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Category Archives: America

LTG McMaster to Take Over as National Security Adviser

tinfoilSome freakish conspiritards claimed I was a member of the “deep state” upon reading my take on Michael Flynn’s ouster. Apparently, my tongue just wasn’t firmly enough implanted in the President’s rectum for their tastes, so writing about Flynn’s history in the intelligence community, despite rightfully assessing that whoever leaked the information about intercepts should be deprived of a job, a clearance, and prosecuted, just means that I have TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Never mind I said nothing negative about 45 in that post, and referred to Flynn’s history prior to even the primaries of Election 2016. If I’m not 100 percent aboard the Trump train, lauding every appointment and executive action with froth flecked fervor, I must be working on some kind of dastardly plan to overthrow the president… because “deep state” or something. And if I criticize any cabinet pick, or appointment, I must be suffering from TDS.

Is it wrong that I had to google “deep state”?

To some people, nothing but full, hysterical, blind worship will do, so when any media outlet publishes any story at all about the object of their spittle-streaked worship, they don’t bother reading the actual story. Because FAKE NEWS! And LIBRUL MEDIA! It’s not like they would report anything positive about 45!

Yeah, the crazy is real.

Well, the appointment of H.R. McMaster as the new National Security Adviser to replace Flynn was apparently met with positive reviews.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper was complimentary of Lt. Gen. McMaster’s book.

CNBC highlighted his stellar educational qualifications.

McMaster, 54, is a West Point graduate known as “H.R.,” with a PhD in U.S. history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was listed as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014, partly because of his willingness to buck the system.

The Washington Post described McMaster as a “widely respected military strategist.”

In brief remarks, McMaster said it would be “a privilege” to continue to serve the nation. “I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people,” he said.

USA Today complimented McMaster’s successes in Iraq as innovative.

In Iraq, McMaster placed his troops in small outposts in the northern Iraqi town in an effort to protect the population and he worked closely with local leaders to overcome sectarian rivalries. The tactics worked, the population came around to support his brigade and began turning on al-Qaeda militants.

mcmasterEverything I’ve read and heard about Lt. Gen. McMaster shows him to be a stellar pick to lead the National Security Council and advise the President on national security matters. Those who have worked with him, those who have served under him, and those who have watched him actually do his job all are incredibly complimentary of the General’s ability to lead, to relate to his Soldiers, and to create winning military strategies. He understands cyber threats, and he respects and understands military history. The appointment certainly sounds like a winner to me!

I have to wonder if the deranged conspiritard Trumpanzees are currently having apoplectic fits, trying to decide how to feel about this appointment.

“Oh, no! The media likes him, so he must be horrible… but, wait! He’s actually good, and our deity appointed him! The troops like him, those who served with him respect him… Oh, no! But the media is complimenting him, and so is that TDS chick from the Liberty Zone, so he must be bad… dammit!”

And I wonder how many of them will read this post and somehow twist it to be critical of the President.

HAH!

Congrats, Lt. Gen. McMaster! More power to you, and kick some ass in your new job!

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Valid Concerns About Flynn Shouldn’t Excuse Leaks

Retired General Michael Flynn was shitcanned from his job as National Security Adviser this week, which gives him the distinct “honor” of being forced out by not just one, but two Presidents! Yes, that’s a pretty impressive feat, and we need to look at this event from an objective perspective.

First and foremost, spying on foreign ambassadors is nothing new. The press has been reporting on this since before Snowden stole millions of files from NSA and handed them over to foreigners to peruse, and if you think we’re the only ones who spy on foreign ambassadors on our soil, I have this bridge.

U.S. installations abroad also remained a primary target for espionage, particularly by the Soviet Union. Twice in one year, the Department learned that the Soviet intelligence agency had seriously compromised security at the embassy in Moscow. In January 1985, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that one of its security guards at the Embassy had passed classified information to a Russian woman.

