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September 11, 2019

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Trump's accomplishments:

1. The "Tax Cuts & Jobs Act"
2. Stoking fear and desperation in the Hispanic community, to the delight of his base.
3. Hating on the libtards.

but his base loves him.

they don't care about anything but the fact that he fights the enemy they hate the most: the fictitious left that lives in their heads. he could, i dunno, invite the Taliban to come hang out with him on the week of 9/11 (lol. could you imagine?) and they'd worship him and sing his praises in their churches.

With increasing deficit spending (tax cuts!), one economic gas pedal is already pressed in a manner normally associated with alleviating a recession, and he wants the other pressed even further than it currently is.

It's not like interest rates are high. They're still historically low, just not as low as they might have been recently.

He's even made a few calls for quantitative easing, which is even more extraordinary than large-volume deficit spending or low interest rates. (I'm not sure he really knows what QE actually is, mind you, but still.)

If something goes wrong economically, we'll be left pushing on strings, with little to no room to make adjustments. It will be the next guy's fault by then, or so he hopes.

he could, i dunno, invite the Taliban to come hang out with him on the week of 9/11 (lol. could you imagine?) and they'd worship him and sing his praises in their churches.

But suppose, just totally off the wall, that he appointed some pro-choice judges. THAT might be a deal breaker for them.

Not that I think he would. There's nobody to go on Fox News and put the idea in his head. But hypothetically....

he could, i dunno, invite the Taliban to come hang out with him on the week of 9/11 (lol. could you imagine?)

Yup. And still 90% of Republicans persist (in worshipping him). Thus proving the first part:

they don't care about anything but the fact that he fights the enemy they hate the most: the fictitious left that lives in their heads.

cleek's law is entering the realms of the completely surreal looking-glass world.

Funnily enough, the one thing which might productively juice the economy would be a serious effort to address climate change...

Though probably not in a quite short enough time frame to save the sorry @rse’s re-election prospects.

But he is dangling the prospect of new large tax cuts to be enacted after his reelection. This time targeted more at the middle class.
Of course this will not happen or be changed to one exclusively benefitting the rich again but it may fool some to keep in his camp despite rising doubts whether voting him in the first time was that good an idea.

"Common perception is that Russia and Saudi Arabia support President Trump, but that should be reconsidered. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as well as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed have many more reasons to oppose Trump and support the Democrat challenger in 2020. In fact, their countries’ economic fortunes and their own political futures may depend on whether a Democrat can beat the president next year."
Why Russia And Saudi Arabia Secretly Want The Democrats To Beat Trump

Why Russia And Saudi Arabia Secretly Want The Democrats To Beat Trump

lol

wtf

Why Russia And Saudi Arabia Secretly Want The Democrats To Beat Trump

Are we sure that isn't from the Onion?

ROTFLOL
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/11/did-john-bolton-go-out-with-whimper/

Wtf indeed, Chas. But there are other factors to consider that can alter the demand and supply curves for petroleum. Evidence? They (Russia, the Saudi’s) still support Trump. Perhaps they actually know their interests better than the lunatic editors at Forbes, folks who have demonstrated repeatedly over the years that they know nothing and have learned nothing.

Homemade sign spotted in the yard of a little house amidst the cornfields, grape vines, and goldenrod of rural western NY state:

Trump is love.

Words fail.

It's Orwell. Words don't mean what's in the dictionary -- that's just elitism. They mean whatever you want.

They mean whatever you want.

That would be Humpty Dumpty (or Trumpy Gumby in this case?).
Hm, how about a topical Jabberwocky parody?

"'Twas twitcarl' means 10pm", said Trumpy Gumby, "when Trump has watched Tucker Carlson and prepares his first round of evening tweets. 'slimbcile' is a portmanteau of slimy and imbecile. 'waoves' is a species of pundit, oafish and always on the warpath."...

Trump is love.

it could be a reference to this ? (NSFW, not kid-friendly)

Jabba-Monkey

Twas twitcarl and the slimbcile waoaves
Did volpone and whisdog in the bimb
All ginmys were the incelovs
And the maga outbrimb

Beware the jabba-Monkey, lass
The kissing maw the pussy grab
... (tbc)

to volpone = spreading sly lies
to whisdog = to dogwhistle as an ensemble (aka liejazz)
bimb = a bimbotron disguised as a TV news studio
ginmys = in the state of gin filled sorrow about the mystery of the female
incelov = a Russian incel
maga (needs no explanation)
to outbrimb = to be filled with ourage to the brim

Hope you don't mind a bit of constructive criticism, Hartmut, from an admirer:

I think you (or maybe we, if anybody else is interested in making this a joint project) can improve on the first quatrain (with the exception of "incelovs" and "outbrimb" - particularly "incelov" which cannot be bettered), but in my opinion the last two lines are a triumph. Also, I'm not sure about Jabba Monkey, when orangutans (much though I love them) are at least orange. What about the Jabborang?

Figures that this is missing the target...

Interesting the the article characterizes the discoverer as a "Ukrainian amateur astronomer." While giving his location as the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory.

I guess science is political elsewhere as well....

