Thursday, August 17, 2017

Everytime Trump Says Something Stupid Why is There a Contest to Say Something Even Stupider?

Eli,
Maybe the Russians hacked the election AND have re-injected our water supply with fluoride forcing many to respond to every stupid thing coming from Trump with something even stupider.

Like this:

Here’s A List Of All The Monuments Liberals Want To Tear Down So Far:

The list includes Mt. Rushmore and the Jefferson Memorial.

Saying nothing is always an option.

Bill

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Moment I Switched Off Meet the Press.

Eli,

Chuck Todd was interviewing Sen Angus King on the various Russian allegations/investigations.

Senator King:

I believe it's one of the most serious attacks we've had on our country in recent years. And the president doesn't seem interested in it either. Mr. Comey testified he had nine interactions with him before he was fired. In none of those did the president say, "What did the Russians do? How did they do it? How do you know they did it? And what can we do about it?" This is serious stuff. And all of this Trump, Comey, and obstruction of justice is sort of obscuring the underlying, what I think is really the big story.

To which Chuck Todd replied:

Do you believe that lack of curiosity is circumstantial evidence in and of itself?

I turned to my daughter and asked if she cared about Russia and Trump. She said no. I asked her if her lack of curiosity is circumstantial evidence in and of itself of her being a tool of Putin? Probably, she said.

Maybe there is a there, there. But the media is doing its best to act idiotic and convince me other motives are driving the allegations.

I switched off Meet the Press. Continued binge watching "Silicon Valley," which I find more realistic.

Bill

Friday, June 16, 2017

New York Times vs The Truth

Eli,
Sean Davis at The Federalist sums it up nicely:

Much has been written about how The New York Times used its first editorial after a horrific mass assassination attempt on Republican lawmakers to absolve the shooter of agency over his own actions, and then to blame Republicans and “the gun lobby” for empowering the “deranged” progressive activist to murder them in the first place. Not content with peddling just one Big Lie, the esteemed NYT editorial board loaded its rhetorical shotgun with Big Lie buckshot and spread as many lies over as large an area as possible. Taking a cue from “Hamilton,” the paper of record didn’t want to throw away its shot.

It wasn’t enough for NYT to just recycle the lie — famously spread by the NYT six years ago, natch — that the shooter who tried to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in 2011, Jared Lee Loughner, was driven to act by Sarah Palin. It wasn’t enough for the editorial board to claim without evidence that the shooter in Alexandria was “deranged” in order to relieve him of responsibility for his own actions and avoid examining why he chose to walk into a public park and open fire on his declared enemies.

The whole thing is worth a read.

I mostly do the crossword at the Times, and little else. But even the crossword is getting infected with Trump insanity. On a recent crossword blog the creator of the puzzle apologized for using Trump in one of the clues. Sigh.

Bill

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thoughts from Mike Morrell

Eli,

Mike Morrell (former acting director of the CIA) was kind enough to articulate what I'm thinking about the daily allegations of Russia/Trump.

For the most part – and please stay with me here – what we, the public, know is what the media has reported, that unnamed former and current government officials have told them what the Russians said to each other about what happened in meetings with Trump associates. That is not a sourcing chain in which I would put a great deal of confidence.

The whole interview is worth a read, including these excerpts:

By the way, I do think that there are four broad areas that need to be investigated with regard to Trump and the Russians. I hope Bob Mueller, the new Special Counsel, is looking at all of these issues....
Second, did Russian organized crime launder money through the Trump Organization? If so, was anyone in the Trump Organization aware of that? If so, was Trump himself aware? And, if so, was the soft approach to Russian during the campaign and the transition a quid pro quo? If the money laundering occurred and the Trump Organization was not aware, should they have been? In other words, did the Trump Organization do the due diligence that is required of them by law to have an understanding of where foreign money is coming from?  

And this comment on the US media.
You know when Hugo Chavez was first elected President in Venezuela in 1998, there was no political opposition of which to speak. The opposition was in disarray. There was no opposition leader to stand up and provide an alternative vision to that being pursued by Chavez. In its place, the Venezuelan media became the political opposition. And, in so doing, the media lost its credibility with the Venezuelan people. It was a huge loss for Venezuela.

That is a risk right here in America, right now. I believe that objective, fact-based journalism has never been as important as it is today to the future of our democracy. But, in order to be effective, journalists cannot take sides or even appear to take sides.

