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January 16, 2020

Comments

wj: that could take too long. My ex-State buddies tell me that the damage already done there will take approximately three generations to repair.

GftNC, the effects of the damage to the judiciary are probably worse. Including, but not limited to, the impact of the recent spate of "not qualified" appointees.

And the damage to the environment, a century.
Optimistically.

Yogi Berry would consume a big chunk of "Familiar MisQuotations".

"I didn't say half the things I said"

or words to that effect.

wj: agreed.

Also, I second Janie's approval of Bartlett's Familiar Misquotations. I discover, as I bring many of my favourite quotations to the ObWi commentariat, that the attributions I have comfortably lived with for decades are either wrong, or at least disputed. Still, as one friend of mine said to another when they ended up in a jail cell together in the 60s, and his old acquaintance took the opportunity to check on the veracity of an excellent story he'd heard about him, "Well if it isn't true, it ought to be."

And come to think of it, although I was told this by the latter, this sounds like the kind of thing said by many wits, in many circumstances, down the ages.

I am laughing at myself about the Shaw quote, because it's from Back to Methuselah, not Man and Superman.

That's what I get for trying to be scholarly first thing in the morning. No more commenting without caffeine!

If I were a different personality, I would assert that I did it on purpose, and was waiting for someone to catch it. However........

If you were a different personality (God forfend!) you would double down and insist that it was, too, correct. No matter what the facts actually were.

We were just too kind to draw attention to the error.
Naturally.

We were just too kind to draw attention to the error.

LOL.

I should add that I’ve flubbed quotes so many times, I invariably now google them to check before posting.

Even, on occasion, if it’s Shakespeare.

Mine was a different kind of mistake. I knew perfectly well what play the quote was from; I did my PhD dissertation on Back to Methuselah, for crying out loud. And I've read both plays (and Major Barbara and Saint Joan) at least a couple dozen times, some iterations quite recently.

My half-asleep brain just crossed up typing the right name.

In fact, I had a copy of Back to Methuselah in front of me while I was typing, to make sure I got the quote exactly right.

Sigh.

Maybe you could blame auto correct..
?

Wait, what, our comment boxes have autocorrect?

;-)

I did my PhD dissertation on Back to Methuselah, for crying out loud.

You're a very weird person. :-)

You're a very weird person. :-)

I'm laughing out loud, although in truth my life might have gone a little better if I hadn't been quite so weird.

Anyhow, we've already got the beginnings of Familiar Misquotations, with this we can start another book called Brief Biographies of Not-Famous People.

The beginnings of the Obsidian Wings publishing house!

Byomtov et al:
1) I think the preexisting provisions of the ACA are welcome. I have no problem with those and recognize the benefit.
2) I didn’t love my HSA plan. It was what I could afford with a family of 8 while self-employed. For the first several years, we would have qualified for an ACA subsidy had it been there. We were “lucky” enough to max out the deductible and spend all our HSA each and every year. No savings for me. And the ACA did allow HSA’s. I stayed on mine although the premium went from $600/month or so to $1,800 with a larger deductible. The amount of pure effort my poor wife has had to expend and the stress it has caused trying to manage our family health care budget is mind boggling. And I make decent money.
3) “Staying Healthy” simply meant that we had to manage our own health care to some degree and that there were real cost savings there. I recognize that health is a lot of the time not about personal effort. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. I just had knee surgery. One of our kids had heart surgery. I get that.
4) I favor some form of universal coverage for children and the elderly and the weakest members of society. And yes, I rather like belonging to a society and believe I have obligations there. So “folks like bc and marty get cheapo health care, the rest of us be damned” is pure bs; I have never said or implied that. I’m ok with trying to resolve it “within the ACA framework,” but skeptical that will happen.
5) I respect those that want healthcare to be a right for all and that consider it our common obligation. I’m not that far off. My main issue is implementation and the need for individual responsibility for non-elderly adults. Frex, when I lived in Alaska back in the day, the huge number of state and fed employees with insurance that provided $10 doctor visits meant it was hard to get a doctor’s appointment at the clinic for fairly serious issues because everyone went there for the “sniffles.” And let’s just not talk about ER visits. So what to do? We have joined a health share that requires: 1) no smoking or immediately trying to quit; 2) trying to lose weight if you are above a certain BMI; 3) no illegal drugs; etc. We don’t require anyone on Medicare or Medicaid to stop smoking or at least try. For non-elderly adults, let’s put some personal responsibility in there too.
6) wj may be right that the absolute failure of the ACA to properly deal with certain people like me is due to incompetence, not design.
7) My main point (originally) was simply that paying the full cost of healthcare for more people and subsidizing to a great extent the cost for millions of others will be something that will never be taken away and thus it is a step towards single payer-for good or for bad- and to say otherwise is, IMHO, naïve.

