Happy Friday!

On this Friday morning I am in Paso Robles, CA, for some serious wine tasting and gazing at the hills, maybe work in a quick trip to the ocean for drinks overlooking the surf.  Time is short and one has to seize every second.  Carpé Diem!

I am down here with some friends who have similar political thoughts and the one that just floors us is why did not the rest of the nation know?  Cheeto-Head is a small ignorant man, or more to the point, here is a man who lied repeatedly and was called out on it, had no coherent policies unless you consider really big, and great as policies, showed ignorance on most issues, and admitted to being a sexual abuser, and almost half of America elects him.  Now they are surprised that he cannot govern?

Actually one has to wonder how most Americans could not figure out that Republicans in general cannot govern.  The reason is simple.  Over the last eight years they became ideological hacks who could only prevent others from governing.  They were so busy saying no to Obama’s rehashed Republican ideas (Obamacare is a Heritage Society idea), that they became impractical ideologues where small government and tax cuts answer every problem and is to be worshipped at the altar of fealty.  Not having to govern, they built their cathedral around ideas that do not work in the real world.

So here we are with a repeal and replace healthcare bill that is draconian and belies everything Cheeto-Head told his worshippers.  Republicans promise better cheaper plans and seem to have not idea how insurance works.  They want to decimate the EPA that has been protecting the environment, and then there is the Cheeto-Head/Ryan budget.  No they are not the same but both would do equal damage.  For Paul Ryan, his Mary Magdalene is Any Rand.  And once again you have to wonder why half the nation did not see all these lies and oversimplifications that would never work in the real world.

I have a theory about that.  There are a lot of reasons the nation has become so dumbed down we elected a buffoon as a President who embarasses us every day, and they include an insular Democratic Establishment that lost their way (and please don’t bring back Hillary Clinton as a sign you did not get the message).  But the most important reason in my mind is the failure of our press.  What screams out at you is that Republicans are so crazy and everyone pretends they are making sense.  The press lends them credibility by not challenging their craziness and trying to create a false equivalency with Democrats to try to appear balanced.  Paul Krugman makes this point this morning talking about how the press has fawned over Paul Ryan while falling to notice that all his policies are houses of cards:

So how did Mr. Ryan reach a position where his actions may reshape the lives of so many of his fellow citizens, in most cases very much for the worse? The answer lies in the impenetrable gullibility of his base. No, not his constituents: the news media, who made him what he is.

You see, until very recently both news coverage and political punditry were dominated by the convention of “balance.” This meant, in particular, that when it came to policy debates one was always supposed to present both sides as having equally well-founded arguments. And this in turn meant that it was necessary to point to serious, honest, knowledgeable proponents of conservative positions.

Enter Mr. Ryan, who isn’t actually a serious, honest policy expert, but plays one on TV. He rolls up his sleeves! He uses PowerPoint! He must be the real deal! So that became the media’s narrative. And media adulation, more than anything else, propelled him to his current position.

…There’s an important lesson here, and it’s not just about health care or Mr. Ryan; it’s about the destructive effects of false symmetry in reporting at a time of vast asymmetry in reality.

This false symmetry — downplaying the awfulness of some candidates, vastly exaggerating the flaws of their opponents — isn’t the only reason America is in the mess it’s in. But it’s an important part of the story. And now we’re all about to pay the price.

Well there it is.  And yet they continue to do it.  So I am not surprised we are on an uncontrolled sleigh ride to hell.  Me?  I am in Paso Robles with good people tasting wine and living in the moment.  It is all we have. Carpé Diem.

WTF!

Well a couple of things.  First, what was Nunes doing yesterday?  Well I will tell you my theory.  We know now that the FBI is investigating possible Cheeto-Head collusion with the Russians, and Nunes’ minority senior member, Adam Schiff (Democrat), said there was evidence of just that.  Now that could be disastrous for the Republicans.  Schiff said this about Nunes panic run to the White House:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, accused Nunes of acting like “a surrogate of the White House” and torpedoing the credibility of their investigation. Other lawmakers, including Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), said Nunes’ behavior made an urgent case for establishing an independent commission to investigate Russia’s involvement in the presidential race.

Panic is the word.  He now knows there is evidence of collusion and it is ongoing (my supposition).  So he freaked out and ran to the White House to warn them, while destroying an on-going investigation.  It is bad, very bad, and when the evidence does come out it will raise questions about the legitimacy of the election.  That is what the panic was about.

