Points for discussion: not necessarily my positions.

Gulliver-discovers-laputa-from-1910-edition-of-gullivers-travels

1.  The Democrats are deceiving themselves about the economy.

2. The young people who favor policies like "Medicare for all" are ignorant of economics and do not grasp the fact that they would end by paying a great deal of taxes for that policy.

3.  Democratic Party policy toward Trump is designed to prevent him governing.

4.  The Democrats are seeking a new issue (anything will do) over which to impeach Trump again.

5.  The Socialist Democrat candidates (Sanders and Warren) want to substitute a command economy run through central planning for what the US has now.

6.  Trump's foreign policy in the ME is ignorant of anything but Zionist desires and ambitions.

7.  In any deal with the Taliban the present Afghan government will inevitably be defeated and destroyed in the aftermath.

8.  US ground forces are too large.  We should adopt a foreign policy that will permit the maintenance of smaller ground forces.

9. Hillary has been behind much of the political devilment in the last three years and is scheming and hoping for a deadlocked convention in which she will be nominated by acclamation.

10.  Trump will wisely offer Tulsi Gabbard a job in his next administration.  pl

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70 Responses to Points for discussion: not necessarily my positions.

  1. Avatar Vegetius says:

    All good except #6 precludes #10, unless it was a bad faith offer.
    I don’t think the ZioCons will tolerate Trump offering Gabbard anything, even if he could ever get over her accurately describing him as the Saudis’ bitch.

  2. Avatar Jack says:

    Sir
    Trump is very astute. He gets it. Bloomberg is going to buy the nomination with the full backing of the Deep State/Wall St wing.

    Mini Mike is a 5’4” mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians. No boxes please. He hates Crazy Bernie and will, with enough money, possibly stop him. Bernie’s people will go nuts!

    https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1227946304057364481?s=21

  3. Avatar Laura Wilson says:

    6-8 You are so correct. The question is: how will this affect our national interest over the next 5-10 years? Will it matter to us?
    I don’t know and can’t visualize the consequences very well. I assume the Muslim world will be arrayed against us for the foreseeable future. How dangerous is that to our own safety?

  4. Avatar Dennis Daulton says:

    With the fed now pumping upwards to 120 billion a day in the repo overnight loans market to keep the biggest banks solvent, I wouldn’t be so confident about the health of the economy. Candidate Trump said he was for a restoration of Glass-Steagal banking laws and he’d be wise to move on that before a 2008 style collapse hits again. Trumps emphasis on a blue collar boom and an NASA moon landing will be how the US economy remains strong not bailing out too big to fail Wall Street bank.

  5. Avatar Felix says:

    5. The Socialist Democrat candidates (Sanders and Warren) want to substitute a command economy run through central planning for what the US has now.
    Like the five year plans in the USSR? I do not expect any democrat to win, but how could that work?

  6. Avatar Castellio says:

    Not directly related to any of these points, but important in the mix, is the relation of both parties to AIPAC. People don’t want a government whose first priority is Israel.
    The first meaningful push back against AIPAC (long overdue) was by a Minnesota Democrat, Betty McCollum, yesterday. A letter worth reading: https://mccollum.house.gov/media/press-releases/mccollum-statement-hate-speech-makes-aipac-hate-group

  7. Avatar John Merryman says:

    I think the essential Western paradigm of a monist idealism is reaching the limits of its effectiveness in an essentially cyclical, reciprocal, dualistic reality. Where if a synthesis cannot be derived from the thesis and antithesis, than both sides retreat to their extremes and only recognize the extreme in the other side.
    Liberal and conservative are a politicization of the tension between desire and judgement. The heart and the head.
    We either recognize the deeper elements at work, or we burn down another civilization and try again.

  8. Avatar Harry says:

    Re point 2. We are already paying for health insurance. At least I am. It costs me $26k per year to health insure my family.
    All other countries with socialize healthcare systems spend a lower proportion of their GDP on healthcare and almost all have better health outcomes for their populations. The proportion less can be as much as half the percentage of GDP the US spends on healthcare.
    Taxes may well go up. Healthcare costs will go down for most people. And for those whose healthcare is paid by their employers, the costs to the employers would go down too, meaning that wages could go up to offset (or more than offset) the additional taxes.

  9. Avatar ambrit says:

    Sir;
    I have been advocating point #9 for a year now. Few understand the monstrous ambition contained by HRH HRC. (Her Royal Highness Hillary Rodham Clinton.)
    The Clinton foundation basically took over the Democrat National Committee, (an avowedly private organization,) in 2016.
    See: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41850797
    One does not generally purchase a new toy without wanting to play with it. Clinton’s ‘toy’ is the DNC. What is the primary purpose of the DNC? To run a political party. The primary functions of a political party, at least today’s versions of political parties, are to secure power for the leadership of the party and ‘compensation’ for the efforts of the nomenklaturas.

  10. Avatar Harry says:

    The economy is bad for most of the young and some of the old. This can be inferred by the rise in 2nd and 3rd jobs among the workforce.
    2 I have already addressed.
    I think points 3 and 4 are obviously true. Im not sure if it is the Dems leading the charge or the neocons. But a group is attempting to block Trumps efforts to govern.
    I am a Sanders supporter. I believe that 5 is partially correct. Sanders wishes to remove the free market operating in certain key areas – most obviously Healthcare. I do not think you are right about Warren. I think she is seeking progressive votes, but has no intention of delivering.
    I think 6 is obviously true, although I also think Trumps instinct lead him to wish to withdraw troops. He is no match for the “Borg”.
    7 is also clearly true.
    8 is also clearly true.
    9. I would modify this. Hillary is the single most prominent example of a class of Democratic apparatchiks who make an excellent living (mis)representing the interests of working Americans and shaking down corporate America using their political clout. It is a matter of shame for America that in her and her husbands careers in “public service” they have amassed a $150mn fortune.
    10. I doubt it but wouldnt it be fun!
    FWLIW.

