32 thoughts on “News/Politics 8-8-17

  1. OK Canadians. I get that this guy has a financial interest in all this so his opinion may be biased, but what say you?


    “As many people know, Canada has single-payer healthcare. That means the government runs and controls the delivery of all healthcare. Under that system, people wanting plastic surgery – for example – would foot the bill; but procedures, including cardiac bypass, can be done, albeit not always in a timely manner.

    “People in Canada are dying on waiting lists,” says Richard Baker of Timely Medical Alternatives. “They might be on a waiting list for six months to a year for cardiac bypass. And during that time their condition might worsen – and by the time they go in for their surgery, it may be too late.”

    Canadians are paying what Baker describes as “crushing” personal taxes and fees for a healthcare system that some Americans incorrectly view as free. “Canadians pay dearly for their healthcare system,” he says. “It is not free; and moreover [it] does not cover pharmaceuticals, it does not cover dentistry.”

    “Anything other than surgery or care by a medical doctor would have to be paid for privately in Canada, where healthcare costs are the bulk of a province’s budget.”

    “”That’s money taken away from infrastructure, from social services,” Baker warns. “Everything else in a government’s budget is now secondary to healthcare.”

    Still, on the other side of the border Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) continues to tout single-payer healthcare, saying it’s better than America’s current system. Other supporters say Canadians only have to wait for “elective” surgeries.

    “The implication being that the patient [may want] to have a hip replacement – [but that patient may] have to wait anywhere from six to 18 months,” responds Baker. “That’s not an ‘elective’ surgery by any normal definition of the word; but in Canada, the government has decreed that the term ‘elective’ surgery applies to any surgery which is not for a situation that involves imminent loss of life or limb …. They call it ‘elective’ so that they can justify the long waiting list.”


  2. Huh. And yet I’ve been assured multiple times by those on the left and some on the right that this doesn’t and can’t happen. Illegals aren’t eligible for these benefits they insist, yet here we are. I’ve also been assured that the taxes they pay while here more than make up for the resources they access. Turns out that’s not true either.


    “Illegal immigrant families received nearly $1.3 billion in Los Angeles County welfare money during 2015 and 2016, nearly one-​quarter of the amount spent on the county’s entire needy population, according to data obtained by Fox News.

    The data was obtained from the county Department of Public Social Services — which is responsible for doling out the benefits — and gives a snapshot of the financial costs associated with sanctuary and related policies.

    The sanctuary county of Los Angeles is an illegal immigration epicenter, with the largest concentration of any county ​in the nation, according to a study from the Migration Policy Institute. ​The county also allows illegal immigrant parents with children born in the United States to seek welfare and food stamp benefits.

    Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow who has written extensive studies on poverty and illegal immigration, said the costs represent “the tip of the iceberg.”

    “He said the costs of education, police and fire, medical, and subsidized housing can total $24,000 per year in government spending per family, much more than would be paid in taxes.

    “They get $3 in benefits for every $1 they spend,” Rector said.”


  3. A break from what, besides sucking at their job?

    I guess it’s hard work not getting anything done.


    “A five-week summer break might sound sweet to many people, but maybe not to the 292 Republicans in Congress who leave Washington with none of their major legislative goals achieved after six months in power alongside President Donald Trump.

    With Congress due to be closed until Sept. 5, voters may ask: What happened to repealing and replacing Obamacare? Overhauling the tax code? Investing more money in job-creating infrastructure projects?

    The awkward answer for Republican lawmakers and Trump is “not much.”

    Despite having control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives since the November 2016 elections, Republicans have not delivered on their biggest campaign promises.

    Distracted by a probe of possible ties between his campaign and Russian meddling in the election, among many other issues he tweets about, Trump has yet to propose any major legislation since his Jan. 20 inauguration.”


  4. Debra, David French wrote this article about Trump’s generals. It seems others share your concerns, but French makes a pretty good case that in this unusual case we are better off with these particular generals around Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From the article:

    For a time, we lived off the moral capital of the past. But the election of Trump shows just how desiccated the mainline code has become. A nation guided by that ethic would not have elected a guy who is a daily affront to it, a guy who nakedly loves money, who boasts, who objectifies women, who is incapable of hypocrisy because he acknowledges no standard of propriety other than that which he feels like doing at any given moment.

