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.
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?
Cruz 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.”
And props to Ted Cruz for TAANSTAFL!
Remember yesterday, when I left a few thoughts on the Trump campaign and the GOP’s relationship with Russia?
The primary season culminated with the Trump campaign ensuring that the GOP platform didn’t include weapons aid to Ukraine against continued Russian aggression, while Trump publicly threatened NATO with gutting the Article 5 collective security guarantee. (Let’s remember why NATO was created in the first place, eh?)
The New York Times did an interesting piece this morning on this very issue that makes some very salient points.
As many of you know, WikiLeaks has released thousands of DNC emails obtained by hackers, showing the Democratic Party’s efforts to subvert the Sanders campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton. These stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, have embarrassed Democratic leaders and caused party chairhag Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to resign (only to be rehired by the Clinton campaign – how’s THAT for corruption?)
The release also has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.
Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult. But researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. And metadata from the released emails suggests that the documents passed through Russian computers. Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects. Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.
On Sunday morning, the issue erupted, as Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump” citing “experts” but offering no other evidence. Mr. Mook also suggested that the Russians might have good reason to support Mr. Trump: The Republican nominee indicated in an interview with The New York Times last week that he might not back NATO nations if they came under attack from Russia — unless he was first convinced that the countries had made sufficient contributions to the Atlantic alliance.
Now, whether the emails were stolen by the Russians, or not is irrelevant when it comes to the issue of corruption within the Democratic Party that was revealed in those emails. That’s just a red herring by Mook to draw attention away from the fact that the DNC apparently actively tried to sabotage Bernie Sanders and subvert the democratic process.
As corrupt and disgusting as the DNC is, this is a separate issue from the one I discussed briefly yesterday, which is the interesting, and (I assess) dangerous relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia.
This is a revelation that, if true, will have serious repercussions on our foreign policy and our national security interests abroad, especially when coupled with the ass loads of Russian money Paul Manafort has been sucking up from his Putin crony buddies, the Trump/Putin mutual admiration society, and Trump’s promise to gut the Article 5 collective security guarantee.
That scares me.
Dear Senator Sanders –
During your last debate with Hillary Clinton, you were asked a question about your racial blind spots. You first told a couple of anecdotes – first about your African American colleague, and then about your conversation with a young lady from the Black Lives Matter movement. Both were meant to illustrate how you, as a white person, couldn’t see their challenges and experience their struggles. It’s true that you probably cannot see the world through their eyes and experience their difficulties firsthand, but then you went on to say something so stupid, and so offensive, that I felt the need to respond – as a white person, as someone who raised herself from nothing, and as someone who resents the hell out of your contention that somehow white people don’t know struggles and agonies.
So to answer your question, I would say, and I think it’s similar to what the secretary said, when you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.
I find your assertion offensive as well as wrong. You are part of the same crowd that screeches “PRIVILEGE!!!” without knowing or understanding those about whom you screech it.
In 2013, nearly 19 million white people were living in poverty. In 2014, that number rose to 19.7 million. Whites also receive social services such as food stamps and Medicaid at higher rates than African Americans, and yet you claim they don’t know what it’s like to be poor? Have you lost your mind, or are you simply that out of touch?
I guess you don’t care about the 73,000+ people in your own state of Vermont – predominantly white, by the way – living below the poverty line. They don’t matter, right?
White people don’t know what it’s like to live in a ghetto?
Those many call “poor white trash” without even thinking about the offensive racial undertones this moniker evokes would beg to differ.
Alcohol abuse, oxy abuse, blight, odd jobs, teen pregnancies… if you don’t think those are all issues white people face by the millions, perhaps you should do some reading about white poverty in America.
Perhaps someone who’s primarily been sucking off the government teat for the majority of his life, while he worked to relieve others of their earnings you won’t understand this, but I’m going to try and whitesplain it to you anyway.
Poverty is living in a cockroach-infested dump, having bugs crawl on your face and in your ears while you sleep, as your parents – both of whom have Master’s Degrees – work 10-hour days washing dishes and performing other menial jobs so that you could have chicken and plain, white rice for dinner.
Poverty is eating ice cubes during the summer while the rest of the kids you know buy ice cream from the corner grocery store.
Poverty is watching your parents dig through your neighbors’ garbage in hopes of finding something for you to wear to school.
Poverty is watching your dad hammer together pieces of wood he found at a garbage dump to make a makeshift arm chair and cover it with an old wool blanket to make it look more appealing.
Poverty is sitting in front an old, black and white 15-inch television your dad found in your neighbors’ trash, and that he fixed with some copper wire and aluminum foil and watching cartoons to learn English.
Poverty is having kids in school make fun of you, because you wore the same clothes to school as the day before. No, it doesn’t matter that your mom washed them by hand and made them clean.
Poverty is walking around with patches all over your worn clothes and having the kids at school ridicule your old, rusty lunchbox – a lunchbox that also came from the neighbors’ trash.
