Saturday, December 9, 2017

Of Course The System Is Rigged - For Trump

Trump manipulating a crowd last night in Pensacola, blustering about a "rigged system"

Last night, in yet another boffo performance of how Trump can manipulate his dumb base, we saw him first stroking their pathetic egos ("You will never be ignored again!") then attacking the Mueller probe and our justice system - Constitution ("We have a rigged system").  None of the puppet crackers in the northern Florida crowd - who kept chanting "Lock her up!"-   had clue one they were the real suckers and the system is rigged in favor of Trump and his wealthy clique of parasites. The same ones who now want to strip health care from 13 million in order for them to grab even larger tax cuts.

Their hopes were partially realized after the Reeptards in the Senate -  by a 51-.49 margin -  passed this offal.  All that remains now is to reconcile this with the House version of the bill, and millions of Trump supporters will be without a healthcare life raft.

This was barely days before Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the one-time leaders of the tax reform conversation, reported in a Washington Post column  that the Republican tax bill  nominally delivers $3.7 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade. Some experts in tax policy have warned that it was a "small chunk" of what the current tax code will give away, but it is still more than enough to force draconian spending cuts: to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - not to mention the Children's Health Program (CHIP).

All of the yokels chanting "Lock her up!" last night were so immersed in that mantra they neglected to ask their little god Dotard about his own taxes, and why he hadn't yet released any tax forms from prior years. If they had, they'd have seen THEY were the ones being played in a rigged tax game as their hero would reap millions in tax cuts - because of estate tax cuts, corporate and others - off THEIR backs. But they didn't because they were too easily manipulated and distracted,  going after election loser Hillary instead. And besides, Dotard stroked their little egos with the "you will never again be ignored" theme. 

Trump claimed that "America" was behind him and his little Reeptard clan, but a look at the latest Pew Research Center poll shows only 32 percent back this asshole. For the other 63 percent it's thumbs down. Of course, for Trump's dummies all negative polls, like actual headlines,  are "fake news".  These losers are even inclined to believe the retarded (Fox n' Friends)  notion that the FBI "created" the Steele Dossier, and Mueller needs to be investigated because a guy on his staff once sent anti-Trump tweets. (No inkling the guy was terminated. But then these turkeys are so desperate to derail any investigation of their hollow hero they'll latch onto anything).

They ought to be more concerned over their own futures - once Reeptard spending cuts are enacted to pay for the tax cuts that Trump is happy to use to flay their hides. Think of distraught seniors facing enormous Medicare cuts or big medical bills that can no longer be written off their medical expenses. Or think of college students having to drop out if the value of their tuition waivers is taxed or if they lose tax exemptions for interest paid on student loans.

Lock Hillary up for that? No, they ought to shouting "Lock TRUMP up!"  Not only for the crimes about to be committed on their financial health, but how this turd has repeatedly lied to them, manipulated them and even insulted them. Bragging earlier in the year - at a Louisiana  rally - how he only needed their votes to get into office.

Perhaps the most odious and depraved aspect of last night's performance was Dotard's backing of an accused child predator, a little cornpone bastard no different from the Roman Catholic pederasts that had their way with thousands of innocents.  But Trump joined the Moore campaign in attacking the credibility of one accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, who said Friday she added an inscription to a high school yearbook signed by the Alabama Republican.

He belched:

Did you see what happened today? You know, the yearbook? Did you see that? There was a little mistake made.  She started writing things in the yearbook.”

No, she didn't write "things" aimlessly. She didn't change Moore's signature or create it. That was there already and as real as an oozing pustule on a sexual predator's dick. What she did is put in "D.A."  to remind herself of Moore's position, and also the date.

But this is what a maggot like Dotard does, This is his shtick. He also went on to attack the credibility of her lawyer, Gloria Allred, yapping. “Any time you see her you know something’s gone wrong.”  Well yeah, Dotard, you know because she has a pustule -ridden pervert like you in her sights, or your degenerate pal, Roy Moore.

This is the sad and sorry state we've arrived at in this country, on the cusp of one admittedly backward state's election of a child molester to the U.S. Senate.  Well, I suppose it wouldn't be too extreme a stretch after already electing a pussy- grabbing, golden shower -loving,  pervert freak. Sen. Franken was absolutely correct he shouldn't have had to resign with this POS still in office. The worst aspect of Franken's loss is that the MN governor plans to make a "primary" pick - installing his Lt. Governor as a caretaker until the primary next year. The last time that was done, in 1992, a Repuke won - the Dem all but hobbled from the primary.