  11. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    While I once read Michael Scheuer’s blog for his wisdom on his areas of specialty
    (some examples of that wisdom concerning Afghanistan,
    excerpted from his books, are collected at:
    “Afghanistan: Michael Scheuer’s View”),
    I was turned off by what seemed to be his appeals in his blog for violence
    against those whom he sees as America’s internal enemies.
    However, reading Col. Lang’s point 7 above,
    which echoes what Scheuer said in his 2004 book Imperial Hubris (e.g., this),
    prompted me to check out what he is currently saying.
    One quote from his current blog I think will interest both Col. Lang and the CIA veteran Larry Johnson.
    Scheuer wrote:

    The current CIA Director [Gina Haspel] is one of the officers I worked with, and
    she, almost single-handedly, helped CIA’s bin Laden unit destroy an al-Qaeda organization in Eurasia.
    I have always admired her greatly for her brains, personal courage, and for never, in my experience, flinching from truth and duty.

    I have no idea of the veracity of that,
    but I certainly do respect MS for his knowledge of the CIA, the Muslims, and Afghanistan. Surely MS knows of what he speaks in this instance.
    I think his recommendation is worth noting.

  12. Avatar D says:

    Israel did make the desert bloom and learned a thing or two about securing its borders, public safety and their international aircraft. Not a bad role model to emulate, so it should not be rejected out of hand.
    On the other hand, too much of the rest of ME emulates California’s open borders and explosive internal birth rates (illegals and anchor babies) which have swamped local resources, drained the treasury, generated massive resentments, and abandoned all semblance of sound governance.
    Ergo, I prefer much of what Israel model is teaching us so disagree with #6, but find much merit in your other points. Thanks for sharing them.

  13. Avatar Aurelius says:

    Some off-the-cuff quick thoughts:
    1. The Democrats are deceiving themselves about the economy. AGREE
    2. The young people who favor policies like “Medicare for all” are ignorant of economics and do not grasp the fact that they would end by paying a great deal of taxes for that policy. AGREE
    3. Democratic Party policy toward Trump is designed to prevent him governing. NOT SURE THIS IS TRUE AS A FORMAL POLICY, BUT SOME DEFINITELY FEEL THIS WAY
    4. The Democrats are seeking a new issue (anything will do) over which to impeach Trump again. AGREE
    5. The Socialist Democrat candidates (Sanders and Warren) want to substitute a command economy run through central planning for what the US has now. NOT CONVINCED THEY HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT IT IN THESE TERMS EXPLICITLY (MAYBE SANDERS HAS), BUT THAT WOULD BE THE END RESULT
    6. Trump’s foreign policy in the ME is ignorant of anything but Zionist desires and ambitions. SURE SEEMS THAT WAY SO FAR
    7. In any deal with the Taliban the present Afghan government will inevitably be defeated and destroyed in the aftermath. AGREE
    8. US ground forces are too large. We should adopt a foreign policy that will permit the maintenance of smaller ground forces. NOT CONVINCED YET. NEED TO NOODLE ON THIS ONE A BIT
    9. Hillary has been behind much of the political devilment in the last three years and is scheming and hoping for a deadlocked convention in which she will be nominated by acclamation. A BIT TOO CONSPIRACY-MINDED ALTHOUGH THE RECENT ANTI-BERNIE COMMENTS COULD BE SEEN AS FLOATING A TRIAL BALLOON. I ALSO THINK THE DEMOCRAT POWERBROKERS REALIZE SHE WOULD LIKELY BE A LOSING PROPOSITION
    10. Trump will wisely offer Tulsi Gabbard a job in his next administration. PROBABLY NOT A BAD CHOICE ALTHOUGH MY OPINION ULTIMATELY DEPENDS ON THE JOB.

  14. Avatar seb says:

    1. Sort of?
    https://news.gallup.com/poll/1609/consumer-views-economy.aspx
    Optimism about the economy is as high as in 1998-2000 boom years. BUT there’s still 30%+ of people saying that it’s a bad time to find a good job(vs 25-16% in the previous boom). I’d wager a bunch of these people are in Trump’s base(deplorables, rust belt folk etc). Making a play for them … might work? Trump’s play did.
    2. Medicare is cheaper than private insurance for better coverage. Currently (all?) young people have to pay for private coverage. If they could pay for Medicare instead of private insurance they would pay less. What is the actual argument here? Medicare for all would cover immigrants? It would almost certainly still be way cheaper than private insurance. Especially if Medicare were allowed to hardball negotiate prices the way other national health insurers do(that’s the reason the average drug cost is literally double in the US vs Mexico or Canada or Europe).
    To me the real argument against Medicare for all is not about cost, US medical expenditure (private + public) would drop by 20-30% overnight if the private insurance system was gone. The real rub is what it would do to the pharmaceutical and health equipment industries. The US is a cashcow specifically because buyers don’t have leverage to negotiate prices down.
    3 and 4. Yup and it’s dumb and counterproductive but Trump Derangement Syndrome is strong.
    5. There is no indication that this is true. Certainly not of Warren and probably not of Bernie. The most that can be said is Bernie might want this, but there’s no way he’ll take any steps towards it since he’ll face even more opposition than any of Trump’s policies have. Let’s keep in mind the GOP and the Dems are both (mostly) lapdog parties to the rich. If Trump struggles to withstand the neocon war machine, Bernie sure isn’t gonna have the support to nationalize the banks.
    6. Sometimes I think that, but he’s not escalated anything too much? So maybe it’s fine? He sabre rattled at Iran… but then the whole thing seemed to deescalate. Maybe his “Talk loudly and leave the stick at home” method works.
    7. Last chopper out of Kabul all over again.
    8. On the one hand this seems part of Trump’s policy. Getting people to pay for US military presence, pressuring NATO allies to meet expenditure commitments etc. On the other hand… it’s a jobs program? I’m almost joking here, but cutting back on military personnel might actually be an big hit to some really poor communities. Is this a good reason to bomb Middle Eastern countries etc? No. But it’s part of the military industrial complex shpiel.
    9. Plausible in terms of her desires buuuut … surely not? Who on earth would still be on side with her? It would just be deluded to a staggering extent.
    10. He’d do anything for attention but honestly I don’t think she’d accept.