The fact that Flynn was talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak made him the subject of what is called “incidental collection.” It means he wasn’t the target, but since conversations are two-way things, he was captured in the intercept as well. That’s a concept that has apparently escaped House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who is shitting himself, because “an American citizen had his phone calls recorded.” For the record, no one was spying on Flynn. The target was Kislyak, and the collection on Flynn was incidental. That’s first and foremost.

First, he was talking to the Russian ambassador, who is an agent of a foreign power. Agents of foreign powers are acceptable foreign intelligence targets and the government could have a warrant to surveil Kislyak under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) since 1978.

Next, phone calls are wiretappable. Congress ensured that would be true with the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA).

Further, while wiretapping in the criminal context involves only recording when the targets talk about illegal activity, foreign intelligence wiretapping is comprehensive. All conversations are collected and important bits mined out after the fact.

So, no. This wasn’t a matter of Obama targeting Trump and trying to destroy him, as some conspiritards claim. It also wasn’t Obama operatives conspiring to target the Trump administration.

Fact is Flynn has been a concern to the Intelligence Community long before Trump decided to even run for President.

GOP 2016 ConventionLet’s remember Flynn in 2010 was removed by current Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CENTCOM commander, and investigated for sharing classified information with Pakistan. Pakistan! Not exactly a close ally. And revealing sensitive U.S. intelligence capabilities being used to monitor the Haqqani network to Pakistan is not exactly something that’s encouraged. This from the same guy who screeched “LOCK HER UP!” about Queen Pantsuit during the Republican National Convention for putting “our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of her private email server”

So while Hillary used her private email server “carelessly,” Flynn intentionally shared classified information with other countries – more than once – and never punished for it, because he apparently didn’t know better. Sound familiar?

Although Flynn lacked authorization to share the classified material, he was not disciplined or reprimanded after the investigation concluded that he did not act “knowingly” and that “there was no actual or potential damage to national security as a result,” according to Army records obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

Flynn was even bragging of the fact that he shared classified information he was not authorized to share with our allies Britain and Australia! “I’m proud of that one. Accuse me of sharing intelligence in combat with our closest allies, please.”

Really?

Whether he likes it or not, there are protocols and channels through which one has to go to release intelligence – even to our closest allies. Flynn, who was accused of telling allies about the activities of other agencies in Afghanistan, including the CIA, apparently felt he was above such constraints. He wanted to do it, so intelligence protocols be damned! He did what he did, because apparently he felt he was too important to follow procedures, and his mission was too critical to be limited by bureaucracy.

General Igor Sergun GRU Director from December 2011 until his death in January 2016.

General Igor Sergun GRU Director from December 2011 until his death in January 2016.

This was all long before Trump, as was Flynn’s now infamous trip to Russia to celebrate RT’s anniversary alongside President Putin and rub asses with Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). While Flynn was no longer DIA director, having been forced out by the Obama Administration, he received a DIA briefing before heading out to Russia and got paid for speaking there.

Of course, these “speaking fees” weren’t exactly for a traditional address. Flynn received an undisclosed amount of money for agreeing to be used as a propaganda tool by the Russian owned and controlled RT.

‘I was asked by my speaker’s bureau, LAI. I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity,’ Flynn told the paper.

‘The gig was to do an interview with [RT correspondent] Sophie Shevardnadze. It was an interview in front of the forum, probably 200 people in the audience,’ he said.

[…]

‘I had a great trip. I was the first U.S. officer ever allowed inside the headquarters of the GRU [Russian intelligence]. I was able to brief their entire staff,’ Flynn said.

‘I gave them a leadership OPD. [a professional development class on leadership] and talked a lot about the way the world’s unfolding.

Uh-huh.

Flynn believes Russia could be an invaluable ally in the war against Islamic extremism. He said so during the RT forum. And he’s not wrong. The problem with sharing those views on a forum like RT is the optics. The forum took place after Russia illegally annexed Crimea, after more than a year of Russian funding of militant separatists in Ukraine, and after two years of the United States imposing economic sanctions against Russia for threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors. It doesn’t look great when the ousted director of DIA heads over to Russia and advocates for closer relations. It looks like a bitter former employee impugning his former boss’ foreign policy.