Catastrophic insurance and HSAs don't work *for everybody*. Come up with something that is *actually better, for everybody* than what is available now, and I'm all ears.”

What I do care about is that whatever approach we take, be something that (a) makes it possible for everyone to go to the doctor when they are sick and for basic preventive care, and (b) manages the potentially large costs of illness for people who don't have good luck medically so that they aren't bankrupted by it. (a) and (b). Whatever makes that happen, *for everybody*, is fine with me.

russell: I'm almost there. For non-elderly adults, I would only add a (c), at reasonable cost, which I believe can only be achieved with personal responsibility.

How about the Singapore HSA model? I have raised that before and went to take a look and see if it is still fairing well. And anybody work for the state of Indiana? One view:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-us-can-slash-health-care-costs-75-with-2-fundamental-changes-and-without-medicare-for-all-2019-08-15

Another:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/22/upshot/singapore-health-system-lessons.html

I think the preexisting provisions of the ACA are welcome. I have no problem with those and recognize the benefit.

The thing is, covering those preexisting conditions costs. (Which is why the insurance companies were loathe to do it.) That money has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is the premiums everybody pays. TANSTAAFL
Or we could just raise your taxes and pay for it that way....

And the ACA did allow HSA’s. I stayed on mine although the premium went from $600/month or so to $1,800 with a larger deductible.

I'm honestly curious as to what caused that jump. Just saying "Obamcare" won't do it.

Was the coverage beyond the deductible increased, or were other features added?

How about the Singapore HSA model? I have raised that before and went to take a look and see if it is still fairing well. And anybody work for the state of Indiana?

I'm not sold on Medicare for all. I want our system to meet the objectives Russell lists, and am happy to support something that does it, be it the Singapore model, MFA, the Indiana model, the French model, or whatever.

(I once had to go to the ER in France, after I fell and feared I had broken some ribs. Fortunately, all was well, and the cost from the visit, including talking to the doctor, getting xrays, and being given some pain meds, was under $200. And that included a surcharge because it was a Sunday. The only paperwork needed was copying my passport.)

What frustrates and angers me, and I think many others, is that fior all the criticism of ACA, and efforts to repeal it, the Republicans have offered zero in the way of alternatives. Zero. They just rant about how bad it is, while trying to hobble it anyway they can.

It is simply impossible, IMO, to credit conservatives with the slightest bit of good faith in addressing our health care needs. Look at Medicaid expansion. GOP states turn it down, and then we read sad stories of rural hospitals forced to close.

I personally think ACA is a decent basis for a national system. It needs improvements, probably, but if there had been any interest on the right in addressing the problems we would have had them by now. Instead we get lots of unintelligent criticism, accompanied by no constructive efforts whatsoever, and repeated attempts at killing it.

So while I can sympathize with your situation, I think you should take up your complaints with the GOP.

It is simply impossible, IMO, to credit conservatives with the slightest bit of good faith in addressing our health care needs.

I'd put that as

It is simply impossible to credit reactionaries with the slightest bit of good faith in addressing our health care needs.
Because, after all, it was conservatives who came up with the design for Obamacare originally (as, admittedly, an alternative to something like single-payer/Medicare-for-all). Not that today's "conservatives" will admit it. But then, they aren't really conservatives. But definitely reacting. And in complete bad faith.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-way-your-company-can-offer-health-insurance-is-changing-in-a-fundamental-way-and-no-one-knows-about-it-2020-01-22?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Byomtov:

I'm honestly curious as to what caused that jump. Just saying "Obamcare" won't do it.