 Bill

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SB-562 The Healthy California Act

Eli,

The bill was introduced in February:
This bill, the Healthy California Act, would create the Healthy California program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state.
The bill analysis was published recently:

The projected costs and revenue needs for the proposed Program are as follows. For a discussion of the underlying assumptions, see Staff Comments below.
  • Total annual costs of about $400 billion per year, including all covered health care services and administrative costs, at full enrollment.
  • Existing federal, state, and local funding of about $200 billion could be available to offset a portion of the total program cost.
  • About $200 billion in additional tax revenues would be needed to pay for the remainder of the total program cost. Assuming that this cost was raised through a new payroll tax (with no cap on wages subject to the tax), the additional payroll tax rate would be about 15% of earned income.
It is important to note that the overall cost of those new tax revenues would be offset to a large degree by reduced spending on health care coverage by employers and employees. Although precise estimates of total spending for employer sponsored health insurance are not available, the best available information indicates that existing spending is between $100 and $150 billion per year. Therefore, total new spending required under the bill would be between $50 and $100 billion per year.

So $200 billion extra in CA government spending. The current California budget is $122 billion; $86 billion of the state's tax receipts come from personal income taxes.

The question I have for anyone proposing single payer, a question never answered, is, How are you going to pay for it?

Bill

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Confused in TrumpWorld

Eli,

Saw this headline in the Washington Post, "In defiant jab at Russia, Senate approves Montenegro’s NATO bid." and the first paragraph of the story:

With the support of the Trump administration, the Senate took a swipe at Russia on Tuesday by voting to let one of Europe’s smallest countries into NATO.
But wait. Isn't Trump a puppet for the Russians. Didn't the Russians hack the election and install Trump as President? What kind of puppet supports a policy that takes a "swipe" and "defiant jab" at its master?

I saw this headline a week ago: "FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites."   Again very confusing. So Trump's DoJ is investigating Breitbart to prove Trump was a pawn of the Russians? Wait, what?

Maybe Trump and the Russians are playing seven level chess.

Bill

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bob Laszewski on GOPCare

Eli,

I've found Bob Laszewski to be one of the more reliable commenters on health care. He isn't supportive of the GOP health care plan introduced. I always appreciate essays that have a strong opinion, started immediately and clearly. Laszewski starts out with:

It won't work.
And he doesn't get nicer.

The House Republicans are also proposing an individual health insurance market scheme that may even be worse than Obamacare itself.
As bad as the Obamacare individual mandate was for consumers––and as ineffective as it was for insurers––it did cause those not buying health insurance some pain. The Republicans now want to create a scheme that doesn't require anyone to sign up. But when they get sick enough that they need insurance, they will be able to quickly do so by paying a paltry 12-month 30% premium surcharge.

For example, a person paying $5,000 for health insurance would pay a one-time total $1,500 penalty! A family paying $10,000 in annual premium would pay only a $3,000 penalty for any late enrollment!

Obamacare is so poorly constructed it is literally an anti-selection machine. The Republican proposal is worse.

He gets to the nub of the problem with both Obamacare and GOPcare:

What the market needs to be viable are not subsidies but a market that works efficiently in the first place.

The Democrats, for reasons I don't understand, hate the market and want to remove the market from health care entirely. Despite thousands of years of evidence that markets work across geographies, cultures, industries, they have somehow come to the conclusion the markets and health care can not intermarry. Oh well. Nothing I say will convince them otherwise.

 Laszewski concludes:

The Republicans are trying to create something they can sell to enough Republicans to pass it.

What they need to create is a program that they can sell to enough consumers to make it financially viable and that will meet the needs of a consensus of voters to make it politically viable.
The amazing thing to me about Obamacare, (and pretty much every other government mandate), is the refusal to acknowledge there is a group called consumers that will, mostly, rationally evaluate their health care choices, and since they refuse to acknowledge this they create a Rube Goldberg contraption that ultimately collapses and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately the politicians fixing the collapsed machinery build on the ruined remains of the last bad plan.

What will probably happen is Medicare for all. Medicare, of course, is a financial disaster in the making. Extending a financially unsustainable plan to the entire population strikes me as irresponsible to the extreme, but who cares. My children and grandchildren will pay the bills, not me.

Bill