Wednesday assorted links

by on January 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Hazel Meade January 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm

#2. It’s not much of a war if you have trouble telling if it’s happening or not.

2 Brandon January 4, 2017 at 12:17 pm


3 mavery January 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Prior to the French Revolution and the true advent of “total war”, you could have armed conflicts between nation states (or kingdoms or whatever you want) on scales that most folks wouldn’t notice. You think farm workers in Iberia noticed what was going on with the legions against the Seleucids?

If “war” is the word that burns you, perhaps consider it closer to boarder skirmishes. Just because plebs like us who don’t work on the front lines don’t realize there’s ongoing conflict doesn’t mean its not there.

4 Daniel Weber January 4, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I could see some kinds of biological or chemical warfare that go unnoticed for quite some time, despite the real effects piling up, because you can’t explicitly pull it out from the noise.

5 A Black Man January 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm

There is some speculation that the Russians used tularemia against the Germans at Stalingrad. No one knows, but the sudden poor health of the Germans and later infection patterns suggest it is possible.

6 A Black Man January 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Of course they noticed. They were taxed to pay for it and their available male labor was conscripted to fight.

7 mavery January 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm

We’re moving far off-topic, but provincials living under the Roman empire were taxed for things like roads and such all the time. Legions were also generally responsible for paying for themselves, often through conquest, so rather than raise taxes to support a war, they’d just count on conquering people and taking their stuff to pay for the armies.

Also, taxation, I believe, was mostly done on the backs of landowners rather than laborers. (The Romans had both a poll tax and a wealth tax, but it was assessed at the province level rather than the individual level, so I believe the incidence was felt the most by the wealthy.)

Finally, the imperial period was characterized not by a citizen conscription (which landless provincials would probably not qualify for anyway by virtue of not being Roman citizens) but by a professional standing army. This was supplemented by local auxiliaries, often in the form of mercenary barbarians.

So I really don’t think foreign wars were on the radar for most people living in Rome.

8 mavery January 4, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Last sentence should more accurately state, “…in the Roman empire.”

9 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly January 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Pretty sure the peasants noticed their taxes going up every time two monarchs got into a pissing contest, regardless of whether they were personally conscripted.

10 Benny Lava January 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Silly conservatards ignorant of feudal war economy.

11 JWatts January 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

“#2. It’s not much of a war if you have trouble telling if it’s happening or not.”

Agreed. Cyber Cold War would probably be better nomenclature.

12 Hazel Meade January 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Or perhaps just “intelligence operations”. Not sure how “cyberwar” is so different from “espionage”. It’s not like spies are necessarily confined to only information gathering and not sabotage.

13 JWatts January 4, 2017 at 3:10 pm

“Or perhaps just “intelligence operations”.”

Yes, I agree.

14 dearieme January 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm

“Gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail.” That made Podesta fair game for Assange.

15 dearieme January 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

A gentlemanly tip for all of you is when you prepare your morning coffee don’t forget to stir in your sugar with a black cock. If you’re like me you can easily find one in your wife’s bed.

Well Cucked.

16 dearieme January 4, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Oh Lord, bogus dearieme is back. What a pill.

17 4ChanMan January 4, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Dude, you’re honestly such a cuck

18 dearieme January 4, 2017 at 6:59 pm


19 Anon January 4, 2017 at 8:30 pm

True unfortunately, as A Black Man can attest, dearieme’s wife has amazing breasts.

20 Troll me January 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

It gets more press than conflict in DR Congo, which has led to millions of deaths in the last decade or two.

So … must be pretty real. With concerns ranging from personal financial information of broad swathes of the population to the hypothetical ability to attack communications and electricity systems remotely (with the additional biohacking and neurosecurity risks this may impose) … I think it should be treated as real enough regardless or whether you see a lot of it in print.

Among other things, there lacks a language of credibility to discuss things which are essentially known but not “provable in court” without lending itself too much to promotion of wild speculation.

Consider that the sparks of the First World War caught flame without “court tight evidence” that foreign powers had been behind the assassination. However, if that’s all it took, perhaps it was kind of going in that direction already …

21 Alain January 4, 2017 at 10:35 pm

Look, if an article talks about cyberwarfare and doesn’t have very considerable section on China, then it isn’t an article on cyberwarefare, it is an article trying to make some political points. Every company in the US that has any level of technical expertise is terrified of China and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else.

This is they guardian, and team blue has decided that they will attempt to somehow smear the new administration with some random claims. It is clear that this is simply a political hit job.There is no content here.

22 The Original D January 4, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Anyone saying Google, Facebook, Twitter don’t spend a considerable amount of time worrying about Russia as well as China is just on team red.

23 Alain January 4, 2017 at 11:20 pm

China consumes almost all of the Oxygen.

24 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:25 am

Maybe we should insist on backdoors on all personal devices in order to keep the Chinese out of them?

(P.S. – all people have personal devices. Including ones with sensitive materials. They want a freakin’ backdoor in every device? INSANELY STUPID!)

25 Hazel Meade January 4, 2017 at 12:21 pm

#7. So I have trouble telling why the reconcilliation process can’t be used to repeal the regulatory aspects of the ACA , given that it (the whole thing) was passed via reconcilliation in the first place. This sounds to me like the R’s preparing for an excuse to not repeal the (popular) regulatory parts of the bill such as the pre-existing conditons and community ratings parts. You know, you have precisely the same situation the D’s had in 2008 in reverse. The D’s controlled both houses and the Presidency, but didn’t have a fillibuster proof majority in the senate, so they rammed the ACA through via reconcilliation. This whole wishy washy thing about “we can’t do that because it’s against Senate rules” is just a bunch of BS cooked up to excuse inaction. The R’s control the Senate, they can do whatever they want. Nancy Pelosi would do it.

26 Daniel Weber January 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Just smashing it is easy. The whole thing is a house of cards and required repeated Executive Orders from Obama to stay working. If Trump and the Republicans simply ignored PPACA it would probably collapse under its own weight.

And the Republicans are as feckless as the Democrats in talking about “the popular parts” of the bill. No kidding. People love the goodies but don’t like the costs? What a shock.

We’re probably stuck with it.

27 Lord Action January 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm

I’d put money on it, or parts of it, being retained as part of a compromise on other legislative priorities.

But for that to work, you’ve got to credibly make it look like you’re willing to destroy it.

28 mulp January 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm

“People love the goodies but don’t like the costs? What a shock.”

But during my lifetime, conservatives switched from being the ones forcing everyone to pay the costs of stuff people want, especially war making, to conservatives being the ones promising endless free lunches, like wars with no cost, law and order lock everyone up with no cost, no one denied medical care at no cost.

Thank you Ronald Reagan for making conservatives the bringer of endless free lunches.

So, given the promises of endless wealth and prosperity uber alles, why have 90% of the masses experienced stagnation or decline since circa 1980?

Jan 20, 2017 will be a repeat of Jan 20, 2001. An economy in pretty good shape and not many US military dying, and Republicans takeover everything. Why won’t 2017 to 2020 be a repeat of 2001 to 2004?

Oh, one thing is different: Obama did not make Clinton’s mistake of fixing Reagan’s deficits and fixing Bush-Cheney deficits. Obama understood that Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.

