37 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-27-17

  1. Whew! The Mexicans just finished building our new house before Trump sent them back or built a wall or banned tortillas or made America great again. We close tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deb, on your last post from yesterday’s thread: I wondered when someone was going to acknowledge the historical public institutions of New England. Dickens describes the public charities of Boston and other places in great detail – he clearly admired them.

    As for Canada, yes, we have problems, but those problems do not make us think that privately funded healthcare would be any more efficient. There are still many alive who remember the days before publicly funded healthcare in Canada – I was listening recently to one older woman reminisce about how her first child was born premature and the health insurance they had refused to cover the cost of care, so that they were still making payments on the cost of having that child in an incubator when their second child was born. This woman and her husband, were both factory workers, and they could barely scrape by with what they made. Part of what drives up healthcare costs and makes services scarce in Canada is that we are, except for certain areas around Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence, very thinly populated. This means that in many places there are not enough people in an area to fully pay for certain diagnostic equipment and treatment procedures, and so these people must travel to the larger urban centres for care – thereby increasing the patient load of those urban centres and thus increasing wait times. Even in the area where my parents live, which is a mainly rural farming community, people have to drive the approximately two hours into Toronto for certain medical procedures. That girl who was kicked by the horse was transported to the nearest children’s hospital, which was in Toronto. When my father went into a coma after a car accident, he was sent by air ambulance to a big trauma centre in Toronto. My parents live within hours of Toronto, but further north, the population gets thinner and thinner. It took extensive missions work to bring healthcare to the remote North in the early 1900s and now it takes extensive government funding to keep it there. The name of Sir Wilfred Grenfell is still remembered as the pioneer who endured dangers such as getting stuck on ice floes to bring medicine to Labrador and Newfoundland – and even now, it takes guts to be able to carry out medical care in communities that are not and may never be accessible by road. The deep frosts quickly destroy any roads built, so air and water access are the only routes open. This necessity increases costs enormously. It is within the nation’s interest that people inhabit and develop our northern regions; therefore, it is within our interests to fund healthcare in those regions, which is the only way healthcare will ever be provided. Private for-profit institutions would have no interest. There is no profit in caring for sick people in a population density of between 0.1 and 0.052 per square mile, which is the range for the three northern territories of Canada, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut (the provinces are nearly as thinly populated in their northern regions). The church-run missions made a hash of their work, producing hideous stories of abuse from the era when they held sway in the North, and are no longer trusted. Government funding is really the only way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Which provision of the Constitution authorizes government-funded healthcare?”

    solarpancake: In response, a liberal who I know makes this argument: “Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1 (conferring the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to … provide for the … general Welfare of the United States”), 3 (“To regulate Commerce … among the several States”) and 18 (“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers”), PLUS decades of governing SCOTUS precedent about those provisions.”

    Liberals generally argue that every government in the world is charged with providing for the general welfare of its citizens, and that virtually all countries have government-funded healthcare.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I foresee the question may arise, if the government funds healthcare in Canada, why can’t they fund diagnostic equipment in smaller health centres; in answer to which, I would refer you to the previous descriptions of public healthcare in Canada as public health insurance. All the government does is pay for health services rendered. If a hospital wants, say, an MRI machine, they have to raise that money themselves – the same for renovations and extensions, they might get some grants from the government, but private donations provide a considerable part of hospital funding for improvements.


  5. Tychicus, Since you are being gracious and helping your opponents, would you mind flying to Oklahoma City and teaching the Thunder to play perimeter defense?


  6. Well of course everybody “acknowledges” stuff–public institutions of New England, Mormon communities helping their own, Muslim charities providing aid in troubled regions. Yeah, those things exist.

    Tychicus, yes, I’ve seen the article 1 section 8 reference, too. As you may be implying, that defense of govt provision essentially allows the federal govt to (nominally) provide any and every thing to its citizens in the name of the general welfare. Some help that is!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rw: Sorry, no can do – and you know exactly why not!

    Btw, I’ll be in SA for the second half of May, so if you happen to be down that way…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tychicus, Let’s keep in touch on that. Travis would like to see the Spurs and we could combine the trip with a visit to Central Texas to see relatives. I would project the Spurs and the Warriors might be going at it in late May.

    The only problem is those darned old globalists from Northern California that Debra dislikes so much always travel with the Ws and bid up the price for tickets. We even saw a few in OKC though they seemed quite intimidated to be surrounded by so many Trumpkins.


  9. Roscuro- your examples of government interest in sparsely populated areas is well taken, and it’s relevant to us as well.

    Solarpancake and Tychicus- The general welfare argument is very broad and some people tend to go overboard with it. But as technology increases its reach and becomes more necessary to everyday life, it has the effect of pushing a number of things, including healthcare, into the category of infrastructure which would qualify as general welfare.