But besides that, we have no idea what was said in the GRU briefing. Given Flynn’s former penchant for briefing sensitive intelligence about IC operations “unknowingly” in a presentation in Afghanistan, the concerns about his trip aren’t unwarranted.

Again, this was all pre-Trump, so to claim that somehow the IC is targeting the President through Flynn is just disingenuous, given the concerns about Flynn’s continued flaunting and disregard for good intelligence practices, since long before the Presidency was even a gleam in Trump’s eye.

Once Trump won, and announced that Flynn was to be his National Security Adviser, I can’t blame old intel hands for freaking out a bit, given Flynn’s history. When Flynn spoke with Kislyak the day sanctions were announced, and then lied about the conversation to the Vice President, this became an even bigger concern. I said at the time that even if he didn’t mention sanctions – about which the President-Elect Transition Team was briefed prior to them being announced – the optics were worrying, to say the least.

Is it any surprise that a National Security Adviser to the President of the United States who doesn’t understand what he should and should not release to foreign powers, who doesn’t see that perceptions about him impugning U.S. foreign policy on an adversary’s state-owned media channel and chatting with said adversary’s Ambassador prior to a critical foreign policy announcement would be concerning as the leader of our country’s national security apparatus?

No, the IC is not trying to bring down Trump by targeting Flynn. They’re right to be concerned.

Which brings me to the leaker, whoever it might be.

The screeching conspiritards are right in one regard. Whoever leaked the information about the intercepts between Kislyak and Flynn did so illegally. While it’s common knowledge that we spy on the Russians (DUH!), releasing that information is illegal.

Listen I get it. Whoever leaked these conversations to the public had to have been paralyzingly concerned about Flynn. Hell, I was worried about having someone like that sitting in charge of the National Security Council and receiving sensitive information. Flynn was a profound concern for the IC, and whoever leaked that information had to have known that if caught, they would be prosecuted and would likely lose their job and their freedom, but was concerned enough to do it anyway.

And while identifying Flynn internally was legal, because his identity was critical to the analysis of Kislyak’s calls, the leak of the unminimized (unmasked) identity of Kislyak’s interlocutor to the public is and should be punishable by law.

Whoever leaked this information wreaked indescribable havoc.

They gave an adversary information about collection methods – signals intelligence – without which, we probably no longer have the ability to conduct surveillance on our targets.

They handed our enemies insight into the workings of the Presidential administration. Such insight is gold for our adversaries.

It gave Russia a window into the chaos in our national security apparatus.

It showed Russia our weaknesses.

This is unacceptable under any circumstances, no matter how concerning Flynn’s actions were, and make no mistake, they were worrisome.

But there was more at stake than just Flynn, and while we don’t know how compromised he was by the Russians, if at all, and whether his actions were due to arrogant stupidity or an actual desire to betray our country to the Russians, incalculable damage was done by whoever leaked this information to the public, and that cannot be ignored.

So while Flynn’s connections – and anyone else in the Administration who has had questionable interactions with the Russians – are a fair target for law enforcement and intel investigators, so are the people who are leaking this sensitive information.

Leaks are no reason to cheer. They’re a reason to be afraid.

 

Destroying the Enemy

OK, at first it was kind of amusing. Snowflakes nationwide were losing their collective shit over the election of someone they did not support, because they were so enamored with the idea that Queen Pantsuit would be crowned on January 20, 2017. Things didn’t quite pan out that way, and things got out of hand very quickly.

There were recount demands.

There were unhinged lectures by out-of-touch, billionaire Hollywood actors, ivory tower academics, and snotty artists demeaning and harassing their fellow Americans, as well as the President’s family.

There were protests… sometimes violent ones.

And then there were the boycotts.