The crowd cheered particularly for Trump’s statement “we believe that every American should have to stand for the national anthem”,   again deflecting their brain cells - assuming they have any. Because they seemed unfazed by the dark forces menacing their tin god, like the Good Germans were unfazed before Hitler's fall. . They instead embraced Trump’s belief “our revolution didn’t end on November 8, it’s just beginning”,

Right, the beginning of the end for us all, unless we get rid of Donnie Dotard.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Selected Questions -Answers From All Experts Astronomy Forum (Nuclear Reactions in Sun's Core)

Question -
I know that nuclear fusion reactions takes place in the core of the Sun
where the temperature and density are highest. But why are high

temperatures and high density needed?

Answer -

Most of our work on Earth, in plasma physics labs, shows that you can't
just have fusion reactions in ordinary physical conditions. You need
temperatures of at least 10 million degrees to start, and you need to
confine your plasma magnetically (to ensure it won't disperse or diffuse).

Right now, the most we can achieve here on Earth ( e.g. in Tokamaks), is a few

One of the inherent physics problems is that atomic nuclei have enormous
energy barriers that must be overcome to allow fusion.

Think of it. You are trying to fuse together, at the most basic initial
level, two protons (hydrogen nuclei) with the SAME electric charge (+). A
powerful Coulomb barrier exists that makes it extremely difficult. (Recall,
unlike charges attract, like charges repel from Gen. Science).

This sort of combining simply can't be accomplished in low density
conditions. You need billions and billions of protons packed into a small
confined volume to:

a) ensure that the protons come close enough to permit what we call
quantum tunneling - through the Coulomb potential barrier, which I have
illustrated below:
No automatic alt text available.

with the "barrier" at height V, so we can visualize the particle of lesser energy
K, moving from the left side of the E-axis "tunneling" through to the right side
where it may have wave function, U(x) ~sin (kx + φ), where φ denotes a phase angle

b) ensure the high temperatures (via kinetic energy proton collisions) to
sustain nuclear reactions.

In respect of (a) researcher Martin Schwarzschild once calculated that the
probability of the Coulomb potential barrier being overcome (by
tunneling) is about 1 in 10 to the 57 power. That's one in 10 followed by
57 zeros.

In temporal terms, we'd expect about one proton-proton fusion ever 14
billion years (or more than the age of the universe) on this basis.

Clearly, an offset is required to reduce the probabilities, since clearly
stars are shining by fusion.

This 'offset' arrives via enormously high density which: i) increases the
probability for (a) enormously, since so many more protons are in
extremely close proximity, and ii) enhances temperatures to the point they
can be sustained, and continue - thereby building up *other* fusion
reactions to finish the initial one.

In the Sun, for example, this leads to the most basic set of three fusion
reactions for the proton-proton cycle, viz.

1H + 1H + e- ®  2 H   + n + 1.44 MeV

2 D   + 1H ®  3 He + g + 5.49 MeV

3 He + 3 He ®  4 He + 1H + 1H  + 12.85 MeV

These reactions are illustrated in the graphic below:

Image result for nuclear reactions on Sun images

In the first, H1 denotes the proton (hydrogen nucleus), e is an electron,
D2 is deuterium - an isotope of hydrogen- and n is the neutrino, and
1.44 MeV of energy given off.

This leads to the next reaction, with deuterium fusing with a proton to
yield the isotope helium 3, a gamma ray and 5.49 MeV energy given off.

Finally, this leads to the end stage reaction, with the helium 3 combining
with another helium 3 nucleus to give helium 4, two more protons (to start
the cycle anew) and energy given off.

Thus we see the key is not merely getting a fusion reaction, but
sustaining it. We need to sustain it so a particular energy cycle can be
completed, in the case above - the fusion of 4 protons effectively
yielding helium, with the differential in mass coming off as radiant
energy. (In an amount defined by  Einstein's famous, E = m c2 )
The critical key to sustaining nuclear fusion reactions, is sustaining the incredibly
high temperatures and density in the core - which initiated the reactions.

If Robots Are Set To Displace Human Workers - We Need To Cut The Population

Again, American (and global) workers are being told two different narratives, only one of which can be true. The first is that there are abundant jobs for those with the necessary talent and who seek to find them. I skewered this balderdash in an earlier post, e.g.

Therein I noted  Lauren Weber's investigation  into why so many companies are having a difficult time filling their openings.  What she found was the "companies are reluctant to raise pay, in part to protect their profit margins".  They also prefer right now to have more money set aside to buy back their own shares if it can help their bottom line, increase share prices.  According to managing director of Aspen Advisors, Andrew Gadomski, that is "holding back hiring".   He notes that when companies lament they can't find workers to fill key openings, that is code for:

"I can find talent, I just don't want to pay them as much as they cost."