I stand corrected by my wife. There was a significant increase in premium right before Obamacare that took our cost to over $900 by the time we had to make a choice. And yes, the Obamacare had broader coverage, mainly maternity (we no longer needed that) and the pediatric coverages. Our plan was pretty broad, though, and better in terms of deductible and co-pay.

One approach to primary healthcare.

"Direct Primary Care (DPC) is an innovative alternative payment model improving access to high functioning healthcare with a simple, flat, affordable membership fee. No fee-for-service payments. No third party billing. The defining element of DPC is an enduring and trusting relationship between a patient and his or her primary care provider. Patients have extraordinary access to a physician of their choice, often for as little as $70 per month, and physicians are accountable first and foremost their patients. DPC is embraced by health policymakers on the left and right and creates happy patients and happy doctors all over the country!"
Direct Primary Care Coalition

An example.

"NeuCare works directly and exclusively for patients.

Our simple, monthly membership fee covers the vast majority of primary care services without insurance hassles."
NeuCare

The "by" at 10:12 is me. Autofill-induced error.

wj,

it was conservatives who came up with the design for Obamacare originally (as, admittedly, an alternative to something like single-payer/Medicare-for-all). Not that today's "conservatives" will admit it. But then, they aren't really conservatives.

Well, whatever. If today's Republicans, and self-styled conservatives, aren't really conservatives then there is no significant conservative presence in American politics today.

The ideological meaning of terms like liberal and conservative is not fixed, IMO, and they mostly are useful for labeling different, generally opposing, groups, rather than trying to draw general conclusions about their philosophies that hold over a long period of time or across countries.

there is no significant conservative presence in American politics today

Pretty much. There are a few moderately conservative Republican politicians at the local level. And some Democrats who are moderately conservative and can't find any other home. But they are all individuals, crying in the wilderness. Nothing like a conservative political party is on offer.

Of all the ridiculous bullshit emanating from the Republican Senate, this perhaps takes the biscuit....
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/26/braun-trump-impeachment-learn-105262

it was conservatives who came up with the design for Obamacare originally (as, admittedly, an alternative to something like single-payer/Medicare-for-all).

False.

Please also note Romney's 8 vetoes that were overridden by the MA legislature.

Like Andy Kaufmann, Trump will appear net Fall in a neck brace chastened by his harrowing near miss at being removed from the highest office in my government.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmHCx8lCl8Y

He will be executed.

The Republican Party will be butchered and slaughtered.

From bobbyp's link, because it can't be repeated too often:

The Republican offer to the uninsured isn't anything like the ACA. It's "nothing." And the Republican offer to Medicare and Medicaid recipients is to deny many of them access to health care that they now receive. Progressive frustration with the ACA is understandable, but let's not pretend that anything about the law reflects the priorities of actually existing American conservatives.

I hear that "nothing" argument regularly, so I can testify that Scott Lemieux didn't make it up and project it elsewhere. You're poor and you get sick, tough luck. You probably deserve it, even if your only offense was not to be born a master of the universe.

How about the Singapore HSA model?

Here's a primer.

And here's another take.

In sum, the heavy hand of government "intrusion" is just about everywhere. It is an approach that today's conservative movement, and our coddled and powerful heath care industry would fight tooth and nail.

Of all the ridiculous bullshit emanating from the Republican Senate....

You have to admit they are pretty good at it.

The idea that Trump would, in any way, be chastised by this whole thing defies both common sense and belief. It will only get worse. He will be emboldened.

Once the Senate gets done with this reverse show trial that Stalin would have been proud of, the House should turn right around and impeach the fucker again.

The Republican Party will be butchered and slaughtered.

No, they won't. And nobody here, probably including you, actually wants that.

C'mon man, we all love you, but you need to cut this out.

C'mon man, we all love you, but you need to cut this out.

At least be more subtle, like Trump, Pompeo, etc.

I could whine that my statements are "metaphors".

