ideas from.

Every country in the developed world apart from the USA has universal healthcare, with individual costs not dependent on health status.

Germany is not socialist. It has a thriving entrepreneurial economy. The biggest single thing the US government could do to grow the economy would be to bring in universal healthcare. Except for in the health insurance sector.

wj: I suppose one could make the argument that it was only proposed because they considered the alternatives to be worse.

"They" being "Republicans", right? I have heard it both asserted and disputed that Romneycare/ACA/Obamacare started life as a Heritage Foundation proposal, meant more as a poison pill against "Hillarycare" than as a sincere policy prescription.

I recognize that the GOP is not married to the Heritage Foundation; they're more like friends with benefits. So the HF and the GOP may have differed on what the actual purpose of the HF proposal was. That the GOP had no further use for it after defeating Hillarycare says something about that.

Facts do remain facts, and the legislative fact is that the GOP fought tooth and nail against ACA. Then voted dozens of times to "repeal and replace" it. Then tried "skinny repeal" and failed. Still, through its Dear Leader, keeps trying to subvert it.

And Real Republicans(TM) still caterwaul that it was "rammed through" by ... wait for it ... the Democrats.

--TP

Farhaj Ahsan

Except for in the health insurance sector.

There are countries - many - that provide affordable, universally available health care, and which also have a robust private health insurance sector.

Germany among them, if I'm not mistaken.

If public single payer is going to make everyone break out in socialism hives, then do one of the other eleventy-seven things that have been demonstrated to work.

If the ACA isn't getting it done, fix it. If the ACA is getting it mostly done, adjust it. If we need to throw the ACA out and start over, fine, do that.

And, if the most effective way to make health care available to everyone actually is going to be public single-payer, then do that, and we'll figure out the private health insurance thing.

It wouldn't be the first private industry that was obsoleted by public efforts.

The goal is for people to go to the doctor so they don't suffer and die unnecessarily. If that's not the goal, then make it the goal.

And then align the rest of the mess to support that goal.

Scott Lemieux doesn't really like the argument that Obamacare had any basis in any Republican ideas.

https://prospect.org/article/no-obamacare-wasnt-republican-proposal

From cleek's link, on "Romneycare":

The problem with the comparison is the argument that the Massachusetts law was "birthed" by Mitt Romney. What has retrospectively been described as "Romneycare" is much more accurately described as a health-care plan passed by massive supermajorities of liberal Massachusetts Democrats over eight Mitt Romney vetoes (every one of which was ultimately overridden by the legislature.)

Romneycare...

We already pay for it, all of the things under discussion. We just pay for it in stupid and inefficient ways. Health care, housing, transportation, all of it. Pick anything on the list. We already pay for it, or else pay for the lack of it.

I'd like better bang for the buck.

Bingo!

Retrospectively described? "My plan for Massachusetts health insurance reform by Mitt Romney."
__

Regarding health insurance costs, and repeating myself: the important thing is not single payer. The important thing is that health insurance be provided in which individual payments are independent of health status (and dependent on individual income). Like in Germany. That way, everyone can afford it.

Over 20% of US healthcare costs aren't spent on actual healthcare - they go to insurance companies. If you eliminate half of that, you can cover the uninsured (about 9%, thanks to Obamacare) for no extra cost. That's without even considering admin savings for healthcare providers.

The US healthcare system is insane.

"The US healthcare system is insane"

Because mental-health coverage is so bad?

what Mass got isn't exactly what Romney proposed.

he wouldn't veto eight provisions of his own proposal, obviously.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_health_care_reform#Reform_coalitions

It [health care] wouldn't be the first private industry that was obsoleted by public efforts.

Privately built, owned, and run toll roads leap immediately to mind.

An essential part of the German system is a compensation system between the different health insurance companies based on the healthcare costs shouldered by each. That way it does not make much sense to try to keep out the expensive customers while it incentivizes the individual company to be more efficient. Plus there is an insurer of last resort that (as I undertstand it) fulfills the role that the 'public option' was supposed to in the original ACA proposal.
It's by no means perfect but it seems to work reasonably well.

I'd like better bang for the buck.

Yep. My head hits the desk when folks trot out the old "we can't afford it" chestnut. Please read the following three four words carefully:

WE. ALREADY. FUCKING. DO.

I saw this headline and thought, ok, I need to add this to Marty's list.

Fair is fair.

Then I realized it was a Canadian paper.

:(

Glen Beck was on Hannity talking a bout how we won't be able to recognize America if Trump isn't re-elected. Rep King had a whole buch of stuff on his FB page about how conservatives would win a civil awr.

yes, saying that Deomcrats are destroying America is hate speech.

hating Americans is good business for the conservative industry.

if a few excitables kill some people now and then, no problem. there's always people around to excuse it - the killing, the people who did the killing, their motivation, their inspiration, their leaders, and the industry that keeps it all going.

But russell, Canada is also a place that actually seeks immigrants (because they are so good for the economy). They even encourage foreign students who want to stay to do so.

Obviously nothing like "real [recognizable] America." Just a socialist hellhole; an example of how we would become like Venezuela if we aren't careful. Oh, wait....

https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article228096429.html

Cucks all the way up and down:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-doubles-down-george-conway-bashing-stone-cold-loser-husband-from-hell

Fuck America.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1107702161864093698

video of a woman at a Bannon rally saying that she would like Trump to be dictator--and everyone cheers.

But Democrats are the ones ruining the country. Jeez...