  15. Avatar plantman says:

    You seem to be saying that “Medicare for all” is pie in the sky and can’t work economically. But how do you explain the fact that all the EU democracies, the UK, Canada etc can provide full health care, but the richest country in the world can’t?
    Government-funded health care would put more cash in the average guy’s pocket which he would spend on consumption which would strengthen the economy.
    It’s a “win win” solution.
    When I was in business, I never minded paying for health care, but monthly payments have ballooned to the point that it’s out of reach for many people.
    I hope you agree with me that health care has gone from being a vital service to an extortion racket.
    Sometimes government can do some good. They could start by creating a system that’s either affordable or puts the screws to the health care Mafia.
    These people are bloodsuckers!

  16. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    1. Yes. The economy is doing very well. Lots of theories about a coming collapse, but there are always such nay sayers. Nay saying is a cottage industry for some.
    2. There would also be rationing, long waiting lines and a total disruption of care providers networks that would impact everyone, but especially rural people. Just because they do it in Europe doesn’t mean it will work here. We have gone down the road of private provision for too long to tear it all up in a few years. The young people don’t care about the cost. They think cost will be lower (it won’t be sans rationing) and they think the wealthy will be taxed sufficiently to pay for it (that’s part of the fantasy they’ve ben sold).
    3. Yes. The Ds are deranged and the majority of citizens can see it and don’t like it. The polls are fake (again) and Trump is going to crush the Ds in Nov.
    4. Same as #3
    5. Yes. They are pretty open about a command economy – proud of it even.
    6. Not so much ignorant. IMO, he realizes that the opposing countries can’t do anything meaningful about it except make noise and pull off a terrorist attack here or there. C’est la vie.
    7. Yes. Who cares though? If Afghanistan returns to harboring terrorists that seek to attack the US, we can always go back and carpet bomb some of their favorite stuff and people. Maybe they’ll eventually learn – or not.
    8. Yes. A strong Navy and Airforce can protect the country. Ground forces (Army and USMC) could be cut in half (at least). Politically, that’s probably impossible. The US is obsessed with the ability to project power and all of that jazz. And the Russians would aggress against the world! (sarcasm)
    9. Yes. The Ds are as insane as Hillary if they let happen. The Bernie crowd will not roll over and vote for Hillary if the Ds pull that kind of garbage. Sans Bernie supporters, the Ds have 0 chance – actually, they have about 0 chance with Bernie supporters. Any way you cut it, the Ds lose the bid for POTUS and they probably lose the house.
    10. Trump should offer Tulsi a job and she should accept. She has no where else to go. Her own party now hates her and renounced her as a Russian agent.

  17. All good, except pp.1 since the actual industrial output contracts (4 consecutive annual contractions) and manufacturing is even worse–6 consecutive annual contractions.
    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/industrial-production
    Most “jobs” created are mostly part-time retail jobs due to season. Boeing situation devastated a contractor and supply chain with massive layoffs (e.g. Spirit Wichita laid-off the third of its labor force)–and those are REAL jobs. The rest–subscribe completely. Albeit, something has to be done with healthcare. What? I don’t know.

  18. Avatar jsn says:

    1. Yes!
    2. My wife and I, in the US private sector now, pay $12,000 a year out of pocket before we get any “coverage” at all from the Denial of Care industry. I’m 57, young people get even less for their money and will continue to vote for change until something gets better for them. Medicare and the VA already provide over one third of US actual medical care and do it for a fraction of what the Denial of Care industry does it for. It would be hilarious if Trump took up M4A and ran on it: he could probably implement it, which he was in favor of back when he was a private business man because the rent extractions of the Denial of Care industry make US labor uncompetitive against the rest of the world. The MED IC is in the tank for the Dem party and doing all it can to stop M4A.
    4. Which would make sense if the Dems were interested in governing, but if Obama proved anything it is that all the Dems want to do is say, “those mean, evil Republicans won’t let us do anything.” Which is to say the current configuration of politics and economy are working just fine for the Dem apparatchiks who’s main function is to fleece guys like Bloomberg.
    5. There are a world of economic models between our NeoLiberal (see Slobodian’s “The Globalists”) hyper extractive capitalism and a Leninist command economy, it’s straw-manning to call AOC, Sanders and even Warren Leninists when they are all somewhere to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon.
    6. Yes!
    7. Seems likely.
    8. Yes and they shouldn’t be deployed to create chaotic ground conditions to facilitate looting by Globalist Multinationals.
    9. 4 more years!!
    10. Wouldn’t it be nice.

  19. Number 9. The Eve-Devil whose sole ambition is to destroy Planet Earth.

  20. Avatar turcopolier says:

    jsn “when they are all somewhere to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon.” Hey! I remember Eisenhower and Nixon and you are completely full of it about them. Both of them were centrists.

  21. Avatar turcopolier says:

    plantsman
    rationing of major procedures and underinvestment in facilities.

  22. Avatar turcopolier says:

    seb
    Medicare for all is not Medicare. Medicare is a form of health insurance (with premiums) for the elderly. Medicare for all would be a single payer (government pays all) for everyone. The name is deliberately deceptive.

  23. Avatar turcopolier says:

    D Israel is a tyranny for all but Jews. You like that?

  24. Avatar turcopolier says:

    keith Harbaugh
    I know MS and do not wish to be thought to be associated with any of his positions. My comment simply reflects the fact that the present Afghan government is utterly dependent on foreign financial assistance and firepower. They are incapable of funding their security forces and the Taliban WILL take them down. It may take a while but they will manage it.