    Donald Trump has smashed through the behavior standards that once governed public life. His election demonstrates that as the unifying glue of the mainline culture receded, the country divided into at least three blocks: white evangelical Protestantism that at least in its public face seems to care more about eros than caritas; secular progressivism that is spiritually formed by feminism, environmentalism and the quest for individual rights; and realist nationalism that gets its manners from reality TV and its spiritual succor from in-group/out-group solidarity.

    If Trump falls in disgrace or defeat, and people’s partisan pride is no longer at stake, I hope that even his supporters will have enough moral memory to acknowledge that character really does matter. A guy can promise change, but if he is dishonest, disloyal and selfish, the change he delivers is not going to be effective or good.

    But where are people going to go for a new standard of decency? They’re not going to go back to the old WASP ideal. That’s dead. Trump revealed the vacuum, but who is going to fill it and with what?


  6. Good news.


    “The New York-based doctor who helped a couple have a child using DNA from three people has been told by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that he can’t go ahead with clinical trials meant to test the technique.

    Last year, John Zhang, the founder of New Hope Fertility Center, pioneered a new type of in-vitro fertilization that involves transferring DNA from the mother’s egg into a hollowed-out egg donated by a younger woman. But the work violates federal legislation that forbids implanting genetically modified embryos, so after fertilizing the egg with the father’s sperm, Zhang went to Mexico, where he inserted the embryo into the mother’s womb. A healthy baby boy was born in April 2016.

    On Friday, the FDA sent Zhang a strongly worded letter saying he must stop marketing the technique in the U.S. The move is a sign that the federal government is taking a hard line against the development of technologies to make genetically altered babies, even in cases where doing so would prevent severe disease.

    According to the FDA, Zhang then requested a meeting with the agency to ask permission to carry out a clinical trial using the technique in the U.S. The agency subsequently denied the meeting. Zhang has since been marketing his fertility procedure to women with certain genetic diseases and older women having trouble conceiving through a new company called Darwin Life. The creation of the company was first reported by MIT Technology Review.

    Modifying embryos in a lab is not illegal under U.S. law as long as federal funds are not used to carry out the work. But implanting one in a woman’s womb so that a baby can develop is prohibited. Since December 2015, Congress has barred the FDA from accepting research applications that involve a human embryo that has been “intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification.” The FDA letter also says Zhang did not have permission to export the embryo. New Hope Fertility Center did not respond to a request for comment. “

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Health care

    — wait lists are an opportunity for a smart capitalist to exploit. However, if your situation is dire, you are put in the front of the line. It appears this gentlemen exploits fear and/or serves the elite who don’t like to line up with the plebians.

    — health care varies by province. In some provinces dental is included and in others pharma and dental is income and age based.

    — everybody knows our health care isnt free. However Canada spends less percentage wise on health care than the US. If cost containment is an issue, the US should implement single payer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. @8:09 & 8:12 It’s interesting to see Brooks, along with other many others, as they progress through the stages of grief:
    1-Denial (But the polls say there’s NO way he won!?)
    2-Anger (That’s not the way we do things here; who does he think he is!)
    3-Bargaining (Impeachment anyone?)
    4-Depression (Mooch is now the voice of our government; how did we get here.)
    and finally 5-Acceptance (There is life after Trump, but what will it look like?)

    Let the conversation begin. :–)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Giving children welfare is a problem??

    The GOP has proven itself capable of only critizing others but not governing. Trump and GOP on holidays? Whats the difference?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If the ACA is a sample of the price structure and efficiencies we can count on in a single payer, I’m dubious. It seems to me that a country on the verge of civil war or secession may lack the cohesiveness and goodwill necessary to make anything that large and all-encompassing work. We need bipartisan consensus–and not just from the politicians, but from the citizenry at large who are the people who will be paying and using it.


