25 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-20-17

  1. Cheryl, regarding my statement yesterday about healthcare— No, when I said healthcare / insurance should be non-profit, I’m not thinking in terms of doctors being volunteers or underpaid. And I’m not advocating for some politician’s healthcare plan or idea (not any plan that I know of anyway). Roscuro had some good thoughts @ 9:12, and here are some of mine:

    1) The insurance industry has become a hugely profitable gatekeeper to healthcare–meaning, if you don’t pay a usually high fare, you don’t get to see a doctor (in many cases). When you see the doctor, you usually pay again–unless you have a super cadillac plan.

    2) Our medical associations are not what Roscuro described, in that they do not exist for the benefit of the people who use healthcare. They are more like a professional guild—which is fine, but it leaves us without the ‘self-policing’ function.

    3) I suspect that the supply of healthcare professionals is kept artificially low by our for-profit system. There is little incentive for people to train and go where the work is vitally needed and available.

    Virtually all other industrialized countries have some sort of government subsidized healthcare. If you had asked me 8 years ago, I would have said we should have something like the Canadian system. But after Obamacare, I shudder to think of the damage that could come from trying to implement such a system—not because it’s a bad idea or won’t work theoretically, but because of us. We are so badly divided. I think a substantial portion of the country really does think of the other as ‘deplorable’; and the feeling is mutual. It really will take a work of God to put this humpty dumpty of a nation back together again.

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  2. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but I agree with Debra–taking the profit motive out of the equation might help with prices. It also might lower the hideous cost of medical school which is a driver for those high specialty salaries as doctors try to recoup their vast investment.

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  3. There’s hymns, and there’s racist hymns.

    Somehow I doubt this is the kind of “hymn singing” Ricky meant.

    But there’s a teachable moment here folks. Now some Mexicans have a first hand look at how it feels when foreigners chant “Viva La Raza” on American soil. And at least these idiot teens and twenty somethings came to their country legally, unlike the crowd doing it here in the US. . But still, it’s disrespectful either way, and wins no one to your side.

    http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2017/03/editorial-spring-breakers-chanting-build-that-wall-in-cancun-is-unacceptable/

    “What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13.

    During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial “Build That Wall” chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers.

    This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country, which is (or should be) totally unacceptable.”
    —————

    “The “Pirate Ship” sails out from Puerto Juárez, and the show takes place in the middle of the ocean, where attendees can witness the clashing of swords and the explosion of cannons along with a constant flow of drinks.

    Several Mexican tourists on board the ship expressed their annoyance, but the Americans did not stop at all and continued singing the racist hymn.

    This situation is far from being an isolated incident, and it adds to the growing number of complaints from tourism sector workers, who point out that in recent days many Spring Breakers have been offensive, rude and haughty towards Mexican people.”
    ———————

    If you don’t like having it done to you, maybe you shouldn’t do it to others, no?

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  4. Oh well. ☹ My sympathy meter seems to be broken, because I’m not registering any.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/03/19/philadelphia-cancels-cinco-de-mayo-parade-over-deportation-fears/

    “The “Trump Effect” is taking root in some highly unusual places. We always expected (or at least hoped) that the new administration would prompt things such as employers bringing jobs back to the United States or heightened consumer confidence, but I didn’t anticipate parades being canceled. Yet that’s precisely what seems to have happened in the City of Brotherly Love. The annual Cinco de Mayo parade in Philadelphia was still more than six weeks away but it has already been called off over fears that immigration enforcement officials might be on the scene. (The Hill)

    El Carnaval de Puebla, a major Cinco De Mayo celebration in Philadelphia, has been canceled following recent federal immigration crackdowns, organizers said.

    Edgar Ramirez told a local NBC affiliate that as many as 15,000 people gather for the annual parade through South Philadelphia, marking the city’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration.

    Ramirez told NBC the decision was “sad but responsible” amid reports of more immigration enforcement arrests on the part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
    Is it just me or does this sound a bit like an admission that things really weren’t on the up and up in Philadelphia? This was supposed to be a festival and a time for people to celebrate their heritage, get out in the streets with their neighbors and have a good time. The last time I checked, parades and festivals were not supposed to be designated areas for harboring criminals. Who exactly are these Cinco de Mayo festivities supposed to be honoring?

    The only reason you might have for canceling the parade is if you believe that there were going to be illegal aliens either involved in the March or watching from the sidelines. But even then, if they are in fact breaking the law, wouldn’t you want to support the enforcement of your country’s rules? Conversely, everyone who is in the country legally (whether that be citizens, green card holders or visa recipients) have nothing to worry about. Nobody’s talking about deporting immigrants. They are only after illegal aliens.”