Okay, Lets talk about the healthcare bull shit.  Push all the crap off the table and you get down to a very simple argument.  Do you believe people have a right to affordable healthcare or not?  Vox.com had a wonderful article on this very issue and I won’t rehash.  Republicans cry more choice which any 6th grader can understand the failed logic.  Healthy people will have lots of choice and low rates.  Sick people will have few and very expensive.  Choice will raise the costs for all of us because even if we are healthy, we get old.  Think of it this way.  If healthcare plans don’t have to cover say mental illness, then who will?  Only a very few plans and it will be very expensive.  Extend that logic to preventative medicine, drug dependency, pregnancy, etc. and see where that gets you. 

So there is no debate.  Obamacare was flawed from the beginning because it still tried to use the existing private insurance markets.  It is not as nearly flawed as Republicans like to make out, and where it has real problems, they helped exacerbate them.  So how do you fix it.  Well it is back to the issue of whether it is a right or not.  If we all deserve affordable healthcare, we share the risk through our taxes and we have a single payer system.  If it is not a right, well poor and old people can just die.  It really is just that simple.  Take the burden off businesses and we all pay for it through our taxes.  If we could get the costs down to what other countries pay, we might even get a tax cut.  TTFN

Hearings

Two more days of them.  And they tell us…nothing.  When Director Comey came to Washington the only real news was his opening statement where at least he admitted they were investigating the Tump administration for their ties to Russia.  After that it was, “I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.” Now for normal people who don’t watch these things, that is all that came out.  Sure the Democrats got to lay out their case of evidence that highly hints at collusion, and Republicans got a chance to show they don’t care about Cheeto-Head and the Russian involvement in our campaign, only leakers,  but only people who are news junkies or who read got it.  That’s not many of us any more.  

Then there is the Neil Gorsuch hearings for the Supreme Court.  He is smart enough and prepared enough to dodge every question asked of him.  There is no doubt that his past rulings show that women can kiss their right to choose goodbye and corporations have way more rights than people*, but he hides behind bluster and self-righteous “rule of law and precedent” which is all bull shit just like it was for John Roberts.  Again we have a show of Democrats trying to expose to the American people what they are getting, while the Republicans cleverly ask practiced questions to hide what we are getting.  And again, nobody but us news junkies are paying attention.

On this one, the Democrats were trapped between wanting to boycott the hearing to retaliate and prevent more episodes like what happend to Merrick Garland who never even got a hearing because Mitch McConnell, emboldened by his just say no campaign, decided to deny President Obama a Supreme Court pick, and being fair and giving him his hearing, but exposing who he was.  Again, the nation sleeps.  The rest is forgone.  He will pass the committee on a party line vote.  I actually think the Demos should have boycotted.  While the argument is fair, that two wrongs do not make a right, they probably would have made more of an impact with the non-reading public if they made the point that Republicans hijacked the system and that until normal procedures return, they will boycott. 

Now (two more days and then a party line vote) it goes to the Senate.  Here again we have an argument about strategy.  Democrats can block the nomination with a filibuster (60 vote threshold)**, but then shit head McConnell vows to finally end the fillibuster.  Oh, horrors…or not.   Some argue that Democrats should wait for a more radical nomination.  Democrats have been waiting forever.  This is another John Roberts and he is young.  So stand up.  Force cloture, let McConnell do his thing and let everyone see Democrats not falling on their swords for once.  There is no powder to save for next time.  Gorsuch is going to be on the Supreme Court, but American people who missed all the wrangling in Washington will notice when more of their rights are taken away and given to government and corporations.  Then they will want to know who fought against this.

But I fear listening to the talking heads that the Washington bubble misses all this.  They actually think Americans are paying attention to their flailings.  Wasn’t anybody paying attention to the last election.  They were staring at the navels and only feeling their own pain and believing Cheeto-Head gave a rat’s ass about them.  They are still staring.

*Here is Al Franken exposing Judge Gorsuch on the Frozen Truck Driver case

**The Demos are making a somewhat disingenuous argument about Barack having to reach a 60 vote threshold on his nominations.  While they did get 60 votes, cloture was never invoked making them have to get 60 votes.  That maybe because they had 60 or more votes so there was no point, but just the same, they were not filibustered.