And also, apparently, to gut the 6th Amendment:
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/democratic-presidential-candidates-judges-supreme-court.html

I must admit, this came as a bit of surprise to me:
the Supreme Court hasn’t had a justice with significant experience representing indigent criminal defendants since Thurgood Marshall, who founded the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, retired in 1991...

Mssrs Gorsuch and Thomas, and whomever wants to join them, will have no right to counsel either when their death penalty cases come up for review.

I want to get rid of reviews as well for conservatives.

"to gut the 6th Amendment"

Yeah, well what else would one expect from John "lawless" Roberts, Strip Search Sammy, Token, Kav, and Squi?

But Nigel, the article also notes that Trump "has yet to appoint a single public defender to the federal bench." They act like that's a bad thing. But when you consider the kind of people he would likely find, even if they did have that experience? I mean, look at who he has appointed to head the various regulatory agencies.

What do Republicans want?Well some want to eliminate the rest of us.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/steve-king-civil-war-meme-bullets-iowa-republican-a8830206.html?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR01R88YKYWzqwJoOwxyu7oXQG7m43L7QBVkC3h9_UdW6bGkpn12m7-Z_V4#Echobox=1553126861

This appears a pretty well exact description of Trump’s manner of discourse, too:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/mosque-shooter-troll-like-original-nazis/585415/

Oh, for fuck sakes:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-considering-stephen-moore-herman-cain-for-fed-board-report-2019-03-21?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

The death purge of the next Democratic Administration is going to be quite something.

Some conservative ideas are ripe for consideration and implementation:

https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/03/21/foxs-mark-levin-democrats-would-have-sniper-towers-all-over-place-if-undocumented-immigrants-could/223211

Let it never be said that I am completely partisan.

On the first day of my administration, I would strip Rupert Murdoch of his American citizenship and deport him to, well, not back to Australia.

His entire family as well.

Then I would strip FOX News of their broadcasting licenses and nationalize all of their property on national security grounds.


Perhaps Somalia for Murdoch? On the grounds that he could hardly make matters worse there. We really wouldn't want to do harm to some place which isn't an existing disaster.

Somaliland doesn't welcome pirates like Murdoch:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/somaliland-a-success-story-without-the-billions-and-bombs/

Send Murdoch to North Sentinel Island.

They'll call him "lunch".

It seems we have a choice between creeping socialism, as it was once called, and anti-social creeps:

Harry Truman, hat tip to Hullabaloo:

"Creeping socialization"--or "creeping socialism"--those are the words that give the game away. Socialism--sometimes "creeping" and sometimes "galloping"--is the slogan and patented trademark of the special interest lobbies. Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Now listen to this:

"Socialism is what they called public power.

Socialism is what they called social security.

Socialism is what they called farm price supports.

Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance.

Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations.

Socialism is their name for anything that helps all the people."

p is guilty of collusion, deliberately sows confusion, and tells his base to cause contusions among his mortal enemies, who include every spouse of his employees, including Pence's wife.

As Muhammad Ali showed, history is more fun when it rhymes.

Have a great weekend.

The hate is what TRump supporters like about him: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/22/trumps-rhetoric-does-inspire-more-hate-crimes/?utm_term=.78d2b5892821

Somaliland doesn't welcome pirates like Murdoch:

Somaliland is a relatively well-governed piece of what used to be Somalia. For reasons which make no real sense, we haven't recognized it. Instead, we recognize a supposed government of Somali -- which barely exercises authority over the capital city. Nuts!

So agreed, Somaliland doesn't deserve Murdoch. Somalia, on the other hand....

From the Washington Post link:

"What’s more, according to the FBI’s Universal Crime report in 2017, reported hate crimes increased 17 percent over 2016."

Also, the number of police departments reporting increased by about 1,000 over 2016. So, how much was an increase and how much was due to the FBI getting more reports? The reports are voluntary.

So, how much was an increase and how much was due to the FBI getting more reports?

If the latter, the indication is that hate crimes were probably already at 2017 levels, just not reported.

I'm not sure if that is supposed to be reassuring.

What's not reassuring is the detail that, in counties where Trump held rallies, hate crimes jumped over 200%. Compared to under 20% overall.

Certainly correlation is not proof of causation. But worrying (if unsurprising) nonetheless.

There is almost certainly some causation,I couldnt find numbers though. Did they go from 1 to 3 or 20 to 60? I can see Trump firing up a few people. Or 300 to 900? The difference in those numbers actually woul matter, I think.

Mueller has delivered his final report to the Attorney General.

Not for nothing, but you gave me a ration of shit for calling attention to this a day or after the election.

Trump's base has a disproportionate number of belligerent bigots, and they see his presidency as a free pass to let their freak flag fly.

Glad you're seeing the f**ing light.

My point st the time, completely lost, was that he wasnt the cause of every hate crime. Never doubted he could cause some. But hate crimes existed before Trump. Still sorry that discussion became personalized.

This is so massive that words fail me:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/how-kleptocracy-came-to-america/580471/

America has enabled the theft of everything in the world.

This is a non-partisan statement.

There is no amount of executions of the guilty filth that could suffice as justice.

But I will tell you this.

Those, and they are legion, who saddled us with Citizens United will be slaughtered and butchered.

The Rule of Law is a puny piece of dog shit compared to the monstrosity of this massive solar-system sized corruption.

America is merely the corrupt fence for all of the world's stolen wealth.

I am complicit for allowing it. The peoples of the world should kill me and then get to work on the rest of us.


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