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  5. Huh. Apparently half of Canada doesn’t agree with Trudeau.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/03/20/lets-start-deporting-those-illegals-says-canada/

    “Last week we examined the question of whether or not there might be a “Trump Effect” showing up in Canada. But looking at the results of a recent survey taken in the Great White North I’m starting to wonder if it wasn’t there long before Trump came to town. Now that Canadians are being forced to deal with their own issue of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border, people aren’t particularly happy about it. In fact, a very sizable portion of the population would not only like to see these border incursions stop, but they want the unwelcome visitors to be deported. (Reuters)

    Nearly half of Canadians want to deport people who are illegally crossing into Canada from the United States, and a similar number disapprove of how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is handling the influx, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday.

    A significant minority, four out of 10 respondents, said the border crossers could make Canada “less safe,” underlining the potential political risk for Trudeau’s Liberal government.

    The increasing flow of hundreds of asylum-seekers of African and Middle Eastern origin from the United States in recent months has become a contentious issue in Canada.
    Well, isn’t that just fascinating? We are continually assured by our socialist leaning liberal betters that Canada is a far more civilized and desirable country precisely because of their open attitude toward multiculturalism and rejection of nationalist tendencies. But how much of that is fact versus myth?”
    ——————
    Here’s the Reuters piece….

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-immigration-poll-exclusive-idUSKBN16R0SK?feedType=RSS&feedName=newsOne&google_editors_picks=true

    “When asked specifically about the recent border crossings from the United States, the same number – 48 percent – said Canada should “send these migrants back to the U.S.” Another 36 percent said Canada should “accept these migrants” and let them seek refugee status. “

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  6. Breaking news tomorrow:

    WHAT: The American Kennel Club® (AKC) will reveal its much anticipated annual list of the country’s top dog breeds of 2016 on Tuesday, March 21st at AKC Canine Retreat in Manhattan. A slew of adorable puppies and dogs representing the most popular breeds in the country will be on hand to pose for the camera.

    As you can see, I remain a resident of the State of Denial.

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  7. AJ @12:14, Just as Trump has said Mexico is not sending “their best” to the US, I have thought for some time that we are not sending “our best” to their tourist resorts. I have never gone to any of those places. It is fun to go to regular Mexican cities like Monterrey and Saltillo. You get to see how regular Mexicans live and the Americans are generally well behaved. My dream is to explore some Mexican War battlefields between Vera Cruz and Mexico City.

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  8. Some thoughts about government health care;

    1. If health care is 18% of the economy, doesn’t that mean that 18% of our income (before taxes) should go for paying new taxes to pay for that same government health care?

    2. Is it fair to make (force) all health care workers now to become government workers?

    3. Is the government going to buy all those medical buildings that are now paid for by private health care?

    4. Do you want health care to be the new subject of politics and political campaigns? Do you want politics to decide what health care is offered? “You will have to vote for it to see what’s in it.”

    5. How much government is too much government?

    6. What will happen to all the poor TV stations that lose all those advertising dollars when all health products no longer are advertised?

    7. How many telephone call centers will go under when no one can get buy health care insurance policies?

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  9. Bob, you raise interesting questions to which I have only shallow answers—but even a shallow start is a start:

    1) No, I don’t expect government to profit the way the insurance industry does—hence “non-profit”. Moderate amounts might be plowed into research, public education (see#6), training, etc.
    2) Probably as fair as making teachers reliant on government funding.
    3) I doubt all those buildings will be needed since they will provide no tax write-offs, and government administration of medicare/medicaid is said to be much more efficient than that of insurance companies in general.
    4) I see Donna is not the only one living in the State of Denial. Don’t feel bad; if things continue the way they are, I’m thinking of moving there myself. That is the long way of saying we are already there, because healthcare is on the agenda every year anyway.
    5) How much government is enough government? On a practical note, I’d say government can be smaller when corporations, NGOs, and other global entities become smaller. Until then, government is actually a protection from those entities in which we have no vote.
    6) Government can spend some of those dollars on public health education advertisement.
    7) Don’t know. Call India and find out.

    Having said all that, I do not think we should take major steps toward Canadian styled healthcare unless or until we can get our own VA in tip top shape. They should be the tip of the spear in any effort toward national care. If we’re not serious about caring for those who have served the country and have a constitutional mandate for care, we’re not really interested in leaving the healthcare quagmire we’re been wallowing in for years. We’re kind of stuck.

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  10. I understand non-profit to mean the corporations owning the hospitals, the doctors themselves, don’t make a huge profit. The local Catholic hospital used to have means by which to prorate your bill and they offered a lower cost–because they were nonprofit.

    I believe they are still a Catholic hospital, but I’m dubious of the nonprofit status.

    Really, should someone be making a profit off someone else’s physical pain?

    Nonprofit, btw, includes the physicians and staff being paid a wage–it shouldn’t be as exorbitant as, say, the president of Sesame Street . . . .

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  11. Debra, we have nursing associations separate from the regulating body, but membership of those associations is not mandatory (though it offers certain benefits, such as malpractice insurance) while registration with the College of Nurses is necessary to be able to work as a nurse and use the title.