Uber, Nordstrom, UnderArmour, Nieman Marcus, “grab your wallet,” hearings on Trump nominees, unhinged demands that Ivanka Trump take art she has purchased off her walls, deranged mommies soiling themselves because a toddler – A FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD – whose grandfather happens to be the President, is attending pre-school with their precious snowflakes…

I’m no longer amused. Frankly, I’m a bit disturbed by the concerted snowflake effort to literally destroy what they perceive to be “the enemy” at any cost.

wegmans1And in case you were wondering, the enemy is not just anyone who voted for Trump. The enemy is anyone who does business with him or his family. They can’t just walk away from the product and not buy it. They must destroy the entire business for selling it, and in the process impact jobs – work for the very people they claim to want to defend against those evil rich bastards who take advantage of them and keep them down. Because the little folks don’t matter if your overall strategic goal is to decimate the enemy.

So this week it’s Wegmans.

Believe it or not, I’ve only discovered Wegmans recently, but having seen the selection of cheese, wine, international foods, meat, teas, prepared foods… I’m a convert.

Of course to the demented prognazis, nothing is sacred. Not even Wegmans. The store’s “crime?” Selling wine produced by a winery Trump purchased in 2011.

The regional supermarket chain with a cult following is facing calls to remove Trump Winery products from its 10 Virginia stores. Over the weekend, about 300 members of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women made plans to pressure Wegmans to stop carrying products from the Charlottesville winery.

“Certainly if Wegmans is carrying Trump wines, I personally will not shop there,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who was not present at the meeting. The nonprofit, which was founded 50 years ago, has more than 500,000 contributing members, making it the country’s largest feminist organization.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans sells 237 Virginia wines from 58 wineries at its local stores. Among those wines are five varieties from the Trump Winery, including Trump Blanc de Blanc and Trump Winery Chardonnay. According to Jo Natale, vice president of media relations for Wegmans, the company has been selling wines from the Charlottesville winery since 2008, before it was owned by Donald Trump — and long before he campaigned for the White House.

You see, to the prognazis, choice is not an option. If they refuse to buy the product, no one should be able to purchase it! Conform, or face boycotts and hits to your bottom line. They don’t want you to even have the option of purchasing a wine from Trump’s Charlottesville winery, and they’re willing to impact the bottom line of a store — which, by the way, is committed to charitable giving and improving its communities, in addition to employing hundreds of workers, who I would guess make a fraction of what NOW president Terry O’Neill rakes in — to achieve their goal.

The prognazis, as usual, have a very tenuous grasp on economics. They don’t understand that if enough people simply refuse to purchase a product, the drop in sales will inevitably cause the store to stop carrying it. No boycott of the store needed. If the product is not profitable, it will go away.

But they’re not willing to wait that long. They don’t want you to have that choice. And they’re willing to work to destroy a business, rather than let economics take its course. They don’t want you to vote with your wallet. They simply want to force you and the store to conform to their desires.

And, not to Godwin myself out of the conversation, but there’s a certain familiar feeling to the prognazis’ actions of late.

On April 1, 1933, the Nazis carried out the first nationwide, planned action against Jews: a boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals. The boycott was both a reprisal and an act of revenge against Gruelpropaganda (atrocity stories) that German and foreign Jews, assisted by foreign journalists, were allegedly circulating in the international press to damage Nazi Germany’s reputation.

On the day of the boycott, Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung; SA) stood menacingly in front of Jewish-owned department stores and retail establishments, and the offices of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. The Star of David was painted in yellow and black across thousands of doors and windows, with accompanying antisemitic slogans. Signs were posted saying “Don’t Buy from Jews” and “The Jews Are Our Misfortune.” Throughout Germany, acts of violence against individual Jews and Jewish property occurred; the police intervened only rarely.

Much like the Sturmabteilung troops refused to allow people to make a individual choices with their wallets, opting instead to forcibly prevent them from making that choice, the prognazis would rather force an entire store to close its doors, firing personnel and leaving the community of which they are a part – they would rather destroy a business – than allow people to make individual choices with their wallets.