Like this murderous aborting trump faith healing conservative biblical literalist:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/01/26/paula-white-miscarry-metaphor/

Was this metaphor?

"Whereas the laws of the United States have been for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the Marshals by law.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution, and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed."

I too possess all the unlimited powers Donald Trump reserves only for himself under the cessation of the rule of law now declared by the U.S. Senate, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings.

All of us do.

We can do and say anything we please.

We can end this country now.

https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/because-fox-news-pompeos-insult-reporter-leads-trump-threatening-npr

Thanks for your thoughtful reply above, bc.

paying the full cost of healthcare for more people and subsidizing to a great extent the cost for millions of others will be something that will never be taken away and thus it is a step towards single payer-for good or for bad

I'd say that's not-unlikely, and as an example I'd offer employer-provided insurance, which is how most people with private insurance get it now.

For all its goods or ills, it's what most people have, so they don't want to give it up. It seems "free-ish" to them, because they don't pay out of pocket for at least part of it. It's what they know, so they don't want to let go of it.

And so, now we're largely stuck with it.

I have no particular issue with the IN or Singapore plans, whatever works. I will say that I don't have high confidence in approaches that rely on market pressures, because the conditions for efficient markets generally don't exist in the area of health care. And, we have a recent historical experiment in using market forces to reduce the cost of health care - e.g. HMO's and PPO's - and whatever their benefits, they did not reduce the cost of health care.

I'd also say that using cost of / access to health care as a way of motivating them to improve their behavior health-wise is not a guaranteed win. I have a tiny amount of exposure to that world, my general impression is that positive motivations are more effective.

Rather than charge them more for health insurance or care if they smoke / don't lose weight / etc, give them something if they do. It probably nets out about the same, but it feels very different to the recipient.

People don't like nanny insurance company any more than they like nanny state. Punishment doesn't usually result in compliance.

Rather than charge them more for health insurance or care if they smoke / don't lose weight / etc, give them something if they do. It probably nets out about the same, but it feels very different to the recipient.

Income tax refunds seem to indicate that. People feel like they're getting a windfall. Not that they're just getting back the money they loaned to the government for free.

Regarding health:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/coronavirus-china-kung-flu/

I'm sorry I didn't put hedges on in the stock market last week, though I did some selling around the margins.

Also regarding people's bad habits and personal responsibility: we have a corporate economic order that does its best to addict folks to alcohol, tobacco and crap food.

When called on it, freedom is invoked and THEN the corporations lie, cheat, and obfuscate about their part in the problem, with lots of help from elected filth who circumscribe regulation.

Individuals get stuck holding the bag.

We're told government may not interfere because unfettered markets are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen and shut the fuck up.

Witness the tobacco industry. Witness the painkiller industry. Witness the gun industry.

Layered on top of THAT is a health food and supplement industry that also invokes "freedom" and "markets" to bullshit about the positive, untested effects of their products.

Let the hippies at Vitamin Cottage incorporate and they lawyer and Wall Street up like the suits against any questioning of their marketing claims.

Buyer beware? Cripes.

And by the way, the climate change deniers are using the tobacco industry pushback model developed three decades ago to fuck the world.

Citizens Fucking Ununited.

Really, the cloud of horseshit in this country blots out the sun.

because the conditions for efficient markets generally don't exist in the area of health care.

And here we are almost 60 years later pounding the pud of the very classical economics that conservatives swear they are sucking the toes of.

Makes one wonder.

Bolton.

Sheesh.

Really, the cloud of horseshit in this country blots out the sun.

Agreed.

Bolton.

Is possibly, potentially, open to testifying, but doesn't want to FUBAR his book deal.

Who remembers this item, from back in November (courtesy of Nigel)?

Earlier this month, Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, the moustachioed one, the unlikeliest of potential #Resistance heroes, left another clue about his knowledge of President Donald Trump’s corrupt dealings during an investment event at Morgan Stanley.

Not so interested in sharing what he knows with Congress. Happy to spill to the money people.

All about the Benjamins.