And it is absolutely clear from the Republican priorities, bigger deficits are just fine with conservative Republicans. Send the bills for conservative free stuff into the future. Thank you president Reagan!

29 Post-Truth Politics January 4, 2017 at 2:27 pm

“Obama understood that Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”

Actually, Obama was pretty austere in spending, considering that he was handed a severe economic crisis as soon as he entered office. He isn’t going to go out with a budget surplus, but I doubt anyone could have, under the same circumstances– at least not with a surplus AND a reasonably well functioning economy like this one.

30 derek January 4, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Congress was austere in spending, shutting down the government twice. Obama had no choice.

31 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly January 4, 2017 at 3:13 pm

2 of Obama’s 3 signature legislative accomplishments were essentially giant spending bills that he complained didn’t go far enough, while every measure passed under his watch that made any effort to restrain spending was essentially shoved down his throat.

32 JWatts January 4, 2017 at 3:23 pm

“Actually, Obama was pretty austere in spending,”

Obama wasn’t austere. Post-Truth politics indeed!

2004: $2.292 trillion (actual)
2005: $2.47 trillion (actual)
2006: $2.655 trillion (actual)
2007: $2.729 trillion (actual)
2008: $2.983 trillion (actual)
Last Bush budget 2009 (but signed by Obama): $3.518 trillion (actual)
2010: $3.456 trillion (actual)
2011: $3.603 trillion (actual)
2012 $3.537 trillion (actual)
2013: $3.45 trillion (actual)
2014: $3.506 trillion (actual)
2015: $3.688 trillion (actual)

33 JWatts January 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm

It’s hilariously ironic that someone (Jill?) uses the handle “Post Truth Politics” while simultaneously spouting an obviously false talking point.

I’m guessing the irony was completely unintentional.

34 Steve J January 4, 2017 at 8:02 pm

The PostTruth-ness appears to go both ways. Bush started with a budget of about $1.862T and ended at $2.983T for an increase of about 60%. Obama took that $2.983T and ended at about $4.15T for an increase of 39%. Where is the truthiness?

35 JWatts January 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

“The PostTruth-ness appears to go both ways. Bush started with a budget of about $1.862T and ended at $2.983T for an increase of about 60%. Obama took that $2.983T and ended at about $4.15T for an increase of 39%. Where is the truthiness?”

No one in this thread was claiming that Bush was pretty austere in spending. So, that’s just a straw man fallacy.

36 Steve J January 4, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Who can I compare Obama to so that he looks like a big spender?

37 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 11:53 pm

Why do you need to compare him to anyone?

38 JWatts January 5, 2017 at 11:21 am

“Who can I compare Obama to so that he looks like a big spender?”

Again you are attempting to set up a straw man argument. The claim was that Obama was pretty austere. Not, that he was a “big spender” or anything else.

39 Slocum January 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm

“We’re probably stuck with it.”

But I’m not sure we *can* be stuck with it. Even while the Obama administration was desperately trying to plug all the leaks, prices were going up and insurers pulling out. Seems like it won’t be long before we have places where no ACA policies are even available (can taxpayers be fined for not buying a product that isn’t for sale in their area?)

40 Boonton January 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm

So here’s a challenge, do nothing. If no one sells ACA plans, there’s no subsidies it vanishes. Leave the tax in place, Trump could simply do an unconnected cross the board tax cut equal too or bigger than the mandate tax.

If you’re right Obamacare disappears on its own but if everyone else is right we can avoid kicking tens of millions off coverage for absolutely no good reason at all.

41 mulp January 4, 2017 at 1:08 pm

First, Obamacare was passed with 60 bipartisan votes. Joe Lieberman was not a Democrat because Democrats defeated him in the primary, so he won because of Republican voters. Arlen Specter never ever won a Democratic primary and was elected as a Republican repeatedly.

The only thing passed by reconciliation were House amendments to the Senate bill that was written with a lot of assistance from Republican Sen Grassley, Collins, Snowe. Of course, the entire blueprint originated in the Republican party in the early 90s, was part of presidential candidate Dole’s platform in 1996, and was the law presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed in 2006 to pave his way to the white house.

ACA had far more votes to pass than Republicans have for repeal, and they have nothing that comes close to the votes to replace it.

The only bill they can pass is smoke and mirrors, a repeal that is not a repeal.

Republicans can not get 219 votes in the House and 50 plus Pence in the Senate for going back to 2009 health care law. It’s even worse for a new health reform law, with perhaps the best getting 200 votes in the House and 40 votes in the Senate.

Trump and Republicans have been promising a free lunch for decades and blaming Democrats for the free lunch being blocked. Now they have been promising a free lunch but now have total control to deliver the free lunch they promised. Where is their law that gives everyone all the health care the patient and doctor want at a lower cost than both Obamacare and before it in 2009??? Or lower in cost with more freedom of doctor patient choice than in 1964???

And oh, yeah, they have been lying in saying ACA was passed by reconciliation to promise the free lunch of repealing it by reconciliation.

ACA was passed with 60 Senate votes and we’ll over 219 House votes. It was only amendments to the tax and spend policy balance in ACA that was passed with less 60 Senate votes, 57, as I recall.

And based on the free lunch apparently offered by free markets, where is my Tesla Model S with Ludicrous mode for the $1000 a year I budget for my electric bike? I’ve found from experience, a thousand a year won’t keep an unreliable junker on the road.


You might list the winners and losers that Republicans should pick for their legislation so everyone knows who they will be throwing under the bus to give the free lunches to the winners. Maybe you can pick losers in large enough numbers to provide the cash to pay for the winner’s free lunches which get solid unflinching support from a solid majority. The problem is 100% of white men is not a majority.

42 Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe January 4, 2017 at 2:03 pm

With the GOP only members of the .01% are winners. The 99.99% are losers. However, the GOP excels at propaganda. Getting people to believe fake news and to vote against their best interests is a piece of cake for them. They may lack ethics, but then that just makes them more efficient political marketers. Ethics is just one more thing that can be tossed aside, so that the path to unlimited power is free and clear for the GOP to walk down.

43 Hazel Meade January 4, 2017 at 2:42 pm

OMG, this is such a retarded trope. The GOP has many problems, especially under Trump. But the idea that only the ultra-rich benefit from Republican policies is just some derivitave bit of third-generation Marxist doggerel.

Republicans have their clients and so do Democrats. They know what is in their self interest. Not everyone believes that more free shit and more welfare is in their bets interests. The upper-middle class, the self-employed professional class (lawyers and doctors in sole proprietorships), the relative young and healthy and wealthy, were major losers under the ACA. All the people who had individuals health insurance policies prior to the ACA were huge losers. Their premiums went up, their plans got worse. They were compelled to pay for coverage options they didn’t want, to subsidize the healthcare needs of marginal poverty cases (substance abuse treatment, mental health care) . All of these people know what is in their self interest and they know how to vote for it. They aren’t suffering from false consciousness, and they haven’t been brainwashed into voting against their best interests, and they number a lot more than 0.01% of the population.

