Sunday assorted links

by on January 8, 2017 at 12:03 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 anon January 8, 2017 at 12:11 pm

3. “That makes Obama a tragic figure. He offered rational, sensible approach to problem-solving. In America, that is still a limited premise on which to base any extended form of rule.”

The source of my sadness as well, then.

2 mulp January 8, 2017 at 12:53 pm

But Obama adopted Republican policies as the basis, Romneycare, Dolecare, for health reform, and tax cuts to stimulate the economy along with quoting Reagan on infrastructure spending to get the US out of high employment.

Hardly rational, sensible policies….

He should have adopted the sensible rational policies of Fidel and Chavez like the radical leftist revolutionary he is!

By adopting Republican policies, he made Republican policies radical leftist revolutionary policies that are intended to destroy America.

3 anon January 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Obama adopted Romneycare because it was the improvement he could get. Pragmatism. Republicans turned on their own plan, because as the interview says:

“The orthodoxy of the Republican Party only works well in opposition, in resistance against somebody who is willing to use the government to solve problems.”

We see that here, daily. Complaining about drug deaths? How dare you, it might lead so some plan to reduce them, and we can’t have that.

4 Careless January 8, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Republicans turned on their own plan

Yeah, I can’t believe they didn’t vote for it after all the times they passed it in the 90s only to have it vetoed by Clinton. Oh, wait, they never supported it.

5 So Much For Subtlety January 8, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Romneycare was never a Republican policy. It cost Romney. It was a compromise with the hard-left world of Massachusetts politics.

Obama may have quoted Reagan on infrastructure but he sure as hell didn’t make so none of the money went to White working class males. Reagan would have built some bridges. Not funded childcare and domestic violence lobbyists.

Reagan was sensible and rational,

6 Chip January 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The initial two years of his first term were marked by majorities in the house and senate. The signature policy at that time was Obamacare, which:

– was predicated on the lie that people could keep their doctors
– that the American people were too stupid to understand they were being lied to (Gruber)
– that the law would have to be passed in order to understand it (Pelosi)

As Obamacare unravels and we look further afield at the unnecessary chaos in Libya, troops returning to a once stable Iraq, an enriched Iran and newly expansionist china and Russia, where is the evidence that the US and it’s extra $10 trillion of debt has been governed sensibly?

One truism that emerges from this presidency is that love is indeed blind. People love Obama, they believe they love him because he’s smart, and the harsh reality of all the evidence littered around them and the world is immaterial.

One of the good things about a president Trump is that we can get back to treating politicians as flawed and mostly unlikeable agents of the public’s will.

7 anon January 8, 2017 at 1:16 pm

I really steeped myself to be patient, Chip, and to read that for content.

Do you really think Obamacare was entirely designed to take away your plan? Or do you actually understand the consequences of minimum coverage standards? The benefit as well as the cost?

Libya, again was a European plan. Don’t have patience for the false narrative that it was Obama who wanted Gadaffi out right now.

Overall, you are not offering a reality based argument.

8 derek January 8, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Yes. It is working as designed. The problem for Obama is that he was selling something that wasn’t going to be anything but disruptive with little, very little upside. So he wears it.

It was the US that took Gadaffi out. Hillary was strutting around bragging about it. Whether Obama wanted it or not, he did it. Or wasn’t he bright enough to know what signing the order meant?

I love how Obama is setting himself up as the tragic figure, the victim. He did that when he spouted off on the red line in Syria then backed off. If only he had more power, if only the Republicans didn’t exist, if only all those people who voted against me were not white.

Poor Obama. Poor Michelle, she will have to listen to this for years to come.

9 anon January 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm

On a scale of one to ten, I give the linked interview an eight. It is insightful, even if it does not prove fully precient.

I give the Chip and derek counterarguments a two, on the same scale. They depend too much on warped and partisan memories and perceived slights, too little on dispassionate analysis.

10 Alain January 8, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Of course you would like that screed, It aligns with your narrative of how Obama, like the rest of the left, is pragmatic, reality based, and beautiful. Go fuck youself.

Instead of the truth that you are sanctimonious morally repugnant hucksters. Even worse you constantly attempt to destroy all systems which enhance human welfare.

11 anon January 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Wonderful proof that you can do “dispassionate”, Alain.

12 Jan January 8, 2017 at 6:17 pm

The “very little” upside being covering tens of millions more people significantly reducing health care cost growth? That’s actually huge. You won’t admit it because you hate the man. Anyway, the Republicans will now keep Obamacare and say they repealed it (because in the near term it is the best that can be done on health care absent single payer, etc.) Or, they will take insurance from millions of people, fuck the markets and say they have made health care better, which will be an obvious lie.

