Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

And the Verdict . . . (as if we did not know)?

Stolen from the comments section. Will Romney pay the price? I do not think so. He may get critiqued by the madman in the White House; but, I am not so sure if he can touch Romney.

By EMichael

Credit where credit is due. Despite the fact that he faces almost no repercussions for his vote, Romney deserves credit.

Otoh, let us hope that Collins latest reptilian act costs her the Senate.

“No, Romney set himself apart. Even if he is only concerned with the judgment of history, it has put him in a far better place than the sycophants and enablers who so befouled the old halls of the legislature during the president’s pantomime State of the Union address Tuesday night. Romney’s speech was sweeping, decisive, and hardly short on moral clarity.
In one section, he got to the heart of it.

‘What he did was not “perfect”— no, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.’

That’s it. The president attacked American democracy, undermining the legitimacy of an American presidential election, to keep himself in power. He used his power to stay in power, regardless of the people’s will. It is the essential abuse of power. It is the elemental high crime and misdemeanor. The president extorted an ally who’s under assault by authoritarian Russia until they agreed to ratfuck his domestic political opponent for his own personal gain. Then he sent his lawyers to the floor of the United States Senate to argue that if he deems his re-election to be in the national interest, he can do anything to get re-elected. Never mind that the purpose of the election is to allow voters to decide if his re-election is in the national interest. These craven fools would make for themselves an American king and gleefully bow before him.

Comments (11) | |

Trolling . . .

Elizabeth Warren

Listen or read, your choice. This is presidential material for our troubled nation.

 

While other senators were throwing questions at opponents, Warren decided to ask whether the Chief Justice has hurt the credibility of the Supreme Court by participating in a trial with no witnesses or evidence. And Roberts had to read the question  per the rules of the Senate.

“At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution?”

Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) responded to Warren’s query, “I would not say that it contributes to a loss of confidence in the chief justice, I think the chief justice has presided admirably.”

When you play the stooge, one has to expect to be labeled as a stooge.

 

Comments (21) | |

Other Immigration Issues Here and Elsewhere

From SWI, Swiss news: Switzerland’s House of Representatives has rejected an initiative by the right-wing Swiss “People’s Party” to limit immigration and cancel a deal with the European Union on the free movement of people.

Albert Rösti, head of the Swiss People’s Party warns that “uncontrolled” immigration could increase the current 8.5 million Swiss population to ten million and place additional pressure on infrastructure and the environment. It also says free movement of people encourages employers to recruit foreigners at cheap rates rather than Swiss people.

Sound familiar?

Per SwissInfo.ch , Switzerland faces a “shortage of workers 10 years out according to the Swiss Employers’ Association which warned Switzerland could face a shortage of 700,000 workers in ten years’ time.  Immigration is a key to plug the gap.”

To help close the potential gap, professionals possessing engineering backgrounds will be needed with a priority on civil and electronic engineering being the most important. Also technical skills in such fields as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning have moved up from third to second place in needed skills followed by fiduciaries, auditors, and IT ability. These types of capabilities and skills are not possessed by present day migrants coming to Switzerland.

Comments (11) | |

US Firearm Related Mortality

New analysis of 1999-2017 firearm deaths looks at changes in each state and within age, gender and racial/ethnic groups

Nationally, firearm-related mortality rates increased in period 2015–2017 after remaining relatively stable in period 1999–2014. Firearm mortality increases can be seen in “most” states and the demographics to the mortality seen in varying degrees. The increases suggest a worsening epidemic of firearm mortality geographically and demographically abroad. In both time periods, the fractions of firearm deaths due to suicide and homicide remained consistent.

In order of magnitude, the rates of homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths incurred in the United States are 25.2, 8.0, and 6.2 times higher than rates occurring in other developed countries. While remaining relatively stable from 1999 to 2014, the age-adjusted firearm mortality rates in the US increased for three consecutive years starting in 2015 as shown in Exhibit 1. One has to wonder why this could be.

Click on the image to enlarge.