Also noted was that what employers often viewed as a labor shortage is in reality a retention problem, according to Gadomski. If you are losing workers - chasing better pay or benefits - you have to replace them. 

In the case of Colorado, the so-called job "boom" has largely been exposed as a myth. In last Sunday's Denver Post (p. 1A) we saw and read of the new exodus out of this state because once people arrived to take the promised jobs,  they found they didn't pay enough to allow them to live here. This has forced many talented people - many Millennials - to rent tiny bedrooms as opposed to full apartments. Others have just given up, packed and left to return to their home states.  The other aspect, a nasty one, is the explosion of housing costs in the West (for example) has increased the nation's homeless population to over 534,000. And there's no indication this will lessen anytime soon.

The other narrative is that nearly all repetitive jobs will be replaced very soon. E.g. 
Thus, according to a WSJ  report ('Firms Leave The Bean Counting To The Robots') in the Business and Investing section (p, B5, Oct. 23) AI -based robots will soon be taking over CFO and accounting work across the land, as well as the jobs of "accountants, bank loan officers, and insurance claims adjustors.  Even FORBES now uses an AI system called  'Quill" to pen its articles, so less need for journalists.

Reinforcing the latter narrative is the new finding by McKinsey Global Institute that over the next 13 years 70 million workers in the U.S. will have to find another way to make money. In addition, "technology could replace up to 375 million employees worldwide by 2030". (Denver Post Business, p. 1K, Dec. 3).  Again, we're informed all the jobs at risk involve repetitive tasks -  and the robots at work can already "scan Tylenol bottles and lip balm at the drugstore"   as well as "build pickups and take your grilled cheese orders at Panera Bread." McKinsey estimates that "half the duties workers handle globally could be automated."

What this means, when you boil it down, is there won't be enough paid labor for humans to do given the magnitude of worker displacement via automation. And we know that another third narrative is also false, i.e. that corporations fear regulations more than labor costs. That trope has been exploded so many times it's a wonder it still emerges in debates.   But this could be on account of too many spending excessive time on smartphones as opposed to reading newspapers, or books.

This is also what blows the mega hole into Greg Ip's arguments about "needing more humans to support older workers"  in the aging nations of the world. It also skewers the typical Neolib meme that low birth rates are undermining the global economy.

Here's the real skinny: Ip and his Neolib cohort know damned well the problem can't be solved by more human workers -  because AI systems and robots are already going to take over their jobs by the freaking millions.  There won't be support for social safety nets because you don't pay an AI system or robot. So there is no way to build up any equity or monetary resources to support the aging population - OR the growing workless population

This is exactly why - in the 1973 conspiracy thriller 'Executive Action' (based on the novel by Donald Freed and Mark Lane that exposed the real conspirators in the JFK assassination) the featured cabal-   based in Vienna, VA -  wanted to use chemical -based genocide to "reduce a large part of the global populace."  At one point one of the  lead conspirators ("Robert Foster")  puts it to Burt Lancaster's character ("James Farrington") that: "With proper planning we can reduce the population to 500 million by the end of the century. The techniques used there can be used to reduce our own excess population, blacks, poverty prone whites".  See e.g. the clip: 

"Foster's" concern was that the "overflow" mainly in Asia and Africa - had to be eliminated  - or they'd flood into the developed regions of North America and Europe.  Could such a crass and inhuman plan actually transpire? We don't know but the  human numbers projected  by 2030 and then 2050 do not allow much optimism that such a draconian solution might be under consideration by some global elites.   By 2050 we are talking about adding an equivalent population to that inhabiting all of Europe - plus all of sub-Saharan Africa.

Where will the jobs come to occupy all those beings? Where will the food come from to supply all those mouths-bellies? No one has a clue, not really. The so-called "green revolution" is itself basically over on account of the ongoing dilution of the soil.  And climate change will exacerbate all existing agricultural problems and shortages into a permanent nightmare. That's even if the planet can escape the monster fires we've beheld in California.

 A far better solution, in my opinion, is to begin immediately to reduce our human numbers by widespread, artificial birth control. o not let those numbers explode into a jobless, destitute future that might trigger the response of madmen and elitist thugs like "Robert Foster". A fictional character in a novel, true. But if you don't believe there aren't actual elites that exist right now with that conspiratorial mentality, you definitely have been spending too much time watching boxing kitties on Youtube.