GftNC, I was looking for a similar sound to Jabberwocky and my vocabulary is necessarily limited compared to a native speaker (at least a British one). Unfortunately Jabba-wonk would not do because The Donald is the polar opposite of a wonk. Jabba-mongo would carry too much racist baggage. Pongo would go right towards orangutans but I have too much respect for these apes (even those that are not librarians) to compare them to The Donald. I am generally open to suggestions though.

Beware of reapish moss cow midge
Shun linseed gray hame scab

I am thinking about making AOC and The Squad the hero(ine)s of the tale. Looking for a good replacement for 'vorpal'

I was thinking you might call the poem The Jabborangey and the creature the Jabborang, (and hast thou slain the Jabborang? Come to my arms my beamish boy - or girls in the case of the squad) but I take your point about the sound. Vorpal, hmmm. I keep being distracted by thinking of the sort of things that would slay the real Jabborang, like the tax returns went snicker-snack - something tells me I'm not cut out for this sort of thing....As you were, Hartmut, I'd better leave it to you!

Just after I logged off to take a bath I got the word I sought: Jabba-bonk

AOC tagged the Teigen tweet
The bloatful foe there to deflate
With her cool squad for the orange sod
She congressed then in wait

Open thread, huh... Trump's EPA rolled back the changes made in 2015 to the definition of "waters of the United States", which determines if the EPA has jurisdiction. I admit that I was torn when Obama's EPA made the change. Colorado (where I live) has thousands of miles of irrigation ditch that satisfy all of the Obama definition's criteria to fall under EPA rules. At the time, the EPA made a point of saying that they had no intention of applying their rules to most irrigation ditches. Lots of people thought they heard an unspoken "at this time" in the EPA statement. There was considerable fear that if the EPA chose to they could, for example, make maintenance of the wetlands created by a century-plus of ditch leakage the ditches' primary purpose.

The reason given for the rollback is to allow states more say in deciding when and how to regulate water pollution. Interesting that the same argument is not made with regard to California's use of their statutory authority to do tougher-than-federal air pollution standards, authority the Trump administration is trying to do away with.

Interesting that the same argument is not made with regard to California's use of their statutory authority to do tougher-than-federal air pollution standards, authority the Trump administration is trying to do away with.

Huh. Not even surprising.

With Trump (and hence with his administration) every argument or justification is strictly a matter of convenience. Consistency across cases isn't even on their radar screen. (Possibly because they can't remember what they did previously.) Indeed, they seem perfactly willing to make mutually contradictory arguments in the same case -- apparently on the theory that, no matter how bogus they all are, perhaps one of them will stick.

Re: Jabberwocky

My theory (which is mine) is that the poem Jabberwocky is the first (only?) example of 'impressionism' applied to the poetry art form: the words give an overall impression of a particular meaning, without the detailed definitions.

Predating painting impressionism, also, too.

Lewis Carroll was ahead of his time in many ways.

Lewis Carroll was ahead of his time in many ways.

True. I love his work, and have loved it for my whole lifetime. Sad about his proclivities.

Following 538's blogging the debate tonight. Came across this (at 10:15)

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in April, 52 percent of Americans oppose making all public colleges in the United States free to attend, while 45 percent support it. However, 68 percent of Democrats support the idea, while only 14 percent of Republicans do.
As ever, the devil is in the details. In particular, what does "free to attend" mean exactly? Is it just zero tuition (and "fees")? Does it cover things like books, too? How about room and board -- and at what level?

Personally, I'd incline (based on my personal experience, naturally) to zero tuition, but leave other expenses to the student. That is, it's not just a way to live, i.e. get room and board, without having to work.

waters of the United States

I understand why farmers and ranchers, having been used to building irrigation ditches and ponds using available water on their property, found the WOTUS stuff objectionable.

That said, whose water is it? Water is one of the classic common goods, in the Samuelson sense.

How should decisions about such goods be decided? Who owns the decision?

To what degree is water a local, or even state level, resource? Who is affected by a drainage ditch or an artificial pond?

The EPA has taken actions against property owners egregious enough that the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against it.

And while they femproud held their place
The Jabba-bonk atwit in flame
Covfefed through the moran space
And race-broaled without shame

6-9! 6-9! Let's brine the swine!
The Teigen tweet went hashatag
So viral smooth with words uncouth
Deliverslams its smack

And havt youse smacked the Jabba-bonk?
Embrace we now the lassies brave
Oh fringy time!Good clime! Bells chime!
In frant they tapped the clave

The EPA has taken actions against property owners egregious enough that the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against it.

Which is an interesting comment that completely fails to address any of my questions.

Whose water is it?

My take would be, while it's on your property, it's yours to do with as you like. Drink it, irrigate with it, put it in a swimming pool.

BUT, when it leaves your property, either as surface water or as ground water**, that's a different story. You can still legitimately be required to have it as unpolluted as you got it. And possibly even more so -- if, for example, you are drawing from a contaminated groundwater source.

I'd even add a caveat of some form to the effect that, if you are drawing from a passing stream, you can have limits put on what fraction of the flow you can divert. And limits on how much groundwater you can pull from the aquifer as well, since that's not just under your land.