  25. Avatar turcopolier says:

    felix
    Poorly as it did there.

  26. Avatar jsn says:

    Eisenhower and Nixon were centrists, I agree, the center then was several miles left of where it is now.
    I was less than clear with making my point.

  27. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Harry
    “This can be inferred by the rise in 2nd and 3rd jobs among the workforce.” Citation in government statistics? Or is this theological?

  28. Avatar Hans Ohndorf says:

    US healthcare: In 2010 I found myself in a NYC emergency room with a kidney stone. This stone was subsequently removed. I had health insurance. Subsequently I received an invoice from the hospital: $1800 was my “10% co-pay”.
    In 2019 I found myself in an emergency room in Germany with a kidney stone. This stone was subsequently removed, also in Germany. The total bill was $1740.
    In other words, the cost for the same hospital care was about 10% of what it would have been in the US.
    The US health care system is itself a malignancy. As long as price controls are not introduced, it doesn’t really matter just how it is organized, publicly or privately.

  29. Avatar turcopolier says:

    jsn
    The center was indeed further left than now, but both of these men were anti-communist and NOT socialist.

  30. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Hans Ohndorf
    “Subsequently I received an invoice from the hospital: $1800 was my “10% co-pay”. In 2019 I found myself in an emergency room in Germany with a kidney stone. This stone was subsequently removed, also in Germany. The total bill was $1740. In other words, the cost for the same hospital care was about 10%” The actual difference in payment by you was $60?

  31. Avatar anon says:

    Austalian model of a combination of private health cover and medicare is workable.Better care for more money is the way to go but a base of public car for less fortunate is essential. Medical insurance should be compulsory for all.Combination of medical insurance and zero interest pay back loans for emergencies.
    The burden of care must be borne by society.If you do not care for your fellow man you will become him.

  32. Avatar turcopolier says:

    anon
    What does “medicare” mean in Australia?

  33. Avatar blue peacock says:

    Sir
    The biggest problem with our current healthcare system and which M4A as proposed will not solve is cost. As noted in previous discussions here at SST we spend double compared to any other western country on both a per capita basis and as ratio to GDP and those other countries provide healthcare to all their citizens. The bigger whammy however is that the past 30 year CAGR on cost growth is 9%, which means our healthcare costs have been doubling every 8 years.
    Until and unless we get a grip on those costs and their growth rate, healthcare will continue to be a huge political issue.

  34. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    anon,
    50% of Australian health care is paid for by private insurance and the govt system rations heavily (which is why people that can buy private insurance do buy it and use it). I’m pretty sure that is not what the democrats are promising. They are promising free everything for everyone.

  35. Avatar D says:

    Socialized medicine countries have made peace with the following topics: rationing; futility of treatment; practicing malpractice defensive medicine; and end of life equivalent of death panels.
    US refuses to even discuss these topics, let alone incorporate them into a viable health care system that is the equivalent of other socialized medicine countries.
    Currently there is no way America can afford the “health care” America demands, since they cannot even define “health care”; let alone understand there are outside limits to what can be done and at what cost.
    Other countries that deliver less expensive and better outcomes health care do not have the punishing medical malpractice burden we see in the US. And have more sanguine perceptions of life and death.
    Less prone to demanding miracles and you better do everything for mom, or we will sue you for everything you ar worth -which is often the family drama acted out bedside during the last six months of life.
    Personally, I hate my “Medicare”. I am nothing more than a data point within a large bureaucratic system and my “health” has been reduced to managing unsubstantiated metrics, which are used as unproven and very expensive surrogates for health.
    I feel pressured into over-treatment to meet administrative goals, which have nothing to do with my own personal health sensibilities.
    The last thing we need is Medicare for All, because it is little more than an unresponsive and grasping cash cow for the medical industrial complex. Which is why it costs more here and offers less than other countries who have made peace with “health care”. An have different relationships with “medical malpractice”.
    Health care is a commodity; not a right. Nor can you ever demand the services of others to deliver it – we abolished slavery decades ago. With fewer going into “medicine” as it is practiced today, you will not get a better system if the curent ridiculous delivery model is expanded any further.
    I doubt if there is any consistent definition of what constitutes “health care” even among the few of us here, let alone the other 300 million who demand to get whatever they call “health care” at low cost and high outcomes. “Procedures” performed is not “health care”. Numbers covered by “insurance” is not health care.
    Outcome efficacies have not even come close to being validated as “health care”. Who even dares to mine the accumulated data we now have to definitely assess what works and what does not.
    We are demanding a pig in a poke when we talk about “universal health care”. Break it down first between lower cost trauma care – good. And this creation of a class of worried-well, along with the extreme lengths we currently go to during the last six months perched on our mortal coil.
    Talk among yourselves. (Yes, my background is in health care, law and bioethics – this is a topic of great interest to me. I know it well ….. from the inside.)

  36. Avatar Fred says:

    Col.,
    In addition to too large a US ground force (I hope you are including the Marine Corps in that too) we need to take a long hard look at the Navy. They’ve finally owned up to the LCS being incapable, or as Jackie Fisher once put it, “Can’t run and can’t fight”. The USS Ford has cataputs that don’t work, making it a floating target; the rail gun boondoggle; and then there is the leadership, or lack thereof, that lead to seven dead and a deststroyer (USS Fitzgerald) out of action for months with what appears to me to be a whole lot of cover up of incompetence in the fleet – a fleet with almost as many admirals as we have ships.

  37. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Marine Corpse yes! IMO we should have a foreign policy based on non-intervention that would require about eight division equivalents in both services. Seven in Regular Army and one in USMC. National Guard is additional state militia.

  38. Avatar turcopolier says:

    D
    I hope you don’t mind if SWMBO and I hang on as long as we can.

  39. Avatar Mark K Logan says:

    Re: 1
    Are the Republicans deceiving themselves about deficits?