Apart from the worst case scenario of a planned genocide, people need to grasp that by reproducing to appease a warped economic system they are merely perpetuating gross economic inequality by helping to sustain a vast pool of surplus labor. As Marx showed (and anyone with a brain can figure out- except perhaps the Catholic birth control dogmatists) surplus labor translates into lowest common denominator conditions and endless scarcity. It can never be  a recipe for upliftment, societal  improvement or even balancing the needs of an existing, aging populace.

The other solution, of course, would be to implement a universal basic income (UBI) - which would entail laying away trillions for that purpose starting now.  But the bugbear there is that the nations that might be able to afford it are saddled with monstrous debt.   For example, U.S. debt - set to reach over 20 trillion by the time the new spending bill is agreed on, is nearly 77 percent of GDP. 

Meanwhile, Europe is printing euros like there's no tomorrow, and debt - especially in nations like Spain, Portugal and Greece, piling up to unprecedented levels.  Then there is the Bank of Japan which has printed over 13.3  trillion yen   The Fed in the U.S. has done its own form of printing money by way of "quantitative easing", purchasing over $4 trillion in the bond market.
All of these signals in tandem show the instability of the global debt crisis and no one who looks into these can remain complacent.

It also shows that the solution of a UBI to help workers displaced by robots is a pure pipedream. It will never come to pass, especially with a preponderance of deficit hawks skulking around right now - who are just rubbing their mitts together and drooling waiting for the deficits to explode with this Reeptard tax bill.  Then they can go full throttle to suck every last remaining drop of blood from the social safety net. 

The solution is clear: our global population needs to be cut- and radically by 2030. If not,  either in Isaac Asimov's immortal words  "nature will cut it for us" (say by an Avian flu  pandemic or airborne Ebola) or the hidden powers that be might consider doing so - as portrayed in the Executive Action movie, and seen in the clip.

See also:


"Capitalists crave to replace workers with an automated labor force. The parasitic breed has always viewed workers as flesh machines, of whom, they were inconvenienced by having to pay wages. Capitalism is, by its very nature, dehumanizing. From the advent of the industrial/capitalist epoch, the system has inflicted mass alienation, societal atomization, and anomie. Moreover, the vast wealth inequity inherent to the system allows the capitalist elite to own the political class — a mindless clutch of flunkies who might as well be robots programmed by the capitalist order to serve their agendas."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

If I (As An Atheist) Were Running A Cake Baking Biz.....You'd Get What U Want - For A Price!

Image result for Confederate birthday cake image
The Confederate flag birthday cake some bloggers don't believe I'd make for them. They're wrong. I'd do it for $400 a cake!

It appears some Reich wing bloggers are thoroughly exercised over the Colorado case now before the Supreme Court.  The case involves a religious Colorado baker who refused to do work for a gay couple who were getting married.  At issue is whether Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, had the legal right to turn away fiancés Charlie Craig and David Mullins when they asked him to bake a wedding cake in 2012.  Phillips, a strict religionist,  contended his cakes were art and that doing a "gay cake"  would defile that art and so  violate his Christian values

The blogger to whom I refer was incensed that the Supremes might allow that Jack Phillips was in the wrong when he refused to "perform his service for the two homos".  I suspect our friend is not aware that one doesn't use that pejorative these days, but anyway....

He made the further rash claim that he'd never expect the ACLU to defend him if he was turned down by an Atheist cake maker - say to make a cake extolling the Ten Commandments. He's flat wrong as the ACLU has always taken such cases, acknowledging that citizen rights can be trampled on the Left or Right side of the national divide.

Further, he doubted that if he went to an atheist or liberal cake maker he'd be able to get a Confederate battle flag cake made. In that he is again making an erroneous assumption. No atheist I know (including yours truly - if I was into making cakes) would turn down his request.

Heck, he could have a Confederate cake such as depicted above for a mere 400 bucks. Same thing with ANY wedding cake he'd want, including one featuring the Ten Commandments.

Now, as you will note, there is likely NO way in hell that our friend would pay that much for a cake - even a Rebel cake or highly religious one. But that is precisely my point as it pertains to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Phillips could have avoided all the kerfuffle and loss of business after  the state Civil Rights Commission declared Phillips' business practices discriminatory by simply charging more for the cake.  Say, $500.  This might break down along the lines of: $150 (cake, decorations, including creative design) and $350 (mental strain during creation. i.e. from going against one's pet beliefs).

The point being there's a  rational basis for the higher price which would be difficult to refute or invalidate in a law court (see end notes from Markham Law). After all, the guy IS performing the service- and selling, just at a somewhat higher cost to make it worth his mental-emotional investment.

It would then redound to them to go to seek a more economic cake choice elsewhere. The business -commercial law sphere would have remained intact, and also the "free speech" - rights issue, now expressed in terms of setting a higher price for the creative "self expression." That may be intangible but he (as an artist) has as much right to put his own price on it as a paint artist does his portrait.