  10. Ricky,

    The archdiocese is a joke. Pretty pathetic behavior, but not surprising. Maybe if they were so tough talking with their own corrupt govt, the cartels, and the lawbreaking illegals, they could improve things for their fellow man. Instead, they name-call and encourage sin. How sad, coming from a church group. Personally, I don’t understand why people take morality lessons from immoral leaders like these. Why Catholics would is beyond me.

    And as I said, not surprising, since they’re leading a revolution of progressive church folk. Or something…..

    And hey, Trump is helping make more converts. 🙂


    “Since President Donald Trump’s election, monthly lectures on social justice at the 600-seat Gothic chapel of New York’s Union Theological Seminary have been filled to capacity with crowds three times what they usually draw.

    In January, the 181-year-old Upper Manhattan graduate school, whose architecture evokes London’s Westminster Abbey, turned away about 1,000 people from a lecture on mass incarceration. In the nine years that Reverend Serene Jones has served as its president, she has never seen such crowds.

    “The election of Trump has been a clarion call to progressives in the Protestant and Catholic churches in America to move out of a place of primarily professing progressive policies to really taking action,” she said.

    Although not as powerful as the religious right, which has been credited with helping elect Republican presidents and boasts well-known leaders such as Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson, the “religious left” is now slowly coming together as a force in U.S. politics.

    This disparate group, traditionally seen as lacking clout, has been propelled into political activism by Trump’s policies on immigration, healthcare and social welfare, according to clergy members, activists and academics. A key test will be how well it will be able to translate its mobilization into votes in the 2018 midterm congressional elections.

    “It’s one of the dirty little secrets of American politics that there has been a religious left all along and it just hasn’t done a good job of organizing,” said J. Patrick Hornbeck II, chairman of the theology department at Fordham University, a Jesuit school in New York.

    “It has taken a crisis, or perceived crisis, like Trump’s election to cause folks on the religious left to really own their religion in the public square,” Hornbeck said.”


  11. There’s a new sheriff in town. And it shows.


    “The Pentagon under President Donald Trump is enjoying greater freedom to run its wars the way it wants — and not constantly seek White House approval on important decisions.

    Many in the military appreciate this increased autonomy, but critics charge it is raising civilian death rates, puts the lives of US troops at greater risk and leads to a lack of oversight of America’s conflicts.

    Nowhere has the shift been more visible than in the fight against the Islamic State group in northern Syria, where under Barack Obama even minor tweaks to US plans underwent exhaustive White House scrutiny.

    Since Trump’s inauguration, the Marine Corps has brought an artillery battery into Syria, and the Army has moved in hundreds of Rangers, bringing the total number of US forces there to almost 1,000.

    Commanders are weighing the possibility of deploying hundreds more, and the Pentagon this week announced it had provided artillery support and choppered local forces behind enemy lines in a bid to seize a strategic dam.

    The greater leeway marks a departure for the National Security Council (NSC), which coordinates foreign and military policy and implements the president’s national security agenda.

    Under Obama, the NSC oversaw just about every aspect of America’s wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, with then Pentagon chief Ash Carter was kept on a short leash.

    Trump, conversely, has repeatedly deferred to his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, on military moves.”


  12. Oh, and the terrorist that helped organize those women’s marches against Trump is being stripped of her citizenship, and being deported. And it’s way past time for that. 🙂


    “Last week we had a brief discussion about Iyman Faris and under what conditions the United States should be able to strip the citizenship of a naturalized citizen. At the time I opined that terrorism was a rather special set of circumstances which might allow for such an action. This week we’ve received news that a similar case has been handled (through a plea bargain agreement) which produced a productive result. It involves a rather high profile “activist” from the ranks of the Palestinians, one Rasmea Odeh. You may recall her as a leading figure in the highly vaunted “women’s march on Washington” shortly after President Trump’s election.

    It turns out that Ms. Odeh is a convicted terrorist who had previously been handled by the Israeli courts before coming to the United States. She’s not new on the progressive scene around here and has been lionized by liberal activists in the past. For one example, after she first came under the scrutiny of American law enforcement and faced arrest in 2015, Marc Lamont took to the pages of the Huffington Post to explain why everyone should stand with her during those proceedings.

    In Detroit in November 2014, Odeh was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison as well as deportation from the U.S. But she was reportedly not allowed to call the conviction by the Israelis in Palestine unlawful, or testify about the torture and rape. It seems she was not allowed a full and fair trial.

    This is why Odeh is appealing the conviction, and why I am supporting her. And I am not alone. Her case has become a cause celebre, and a campaign has been established for her defense, building support from over 50 community, faith, labor, anti-war, Palestine support and other organizations across the country.