Those who forget history and all that…

Or maybe they remember, which makes their actions all the more disturbing.

c2juvc0wqaaoh01PS: If this unhinged fuckstick really keeps his promise of snipping off his schlong in response to us building a wall, I’ll personally contribute money for that venture and will spend my vacation laying bricks! Anything to keep these freaks from reproducing!

Shut your foul maw while you still have teeth left. How bou dah!

I intentionally try not to know the latest fads, not to follow pop culture, and not to pay attention to street slang. 

Daniel had to explain to me what “bae” was, and I felt dumber just having understood that particular term. 

I always insisted that my kids use proper grammar – even in text messages. Yes, I was that mom. And even now I crack up when Danny corrects others’ grammar! Yeah, I taught him well. 

So when this latest “How bow dah!” slang thing came out, I really just ignored it. I didn’t understand it. It was like a foreign language. I had no time to decipher it. I suppose I could have asked one of the kids, but they’re busy being a full time Marine and being a Soldier and student. I figured it would just go away. 

But it didn’t. It was everywhere. It was even in my Bitmoji menu (it’s a comic strip you that you design and use, that supposedly looks like you, instead of the usual emojis available on your phone)! 


Literally this thing was everydamnwhere, and for some reason people were either angry, incensed, or just down right outraged about it. So of course, it piqued my curiosity, because otherwise normal adults were using this phrase, and not in a flattering or positive way. 

So on went my Google machine, and I pulled up this

Back in September 2016, 13-year-old Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli and her mother appeared on Dr. Phil to discuss the teen’s “out-of-control” behavior. If you’re a regular viewer of The Dr. Phil Show, the two women’s segment was nothing out of the ordinary. One teen with attitude and a mouth to match + one anxious mother = some solid television (it always does). “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime,” proclaims the The Dr. Phil Show website entry about them. Are you hooked? I am.

[No, I’m not. Because I’m not a chip chomping culture fad whore. I have a job I work 10-12 hours per day, and no time for daytime trash TV.]

The segment likely would have faded into daytime-television obscurity had it not been for one perfect moment. “All these hos laughin’ like there’s something funny,” Bregoli says, gesturing to the audience. “Did you say,” Dr. Phil responds, judiciously pausing and moving his hands as though attempting to sort through Bregoli’s meaning, “the hos are laughing?” The audience begins to applaud. At which point Bregoli unleashes the line that would soon make her an internet star: “Cash me outside, howbow dah?”

So this trash bit whore, who commits petty crimes, dresses like a savage, and talks like she’s got a mouth full of shit becomes an internet sensation, instead of getting her ass beat and being sent to juice for a spell, right?

What’s the message here? The message is: if you’re outrageous enough, disrespectful enough, and ballsy enough to be exactly that on national television, you will be a star. With impunity. 

You don’t have to study and get good grades. You don’t have to respect others. You don’t have to work and achieve. You just have to be a pernicious little shit in public, and you will be rewarded. 

Of course, the sudden popularity of the meme has also thrust the teen who started it all back into the spotlight. Earlier this week, a story claimed that Peskowitz Bregoli had committed suicide after she was bullied by classmates for her appearance on the show. The story was later debunked by Snopes, which notes it ran on fake news site “NBC-News.net” which, unsurprisingly, isn’t related to the real NBC. Peskowitz Bregoli is alive and well and keeping her fans updated via Facebook, where just yesterday she streamed a live video consisting largely of her counting dollar bills to the camera for nearly an hour. It has since been viewed over 45,000 times. “CASH ME LIVE!” Well … how bow dah.

Know what? “How bow dah” smells like bad fucking parenting to me. 

It smells like instead of applying some discipline and teaching this mouthy little harlot some values, mommy dearest decided to appeal to the public in the worst possible way – on national television. 

It smells like parenting FAIL. 

Mommy decided to garner some attention and maybe some sympathy from the stupid by parading her rude, repulsive jackass of a kid in front of an audience of millions. She didn’t really want help. If she did, she would have taken this pathetic little hood rat either to a good shrink, or to a juvenile facility, instead of a talk show hosted by someone who could have dedicated his life to helping people, given his education and background, but chose instead to exploit trash and make millions doing it. 

