36 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-17-17

  1. 538? Really?

    The same group that predicted Hillary had an 83% chance of winning? I guess they’re doubling down since they were so embarrassingly wrong last time around. But hey, they have to be right sooner or later, right?


    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Republican Congress, not the President, is squandering the election mandate they were given. They’re doing nothing. Starting to have the appearance of the last couple sweeping Republican “victories.” If nothing changes, it’s not the President’s fault, at least if the current trajectory maintains.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. AJ, If you will double-check you will find:
    1. 538 was the best predictor in 2012;
    2. They consistently gave Trump a better chance of beating Hillary than their competitors and were mocked for this.

    For weeks before the election they were noting that there was an unusually high chance Trump would win the Electoral College, but lose the popular vote.

    The writers and analysts at 538 are nerds. They use math. They know 15 does not equal 10.


  4. 8:36 was a tribute to Dad who did not allow Trumpian lies or Fake Math to escape ridicule in our house. His three year old great-grandchildren can count to 1000 and know that 426 is greater than 304. His 19 month old great-granddaughter can count to 20 and knows that 15 is greater than 10.

    His 5 year old great-grandson recently told my mother, “Donald Trunk is a bad man. He lies.” I am not sure if little Anthony was repeating what he heard someone else say or if Anthony himself caught “Trunk” engaged in some form of math idiocy.


  5. That’s all good, Ricky, and I didn’t vote or care for Trump, but if you think his weaknesses or competence is significantly greater than any of the last 10 or so presidents, you’re kind of delusional.


  6. Give them credit, 538 was pretty straight-forward & open in their mea culpas after the election saying yep, they messed up. They weren’t alone. Part of what will be looked at after 2016 is how the polling was off. Yes, there’s math involved, but you’re also dealing with relying on human beings to report how they will behave once they’re in the ballot box. 🙂 And that information is just not always reliable or predictable, for whatever reason. Actually, I thought it was kind of refreshing that voters weren’t so predictable as we thought they were.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. True, DJ. But some people never learn. We are not a solid month into the new administration and they’re already prognosticating a possible Republican loss due to Trump.


  8. SolarP, Trump’s knowledge makes Ford look like a genius; his integrity is worse than Nixon’s and Clinton’s; his mental capacity and sanity are worse than Wilson after the stroke and approaching that of Kennedy and Lincoln after the head wounds.


  9. Well, one thing is certain, if Trump succeeds he owes none of it to the Globalists. They’ve been sniping at his heels at every turn.

    And if he does not succeed, it will be more plain than ever before who the enemies of working people are–and have been all along. At that point there is a real opportunity for a third party or for Democrats, if they can stop their heads from exploding long enough to go back to the basics.


  10. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444832/politics-new-york-times-classified-roommates-no-republicans-need-apply?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=williamson&utm_medium=social&utm_content=no-republicans

    Totalitarianism in the classified ads One of the less understood criticisms of progressivism is that it is totalitarian, not in the sense that kale-eating Brooklynites want to build prison camps for political nonconformists (except for the ones who want to lock up global-warming skeptics) but in the sense that it assumes that there is no life outside of politics, that there is no separate sphere of private life, and that church, family, art, and much else properly resides within that sphere.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444832/politics-new-york-times-classified-roommates-no-republicans-need-apply?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=williamson&utm_medium=social&utm_content=no-republicans

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Meanwhile from out west



    SACRAMENTO — In a surprise move that further complicates President Donald Trump’s push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, two California lawmakers today plan to introduce legislation that would create a single-payer health care system covering all 38 million Californians — including its undocumented residents. …

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s an interesting article DJ. I was just talking about single-payer with someone yesterday. I’m feeling kind of ‘once burned, twice shy’ on the issue since the Obamacare debacle. But it was pointed out that Medicare is one of the best run systems around. It would be interesting to see if they can make a success of it.

    From the article linked above:

    Yet over the years, the idea has periodically gained traction in the Golden State and elsewhere in the U.S., though critics say such plans would require hefty tax increases.

    Proponents refute that notion, however, saying taxes would replace insurance premiums, and savings would come from eliminating the huge administrative costs of insurance companies.


  13. However, I think the Federal government should pour its serious efforts at healthcare reforms into the VA system. That would make a good trial balloon for a broader effort. But if they can’t run the VA properly with all of the public support and an arguable constitutional mandate, it’s hard to see them making a success of anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Debra,

    “But it was pointed out that Medicare is one of the best run systems around.”

    It depends who you ask.