** And if you are pumping it into the ground, it will be leaving your property.

It's not really a QAuestion of whose water is it, the question is whose pollution is it. The water is yours, but you cant use it as a delivery system for your pollution. Once you deliver the pollution, in any way, its subject to regulatory review.

The limitations on what and how much water is yours(damming and pumping) confuse the pollution issue.

That said, whose water is it? Water is one of the classic common goods, in the Samuelson sense.

Fine questions. Ever lived in a western state? There's generally a definitive answer to "Who owns the water?" for every drop.

In Texas, for example, the State of Texas owns every single drop of surface water. If you wish to divert from a river, or build a pond that captures rain runoff, you need a permit from the state. Texas changes their priorities from time to time; during the last big drought, the state put a bunch of long-time cotton farmers out of business in order to keep some power plants running.

Colorado is subject to nine different interstate water compacts. We have cases in front of the Supreme Court almost continuously where we're being sued over not delivering enough water, or are suing over some receiving state violating the terms of use of the water we delivered. We (and New Mexico) are currently being sued by Texas over deliveries of Rio Grande water. It's an interesting case. Texas has asked the Supremes to make a ruling that would force major changes in water law in most western states.

Some of the traditional animosity between western states and the federal government goes back to a series of Supreme Court decisions that give the feds rights to water that have not historically been exercised (reserved water rights). In California currently, the feds are threatening to divert water they had previously agreed to let flow through the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta for environmental support to Central Valley farmers. If they do that, things will ripple down through California's complex rights system with the likely result that Southern California's water supplies will be decreased.

support to Central Valley farmers

Who, be it noted,
a) are living in what is, climate-wise, basically semi-desert, and
b) have chosen to raise water-intensive crops (cotton, almonds - lots and lots of almonds in the last 20 years) totally unsuited to the climate.

They've mostly drained the underlying aquifer (with inevitable subsidence, which is causing them more problems) so now they're desperate to grap water from somewhere, anywhere, else. My sympathy is seriously limited.

The best line, I thought, in last night's debate was Buttigieg asking Sanders (and, by implication, Warren): “I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Why don’t you?”

It will be interesting to see if they ever come up with an answer, explaining why Medicare-for-All is better than an opt in.

For M. Cain and Sapient.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/09/make-water-dirty-again

Enjoy.

It will be interesting to see if they ever come up with an answer, explaining why Medicare-for-All is better than an opt in.

My answer:

"Well Pete, you wet-behind-the-ears-whippersnapper, that's a good question. The short answer is this....

For the same reason we do not have 'opt in' for Social Security, which is a universal benefit. Everybody is automatically in.

What do you have against Social Security, Pete?"

Well you old fart, SS PAYMENTS are not opt in but enrolling for benefits is, whether and when. Plus, everyone is only in for as much as they contributed, more or less. So it isnt even close to the same.

You just keep wanting SS to be something its not So you can use its name to your political advantage. F'ing socialists. Next thing you'll be wanting to pay everyone 1000 dollars a week. Oh, wait.

As long as you have to opt in for the $1K a week, it's fine. I'm not going for it, though. Keep your government money out of my bank account!

Next thing you'll be wanting to pay everyone 1000 dollars a week. Oh, wait.

yeah. that kind of BS is only allowed in rugged, self-reliant Alaska.

“I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Why don’t you?”

If last night's debate was meant to be the pilot for a new TV series called The Politics Gong Show, then yes: that's a great line. Otherwise, not so much. Let me explain why it annoyed me:

"The American People", singular, is a thing. A fractured and somewhat nebulous thing, to be sure, but in some sense an entity that in principle makes choices for itself. Collective choices.

Mayor Pete, who I like very much, played fast and loose -- the way almost all politicians do -- with grammar. Note the "them", which refers to "the American people" but really means "American persons". As in, individual Americans.

We all surely know individual Americans who do not make wise choices in many situations, but that's not my point. My point is that individuals, when choosing "for themselves", can only choose between available options. Number one, as Joe Biden would say. And number two: individuals choose from the menu of available options for their individual advantage.

Want evidence? What would most individuals choose if one option were "Take as much clean water as you like, and discharge it as dirty as you want" and another were "Low-flush toilets and climate-compatible landscaping"?

Like Mayor Pete, I am willing to say that by and large individual Americans will generally choose wisely from the menu before them, but The American People can -- and must -- decide for itself what the menu ought to be.

Political campaigns are about structuring the menu. Opinions can -- and should -- differ on that question. But that's NOT the question Pete's zinger was addressing.

--TP

cleek for the win!!!

Plus, everyone is only in for as much as they contributed, more or less.

The lower you were on the lifetime income scale, the better the benefits are in relation to your lifetime contributions. But you probably already know that, right?

In relation? My god how did that happen? Yes knew that.

Number one, as Joe Biden would say.

Again and again and again.

@wj,
I wasn't defending (or attacking) the Central Valley growers, I was pointing out the difficulty state and local water authorities face because the feds can redirect large quantities of water for different purposes. In this particular case the feds have to work their way around an agreement they signed with the state. That will probably slow them down, but is unlikely to stop them.

I am willing to say that by and large individual Americans will generally choose wisely from the menu before them, but The American People can -- and must -- decide for itself what the menu ought to be.