This is no different, imho, in our currently getting bids (from Task Easy) to do a fall cleanup - which we can no longer do because of health (back) issues. While Task Easy claims $120 for a "package" deal - the first (and only) contractor who arrived wanted double that!  We said absolutely not. That was OUR choice, and HIS choice was to move on and look elsewhere for paid contract work.

Thus, the "freedom" issue is easily resolved and in a businesslike as opposed to ideological way.  The key is that creators or contractors can charge whatever they want for a service, but the customer is also at liberty to turn them down - if the price isn't right.

Our  conservative blogger friend also tried to use the argument that Phillips was perfectly willing to "bake the homos any other cake" e.g. birthday or what not. But he still misses the point. Once you enter into the for profit commercial trade domain you agree to provide the services - the same services - you provide to all other customers. Hence, if you bake other customers wedding cakes you cannot make an exception for "homos". It's quite simple.

The argument might be made that if I or anyone jacked up the cost of a cake for an ideology or person we don't fancy that is "discriminatory pricing".  Well, tell that to the contractor who wanted to charge $240 to clear some leaves out of our yard! I simply don't buy it would hold that much legal water, certainly not to the level of the federal case Masterpiece Cakeshop faces now.

In other words, I'd take a "discriminatory" pricing case any day before having to deal with an outright, refusal of service,  discrimination of civil rights case.

From Markham Law P.C.  website;

Price Discrimination Is Often Lawful. Presumptively, a seller is entitled to set prices as he chooses when dealing with his different customers. Most sellers would resent any effort to restrict their discretion to set and vary their prices for different sales. In market economies such as our own, firms decide for themselves what to charge for their products and to whom they wish to make sales. It is contrary to the fundamental principles of market economics to regulate what sellers charge for their products or impose a rule that they cannot vary their prices for the same goods when selling them to different customers.

Unlawful Price Discrimination, Defined. Stated as a rule, price discrimination becomes unlawful under federal antitrust law only when it threatens to undermine competitive processes in an affected market and otherwise meets the specific criteria of the federal price discrimination statutes (viz., the simultaneous, ongoing sale of the same or similar products to commercial customers at different prices in transactions that implicate interstate commerce).

This harm is said to occur within the meaning of the federal price-discrimination statutes when the following circumstances are present: (1) the seller makes sales of goods in interstate commerce to commercial customers; (2) the seller sells the same goods in the same quantities at around the same times to different commercial customers, offering lower prices only to one or some of these customers; (3) this price discrimination persists over a substantial period of time; and (4) at least one favored customer and one disfavored customer use these goods in order to compete against one another to sell their own offerings, or a favored customer so competes against one or more customers of the disfavored customer. If a disfavored customer can make these showings, it can bring suit under the Robinson-Patman Act .

Colorado Care May Soon Rise On Its 2016 "Ashes"

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Comparison of Colorado Care provisions with those of the failed plan in Vermont. This post deals with a number of reasons why the former "went down in flames".

My wife, Janice - with dozens of others - had worked ferociously to get the Colorado Care health plan passed in the state in the 2016 election cycle. Alas, there was simply too much opposition arrayed against, especially the sheer volume of "free speech"...errr,  the money.  The Colorado Care team and activists had amassed some  $800,000 to support their campaign but were confronting the Koch brothers' deep pockets which easily had ten times more to spend.  No surprise the Kochs' ads- seen much more frequently (and laden with propaganda) won out.

But according to T.R. Reid - one of he spokespersons and lead voices for the bill, there is no reason that it can't come back on the ballot in 2020, provided some tweaks are made.

Universal health care advocate T.R. Reid jokes that he's a bad campaign chair. - COURTESY COLORADO CARE YES
T.R. Reid - a long time advocate for a universal health care bill believes Colorado Care can be resurrected with the right tweaks.

In a recent interview with The Colorado Springs Independent, Reid made it clear what went wrong and now the next iteration of the bill could be improved. This is essential also in a hostile environment to any kind of social safety nets and with the Republicans on the warpath to tear down Obamacare by detaching its mandate. This despite a remarkable 55 percent approval rating in an April Gallup poll, and currently with a historically impressive 50 percent approval rating according to Gallup.

What happened? Millions of people - including Trump voters- realized they could finally obtain the affordable care they need, even with preexisting conditions. 

This elicits the question of why Americans have been chronically leery of enabling or allowing the government to run a health care system?  In fact, the reasoning is inchoate and absurd. As Reid put it in his interview:

"If government doesn't get between you and your doctor, then United Health Care in Minnetonka, Minnesota, gets between you and your doctor and dictates which doctor you can see, Public health payment plans are just more efficient and work better."