  40. Avatar scott s. says:

    With respect to point 10, I don’t see that Tulsi Gabbard has any future in Hawaii politics. The Dem establishment has lined up its preferred progressive candidate (Kai Kahele) for CD2. Her Father holds the state Senate seat so she would have to run for Gov or state Rep.

  41. Avatar Norbert M Salamon says:

    Colonel I respect your right to hold your stated opinion:
    with respect to your comment to plantsman, it should be noted that there is rationing in the USA under present system based on affordability.
    On judgement based on experience in Alberta I disagree with your thesis.
    It is true that there are a few procedures which are somewhat limited [in Alberta], such as knee, hip etc. replacement – you will get it done if bad enough but you might have to wait a while; also caused by a shortage of doctors who are specialize in those procedures .
    Certain procedures are not covered, eg. elective plastic surgery some medicines are not offered under the present Health Care Plan of the Government of Alberta.
    On the other hand all emergency requirement are fully dealt with no cost to the recipient.
    I do not know about other jurisdictions, but here in Alberta hospitals are constantly being built, equipped with modern equipment of all kinds, MRI CT, mobile x ray etc.
    I admit that there is a problem with THE COST OF AGING POPULATION, especially as the % of retirees is rising in relation to general population.
    It is true that our taxation is higher that the average USA, but we receive some economic goods for no cost or very little cost compared to USA prevalent rates.
    I believe that overall we as a family with 3 [now adult] children we were ahead in comparison to similar families in the USA when counting health care, education child care social assistance [where required].

  42. Avatar JJackson says:

    The UK system uses the QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Years) in which perfect health scores 10 & 0 means you are dead. The NHS looks at any treatment it may provide in terms of how much it costs to raise the patient 1 QALY for one year and sets a cut of point. If the treatment you need costs more than that limit then it will not be available to you under the NHS. The funds for the NHS are collected along with income tax and are not optional.

  43. Avatar Just another old guy says:

    I’ll bite I guess as these kinds of ‘questions’ I always find fun/interesting.
    1. EVERYONE is delusional about the economy. It is a disaster for large numbers, manageable for some and exceptional for a few. Fragile, unbalanced, unstable and unpredictable.
    2. Health care in the US is a disaster of epic proportions and getting worse fast. It is solely operated for the purpose of rent extraction. If I was young I would be in favor of full nationalization. I sort of am anyway, but in reality it does not matter much to me at my age and with the resources I have (it is sort of the ‘I’ve got mine’ attitude of those who like the economy I suppose).
    3. To a large degree yes, but that was the same policy the R’s had towards Obama so to me it is what I would expect. But neither party has been given their marching orders from their masters to do anything else as the rent extraction is proceeding fine from their master’s perspectives.
    4. Nope. Sorry but that train has finally left the station. They are outraged, of course, at the continuing things they see, but they are also fully immersed at this point in trying to prevent Sanders from winning and that will take pretty much all of their energy and limited intellect.
    5. Well first it is a mistake to put Warren in any category with Sanders as they are not at all alike in terms of what they believe in and want to do. Sanders is an actual socialist and Warren is anything but. Sanders is very similar to a moderate Social Democrat from Western Europe and not at all interested in a full command economy – health care, unions, taking care of working class people? Yup he is guilty as charged there.
    6. It seems that way all right. But ‘why’ he seems to be that way I don’t understand. He clearly leans anti-Semitic and is a racist so one just wonders. It could be that the Israeli’s have the Epstein tapes I suppose.
    7. Yes.
    8. Hmm…well our entire foreign policy and global strategy are indescribably stupid (well depending on what you are trying to accomplish I suppose), so perhaps shrinking the military is starting from the wrong end of the problem? That being said we are not getting our monies worth and certainly do not need to be spending anywhere near what we are on it.
    9. Yes Hillary and her machine are still in charge of the Party and mucking about. I do not agree there is any significant probability that she ends of with the nomination – who does end up with it is a wild guess at this point. They will take Trump before they will take Bernie so killing off Bernie is their goal – after that they are not too concerned about anything but remaining in charge of their half of the ruling party.
    10. Hmmm…Trump would not do that unless he thought that in some way she would be under his control. I don’t get the impression that she would accede such control and if he hired her thinking she was his it would not take long before she disabused him. It just would not work out.

  44. Avatar HK Leo Strauss says:

    #2 Whatever taxes the kids working at Starbucks will pay, it will be a lot less than $26k and $12k claims above. So they have nothing to lose in that voting booth.
    #6 I dont see how Trumps policies are exactly congruent with Netyahoo in Syria, Iraq and Iran. If Hillary were President, we’d have a couple of divisions in Syria and yahoo would be undermining her like he did Obama. Trump just needs their Evangelical for another 9 months, and then he can quid-pro-quo a dozen Trump towers in the ME transactionally and let Afghanistan return to the mean.
    Otherwise agree.
    It will take a populist to defeat a populist, and the only one the left has is Sanders.

  45. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Pat,
    re 10. Trump will wisely offer Tulsi Gabbard a job in his next administration. pl
    She’d be an idiot to accept that offer unless clear that in such a position she is always about a second away from being tweeted away and insulted at will – if only for severe crimes like saying ‘climate change’, wearing a yellow scarf or understanding and laughing about an actual joke lost on Trump.
    Utterly unrelated, likely advised by Cummings, Johnson just reshuffled his cabinet. His new iirc justice ministerette is said to intend to limit the power of courts to rule on rule of law things in government actions and laws. Congratulation. That’s like an arsonist heading the fire brigade.
    I am certain that that sort of view and ambitions is just what Johnson wants in that position – a justice minister hostile to courts. Almost as cunning as having a Scott Pruitt (I want to abolish EPA) ‘lording’ at the EPA, a “person position combination” certainly liked by Trump