    No matter what happened in Israel, Odeh was already in violation of the law here in the United States when she was originally apprehended.She lied on her application for citizenship about being a previously convicted terrorist. How she wound up taking a prominent place at the women’s march remains a mystery to some of us, but now the case has been settled. She’s not only to be sent packing, but will be stripped of her US citizenship to prevent a repeat of these events.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. We’re doomed. And it ain’t just at Yale. This is everywhere on college campuses.

    Now I need a safe space…. to get away from the idiots.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. If you live in a sanctuary city or state, get ready for higher taxes as a result. Someone’s gonna have to make up the difference.


    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday he’ll begin punishing sanctuary cities, withholding potentially billions of dollars in federal money — and even clawing back funds that had been doled out in the past.

    Speaking at the White House, Mr. Sessions said his department is preparing to dole out more than $4 billion in funds this year, but will try prevent any of it from going to sanctuaries.
    “Countless Americans would be alive today … if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended,” Mr. Sessions said.

    He said he’s carrying out a policy laid out by the Obama administration last year, which identified three grant programs — the COPS grants, Byrne grants and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program money — that already require sanctuary certification.

    The Obama administration didn’t end up enforcing that policy, but Mr. Sessions said he’ll begin.”

    Enforcing the law? What a concept!


  15. So while we are expanding the General Welfare clause, can we get a ruling that allows the federal government to buy me a new set of golf clubs and a pull cart every five years. That pull cart (and the walking it promotes) may keep me from running up a Medicare bill of several hundred thousand dollars to present to your grandkids. If you don’t believe me, look how chubby Trump has become from riding around in a cart.


  16. Haven’t read today’s comments yet, but dropping in to post this. . .

    “Again, please note I’m not trying to talk about whatever the US should or should not do. I’m making an observation about the economics of systems which seem to work in other places. The exemplars we’re all asked to look at are not national, universal and single payer. They tend to be either almost hyper-local in their financing if they’re single payer or if they’re national then they use insurance companies–they’re multi-payer. My assumption would be that both single payer and national is just too inefficient. There’s neither local pride nor profit lust keeping the system efficient.

    “There are indeed national and single payer systems out there, most notably the National Health Service in Britain. That’s very fair, very equitable, but performs horribly on “mortality amenable to health care” which is otherwise known as curing people of what ails them. That’s not a recommendation.”


    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have been thinking, that the history of Canada’s north, which is little known outside of Canada, is an example of what corporate development, supplemented by private charities are capable of – and it isn’t pretty. Canada is home to one of the oldest continuous corporations in the world (certainly the oldest in North America), The Hudson’s Bay Company. It was granted a charter in 1670 by King Charles II to trade in the area around Hudson’s Bay. Its big competitor was the North West Company, for which the Northwest Territory of Canada is named. Together, they established a monopoly on the fur trade. The grip of the Hudson’s Bay Company was so firm in its area that even into the late 1900s, it would not allow First Nations living in the Hudson’s Bay area to open their own stores. In other words, the corporation strangled any other economic development; and to this day, the First Nations communities in the north are dependent on the federal government for their sustenance – their ability to support their own existence was almost completely stripped from them once the fur trade tanked because no other development had been allowed by the corporation. The First Nations and the mixed descendants of First Nations and European traders who primarily inhabit the north were given education by missions from the Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist (later grouped as the United) Churches of Canada. First Nations children were taken from their parents and placed in residential schools that were run by these churches – the government later made it stated policy to fund these ‘mission’ schools, which continued to be administered by the churches, who supplied teachers and educational programs. Recent inquiries have shown that the children were consistently physically and sexually abused, and that thousands died in the schools (many of whom were buried in unmarked graves), the last of which only closed in 1996. The results of corporate development and church-run charity have been less than stellar in Canadian history.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow. That’s shocking, Roscuro. Years ago, my youngest son dated a young woman from Quebec. He would go up on the Amtrak quite often to visit, and she came down and stayed with friends and with us numerous times. I knew she was Eskimo and adopted. And a couple of times she touched very lightly on a ‘situation’ with the adoption. Though she was obviously devoted to her adoptive parents, there was more to the story than she was ready to talk about at the time.


  19. Roscuro, In a situation such as that, those companies are acting like little governments of their own fiefdoms. It’s a pity the Church was not able to be the peaceful arbiter that was needed.

    Kizzie, I am encouraged by that article you posted. It seems to be a serious attempt to actually discuss options!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Roscuro. I wonder if you have actually read any of the journals written by the missionaries working in those conditions at that time?