And how do you think The American People decide what the menu will be? You think we hold a nationwide, multiple choice, plebiscite and vote on possible options? No, we do exactly what is being done here, talk about the possibilities a lot. Then have an election to see which politician's approach we like better.

And, in essence, we also do what is happening here -- I hope. Take the options that we currently have and add (or subtract) one at a time. If you don't like the options being suggested (in this case, Medicare opt-in or mandatory Medicare-for-all), feel free to propose a different one, and try to get anybody interested.

@Michael Cain,
Fair enough. Apologies for mis-reading you.

No doubt Trump and his gang of grifters would love to have a nationwide referendum on "leave Social Security, yes or no?"

SSEXIT, one might call it.

What has blocked them so far is the lack of any mechanism for having a national referendum.

(if there WAS such a national referendum mechanism, I'd propose: 'Trump: crucify or burn alive?')

"Even if Mark Twain never actually said, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over,” nowhere is this maxim better illustrated than in California, where people have been claiming, diverting and fighting over water since pioneers and prospectors first started rolling in."
Water, Property Rights and the Public Trust Doctrine


California’s Water Market

I am repeatedly startled when I realize that the rest of the country doesn't have the same mess over water that is "normal" in California.

Other western states don't seem too different. But in reality, they're a pale shadow of the mess we've got. With a structured in horror show if anyone wants to changes details that only made sense over a century ago.

My theory (which is mine) is that the poem Jabberwocky is the first (only?) example of 'impressionism' applied to the poetry art form: the words give an overall impression of a particular meaning, without the detailed definitions.

Snarki, I meant to respond to your Lewis Carroll theory earlier. It seems that Dada poetry may have some similar elements, although I don't know any of it, so it may not fit your precise definition. And of course Carroll predates the Dadaists. I don't know much about them, except from having seen Tom Stoppard's Travesties many years ago, in which Tristan Tzara is a character. The Wikipedia article on Dada contains the following sentence (I can't post the link):

Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works.

My understanding is that water is generally treated the way that wj and Michael Cain refer to - it's not yours even if you find it on your property, at most you are granted rights to use it in certain ways. As a point of law, even rainwater is not exempt.

The question with the WOTUS seems to be more about whether those rights are defined and managed at local, state, or regional levels vs the feds.

Because no pointy-headed unelected bureaucrat knows anything about building irrigation ditches and cattle ponds.

And there is, possibly, some merit to that. Then again, maybe not, but I'll concede the possibility for purposes of debate.

But water generally doesn't stay still, and ag run-off is an issue. And in lots of places in the country, scarcity is a huge issue, so what you use is that much less for someone else.

What I take exception to most of all is the "nobody's gonna tell me what to do" attitude that seems (to me) to inform the discussion. Nobody gets to live in "nobody's gonna tell me what to do" land. Maybe once . upon a time you could get away with it, not today. Too many people on the planet now.

But in reality, they're a pale shadow of the mess we've got.

Yep. The rest of us aren't in the same class with California. Not even close. I'd put Colorado second because of the interstate compacts that keep us in court almost continuously, but we don't move water around at anything like the scale California does, with all the complications that brings.

I mentioned the current case Texas has us involved in. Texas has asked the SCOTUS to rule that withdrawals from an aquifer that is hydrologically linked to a surface river count as diversions from the river. The engineering answer to that question has always been yes, with a multiplier between zero and one that's really hard to estimate. The legal answer has always been no. If the Court changes the legal answer, Colorado will promptly be sued over every one of those compacts.

I am amused that Georgia is now finding itself caught up in lawsuits over water. Georgia, Alabama, and Florida have started suing each other over the the rights to water in a couple of river systems. And Georgia is muttering about trying to renew a lawsuit over their border with Tennessee, drawn incorrectly in 1818. If the border were corrected -- highly unlikely -- Georgia would touch the Tennessee River and would immediately start pumping huge amounts of water to be piped to Atlanta.

wj: And how do you think The American People decide what the menu will be? You think we hold a nationwide, multiple choice, plebiscite and vote on possible options? No, we do exactly what is being done here, talk about the possibilities a lot. Then have an election to see which politician's approach we like better.

Right! We The People pick the politician whose menu "we" like best, or dislike least. So the most charitable interpretation of Mayor Pete's zinger is that he trusts The People to make the right collective choice of menu, and by insinuation that Biden doesn't. Which is different from the interpretation he tried to convey, namely that Biden doesn't trust individual Americans to make the right individual choices off whatever menu The People ends up choosing.

I should note in passing that a blind faith in the wisdom of The People, here in America, is like a second marriage: a triumph of hope over experience. When The People has chosen a buffoon for its President and a snake for its Senate Majority Leader, the best you can honestly say is that The People is not infallible.

--TP

So the most charitable interpretation of Mayor Pete's zinger is that he trusts The People to make the right collective choice of menu, and by insinuation that Biden doesn't.

Not even close. (And not just because he was talking to Sanders, not Biden.) His zinger is about the difference between adding Medicare to the existing menu of choices that people have, vs replacing all those choices with Medicare-for-all -- no menu, no choice.