13 Stubbs January 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm

I always admire a “you’ve got to lie to the dummies for the greater good” argument. Puts those cretins in their place!

14 anon January 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Was it a lie? Or an unintended consequence as more plans fell below minimum coverage than expected?

15 Harun January 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

When you promise certain benchmarks, testable ones, indeed, and you fail to deliver, its either that you were lying or you were wrong.

We’ve since learned that some didn’t want Obama do say the “you can keep your doctor, your plan, save $2,500” but he did it anyways.

This highly suggests it was a LIE. Same thing with Gruber’s later gleeful explanation. Same thing with gaming CBO.

16 Chip January 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I stated a list of facts and you replied with 1) a pointless rhetorical question and 2) the idea that the Libya debacle was Europe’s fault.

“We came, we saw, he died.” Who said that, I wonder. Hint, it’s the same person whose deputy chief of staff wrote:

“She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”

Debating with you is like telling someone they shouldn’t be in love with someone. You can’t argue with feelings.

17 anon January 8, 2017 at 2:21 pm

You are rambling (ranting) far off-topic now.

But then that is your goal, to tell yourself enough lies to work yourself into a rightous lather.

18 Hermit Crab January 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm

“Do you really think Obamacare was entirely designed to take away your plan? Or do you actually understand the consequences of minimum coverage standards? The benefit as well as the cost?”

Either they knew it was going to happen and lied about it, or they were too stupid to realize it would happen even though pretty much everyone on the Right said it would. Neither option inspires confidence.

19 anon January 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm

The weird thing above was the claim that the purpose of the plan was to take away your insurance. Paranoid and uninformed.

The purpose of the plan was to expand coverage with good plans.

“I like my bad plan” might rarely be an informed comment, but most most often it is “I like my cheap plan and I don’t know how bad it is.”

20 may we live in interesting times January 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Some of us liked our “minimum” plans.

21 Jan January 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm

And Trump and lots of other R’s are out there saying Obamacare is bad because deductibles have gone up. So, which is it?

22 anon January 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Steeled, another creative improvement by android “spell check.”

23 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Find me a Republican who could in any world become president and would not have intervened in Libya.

It did not go well, that much is clear.

24 Boonton January 8, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Please, no one was unable to keep their doctor under Obamacare.

25 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 1:32 am

The lies and the people who believe them. This is some scientology level deception.

26 The Orignal D January 8, 2017 at 7:11 pm

I kept my doctor.

27 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Maybe replace the map of the USA with a world map. That might help.

Any guesses on what the Republican/Democrat percentages are on a) have a passport and b) have ever used it for a reason other than a beach holiday?

28 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm

My computer occasionally shuts off at completely random times, such as now. But I thought it was worth returning to ask that question.

Americans are less ignorant on average than people who live off the grid in jungles or who have grade 2 education and have never left the slums. But with the generally very highly advanced level of development in the US, it is truly an embarrassment, as those who travel tend to discover eventually. It would be better if folks knew, although I think it applies much less on this board than on average.

29 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Twice in a row for the first time ever! New record! Good thing I don’t do banking on this device …

(P.S. – last vote was only 2 short of getting backdoors on all devices, in proposed legislation which also suggests that the simple fact of using encryption should legitimize legal use of every other surveillance tool at the disposal of those people who use them. Enjoy your freedom!)

30 derek January 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Serves you right when you buy used DNC computer hardware.

31 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm

All hardware must be destroyed immediately after first use. It will be good for the economy.

32 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Derek, I don’t think you understood the point that literally, backdoors are on the verge of being mandated for all personal devices.

The entire USA is about to be ripe for the picking, easily enabling any foreign spy agency to access any device of any American.

Oh, but there’s this purse snatcher who got away because aerial surveillance isn’t detailed enough. Better make sure to get that purse snatcher! 20 more surveillances planes please, with a petabyte of storage daily. For the security of the purses of those who walk!

33 So Much For Subtlety January 8, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Nathan is so upset about the American government having a possible back door into his computer, he moved to China. Where the government has a back door into every computer. And every piece of software like Wechat allows the government to search your computer or your phone whenever they please.

Revealed preferences show Nathan’s talking points are specious.

34 Troll me January 9, 2017 at 4:12 am

SMFS – yes, I would not even consider buying a computer in China for that reason. Shall I add the USA to that list?

I’m thinking to start a services company which sells hardware at cost, and makes money by bundling into the purchase price the service of demonstrating the IT security qualities (no backdoors) with respect to governmental and non-governmental access, at the point of purchase.

After purchase would be another story, but a “return to factory settings” button could help out for that.

Mostly, if you follow the list of safe browsing habits, you should be fine.