    “One of the most common arguments made by advocates of single-payer health care is it’s a more efficient way of financing care. Its administrative costs are lower, the argument goes, which means that more of the money spent on the program goes to actually paying for care rather than marketing expenses and corporate profits. The problem with this argument, as National Center for Policy Analysis President John Goodman points out in Health Affairs, is that when you look at all the costs involved in administering the program, it’s just not true:

    What about the claim that Medicare’s administrative costs are only 2 percent, compared to 10 percent to 15 percent for private insurers? The problem with this comparison is that it includes the cost of marketing and selling insurance as well as the costs of collecting premiums on the private side, but ignores the cost of collecting taxes on the public side. It also ignores the substantial administrative cost that Medicare shifts to the providers of care.

    Studies by Milliman and others show that when all costs are included, Medicare costs more, not less, to administer. Further, raw numbers show that, using Medicare’s own accounting, its administrative expenses per enrollee are higher than private insurance. They are lower only when expressed as a percentage – but that may be because the average medical expense for a senior is so much higher than the expense for non-seniors. Also, an unpublished ongoing study by Milliman finds that seniors on Medicare use twice the health resource as seniors who are still on private insurance, everything equal.

    Ironically, many observers think Medicare spends too little on administration, which is one reason for an estimated Medicare fraud loss of one out of every ten dollars of Medicare benefits paid. Private insurers devote more resources to fraud prevention and find it profitable to do so.”

    See also,


    “The Argument Based On Government Single-Buyer Market Power: Five Problems

    What about the argument that government can use its power as a single buyer to suppress providers’ fees? There are five problems with it.

    Health care markets are local. First, we don’t buy health care in a national market. We buy locally. And in local markets, private entities are often as big, or bigger, than Medicare (the auto companies in Detroit, for example, or the mine workers and their employers in West Virginia). There is nothing the US government can do that a lot of private companies and unions cannot also do. Similarly, if Canada is seen as the ideal, nothing is stopping the auto companies and the UAW from creating a global budget and rationing care for auto workers just the way the Canadians do it. That they choose not to do so is telling.

    Side effects of suppressing provider fees. Second, there are negative consequences from unduly suppressing provider fees. Doctors can leave the city, the state, or even the country where they live and go elsewhere. Able people can also avoid the profession altogether. If we paid doctors only the minimum wage, for example, medicine would attract only those people who can earn no more than the minimum wage doing something else. The suppression of provider payments ultimately harms patients as highly qualified providers exit the market. The effects of price controls in health care will be similar to their effects in other markets.

    Cost-shifting. Third, the suppression of provider payments shifts costs from patients and taxpayers to providers. Shifting costs, however, is not the same thing as controlling costs. Providers are just as much a part of society as patients. Shifting cost from one group to the other makes the latter group better off and the former worse off. It does not lower the cost of health care for society as a whole, however. In fact, it introduces a cost to society as the supply of providers falls.

    Political pressures and lobbying. Fourth, the argument overlooks the fact that public insurance in a democracy is ultimately subject to pressures at the ballot box. Providers get to vote too. They also can make campaign contributions and lobby. Patients can also exert political pressure. Political competition in a democracy constrains public policy in much the same way that economic competition constrains the behavior of private firms in the marketplace.

    You can get Medicare price controls without Medicare. Finally, if it really were desirable to have everyone pay low prices we do not need to enroll everyone in Medicare to achieve that outcome. We could instead impose Medicare-type price controls on the entire health care system. In fact, one organization advocates that very thing. Doing so would run into all the problems listed above, however.”

    And you have this issue as well.


    “Your waste, fraud, and abuse factoid of the day: The federal government spent just a hair over $500 billion on Medicare payments in 2010—and nearly 10 percent of that spending was improper for some reason, including fraud, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

    Medicare, which the GAO notes is already on an “unsustainable” long-run path, shelled out an estimated $48 billion in “improper payments” last year—and, the report says, those in charge of the program aren’t doing nearly enough to avoid making similar payment mistakes in the future. In fact, the $48 billion figure is probably low, because it doesn’t include any improper payments from the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.

    Even still, it’s enough for the government watchdog to warn that Medicare suffers from “pervasive internal control deficiencies.” Consequently, the GAO has dubbed Medicare a “high risk” program “because its complexity and susceptibility to improper payments, combined with its size, have led to serious management challenges.”

    It’s not clear how much of the problem is related to fraud and how much is related to internal factors, and some Republicans seem upset about the lack of clarity on that front. The inability to tell which is which is a sign of how little oversight there is in the program’s payment system, but I’m not sure there’s much comfort to be had here either way: A system that loses tens of billions of dollars each year to sloppy, incompetent management is arguably even worse than one that’s been willfully defrauded by clever schemers. It’s one thing to lose a truckload of taxpayer money when someone is making a concerted effort to bilk you out of it. It’s another thing entirely to lose it because you were so inept that you couldn’t keep track of it.