The increases are also apparent across the nations demographics (race, sex, age), mechanisms of death (suicide, homicide, etc.), and are broken down by states across the nation which I will not be showing today. Well beyond a majority, the states saw increases and a few have experienced decreases. The Health Affairs study “US Firearm-Related Mortality: National, State, And Population Trends, 1999–2017,” is the first to define the mortality of deaths by state. The Health Affairs state detail is too massive to display here and the study is only open to subscribers. I believe the more important part of this study is the upturn in the death rate starting in 2015. One can only speculate what has brought on the increase.

After the leap, Methodology, Limitations, and Conclusions

Tags: Comments Off on US Firearm Related Mortality | |

VFW Demands Apology from Trump

for Downplaying Brain Injuries Suffered from Iranian Attack, CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi, January 2020

It is bad enough for trump to have evaded the draft multiple times giving heel spurs as a reason for doing so; but here we are and now, trump can tell us what is a serious injury and what is not. If he would just shut up, which will not happen, things might settle down. As it goes, anything to deflect and get the attention off of impeachment.

(CNN)President Donald Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of US service members being treated for concussion symptoms from an Iranian attack as “headaches.”

During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked to explain the discrepancy between his previous comments that no US service member was harmed in the January 8 Iranian missile attack on Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, and the latest reports of US troops being treated for injuries sustained in that attack.

“No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump replied during the news conference.

The reporter pressed, “So you don’t consider potential traumatic brain injury serious?”

Comments (3) | |

Senate Impeachment Trial Day 3, Opening Arguments from Representative Adam Schiff : January 22, 2019

C-SPAN

“In this first portion of day 3 of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the lead House impeachment manager, began opening arguments by explaining the history of why the framers included impeachment in the Constitution. He then laid out the specifics of the charges against President Trump. Throughout his presentation, Representative Schiff used digital slides, graphics, and videos, including footage from House impeachment inquiry hearings as well as clips of remarks by the president and from White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney during a news conference. ”

Let me know what clips you wish to see. C-SPAN

Comments (6) | |

Events at Davos, a Child Meets a Scholar (in that Order)

Seriously, I would not fit there; but, I am smart enough to keep my mouth shut, listen, and learn. Apparently Trump is not.

Trump Commenting on Elon Musk: “I was worried about him, because he’s one of our great geniuses, and we have to protect our genius,” Trump said of Musk. “You know, we have to protect Thomas Edison, and we have to protect all of these people that came up with, originally, the lightbulb, and the wheel and all of these things.”

The wheel made its first appearance in Mesopotamia — an ancient region that corresponds mostly to present-day Iraq — around 3,500 B.C. ”

Hat Tip to: Josephine Harvey, HuffPost, January 22, 2020.

Meanwhile Greta Thunberg at Davos: “I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?” Ms. Thunberg, 17, said at the annual gathering of the world’s rich and powerful in Davos, a village on the icy reaches of the Swiss Alps.

“Nothing has been done.”

“Our house is still on fire,” she added, reprising her most famous line from an address last year at the forum. “Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”

NYT, Somini Sengupta, January 21, 2020

Comments (1) | |

Rep Jayapal and Sen Sanders Have Introduced Medicare For All Bills: Part 2

Part 2 discusses why we must have the government issue payments to hospitals, clinics, etc. and also set the budgets for hospitals and this is how they are paid rather than billing multiple insurers and also patients. There is also only one payer. The later part is what I have been pounding on repeatedly. Forget prices and work with cost data. It is then we have a much clearer picture of the costs of healthcare and we can begin to control prices.

Rep Jayapal and Sen Sanders Have Introduced Medicare For All Bills: One Is a Lot Better Than the Other, Healthcare for All Minnesota, Kip Sullivan, May 8, 2019

What is an ACO and why is it a defect?

Congress included in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (aka Obamacare) a section (Section 3022) requiring CMS to establish an ACO program within the traditional FFS Medicare program. It is not clear why Congress chose to use ACOs. Congress was warned in 2008 by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that ACOs would not save money for Medicare. The simplest way to describe ACOs is to say they are HMOs in training. Like HMOs, they are corporations that own or contract with chains of hospitals and clinics; they have the equivalent of enrollees; they attempt to keep their “enrollees” from seeking care outside their networks; they bear insurance risk (that is, they are paid on a per-enrollee basis and in exchange are obligated to provide medically necessary services to their enrollees); and because they are risk-bearing organizations, they generate overhead costs similar to those created by traditional insurance companies.

