somervilletom

Person #5011: 247 Posts

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  1. In a word, yes (1 Reply)

    It is abysmal because we collectively pay a far greater share of our GDP to health care costs — especially health care administration costs — and we get far worse outcomes, pretty much any way those outcomes are measured.

    We pay for a Rolls Royce and get a 1964 Corvair.

    You miss the point about the proposed legislation regarding genetic testing. It means that any employee AND THEIR DEPENDENTS can be forced to take genetic tests, and the results of those tests disclosed to employers (and insurance companies from that point onward).

    The result is that new-born child of an employee will, under this regulation, have its full genome disclosed to insurers for the rest of its life. That’s not a “pre-existing condition”, that is sentencing infants who may carry a set of genetic markers to a life of NO health coverage (or employment).

    You are, in fact, cherry picking while ignoring the mountain of evidence that already rebuts your opinion.

  2. Got it, thanks! (1 Reply)

    That helps, it sounds like my item 2.

    I misunderstood what you meant by “inoculating against GOP attacks”. I thought you meant protecting against internecine (backroom) senate fights.

    I must say that Joe Manchin is near the top of my list of senators who I wouldn’t mind seeing defeated. It seems as though he pretty consistently argues and votes against the things I think America needs. I get that he reflects WV voters. I’m reminded of the similar defense offered for Colleen Garry. I tend to be sympathetic to the argument that maybe the Democrats should just write off the WV seat and keep moving.

    Anyway, I appreciate the explanation. We seem to agree on this.

  3. Please explain ... (1 Reply)

    I have a hard time understanding the mechanism for any such “inoculation”.

    My sense is that the GOP passionately and personally opposes each and every Democrat and Democratic proposal, using any attack they think might succeed. Barack Obama wasted all of his first term and much of his second pursuing the delusion that the GOP would “compromise” or be even slightly affected by any Democratic argument (including appeals to basic and well-documented facts).

    Mitch McConnell explicitly and accurately said that the primary goal of the GOP was to destroy Barack Obama. Nothing has changed since then.

    I think that any Senator who votes “Yes” does so because:
    1. They actually agree and don’t care about the political consequences or
    2. They think they’ll gain more votes than they’ll lose in the next election by supporting the nomination.

    To me, the concept of inoculating against GOP attacks is a naive delusion.

    The GOP will attack each and every Democratic Senator however that Senator votes on this nomination.

  4. Questions (1 Reply)

    Your comment about “people who contribute to their own demise (ex smokers)” leads me to ask a few questions.

    Would you also deny coverage to people who eat themselves into morbid obesity? Would you deny coverage to recovering alcoholics? How about people who contribute to their own demise by choosing sedentary lifestyles? Who, in your opinion, should decide what these rules are how strictly they are enforced?

    Oh, and so long as you’re advocating “free market” health care, how do you feel about the current proposal to allow employers to demand genetic testing of prospective employees, and to insist on getting genetic testing of their dependents?

    While it is possible to cherry-pick failures of pretty much any system, such an approach all too often blinds us to the larger picture.

    The current US health care system is abysmal. The changes being driven by the GOP will make it dramatically worse. That it is the reality.

  5. It IS the issue (2 Replies)

    You wrote this:

    I have a visceral reaction to the “flag with the black spider on it” that is almost physical which doesn’t happen with the southern cross.

    You are citing your own “visceral reaction” to one flag, and the absence of that visceral reaction from the other, as evidence of a distinction you posit between the two. I am reminding you (again) that there are millions of black Americans whose visceral reaction against the “southern cross” is just as pronounced and just as real as your reaction to the Nazi flag.

    Your visceral reaction is your own. It sheds light on your background and biases — and does not shed light on the question of the two flags.

    If a visceral reaction against a flag is to be counted as evidence for the awfulness of that flag, then by that standard the visceral reaction of millions of black Americans is just as real as yours.

    As you observe — “the [perspectives] of one race should not be held as more valid than another”.

    Indeed.

  6. Your experience is the point (1 Reply)

    You inadvertently argue against yourself.

    You are not an American black. You have perhaps not been to enough of the “battlefields” that have NOT been preserved — urban black neighborhoods where the same cultural forces that created those halcyon fields of Antietam or Gettysburg cause the blood of blacks to run in the streets today.

    Your experience as a privileged white male blinds you to the experiences of our contemporaries who react very differently.

  7. Perhaps he's saying something different (0 Replies)

    It sounds to me as though he’s saying that there is more than one kind of “genocide” — sort of like IOKIYAR.

    If we’re talking about what the Germans did to the Jews (and other minorities, by the way), then that’s one kind of genocide and it’s terrible and wrong and evil. If we’re talking about what Americans did to Indians (I’m told by my Indian friends that they much prefer “Indian” to “Native American”), then it’s not really “genocide” and it was not so bad.

    “It’s ok if you’re an American”.