  11. @11:01 The difference is that the news cycle will now have nothing better to cover than Trump’s golf game. Such a loss to public discourse. ;–)


  12. Here’s just one example of craziness. A family member had to have required shots to start kindergarten–mandated shots or you can’t go.

    Family gets bill for $962.


  13. We used to be able to go to the county health clinic, waiting half an hour in line if you didn’t have an appointment and pay $10-20 for a shot. That’s what I did 20 years ago when we moved to this community and had to have shots for the kids to go to school. We hadn’t established a doctor yet. Worked fine, no complaints and affordable. Now . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I well remember taking our oldest to kindergarten screening and there was a nurse to give them any shots they needed. My daughter was not happy, since I had told her there were no shots there. Opps! I really didn’t know. She got over it. 😉

    We were given all our shots right in school. That was long ago when we also got all of our paper, pencils etc. in elementary school from the school. Of course, all that came from tax money, but everyone had the basics.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Ricky, I don’t know how to break it to you (or to Trump himself for that matter), but the country and the world doesn’t pivot around Trump. There are still pressing issues that could benefit from attention from a free press. Unfortunately, the press in this country is owned by a handful of people/corporations—and they all seem to be as obsessed with Trump as he is with himself. It is hopeful that his obsession may lead him to implement some of the policies that he successfully campaigned on. As for the press, organizations such as NRO, Stream and American Conservative or World, etc are more focused on real issues that don’t include the President’s golf strokes. :–)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Debra,

    But that’s the next breaking story for later today.

    According to anonymous sources, Trump cheated at golf today. WAPO and the NYT will be all over it. CNN will live broadcast it all, with the caddy blacked out and voice altered, for his own safety.

    Ricky will then post the latest whines from Brooks and the rest of the Never-Trumpers criticizing the President’s golf game, all the while claiming it’s all so unprecedented.

    You know it’s coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Debra and AJ, The press will always focus on what the President is doing. When President Obama was making speeches and selling the country on Obamacare, they focused on healthcare. When Little Bush was pushing and /or fighting the Iraq War, they focused on Iraq. When Clinton was fighting Starr about Lewinsky, they focused on Lewinsky. Since Trump has been playing golf, lying, obstructing justice, attacking his own staff and Cabinet and rage Tweeting, they have focused on those things.

    Debra, Nothing is going to happen on those issues you care about and on which Trump campaigned. He doesn’t care about them. He only cares about himself. You were conned.

    You might be happier if you converted from an ideological Trumpkin to a member of The Trump Cult. Then you could be pleased with and defend his every word, deed, chip and putt.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ricky, you may be right that little will happen on those issues, but I don’t think so. Either way, I remain happily unconverted. This is an interesting time to be alive, and there are still opportunities for those whose faith can tolerate the foolishness from all sides. And sometimes for that to happen you just have to disconnect and go visit DJ in the State of Denial. :–)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The Real, on your first piece about Canadian healthcare, nobody who knows anything about how our country operates thinks that our healthcare is free. As a child, I understood that we paid for healthcare with our taxes. The man interviewed in the article is using a straw man fallacy there.

    The system works at least as well as the U.S. system, if not better: average lifespan of Canadians is 82.14 years, of citizens of the United States, 78.74 years; infant mortality per 1000 live births in Canada is 4.9, in the U.S. the mortality rate per 1000 live births is 5.8. So Canada does a little better in terms of lifespan and infant mortality, which are two significant indicators of the overall health of a population. The system also helps those with low incomes, who cannot afford to pay full medical bills. I have recently had to visit the doctor several times for my asthma, and while I have to pay for my medication the doctor’s visits themselves were billed to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, the public health insurance plan which most inhabitants of the province are covered under. It would have been a significant financial burden to have to pay out of pocket for them.