"Just about everybody on it will tell you Medicare is the best insurance they ever had,  You know, I worked for the Washington Post company, and it's a very generous company, very generous, and it took really good care of us in terms of health insurance and Medicare's better than the insurance I had with the Washington Post."

I can vouch for that, completely. As I already noted in a post last month,  the CMS Summary sheets for the procedures carried out this past year totaled more than $60,000. This was for the 3D staging biopsy and cryotherapy cancer treatment at UCHealth.  The ultrasound guidance part of the cryo treatment alone came in at $16,000 and the anesthesia just for that treatment, not including the 3D biopsy anesthesia, was $3,149..

If I'd  had to operate under a $20,000 per annum GOP voucher plan, I'd have ended up shelling out nearly $40,000 out of pocket for the uncovered procedures.  None of that even would even had included the cost for wife's hip replacement surgery, including 7 days in rehab.

So, as T.R. pointed out in his Indy interview it is "silly" for people to bitch about government health care when one of the most successful ever designed has prevented more seniors from impoverishment than in the nasty early days.  That was pre-1966 when oldsters had to either hope a son or daughter would take care of them, or they had to beg on the streets for help.

But, of course, viewed as (GASP!) "socialized medicine"  that's why the Repukes are determined to destroy it now - when their tax plan comes a cropper with exploding deficits, as it surely will.

So what went wrong with Colorado Care, apart from the fact supporters lost the money as speech game to the Kochs?  T.R. Reid provided several plausible reasons:

-  People were quite willing to help a sick kid or neighbor, so hypothetically backed the plan However, the rubber hit the road when they read the fine print and grasped they'd have to help pay for it

- Seniors especially were against it as even though they'd have to pay there was no benefit at all for them. So why support it when they already had Medicare?

Janice and I discussed this very issue last year when we both attended a meeting downtown and after a presentation, one older lady on Medicare Advantage insisted there was no reason at all for her to vote for such a bill Not one which dinged her while providing  no further benefit.

But as we noted, it was precisely this "what's in it for me" mindset that's preventing the country from moving forward on a universal health plan.  By contrast, Europeans  - like our Czech friends Martin and Gabby, e.g.
Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and indoor
are quite happy to pay higher taxes because they understand "we are all in this together".  As Gabriella told us while we dined out in Prague in 2015,: "You can't take the money with you, so why not spend it on better health for you and your fellow citizens. It is win-win."  This sensible philosophy also carried over into their daily lives, in which they valued time much more than extra money to work more hours. 

As Gabby put it: "Here in Europe the companies cannot work us to death or to the point of insanity like they do people in your country. That's why we can travel our continent for weeks at a time. Your countrymen would probably feel they have to check their cell phones or emails every day or twice or more a day!"

Back to the reasons for Colorado Care's downfall, T.R. also pointed to the wording on the ballot. The resolution began as follows: "Shall we raise taxes $25 billion in order to ..."   In he words of Reid:

"A lot of people thought we lost the minute that became the language of the ballot. You know, people were just not going to spend $25 billion. And the answer to that was, well we're spending over $30 billion on health insurance now to out-of-state insurance companies. But we never had the money to make that point."

Which is why a much more extensive grassroots education effort is needed.

What about future strategies for  resurrection? Reid's ideas are as follows, in his own words:

"I think there are two possible routes. One is put in legislation to the [state] Legislature to try to advance the cause. And, in that regard, we have written what's called the Colorado Patient's Bill of Rights. I think it's nine proposed bills. And they are bills like the Choose Your Doctor Act, and that says any health care plan sold in Colorado has to let the patient choose the doctor. As you know, currently, insurance companies have these narrow networks where they dictate the hospital and the doctor you can go to. So we're going to put in legislation that says they all have to do what Medicare does, which is cover all doctors, any licensed practitioner. That's one bill. Another is the Why Pay More Act, and that says whenever a hospital or a doctor bills you for a procedure, the bill has to show you what Medicare would have paid for the same procedure. And presumably then people will respond and say, "Why am I paying $36,000 for a hip [replacement] when Medicare pays $1,900 for the same procedure?"

... Different legislators have offered to put in those bills, and here's the thing: They're all gonna lose. Because the hospitals or the doctors will fight them and they'll lose. But that kind of makes our point, that the Legislature is not the place to get this done because it's owned by insurance companies and for-profit hospital companies and drug companies.