Well if You Thought It was Both Sides…

Yesterday Director Comey started off the hearing on, well basically Cheeto-Head, by saying that the FBI was investigating the Russian hacking of our election, and get ready for it,  Cheeto-Head’s campaign organization’s involvement in it.  Republicans were shocked, shocked, shocked I tell you.  Then while the Democrats pound Comey with questions about all the circumstantial evidence we have seen that we all want to know answers to, but he would not answer, the Republicans decided the threat here was the fact that we had found out about the investigation in the first place and needed to find those leakers.

It got even better when Cheeto-Head tweeted during the hearing saying the Russian Hack did not affect the election, and savvy Democrats read the tweet to Director Comey and he replied that that is not what he said, just that they were not investigating that.  Meanwhile back at the White House Press Lying (Briefing), Sean Spicer told a bold face lie by saying Paul Manafort had very little to do with the campaign, when he was basically in charge of the Republican Convention.  Basically if you follow Cheeto-Heads tweets and the testimony, the hearing pointed out what a bold-faced liar President Cheeto-Head is.

Meanwhile the Republicans, still shocked from Directory Comey’s announcement that they were investigating the hack and Republican collusion with it, quickly recovered and tried to make the whole hearing about the leaks.  Now just step back a moment.  If this were Hillary as President would the Republicans be concerned about leaks?  No, they would already be gathering the lynch mob.  No people, both sides don’t do it and what you are watching is craven pandering to staying in power.  Remember when they did not give a damn about the country and just said no.  This is not both sides do it.  One side is so lost in a fantasy ideology that they hang on to a demented and dangerous President while his danger to us becomes ever more obvious.  We can’t trust him or the White House to give us facts and he may just do something crazy.  Tick, tick, tick.

 

What Does It Mean to Be Smart?

The classic example is Cheeto-Head.  Many people think he is a “smart” business man and those “smarts” will serve the country well.  I see a fairly ignorant man who is stumbling all over the place.  Is smart defined by the wealth you can accumulate?  We all know people who can remember all kinds of details and quote famous people, but can they apply that knowledge in their lives?  Probably the most obvious example we see is someone who is brilliant in all things quantitative, but cannot interact effectively will the rest of us (emotional intelligence).  Listening to Ben Carson, Cheeto-Head’s new secretary of HUD, is to wonder how he could have ever been a great brain surgeon, but apparently he was.

If you are smart in business, are you really smart or are you just skilled?  Probably one of our biggest mistakes is assuming that being skilled in making money means you know anything about anything else.  Great actors seem to have learned to read and understand the being of another human being and yet flail in their own lives.  How is that?  You can read and translate emotions so clearly, yet you do not really understand your own?  I listen to many conservatives make wonderful arguments about something they are so wrong about.  Listen to Kelly Anne Conway and she is wonderful twisting speech to spew lies.  Is that smart?  Sean Spice is recognized by many as a hero because he comes out each day an spin’s Cheeto-Heads lies.  Is that really something to be admired.  Oh, wait, I will live what is a hero to another day.  I just got carried away.

I think we have several terms that we confuse, smart, skilled, rich (connoting smart), clever, and wisdom.  Ah, wisdom.  Maybe that is what being smart really means.  What if you are smart or skillful enough to know how to make lots of money, basically screwing other people, but have the wisdom not to do it? Or say you came by the money through your definition of hard work, do you have the wisdom to spend it wisely?  What if you are really clever at logical arguments and yet know when your significant other wants to talk, it is not about logical arguments, but listening.  When do you listen to an argument and see the logical flaws, or the false facts and have the wisdom to know when to engage and when not to?

I often wondered what understanding was, in an engineering sort of way, and how that affects smart.  I struggled with many engineering concepts until one day it dawned on me that the basis of all understanding comes down to familiarity and comfort with a basic concept, which if you accept it as true, all the rest can be built on it.  Wisdom in science probably comes from that understanding and always being open to re-evaluating that basic concept.  From there you can make the leap that maybe wisdom comes from always being ready to re-evaluate your basic conceptions.  Then we get to that cliché that maybe the ultimate wisdom, the smart person is the one who knows what he doesn’t know.