Now you may not like the current menu. Fine. All Pete is saying is "Let's add this option. Why abruptly restrict the choices?" People might make bad choices. Just like they might make bad choices on what to eat or how to drive. If you aren't free to make a bad choice, you are that much less free.

(Just to be clear, there definitely are situations where your bad choices pose a significant risk of harm to others. Restrictions on you there are the price you pay for living with others. Don't like it? Buy yourself an island and shut down all contact. Fair warning, hunting and gathering is a high effort, low lifespan, style.)

“I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Why don’t you?”

Really, really, dumb question. And here I thought Mayor Pete haz smartz.

If the American people, via the exercise of their democratic prerogatives, decide upon Medicare For All by voting people such as Sanders and people who share his policy choice in this matter into office and they institute this policy, how is that "not trusting" the American people to make the said choice?

It would be a choice out of a variety of current policy options. Are you really saying that people in Great Britain have "less freedom" because they have chosen a system of nationalized public health care?

So I just don't get your point here, wj.

The freedom to "make bad choices" is not necessarily an enhancement of freedom. I am also reminded of the "freedom" to sleep under bridges. Ah, smell that air! Freedom!

I'm thinking of starting a wingnut mail-order scam to relieve some Trumper types of their money. Is this not the essence of freedom?

My understanding is that water is generally treated the way that wj and Michael Cain refer to - it's not yours even if you find it on your property, at most you are granted rights to use it in certain ways. As a point of law, even rainwater is not exempt.

wj and I are talking "western" water law, based on the notion that a right to divert water is a separate property right. Many times, that right is conditional -- you can only divert water if there's something left after the people with higher priority rights get theirs. Other than perhaps the Columbia, every river in the American West is over-committed. There are people who might be able to exercise their right during extraordinarily wet years, but not otherwise.

"Eastern" water law is typically based on riparian rights -- if the river touches your property, you have a right to make use of it. Georgia is the eastern state whose water law I pay the most attention to because they are one of the few states out East where interesting things happen. In Georgia, if your property touches the river, you are entitled to make "reasonable" use of the water. If someone upstream of your property builds a new power plant, and diverts part of the river's flow for cooling water, they and everyone downstream of them have to reach an accommodation about what's "reasonable". By law it's non-zero. If you look into the statutory history, how much is reasonable is a matter intended to be settled at a jury trial.

In the US, riparian water rights all trace back to a single case in Pennsylvania, where the judge's entire argument is based on the thesis that "Water is like a turkey."

wj mentioned the complexities of California water law. California's law includes pieces from pueblo water law that predates any US presence, riparian law that was in effect briefly in some parts of the state, and prior appropriation law (the basis for most western water law). It's a nightmare. I understand that if you know where to look in LA, you can still find traces of the "pueblo ditch" from the 1700s on which LA's claim to the entire Los Angeles River flow is based.

The public option makes no sense to me, unless the real object is to ensure that it poses no serious threat to the insurance companies. Congress could make it as generous as Bernie wants, in which case maybe many or most people would choose it, probably in the first year so chaos ensues. But I think it is more likely to be designed to be inferior to many private plans ( or at least it will appear inferior if you know your taxes have gone up and you don’t take into account how much your employee based insurance actually costs). It might become the insurance of last resort for people who can’t get private insurance and if it is inferior than really sick people go bankrupt anyway. It will be a new welfare program, and therefore funded like one.

I think the advantage of single payer is that it gives the government more power to bring costs down. And politically, if everyone uses it, it becomes a new third rail of politics, something very difficult to cut, though our terribly responsible types in both parties have been itching to cut Social Security.

I am not at all sure we could switch to single payer in four years as Bernie claims, and if someone wants a different solution I am not a fanatic. But our current system is wasteful and because it is wasteful there are a large number of dollars floating around, acting as an incentive to prevent either single payer or any system that provides universal health care at much less cost.

Right! We The People pick the politician whose menu "we" like best, or dislike least.

Except at the state level, in most western states and a few out East, where we put the policy issue on the ballot and decide without recourse to the politicians. I can make an argument that in much of the American West in recent years, ballot initiatives have acted as a safety valve that has kept the Republican Party from losing even more ground.

I can make an argument that in much of the American West in recent years, ballot initiatives have acted as a safety valve that has kept the Republican Party from losing even more ground.

Quite. But you can also make a good argument that several things that got the California Republican Party on the road to ruin had their origin in initiatives as well.

I can make an argument that in much of the American West in recent years, ballot initiatives have acted as a safety valve that has kept the Republican Party from losing even more ground.

Tim Eyeman...take a bow.

Private insurers don’t care about fraud. This seems counterintuitive, but it isn’t worth it to them to go after fraud.

https://www.propublica.org/article/we-asked-prosecutors-if-health-insurance-companies-care-about-fraud-they-laughed-at-us

The public option makes no sense to me, unless the real object is to ensure that it poses no serious threat to the insurance companies.

sounds right to me.

the current system works, mostly well enough, for people with insurance. asking people to give that up for something that's never been implemented in the US before is a big lift for most. adding another insurance option is conceptually simple; nobody loses anything they already have; nobody has to deal with a brand new system - not patients, not doctors, not pharmacies, not hospitals, not clinics, not drug companies, etc..

upending the current system might be the right thing to do, in theory. but in reality, it might be beyond what people will trust the government to do.