    Hip replacements do have long wait lists, but only for those who are having the replacement due to arthritis – which is really an elective surgery, as an arthritic hip might be painful, but it isn’t life threatening. A hip replacement for those who have broken a hip are operated on as quickly as possible, as a broken hip is life threatening. Cardiac bypass surgeries are similarly prioritized – the percentage of arterial blockage plays a role in how quickly you will be operated on – although cardiac bypasses are never considered elective surgeries; there simply is a limit to the number of available operating rooms and cardiologists, and if everyone is to be given equal access to the surgery, some kind of queue has to be formed. One thing a universal healthcare system seeks to do is offer services equally, whether you can pay or not. A private for-profit institution, such as the man interviewed runs, can offer services more quickly, but only to those who can afford it. Our system might be slower for certain services that are not immediately needed, like elective hip replacements, but that is because everyone’s immediate needs are being prioritized, so the broken hip of the elderly person on a fixed income will take priority over the wealthy retiree who finds it painful to walk on their arthritic hip.

    Certainly there are areas of improvement in the system and there is a certain amount of waste, due to human corruption, which goes on, but no system is perfect, and the statistics would indicate that it is working. Canada’s overall infant mortality is so high (other developed countries are much lower than Canada and the U.S.) because the infant mortality in our remote areas is much higher than the developed areas – it can take many hours to get an air ambulance to a community in Northern Canada. That is not a problem so much of funding, but of the logistics of serving small communities scattered over thousands of kilometers.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Huh.


    “On a scorching summer day in the shade of a bridge that runs over the river here in Gadsden, Alabama, Republican Rep. Mo Brooks pressed the flesh and made his case to about two dozen voters that he was the candidate who could “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC, and that one of his opponents in the Senate primary, Sen. Luther Strange, was being fueled by the Washington establishment.

    The primary race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat has become a battle for the soul of the GOP. All three of the top candidates are running to defend the President’s agenda, but two — Brooks and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore — have positioned themselves as outsiders who would defy Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.”

    “Newly targeted by Senate Leadership Fund ads, Moore — a favorite among the state’s evangelicals for his opposition to gay marriage and refusal to remove a public display of the Ten Commandments from a state judicial building, called the ads “scurrilous” and “vile” missives from “a super PAC designed to keep people there they want to keep there.”

    Randy Brinson, the former head of the Christian Coalition of Alabama and another candidate in the primary race, seemed frustrated as he described “three career politicians eating each other in the media.”

    “I think the reason is they have no plan, no vision, no leadership,” he added.
    For his part, Strange made no mention of the ads, the super PAC supporting his campaign or accusations that he, a former lobbyist who served as Alabama’s attorney general, was part of the “swamp” that Trump had pledged to drain.

    Instead, Strange, as he has in campaign appearances across the state, painted himself as a reliable ally of Trump who would “have his back” in the Senate and already has done so. He said it made him “almost physically ill” to see fellow Republicans “desert the President.”


  21. Expecting you to do the job voters put you there to do is considered “excessive expectations”?

    I guess it is if you’re Mitch McConnell.


    “Speaking at a Rotary Club gathering in Kentucky on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vented about how President Donald Trump’s lack of political experience has led to him setting “excessive expectations” for legislative priorities.

    McConnell, R-Ky., told the group in Florence that he found it “extremely irritating” that Congress has earned the reputation of not accomplishing anything.

    “Part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven’t done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point,” said McConnell, a Republican and the state’s senior senator.”

    Eight years wan’t enough time to prep I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. @5:59 Was that the same Judge Roy Moore that was booted from the bench for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from public property? He sounds like a decent character, and might make a good addition to our DC menagerie. What do you say Alabamians? :–)


  23. Debra, the ACA and single payer are completely different. The more I look into comparative health policy, the more I realize how unique the Cdn system is. Most OECD countries have either dual public private systems (eg UK) or mandated insurance (Swiss/Dutch). The Cdn system is probably not a realistic option for the US, instead improve the ACA so it resembles the Dutch system .

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Whether Sarah Huckabee has some sort of Christian devotional before a press conference doesn’t excuse the fact she has to lie or at least avoid the truth on a daily basis.

    The following link speaks about Pence selling his soul but it could also apply to Huckabee. The image of Trump’s staff as evangelicals engaging in devotions prior to their work for Trump is not a good PR image for American evangelicals.

    Liked by 2 people

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