So when you wonder why in the past we gathered the “best and brightest” to form governments and still they did not solve our basic problems, maybe we got the best and brightest at convincing us they knew better, but did not have the wisdom to know better.  Of course, in Cheeto-Head’s administration he has collected some of the worse and dullest of us who think they have all the answers.  I don’t think that is going to work either.  Maybe in the future we should look for wisdom instead of smart.  Being smart just gives us clever ways to trick ourselves into doing really stupid things sometimes.

I am reminded of Socrates who use the Socratic Method to get to the truth. Instead of just disagreeing with them, he would seem to agree with them but ask penetrating questions that pointed out the flaws in their logic or assumptions.  Kind of the forerunner to the scientific method. They killed him for it much as Cheeto-Head is trying to destroy news as a source of information or a way to get to truth for the rest of us.  Maybe we should define smart as knowing that we don’t know so many things and having the wisdom to keep looking for the truth.  Then you come to the conclusion that there are plenty of skilled people around, but very few smart ones, and you certainly do not want a plumber fixing you lighting system as we do not want a skilled charlatan leading the country.

How Conservative Voters Think

There was a revealing story in the NYT about one of Cheeto-Head’s many foolish voters who is now starting to feet the pinch of his policies:

Regina Feltner, a retired nurse, was recovering from side effects of radiation therapy when she got the notice that her heat would be cut off. It was a bone-cold January day. The snow was so high that her daughter had to come over to take the dog out.

“I have lung cancer and it’s the dead of winter,” she remembers thinking. “What am I going to do?”

Help came in the form of a heating subsidy: money from the federal government, delivered by the Highland County Community Action Organization, a small nonprofit in rural southern Ohio, where Ms. Feltner lives.

Now, that program is on the chopping block. It is one of many cuts in President Trump’s new budget proposal that would inflict the deepest pain on the most vulnerable Americans — a great number of whom voted for him.

“I understand what he’s trying to do, but I think he’s just not stopping to think that there are people caught in the middle he is really going to hurt,” said Ms. Feltner, 57, who was a nurse for 25 years and voted for Mr. Trump. “He needs to make some concessions for that. I was a productive citizen. Don’t make me feel worthless now.”

And there it is.  The lack of empathy except for themselves.  All those others who are on the dole are just slackers.  You know,  primarily kids and old people who get food stamps, or all of those women who use Planned Parenthood for women’s health issues. Oh, and let’s not forget those slacker old people who get Meals on Wheels or lazy kids who show up to school without any food that day.  They are just all those bad people out there taking from the government so she voted for Cheeto-Head to clean it up, and lo and behold it turns out she is one of them. But her’s isn’t taking.

This really is an insightful moment if you take the time to see it.  This is the Republican/conservative mentality that explains why these people continue to vote against their own best interests.  It is all those other people.  And extend this a little to a world outlook where we waste tons of money on other countries (we don’t), Medicaid and Medicare are not really government programs (they are), and there is just tons of fraud and waste in the federal government that could pay for all the stuff we want (there isn’t). Of course you can go out and find some conservative site that will sell you all of this, but instead of willful ignorance you can check out some real sites.

Here is the really scarry thing. Up until now we have had administrations, Republican and Democrat, that at the end of the day, regardless of ideology, they finally had to bow down to reality and make their policy decisions accordingly.  Ms. Feltner was one of many who helped elect a man who like Ms. Feltner believes only what she wants to believe, most of which is the real fake news, and then acts on it.  Gee Ms. Feltner, conservatives like to believe that you to be responsible for yourself and your decisions.  How is that working out so far.  I’d buy a new coat before the budget takes affect.

Willful Ignorance

I think that about describes where we are.  I was watching Vice News (HBO) yesterday while trying to lift weights (Vice is about the only place where news is actually news, not political reporting and they report on what is happening in the world).  Vice was reporting on rising sea levels and how many of Cheeto-Heads properties will be affected and may be he ought to get on board.  Then they interviewed some old lady walking along the water front near one of his properties that thought it was all nonsense.  I literally shouted at her willful ignorance.  The anger I felt toward her was not healthy.  I think it is a reaction to watching willful ignorance being acted out today by Cheeto-Head and his cronies as they gut a government they have no clue how it works or what they are doing.  Willful ignorance is what got us here and my tolerance for it is now nonexistent.