Poverty is being jealous of another kid in school, because his parents could afford strawberry milk, while your parents insisted you didn’t need the extra flavor.
Poverty is treasuring the little box of colored rubber bands your mom splurged on for you, and using a different color every day. If you couldn’t change your clothes every day, at least you could have pigtails with hair ties of a different color.
And perhaps, someone like you, who didn’t make a steady paycheck until he was in his 40s, because he spent all his time
agitating for the socialist cause pissing and moaning about those pesky rich people not giving him enough free shit for doing next to nothing doesn’t understand the concept of a ghetto, but let me tell you…
When your elderly grandpa takes a walk outside to look through other people’s trash for some toys for you, and gets beaten up and mugged by two urban youts, who steal his meager plastic bag containing some toys from said trash and leave him bleeding on the sidewalk…
…that’s when you know you’re living in the ghetto!
So yeah, white people – people like me – know real poverty. We know the ghetto. We know what it’s like to be indigent and not know where our next meal is coming from.
You know what, though?
People like me scramble and scrape all their lives to leave the ghetto behind and make something of ourselves instead of dragging the sewer and the squalor around with us all our lives as an excuse for our failures!
We achieve and succeed because of sheer determination, strength, commitment, and grit, and we don’t expose the oozing sores of our squalid, wretched, filthy beginnings for others to worship as a virtue or exploit as a political tool.
We simply fight every day of our lives to leave the indigence behind, while people like you find new and inventive ways to diminish and denigrate our experiences, because somehow we managed to leave the filth behind.
Much like your ignorant economic policies strive to punish success…
…your clueless, imbecilic ethics belittle and demean it.
The immoral callousness in your statement reflects the unethical, corrupt crassness of your economic philosophy.
And neither one belongs in civilized society.
So far, we have the Hairy Hemorrhoid™, the Septuagenarian Socialist, the almost felon, whom the current administration will protect until after Election 2016 is over, the Senator from Texas, who bears a striking and comical resemblance to Grandpa Munster (I do think it’s adorable!), Marco “the Robot” Rubio, the Hunchback of Ohio, and the Snooze Fest of Maryland. Election 2016 is a shit show by any standard, but one more clown is threatening to enter the broken down, yellow VW bug if his candidate of choice doesn’t get elected: former Minnesota Governor and current crackpot Jesse Ventura.
Stop laughing! Seriously!
OK, go ahead and laugh… I’ll wait. I’m kind of wiping tears of mirth off my face here as well, even as I write this, because the idea of Jimmy “The Opportunistic, Delusional, Widow-Suing, KGB-TV (RT)-loving, attention whoring” Janos in the White House is a lot more comical (and less dangerous) than the idea of the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ inhabiting the People’s House in DC. Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone in Washington taking him seriously, so I imagine that as President, he’ll stand on the balcony of the White House, wave his little hat, have some parties where he and his friends snort coke off the asses of some hookers, and take naps a lot.
And yet, Ventura has decided that if his endorsed candidate – Bernie Sanders – doesn’t get the Democratic nomination, he will crawl out from under his rock and run for President. The even funnier thing is that he thinks he can win!
Ventura was elected the governor of Minnesota as an independent in 1998 after serving as a Navy SEAL and professional wrestler. Ventura said his campaign was so successful at showing an outsider could be elected that Trump and Sanders are “ripping him off.” He bets he can do it again if Sanders loses and the election is Hillary Clinton vs. Trump.
“They’re setting the groundwork for me because if Bernie loses, by the time we get to June, how sick are the people going to be of all these people,” he said while dressed in a Jimi Hendrix shirt under a blazer and SEALs beanie.
Never mind that Bernie thinks Ventura is a douche tool, and that he declined Jimmy’s offer for an endorsement a couple of days ago. Thank you, Bernie, for continuing to show yourself a decent human being! I disagree with you on practically everything, and frankly, I think you could use some basic economics and finance lessons, but at least you’re not bug house, squirrel shit, nucking futz enough to hook up with the truly psychotic!
So this got me thinking…. What would a Ventura administration look like?
Secretary of the Treasury – the Hairy Hemorrhoid™.
Fed Chairman – Bernie Sanders.
FCC Chairman – Alex Jones of InfoTards fame.
Secretary of Defense – Adam Kokesh (if he emerges from the smokey, dope-saturated confines of his basement long enough to take the oath).
National Security Adviser – 9/11 Truther Conspiritard Jeff Boss.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff –
Bradley Chelsea Manning (after he pardons the traitorous, whining POS, of course).
Secretary of State – Julian Assange.
Attorney General – Truther, conspiritard, birther dentist, real estate agent, attorney
Orly Taitz Oily Taint.
Got other ideas for a Ventura administration? Secretary of Hookers and Blow? Head Presidential Diaper Changer? Let me know in comments!
UPDATE: Looks like This Ain’t Hell was on this as well.