44 kevin January 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm

“All of these people know what is in their self interest”. Are you suggesting relatively healthy people are better off not buying health insurance, or are you suggesting that the market should sell them health insurance low enough that its in their best interest to buy private insurance by themselves? If the former, then its only true until its not true.. ie a calamity happens. If the latter–have you ever tried to buy health insurance on your own? There’s a ton of admin cost that the insurer forces onto you–its not easy for them to properly evaluate your riskiness, they tend to be conservative and you end up paying more then whats fair.

Sure ACA got bungled, but universal insurance (implemented properly) is in the best interest for 99.9% of people, save for the bill gates’ of the world who can self insure and not have to worry about a multi-million dollar health bill.

45 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Yes I have bought health insurance before and it was trivial and way cheaper. By design the system forced huge increases on the young and healthy so I don’t see how they are better off. Maybe one day they will be old and sick and it will all be worth it but that’s a big gamble that the system will stay the same. Not to mention you have a significant amount of control over your own health outcomes.

46 NatashaRostova January 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Kevin: If the former, then its only true until its not true.. ie a calamity happens

That’s a lazy way to do cost benefit analysis. Surely there is some cost point at which relatively healthy people are better off not buying health insurance, say, $1,000,000 a month. In reality, much lower. As ACA raises the costs, we see those who either have the best outside options or the lowest risk (upper middle and young-and-healthy), the first to drop out. It stands to reason these people in aggregate know their benefits, and know their costs. They get to choose their risk aversion parameter, you don’t get to pick it for them.

>they tend to be conservative and you end up paying more then whats fair.

What is fair? Your words together sound meaningful, but dance around undefined concepts. By definition insurance companies must make money, or they won’t sell insurance. It’s actually complicated, and I am not at all an expert on health econ. You might enjoy Cochrane’s piece on it though:

47 chuck martel January 4, 2017 at 6:13 pm

@ kevin
“save for the bill gates’ of the world who can self insure and not have to worry about a multi-million dollar health bill.”

The argument is wrong. The issue shouldn’t be financing astronomical health care costs by making well people pay for the treatment of sick people. It should be about making health care affordable, an idea no one seems to care much about. Government involvement in health care is what has led to the high costs and it’s unlikely, no impossible, for the feds to remedy the situation. A free market is the only real answer.

48 carlospln January 5, 2017 at 12:22 am

Markets ain’t ‘free’, chuck.

Especially in healthcare.

Give it a rest.

49 Ricardo January 5, 2017 at 4:43 am

“Maybe one day they will be old and sick and it will all be worth it but that’s a big gamble that the system will stay the same. Not to mention you have a significant amount of control over your own health outcomes.”

That’s not a “maybe.” It is a fact that some of today’s young and healthy people will become not so young and not so healthy in 10 or 20 years. Health outcomes are a complex combination of lifestyle choices, genetics, environment and plain old luck. Prostate cancer and appendicitis don’t seem to depend much on individual choice, for instance.

50 Daniel Weber January 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

Insurance markets don’t have low-cost people subsidizing high-cost people. Everyone pays their expected rate.

For fire insurance, people living in small brick houses don’t subsidize people living in mansions made of matchsticks.

51 Hazel Meade January 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

Kevin, it’s the latter, and yes, I have bought health insurance on the individual market pre-ACA, and it was easy and cheap. Of course you pay more for insurance than your actuarial risk (otherwise the insurer could not make a profit). That is true of all insurance. But what the ACA did was force relatively healthy people to pay WAY more than their actuarial risk justified to subsidize the relatively sick. That is explicit in the whole concept of community rating.

52 CM January 4, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Well the ACA was not passed by reconciliation. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e., the ACA) was passed by a 60-39 vote of the Senate. After Scott Brown’s election, it was not feasible to amend that bill in conference because the Democrats only had 59 votes and could not overcome a filibuster. The House then passed the version of the ACA passed by the Senate, which Obama signed. Thereafter, an entirely new bill, the Health Care Education Reconciliation Act, was introduced to amend the ACA (and the Student Loan bill). That second act was limited to issues which could be passed by reconciliation (i.e., budgetary issues). Wikipedia has a good summary of the legislative history:

The current Senate can use the reconciliation process to reverse the items passed in the Health Care Education Reconciliation Act. To reverse the ACA itself, they need to overcome the filibuster.

53 Hazel Meade January 4, 2017 at 1:47 pm

My understanding at the time was that the Senate and House bills were different and that the standard legislative process was(is) to amend the bill to come up with a final version that would then have to be passed (again) by both the Senate and House, without amendments. Instead of doing it the normal way, they used this secondary bill and the reconcillation process to pass amendments – which including removing some of the legislative deals that had been struck to get it through the Senate originally.

In theory the Republicans could just pull the same trick. Pass two bills that repeal different parts of the law in the House and the Senate, and then reconcile them in the budget reconcilliation. Although, they might have trouble coming up with a deal to buy off 60 Senators considering the D
s are going to know it’s going to get shitcanned in conference.

54 CM January 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

I don’t agree. Reconciliation does not provide a “trick” for Senators to amend a bill subject to the filibuster without a vote to end debate. It allows the Senate to vote on budget bills without needing 60 Senators to agree to end debate. The Democrats did not use reconciliation to amend the ACA before it became law. They used reconciliation to pass a second bill dealing exclusively with budgetary items (most of which affected the ACA) after the ACA had become law. The current Senate can use reconciliation to pass a bill repealing the taxes, subsidies and state transfers related to the ACA because those are budgetary items. They can’t, however, use reconciliation to repeal the non-budgetary aspects of the ACA (i.e., mandate, the marketplaces, the ban on looking at preexisting conditions).

You are correct that the standard practice is for the House and Senate to pass different bills, meet in conference, agree on a single bill, and then have both houses vote on the conference bill. And while you can say that conference involves the House and Senate reconciling their differences, that is not the process of “reconciliation,” which is a process exclusive to the Senate and budget bills. The Dems could not amend the ACA in conference because any change in conference requires the chambers to revote, which would have subjected the ACA to a filibuster. Accordingly, to pass the ACA, that House had to pass the exact bill previously passed by the Senate. They were not happy about it either. The bill that passed the Senate needed a lot of cleaning up that normally happens in conference. The only clean up that they were able to do was clean up involving budgetary issues which could pass the Senate in a separate bill through reconciliation.

55 Anon7 January 4, 2017 at 6:00 pm

If, according to SCOTUS, the mandate is a “tax penalty” (and is only constitutional because of it), then the mandate may be repealed as part of the budget process.

56 CM January 4, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Maybe so. But they would not even have to go there. Congress could clearly change the amount of the tax penalty to zero without even arguably running afoul of the limits of reconciliation. I did not mean to imply that the limits of reconciliation are such that Congress cannot immediately undermine the law.

57 JonFraz January 4, 2017 at 2:47 pm

The whole thing was NOT passed via reconciliation. All the major features of the ACA were passed the normal way: the Senate approving the bill 60-29 on Dec 24, 2009, and the House doing so on (I think) Mar 21, 2010. The House also passed a second bill making some (financial) tweaks to the much larger bill. It was this second bill that was then passed by reconciliation in the Senate, not the major ACA bill.

58 Jeff R January 4, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I know this is probably a silly question, but did anyone actually read the link at #7? It wouldn’t open for me.