35 Thor January 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

“My computer occasionally shuts off at completely random times, such as now. But I thought it was worth returning to ask that question.”

Turns out it was not worth it.

36 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 1:35 am

Talk about incompetence. Run a malware scan. Reinstall your operating system. Check your electrical components. Be competent at something.

37 Anon7 January 9, 2017 at 3:38 am

For our sake, please do not help him. It is a minor blessing to be spared from some of his babbling.

38 Troll me January 9, 2017 at 4:16 am

You could have opened with “here’s the standard list of things to do” instead of an insult.

These days, NSA et al retain stockpiles of known vulnerabilities which the malware companies don’t find out about until months or years later (if ever). This leaves a great many millions of devices vulnerable to foreign attack as well, but this allows the NSA to monitor people who they could monitor anyways if they were able to get a warrant (i.e., there’s no good reason).

There’s hardly even any point. Just do safe browsing and install from known companies only, while restricting access of all programs to access the internet without explicit permission.

39 Hermit Crab January 8, 2017 at 3:52 pm

The Democrats are the party of the upper class people who openly look down on the lower class. “Why won’t those ignorant people take international holidays? What, they don’t have paid vacation or thousands of dollars lying around? Who knew?” International travel is the quintessential SWPL activity, something that you do that lets you look down on the rubes without requiring much actual ability or effort.

Note, though, that Democrats are not the party of the upper class as a whole(see exit polls), probably, the number of people who would pass your test would be a fifty-fifty split.

40 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 8, 2017 at 7:18 pm

” something that you do that lets you look down on the rubes without requiring much actual ability or effort.”

Yeah because getting a job that gives you paid vacation time and a high salary doesn’t require ability or effort. Please think before you post.

41 Troll me January 9, 2017 at 4:19 am

Drive half as much, take longer holidays.

42 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 1:33 am

“People who disagree with me are ignorant, racist, and provencial.”

To be clear, I’ve visited many third world countries to lay about in the luxury my first (parent’s) first world currency could buy. I guess I am sophisticated for having lorded my privilege over poor brown people by your dumb metric.

43 Troll me January 9, 2017 at 4:33 am

I would not conclude that a person is sophisticated if they can see such simplistic thinking in another who points that out.

You’re pretty strong proof that the metric is not a perfect predictor. Among other things, if you just go there to lay about in luxury (which, by the way, does not even exist by Western standards in many places), then you’re definitely not going to learn much about the people there. Surely, there are many Democrat supporters who do the same.

44 P A January 8, 2017 at 12:36 pm

#2: Wrong link.

45 ant1900 January 8, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Google “The House GOP’s Good Tax Trade-Off”-

46 Kal January 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

I’m just being too lazy to do the math myself, but: if Feldstein is right that “a border tax adjustment wouldn’t change U.S. national saving or investment,” and is right that it will raise “substantial tax revenue,” what goes down? Tax revenue counts towards national saving, so if it goes up, what other saving is going down?”

47 Bartram's Garden January 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Tyler is one of the top unreliable narrators who was left out.

48 prior_test2 January 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm

He isn’t in the least unreliable if you have even the smallest amount of experience with either GMU style PR or how people fronting public policy institutes are supposed to act.

49 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm

“5. Who are the top unreliable narrators? (a few names were left out…)”
I think the answer is a little obvious.“brazilian+othello”+”unreliable+narrator”&source=bl&ots=7DYDFCaNje&sig=bgHLbq2WtsZ24ECRcf2NYYCsjkg&hl=pt-BR&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjske7Ui7PRAhWEgpAKHdkKA7kQ6AEIKzAE#v=onepage&q=%22brazilian%20othello%22%20%22unreliable%20narrator%22&f=false

I think we can say Modern Literature, as such, was invented by Brazilians.

50 JWatts January 8, 2017 at 6:18 pm

“Who are the top unreliable narrators? ” … “I think we can say Modern Literature, as such, was invented by Brazilians.”

So, Brazilians are unreliable narrators? Ok, I can buy that.

51 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Brazilian writer have the talent to create unreliable narrators. I particularly direct you to the works of Brazilian writers such as Machado de Assis, Graciliano Ramos and Augusto dos Anjos. As Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, whose style is reminiscent of Brazilian poetry, wrote:

“The poet is a faker

Who’s so good at his act

He even fakes the pain

Of pain he feels in fact.

And those who read his words

Will feel in his writing

Neither of the pains he has

But just the one they’re missing”

52 David January 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm

5. Elliot Alderson

53 Ray Lopez January 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm

#5- unreliable narrators, obviously this left out story comes to mind by A. Christie:

54 Anonymous January 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Absolutely #1.

55 stephan January 8, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Yes I read this book a long time ago. The narrator searches for the killer, but reveals at the end he is the killer. Unbelievable !