"Eastern" water law is typically based on riparian rights -- if the river touches your property, you have a right to make use of it.

It's true that eastern states' water law derives from riparian rights, and sort-of true that being an abutter means you can "make use of" river water, for some meanings of "make use of". Mostly it means you have access to the river.

As a practical matter, water law in my area touches on, and restricts, almost every kind of use of water that you can think of. River abutters can access the river, but are also subject to significant restrictions on what they can do with and on their property, if those uses might impinge on river water quality. Likewise for floodplains, watersheds, estuaries, even ephemeral bodies like seasonal creeks and vernal ponds.

People who live by, or make their living from, the ocean are subject to another whole set of rules. Atlantic fishing areas are basically managed as a commons - nobody owns the ocean - and their use is managed fairly strictly. Similar restrictions apply to access and use of water in and near ports, and also to abutting land areas.

I actually do have an appreciation for the complaints of western land owners who live with the constant annoyance of having government busybodies telling them what they can and can't do, and I have that appreciation mostly because, as a resident of a more densely settled part of the country, that kind of "government busybody" interference touches on almost every part of my life. Every day.

But nobody owns the water. We didn't make it, it's just there. A gift. And a finite gift, that we have to share with everyone else that needs to use it.

We'll see how wisely that gift is used when the WOTUS regs are rolled back. Local and state folks say they know better than those pointy-headed know-it-alls in DC. Ball is in their court now, we'll see if they can sort it out without FUBARing it for everyone else.

Best of luck to them and everyone who will be affected by their decisions.

sounds right to me.

Same here.

I have no issue with single payer as an approach to making health insurance available. Most people over 65 years of age get their health insurance that way. Many military veterans not only have single payer insurance, they use a public provider for their health care. Everybody bitches about the VA but most veterans I hear talking about it absolutely DO NOT want to trade it for private insurance or care providers.

That said, the goal is for people to be able to go to the doctor and get whatever health care they need, without incurring profound financial risk. We have a system in place - employer provided insurance - that accomplishes that for a lot of people.

What we need is:

1. A way to extend that so that everyone is covered adequately
2. A way to manage the growth in the cost of care, so that whatever system we use is financially practical

If the shortest path to those goals is public option, then do public option. More to the point, if the politically achievable goal is public option, then do public option.

People need to go to the doctor, without worrying about whether they are going to be bankrupted by it. That is the goal.

I think the advantage of single payer is that it gives the government more power to bring costs down. And politically, if everyone uses it, it becomes a new third rail of politics, something very difficult to cut, though our terribly responsible types in both parties have been itching to cut Social Security.

I'm very much focused--perhaps to a slightly unhealthy degree--with responding on GCC. Donald's statement here relates indirectly to my thinking on GCC.

First, Donald, sorry to be singling you out. Donald is a vigorous, articulate and outspoken critic of our government's wars in the Middle East, and in Yemen in particular. He acknowledges that many other governments are also involved directly and indirectly in the Middle Eastern mayhem and in mayhem and oppression around the word.

When the government has more power to cause something to happen--unless what the government is forcing meets with your satisfaction--that is the textbook example of government oppression, or coercion or what have you.

Taking single payer as an example--what is a consumer's remedy against the sole provider of a service if that provider withholds some aspect of a desired or necessary service?

I ask this as Medicare participant who needs a particular drug called Dexilant that is not covered under Medicare. Dexilant is the best medicine there is on the market for someone like me with food-related reflux. Here is how obtuse government can be: Dexilant is not covered, but if you are on Medicare, you cannot use GoodRX or some other online coupon to knock the cost down. Prior to Medicare, I could use GoodRX to knock the cost from $296 to $196 for a 30 day supply. Once I got on Medicare, I couldn't use GoodRX. This is perverse: the government will not allow private enterprise to compete with government on a product government does not offer in the first place. It gets even weirder: I signed up for the much-despised Part D and now I get Dexilant for $100.

This is felony stupid, but it what happens when you put everything in one, unaccountable decision maker.

What progressives want is a government that has all the power it needs to do good, progressive things even if others don't like it and that never does bad, non-progressive things. Progressives abhor a government that does things others like but that progressives don't like.

I've had a couple of other close encounters with our government lately that I'll recount because they inform my thinking on how to address GCC.

Someone close to me--a commercial pilot--got melanoma. It was caught early, excised and lymph node removal showed no metastasis.

However, the FAA is worried that, even though MD Anderson says no metastasis, that the melanoma might have migrated to the brain (I know easily a dozen melanoma survivors--never seen a brain issue). So, this person was grounded for 90 days. When he asked to be reinstated after 90 days with another doctor letter confirming that his brain had not been invaded, he was told to get more medical records. This back and forth went on 5 more months and then, with no change, nothing new, the government gave him his license back.

His remedy for 8 months without work: zilch.

Closer to home, the post office person in our office building is on vacation. The substitute can't find our building. We've been without mail for five days. This means no revenue for five days for my law firm.

We've spoken to the local PO manager. Remedy: zilch.

When you want government to take something over, ask yourselves what is the remedy when it doesn't deliver.