More on ACOs and the absence of Single Payer budgets past the leap

Comments (9) | |

Majority Say Senate Should Remove Trump

EMichael: I don’t understand why people have such a hard time believing that there is no such thing as an “independent” voter. Sure, a lot of people register as an independent, but that certainly does not mean they vote for one party or the other depending on the candidates and/or circumstances.

Plenty of studies have shown that independent voters are even more loyal to one party or the other than party registered voters. In other words, when they vote, they vote for just one party.
And polls show the exact same thing whenever they appear. Like this:

“The new poll also finds majorities of Americans view each of the charges on which Trump will face trial as true: 58% say Trump abused the power of the presidency to obtain an improper personal political benefit and 57% say it is true that he obstructed the House of Representatives in its impeachment inquiry.

Massive partisan gaps continue to dominate views on Trump and his impeachment trial. Overall, 89% of Democrats say he should be removed from office, while just 8% of Republicans feel the same way. Among independents, it’s nearly dead even: 48% say the Senate should vote to remove him, while 46% say that they should not. Views on whether Trump should be impeached and removed are also evenly split across battleground states, 49% are on each side across the 15 states decided by 8 points or less in 2016. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.”

CNN poll: 51% say Senate should remove Trump from office

What this means is that half of independent voters are Dems and half are Reps. It shows the folly in attempting to attain independent votes desires, which always leads to a centrist stance. Dems need to cater to their progressive goals, and the half of the independents who are really Dem voters will follow along. And half of the independents who are Rep voters will shy away. It’s not like they are going to vote Dem in their lifetime.

Comments (1) | |

Rep Jayapal and Sen Sanders’ Have Introduced Medicare for All Bills: Part 1

I have exchanged emails with Kip Sullivan several times and believe he has the clearest explanation on Single Payer. I have found him to be a good source for the two Single Payer bills in Congress today. Unfortunately, it is a long explanation and it can not be summed up on one page or in the amount of time you would spend watching the news at 10 PM. To compensate for the length of the presentation, I have broken it down into two parts. I hope you take some time and read it.

Rep Jayapal and Sen Sanders Have Introduced Medicare For All Bills: One Is a Lot Better Than the Other,” Healthcare for All Minnesota, Kip Sullivan, May 8, 2019

Two bills that are called “Medicare for all” bills by their supporters have just been introduced in Congress. On February 27, Representative Pramila Jayapal introduced the Medicare For All Act of 2019, HR 1384, in the House of Representatives. On April 10, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill bearing the same name in the Senate, S 1129. The cost-containment section in Representative Jayapal’s bill will cut health care costs substantially without slashing the incomes of doctors and hospitals. Senator Sanders’ bill cannot do that.

In this article, I explain the differences in the cost containment sections of the two bills and call upon Senator Sanders to correct two defects in his bill that minimize its ability to reduce costs. Defect number one: S 1129 authorizes a new form of insurance company called the “accountable care organization” (ACO). Defect number two: S 1129 fails to authorize budgets for hospitals. Representative Jayapal’s bill, on the other hand, explicitly repeals the federal law authorizing ACOs, and it authorizes budgets for individual hospitals.

I write this essay as both a long-time organizer, writer and speaker for a single-payer (the older name for “Medicare for all” system) and a strong supporter of Senator Sanders. Bernie’s enthusiastic support for a “single payer” solution to the American health care crisis has added millions of new supporters to the single-payer movement. But precisely because he is now the most recognizable face of the single-payer movement, it is extremely important that all of us, whether we’re already in the single-payer movement or we just long for a sane and humane health care system, encourage Bernie to fix the defects in his bill.

To explain the two defects in S 1129, I must first explain why a single-payer bill like Representative Jayapal’s will be effective at cutting the high cost of American health care. I begin by explaining the origin and meaning of the “single payer” label. I will then describe the two defects in S 1129 in more detail.

Past the leap, the origin of Single Payer

Comments (2) | |