56 HM Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 8, 2017 at 9:02 pm

HEY IDIOT I was just about to start reading it.

57 Gary Lowe January 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm


58 derek January 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm

3. What a weird article. Hillary as a competent manager? Where did that fantasy come from? She lost because she was utterly incompetent, her hand at foreign policy left a swathe of destruction and misery, and was intent on some notion that she could control information to the point that she destroyed her prospects by sloppy implementation.

What did Obama actually accomplish? Making people who have low skills be doomed to less than 30 hour per week part time jobs?

He wasn’t transformative except that he was black, only noticeable to people who are consumed by race. Little effect has that had, as we are seeing a reversion to the mean in race relations.

And he leaves a Democratic Party is disarray and further from the levers of power than when he came in. He has no legacy because he didn’t build an infrastructure to maintain it.

Trump picked low hanging fruit, so low that it took mental midgets to not hit their heads on them. Essentially he strengthened the Republican party by excising a layer of thought and people who thought they were the center and power, but in fact were the anchor preventing the ascension to power. For a destructor he set up a pretty good situation. We now will have the oppositional dynamics between Trump and the Republican Congress. The fights of import won’t come from Schumer. That will be noise and distraction, and make the media feel good. Trump will poke at Schumer, there will be this flurry of noise and commotion, and the Congress and Senate will pass whatever they want.

Obama would have been much smarter, and have left a long lasting legacy if he had set up a more hostile and oppositional arrangement with his Democrat majority in Congress. His failures stem from actions of Congress; a really badly implemented health care law, the spending bills. He ended up being a rather poor salesman for the dog’s breakfast that Pelosi and Reid were throwing his way. Then he was hamstrung when their incompetence gave the Republicans enough to stand in his way.

This comes natural to Trump, who enters every room knowing that he can leave relieved of everything he has if he isn’t careful. And leaves with everything the other guy has if he is successful. If we had real journalists someone enterprising would look at the world he lived in for decades, and did not to bad in. Commercial development and construction is probably the most vicious and demanding industry you could imagine, where your success depends on so many things out of your control, and you need to be acutely aware of the power relationships to survive. If you don’t have power you won’t, it is as simple as that. How that translates into his Presidency will be interesting to see. This isn’t academia, it is more of a knife fight world.

59 nigel January 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Good points derek. It was a really weird article. The guy is totally out of it. Anyone who buys into this myth of Obama as “ruthlessly pragmatic” is dissociated from reality. First, people were saying that when he ran for president the first time when there was simply no evidence, just liberal media echo chamber. After 8 years we’ve learned what many suspected based on his associations prior to 2008, which is that Obama is a total ideologue, pure and simple. E.g., love them or hate them, transgender bathroom fights have absolutely nothing to do with “pragmatic” problem solving and everything to do with ideology. There are about 1 million pragmatic uses of government resources and political will that are more “pragmatic.”

I guess I’m not surprised. An academic who comes up with a strange Hegelian theory of the American presidency based on 1 data point clearly has some screws loose. Would love to know what metaphysics this guy subscribes to. And then the Nation prints it, which is strike two. Nothing to see here folks.

60 nigel January 8, 2017 at 1:43 pm

To be clear, I don’t consider ideological commitments a bad thing. I think Obama got branded a “ruthless pragmatist” (sounds a lot like the way Ayn Rand description of one of her characters, actually) because for whatever reason, ideology became a dirty word in certain circles, and this guy was the anointed one, so therefore he had to be completely free of ideological predispotions. The only ideological commitment the man had was to the Good, i.e. to Getting The Right Answers. He would not be thrown off course by the siren song of ideology.

61 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Obama got branded a pragmatist because lots of people expected him to do things that he never did.

In 2009, Alternet was fully of people decrying his treachery, while moderates observed his actions as pragmatic in the face of what they knew many had expected from him.

I expect we will be having a similar debate about Trump in a few years time. Well, hope, more than expect.

62 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 1:55 am

Obama was branded a pragmatist because the masters of language redefined pragmatic to mean anyting to the left of Cuban style leftist economics and social control.

63 anon January 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

As someone who has argued for years and years for pragmatism, I know that folks right of center have opposed it directly, the very word for years and years. So spare me shock, shock, that pragmatists feel more sympathy for problem solvers, gridlock haters.

And the bathroom thing? Do you even know the history? Did it start at the “top left” or the “bottom right?”

64 Harun January 8, 2017 at 11:11 pm

A pragmatic president would have done big bang corp. tax reform in 2009 with GOP support.

Major recession is when you need to do this, to bring the money home as stimulus, and to be competitive globally.

65 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Are you gunning for his promotional team?