The government that makes war, surveills its citizens, decides who gets prosecuted and who does not is the same government you want managing the medical affairs of 350,000,000 million people.

Really?

So progressives want the government to do the things they think the government should do, yet they don’t want the government to do the things they don’t think the government should do. Those progressives are so unusual!

If the private sector will actually make an effective response to GCC, then I'm fine with letting the private sector do it.

Therein lies the problem.

Trust me when I say that I can match your tales of government stupidity item for item, and then some. I live in the People's Republic.

And for every single one of them, I can list tales of equal stupidity incompetence recklessness and outright malice, from the private sector.

Large organizations are inefficient and breed functional incompetence like mosquitoes in a bucket of rainwater. The only real solution is to return to a hunter-gatherer society, made up of bands of people numbering 20 or 30, max.

Any takers?

When you want government to take something over, ask yourselves what is the remedy when it doesn't deliver.

and keep in mind that nothing about the private sector guarantees that it would be better or cheaper or smarter or more reliable or more responsive to problems.

all you have to do is think of a time when an insurance company really wanted to deny you coverage and how much fight it took to get them to pay up.

there's a reason every local TV station and many networks, and NPR, like to do those "crazy insurance nightmare of the week" bits - the material is easy to find, it's always insane, and everyone can relate.

but the pieces usually end up getting good results!

The government that makes war, surveills its citizens, decides who gets prosecuted and who does not is the same government you want managing the medical affairs of 350,000,000 million people.

"the government" is not a monolith. it's a bunch of people doing different jobs in different branches with different amounts of urgency associated with their funding. and, as always, you get what you pay for.

Did I miss something?

What is GCC?

What is GCC?

global covfefe cartel

Gloucester County College (or global climate change)

I keep using AGW, hoping it will stick.

I wonder if, having seen the horrors of a Trump presidency in (preliminary) action, McKinney is shoring up his existing dislike and disapproval of governmental regulation and interference in order to ensure that in the event of e.g. a Warren v Trump election he can justify to himself not voting for Warren, who after all has shown that she is quite prepared to regulate (gasp) to protect the public from the disproportionate influence and power of private actors whose priorities may not include the common good? And of course, where GCC is concerned, some of those private actors have already secured for themselves sizeable estates in distant countries on very high ground, with plenty of purely private renewable energy. We will never know unless McKinney tells us.

GCC = I assume Global Climate Change.

AGW = I assume Anthropogenic Global Warming.

I have to be very wary of accidentally calling it anthropomorphic global warming.

By the way, it is very possible that everyone on here thinks I do too much "mindreading". I confess that I do not understand what seems to be a taboo on speculating about people's motives, because this seems to me to be an unavoidable part of interacting with other people (or indeed reading most fiction). It may well be a protocol which developed in the early days of cyber-interaction, which I completely missed. In fact here, and very occasional comments chez cleek, are the only places I engage online.

I understand of course one cannot assume one is correct in one's speculations, but is it illicit to speculate? I hope someone reasonably well-disposed will educate me on this.

Arthropoid Global War

it's coming. be prepared.

GftNC: ... is it illicit to speculate?

It would be illicit not to.

Look it up:)

--TP

McKinney's comment caused me to go check my Medicare Advantage coverage. A 30-day supply of Dexilant is $90.

I may have missed it, but I keep waiting for one of the debate moderators to ask a question like "34% of all Medicare recipients use a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) provided by a private insurer. That percentage is considerably higher in major metro areas. How does M4A handle Advantage?"

So progressives want the government to do the things they think the government should do, yet they don’t want the government to do the things they don’t think the government should do. Those progressives are so unusual!

Absolutely not. Both left and right appear to have exactly the same take. Different areas where they want the government to interfere, and in different directions, of course. But the same take.

The difference, it seems to me, is that one side proclaims their faith in government while wanting it to do some stuff and not not trusting it to do other stuff. Whereas much of the other side proclaims their complete rejection of government "interference" . . . while wanting it to do some stuff and not other stuff. And simply cannot see the obvious contradiction in that.

I confess that I do not understand what seems to be a taboo on speculating about people's motives

We allow it in your case because you are a good-hearted person and will do it in good faith.

For related reasons, I try to avoid it, myself.

:)

Arthropoid Global War

At first I read this as "Arthropod", and given the range of critters that includes - both in terms of variety and sheer biomass - I thought to myself, "this is gonna get ugly".

Most people I know are quite happy with Medicare. I am still on employer-provided group health insurance, and despite my employer having doubled its contribution to the premium, insurance is giving me a pay cut this year. The cost of the monthly rate hike exceeds McKinney's most expensive prescription cost. I will be eligible for Medicare in a couple of years, and am looking forward to that aspect of growing older.

Like russell, I'm for any plan that works. Many European countries have something other than strict single-payer. The fact is that there are many models for providing universal coverage, and we haven't adopted any of them. Republicans keep trusting "the market" despite the fact that medical care rarely involves market choices and preferences.

ACA was a good start, and could have been improved to help the insurance companies gradually accommodate to a stricter regulatory regime. But no, Republicans are happy with people going bankrupt, have no solutions for that, and have sabotaged the ACA in every way possible.