    Those among us who pay attention to spiritual matters and who make assertions about the Hebrew Scriptures would do well to re-read the instructions of “God” to the Hebrews regarding the other peoples who surrounded them. I sometimes wonder if at least a part of our revulsion to the genocide of Adolf Hitler is because it resonates with dark themes that are very deeply woven into our culture.

    Perhaps we tend to wrap our own genocide in denialist language and then wrap the result in glowing words of patriotism. I think that’s what the comment was attempting to express.

  8. The line is not nearly so bright (3 Replies)

    It is illegal to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, even if no action accompanies the outburst. It is similarly illegal to verbalize a threat against the President.

    The line is not nearly so bright as you attempt to paint it.

    Is typing text “action” or “speech”? If the text I type is instructions for how to cause an electrical substation to catch fire and burn or a vehicle to go out of control and crash, is that “action” or “speech”?

    I’m firmly committed to free speech. I do not join those who would jail Americans for flying a Confederate flag. At the same time, I think we need to think very carefully about what constitutes “speech”, “action”, and then associated things like “treason”.

    If the text is computer software — say a piece of malware that will be used to target Americans and American infrastructure — is that text “speech” or “action”? If the text is instructional material whose intended audience is another human — who will then create the same malware — does that change anything? If a piece of computer software can read the “natural language” text (intended for a human) and construct the malware from that natural language text, does that change the nature of said “natural language” text?

    Speech recognition is not far behind natural language processing.

    I think that this distinction between “speech” and “action” is much harder to draw today.

    What does “aid” and “comfort” mean today? Is knowingly passing credentials of a secure server to a Russian agent treason? Is knowingly using information stolen from a breach of a political opponent “treason”?

    Suppose the Donald Trump campaign and now family and staff is — for whatever reason — doing the (indirect) bidding of Vladimir Putin. Does that cooperation constitute “aid and comfort”? Is Russia an “enemy”? How about China?

    In my view, the reality of the world does not allow for the bright lines you seem to prefer.

  9. An analogy (0 Replies)

    “Prolife” women asking to join the women’s march is like a group of “pro-Jim Crow” blacks asking to join a civil rights march.

    As stomv notes above, the tenets of the “pro-life” movement are exactly antithetic to the purposes of the women’s march.

  10. Checking ... (2 Replies)

    I’m referring to support for Mr. DeLeo, silence in response to Deval Patrick’s effort to address the issue, and so on.

    An issue that results from the power of Mr. DeLeo is that effective legislative responses to the crisis never even make the floor for a vote. There is thus no explicit voting record to point at.

    Western MA is large. Parts of it are quite liberal, yes. Other parts are not.

    I’m looking for some cites, but I do have a day-job. :(

  11. And ... (3 Replies)

    The “Democrats” who are the heart of that anti-MBTA hysteria are from western MA — where they force the draconian budget cuts and delusional resistance to taxes on the wealthy that force horrific government policy like this.

    These “Democrats” apparently believe that if only they could kill the MBTA, cities like Springfield and Pittsfield will somehow come back to life. They have long formed an unholy alliance with equally delusional Massachusetts Republicans.

    They are apparently getting their wish. Apparently we must destroy Massachusetts before we can “save” it.

  12. Life begins at conception and ... (1 Reply)

    The “pro-life” stance has often pilloried as “life begins at conception and ends at birth”.

    For all too many “pro-life” assholes legislators, this accurately characterizes their posture.

  13. No wringing of hands required. Instead ... (2 Replies)

    No wringing of hands is required. Instead, here’s what we need to acknowledge from 2018 onwards:

    1. Angry whites will turn out in droves to support any demagogue who panders to their most base prejudices and fears. This is especially true in battleground states.

    2. Minorities are unlikely to turn out for candidates who are not themselves minorities. This is especially true in battleground states.

    Neither of these groups will be convinced by ANY rational or factual arguments, because they are not acting from any rational basis.

    I’m weary of our wringing of hands about 2016 because I see us doing extraordinary feats of political gymnastics in order to avoid admitting these two basic truths about America.

    Until we accept, confront, and change these facts about America:

    A. We will continue to lose elections
    B. Even when we win, the win will be meaningless because we our “victory” will result from becoming those who we oppose.

    These two realities about racism and sexism in America — not to mention the sheer and wanton ignorance that underlies them — are the dominant forces that we MUST address.

    I agree that these have their roots in economic despair and dislocation. The two are impossible to separate, though. Solving the economy won’t help if we don’t address racism and sexism. Addressing racism and sexism is impossible without solving the economy.

    So it seems to me that our agenda is defined for us:

    1. Solve the wealth concentration issue
    2. Change our racist culture
    3. Change our sexist culture

  14. Another distortion (0 Replies)

    Sorry, but you are repeating the same right-wing Rush Limbaugh/Ken Starr lie you repeated so often during the campaign.