Please be specific. I understand that Trump got some money. So … the special genius part?

America has nukes and a fleet of modern bombers. Knife fighting mindsets are not welcome.

66 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

What do you think, Derek.

Does Canada need a nuclear deterrent with a knife fighter south of the border?

67 derek January 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Whether we want one or not, we have one. The point I was making was that it is easy to underestimate Trump. I’ve dealt with people like him. I don’t like being in the same room, and I won’t enter the room unless I have some bludgeon available to me, otherwise I will lose. Oddly when everyone enters the room with that expectation and preparation, buildings get built on time and on budget.

That was Obama’s shortcoming. He said during the 2008 election that he wasn’t a details man, but rather viewed things from 10,000 feet. Which is fine, having a broad view. But the devil is in the details, and if you don’t look after the details you will fail badly. All he did, from the stimulus, Obamacare, his handling of foreign affairs has this distant broad strokes touch, but they fell apart because of the details.

Even Benghazi. In the months before the administration was bragging about it’s drone capability, and how Obama had a kill list. They would focus their attention on an area, a group of suspect people, and pick them off. Someone saw a great big hole in this strategy, so obvious as to make fools of everyone involved. All you had to do is go somewhere else where they weren’t watching, and kill an Ambassador. That action put an end to a policy direction, it was very powerful and has had long consequences. An ugly detail, so obvious, but everyone involved was blinded by their own brilliance to see the flaws.

And on and on. Pelosi and Reid should have left the meetings with Obama lacking a bit of skin or some part or the other for bringing to him such a cockamamie piece of trash, but no. Those details are not important. HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!

These are power games, and the one with the biggest knife wins.

Trump knows that. Johnson knew that, knew that his biggest enemies were within his own party. So have all consequential presidents. Obama thought that the problem was Republicans. He was wrong.

68 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm

The embassy had the amount of security the ambassador thought was appropriate.

69 Art Deco January 8, 2017 at 7:04 pm

He requisitioned more security and was ignored.

70 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 1:58 am

Fake facts. Over 100 requests for additional security didn’t even make it to Hillary’s desk. Meanwhile, Podesta recipes and Blumenthal “intelligence” streamed right in.

71 Troll me January 9, 2017 at 4:37 am

a) over which time period?

b) uh … how can you sustain both that it didn’t get to Hillary’s desk and also that it was her fault for not responding?

72 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm

b) uh … how can you sustain both that it didn’t get to Hillary’s desk and also that it was her fault for not responding?

Had you ever worked in a real organization you would know that the superior sets the culture for the subordinates. The fact that the requests for safety submitted by her actual organization didn’t reach Hillary’s desk but her political hacks had full access is a damning inditement against her cavalier, vile, and self-serving management style.

73 Alain January 8, 2017 at 1:51 pm

#3 was just liberal nails on a chalkboard. Painful. Obama a competent, pragmatic manager, sigh.

To my mind Obamacare is the single most reprehensible law passed at the federal level, since it was so disingenuous. It was an access bill, pure and simple. But it was sold entirely as a cost savings bill. Deplorable.

Note the headline picture of the article, Obama focuses on the camera while shaking hands while Trump attempts to give Obama respect by looking at his face. I think that is a microcosm of both men.

74 JWatts January 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

” It was an access bill, pure and simple. But it was sold entirely as a cost savings bill. Deplorable.”

Agreed. Furthermore, it was pushed in a purely partisan manner. It’s hard to believe that Obama couldn’t have peeled off 10-20% of Republicans in Congress with just some fairly minimal changes to the overall bill. Yet, there was not even a serious attempt to do so.

Obama is more of an ideologue, than a pragmatist. He ran as an ideologue. “Dreams of my Father”, “Hope”, etc. He governed as an ideologue. Which for the most part, his supporters liked and applauded. Trying to cast him as a pragmatist is just silly.

75 TMC January 8, 2017 at 8:08 pm

The medicaid increase did 90% of the lifting for increased access. ACA did 90% of the lifting for increased Gov’t control of healthcare.

Two very separate issues.

76 JWatts January 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm

I agree those are fundamentally two different issues.

However, there’s some wrong information in your post. Medicaid enrollment grew 16 million under Obamacare whereas exchange coverage was 12 million.

And you can certainly quibble with the numbers, but taken at face value it looks as if Medicaid was roughly 60% of the increase not 90%. Granted, that fact is too little mentioned.

An aside, I saw this factoid as I was looking up Obamacare Medicare enrollment changes:

“The Medicare Cuts
First off, while the cuts to Medicare under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) were estimated at $716 billion, those cuts didn’t hurt Medicare, they improved it.