Paul Krugman gave us this this morning to maybe understand how willful ignorance has been cultivated and grown to support Republican ideology, and now it is bearing fruit, sour fruit:

Think for a minute about the vision of government and its role that the right has been peddling for decades.

In this vision, much if not most government spending is a complete waste, doing nobody any good. The same is true of government regulations. And to the extent to which spending does help anyone, it’s Those People — lazy, undeserving types who just so happen to be a bit, well, darker than Real Americans.

I have heard a version of this where I live (conservative country) for years. Now they are trying to “fix” Obamacare and cut all that “waste” in government, except they don’t have a clue how to fix anything and their concept of waste is way out of proportion to reality.  Once you start believing your own lies, then there is no way to understand what does need fixing.

Thanks to these misperceptions, carefully nurtured by right-wing media, politicians can often get away with running on promises of drastic spending cuts: Many, perhaps most voters don’t see how such cuts would affect their lives.

But what will happen if anti-big-government politicians find themselves in a position to put their agenda into practice? Voters will quickly get a lesson in what slashing spending really means — and they won’t be happy.

I guess the real question is how many people will be killed, lose everything, and how much damage can the country sustain before willful ignorance gives way to enlightenment?  Willful ignorance is how ideology gets firmly rooted in place.  Willful ignorance has a long history in human civilization in our belief in religion.  So I guess you can see we have maybe an innate gene that tells us to selectively pick out the facts supporting what we want to believe instead of looking at the whole body of knowledge and asking uncomfortable questions.  The former is comfortable and quite frankly lazy.  The later can be disturbing and require mental work.  It is called critical thinking and what really makes us human.

I guess that is why cults survive.  They give everyone something very simple to believe in that answers all the questions and you can just go mindlessly through life assuming you have found the path.  That is embodied in the Republican worship of the market place, all government is bad, and if we just got our freedom from government (the libertarian branch) all things would be peachy.  But Global Warming does exist, caused by man, and you are soon going to be up to your ass in water.  Government is clunky, but mostly does good and things we need.  Now Trump and his willfully ignorant followers are trying to dismantle government based upon ignorance and false assumptions.  This is not going to turn out well.

Oh, and if you did not have enough to fret about with Cheeto-Head running amok, his Secretary of Defense, Rex Tillerson has just threatened Korea with military action, and we are not willing to negotiate.  I have to tell of my understanding of the North Koreans (spent a couple of years flying in and out of South Korea and doing reconnaissance missions along the DMZ), that is music to their ears.  It is not posturing for a better negotiation deal.  It is providing fuel to allow Kim Jong-un to rally the troops and maintain his control. He is North Korea’s version of Cheeto-Head.  It is exactly what he wants.  I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think this is going to turn out well.

This is not entirely Cheeto-Heads fault as North Korea has not been dealt with effectively in the past and now things are really dangerous.  In many ways we have ourselves been willfully ignorant about the horror of that country and not doing the hard thing way back when it would have been less hard. But talk of repealing Obamacare and budgets that hurt most Americans may become small potatoes if Cheeto-Head is left to his own devices.  Happy Friday.  I think this is why wine and beer were invented at the dawn of civilization.  At least we can go out in an inebriated haze.

Raising the IQ Levels in Tennessee

There was Cheeto-Head in Nashville speaking to a crowd of morons as they chanted “Lock Her Up” and all I could think of was if Legionnaire’s Disease broke out there, the whole nation would benefit due to raised average IQs.  As he stood once again before people who obviously have no understanding of our Constitution or the importance of a free press and bashed federal judges, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and fake news which is truth he does not like, they all cheered.  They are cheering as they are led by a pathological liar and autocrat who is in the process of destroying our Constitutional system.  They are not my fellow Americans.

Sadly the group that created this mindless mass of morons, fertile to be led by Cheeto-Head in what I can only say looked like a Hitler rally, Republicans in Congress are out making a mockery of logical thought.  On CNN Secretary Pruit was assuring everyone that the CBO assessment of Trumpcare was totally wrong and that their plan would take care of everyone.  I guess that depends on what you define take care as.  Take care of the elderly by letting them die sooner?  Take care of the poor by just not treating them?  Take care of the rich (for sure) with a Tax Cut?  Most appalling was he would utter this Alice in Wonderland nonsense and their would be no rebuttal.  Have we all fallen through the rabbit hole?