Instead of parenting, she decided to give the little rat exactly what she wanted – attention and notoriety. 

And the stupid public ate it up, falling right into that trap. 

I get the feeling the brat learned that behavior from mommy dearest, in which case, mommy dearest deserves a good, swift kick in the ass for wasting society’s time with her classless, ornery spawn. 

Like mother, like daughter. 

The only cure for that stupid is to stop giving it time!

Stop making memes, videos, and gifs glorifying classless, loutish assclowns. 

Stop making them famous! 

They’re not funny. They’re embarrassing. 

If that were my kid, she’d get a kick in the teeth and some military school therapy. She’d be doing push-ups on my kitchen floor until she had no more energy to be a rude shit clown. And if she decided to commit a crime, she’d be sitting in the back of a police car on her way to a juvenile facility. 

Don’t like that, little girl? Too fucking bad. 

How bow dah!

This is how the debates SHOULD have been

I spent very little time watching the Presidential debates last year. What little I did watch infuriated me so much, I felt like throwing heavy objects at my TV. I even came up with a list that would make the debates imminently more watchable and fun! The list included rabid badgers and tequila, which gives you an idea about just how irritating I found the entire thing.

Last night, however, I did watch the CNN debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, and I have to say I was impressed. First of all, they actually discussed the issue: health care. The moderators – Jake Tapper and Dana Bash – were balanced, and the audience was allowed to ask questions that concerned them as constituents and taxpayers. Bash and Tapper did not argue or fact check the participants. They simply guided the discussion and made sure both got a turn to speak. Good job, guys!

Then there were the participants themselves. They were congenial. They rarely interrupted one another. They were relaxed. They chatted not only to one another, but to the audience. They didn’t threaten one another. They found points on which they could agree and collaborate – right there on stage. There was a little friendly ribbing, but nothing resembling the shit shows of last year, in which threats, accusations, references to sexual plumbing, and name-calling replaced actual issues and substantive discussion.

Shamelessly stolen from FreedomWorks, who grabbed it from some guy on Twitter.

Shamelessly stolen from FreedomWorks, who grabbed it from some dude on Twitter.

That said… Sorry Bernie, but emotionalist hyperventilation does not replace facts in a debate.

Allowing people to keep the money they earned ≠ transferring wealth.

If you agree government corruption is a problem, WHY IN BLEEDING FUCK WOULD YOU WANT MOAR GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN HEALTH CARE?

If you claim insurance companies that are committing the egregious sin of wanting to profit off misfortune that befalls sick people, WHY IN DOG’S HAIRY HELL DID YOU ALLOW THEM SUCH A HEAVY HAND IN WRITING THE LEGISLATION TO BEGIN WITH?

Telling business owners “too fucking bad; do it anyway” when they ask how they’re supposed to provide health care coverage for 50+ employees without raising prices on goods and services, when they can’t even afford health care coverage themselves, is not moral, ethical, or compassionate, as you claim to be.

“Let me give you an answer you will not be happy with,” Sanders replied. “I think that businesses that employ 50 people or more… I’m sorry, I think that in America today, everybody should have health care. And if you have more than 50 people, you know what, I’m afraid to tell you, I think you will have to provide health insurance.”

The business owner quickly shot back:

“So my question is how do I do that without raising my prices to my customers or lowing the wages to my employees?”

Sanders went on to argue that it’s “unfair” that there might be “somebody else in Fort Worth who is providing decent health insurance to their employees,” but they have to compete with her business that doesn’t provide an employer-based health care plan.

“I think you’ll find the profit margin in my entire industry about the same,” the business owner replied.

What Bernie needs to do is to look up the definition of “right,” and the definition of “rationing.” He kept repeating the same tired leftist tropes about health care being a human right, which Cruz should have hammered him on, given that one cannot have the right to a good or a service, because someone always has to produce said good or service. No one has the right to the fruit of another person’s labor unless you’re into slavery, which is something we abolished a while ago. If your “right” steals the production of another human being via government force, it’s not a right, and you’re a thief – even if indirectly. Period.  I don’t know why politicians are so afraid to say it. Health care is not a right.