Seriously, these are horrible people. Horrible. And all of the incentives are oriented toward attracting horrible people and helping them to thrive and succeed.

Trump is an epiphenomenon. The rot is much, much, much deeper.

doesn't want to FUBAR his book deal.

When you know any claim to patriotism on his part, ever at any time, is garbage.

Yeah, it’s about as convincing as the Republican claims that Collins and Murkowski are the “conscience of the Senate”...

OTOH, when villains fall out, they don’t always keep their mouths shut.
And Bolton has a notoriously short fuse.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/480027-bolton-lawyer-slams-corrupted-white-house-review-process-after-book
A lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton accused White House officials of leaking details of Bolton's forthcoming book following a report that the manuscript contained the allegation that President Trump directly tied security aid for Ukraine to the country investigating his political rivals....

As an aside, I’m sure Lin Manuel is absolutely delighted that Bolton has appropriated a Hamilton line for his book title...

An optimistic view of the Bolton affair...
https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/01/26/dick-cheneys-apprentice-strikes/

When Putin decides to murder Russian dissidents in England, he goes out of his way to make it obvious who's responsible, by using Polonium-210 or Novichok. Then he denies responsibility. He thus speaks both to credulous supporters who are eager to believe any protestation of his innocence, and to triumphant supporters who celebrate his willingness and ability to do as he pleases.

Trump admires Putin enormously, and is doing the same thing in his own stupid way. No thinking person is supposed to believe his denials. That doesn't matter to him at all: the point is for him to prove that he can and will shoot a liberal dead on 5th Avenue and proudly get away with it.

Maggie Haberman twerks:

"Per sources, some GOP senators privately pushing White House for information on who at administration had visibility into the manuscript over the last month. Senators feel blindsided"

Oedipus, Helen Keller, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Stevie Wonder, my maternal grandmother, and the Three Blind Mice were blindsided.

The subhuman, vermin conservative republican filth running the Stalinist show trial and 62 million willing tax-hating anti-American deplorable dupes, including whichever Bernie bros voted for fascism, eyes wide open, fucked America.

And now America will fuck them.

Wipe the Republican Party off the face of the Earth, including John Bolton.

First, of course, we must endure martial law and the cancellation of the 2020 elections as trump vermin hold up in the Oval Office suites at Mar-a-Lago, their heavily armed republican paramilitary wings standing sentry outside while assassinating liberal figures around the country, and issue fatwas against their enemies.

Russian troops, under the UN flag, will be welcomed into the State of Texas by the Governor of Texas to quell savage chaos and mayhem.

I can play this game better and longer than any fucking right winger, and if it's not a game ... then game on.

Senators feel blindsided

Oh, the poor dears.

But you know the refrain.......

I guess we'll see if the definition of hearsay can be stretched even further to suggest that Bolton's knowledge of events isn't firsthand enough to count as evidence. If so, mental gymnastics might become a new event at this year's Summer Olympics.

"Disgruntled employee with a book to sell" is going to be doing a lot of work.

No, it's better suited to the Winter Olympics. It's all about snowing people, after all.

"Disgruntled employee with a book to sell" is going to be doing a lot of work.
No, they have quite another excuse prepared...
“The problem with John is that it’s a national security problem,” the president added, indicating executive privilege would apply to Bolton's testimony. “He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive and I have to deal on behalf of the country?”...

Oops, I was wrong...
"There is no way in the world President Trump would say this to John Bolton," Giuliani tweeted. "It’s a shame that a man will sacrifice his integrity to make a few bucks on a book. No wonder he accomplished so little as National Security Advisor....

wrt Bolton,

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

The guy is out of government and not likely to get back in.

I'm wondering if he leaked it himself, for fear the WH would hold it up until after the election.

The emptywheel post I linked above pretty well suggests as much.

"What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive and I have to deal on behalf of the country?..."

Yeah, Rocket Man, Animal Assad, Juan Trump, Sleepy Joe, Crooked Angela Merkel Clinton, and My Jew Netanyahu might go bezeek when they find out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nicknames_used_by_Donald_Trump#Foreign_leaders

Dese republican vermin are going to go tru sum tings.