  21. Deb, despite what is now admitted to having been a cultural genocide – and is believed to also have been a biological genocide – against them, the First Nations and Inuit [Inuit is the more linguistically accurate term for Eskimo, which was actually a Cree term of insult for the Inuit] are the fastest growing minority population in Canada – I can’t help thinking of how the Hebrews kept growing stronger despite Pharaoh’s efforts to destroy them. The First Nations, aside from early Iroquois attacks on New France, were never really at war with Canadians. Rather, some tribes fought on either the British and French sides during the French and Indian (or Seven Years’) War, and the Six Nations, who had been driven from their territories in New York, fought with the British during the War of 1812. So, they were never really conquered by the Canadian settlers. They always have considered themselves as independent allies as a result, rather than a part of Canada, regarding the treaties they signed with Britain as guaranteeing them their lands and way of life. Their leaders opposed the residential schools, but were ignored. Really, it was the Europeans who broke those treaties, showing themselves consistently perfidious when it came to choosing between keeping one’s word and making money. We recently had a guest speaker from a nearby First Nations reserve. She spoke about the residential schools, revealing that the closest one actually carried out medical experiments regarding malnutrition on the children – I leave you to imagine how they accomplished that. She described the nation of Canada in their eyes as being one giant corporation, always intent on making a profit. The First Nations communities, in addition to how they have been crippled economically, also suffer with the scars of the years of abuse over generations, so that addictions and suicide are epidemics. They have been among the few to really articulate thoughtful opposition to the recent assisted suicide legislation, expressing the fear that such legalization means the “valorization of suicide”, making it an honourable option at a time when they are trying to persuade their young people to not take that route. I wish them well – perhaps, they will, out of their pain, help to build a better country than those who tried to destroy them did.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. K, I remember reading some books as a child on the subject, but I can’t remember the titles. I have recently read one, called Northern Nurse, by a woman who worked with Sir Wilfred Grenfell’s mission in Labrador in the early 1900s – or rather, it was written by her husband from her words. She worked in the hospital, and was not privy to what went on in the residential school. However, she did record one meeting with a Hudson’s Bay official who claimed that the Inuit girls offered and gave free love – the way she describes the man, he sounded like a creep and a pervert. Unfortunately, in such isolation, the predators knew they could operate without check, whether they were employed by the corporation or the church. The residential school abuses of the earlier era were recorded by such people as former medical officer, Dr. Peter Bryce, who published statistics of a mortality rate in the residential schools of thirty to sixty percent in The Story of a National Crime: Being a Record of the Health Conditions of the Indians of Canada from 1904 to 1921. Other similar reports of the time exist. The abuses in the later years were established by multiple eyewitnesses, the survivors of those schools.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ricky, I have sometimes only half in jest propose that the govt pay Cdns to take out a gym membership since it would our health care system in the long run.

    Roscuro, I think Cdns of every political stripe agree First Nations deserve better. They are part of our identity and the relationships between natives, french and english makes this country unique. John Ralston Saul in Reflections of a Siamese Twin called it the Triangular Reality. This reality according to him make Canada a North American country not an extension of Europe which is how viewed the US. (in terms of nationalism). In addition this reality made us a country of minorities with no dominant culture which could more easily accommodate other cultures as opposed to European nationalism (he includes the US and Australia in that category). If you gave some free time Ralston Saul is definetely worth a read.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This is an interesting article that argues while intelligent conservatives had been writing honest articles describing the problems and possible solutions of our healthcare system for years, many more Americans were listening to the dishonest and stupid rants of Hannity and his ilk. With the public misinformed and the President completely ignorant, the whole reform effort was bound to end badly.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. HRW, There are interesting ethical issues. I can remember that Mickey Mantle was a drunk for decades. Then in his 60s he got a liver transplant. A huge percentage of American healthcare costs are related to behavior issues such as overeating, drug use, chronic drunkenness, sexual promiscuity, etc. I think health insurance companies should be able to give premium discounts to those who evidence a healthy lifestyle.


  26. Now Spicer is hiding the truth about Nunes. No one, not even a Congressman, just walks into the White House. We need to know which White House aide checked Nunes into the White House where he was allowed to see all that “tapp” evidence.

    35 years ago I switched wallets after a rainy Saturday of golf. On Monday I forgot to put my House ID and my Drivers Licence back in my primary wallet. I showed up at the White House for a meeting with only my American Express card as an ID. A White House political aide got me in, but the Secret Service agents never let me forget about it.


  27. Roscuro – You wrote, “The grip of the Hudson’s Bay Company was so firm in its area that even into the late 1900s, it would not allow First Nations living in the Hudson’s Bay area to open their own stores.”

    My question is how did they “not allow” them to open their own stores? Were they (Hudson’s Bay Company) backed up by the local government, or did they use violent coercion to accomplish that?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Solarpancake @ 9:20, you misunderstand me. As far as I can tell, the constitution necessitates very little. However, it permits quite a bit of activity under the banner of public welfare and interstate commerce. I think technological advances that make things like medications and vaccinations and even diagnostic tests and procedures plentiful and or reasonably obtainable to the point of being foundational to healthy life in a civilized society will eventually be viewed as public goods that are an expected part of infrastructure—like public education, roads, sewers, electric grid, etc. This is already the case in the other developed nations of the world.


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