It seems practical to me to phase in Medicare for all by lowering the age of eligibility with a buy-in option (which would be the "public option") over the course of a few years. That would include eligibility for all aspects of Medicare, including supplemental programs.

In any case, to do any of this, we have to vote for people who want government to work for them instead of the conniving, greedy crooks who currently populate the Republican party.

If I'm not mistaken, GftNC, McKinney has already rejected the possibility of voting for Warren. So, basically, no. He seems to prefer to give the crooks the advantage of his non-participation (thereby giving his tax dollars to Trump properties) than to vote for someone who favors strong governmental insurance programs.

Arthropoid Global War

At first I read this as "Arthropod", and given the range of critters that includes - both in terms of variety and sheer biomass - I thought to myself, "this is gonna get ugly".

Someone on the internet has a handle "two legs bad, four legs good".

Should we add "six legs better, eight legs best"?

(and leave 100 legs and 1000 legs OUT of it)

"one foot, zero legs" is clearly worst, then.

(and leave 100 legs and 1000 legs OUT of it)

I'm pretty sure there are some of those crawling around the White House as we speak.

Ummm, why is this">https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/20190913_-_chm_schiff_letter_to_acting_dni_re_whistleblower_-_subpoena.pdf">this not the prevailing issue of the day?

Nothing to see?

Just tried again to imbed. Sorry - can't do it for some reason. I think the link to Schiff's letter appears in full and can be copied and pasted.

might be something to see. but the country knows nothing is going to happen. the only authority over the President has decided to back him in everything and punish nothing (because they are cowards), so Trump can act freely.

but the country knows nothing is going to happen.

The country has to make it happen. Impeachment isn't going to remove Trump, and although I think the House should do it, that's not going to work. Not sure the country is still in tact enough to hold legitimate elections, and am pretty certain that it will continue going downhill until November 2020. I think it's time for a general strike. Why is Hong Kong able to make some serious noise (which has actually yielded some attempts at compromise), and we're paralyzed?

“the current system works, mostly well enough, for people with insurance. ”

This isn’t actually an issue I feel competent enough on to bloviate at great length, but my understanding is that people with serious illnesses and with insurance often go bankrupt anyway. Other countries with private insurance systems regulate them to a far greater degree than we do.

So while my prejudice is to be for single payer, I am not fanatical about it and it could be done differently, but I suspect the degree of change necessary if we want to keep private insurance and be certain that nobody goes bankrupt from a serious illness would be immense. You would have almost as much opposition to that sort of plan, probably including from some “moderate” Democrats. The complexity of a mixed system is a plus for rent- seekers. Nobody except self described policy wonks will follow the details of a system that involves regulation of private insurance plus a public option with its own rules. And will people who have private insurance be happy to pay taxes for a public option they don’t use? It will become the same stupid battleground we always have when some people ( especially poor ones) are seen to benefit from a government program.

MKT— fire away. I’m sure there will be problems with single payer too.

We allow it in your case because you are a good-hearted person and will do it in good faith.

You are exceptionally kind.

For related reasons, I try to avoid it, myself.

You are exceptionally silly. :)

But seriously, I am glad that it's clear that I do try and do it in good faith; for example in this case I am not trying to insult McKinney, I am trying to understand him. It's usually obvious when someone is just insulting or taunting somebody for the hell of it, or virtue-signalling, or drunk or something, and obviously that leads nowhere interesting fast. But I thought that was called trolling and had its own prohibition. I'm still interested in this mindreading question, but perhaps it's so obvious that everybody but me understands it completely. Ah well, it wouldn't be the first time.

Tony P, I'm sure that was an excellent joke, but alas for me I didn't get that either!

Why is Hong Kong able to make some serious noise (which has actually yielded some attempts at compromise), and we're paralyzed?

because half of the US doesn't care, and half of the other half approves of everything Trump does, without question.

if he isn't voted out, this country is in serious trouble. not that 75% of us care.

I'm still interested in this mindreading question, but perhaps it's so obvious that everybody but me understands it completely.

seems to me that it's just one of the many logical fallacies that people like to blow the whistle on during internet discussions.

One other thing MkT—

The difference between government domestic policy and government foreign policy is immense. With domestic policy we the voters are directly effected and there is at least some small to middling chance this will scare politicians and bureaucrats into improved performance. It doesn’t always work that way— gun control is an example—but there is at least a decent chance of feedback having some effect.

With foreign policy that direct effect on voters is often missing. It’s there if a war involved American ground troops or if a trade war hurts people here, but with issues like Yemen the US government can get away with literal murder for years without most voters even noticing. And the default setting with our foreign policy establishment is to be pro-interventionist. Foreigners don’t vote in our elections, so our lovely government and the people in various think tanks can argue with each other about the details without in most cases needing to worry about threats to their jobs from the peasants— sometimes literal peasants.

Peasants with drones can provide their own sort of feedback.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/14/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-refineries-drone-attack.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Not to romanticize the Houthis, who are war criminals themselves. But maybe people would have been less eager to bomb and starve people in Yemen if Saudi oil shipments were at risk right from the start.

I didn’t bring up Yemen btw. I’d rather hear from MkT on GCC.

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