Take him out.

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

It's how business is done oveh heah.

It is ... what it is.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/romney-collins-bolton-book-trump-witnesses-impeachment-trial

Whore fluffer Mitt Romney takes one dick out of his mouth and puts another one in.

You just have to wait your turn with that sleazeball.

With Romney, you just put money on the table over there and unzip.

Now Susan Collins, she's a Madame.

With one pinky raised, she slips the fifty down her decolletage.

Four seats flips the Senate. No majority, and McConnell has no power. No majority, and no more Federalist Society judicial conga line.

And, should Trump win, with no majority in the House or Senate, he's dead in the water. A nullity.

If you have $5, send $5. If you have more, send more.

i think i've donated to a dozen races so far this cycle. even Schiff got some, thanks to Donny's threat yesterday.

If only people in other countries could (legally) donate - it would be interesting to see if America's friends spending money to get rid of Trump could outspend its enemies (like Putin) spending money to support him.

A little something for those of you who think there are no decent Republican politicians:
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2020/01/27/column-kevin-faulconer-is-the-gops-best-and-only-hope-to-regain-ground-in-california/

Faulconer can be labeled a fiscal conservative, but he’s a social moderate — like lots of California voters.

He supports abortion rights, same-sex marriage and a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. He opposes President Trump’s proposed border wall. And he has never endorsed Trump. On guns, he’s OK with California’s strong controls.

wj,

There are a host of moderate to conservative Democrats who hold the same mix of positions. Hell's bells, Obama was in the thrall of austerianism. He seriously tried to achieve a "Grand Bargain" on the budget with the GOP (gag me with a spoon). Nancy Pelosi is all in for "pay-go" (an utterly bankrupt fiscal approach).

So what makes this guy a Republican?

I'd wager it comes down to sucking up to the business community (tax breaks for 'entrepeneurs', who, being exceptional people don't need them, right? A loathsome hate on unions, especially public sector ones? Rolling back burdensome regulations (i.e., cost shifting)?

But I am just guessing.

Listened to about 5 minutes of the impeachment trial when I was out on an errand.

Apparently, there are some bad people in the Ukraine. Also, Hunter Biden was paid a lot of money by Burisma for not doing a whole lot, and everyone agreed that this created "a strong possibility of the perception of a conflict of interest" for Joe Biden.

Donald who?

strong possibilities of perceptions are criminal corruption, too, my friend.

or, present a strong possibility of the perception of it.

In other news, the CEO of GoFundMe tells us that 1 out of 3 dollars raised on their website go to pay for medical expenses.

One of the take-aways from the article:

In a survey, the Commonwealth Fund asked working-age Americans if they felt they could pay an unexpected medical bill of $1,000 in 30 days. Nearly 50% said no.

$1,000, in 30 days. $3 and change a day. Can you scratch $3 and change a day out of your household budget? To pay for a medical emergency?

Half of the people asked said "no can do".

Markets are roaring. It's the best economy in the history of nation, if not the world.

Bigly.

How come nobody says "bigly" anymore?

Also - I am seriously the most innumerate dope on the Internets.

Zeros. How the f*** do they work?

$33 and change a day.

Find $1000, in a month, to pay for a medical emergency. Half of the folks asked said "no can do".

Best economy in the history of the nation.

Listened to about 5 minutes of the impeachment trial when I was out on an errand.

ditto.

same impression.

what's fun about the GOP's defense is that they are making it about Joe Biden. which is exactly Trump's motive for what he did re: Ukraine.

they're working Trump's campaign strategy, during a trial over Trump's campaign strategy!

do they think we can't see this?

do they think we can't see this?

we aren't the intended audience.

Also - I am seriously the most innumerate dope on the Internets.

Zeros. How the f*** do they work?

Clearly you have a bright future in the Trump OMB. Or would, if you didn't feel compelled to correct your errors.

I'm in Europe this week (meetings), so I'm getting impeachment news in a clump to start my day, rather than dribbles throughout. Which may impact my perceptions.