59 Moo cow January 4, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Yeah not exactly. This is a pretty good summary of how it happened. The clean up bill passed under reconciliation. The main Bill got 60 votes in the Senate.

60 Alain January 4, 2017 at 11:05 pm

The senate republicans should simply finish the nuclear option started by harry Reid and be done with the filibuster.

The end.

61 The Original D January 4, 2017 at 11:09 pm

The whole thing was not passed via reconciliation. Even the cucks at National Review acknowledge that:

Some fixes to the bill passed with reconciliation. I should not have flatly said, “The Democrats passed Obamacare through reconciliation.” That was sloppy. My apologies.

62 A Black Man January 4, 2017 at 12:25 pm

#2: One thing we have learned about the new cyber war is that old people like to use “password” as their password. They also still use AOL for some reason.

63 The Original Other Jim January 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm

That, and John Podesta will click on literally anything.

64 Mothers Hate Him January 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Including anything “pizza” related.

65 Heorogar January 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Pizza! Pizza!

Password! Password!

My favorite password is my birthday year “1066” with a couple cap and lower-case letters and special characters mixed around and in. Then, each month I alter it with similar, random complexity.

66 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Sounds like a waste of time and energy

67 EverExtruder January 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm

#2 “Historians will eventually give it a name and a start and end date”

Yeah sure.
War’s name: Cyberwar Era (think “Era of Gunpowder Warfare”)
Start date: First computerized use of decryption to hack Enigma – WWII
End date: Great Solar Flare Catastrophe of 2047

…or never.

68 Steve January 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Scout’s right about Porzingis playing too many minutes, but I also admire his keen cultural/biological analysis:

“There’s not too many cases when an international player becomes your franchise guy,’’ the scout said. “The best example is Pau Gasol. Dallas is the only one who came closest with Dirk Nowitzki. Marc Gasol is a rare exception, but Pau was a complement to Kobe Bryant. International players are more athletically and mentally geared to be more complementary to the American-produced star.”

69 chuck martel January 4, 2017 at 1:12 pm

International players aren’t going to mess with egomaniacal American prima donnas. They get to be famous at home so they’re happy to bounce-pass the ball over to the zillionaire stud.

70 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 4, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Instead of repealing or dismantling Obamacare, and getting the blame for it, they should let the death spiral continue and ]expose the design flaws that have doomed it letting the ‘credit’ go to its authors. Instead they should focus on making lifeboats for those fleeing the sinking ship to make the journey to a sustainable plan of their own design.

71 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 4, 2017 at 1:20 pm

But there’s not much point focusing on blame or insulting Democrats & Obama and his legacy for that mess. Better to focus on something constructive to replace it. It’ll be essential to get some support from the other side of the aisle which Obama & Democrats failed to do last time.

“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

72 Politics of Anger and Cruelty January 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm

But the whole shtick of the GOP is bashing Dems. Time will tell if the GOP is capable of doing anything constructive whatsoever. Lots of Trump’s supporters don’t really even like him. They just hate liberals, as Fox, Drudge, Breitbart etc. have taught them to, over years. So they voted for Trump because it would make liberals– and true “establishment” conservatives— angry.

We are in the Politics of Anger and Cruelty. Doing something constructive doesn’t enter into it at all.

I would love very much to be proven wrong about this in the future. But that’s the way it looks to me right now.

73 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I guess that’s why the stock market is soaring, business must love anger and cruelty.

Or you could be biased.

74 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 3:50 pm

The stock market is soaring because there’s a good chance corporate taxes are coming down and earnings have been improving, it’s not that complicated, and also has nothing to do with anger or cruelty.

75 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Yes with the Nigger Party out of power we will be taking less money from productive corporations and giving it to unproductive people.

76 Hanging Chad January 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Cliff, take that kind of rhetoric back to 4chan. There’s no need to descend to the Left’s level.

77 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 5:22 pm

You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve hired black people before, I’ve given them chances. I hired a black to be my pool boy and all he did was trick my wife into make a huge mistake. So I know what I mean.

78 Hanging Chad January 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm


F*** off JIDF.

79 TMC January 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm

msgkings: I don’t think many expect taxes to move much. As Carrier said, it’s all the garbage regulations that’ll be rolled back.

80 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 11:41 pm

Okay, well then I guess doing something constructive does enter into it at all

81 JonFraz January 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Except it would not work that way: the GOP would be blamed– and also by their base for failing to repeal it outright despite holding all the branches of government. They now own the ACA. Moreover letting it die a slow death would do vast harm to the medical industry itself, outraging a major lobbying force and many of their own constituents. The GOP really does need to either A) Replace the ACA with something just as comprehensive that does not yank health coverage away from any significant number of people nor damage the medical industry B) Fix what’s broken with the ACA (and then call it something else so they can claim to have gotten rid of “Obamacare”)

82 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm

I would be just fine with option B, even though I much prefer Obama to Trump. Let’s give them a chance to do it.

83 JWatts January 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I’m inclined to lean towards option B, but there’s no way to do it cheaply.

Obamacare was based upon optimistic budgetary estimates, assuming that you could double the number of Medicaid participants for roughly the same cost, gaming the 10 year window of the CBO, assuming young people could be coerced into paying a substantial premium for insurance, etc.

It’s grown quite large, but at the expense of large scale losses by insurers and higher premiums than the market will support (even with the penalty/tax mandate).

There’s no squaring the circle.

84 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 3:48 pm

There’s some not too complicated fixes worth considering, like dialing back on what ACA policies have to cover, making them more about catastrophic coverage than trying to cover so much else. But I’m not sure how to get there politically. There’s also no way to reduce one of the biggest cost drivers, ‘over-doctoring’, which is directly tied to doctor income and fear of lawsuits. The reason it’s impossible to do this is the very powerful doctor and for-profit medical lobbies will take a big hit, and will defend their income vigorously.

It’s easy for me to say as a non-medical person just take away some of their revenue but obviously they will fight, just like they fight expanding the role of nurse practitioners and clinics, and importing doctors, etc.

85 Lord Action January 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm

If you want a trivial tweak that would do a lot of good, we should let companies dump their employees onto the exchanges ensemble. I.e., move the employer mandate from one encouraging companies to buy health insurance to one pushing big groups of healthy people onto the exchanges.

86 zztop January 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Prefer B, involving lots of tax credits (presupposing the mandate is jettisoned), a new name, and a prayer. Anything else is a total disaster. Oh, and constitutionally speaking, any prayer will do, even if its no prayer. Just sayin’.

87 Heorogar January 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm

#5 – On Death: Life is hard. Then, you die. You never can tell. You may go to Heaven, or you may go to . . .

If they weren’t typically horrid people, I’d feel sympathy toward atheists and liberals.

88 Is Bashing Liberals the Entire Meaning of Your Life? January 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm

Is Bashing Liberals the Entire Meaning of Your Life?

89 Heorogar January 4, 2017 at 2:26 pm

It’s too easy and so much fun.

Other meaningful things: older whisky, faster boats/cars/motorcycles, younger women and more ammunition.

Since November 8, a “Conan the Barbarian” movie quote replaced, as my favorite, a “My Cousin Vinnie” quote. “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.”