Speaker Ryan is now being exposed for not being a policy guy, but a hack.  The rest of them are promising us some kind of market place utopia and any cursory examination of their babbling lacks in basis in reality, and this is all going on as though this were normal.  Cheeto-Head makes wild false claims about wiretapping and then redefining wiretapping so he does not sound nuts becomes standard fare and nobody blinks.  We now expect our President to lie and mislead as normal.  Daily briefs from the White House are trips through an alternate reality where truth is the enemy.  We have a Cabinet of incompetents, mostly billionaires, closely either tied to Russia or Wall Street, and the morons in Nashville hold up drain the swamp signs.  They have no idea they are the swamp that is expanding exponentially.

Then there is the assault on the budget with massive tax cuts for those things we desperately need like diplomacy instead of war, clear air instead of less regulation on businesses, endowment of the arts instead of Cheeto-Head defined truth, and of course the safety nets.  The safety net is now defined as tax cuts for the wealthy. He is a radical conservative”s wet dream except even they do not know how he is controlled by the Russians or money and don’t seem to care as long as they get their wish list.  Oh let’s cut NPR because only der leader can define facts and who needs Meals on Wheels when out poor ailing billionaires need a tax cut. And the morons in Nashville chant as Cheeto-Head pushes his plan for healthcare that cuts and guts their Medicare and Medicaid.

I actually hope he succeeds.  It is time to feel the pain of what they have brought us so maybe they will learn something.  But watching Cheeto-Head speak to this lynch mob, you know learning is probably not in their quiver.  And realizing some reality show flunky who hasn’t a clue what his doing, lies with impunity, and has no understanding of the Constitution is the President, quickly makes you understand that this is not your America anymore.  I don’t want to understand these people, I want to shame and harass them.  If our media does not wake up soon…oh never mind.  It is already too late. They voted.

Healthcare and Nukes (North Korea)

On healthcare, I was thinking that this is not all bad.  The Republicans have grabbed onto an issue and show how absolutely incompetent they are, and we are actually looking at single payer again as not some socialist plot.  Now I have discussed heathcare here until you are sick, sick, sick of it.  Maybe need a doctor if you could afford one.  But one thing I want to stress.  We are a society that has been brain washed with Economism, the application of simplified Econ 101 models to complex markets that don’t meet the basic assumptions of Econ 101 models and fail badly at predicting their behavior.  You know we have been brain washed when you here people across all spectrums of politics spout market place solutions, choice, competition for everything and their analysis goes no deeper than to spout clichés.

But health insurance, and this is important, is different from health providers, and does not lend itself to market place solutions.  Let me give you an example.  The business model of a health care provider is to provide health care at a price that attracts the most costumers and sells the most services (oh, and makes people well).  The business model of a health insurer has nothing to do with any of that, it is to enroll healthy people and deny claims to maximize profits.  The other things you need to remember is that in health insurance markets, are not normal markets.  Everyone will need it, most buyers are not informed buyers (they do not have a degree in Medicine), and that thing Republicans love to put out their choice, means young or healthy people can choose plans that cover virtually nothing and pay much much less, while sick people have only one choice, expensive plans.  Health insurance does not lend itself to market place solutions, while providing health care does.

Okay, North Korea.  Thomas Friedman wrote this morning about the ever growing threat of North Korea and their nukes:

Trump did not create this problem — it’s been passed down to him from Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama — but he will have to fix it. And it has reached a point where the U.S. has only three options: awful, bad and worse. Or as Litwak describes them: “bomb, acquiesce or negotiate.”…Bombing North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites runs the risk of escalating into a second (possibly nuclear) Korean war with over a million casualties. North Korea’s nuclear facilities are “hot,” and bombing them could have untold consequences in terms of radioactivity. Alternatively, acquiescing to a breakout means this failed state could — incredibly — become a major nuclear power with a global reach. “So that just leaves negotiating,” says Litwak.

…Obama had the same three choices on Iran: bomb, acquiesce or negotiate. He did not want to bomb Iranian nuclear installations, because of the uncontrollable events bombing could unleash, and he did not want to acquiesce. So Obama negotiated what Litwak calls a “purely transactional” deal — Iran agreed to a 15-year halt on processing weapons-usable fissile material in return for significant sanctions relief, and no other behaviors were covered.