Can you imagine how often that statement would be fact checked if this was a Republican program. Oh yeah, I forgot it was fact checked when a Republican mentioned a similarly sized change to Medicare:

77 Ricardo January 9, 2017 at 1:31 am

“It’s hard to believe that Obama couldn’t have peeled off 10-20% of Republicans in Congress with just some fairly minimal changes to the overall bill.”

This has been an unfalsifiable talking point for years but, now that the Republicans control the government, it is easily testable. If you are right, we should see a concrete health plan that actually gets put to a vote. Not some cowardly political stunt where Obamacare repeal is delayed for three years because Republicans need more time to come up with an alternative.

78 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 2:02 am

Wrong. In typical fashion you don’t perform a good analysis. The Republicans didn’t want ACA, BUT in a weakened position, they may have compromised. They aren’t in that weak position any more. Your argument is as stupid as this one in 8 years: “Republicans may have gotten a few Dem votes on their Planned Parenthood defunding bill with some tweaks, now that Democrats have the house, senate, and executive, they should prove their pragmatism by merely amending the Planned Parenthood defunding bill instead of repealing it.” Just low-level idiocy. Not even close to par.

79 Ricardo January 9, 2017 at 4:13 am

“The Republicans didn’t want ACA, BUT in a weakened position, they may have compromised.”

Incredibly weak analysis offered with no evidence.

80 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm

“Incredibly weak analysis offered with no evidence.”

As I don’t have access to alternate universes, as you seem to, all I can offer is the law of supply and demand re: price. Lowering the price (political cost) of the good (bill) will result in votes (more purchases). But, you know that I’m right and you are too much a coward to admit it. Embarassing.

81 The Original Other Jim January 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

>He wasn’t transformative except that he was black

And he wasn’t even that. His Mom was as white as Ann Coulter.

82 Aloha Jane January 8, 2017 at 10:41 pm

It’s difficult to understand how this point is so frequently ignored. Obama is not “black” in the sense generally recognized in the U.S. — descended from U.S. slaves — instead, he is the son of an African and a white woman, which in many circles at various times would have disqualified one from claiming the mantle of being “black” (I assume Obama himself let people think he was “kenyan” at certain points in his life, because that would have provided more exotic credibility when he was in college), even if it makes sense he might have enormous appeal to immigrants. Put another way, at certain times, African Americans likely would have been offended if someone of Obama’s heritage purported to understand their concerns and have walked in their shoes, particularly given his Muslim roots (to be clear, the issue is not with being Muslim, but with not having grown up in a historically black Christian church, which is central to black identify in many parts of the country).

83 Boonton January 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Clinging to the narrative that Obamacare is a main reason why Hillary lost doesn’t seem to square with public opinion that the law should either not be repealed unless it is replaced with something equal or better. Nor does ‘swath of destruction’ really tie with the facts. Most people do not care about Syria or Libya. Most Americans assume those places are bad but they aren’t bad because the US failed to square a magic circle, they are bad because they were bad from the start. This is unlike Iraq which most Americans did view as an utter failure of the Bush administration and an utter failure to read the situation correctly (‘mission accomplished’, ‘they will greet us as liberators’, ‘no need for nation building, just air drop copies of The Federalist Papers (presumably translated)’, ‘getting Osama Bin laden isn’t really a major point’). Even if there was some magic set of policies (better air strikes, more strategic backing of the ‘right’ groups with weapons and money) that would have made Syria and Libya nice places transitioning towards a semi-democratic state relatively peacefully (as say Egypt), fact is the US didn’t get bogged down in either place and right or wrong most Americans don’t and shouldn’t care.

84 JWatts January 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

“Clinging to the narrative that Obamacare is a main reason why Hillary lost doesn’t seem to square with public opinion that the law should either not be repealed unless it is replaced with something equal or better.”

That’s a constructed narrative not an accurate reflection of reality. Approval for Obamacare is and always has been under water.

Here’s the historical approval rating for Obamacare:

85 Boonton January 8, 2017 at 8:33 pm

And yet people like having coverage. When 20M people stop having coverage the reaction is going to be “hey wait a minute, I had KentuckyCare why are they going after my healthcare!”…..esp. if the replacement is nothing but a $100 tax credit.

86 JWatts January 8, 2017 at 8:46 pm

“And yet people like having coverage. ”

Yep. And farmers like farm subsidies, the military likes a large military budget, environmentalists like electric car credits, etc. Everybody likes to be given a perk.

That doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the people don’t like Obamacare and never have.

87 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 2:04 am

“That doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the people don’t like Obamacare and never have.”

Some people deal exclusively in fake facts.

88 The Orignal D January 8, 2017 at 7:15 pm

There are lots of successful real estate developers who have not been sued literally thiousands of times. Casino operators too.