... The second plan is to come back on the ballot in 2020. And if we did that there's two crucial points about that idea [usually called the 2020 plan]. One is that the plan would be vastly simpler. Our last plan was quite complicated, we had a 35-page booklet explaining it, you know just about everybody could find something in it they didn't like, so I think next time we will make it much, much simpler. Maybe, for example, one proposal is for a two-sentence ballot initiative. First sentence is: Anyone who needs medical care in Colorado shall have access to a doctor. And the second one is: The Legislature is mandated to effectuate this guarantee by Jan. 1 of, you know, whenever."

The Indy: Where would the funding come from in this scenario?

T.R. again:

'That would be up to the Legislature, but presumably, it would come from a tax just like ours.But if the people vote for this concept, then everybody should have health insurance. The Legislature has to enact it. I mean, it doesn't solve all the problems — then the Legislature has to go back to the voters and say, "Will you pay for this?" But at least then we have the opportunity to say um, a) the people want this, they voted for it, and b) it's cheaper ..."

Indy: What year?

"In 2020, and the plan is, 10 states put the same measure on the ballot in the same year, and they would be Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New York wants to do it, Ohio and Michigan have talked about it, maybe California. And the theory is then, if it's on in 10 states, this will dissipate the insurance companies' money. You know, they'll fight it in New York and California at great expense, and maybe that would let Colorado or Oregon or Washington slip past, because they wouldn't be able to fight it everywhere ... Almost every state has a group of people who are working for universal health care ... and they've decided the way we're going to get there is state by state. Washington, D.C., can't do it."

One point of Reid's needs to be underscored: Don't look to the gridlocked Beltway for any help on affordable health care. It may well be up to state versions of universal or single payer health care to win the day. Provided the respective citizens agree with Gabby's take that "we're all in this together" as opposed to the individualist path of "every one for him or herself".

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dems Are Accessories In Political Hit Job On Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken: His robust questioning of criminal Repukes was clearly too much, so Dem toadies had to be enlisted to take him down.

"Would Senator Gillibrand resign if several people came forward to allege she sexually harassed/abused them?

Why does Franken have to be forced out of office? What happened to due process? Shouldn't the residents of the state he represents have a say in this matter; not just a contingent of Democratic Senators
."   - Comment on  NY Times website

It now appears Sen. Al Franken will resign tomorrow,  marking one of the most successful "dirty trick" jobs the Repukes have ever pulled using trained pawns. This time,  getting Dem Senators to act as accessories after the fact, piling on Franken after a 7th accuser has come forward about "forced kissing",  for god's sake. Thereby putting kisses, a mock grope and some butt pinches (MAYBE- we have no evidence only claims)  on the same level as the child molestations of  Roy Moore.   This followed a coordinated Senate gang up,  compliments of female Dem Senators led by Kirsten Gillibrand - who I used to respect. Not any more, not when she can so easily be manipulated and used as a tool to destroy a fellow Senator's career - merely out of unproven, unsubstantiated claims. And NO -I do not believe them just because a woman or women said them. As Bari Weiss wrote in a recent NY Times piece:

"We don’t owe anyone our unthinking belief. “Trust but verify” may not have the same ring as “believe all women.” But it’s a far better policy."-

Damned straight!

As I wrote in a previous blog post:

Some outspoken feminists and defenders of women's rights  have actually come out in public and insisted "Zero tolerance!"   Meaning that even the slightest perceived infraction must receive the full, maximal weight of penalty. In other words, analogous to putting a jaywalker in a gas chamber.

But this is bonkers and counterproductive. If all infractions major and minor receive the same condemnation and sanction - say expulsion from office and equal destruction of reputation -  then there is total loss of balance, of moral perspective. In that case, what we end up with is a misfiring moralism and an atmosphere of feeding frenzy, not morality.  We end up with absolutism as opposed to conscious interpolation of actions differing in intent and transgressive impact.

What is needed  instead of "zero tolerance" absolutism is to arrive at a weighing or interpolation of actions based on critical thinking combined with the exercise of ethical provisionalism. Just as provisional ethics provides a reasonable middle ground between absolute and  relative systems, it also provides a middle ground for sanctions imposed on a scale of actions or infractions.  Thus, while one may rightly demand a capital punishment (say lethal injection) for a mass murderer of infants in their cribs, one may not do so for a jaywalker.

The scale of infraction is vastly different, hence it is madness to apply the same sanction to both violations.  By the same token, provisional ethics bids us withhold the hand of punitive extremism, say for infractions like Al Franken's,  compared to those of  Roy Moore (sexually assaulting children).  Hence it is also madness to demand the expulsion of Al Franken for his alleged violations, which are nowhere in the same league as Moore's.  It is also nonsense to demand Franken's resignation if you don't also demand Donnie Dotard's for his much more malicious "grabbing pussies".