  46. Avatar Amir says:

    Correction:
    1.  The economy is “deceiving us”, having been pumped up by cheap credit. Nothing is for free, and this too will need to be repaid, which will burst the bubble. The question is whether the crash will happen before or after Nov.
    It doesn’t make sense that by saving money, one looses money; to inflation and quantitative easing: = fake growth
    2.”Medicare for all” already exists already in other industrialized countries without any detrimental effect. Some are even more productive than US (Flanders GDP/person is almost double of US’s). Obviously one can compete to the bottom but this is not what Adam Smith stood for. Under Trump we will get more crony capitalism. Competition is for us mortals while the Banksters het bailed out.
    3.  Democratic Party is trying, but miserably failing, to counter Trump. DNC in acquiescing with all Trumps important policies, including his military budget, nominations of federal and supreme court judges, continuation of NDAA/patriot act. They pay lip service to civil rights. I prefer Trump, considering his overt disrespect of the values of this country as opposed to the weasel corporate-DNC (minus progressives), who is basically Alt-Right-in-disguise
    4.  The Democrats will again waste their time, looking for trivial non-issues, to impeach Trump again. They should focus on $, his leaking of information to private individuals (regardless of his prerogative to do so) as this allows them to frontrun the market.
    5.  Warren is a fake and shouldn’t be compared to Sanders. “central planning” is a chimera and fear of it even more illusory. What Sanders is proposing is FDR/Johnson-lite. But then again maybe some people think FDR was a closet-communist[sic].
    6.  Trump wants to win NY. He doesn’t give a damn about “knowledge” of ME foreign policy. As long as he gets the $$$ & votes from Adelson, Singer, Madoff-likes & the rest of the Banksters, he will do anything, whether in the interest of “US national interest”. Currently, large portion of US population has many divergent foreign bonds. Sadly “NATIONAL interest” doesn’t exists anymore, regardless of the Oath of Allegiance. The latter either counts for all or it will be for none.
    7.  Taliban will take over most of Afghanistan, excluding North & North-West; if/when US leaves. It won’t be a peaceful nor immediate transition. The usual tribal warfare with switching alliances and varying degrees of military success will lead to more shedding of Afghan blood, for another 2 decades. Afghan “national” unity will remain a non-existent concept.
    8.  US ground forces are too small to cover all the ambiguous goals of the Imperial Court. Either a more realistic “America First” (for real instead of slogan) goal needs to be adopted or the army needs to expand. Why not emulate Rome and have all citizens become soldiers, in the summer, to conquer the world. 
    9. Hillary’s sole ambition is be be the “First Female POTUS” and if everything else, including DNC or for that matter US, needs to be destroyed to achieve her goal, then so be it. She doesn’t hate Trump, she loves the “precious”, ring.
    10.  Trump is an unwise tempestuous self-absorbed, agreement incapable, and will not be able to collaborate or build a long term relationship with Tulsi. Hopefully, Gabbard doesn’t fall in the same trap as Tillerson, Matis …

  47. Avatar BrotherJoe says:

    Am I alone in believing that the only reason we’re in Afghanistan is to be a fly in the ointment to Chinese
    belt-and-road plans?

  48. Avatar prawnik says:

    1. I have given my position regarding the economy. Look at federal budget deficits since 2008, not to mention the subsidies to the financial sector through fed repos and artificially low fed interest rates.
    That’s the “Awesome Obama/Trump Economy(tm)” in a nutshell, right there. (Note my words carefully here.) If the economy were so healthy, none of these supports would be necessary.
    What a Sanders or maybe a Warren *might* be able to do is redirect *some* of those spending flows. Sad to say, I doubt that there will be any guillotines in Central Park earmarked for Chris Matthews.
    2. In the ME, it is not quite true that Trump not ignorant of anything other than the Israeli right wing’s wishes and desires. He *also* kowtows to the Saudi tyrants.
    Admittedly, if push came to shove, I suspect that Trump would favor Israel over the Saudi barbarians.
    3. In any peace deal with the Taliban, the present Afghani government will collapse before the wheels are up on the last US plane out of Bagram.
    Unfortunately, the Islamicists and Saudis of the world will spin this as a win, and it will not require much imagination to take their claims seriously.
    Team D and neocons will wail piteously about the fate of women under the new Taliban government They also become internet experts on Hazaras, Tajiks and others.
    Again, unfortunately, many of these horror stories will have a solid basis in fact. Let’s not kid ourselves. However, the alternative (eternal war to prop up a corrupt, brutal and incompetent puppet government that enjoys an ever-dwindling support and controls an ever-shrinking patch of territory) is even worse.
    4. I strongly suspect that you are correct as regards HRC. Lady Macbeth gone Lady Macbeth. She can’t just retire to a nice castle by a loch somewhere and spend her remaining days puttering around the garden and spoiling her grandbairns.
    HRC has to plot and scheme, sure as we have to breathe oxygen.
    5. Trump is not going to offer Tulsi anything. The non-interventionist Trump that you voted for in 2016 is never going to show up. Obama loyalists spent eight years making excuse after excuse for the man, even as he betrayed them over and over. The hopey changey guy they voted for in 2008 never did put in an appearance, even if he offered an occasional glimmer of hope. Trump is more of the same.
    Even if by some miracle Tulsi were appointed, she’d be marginalized or out very quickly. I’ve seen trout stream mayfly hatches with a longer life expectancy than Trump administration appointees.

  49. Avatar Matthew says:

    “D”
    Whenever someone says “Israel made the dessert bloom,” they are bassiclly trumpeting their ignorance of Palestine before Zionism. Even noted Arabist Ariel Sharon (snarc) said the Palestinians were great farmers.
    The “dessert bloom canard is second only to the lie of “a land without a people.” The people were already there.

  50. Avatar Terence Gore says:

    as regard to #9 Why be president when you could be Vice President in Chief?