Trump was not particularly good at real estate and was exceptionally bad at casinos.

89 Blades January 8, 2017 at 8:33 pm


90 Atlantic City January 8, 2017 at 9:32 pm

No, his Casinos were fine. He failed on em by betting on New Jersey.

91 Art Deco January 9, 2017 at 12:11 am

Trump was not particularly good at real estate and was exceptionally bad at casinos.

The man who was ‘not particularly good at real estate’ is one of six real estate developers who was on the Forbes 400 in 1982 and in 2012. (His father was never on the Forbes 400). The rate at which his holdings appreciated was the median of the six.

92 Ricardo January 9, 2017 at 1:50 am

According to that source, Donald Trump’s wealth increased from $100 million to $3.1 billion over a period of 30 years. That’s an annualized rate of about 12%. That’s not nothing but it’s hardly extraordinary; many middle class families could boast of increasing their net worth at the same rate over that time period by saving, investing and working hard. I do think Donald Trump’s early successes — when he was in his early 30s — are noteworthy but what came after does not suggest any particular genius or bold entrepreneurial prowess with respect to real estate.

93 Thomas January 9, 2017 at 2:05 am

Obama never earned a cent in anything that wasn’t derived from a government check. What is your point exactly? Trump could have earned 20% annualized and you would still be here saying the same thing.

94 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 1:23 pm

“This comes natural to Trump, who enters every room knowing that he can leave relieved of everything he has if he isn’t careful.”
For what is worth, his creditors, investors, students and suppliers probably feel the same. Seriously, what happened to America?

95 derek January 8, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Did Obama not have that certainty deep in his being, that entering the highest office he would be rolled if he wasn’t doing it to the other? He did quite well with the Republicans, but got rolled by the Democrats. Badly.

96 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm

So this is what America has become: a land where one must cheat to be considered successful.

97 Falstaff January 8, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Sounds like America is turning into Brazil.

98 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 4:13 pm

No, Brazilians are reliable, hardworking and intelligent. Come on, just compare Mr. Temer, an intellectual, distinguished professor, one of the most brilliant legal rights the world has seen, a high-ranking officer of the Security Department of the most important Brazilian state, one of the framers of Brazil’s Constitution, a man many times elected Representative, thrice, I think, Speaker of the House, an important leader in all Brazilian governments since 1985, twice elected Vice President. He got rich off his legal acumen and professoral skill.

99 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

* with your President-elect.

100 Viking January 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Thiago: Are you really a Brazilian, or just a low information anglo living in one of the remote corners of the British empire? Your great command of English, together with the blindness to Brazil’s problems suggest that.

It sounds like you have not really been interacting with actual Brazilians, unlike me, who was robbed at gunpoint at Lagoa in Rio.

But I do admit Brazil’s contribution to the world is quite excellent:

Most western bartenders don’t know howto make it, they put fizzy water in it.

101 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 7:42 pm

“It sounds like you have not really been interacting with actual Brazilians, unlike me, who was robbed at gunpoint at Lagoa in Rio.”

So what? As a Brazilian writer mentioned a few years ago, his apartment and his car were looted in NYC in the 1980s. There is nothing in Brazil that approaches what Americans did in The Philippines or Cambodia and what the Japanese did in China. Brazilian soldiers in Italy used to give food to the poor, not rape women.
There are lots of Western bartenders who make great capirinhas – or so I am told, I am teetotaller as my father, my grandfather and my grandgrandfather were – they are called Brazilians. Brazil is a Western country.
Brazil did much more than creating an alcoholic beverage. This margin is too small to contain Brazil greatness, but let me point out that Brazil also created the best sandwich in the world, the Bauru, great snacks like the “pastel” and the “quibe”, great dishes like the farofa, discovered the pion, invented the airplane, discovered the Chagas disease, invented the radio, the Walkman-like device (before the Japanese) and invented the typewriter. Brazilian Literature and Brazilian music are second to none. Brazilian military bases were described by Mr. Ingram (….0……0i22i30k1j33i21k1.jEJEaa6ZEUc#imgrc=VwJYyR8e7tD_BM%3A – seating on the back laughing, enjoying the wittiness of Brazilian president Vargas), Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, as essential to the war effort against the Nazist beast.

As for my command of written English, thanks, but, putting aside the fact it is flawed (no one from my family learned English after our forefather left England in the 1500s), it is not special. Most Brazilians write as well as I do or even better. Brazilians are internationalists by their very nature – our last Emperor spoke dozens of languages fluently. He was a pen pal friend of Monsieur Pasteur and Monsieur Victor Hugo. At its height, the Empire of Brazil probably housed more Latin-speaking people than the Roman Empire ever did.