“Women are considered a pre-existing condition,” screeched Bernie during the debate. Uh… wat? No, pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. Women who aren’t pregnant can get insurance just fine. And frankly, mandating that everyone gets pregnancy coverage whether they need it or not (no, a 70 year old woman or a 25 year old man do not need pregnancy coverage, which makes Cruz’s assertion that allowing people to choose specific services a la carte make all the more sense).

And no, we are not the only developed country that does not guarantee health care as a “right.” As PolitiFact points out, “Among the countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States is the only one that lacks universal coverage. But that’s not the same thing as a guaranteed right to health care, which some developed countries lack.”

Yes, we’re relatively high in infant mortality rates, as Bernie claims, but the reasons are a bit more nuanced than that.

The first nuance is one of definition. Infant mortality is defined as the death of babies under the age of one year, but some of the differences between countries can be explained by a difference in how we count. Is a baby born weighing less than a pound and after only 21 weeks’ gestation actually “born?” In some countries, the answer is no, and those births would be counted as stillbirths. In the United States, on the other hand, despite these premature babies’ relatively low odds of survival, they would be considered born — thus counting toward the country’s infant mortality rates.

These premature births are the biggest factor in explaining the United States’ high infant mortality rate. [emphasis mine] Pre-term births can have many different maternal causes, many of which — such as high blood pressure, diabetes, Zika and other infections and age — are not entirely within an expectant mother’s control. Other factors, such as stress level, might be able to be managed, but are not entirely controllable. On the other hand, some controllable risk factors include the use of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine and other drugs. The major issue of the lack of universal access to quality prenatal care should also be considered in any discussion of preterm births and infant mortality. Also, because about 50 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, some women might not be aware they are pregnant in time to get early prenatal care, and this may be part of the reason for premature births in this country.

And while estimates vary about how many Americans have lost coverage as the result of ObamaCare, and PolitiFact claims that it was “only” 2.6 million, vice the 6 million Cruz claimed on the debate stage last night, does that include those who voluntarily eschew coverage and choose instead to pay the IRS penalty? Does it incorporate the number of insurers that have left the market place thanks to cost increase? And have the cancellations run their course, given the fact that several of the mandates have been postponed until this year? If we take NBC News reporting at its face when it reported that between 50 and 75 percent of the 14 million Americans who buy individual health insurance would likely receive a cancellation notice over 2014 because their plans did not meet the requirements of the ACA, that’s between 7 and 10.5 million people! Because the mandate was delayed twice, these cancellations probably haven’t reached that level… yet. Will these people wind up without coverage? Will they opt to pay the IRS penalty? What will happen if they genuinely get in trouble and need health care? Will they be penalized on top of having to pay exorbitant prices for medical care?

screen_shot_2017-02-07_at_9-13-29_pmCruz whipped out a bunch of statistics and made a good case. Bernie derped a lot and when in trouble, fell back on the old strategy of vilifying the rich and telling people that Republicans want old people to die and while said super rich get tax breaks. The transcript is here, if you missed the debate last night.

Fact is it should never be the function of the government to decide who makes “too much.”

Fact is it should never be the function of the government to tell the individual consumer what kind of health care policy they must purchase and what it should include.

Fact is it should never be the function of the government to control something as personal as individual health care and impose a one-size fits all standard on Americans.

Fact is “rationing” happens every time a government takes over health care and reduces the availability and quality of care for everyone, and contrary to Bernie’s claim, “rationing” does not mean “not having health insurance.”

Fact is health care is not “free” in Scandinavian countries. It is paid for by astronomical tax rates, and by their own accounts, it sucks, and I agree with Ted Cruz – I’d rather live in America.

And props to Ted Cruz for TAANSTAFL!

 

 

 

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