    This is the sort of thing to remember when single-payer supporters talk up Medicare-For-All. Yes, Medicare remains popular, but it’s incredibly wasteful and has severe, ongoing management problems. As GAO notes, this isn’t the first time tens of billions in waste has been found in the system; when the program was examined in 2007, GAO found similarly problematic spending patterns, and recommended changes accordingly. But Medicare’s administrators have failed to effectively follow up on the bulk of the oversight office’s suggestions since then. Expand Medicare, especially to the point where it has a monopoly or near-monopoly, and you’re only going to expand this sort of waste and mismanagement.”


  15. Some good news….


    “Republicans have overwhelmingly approved a resolution allowing states to withhold funds from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

    The House of Representatives passed HJ Res 43 on Thursday by a mainly party line vote of 230 to 188.

    The repeal proposal is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Donald Trump.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Trump’s integrity is no worse than Clinton’s, or Obama’s–they’re both in the same camp; Nixon’s was average. Trump’s mental state may be all a jumble, but proof of competence is in the pudding. He’s got a long way to go to get to even GWB’s depths, not to mention a bottom-10er like Obama’s. But yeah, it’s early.

    And maybe the Republican Congress might want to show up to work sometime soon?


  17. More “fake news”, this time from theAP.


    “The Department of Homeland Security is roundly condemning an Associated Press story that broke Friday morning about considering the use of the National Guard to “round up” undocumented immigrants. The DHS says that isn’t true, and—contra the AP’s reporting—that DHS Secretary John Kelly didn’t write the draft memo.

    “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard,” said Gillian Christensen, the acting press secretary for DHS.

    A DHS official told The Daily Beast that the memo the AP cited was an early, pre-decisional draft, that Kelly never approved it, and that the department as a whole never seriously considered it.

    The Department of Homeland Security is roundly condemning an Associated Press story that broke Friday morning about considering the use of the National Guard to “round up” undocumented immigrants. The DHS says that isn’t true, and—contra the AP’s reporting—that DHS Secretary John Kelly didn’t write the draft memo.
    “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard,” said Gillian Christensen, the acting press secretary for DHS.

    A DHS official told The Daily Beast that the memo the AP cited was an early, pre-decisional draft, that Kelly never approved it, and that the department as a whole never seriously considered it.”

    Not surprisingly, some Democrats are using the Dan Rather “fake but accurate” defense.


  18. AJ, Even if it’s true that Medicare administrative costs are as high or even marginally higher, I would rather the ‘profit’ accrue to an American citizen public sector employee or taxpayer than an insurance industry whose H1B abuse is substantial.

    The more legitimate objection (at least as far as I’m concerned) is the burden on physicians. That is not a small matter, and is an issue whether or not we get single-payer, as many physicians are leaving or threatening to leave the Medicare program.

    I think it probable that the medical field is ripe for deregulation in terms of the stranglehold that certain associations exert over licensing, education, etc. That being said, I really don’t know what that should look like or how it could unwind. The Obamacare bomb has made me wary. I’ve said before that Americans don’t really like Americans; some of the links on this page (Kim’s links above) are an example of that. It’s hard to find workable national solutions when charity is lacking.


  19. GWB wasn’t the brightest bulb. However, he never asked a reporter if she was going to schedule a meeting between him and the Black Caucus in the middle of a press conference. Trump does not understand the role of the press, the judiciary, the Congress or the President.

    A competent and sane president spends his time publicly and privately building support for his legislative agenda, not attacking Nordstrom, Mark Cuban, Australia or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Obama was a very inexperienced liberal. However, he was reasonably well informed and had a calm demeanor. He was neither rude, bombastic or impulsive. He was neither an imbecile nor a lunatic.


  20. This is fun game. How about, Donald Trump isn’t the smartest guy, but he never pretended to crawl around his office looking for WMDs.


    A competent, sane president doesn’t foist a hopelessly unworkable, economy-crippling healthcare system upon a population of 350 million.

    Like these things are proven by pointing to a single instance or comparison.

    But for now, if we do wan’t to do it that way, much as I do agree Trump is mentally way out there bizarro, he’s already gotten this country closer to repeal of Roe than 4 decades of limp-wristed Republican efforts have, so there’s that, which isn’t bad.


  21. With all of our political issues and upsets, it’s good to remember what is really important. Jesus is still calling people to Himself; and people are still giving their lives for His sake.

    Christian couple was forced to spend the night in a frigid pond after they refused to deny Christ; the man has now died.

    Bartu Urawn and his wife from Jharkhand state, India, were forced to spend 17 hours up to their necks in the pond with their hands tied as punishment for leaving their indigenous faith, reported Morning Star News. Bartu became ill and sustained nerve damage.