    In the Canadian system, healthcare workers are not government employees, unless they work for something like the public health department or the ministry of health. Rather, they work as employees or contract workers with private healthcare institutions and agencies, and may even be self-employed. Those institutions receive funding from the publicly administered health insurance plans when they perform services deemed medically necessary by the provincial ministries of health. In a nutshell, private healthcare institutions can and do exist in Canada, they just are prevented from charging patients fees for services that are covered under the public health insurance policy. That prevents patients from using their own funds to jump the queue for anything that might have a waiting list, which help enforce the universal goal of healthcare coverage. The federal government does not decide the details of what is medically necessary – that is for the provinces to determine – rather it simply gives five conditions that provinces must meet in order to receive funding for their public health insurance: public administration of the insurance, comprehensive services (i.e. medically necessary), universal coverage, accessible services, and portable coverage. The system has flaws, no doubt about it, but were I to work in a clinic or hospital in Ontario, I would not be working for the government, I would be working for my employer, and I would ultimately answer to the College of Nurses, not the government for how I did my job (unless I did some action which was criminal in nature).

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  12. Non-profit actually means that nobody owns the entity. Nobody gets to keep the excess when revenue exceeds cost. There is no stock. Nobody can sell their ownership in the company, and nobody gets dividends when there’s extra money.

    Decisions for a for-profit company are typically made by the people who own it, and they run the company for their own benefit. If it’s a large company with thousands of shareholders, then the shareholders elect a board of directors to run it for their benefit. If the shareholders don’t believe the board is running the company for their benefit, they can vote the board out.

    A non-profit is also governed by some kind of board of directors. They should be people chosen for their interest in the mission of the non-profit, and who do not have a conflict of interest between the mission and themselves. So it would not be good for a non-profit to have a board made up of all its own paid executives. Then they’d be able to vote themselves exorbitant salaries (assuming they could bring in enough revenue).

    A hospital or other healthcare entity that is non-profit has no owners or shareholders to make money for. For-profit hospitals are run by people who have to make money for their owners.

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  13. Roscuro, Thanks for explaining the difference in the associations. I did wonder if there were two different kinds or just one association that covered all those different issues.

    Healthcare is on our political agenda and probably will be a recurring issue until some kind of compromise is found that will be flexible, affordable, and do the job of basic universal coverage—-and that could be a very long time. Obamacare did not fit the bill. So I am curious about the elements of the Canadian system. In practice, do the plans and coverage vary widely from province to province? And are the insurers required to participate and to offer plans in all provinces?

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  14. Deb, from my knowledge, which isn’t very wide beyond my own province, the plans are pretty consistent when it comes to things that we can all think of as being medically necessary, like emergency care, childbirth, etc. Other things vary widely, and things once covered may be removed – for a while in Ontario, chiropractic appointments and eye exams were covered, but then were removed in a cost-cutting measure. Ontario is pretty progressive under the current government when it comes to immediately offering health coverage to the latest trending issue involving healthcare (e.g. sex-change operations & prescriptions for assisted dying drugs), but other provinces may be more conservative about such things – if I recall correctly, there is a province which will not fund abortions… Ah, here’s the full story: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/2016/11/30/abortion-fight-moves-to-new-brunswick-.html. So, not no funding for abortions, but limits funding.
    Each province has its own plan. The portability comes in when a resident of one province receives care in another province – the province in which they are a resident will cover the cost of the care in the other province. In order to be covered under the Ontario plan, one must be a resident for six months – so travel periods over that time period can make you lose your coverage. Exemptions are made for things like volunteer work, so I had a letter of exemption to ensure my health coverage was active when I came home from West Africa.

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  15. It is a heartwarming story, Ricky. My father comes from Nova Scotia, and the people there are really that friendly. Every time I go to visit my relatives there, it feels like going home. Ontario is a bit harsher culture, less patience and time for people.

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  16. Closer to my home, three Syrian refugee women have launched a catering service which so far has been quite successful.

    I’m not surprised by the Reuters poll. Its slightly less than half — I think it would be even less if the illegals weren’t coming from the US. Despite Trump, most Canadians still have faith that the US is quite capable of sorting out refugee claimants and that these migrants are refugee shopping and even worse in the Canadian mentality — they are queue jumping. Jumping the queue for anything is the greatest social faux pas you can commit here.

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  17. There is a pizza restaurant in town (which also offers other foods) that was started & run by a Greek couple for about 30 years or so, maybe more. They sold the business to someone else, while they helped their son with his new restaurant, also in town.

    The second owners did a poor job, & people in town lamented that a once-wonderful establishment had gone so far downhill.

    Within the last couple years, the restaurant was bought by a couple guys from India, & they have brought the place back to its former good reputation. One of the things they’ve done, while keeping the food & menu much the same as it’s always been, is to offer some Indian foods on Tuesdays.

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  18. I like Russell Moore. I think he is a good thinker and spokesperson for the SBC, and he seems to have accepted a little proper chastening with good grace. However, accusing Trump of sexual assault does him no credit at all, and demonstrates that he is not above giving in to the temptation of false accusation. But then many (maybe most) of us are not above it all, especially when it comes to politics, which can bring out the worst in the best.

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