102 Viking January 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm

I am sure Brazil has had some talented individuals, they are running Embrear after all, however there are the overpaid civil servants who at 60 years old with a pension has enough buying power that they can get a 20 year old spouse. Who feels such a society is just?!?

That, BTW, is also something the people north of the north american Rio Grande is copying from Brazil, overpaid pensioners from public service.

That is enough to even make Ray jealous!

The only reason someone would brag about Brazil is being a Paraguayan troll who wants to bring Brazil’s faults to attention.

103 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Brazil’s virtues outweight its flaws by much. Brazil is the only country in the world that never waged a war of aggression, Brazil has become a Black/”mulatto”- majority country with no unrest whatsoever. Protestantism is predicted to become the country’s biggest religion – Brazil was legally and oficially Catholic until the 1889 Revolution -, and again no civil unrest whatsoever. Brazil’s is one of the biggest economies manking has ever seem. As Mr. Kissinger famously pointed out, wherever Brazil goes, South America must follow. Einstein, Feynman and Darwin enjoyed their stays in Brazil and liked the Brazilian people. We made the Brazilian Mid-Western desert one of the breadbaskets of the world. As Brazilian writer Afonso Celso poi ted out, Brazil is by far the most beautiful country in the world. Also, Brazil is implementing bold economic reforms that can only be compared with Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, nothing like that has ever been tried in the West.

104 The Orignal D January 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Zero sum thinking on an economics blog. Sad!

105 Thiago Ribeiro January 8, 2017 at 7:43 pm

This is how American economy works now, how it eewards people.

106 Ray Lopez January 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

#1 – Uganda – the author made some good points but then disappointed me when he mentioned his wife is Ugandan, and I assumed he was white, but then in the photo I saw a white woman; I had assumed she was black. Just my personal preference. Also it’s interesting to me, as an expat living in the Philippines, that the author mentioned some political figure in his blog. Uganda must be more informal than the Philippines, as you can get deported for talking politics in your blog (same is true in Thailand, especially if you say anything remotely critical about the king). I met a Ugandan prostitute while in Bangkok (I did not have sex, but she was hot).

107 Heorogar January 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm

If you find yourself in Uganda (or Fort Lauderdale Airport): keep moving and maintain a low profile. Do not travel to Chicago.

108 Troll me January 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm

3) When new ideas come along, it goes kind of back and forth a bit and then either is or is not adopted.

The rest of what he says seems more enlightening than his grand theory. But I guess that’s for the folks who need things to fit in tidy categories. Stuff is complicated and most stuff you don’t know.

109 JB January 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm

5. Ford Madox Ford. Samuel Beckett.

110 So Much For Subtlety January 8, 2017 at 7:05 pm

The best example would be Philip K. Dick. Maybe The Eyes Have It. Or pretty much anything else he writes.

But he is not high brow enough for this audience.

111 JWatts January 8, 2017 at 6:35 pm

“4. In the Borjas model, immigrants boost French wages.”

What’s causal and what’s correlation in these models? Is there any way to even get a clear indication?

Is there any attempt at controlled field experimentation in economics? So much of it seems to be models that can easily be just so stories, and ‘experiments’ that involve a lot of undergraduates at an elite university somewhere.

112 carlospln January 8, 2017 at 11:47 pm


113 Ted Craig January 8, 2017 at 7:09 pm

5. Adam Goldberg.

114 Blades January 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm

5. Would like more comments on this. There are smart people who post here. Stop being angry and have some fun with this. I’ll start. I think Gone Girl is brilliant. Movie conveys little of the weirdness of this book, the background of a Midwest America falling apart in a financial crisis, the sharpness of the social commentary, the relations of men and women in this new age. When I picked it up I thought it was just a chick book, but as I read on I was more and more impressed.

115 Joshua Kier January 8, 2017 at 10:25 pm

5. I’ve never read Gone Girl, but I doubt it tops Twain’s Huck Finn. Really enjoy lists and thought this missed the boat. That said, understandable: English audience. Popular audience.

116 blades January 9, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Wasn’t crazy about the list a a whole. Comments by Guardian readers are pretty good source of reading ideas. I don’t think of Huck Finn as being an unreliable narrator, although a great book and a fun read.

117 Ian Maitland January 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Help. Feldstein WSJ links to NYT obit. of Derek Parfit.

118 Autarchist January 8, 2017 at 10:02 pm

How could they leave out Severian the Lame, the torturer-turned-savior-of-humanity in Gene Wolfe’s masterpiece, the Book of the New Sun?

119 djw January 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

That was my first thought on reading the article.

120 Lanigram January 8, 2017 at 11:17 pm

#3 More delusional TDS. The guy’s theory is nutty. There are no cycles – history is path dependent and sensitive to initial conditions.

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