Obama’s bet? Something will happen in these 15 years that will be “transformational,” says Litwak, and provide the only true security — a change in the character of Iran’s regime.

Thomas then tells Chetto-Head that he should follow the same path.  I think we are looking at the real threat in the World right now and while negotiations are surely the preferred way to go, Kim Jung-un, the leader of North Korea is like Cheeto-Head, crazy.  In comparison, the Iranians look downright boring.  His grip on power may be slipping and control is everything.  So thinking negotiations will work or that the situation is similar, I believe is a giant misunderstanding of the North Korean Regime.

So if you want to be afraid of something, it is not Mexicans, or terrorist from the Middle East, it is North Korea that will one day surely use their nukes. And our options are quickly narrowing. Oh, and healthcare, who needs healthcare.

Nonsense and Stupidity of Republicans, Democrats, and Pundits on Healthcare Reform

Paul Ryan on the Republican Healthcare Plan:

Let me just describe exactly what this bill does for conservatives .  This is why I’m so excited about it and this is why I think people need to see the forest through the trees. We are defederalizing an entitlement, block granting it back to the states and capping its growth rate.  That’s never been done before.”  

What he is talking about here is not a healthcare plan that provides healthcare, he is talking about a Conservative wet dream about destroying the government in the market place.  In their little minds the government is bad so send it to the states, and cap it so they get straddled with the bill as cost continue to climb.  He does not care that people lose their coverage.  It is the Ayn Rand dream that those who deserve, get, and those who don’t die. Life is good. If you can’t afford insurance, it is your fault and you deserve to die.

Now the present Republican plan is indefensible and any discussions with Republicans on how it makes things better is a trip to La La Land and pundits and talking heads should ignore them.  Today on MSNBC, Katy Tur,  attacked both sides, the Republicans on their stay in La La Land (Just simply lying about the plan), and then Democrats for not jumping in to fix it or help fix it.  So let me take that on.  It’s not fixable and any plan the Republicans will agree to will be a loser because it will be Obamacare lite, and Obamacare is about the best you are going to get out of a marketplace solution.  It is really that simple.  So it would be patently stupid for Democrats to jump in.  They will just get branded with the Republicans failure.

Now what about Democrats proposing their own plan to fix the faults in Obamacare?  Now that is a valid criticism.  I could think of some things that would help Obamacare, but it would be Obamacare plus, not minus.  First is strengthen penalties for not having insurance.  Now this is the kiss of death to Republicans (individual mandate), but that is how reasonable insurance works, spread the costs.  They could also do something about cost control, looking at effective and non-effective treatments. Republicans objected to that in terms of choice.  You could do something about drug prices like allow more groups to negotiate prices (like Medicare and Medicaid). Note once again, all this is the death knell for Republican support.  Then there is offering a single payer option.  Again going nowhere with Republicans, which is why you do not want to join with Republicans on this. Again, THERE IS NOT REPUBLICAN FIX!

Okay now listen closely and I will Quote Ari Velshi: 

“Nowhere on the face of the Earth is there a free health insurance market that works. If you could point me to one and say that a free market works — it’s just one of those areas that a free market doesn’t work.”  

Hello?  Are you listening?  Republicans can’t fix it because they can’t accept that the free market can’t deal with this.  Democrats, except for Bernie, still try to dance around the free market and try to be Republican Lite.  I just listened to Harold Ford explain why going to a single payer would be problematic.  He is establishment Democrat and needs to go away.  Every problem he raised as been solved in other countries. AND IT WORKS BETTER THAN OUR SYSTEM IN THE REST OF THE WORLD!

So I will make this simple for news talking heads, pundits, and anyone else who still doesn’t get it yet:

The only fix is a single payer system!

Sure you can diddle with Obamacare but what you are doing is slowly moving it toward a single payer.  Republicans are incapable of fixing healthcare because their ideologically is opposed to the only system on planet earth that has proven to work.  Democrats are too timid, and still think they need to be Republican lite to seem responsible.  But there is only one answer. Sure there are problems with single payer, but nowhere near what we have now, and we could work on them.  So can we stop the stupid debate.  There is no Republican solution and the only halfway measure is to strengthen Obamacare with more controls and include a public option.  The real fix as Ari reminds us is a single payer system.  When will Democrats ever stand for anything?