But it looks to me like a house of cards collapsing. Is there any defense left? I mean besides ginning up a national security crisis (i.e. war) to try to justify suspending proceedings indefinitely? Preferably before a vote on whether to call witnesses. (Which is more of a strategy than an actual defense.)

Of course, even a suspension suffers from the detail that damning information keeps coming out anyway. But seriously, what else is left?

Loved this bit (from the Economist's daily newsletter):

Mr Trump’s lawyers lumbered on, seemingly undaunted by (or unprepared for) the New York Times’s reporting that Mr Bolton’s forthcoming book could confirm details of the pressure campaign against Ukraine at the heart of the trial, were he called to testify.
[Emphasis added]
"Unprepared" -- yeah, that sounds like them.

Is there any defense left?

the fact that the Senate GOP is going to acquit no matter what obviates the need for an actual defense.

it's good to be the cult leader.

the fact that the Senate GOP is going to acquit no matter what obviates the need for an actual defense.

Then they could have just stood up and said: "The defense rests." If they'd done that, they could have gotten their vote before Bolton's stuff went public.

I have the sneaking suspicion that the defense feels that the outcome is far less certain than it appears to us on the outside. Highly probable still, certainly, (although the odds are dropping). But not as certain as we think. Maybe because they know something we don't. About the Senators -- we know they know stuff we don't about what evidence of Trump's guilt could yet surface.

wj, I think it's more likely that the defense team have gotten their instructions

"They said BAD things about me! Very bad things! Now go and hit back at them!"

I still think the Senate should have opted for 'trial by combat': Trump vs. Schiff, with baseball bats. To the death.

I have the sneaking suspicion that the defense feels that the outcome is far less certain than it appears to us on the outside

that would take 20 GOP Senators. there aren't even four willing to stand up and demand witnesses.

it's not a defense, it's a campaign ad.

it's not a defense, it's a campaign ad.

This, a thousand times.

Plus the sneering glee of pulling it off, that not-quite-hides just below the serious faces and the manufactured outrage ("they feel blindsided, woe is them).

that would take 20 GOP Senators. there aren't even four willing to stand up and demand witnesses.

First, it is looking increasingly that there may be 4 (or more) who are willing to accept witnesses. It's taken an appalling amount of time for them to get there, but it looks like it will happen.

Second, I think that it would be a substantive change in result to get a majority, even if not the necessary 2/3, voting for removal. That might not happen, of course. But I think the defense is thinking that that might well happen -- that was what I was trying to say.

I still doubt there will be enough votes for removal. But just losing a majority would be a massive defeat for Trump. Certainly it would be in his mind.

The Hunter Biden thing, while it does stink that you can get that much money by virtue of being he VP's son, actually does make sense. You have an historically corrupt company trying to clean up its image. Sure, having a Biden on your board "looks good" in a very general sense. But, beyond that, you are giving someone a position of authority at your company and making him privy to your company's activities.

That person can rat you out in a heartbeat to the guy who is in charge of Ukraine affairs and rooting out corruption on behalf of the United States. Having Hunter Biden on the Burisma board actually makes corruption at Burisma far less likely. That's the goal.

How many corporate boards/C-suites have people that are vastly overpaid, based on any rational appraisal of what they contribute? It's not like politician spawn are alone in this particular cesspit of corruption.

Fire 'em all, sez I.

Hunter Biden, bad look, blah blah blah, yada yada yada.

that the President of the United States should be personally interested in it, that his personal lawyer should be involved in making a shadow diplomatic effort to 'investigate' it, that it should be a cornerstone of the US's policy towards Ukraine, is absolutely absurd. the matter of one person sitting on a corporate board is not what the person at the top of an organization with 2M+ employees worries about.

the GOP is at least twice as stupid as it assumes everyone else is.

burn it down.

How many corporate boards/C-suites have people that are vastly overpaid, based on any rational appraisal of what they contribute?

As a first approximation: 100%
Mostly what they contribute is a reliable vote for high CEO salaries. In exchange for the CEO doing the same when he sits on their board.

The better question is, how many boards have as many as 1/3 of their members who actually have something useful to contribute? My guess: damn few.

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