  51. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    sundance makes a very good point that may resonate with some here:
    “U.S. and U.K. Intelligence Agencies Worry About John Durham – Scrutiny of CIA Draws Media Apoplexy…”, 2020-02-14

    There was once a time, not that long ago, when the mainstream left was highly critical of the CIA, and scrutiny of dubious claims by U.S. intelligence was a common occurrence. Of course all of that changed when those same intelligence agencies were weaponized to target a political enemy that was also the enemy of the left, namely Donald Trump.

    I wonder if this reflects that the average political view of current IC employees is different from that of past IC employees.
    I.e., is the current average IC employee more left-wing than their predecessors?
    It would be interesting if there had been polls of the politics of employees of, say, the CIA.
    You know, the CIA must know so much about its employees that this information, effectively, must be known to its personnel department (whatever its formal title is).

  52. Avatar D says:

    Without looking for Russians under the bedposts, Calif Policy Center explains forces at work that came to dominate its entire public agenda:
    California = Unions + Hollywood + Media + High net worth activists = Democrats
    “….The reasons that California is a one-party state are also not hard to understand. Virtually every financial special interest in California supports Democrats.
    —PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS, which are almost exclusively supportive of Democratic candidates and causes, collect and spend $800 million per year.
    —California’s HIGH TECH industry, commanding mind-blowing wealth, is solidly Democratic. California’s wealthy and influential entertainment industry is solidly Democratic.
    —The MEDIA establishment in California is also solidly Democratic, wielding priceless influence over voters.
    —And as if that weren’t enough, politically ACTIVE BIILLIONAIRES spend amazing sums of money in California to support Democrats…..”

  53. Avatar Diana Croissant says:

    In regard to Hillary’s dreams of being relevant, I have no fear that she will be successful. Not one of my many friends and acquaintances see her as anything but a sorry old woman. She has never gotten over her rise to fame with her college graduation speech.
    Everything she has done since then has proved her to be a person who tries hard to be relevant but who fails miserably each time because her nasty personality puts people off. I preferred her over Obama during that primary, but soon realized what a horrid person she rally was–without making me like Obama any better. I am not a Democrat now, but the Democrats I know find her to be an embarrassment to their political party. I think most people are aware that she was lucky not to be fully investigated in regard to the whole Russian hoax and her email situation. They know she knew about Epstein’s operation and did nothing except to try to make it seem she didn’t know.
    I sold my van, but I kept my sicker: “Four men died and Hillary lied.”
    As for the healthcare cost issue, I guess I am not seeing it or feeling it here where I am. I remember the days under Obama when my younger son had to take one temporary job after another because companies weren’t hiring permanent workers in order to avoid the costs of Obamacare. Both my sons–who each have two young children–have good healthcare plans now with their employers. I have a great plan with my retirement plan. I hardly use it and sometimes feel I should take less coverage the next time I can made a choice.
    I wonder why people are always talking about pre-existing conditions. Maybe I am wrong and things are different, but don’t HIPPA rules cover that?
    I really don’t hear many people complaining about healthcare costs where I live.
    I did hear a Canadian talking once about his daughter, a dermatologist in Canada. If she found a serious problem for a patient–such as a sign of beginning skin cancer–she would ask them if they had money. That was her way of telling them to come to the U.S. and get treatment because she knew they would probably die of skin cancer before they got to the top of the queue of people needing skin cancer treatment in Canada.
    Biden has become an embarrassing candidate for the Democrats, Warren’s many fabricated stories of her past and Biden’s story about Corn Pop make them nothing but jokes as candidates. Mayor Pete reminds me too much of the high school student council candidates I’ve watched. I just don’t think that his record in South Bend can do anything for him. I know some have suggested that the Democrats may have to bring in Michelle Obama at the last minute. I think that would turn out to be a mistake for the Democrats. If there are people who really disliked Obama, there are more people who really disliked Michelle (Despite the obvious love the “ladies” on The View have for her.)
    As for Tulsi, most people who mention her mention her favorably, usually as they are making fun of the other Democratic Party candidates. They don’t feel she has a chance with the Democrats, though. I can see why you think Trump might find a place for her in his administration.

  54. Avatar Fred says:

    HK,
    “So they have nothing to lose in that voting booth.”
    They have a future to lose in that voting booth. Nothing prevents them leaving baristahood for other opportunities but their own fear; and if degreed a great deal of mal-education is hindering them as well.

  55. Avatar Dave Schuler says:

    1-8 agreed.
    9 not sure
    10 Sadly, I doubt it.

  56. Avatar different clue says:

    The one point that seems simple to think about is #10: that yes, Trump would be wise to offer Gabbard something relevant to Gabbard’s experience and with some real power.
    But I think Gabbard has seen how Trump uses and abuses and discards people, and I don’t think she would want to subject herself to such treatment.
    So my conditional “if this then that” prediction for #10 is . . . Trump will respectfully offer Gabbard a serious job in his next Administration ( if elected), and Gabbard will respectfully decline.

  57. Avatar turcopolier says:

    DC
    That would be my guess as well.

  58. Avatar Jimmy_W says:

    Keith Harbaugh,
    The agencies have retired many Boomers and replaced them with a mix of Millennials and prior-service GenXers. The 90s hiring freeze is a theme.
    There was a lot of churn amongst the Millennial new-hires 2001-2012ish(?). Seems to have stabilized more recently.

  59. Avatar steve says:

    ” There would also be rationing, long waiting lines and a total disruption of care providers networks that would impact everyone, but especially rural people. Just because they do it in Europe doesn’t mean it will work here.”
    Those things dont exist anywhere. You are suggesting that it will occur unequal here in the US. I dont see why it should happen here when it does not happen elsewhere. My best guess is that it costs less overall, but the savings are pretty minimal. The interest groups are pretty good at what they do.
    1) Yes
    3) The part out of power is always called the opposition party.
    4) Yes, but I dont think anything will do.
    5) Sanders yes, Warren no.
    10) Nope. She has some independence and integrity. Trump seeks loyalty first.