    Beneswar Urawn, the couple’s son, witnessed the punishment along with some villagers. “All through the night, they were in the cold water shivering, and I along with 15 to 20 villagers were witness to the brutality,” said Beneswar. “The villagers kept asking my father if he is ready to forsake Christ and return to the Sarna fold. He reiterated every time, ‘I will not deny Christ … I will continue to believe till my last breath.’”

    After the couple was pulled from the water, the villagers hit them and tried to get them to deny Christ. Both became ill, but Bartu’s wife recovered while he did not. Bartu died on January 20, 2017. Villagers stood watch over his body and refused to allow the family to bury him. The next day, Beneswar and four others were able to get Bartu’s body and carry it six miles, where they were able to bury him on government land.


    Liked by 1 person

  22. SolarP, LBJ foisted the hopelessly economy-crippling healthcare system on the US in 1965 with Medicare and Medicaid. BEFORE Obama took office we were spending 50% more of our GDP on healthcare than any other nation with additional increases already baked into the system. Obamacare just made it worse.

    GWB pretended to look for WMDs. Trump actually looked for thousands of missing inaugural attendees, millions of phantom fraudulent voters and reasons to pick a fight with China, Mexico and Australia.

    GWB and Obama did not sexually assault women. Clinton was accused by women of sexual assaults, but denied the charges. Trump accused himself of multiple sexual assaults, these were confirmed by numerous women before Trump said that both he and the women were liars.

    This is a fun game. I’ve only got 28 days in office to pull from, but you can’t win.


  23. I forgot. Hopefully, Gorsuch will be confirmed. Trump’s daily lunacy is not helping his cause. However, even if he is confirmed we will be no closer to the repeal of Roe v Wade than we were a year and a week ago. Gorsuch will not be more conservative than Scalia who we hope he replaces.


  24. DJ, One of my secretaries goes to Prestonwood Baptist. It is a good church, but they are wrong about Russell Moore. I haven’t always agreed with Moore, but he is a fearless, Godly man who has the confidence of the leading young pastors in the SBC. 2016 is going to accelerate the transition of leadership to those young pastors.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. From the Goldberg column linked by Ricky:


    …. The problem with a bull in a china shop is that he doesn’t discriminate between the lousy dishware and the good stuff. More importantly, what distinguishes the lousy from the luxury is in the eye of the beholder. …

    This is how the center does not hold. Democracies — never mind civilizations — depend on a minimal amount of buy-in to rules of conduct and behavior. It’s no different than good sportsmanship. If you claim that every bad call by the ref is illegitimate because “the fix is in,” and this behavior pays off, the incentive for the other side to play by the rules evaporates. Trump didn’t create the crisis of confidence in the rules, but his passionate intensity has accelerated the collapse.


    Liked by 1 person

  26. RickyW, keep keepin’ track. Obama almost doubled the natl debt, and oversaw passage of family-debilitating polices of gay marriage and restriction of Christian free speech. He championed that garbage. Nothing Trump has done has caused me the least concern that my family and I won’t be able to freely, openly worship Christ as we see fit. The trajectory of your hero, Obama, carried on by Hillary, would only have furthered the marginalization of normal Christians.

    Gorsuch is already on record as having, properly, scorned the Roe ruling. That sentiment is about as much at Trump, who I never liked, can do to bring to bear. What has your hero Obama done to that end?


  27. SolarP, Your hero Trump has already continued Obama’s regulatory support for perversion and scolded Christians at the Trumpkin Convention on that subject. Obama supported a trillion dollar stimulus in the face of the worst economic downturn in 80 years. Your hero Trump wants to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure for no reason at all. He has already rejected entitlement reform which is the only way to get the deficit under control.

    I am not going to argue that Obama is less liberal than Trump. Obama was very liberal and could have done as much damage as LBJ had he not also been ineffective.

    My point about Obama above was that we has well-informed, calm, sane, deliberative and well-mannered. Trump is none of those things.


  28. They brought this on themselves.


    “Donald Trump is no ordinary politician, and on Thursday we witnessed no ordinary press conference.

    Trump’s assault is sure to alter White House media relations for years to come; and it is safe to say no other president has dared to change this dynamic since the day when Teddy Roosevelt first used the term “muckrakers.”

    The president and his administration treat the media with an air of contempt. Yet, while we can’t pinpoint which is the chicken or the egg, there is a clear and unabashed reciprocity on the part of most mainstream media outlets.

    It’s time for them to stop pretending there isn’t.

    In the hours following the event, and in the days leading up to it, there has been an open barrage from the members of the press corps and their news organizations about the way they are treated and outrage at the new standard, almost in some effort to gain public sympathy and support for their plight.

    They have even gone as far as questioning the administration’s authority to, of all things, call on smaller and less nationally known news outlets instead of the larger mainstream ones that have been entrenched in attack-mode since the inauguration.

    Oh, how the public weeps.”

    Or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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