90 4ChanMan January 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Its not just liberals thought, Cuckservatives, which include many of the commenters here should be crushed too!

91 Student January 4, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Another 4chan tard imagining himself to be some throwback tough guy when the reality is you are some fat ass in a wife beater sitting in a trailer in Alabama watching cuck and pegging porn waiting for your meth to brew and your disability check to arrive so you can buy another shotgun to “protect” yourself from hipster libtards, brown people, and Obama.

You all are the biggest bunch of pussies around… scared of your own shadows.

92 Politics of Cruelty January 4, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Yes, it’s interesting that supposed “tough guys” calling people “snowflakes” has become a fashion now. What do you do if you’re stressed and frustrated and scared? You look for someone else you can label as a “snowflake”– even if it’s a naive eighteen year old, or even a hurt or scared six year old. “He’s the snowflake, not me.”

93 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 3:52 pm

The defeat of the Nigger Party has really driven liberals completely insane.

94 Hanging Chad January 4, 2017 at 4:16 pm

” even if it’s a naive eighteen year old”

What, so we should give them a pass just because they’re young? That ship sailed when we gave them the constitutional right to vote.

95 Hanging Chad January 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

“What do you do if you’re stressed and frustrated and scared?”

If you’re ”’Jill,”’ you obsessively troll a website, changing your name each time but fooling no one.

96 Student January 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Just trolling a troll. Their fixation on the word cuck though is somewhat interesting.

97 Thomas January 4, 2017 at 4:56 pm

The casual racism against southern whites by liberals is very telling.

98 Student January 4, 2017 at 5:52 pm

You’re confusing disdain for hypocrites and nazis with racism. Learn to distinguish.

99 4ChanMan January 4, 2017 at 5:59 pm

I just think all of you are Cucks

100 Student January 4, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Due to your taste in porn and your small member.

101 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 11:43 pm

“You’re confusing disdain for hypocrites and nazis with racism. Learn to distinguish.”

That’s an easy game to play. Everyone can justify their bigotry if they try hard enough.

102 MOFO January 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm

You spend half your time bashing Republicans, and the other half whining that people bash the left.

Cant tell if clueless or superb troll.

103 anon January 4, 2017 at 8:06 pm

“If they weren’t typically horrid people, I’d feel sympathy toward atheists and liberals.”

As the Christian Conservative Candidate(*), now elected, melts down on Twitter, it is important to look back and blame “atheists and liberals” rather than the Christians and Conservatives who elected this ass.

* – a p-grabber and casino owner, but endorsed by at least some craven or diluted clergy as “God’s plan for America” so there you go.

104 anon January 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm

I was still editing that!

105 Steve J January 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm

You can’t be serious that you think people actually believe in religion. Some people are just better actors than others. Atheists are such bad actors they don’t even try.

106 anon January 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

2. I reached a Trump Tweet Limit this morning, when he said he believed Julian Assange.

Yes, it is a low grade war, and the deep state will have to muddle through without the POTUS.

107 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Since when has the “deep state” ever cared about the POTUS, other than to subvert or some say even eliminate him?

108 anon January 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I don’t mean in the extreme sense, just that career government workers have jobs they take seriously. The NSA isn’t going roll over for Assange (or Snowden) even if they do end up darlings of Presidents.

109 Post-Truth Politics January 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Those who write books about the Deep State (There are a number of them over at Amazon) say that the Deep State does not work for the president, that the president works for the Deep State. It certainly has always looked that way for many decades now. I guess we will have a test of that theory now. What would one predict if in fact the Deep State does run things, and if Trump continues to be at odds with him? Impeachment? Or that he will get Kennedyed? Or will “die of natural causes?” Or what?

This will be interesting to see if Trump can actually tell the Deep State what to do, rather than vice versa. Everyone here, you may consider: Which one would you bet on– that Trump, or the Deep State, will rule the day?

110 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm

If this ‘Deep State’ (now with capitalization to increase the fear) is truly in charge, that means it doesn’t matter much if Clinton or Trump won, does it?

111 Politics of Cruelty January 4, 2017 at 3:29 pm

No. It’s different in different policy areas. And the president may have some bit of leeway too, even in those areas. Foreign policy is supposed to be the most influenced by the Deep State. But even there, Obama managed to be less neocon than Bush. Perhaps the pres decides whether, in foreign policy, to give the Deep State most of what they want, or else everything they want. Obama may have given them as little as he could, without ending up being put out of power before his term was up. He did send fewer of our soldiers to war than Bush did.

112 Bob from Ohio January 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm

“deep state will have to muddle through without the POTUS”

Then its time to disband the Intelligence Community. All 17 agencies. Start over.

Trump was elected for good or ill. I prefer democracy over governance by intelligence agents.

113 anon January 4, 2017 at 2:56 pm

That is quite the plan, “for good or ill.” I would still rather avoid ill.

Luckily our democracy has plenty of legal impediments against rapid change. I do not believe that agencies funded by Congress can simply be disbanded by a President.

114 Politics of Cruelty January 4, 2017 at 3:36 pm

I don’t prefer governance by intelligence agencies, or the military industrial complex, either. But if Trump is a puppet of Putin, as some allege, I don’t want governance by Putin either.

There are a lot of people in the intelligence agencies. Some are probably neocons who want war for profit– but not as much as Bush and Cheney wanted that, because they had to push the intelligence agencies to get them to “find” WMD in Iraq. Others are likely good people, who prefer peace, and who are risking their lives for the rest of us.

It’s easy to yell “Tear it all down.” But tearing things down is quick. Building something constructive can take centuries. Before we tear anything down, we should ask: Why do we have that? Is there something constructive and important that this institution is doing for our society?

Without intelligence agencies, we might be defenseless against foreign enemies in numerous ways. I don’t want to have them in complete control. But I think if we get rid of them entirely we will regret it and our foreign enemies will rejoice.

115 The Original D January 4, 2017 at 11:14 pm

If you want POTUS to be Putin’s puppet, a good place to start is dismantling intelligence agencies.

My money is on a new Edward Snowden emerging who leaks info about how clueless Trump really is.

116 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

Um, you don’t need a leak to see that.

117 derek January 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

If it is a war, and I believe it is, then where in the hell were Obama and Hillary over the last 8 years? Hillary didn’t think it was serious, otherwise she wouldn’t have set up an insecure means of communication, and Obama didn’t think it was serious or he wouldn’t have communicated with her on it.

Someone has all the personal information about anyone who ever worked for government because the database was hacked. This was a couple years ago. Did Obama even comment on it at the time?

The problem is that the Democrats lost an important election, badly, very badly with minority position in both houses and less influence in the States. This is obviously an issue serious enough to get into a nuclear war about. If Hillary was president we wouldn’t be hearing about any of this. It is all bullshit.

118 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 3:16 pm

“This is obviously an issue serious enough to get into a nuclear war about” – said or thought no one, ever. Nice strawman, bro.

119 anon January 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I wonder why, with all the other comments on the page, you chose to share with me that you did not read the Guardian piece?

120 Post-Truth Politics January 4, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Not many people expected Trump to win. The things that were done, to lead to his winning, have never been done before. I imagine Hillary planned to deal with the cyber war after her election.

It’s real easy to bash Hillary and Obama, and there are large news organizations dedicated to that very easy task, and to encouraging other Right Wingers to do it too. But regardless of who is president, the cyber cold war is indeed a problem.

121 The Original D January 4, 2017 at 11:17 pm

Stuxnet was created on Obama’s watch.

122 TMC January 5, 2017 at 8:09 am

“On the other hand, researchers at Symantec have uncovered a version of the Stuxnet computer virus that was used to attack Iran’s nuclear program in November 2007, being developed as early as 2005, when Iran was still setting up its uranium enrichment facility.[42]”


123 anon January 5, 2017 at 9:44 am

Interesting. The deep state has responded with a PR push, and Trump has buckled. Now whining that he didn’t endorse Assange and is a “fan” of “intelligence.”

124 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 11:56 am

This is why you need to stop obsessing over his tweets. He’s going to tweet nonsense and then the next day tweet opposite nonsense. Ignore. Follow what he actually does not his bullshit tweets. Some of what he plans to do are actually good ideas. Not a lot, some.

125 anon January 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

As painful as it is to read his tweets, I think they are important.

They are a daily reminder that we elected an incompetent and a daily warning that he will soon be “the most powerful man in the free world.”

Roll up in a ball if YOU want ti, but if I were you, I’d encourage those who push back at Trump and do make him roll back on Putin/Assange man-love.

126 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm

The only one rolled up in a panicked ball is you, dude. I’m just less triggered by his tweets. Let’s see what actually happens. Not sure what ‘pushing back’ I can do, he’s the prez. I am appalled by this but hoping that I’m wrong on this as I have been on so many things lately. Maybe he/we will muddle through. That’s actually the most likely outcome.

127 anon January 5, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Pretend that I am “panicked” and not just a good citizen paying attention to politics on the national stage.

Because you have the “normal” position, right? “Ignore the man behind the curtain?”

128 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I’m paying attention too, but my estimation of signal to noise is far lower than yours.

129 Rich Berger January 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

7. “We do not support this approach to repealing and replacing the ACA because it carries too much risk of unnecessary disruption to the existing insurance arrangements upon which many people are now relying to finance their health services, and because it is unlikely to produce a coherent reform of health care in the United States.”

That certainly would apply to Obamacare. Of course, anyone paying attention would realize that this abomination was doomed from the start. From a software perspective, this analysis of one of Obamacare’s predecessors is insightful and hilarious:

130 anon January 4, 2017 at 1:48 pm

7. Given that forward progress on national health care is unlikely, I expect Obamacare to be repealed in name only. Welcome to Trumpcare, where they can’t charge for preexisting conditions, and you can keep your kids on your policy until age 26.

131 Post-Truth Politics January 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

If Trump had any sense at all, that is definitely what he would do. Time will tell if he has any sense.

132 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

This is more up to Paul Ryan, Trump will sign whatever they tell him to as long as they say “this repeals it, just like you wanted”

133 JonFraz January 4, 2017 at 3:02 pm

I’m not so certain that Trump is going to be Ryan’s stooge.

134 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I’m not that certain either, he’s a wild card for sure. No boredom these days.

135 Jan January 4, 2017 at 8:02 pm

And the insurance markets collapse.

136 anon January 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm

The Obamacare problem is just a general insurance and cost problem.

Insurance works when costs may be large but are infrequent. As healthcare becomes more treatment for everyone all the time, that model breaks down.

Not actually Obama’s fault that everyone is on meds and needs follow up visits. The American style of medicine is increasingly unsuited to an insurance model.

137 anon January 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Pushing everyone to HMOs would help, but not every insurance company wants to be an HMO. Congress seems unlikely to push it.

138 anon January 4, 2017 at 11:04 pm
139 Donald Pretari January 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm

#3…Going back, I was very reluctantly for Brexit because the EU could have solved the economic problem with more unity, but nationalist sentiment precluded that happening, for about a century now and continuing. If you literally can’t solve a problem in an organization, it’s better to get out of it. I don’t see that anything has changed. Italy, France, and now Ireland, are having to confront the fact that many of their citizens have now pulled all of their hair out and want something, anything, done, if not by the EU, then their own country’s government.

140 Post-Truth Politics January 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Most progressives seem to have been for Bremain, but I was for Brexit myself for the same reason as you.

“If you literally can’t solve a problem in an organization, it’s better to get out of it.”

Organizations that don’t work, don’t work. If it doesn’t work, and you can’t fix it, may as well get out.

In addition, I can’t imagine that I would want the U.S. to have so much of its sovereignty taken away as the EU takes away from its member nations. So I would be a hypocrite to expect Europeans to do something that I wouldn’t want my nation to do, when Europeans don’t want to be in such an organization for the same reasons I wouldn’t want the U.S. to be in something so restrictive.

Freedom is very important.

141 Thomas January 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Don’t you remember? Anyone who is for brexit is a xenophobic racist.

142 Jan January 4, 2017 at 8:04 pm

No, but anyone who is a xenophobic racist is for Brexit.

143 msgkings January 5, 2017 at 11:57 am


144 Jeff R January 4, 2017 at 4:52 pm

It’s long memories and short tempers which have cursed poor Ireland.

145 Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe January 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm


146 Jan January 4, 2017 at 8:05 pm


147 too hot for MR January 4, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Some people you just can’t please.

148 Donald Pretari January 4, 2017 at 2:29 pm

#6…”In the Middle East, upscale hotels are talking to at least two companies about blocking drones from taking shots of their celebrity guests longing poolside or in the privacy of their bathrooms.”

From MR…

“13 Donald Pretari October 30, 2015 at 11:53 am
It’s conceptually clearer to think of the individual hovering above you with a camera than focusing on the drone.

14 Donald Pretari October 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm
Also, the height requirement can’t be so simple, otherwise couples making love in tall buildings could be hearing drones hovering outside their bedroom window, a real mood killer if you ask me.”

The drip, drip, drip, of inaction.

149 Art Deco January 4, 2017 at 2:53 pm

#3: the elites and the public in Ireland and Scotland are addled by terminal unseriousness. If they weren’t, they’d be headed for the exits as well.

150 cove99 January 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

#3 +1

Truer words were never spoken

151 Hanging Chad January 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

This whole cyberwarfare thing seems overhyped to me. I think of it as a continuation of general espionage. Documents get leaked, they got leaked before the era of the Internet(Pentagon papers) and still get leaked today. Everyone calls the DNC leak “hacking” but as a technical term, it might not suffice, it may be that some DNC official with access to the the documents leaked them. No technical skills necessary. The Podesta leak was phishing, something a child could do.(and probably wouldn’t fall for) And what, ultimately, was released by the “hacks?” Nothing of great importance, pay-to-play type stuff everyone already knew happens.

The embassy cables leak was more important, underappreciated IMO because as it occurred during a Democratic administration, the media didn’t give it much coverage. But it’s the kind of thing that could, and did, occur before the internet. Securing documents was important before the Internet and it is important after it, I don’t think future students of history will see much of a game-changer.

The real game changer IMO is the fact that the deep state has all our communications. As the millennials age, more and more move into powerful positions. They grew up under the eye of the government. Some expressed un-PC opinions anonymously on the internet. If at 19 years old they sent pathetic and unwanted appeals to their ex-girlfriend, evidence of that “sexual harassment” is in government hands. Maybe they decide not to use it. But what if they do?

152 msgkings January 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I think norms are changing as we type. What was once considered embarrassing or disqualifying will become far less so as the most heavily data-gathered generation grows up and realizes they are all under the magnifying glass. Trump is a great example, plenty of reveals and no consequences. Even Obama’s example is relevant, he clearly used recreational drugs when younger, and admitted as much. Bill Clinton had to claim he never inhaled. Things are evolving.

153 TallDave January 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

3. Tetlock is underrated.

154 TallDave January 4, 2017 at 3:36 pm


155 Donald Pretari January 4, 2017 at 3:47 pm

#5…I’m a big fan of John Berger ( please don’t ask me to defend Marxism ), because his writings often visit the landscape of paradox and contradiction where I, too, often visit. I think his book The Success and Failure of Picasso might appeal to economists. While Picasso was a communist, he was also wealthy beyond belief, able to earn millions any time he wanted to by simply doing a new painting or two or three. In fact, he could make astounding amounts of money any time he wanted to. But what, then, of his art?

I think that, because orthodox Soviet communism from Stalin ( the engineer of human souls ) and Zhadnov mandated class based art arguing marxist politics ( Gladkov’s Cement ), many communist and marxist artists rebelled against this position by focusing on universal human problems, issues not reducible to class analysis. This led to the paradoxical result that many communist artists are non-ideological and focused on the human predicament, or so I read them.

My own view of communism is summed up by Richard Pipes…”Stephane Courtois, the editor of ‘The Black Book of Communism,’ estimates the global number of Communism’s victims at between 85 and 100 million, which is 50 percent greater than the deaths caused by the two world wars. Various justifications have been offered for these losses, such as that one cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs ( Bukharin- DP ). Apart from the fact that human beings are not eggs, the trouble is that no omelette has emerged from the slaughter.”

156 anonymous January 4, 2017 at 9:51 pm

Eloquent comment. Thanks, I learned something from it.

157 Floccina January 4, 2017 at 4:14 pm

#7 they should take it slow and:
1. Remove the 3 to 1 rule.
2. Then raise the allowable deductibles to very high like $30k per year of $200k lifetime.
3. Either fix or eliminate the employer mandates, by fix I mean do not completely exempts part-time workers but maybe make employers pay a percent based on hours worked, any do not exempt anyone based on the number of employees.
4. Finally raise the penalty to where you are forcing most everybody in.

158 Jan January 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm

$30k is ridiculous, as most people don’t have any savings at all. Defeats the purpose of insurance.

159 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 11:48 pm

If you don’t have $30k then you don’t need insurance. You can declare bankruptcy and get out of any debt. $30k deductible is a catastrophic insurance policy. Even if you don’t have $30k you might need it to get proper cancer care but anything short of that you just pay it out of pocket or else don’t pay it.

160 Ricardo January 5, 2017 at 5:01 am

Your comment only makes sense for emergency care. For those with chronic conditions, they would either need to find doctors willing to treat them with little to no chance of being paid or else wait until the condition is bad enough to justify treatment (at higher cost to the general public) in the ER. People like you are so dogmatically opposed to social insurance that your alternative is a crude and more expensive way of socializing costs through bankruptcy law and ER care.

161 Floccina January 5, 2017 at 10:11 am

If you recover your health you can amortize $30,000. If your health did not recover perhaps the provider should take it as a loss.

162 jon livesey January 4, 2017 at 5:55 pm

#3 Words to remember when you hear the complete idiocy that Nicola Sturgeon comes out with.

163 Thanatos Savehn January 4, 2017 at 6:40 pm

#6 We got one of our sons a DJI Phantom 4 Pro for Christmas. It’s perhaps the most impressive consumer technology I’ve seen since the original iPad. The main camera, which shoots video or stills, can record in 4k at 60 FPS and so far the results are amazing. There are more than a dozen additional sensors that allow it to avoid obstacles, record its path and return home and land within a couple of feet of its launch point if contact is lost (or if you’re stupid and try to fly it beyond its battery life). It also detects nearby no fly zones and politely land itself immediately after take off if you try to fly in one. Grab it while it’s hovering and it will fight to get back to where it was. Release it and it returns to the spot without overshooting; doing a far better job of estimating necessary acceleration, deceleration and braking than I can manage after decades of driving.

I could go on but here’s the point. My son is 8 (only flies with adult supervision, etc., etc.) and he flies it much better than I can. With VR goggles he flies it like Luke Skywalker flies X-wing Starfighters – controlling the camera and gimbal instead of the laser and sight. I fly it like my Grandma drove her deuce and a quarter Buick – slow and right down the middle). Just as with his Mom’s first iPad back in 2010, the operation, limits and possibilities of the thing seem to come intuitively to my son. All of the data displayed on the screen, especially that of the proximity sensors, overloads my processing abilities but for him it allows the execution of a near perfect 360 degree turn around the trunk of a very large tree at 30+ MPH that leaves his Dad wondering whether Santa should have spent so much on what will surely soon be crashed but also with the sense, for the first time in my life, that the kids are flying off into a future into which I cannot follow; no matter how long I live.

164 GoneWithTheWind January 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm

Obama care is a poison pill. It was intended to be a poison pill. It was intended to crash the American health care system so it could be replaced with a single payer system. As a poison pill it is impossible to “fix” it and inevitably there will be some negative consequences to ending it, fixing it or replacing it. That is exactly what the Democrats intended when they created it.

The objective at this point should be to get rid of the poison pill and do so with the least disruptions to the health care system. NOT zero disruption because that is impossible. That’s just the way it is after politicians put a poison pill into law. Poison pills have consequences.

165 AlanW January 4, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Works in Switzerland.

166 Troll me January 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

7) This whole discussion is so silly.

You guys pay more than anywhere in the world for any possible measure of how much is spent, and obtain worse than average results across almost every indicator (in fact, worse for most indicators compared to almost all wealthy countries).

Learn from countries that get better result for less money.

167 GoneWithTheWind January 4, 2017 at 8:57 pm

And yet when Wealthy people from other countries get really sick they come to America to get better? What do they know that you don’t know?

168 byomtov January 4, 2017 at 9:54 pm

That the US health care system is designed to provide top-notch care to wealthy people?

169 AlanW January 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

That 96 percent of statistics are made up on the spot? Oh wait, you didn’t provide any statistics.

170 GoneWithTheWind January 4, 2017 at 11:12 pm

Car makers sell there expensive products to people who can afford it. They employ tens of thousands of productive workers and provide a needed product. High tech companies sell there expensive AND their cheaper products to people who can afford it. They employ tens of thousands of productive people and a needed product. You can list 100’s if not 1000’s of companies that do this without it being socialized (From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs). the customers for these products gladly work and earn enough to pay for them. No citizen is held up at gunpoint to give their money or other assets to the government so that the unwilling and unproductive can have these things for free. More then likely if all of these companies had been socialized over the years we would still be driving horse drawn carriages and communicating by carrier pigeon. WHY in the name of good sense would you wish that terrible fate on health care??? Once the government controls it health care will stagnate and not improve and it will become too expensive and have to be rationed. Have you read all the stories about the VA? THAT is government run health care.

171 Troll me January 5, 2017 at 9:03 am

That if you pay ten times the price, someone can sit on their butt 90% of the time waiting for you to waltz in, desperate to throw your life savings away for that maaaaybe maybe chance that costs a million dollars, or to get one of the best of some specialization on the planet.

If you’re a Bill Gates or Exxon CEO, you’ll be able to get right to the front of the line any time with no notice.

So, the statistics come in handy when able to demonstrate that the overall effect is quite disastrous in terms of wastage and inefficient use of economic resources. But hey, so long as Gates can get his surgery on no notice, what do I care if the 99% suffer as a result of the system that enables it?

172 Cliff January 4, 2017 at 11:52 pm

The results are not worse than average, they are generally better than average when controlling for relevant factors such as lifestyle and differences in statistics across countries.

Cost is high, yes, and a big reason is that we pay doctors much much more than those other countries. Also other countries free-ride on our drug prices.

173 Troll me January 5, 2017 at 9:11 am

Twice the infant mortality rate cannot be swept under the rug. The mountain of dead babies is growing, and the solution may in fact cost less money.

Maybe you’re right though. Most countries have a much more vigorous defense of public health, most especially when it comes to clear communication of risks associated with high sugar consumption and the benefit of a plant-heavy diet. Being somewhat less sedentary couldn’t hurt either.

But ignoring all the stuff about the medical services delivery itself, you still cannot ignore raw number on the amount of national human resources dedicated to the duplicity and other major sources of zero value waste occurring in the US system. Somewhere in the range of 1-2% of GDP if I remember right. I don’t know too many people who laugh at $200+ billion. Do we need a jobs program for ex health sector leeches (no offense to the service providers who are to be appreciated for their contributions regardless of motive), or might they take it upon themselves to find a more useful area of employment?

174 Floccina January 5, 2017 at 10:18 am

Lots of writing on that here:…3776.8893.0.9402.…

It seems less related to the health care system than most people assume.

175 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:33 am

It may be an issue of perception more so than reality in terms of access. Which causes people to underutilize services.

A major thing is that even when services are free, for example prenatal and postnatal visits, women still have to take time off work for that, and there is no additional compensation. This lost wage aspect is among many costs related to child bearing that are fully borne by women and not men. So, if you’re pretty poor, maybe you can’t even afford to use the free service because you can’t afford to miss half a day of work.

A while back there was an article on this blog about what has been working in California. Apparently a few simple processes which don;t cost much money managed to bring the rate in line with what’s going on in much of the rest of the wealthy world. However, the more general matter of more constrained and more difficult access to health care options for those with lower income will almost certainly underprovide due to the inability of a market system to internalize the positive external benefits – for example, benefits accruing to employers who have healthier and thus better workers in a situation where the health service is free and easily accessed, paid for through taxation rather than a complex insurance system which includes enormous overhead and massive additional costs related to litigation risk which causes major overuse of many diagnostic tools.

176 GoneWithTheWind January 5, 2017 at 10:40 am

Come down off your mountain of dead babies to reality. First of all many countries intentionally collect their data differently than the U.S. does with the express intent of making them look good. Therefore they may have the identical actual rate of “dead babies” but their statistics don’t reflect that. Secondly the U.S. has a serious drug problem which only seems to be getting worse. In fact many mothers in the U.S. who are drug addicts knowing put their unborn child at risk because of their addiction. This is not the fault of our health care nor can it be fixed by socializing our health care.

As to “risks associated with sugar consumption” or the “benefit of a plant heavy diet” It would appear that you are a advocate of fad diets and believe that YOUR favorite fad diet will improve health. But your beliefs are directly in contradiction to the believers in all the other fad diets who think it is THEIR fad diet that will make us all healthy. All of this ignores the fact that our life exoectancy increases every year. This tired old superstition about diets and the lack of ability to agree on any of it is quite tiresome. But it is pure speculation with zero evidence.

177 Decimal January 5, 2017 at 11:14 am

so many excuses

178 lolz January 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm
179 GoneWithTheWind January 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

From the study: “Experts cautioned against interpreting too much from a single year of data”

While the overall data on all Americans is useful and meaningful in context it can be misleading. If you want to relate health care to life expectancy then you must use the same cross section of the population from year to year. Because we have millions of immigrants every year and because they come from 3rd world countries where health problems abound it is inevitable that our overall health and life expectancy will be impacted. In fact it is likely that over the last 10-20 years where we have seen immigration skyrocket that our native population has experienced a far greater life expectancy then the statistics show. Such is the result of mixing different variable over time to draw conclusions.

180 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:28 am

OK, stick to your 20% cocoa chocolate bars and pork chops if that’s what you like. But to call low-sugar and plant-heavy diets a “fad diet” is just retarded. It’s what we’ve eaten since we were human, with some exceptions relating to hunts, or some specific groups which lived in places where that was not practical.

181 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:35 am

“Because we have millions of immigrants every year”

a) immigrants tend to be much healthier than Americans, as do almost all populations once not facing strict scarcity issues regarding the ability to even afford foods which provide high nutritional value.

b) for the most part, they haven’t been around long enough to affect death rates.

182 Floccina January 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

“Learn from countries that get better result for less money.”

Didn’t the PPACA do that?

183 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:38 am

Better results, maybe, but it did not address in any way whatsoever the causes of high costs, and may even make the situation worse from the cost perspective at the aggregate level.

184 carlospln January 5, 2017 at 12:40 am

“Also other countries free-ride on our drug prices”

For Christ’s sake, manage the Pharma co’s.

You don’t.

185 Cliff January 5, 2017 at 1:21 am

? Care to clarify?

186 Troll me January 5, 2017 at 9:24 am

Medicaid could negotiate harder, and then insurance companies might use that as a negotiating point.

It’s a lot easier with a single payer system, because … thoughts flying away for a moment … oh yeah, must be something about price signals not transmitting very well through insurance packages bought for the purpose of risk aversion and which are used only very occasionally, as compared to the cost centre which directly faces the cost under a single managerial unit of observation being able to directly assess the systemic value of some particular procedure or drug.

(naturally, that leads directly to death panels, somehow, but in the meantime I think there’s a tranny in a women’s bathroom that needs beating up before he/she has a chance to rape children in a locked stall elsewhere in public facilities … so, I’m just not gonna worry about that)

187 GoneWithTheWind January 5, 2017 at 10:43 am

“manage the Pharma co’s.” Really! Ignore the constitution and just take them over or what? While we are at it let’s manage the car makers and fast food industry too. And we could rename our country to Venezuela while we are at it.

188 Locke January 6, 2017 at 12:18 am

Where in the Constitution does it say you can’t manage the Pharma companies?

189 Troll me January 6, 2017 at 5:43 am

Might be something about inter-state trade. I’m sure if there was a larger constituency for stronger society-wide negotiation with big pharma, some different interpretation of something or other would be possible in time.

190 GoneWithTheWind January 6, 2017 at 10:08 am

No, the question should be where in the constitution does it say you CAN manage the Pharma companies. The constitution specifies the limits of the federal government and gives all of the rest of the power to the states and the people.

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