    The allegation that Bill Clinton abused women was made repeatedly — by women paid large sums of money to make such claims. Monica Lewinsky explicitly said and says that she was NOT abused by Mr. Clinton. In fact, she has said in multiple forums that the only people who abused her were Ken Starr and his lackeys when they coerced her into testifying against Mr. Clinton.

    Your attempt to imply that Mr. Clinton’s behavior was remotely comparable to Mr. Trump’s is simply libel (because it is written) against Mr. Clinton.

    I wish you’d stop.

  15. Government works fine (0 Replies)

    Our government works fine when rabidly partisan GOP hacks (which is pretty much all of them) aren’t throwing sand in the gears.

    The current GOP “leadership” spent the last eight years doing everything in their power to make government NOT work. I have no interest in cooperating with them AT ALL.

    They’ve fucked it up, royally, and it’s in the middle of crashing and burning. I certainly think we should keep expectations low.

    I think the right approach is to do nothing AT ALL to abet the GOP agenda. We are watching the GOP agenda crash and burn — with “Trumpcare” right out in front.

    Millions of Americans thought they wanted this shit. I want to make sure they know exactly what it tastes and smells like.

  16. You're kidding, right? (0 Replies)

    Let me offer two statements, and ask if you agree that the first is racist and the second sexist:

    1. “America wasn’t ready for a black president.”
    2. “I just think that being president is a man’s job”

    I’m not sure what “Meat eaters” or “WNBA players” has to do with anything.

    I can tell you that I’ve heard both (1) and (2) — especially 2 — from women (including minority women). Being black, Hispanic, or female does not create immunity to racism and sexism.

  17. Absolutely correct (1 Reply)

    You’re absolutely correct.

    It is heartening to know that we join the Congo, Iraq, and Syria in demonstrating our commitment to preserving and advancing the arts.

  18. Interesting self-calibrating proposal (1 Reply)

    I agree with this, and also have an observation and prediction.

    Your proposal to create these “pink-collar jobs” is interesting, because it will make it easier to identify the segment of our Venn diagram that really is racist and misogynist (I don’t know about homophobic). Here’s why.

    The jobs you describe are, today, fields that are already attracting women and minorities. An example is qualified elderly care professionals (nurses, hospice workers, etc.). My wife and found that the nursing staff at the high-end rehab facility that cared for my mother in the final weeks of her life was dominated by minority men and women.

    I suggest that the segment of your Venn diagram composed of racist and misogynist voters will resoundingly reject your contemplated effort to remove the stigma of these pink-collar jobs. They will attack the jobs themselves, the men and women performing those jobs today, the training programs these jobs require, and those of us who promote them.

    They will attack this proposal because their racism and misogyny will make them abhor the idea of working with the minorities and women already in these workplaces. They will resent the reality that the minorities and women in these pink-collar jobs today will make more then they because of the greater seniority and experience those current pink-collar job holders have (by construction). They will resent the reality that as pay scales are increase to make these pink-collar jobs more attractive, those increases will apply to minority and women as much as to them.

    I like the self-calibrating, and therefore self-identifying aspects of this proposal. It’s a winner.

  19. At least we know it this time around (0 Replies)

    There is very strong evidence, that I find persuasive, that the CIA was deeply involved in bringing down Richard Nixon. Each key breakthrough in that scandal originated from a current or ex CIA operative. Whenever the unfolding case bogged down, another startling breakthrough popped into the news cycle — and every time from someone connected to the CIA.

    We can speculate about the motivation for that involvement, but in my view the participation of the CIA is itself demonstrated fact. It is unfortunate that the exit deal negotiated by the parties (including, of course, the CIA) blocked further investigation into all the other things that were happening inside the US government during the Nixon years. I will go to my grave believing that that was very much intentional.

    I think Watergate was a CIA-driven exit strategy — whether or not Mr. Nixon knew of it.

    I think the IC has always used the media. I think it joins the rest of us in still struggling to learn how to accomplish that in the revolutionary new world of today’s media.

  20. Look at history (0 Replies)

    The debt service (interest rate) on a fixed-rate loan will not change whether the inflation rate is 0.1% or 10.0%. The effect of the runaway inflation of the 1970s (caused by the OPEC embargo) was to reduce the effective interest rate homeowners of the time were paying on their mortgages, while simultaneously causing the value of their properties to increase (with inflation).

    That worked very much to the benefit of those homeowners, and cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth among those mortgage holders.

    Your wages are more likely to increase with inflation (even if it requires you to change jobs) than a fixed-rate debt instrument.

    You can read more here:

    CAN we escape from the debt crisis via higher inflation? That has been the suggestion of several eminent economists including Ken Rogoff, Olivier Blanchard and Paul Krugman. Since most debt is fixed in nominal terms, higher inflation erodes its real value. Many people believe governments will pursue this option and are buying gold as a way of hedging against it. For David Zervos of Jefferies, the policy is already in place. He says the US is opting for

    “…good old fashion currency debasement and the annihilation of nominal creditors (most of which reside outside the US). We have done this before in our 200+ year history and we will surely do it again.”