  60. Avatar oldman22 says:

    Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program said that the term mandatory Medicare “does feed into the moderates’ view that single payer Medicare for All represents government overreach.”
    “A better term would be automatic Medicare,” McCanne said. “Everyone would automatically be enrolled in Medicare for All regardless of the taxes that they may or may not be required to pay to finance the system. People who qualify don’t reject Medicare today. Why would they reject Medicare in a truly universal program that is affordable for each of us?”
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/14/npr-and-the-escalating-attack-on-single-payer-health-care/

  61. Avatar mark logan says:

    Re Medicare for all,
    Yup. It would be honest for them to be pitching what they dream of as “Adopt the Canadian system”. Or the British. Maybe the Japanese. They have set the seed of failure by calling it Medicaid For All. Sooner or later the numbers will be crunched and disseminated.
    IMO the Swiss or German systems…particularly the German…should be proposed instead. We have an existing private insurance infrastructure, it’s a smaller lift to use it rather than duplicating it within the government. The powers that be of the insurance industry might not fight as hard if they know they won’t be utterly eliminated.

  62. Avatar Amir says:

    Responding to D:
    Are you talking about the Palestinian olive groves that where uprooted to “plant colonies in”?
    Would you also commend the Third Reich with its efficient Gestapo’s security measures and are you striving to emulate that model in US? Are you sympathizing with AIPAC’s attempt to destroy the First amendment?
    I do agree that the open border policy of Palestinians in at the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century was their undoing. Are you fanning the Eastern-European immigrants to Palestine as well, because of their high birthrate and invasive plans? Or do you think that those immigrants are more chosen than the rest of US?
    Emulating “your type’s” of type arguments; if you love Israel more than USA, why don’t you give up your citizenship and immigrate there? This is not meant as an insult but a real question.
    You are welcome.

  63. Avatar J says:

    Colonel, Larry, TTG,
    Did Trump order the attack on Solomani out of ignorance, or a lie? It’s coming out that Iraq warned the U.S. Government in November and December that the ‘attack’ on the U,S. base was in planning by ISIS, NOT Solomani/Iran. That the origin location of the attack on the U.S. base came from Kirkuk. Kirkuk is ISIS territory, not Iranian affiliated.
    So…… was Trump’s explanation to our nation, based on a intentional lie, or a mistake?
    Who was the briefing source that briefed Trump and the JCS, that Solomami was responsible? Did that briefing source show where the attacks came from (Kirkuk), mention to POTUS that Iraq had been warning the U.S. of an upcoming ISIS attack back in November and December?
    Who was the briefing source for the Solomani assassination premise?
    See:
    https://www.rt.com/shows/news-with-rick-sanchez/480905-news-with-rick-sanchez-february/

  64. Avatar Jack says:

    D
    Compare on an apples to apples basis. How much does a bypass or knee replacement or an appendectomy cost in the US vs say in Australia, Canada or Germany? Then compare how much the same pharmaceutical costs in those countries vs the US. What you’ll find is that US costs are some multiple of what the exact same thing costs in other western countries. Our healthcare care system is a scam. But the immense profitability means large amounts of money to sell propaganda of why it’s the best and anything else means death panels.

  65. Avatar Phil Cattar says:

    Regarding #2……..The best way to reduce what we pay for our health insurance is to change our eating and exercise habits.Mike Bloomberg had it right.No one needs 40 grams of sugar or high frustose corn syrup in a drink.We have a diabetes epidemic on uor hands.If you visit Rome ,chances are 90% of the fat people there are American tourists. The amount of added sugar in some yogurt cups with” fruit” is crazy.A chicken pot pie is assumed by most people to be healthy.Most have 9 g of saturated fat for 1/2 of a pie.Who eats 1/2of a Chicken pot pie?………our country is blighted with fast food places.In the 1920’s poor people were skinny .Now there is an inverse relationship between weight and poverty.Especiallyamong minorities…….Change our eating and evercise habits and drastically change our Malpractice lawsuit industry and our health costs will drop drastically.

  66. Avatar Rick James Merlotti says:

    1 – Reinstate Glass-Steagall before the next banking collapse. Create new Hamiltonian National Banking system for infrastructure and productive investments in the physical economy. Drain the speculative Swamp.
    10 – Tulsi for Secretary of State. Throw out the Neocons, Neolibs and Borgists.

  67. Avatar Peter Moritz says:

    Instead wasting my time on opinion, I invite you to check out studies that refute your apparently ill informed statement about Single Payer Health Care by actual studies: https://pnhp.org/how-much-would-single-payer-cost/
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/opinion/medicare-for-all-cost.html
    And isn’t it kind of funny that almost throughout Europe a Single Payer health system exists? And that to the North of you, in a place called Canada – maybe you are familiar with it – also a single payer system exists that is rather affordable.
    I am familiar with systems in three countries (and know of the NHS in the UK) Germany, Canada and Portugal and I am astonished how relatively well served the population is with rather affordable taxes and contributing fees that do not lead to penury or losing your house.

  68. Avatar D says:

    Switzerland was also a “tyranny” for those non-Swiss living there. I lived there once as a guest worker. They ran a very strict state at that time.
    This is any country’s prerogative to set their rules and standards, since anyone else is nothing more than their discretionary guest. Yes, i am okay with that in principle, and my choice to accept their terms or not.

  69. Avatar turcopolier says:

    D
    So for you the Palestinians are the Israelis’ “discretionary guests.” Got it.

  70. Avatar Keith Harbaugh says:

    I really cannot recommend the following highly enough.
    I hope Col. Lang, with his understanding of the IC, the justice system, and politics, will take a good look at it, and maybe comment on it.
    All three come together in it.
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/02/15/the-sentencing-of-michael-flynn-represents-a-very-big-problem-for-ag-bill-barr/
    by sundance, 2020-02-15

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