Former GOP Rep. (FL) Dave Jolly put it well in his appearance on Lawrence O''Donnell's show on Wednesday, that "we have to take care to distinguish fallibility from criminality".  This is especially as Mr. Jolly expects many more allegations to erupt in the coming weeks. As these further accusations pile up one must bear in mind that Roy Moore's advances on underage girls amount to the criminality (pedophilia), but Al Franken's mock grope of  Leeann Tweeden  does not.  Neither do his "inappropriate touches" - construed as such by assorted women who posed with him in takes at the MN state fair.


  And let us pause here to note again that not all allegations made by women are true, especially if there is no clear evidence of such. While we desire to give women's claims of sexual harassment validation, we cannot ignore the possibility that there may also be ulterior motives in play- and bad actors.  These motives (and strategies) didn't just originate recently but have been around for decades under the guise of "dirty tricks" -  e.g. since the Nixon campaign's tactics against Dems in 1968 and 1972..

Let us note the first to come out and level accusations at Franken was Leeann Tweeden  .  She was clever-  perhaps too clever by half - in also producing a photo. This she likely saved since the transgression occurred to use as a conservative payback, as she looked forward to a career as a conservative talk host. Franken wasn't a Senator yet but Tweeden perhaps had an instinct, or maybe intuition, he might have a future political career. If and when the time came she could then pull out her evidence and lower the boom, in the right circumstances.

Indeed, it also appears Nixon- era dirty trickster Roger Stone might have put Tweeden up to it, and yeah, you can call me conspiracy -minded if you want, see:

  Roy Stone knew well ahead of time that Al Franken was going to be accused of something. 

 We know also Tweeden's background has indeed been exposed as "a Conservative talk show host, conservative commentator on many shows,  Trump supporter, model.:"   Left blogger Amanda Marcotte, in a recent piece,  suspected a Reepo dirty trick or political stunt after Tweeden came out with her claims. However, Amanda perversely invoked that to insist Franken resign -which was total bollocks  - on the fear the Reeptards might employ it later.. According to Marcotte "if this is a political stunt then the people behind it surely want Franken to stay".

Of course! And Tweeden and her conservo allies can now point to a victory enabled by Dem weaklings acting as accomplices because they insist on a stupid, conflationary,  "zero tolerance" policy.   Thus Sen. Gillibrand's exclaiming "I think when we start having to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping you are having the wrong conversation."   Adding:

"You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable."

So the moral scolds like Gillibrand appear to have won.  In this new climate of moral absolutism and "zero tolerance"  I guess  we can expect child rapists and wanton kissers (like Franken)  to suffer the exact same sanctions. Wifey conjectures that the Dem Senate women were emboldened and triggered into action by TIME's earlier selection of the #MeToo movement as "Person of the Year". Who knows? . I hope they are all satisfied in their exultation after tomorrow,  but are also aware of the can of worms they've opened with their imperious hyper rectitude.

 That is, now anyone's past from years ago- including minor sexual indiscretions -  can be dredged up and re-litigated by the pseudo-moral scolds to destroy their current careers. How many of us really, seriously, would be able to withstand such scrutiny?  Let's please let all those pure as the driven snow, without any moral blemishes, cast the first 'stones'.

Lawrence O'Donnell ruminated on his 'Last Word' show that "perhaps the Democrats have now risen to a higher moral standard."  Maybe. But cynic that I am, I suspect it is more about political expediency - and believing that if they can just ditch their "Roy Moores" (never mind the violations weren't the same) they can expect a huge, unencumbered wave win in the mid terms next year. Let us hope they're right - though I won't be donating any more $$$ to their campaigns.

What was really choice yesterday is seeing and hearing guppy mouth  Sen. Mitch McConnell also calling  for Mr. Franken to leave the Senate. This barely days after he did a 180 and has now opted to temper his opposition to pederast Roy Moore. He will "let the people of Alabama decide" Moore's fate in that state's Dec. 12th election. What a gracious POS.

Way to go, Sens. Schumer, Gillebrand and company!   You stupid, effing dupes!

See also:

Update: Dec. 7th - Sen. Franken to resign:

His statement:

“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,

Thanks for your stalwart service, Senator! And you did hit the nail on its proverbial head. It is a pity the Democrats took the easy road of adopting zero tolerance (for political expediency) , rather than exercising their presumed intellectual capacity to make the case that the acts of Moore and yourself amount to comparing chalk and cheese.  As Bill Maher put it in his last show - it should not have been that difficult to do.  See also: